Monday, November 5, 2012

Living to Please God

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

My Studio is a busy place
I've been sick with a chest cold and sore throat for most of the past week. Today I am still hacking and coughing but I am at least sitting at my desk doing things like posting $5 dollar feather earrings to my artfire shop see the link below the photo if you are interested in them.

I finishing up eleven turkey pins and posted them to facebook - hopefully the one of a kind designs will be a hit and they will be gone in a flurry of feathers. If you want any leave a comment or e-mail me at princessmargot at I will need your e-mail address to send you a pay pal invoice.
In between feeling lousy I have cleaned and organized my home studio space but mostly it seems like I have spent my time sitting on the couch feeling fuzzy brained.

One of my life verses has been
1 Thessalonians 4:11
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

My life is not always quiet but I do spend a lot of time working with my hands. Chapter 4 of Thessalonians is all about Living to Please God. It talks of being in control of your own body and not into sexual impurity. It talks of brotherly love and the Thessalonians are commended for doing that part well. Ephesians 4 gives us some more about living to please God.

Ephesians 4 Unity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

I think in our society there is a pressure for one to be great or exalted. People want to be the next American Idol or to have their bit of fame and fortune. Yet the verse today from 1 Thessalonians urges us to live quit lives.  Matthew Henry writes "It is the most desirable thing to have a calm and quiet temper, and to be of a peaceable and quiet behavior. This tends much to our own and others’ happiness; and Christians should study how to be quiet. We should be ambitious and industrious how to be calm and quiet in our minds, in patience to possess our own souls, and to be quiet towards others; or of a meek and mild, a gentle and peaceable disposition, not given to strife, contention, or division." This goes so against the grain of our society that makes us think that we need to be busy all the time and out living the good life. That we need more stuff to really be happy, but that brings us often more debt and financial pressure. We work more so we can have more but then we have no time to enjoy it. Our families fall apart from neglect while we are often busy trying to give them a good life when what they most want and need is to be with us.  We can get our selves into a major spin cycle in the middle of the rat race and before we know it have no peace and little joy.
The Lord tells us we need a day of rest during the week. Here we are urged to live a quiet life. To be about the work that God has given us to do and not be meddling in the business of others.

I still feel a bit fuzzy brained so I'm not sure this is my best post. But I think we could probably all work on developing more of a quiet life.  What are a few things you could do to make your life a bit more quiet?  For me in this instant, I've had to leave my desk in my studio where the kids are watching tv so I could actually think and not be distracted to actually write this post.

A quiet life is the result of making a decision to not just stay busy to avoid having to deal with our issues. A quiet life is not just a lazy couch potato in front of the TV but taking some time with out all the stimuli that bombards us just about every waking moment of every day.  I don't get sick very often and usually when I do there is something that I am missing, that I can't see because I am too busy. I few days on the couch can sometimes help to bring a bit of clarity. In this instance I have been thinking of how I can simplify. When I have felt semi decent I have done little projects around the house to try to simplify. I've been thinking about what things do I really need and what things make me happy? What things just take up space?

Then I have to look at why I feel the need to do and be involved in various activities. Is there a sense of calling? Do I just like to be needed or have a desire to feel special. Maybe the Lord is not asking me to do even half the stuff I think I need to do. Maybe he's asking me to be quiet to be still and to know that he is God. To not have to figure out tomorrow or the next day or what I will be when I actually grow up.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.... We need silence to be able to touch souls.  ~Mother Teresa

I found this quote in Shelter for the Spirit by Victoria Moran "Simplicity is not poverty and lack: If you experienced those you know that juggling bills and chasing checks don't simplify anybody's life.  Simplicity is not not self-denial it is an indulgence, providing you with a wealth of time and space...  She goes on to list other things that are not simplicity.

"Simplicity is discerning the essential from the unessential. Even with a commitment to living simply, you'll have lots of possessions and pastimes that aren't essential to your survival or your spiritual well being...
Simplicity is having room for the unexpected...
Simplicity is savoring life...
Simplicity is freedom: It's the freedom to choose what you want in your life because you are not letting in everything that shows up. It's freedom to do what you want because you're not already committed to more obligations than you can handle and the maintenance of more objects than you'll use. "

A quiet simple life... is an interesting ambition and very foreign to how we have been programed to live in our day and  age. Rather than striving to do and be more to do less. To work to develop an un cluttered life. To keep my relationships un complicated. To learn how to live with less so that I can give more. I realize that I have a long way to go to fully embrace a quiet simple life and maybe you do too. You and I can make choices as we go through our day and the year ahead to step out of the spin cycle. To say no to activities and things that may not really be necessary. To stop and find quiet places of trust and peace even in the busyness of our day.

I realize that I can't even begin this journey unless the Lord helps me. I have to trust that He knows how to get me from where I am today to where He wants me to be at various points in the future. Its a day by day journey and I have to trust that he know the way.

Prayer: I pray that you would find the peace of God today. That you would experience Him in some quiet moment. That his love for you would for an instant take your breath away and fill you with wonder. I pray that He would be able to get your attention and help you to see his answer that is right in front of you but eludes you in your present blindness. May the scales fall from your eyes so that you may see his provision and his abiding love and care for you. May you live your life to please God by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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