Every worshipper wants to experience the power of the presence of God that is uniquely found within praise. After all, the real power of thanksgiving has nothing to do with human effort at all, but is revealed through praise because praise invites the presence of God! The Lord loves to receive a sacrifice of praise from His people because He sent His Son as a sacrifice, so He understands what it costs. When you put down your flesh, and defy your feelings and operate in faith, praising Him in spite of anything else going on, you are creating a spiritual environment in which His presence can move freely in you, through you, for you, before you, behind you, and out from you.
In the Old Testament, God’s people brought Him their “first fruits” as an act of worship, thanksgiving and love, to offer back to Him a symbol of the blessing He has given Him. An offering of “First fruits” was instituted very early on after the Hebrews left Egypt and today, under the New Covenant through Jesus Christ, what was once a physical act with a spiritual expression has become a spiritual act with a physical expression.
The Importance of Giving Thanks to God
The sacrifice of praise is what the Bible says opens the gates to His presence. (Psalm 100:4) Of course He is with you wherever you go, but there is a different dynamic of His power that is engaged when you create a spiritual atmosphere through praise. Your sacrifice of thanksgiving means something more profound to Him because your Father truly understands what it means to give up something matters, something that hurts- for the sake of your love- as He did for you.
Part of living a lifestyle of worship is incorporating thanksgiving and praise into everything you do. It means recognizing His hand at work, even in hard times, and offering up praise to Him, even when your “heart and flesh” fail you. When praise and worship are the last thing you feel like doing, that is when they are the most spiritually powerful – THAT is the sacrifice of praise!
Under the New Covenant through Jesus Christ, what was once a physical act with a spiritual expression has become a spiritual act with a physical expression.~Alicia Purdy
Deuteronomy 26 shows how and why God instituted the first fruit offering, which is the action of praise and honor to the Lord before you do anything else. It’s part of the lifestyle of worship lifestyle that will strengthen and support your faith. In Psalm 50:23 the Lord said, “Whoever sacrifices a thank offering glorifies Me and makes a way; I will show him the salvation of God.”
“And it must be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, and you possess it, and dwell in it, that you shall take from the first of all the produce of the ground which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide [and you shall say] “I profess this day to the Lord your God that I have come into the land which the Lord promised to our fathers to give us.”… Now, indeed, I have brought the first fruits of the land, which you, O Lord, have given me.” Then you must set it before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. You must rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you…” (Deuteronomy 26)
Offering Up the “First Fruits” of You
When you offer to the Lord the “first fruits” of you, you are giving Him what He truly desires- YOU! He wants more of you, but the Lord’s desire is that you offer it to Him, freely. There are a lot of ways in which you can offer the Lord the “first fruits” of you, depending on what your life looks like, and all the “firsts” you have, but I want to highlight some Scriptures written by the people of God who brought their “first fruits” to Him in worship specifically in the early hours, before the day began in order to offer up themselves to Him, before the rest of the world took what they needed. The real power of thanksgiving is a life built upon the foundation of His dwelling place, which is praise (Psalm 22:3):
Psalm 5:3, “O Lord, in the morning You will hear my voice; in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and I will watch expectantly.”
Psalm 4:4, “Tremble in awe and do not sin. Commune with your own heart on your bed, and be still.”
Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Psalm 143:8, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
Psalm 88:13, “…unto You have I cried, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer comes before You.”
Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love! Then we will shout for joy and be happy all our days!”
Psalm 149:5, “Let the godly ones be joyful in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds.”
Psalm 55:17, “Evening and morning and at noon, I will pray and cry aloud and He will hear my voice.”
Psalm 42:8, “Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime… a prayer to the God of my life.”
Psalm 57:7-8, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise! Awake, my glory! Awake, psaltery and harp! I will awake the dawn.”
Psalm 59:16, “But I will sing of Your power; I will sing aloud of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my refuge and escape in the day of my trouble.”
Psalm 92:1-2, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises unto Your name, O Most High: to declare forth Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness in the night.”
Psalm 119:147, “I arose before the dawn of the morning and cried for help; I hope in Your words.”
Psalm 46:5, “God is in the midst of her; she will not be moved; God will help her in the early dawn.”
Thought for today: Thanksgiving is Thanks-Living
When it comes to spending time with the Lord, is no perfect time of day to spend with the Him because anytime, anywhere is the “perfect” time to stop and let Him know how grateful you are, that you appreciate what He’s done, that you love Him. However, in the Bible, there are repeated instances of the poignant beauty of the early morning shown as being an especially profound time to open your spirit to Him. Why? Because, while your eternal spirit never sleeps, your human soul awakens to newness each day.
Even if some of yesterday’s troubles still exist, a new day represents another chance, another opportunity, a new grace, a renewed commitment to the Lord for that day. Only the Lord knows what the day will bring, what news will arise, what situations will occur but His Holy Spirit is with you to help you through every obstacle, every decision, every conflict, every confusion, every conversation, every direction you go – so press into His power each day by lifting up your spirit in thanksgiving, your soul and your hands unto Him. It doesn’t have to be fancy or long and drawn out. Five minutes. Two minutes. You don’t have to be on your knees or on your face. Lie in your bed and turn inward to the inner man in those first, quiet moments and commune with God before you continue forward. Just for a moment, you and Him. A whisper. A smile. A tear. A hand on your heart. Each day, first, offer Him YOU.
Explore More about the True Power of Thanksgiving:
- “Thanksgiving and Worship Invite the Power of God’s Presence”
- “Why Do We Give Thanks to God if He Doesn’t Need it?”
- “Finding the Presence of God Through Praise”
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