Back in the 1980s, a new church started in the town where I lived. As a reporter for the local paper, I’d interviewed the new pastor and was compelled to support him and his wife on their first meeting with the community. At one of the first of many Singsperations, I was introduced to a different form of praise songs. I’d come from a traditional, hymn singing church, and although I listened to contemporary Christian music on the radio, somehow these praise songs reached me in a different way. Hymns still touch me in a way no other music can because it was in the midst of a hymn that I recognized in a much deeper way just who Christ was, not only to the world but to me. But this “new” style of worship in music caught hold of me. I can still remember the first song the pastor and his worship team sang. We Sing A Sacrifice Of Praise. But it became more than a song in the 17 years I came to worship and serve at this little church on the hill. It became a theme for my life.
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. – Hebrews 13:14-16
In the good times, in the difficult times, in the joy and the sorrow, praise was the glue that held me together. Not only in the church community, but at work, with family, with friends – you know, life. I learned the importance of acknowledging God in all things, that God is worthy of praise; even if it feels like broken praise when the body is suffering, the heart is broken, and there is no understanding of why things can happen as they do. To praise through it all, to sacrifice to all Jesus has done, all God the Father has given, and for the comfort and guidance offered through His Holy Spirit, is to live. To bring a sacrifice of praise because He is pleased in the sacrifice, knowing how much my heart wants desperately to please Almighty God, I willingly bring him praise.
And yes, I eventually ended up on the platform as part of the worship team. That is another story that maybe I’ll tell someday. For now, please know that there is power in our praise. Power in putting God higher than anything we are dealing with, the power to pull us out of any pit, to land us on firm ground, to give us a song to sing.
I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.-Psalm 40:1-3
A sacrifice of praise. Deliverance. My testimony, dear friends.
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