Praise!

July 15, 2016

 

“So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name.” Hebrews 13:15 (CEB)

  

It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Florida in 2004. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the low 80s with unusually low humidity. The worship service that had just concluded was beautiful as well. The people of God had come together to sing God’s praises, pray for each other and the community, hear God’s word proclaimed, and be challenged to go and live it out in Christ’s name. The people of God were talking to each other as they left and the atmosphere was very upbeat and exciting. It was in the midst of this wonderful morning that a few careless words cut through the air. For the moment, the morning was changed and my excitement for the morning was dowsed.

  

Have you ever had this type of experience? An experience when things were going well and then in an instance some careless words, some biting criticism, some mean-spirited comment changed your outlook if only for a short time. I remember that Sunday morning and the words that were said. Twelve years have passed, but I still remember them. This is human nature. We remember negative words and encounters clearly. I wish it were different. My hope is that we can help make this different. We can be people of praise.

  

The author of Hebrews challenges his readers to do just that. He challenges them to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise” with our lives. Our words should be words of praise, our actions should be praise, and our thoughts should be praise. The author says that our praise through Christ “is the fruit from our lips that confess his name.” When we praise Jesus we confess his name. We let people know who is the Lord of our life. When praise is our continual offering we help people remember differently. We change their experience.

  

So what if we were people of continual praise? Would problems cease to exist? Would pain go away? Would negativity be cured? Of course not! What would take place is that we would be living a more obedient life in Christ. We would be praising God continually through our Lord Jesus Christ. We would praise God in the celebrations of life, in the problems, the pain, and the trials of life. We also would be bringing light into a darkened world by confessing Christ’s name through the fruit of our lips, our praise. The world around us would be a more Christ-like experience for those with whom we come in contact.

   

There is a praise chorus that has been meaningful to me over the past 25 years or so. I sing this praise chorus often to remind myself of the call to praise. More often than not I sing this chorus in my head. I would like to leave you with the words of this praise chorus to ponder. I hope it helps you to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  

We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.

We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house of the Lord.

And we offer up to you, the sacrifices of thanksgiving,

And we offer up to you, the sacrifices of joy.

  

I look forward to sharing more about this with you in worship this week. I can’t wait to see you in church!

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