Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; Psalm 98:4
People everywhere shout for joy when something happens that is good and that they want. Watch a football game and see how much people will shout for joy when their team wins a score or wins the game. Add how much more people will be shouting when their team wins the Superbowl.
There are many other individual times when people may shout for joy. Times such as when they get a pay raise or promotion, a new baby is born, someone gets married, or some other great event in their lives.
With all of these events, they are all one time events that is usually soon forgotten. The lives of people move on and the burdens of the day get them down.
It is common for most people to question what they should shout for joy about. Most are searching for just a little joy in their lives and cannot seem to find any. The bills and cares of this world loom like a huge wall in front of them blocking them from joy, pulling them down into despair.
The psalmist said that the everyone is to shout for joy and burst into song. Going back to verse one shows the reason why. It is because God has done marvelous things and provided salvation.
Take a moment to think about all the things God has done in your life. These are all the good things He has done. Provided food, shelter, life, clothing, and that is just the very basics.
Have you seen a beautiful sunrise or sunset? God gave that.
Have you seen a beautiful day? God gave that.
Have you been blessed with a great friendship with someone? God gave that.
Have you seen the beautiful stars at night? God gave that.
Do you have a job? God gave that.
Do you have a family? God gave that.
And the greatest gift God has given you is the salvation that Jesus had provided by dying on the cross. He died to give you life.
If this little list of things God has done for you does not make you shout for joy, then you are dead. Your focus is on the wrong things. Turn your focus on what God has done and know the joy that He has for you. Shout for joy today for what God has done.
I pray today that you will know what God has done for you; that you will be filled with the joy of the Lord; that you will not focus on the wrongs of this life; and that you will shout for joy to God for what He has and is doing in you.
Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you. Deuteronomy 16:17
God had set up several festivals to be celebrated each year. These were times to celebrate things God has done in the lives of the Israelites. As a person was to come to each of these festivals, he was not to come without a gift to be presented to God. This gift was to be in proportion to the way God had blessed that person in that year. The greater the blessing, the larger the gift.
Although many churches no longer celebrate many of the festivals that God had set up in the Old Testament, they do often celebrate others times throughout the year. The most common are Christmas, Easter, and Day of Pentecost. Others may choose to celebrate specific events in that churches history, such as honoring the pastor each year.
Regardless of what is being celebrated, the one thing that God wants is that each person bring a gift according to how He has blessed that person.
Giving of gifts in a church is often done from the excess the person has. It is not usually done in correct proportion to how God has blessed him. Very few people actually do the minimum of tithing correctly. Most ministers say that they would be thrilled if just ten percent of the church would tithe. This has nothing to do with gifts above tithe.
When you bring gifts that are in proportion to how God has blessed you, God is pleased. It shows that you recognize His blessings in your life. It shows that you trust Him to meet all of your needs. It also shows that you realize that the blessings God has given you are not for you alone, but to be shared.
When you give gifts to the church, how are you giving?
Are you giving as little as possible?
Or are you being generous, as God is generous with you?
Celebrate what God has done in your life with others.
I pray today that God will open your eyes to the blessings He has given you; that you will be willing to share what God has blessed you with; that God will continue to meet all of your needs; and that you will bless the church in proportion to how God has blessed you.