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What puts a smile on God’s face?

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Memories. I am so thankful to be able to think back about friends, places, and I especially cherish the memories of my children. Since all four are mostly grown, I have a host of them, such as this familiar scene that puts a smile on my face. It was a Saturday morning, and my two teenaged sons went in opposite directions—literally. Dylan drove north to Newport Beach to body board at the Wedge (pictured), Danny went south to San Diego for tournament soccer. Long about 9 o’clock that night, they reconnected for some video bonding—game of choice, SSX snowboarding. From my writing chair, I could hear them talking about it and laughing. The point? When my children enjoy one another’s company, it pleases me. It makes me smile.

When I sat down to write my prayer this morning, I had my Bible open to Ephesians 5 and asked God some questions: so, Lord, there is so much here about living in the right way, where shall I focus? How can I honor you and learn to think rightly and encourage others too?

And then I saw it. Tucked in the middle of the chapter is a powerful one-liner—

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

What does that mean?? It means figure out what puts a smile on God’s face.

In the preceding verses in chapter five, Paul has referred to us as children of God twice, so I believe that when we consider what pleases God, we are to look at it from the perspective of him as our Father. Therefore, to please God is something sweeter than honor and obedience. Are we to honor him? Yes, of course. Obey God? Yes. But when we desire to please him, to make him smile, we do so out of our love for him as our Father.

From my mother’s heart, what pleases me when I consider my four children? There are parallels with what pleases my Heavenly Father.

In no particular order, I am pleased when my children …

…want to come home

…act responsibly

…seek after God

…use their talents

…confide in me (which means they trust me!)

…laugh and are tickled. How their joy thrills me!

…are thriving in life and relationships

…want to please me

…enjoy one another, and want to be together

…read good material

…help others, especially those who struggle in some way

…ask my opinion, value my thinking . . .

Clearly, I want to have a special place in the lives of my children, just as God wants that place in our lives. Do you understand the heart of your Father for you?

Hmmm…carefully determine what pleases the Lord

God is pleased when his children

…look forward to Heaven/eternity with him

…act responsibly, wisely, prudently

…endeavor to please him

…enjoy other believers and want to be with them

…help and serve others

…laugh in joy

…make the most of every day and are thriving

…confide in him and look to him for help

…trust him fully

Isn’t it interesting to note the similarities in what pleases my heart as a mom, and what pleases the heart of our Heavenly Father? “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord,” Paul wrote, and perhaps this is a good start in our consideration … I love the thought that you and I might want to please God, and that we might even make God smile!

How deep the Father's love for us!:

The lyrics are unmatched, but the musical talent is too! Celtic worship.

Smiles are telling,


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