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Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Several weeks ago I attached a birdfeeder directly to my office window. For awhile I didn't see the birds having any interest. But the last several days they have been feeding, sometimes several at a time.
"A Sacrifice Of Thanksgiving"
Listen to this message on your audio player. Note: Due to a continued weak voice that Stephen is dealing with, Brooksyne reads today's podcast.
"And when you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that you may be accepted" (Leviticus 22:29). "I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord" (Psalm 116:17). "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).
We've had some cold weather in our area the last several days so I cranked up our coal stove practically to the maximum output. Due to my full blown cold and Ester's recovery we are hunkered down. However we do realize many will be traveling and from what we hear on the news it is quite a mess out there!
Whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving Day, in the midst of celebrating family and plenty of food in comfortable surroundings, make sure you offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
Scripture teaches that our praise glorifies God and, really, aren't we also expressing our contentedness and thankfulness when we earnestly enter into praise. When we praise the Lord we enter into His presence, acknowledge Him as Lord, and give thanks for His steadfast love and care.
Many have wondered, "What is the distinction between worship and praise?" Though they are often used interchangeably, there is some distinction. Worship is properly acknowledging who God is by recognizing His many attributes (characteristics). Praise, on the other hand, is based upon the ways in which God's attributes impact our lives. In other words I praise God for His mercy because He saved me when I was lost and without hope.
In our Scripture text we repeatedly see the words; sacrifice, thanksgiving, and praise. A sacrifice is something that is not forced upon us, but we offer it instead of our own free will. The Dictionary.com defines sacrifice as "surrendering something of value as a means of gaining something even more desirable." How does that definition fit into your sacrifice of praise?
Consider Horatio and Anna Spafford whose youngest son Horatio Jr. died at four years of age in 1870 from scarlet fever. In 1871 the Spaffords lost their real estate holdings from the great Chicago fire. And then two years later their four daughters, Annie, Maggie, Bessie, and Tanetta drowned as a French steamer they boarded sunk on the way to England. Mrs. Spafford was among the 81 that survived out of 307 passengers and crew members. Could it get any worse for Horatio?
Yet he offered a sacrifice of praise when he penned the immortal words, "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul.'" When it seemed all was lost he offered up a sacrifice of praise to God, and in doing so, experienced peace like that of a calm sea even while the sea billows rolled. Horatio Spafford would not know at the time that his sacrifice of praise would be heralded for centuries by those of us who have found inner peace and joy when singing the words God spoke to his heart during his unimaginable loss.
The writer of Hebrews ended his letter with a call to praise the Lord. "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
I encourage you to rest in the arms of our loving God and express your love to Him as you recall the ancient words of the Psalmist, "I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord." Let us, as His children, offer up our praise and thanksgiving to Him today!
Be encouraged today and have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, as we give praise to You we are offering our heartfelt thanks for who You are and all that You do on our behalf. As we mature in our Christian walk we realize that there are many occasions when we must offer a sacrifice of praise since it doesn't always come easily nor often enough. It is in those circumstances that we willfully choose to praise You out of obedient hearts desirous of pleasing You and glorifying Your name. May our words be fruitful and our thoughts praiseworthy in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne's update on Ester: Ester is continuing her recovery here at home and enjoying the comforts of home immensely (so am I). Her pain, though present, is lessening and she is adjusting to using oxygen here at home. We look forward to our simple and small Thanksgiving celebration, for we have so much in which we can be thankful! And for that which we might not see as a blessing right now, we offer up as a sacrifice of praise knowing that God always has good things in store for us. But sometimes we must wait for His work to be fully accomplished and His will to be made known in these matters.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"We Bring The Sacrifice of Praise" Video Allelulia Singers
"Give Thanks" Video Don Moen
Thanksgiving hymn medley Video
"It Is Well" Video Song, including hymn story, by Colin Battersby
"It Is Well" hymn story
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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