Hebrews 13:15 – 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.
No one feels like praising the Lord when they are stuck in traffic or when the dirty dishes are stacking up in the kitchen sink. However, those are the best times to praise Him, because then it is a sacrifice of praise as you worship the Lord in spite of your current frustrations. You see, in the Christian walk, you will find yourself going through different seasons. There is the season of springtime when, with new understandings and fresh growth, you sense the Lord’s presence in your heart. Springtime leads to summertime with those warm, wonderful days when the new growth bears the fruit which people glean. Summertime leads to fall when the winds blow and shake the leaves off your tree. Then comes the winter when the fall winds give way to a cold, bleak, bitter silence. The Lord allows you and me to go through regular seasons of wintertime, asking us, “Are you going to walk by the state of your feelings or by the promises of My Word?” The good news for all of us is that winter does not last forever. Winter always gives way to spring. During times of worship, some people are elated, caught up in an overwhelming sense of the Lord’s presence. And that is good. Others will say, “I am here, but I do not feel anything. However, I am still going to lift my hands and lift my voice in a sacrifice of praise to the Lord who has done so much for me in the past, to the God whose touch I know I will feel again in the future.” And that, in a lot of ways, is even better.
This verse starts out by saying “Therefore by Him…” This is a clear indication that offering God praise must never be dependent upon us, but rather be dependent upon the finished work of Christ. David said in Psalm 42 “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” David knew that he always had a reason to hope in God and praise His name even when he did not like doing so. Your challenge for this week is to find ways to praise and thank the Lord for His goodness. Be on the lookout for the smallest of ways in which He can be thanked by you. This is the time of year when we are all so busy with holiday parties, shopping and preparing for Christmas, that we tend to forget why this time of year is truly celebrated. Be extra thankful for the birth of your Savior this year. When you meet with family and friends, share with them all of the ways you are thankful to God for what He has done for you. Be sure to be gracious to those who will check you out at the grocery store or the department stores because they too are working very hard. With a little bit of practice, you will find yourself to be a thankful person toward God and toward others. God bless you.