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Charged to Walk in a Manner Worthy of God

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I am currently studying Thessalonians with Beth Moore and today, after the study, this scripture jumped off the page and into my heart. This letter was written by Paul, Silas and Timothy. It shows their heart toward the Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12(ESV)

11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

What grabbed my attention was the phrase “Charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God.”

As I studied out the words in Strong’s Greek Dictionary, Word Helps and Dictionary.com, I could barely contain my excitement.

Here are the definitions:

Charged: marturomai: to summon as witness, to affirm, to testify

Walk: 4043 peripatéō (from 4012 /perí, “comprehensively around,” which intensifies 3961 /patéō, “walk”) – properly, walk around, i.e. in a complete circuit (going “full circle”).

Worthy: Cognate: 516 aksíōs (an adverb) – worthily (viewed as “becoming”); suitable because recognized as fitting (having worth that “matches” actual value). See 514 (aksios). [516 (aksíōs) is the root of the English term, “axis.”]

It is that word axis that gets me.

Axis: A real or imagined line of which a body rotates; A fixed reference line for the measurements of coordinates.

Paul, Silas and Timothy are summoning the Thessalonians to live lives, in full measure, completing all their tasks from a fixed reference of Jesus, with all that they are, to rotate around and from Him. That is all their beginnings and endings from and through Christ. What an exhortation!

Paul charged them to live lives like this because he knew they could. This is so exciting because so can we. We can live lives worthy of our God! This is not something outside of our orbit. Jesus has made it possible!

Today, you and I are summoned, officially called to live our lives, beginning to end, the full circle with all our habits, manners and customs satelliting from Jesus, our fixed Savior, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, Restorer! Glory to God who believes in us! Who enables us! Who empowers us to fulfill His purpose in our lives!

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Fragrance of knowledge

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Living with the scars of personal crisis marked me as dysfunctional. A chronic condition I have dealt with for far too many years. I am very people oriented and like to be outgoing. So, why the difficulties you might think? Beats me but it seems to follow my life, lurking like a dark cloud in a bright sky. In part, I have had to observe objectively, to draw my own understanding of why my marks of ownership to God are so deeply outlined in black. But the processes in which God took my personal journey through concluded when I took control of my life under the protection of word of God. It began through a study with some wonderful women God so graciously brought into my life, at His appointed time because He sees us…in real time. His love rescued me and showed me He is interested in what is going on in my life…still. He also knows that I am a very, very private person. God understands the dynamics of becoming too comfortable or complacent to our condition. It is usually about that time, He will “shake” things up to get our attention to show that He is uncompromising. He wants His best for us. He has a plan to bless each of our lives, it’s ours for the taking but it requires our obedience.

 

So, through the months of studying the book Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyers, God began to have His Way in my mind, spirit and body. Before that…it had been my way…which had been living with the deep scars of dysfunctional thinking. That is where God began to deepen my new friendships, born through our sharing of His word in our book study. That was just the beginning of the path He had planned. I had spent over a year getting into better eating habits and exercise. My all around well being was at a better place than it had been for quite awhile. God had shown that He will walk through my valleys and will bring the good things to pass; as I continued to be focused and press through to each milestone He guided me to reach.

 

One thing that God did for me through this personal journey of renewing my mind was bringing me a new name…Zoey, a gift brought to me through Jenni, upon our first meeting. In writing this today, I realize that many who have followed over these many months might be surprised at this announcement. I do apologize. I can tell you that I put it (Zoey) to the test on all levels – Spiritually, emotionally and of course, intellectually. On three very random occasions, God would have the name Zoey mentioned (by divine appointment) to confirm that it was His new name for me.

 

Remember I told you I am a very private person? I don’t like the internet because of the cyber bullying and identity theft. Also, I am a people person. I like to interact face to face, see you and hear your voice. But God had it planned to begin this ministry and it began with giving me a new name, thus the name Zoey was His gift to me. The name means LIFE and it remains the TRUTH in me that brought a NEWNESS of LIFE in serving Jesus. A renewing of my life in a spiritual walk that I will never turn away from and will look towards till I am taken to heaven to be with Him in His Glory.

 

Even with the best of intentions, inevitably family, friends and coworkers, will impose their own values and interpretations. God had me come apart for a time, in order to find peace with my past and understand that my identity is not in what or who people say that I am. It is in who God says belongs to Him and through His Son alone…I am his Zoe daughter…His Life in me!

 

After much prayer, I have decided to write my story for my tribute to our ministry at Tapestry Treasures. It truly was the hand of God, weaving the Word and everyday life experiences that brought our team together. We continue because of the Holy Spirit inspiring us and in turn, we write to share our hearts with you. In unity with Him.

Blessings~Zoey

 

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Metamorphosis

whatever-happens-butterfly-purpleRomans 12:1-2

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:

Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Tonight I am grateful for my heart flexibility.  I used to be so rigid, things just had to be just so. I could only do what made logical sense to me.  My leaps of faith were tiny hops, from steps I could see to steps I could almost reach.  However, the Lord has been loosening my heart and taking my stiffed necked opinions and stretching them.

What I am now seeing, and hereto didn’t know, is that God knew that this season of my life would require not only strength but flexibility.  Strength to stay focused on Jesus and flexibility to keep my thoughts stretched into faith places. Faith places are God places that require me to trust Him while I can only see Him, not the place, or much of anything else.

The places my heart could only longing look have now become places it can reach. As I was pondering this transformation Romans 12:2 came to my mind. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…..”   Of course, the word “transformed” caught my eye.

Transformed in the Greek is the word metamorphoó.   It means to “change after being with.” We get our English word metamorphosis from this word. Here is a video of what is going on in my heart.

It is the perfect word for what is happening in my heart.  The more time I spend with the Lord and His Word, the more I am changed.  Remember those hops of faith I told you about? Those have become leaps of Olympic proportions (at least to my faith challenged heart.) These last two years of life, the Holy Spirit has diligently trained me. Now that my time is here, the challenge is before me, I have the strength to run this race but I also have the flexibility to leap over the hurdles.  I am running hard. It is taking all that I am……that is, all that God is, being that His covenant name is “I AM that I AM (Exodus 3:14).

I have set the Lord before me because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved ( Psalms 16:7). Not even when my eyes tell me it won’t work, not even when my emotions are staging riots in my heart, not even when thoughts are faster than the Indy 500, I will not be moved from obeying what He has called me to.  Yet, I am greatly moved by His Spirit as I step out into this new place of faith. I do so with His strength and His flexibility that He has prepared for me, and in me. Just as Peter stepped out of the boat on the waves to walk to Jesus, I too, can walk on these waves.

I leave you with this song, which has greatly encouraged me in this process. No matter where you are in your own transformation process may your heart be encouraged.  May you trust God beyond your borders, beyond your beliefs of your strengths and weaknesses.  May you step out and go where He calls you.  You can do it!

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Conflict Allowance

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It began with this scripture:

Ephesians 4:1-2

1 I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service,

Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.

Making allowance for people…..not my strong point. I can’t understand why certain people don’t see what is so obvious to me. I often make judgments about those people, usually to their detriment and of course to my favor.  Obviously, this is not Godly love.

My allowance making ability is very small because my love is very small and very small minded. However, as I am growing and learning to receive the Lord’s great love, my allowance budget has grown by leaps and bounds.

Recently, that allowance budget was tested. It started with a conflict that was released into our family because one member feels her way is absolutely right. Furthermore, she feels the need to appraise us all of our faults and her righteousness, all with a religious flavor of speaking the truth.

This conflict has shown me where my heart is. My first response was to defend our family loudly and compare how wrong she is and how right we are. Not a great first response but a typical flesh one. This is not the allowance God has made for this conflict for me. I know from scripture that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but that is hard to remember when “flesh and blood” is attacking me.

As I was praying about this situation the Lord brought to me the story of King Saul and David. This is truly a classic story of great conflict allowance.

1 Samuel 18:5-14

And David went out wherever Saul sent him, and he prospered and behaved himself wisely; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was satisfactory both to the people and to Saul’s servants.

As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the Israelite towns, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul with timbrels, songs of joy, and instruments of music.

And the women responded as they laughed and frolicked, saying, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

And Saul was very angry, for the saying displeased him; and he said, they have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed only thousands. What more can he have but the kingdom?

And Saul [jealously] eyed David from that day forward.

10 The next day an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved [madly] in his house, while David played [the lyre] with his hand, as at other times; and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

11 And Saul cast the javelin, for he thought, I will pin David to the wall. And David evaded him twice.

12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.

13 So Saul removed David from him and made him his commander over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

14 David acted wisely in all his ways and succeeded, and the Lord was with him.

David knew God had called him to be king. He seemed to be on the right track. He was in the king’s presence and had the king’s favor. Then in one day it all changed. Bam! Saul went from finding comfort in David’s company to total disgust for him, so much so that he wanted him dead. This was a major conflict in the path to the throne for David, dead men do not rule well.

Not only did David have to face the fact that the king hated him enough to murder him but also how he personally felt about that. This is what is happening in my life too. How do I honor God with my need to defend myself, my need to strike back? I am wounded, there is great pain, and anger is the loudest voice I hear. Yet I know that I must be Christ like but all I can do is like Christ while being Jenni. Love is nowhere to be found. Great! Another conflict on top of the one I already am facing. Small love makes for a very small allowance. I cannot afford this conflict. Anger depletes my reserves. This conflict bankrupts my soul and unlike David, my behavior is not wise at first, but slowly I heed His leading and He helps me.

David did not pick up the spear that was aimed unjustly at him. He dodged it not just once but twice. I too must not pick up the spear that has been aimed at me, no matter how many times it is thrown at me. God helped David and He is helping me. God gave David all that he needed to deal wisely with King Saul. In like manner, God is giving me all that I need to deal with all the emotions this conflict has raised in my soul. God sets my allowance; my job is to seek what that allowance is.

David allowed God to promote him into the throne. He did not try to bribe, beg or steal it. His desire was not the throne but God. In this conflict, my heart desires to be right and to make her pay. That aim will only get me heartache. My desire must be God’s in order to succeed. I am in this conflict to fulfill the purpose God. Slowly but surely, that is becoming my aim. His allowance is flowing into this conflict moment for me. As it flows, my life becomes worthy of living, my behavior a credit to His divine calling. That is the path I am now on by His grace and through His grace. Thank you Jesus!

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The Just Shall Live by Faith

My devotion is inspired by the series I have been studying by Pastor Rob Barkman, “Why does Evil exist”.  There are no scripture references today but if you need them, please feel free to open up your bible.  If you are not a believer, I pray that God will open your eyes to see how much Jesus loves you, that he died suffering the cross undeservingly, to bring you everlasting life with his Father, the Sovereign God.

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Yes, God does have a role and a purpose for what happens, call it a “a cause and effect” or the laws of universe or principles of life…we belong to Him and He is our Creator.  Evil is not alone, nor does it stand in ultimate power – separate from God.  Evil is subject to God.  In this, He does show us that we are not alone (mankind).  This is the evidence of his Grace.

In the old testament he spoke of the redemption of the Lord. He showed it to Satan’s face when Jesus resurrected Lazarus (before the death on the Cross).   He will turn sinful pride around to give Him glory and in doing so, usurp Satan’s evil plots against those who belong to God.  In the time of Moses, God said to Pharaoh to let his people go.  His word will go out and do his good pleasure.  He sent his servant, Moses and then the 10 plagues to show that no power can stand against what God decree’s.  We read in the new testament, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday (old testament), today (redemption) and tomorrow (New heaven and new earth).

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There are three power levels that we see in existence.  God (spirit) in his heavenly kingdom, Satan (fallen angel) in the principalities of the air (earth) and mankind (flesh) civilization.  Think about that?  God is a Sovereign God.  Satan is the presence evil.  Man, who is subject to both.  It is a choice of free will, who you will serve but in the end it is God final word who will enter His Kingdom.

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In the bible I see his role….Creator…I AM…the living Word…the Alpha and Omega.  I read in his word “It is a fool that says there is no God” and it is a fool that does not fear God.  We are instructed to walk in the fear of the Lord.  He is a mighty power.  It is that same power that defeats Satan.  Do not be made a fool in God’s eyes.  His spirit will not strive nor will it suffer blasphemy.  His word speaks not only to the believer but to the agnostic and atheist.  It is wisdom to understand his will from the bible. Instead to challenge God’s role or purpose is foolishness…”for who is man that God should be mindful of him?”  He does not answer to evil – He owes no man – for he is Sovereign.  It is our place to figure out our salvation and to believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is the son of God.

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Yes, the revelation of God must come to pass, as it did in the old testament.  Satan will rise to power and the Anti-Christ will take his seat in the temple.  Did not God say so?  This is his decree.  It will happen just as it was in the time of Noah, so shall it be in the end times.  God is a jealous God.  He will not let the false religions of the world take what belongs to His son, Jesus.  We think it is about us, our pride blinds us to believe a lie.  It is about his word and it will not return void.  God is not mocked nor is he a liar.  His word offers a new life, his forgiveness and his unfailing love.

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It is a hard edge that I write with, I lend no apology.  If I could stand on my roof top and shout “Believe Jesus”!  “Believe Jesus” I would.  My heart aches.  But it is not for me…it is for the one that might not hear, might not read, might not see the ONE who calls to him or her….Jesus.  He is our answer.  He is the name above all names…call out the name of Jesus.  He will answer you in the miraculous, in the quiet stillness of your heart…in the moment.  Believe…again….never stop believing.

[photos courtesy of NASA]

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Searching for My Titus

Mother Comforts

2 Corinthians 7:5-6

For even when we arrived in Macedonia, our bodies had no ease or rest, but we were oppressed in every way and afflicted at every turn—fighting and contentions without, dread and fears within [us].

But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus.

Sometimes, I  awake to my day, my body unrested, my thoughts contentious and fears trying to oppress me.  Whether it is physical aches and pains or emotional and mental ones that have kept me from rest, I awake with dis-ease.

This dis-ease will follow me throughout the day if I let it. It is like a perfect storm brewing. No rest, anxious thoughts, and a migraine lead me  to the perfect storm of discouragement. Yet, this day is my God destination. It is His plan, for He carried me through the night and allowed me awake here. I am in this day by God’s hand just as Paul was in Macedonia.

This moment  in Macedonia for Paul was a very heavy moment. The body of Christ in Ephesus, where he had sown and ministered for about two years,  had not only chosen to walk in sin, but also to question Paul’s authority and integrity when he tried to bring correction.  He had sent Titus with a letter for them. Titus didn’t return when he was supposed to. I imagine Paul was afflicted with many tormenting thoughts about those he had loved and nurtured and the letter he had written. Add to that the weight of constant opposition from many other sources. He must have felt like he was sinking in oppression and discouragement.

BUT GOD…….I love those words. God’s “buts” are always the best!

In this gloom and doom moment God buts in. He brings Titus. A man carrying the comfort, refreshment, encouragement and cheer that Paul needed. God always brings what we need, when we need it. I imagine Paul eagerly looked for Titus. He was expecting him because they had to arranged to meet in Troas.

2 Corinthians 2:12-13

12 Now when I arrived at Troas [to preach] the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, a door of opportunity was opened for me in the Lord,

13 Yet my spirit could not rest (relax, get relief) because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave from them and departed for Macedonia.

How many times have I, like Paul looked for what comforted me and not found it? So I press on but my heart is still heavy. I keep looking for that comfort and finally the moment comes when I find it. Just like Paul’s “BUT GOD” moment, mine comes when I see my “Titus.” Sometimes it comes in an email, sometimes it comes in a devotional I read. Sometimes, God uses my husband and children. He always has a “Titus” for me.

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HE ALWAYS HAS A TITUS FOR YOU, TOO!

Do you feel depressed? Sinking in despair? He is the God who comforts you, encourages you, refreshes you, and cheers you. You may not see your “Titus” in the place you planned or expected but God has him or her on the way to you. Take courage and be encouraged!

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Teach us to pray

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When I first got saved, I did not know what else to do. I gave my life to the Lord but I needed someone to guide me. The church that I was going to ( yes, I was going to church but was not saved, and I got saved in my bathroom at home not at church), didn’t seem to notice the difference in me. When God is ready for you one cannot hide. I remember calling up different key people at church and asking questions and they all seem bothered. These were old time saved people. The ones that was born into the church so they say!!! lol. Never got connected with anyone, I guess I was rambling because I knew not. So I picked up the Bible for myself and began to read. From page 1 and  I tell you it read like a novel. The Bible is my favorite book of all times forever. I read and reached the Lord’s prayer in Matthew and smile, but when I reached,

Luke 11:1 (NIV)

11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

I thoughtfully stopped and this became my pattern for prayer:

Our Father: Prayer should be about us not me. We are part of the body of Christ and God is every ones father.

Who art in heaven: Father we know that you sit above us, able to see all. Every good and perfect gift comes down from heaven.

Hallowed be thy name: All praises to you my father and as I enter into prayer Lord with the mindset that You will do good in my life.

Thy Kingdom come: Lord we have been given dominion on earth and we are humbly asking you to come into us.

Thy Will be done. Lord let your Will be done according to Your Word,

On earth as it is in heaven. Lord we know we can only do with Your strength. If you Lord the King is in us then your kingdom is in us. Lord continue to bless us and keep everything that is not of you Lord out of us.

Give us this day our daily bread: Lord we have faith that you will provide for us everyday. We are not to worry about tomorrow, we only can eat enough for today, tomorrow God will provide again.

Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

And forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Matthew 18-24-25 (NKJV)

24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all. 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil:

Matthew 4:1-10 (NIV)

4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

He will command his angels concerning you,

and they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

God does not tempt us. The tempter is the devil. The devil is our enemy and he will take good desires and tempt us with it

For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever! Amen

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Taking back my JOY in Christ

Hello! For those of you who  might have been wondering where I ran off to..well, I have been doing a lot of soul searching and heart cleaning.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a book that dealt with temperaments, specifically the 4 basic temperaments women are supposed to possess. While I began to read this, I was totally caught up in it, and completely identified with one temperament in particular, melancholy. I saw in myself traits comparable to this type, and basically quit reading. I was stuck. It was as if someone has taken my insides out and displayed my ugly side to everyone. I couldn’t even finish the darn book. Good thing, as i skimmed through it later, and identified with a few other types as well.

As I was talking with a friend on the phone, I came to the realization that I was not “just” melancholy, nor sanguine, or even choleric; I was even MORE than a mixture of all. Like a pie, sliced into pieces, I was a little of this, with a dollop of that, but mostly..mostly..I was a beloved child of GOD!! While my insecure side wants to put ugly labels on myself, HE calls me His daughter.

The Lord intervened, and showed me that for every ugly name I call myself, he has called me something beautiful.

So, the moral of my story is: Don’t get caught up in what you read, even if it is from great Christian writers; the Bible will bring you back to the TRUTH, and the truth is, He loves us. He loves us with all our imperfections. He does not expect the perfection we so often do.

Have JOY in that fact! I am! HE has brought me back my HOPE and JOY!!