Thanks so very much for joining me for our Coffee Hour and some more tying of knots in our Red Strand of Faith. Grab your SOF (strand of faith) and your coffee and let’s finally get into the first sacrifice of joy, since we have a good grasp on sacrifice.
You know, the deeper I dig into His Word, the more I realize how little I know … but what an adventure it is to be in the school of life and try to apply what we are learning in each and every classroom/lesson He has prepared for us, the answers of which are all in this one incredible Book. His lessons are noteworthy and praiseworthy!
Speaking of praise, let’s get to our first sacrifice to joy: Praise! Let’s go to Hebrews 13:15: “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.” So sacrifice number 1 is praise.
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s easy to praise Him when things are appearing praiseworthy! When life is good, it’s easy to praise, right?
Why do you suppose that “praise” is a sacrifice then?”
Well, I know when I’m feeling like picking up my broom and flying around the room, and maybe even leaving home with it, to stop and actually praise Him in the heat of the moment brings a hot flash so strong it feels like a current pulling the opposite direction, or like pulling the reigns in on a wild horse that refuses to listen to direction! You know what I’m talking about? Just the other day, I was getting my vitamins out of the cabinet and tipped over my freshly poured glass of water … all over my cook books, down the cabinet and onto the floor. This was FIRST thing in the morning! Is this going to be how my day goes, I muttered? Instantly I was reminded that this was one of those moments where I could praise or prattle!
But what about the more significant moments in our lives, those really hard lessons where you know that you know that you know that He is relentlessly endeavoring to show you something, give you hints, teach you a new lesson for the current season of your life and/or gift you with a revelation for a relevant situation?
I’m giggling as I write this because the smallest thing, like a spilt glass of water, can send me in a tailspin so far from the current lesson He has prepared for me but the deeper things are easier for me to recognize the lesson He has prepared to teach me. In other words, the deeper I go, the more I grow, but when I come up for air … I can sometimes be found gasping and sputtering for reprieve!
I find myself crying out, why do you gotta go so deep, Lord? (I’m hearing these words and the song “Why you gotta be so cruel” comes to mind! 🙂 ) Why is it I can’t just share surface stuff, in other words get to learn simple lessons in a simple way?
See, I am currently in the throes of the classroom of Meekness 101, and He is using the most unsuspecting people to teach me what it means to be meek, to have a quiet strength and power that literally renders me in control when others are completely out of control. Oh, you talk about a sacrifice! What does that look like? Well, have you ever sat and listened to a person, I mean truly listened without interrupting, and not spoken until you have completely understood what they’ve said, even when they’re sitting there spewing out all kinds of negative things about you? I have and because I left my pride in the car, determined to truly listen and keep my mouth shut, I was able to see where the source of anger and pain was coming from and validate this person without agreeing with her! It really wasn’t about me but her misperceptions were definitely tied to the pain of the past which kept driving her emotional car.
That was probably my first huge test, sort of equivalent to a final, in this class that I feel I passed. And as I look back over the last couple of weeks and all the other tests in Meekness 101 and rewind the painful lessons, I see the glimpses of meekness beginning to shine through the cracks as the sun rises into a new day. So though it’s been painful, it is oh so praiseworthy!
Have you ever learned a lesson wrought with pain that twisted you into change? Were you able to see the value of the lesson shining through into your heart as it changed your life? Were you and are you able to offer up a sacrifice of praise for His relentless love that can’t leave us the way we are but inspires us to become all that we were meant to be?
Join me tomorrow for more on this first sacrifice!