Bible Verses about God’s Presence

  • Exodus 33:14 NASB
    And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”
  • Joshua 1:9 NASB
    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
  • Psalm 16:11 NASB
    You will make known to me the path of life;
    In Your presence is fullness of joy;
    In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
  • Psalm 23:4 NASB
    Even though I walk through the [d]valley of the shadow of death,
    I fear no evil, for You are with me;
  • Psalm 27:4 NASB
    One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
    That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    To behold the beauty of the Lord
    And to meditate in His temple.
  • Psalm 41:12 NASB
    As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
    And You set me in Your presence forever.
  • Psalm 51:10-11 NASB
    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
    11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
    And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
  • Psalm 73:28 NASB
    But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    That I may tell of all Your works.
  • Psalm 100:2 ESV
      Serve the Lord with gladness!
        Come into his presence with singing!
  • Psalm 139:7-10 NASB
    Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
    If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
    If I take the wings of the dawn,
    If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
    10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
    And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
  • Psalm 140:13 NASB
    Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name;
    The upright will dwell in Your presence.
  • Isaiah 57:15 NASB
    For thus says the high and exalted One
    Who [a]lives forever, whose name is Holy,
    “I dwell on a high and holy place,
    And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
    In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
    And to revive the heart of the contrite.
  • Jeremiah 29:13 NASB
    You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • Matthew 18:20 NASB
    For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
  • Matthew 28:20b NASB
    and lo, I am with you ]always, even to the end of the age.”
  • John 1:14 NASB
    And the Word became flesh, and [a]dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [b]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • John 14:16 NASB
    I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [a]Helper, that He may be with you forever
  • John 14:23 NASB
    Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
  • Hebrews 4:16 NASB
    Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • Hebrews 10:19-22 NASB
    Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a [h]sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
  • Hebrews 13:5 NASB
    Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
  • James 4:8 NASB
     Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
  • Revelation 21:3 NASB
     And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them[

This is why we don’t have to be afraid

My son listened this year as I told the Christmas story to  a gathering of prechoolers and he reviewed it for me over the next few days.

He told me about Mary and about Joseph and about the angels.  He told me how Jesus was God but a baby and how Christmas was Jesus’ birthday.

Then, he told me how Jesus ate a lot of food, got bigger and didn’t stay a baby anymore.

Got it.

But he also says this:  “The angels kept saying, “Don’t be afraid!”

They kept saying that.  Over and over.  Those angels had this resounding message of  joy and they prefaced it with the command to “fear not.”

As we finish one year, as we prepare for the next, as we look to the unknown and the new and the yet-to-come, how do we let this message change us and change our perspective?

How do we renew hope?   How do  we quiet fears ?

 

after all,  THE GOSPEL MESSAGE IS ALL ABOUT HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS, LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS, JOY IN SORROW AND PEACE IN TURMOIL.

It’s for those hopeless enough to feel like one more day alive is too much to bear.

It’s for those of us watching the clock at night, too worried about bills and our kids, our marriages, conflicts with family, or problems at work to sleep in peace.

It’s even for a worrier like me, anxious over the little things like birthday parties and church programs and a fresh calendar awaiting the activities of a new year.

It’s for the daily troubles that we turn into crises and for the life-and-death struggles we sometimes face.

IT’S THE REMINDER THAT GOD CAME HERE TO BE WITH US SO WE WOULDN’T BE ALONE, AND HE WILL NOT LEAVE OUR SIDE.

That’s the hope we have.  Not us alone in a crazy, mixed-up, broken world.  Not us alone facing bills and divorce, depression or stress.

Not us alone against any road-bumps ahead in the days to come.

Emmanuel.  God with us.

As it says in Isaiah:

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Fear not.

That’s the loudest message from the Christmas story.  The one grand announcement over and over: “Do not be afraid.”  That’s what my son reminds me.

That wasn’t just God’s plan for our past.  It’s been His passion from the beginning of Creation—to be with us.  It was His driving desire all those years of patiently planning for our salvation through Christ’s coming, His death, His resurrection.

It’s the great passion of God’s heart even now.  In the book of Revelation, we’re told that when the battle is over and Christ establishes His forever kingdom, God will say:

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).

We close another Christmas season.  We stop playing the carols.  We pack up the decorations.

We make resolutions and plans for the new year.

But this is what we carry with us; this is the hope we have every single day:

HE CHOSE TO BE WITH US SO WE COULD CHOOSE TO BE WITH HIM.

So we do not need to be afraid of facing anything in this life alone.

God is with us.

Originally published December 28, 2015

This is the invitation to go together and not alone

“I want to come!”

This is my son.  He lives in a constant state of high-alert awareness, making sure no one in the family goes out for an adventure or for some fun without bringing him along.

We plan a movie day, just me and my girls to see a film that isn’t animated and isn’t going to hold the interest of my active four-year-old boy.

Somehow, though, without us talking to  him or even talking near him so he’ll overhear us, he manages to catch the word “movies” and pipes up with his current catchphrase, “I want to come!”

This is so hard.

I am an oldest child in a family of 5 kids.  Until I had a youngest child of my own, I had no idea how hard it can be sometimes to be the baby of the family.

He is the one who wants to play, but the others are too old to play.

He is the one who always wants to come even if we’re going somewhere he can’t go.  That means feeling left behind and that breaks his momma’s heart.

So, we try our best.  We draw him in.  We take him whenever we can.   That’s not everywhere and that’s not always, but we do our best.

Right in the middle of decorating our Christmas tree, last weekend, I ran out of working Christmas lights.  It had been a long and busy day full of projects, but unfinished projects are like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.   I cannot do, “let it wait until tomorrow.”

So, off I went, grabbing my bag and prepping for an emergency dash to the Wal-Mart.

My son saw my bag and sure enough said, “I want to come!”

He didn’t even know where I was going.  He just didn’t want to be left out.

Of course, making quick runs into a store is much easier without children along for the ride, but I grabbed his coat and shoes and took him with me because I could.

We drove out of our neighborhood slowly, marveling at all the Christmas lights.  We bought our supplies at the store and as we walked back out, Andrew shouted to a group of unknown bystanders, “Hey, they have a lot of Christmas stuff in there!”  Then we drove back home a slightly different way so we could see the decorations on a whole new set of houses.

The best part  of our unexpected adventure was his presence.  He was there.  He didn’t miss it.  I had drawn him in to the journey and pulled him alongside as a companion and he brought all the joy when wrestling with the lights on that tree had left me joy-depleted.

This is one of the gifts of the Christmas season: Jesus draws us in and He draws us together with others.

This is what He did for Mary, as she was commissioned to be the mother of the Messiah, right when the calling was at its most overwhelming and she could have felt both overwhelmed and all alone.  That’s when the angel said:

And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren (Luke 1:36 ESV).

You’re not in this by yourself.  Come.  Share this experience and this calling with another.

That was the invitation.

It was an invitation to do the hard thing with another rather than all alone.

And the angels made other announcements.  The heavens displayed other signs.  They shared the good news of great joy with a group of shepherds co-laboring in the fields, and a group of wise men studying the skies and ancient texts together.

These men had been working together and searching together.   Now, they became fellow-travelers and fellow-witnesses, bringing their community to Jesus and bringing Jesus to their community.

So much of me wants to hide away and hibernate by the time we hit December.  The calendar has “no more room at the inn” and my depleted resources leave me with little left to give.

But Jesus.

Jesus draws others in.

He brought His very presence right into the middle of the everyday, ordinary, needy lives of people and then invited them to come and not just to come alone, but to come together .

Maybe this Christmas can be a Christmas of invitation for us.  Maybe instead of doing alone and going alone, we can ask another, “Do you want to come?”  It can be last minute, it can be messy, it can be casual, it can be crazy.  It can be formal and planned or it can be made up as we go along.

It can be a prayer as we begin the Advent season, “Lord, draw me to you….and draw me to others.”

 

 

It’s unexpected and unplanned but also a little beautiful

I don’t really  create so much as I copy and adapt.

Those pictures on Pinterest, the photos in that project book, the links on Facebook, all entice me to pull out the hot glue gun, some fabric or paper scraps and make a huge mess, take up far more time than I expect, and finally gaze with pride on what I created…..I mean copied.

I’ve been wrapping strips of fabric into flowers and covering my hands into a hot mess of “Liquid Stitch” and stabbing my fingers with the needle when I try to sew the button into the center.

I’ve taken someone else’s ideas and made them my own.

I’ve wrapped the fabric too loosely now and my flower unravels.  I begin again.  Twist, wrap, glue, twist, wrap, glue.

As I try and try (and try) again, I mediate on this:

God started from nothing.

 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:2 NIV).

No McCall’s pattern.  No Pinterest.  No step-by-step directions on the DIY channel.  No classes at Michael’s or demonstrations at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

He takes that void, that nothingness, and He brings the fullness of His plans and design with the power of His Word alone.

Then He “saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:25 NIV).

And when I long for His presence, I can join Him in His activity.  He is Creator.  It is who He is and what He does.   So I make this effort,  make these tiny  attempts at making beauty happen.

Sally Clarkson writes in The Mission of Motherhood:

Creativity is such an integral part of the image of God within all of us… Whenever we adapt an idea or try a different approach to an issue or give our personal spin to a particular endeavor, we are learning a little more about our God-given nature and the nature of our creative God.

God….He’s Creator.

God…He’s creative.

He creates beauty.  He brings light into the dark places and hope into the hopeless situations.  He brings order into chaos and joy from mourning.

I pause and examine the flower I’ve made with a critic’s eye.  It’s not exactly like that Pinterest picture.  Nothing I make ever really is.

But the beauty of its originality grows on me.  Maybe I like it well enough.  It’s perhaps a little unexpected, maybe a little unplanned, but it’s a flower and it’s fabric and in its own particular way, it’s created for beauty.

So, why do I insist that this Creator God who is able to do “far more than all I ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3) and can speak a few words out into a formless universe and create a planet of complex life and intricate and breathtaking beauty….

Why do I insist that He do things my way?

I do this.  I pray, “God, here’s my need.  I’m hopeless here without You. Please reach right here into this pit and save me and here’s how….”

I’ve given Him agendas, to-do lists, blueprints, and step-by-step instructions. I’ve given Him 5-year plans and 10-year plans and custom orders for the needs I face that day.

I cling to my plan and argue like a lawyer in a courtroom before an unyielding judge, and then with just a few simple words He creates and I am stunned into silence and worship.

What God does over and over is create an entirely unexpected solution for the mess I’m in.

Yet, it’s perfect.  It’s exquisite.

I think of Mary, loving Jesus as she did, the mother who rocked Him and sang to Him in the night.

She brought to Him a problem in John 2 at the Cana wedding feast.  No more wine for the guests, she told Him.  The host of the party would be so embarrassed, she told Him.

And that’s where she stopped.

She didn’t tangle Him all up in her expectations, her solutions, her suggestions or demands.

No, she laid that problem right into His hands and trusted Him to care for it in His own way.

She gave Him the opportunity to create.

I look at the stack of fabric flowers I’ve made and they form for me a prayer:

God, help me remember that You are the Masterful Creator and I can trust You.  You make all things beautiful in Your time.  Whatever need I have or problem I face, I leave in Your hands

Originally published: May 7, 2014

Why we’re not done celebrating yet

jeremiah-29-13

I’m slipping ornaments and lights into Rubbermaid containers and packing the Christmas village into Styrofoam and cardboard this week.

On the kitchen table, though, I place the three wise men from our nativity scene.

Tonight, the wise men take center stage.

My middle daughter announced a few years ago that we should celebrate Three Kings’ Day on January 6th.

This was important.  Necessary even.

She instructed us:

  1. We must leave our Christmas decorations up until then.
  2. We must have a special dinner with a kingly treat.

I tried to ignore the pleading at first and then made futile attempts to explain that since by January 6th we are already immersed in the insane schedule we call everyday life, perhaps we could skip Three Kings’ Day.

But no.

So, knowing how this girl-of-mine treasures traditions and because I love her,  I Googled it and Pinterest-searched and asked on Facebook  how to make this happen.

I read about traditional dishes like “pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with grouts drizzled with water and sauerkraut juice, ” “broccoli accompanied by crostini with chicken liver pate” and “stuffed ravioli with rich duck or rabbit ragu.”

I’m not loving this holiday.

But a friend speaks truth to me.  It’s not about the menu.  It’s about the family time and the celebration.

So, I let my daughter plan the feast and she chooses what is simple and fun and a family favorite.

I see the simplicity of this.  It’s a family dinner with a special dessert and three wise men finally arriving in Bethlehem to worship the new King.  Nothing difficult or fancy.

It’s not about effort; its about celebrating those who abandoned everything to seek truth–to seek Christ.

I read in my Internet research that it’s not just the celebration of “three kings,” but the rejoicing in the Epiphany, the humanity of Christ, God in flesh. It’s the reminder that He’s not a cold and impersonal deity too far out of reach to care about the passions of my day-to-day heart.

He is God come near.

God bent low.

God of compassion, who knows what it’s like to be hungry, tired, hurt, broken, sad, joyful, loved, and hated.

And I marvel at the magnitude of this, that when God’s infant Son cried out in a hay-filled manger, right there at the beginning of the salvation story, God sent the birth announcements to the whole world.

Not just to the Bethlehem natives.  Not to the religious elite or the most righteous among them.  Not even just to Jewish shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night.

For God so loved the world….

The whole world.

He sent a Messiah to the Jewish nation, but then announced redemption for us all with a star that Gentile sages could see and follow to find their Savior, as well.

These men, these watchers-of-the-sky, not so much kings as bookworms, as astronomers, as students and sages, they remind me to pursue the presence of Christ.

 

How hard it must have been to explain to wives, to family, to employers, to friends, to the people in their hometown that they needed to journey far in pursuit of a newborn King.

Sometimes I’ve imagined them following a star without really knowing why, without knowing what it could mean or where it would take them. Yet, when they arrived in Jerusalem, they pestered Herod with questions:

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).

Everyone else continued on with life as usual, but they were willing to rock their entire lives in radical pursuit of the Messiah.  It was so clear to them.  So simple.

See the star.
Follow it.
Find the Savior.
Worship Him.

Reality so often complicates the simple.  Life gets busy.  Radical seems too hard.  Maybe the journey will cost too much.  Perhaps I forget along the way whatever it was I was seeking to begin with.

Or maybe I’m too busy and distracted to seek at all.

But I’m reminded today that God comes near and the wise seek Him.

Tonight I celebrate these magi who pursued the presence of Christ with wild abandon and focused determination, and I celebrate the God who promised this:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV).

Originally posted January 6, 2014

Cancelling the Parenting Magazine

New Mom + Parenting Magazine Subscription = Monthly Mom Crisis.

When I was that fresh, idealistic young mom with that first chubby cheeked babe, I had big, big plans to get it all right.

Every month that magazine arrived.  I scanned it for creative ideas, ripped out yummy recipes, and dog-eared pages with fun activities.

Then I grumped around the house for a day or two. 

I cried occasionally.

Because, according to the magazine, good moms don’t ever serve their kids macaroni and cheese.  If said mac and cheese happens to be from a box, good gracious, you are one of “THOSE” moms.  You know—-the Bad Moms.1chronicles28

Also, Good Moms have Good Kids who always choose the steamed vegetables and rice pilaf when dining out.  These perfect children never order the pizza and chicken fingers. 

Limit screen time.  Join play groups.  Teach kids to share.  Teach them to care. 

Involve them in service projects and ideally live abroad so you can expand their vision of the world. 

Teach them sign language and then a foreign language.

Make all your dinners a month in advance and freeze them.

Kids must have an allowance and a weekly chore chart or they will end up lazy, unemployed and bankrupt.

Discipline this way.  Play with them that way. 

Work outside the home.

Don’t work outside the home.

And never, ever, ever expect your kids to play on their own or entertain themselves with siblings or friends without your intense and continual involvement.  You must play cars, dolls, and blocks with them for hours.  Good moms never get bored building towers and are never too busy to color.

I finally asserted myself and cancelled the subscription.  Who needs to pay for a monthly self-esteem destroyer?

The truth is, I do some of those Good Mom things, but no one can do all of them. 

When we try to do everything, we won’t do anything well.

We end up weighed down by overwhelming expectations and impossible demands.

How much better to celebrate victories, to keep a balanced perspective, and to choose what’s most important right here and right now?

How much better to lean in close to God day after daily day and ask Him, “What do you have for me, Lord?  Right here.  Right now.  Show me what’s next.”

The world is full of opinions about who we need to be and what we need to be doing.  It’s a noisy place and everyone has something to say.

But in my 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, all this month I’m “Learning to Say No.”

That means saying no to good things, at times, in order to do the “right thing God has for me.”

It means saying no to being like everyone else, to trying to be perfect, to trying to do everything, to keeping up with every great idea on Pinterest, Facebook, and mommy blogs.

It means no longer being paralyzed by everything, so I can do the right things well.

King David placed a weighty task on the shoulders of his son, Solomon.  He handed over the plans for the temple with instructions on dividing the labor among the Levites, how much gold to use for the lampstands and the cherubim, and the available supplies.

This was the right thing, the God-thing, that God had designed, purposed and planned for Solomon to do.

And it still could have felt like too much.  How could Solomon even begin?

David told his son:

Be strong and do the work (1 Chronicles 28:10 NIV)

and again:

Then David continued, Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly (1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT)

Be strong. 

Don’t be afraid.

God is with you.

So, do the work.

Pick up right where you are and begin.  One step at one time.

I don’t need to do everything. 

I just need to begin with this one thing.

And God is with you.  He will not fail or forsake you. 

When we lean our weary and overwhelmed souls onto Him, He shoulders the load.  He makes sure the work is done well.

Maybe that’s the lesson Solomon needed so that when God told him, “Ask me for anything….” Solomon knew what to say:

Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10 NLT).

Help me do the work.  That’s what Solomon said.  Show me how to fulfill this calling.

And isn’t this my heart, too?

Lord, show me how to do this well.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Learn to Say, ‘No?’

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

A family motto for summer

My daughter asks, “Why is it so much easier to get along with friends than with sisters some times?”

Four days into summer vacation and she’s already pleading for more time with friends and less time with siblings.

But here’s the truth I tell her….time with others destroys masks, facades, and fake perfection.  It has a way of dragging all of those sins and faults, all of that selfishness and the bad attitudes from where they stay safely hidden during play dates and public outings.

Anyone can behave for a few hours on a play date.gracemotto

That’s what I tell her.

Then I remind myself: Any mom can respond sweetly to her child who is having a meltdown in the Wal-Mart aisle five minutes into your shopping trip when there are people around who might overhear you.

And those TV moms—sure, any of us could be super creative, fun, and even-tempered enough to fill 40 minutes of film footage once a week.

God isn’t satisfied with superficial sweetness, though.  He wants genuine transformation.  He wants the world to look deep and long at us and see the reflection of Christ, not some plastic Jesus or some temporary super-Christian persona.

It’s part of His design with family and others to wield us as tools, chipping away at one another, breaking off the pieces that simply need to go, and  masterfully forming us little by little into tried-and-true, walking and talking, in-season and out-of-season examples of Christ in the world.

Proverbs tells us:

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

So He places us in families and in community with one another.

And then He gives us summer seasons…when we’re up close and personal and with each other all day instead of scattering away to schools, activities, and our own busy lives.

It’s so much time so close together that causes the explosions….when she won’t share the game, and she says something unkind, and she makes annoying noises, and her piano playing is too loud, and she’s hungry and impatient, and she wants to go to the library when she wants to stay home in her pajamas all day…when all this “self” collides with the “self” in everyone else, that’s when He reminds us of grace.

Maybe that’s the lesson in summer, after all.

Grace to rest.

Grace to stop the frantic running from school pick-ups to evening activities, tossing back granola bars to your kids from the front of the mini-van while you rush to ballet where you yank hair back into buns and push in bobby pins before class begins.

Grace to linger over the cup of tea in the morning instead of putting on the drill sergeant hat and barking out commands to children to get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, find shoes, pack lunches and then kiss them on the cheek and send them out the door just in time to rush onto the school bus.

Grace to skip the chores and pack the car for the beach.

Grace even that I need to extend to myself—to not adhere completely to the writing schedule, to post late to the blog or even miss a day—because we’re out enjoying the summer and I’m taking this time I’ve been given with my kids for these few short weeks and I don’t want to miss it.ephesians4-32 photo by  Jaroon Ittiwannapong

And grace for each other.

This is the mom speech I make for my daughter after a sibling melt-down.

In this family, we give grace because we need grace. When someone makes a mistake, we don’t mock, or point fingers, or jump up eagerly to show off how they were wrong.

After all, we need grace.  We receive grace, so we show grace to others.  It becomes my call, my standard, my motto for this summer with my kids:

We need grace.

We receive grace.

We show grace.

Paul wrote this:

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ (Ephesians 4:32 HCSB).

And that’s how we breathe in and breathe out when daily annoyances and mistakes, sins, and forgetfulness, bad days, troubles, and trials threaten to consume us.That’s what we do when others step on our toes and bruise our feelings.  We forgive because we’ve been forgiven.

This summer, we lean back full into this grace and rest.  Choosing not to be stressed over the schedule, but to relax in relationship.  Choosing to forgive the hurts and cease the fault-finding as Christ uses this season together to transform us.

That’s the grace that is summer.

Originally posted June 12, 2013

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Invest in Friendship’?

 

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

Made it to the bus with 30 seconds to spare

“I think it’s Career Day at school today,” she announces.

“No, I think it’s tomorrow,” her older sister explains.  “I wrote it in my agenda.”  She pulls out the book as evidence and shows us where she penciled it in.

“See….Dress like what you want to be when you grow up…. That’s tomorrow.”

“Who told you it was tomorrow?” I ask.

“My teacher.  She had it written on the board like this and I copied it in my book like she said.”

“Okay,” I turn to the other sister, “did your teacher tell you it was today?”

“No, but all the smart kids in my class except for me heard it on the announcements and they said it was today.”  She lists the name of every “smart kid” in her class that she can think of.  It’s a long list.

I turn back to the oldest girl.  “Did you hear it on the announcements?”

“No, but my teacher said….”

We’re right back where we started.

Easy enough, though.  We have the largest dress-up collection on the East Coast.  (I really need to check into whether we can get into the Guinness Book of World Records or something).

I ask the daughter who thinks Career Day is today (as in starting 20 minutes from now when the bus will pull up in front of our house) “Okay, what do you want to dress up as?”

A magician. Or maybe a clown. Or maybe a rabbit who has his own children’s show and entertains kids on TV.

Magician it is.

I find the black cape.  I scramble through the largest dress-up collection on the East Coast and find the hat (a little crushed perhaps, but still a hat).  I shuffle through the magic kit and pull out the magic wand.

Bam.  Magician’s outfit.

Then I fold it all up, pop it in the backpack and declare the solution to our entire morning crisis:  If Career Day is today, you can wear the magician’s outfit today.  If it’s not, keep it in your backpack until tomorrow.

I then zip up the backpacks, hand them to my daughters and toss open the front door.psalm16

It’s raining.  I grab umbrellas and hand them out.

We make it to the bus with 30 seconds to spare.

Thirty whole seconds.

Because we’re awesome like that.

The sky is that curious ashen white of winter and the rain drips rhythmically on the roof as I flop down onto the sofa, cradling my baby boy close and holding my Kindle in the other hand.

I’m looking at dishes in the sink and the aftermath of the morning whirlwind of pajamas, blankets, ponytail holders, brushes, and more.

But then I open that Kindle up and there’s the Bible.  It tells me right there that even when the world was a nothingness of empty void, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

Maybe that’s how I feel right then, like His Spirit hovers over the start of this new day.  Like He’s present and waiting for the invitation not just to enter in, but to roll up His sleeves and nehemiah8create something beautiful–something “good”— in the middle of the noise and mess and all the busyness.

Yesterday, my four-year-old pantomimed what looked to me like an outfielder in baseball, dropping a mitt to the ground and snatching up a ball.

As she did, she said, “God scooped up the dust of the earth and “whooo” blew His breath and made man.”

Just like that, she says it, like the sing-songy rhythm of a well-choreographed routine.

I read it this morning again, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7).

I take a deep breath, letting that air fill me up after the suffocation of the morning stress, and I pray—

Lord, don’t let it just be a day when Your Spirit hovers over my life.  Breathe Your breath right into me and let me feel Your presence.

Because even on the hard days, the sad days, the crazy days, ,the hectic days, the stressful days, the fun days, the unexpected days….

You reveal the path of life to me;
in Your presence is abundant joy;
in Your right hand are eternal pleasures
(Psalm 16:11 HCSB).

And you know something else, His presence isn’t just the  joy I need right here in the middle of  a rainy winter day after a morning rush.

It’s this:

For the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV),

In His presence, there is abundant joy, and that joy is the strength I so desperately need.

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

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This, Part I

Not long ago, Staples ran a series of television ads with an Easy button.  With one click, impossible office tasks became possible, even a breeze.  Nothing was beyond the power of the Easy button.

Today, I’d like to have one of those snazzy red buttons that makes life simple and stress-free.  Perhaps, though, what I really need is a Start This Day Over button or a Crawl Back Into Bed and Reawaken Feeling Great button. Maybe a Clear Foggy Brain button would help me or a Keep House Clean While Children Play At The Same Time button.  The most effective one, though, would be a Noise Cancelling/Make Everything Quiet So I Can Think For Two Seconds button.

I’ve tried all the buttons on the five remote controllers for my television, all to no avail.

So, here I sit typing away and feeling oh so inadequate to be sharing anything with you at all.  Normally, by this time in the day, I’d have written this post already and moved on to some other writing projects in between activities with my kids or washing dishes or laundry or other tasks.  This morning, though, as I tried to eke out time for writing, I found that I was running through all three daughters’ names plus the names of my two cats before I finally matched the right name with the child in front of me.  That didn’t bode well for finding the right words to share with you.

I’ve prayed all day for God to “help me out here!”  I pulled up to my prayer times and asked for some energy, clear-headedness, patience, well-behaved children, and a mess-free house with a side order of divine inspiration.  Do I want to Up-Size that?  Yes, please!

I’m still waiting on that order.

A sucker for advertising, I have also eaten several KitKats hoping that it would “Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that KitKat bar.”  The mini KitKat bars that fit into plastic Easter eggs, though, don’t really give a break so much as an extended blink.

In the middle of:

running unexpected errands
calming an overly tired baby who didn’t sleep last night and awoke screaming early this morning
scrubbing cat vomit out of the carpet from every single room in the house
organizing upcoming events and starting blankly at my to-do list and calendar wondering how realistic cloning myself by next month would be
asking my children in “Mommy’s nice voice” to play quietly and then watching them sprint across the house screaming at the tops of their lungs less than two minutes later . . . over and over and over again
and hearing an old Motown song rumbling around in my head in mockery: “Momma said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this, my Momma said”

—-somewhere in the midst of that, God’s been speaking truth to me. 

Lesson 1: My Feelings Can’t Be the Boss of Me

I’m not really feeling “it” today and by “it,” I mean anything.  Today, is a runaway kind of day, a quit all activities and retreat to a cabin in the woods kind of day, a shirk overwhelming responsibilities and live a life of selfish indulgence kind of day.  Yet, while feelings can be an indicator, they can’t be our basis of truth, our filter for reality, or the impetus for our actions.

Standing on the shores of the Jordan River, Joshua instructed the people to Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5).  Even with God’s promises ringing in their ears, overwhelming physical evidence of impossible circumstances must have been daunting, even paralyzing.  A nation of people stood on one side of the Jordan River, the Promised Land on the other.

Then, God asked them to literally step out in faith.  “It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap” (Joshua 3:12-13).

The priests had to actively step into the river before anything could happen.  They could stand as long as they wanted on the banks of the Jordan, waiting for God to make a way through that water before they dipped their toes.  Yet, He’d given them a way.  He’d asked them to walk into it.  He asked them to act now even though they likely felt fear or doubt rather than confidence or excited anticipation.

As the toes of the priests sunk into the mud, the river water parted, just as God had promised.

Standing on the banks of my own Jordan, I can allow fear or doubts to paralyze me.  I can give up and walk away because the river is too wide and deep to cross.  Or, I can step where God has told me to walk regardless of my feelings and allow Him to part the waves of my circumstances with the power of His Presence.

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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