“How to Please God” by Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest blogger)

“How to Please God”

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell

Scripture Readings: Hebrews Chapters 3-4

Key Verses: Hebrews 4:7, 4:2, 4:12, 3:13

“He again fixes a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, ‘Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’”

“For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”

“For the word of God is living and active…able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

As we have already noted in the previous post, as Moses led his people through the wilderness, they witnessed God’s love and his works, but they complained and were not united in their belief and their faith, and continued to sin in their disobedience. They had “hardened their hearts” and were unable to receive the love that God so freely offered. As a result, the scripture tells us that in His wrath, those who were disobedient would not enter his rest in heaven—they rejected what he offered. Three times in these chapters of Hebrews the Old Testament verse is quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

It’s very clear. We can’t hide from God—he knows our thoughts, our intentions, knows who we truly are. “Today” is emphasized in the passage—I think it means “daily” here, daily encouraging each other in faith, opening to God’s will. Daily we are to take up our crosses and follow him, “lest we fall away.” Today, we need to pay attention, to be aware of God’s presence, to be still, to resign to his will, to allow Him to shape us and form us.

So, how do we please God? We please God by following his commandments and we can remember that Jesus said they are easy to remember if we remember to first love God with all our heart, our mind, our soul, our strength and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If we do those things, we are living the Christ-filled life of Discipleship. We become more Christ-like.

We please God if we:

–Open our hearts to the Holy Spirit who pursues us and accept His grace

–Read, study, and know His Word, as it is through the scriptures that our faith develops

–Unite with other believers in faith and mutual encouragement

–Submit to His will and obey his commandments

–Share His love with others in our words and actions

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to keep an open heart. Help me to be open to your Holy Spirit’s guidance. Let all that I do be done in love and be pleasing in your sight. Amen.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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