Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thanks-living: A Sacrifice and Catalogue of Praise.

"At His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy! I will sing and make music to the Lord!" - Ps 27:6.

Last week, I shared with you Thanks-living: A Lifestyle of Thanksgiving and Praise. As promised, I will conclude with a focus on offering a sacrifice of praise and share my catalogue of praise.

The Bible speaks of a continual sacrifice of praise! "The fruit of lips" should be our daily thanksgiving like the morning and evening sacrifices in the temple of Israel thousands of years ago and a thankful way of living will follow. God honors and blesses the lips of a true worshiper.

Greatly afflicted and at the brink of death, David trusted in God for deliverance. He called upon the name of the Lord in his hour of need. And the Lord heard and delivered him. God kept his soul in life and broke his bonds. He offered to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving - Ps 116. He publicly declared his gratitude to God.

"A sacrifice of praise is the fruit of lips that confess God's name and it is offered continually through Christ Jesus" - Heb 13:15.

It is wonderful to consider that our praise - the fruit of our lips giving thanks to God - is a sacrifice acceptable to God.

"To sacrifice is to surrender, to give-up, and to offer something of value that we would rather hold on to."

- Abraham surrendered Isaac when God asked him to sacrifice his son.
- A woman sacrificed an alabaster of costly perfume to anoint Jesus.
- Jesus gave His life for us on the cross at Calvary.

A sacrifice is at a cost. It requires a yielding and letting go of something.

We offer a  sacrifice of praise when we can "joyfully sing unto the Lord" at a time when the world around us thinks we have no reason to, this will capture us an audience.

Singing joyfully to God:
On the mountain, or in the valley.
In the patchy desert, or in land that is plentiful.
In the wilderness, or in the pastures
When darkness closes in or when sun is shining brightly on me.

"The sacrifice of praise is the fruit of lips, it is sounds coming out of our mouths—singing in some sort of vocal praise. You have to use your lips if you want the blessings of offering the sacrifice of praise" - isaiah5432.

Singing stirs up our affection and emotion. It helps to lift us into the presence of God. Since God inhabits the praises of His people, praise, worship and thanksgiving takes us into the presence of God where there is fullness of joy.

"Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" - Eph. 5:19-20.

It is easy to sing and praise God on the good days when the lines have fallen for us in pleasant places. The challenge is to praise and worship God when we can not physically see what we are asking for and when all we have is the faith that God is faithful to keep His word.

It is through Jesus Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit indwelling us that we can offer a sacrifice of praise that is acceptable to God.

"The enemy loves to silence the tongue of a true worshiper. His sole purpose is to silence your voice from praising God" - Khandielese Reyes1.

"Praise and worship is one of the greatest tools every believer has in blessing the Lord and defeating the enemy."

Can you joyfully sing to God in the midst of your troubles?

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus" - 1Thess 5:18

We can give thanks to God for His most precious, inexpressible and free Gift - the gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and an assurance of a home in heaven. God wants us to continually thank Him. He wants us to live a life of thankfulness.

Thanks-living is…Living life in thanks, awe and joy.

Offering praise and thanks to God should not be reserved for a particular time of the year alone, or for Sundays or when things are going great for us, it is what we ought to do as often as possible throughout the day as we cultivate a lifestyle of thanks-living.

"Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God. Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving…He who sacrifices thanks offering honors God and he prepares the way so that God may show him His salvation" - Ps 50:14, 22.

Conscious thanks-living makes you spontaneous at showing appreciation for every gift. It fuels your ability to raise a spontaneous praise to God in private worship time and it helps to ignite an atmosphere of praise and worship when you gather together with other children of God.

It consciously looks for reasons to give thanks in every situation. It is an anecdote to grumbling and complaining.

We have abundant reasons each day to give thanks to God if we focus our attention on it. Thanks-living helps us to focus on what is already in the cup—what God has done and is doing in our lives.

Being deliberate in our thanksgiving helps us to cultivate a lifestyle of thanks-living. Like Darnly suggested, I am writing them down through the day in a notebook. Take a peep:

My Catalogue of Praise for July:

1. I am blessed with a kind, loving, selfless and caring husband who fears, honors and serves God with all his heart. I am grateful for his relentless love which has stayed strong and true through the thick and the thin. I can not tell you often enough how much you mean to me. I love you loads.

2. They make me proud, they make me smile and they make me lift up my hands in praise to God. My two strong young men—unique and distinct in character and expression, they pursue similar interests with same passion and serve each other in love. I promise to play Xbox and chill out with you!

3. Rn & Ge: two 4 years old boys who made me laugh when my heart was heavy. They came to visit and stayed quietly, as if sensitive to the ambiance in the house. Rn cautiously approached me and before I knew it I was sitting on the floor playing Xbox, which I had never played before, and laughing. After they left, I gave thanks to God for using these toddlers to lift up my spirit.

4. Inspiration for my first novel (WIP-02) started flowing again after being dormant for almost 8 months (!). It was jumpstarted after participating in a webinar by Scribes Forge, a package I won during the Bookshelf Muse RAOK Blitz held last May. I have reconnected with the main characters and reworked the timelines. I am grateful to God for this.

5. Thankful for the assurance we have that God will perfect all that concerns every member of our families. He will not fail to intervene on our behalf. He will not abandon or forsake us.

6. The assurance that God hears and answers our prayers, and is in control of every knotty issue in every sphere of our lives.

7. So grateful for all the precious hands that prepared and brought to me many delightful delicacies—a pot full of Gambas, Amala and Banga soup, Grilled chicken and fish with Mango-Ginger sauce, tapioca and potato coated prawn dim sum, chin chin and more—at a time I needed the extras to spike my appetite.

8. The opportunity to be a vessel in the hands of God and the privilege to be used of Him to touch the lives for good.

9. The many doors God opened to me through which I am able to reach out to others.

10. They thought of me and prayed, they picked up the phone and called, and they made themselves available to encourage me. I bless God for each of them.

11. They were displaced from the comfort of their homes, they altered their routines, and put themselves at my service—I thank God for Irene and Faith.

12. Too many to be listed out, but willingly their hands ministered to me and  their feet ran many errands on my behalf—my God shall richly reward them.

13. They put themselves at my disposal to drive me to all the places where I needed to be—I thank God for them.

14. Grateful for the weight (1kg) I gained in the first week of my "Regain 4kg in 4 weeks" challengeJ

The pages of this blog post are insufficient to contain the numberless blessings for which I am thankful…

What about you? How are you doing with your Catalogue of Praise?

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