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Monday, April 11, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - The Sacrifice of Praise

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15

The sacrifice of praise--what in the world does that mean? If I'm feeling grateful, I praise God, but that's no sacrifice--it's almost automatic. I love being happy--doesn't everyone?--and so I thank God for whatever it is that feels so good.

What about when I don't feel so good? When you go through really trying times, what then?

From personal experience, I can tell you that when I've felt that cold, heavy darkness where nothing seems all that wonderful, praising Him anyway warms my heart. Don't ask me how that works; I don't know. It just does.

Paul is the assumed writer of Hebrews (the quote above is from that book). I think everyone knows his life was anything but rosy--in prison much of the time, chased out of town, badmouthed, beaten, and with a persistent unidentified illness.

Did he "feel good?" No, probably not very often if at all.

Did he have riches? My guess is that he gave up his riches to follow Jesus. Pharisees were usually well enough off that they didn't need to earn a living, and as Saul he was a Pharisee. However, he often had to earn some coins as a tentmaker to avoid living off the people he preached to.

Did he have a job he loved? Only partially, I'm thinking. He loved talking about Jesus, but I doubt he loved getting beaten and starved and finally executed.

Still he praised God in no matter what circumstances he found himself.

That's the sacrifice of praise.

Lord, You are worthy of our praises, even when the day is dark and gloomy. I love You, Lord. You provide for my needs, You, hold me when I'm sorrowful, You lead me in Your path, You give me a reason to live. I praise You for all that You are. Thank You for everything, even the things that try me. Amen.
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