PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Friends, I am going to admit something to y’all.
The only version of “A Christmas Carol” I’ve ever seen is “The Muppets Christmas Carol.”
But I love it.
Since that’s my only real reference point beyond the vague memories of reading the Cliffs Notes version in high school, that’s what we’re working from today.
Ebenezer Scrooge (as played by Michael Caine), after spending time with the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, was faced with his own mortality when visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
He cried out, “I *will* honor Christmas, and try to keep it all the year!”
Of course, after turning his life around, Ebenezer went to visit Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy to make things right.
I’m sure that’s what Charles Dickens envisioned when he wrote his iconic classic, right?
We had a great Pentecost Sunday yesterday at church with a wonderful sermon!
And this Monday morning, the thought in my mind is similar to Ebenezer Scrooge’s…
But it goes like this: “I will continue to honor God throughout the week and worship Him every day.”
Not verbatim, but you get the point.
My question today is this — do you leave worship time to Sunday morning?
Or do you make it an ongoing part of your week?
In Hebrews 13:15 NLT, it says, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.”
So let’s break this verse down a bit. “Offer through Jesus” is clear.
Jesus is the intermediary and our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Through Him, we can approach the throne of grace.
Next is “continual.”
We know what that means.
The next part is where it gets tricky.
What is a “sacrifice of praise?”
They seem to be opposites, don’t they?
When we sacrifice, we give something up.
When we praise, we do it to acknowledge something positive and good.
I think we’re on to something.
Let’s look at Job 1:21b.
After getting the news that he had lost his family and possessions, Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
That is a sacrificial praise.
Job worshiped and honored God during his times of prosperity (that was easy praise).
But he also worshiped and honored God during his time of tragedy and loss.
It’s the same kind of praise that came from Paul and Silas when they were in prison in Acts 16:25, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
And the whole concept of “sacrifice of praise” is perfectly summarized in Psalm 51:16-17, “You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
Finally, returning to the last part of Hebrews 13:15, we are to proclaim “our allegiance to his name.”
We renew ourselves daily, as it says in Isaiah 40:31. “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
So, here’s the recap.
We worship and praise God through Jesus, in both the good and the bad times, trusting in Him every day to give us strength.
And we don’t leave this to do just on Sunday.
We make this a daily part of our fellowship and walk with Him.
Today, as you pray, thank God who is good and worthy of our praise, even when we don’t understand His plans.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you develop a heart that is willing to offer a sacrifice of praise in every situation.
And worship Him today, through prayer or song or Bible reading.
Savor the greatness of our Heavenly Father who is praiseworthy in all circumstances.