The Sacrifice of Praise

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to see what’s wrong in the lives of others…quickly and with clarity? However when it comes to seeing my own faults, failures and flaws…I can be very obtuse.

I wonder…does God allow us what seems like clarity of vision in seeing others as He starts the process of making us aware of our own imperfections and sin?

When seeing a person go through a difficult situation God brought to mind many thoughts. While it seemingly applied to him…I think instead…God would like me to “listen up”.

The enemy and hater of our souls…wants nothing more than for us to join him in hell for eternity. But as much as he hates us…he is consumed with hatred of God. That is why he delights in bringing difficult circumstances into the life of a believer. He hopes to get our eyes off of God…and on our circumstance. He skips with glee if we will follow the advice of Job’s wife to curse God and die.

I love it when our enemy is defeated…when his flaming arrows of attack are fired and fall short or fizzle out…or are extinguish by the shield of faith…saturated with the knowledge of the Word of God. I just love that!

One way…to bring the enemy great anguish and pain is to recognize his tactics and defeat him…by crying to Jesus Christ with our loudest praise.

Offering the “sacrifice of praise”! A sacrifice is just that when it’s offered during hard, difficult, painful and seemingly impossible times. When we are in the midst of a dark storm. When the waves threaten to swamp our boat and drag us under.

But think of the power we have in praise! It is the power to thank our God no matter what the circumstances of our lives. Even in the midst of difficultly…offer Jesus thanksgiving. Shouldn’t I seek and search for what I might thank Him for?

Do I only thank God for things? Or do I reveal in the beauty and wonder of Who He is and what He’s done? Do I know His character…through His word and His work in and through me? If not…why not? How can I change that today? Or will I fall prey to the enemy’s schemes?

I love saying from Dennis Prager. When he was a teenager he and his friend Joseph were talking at the kitchen table and talking about their friends and how good or happy their lives were. Joseph’s mom Helen made the observation “The only happy people I know are people I don’t know well.” The obvious point being is that we all carry an abundance of hurt and pain that others may never know. Some people carry their pain and share it more openly. Others…keep it buried deep and rarely share. Some folks seem to have more trials than others…but I’d be willing to bet there is a heck of a lot of pain out there.

One thing that only Christians can do is praise God and give Him thanks. Unbelievers may be thankful…but to whom? I dare say…that unbelievers aren’t able to offer praise and thanksgiving in the midst of their trials and pain. That is something uniquely reserved for believers. Those trials and pain…lack meaning and purpose for the unbeliever. But for the believer who is fully surrendered to God and His will…it can be used for untold good. We will only know the full harvest on the other side of heaven.

We would be wise to be mindful that this is as close as a believer will ever get to hell. Like wise…this is as close as unbeliever will ever get to heaven. As difficult as it can be here on earth…what seems like hell on earth…will be like paradise to the unbeliever suffering eternal punishment in hell. They will long for even those difficult days here on earth. Ought that not motivate us even more to share the Gospel message? Lord willing even our enemies will come to a saving faith in Christ Jesus.

As bad as our worst day, month or years are here on earth…we believers have an eternal future secure in heaven. It has been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb. He who washed our sins away…and presents us clean and pure before the throne of our Heavenly Father as the lovely bride of Christ. We have been given the Holy Spirit within who guides and directs us. He pleads for us when our grief overwhelms us and words fail us.

One of my favorite groups Greater Vision sings a song called “A Pile of Crowns”. In it…they sing of what we may encounter when we arrive on heaven’s doorstep. As they introduce the song on their album “Greater Vision, Live at First Baptist in Atlanta”…Rodney Griffin and Gerald Wolfe ponder that we will likely not even see nor care about the streets of gold or the gates of great pearls. Instead we will seek to get to the throne of God as quickly as we can…and fall out before the throne of Christ Jesus in thanksgiving and praise for what He’s done.

Why should I wait to get to heaven to sing my loudest praise? Who needs to hear that praise? An unbeliever lost in their sins…who needs to know the joy of our Lord? Joy eternal…even in the midst of dark times? Or fellow believers who themselves need a gift and reminder of encouragement?

What we esteem and value here on earth…gold and pearls will seem so minor in heaven. Gold…will only be pavement in heaven. Where is my treasure? Is what I value and invest my time and treasure in…going to be only dust in heaven? Our trials here on earth…will pale in comparison to what we will receive in heaven for eternity.

What will I thank and praise God for today?

What about you?

If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior…isn’t it about time to have the peace and assurance that your sins are forgiven and your future is secure in heaven?

Today is the day of salvation!

“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2

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