Cultivating My Spirit

Pleasing God While in the World

[Cited scriptures are from the New Century Version]

Some Christians look at life as an epic battle between good and evil. Some as a painful fight between flesh and spirit. Neither view is incorrect, however such bleak perspectives can aid the enemy in tripping them up on the battlefield – simply because they’ve lost sight of their weapon (the Word of God) and instructions on how to use it (by speaking it).

I’m learning to take and keep my eyes off of people. Focusing on the behavior of others is a sure way of losing my focus on God. It’s when I’m not focused on God that I feel lost in my pain and disappointments. That’s not to say that I don’t blink, or stare for that matter, but as soon as I realize I’m not seeing God’s grace anymore, I re-focus my gaze back onto Him.

Life is more a struggle for balance. Our wobbly balancing act is about maintaining our right-standing with God and growing in His ways while also maintaining our footing in a topsy-turvy, upside-down, wacky world. A world we enter as the blind-folded, undernourished prey with targets on our backs and the scent of blood around our necks. The only way to gain an advantage in this scenario is to find our way to God. He knows the course He has set us on – He created it. Therefore, He knows we can win, because He also created a way through, towards victory – and a way back to Him.

If you think you are strong, you should be careful not to fall. The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

What pleases God?

God says, “My people, listen to me; Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God….Give an offering to show thanks to God. Give God Most High what you have promised. Call to me in times of trouble. I will save you, and you will honor me…. Those people honor me who bring me offerings to show thanks. And I, God, will save those who do that.”  ~ Psalm 50:7, 14, 15, 23

The time is coming when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, and that time is here already. You see, the Father too is actively seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  ~ John 4:23-24

We work so hard to please God and all our hard work is for naught when we aren’t giving Him what He truly wants. God is a communicator. He has spoken His words and had them written down so we can review and refer back to them at our leisure. As we learn His Word, He wants us to speak it back to Him. In teaching us to speak His word back to Him, He is teaching us to speak to Him directly. His ears are open – He’s ready to listen; He’s ready to answer. He’s ready to speak new words to us… special words. He’s ready to rain down blessings into our lives. He has built a framework for a personal relationship with each one of us. We simply have to step up and do our part – open our hearts to receive, open our ears to listen and open our mouths to speak.

Read the full passage for yourself Psalm 50:7-15. God is telling His people that there is nothing we can do, give or sacrifice that would move Him or impress Him because He owns everything. He created everything. The only thing we have true control over giving is our self – our thoughts, our minds, our hearts, our words.

In Psalm 50:15 He tells us explicitly to speak to Him – call out to Him – He’s listening and ready to act on our behalf. In Psalm 50:14 and 23 He tells us that all He wants is for us to acknowledge all He has done and provided for us. He wants us to give Him thanks. God is seeking our gratitude, our appreciation = > our love. He wants us to love Him back – the way He first loved us.

To take this thought further, the way we show love for God in the world is by treating others the way He has treated us. Because God first loved us, we are now able to freely (and purposefully) love other people. That is a tall order to fill, but remember your Heavenly Father has provided a way for you to complete your assignment – and He provides back-up. Every time you falter, He steps in to strengthen you – when you call on Him.

Praise is what I do.

Then I will tell my brothers and sisters about you; I will praise you in the public meeting. Praise the Lord, all you who respect him. All you descendants of Jacob, honor him; fear him, all you Israelites. He does not ignore those in trouble. He doesn’t hide from them but listens when they call out to him.

Lord, I praise you in the great meeting of your people; these worshipers will see me do what I promised. Poor people will eat until they are full; those who look to the Lord will praise him. May your hearts live forever! People everywhere will remember and will turn to the Lord. All the families of the nations will worship him because the Lord is King, and he rules the nations.  ~ Psalm 22:22-28

God is only ever a breath away. A cry… a turn… a thought… a simple word away – speak to Him. There is nothing you are facing in the world that God can’t equip you to handle.

I don’t believe prayer requires a particular physical posture or a particular place. I talk to God throughout the day – aloud, in my head, in my journal and other writings. I truly believe He is always with me. My belief allows me to comfortably communicate with Him at any given moment throughout the day. For that reason, I’m usually disconcerted when people tell me they have no time to pray. In the time they took to tell me that, they could have thanked God for something… anything…. I usually reply to such comments along the line of, “Prayer is simply a conversation with God. He doesn’t need to be on your calendar and He’s not looking for anything formal. Say something to Him when you wake up, as you lay down to go to sleep, while you’re in the shower, or on your way to work. Just start a conversation. He’ll make sure you get the training you need to be effective in your communication.”

As you may have noticed, I’m not shy about sharing how God has moved and continues to move in my life. I praise Him in private and in public – and He responds in ways that put my expectations to shame.

So, go on now – go praise your God and give thanks for all He has done for you!!! Don’t forget to thank Him in advance of what you see (the not-yet manifested request), because you’re already more blessed than you know!

God, we thank you;  we thank you because you are near. We tell about the miracles you do.  ~ Psalm 75:1

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