Monday, August 14, 2017

The Untapped Fount of Grace & Mercy






Hello everyone!  I hope you have been enjoying your summer!  I know I have been!

I recently took a hiatus from blogging, setting aside the month of July to recharge and rejuvenate.

My husband and I went on day trips, a weekend getaway and a vacation where we combined a visit with family and time away, alone.

But my favorite part and the main goal of my blogging hiatus was to spend more time with my precious Lord and Savior in Bible Study and prayer.

It was actually through the Bible Study Walk in Grace A Guided Study Through Colossians for Well-Watered-Women that not only enriched me spiritually {I will share more of what the Lord taught me through this study in future posts.}, but was integral to enjoying my free time as well.  {Next week I'll share how the Lord blessed my free time.  :-) }

Our Heavenly Father does that doesn't He.  He uses our obedience to bless us in unexpected ways.

Spiritually, it was through this study that I learned the importance of giving the first fruit of my thoughts to the Lord right as I awoke.  Instead of grabbing for my phone, I would spend time in contemplative prayer, placing myself before Truth every morning, seeking that which is above.  Asking the Lord for His tender mercies which are promised new every morning and for a fresh infilling of His Grace to walk in and to share.  Praying that the Lord would help me to put off the old man with his sinful desires, and daily put on the new man with his compassion, kindness, humility, forgiveness and love, and that I would do everything in the name of the Lord, respecting my husband, walking in wisdom and having speech that is gracious, seasoned with salt.

As I practiced this spiritual discipline each morning, I noticed something - something amazing!  My list of besetting sins was shrinking.  Having left my spiritual walk in the Lord's hands every morning to work through me, it was no longer me trying and failing miserably each day, but instead, I was trusting the Holy Spirit to live and move through me - and He did!

I found myself heeding the Holy Spirit's prompts to "zip it!" when tempted to retort back when challenged.  My thoughts were His thoughts and it showed in my conversations.

No  longer was I striving "to be obedient", but instead I was acknowledging His Grace and indeed walking in His grace - the Grace that He promises IS sufficient.  Not  may be sufficient...

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
2 Corinthians 12:9


GRACE 
the free and unmerited favor of God

and Mercy...

Since I have been praying for God's tender mercies over every aspect of my life, this Truth is permeating my soul and helping me to rest in those mercies.

His mercies which ARE new every morning.  Not might be new every morning...

The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:23

MERCY
God's covenant lovingkindness


I am realizing that these two words, Grace and Mercy, are the key to living in freedom, freedom in Christ.

Freedom from doing things in my own strength...

Freedom from worries and anxiety...

Freedom from self...

Freedom from self-condemnation..

Freedom from bondage...


I confess that even as a seasoned Believer, I focused more on Grace and Mercy at the cross, at the  moment of salvation more than as a daily cup that needed filling.  And even though I knew those very familiar verses I quoted above on grace and mercy, I saw them more on an "as needed" basis, not a minute by minute necessity.  It sounds silly as I type this, but it is indeed how I was operating. Even sillier is the fact that my blog's name is "Growing Together in Grace & Knowledge"!   It just goes to show, you can know something, but not fully understand it.

But now I fully understand...

We can be daily renewed by our Great God and Savior.  We only need to come to Him with our empty cup and ask Him to fill it with His Grace and His Mercy.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, 
but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 
whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Titus 3:4-6

And this is as true each and every day for those who are in Christ Jesus as it was at the moment of salvation...

There is no longer a need to strive after righteousness.  We are His!  When Christ died for our sins, He cleansed us from ALL unrighteousness, and sent us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to fill us with His Grace and Mercy every single day.  We need only to walk in that Grace and Mercy daily, and to obey the The Helper's promptings, and He will lead us in all righteousness.

May we live in the freedom of God's Grace and Mercy every minute of every day.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


If there is anyone reading this post who has not experienced God's Grace and Mercy through salvation in Christ Jesus, you can do so at this very moment.  No matter what you have done in your past or how sinful you have lived, our Lord and Savior's lovingkindness is far reaching and brings complete cleansing from all sin.  You need only to confess your sin to the Lord, recognize that you cannot do this on your own and that you need a Savior, and believe that when Jesus died on the cross, He died for your sins, and that nothing you can do will earn your way into Heaven, but completely trust that Jesus satisfied the debt you owed.  From the moment you ask Jesus, with a sincere heart, to save you from your sins, you will be cleansed.  Believe that Jesus rose from the dead to set you free from eternal damnation and to make you alive to eternal life with Him.  And then you will be free!! You can now live in the freedom of God's grace and mercy every minute of every day.


Grace Greater than Our Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Julia H. Johnston


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, August 7, 2017

How many days do you have left?



Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12


Seventy Three Hundred Days...

That's how many days I have left on this earth if I were to live until the United States average life expectancy of 77.

7300...  

I was first prompted to do this calculation as part of an exercise shared in a book I was reading, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver.  

I must admit, I was shocked at how small the number of my prospective remaining days seemed to be.  I don't know why I was thinking the calculation would have yielded a higher number...  I mean I did just celebrate my 57th birthday.   But I just thought when calculating down to days, there would be A LOT more.

You might say, "Karen, 7300 seems like a lot of days to me!"    But when you compare it to the 20,805 days I've already lived, 7300 seems to be on the sunset side of things for sure.  

And, of course, tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone!

I don't say any of this to be morbid.   Because the best is yet to come!   We all know that at the end of how ever many days we have left, those who are in Christ Jesus will spend numberless days in Heaven worshiping Jesus, their Lord and Savior.

But this insightful exercise did give me pause to reflect upon how I will spend my remaining days.

I was struck in particular by Psalm 90:12, cited above, with its emphasis on gaining a heart of wisdom while numbering our days.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

I am finding that the more I study the Word of God, the more I crave it!  Each new day, I'm am desiring to spend more and more time in the Word.

I am currently doing Life Lived Beautifully's Walk in Grace:  A Guided Study through Colossians, and I am in awe of how much I am soaking in.  Indeed their catch title is "For the well-watered women".   What I like about this Bible study is the self-guided approach with just a few deeply thought-provoking questions.  It truly is an expositional study of the Book of Colossians that allows for the Holy Spirit to speak to you clearly without being clouded by others' insights and thoughts.  Just you and God, spending time together in His Word.  

As the title of the Bible Study indicates "Walk in Grace", I am discovering how little I really understood about Grace.  I think I saw it more as that one time moment on the cross when God's grace covered over my sins with the blood of Jesus.  Now I am realizing that God's grace is available to me every single moment of every single day.   

What freedom there is in walking in God's grace daily.  Not only through seeking to be filled with His grace throughout the day, but how important it is to allow that grace to spill over into the lives of those I interact with.

Numbering my days, while growing in the Grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, bringing glory to God from this day until the day of eternity.  

It is through seeking God's Grace and wisdom, and walking in that grace and wisdom that our testimony will yield much fruit.  

Look carefully then how you walk, 
not as unwise but as wise, 
making the best use of the time,
 because the days are evil. 
Therefore do not be foolish,
 but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:15-17

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without,
 redeeming the time.
 Let your speech be always with grace,
 seasoned with salt,
 that you may know how you ought to answer every man.”
Colossians 4:5-6

 Truly redeeming the time!

Google lists different definitions of the word redeem for different applications, yet each of us could probably be spurred on by some if not all of the definitions to more actively redeem the time we have been given on this earth.

:do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior.

For those of you who thus far have not used your time wisely for God's Kingdom...

Repent and ask the Lord to use you by His power and might to redeem your time for the works He has set aside for you to do before the worlds began.

:gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.

I might be taking a liberty here with this comparison, but just bear with me...

The Lord God gave us time.

My times are in your hand
Psalm 31:15

This time He has given us is precious and is meant to be filled with love, joy and peace...

I'm not speaking of love from man, but the everlasting love of the Father.

I'm not speaking of the joy that means everything is hunky dory, but a joy that runs deep, rooted in Christ Jesus; 

I'm not speaking of the peace that the world gives, but the peace that surpasses all understanding... 

All these manifestations of God should spill over into the lives of those we effect.

Yet how many of us live under the loving influence of our Heavenly Father?  If you are like me, you live more under the influence of self-condemnation, worry and stress.  

What if we gain/regain possession of time the way God intended us to live it out in exchange for  a hundredfold blessings for ourselves and those around us.

:fulfill or carry out

The great Puritans rightly proclaimed that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

The Lord ordained our days before any of them came to be...

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
 in your book were written,
 every one of them,
 the days that were formed for me,
 when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:16

He chose the year that we would be born, establishes our borders and knows the time of our death.  

Time...

There is an appointed time for everything. 
And there is a time for every event under heaven--
Ecclesiastes 3:1

And all these times are to be lived out glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

The Lord establishes our times to fulfill and carry out His plans.  

I need to let that sink in...  Do you?

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 directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9


The Lord holds together every minute of our day, and with every day comes the opportunity to walk in the works God prepared for us to do beforehand...

Our Heavenly Father does not leave us to figure things out on our own.  The Holy Spirit lives within us, guiding us, and prompting us to fulfill and carry out the Lord's plans.   Every resource needed to fulfill and carry out the Lord's plans are available to us through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit - from wisdom and courage to ability and strength, we are thoroughly equipped for every good work.

All Scripture is breathed out by God 
and profitable for teaching,
 for reproof, for correction, 
and for training in righteousness,
 that the man of God may be competent, 
equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

Whether or not you have redeemed the time as you should have thus far, today is a new day, covered in the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus.

The Apostle Paul tells us to not look back, but to strain toward what is ahead..

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. 
But one thing I do: 
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
 I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.…
Philippians 3:13-14


Today, let us number our days and press on toward the prize of God's heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.

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, July 3, 2017

Something's Gotta Give...



Lately, I've been finding myself saying, "Something's gotta give."

My life is very, very full these days - filled with many wonderful blessings, but I am finding that instead of enjoying these blessings, I'm feeling anxious and stressed.  

I'm rushing from one activity to the next...  This pace continues from the moment I wake up until around 10 o'clock in the evening.

Something's gotta give...

I currently wear many wonderful hats...

Wife, grandmother, homemaker, part-time secretary, and blogger.  

The only time I have free for myself is Sunday afternoons, and even then, at some point, I usually end up catching up on responding to post comments and blog interactions through social media.

Something's gotta give...

I am, by nature, a very structured and organized person.  I'm focused, and always seem to accomplish what needs to get done in the time alotted.  

My problem is that I don't like having things "hanging over my head".  I've been like this since I was in high school.  I remember I would be weeks ahead in my steno homework.  I'm always striving to get ahead, but in the striving, I'm not living in the moment, let alone hearing the promptings of the Lord...
Cease striving and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10

The Lord used Sarah Koontz most recent post Why I Take a Summer Blogging Break to minister to my heart and redirect my summer path.  Whether you are a blogger or are just very busy in general, I encourage you to read her post.  I promise you will be edified.

The following words from Sarah's post struck me...

"Every summer, I choose to set aside time to fill up my spiritual storehouses.

Because I must minister from a place of abundance."

You see, in this season of my life, I find blogging to be a meaningful way to serve the Lord -  a way to minister to a far reach, even though my life's work is mostly from home.   Not to mention my own personal growth in the Lord through blogging, and the beautiful friendships and kindred fellowship I have found among the blogging community. 

Anytime I've pondered not to blog, this would come to mind and spur me on to keep on keeping on.

But Sarah reminded me that to minister well, I need to "minister from a place of abundance".

Sarah's post really gave me the nudge that my heart was already convicting me of.  {I love when the Holy Spirit uses fellow bloggers to confirm His promptings.}  So I will be taking a break from blogging for the month of July.  My husband and I have plans to do some traveling and to spend time with friends and family.  I also have several "mentoring books" that I'm looking forward to reading during my downtime to help fill my storehouse.  But most especially, I want to spend this time to be still, and to allow myself to be able to hear the promptings of the Lord as I seek to apply in a consistent manner all that I have learned these past few months through my reading of Guarded by Christ: Knowing the God who Rescues and Keeps Us, and my study of the book of Colossians through the Walk in Grace Bible Study.  

They say 30 days helps to develop a habit!  My hope is that during the month of July, I will develop a habit of living in the moment while seeking God and His grace in a meaningful way, and allowing that grace to overflow to others.

I'd like to close this blog post by sharing pictures that I took recently when I found myself living in the moment - moments I hope will become a spiritual habit going forward.




In the way of righteousness there is life; 
along that path is immortality. 
Proverbs 12:28

You provide a broad path for my feet, 
so that my ankles do not give way.
2 Samuel 22:37

Listen, my son, and be wise,
and set your heart on the right path
Proverbs 23:19

Teach me your way, LORD; 
lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Psalm 27:11

The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
Isaiah 26:7

Direct me in the path of your commands,
 for there I find delight.
Psalm 119:35





Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, 
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
Proverbs 4:18






You make known to me the path of life; 
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
 with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11








I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble,
 because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son. 
Jeremiah 31:9







I run in the path of your commands, 
for you have set my heart free.
Psalm 119:32






My granddaughter has been a constant reminder of what it means to live in the moment.  Her fearlessness is inspiring, and her absolute joy in everything that crosses her path is contagious!



And her spontaneous decision to lay down in the middle of the path, looking as comfy as if she were laying on her own bed, serves as a perfect illustration that I need to rest in the path that the Lord has ordained for me with total trust in His loving care.

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer.  I'll see you in August with all new posts!

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 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.


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