Prasing Away My Somethingness….

For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:14-18 NKJV)

     Human praise is often well intended false praise. If my friend sings a solo that is actually painful to listen to but immediately asks me how he did, I will undoubtedly praise him. Sometimes I want to praise someone to encourage them but find myself looking hard for something praiseworthy. If I find nothing, I select the best thing I can find and praise that. I think it was Joan Rivers  who said — Anything a man says to a woman about her shoes, weight, dress, hair, eyes, face, ears, shoes, height, shoes, weight, or shoes is probably a lie. Sorry ladies, I really don’t care about your shoes as much as some of you do.

    …let us continually offer… In the original Greek, this is better translated as continually confessing. This offering requires praise mindedness. As the weight of the Lord’s salvation alone settled in my heart, how could my praise ever end? Since I recognized the truth of the Gospel, I have lived a life observed through a God-lens. All provision I see as from Him. All favor from Him. Luck and happenstances are things of my past. My Father is watching over me, attending to my needs, pruning dead limbs and pouring mercy and grace over my life. In the days of the tabernacle and temple, praise was offered at certain times and in certain places. The old is gone, behold the new has come.  My continuous praise exists because of His continuous Presence in my life.

   ….a sacrifice… When I research a Greek word it typically has multiple meanings that are dependent on context or other associated words. Here the Greek word means only sacrifice or victim. It is used 29 times in the New Testament and it is translated as sacrifice all 29 times. Who is the victim that I sacrifice when I praise God? It is my flesh. It is my ambition. It is my pride. It is my desire to be worshipped. Praising God in truth sets not only Him in proper perspective, but me also. When I pour out an offering of words to describe the greatness of my Lord, my prideful somethingness fades to humble nothingness.

   …. of praise to God… In praising a person or any created thing I can easily outreach the truth, but it is not so with God. With the Lord if I simply state the truth of what He is and has done, I can never exaggerate and I can never finish. That is authentic, the fruit of our lips, worshipping in spirit and truth, God praise. My praise cannot be mechanical, a fleshy offering of my good praise works. It has to be an offering poured from my grateful heart, giving thanks to His Name….

 I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1,2 NKJV)

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