Tag Archives: Spiritual Growth

Pleasing God Above People

Pleasing God Above People

 For my whole life I was a people pleaser, but in the last 5 years in my walk with the Lord, I learned that is not pleasing to God. We are to please God above people, not vice versa. God calls us to help others, but there is a difference between helping someone in need and bending over backwards to please them and make them happy. When you make pleasing people more important than pleasing God, then you are forgetting your purpose as a child of God. God did not create any of us to be people pleasers, but to serve and to please Him. You may lose some friendships when you put God above others, but the right people will stay in your life. When your life is pleasing to God, He will help remove the wrong people from your life who are hindering your walk with the Lord and will place people in your life who will help you. God will also send people to you for you to help them with their walk with the Lord.

But please do not make the same mistake I did in trying to help someone else before you are steady and firm in your faith. The people you seek to help will be looking at your life, your attitude and behavior, your words and actions – at everything – to see how you conduct yourself. If you are telling or encouraging them in one area but they see you doing the opposite of what you say, then that will confuse them and turn them off to the Lord, and possibly to you. Heed the Lord’s warning from Matthew 7:3-5: “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend (brother/sister in Christ), ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye?” Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to help deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” I wish I had actually taken this warning into consideration, maybe then I would not have lost someone dear to me and maybe he would still be following the Lord instead of straying so far from Him the way he has. This relates to pleasing God because it does not please Him when we are at least in part, responsible for someone being led astray by confusing them. We try so desperately to please God that we end up making a colossal mistake. So let us follow carefully the instructions, commands, warnings, and advice the Lord and God give to us in Scripture. This way we will be doing what pleases God.

Matthew 10:28 tells us not to worry about people who have the ability to kill our physical bodies, for they can’t touch our souls. Instead, we are to fear God, who can destroy both soul and body in Hell.

There are more verses below that warn against seeking the approval of (or being concerned about the approval of) people above God. There are more in the Book of Proverbs, especially in chapters 10-31 both about the consequences of pleasing others instead of God, and on ways that please God and I encourage you all to read through the whole Book. Chapters 1-4 deal with how to attain spiritual wisdom and understanding, so those are definitely worth looking at too if your objective is to please God and to attain wisdom in the process. We are told in Proverbs 3:5-6 to “lean not on your own understanding, but to trust God and to seek His will in all that we do.”

 

Galatians 1:10 ESV

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 ESV

But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

Proverbs 29:25 ESV

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

John 12:43 ESV

For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

Colossians 3:23 ESV

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men

Acts 5:29 ESV

But Peter and the apostles answered, We must obey God rather than men.”

Isaiah 2:22 ESV

Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?

2 Corinthians 5:9 ESV

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.

Galatians 2:20 ESV

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

John 5:44 ESV

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Romans 12:1-2 ESV

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 We are obedient to God when we honor His command to love one another, but we must learn to love them the way we are told to instead of making them our whole world and making pleasing others our top priority so nobody gets hurt. It is painful to hurt someone we care about when we have to either say something to them they don’t want to hear and can or will hurt them, but it is far worse for both of you if you do not tell them what God has instructed you to tell them, or to fail to do what God instructed you to do where the other person is concerned, regarding their reckless behavior or something specifically they are saying or doing that they need to stop doing before it is too late for them to repent and turn back to God to be saved. Remember this though: it is only our responsibility as Christ’s followers to warn them, or to plant the seeds and/or to water them. God is the only One who has the ability to make those godly seeds planted inside them to grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-8). In other words: we are to love others, including our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), and to help guide them on God’s path, but, we must be sure that we are in a stable place in our own faith where we can effectively do that, and we must be sure that our objective is to please God and not put priority over the other person. God is to be number 1 in our hearts and in every area of our lives, and we must show works of faith too, in order to please Him.

Read James chapter 2 and Hebrews 11 to read more about showing our faith in the actions we take. Our actions either show that we have faith in God, which pleases Him, or shows a lack of faith which grieves Him. He wants us to fully trust, love, awe, honor, and obey Him, willingly, because we want to. The LORD wants a close, intimate relationship with each and every one of us, and Scripture tells us how that is made possible and how to maintain the intimate connection, and how to make it grow stronger, once it has been made through our faith in action (repenting, confessing Jesus as our Lord and Savior after hearing God’s word and deciding to believe it completely, being baptized in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and then daily taking up our crosses to follow Jesus). Jesus outlines in the Gospels what the cost of following Him is, and the requirements for being His disciple. When we follow these instructions, we please God. He warns us against loving our mother, father, sister, brother, child, or anyone else above Him (read Matthew 10:37-39 and Matthew 16:24-27). We are to love Jesus the most in order to please God. And Hebrews 11:6 tells us “it is impossible to please God without faith”, and when we have faith in God, we will naturally want to please God, and will learn to make pleasing Him more important than pleasing others.

The right people, even if they are hurt at the beginning, will come around and accept God’s truth. As for everyone else, God tells us not to worry about them. Once we have done what we are commanded or called to do, it is in God’s hands. Let us then decide today to make every effort to please God above everything else and to seek His will in all we say and do, and in our attitudes and behavior. Let us decide to love God with all of our hearts, minds, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30) -> with our whole being. If any of us here have trouble doing that, let us come to the throne of our loving and merciful God in prayer and ask Him and His Holy Spirit to give us the help we need to show our love for Him, to equip us with all we need to obey Him, and any other areas we need help with. God is just and faithful and He will give us the help we need when our goal is to please Him. God loves all of you unconditionally. He will gladly help you where you are in need of His help. May God’s peace be with you and may You feel his love in your hearts.

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Taking Care of Babies and Spiritual Parallel to God

Learning How to Take Care of Babies and Spiritual Parallel to God

 I moved back in with my sister the day after Thanksgiving (last Friday) and I have been gaining valuable experience and learning how to take care of babies. Surely this means that the day will come when God blesses me with a husband and then a baby of my own and I shall remember these experiences so I can take care of my own. I know how to make my nephews stop crying most of the time. When they are not hungry and don’t need to be changed, sometimes they just want to be held and fussed over and other times they are sleepy when they start wailing. One of my nephews doesn’t mind sleep and he is usually calmer than my other nephew but he (my other nephew) does not like to go to sleep and he fights it until the end. When I am available to help, I usually pick him up and rock him gently – unless he just ate, in which case I do more walking and a little bit of gentle swaying than actual rocking. Within a few minutes, he is fast asleep! I’ve also gotten pretty good at making them smile and last night, when his mommy was carrying him upstairs to bed, I called his name to say goodnight and he looked right at me and smiled (my other nephew was already upstairs sleeping since it was after 10:30pm and way past their bedtime but the one who dislikes sleep had had a long nap yesterday afternoon apparently so he wasn’t ready for bed until nearly 11:00pm). Usually I have to say something in a certain tone or do something silly to earn a smile from him, but last night I got one for free simply for telling him goodnight. I love both of my nephews! But learning how to feed them, how to change diapers, and how to get them to stop crying when they aren’t hungry and don’t need changing are valuable learning experiences that I am thankful to God for. I am thankful to God every day for my sweet, adorable, loving nephews who are nearly 7 months old and will be crawling soon! One of them is already trying and has been since just before he turned 6 months (November 16th he turned 6 months but apparently about a week before then he started trying to crawl) and the other one has just been watching. I suspect he watches to see if his (fraternal) twin brother does it successfully first before trying it. But I am sure they will both be crawling soon, then talking soon after. Today I learned how to feed them both solid baby food and the fussier one who doesn’t like sleep but usually loves to eat was a bit harder to feed and almost half of it ended up either on his bib or on my shirt. That’s okay though, he liked the food he just tends to be messy when he eats whether it is solid food or baby formula (milk).

If you think about it (and Apostle Paul kind of alludes to it), there are some new to the faith of God who are like babies. But there are also some who have been in the faith for a long time and have forgotten the basics and Paul felt the need to point it out in Hebrews 5:12-14, where he says, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” The way to prevent this from happening is to devote time daily to Bible Study and meditation (quiet time thinking about God’s word and listening for God to speak to you specifically about something either through his word, with a still small voice within you, an impression or idea in your mind, or other ways God communicates with us such as conversation with others). We must also go to church every Sunday willingly with the intention of fully participating in the worship of God in the singing, in the communion, in the giving of tithes, and in hearing God’s message and then applying it to your life. Fellowship with other true believers is also extremely important. Live your life each day for God doing God’s work including helping others in need when you have the ability to help them or finding someone able to help if you are unable to provide the kind of help they need. When you live your life for the Lord and your daily goal is to please God then you will not grow spiritually dull, but will continue to grow spiritually and you will blossom into the person God created you to be.

My nephews are growing up fast (already trying to crawl and trying to speak), and although all babies and all people (especially babies-young adults) in general no matter how old they are tend to mature at different times in their life and some faster than others, but we should all try to be more like my nephews, but with our spiritual growth and work hard daily to continue to grow and mature in our faith in God and in the service we give to God. You should not be where you were a year ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago, today in your faith. You should be stronger and more mature in your faith and able to do more now to serve God than you were able to do a year ago, 5 years ago, or whenever you first started believing in God (and were first baptized and new in walking in God’s ways). If you are stuck in the same place, then take a moment to figure out why (are you neglecting daily Bible study for 30 minutes or more? Are you letting doubts creep in or letting naysayers (nonbelievers who are not living their dream or following God’s ways) influence you, whether consciously or unintentionally and without realizing it?) so that you can take steps to move forward with God’s plan for you. Make time for Bible study daily, surround yourself with other true believers who are children of God and who can guide you along God’s path with godly advice and godly wisdom, ignore naysayers and do not focus on your circumstances, but instead keep your eyes on the Lord and his promises at all times. In Matthew 14, starting at verse 22, while Jesus had went away to pray privately his disciples ran into some trouble out on the water in their boat because of an unexpected storm. Jesus saw them in trouble and walked on water towards them to rescue them and when Peter saw Jesus and thought it was a ghost and Jesus said not to worry because he is here, Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Jesus said, “Yes, come,” so Peter climbed over the side of the boat and started walking towards Jesus with his eyes on the Lord, but then he saw the strong wind and waves and got scared and took his eyes off of Jesus and almost drowned. Jesus caught him and led him back to the boat where then both climbed back into it. The point of this story is to show that Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the storm instead of his Lord and Savior, so he almost drowned because of lack of faith. If he had the kind of faith he should have had after all the time he spent with Jesus then he would have kept his eyes on Jesus and would never have begun to sink. I work daily at doing all I can to strengthen my faith in God and to show my faith with my actions. I do daily Bible study, I spread God’s word online and talk about God to others on the phone or in person when the other person opens the door to a discussion about God (and some strangers do it to, which always pleasantly surprises me). When God gives me the opportunity to help someone else or to bless someone, I take it. I try to make sure I don’t live an idle life by wasting time but strive daily to make sure everything I do is for the Lord and in alignment with his will and with his particular plans for my life. It is important for all believers to do this.

Peter (yes the same Peter who almost drowned in Matthew 14 because he didn’t have enough faith, whom Jesus grabbed so he wouldn’t sink) tells us in 1 Peter 2:2-3, “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” Just like my nephews crave their milk and also some solid food now, we must crave spiritual milk and spiritual solid foods which come from reading and hearing God’s word. On days you struggle with your faith, think of a time God was really good to you (and there must be more than one time when he was) and remember that this same God who was good to you before has even more amazing things in store for your future if you will continue to believe and stand firmly in your faith. Remember also that it is darkest before the dawn, so when you feel the enemy’s worst attacks, that is when if you decide to stand firm in your faith and stand your ground, you will see amazing blessings from God (and some of them will be life-changing and turn your situation around in your favor) and you will praise God for lifting you out of the mud and mire (taking you away from your enemies and rescuing you from your troubles) and placing you on solid ground.

How to Manifest Positive Changes in Your Life

Alexis Malek

August 18, 2013

How to Manifest Positive Changes in Your Life

 

Are you going through a difficult time in your life? Do you want to see things change for the better? If you want to see changes in your life, focusing on what is wrong and complaining about it is the wrong way to go. Merely expecting things to change is not enough either. The first thing you have to do to see change is to change your mindset and your attitude. Stop thinking about the negative and stop seeing only your problems. It may not be an easy task, but if you focus on God’s promises and adopt a positive attitude and mindset and think only positive thoughts about yourself and your situation, then that will open the door for the changes you seek will begin to manifest.

Part of changing your attitude means that you start expecting things to get better and stay in peace and be more loving and forgiving towards others and always be kind no matter how badly you feel. When you are able to stay in peace and keep your kindness towards God, others, and yourself then you are passing the test God is putting you through to show yourself how strong your faith it. When you have a bad attitude, it actually hinders any progress being made to change your situation, which is why it is important to have a good attitude no matter how bad things appear to get or how bad they are in the moment. Remember that the difficult situation is temporary and that you will make it out stronger and better than before.  Spiritual growth occurs during difficult times and the more you grow in your faith, the better off you will be. Thinking positive thoughts in alignment with God’s word is the way to develop a positive mindset and attitude. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” While working on changing your mindset (what you focus on and think about) and have started working on developing a positive attitude, it is important that you believe God’s promises you are focusing on and believe that God will be faithful to honor every promise to you.

The next step is to start taking action steps that go in the direction of the change (or changes) you want to see in your life. For instance, if you are struggling financially and currently do not have a job, first you would see yourself working (doing something you enjoy and earning money for it) and believe the job is yours and then go seeking it. To do this you would look for the job you have in your heart to do and apply to it. If your resume needs to be updated, then update it listing previous experience and training at school and College that have prepared you specifically for this job you want and leave out unimportant job experiences if there are any previous jobs you have had that have nothing to do with the one you will be applying for. Do not misunderstand me, you probably will not get a job the next day after you have started changing your attitude and updated your resume, but if you keep working hard to manifest the changes you seek then you will see these changes start to occur in your life. Patience and endurance are other qualities you will need to develop before you see your situation change positively.  In time, you will see the change you have been seeking manifest before your eyes, even if it is one step at a time that it happens.

A thing to remember about time is that it belongs to God so when God feels the time is right, then you will make it through your difficult situation and come out the other side better off than you were before because you will be stronger and will appreciate the positive changes made more when you worked hard to make them happen. If the change seems to be taking longer than you expected, then it could be you are being saved from future disaster or you are not ready yet for what God has in store for you. Trusting in God’s timing is hard to do a lot of the time, but it is necessary to do if you want to see the positive changes in your situation come to light. When God sees the positive changes you made on yourself, and when he feels you are ready, then he will bring forth the changes needed to be made to turn your situation around in your favor. Once God has brought about the changes you needed, remember to thank him, and not just for finally helping you turn your situation around, but also thank him for the difficulties he out you through that showed you how strong your faith is. In Acts 16:25-26, the Apostle Paul is in jail for preaching the word of God and instead of complaining about his problems and giving up, it says he sang hymns. Can you imagine that? Paul was in prison and he was singing hymns to God! And then there was a mighty earthquake that shook the foundation of the prison, opening all of the doors and Paul was free! If you read on, you will find out why he was able to sing in his trials and tribulation. The jailer got upset when he thought the prisoners had escaped and was about to kill himself but Paul yelled out to him not to do it and told the jailer that all of the prisoners were there and all accounted for. The next thing that happened was that the jailer and his whole entire family were baptized. A whole family got saved because of Paul’s faith and positive attitude through his difficult situation. You can share in this reward of eternal salvation if you will just stand firm in your faith through your afflictions and difficulties and stay focused on God’s promises instead of how bad your situation is temporarily at the present time in your life.

Another good example of someone who stayed in faith is Job (Old Testament), who was a faithful servant of God who never sinned against him but Satan asked God if he could test Job and God agreed and Job went from riches and a big family to poverty, losing most of his family members, and losing his health. Job spoke out his confusion and his feelings to God, but he also stayed in faith throughout. In Job 23:10, Job states that “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me I will come out as pure as gold.” At the end of the book of Job, his health, family and wealth is all returned and was given twice as much as he had before the testing had begun of Job’s faith. This was just in Job’s lifetime! Imagine the reward he will receive later on in heaven for standing firmly in his faith even though Satan had taken away his family, health, and riches.

You can experience these amazing blessings in your life too when you make the decision to stand firmly in your faith, which starts with keeping a positive attitude (or adopting one) along with a positive frame of mind which happens when you think positive thoughts. Positive thoughts are easier to think when you stay focused on God’s promises, which comes from daily Bible study and attending church regularly with an open heart and mind to learn and apply what you learn from God’s word to your life. New habits take three weeks to develop, so once you have been purposely thinking positive thoughts and keeping a positive attitude for three weeks, it will become easier to do so without having to put forth as much effort as you did in the beginning. The main points here are to stay positive and to take action steps towards the changes you want to be made in your life and believe with your whole heart and with your mind that the changes you seek are possible to be made and that they will happen. Remember to thank God during your difficult time that he is changing things in your life for the better and when he has brought the changes to pass in your life, remember to thank him for your troubles as well as your triumph in your situation.