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Wednesday, January 17, 2018 other day's devotionals

Today's Devotional Reading
A Place of Honor

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Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase (Pr. 3:9).

In a dream, you see yourself seated at an immense banquet table in what seems to be the biggest, most beautifully decorated banquet hall you have ever seen. The table you are seated at seems to go on forever. It is large and round, and seems to have thousands of people seated at it, many of whom you can barely make out as people at all. In fact, if not for their movement, you are certain they would blend into the background. You then notice someone seated at the place of honor--it is God Himself. You can hardly believe it and you can hardly wait to see what will happen next.
One by one people begin to stand and make their way to the podium to speak. Each one tells of what God has done in their lives, the wonderful lessons taught, life saving and life changing events. There are heartfelt words about God's grace, and tearful words about His mercy. One by one, each tells the rest what God meant to him or her personally. Then you notice that it's your turn. You stand. You make your way to the podium...
What do you do? What do you say? How long will your time of honoring be--or how short? Does a warm smile come to your face as your heart melts in joy to tell of God's love for you and the wonderful times you have spent together? Or do you grow anxious--worried how your story will compare to the rest?
What does it mean to honor God? Proverbs 3:9 tells us to "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase." In other scripture, we are instructed that honor goes far beyond righteous acts, it is a matter of honoring God in our hearts as well (Isa.29:13; Ps.78:36; Mk.7:6-7). The Bible does not focus merely on tithes, offerings and righteous acts, it focuses more on the condition of the heart when we are doing those things--and when we are not doing them.
Honoring God with your "substance" (or wealth in other translations), is not referring merely to income. If we limit ourselves to this we are certainly defining who we are within narrow margins. Your substance is defined by everything you are and all you have to offer. I'm sure you agree that you have a lot more to offer than money. In fact, if someone were to limit what you have to offer as only having to do with money, you would more than likely be offended.
So why is it that when we hear words like, "Honor the Lord with thy substance," that the main thing that comes to mind is money? Perhaps God should be offended. After all, He made you to be, and to have the potential to be, far more than a walking bank account. You--aside from your net worth--are important to God. Who you are as a person is what is most important to Him. And the best way you can honor Him is by honoring Him in who you are.
As you allow Him to shape your life so that you can honor Him in it, honoring Him with money and righteous acts will be a byproduct, not the main product.

For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise (Ps. 51:16-17).

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