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The Sacrifice of Praise

I Love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.  Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon  me: I found trouble and sorrow.  Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.   The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.  Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.  For thou has delivered my soul from Death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.  I believed, therefore I have spoken: I was greatly afflicted.  I said in my haste, All men are liars.  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits towards me?  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.  I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.  O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.  I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.  I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people, I n the courts of the LORD'S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.  Praise ye the LORD." Psalm 116

The Psalm above is truly a most magnificent and awesome example of praise, worship and declaration of the LORD's greatness, power, goodness and mercy where the author shares how the LORD has delivered him from the pain of sorrow and death.  He cried out to the LORD, and nearing death offered up to the Him the sound of praise and thanksgiving.   He called upon His name in his hour of need and the LORD heard and answered him. Thus, destruction did not come near him, for the LORD heard his prayer of supplication, praise and thanksgiving and loosed him from the chains of bondage and set him free.  How do we deal with negative circumstances?   How do we combat the forces of evil?  Praise is the answer!  No matter what we may face the LORD is worthy of the sacrifice of praise . He will most certainly honor and bless the lips of a true worshiper.

To sacrifice means to surrender, to give up or to offer something of value that we would rather hold on to ourselves. Our praise and worship is most valuable to the LORD, it is a sweet smelling aroma to Him.  Praise is a gift we can give to our LORD and our GOD. No gift is greater than that of worship from the lips of his children.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.  Hebrews 13:15-16

There is much to be said about praise and worship, as it is one of the greatest tools every believer has in blessing the LORD and defeating the enemy.  This was something the Apostle Paul and Silas knew all to well after being beaten, bound by chains and cast into prison. 

And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.  And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, do thyself no harm: for we are all here.  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the sergeants, saying, let those men go.  Acts 16:22-35

Rather than murmur and complain over the circumstances, rather than weep and moan, rather than give into despair and hopeless, rather than becoming angry with GOD for allowing their imprisonment, they instead began to worship and praise!  They began to offer up to the LORD, the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.  Their joyful singing unto the LORD captured them an audience, for the other prisoners also began to listen.  But, more than this, their worship and praise reached the ears of GOD who delighted in their sacrifice of thanksgiving and delighted in their praise.   Thus He caused a great earthquake to shake the very foundation of that prison whereby every locked door was opened, and every chain, which had once bound them, was loosed.  Each and every prisoner was set free.

As a result of Paul and Silas' praise and worship to the LORD, and by the Power of Almighty GOD, a prison guard and his entire family were sealed that night with the gift of salvation and eternal life for they then believed on the name of the LORD Jesus, received him and were baptized.  Not only were Paul, Silas and all prisoners set free, but souls were won and names were added that night in the Lambs book of life.

But, we have an enemy.someone who hates our praise.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8

The devil would love to silence the tongue of every worshiper.  He'll try and convince you your situation is hopeless to bring about despair and weariness.  He'll try to convince you that GOD hasn't heard your prayers. He mocks that you've been waiting for so long for the manifestation of GOD's promises that you may as well give up.  Your dreams will never be fulfilled and you are wasting your time.  If you are sick in the body he will tell you, you'll never be healed.   For those who are standing for their marriages and their families, he'll tell you to stop believing, that restoration is impossible and will not take place in your marriage or in your family. 

Many who are praying for a loved one's salvation, he'll tell you to give it up, to forget it!  Don't waste your time!  If they were going to be saved they would have been a long time ago.  Your prayers are useless!   For those who are single and desiring someone to wed and share their lives with, he will tell you that you are not worthy of love.  You will never be blessed with a husband or wife, GOD doesn't care that you are lonely.  And for those whom GOD has laid a great vision upon your heart the devil will tell you that it isn't GOD's vision, but yours.  He hasn't called you to do anything.  Why else would all the doors remaining shut?  You are dreaming an impossible dream.  You may as well give up and go back to your old life.  You've believed for so long, have sacrificed much, have cried out to the LORD and still you are no further ahead today than you were years ago when you first started.  Give up the dream. Give up the vision. It is impossible! 

These are all lies of the enemy, the devil.

His sole purpose is to cause despair and silence your voice from worshiping the Almighty, the King of kings and LORD of lords, the great I AM THAT I AM.  He knows the moment you begin to open your mouth in worship mighty things begin to happen. 

It is easy to give praise and thanks to GOD when you have everything, when all is going well and you lack nothing.  But the true challenge is offering up that praise and worship to GOD when you have nothing!  If you can worship the LORD when you have nothing, when you are still suffering, when your body is filled with pain and your heart is aching over a loved one, when you're lonely and desiring a companion, when you seem to be attacked on all sides, when you worship the LORD when all you have is your faith while seeing no physical evidence of change, when all you know is that He said, thus He will do it according to His Word, then the sound of worship that comes forth from your lips is the sacrifice of praise, in which your LORD and Savior is well pleased.

As you daily come after Jesus, denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Him, offer up your sacrifice of praise unto your LORD and GOD as a gift to Him, He is pleased.  After all it's really hard to give a good gift to someone who has everything.

Be blessed and meditate or meditate and be blessed, the choice is yours!
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