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light through evening clouds October 19 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Luke 10:21-24; Matthew 11:25-30; Luke 10:38-11:13; Luke 11:27-12:21

Pleasing God

What pleases God? Is it the sacrifices we make, the services we perform or the good deeds we do? Is God pleased by the money we give to his work? Jesus had many things to say to unveil this mystery.

Simple faith, like that of a child, pleases God.

Luke 10:21-23 says,

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see,” (NIV).

In order to see what pleases God we need the eyes of faith, the faith of a little child. God is pleased with simple faith, i.e., total trust in the LORD. When we trust him this way he is pleased to reveal more of himself to us.

Being attentive to Christ pleases God.

It is more important that we are attentive to Christ than it is to be busy serving but not listening to him. This is illustrated in the story of Mary and Martha. Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. Martha was busy making meal preparations for Jesus and his twelve apostles. This would be quite a chore. Martha thought Mary was being lazy. She should not be sitting; there was much work to be done! She appealed to Jesus to have him speak to Mary so she could have some help. Since she lived in a male dominated society, she likely thought that it was women's work to prepare the meals for company while the men talked about religion. Jesus rebuked Martha, however, telling her that Mary had made a better choice. What is more important to us - serving or listening? If Jesus were to come to our house, would we stop to visit or would we spend the entire time playing the part of the host or hostess?

Christians have Christ at home in their hearts now through the presence of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). They received him when they were converted. We visit with Christ in our daily devotions as we are now doing. Christ commends that choice we make. But even in our daily devotions it can become a duty. Do we have daily devotions to fulfill our Christian duty or are we attentive to God's Word? Do we listen to God’s Word and do what it says in an attitude of love and submission? In our One-Year Daily Chronological Bible Studies we have included Lessons to live by, Today's Bible Memory Verse(s) and the opportunity for our readers to write Prayer Responses so that they might apply Gods Word. Our readers can even respond to each day’s lesson with a comment link to our email address. Using these tools encourage our attentiveness to God’s Word.

The right kind of prayer pleases God.

At their request Jesus gave a sample prayer to his disciples. This is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” although it may be better described as the disciples' prayer. In Luke 11:2-4 he said to them,

When you pray [emphasis mine], say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” (NIV)

Notice in the Lord’s sample prayer that God's glory is desired before anything else. Do we seek God's glory when we pray or do we just tell him our feelings or give him our list of requests? Those who would honor God by their prayer will approach God with humility, recognizing his holiness and desiring his will to be done first of all.

Second, after God’s glory and will are sought, personal and intercessory prayers are included. We need to ask forgiveness for our daily sins (something Jesus did not need to do). One of the writers of the Psalms said,

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! (Psalm 66:18-20, NIV).

God wants to answer our prayers, so we need to be forgiving and receive forgiveness.

God also wants to meet our physical needs, so we should ask him. The Bible says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures,” (James 4:2b-3, NIV). What do we want and why are we asking?

Third, temptation is our constant spiritual battle, so we should certainly ask for God's help in our prayers. We do, however, have personal responsibilities in the matter. Ephesians 6:10-18 says we need to put on the whole Christian armor to fight our temptations and Satan's attacks. But arming ourselves is not enough. We need the power or ability to fight; therefore, we need to pray (Ephesians 6:18). God is pleased when we ask him for help, and he will give us the ability to withstand temptations or flee from them.

God is pleased when we hear the Word of God and obey it (Luke 11:28).

He is not impressed with our heritage; he is concerned with our character. Our character is changed as we obey the Word of God, so that we become a light of truth to our world.

God is pleased when we give our gifts or service to him with true motives.

He is not impressed with outward righteousness, how much we give to church or other charities, our position in the community, our expertise in teaching or preaching God’s Word, or our evangelism and discipleship if our character is not good. Like washing a cup and leaving the inside dirty are those who are falsely religious. The Pharisees were consumed with ceremonial washing of hands and utensils and appearing religious, but Jesus wants truth from the heart. Truth manifests itself outwardly in justice, mercy, and humility (Micah 6:8).

God is pleased when we give up our lives for him and are not ashamed.

God does not want us to be afraid we will lose everything if we follow him. Many turn away from following him when faced with possible sacrifices. God does not want us to live lives of comfort and greed and lay up treasures for ourselves in this life. God wants us to be generous in giving both our resources and ourselves to his work.

 Lessons to live by:

  • Simple faith, like that of a child, pleases God. In fact, we need this if we are to receive forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...)
  • Being attentive to Christ pleases God.
  • The right kind of prayer pleases God.
  • God is pleased when we hear the Word of God and obey it.
  • God is pleased when we give our gifts or service to him with true motives.
  • God is pleased when we give up our lives for him and are not ashamed.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse:

1Thessalonians 4:1 “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

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