Dog by my side.
A great dissimilarity from just four hours earlier.
Laughter round the table.
It's midnight and I am hungry. But the hunger I sense is not for the leftovers in the frige. This emptiness is not in my stomach, but in my soul ... the barrenness in my soul that needs constant re-nourishment and satisfaction. A filling.
The tape of the day rewinds in my head. A daughter needs reassurance, love, and guidance. A son is stressed balancing fatherhood, work, and college. Another son needs more money for college life. A husband needs my affection. An uncle fighting for his life. A mother in constant pain. A father-in-law struggles with loneliness. A dwindling bank account. A world in turmoil.
Where is there fulfillment, rest, joy, and peace in all this?
In praising God.
As long as there is breath in our bodies, we are to praise, and be a praise to our God. In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul says:
"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."
We are to continually offer up our praise as a sacrifice to our God.
Remember the Old Testament Law? Israelites had to kill animals, burn incense, and pour out drink offerings. They were to do this repeatedly ... many times a year as a sacrifice before our God. This sacrifice is no longer acceptable. Jesus was our sacrifice for sin. He fulfilled all these physical sacrifices. Now the only sacrifice acceptable before God is our praise and thanksgiving. Our lives must be a sacrifice of praise continually before our God. Praise is a sacrifice, something that we offer to God sacrificially, not just because we feel like it, but because we believe in Him and desire to please Him.
“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” Hebrews 13:15