Sacrifice of Praise

View over Bergen, Norway, a year ago today.

I woke up recently with the Hebrews 13:15 verse running through my head, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name.” 

The verse initially came to mind for a teaching that I did, however, I realized it was really for me. I realize that I am being given the opportunity to practice what I preach, and not just preach. (I like preaching better!)

I was in a conversation recently where something worked out perfectly for the person. The planets aligned. I responded “Yay God!” Since she is someone I meet with regularly for accountability, she held me accountable and asked “What if I hadn’t gotten the appointment I wanted, would God have not been there? What if our daily lives are going along in an inconvenient way, are you saying God is only there when things work out how we want?” (Everyone should have someone who will ask the tough questions!)

My answer was something along the lines of God is there regardless, maybe just not as evident or maybe not as appreciated. We don’t know the other options—if you had gotten the appointment you wanted, than something bad may have happened. Or maybe God knows that it doesn’t really matter, and maybe we need to practice patience and not getting our way. The discussion slowed us down and made us think what we really believed.

I must have kept processing it as I slept because when I woke up the next morning, I had a lightbulb moment that we are always to be offering a sacrifice of praise, whether we “feel” like it or not. I am sure that my continued grief over the loss of my brother-in-law was part of the weight I was feeling, making the praise sacrificial. It was good to remember that God is in control. God is good. God is working his purposes in the world and is using his church to do so. God is God and deserving of our praise even when life is painful, or even just inconvenient.

God is good.

Jesus is Lord.

Life sometimes stinks.

Faith is believing how that can all be true.

Or as a woman shared with me at the retreat this week, “Hope is thinking there will be music in heaven, faith is dancing to the music now.”

God is calling me to dance now even if I feel like moping around.

I noticed this past week that my patience for the basics was in pretty short supply. I caught myself focusing on the mundane like how can God use my being “off mission” for stupid stuff like figuring out the church internet and why can’t I JUST PRINT WHAT I WANT TO PRINT and why does the bridge from Decatur have to be CLOSED when I need to get to Huntsville?

Why, God, Why?  (Read with a petulant, whiny tone…wah, wah, wah)

I, of course, do get the irony of the fact that I wrote the previous blog on maximizing interruptions before all of this…and now I am trying to live what I preach—as I pray for such a long list of people who are struggling with some really big stuff.

So…that said.

Jesus is Lord.

Jesus is Lord.

Jesus is Lord.

Jesus is Lord of computers and traffic and deaths of brothers-in-law and dads with cancer and of grief bursts and deaths of 21 year old’s and 19 year old’s and Alzheimer’s and caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s  and surgery and broken marriages and sick kids and hurting kids and parents sending kids to college and parents who won’t be sending kids to college and unemployed people and people struggling with mental health issues and depression and Parkinson’s and people waiting for test results—and so on, and so on, and so on.

Jesus is STILL Lord.

And saying THAT and remembering THAT helps keep it all in perspective.

Jesus is Lord.

Jesus is Lord of the massive and the mundane, the dancing and the sulking, the joy and the impatience. If Jesus, who is Lord of my life, wants to waste my time with stupid stuff like getting stuck in traffic in DECATUR so that I learn that Jesus is Lord not only in big stuff but in small stuff…then maybe these traffic jams and computer issues are worth it.

And THAT rant seems to have come from God…

Yay God!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(Phil 2:9-11, NRSV)

And I love the irony of posting that verse to be reminded that this is what’s next from Paul:

 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. (Phil. 2:14-16, NRSV)

Rev. Shannon Jordan

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6 thoughts on “Sacrifice of Praise

  1. Great reminder to praise God in all things, because it’s really hard sometimes. YAY God for inspiring this post, and Shannon for responding.


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