By Alice Northcutt
Today's Scripture: Hebrews 13:15
Central Thought: It is easy to praise God when everything is going well, but what about during the not-so-good times?
On days when the world smiles with us, it is easy to praise God and to thank Him for all our blessings? But what about days that bring suffering and sadness—the days that are filled with discouragement and hopelessness? It is on those days that we can identify with the meaning of offering a sacrifice of praise (v. 15). A sacrifice requires effort; it may require us to reach beyond our comfort zone (our feeling zone) to our faith zone.
It is during times of tragedy, loss, or discouragement when we don't feel like praising God that we are put to the praise test. We may even feel that God is so far away that we can't reach Him, or we may feel that we are so insignificant that He won't reach us. It is in such situations that we must offer a sacrifice of praise.
Elijah found himself at this point soon after God sent fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice and prove His majesty over Baal (1 Kings 19:3-4). Jesus, in His human body, expressed a feeling of despair when he cried out from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27: 46). This cry of despair came only a short time after Jesus had offered a sacrificial prayer of forgiveness as he hung on the cross between two thieves and uttered the words, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Let us always remember that even in our deepest despair, we can offer a sacrifice of praise to God.
Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me to always be able to look beyond the despair and offer a sacrifice of praise to You.
Today's Bible Reading: Ezekiel 33:1-34:31; Hebrews 13:1-25; Psalm 115:1-18; Proverbs 27:21-22