Praise. God calls it a sacrifice. Psalm 50:14 says, “Offer to God thanksgiving; and pay your vows to the Most High.” Because sometimes life sends us down a long road. Reasons vary.
Peter and Silas went down one of those roads. They were paying, but in a different way. Because they had freed a young girl, they were caught, gripped by sturdy, violent hands. They were accused, stripped, whipped without a legal limit and beaten. To make sure they could do no more magic, they were dragged into the belly of the prison, the deepest, most difficult place, a labyrinth of locked doors and bars from which escape was impossible. More punishment was guaranteed.
Around midnight they came to. They sat bleeding, bruised and cold. In stocks. In impossible. And they sacrificed. They sang. Up from the belly of their spirit, up from the belly of the prison, praise swelled. A sweet sacrifice, the sound of trust, fell upon the ears of other prisoners. The scent of their sacrifice, love, swept away the stench of death and gave it no place to linger.
Psalm 50 continues in verse 15, “And.” You sacrifice and... “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
Paul and Silas pressed into that promise. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God.” (Acts 16:25)
God responded with an act that shook the foundations of the threats, the matter that made up a false pride. An earthquake shook the prison. And... the chains fell off and the doors opened.
Praise is sacrifice when it turns us from ourselves. Our capabilities. Our thoughts and worries. We sacrifice everything that is flesh, throwing it on the fire as rubbish. And... we fix our spirit on the word. We absorb it with our eyes. We breathe it out in language and song. We fling ourselves upon it like it’s a raft, and we do not let go. We determine not to be like those who “hate to be taught...and toss My Words behind you.” (Psalm 50:17)
Because we know faith without action is admitting there is a life raft without ever using it. No matter how deep the hole we’re in, God wants to deliver us. Because we know His invitation stands, if we are willing to act on it.
Praising God with you!
Image by Tim Marshall courtesy of StockSnapi.o
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