Monday, June 26, 2017

Flying Solo



It seems that men have earned the bad reputation of being the gender who never asks for driving directions when lost, and throws away instructions for anything that needs building.

Apparently an actual study was conducted by researchers from the University of San Diego and the University of Pittsburgh to look into this age-old question.  Their research found that men are judged harshly when they ask for help which could account for the reason why they don’t request assistance or ask directions.   

I wonder if this is why men are all about GPS systems because the only person judging them is the voice coming out of the system saying "RECALCULATING.  RECALCULATING".  lol.

To me, a male or female, would be judged more harshly by messing something up because they DIDN'T ask for help when needed or had become so incredibly lost they were late or missed an important appointment or event.

Early on in my employment days, the first lesson I learned is that no question is a stupid question.  A new boss would stress the importance of asking rather than assuming and making a costly mistake.

I think this is a good lesson to heed in all aspects of life.

For the most part, people are responsible with their own lives and the lives of others, and won't, for instance, take or administer medication without first reading the dosing directions and possible interactions.  Or won't pick up a gun without first attending training to learn safe operating and handling protocols.  Without taking these responsible actions, the results could be deadly.

But yet, in other of life's scenarios, I think we all have a tendency to fly solo and want to figure things out on our own...  

Thankfully, I'm pretty good about not assuming an answer to a problem and then moving forward suffering unfortunate consequences, but I will, however, spend quite bit of time trying to figure out how to do something I'm not familiar with, which in the technology age means that I will research it on the internet and hope to find guidance there, and if I still can't figure it out, I will actually ask someone to help me.  I seem to gain quite a bit of satisfaction in having figured out how to do something for myself though.

But there needs to be balance...

Spending a lot of time researching how to do something, especially in a workplace setting, is wasting company dollars.  Where just asking someone to show you, would save time and money.

But then there are times when it is better to spend a little bit of time figuring a problem out which was the second lesson that I learned early on in employment -- there needs to be "self-motivation" with an effort to learn the job well and not continually ask a coworker how to do something, especially not over and over again.  I find that actually doing the task is the best teacher.

Flying solo...  choosing to live according to your own plans and devices, without aid from manuals or instructors -- the Dictionary of Karen ;-)  

The Israelites certainly chose to fly solo...

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
    that they may add sin to sin;
 who set out to go down to Egypt,
    without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh


    and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
    and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
 For though his officials are at Zoan
    and his envoys reach Hanes,
 everyone comes to shame
    through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
    but shame and disgrace.”
Isaiah 30:1-5


Matthew Henry's commentary explains these verses as such...

Now observe here, I. How this sin of theirs is described, and what there was in it that was provoking to God. When they saw themselves in danger and distress, 1. They would not consult God. They would do things of their own heads, and not advise with God, though they had a ready and certain way of doing it by Urim or prophets. They were so confident of the prudence of their own measures that they thought it needless to consult the oracle; nay, they were not willing to put it to that issue: "They take counsel among themselves, and one from another; but they do not ask counsel, much less will they take counsel, of me. They cover with a covering’’ (they think to secure themselves with one shelter or other, which may serve to cover them from the violence of the storm), "but not of my Spirit’’ (not such as God by his Spirit, in the mouth of his prophets, directed them to), "and therefore it will prove too short a covering, and a refuge of lies.’’ 2. They could not confide in God. They did not think it enough to have God on their side, nor were they at all solicitous to make him their friend, but they strengthened themselves in the strength of Pharaoh; they thought him a powerful ally, and doubted not but to be able to cope with the Assyrian while they had him for them. The shadow of Egypt (and it was but a shadow) was the covering in which they wrapped themselves.II. What was the evil of this sin. 1. It bespoke them rebellious children; and a woe is here denounced against them under that character, v. 1. They were, in profession, God’s children; but, not trusting in him, they were justly stigmatized as rebellious; for, if we distrust God’s providence, we do in effect withdraw ourselves from our allegiance. 2. They added sin to sin. It was sin that brought them into distress; and then, instead of repenting, they trespassed yet more against the Lord, 2 Chr. 28:22 . And those that had abused God’s mercies to them, making them the fuel of their lusts, abused their afflictions too, making them an excuse for their distrust of God; and so they make bad worse, and add sin to sin; and those that do so, as they make their own chain heavy, so it is just with God to make their plagues wonderful. Now that which aggravated their sin was, (1.) That they took so much pains to secure the Egyptians for their allies: They walk to go down to Egypt, travel up and down to find an advantageous road thither; but they have not asked at my mouth, never considered whether God would allow and approve of it or no.

I don't know about you, but I could easily insert my name in verse 1 of Isaiah 30.

“Ah, stubborn KAREN,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine...

How often do I go through my day to day activities, not once seeking God's plan for them.   Or, when a difficult circumstance arises, I go from flying solo to seeking counsel from others outside of God's counsel.

This is not something I am consciously setting out to NOT do, but sadly, it is a bad habit that hit me square in the face when I read this account of the Israelites.  

Our day to day activities may seem inconsequential compared to the scene described here in Isaiah, but is it really??  

Each of our days will represent the sum total of our entire lives - lives that we are called to live walking in obedience to God's will every minute of every day.  

Unless we seek God every morning and in every situation, we are flying solo and walking in our own plans.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, 
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:13-15


 When we walk in our own plans, we are in essence communicating a distrust of God and His will for our lives.  Our focus is on self and our own selfish desires.  We are blinded to the Godly desires He has already placed on our hearts and missing out on the blessings He is ready and waiting to bestow upon us.  For He knows what will bring us the greatest joy.  Yet we get in our own way...

Last week I was reading in Colossians and found such encouragement from the following verses - encouragement to help me break the habit of flying solo...

If then you have been raised with Christ, 
seek the things that are above, 
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  
Set your minds on things that are above, 
not on things that are on earth.  
For you have died, 
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1-3


I have purposed to seek Jesus right as I awaken, to ask Him to guard my heart against temptation and for strength to walk in His will throughout the day. I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me in all obedience, and I thank Him ahead of time for the blessings that will surely come from His hand as I trust His will for my day.

Throughout the day, I then set my mind on the things that are above, and walk with a Heavenly mindset.

In so doing, I am finding I have a better attitude throughout the day which yields better responses, even in the difficult situations.

I don't have this down by any stretch.  I still fail, but it is a start to developing a habit of listening to the Holy Spirit's promptings throughout the day.

In fact, I was awe struck when I woke up one morning, still groggy from sleep and the above verse from Colossians popped right into my head!!  Such reaffirmation that when we ask the Lord to help us, ESPECIALLY in the area of obedience, He will!!

This brings me back to the two workplace lessons I learned which can be translated and applied to our Spiritual lives.

Lesson #1  "No question is a stupid question"

Which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resources to complete it? Otherwise, if he lays the foundation and is unable to finish the work, everyone who sees it will ridicule him…
Luke 14:28-29

Plans and decisions can come with a cost.  Some decisions are more costly than others.  To quote from  my husband's sermon yesterday, "many inmates are in prison because they made the wrong decision".

Instead, in all decisions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, seek the Lord and ask for His direction and guidance before moving forward.   Count the cost...


Lesson #2  "Learn the job well; do the task"

We have the greatest Manual ever written which the Lord Jesus opened up to us the moment we were saved.  Commit to knowing God's Word well, and walking in it.

But be doers of the word, 
and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:22

I'm not sure why we tend to devise our own plans when we have our Great God and Father who has promised us...

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, 
and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Jeremiah 29:11-14

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ...
Matthew 6:25-34

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Psalm 138:8a

Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3


Let us no longer fly solo, but instead soar with Jesus on the wings of Eagles in the plans and strength of the Lord.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday

Monday, June 19, 2017

Stop Supposing



Feed on His Faithfulness 
Psalm 37:3 RV


As you might be noticing,  more of my posts have been seeded by my current daily devotional, Streams in the Desert.   I'm amazed that I only just discovered this treasure trove of edifying excerpts last year.  Each day's reading finds me discovering something about myself that convicts, yet brings incredible hope and encouragement.  The entry on June 5th was no different...

"I once met a poor colored woman, who earned a precarious living by hard daily labor; but who was a joyous triumphant Christian. “Ah, Nancy,” said a gloomy Christian lady to her one day, "it is well enough to be happy now; but I should think the thoughts of your future would sober you.

“Only suppose, for instance, you should have a spell of sickness, and be unable to work; or suppose your present employers should move away, and no one else should give you anything to do; or suppose—”

“Stop!” cried Nancy, “I never supposes. De Lord is my Shepherd, and I knows I shall not want. And, Honey,” she added, to her gloomy friend, “it’s all dem supposes as is makin’ you so mis’able. You’d better give dem all up, and just trust de Lord.”

There is one text that will take all the “supposes” out of a believer’s life, if it be received and acted on in childlike faith; it is Hebrews 13:5, 6: “Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”"
—H. W. S.
{Excerpt from Streams in the Desert, June 9th}


After I read this passage, I was struck with the harsh reality that I am that gloomy Christian lady!

I spend too much time supposing...

Google's definition of suppose reads...

...assume that something is the case on the basis of evidence or probability but without proof or certain knowledge.

Fortunately/unfortunately, I have the gift of discernment.  The Spiritual Gift website shares this definition regarding the gift of discernment...

"The spiritual gift of discernment is also known as the gift of “discernment of spirits” or “distinguishing between spirits.”  The Greek word for the gift of discernment is Diakrisis.  The word describes being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a person, statement, situation, or environment."

Fortunately, many times my appraisal of a situation has been spot-on and played out exactly as I supposed, protecting myself or the person to whom it was directed.

But unfortunately, whether or not I am spot-on more times than not, I am allowing "all dem supposes to make me so mis'able" - and others too I might add...   I have this gift of discernment, yet I am turning it into a curse because I'm not giving all my supposes up to the Lord and trusting Him with their outcome.  Instead of dwelling on all the supposes, I should be using this gift of discernment to turn those supposes into prayers and petitions to the Lord.  After all, a spiritual gift is meant to bring God glory, not the owner misery.

But my supposing, doesn't just occur during times of discernment.  Too often, I suppose the worst in situations that I am anxious about...

Like vacations for instance where the gloomy Christian lady rears her ugly head and says, "Suppose it rains..."  "Suppose one of us is sick..."  "Suppose we have to cancel and lose all our money..."  

I spend more time worrying and less time looking forward to the vacation.  What's that statistic, 80-90% of what we worry about NEVER happens!  Such a waste of time to worry over something that more than likely won't even happen.

And yet, in all honesty, there have been times, albeit very, very rare, when each one of my vacation supposes has played out.   Thankfully, not all during the same vacation, lol, but different vacations found me experiencing different supposes.  

And you know what, I survived.  I could still see God working in each of those situations, and found blessing through each of the supposes.

A few years ago, we had the blessing of vacationing with my daughter, son-in-law and my brother and his family on a lake in Maine in a beautiful cottage.  I have shared about that vacation and many other wonderful ones in a blog post entitled Snapshots in Time if you'd like to read about them.  

The first year in the lakeside cottage we experienced perfect summer weather!  It was truly a time of fun, relaxation and beautiful family fellowship.

The following year we had the privilege of all of us going to Maine again where we rented two side by side cottages since we now had our precious baby granddaughter with us.  My brother and his family stayed in the other, equally beautiful cottage.   Only this time, it was cold and rainy for a good part of the week.  

Yet I can honestly say, it was equally special because we created new experiences brought on by the rain.  The year before we hung out on the dock and took boat rides all day long.  We were out on the water so much that we still felt like we were rocking and rolling even when inside.  lol.  The rainy year, we enjoyed my brothers cabin which had a beautiful porch where we gathered to play games and most mornings, made big breakfasts.  We also took a day trip to a beautiful seaside town.  

So many blessings that were a result of a rainy vacation.  Who knew??  lol. 

But seriously, H.W.S. had it right when he said...

"There is one text that will take all the “supposes” out of a believer’s life, if it be received and acted on in childlike faith; it is Hebrews 13:5, 6: “Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”"

The Holy Spirit impressed something else upon my heart as I pondered my life of supposing --
the verses in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 known as the "Love Passage".  

Normally, when I would reflect on verse 7 of that passage, in particular...

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...

I would relate it to me loving others, but this morning, the Holy Spirit asked me,  "do you love God in this manner?..."

At first, I thought I must have misheard.   Because I had always saw this verse through the filter of loving a fellow sinner...

Bearing with a sin against myself...

Believing in a loved one rather than jumping to a conclusion based on appearances...

Hoping that a loved one would come out from under a sinful hold...

Enduring for the sake of peace, as long as it is in my power to do so...

But the more I reflected upon what the Holy Spirit was impressing upon me, I realized that with God, 
I don't bear all things, {that He has lovingly ordained...}

I spend more time supposing and not enough time believing.

I walk around like a gloomy Christian lady rather than a daughter of the King whose hope is in Christ Jesus.

Rather than enduring for the sake of Christ, I complain, and complain, and complain...

Through these attitudes, I am not loving God as I should.  By not loving God as I should, I am destroying His testimony through me and dishonoring Him.   I am also suffering needlessly by missing out on the blessings He has for me through bearing ALL things, believing ALL things, hoping ALL things and enduring ALL things.

Does any of what I have shared in this post resonate with you??

Thanks be to God He loves this gloomy Christian lady unconditionally!  He continually draws me close and loves me with an everlasting love.

The LORD your God is in your midst, 
a mighty one who will save; 
he will rejoice over you with gladness; 
he will quiet you by his love; 
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

What is the antidote to a life of supposing?  A life lived Believing!

How do we grow this life of Believing?   By feeding on His faithfulness...

Trust in Jehovah, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on his faithfulness.
Psalm 37:3 ASV

Feed on all the times He has been faithful.

Feed on those times when a suppose actually did become a reality and remember how the Lord did not forsake you, but blessed you.

Feed, feed, feed, on His Word and allow all of His promises to become as natural as your breathing, your first go-to in any given situation.

Feed on prayers - prayers to the One who hears, provides, protects and loves.

When you partake of this bounty daily, gloomy Christian lady will  become joyful Christian lady, she will step out of misery and enter into calmness, contentment, hopefulness, and cheerfulness.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday

Monday, June 12, 2017

Losing Myself to Find Myself



The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become...
It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, 
that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.
C.S. Lewis

Wow!  I was first introduced to this C.S. Lewis quote when reading one of the final chapters in the book, Guarded by Christ:  Knowing the God who Rescues and Keeps Us, by Heather Holleman - a book I mentioned in a recent post, Looking for Peace in all the Wrong Places, as the book I've been waiting for my whole life, besides the Bible of course.

I found this concept so profound.  The more I let God take me over, the more truly myself I become.  By turning to Christ and giving up myself to His personality it is then that I will first begin to have a real personality of my own...   

I LOVE THIS!  Our true identity is in Christ Jesus so it would stand to reason that when we turn to Christ and give up ourselves to His personality that indeed we truly become ourselves and begin to  have our own real personalities, the personality of Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. 
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, 
who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galations 2:20

The author of Guarded by Christ shared a practical exercise to help her truly crucify the flesh and "keep in step with the Spirit".  She would confess those behaviors and attitudes which stemmed from her sinful nature and asked Jesus to once again empower and direct her by the Holy Spirit.  She shared a litany of besetting sins that plagued her  - besetting sins that I could relate to and I'm sure you could too.  She called this list of sinful characteristics her "false self" and as such learned to confess them when they reared their ugly head and to reorient herself to a Spirit-directed life.  She said that she "exchanged this broken down, hopeless soul for a new life in Christ.  He's living in  my soul, and by faith, this is happening all day long.  I don't have to live this day on my own, because Jesus is living it through me.  I think of my soul as crucified with Christ, I think of how I'm now alive in a different kind of way...I think of now being alive to Christ and not myself."

Yes!! And Amen!!!

The crucified life is truly the abundant life Jesus desires us to live.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

I confess that the crucified life seemed to me a life filled with sacrifice and suffering.  Sacrificing the "things I wanted to do" and suffering because of self-sacrifice.  How utterly sad...  Jesus sacrificed Himself for me, yet I don't want to give up those fleeting pleasures of life!   I can't believe I'm sharing this ugly truth about myself... but I needed to share this warped thought process so that you would fully understand the absolute freedom and release from bondage I now feel  as I understand what it truly means to live the crucified life - the abundant life.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul?  
Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Matthew 16:24-26

Indeed, the crucified life is one that allows God to completely take over and do anything He wants with us...

But God, being rich in mercy and love, will never do with us that which brings harm, but only that which speaks of Divine Love through and through.

I spoke more about this aspect of the abundant life in last week's post The Circle of Comfort.

Heather shared in her book that "living a crucified life is a daily choice to let Jesus take over every part of you, including your desires and dreams.  It includes telling Jesus each new morning that you belong completely to Him to use as He pleases.  It involves yielding your right to yourself and giving authority to Jesus."

Heather went on to say that, "we don't need to be scared or somehow concerned that we are giving up a better life to follow Jesus, but that we gain our real lives when we deny it for Christ."  

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
John 14:6a

so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:19b


The only time we truly live is in Him.

I need to let that sink in...

To live is Christ Philippians 1:21

I must let go of everything false in my life, that which is not based on Truth...

Let go of those things that I think bring true happiness and peace...

Let go of the desires of the flesh

Let go of vanity and false personas

Let go of self

For it is through the very things I am holding on to for life that cause me to not truly live! And frankly, I feel it...

Of late I just feel like I am wasting the life God gave me.  And at my current age, that is pretty significant.  I have been feeling unhappy, discontent and depressed.   I am certainly not redeeming the time.

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, 
not as unwise but as wise,
 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.…
Ephesians 5:15-17

But I have now learned that in letting go and truly crucifying that which is false in my life, I truly gain everything!

I gain true contentment, happiness and peace

I gain the desires of the Spirit

I gain my real personality, Christ's personality

I gain my real self, hidden in Christ Jesus

I gain abundant life!

May we all let go of that which is false in our lives to gain that which is True - the abundant, joy-filled, God-Glorifying, crucified life.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday




Monday, June 5, 2017

The Circle of Comfort





There is no way of learning faith except by trial.  
It is God's school of faith, 
and it is far better for us to learn to trust God
 than to enjoy life.
Days of Heaven Upon Earth



I happened upon this quote while reading my Streams in the Desert Devotional one evening.  Although I understood the concept, deep down I was saying, "But I want to enjoy life!"

As I pondered this quote further, I realized the author wasn't saying we shouldn't enjoy life, but that in accepting trials from our Heavenly Father's loving hands as a means for learning to trust in Him, we will yield surpassing joy above and beyond the passing enjoyments of life.

If we are living a life devoid of trials and tribulations, that would mean we have already crossed over from this earthly life to eternal life with Jesus in Heaven.

For we have His great and wonderful promise...

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or
 mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” 
And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” 
Revelation 21:4

But indeed, this side of Heaven, we are told there will be trouble...

Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34b

But God has not left us alone in our sufferings and trials as Pilgrims in a foreign land...  He is with us every step of the way,  redeeming our troubles as a means to strengthen our faith as we learn to trust Him.

It is in the hard learning that the Lord shows Himself faithful through his great and many promises. 

If we were to do a study of God's promises, we would see that most of His promises directly relate to what HE will do to help us and to comfort us.


The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Exodus 14:14

He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.
Isaiah 40:29

 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; 
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2

Blessed are those who mourn, 
for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

Just to name a few...

I'm sure if we just thought upon the promises I shared above, we could say yes and Amen that we have seen God's faithfulness through each of the scenarios presented in those promises.

One by one, we see that God's promises never fail...


In "God's School of Faith" the motto is...

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, 
but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness 
to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

where our teacher is the Holy Spirit

our text book is the Bible, 

our lessons are the trials and tribulations of life, and

our homework is to comfort others in the way we have been comforted...


The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, entrusts us to be agents of His comfort...


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ 
overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.…
2 Corinthians 1:4

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,  and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7


The comfort we receive from the Lord in our own trials will provide opportunity for us to help someone who is going through the same or similar trial.

I can't tell you how many times I may have had a quirky health situation arise that I found disconcerting and then mentioned it in passing to someone to which they have responded, "Oh!  I've had that happen to me and it ended up being nothing or it only lasted a few days and then it went away."  The immediate relief would just wash over me.  

Comforting, God-sent words at just the right moment.

Or the anxious situations I've been in where I am on my own in an outside of my comfort zone circumstance, and suddenly this friendly face will come along, either someone I know or even someone that I don't know who just puts me at ease and makes me feel comfortable.

We need not fear being outside of our comfort zone, because God will send comfort...

Or what about those people who exude comfort and peace.  When just being around them makes you feel at peace.  I want to be like them!!

Sadly, of late, with all the rain we've been having in these here parts, I am exuding stress and turmoil.  Ahhh!  

I was convicted particularly about this last night when I read the following excerpt from Guarded by Christ: Knowing the God Who Rescues and Keeps Us ,by Heather Holleman

"When people were in my presence, did they feel more at peace, more blessed and  more refreshed?  Or did I invite them into a turbulent inner being marked by instability, selfishness and a draining of energy?  Was I so toxic inside that I drained life from others?  Or did I radiate the indwelling refuge of Christ to others and invite them into a sanctuary?"

As Children of God, indwelt by the Comforter, we should be exuding that comfort.  When people are in our presence, they should feel Christ's peace emanating from us.  In a recent blog post that you can read here, I wrote about Joey Feek who literally glowed with the peace of Christ, even as she was facing imminent death from cancer.  I was in awe of the peace and calmness that showed upon her face, and her comforting presence even when she was in the midst of such a fiery trial.  Truly God had comforted her and that comfort was shining forth.

I can say with all transparency that, unlike Joey, I fight and kick my way through trials.  It's not pretty, and it's certainly not peaceful.   

And although we are not called to enjoy trials, we are called to joy in them...

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.
1 Peter 4:13

Jesus has called us to live a joyful, abundant life - an abundant life that He ordained to have trials and tribulations that will never be wasted, but will be redeemed for our good and the comfort of others.

May we all, like Joey, "offer a weary world refreshment and a sense of joy because we represent the living God to others."  {Excerpt from Guarded by Christ}


“Why must I weep when others sing?
’To test the deeps of suffering.’ 
Why must I work while others rest?
’To spend my strength at God’s request.’ 
Why must I lose while others gain?
’To understand defeat’s sharp pain.’ 
Why must this lot of life be mine 
When that which fairer seems is thine?
’Because God knows what plans for me 
Shall blossom in eternity.’”
Streams in the Desert


Join me next week when I'll share what the Lord has recently taught me about how to truly experience the abundant life Christ desires all of us to live.



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