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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Sacrifice of Praise

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV).

My gift to Him is a thankful heart. When things are hard—when pain persists—when problems overwhelm, I will look for reasons to be thankful. I will seek to realize the blessings He gives that often slip by unobserved. The gift of thanksgiving in my heart—no matter what is going on in my life—is my sacrifice of praise. No matter what I face, it could be worse.

A friend's husband was in the hospital fighting cancer. The chemotherapy was tearing his body apart. The pain around her heart had turned it to stone. It hurt too much to feel. She could not bare to watch him fight for a healing that might never happen. Her pain imprisoned her, and she erected a wall to protect her broken heart. As she walked down the hospital corridor one morning, she saw a little old woman in the room next to her husband's, sitting up in bed shivering uncontrollably.

“Give her your favorite shawl,” the thought flew into her head. She ignored it, but it would not go away. Finally, in an attempt to get the voice out of her head, she brought her shawl to the hospital. With everything else going on in her shattered life, this was just something else that she saw as another chore. She was just going to leave the shawl on the woman's bed, but the little lady was still sitting up in her bed shivering. Moving closer to her, she placed the shawl around the woman's shoulder, and a pair of thankful blue eyes slowly looked up at her and melted her stony heart. With that one act of kindness, the wall that had held back her own pain was suddenly released, and the healing love of the Holy Spirit gave her freedom in the arms of that little woman in the next room.

The blessings of God are often missed because my mind is focused on my circumstance and not on His faithfulness to carry me through it. Each day I will open my eyes to His blessings around me. I will realize that others have a greater need, and I will give myself away. The wall which has imprisoned my own pain will come down, and praise and thankfulness will spring up. What had once been a sacrifice will be a sacrifice no longer, because my heart shall no longer focus on my pain, but on my passionate joy for His blessings.

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