How to Please God

Advice from Solomon and the book of Hebrews.


Ben White


 

HAVE YOU EVER PONDERED the daunting prospect of trying to please God?

Our God is omnipotent, so he doesn't need anything. And he's holy so we can never live up to his standard of morality.

How then can one possibly please God? Is it even possible?

Yes, it's possible, as you'll see, and the approach is actually pretty straightforward—though it might not be what you think. We'll take cues from Solomon and Job for an Old Testament, pre-messianic perspective and then the book of Hebrews to gain a more complete picture.

Before we dive in, though, here's the short answer:

The Importance of Christ's Recklessness

A preview of April's email-only article.


Daniel Thomas


What does the Bible say about cosigning loans?

Perhaps you're familiar with the proverb advising that those who cosign for strangers will suffer harm (Pro. 11:15). Sound advice, right?

Yet, I think there's another angle to this discussion worth bringing to light.

Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers. This month we're looking at the reckless decision Jesus made, and why that decision is so critical in our lives.

If you'd like instant, free access to the article, fill out the form below. If you're already a subscriber, check your inbox.

Here's a snippet from the article:

I MET KATIE IN THE HALCYON DAYS of senior year at Norman High School. Life sped by at a thoroughbred's pace, and I did my best to maintain my grip on the reins; it seemed I went from a twerp teenager to man-child in a matter of days.

Two years after graduation, we were married.

One struggle of twenty-year-old newlyweds is leasing an apartment. We had jobs, but no credit, and they were part-time jobs. So even though our rent was something like $375, they wanted a cosigner—someone to fulfill the yearlong commitment were we to flake out.

My dad signed the paperwork.

It was probably stupid for him to do it, but he loved us and trusted in our work ethic and financial savvy.

Lest you think this is one of those financial horror stories, we paid our rent. Every month on time.

But the story could have turned out differently.

 
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Your Money Is No Good Here: The Only Way to Prepare for Judgment Day

 Cash can't cushion you from metaphysical disaster.


Glenn Carstens-Peters


 

NEARLY EVERY FINANCIAL ADVISOR on the planet advocates for having a cash reserve to cover unexpected expenses. Author and former television show host Suze Orman recommends you save eight months of expenses. Famed radio personality Dave Ramsey suggests three to six months is enough.

Sage advice if you ask me.

Costly mishaps have a way of barging into our lives without permission, and for those without a large, unallocated, cash fund, such events can have devastating effects.

Though they might differ on the recommended amount, these experts all use similar monikers to describe the account. They used words like emergency fund, safety net, buffer, and rainy-day fund.

Several years ago Katie and I decided to sell one of our sedans to buy a larger vehicle. With the adoption of our two foster boys, we had gone from zero to three children in the span of about a year, and elbow room was getting tight in the back of that Nissan Sentra.

We found a buyer and arranged to meet him at his bank the next morning.

Can You Ever Be Good Enough for God?

   A preview of March's email-only article.


Patrick Schneider


What do you think?

Can a mortal man be right before God? Can a person be pure before his maker?

These are the questions posed not by Job, but by his friend Eliphaz in response to Job.

Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers, and this month we're asking the question: can one ever be good enough for God?

If the question sounds loaded, it is. But I think it's a critical query each of us must resolve in our own minds if we're ever to make sense of the Scriptures and of our lives.

If you'd like instant, free access to the article, fill out the form below.

Here's a snippet:

Job's friend here intends to juxtapose our finite and humble existences to that of God almighty who is everlasting, pure, and perfect.

He first posed the rhetorical, "Who that was innocent ever perished?" as if insinuating Job deserved the suffering in his life.

Then he circled back and reported the words of a voice he heard, asking, "Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?" (4:17).

Connecting the dots here, Eliphaz argues that the innocent will not perish, but that no one is innocent.

Fair enough.

We've all sinned, as the apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans.

 
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Life's Not as Fair as We Think It Should Be

Yes, the innocent do perish.


Rendy Novantino

 

DATA SCIENTISTS WORRY about underfitting, a phenomenon in which a formula predicts outcomes using limited inputs.

As you can imagine, this results in output errors because the underfit model fails to account for a wide enough variety of possibilities.

Underfitting, then, is essentially an oversimplification of a causal relationship based on insufficient data points. One example, spelled out by the AI wizards at DataRobot, is the correlation between sales and advertising:

An underfitted model may suggest that you can always make better sales by spending more on marketing when in fact the model fails to capture a saturation effect (at some point, sales will flatten out no matter how much more you spend on marketing).

So while it's generally true that spending more money on advertising will yield increased sales, at some point marketers will see diminishing returns on investment. The underfit model might suggest a straight line when, in reality, the model should look something more like a logarithmic function, curving upwards until flattening out at a certain point.

In a similar way we see Eliphaz, in the fourth chapter of Job, underfitting one of his proverbs; he attempts to derive a universal truth from a generally true axiom.

Whether You Realize It or Not, Nothing Can Prepare You for Tragedy

  A preview of February's email-only article.


Mitch Gaff


Can you ever really prepare for tragedy?

Should you even try?

Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers, and this month we're wrestling with these very questions. If you'd like instant, free access, fill out the form below.

Here's a snippet:

The same counsel we give others in times of stress or grief we should abide by when such situations befall us. If we advise others to trust in God's provision, but feel slighted by God in the face of loss, doesn't that make us hypocrites?

But you see, everything Job taught and counseled those countless others to do could have been 100% correct in theory. Job was obviously wise, resourceful, and devout so I'm sure he had a lot of good advice to hand out.

But no amount of reading, studying, prayer, counsel, or anything else can prepare you for tragedy and the grief that follows. It is impossible to get in that headspace until you yourself undergo it.

 
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