A Different Kind of Sacrifice

A Different Kind of Sacrifice

“Love means not understanding His plans yet resting in their goodness.” ~ It’s Good to Be Queen

Chapter Seven: It’s Good to Praise God

One of the worship songs I learned in my early days with God started out, “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord.”

I sang it. But I didn’t quite get it. Praising God was an easy thing to do, right? Hands lifted, hearts lifted, voices lifted—why would anyone call that a sacrifice?

Then I hit my first speed bump as a believer.

While I struggled to my feet, brushing the gravel from my knees, I was not singing, “Praise the Lord.” Oh, no. I was muttering, “Thanks a lot, God.”

That’s when I began to get it. Praise isn’t about feeling good—it’s about doing good, whether we feel like it or not.

Praise also doesn’t happen just on Sundays at church. It happens at home, at work, at play, every day of the week.

Praise becomes a sacrifice when we throw ourselves on the altar—our ego, our pride, our need for control. It’s when we praise God instead of others or ourselves. It’s when we praise Him simply because He deserves it.

Praise Him Psalm 150

When Sheba came to that sacrificial place, having been humbled by Solomon’s God-given wisdom, words of praise poured from her mouth freely, openly, joyfully. 

Praise be to the Lord your God,
who has delighted in you
and placed you on the throne of Israel.
Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel,
he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.
1 Kings 10:9

She doesn’t simply praise His holy name. She praises His love for Solomon’s people and His calling on Solomon’s life.

I’m taking a page from Sheba’s hymnal and learning to not only say, “I praise You, Lord,” but also to get specific. “I praise You, Lord, because _______.” By focusing on His mighty attributes and the many great things He has done, I’m able to look beyond the here and now and trust in what’s to come.

So, here’s a question from the Study Guide that might help us both follow in Sheba’s footsteps.

It's Good to Praise God - Deuteronomy 32:3

From the Study Guide

1. b. If you’ve ever praised God simply to be obedient, what did you discover in the process?

Yesterday was One of Those Mornings. I had a carefully orchestrated list of appointments and errands, which quickly fell apart when I arrived at the first stop and was told, “Sorry. You’re not on our schedule for today.”

I’m not what?

The good news? I didn’t voice my frustration, didn’t bite the woman’s head off, didn’t storm past her into the doctor’s office.

The bad news? I still thought about doing all those things, Furthermore, I didn’t whisper under my breath, “Praise the Lord. Must be a good reason for this. I’ll just trust Him.”

When my morning didn’t improve, my attitude didn’t either. Grumble, grumble, grumble. On the return trip to the doctor’s office, this low-blood-pressure girl—usually 120/70—was a scary 158/90.

“Is it usually this high?” the nurse asked, a note of concern in her voice.

“No,” I sighed. “It’s been a really bad day.”

Was it? Really? Sitting there waiting for the doctor, I made a mental list of the many things that had gone well and all the ways I saw God’s hand at work. By the time my physician appeared, I was breathing easier. And praising my Maker.

The doctor snagged my chart from his desk. “Having a good day, I see.”

“Sure am.” Finally.

Lord Jesus, let nothing stand in the way of our praise. Not disappointment or discouragement or any other distraction. Even when life is hard, You are good. Even when feeling down seems easier, looking up is wiser.

Hebrews 13:15

Now, it’s your turn

We know our praises don’t change our unchangeable God. How do they change you? Your comment, shared below, will encourage so many.

Your grateful sister, Liz

Your sister, Liz Curtis Higgs BibleGateway Blogger Grid I am honored to write for P31 Ministries Love being part of (in)courage!

Phone Wallpaper It's Good to Praise GodP.S. You’ll find my free video teaching on Chapter Seven on Vimeo. And here’s this week’s wallpaper for your smart phone or tablet. Finally, two terrific bargains this week online. You can pre-order my Parable Treasury, a new collection of my 4 children’s parable books, including The Pumpkin Patch Parable, at a crazy low price thru October 12. And, get my Victorian novella, A Wreath of Snow, for your Kindle for just $1.99 (80% off!) thru October 18. Happy shopping, saving, and sharing, my friend.

Parable Treasury | A Wreath of Snow

25 Responses to A Different Kind of Sacrifice

  1. Laurel Shaler October 7, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    Liz, thanks for sharing the story about your bad day turned good day. It’s so often about perspective, isn’t it?

    I wanted to ask what age range your “Parable Treasury” is for. Thank-you!

    • Laura Young October 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

      The Parable Treasury is for ages 3-7 according to an October News Note I got emailed from Liz yesterday. I still have each book in the series and remember getting them for my now 22 year-old as each was published. Now I’m excited to have ordered the Treasury version for two nephews’ Christmas gifts. Congratulations, Liz, for this 20th anniversary! As you have added to your published books since The Parable Series, I’ve enjoyed watching your development as an author and being able to think, “I remember her back when . . .” I’ve heard that picture books are the hardest to write because you have to use such few words, but the amount of research you put into your Bible studies and your historical fiction makes me wonder about that!

  2. Julie Sunne October 7, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    Praising God brings my circumstances in perspective, and as it did with you, Liz, it transforms my attitude from one of entitlement and frustration when happenings are different than what I’d like to one of gratitude. It’s hard to grumble when I’m praising!

  3. Lisa Shepard October 7, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    Liz, I realize that after reading today’s post, I seriously need to change my attitude towards certain situations. I need to pray and praise God for what I have because what I have comes from Him.

  4. Bonnie Root October 7, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    Last fall I was at the Doctor’s office waiting for a biopsy having discovered a palpable lump…. it was a busy day at this clinic so after I had been prepped I was alone for several minutes. As I lay there staring at the ceiling God began to whisper to me. I’ve been a believer since a very young child and I embrace the power of prayer but waiting there by myself unsure of what we would soon know I confessed my trepidation.
    (I am the oldest of five and was raised to be strong and a good example so this was new ground for me.) As I poured out my heart, God whispered,” I will never leave you nor forsake you!” I said, “O.K. God it is just you and me.” They found three lumps before we were done but Thank-you God he didn’t leave me nor forsake me and I am cancer free. Praising God changes my attitude, my temperament and my need to love and praise him even more…. That 45 minute wait might have been stressful and attitude bending but for God’s loving presence, when the Dr. was finally able to come in and apologized for the wait, I was able to extend understanding and kindness when he didn’t expect it. God is so good!

  5. Susan W. October 7, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

    I was praying and asking God to move me to another level, and he told me to stop the job I was doing. I told myself that is not God. God wants us to work, but He said it again and I knew that’s it. The first months I was like no way, I need to work, somewhere down my journey I understood that, yes God wants us to work but above all He is our source. What has kept me is Praise for what He is teaching me and I praise Him for the supply of every good thing. I now have time to reflect on His hand and work in my life. God is good and faithful.

  6. Susan G. October 7, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Hi Liz,
    I think praising God in the difficult times is probably the second hardest thing we have to learn to do…second only to trying to forgive someone for hurting us (when they have also shown no repentance).
    But…I have found praising Him in the middle of the very hard things has turned my heart towards Him and away from the ‘hard thing’. It gets my focus on trusting Him and knowing He is in absolute control of my life and is right in the middle of my ‘hard thing’.
    That gives me great comfort. I always remind myself of His Word and how He is always working on my behalf, and will work out any difficult situation for my good and His glory.
    Is it always easy? No. But it does get easier and easier as I remember to ‘fix my eyes’ on Him and Him alone.
    Thanks for this Liz!
    We are all on this wonderful journey together!
    Praise Him! 😉

  7. Paula Timpson October 7, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

    To praise Him moves me to joy deep within because all who praise him from birds to people are family

  8. Elaine Steil October 7, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    When we remember to look up and take our eyes off our circumstances and yes, even our moods and praise Him instead, it truly makes a difference. I try to say each morning upon rising and giving thanks for the gift of a new day “I will praise you through the good and the not so good. I will praise you whether happy or sad.” Praise music really helps as well. Thanks Liz for encouraging us with your own situation and how you chose to change from complaining to praise. Amen.

  9. Shelley Wilburn October 8, 2015 at 12:50 am #

    Last year, after a yearly mammogram, I got a call to come back for a re-check of one side “because something didn’t look right.” It was a call I didn’t want. I immediately called many prayer warriors, along with claiming that I did not receive that news. You must understand that I lost my mother to stomach cancer at age 48. I was 49 and having to have a second mammogram. I was determined to believe God and His Word however, I was having a hard time. I went for the re-check. They made me wait so I could receive the news the same day. Talk about the worst thirty minutes of my life! But you know, hard as it was I repeatedly told God that I knew He had everything in control, that I loved Him, and although I was scared I would try very hard to deal with whatever the results were, even though I was believing Him for a positive answer. I was scared to death to be taken into a private room, but the technician looked at me and said, “The spot we found earlier is not there. there’s nothing wrong with you. It was just overlapping tissue.” I said, “Yeah, that’s God!” I praised Him the best I could before, and as loud as I could on the drive home. He never changes it’s true. But praising Him changed me by showing me just how much He looks after me.

  10. Linda H October 8, 2015 at 7:56 am #

    Praise helps me to step back and focus on the Lord’s goodness and puts God’ s light on my attitude and the situation. My lack of Praise not only hurts me but others around me. I truly desire to replace my complaining with more Praise!!!

  11. Priscilla King October 8, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    This morning I’ve been spontaneously praising God and feeling grateful because someone finally paid me to write something “Christian”–just a tiny, cheap, anonymous contribution to a devotional–after ten years of consistently observing that *Christians don’t pay.* Maybe more of them will.

  12. Helen Badman October 8, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    Late last week my husband had a hip replaced. He has been a “beast”, not doing therapy, snapping at me over every little thing, not cooperating in any fashion and I am exhausted. I know that God is with me, I know that I am blessed beyond measure, and I know (or hope) this mess will be resolved.

    Today, as I read this I was again reminded that I am blessed and even if things continue their downward spiral I am safe in the arms of a loving God.

  13. Julie Lahr October 8, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    Praise ushers me right into the Presence of my Lord and Savior!
    Praising God allows me to focus solely on the goodness and mercy of our Lord. With my eyes fixed on Him, things in this world seem to move into proper perspective, and only the Lord-and what He has done for me-matters. As I praise Him, I can feel His arms envelope me as He assures me of His unfailing love. His Grace is sufficient for any situation, every single day. Praise and thanks be to God for His kindness, grace, mercy, faithfulness, and unfailing love!

  14. Gina October 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    We sang a song in church as well: “In every season, there is a reason to give him praise.” I think when you praise, even when you don’t feel like it, the feelings come…all because God is faithful to meet our needs. Gina

  15. Sheri October 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    Especially when I don’t feel like it, I know it is the time to stop and thank God and praise Him for all He has and is doing. When I do this, the clouds part, my attitude rises and I realize where I really am…in the love and care of Jesus. Sometimes it is hard to come to that place, but when I do He shows up and rewards my faith.

  16. Brandi Luiz October 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Whenever I am obedient in my praise, my feelings of gratitude and love seem to follow.

  17. Pam October 9, 2015 at 6:39 am #

    I find when things are going crazy around me or I’m just in a bad mood, when I turn on the praise music, everything is ok! It’s amazing how Jesus can make all things seem small when you just take the time to praise! Sometimes when I’m driving and I have all kinds of thoughts going through my head the last thing I feel like doing is turning the radio on to praise music. But when I get past the thoughts and myself and just turn it on my spirit is lifted and I can just praise and rest in the Lord.

  18. Sue Holbrook October 9, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    That’s the thing we don’t like that’s so hard to learn about this praising God thing. Doing it whether we feel like it or not. If we’re paying attention we eventually find out that we feel better a whole lot faster if we just do it.

  19. Angie N October 11, 2015 at 7:26 am #

    I came across a quote this week: “Praise is not dependent on circumstances. It’s like breathing — it’s just what we do!” It made such an impact on me I wrote it down to remind myself later.

  20. Diana October 11, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Recently I received news that hurt me greatly. I was put into a very dark place, but still needed to go on. In my time with God, He gave me the ability to still Praise Jesus Christ. I honestly don’t know where the songs came from, other than deeper than the pain I was suffering under. He carried me to find words of songs I had not sung in many years, He brought forth Praise, Adoration, Worship for Who Jesus Is, even in dark times of sorrow. Not one thing changed except my heart, focus, and voice as I sang through tears streaming down my face.

    Thankfully, in His good timing, I am not so hurt and not in the dark place; things are changed in my life, but He is Still LORD of lords, KING of kings and SAVIOR of my soul!!!

  21. Sherri October 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    Our praises take us to a place of recognition – we have to recognize God’s sovereignty and trust Him again. It’s not always easy (what sacrifice is?), but it’s always necessary to get our mind back to where He needs it to be: focused on Him, not whatever has us distracted from Him.

  22. Beatrice Williams October 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    I have learned to praise God in the good and the bad. It confuses the enemy. It takes the focus off my problems. I praise because I love the Lord. I can’t help myself at times. I have to break out in praise when I am having a bad day or if something happening that I have no control over. It makes me feel better and I am glorifying God.

  23. Pat Parker October 31, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    Liz, in reading the Proverbs 31 message about the pumpkin, I just wanted to drop you a line and tell you HOW MUCH my little girl and I LOVE that book. I bought it for her years ago and even though she’s 11 (and a HALF…lol) we still love to read it. As a matter of fact, when I get up from this computer, we are carving our happy face pumpkins and will once again talk about it. we do not celebrate this day as the world does, but we celebrate Jesus cleaning us up and giving us HIS joy. Thank you so much for writing that book……………..

  24. Shannon November 1, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    I don’t know if I’ve ever consciously praised God just to be obedient– there are times when I’ve prayed, “OK, God, what’s up with this situation?” — possibly my faith (ok, probably I’ll be honest) has lagged behind at times– possibly I’m at this point now in my life, at least about certain things.

    Yet I know that He can dream bigger for me than I can for myself– sometimes I think about the power of God, the wisdom of Him, the flexibility– that he can orchestrate the symphony of my life even though I am constantly changing it overwhelmes me. And I praise Him for who He is.

    So I suppose, even in my grumbling, waiting on Him, not-content- with-kinda-boring life sometimes going on, I still praise him because it’s not chaotic-with-drama-and-bad-hair (had to put that in, having great hair days lately)–

    Wow. I really Love Him. Isn’t He wonderful?