Please join me over at (in)courage today!


Today I’m posting in an amazing community for women called ‘(in)courage’  to remind us of this:

Here at the start of a new year, may our prayers be simple and true: “Your will this year, not mine, Lord. Your will, not mine.”

Then, we open our hands to God, allowing Him to exchange His best plans for our faulty ones. We hold lightly to our own hopes, goals, plans, resolutions, and dreams for the year, and we hold tightly to the God who loves us so much He chose the cross.

I’m thrilled and honored to be sharing this message with the (in)courage community and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to click this link and join me over there today.  It would be a true joy to ‘see some familiar faces!’

You can click here to read the whole post over on the (in)courage page.  I’d be truly blessed if you’d leave me a comment on their site!  I’ll be popping in throughout the day to reply.

If you love the (in)courage site as much as I do, you can also sign up here to receive free daily encouragement from the writers of (in)courage, right in your inbox!

While I’d love for you to visit me over at (in)courage today, I ask for your prayers above all. May God be glorified and His people be encouraged by this message of hope in His faithfulness!

Thanks so much for the prayers and the help in sharing this message with others!

There’s No Surprising Him #Advent

When my older girls were preschoolers, we’d keep every activity a secret until the last possible second.

If I planned to take them to the zoo, they’d find out that morning at 8:30 when I put on their sneakers and packed the cooler.

If Grandma was coming for a visit, they found out when she pulled in the driveway.  Maybe, just maybe, I’d be generous enough to clue them in a few hours before she arrived.  But that was it.  No more advance notice than that.

This parental strategy was for several reasons.

  1. Sometimes plans change, so I kept things secret so no promises were broken or kids felt disappointed.
  2. My children would pester me every hour of every day if they knew something exciting was going to happen.  “How much longer?  How many days?  How many hours…minutes….seconds?”

One year, I kept the secret that Grandma was coming right up until the night before her visit when some unforeseen event dragged the news out of me at bedtime.

Disaster ensued.  Huge childhood drama.

My oldest daughter wailed, grumped, and grew outrageously angry at me for keeping the secret.

I had not given her acceptable planning time.  She informed me, “Had I known Grandma was coming, I would have made her a project.  I had time to make a project today. Tomorrow will be too busy and I will not have time.  You should have told me!”

Oh sweet daughter, I understand.

I do truly hate surprises.  I love my planning and processing time. Springing anything on me is just asking for a meltdown and a whole lot of trouble.

Surprises rock our world a bit, even good ones.  We’re thrown off balance and take time to adjust.

And isn’t Christmas all about surprises?

Zechariah was simply performing his priestly duties when an angel appeared unexpectedly and delivered the news that he and his wife would be parents.

Gabriel arrived in the middle of an average, ordinary day and announced to a young girl named Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah.

Joseph was sleeping when the angel told him the news in a dream.

Shepherds gathered on the hills outside of Bethlehem to watch over the sheep just as they did every single night.  But on this night, the angels declared their Savior had come.

A people who had spent hundreds of years praying for the Messiah, searching for the Messiah, waiting and longing for the Messiah were completely surprised when the Messiah came.

It’s altogether an astonishing tale.  Everyone waking up on an average day, going about their average ways, and then the most extraordinary happens: An encounter with an angel.  A miraculous sign.

God at work in their midst.

There’s only one member of this entire Christmas account who isn’t stunned and surprised by the Messiah’s birth.

God Himself.

And this brings me great comfort.


Not our need for a Savior. Not the timing.  Not that He’d send His Son to be born of a virgin in a tiny town.  Not that His Son would die on a cross to save His people from their sins.

He knew all of it.

The very first Christmas verse I can find in the Bible isn’t in the Gospels at all.  It’s in Genesis.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15 ESV). 

The moment Adam and Eve sinned, God declared the plan of salvation, the war with Satan, and Christ’s ultimate victory.

Sometimes surprises can send me into a mad scramble.  Life takes unexpected turns.  An average ordinary day can catapult me into a crisis with a single phone call.

It feels precarious and frightening to teeter-totter every moment, never knowing when my perfect plan will be bumped into.

But this is what I know:

Even when I don’t have a plan, God does.

Nothing sends Him into a frantic search for a Plan B.  Nothing stresses Him out or tosses Him into crisis mode because He didn’t see that coming.

God knew we’d need a Savior all along and He knew exactly how to save us.

God always knows what we’re going through and what we need.  Even when we’re surprised, He is not.

So we can rest from our vigil of anxiety and loosen our tight-fisted grip on control.

Christmas reminds us that we can trust Him with today and again with tomorrow.

He has perfect plans and perfect timing and we are perfectly cared for by a God who rescues and saves.

Originally published 12/7/2016

Nourished, Book Review

Nourished:  A Search for Health, Happiness and a Full Night’s Sleep
by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph

You can’t keep filling up and feeding others if you’re undernourished and starving yourself.  That’s what mother-daughter writing team, Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph, say in their new book: Nourished.  They’ve packed their book with humor, honesty, a grunge image of a fieldchatty writing style, and practical tips everywhere.

A lot of their advice was basic; however, it’s nice to have a collection of tips all in one place.  I loved some of the word-pictures and metaphors they use to bring their points home.  My favorite is the idea that all of us have a favorite pillow style.  I like mine soft.  You might like yours super-stuffed.  The same is true about our schedules—the activity level that is comfortable for me might not be comfortable for you.  That’s why our lives need to be unique and God-directed, not copycats of what works for someone else.   They cover everything from how to dress your body type, to how to organize your schedule, to how to enjoy family meal time, and how to get your home in order.  I would have loved to see a little more of an emphasis on nourishing faith and a relationship with God, perhaps, but ultimately the book is an all-around healthy heart, mind and body makeover.

Usually, I’m the kind of reader who loves to hear the personal stories and perspectives of the author. Not so much in this book. I think part of that was because I loved Becky Johnson’s tips and input, but Rachel came across as nice and enthusiastic and ‘young.’ I’m a mom with four kids living in a house half the size of Rachel’s, so her perspective felt a little simplistic. She seemed to send a lot of time trying to justify why she doesn’t have a lot of time…..when I think she might have been better off ‘fessing up’ to the fact that the majority of women reading the book probably have more kids than she does. I remember having one toddler, a ministry, a work-at-home job without any childcare, and a busy husband and thinking my life was crazy then. Now, I really wish I had that much free time again! I’d appreciate it if at least once in the book she said, “I know I only have one child, but this is what works for me right now, and this is what my friends with four kids and a job say works for them…..” I get how hard that is to confess. I’ve had to say it myself—-“my life is crazy and it feels like no one else’s could be any crazier, but I know I don’t understand what it’s like to have 9 kids, or home school, or parent a special needs child, or have a husband in the military or be a single mom.” When your own experience is limited, maybe getting some ideas from others with more experience would have been a plus and, at the very least, admitting that you don’t know what it’s like to juggle as much as someone else goes a long way to set a tone of humility. Perhaps that’s why I loved that Becky Johnson chimed in with talk about raising four kids in a log cabin.

This isn’t a Bible study and it’s really not meant to be.  They talk about faith in a cursory kind of way, with a lovely emphasis on how God sees us as His beloved daughters.  My personal preference would probably have been for less references to their friends’ or fellow bloggers’ books and more dependence on Scripture, but the book seemed to be more of a ‘blogging community’ kind of  end-product, which many women will enjoy.

I loved that they included a chapter at the end of the book on how to be nourished when life is hard.  For some women whose lives are taking them through trauma and pain, things like organizing your junk drawers or buying a new outfit aren’t going to help much.  The authors were wise to meet that head-on and share with love, grace and encouragement on how to pursue hope.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Craziest Thing Anyone Has Ever Said to Me In Target

I’d been married a week.

A week.

We visited my great-grandmother and she asked me, “So, when are you going to give your mom some grandbabies?”

A week.

I thought the question was mildly shocking, moderately annoying and mostly downright crazy talk.psalm 30

But, you know, what can you do?  So, I giggled awkwardly or something and dodged the whole wildly uncomfortable conversation.

Not long after that, I was having dinner with a dear friend in a crowd of other friendly folks and someone asked her the question.

“So you’ve been married for a few years now.  When are you going to have kids?”

I thought the question was mildly shocking, moderately annoying and mostly downright crazy intrusive….

It was so much more than that for her.  It was deeply painful, treading like heavy steel-toed boots all over the most tender places of her broken heart.

That’s what she told me later.  How no one ever thought before they asked her that question…and people asked her ALL the time.

When are you having kids?  When are you having kids?  When are you having kids?

The truth was that she was desperate for a baby and yet it isn’t just that easy for everyone, is it?  Hadn’t she prayed and prayed?  Hadn’t she tried and seen the doctor and then had to answer the clueless questions of nosy onlookers?

We just think we’re making conversation and we’re really battering and bruising the sweet soul we’re chatting with over dinner.

Sometimes, it’s ridiculously comical.  Like when I stood in the shoe section at the Target with my three blond-headed beautiful daughters, my youngest at the time less than 2 months old.  Such precious gifts to me.

And this random lady waltzed right on over and gave me creepily personal tips on how to have a boy next time.

In the Target.

With my kids there.

And I didn’t know her.

Good gravy.

Or when people see my beloved baby boy and say right there in front of my three precious girls, “So, you finally got your boy.  I bet your husband is happy.”

Like my daughters were just three attempts at having a son gone wrong.

We just say things, don’t we?  We aren’t meaning to be mean or hurtful.  We just say….stuff….  It seems innocent enough and we just don’t think maybe there’s a world of hurt left trailing after our destructive conversation.

It doesn’t get any harder than when we see a loved one grieving. We want so much to say the right words, soothe the hurt, ease their throbbing pain because we love them so.

But sometimes we get it all wrong.  We try to cover over their hurt with platitudes that sound so right, “It’s God’s will.  It’s for the best.  He always works everything out for the good” and yet what we’re essentially saying is, ‘Suck it up and get over it.  You’re a Christian so you shouldn’t be sad.”

Holley Gerth says in What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days:

While we mean well, comments like those are like stripping off someone’s sackcloth. Instead of helping, we leave their hearts even more exposed. What our hearts need is something new to cover them in hard times. And that’s what God offers.

We leave their hearts raw and exposed, open to further wounding.

Yet, God, such a gracious God, covers us with protection and love.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever” Psalm 30:11-12

It takes time, yes, it can take so much time.  But he does this—he removes our sackcloth and clothes us with joy.What-Your-Heart-Needs-for-the-Hard-Days

And what I want to be is the kind of person who shares this grace with others.

We won’t get it right all the time.  We’ll say the wrong thing and maybe mess it all up.  Maybe we just don’t even know what to say when we are eyewitnesses to the hurt inflicted by a sin-stained planet.

But we can start here.

Dear friend, I don’t even have the right words, but I love you.  I am praying for you.  I am here for you.

And we can start here—-thinking through our questions before we ask them, so we don’t leave a hurting heart raw and exposed after what we just thought was casual, totally normal small-talk.

And we can start here, praying this:  Dear God, May we be wise and grace-filled in our conversations with others today.  May we speak the words that show Your love—and nothing less than that.—Amen.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

The Great Human Struggle Right There in the Middle of the Kitchen

He freezes in the kitchen with one hand hanging mid-air.


Picture courtesy of Steve Janacek, PicJumbo

He was headed into “The Forbidden Territory”—AKA the laundry room—just as fast as he could crawl when he heard me say, “No.”

And this tiny baby boy engaged in the great human struggle right there in the middle of my kitchen floor.

Do I do what I want to do?  Even if I know it’s wrong?  Even if mom says, ‘no?’

Or do I obey and turn to enjoy something else, something approved and acceptable?

He tilts his head up so he can see me, still sticking his hand right out into the air, paralyzed as he decides where to slap that hand down on the linoleum floor.  Place the hand here to move forward to the “No Zone of the laundry room.”  Place the hand there to turn and obey.

His muscles actually twitch under the strain of the decision.  He grunts and growls.  He looks at me with the brightest blue eyes all filled to the brim with tears.

Because he wants what he wants.

And yet, still crying, still upset, still disappointed, slowly he lowers that hand down and shifts his body.

He turns.

He crawls full speed ahead to my legs and throws himself at me.

Sometimes obedience is hard.  So I reward him with cheers and kisses on his cheeks and an elaborate hug.

He’s not even old enough for me to lay it all out for him all psychological and explanatory.  How sometimes Mom says ‘no’ because she loves you and she doesn’t want you to end up in the laundry room with a mouthful of cat poop because you found the litter box.

How sometimes the things we think we want the very most are the very worst for us.

So, it’s my Mom-job to tell him “no,” not to be mean or arbitrary, but for protection and because I have something better in mind than cat litter (promise!).

Does God give whisper this to us also?

Dearest One, I love you.  I know that your heart is hurting because I’ve said, “no,” but please trust me and trust my heart for you.  I’m not out to harm you or withhold blessings or good things from you.  I’m here to protect you.  Wait for the moment when I say, “Yes” and it’s perfect.  It’s worth waiting for.  Love, Abba

The Psalmist said it:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
  Psalm 84:11 ESV

He is our light.  He is our protection.  And He doesn’t withhold good things for us.

But we have to let Him define what is ‘good.’

Paul pursued what seemed like a noble Gospel-sharing goal—to preach in Asia–and yet, the Holy Spirit stopped him with a clear, ‘no.’

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (Acts 16:6-7 NIV).

It’s a ‘no’ that doesn’t seem to make a bit of sense.  Surely Paul’s itinerary seemed ‘good.’

Yet, even when it seems hopeless and crazy, utterly insane, or like all the doors are closed and everything is over and you should just give up already and go home, if God tells you ‘no’ and asks you to wait….then wait.  If He asks you to turn, then turn.

Linda Evans Shepherd in The Stress Cure writes:

Living in God’s will means always saying yes to God (p. 138).

You want me to stop?  Yes, Lord.
You want me to wait?  Yes, Lord.
You want me to change direction?  Yes, Lord.

That’s what He did for Paul.  He redirected Paul’s steps to Macedonia and to a Gospel mission to Europe:

 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them (Acts 16:9-10).

Maybe I would have pushed and shoved right out of God’s presence and His will and right on into Asia.

Yet, Paul turned.  He accepted the ‘no’ and said ‘yes’ to God’s mission and agenda instead of his own seemingly noble one.

Do I want what I want?  Even if I know it’s wrong?  Even if God says no?

Or do I want to be where God is, satisfied and content in His presence and trusting in His love?

May we always choose the “yes” of His presence.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I Learn When to Say, ‘Yes?’

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Christmas Devotionals: Always Expect the Unexpected

My schedule is a delicate balance.

There’s a shopping day.  A scrub the bathrooms and the floors day.  Laundry days (one doesn’t cut it!).  Ballet day and another ballet day and yet another day at the dance studio.  Volunteer day.  Eat lunch with the kids at school day. Writing day.  Bible Study prep day.  Prayer meeting day.  Homework day and library day.christmas9

It’s an intricate design that took effort and some trial and error to develop, but by October it all settled into a perfect rhythm.

Then December arrived and stomped all over my perfectly balanced schedule like a giant through a flower bed.

Suddenly, my calendar has arrows swapping events in my week, items written in ink now crossed out and rewritten on different days and at different times.

Oh yeah, can you fit in a class party?  And a holiday concert?  Could you make gifts for teachers and stop by the Christmas get-together?  Mom, what are we doing for my birthday?  Can we have an extra cantata practice?

Onto the calendar it goes.  I’ve begun color-coding the items. Red is for the really super important things that I absolutely cannot forget, but am certain I’m going to miss.  I add dark circles around those also.  And some stars and exclamation marks.  You can’t go wrong with stars.

Now my calendar has become illegible.  So, I switch to the daily agenda plus master to-do list that spans the next two weeks.

Add in the meal plan for family dinners up through Christmas and the shopping list that I had to restart the day after I just went to the grocery store, and the planning is complete.

How euphoric it would be to keep the schedule in balance at all times and for the expected activities to happen on the assigned days!

No doing laundry on shopping day.  No extra trip to the store when it is supposed to be writing day.  No third trip to the school on a day I’ve scheduled for cleaning house.

It would all be so expected.  So perfectly planned.  So in control.

That’s the problem, though, isn’t it?  I have a certain capacity for juggling and as long as I’m tossing around the same few balls, I’m a fairly competent performer.

But when God tosses an unexpected ball into my rhythm and routine, I’m liable to drop them all on the ground.

To a certain extent, I need to practice the “no” and guard the schedule.  Keep it simple.  Don’t try to do too much.  Don’t over-commit.

At other times, though, the schedule just is what it is.  The lesson isn’t about eliminating activity.  It’s about allowing God to shuffle our expectations and disrupt our plans so that we remember how much we need Him.

It’s His reminder that we can’t always package up our days with decorated wrapping paper and a shiny bow, oh so neat and perfect.  Life is messy at times.  Chaotic in some moments.  Fairly unexpected so many days.

The one constant is Him and even He has a way of surprising us.

I think somehow it’s appropriate that December is the month when my calendar is left in tatters and all my perfect plans are shattered.  It’s a reminder that God has a way of shaking us up, mystifying us, and going far beyond our imagination.

Like the fact that the Savior of us all, the long-awaited Messiah, entered this world as a baby.

In Nativity scenes, we usually see the pristine image of well-groomed stable animals, fresh hay, perfect baby wrapped in bright white cloth.  Mary is already back to her pre-pregnancy weight and looking like she didn’t just labor and give birth.

But God chose to come to this earth the messy way.  It was childbirth.  It was pain.  It was blood.  It wasn’t even in the sterile white setting of a hospital, but all smelly and oppressive like the barn it was.

A newborn, a little Child came to save the world.

The Light of the World entered in darkness, while nocturnal shepherds kept the night-watch over their sheep.

The King of kings arrived in a stable.

The Eternal God, the Word who in the beginning was “with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning”—lay in a manger with baby dimples and the red skin of a newborn (John 1:1).

Have you settled into a routine and rut with God?  Have you figured Him all out?  Have you gotten comfortable with what you can do and with what you believe He can do?  Have you scheduled Him and assigned Him portions of your life?

Don’t be too sure!

Just when we figure everything out and fit everything in, God often will interrupt and amaze, befuddle and change your direction.

As Paul writes: “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes” (Ephesians 3:20-21, MSG)

Originally posted on December 14, 2011

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Devotionals for Christmas: How to answer when your preschooler asks, “Why?”

She asks me:  Why?

Why was the serpent bad in that garden?

Why did Eve give the fruit to Adam, too?

Why did God choose Mary to be Jesus’ mom?

Why did the people shout to kill Jesus when He didn’t do anything wrong?

Why did they slam that crown of thorns down on Jesus’ head and why did they lash His back again and again and again?

Why did He die on that wooden cross?

Why did the women put burial spices on His body and why did they wrap Jesus in those cloths?

Why did Jesus walk on out of that grave?

I try to break it all down, this Gospel, and explain it in the language of a four-year-old.  But I stumble and trip, throw in words she doesn’t understand and then toss them out again.

Start, stop, start over.  That’s how it goes.

I answer.

But she asks again.


In the minivan, at the dinner table, as we turn the pages of her children’s Bible, as she holds my hand and walks out the door, she asks.  Over and over we walk through the Gospel, letting it sink down deep into her heart and mind, and I pray that the seed sewn and watered will sprout faith, strong and true.

We adults tend to complicate this Good News, fumbling to unwrap the beautiful simplicity with our overgrown paws.

There is, after all, depth here.  No matter how down deep we dig into God’s Word, there is rich truth to uncover.

Paul exclaimed:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  (Romans 11:33 NIV).

Wasn’t that part of the trouble for the Pharisees, though?  They piled on laws, rules, legalism and judgment, tripping people up with their obstacle-ridden path to redemption.  They took something simple and made it so difficult.

And yet, how capable our God is at breaking down the difficult and complex, making it simple so we, His own precious children can understand.

In the same way, we can tangle the Christmas story in details and asides, but God unravels the mess and says it clear:

 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 1:18

In the Women of Christmas, Liz Curtis Higgs writes, “He summarized the main characters and their plight in a single sentence.”Wreath of Snow_cvr.indd

That’s what we need.  We need our God to free us from complicated explanations and tricky religious routines.  We need Him to be clear.  We need Him to break it down.

Because when salvation gets complicated, we lose sight of grace.  It becomes about us instead of all about Him.

We know what a disaster that is.

Paul tells us what we bring to this salvation table:

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient.  We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures.  Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.  (Titus 3:3 NLT).

What a mess we make.  Foolish, disobedient, mistaken, slaves to sin, evil, envious, and filled with hate—that’s what we are without God.


That’s what Paul writes next.  One three-letter word of hope and freedom for all of us chained to sin.

But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”  (Titus 3:4-7 NLT)

We bring mess.titus3

He brings mercy.

It’s as simple as that.

All of those “Why’s” my preschooler asks and all of the “why’s” I myself ask when life seems complicated and confusing find their answer here:  “because of his mercy.”

And Christmas, oh how we can tangle it right up with confusion and busyness, but here is the clear and simple truth:

It was at Christmas that God revealed His kindness and love, mercifully, generously, with a Savior we didn’t deserve and a sacrifice we didn’t merit.

Why did God send a Savior?

Why did He come as a baby?

Why did He take that crown of thorns, endure that lashing of the whip, die there on that cross?

Why did He walk out of that tomb, alive anew?

Because of His mercy.

Yes, because of His grace.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Free Scripture Verse Cards for Ask Me Anything, Lord

Today, I’m sending out a special welcome and thanks to the ladies at the First Christian Church in Valparaiso, Indiana who will be meeting tomorrow (Friday, December 6th) to begin their study of Ask Me Anything, Lord.  I think you ladies are the very first to use the book for a group study!  How exciting!!ask-me-anything-lord_kd

I pray that God will use His questions in Scripture to draw you closer to Him, encourage you in ministry and in your faith, and help you overcome any lingering fears, insecurities, doubts and feelings of insufficiency as you follow Him.

Would those of you who aren’t members of this study group pray for them as they begin this journey?  How beautiful are the prayers of God’s people for one another, as sweet incense wafting up before His throne.

And, to say thanks to this group of ladies, I’ve created these free Scripture verse cards to accompany the study!.  Because, after all, God’s Word forms the solid foundation for our feet even when the earth trembles around us.

Just click the link to print your own sheet of Scripture verse cards!  Ask Me Anything Lord Verse Cards

For my local friends, many thanks to you also for praying for me and for coming to visit me at my book signing last Saturday!  I was deeply blessed by your presence and encouragement.

I will have one more local book signing before Christmas, so if you’re still hoping to grab a book, get it signed, or even purchase some as Christmas gifts, here’s your chance!  I’ll be at:

The Wild Rabbit Cafe
Main Street in Gloucester, VA
December 14th
2-4 p.m.

I’ll have books available for purchase that day.  Plus, I’ll be running a drawing for a tea-and-chocolate gift basket and a Wild Rabbit gift card to two lucky winners.  You can enter just by stopping by and chatting with me!  (Thank you so much to The Wild Rabbit for providing the gift certificate prize!!)

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

A Heart Like His, Book Review

A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David
by Beth Moore

Years ago, I sat propped up in bed and began reading the hardback edition of A Heart Like His.  For all my love of Bible Study, I’d never read one of Beth Moore’s books before.  A friend had recommended it to me and I settled in that night planning to read the book quickly and voraciously.aheartlikehis2

Normally, I speed through books, but this time I couldn’t.  After growing up in the church and hearing the stories of David portrayed on hundreds of flannel boards, I was shocked by the fresh perspective of Beth Moore.  Shocked that I had so much to learn about David.  Shocked by the application and challenge in each chapter of the book.

So I slowed down and read the book in small pieces.  Now that I’ve re-read the book in the paperback edition, I knew what to expect from Beth’s studies—in-depth discussion of Scripture and continual life application.  This is not Bible Study aimed at filling our heads with knowledge; it’s a passionate look at Scripture so that we can learn, change and grow.

The book is divided into 52 chapters and covers the backstory leading up to David’s life and kingship all the way to his death and the legacy he left with his son Solomon.  Each chapter is short and easy to read in one sitting with prompts directing you to the passage of Scripture being covered so you can read it first in your own Bible.  Whenever possible, she aligns the descriptions of David’s life with his own poetry and songs, making this an in-depth study of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Chronicles and portions of the Psalms that works well for individuals or groups.

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a group of women share what they had learned after studying the life of David for nine months as a group.  Some women confessed struggling to understand how a guy who made so many mistakes could have a heart like God’s.  Others stood to their feet and admitted that they felt just like David and his need for God’s grace.  Ultimately, any study of David isn’t really about David at all; it’s about God and how He works to draw us to Him, to transform and mature us, and to make us usable vessels that bring Him glory.  That’s just a portion of what you’ll learn as you read this book, which makes it worth reading, studying, re-reading, and sharing with others.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Seven Men: And the Secret of their Greatness, Book Review

Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness
by Eric Metaxas

Eric Metaxas’s biographies of William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were some of my favorite works in any genre.  I found them inspiring, full of information while still being readable, and actually theologically educational.  I learned so much about these men and their faith.  Even my eight-year-old daughter has become a fan of Metaxas because she loved his biography of Squanto for kids. So, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review his new book, Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.7men

The introduction is compelling. As a woman and a mom with three daughters at that, I haven’t really given much thought to the crisis facing boys in our modern times, when ideals of chivalry, strength of convictions, and moral confidence are scoffed at, mocked, denied, and often ripped to pieces by the media and other cultural influences.  Metaxas’s goal, then, in writing this book was to address the question of ‘What is a man?’ by looking at seven men he believes represent a model of manhood.

As always for Metaxas, the writing style is readable and easy to follow. The stories he tells are engaging and interesting, and the biographies become more inspirational than just the cold, hard facts with Metaxas’s commentary and presentation.  He chose to write about: George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles Colson.  Some of these biographies were more familiar to me than others.  In particular, I learned the most and was surprised the most by the biography on Pope John Paul II.

After reading the longer Metaxas biographies, I have to confess I was a bit disappointed by these extremely small, fast-paced, and superficial looks at the lives of seven incredibly complex and historic men.  I shouldn’t have been surprised.  It makes sense that he’d only be able to give a cursory overview of their lives in the amount of space available.

So, while I wouldn’t consider this book an adequate study on any of these individual men, as a brief introduction to these biographies, this book works.  As an exploration of the concept of manhood and an attempt to inspire us to value chivalry, self-sacrifice, and standing up for what is right, this book succeeds.  Perhaps more importantly, I’m now intrigued by the lives of the men I didn’t know much about and I can’t wait to read longer, in-depth biographies of their lives.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”