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Friday, February 10, 2012

Tufted titmouse (Photo by Doris High)
Tufted Titmouse (Photo by Doris High)
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"Finding Out What Pleases The Lord"

“Find out what pleases the Lord" (Ephesians 5:10). "So we make it our goal to please Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Putting up hayIn the summer following our marriage in 1976 I worked for a local crew that that put up hay for local farmers outside of Springfield MO. As the old saying goes you "make hay when the sun shines." and that was certainly the case with very long hours and bone wearying work often well into the night.

I was the only Bible School student on the crew and likely the only Christian as best I recall. At 21 years of age I was among my peers though and you can imagine the words and ways of young males, especially in that environment. I wanted to please the Lord and be a good witness but not come across as "holier than thou" to the other young men and this was quite a challenge. And it still remains a challenge!

A great pursuit in life for the redeemed is finding out what pleases the Lord. When we consider Christ's love for us, we'll want to live for Him. The apostle Paul testified "we make it our goal to please Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9). That was one of the first verses of Scripture I memorized.

By God's grace it remains a simple expression of my outlook on life and the quest to find out what pleases the Lord is ongoing.  Although God's written revelation about that which pleases Him is unchangeable, new challenges are always set before us that require discernment from the solid foundation of that which He prohibits and that which pleases Him.

David prayed a prayer that he would be pleasing to the Lord... "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).

Pastor Steven Cole shares this insight about what pleases the Lord: "We do not determine what pleases the Lord by our own feelings, which fluctuate, or by what the world or other Christians say or think. We don’t even determine it by our own conscience, in that our conscience may be improperly informed. Rather, we learn what pleases the Lord through growing to understand His Word. We now evaluate everything we do by the question, “Does this please the Lord, who loved me and gave Himself for me?” So, the first requirement for living in this dark world is to be children of light and to walk as children of light, doing everything to please the Lord."

Today I urge you to "find out what pleases the Lord" and "make it your goal to please Him."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, I want to find out what pleases You and make it my goal to honor You with my life. I want the affections of my heart, the thoughts of my mind, the expression of my emotions, the words voiced from my lips and my actions to please you. May my understanding grow as I read and apply Your written revelation and as I learn from my brothers and sisters in Christ. Since my life may be the only Bible that some people read, may it reflect the person of Christ and that which You teach about Your people being set apart for holy living. I love You, Father, with all my heart and I want to show it with all my life. Amen.

Proverbs 6:15-19  enumerates seven things the Lord hates.  We want to consider how we can find out what pleases the Lord based upon this Biblical revelation of what God expressly hates or is displeased by. However as students of Scripture we can also consider what pleases the Lord based on what he hates with a correlating Scripture.

The Lord hates:
1) A proud look but He is pleased in our dependence upon Him and humility, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).
2 A lying tongue but He is pleased when His children "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).
3) Hands that shed innocent blood but He is pleased with the one having "clean hands and a pure heart" (Psalm 24:4)
4) A heart that devises wicked schemes but He is pleased when we seek to do the will of God from our heart (Ephesians 6:6)
5) Feet that are quick to rush in to evil but He is pleased by the "feet of those who bring good news" (Isaiah 52:7).
6) A false witness who pours out lies but He is pleased with a truthful witness giving honest testimony (Proverbs 12:17).
7) A man who stirs up dissension among brothers but He is pleased with peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).

I find the same approach as used above concerning that which the Lord hates to be helpful with the Ten Commandments, eight of which are expressed as a prohibition. For those who may desire to dig deeper I encourage you to use the approach used above for the Ten Commandments. I will express the heart of the commandment and encourage you to express a positive command as taught elsewhere in Scripture. (In the case of the two commandments expressed as a positive command find a correlating prohibition.) Next week I will share what I came up with in this regard based on my study of God’s Word and my ongoing quest in life to "find out what pleases the Lord"

 1) "You shall have no other gods before Me."
 2) “You shall not make for yourself an idol."
 3) “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
 4) “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
 5) “Honor your father and your mother.”
 6) “You shall not murder.”
 7) “You shall not commit adultery.”
 8) “You shall not steal.”
 9) “You shall not bear false witness.”
10) “You shall not covet.”

Here's an example using the tenth commandment:
10) “You shall not covet.”  "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have." (Hebrews 13:5)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"To Be Pleasing You"  Video  Maranatha Singers

"The Family Prayer Song"  Video  Maranatha Singers

"Oh, I Want To Know You More "  Video  
Steve Fry

"May The Words Of My Mouth"  Video  Tim Hughes

Steven Cole's outstanding  message from which the quote in our message comes from is here (pdf).

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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