Bible Verses about Being Faithful

  • 1 Samuel 12:24 ESV
    Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.
  • 1 Samuel 26:23 ESV
     The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord‘s anointed.
  • 2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV
    For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless[a] toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”
  • 2 Chronicles 19:9 ESV
    And he charged them: “Thus you shall do in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart:
  • Psalm 12:1 ESV
    Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
        for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
  • Psalm 31:23 ESV
    Love the Lord, all you his saints!
        The Lord preserves the faithful
        but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
  • Proverbs 3:3 ESV
    Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
        bind them around your neck;
        write them on the tablet of your heart.
  • Proverbs 20:6 ESV
    Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love,
        but a faithful man who can find?
  • Proverbs 28:20 ESV
    A faithful man will abound with blessings,
        but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
  • Matthews 25:21 ESV
    His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[a] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
  • Luke 16:10 ESV
    “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
  • 1 Corinthians 4:2 ESV
    Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
  • Ephesians 1:2 ESV
     Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Revelation 2:10 ESV
    Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

A Week of Thanks: I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up
Originally Published 08/19/2011

“Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:10)

Bam!
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.
Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle.
Mom!  Mom mom!!

With my genes, my girls didn’t have much of a chance at grace and my baby girl is no different. So these are the sounds heard in my home multiple times any given day.

It’s the immediate reaction of any child to trouble, the crying out to mom and the running to her side to tell her all about the tragedy and pain.

There’s little I can do most of the time to fix the problem.  My baby’s fallen and hurt (maybe even angry) and while I can’t change the fact of her fall and no Band-Aid is going to alleviate the temporary soreness, I can kiss her, cuddle her close and tell her I love her. And so I do.

Then I fall down, tripping over my own sin, or another person who invaded my space, or an obstacle I didn’t foresee, or an unexpected pit in my road.

To whom do I run?  What is my immediate response, my instantaneous reaction to pain?  What is yours?

For some, it’s to hold our bruises close for a while and to snap at any bystanders who offer to help us stand back to our feet.  Maybe even hide our heads in embarrassment for the spectacle of the fall in the first place.

For some, it’s to call out for help from those nearby, asking them to both hoist us up and even bear the burden of our weight for a while as we wobble around on a weakened leg.

For some, it’s to haul out our own first aid kit and apply ice and bandages to our own wounds and refuse the expert care so readily available.

For some, it’s to sit without moving, paralyzed by fear.  What if our leg is broken?  What if we never walk again?  What if . . . what if . . . what if . . . ?

In Beth Moore’s study, Daniel, she notes how his immediate response to the king’s edict prohibiting prayer was to go “to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:10).

He didn’t worry first and then pray.  He didn’t try to fix the situation through his political abilities and then pray. He didn’t even concede defeat and stop his public prayer habits, choosing instead to silently petition God at night while others slept.

Daniel prayed.  It was his initial reaction; it was his only solution.

Then there’s the matter of what he prayed.  Sure, some of us have indeed trained ourselves to “take it to the Lord in prayer” without hesitation.  We run to his side and bury our noses in the hem of His robe, sniffling out our requests to Him.  But are we giving thanks amidst those tears?

Daniel was.  Scripture says he “got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to God” (Daniel 6:10).  When I’m smarting from an injury, I’m more likely to complain about the pain than sing hymns of thankful praise.

Not Daniel. Political enemies, a manipulated king, a dangerous edict, his faith attacked, his life on the line—still Daniel gave thanks.

Paul made the same connection when he wrote,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Peace in the midst of pain is there for the taking sometimes, and yet we choose anxiety instead.  We opt for fear by trying to control our own problems rather than running to God’s side and dumping them at His feet.  We allow worry to reign in our hearts and minds by refusing to pray with thanksgiving at all times and in every situation.

I confess I’m a rebel at times.  Even though I know I should shove aside my grumbling and choose to be thankful—even when it takes struggling and squinting to see that sparkle of light in a dark place– still I decline.

I dusted off my thankfulness journal this morning after two weeks of shoving it aside. I didn’t want to be thankful.  I wanted to feel wronged.  I didn’t want some secret formula to maintaining joy in trials; I wanted no more trials!  I wanted God to feel pity for me and feel sorry for letting me be hurt.  Perhaps what I wanted was an apology from Him.

It’s like emotional manipulation of the Almighty God.  “I’m not going to praise You or worship You or give You thanks or hand over my fears to You until You rescue me in the way I desire.”

It’s handing God a sheet and pillow and pointing to the couch.
It’s ignoring His phone calls and giving Him the silent treatment at the dinner table.
It’s holding my breath until he gives me what I want.

And it’s just about as effective as all those tactics.  So when my tantrum is done, I pray and I give thanks.  Reluctantly at first, perhaps, and yet I try.  Maybe the next time I trip and fall, I pray with thanksgiving immediately because I have learned that gratitude shifts my focus off my need and onto the face of my Deliverer.

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

A Week of Thanks: Forget Not

Forget Not
Originally Published 04/08/2011

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds.”
Psalm 77:11-12

Today, a dear friend of mine is celebrating with her husband, a job after a period of unemployment.  She is rejoicing in God’s faithful provision, His heart so full to pour out blessings and to meet needs as we look to Him for help.

Today, I remember that same celebration happening in this home.  God brought water forth from rock, something out of nothing, during months of unemployment.  Then, the phone rang on a busy spring day and I stood motionless in the kitchen, keeping all children quiet, as my husband accepted a job—provision so perfect, timing just right.  In that moment, a spotlight shone on God’s activity in our lives and we saw with unmistakable and rare clarity God at work.

Now, years later, I sometimes still remember to thank God for this job wrapped up in paper decorated with God’s handprints and topped with a bow showing off God’s grace.

I remember wanting so desperately to see God in the midst of our need, waking up in the still-dark hours of a frigid morning, leaving children and husband asleep, and driving to church in silence on Resurrection Day, when God forever declared His ability to bring life from death.  Then, with fellow Christ-seekers, crowding around a rough wooden cross stuck into ground, singing a hymn, reading Scripture, watching the sun rise over the river.  Hearing the pastor: “God knows why you have come here and what it is you are looking for. ” I caught my breath.  God met me in the sunrise at a cross.

I remember.

I flip through the pages of my journal from that time, each covered margin-to-margin with God’s promises, encouragements, and challenges—to trust Him, to stop whining and complaining, to be grateful, to know He is in control.  It’s a record of my spiritual growth, tracked on paper like marks on a wall showing how tall I was then, and then, and then—a growth spurt caused by required dependence on a God so dependable.

I remember.

I pull out my favorite pair of shoes, white and covered in colorful flowers, shoes I bought after my husband’s first paycheck at his new job.  Bought on clearance at Target, they were inexpensive and yet totally precious to me.  My “James-got-a-job shoes.”  Every time I wear them . . . I remember.

Jennifer Rothschild wrote, “Remembering is a discipline that takes effort and focus.”

After all, I’m a forgetful creature.  I walk into a room with an agenda, quickly get distracted by toys and books.  Mess, mess–always mess.  How do we make so much mess?  So, I tidy and busy myself (while whining and complaining) and then leave the room empty handed.  My original purpose long forgotten. What did I come in here for again?

I trek to the grocery store with one item I really and truly need and walk back out with ten items in my cart, none of them the one vital ingredient for tonight’s dinner.

I start sentences and then somewhere in the middle lose track of thoughts and words and trail off into silence.

Worrying at night over bills and forgetting past provision.  Fretting over children and forgetting His past activity.  Stressing over a decision and forgetting how He led me through dark and shadowy places before.

It’s an enigma really.  Words spoken and things seen that I long to forget replay in my mind with troubling regularity.  Life necessities and God’s promises that I simply must remember, I forget with ease and . . . troubling regularity.

I’m not alone.  Over and over, in broken record style, God told the Israelites to remember what He had done, to recollect the miracles of their past, and over and over they forgot.   He tells them, “You have forgotten God your Savior.  You have not remembered the Rock, your fortress” (Isaiah 17:10, NIV).

They tried, really tried.  Joshua commanded 12 men from 12 tribes to hoist 12 stones from the dry bed of the Jordan River onto their shoulders, carrying reminders of a miracle as the nation crossed through.   Stone memorials to

“be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’  Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.  And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:5-7, NIV).

My special shoes are the same (I prefer my shoes to large river rocks!).  Physical reminders of a God-intervention.  A sign on my life-road saying, “God at Work!”

Ann Voskamp wrote this week about this world breaking us apart.  Chips, broken pieces and cracks in our soul made by the daily and the difficult.  Kids fighting.  Bills due.  Sick husband.  Dying mother.  Lost mail.  No job.  Shattered relationship.  Wandering child.  Missed appointment.   Trust destroyed.  Marriage dead.  Dinner ruined.

The world chips and chips away at us.  “It never stops dis-membering” (Voskamp).

In the Psalms, David sometimes talked to himself.  He bossed his emotions around a bit and told his mind and soul what to do.  He said, “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV).

And so today, I am commanding my soul to remember.  Not just the broken and chipped me, made less by the world’s incessant bullying.

No, “all that is within me,” altogether me, every bit of brokenness restored and made whole.  As Ann Voskamp said, I am re-membered and re-collected through forgetting not.  It’s a discipline and a choice to live the here and now in view of past blessings and provision.

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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

Hot Enough For You?

One night years ago my daughters discovered popcorn.

At first, we did our popping in microwavable bags, but we soon switched to a popcorn popper.  On that first exciting day when I pulled the contraption out of the cabinet and set it on the counter, the girls stood on stools so they could watch what would happen.  The kernels tumbled into the popper and I plugged it in.  One daughter covered her ears with her hands and the other shouted, “What’s going to happen?” over the roar of the machine.

And then that first kernel popped.  They squealed in surprise!  And then more kernels began popping in quick succession until there was a constant stream of fluffy white popcorn pouring down the shoot and into the bowl.

The girls danced, laughed and shouted and kept calling our attention to the popcorn as if we’d never seen such a magic trick.  My husband and I watched the girls more than the popcorn; their excitement was joy-giving.

It does seem like magic.  Dump into an inauspicious machine a hard, dried up tiny little crackle of corn and with heat, it transforms into a new texture, color, shape, consistency and taste.  Who would have ever thought looking at the original kernel that the wonders of popcorn lie within?

Likewise, who would look at us much of the time and fully realize all that God has placed in our hearts and all that He has planned for our lives?  Others might see a brittle surface with no flavor.  We might look useless or dried up.  We might simply look un-fun and plain old ordinary.

Yet, God is the Master of transformations.  Although He sees us and fully knows who we are in this moment, He also always sees what we can become.  And He’s willing to turn up the heat to change us.

Because heat is what it takes to break us down, cracking our exterior and softening our insides so that we’re receptive and usable.

To the untrained popcorn popper, it might seem like waste, like the Master is burning His kernels over the flame and they’ll be ruined and tossed aside.  Or that this process is pointless and no good will come from the heat; nothing will ever change.

God, however, never takes us through the fire without purpose and never leaves us in the flame a moment longer than necessary to achieve transformation.  He isn’t reckless or thoughtless.  He’s not cruel or forgetful, blind or oblivious.

Paul wrote in Romans:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).

Over the years, I’ve read these verses often and just as often shrugged them off as an impossible standard.  “Glory in our suffering?”  Not hardly.  Truth be told, I’m more of a whiner than a perpetual rejoicer.

But as a toughened kernel who’s experienced at least a bit of transformation from my own sessions in the heat, I’m looking at these verses anew.

My commentary says:

This is more than mere Stoic endurance of troubles, even though endurance or steadfastness is the first result in a chain-reaction outgrowth from distress. This is spiritual glorying in afflictions because of having come to know (as in “to know by intuition or perception”) that the end product of this chain reaction (that begins with distress) is hope.

This gives me pause.  Have you really considered how hope fits into this picture?  Perhaps I can begrudgingly endure a trial here or there because some periodic heat produces perseverance and fixes flaws in my character.  But how does that stir up hope?

For the Christian, hope is confident expectation that God will do what He says He will do.  The only way we know that is through experience, the kind of experience that develops perseverance and strengthens our character.  We have hope because we’ve seen God deliver us time and time again and we’re confident that He will never fail.

Paul finishes those verses by telling us “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” In other words, we won’t be disappointed or shamed by unfulfilled promises.  The commentary continues:

“The reality of God’s love in a believer’s heart gives the assurance, even the guarantee, that the believer’s hope in God and His promise of glory is not misplaced and will not fail.”

It all comes down to the reality of God’s love for us.  He loves us enough to know that we’re more than a golden kernel with a tough exterior.  He knows that sometimes it takes heat to reveal, refine and transform, but He also knows just how hot it needs to be and just how long it needs to last.  He’s not out to singe us or blacken us with despair.  He’s lovingly and expertly making us new.

I use The Bible Knowledge Comentary, New Testament Edition, by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck.

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.

True Confessions of a Promise-Breaker

Welcome to Friday’s post!  If you’re doing the Online Bible Study with us and you haven’t posted yet for this week, I hope you’ll take the time to click over and share your thoughts about Chapters 7 & 8.  Week 5 starts on Monday!

True Confessions of a Promise-Breaker

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
Numbers 23:19

Hi.  My name is Heather.  And I broke a promise to my daughter.

Let me explain.  For several years, we have taken our daughters to the performance that concludes our community’s summer children’s theater camp.  The costumes are amazing, the songs so cute they get stuck in your head for years to come (and years and years), and the scripts are funny.  Every year as we left the show, my girls quizzed me on how many years, months, days it would be before they were old enough for theater camp.

We’ve been on a 3-year-long countdown.

This year, we excitedly dropped off my oldest daughter, finally the right age for theater camp.  But my middle girl was sad.  She was still one year away from being old enough, so her countdown continued.  “When is it my turn?,” she whined to me as we left her big sister behind on that very first day.  “Next year,” I promised.

Only I found out there wouldn’t be a next year.  The leaders were stepping down and no one else agreed to take their place.  No leaders.  No theater camp.  The decision had already been made.

Now, normally I pad my promises to my kids to protect them and me from uncontrollable circumstances that could turn me into a liar.  I say a lot of, “If everything goes well . . . We’ll see . . . Maybe . . . I’ll try my best . . . Perhaps this or that . . . If the weather . . .”

But I hadn’t done that this time.  And so I had to answer the hurt accusations of a five-year-old girl, “But you promised . . . ”

We can promise and assure others, give our word and sign our name on the dotted line, but sometimes the unexpected waves of life crash down over our well-intended plans.  The rubble of hurt is all that remains.

But God.

Don’t you just love that in the midst of human inability and limitation we can say, “But God”?

Because even the best of us can’t stay true to our word sometimes, but God always keeps His promises.

There are no unforeseen events or circumstances beyond His control that change His mind or prevent His faithfulness. It is a basic tenet of His character.  The Psalmist wrote: “The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does” (Psalm 145:13).

There are times, maybe for you also, that I lift up my hurt face to my Heavenly Father and cry to Him, “But you promised  . . . ”

To be with me always, but I feel alone.

To provide for my needs, but I see no provision.

To take care of me, but as much as I cry out for help, my circumstances remain unchanged.

To be near me, to answer me when I call, to strengthen my feet as a deer, to turn my mourning into dancing . . .

You promised.

But it is then we must wait. “Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).  Not twiddle our thumbs in boredom waiting, but active waiting, prayerful waiting, do what we need to do in the meantime waiting, keeping watch waiting, pouring His Word into us more and more until our dry and cracked spirit is saturated with His promises to us waiting

We pray His word back to Him, trusting that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” and His character displayed time and again in the Bible remains constant and consistent here and now in the middle of my life.

We wait.  And He, ever faithful and true, does what He said He will do.

For more promises from Scripture, check out this beautiful site: http://www.365promises.com/

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.

I’m Not a Boy

Happy 100th post everyone!  I’m so thankful that through God’s grace we have made it this far and I pray that He will bless us with much more time together in the days ahead.

To celebrate with you and as a way to say thanks to you for reading these devotionals, I’m hosting a giveaway!  I hope you’ll post a comment anywhere on this website by Sunday, 07/17/2011 at midnight, and I’ll announce the winners in Monday’s post.

Now, onto today’s devotional:

I’m not a boy.
I’m not a good dancer.  I’m not easily offended.  I’m not a blonde or a red-head.
I’m not tall.
I’m not artistic.  I’m not quick to cry.
I’m not usually a fan of “chick flicks.”  I’m not much of a TV watcher.
I’m not from a small family.
I’m not a quick decision maker.
I’m not an extrovert.  I’m not athletic.  I’m not fond of “outside.”

We all define ourselves by lists of “I ams” and “I am nots.”

“Are you a Christian?”  I am.
“Are you fond of sports?”  I am not.

Is it any wonder that God has a list, too?  His “ams” and “am nots” through Scripture establish His character and give us reliable assurances in times of trouble.

We rest in safety because we know He is “I am.”

It’s the most powerful declaration of God’s identity in Scripture, when He tells Moses His name: “I AM WHO I AM . . .This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation” (Exodus 3:14, 15).

My Bible notes that His name could also be read as: “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.”

He is I am and I will be.  He is eternal.  He has existed before our human history began and He has walked through the entirety of our time on this planet and will still remain forever.

So, we can trust Him.  We can place in His capable hands all that frightens us because He knows where we have come from and where we are headed.

It’s more than that.  He tells us:

  • “I am with you” (Genesis 26:24).
  • “I am God Almighty” (Genesis 35:11).
  • “I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).
  • “I am the LORD your God” (Exodus 16:12).
  • “I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).
  • “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:3).
  • “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:5).
  • “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17).
  • “I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord Almighty is His name” (Isaiah 51:15).

Can you read through this list of what God says about Himself, His “I ams” and not be in awe, not be filled with the desire to worship, not be comforted?

He is with you, there in the places of hurt and despair.  He heals you.  He is holy.  He is your Savior, pulling you out of the pit and redeeming you through the blood of His Son.  He is the only God.  He directs our steps.  He is Lord Almighty, in control of all creation, including the circumstances you find yourself in.

Praise God!

He doesn’t stop there, though.  He also has “am nots.”  Just as powerful, these are declarations of His dominion over all the fake gods that vie for our worship.

In Daniel 2:11, the magicians and advisers of King Nebuchadnezzar whine that no one can possibly tell the king what he dreamt except the gods, and “they do not live among humans.”

Not our God.  He made His dwelling among His people, directing them to “make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8).  He abandoned the glories of heaven and “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).

He can say, “I am not distant from you.”

In Psalm 135:15-18, the Psalmist writes:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.  They have mouths, but cannot speak; eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear nor is the breath in their mouths.

Not our God.

Our God is the Shepherd who speaks to His sheep (John 10:27).  He is the God who sees us (Genesis 16:13) and hears our voices when we call to Him (Psalm 5:3).

He can say, “I am not ignorant of your need .”

And our God “is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19).

Colin Urquhart wrote, “God is the God of promise.  He keeps His word even when that seems impossible.”

He can say, “I am not a promise-breaker.”

It may feel difficult at times to believe in God’s nearness, responsiveness, concern, love and faithfulness because we are immersed in a pit of circumstances that blocks our view of Him.  And yet, He tells us all the things He is and all the things He is not and it is that Scriptural assurance of His character to which we cling.

We can rest in safety knowing that He is I AM.  We can rest in safety knowing all that He is not.

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