“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV).
Praise. It is my sacrifice and my offering to God. It is that very instance, when in my most difficult circumstance, distress is calmed and there is a hope for peace. Praise dispels worry, and confusion changes into clarity. Praise will ultimately dispel fear of the unknown, and bring His peace and joy.
In praise I am changed. No matter how difficult my problems or my circumstance–no matter how fearful the thought–praise changes my outlook. Praise in the midst of hardship breaks down inner walls. Praise in the midst of fear releases faith. When things are hard—when fear persists—when problems overwhelm, I will seek reasons to be thankful. I will seek to realize His blessings that slip by unobserved. “Why am I discouraged?” David cried out. “Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11, NLT). The gift of thanksgiving in my heart—no matter what is going on in my life—is my sacrifice of praise.
Giving God a sacrifice of praise is a decision that I will praise Him no matter how I feel. I will discipline myself to praise Him. One day that sacrifice of praise will no longer be a sacrifice. It will come from a heart that knows beyond anything I imagine, hear, see, or experience that He is faithful to carry me safely through each moment of life. My heart and mind shall no longer focus on any pain, or any fear, but on His faithfulness and His blessings. I shall praise Him as David praised Him—knowing that my praise is my vow to give Him glory no matter what happens in my life.
“I will praise you in the great assembly.” David proclaimed, “I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you” (Psalm 22:25, NLT)! And what will my sacrifice of praise offer others who worship? “The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy” (Psalm 22:25, NLT)! Those who are poor in faith will eat and be satisfied! Those who seek the Lord will praise and rejoice with everlasting joy! Not temporary joy, but everlasting joy! And blessings shall flow in my life and in the lives of others! It is His promise that comes from my sacrifice of praise.