Friday, December 30, 2011

Psalm 148 The Rejuvenating Activity of Praise

Divine light
It has been said, “prayer and praise change people, not God.” What happens to us when we offer praise to God?

To praise God essentially requires us to willingly put God at the center of our lives. We must surrender all of ourselves to the Spirit.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Psalm 96 All Things Old Are Made New

Lord Howe Island snorkeling - Double headed wr...
God is our refuge in a world of chaos. Our planet is undergoing dramatic change the likes of which has never been seen before. There is no sign of an ebbing of the rapid pace of transformation. In the midst of all of this turmoil, there is a source of stability and permanence in our lives should we choose to embrace it.

In the spiritual realm there is the reliability of Principle. We have the Law and the guidelines with which we can most effortlessly navigate our lives. On a macro level we know the basics:

As you believe, you shall receive.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
As within, so without.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Psalm 89 The Covenant of Love

Love of God
No matter how far we veer from our spiritual path, God is true to God’s promises. Even when we are in the depths of despair, we should know that all experiences in our lives have one purpose: to lead us to God. We need only recognize that fact and step forward in faith and love to claim our divine inheritance.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Psalm 126 Awaking from the Dream

Have you noticed that we tend to label things we do not want or do not like, evil? It is interesting how we take our own expectations and standards and make them the benchmark for ‘right’ in the world. Much of the suffering in this world is merely a dream (or perhaps nightmare) of our own creation. This is not to say that we should completely discount the presence of evil in the world, but it does help us take a step back and look more closely. More often than not our experience of suffering is caused by our own inability to let go of what we think should be and instead accept on what is.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Psalm 85 Understanding and Growth

Colorful New Growth, Fountain Grass
The challenge in walking the spiritual path is that the more we learn, the more disciplined our lives must become. We must become the evidence of our understanding. Spiritual growth is never a straight upward climb. There are always surges forward followed by times of retreat and backsliding. When we become deeply aware of our spiritual nature (restored the fortunes of Jacob), the edges of our lives are smoothed and we seem to coast along more easily. Inevitably, we will be asked to explore another growing edge. These opportunities are challenging and at times it can feel as though we are being punished (will you be angry with us forever).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Psalm 80 Look Within

Retaining wall covered by vines
As we navigate our spiritual journey, we should expect to have trials and tribulations along the way. These experiences help us broaden and strengthen our understanding and faith. There are times, however, when we are caught off guard by these troubles and instead of looking within for guidance; we are seduced into relying on external stimuli for information and direction. Undoubtedly when we make these mistakes, we experience a great deal of suffering in our lives.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Psalm 100 Present in Praise

Praise the Lord ...
Have you noticed that it is difficult to praise God when we are focused on the past or the future? The only moment in which we can truly experience the Divine is now. This poem calls every fiber of our being in to joyous praise. We are to be fully present in the present. Giving thanks to God should be done with gladness not fear or moroseness. Singing is an activity that draws our whole being into praise. When we sing the sound causes vibrations within and around us, creating harmony. Also singing relaxes the left or analytical brain. It allows us to be fully present in the moment.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Psalm 123 Spiritual Pride

Temple of Christ the Savior Lanterne StatueImage via WikipediaServants look to their master for direction (hand). And so must we with the Christ within. Those who choose to serve God are given relief from the contempt of the worldly life. This requires a single-minded focus on the spiritual. When we begin to know the nature of God, we can have faith we will be protected in our time of trial. The mercy of God is grace—aid from God in the process of our regeneration. If we allow, Spirit can guide us so that we cooperate to the best of our abilities with God’s Law, and limit our suffering. But we cannot do this half-heartedly; it is an all or nothing proposition.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Psalm 34 Lessons for Life

Canvas textureImage by net_efekt via FlickrOne of the most challenging aspects of the spiritual life is that the Spirit of the Divine requires a blank canvas (poor soul), on which to paint its perfect portrait. We must approach God with pure humility, laying aside our personal will, in the search for true spiritual understanding. Any troubles we experience are only a reflection of our erroneous beliefs of our separation from God and each other. We experience separation primarily when we become deeply self-centered. When we choose to make ourselves our center, our connection to God fades.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Psalm 107 Giving Up the Fight

Fight!Image by keppet via FlickrHave you noticed that it is hard work to rebel against God? In a sense, it is similar to fighting against the laws of nature. If we try to act contrary to the law of gravity, eventually we are bound to get hurt. Likewise, when we resist the Laws of Mind and Being, much unnecessary pain and suffering result. It takes a lot of mental energy to actively resist the presence of Spirit in our lives. And yet so many of us are deeply committed to this practice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Psalm 90 The Wrath of the Law

The Oxford Law Society CrestImage via WikipediaGod’s law is pure potential, as with any law the rules are accessible but it is our choice to cooperate with the law and minimize our own difficulties.
We experience a process of degeneration and regeneration on the path. We turn to our own ways (dust) and then God calls us back to our spiritual nature. This is an on going process in our spiritual awakening. We make forward progress and then slip, as we are given tougher tests in life. But we who are persistent continue on. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for us to learn the Truth (for a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past). Once we understand our true nature it is as if it has always been that way (the years are swept away).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Psalm 99 Mystery and The Sacred Life

Mystery BridgeImage by SpacePirate82 via FlickrWhat does it mean to live a sacred life? Although it may take an infinite number of forms, at it heart is a single principle. To live the sacred life is to engage the world from the divine core within us. Psalm 99 is a declaration of the primacy of God within human beings. We were created in God’s image and likeness, and as such our thought life (peoples) and physical life (earth) were created for the purpose of serving God. Spirit protects that divine spark within each an every one of us (he sits enthroned upon the cherubim). We only have to ask to be shown its magnitude, but that spark is always lit, no matter how dim the light appears to us.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Psalm 106 Obstinacy

ObstinanceImage by greg.turner via FlickrWhen we successfully navigate a challenge to our faith, we must be careful not to rest on our laurels. Also we must not take personal credit for the success, it is only through Spirit that we are able to rise above our weaknesses. We can be assured that there will be a greater challenge ahead of us and we must always be prepared for that lesson.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Psalm 19 Divine Intelligence

HeartImage via WikipediaThere is an underlying intelligence in all things that is evidenced by the constant change in the world. Nothing stays the same. That is because of this Divine energy that moves us forward through the process of evolution. It is the source of all life. From every beat of our heart, to the seed that becomes a plant, this life force creates life. We can choose to cooperate with that force or we can attempt to fight it, for God has given us freewill. But there are consequences of resisting. This force moves us towards the greatest good at all times.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Psalm 78 Revelation

Military tentsImage via WikipediaWhile study and spiritual practices are an important part of the journey, there comes a time at which these helpful tools have a limited capacity to help us move forward. Knowing God is a process of transformation for us not a destination. We must never be attached to the ideas or practices so that we miss that God is constantly revealing new and more profound aspects of God’s self to us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Psalm 98 Breakthrough

Breakthrough Iron GateImage via WikipediaSpiritual growth is not a straight upward climb. At first we have times of major forward progress. Then we reach a plateau stage, where things roll along smoothly. After this phase of development, we typically have some sort of major upheaval in which our faith is tested. If we pass these tests with harmlessness, we begin the cycle again. The shift from upheaval to major advancement is called a breakthrough.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Psalm 149 The Two-Edged Sword

Full Sword in scabbardImage via WikipediaThe power of the uttered and thought word cannot be underestimated. We can use the creative authority of the word to craft a life of joy or pain. It is our choice. The throat is the power center through which our understanding is expressed. Our word in tone and vibration always reflects that which we truly believe. Regardless of the actual words spoken, our true intention can always be discerned. This is why the tongue is the two-edged sword. On the one hand it is the source of all creative energy in our lives. However it can also be the most destructive force in our lives.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Psalm 26 Integrity

Global Integrity Dialogues / PNGImage by Global Integrity via FlickrWhat does the word integrity mean? Most of us think of this word in terms of either being in accordance with worldly standards or some standard we have set for ourselves. This psalm explores an alternate meaning for the word. It is not of our own strength that we claim integrity. It is when we know that God is before us and behind us every step that we can rest in our faith. To stand in integrity is to conform unwaveringly to God’s standard or God’s will through attention to the Christ presence within us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Psalm 124 A Place of Safety in the Flood

flood and fallImage by mosesofmason via FlickrHave you noticed how one negative thought can quickly turn a positive state of mind into a chaotic mess? These thoughts are extremely destructive and have been compared to wild beasts in this poem. They certainly wreak havoc on our state of mind when we allow them to linger. When we are overwhelmed with thoughts based in the deluge of material and worldly consciousness (flood, raging waters), we can always turn to God for help.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Psalm 133 Oneness

perspectiveImage by huntz via FlickrWhen we begin to understand our spiritual heritage, our perspective is changed forever. We are "born again."  We see the world through "new eyes." The commonwealth of God is only experienced from the perspective of unity. It is godly (good) to recognize and embrace the oneness of all things (live together in unity). Because we are all of God, we are all one. Spiritual consciousness is the recognition and experience of unity, the oneness of everything and everybody in God. From the unified perspective nothing but love exists, for we are all God and we are all one.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Psalm 105 The Promised Land

John Martin's painting of the plague of hail a...Image via WikipediaAs spiritual aspirants we must accept and embrace one major truth. The path is a process not a destination. There are times when we feel as though walking the path is joyous and simple. We should also anticipate times in which there are trials and it seems as though we have taken steps backwards.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Psalm 17 Effective Prayer

Christians at prayerImage via WikipediaWhen we approach God in prayer, we must do so with an understanding of the Truth. God is divine law and just like the laws of nature there are certain rules (principles) that must be adhered to in order to effectively communicate with God. The golden key is the phrase hears my prayer from lips free of deceit. We must approach God with a pure heart, and God will see the intention behind our supplication.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Psalm 107 Giving Up the Fight

Gravitation sourceImage via WikipediaHave you noticed that it is hard work to rebel against God? In a sense, it is similar to fighting against the laws of nature. If we try to act contrary to the law of gravity, eventually we are bound to get hurt. Likewise, when we resist the Laws of Mind and Being, much unnecessary pain and suffering result. It takes a lot of mental energy to actively resist the presence of Spirit in our lives. And yet so many of us are deeply committed to this practice.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Psalm 139 God is Great! God is Good!

the Stainned Gless of depicting the Holy Spirit.Image via WikipediaWhen we sit back and truly contemplate all that we are, we cannot help but be mesmerized. Each beat of our heart takes so many interrelated processes working in exact harmony, we know that it is impossible that human being could create something so perfect. If we sit and observe the precision of nature, we are filled with a profound reverence for life and for God. We can take comfort in the immanence and steadfast love of God. We should take time to contemplate our lives and marvel at the wonder that is our existence.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Psalm 119:105-112 Discipline

It is not through intellectual understanding that we follow God. It is through surrendering to the Divine that we attain wisdom and understanding. Knowing God is not an overnight process but a lifelong one. Age does not necessarily bring wisdom, for one who is obstinate may have lived many years, but has not learned the true lessons of life. We can only hope that each day, in fact every minute and second, that our mind is open and receptive enough to learn all of the new lessons before us. When we follow the law it is a sweet thing because we can rest in the comfort of God’s protection and in the Truth.  8KQGVYRRHRJQ

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Psalm 45 The Spiritual Marriage

In the Scriptures we see many different types of relationships between man and woman, beginning of course with the story of Adam and Eve. When reading the texts in the context of the deeper spiritual meaning, one sees that both the masculine and feminine represent various faculties within the individual consciousness. Masculinity symbolizes the intellect, mind and wisdom. Femininity on the other hand symbolizes for the intuition, emotions, feelings, love and the soul. These are not intended as pejorative labels and these ideas do not necessarily represent social roles for individuals. Within each man and woman all of these faculties exist and are to be developed appropriately.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Psalm 13 In God’s Time

fresco at the Karlskirche in vienna (by Johann...Image via WikipediaHow long? This is the eternal human cry. Waiting on God is one of the greatest challenges every believer faces. We must recognize that we are part of God’s plan not vice versa. It is our responsibility to maintain our faith in the divinely ordained outcome in every situation. Often we believe we are praying correctly for what we want in our lives but we get overly specific. Instead of letting go and letting Spirit reveal Its gifts to us, we become attached to a particular outcome. When we engage in this state of mind, quite often we give up and say that our prayer did not work. We delay the gifts that God has in store for us with wavering faith.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Psalm 8 Dominion

Creation mythImage via WikipediaGod granted humankind dominion over the earth at the time of the creation (Gen 3). What does this mean? It does not mean that we have the right to do whatever we want to do to the rest of the creation. What it does mean is that we have complete control over our world.  What each of us experiences individually is a product of our mental and emotional state.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Psalm 104 Creativity

P1010676Image by Robert Pratten via FlickrWe have the opportunity to participate in the field of creativity each and every day. God is constantly reaching towards us (laying the beams of his chambers). We need only be receptive. This current of life imparts divine ideas (messengers) and the cleansing and purifying activity of Spirit (fire and flames your ministers).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Psalm 93 God in the Center

The one fact is God. All other things are circumstance. -Unknown
If we think about it for a minute, it is a strange thing that so often we feel distant and removed from God. How is it that we experience isolation from a God who always is, has been, and will be in our presence and in our midst?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Psalm 66 God's Grace

Holy Spirit paintingImage by hickory hardscrabble via FlickrMost of us are blessed with grace filled moments in which we recognize that all of the blessings of our lives are not because of anything that we have done to deserve them (who has kept us among the living and has not let our feet slip). All of the marvelous works in our life and in the world are because of the nature of God (his name). When we realize that God has taken care of every detail—from our conception, to the beating of our hearts, to the way the brain processes information—we cannot help but give praise. There is so much around us that we cannot explain or replicate with human understanding. All of these gifts give us clues to the character of God.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Psalm 31 Cycles of Growth

As we walk along our spiritual path, our lives and experiences move in cycles. First, there is the time of rapid advancement in which we have a lot of activity going on and our progress feels very real and measurable. These times can be experienced as a high because we are in the flow and we can feel it with every fiber of our being. We feel the Presence and Power of God in a tangible way. These are the times in which we are acutely aware of Divine activity in our lives.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Psalm 23 Green Pastures

Psalm 23 is often referred to as the Shepherd'...Image via Wikipedia Green is term we use to describe those who are inexperienced and childlike in understanding. But “green-ness” is critical to a fresh perspective and new understanding. Although many of us desperately cling to the “same-ness” and stability in our lives, living is about change and transformation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Psalm 116 A Near Death Experience

During our darkest times (snares of death, pangs of Sheol), we can always turn to that still small voice within for answers. Death is merely the belief that we are separate from God. If that thought is anywhere in our consciousness, we are dead in spirit. We cannot achieve our full potential without knowing that we are one with God and that in that relationship we live, move and have our being. When we trust in God’s steadfast love and faithfulness (call on the name of the Lord), we are delivered.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Psalm 16 Divine Protection

Fountain of Eternal LifeImage via WikipediaOne of the most important aspects of a relationship with the Divine is that it improves the believer’s everyday life. This is commonly referred to as the protection of God. For the faithful there is a perspective on every situation that is beyond the worldly appearance. Without faith in God and the spiritual perspective, the world seems to be an evil place. This prayer of thanksgiving to God is a strong affirmation of faith that there is no good apart from the Divine. The spiritual life offers us the ability to see any circumstance from the divine point of view (holy ones in the land).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Psalm 118 Rebirth

TúImage by javierhansard via Flickr
We celebrate the resurrection of the Christ this week. This triumphant story has a profound connection to our own walk with God. We experience death when we become overly attached to the world and the external. The creative power of God (right hand) raises us up and out of the confusion of our physical and mental fixations. If we open our hearts and minds, Spirit can show us the straight and narrow path (open to me the gates of righteousness). This is the way to our inner Christ. Only when we surrender our lives to God can we enter into our spiritual domain. It is important to give thanks for each step along the spiritual journey, because thanksgiving makes our experiences more fruitful. As we make this shift, we repossess our spiritual inheritance of abundance, health and happiness (salvation).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Psalm 31 Cycles of Growth

As we walk along our spiritual path, our lives and experiences move in cycles. First, there is the time of rapid advancement in which we have a lot of activity going on and our progress feels very real and measurable. These times can be experienced as a high because we are in the flow and we can feel it with every fiber of our being. We feel the Presence and Power of God in a tangible way. These are the times in which we are acutely aware of Divine activity in our lives.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Psalm 118 Death

How do you respond to the idea of death, with resistance or acceptance? The dramatic stories of the holy week in the Jewish and Christian traditions remind us that we must be willing to face death directly in order experience salvation. Are you in tune with the small deaths that you are confronted with daily? As spiritual seekers, we must die to our attachments to the world.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Psalm 130 Morning Comes

Morning Glow ~ Liptov, SlovakiaImage by Martin Sojka via FlickrIf God were tallying errors how could any us stand tall? But in God’s eyes we are all worthy of love. God’s nature is merciful, so there is hope for us all. The forgiveness of God merely requires that we be receptive to changing our attitudes and thoughts, and be willing to set off on the spiritual path of seeking Truth.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Psalm 23 Green Pastures

Renton. Farm near Grantshouse. Sheep and cattl...Image via WikipediaGreen is a term we use to describe those who are inexperienced and childlike in understanding. But ‘green-ness’ is critical to a fresh perspective and new understanding. Although many of us desperately cling to the ‘same-ness’ and stability in our lives, living is about change and transformation. If we fight to stay the same, we find everything continues changing around us. It is in the new that we are best able to embody those childlike qualities, we desire. When we can drop the facade of expertise and knowledge, we allow ourselves to just experience what is. The excitement and anticipation in facing the unknown is palpable.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Psalm 95 Steadfast Faith

God is steadfastly loyal and loving, regardless of our behavior. But what is the human initiative in this relationship? And what does it mean in terms of our life, if we fulfill our promise and potential in God’s eyes? We have the gift of freewill. That power can be put to use in the service of Spirit or it can be squandered pursuing the things of the world.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Psalm 121 The Lord Waits On You

As we reach a deeper level of spiritual understanding, many things become clearer to us. Christ said, as you give so shall you receive. Most of us relate to this to in a very limited way. We think that if we give money or love, we will receive them in kind. But perhaps the most important application of this principle is in our relationship with God. When we serve God joyously and wholeheartedly, we will find that Spirit will serve us everyday in every way. Turning our lives over to God opens the floodgates so that God’s Presence and Power may guide us.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Psalm 32 Acknowledging Our Sins

Do your sins define who you are? Are they opportunities for you to learn and grow? Or do you hide your sins from yourself and others to maintain a facade? To sin is merely “to miss the mark” and we are all constantly doing that. How we process our missteps is just as important as the actual sin.

It is important to remember that we must acknowledge our sins before we can be healed of them. What does that mean? It does not mean that we wallow in them, feel guilty about them, give them power over us, or punish ourselves over them. It merely means that we must delve deep enough within our consciousness to know they are there. We cannot heal a trait that we do not recognize. As the psalmist says, we try to hide our iniquities from God. In reality, God is omniscient and so we have really only tried to hide our sins from ourselves.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Psalm 2 Overcoming Ego

The human ego is an interesting gift. It allows us to become incarnate and move through the world. Through the ego the personality is formed which enables us to become a unique manifestation of God. But it is also the source of much stress and strife in our lives. Our egos cause us to perceive ourselves as separate from God and each other. The ego is a powerful force that fights to maintain control of the consciousness.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Psalm 131 The Faith of a Toddler

To have the trust and faith in God that an infant has in its mother, is the ultimate achievement for the spiritual seeker. The child does not question or analyze its mother, It merely knows that she will take care of his needs. The Hebrew word gamal means wean but it also means to ripen, to serve, and to benefit. To wean means to disengage from a habit by discontinuance, but it also implies care and preparation for that eventual separation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Psalm 119:33-40 God at the Center

We must serve God with our whole heart. This is an all or nothing proposition. A dual-minded person is a confused person and cannot experience peace of mind.

We all experience trials and set backs in our mindset (those who taunt me), as we walk along the path. But we never need fear for once we have heard the word—it never fully leaves us. We may temporarily put it aside but it is still there waiting for us to recall the Truth. When we adhere to the law we experience a freedom like no other. However this freedom comes with the responsibility to keep God at the center of our life and to do it joyfully. In fact if we have truly turned our life over to Spirit, the joy is a product of that decision. (A)nd you will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Psalm 119:1-8 Centering

It is effortless to adhere to the laws of gravity, we do not have to think about it and plan, because it is a law of nature and the way things should be. Only if we try to bend the laws of nature do we find ourselves struggling. When we are single-mindedly focused on God, it is effortless to keep the statutes, because that is the natural way of things. God has a plan for our lives and if we fix our minds on divine will rather than our own, we will find that the struggles of life will fade away. How do we do this? Through daily meditation, spiritual practice and heeding the call of the still small voice inside of us (our intuition).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Psalm 112 True Wealth

We can be truly happy only when we fear God and love the law. What does this mean? Most of us view fear and laws as negative incentives to do something against our will. In the spiritual realm nothing could be further from the truth. Fearing God and loving the law are states of mind in which we direct our full attention Godward. And instead of being binding, it is this that sets us free.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Psalm 15 Abiding

Once we have had a taste of “knowing” God, most of us have the desire to remain in that space and time. Those moments of abiding give us the gift of forgetting our self and being our Self in all its glory. We seek techniques or methods to sustain to that unitive experience. Unfortunately the more effort we give to “trying” to achieve that experience again, the more likely we are to push it away. Eventually we find that the simple spiritual practices keep us on the narrow path from which our awareness of the Presence of the Divine is more focused. From those practices we open ourselves step by step to a Spirit-led life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Psalm 27 Spiritual Warfare

When we are in the middle of difficult circumstances, there is nothing more powerful than knowing that God is there with us and that all is well. Our needs are already known and supplied. We do not have to ask God for anything, we merely have to open our minds to the knowledge that there is only good in our life and bless our circumstances. God is the source of our wisdom (light) and our inheritance (salvation). In the knowledge and understanding of our rightful place as children of God, what should we fear? If all that is God’s is ours, how can there be any lack?

If God is for us, who is against us? (Rom 8:31)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Psalm 40 Obedience

We, as Truth seekers, know that in order to achieve full realization of our Christ potential, the only thing that is required of us is obedience. It sounds very simple, but for us to get to a state of mind in which we are fully compliant to Spirit is an arduous process. In many respects those who are considered to be on the fringes of society have a much easier time with this demand. This is because they often times do not have to release all of the things we are taught to help us fit in to the social order. As any one who has walked the path can tell, there are times when spiritual realization is a lonely road. The decisions we make do not fit the mold of what society tells us, we should want and do. Those around us think that we have truly lost our mind. This is called living in the world but not of the world. In order to be obedient to Spirit, we must go within for guidance and direction in making decisions, because God’s way is never the way of the world.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Psalm 29 Renewal and Glorification

Psalm 29 is a call to worship and glorify the Lord. It has been said that glorification is the highest spiritual state of consciousness attainable by human beings. In order to glorify the Lord, we must understand God. This is a difficult concept to convey in words because typically when we think of understanding, it implies some intellectual or analytical exercise. Spiritual understanding does not have this connotation.