I Want More

I wanted to walk.

I needed to do other things.

In the 40 minutes between the “Amen” at the end of prayer group and the moment I had to pick up my little one from preschool, I should have been reading, prepping, writing, practicing, answering and completing.

I did, after all, have a to-do list to follow!  Things to check off!  Tasks to accomplish!

Still, I wanted to walk.

It was a warm day, the kind of slightly humid warm of a morning before an afternoon storm.  The clouds hadn’t yet blocked the sun and the cooling wind cut through the sticky heat, carrying scents of fall.

It was lovely.

So, down the Main Street of our town I strolled, wearing ballet flats instead of walking shoes—a reminder of the whimsicality of the moment.

I passed houses with mums dotting the gardens and azaleas in final bloom along the path and business with window displays of colored leaves and pumpkins.

At first, I thought about that dreaded list, the tasks I was leaving undone.  I was problem-solving and planning and mentally re-arranging my day.

But then I noticed the sound of the breeze, how the wind tossing about the leaves in the trees sang a constant hum.

And I saw the acorns scattered along the path and piled into the grass, the wind’s gift to squirrels looking for easy pickings.

And I watched as the clouds didn’t just mosey almost imperceptibly across the sky.  No, they were running and dancing past my eyes, pushed along by the breeze.

My walk was about finding more.

But those times never last forever.  I too quickly returned to the schedule and the to-do list, still wishing for more of something undefinable, indescribable, and impossible to cram into a word from a dictionary.

We talk a lot about what it means to desire more in life.

We say we’ve all been designed with a God-shaped hole.  While we try to fill that void with stuff and with sin, relationships and success, it’s only God who can ever satisfy.  Everything else results in a bottomless pit of emptiness.

That’s true.

And we talk about what it means as Christians to long for more.

How we need to put aside the busyness of religion and pursue relationship with Jesus.  How we must shun the sin that prevents intimacy with God.  And until He’s fully Lord of our lives and we’re walking with Him closely, not just day by day, but moment by moment, we’ll always feel poured out and never filled.

That’s true, too.

We sang it in worship this Sunday morning, “All of You is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need.  You satisfy me with Your love.”

So, what’s wrong with me?  Why, after all of that, can I still feel the longing?

Not for more money or possessions, fame or success, love or attention.

For more Jesus.

So often our typical lessons on this issue follow the same trite pattern.

You want more.
You get rid of sin.
You draw closer to God.
You feel better.
Amen.

Like that’s as far as it goes.

Is God enough for us, enough to fully satisfy the deepest, most cavernous longing of our heart and souls?

Yes, He absolutely is.

Do sin and busyness choke us and keep us from being satisfied in Christ?

Yes, they absolutely do.

But even then, don’t you feel it–the insatiable groaning in your soul for something more than we can ever find in the here and now of life on earth?

C.S. Lewis wrote:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world” (Mere Christianity)

This incessant longing, even in the moments of greatest intimacy with Christ, even on quiet walks with Jesus on lovely fall days, doesn’t mean God isn’t enough.

It just means that we were:

“made for eternity, for glory, and as long as your feet are here on this earth, you will experience a glory ache that only heaven can fully satisfy”  (Sharon Jaynes, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, p. 192).

God designed us not for this life, but for the ever after life with Him.  Ecclesiastes tells us: “He has also set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

When we see Jesus face to face and the physical realities of this world, the death and sin about us, the crushing grind of the daily, when all that is gone and it’s just our Savior and us and it’s forever . . . then we will be satisfied, fully drenched and totally filled.

Until then, we bring our longing for more to Jesus and let Him whisper to us about heaven and of what awaits us there.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

God’s Indescribable Gift

“He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things”
Psalm 107:9, NIV

There’s that moment on every Antiques Roadshow when the appraiser pushes his glasses back on his nose and leans in with excitement.  “So, as to value . . .” he starts.  And the item’s owner looks up with humble and cautious anticipation.  This expert, who has spent all day telling people their precious items aren’t really rare or one-of-a-kind, that their genuine treasures are copies and fakes, that grandmother’s fascinating brush with fame never really happened—this expert places a breathtaking value on an object.  A thing.  A material substance made a treasure because it is unique, somehow special because of the famous person who owned it, or so wrapped up in story and history that the ordinary, everyday is transformed into a retirement fund.

I’ve seen rugs on that show worth more than my house.

At times, I watch that “thing” now deemed priceless and I wonder—what is hidden in my garage and stuffed in my closets?  What bookshelf conceals my children’s college education?  In what closet could I discover my dream home?

But, I’ve been through all my stuff and it is actually just stuff, perhaps priceless to me and valuable in my life for its utility or the way it connects me to the past, but nothing an appraiser would lose his breath over or call his buddies about.

So then I wonder, how is it that we human creatures can look at tangible objects formed of wood or stone or cloth and so arbitrarily place on them a price tag?  This one picture costs as much as feeding a village of people in Africa.  The cost of this antique toy could build a well in a village with no clean water.

Seems like something’s wrong here.  Seems like the way we assign value is a little off.

That’s one of our problems, really.  We don’t really know value when we see it most of the time.

And so when God pours Himself out for us and blesses us with good gifts, we sometimes mistake them for not enough and seek out everything that is “other” to fill us up instead.  We keep telling Him we are empty and hold our hands out to Him for more, more, more.  He offers us all that is good and true wrapped up in His presence, but it seems so simple and plain.  Not enough.  Meanwhile, we gorge ourselves on everything we believe will satisfy the deep yearnings and cravings in our hearts.

We pour into our hearts:
success
possessions
romance
position
friendships
successful kids
knowledge
food
entertainment

And it just seeps out of our souls, flowing out as quickly as we can dump it in.  We don’t value what God offers as much as this worldly buffet of good eats around us.  It’s ingratitude.  It’s sin.

Ann Voskamp writes in One Thousand Gifts:

Satan, he wanted more.  More power, more glory.  Ultimately, in essence, Satan is an ingrate.  And he sinks his venom into the heart of Eden.  Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity – the sin of ingratitude.  Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave . . . Our fall was, has always been, and always will  be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives.  We hunger for something more, something other.

It’s like the Israelites trekking through the desert.  God rains down on them wafers of honey they named manna,  miraculously, faithfully and abundantly every night as they sleep.  It’s tasty and satisfying, nutritionally able to sustain them through long desert marches for 40 years.  He graciously provides all they need and more and all while they rest.  No toil involved.  No effort on their part.  All part of God’s generous provision for His people.

And yet, they complained.  “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted” (Numbers 11:5, NIV).

Nothing they owned, used or ate in Egypt was free.  Everything came at high cost to them–they exchanged hard labor and 370+ years of bondage in slavery for fish and a salad bar.

Seems like something’s wrong here.  Seems like the way they assigned value was a little off.

Adam and Eve were not satisfied with the fruit God had given them for food.  The Israelites were not satisfied with the manna God miraculously laid at their feet every day.  We aren’t always satisfied with God’s Word, with His promises to us, with His provision, with His direction.

Yet, Scripture assures us that God is fully satisfying.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work”  (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV).

“These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.  When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things” (Psalm 104:27-28, NIV).

He “satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5, NIV).

Have you felt empty, thirsty, hungry, plagued with holes that never allow you to be filled—not with joy, not with peace, not with hope?  We are offered the Bread of Life and buckets of Living Water drawn up from a well that will quench our thirst eternally.  We are offered Christ.  Christ abundantly sufficient for our needs.  Christ the once-for-all sacrifice to cover all our sins.  Christ our Peace.   “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV).

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

Kaleidoscope Moment

“Surely, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation”
Isaiah 12:2-3, NIV

Imagine you’re on Jeopardy in a close match with your two co-contestants.  You choose your next category and see the Double Jeopardy sign.  This is your chance!  You can “risk it all, Alex” and go for a true Double Jeopardy, thereby leaving your opponents impossibly behind when you answer correctly.   Or, you can play it safe, and risk only a minor amount; you wouldn’t gain much, but you wouldn’t lose much either.

What would you do?  Are you a risk-taker or a play-it-safe kind of person?

I know what I would do.  I’d wager about $200 and pinch myself later if I knew the answer to the question.  That’s one reason you’ll never see me on Jeopardy.  That and the fact I know almost nothing about sports, pop culture,  geography and tons of other things.  Oh, and I freeze up under pressure.  I’m not really Jeopardy champion material.

Since I’m not a risk-taker, it frightens me when God asks me to take bold steps of faith and follow Him in obedience as we travel into the unknown.  It’s too . . . well, risky!  What if I get lost?  What if I don’t survive?  What if I heard God wrong?  What if I get embarrassed?  What if God doesn’t provide?  What if I’m not successful?

This is one of those “kaleidescope moments” in our faith walk.  These classic toys seem almost magical at times.  You hold a simple tube up to the light and the mosaic of colors inside shines and flashes in a beautiful pattern.  With one simple twist, the colors fall into a new pattern—still beautiful, but now so very different.

God sometimes needs to give our perspective a little twist, so that we see from His eyes.   The new pattern will be beautiful and oh so very different from what we’ve seen before.

Even when God calls us out into the unknown, even when He asks us to stop playing it safe, even when He asks us to follow obediently before the plan is revealed, even when He asks us to do something that sounds crazy, even when He asks us to do something different than everyone around us . . . even then, there really isn’t anything risky about following God.  That’s because no matter where God takes us, He walks by our side and His promises remain true.

We don’t have to take a risk.  Instead, we can enjoy what Kay Arthur calls “the rest of faith,” when we unite “the Word of God with faith for a particular situation.”   Psalm 91 promises us that “those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1, NIV).   That’s a shift in our perspective; a new way to look at God’s call on our lives.

Paul demonstrated this rest of faith while he was a prisoner on a ship at sea that was caught in a terrible storm.  “The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. The following day they even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard.  The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone” (Acts 27:19-20, NIV).

Everyone had lost hope–except Paul.  He rested in faith.  God had told Paul previously that he would travel to Rome and preach Christ there.  No storm could prevent God from fulfilling His promise.  That night on the ship, God reconfirmed His plan by sending an angel who said “‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar!  What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.”  Paul announced to those on the ship, “So take courage!  For I believe God.  It will be just as he said” (Acts 27: 24-25, NIV).

Even with these assurances from Paul, the sailors were frightened and tried to abandon ship.  Wouldn’t you?

When Paul confronted them and said, “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard,” they amazingly listened to his assurances and “cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away.”  Later, Paul told these men who had not eaten for two weeks, to eat and strengthen themselves.   Scripture tells us, “Everyone was encouraged and began to eat” and then, in a true display of faith, “the crew lightened the ship further by throwing the cargo of wheat overboard” (Acts 27:30-37).

Paul’s confident faith was infectious.  The sailors were now without a lifeboat as an escape plan and without any food provisions to count on for the future.   All they had was God’s promise that they would be okay.

The good news is that God’s promises are enough.  Everyone on that ship survived the storm and made it safely to land just as God had said.

Like Paul, we have promises that we can rest in even when life seems risky.  We don’t need lifeboats or cargo to guarantee our safety through a storm.  God promises that He will go with us and never abandon us.  He promises to shelter us and set us high above our enemies.  He promises to provide for our needs and to give us all-sufficient grace.  He promises to strengthen us and renew us day by day.

These promises mean that life for those with faith is never really risky.  Instead, with a simple shift in our kaleidoscope and change in our perspective, God can help us experience the rest of faith by connecting His promises with our situation.  Then, we will “trust and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2, NIV).

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

Enough

“And all of you is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need.  You satisfy me with your love and all I have in you is more than enough.”
Jeremy Camp, Enough

Last summer at a pool party, confident after a few swimming lessons,  my daughter didn’t wait for her dad to put on her “floaties.”   Instead, she just hopped in the pool while my husband was helping her sister get ready.   She thought she could handle it—this preschool swimming class expert.  Unfortunately, she started to sink.  So, she freaked out and struggled.  That made it worse.

It took less than a second for my husband to reach in the pool and grab her up.  To her, that split second seemed to last forever.

On this very same day last week, I felt like I was sinking.  I freaked out.  I struggled.  That made it worse.  This brief moment in my life seemed to last forever, but God reached down and grabbed me up.

God blessed me that day with a  good friend who shared with me this verse: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach . . .  No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deut. 30:11, 14, NIV).   As I struggled to stay above water that day, different portions of that verse would encourage or challenge me and ultimately required me to make some changes.

Not Too Difficult

What God is asking us to do sometimes seems so hard and we want to quit or give up.  Yet, He encourages us to keep going because this is not too difficult or beyond our reach, not with Him helping us.  In our strength, we’ll absolutely sink.  We struggle and flail and cry out for help because we’re overwhelmed with our inability to control our situation.  Yet, as Paul writes “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV).  Isaiah writes: “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, NIV).  As long as we remain with Him, held up by His “righteous right hand,” we will not sink, no matter how unable we are to swim in our own strength and abilities.

Today

The Deuteronomy verse tells us, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult.”  My friend reminded me that I only need to focus on obeying God’s command for me today.  If I worry about ten years from now, that’ll be too difficult.  Even trying to get ahead of myself by one day can send me to the bottom of a pool!  I look at my month-long calendar and sometimes I lose my breath.  How will I get it all done?  Will I sleep this month?  If I can just make it until next month, I’ll be okay.  And then I flip the page of the calendar and feel overwhelmed again.

But, today and just for today, God is asking me to do things that are not too difficult.

What I Am Commanding You

After my friend shared this verse with me, I meditated on it all day.  I used it as a pep talk for myself: “You can do it.  It’s not too difficult.  You can get it all done and handle all this.”  Then, I realized that I really couldn’t do it.  This was actually far too difficult for me.  I was sinking, no question about it.

So then, what was I doing wrong?  I was trying to do what God was commanding me and then some.  God had told me I needed to quit my job and I had put Him off until it was more convenient for me to obey.  I can’t add to God’s commands and expect Him to hold me up out of the water.  In that case, it’s my own fault I’m sinking!  Walking in obedience brings me freedom and the promise that God will help me do everything He has asked of me.

There are some days when I am feeling great and doing fine, life is good, and then just for a brief moment I have that sinking feeling.  All three of my daughters suddenly need me and it must be right now!  The phone rings while my kids are crying and I’m trying to make dinner.  I’m tired from lack of sleep caring for a newborn or a sick child and I still have to function the next day.  One of my daughters is sick or struggling and I don’t know how to make it better.

I’m sinking.

At other times, it’s a season of feeling out of control and overwhelmed—When I’m pouring out everything in ministry and just want to give up at the lack of results.  When I’m working my hardest and don’t seem to make progress.  When the prayer requests of others seem so overwhelming.  When I am given a new project and I have no idea how to accomplish it.

I’m sinking.

The fact is, I’m simply not enough for all this.  I sometimes tell my daughters, “I only have two hands!!”  There are times I am telling God the same thing.  “God, I’ve got two hands and that’s it.  I’m not equipped enough, strong enough, trained enough, or experienced enough.”

I’m not, but He is.  With His help, and as long as I am focusing on today and walking in obedience with Him, He will strengthen me.   He will be “more than enough.”

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

I Choose to Obey

“Therefore, my brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain”
(1 Corinthians 15:58).

Today is piano lesson day in my house.  I stopped giving lessons to other students when my youngest daughter was born, but I still teach my older girls once a week.  At times, this may seem like a raw deal to my daughters, having a teacher there not just for lessons, but for practice time, as well.  They might not fully appreciate me hovering over their shoulders and correcting their mistakes all week.  I change their hand positions when they shift their fingers too far.  I show them the right notes when they stray to a wrong key.  I remind them of the OTHER song they were supposed to practice this week, not just the song they really like.

In many ways, me being their mom and their teacher has been helpful, not just because I make sure they practice the songs the right way all week long, but also because I’m there to encourage them each day to keep going and not give up.

In the beginning, my oldest daughter asked me to quit about once a week.  Any time she got a new song that was just a little bit harder than the last one, she thought it was a good time to give up.  One minute, she would be super excited about mastering her old lesson, playing it 20 times so I can hear how great she is, and then I’d turn the page to a new song.  Some new notes.  A new hand position.  A new skill.  And she’d be discouraged and a little afraid.  She’d tell me that what she had learned was enough , that she was a great piano player because of how well she could play “Old MacDonald,” so there was clearly no need to play “Aura Lee.”

But, I’m her teacher and mom and I know better.  I know the new song isn’t too hard and that if she just gave it one good practice session, she’d regain confidence. Within a week she’d have mastered it and be ready for something new.  So, I tell her, “Don’t give up.  Keep trying.  You can do it.  The best things in life take hard work and the effort is worth it.”

Today, I feel like giving up.  I’ve looked around at where I’m at and how hard it is, and I’ve thought, “I’ve gone far enough.  I’ve exerted enough effort.  It’s just too costly and time-consuming and emotionally draining and I think I need to stop.  Take a vacation.  Escape.  Quit and do something easier.  Settle for something less.  Did you really call me to this?  Did I hear correctly or am I just off doing my own thing?  I just can’t do this anymore, God.  I’m not seeing any results, blessing or reward, so this just doesn’t seem worth it.”

Have you been there?

Have you changed your 13th diaper for a morning and thought, “I’m over this.  I’m done.   Nine months old sounds like a perfectly reasonable time to potty train.”

Have you listened to yet another fight between your kids and wanted to scream and just shut the door and hide until your husband comes home?

Have you washed every dish and bit of clothing in your house only to find the sink and hampers filled by the evening and just been totally overwhelmed by the endlessness of it all?

Have you given everything you had in ministry only to see little tangible result and watched as someone else seemed to reap success with little effort, so you just want to pack it in?

Have you worked hard to get out of debt or saved to put money aside, only to face a totally unexpected bill or rising gas prices that cut into your budget, and find that you’re never any closer to your goals no matter how hard you work or cut expenses?  And you think, “What’s the point.  Why am I trying so hard?”

But, God’s our Teacher and our Father and He knows better.

He knows that sometimes we grow tired and weary and that in those moments, it’s hard to remember the vision He gave us or the call He placed on our hearts.  He knows we just want to escape sometimes and curl up in His lap for comfort and rest, but He encourages our hearts by telling us, “Don’t give up.  Don’t run away now, not when you’re so close to the reward.  It is worth it; it is all worth it.  Just take another step, go a little further.”

Today, I’ve felt a little like John the Baptist just before the end of his life.  This man had boldly proclaimed the coming Messiah, publicly baptized Jesus and personally witnessed the Holy Spirit descending like a dove with God’s voice from heaven proclaiming, “This is My Son, in whom I am well pleased.   It may seem like if anyone in Scripture had the assurance of his calling and confidence in his ministry, it was John.

Yet, when John was in prison, he sent some of his followers to Jesus to ask, “‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:2, NIV).

As he sat in that prison, preparing for death, John must have begun to wonder, “Was it worth it?  Did I put everything on the line for the truth or for a lie?  Should I just give up?  Did I hear wrong from God?  Should I have stayed in the desert and never stood before a crowd to preach at all?  Was this guy even the Messiah or has this all been for nothing?”

So, Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” (Matthew 11:4-5, NIV).   Jesus didn’t just send back a message of platitudes and inspirational quotes.  He gave John concrete evidence and specific reminders that God was at work and that it was all true and worth it.  Just like I tell my daughter at the piano, “Remember when you couldn’t play this song?  Now you can.  Remember when playing with hands together was hard?  Now it’s easy.”  I give her tangible signs of progress and success.

God gives us encouragement for those days when we question our call and think giving up sounds a whole lot better than persevering.

  • “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV).
  • “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7, NIV).
  • “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).

These Scriptures remind me that it’s worth it, all the effort and sacrifice and heartache and time.  There’s a reward and blessing at the end of this as long as I don’t give up.  But, I can’t stop here.  I have to keep going, step after step after step. Even though I can’t see the end result, I can trust that to God.  All I can see is now and in this moment, I choose to obey.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

The Lord is My Portion

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:26 (NIV)

This morning, I was a woman with a plan.  I envisioned reaching new heights of productivity and speed, accomplishing my work goals for the day, getting in a quiet time, cleaning, exercising, checking off all of the phone calls and appointments on my to-do list—all with joy and energy.

And then.

Then, I used the last slices of bread for toast and lunches.  I used one of the last diapers to change my baby girl.   I pulled out the ingredients for my crockpot dinner and realized it’s pretty hard to make salsa chicken with tortillas when you actually don’t have any tortillas or cheese.

Change of plans.  I rushed around the house throwing into the diaper bag the supplies needed for a grocery store trip with children—goldfish crackers, notebook and crayons, books, juice.

Normally, I like to plan out my shopping trips the night before, pulling out all the coupons I think I’ll use and discarding ones that are 3 months out-of-date.  Then, I like to prepare my list while going about my day, making sure I’m not forgetting anything.

Not this time.  I grabbed my unorganized coupons, my car keys, my children, my bag of things to entertain them and off we went.  Shopping.  In the rain.  With sleepy children.  Without a list.

The worst part of this whole story is that I was just at the store yesterday.  I ran in just to get a gift and the milk that would help “tide me over” until my real shopping in two or three days.   And now I had to go back again the very next day.  I quietly prayed that none of the cashiers recognized me from yesterday as the crazy woman who can’t stay out of the Wal-Mart.

It’s one of my life dreams to shop just one time a week and that’s it.  Clearly, I’m not there yet.

But this impromptu shopping trip reminded me that time with God should never just be a once-a-week affair where we stock the shelves of our heart and live off the supplies for a while.

Instead, in the Lord’s Prayer, we ask Him to “give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, NIV).

Today.  Not tomorrow or the next week.  Just for today, Lord, provide what I need.  In this moment, fill me up and sustain me.  Give me the encouragement and provision I need for the here and now in my life.

This daily dependence is something the Israelites had to learn in the wilderness between Egypt and The Promised Land.   In Numbers 11:5, they complained to Moses, “We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic, but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes.”

In Egypt, it was no big deal to swing by the farmer’s market for some fresh veggies and then pick up some fresh fish from the docks.

In the wilderness, however, they ate manna.  Lots and lots of manna.  It was bread from heaven, sweet, and miraculous.  God sent it every night, not so they could store it for the future, but so they could eat just enough for that day.  Exodus 16:21 says, ” Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away” (NIV).

At first, not all the Israelites obeyed God’s commands.  They tried to store some of the manna so they wouldn’t have to gather it every day.  Their goal was to make one shopping trip for the week, not daily excursions to the Wal-Mart.  But, the food they stored overnight rotted and was infested with worms.

Daily dependence on God.   It’s the overarching message of Scripture.

David wrote in Psalm 73:26:  “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (NIV).

Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3:24: “I say to myself,  ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him'” (NIV)

God is our portion.  He is more than enough for us in every situation, but we need to depend on Him for His presence, His encouragement, His strength, His provision, and His guidance daily, and even more than that–second by second.

Sometimes I think that my planning or my productivity can be enough, that in my own strength and ability I can make it.  But, that’s just when I have a day like today, when all of my well-laid plans and my confidence in my self are destroyed.

All I can do is place my to-do list, my perfect plans, my work schedule, my bank account and bills, my kids all at His feet and ask Him to “be enough.  Lord, I am not enough for any of this, but You are my portion and the strength of my heart.  So, I depend on You today and You alone.”

Then tomorrow, I’ll go to Him again . . . and the next day  . . . and the day after that.  Because this Christian walk of ours is a daily journey of dependence on God.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King