“A sacrifice of praise…”

“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.   And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” – Hebrew 13:15-16

How are we at praising the Lord at all times?  It is so easy for me to sing and praise His name when things are going well in my life.  And I can do it when minor issues arise because I have hope that they will soon be resolved.  But can I honestly praise His name when things are really bad?  I would like to think so.

I’ve had a few minor bumps in the road of life, and I have always relied on God to pull me through.  But I can’t say that I ever experienced tragedy, or great loss.  I wonder how I would react then?  Would I still have the warm gooey feelings in my heart for Him that I do now?

I am an emotional character.  More so than most.  I would have to guess that my emotions would betray me in a time of severe crisis.  So in thinking about it, I would have to say that my heart would probably not be into worshiping a God who allows the death of a close loved one, or some other personal tragedy.

But that is why they call it a sacrifice of praise.  Sometimes we don’t feel like it.  Sometimes we feel justified with just the opposite emotions.  It is in those times that our devotion to God is most evident.  In the times of anger or sadness, what does He receive from us?  Is it praise for the God of the universe, or bitterness likened to that of child who hasn’t gotten his way?

I don’t minimize anyone’s pain or trauma.  In fact, I encourage all those who suffer to enter God’s presence with the confidence of a beloved child.  Go ahead.  Talk to Him.  Tell Him how bad it hurts.  Tell Him how angry you are.  He wants to take care of you.  But don’t forget to thank Him and tell Him how much you love Him too.  Because it is in those times, when we trust Him, that He is able to lift us up and carry us.   The only requirement is that we allow ourselves into His healing presence.

Brothers and Sisters,

As we enter this holiday season, I hope that you find great joy and peace.  However, please pray with me for those that will experience heartache and despair in the coming weeks.  This is a hard time for some of us.  Let us remember not only our own circumstances during this time, but also those that are experiencing all types of loss.  May the peace of God fall in great measure upon those who need it most.

In the name of Jesus the Healer we pray,

Amen

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