From the staff of Dynamic Steward
Summary: In this study we explore ways to praise God in the midst of any situation, good or bad.
Small group study 1. Read Hebrews 13:15 together: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His name”
From her book, Glorious Intruder,* in the chapter entitled: “Praise: A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt” Joni Eareckson Tada makes this profound observation:
“Reflect for a moment on the most frightening crises in your life or the life of your family: a cancerous lump, a debilitating illness, a financial emergency, a daughter’s illegitimate pregnancy, a son’s angry rebellion. If during those times you have steadfastly fastened your heart in praise to God, then you have offered a sacrifice. If with the psalmist you have said to the Lord, “I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more’ (Ps 71:14), you have offered words which have cost you something? (p. 43).
With this introduction, Joni Tada goes on to explain how a sacrifice of praise means that we must trade in our pride, anger, and even our “human logic” as God asks us to express praise in the light of our distress.
2. Discuss together the concept of “a sacrifice of praise” and the meaning of the phrase, “through Jesus” in Hebrews 13:15.
Share other scriptural texts or passages that reflect the same message of this text—praising God in the midst of trials. Two such passages you may read and reflect upon are James 1:2-5, 12 and Acts 16:22-25.
Personal experience. “I think God is especially honored when we offer a sacrifice of praise. He is glorified when we offer words of adoration wretched from a pained and bruised heart”. Most of the verses written about praise in God’s Word were penned by men and women who faced crushing heartaches, injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other intolerable situations.
“It is only “through Jesus’ that we are able to offer a sacrifice of praise. Why? Because Jesus was God’s sacrifice for us. Is it asking too much, then, for us to sacrifice mere words? Never! God is definitely not overstepping reasonable bounds when He asks us to offer a sacrifice of praise? (Ibid, p. 44).
Joni Eareckson Tada speaks from her own experience, and that makes her sharing all the more credible. As a teenager, Joni was injured in a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, unable to use her hands. Since that time, she has learned to paint with a brush between her teeth, written numerous books, and broadcasts her daily radio program, Joni and Friends. She continues praising God in her ministry for Him.
3. In closing, share from your own personal experiences and, in prayer together, offer God your own “sacrifices of praise”
* Unfortunately this book is out of print