From the Inside Out

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12, NIV

I like to pretend I’m perfect.  Not for my benefit, because I know I’m far from a perfect person, woman, wife, mom, ministry leader, friend . . .

Not with other people either because I truly believe that openness and vulnerability are the only way we can help one another through this thing called life.

I mostly like to pretend I’m perfect with God.  When I sit down for my quiet time, I rarely pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).

Instead, I usually pray something like, “God, it’s so great to spend some time with You.  Please meet me here and teach me.  Encourage my heart.  I could really use some comfort and lifting up today.”  In other words, “Tell me You love me and are proud of me and promise me blessing.”

This week I’ve been writing about how God’s Word is His intimate and personal revelation of Himself, a testimony of God’s activity in people through history, His love letter to us, and our daily bread.  God’s Word is all those things.  It is where I go when I need encouragement, comfort, peace, and a reminder of His love and it’s totally okay to ask God for help when I need it.

But, God’s Word does one more thing.  It unsettles my heart.  It interrupts me and my “perfect” plans.  It calls me to account.  It bruises my ego sometimes.  As Lysa TerKeurst says, it “steps on my toes.”  It shines a light on the dark places of my heart and reveals the hidden sins.

Sure, I’d rather just pretend I’m perfect and ignore the quiet nudging of the Holy Spirit, but I’d be missing out on God’s plans for me.  In the vocabulary of child rearing, I’d be asking for perpetual positive reinforcement and never accepting discipline.   Getting gold stars on my spiritual behavior chart is fine.  Sometimes, though,  in order for me to grow more Christ-like and thus become a more usable vessel for God to work through, I need a “heavenly time out” or a “Holy Spirit grounding.”

That’s why I totally understand where Asa is coming from in 2 Chronicles 14-16.  Asa was a king of Judah who “did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 14:2, NIV).  When the nation faced an enemy that was too powerful for them, Asa cried out to God.

God answered Asa’s desperate plea for help by totally routing the enemy.  Then, to further encourage Asa, God sent a prophet with an encouraging message:

The Lord is with you when you are with him.  If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. . . But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your hard work will be rewarded (2 chronicles 15:2, 7 NIV).

I’d take that message from God any day!  Asa had gotten it right.  He was a good king with a heart for God.  When he needed rescue, he cried out to God and was saved.   As a result, God blessed him with encouragement and promises that he could hold onto in the tough times.

So far, so good.

Still, something happened in the later years of Asa’s reign.  He faced a new enemy and instead of asking for God’s help again, this time Asa did something that seemed totally logical.  He made a treaty with another king and they fought the enemy together.

So, God sent another prophet to Asa, this time with words that cut to the heart.  He said:

Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand . . . Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand.  For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.  You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war ( 2 Chronicles 16:7-9 NIV).

Ouch.  Those aren’t feel-good words of encouragement for a hurting king.  Asa was totally willing to accept encouragement and God’s promises in the past, but he wasn’t so willing to accept conviction.  This time, “Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison” (2 Chronicles 16:10 NIV).

Later on in his reign, Asa became ill with a disease in his feet.  Scripture says that “Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians” (2 Chronicles 17:11 NIV).

Asa never accepted God’s discipline.  For the rest of his life, he placed his trust in himself or in other men, but he didn’t turn to God for help again—not even when his diseased body became a daily proof of his need for God’s rescue.

How we react to the conviction of God’s Word will determine God’s ability to use us. Maybe Asa could have defeated those enemies if he had asked for God’s help.  Maybe his kingdom could have been at peace through the rest of his reign if he had repented.  Instead, Asa chose a life of perpetual war and unending disease all because he couldn’t react to God’s Word with humble submission.

I don’t want to be like Asa, stubbornly clinging to my sin just because I don’t want to repent and respond to God’s convicting words.

In James 1:23, it says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (NIV).  God’s Word should have a transformational power in our lives.  When He holds the mirror of His Word up for us and we see our sinful reflection, we shouldn’t ignore what we see and pretend we look perfect.  Instead, we should be willing to let Him give us a heart makeover.  It may hurt a bit and sting our pride.   Yet, when we allow God’s Word to change us from the inside out, we grow more and more like Christ and are better able to reflect His love to those around us.  When they look at us, they will see Him.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for 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

Here, There and Everywhere

Confession time: I am a huge Beatles fan.  Hidden away in those messy closets of mine are Beatles magazines, t-shirts, records, a Paul McCartney figurine, postcards and more.   I have the CDs and movies and have been trying to get my kids to sing Beatles songs since they learned “Old MacDonald.”

So, this weekend, my husband gave me an amazing gift–the chance to see the Beatles in concert.

I know what you’re thinking, where’d the time machine come from and when can you borrow it?!   Really, we went to see four guys amazingly like the Beatles perform the songs with an entire orchestra behind them.  It was great.  More than great.  If I closed my eyes, I wouldn’t be able to tell you Paul McCartney hadn’t flown in from England to sing his songs to me.  Even with my eyes open, it was hard to tell, especially with the Sergeant Pepper outfits and groovy glasses.  I loved every minute of it, even “I Am The Walrus!”

It was as close as I could possibly get to hearing the Beatles sing and it was a fantastic “next best thing.”

Being there, though, made me think how often we as Christians are willing to be satisfied with the “next best thing” when we don’t have to be.  It’s not like me with the Beatles, where the source is gone and the time has past.  We Christians can choose whether to go to the source or accept an interpretation.

We read the Christian books, study our devotional every morning, fill in the blanks in the bulletin about the Sunday sermon, sing with the Christian radio station and travel to arenas to hear our favorite Christian speakers.  And all those things can be great.

Obviously, I wouldn’t keep writing this blog if I didn’t think talking about God’s Word mattered.  I’m an avid reader of Christian books and I love listening to others teach about the Bible.

I believe that God blesses us with Christian writers, authors and leaders who help us learn how to study the Bible and apply it to our lives.  What if we stopped there, though?  What if we only read and listened to people “interpreting” Scripture for us and never read God’s Word for ourselves?

In Exodus 20:18-20, the Israelites did just that.  They told Moses: “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” (verse 19, NIV).  In other words, they said, “We’ll pass on the whole talking to God directly thing.  How about we just listen to whatever He tells you.”

I get where the Israelites were coming from.  Sometimes God’s Word is daunting or overwhelming.  Sometimes it tells me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear and that bruises a bit.  The Israelites were afraid.  They saw the lightning and smoke around the mountain and heard the trumpets blaring and the thunder when God came down on the mountain.   God’s glory astounded them and it says “they trembled with fear.  They stayed at a distance.”

My heart aches to think that sometimes I stay at a distance instead of willingly meeting with God one on one.  I’m missing out on the fullness of what He has for me and instead just accepting what He’s given someone else.  It’s as if I’m offered a brand new outfit and I choose hand-me-downs instead.

But, the Bible is God’s intimate and personal revelation of Himself to us.   He wants us to:

Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night (Deuteronomy 11:18-21, MSG)

Yes, we’re busy.  Life is noisy and hectic and finding “quiet time” seems impossible.  Yes, sometimes it’s hard to understand the Bible or we don’t know where to begin.  We might even be afraid of what might happen when we meet with God one on one.  What kinds of mess will He ask to clean out of our hearts?  What kind of life changes will He want us to make?

God invites us to have one-on-one time with Him and sometimes, because of these excuses, we turn down His invitation.  We settle for the “next best thing” and life seems fine that way.  Then, life gets hard.   It’s in those difficult times that we desperately need that deeply personal, relevant and real relationship with God.

Please, keep reading the Christian books and listening to Christian speakers.  Let them be an encouragement and challenge to you.  Watch how others apply the Bible to their lives and implement that in your own life.

But, don’t stop there.  Go up on the mountain yourself and meet with God.  Get His Word deep inside you, think about it and talk about it, take it “Here, There and Everywhere” (I couldn’t resist a Beatles reference!) and let God use it both to transform you to be more like Christ and to draw you into a closer relationship with Him.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

The Reluctant Blogger

I have been putting this off for such a long time and now that I’m here, blogging away, it is almost as if I have stage fright.  That’s surprising because I’m generally more comfortable talking to a group of people from a stage than I am chatting with someone one-on-one.   I’m envisioning Winnie the Pooh calling out, “Hellllllllo.  Is anybody there?”  And hearing crickets.

But then I realize that whether someone is there or not is irrelevant.  I’m blogging now because I’m being obedient to a burden God placed on my heart, to write and share with others my devotional journey with Him.  My goal here isn’t really to write about me at all–not my daily activities or deepest dreams.  Not my beautiful kids or wonderful husband.  I’m not in the middle of any life adventure that I want to share with the world.

This is essentially about what happens when an insanely busy woman takes the time to meet with God at the kitchen table.

And you know what happens when I sit down with my Bible and my journal and my cup of tea . . .

I breathe.

It used to confuse me on exercise videos when you’re in the middle of your 20 lunges or 15 leglifts and the instructor says, “Don’t forget to breathe.”  I’d think, “Well, yeah.  Of course I’m breathing.”

But, usually when the exercise lady tells me to breathe and I’m resenting her perky condescension, I realize I’m really not breathing in and out.  I’m kind of gasping for air and holding it in.

My daily life isn’t much different.  When I answer the phone, people ask me all the time, “Have you been running or something?  You sound out of breath.”  And I realize, I haven’t been running; I just haven’t been breathing.  The phone usually rings when I’m making dinner and racing around the house cleaning and supervising homework and breaking up fights and sending emails and finishing work.  I’m juggling everything and keeping every ball in the air, but the one thing I’m forgetting to do is to just breathe.

So, most days I’m really too busy to enjoy the luxury of a quiet time.  I’m certainly too busy to put those thoughts together into a blog.  In fact, my lack of time has been one of my biggest excuses for not blogging.

I don’t have the time, but I make the time.  Because without my kitchen table moments with God, I’d die.  I’d slowly suffocate from my lack of breath.

So, in the middle of this “discussion” with God over whether or not I should even write this blog, I went to a women’s conference at a local church and they chose as their theme verse:  “He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul” Psalm 62:1-2 (MSG).

It made me think that maybe it’s not just me who needs the reminder to breathe in and out.   If anyone reads this and realizes you’ve been holding your breath, let me encourage you—“Don’t forget to breathe!”  And, that’s essentially what this blog is about—me taking time to breathe and reminding you to do the same.

This is an excerpt from a poem they tucked into our bag at the conference:

Breathing Out and Breathing In
by: A.B. Simpson

Jesus, breathe Thy spirit in me.
Teach me how to breathe Thee in,
Help me pour into Thy bosom
All my life of self and sin.

I am breathing out my own life
That I may be filled with Thine;
Letting go my strength and weakness,
Breathing in Thy life divine.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for 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