Our incredible church (http://myfreedom.org) put on our first ever women’s event yesterday! It was a Priscilla Shirer simulcast, and if you don’t know who she is, go watch something of hers on Youtube and you’ll get a glimpse of the amazing day we had.
We had donuts, sandwiches, coffee, and then a spread of candy/chocolate/snacks like you’ve never seen before. Oh, and dark chocolate espresso beans. You know those are from the Lord. It was a blast. There were 100,000 women tuning in across the world hearing the same message, praying and trusting in God for the same needs. It was a powerful, humbling experience.
Priscilla mentioned a phrase yesterday in the middle of her seamless preaching that honestly wasn’t related. She spoke the words, “sacrifice of praise.” And since that moment, I’ve had the old song stuck in my head. Did you grow up in old school church? Do you know the song? It involved a lot of clapping. If you don’t know it, you don’t need to… you don’t want it stuck in your head for the next 24 hours like it’s been in mine. I’ll spare you. If you do know the song… you’re welcome.
The phrase comes from Hebrews 13:15.
“Through Him, therefore, let us at all times offer up a to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess His name.” (AMP)
I started thinking back on times, seasons, specific moments where praising God felt like a real sacrifice for me. Nothing in my life visibly looked like it lined up with a God who should be praised. The words that I would sing or say about Him weren’t adding up to things like pain, loss, doubt, and hurt. I would have to choose to lift up heavy hands to tell God that He is good, even in dark moments when I felt a little unsure if it was actually true.
What does it truly mean for our praise to be a sacrifice? I don’t believe sacrificial praise is seasonal. As if it comes and goes. Like we’re only giving up something to lift up God when our life is really hard.
Sacrifice is constant, continual and absolutely necessary for God to be glorified in the way He deserves. Every single time we praise God, like Hebrews says, it’s the fruit, or result, of lips that thankfully acknowledge His name.
In order to lift His name high, we choose to go low.
We have to let go of some things in our hands that we are holding too closely. We have to sacrifice our stuff, our ambitions, our image, our selves to the One who makes us who we are anyway.
We choose to open up our hands, drop the heavy things we’re carrying, and then turn them around toward heaven, as an open space to glorify and receive Him.
Are you heading to a church you call home this morning? Are you nervous to be surrounded by people during worship because it just feels too hard to really praise God for anything? Maybe you’re just having a slow morning at home in your pajamas with no church family right now.
In this moment, right now, that doesn’t matter. This isn’t just about being in a group of people singing songs. It’s a 24/7 lifestyle.
Offer God your sacrifice of praise.
Our hands, our hearts, our lips can’t acknowledge Him and lift Him up if they are full of other things.
Relationships, drama, ambition, unforgiveness, hurt, confusion, doubt, pain… As you carry them around with you, they weigh you down. And the weight of of His glory has nowhere to rest because your hands and your heart are already full of things that aren’t yours to hold.
So sacrifice them.
Lay down something, everything before Him in order to create space to thankfully acknowledge and praise the goodness of His name. Of His kindness and love and mercy and never ending faithfulness. Simply because He is worthy.
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness is unsearchable.”