Bible Verses about God Fulfilling His Promises

Here are verses to remind us that God fulfills His promises, He completes His work, and He does not abandon His plans for us.

  • Joshua 21:45 NIV
    Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
  • Joshua 23:14 NIV
    “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
  • Proverbs 13:12 NIV
  • Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
        but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
  • Proverbs 13:19 NIV
    A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.
  • Jeremiah 1:12 NIV
    The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
  • Lamentations 2:17a NIV
    The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago…
  • Ezekiel 12:28 NIV
    “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
  • Luke 1:38 NIV
    “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
  • Luke 1:45 NET
    And blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.
  • Philippians 1:6 NIV
    being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Photo by Viktor Hanacek at PicJumbo

Made it to Mt. Everest and back (AKA finished the school year)

Photo by Viktor Hanacek at PicJumbo
Most moms cry on the first day of school.

They watch their babies step onto that big yellow bus, faking smiles and putting on excitement for the sake of their children.  Then that bus pulls away and they pull out the tissues.

Not me.

I cry on the last day of school.

It’s hard to explain really.  I want my kids home and I long for summer all year.  I’ve never been one to celebrate with a mani/pedi that first day of school in September as if I’ve re-asserted my freedom from the constraints of children.

I cannot wait for summer to begin.

But somehow that last day of school for me is like the emotional upheaval of making it to the top of Mt. Everest and back.

We did it.

We survived.

Not just dragged our tired behinds across the finish line, either.  We had a great year and I’m so proud of these girls and all they’ve learned and how they’ve grown.

They. Rocked. It.

Now they bring home broken crayons, used gluesticks and a pile of awards and certificates and I just pray with this gratitude that spills out in those pesky tears like an emotional dam bursts and I’m just gushing:

Thank You, Lord.  You answered my prayers. You gave them great teachers.  You gave them success and helped them shine.  You guided them through a million tiny and seemingly not-so-tiny decisions and worries.

You brought us right on through and onto the other side and I am just so thankful.

Exhausted.

But thankful.

I’ll cry a bit.  And then maybe I’ll flop right down on this new shore and take a nap because this momma is plumb wore out.

There were times that I thought I could not make it if one more child brought home an unexpected project for school.

Could.

Not.

And I’ve discovered that I really do have a “look” that I flash whenever my child brings home a handwritten note in her best cursive writing asking for a playdate this Saturday when we have 12 other activities already on the weekend agenda.

But here we are.  The last day of school.

The last….day…..

I wonder how the disciples felt climbing out of that storm-tossed boat after fighting for their lives and stumbling in their faith right before the calm.

Did they crawl out of that fishing vessel, soaking wet, panting, dragging out one limb at a time and then stretch themselves out in the sand until they could catch their breath?

Or  did they hop out of there totally unflustered, like they hadn’t been screaming for rescue just moments before?

Something tells me they didn’t just shrug that typhoon off and move along.

Maybe they took the time to cry and thank God for salvation.

Like me today.

I knew we’d make it, though.  At times it felt like I was hanging on for dear life, but I knew He is faithful.

God’s grace does that.  It holds us up and carries us on, and our calling is never too much for Him to handle.

Too much for us?  All the time.

Too much for Him?  Not for a second.

So we throw the full weight of our survival onto Him, casting those cares over and over onto shoulders strong enough to carry them.

We trust in His promise.

Those storm-weary disciples could have done this.

Jesus didn’t invite them out for a pleasure cruise that day.  He didn’t tell them, “Get in the boat so we can sail around for a bit and maybe catch some fish.”

He gave them a promise of destination:

 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out.  Luke 8:22 NKJV

Jesus never abandons us halfway.  If He makes a promise, we know He won’t abandon us in the boat.   He’ll take us to the other side.

So the storm rages.  So your boat groans and creaks.  So those around you start scrambling into life vests, preparing to abandon ship.

Just hold on.

God has promised to take you to the other side.  He is faithful and He will do it.

Originally posted June 11, 2014

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.

To Get to the Other Side

Most moms cry on the first day of school.

They watch their babies step onto that big yellow bus, faking smiles and putting on excitement for the sake of their children.  Then that bus pulls away and they pull out the tissues.

Not me.

I cry on the last day of school.last day of school

It’s hard to explain really.  I want my kids home and I long for summer all year.  I’ve never been one to celebrate with a mani/pedi that first day of school in September as if I’ve re-asserted my freedom from the constraints of children.

I cannot wait for summer to begin.

But somehow that last day of school for me is like the emotional upheaval of making it to the top of Mt. Everest and back.

We did it.

We survived.

Not just dragged our tired behinds across the finish line, either.  We had a great year and I’m so proud of these girls and all they’ve learned and how they’ve grown.

They bring home broken crayons, used gluesticks and a pile of awards and certificates and I just pray with this gratitude that spills out in those pesky tears like an emotional dam bursts and I’m just gushing:

Thank You, Lord.  You answered my prayers. You gave them great teachers, good friends.  You gave them success and helped them shine.  You guided them through a million tiny and seemingly not-so-tiny decisions and worries.

You brought us right on through and onto the other side and I am just so thankful.

Exhausted.

But thankful.

I’ll cry a bit.  And then maybe I’ll flop right down on this new shore and take a nap because this momma is plumb wore out.

Somehow this year we survived a new book, a new baby and a C-section recovery that took mom out of the driver’s seat and made dad the king of the carpool.  We made it through preschool three days a week, community theatre productions and a Christmas cantata, Engineering Club, a computer competition team, the school talent show, three girls in dance classes three nights a week with a recital to boot, and a steady stream of church activities.

There were times that I thought I could not make it if one more child brought home an unexpected project for school.

Could.

Not.

And I’ve discovered that I really do have a “look” that I flash whenever my child brings home a handwritten note in her best cursive writing asking for a playdate this Saturday when we have 12 other activities already on the weekend agenda.

But here we are.  The last day of school.

The last….day…..

I wonder how the disciples felt climbing out of that storm-tossed boat after fighting for their lives and stumbling in their faith right before the calm.

Did they crawl out of that fishing vessel, soaking wet, panting, dragging out one limb at a time and then stretch themselves out in the sand until they could catch their breath?

Or  did they hop out of there totally unflustered, like they hadn’t been screaming for rescue just moments before?Photo by Viktor Hanacek at PicJumbo

Something tells me they didn’t just shrug that typhoon off and move along.

Maybe they took the time to cry and thank God for salvation.

Like me today.

I knew we’d make it, though.  At times it felt like I was hanging on for dear life, but I knew He is faithful.

God’s grace does that.  It holds us up and carries us on, and our calling is never too much for Him to handle.

Too much for us?  All the time.

Too much for Him?  Not for a second.

So we throw the full weight of our survival onto Him, casting those cares over and over onto shoulders strong enough to carry them.

We trust in His promise.

Those storm-weary disciples could have done this.

Jesus didn’t invite them out for a pleasure cruise that day.  He didn’t tell them, “Get in the boat so we can sail around for a bit and maybe catch some fish.”

He gave them a promise of destination:

 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out.  Luke 8:22 NKJV

Jesus never abandons us halfway.  If He makes a promise, we know He won’t abandon us in the boat.   He’ll take us to the other side.

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

 

Even When I’m Disappointed, I’ll Love You Anyway

Suffice it to say, hiding the evidence didn’t work.

I found her hidden stockpile, proof of mistakes that she’d stuffed into a corner of her bedroom.  I suppose she thought somehow that it’d eventually disappear or I’d just never notice.

But she underestimates a mom’s ability to discover truth (she never did figure out those two eyes in the back of my head)….so we stand there in that corner confronting the reality.

She had done something wrong and I had proof.lamentations3

But instead of bringing all that trouble straight to my feet and asking for help, she’d hidden it away and hoped I wouldn’t notice.

I tell her I’m disappointed, tell her I expected better, tell her she needs to overcome.

But then, when she’s tearful and we’ve retreated to the sofa, we pray for God’s help.

I hope she’s really listening, deep-down-take-this-to-heart listening, because I don’t want the words to just shoot through her before pushing their impression down into the soft clay of her heart.

When you’re in trouble, when you mess up, when you’re hurt, when something is wrong….

come

to

me.

Yes, your first impulse will be to run and hide, no different than Adam and Eve crouching among the garden leaves.

Yes, I’ll be sad at first.  Yes, I’ll be disappointed.  Yes, we’ll have to deal with it and that might be messy and hard and it seems easier in the moment to just avoid that pain.

I understand this.  Haven’t I stashed sin before, as well, desperately hoping that no one would notice—that HE wouldn’t notice?  I’ve been Eve in that Garden before, too, and I know how it feels to hold my breath and hope that God walks on by.

But God picked me to be your mom and that means sticking with you and helping you learn and overcome  That means loving you right on through the tough times.

Mary Kassian tells me:

When we face trouble, we are to pour out our hearts to him.  Everybody trusts something; we must learn to trust the Lord, our eternal rock (In My Father’s House).

Trust.

Is that what this is about?

If she trusted me enough to love her through anything, wouldn’t she come to me even when she’s done something wrong because she knew I’d help her?

If I trust His love that much, wouldn’t I run breathlessly to His feet, just run, no looking back, no hesitation, because He is the only One who can handle the mess I’ve made?

Yes, He’ll be disappointed.

Yes, He’ll be sad.

But what hurts His Father-heart most of all is when we trust in ourselves, trust in others, trust in programs, trust in Google searches and advice columns and friends and substances and self-help books, but we don’t trust Him.

The Israelites in that wilderness fretted over destination, clothing, enemies, food, water.  They whined.  They strategized.  They rebelled.  They wheeled and dealed.

The Psalmist writes

they did not believe God
    or trust him to care for them (Psalm 78:22 NLT).

Troubles rose up, maybe even just minor annoyances like dietary preferences, and they never did just learn to run to God right away.

He was angry.  The Psalm says, “When the Lord heard them, he was furious” (Psalm 78:21 NLT).

BUT

He still loved them.  And even when they abandoned Him time after relentless time, He always stayed faithful.

God’s love for them, His love for us, isn’t feeling love, temporary love, conditional love.  The Hebrew word that Scripture uses over and over is “Chesed”—it’s the loyal, steadfast, covenant mercy and love God has for His people.

They didn’t trust Him, didn’t bring their troubles to Him and they messed it up over and over and over, but He still went on caring for them abundantly, miraculously, faithfully.

He rained down manna for them to eat;
    he gave them bread from heaven.
They ate the food of angels!
    God gave them all they could hold. Psalm 78:24-25

He rained down meat as thick as dust—
    birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore!  Psalm 78:27

So, I rest there with my daughter, my arms wrapped all the way around her and I say it one last time:

Come to me.  Do not hide away or lie or run.  Bring it all to me.

And I hear God rustling the leaves in my life, calling to me just as He did Adam and Eve, asking me to trust Him enough to bring everything, bring the sin, the mess, the worry, the fear, the troubles big and small, bring it all to Him.

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

Feeling Unloved

She was sobbing next to me and finally put all those unmanageable, messy feelings into four words.

“I feel so unloved.”

One fight with her sisters, one afternoon of correction and quiet discipline….and this totally loved daughter of mine told me she didn’t feel loved at all.

She sat with her tissue, snuggled against my side, my one arm hugging her shoulder, my other arm smoothing her wild hair that had been mussed by all the emotion.

But she felt unloved.

I had packed her lunch for the day, putting in her favorite snack and slipping a tiny paper with a joke on it into her bag of pretzels so she would smile and laugh and think of me.

She was wearing the outfit I had bought her and a ribbon in her hair that I (yes, the mom recovering from an allergy to crafts) had made for her with my own two clumsy hands.

Her favorite dinner was simmering on the stove.

Before bed the night before we had studied her Bible verses for the week and read together from books I ordered used online because they were out-of-print.  But they were her favorite, so I had happily spent an afternoon performing Google searches to find them.

I had combed out her long blond hair after her bath and sprayed it down to ease out the tangles and reminded her to brush her teeth.

And I had told her I loved her often, hugged her and kissed the top of her head throughout the day, then tucked her into bed under the blanket I had made for her myself.

But still she felt unloved.

I just finished reading an article about prison ministries and how many of the inmates come from homes where no one bothered to make sure they weren’t starving or had warm clothes to wear in the winter or a place to sleep.

No one really cared about them at all, but my daughter didn’t know the horrors of need and desperation.

So I told my crying girl how loved she is and how even when her emotions push their faulty lies into her heart and mind, she can shut them down with truth.

Doesn’t my Mom care for me?  Doesn’t she tell me she loves me?  Doesn’t she take care of my needs and even those extra things that I want?

We’re just as forgetful as my daughter is at times, feeling unloved because of a circumstance, a correction, a trial or sadness.  And we sit among our piles of blessings, of salvation and daily grace, and think, “God, don’t You love me?”

We meditate on the lies and feed them with our feelings, just like the Israelites did in the Old Testament.

Psalm 106 follows their long journey through forgetfulness and betrayal…

they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses (verse 7).

But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold (verse 13).

They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea (verse 21-22).

They didn’t just forget minor provisions of lunch box meals and some new outfits for school.

They forgot miraculous deliverance out of slavery in Egypt, the parting of an entire body of water so they could cross on dry land, daily provision of manna from heaven and the protection from war-loving enemies on every side.

But always God was faithful:

Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known…

Yet he took note of their distress
when he heard their cry;
 for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented (Psalm 106:8, 4-45).

They forgot.  He remembered.

“Yet, He….” it says in each verse. In my NKJV Bible, it says, “Nevertheless…”

That’s what God is...never at any moment less than good and powerful, mighty and merciful to us.  He is never less than His character or His faithfulness to His promises.

Even when our feelings tell us otherwise.

Even when we’ve believed the lies.

Beth Moore writes, “To live some semblance of victory, I’ve had to learn to be intentional and determined about where I would “set” my mind.  We can’t just depend on a good mood to get us through” (Esther).

That’s what I quietly tell my girl–how she’s always loved, even when she doesn’t feel like it, and how to conquer the lies by remembering the truth.

And that’s what I remind myself on the bad days and in the hard times, when I’m annoyed, frustrated, tired, or overwhelmed…that God loves me and cares for me.  Even when I mess up, never-the-less He is faithful.

That’s the truth.

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 upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

 

And In the End

Long ago and far away in my teen years, before the advent of all this newfangled technology, I spent the week or so before family road trips performing one of our favorite traditions: recording our own travel tapes.

Those were the days (am I so old already?) before MP3 players, iPods and all digital music.  We listened to music together in the car during the drives to my grandmother’s house in South Carolina: five kids and two parents all cramming our musical tastes onto a few homespun cassettes.

Every family member submitted song requests and then I sat on the living floor buried under towers of CDs and a handful of blank tapes to create the “mix.”

We reveled in the diversity of the playlist, placing songs from popular artists immediately after a selection from one of Wagner’s operas, which came after the Beatles, which followed Andrew Lloyd Weber, which followed Patsy Cline.  It was a curious weave of musical styles and statements and we loved it.

The ritual was never complete, though, without squeezing our traditional “Travel Tape Closing Song” onto the last 23 seconds of every single cassette.  Twenty-three seconds exactly.  That’s just enough time to fit in The Beatles’ song, “Her Majesty.”  No travel tape was complete without it.

It’s a quirky little tune thrown in as the final song on The Beatles’ final album, so it seemed a fitting end to our own musical creations.

Somehow the other day, in the same mysterious way that these things always happen, I thought of the song “Her Majesty” and sang it quietly to myself as I peeled potatoes in my kitchen.

Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl, but she doesn’t have a lot to say.  Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl, but she changes from day to day….

Then I thought of endings and the endings of travel tapes and childhood and the closing of a year before the beginning of something new.  Another Beatles’ song came to mind from the same album as I made the leap from one curious thought to another.

In that song, Paul McCartney sings, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

And I thought, “That’s just not true.  Is it?”

All this life we live, all these daily graces, all this lavish mercy from God in ways we see and ways we don’t….well, there’s no way we could ever repay that. We’re perpetual debtors and yet God erases the account books and sets us free, saying we’re redeemed, paid for, no longer owing or lacking.

I’m no math whiz, but even I can tell you there’s nothing “equal” about it.

That’s the beauty of this story, that God’s always pouring out undeserved mercy, always faithfully giving even when we stubbornly refuse to trust, or obey, or drop to those knees and lift those hands in praise.

It’s the beauty of Elizabeth’s story in Luke 1.  All those married years of longing for a baby and remaining childless, month after month of hope unfulfilled.  Then God came in His extravagant glory and gave the barren woman a son. Not just any baby boy.  The forerunner of the Messiah, cousin to the Savior of mankind.

So much blessing must have knocked her to the floor in tear-filled worship.

After nine months, she cradled that newborn “and when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her” (Luke 1:58, NLT).

The Message reads:  “Her neighbors and relatives, seeing that God had overwhelmed her with mercy, celebrated with her.”

Yes, “the Lord had been very merciful to her.”  He had “overwhelmed her with mercy,” making her life whole, healing brokenness, fulfilling promises, giving far more than she had ever asked or imagined.

It’s overwhelming mercy that people can’t miss.  Everyone saw.  Everyone rejoiced with her.  No one could mistake God’s mercy for coincidence or fluke or fate.  They couldn’t even imagine someone righteous and faithful like Elizabeth and her husband deserving such a miraculous gift.  It was all God’s mercy and nothing of their merit.

The people say it themselves in Luke 1:66: “Clearly, God has his hands in this.”

And in the end of an old year and the beginning of something new, that’s what I hope for, a story so amazing I can’t steal any glory away from God.  It has to be Him.  It’s so clearly His hand, so overwhelmingly full of mercy that there’s no mistaking the imprint of His hand.

It’s not about maintaining some cosmic balance, giving and receiving love in an equilibrium.

It’s about humbly confessing that as much as we pour out in responsive praise, God out-gives us.  By that, we are amazed. For that, we are grateful.  Because of that, we are saved.

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 upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Roller Coaster Friendships

I thought I just wasn’t into roller coasters.

This summer, though, I discovered I couldn’t even handle, much less enjoy, the whirling tea cups at Busch Gardens.  I rode them visit after visit because my three-year-old finds them great fun and she has to ride with an adult.

But I braced myself each time.  My middle girl always yelled the same thing, “Spin the wheel!  It makes us go faster!”

As I hung on with a white-knuckled grip, I managed to sputter out something like, “Aren’t we spinning enough already?”

It gets worse than that.

Recently, I sat on the swing next to my preschooler as she shouted at me to “swing higher.”  I gave it a try even though it’s been years since I’d swung on a swingset and I’ll tell you what I discovered.

I’m old.  Even a swing made my stomach flip into complicated and tangled knots.

How is this fun?  This little girl next to me in a ponytail and light-up shoes was giggling and squealing that she needed to rise higher and higher.

I suppose I just prefer solid ground.  No need for speed.  No desire to let gravity wreak havoc on my digestive system.  Fun for me is a trip to the library, a hushed walk through a museum, a long stroll on a cool day, a comfy couch with my book, chocolate and cup of tea.

That is fun.  Spinning, screaming, and lifting off the ground = not fun.

This is, perhaps, why first grade friendships have me befuddled lately.  Friendship means loving one another, believing the best about each other, laughing and crying together.  It means loyalty, sharing, encouragement and support.

In first grade, though, the kids are still figuring all that out.  So, instead of the solid ground kind of you-can-count-on-me, dependable r049elationships, they end up with something more like a daytime soap opera, a roller coaster of kindness and backstabbing.

My first grader reports one day that so-and-so said, “she can only be friends with one girl and nobody else” and she stuck out her tongue or wrote a nasty note or stole my daughter’s glue stick and mocked her hair cut.

The next day, my daughter says they are friends now and played together all day.

The day after that, she reports the girl “just left her alone and ignored her.”

Even as adults, we can find this world a dizzying place to live, a roller coaster ride of the unexpected and occasionally the downright scary.

We are blessed, some of us, to have friendships and marriages that keep our feet firmly locked onto the unshakeable ground of trustworthy relationships.

And yet, how often lately I have heard of lovers who swore to “love, honor and cherish ’til death do us part” later end up enemies on the opposite sides of a divorce attorney’s table.

Even truly loyal relationships end eventually, maybe through moving or even death.  The people we count on and love won’t always be with us, not here on this transient planet anyway.

That’s why it’s so precious that Jesus declared,

“I no longer call you servants.  I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

He’s our forever friend!  So faithful, so eternally compassionate, so genuinely understanding.  This is no first-grade cohort, kind today and snippy tomorrow, supportive today and jealously cruel the next.

He’s day-after-day, in-and-out, always-and-forever loyal to those He calls friends.

But am I?

That’s what Joni Eareckson Tada asked in Diamonds in the Dust:

“What a friend I have in Jesus.  But I wonder….what kind of friend does He have in me?
Too often we stay at an arm’s-length distance, pulling back from the full intensity of an intimate friendship with the Lord.  We satisfy ourselves with “less” when it comes to our relationship with Him” (p. 400).

Of course, Jesus is faithful.  That’s His character.  It’s who He is no matter what.

The question really is more about me What kind of friend am I to God?  Do I pull away, afraid to get too close for fear He’ll discover the ugly truth about some of my faults, foibles and (to be honest) sins?

Do I chatter and laugh with Him affectionately some days only to abandon Him the next for busyness and more instant gratification?

Do I deny Him and stray from Him when I’m angry or hurt?  Do I believe the best about His character even when I don’t understand what He’s doing?

To be a better friend with God requires maturing past our first-grade relationship tactics and becoming day-after-day loyal and true regardless of our emotions, circumstances, or the enticements of others.

Today we can choose to be better friends to each other and to our trustworthy God who is so consistently faithful to us.

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 upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

A Penny for Your Video Game

He said he was selling his Wii for a penny.

She believed him.

A little boy in my daughter’s class announced on Friday that he had decided to peddle his $150 video game system for the bargain of a lifetime.  One cent and it was yours.

On Monday morning, I tousled my daughter’s hair as she slept and told her it was time to wake up and get ready for school.

“I’ll get up if you give me a penny,” she announced.

I thought she had been dreaming and was still half-asleep.

Three attempts to get her moving into the morning routine failed.  I finally discovered her reaching for her piggy bank to find her own coins.

Then the truth came out.  She had set her hopes on that one-cent treasure.  Her Daddy carried her to the couch and held her as she cried from disappointment when we told her the ugly truth.

That sometimes people don’t say what they mean.  Sometimes they make up stories.  Sometimes they talk without thinking—and certainly without asking their parents.  Sometimes they make promises and don’t keep them.

We’ve all felt the painful dashing of hopes and the shocking let-down of reality.  Whether it’s disappointment in ourselves or other people or disillusionment with God, it’s reason enough for a long cry on someone’s shoulder.

Sometimes it’s because we’ve been tricked.  Satan has duped us into settling for less than God’s best.  We’ve fallen prey to false advertising and empty promises.  We’ve trusted in people and, unfortunately, people aren’t always trustworthy.

The nation of Israel learned this lesson the hard way.

God specifically told them not to make treaties with the surrounding nations as they entered the Promised Land.  They were to conquer each territory completely.

The people of Gibeon knew that Israel was headed in their direction and they had heard how Israel had destroyed Jericho and Ai, so “they resorted to a ruse.”

They sent a delegation out to Joshua.  These men were dressed in rags and patches with broken sandals and dirty faces.  Their wineskins had cracked and been mended.  They even remembered to stash some moldy bread among the supplies.

Then, they told a lie: “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us” (Joshua 9:6).

Our bread was warm and fresh when we started this journey.  Our clothes were brand new when we set out.  See the proof.  Believe what we are telling you.

Scripture tells us, “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.  Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live (Joshua 9:14-15).

Three days later, Joshua found out who the Gibeonites really were.  They weren’t strangers from a distant land.  They were neighbors.  And they had tricked Israel into disobeying a direct commandment from God.

This commandment was for their benefit and protection.  God knew that Israel wouldn’t stay true to Him if they were surrounded by nations who worshiped false gods.   By the time of the Judges, “the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.  They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them” (Judges 2:11-13).

The Israelites settled for less than God’s plan, all because they hadn’t inquired of the Lord.  They hadn’t asked for His input, discernment or insight.  Instead, they trusted in fake promises and had been disappointed in the result.

Have people let you down?  Have you trusted their promises only to discover lies and tricks?  Have you made poor decisions because false advertising made it all sound so good?

Remember to bring God into the midst of your every decision.  Inquire of the Lord before signing treaties and shaking hands in agreement.  There’s no need to rush or settle for what the world offers; be willing to wait for God’s best. 

Perhaps, though your disappointment isn’t with other people.  Maybe it’s with God.

Maybe you did trust in Him, waited for His best to come and yet you haven’t seen the answer to prayer . . .still.  Maybe you stood up for Him and don’t feel like He defended you.  Maybe you thought the Christian life meant perpetual blessing and prosperity, but your bank account, the doctor’s office, and your relationships aren’t the fairy tale life you imagined.

What then?  What do you do when you’re disillusioned with God?

Tell Him about it. Cry at His feet.  Tell Him how you’re heartbroken and hurting.  Mary and Martha weren’t afraid to tell Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”  They poured out all their pain and didn’t hold anything back.

We can be honest with God.

Then, keep praying.  Keep waiting.  Don’t ever give up on God.  He invites us into prayer with perseverance.  Pressing in before the throne, we keep “asking, seeking and knocking.”

He may not answer you in the way you expect.  He may not answer you as quickly as you’d like.  But He is committed to faithfulness, true to His promises and He cares for you.

You can read more devotionals about this topic here:

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

Weekend Walk, 01/14/2012

Hiding the Word:

It’s a scary world, isn’t it?  I read this morning of an Italian cruise ship that took on water and listed completely to the side, blocking the life boats.  They were rescuing passengers via helicopter and hoping to evacuate everyone.  As of now, dozens of people are still missing.

These travelers went on a vacation, a pleasure cruise, and ended up riding the Titanic.

Sometimes our life changes that rapidly.  We wake up fine.  By lunch, our world has twisted and contorted itself into knots of fear.

At other times it feels like we’re trapped on a sinking ship and even the life boats are under water.

This week, I’m meditating on verses that may not change circumstances, but help us to control our run-away thoughts and overwhelming terrors in any situation we face.  These verses build on the passage from last week, so I’ll list them all together here and bold the new section for this week.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  (Philippians 4:4-9)

We continually (and perhaps with great effort) choose to rejoice in the Lord.  We deny anxiety and take every situation to God in prayer, being sure to give Him thanks.

We tighten the reins on our unruly thoughts and demand that they focus on what is true and right, pure, lovely, admirable . . . We don’t dwell on hypothetical horrors, the hidden monsters of what-ifs.

We think on what is true: God is faithful.  He is compassionate.  He is powerful.  He is love.

Then, yes then, “the God of peace will be with you.”

Weekend Rerun:

Nothing Too Difficult
Originally published 04/14/2011

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised
Genesis 21: 1 (NIV)

Last week, I stood in the checkout line at the grocery store with a week’s worth of food for my family all lined up on the conveyor belt.  I assured the cashier that I didn’t need my milk in a bag; it seemed like putting her through extra effort just to take the plastic bag home and recycle it.  “Not really,” she said, “What is a really big pain is people who bring 15 or more of those reusable bags and make me put cold stuff in one, cleaning stuff in another, bread and eggs separate.  Now, that takes forever.”

I nodded my head with understanding and sympathy.  Meanwhile, I was praying under my breath that she wouldn’t notice how my groceries were carefully categorized and organized as they headed to her scanner.

  • Heavy things first.
  • Nonperishables.
  • Cold items with meat and poultry separate.
  • Non-food items like cleaning supplies and personal care products.
  • Produce.
  • Bread and eggs.

What can I say?  I like my groceries bagged a certain way.  But, I don’t leave this to chance or pester the tired Wal-Mart cashier to organize my purchases for me.   No, I like to help things along.  Truly, I am trying to be considerate of the girl getting paid so little money to incessantly scan and bag during her entire work shift.  Organizing all my items saves her some time and effort.

But, there’s also something else.  I don’t believe that she would do it correctly if I didn’t categorize the items for her.  I don’t trust that she knows not to put my cereal with the yogurt or that my laundry detergent shouldn’t sit next to my chicken.

I don’t believe.  I don’t trust.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether I fully trust and believe in the professional skill of the girl checking out my groceries.  But, my unbelief and lack of trust seep into other areas of my life that should be in the hands of our thoroughly trustworthy God.  It’s a slow drip, drip, drip of anti-faith that I ignore until suddenly I’m drowning in a sea of uncertainty and gasping for air in a flood of my own making.

I pray for things and then make plans and decisions based on God NOT answering my prayers.

I lay at His feet my anxiety and concerns about situations and then snatch them back up later when His answer doesn’t come quickly enough.

I hover over His shoulder and share my opinion on the kind of job He is doing in my life.  Are you sure you want to put the pasta in that bag, God?  Don’t you think the cheese would be better next to the butter, God?   I think you could provide a bit better for me if you changed this about my job.  Don’t you think I’ve waited long enough, God?  Surely there’s a more efficient way of doing things.

I pester and nag and “help” and act like a know-it-all back seat driver.  Abraham’s wife, Sarah, had her moments of grasping for control just like I do.   She helped things along a little bit, made “suggestions” (demands), and pressed ahead with plans without considering consequences.

To be fair, Sarah waited years for God to fulfill His promises and patiently trusted that God would give Abraham a “son who is your own flesh and blood” (Genesis 16:16, NIV).  It may have even been thrilling and easy to believe at first.  A promise from God, a child, the deepest desire of her heart seen by Almighty God and assuredly in her future!  Surely she headed to the wilderness version of Babies ‘R Us and set up a registry just days after Abraham came home and told her what God had promised. Faith is easy when the promises are fresh.

But then nothing.  No pregnancy.  No baby.  Promises faded away.  Questions arose.  Cultural expectations weighed heavy on her.  Just about a decade after the original promise, Sarah’s faith finally buckled under the heavy weight of circumstantial evidence mounting up against God.  He hadn’t done what He had promised.  No baby was coming.  Sarah’s biological clock had ticked and tocked out and she clearly needed to step in and help God out a little bit.

And so the trouble begins.  A second wife for Abraham.  Conflict and abuse between Sarah and Hagar.  Runaway maidservant.  Ishmael born, son to Abraham, but not the child God had promised.

Thirteen years after Ishmael’s birth and about 24 years after the original promise, none of Sarah’s involvement, ideas, or attempts to help (or control) the situation had yielded results.

Yet, in all this time, God’s plans never changed.  His intent from the beginning was to birth an entire nation through Abraham and Sarah and He was willing to let Sarah reach the point of impossibility, of clear human failure, before fulfilling His promises.  She was past menopause, now 90 years old.  There was simply no possible earthly way for Sarah to bring forth the promised heir.

That’s what unbelief would say.  That’s what lack of trust would claim.

God is so gracious to us in our weakness, though.  He certainly was with Sarah.  He visited with Abraham again and reiterated the promise, this time with an added clarification—I believe it could only have been for Sarah’s benefit.  He told Abraham, “I will bless her (Sarah) and will surely give you a son by her.  I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her . . . your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.”

Did you notice that subtle new bit of information in the promise?  The first time, God said that Abraham would have a son and heir.  This time, He clearly said to Abraham, “You know Sarah, as in your wife Sarah?  She will have a son by you.  Together.  Nobody else needs to be involved in this.  Just you and her.  Got it?”

And there was a promise for Sarah in this, too, a special notice by God, who called a childless woman in her 90s to be the Mother of Nations.  As kids we sang the silly song, “Father Abraham, had many sons, and many sons had father Abraham.”  Why don’t we ever sing about Sarah?  After all, the poor woman had to give birth to the promised child at 90 years of age with no epidural.  I think she deserves her own song!

Abraham and Sarah were nothing without God’s miraculous involvement in their lives.  “Look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth.  When I called him, he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many” (Isaiah 52:2, NIV).    Like Abraham, it is God’s blessing on us that multiples our lives into bounty and fulfillment.

Therefore our testimonies are not that we have accomplished much or attained great things in our own strength and ability. If Sarah had produced the promised heir through surrogate motherhood, fertility treatments or even naturally while her body was still ripe for childbearing, then there would have been no need for God’s personal touch.

As Beth Moore wrote, “If Isaac’s birth says anything at all, surely it says that nothing is too difficult for the Lord.”  That’s the question God asked Abraham while Sarah stood laughing in her tent over the promise of pregnancy in her old age.  “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14, NIV).  Isaac’s birth proves God’s possibilities even in impossible situations.

In Genesis 21:1, it beautifully says, “Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised (NIV).  And so He will for you.  God will do what He has promised.  And when He does, when He so graciously delivers you, He will receive all the glory and give you a testimony of miraculous provision so that others may believe and trust in a God for whom nothing is too difficult.

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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.