A Sacrifice of Praise


Hebrews 13:15 uses two phrases that bear pondering: “A sacrifice of praise,” and “Lips that acknowledge His name.” Last week, when Taylor Faith stood next to the “safe bear” near Deep Creek Lake, she decided to make a sacrifice of her juice box by…IMG_3440

offering Mr. Bear a taste of her juice

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As a grandmother who prays that her grands will learn to share, I had to smile over this act of kindness. So right there by the picnic table, my heart sang out in praise to the Lord that this three-year-old showed the first glimmers of what it is to share.

But do I think of praise as a sacrifice? What does a sacrifice of praise look like in daily life? In May, 2009, about 30 people in red shirts gathered in Atlanta to take part in a Susan Koman 5 K Race for the Cure. The time and effort put forth for Sue Quintero’s “Team Susie Q” represented a sacrifice of praise for her ten-year-anniversary since receiving her cancer diagnosis.

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Becky and Brent, as well as Laura and David, formed the most serious racers among our group, but Dave willing pushed me the distance while I sat in my wheelchair.

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At a recent Good Friday service, Suzanne Bonser sang a beautiful duet with Julia Morehead, a woman from our sister church in Kingwood, WV. The two singers blend so well together, but with distance and their work schedules, what helped us all worship that day came through their sacrifice of praise.

The Message paraphrases Hebrews 13:15 this way:

“Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name.”

While “pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips” may appear easy,  think about the last time you grumbled or just complained about the simplest thing . I don’t have to think long about that one.

Yet, in Numbers 15, when Korah, a Levite, and two of the Reubenites, Dathan and Abiram. grumble in rebellion against Moses and Aaron, the results are far from insignificant. Korah and his family are swallowed up in the ground; fire cremates 250 priests who had grumbled. Finally, a plague comes upon the gripping Israelites. Although Aaron goes into the middle of the people to offer atonement for them, God still wipes out 14,700 people  before the plague ends.

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Let me just say that with a sober mind and a thankfulness for God’s grace and mercy, I am doing some serious thinking about how I might “pour out sacrifices of praise with my lips” on a daily basis.

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