A Heart At Rest

Too often it’s the insignificant things.

Like the dishes I had to leave unwashed as I unexpectedly rushed out the door…or the items on the to-do list, there because they need to be done, but truly tomorrow might do just as well as today.

It’s the project that sits unfinished, the playroom with evidence of an abandoned toy sorting marathon on display, and the increasingly evident need for a vacuuming.

Too often this is what overwhelms me, the ultimately unimportant and insignificant trifles and I’m tempted for just one selfish moment to say, ‘no.’14157735_s

‘No, I can’t.  No, I’m too busy.  Not today, not tomorrow, not later or in an hour.  No I can’t give this; it’s mine and I need it.  No, you’ll just have to ask someone else.’

While others are needing the hands and feet of Christ right now in this place where they find themselves ….and while God has told this perpetual Martha to abandon the mess in the kitchen and just sit down restfully at His feet or perhaps head out the door to serve another….still I glance incessantly over my shoulder at the kitchen, thinking of what I need to do.

How can my priorities be so awry?

I know it when I’m there… with a friend, on the phone, lingering at church, sharing the cup of tea, holding a crying daughter, baking cookies for another daughter to share with her class, surprising yet another girl in the lunchroom at school and sitting in a noisy cafeteria while she nibbles on her sandwich.

I know this is what matters.  This is what is important.

People are always more important than productivity. 

The dishes will be done.  I’ll stand on the kitchen mat soon enough with my hands soaking into the suds, rinsing cereal bowls and cups. This, too, will be service and love for others, for my family.

Yet, right now what matters is being with God and loving others as He does, not fretting over the remnants of breakfast in my sink.

God challenges my perspective, shifting my viewpoint that is ever so stubbornly focused on my own needs.

He did this for Peter, too, as Jesus explained that He would die and be raised again.

Peter argued with the Savior:  No way, Lord.  That’ll never happen to you!

“Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Matthew 16:23 NLT).

That’s my problem, isn’t it?  My blindness to God’s perspective and the way that selfishness tunnels my vision until all I can see are my needs, my rights, my worries, my struggles, my life with my priorities.

I’m seeing things from a human point of view and never lifting my head high enough to see from God’s eyes.

This, then, is the deeply penetrating truth that challenges me: If I’m being obedient to God and loving others as He has told me to, then I needn’t worry about the peripheral, the secondary and the insignificant. 

He will give me the time.  He will help me. He will take care of what I need.

I can trust Him with it all, with every bit of my worry, my cares, my needs, my agenda.  When I’m serving God in obedience, my stressed out, frazzled, distracted soul can rest in His presence.

That’s what it says in 1 John:

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence”  (1 John 3:18-19).

Put love-based-on-truth into action and there I find that heart of rest simply because I’m where God is, doing what He’s called me to do, being obedient to His direction and timing.

In What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa TerKeurst writes:

I must confess I have moments where my heart is at rest in His presence, but they are broken up by pitfalls and pity parties.  Sometimes I just simply want to be selfish.  But when I choose selfishness, I may be happy for the moment, but I’m miserable in the long run (p. 98).

Yes, I have moments when serving comes easy and I feel the peace in obedience.  But I have those other moments when selfishness tempts me to hide away and to hoard my time or resources.

Ironically, it’s only when I’m pouring out to others that God can fill me up with His presence.

It’s only when I cease striving for myself so that I can serve someone else that God meets all my needs, for provision, for rest, for peace, for wisdom, and for time.

OBSBlogHop

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 © 2013 Heather King

The Answer We’re Seeking…And The FaithDare

I failed my driver’s test at least twice.  I say “at least” because I might have blanked out and actually failed it three . . . possibly four times.  It’s hard to say.  It’s enough to tell you that I still refuse to parallel park even now.

So, when a friend of mine in college said that sometimes he just needed to drive, I didn’t get it.  Driving was stressful for me, parking even more so.  For him, though, it was like therapy.  Overwhelmed and overcome, he’d just cruise down the highway with an unimportant and undefined destination.

Today, for the first time, I understood.  Kissing my older girls goodbye and waving to them as they left on the school bus, I walked my toddler to the minivan and helped her into her seat. Then we drove.

As a mom, I’ve generally lost all control over the music in the car, so I let my two-year-old sing for a while about numbers, pirates, monkeys and queens.

Then I announced, “Mommy’s turn” and flicked a switch, only to hear:

Shine Your light so I can see You
Pull me up, I need to be near You
Hold me, I need to feel love
Can You overcome this heart that’s overcome?
{David Crowder *Band singing SMS (Shine}

That’s when I knew why I was driving.  Just like my friend, I was overwhelmed and overcome.

It’s been one of those seasons of ministry and of life when you’re surrounded by death, cancer, divorce, adultery, abuse, child custody battles, the loss of babies, alcoholism, financial Silhouetted female in front of sunset skycrisis, and unemployment.  I’ve been praying for many miracles these days.

In her book, Knowing God by Name, Mary Kassian wrote about El Oseh Phela or The God Who Works Wonders, focusing on the fact that “The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders” (Deut. 26:8). 

She notes the phrase “outstretched arm . . . implies a work not yet fully completed–a work in progress.  The image of a mighty hand and an outstretched arm illustrates that God is intentionally involved in history on an ongoing basis” (p. 66 emphasis mine).

It’s part of God’s character, His name, a promise based on who He is that He sometimes chooses to deliver us with all of the glory of signs and wonders.  And it’s now, not just thousands of years ago for Moses or Joshua, for Elijah and Daniel.  It’s for us, too.

Yet, at times we’re looking for the fireworks, lightning bolts, and parting seas of miraculous intervention, only to overlook the answer He’s already given to our prayers of desperation—through the ministry of others.

That’s why God fed Elijah once miraculously with food carried in the claws of ravens and then fed Elijah miraculously through the generosity of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17).  It was God’s way of meeting Elijah’s needs and blessing the widow at the same time by allowing her to be part of God’s activity.

Sometimes we are the miracle God is sending to another. 

We are the blessing He has offered; we are the provision; we are His answer to the tearful prayers in the night.

Not that it’s because of our own ability or volition.  It’s God’s generous way of allowing us to be used in service and His gracious method of linking people together, knowing that we need the connection and relationship that it brings.

The Message says it this way:

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out” (Romans 15:1-4 MSG)

In The Faith Dare , Debbie Alsdorf writes:

We were created to connect, to do life together, to bear each other’s burdens, to care with our whole being for those whom Christ loves (p. 191).

Maybe we’re praying for God’s intervention in situations and it really is going to take His mighty hand and outstretched arm to deliver.  But maybe we’re praying for the miracles and God’s already given the answer . . . and the answer is us.

You can watch the video for SMS (Shine) by clicking here or by clicking on the image from the blog.

Originally posted as “And the Answer Is…,” on May 18, 2012

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 © 2013 Heather King

Transforming the To-Do List

Maybe it’s March, but I still felt a little sadness when my first and second grader stepped onto the school bus this morning. 007

It makes sense how I cried that first time my “babies” went off for a whole day of school or even how I miss them that first day after summer break.

But it’s three-quarters of the way through the year and still it hits me: how tall they are and how beautiful, how the school year is almost over and they are learning so much (“Mom, do you know some deserts receive as little as 1 inch of rainfall?”).

I’m so blessed by their school, so thankful that the teachers and staff bring out the best in them.  It’s just that time with these girls is so precious; sometimes I forget, today I remember.

Maybe it’s on my mind this morning because on Sunday I sat in a darkened auditorium, snuggled up to my daughters (this one in my arms, that one resting against my shoulder, another by my side).  We watched my husband portray a Confederate officer in 1860’s Virginia on the stage.

The actors told a story of a family in a war, men writing to mothers and wives, women writing to husbands and sons, and they were lonely, scared, confident, and worried about household things and the end of life as they knew it.

Somehow it was a story about a War that was really more about a family.

Then at the end of it all, in a southern drawl, my husband said: “May we never again take for granted all the blessings God has given us: the love of family and friends; the beauty of the work around us; the sanctity of life; and the endless opportunities we have each day to make things right” (When Peace Again Shall Smile, by Catherine Witty, adapted from letters from the Taliaferro family of Gloucester Virginia).

You learn these lessons when life is tragic and hard and you might lose everything.

But today, in the middle of the mundane and ordinary, I’m thinking about to-do lists and how they always tell us what we’re doing, but not who we’re doing it for. 

I’m thinking indeed about that love of family and friends, the beauty of the work, the holiness of the life.

I sweep through my house, scrubbing down the sinks, emptying trash cans, rinsing out cereal bowls and filling the dishwasher, stripping down the sheets for washing day.

And I think, “Oh, I need to clean that…” not “let me wash this for my daughters” or “this is a way to bless my husband.”

That’s never how a to-do list sounds, after all.  It would take all day just to write out a list like that.

Besides, what never makes it on the to-do list at all are sometimes the most important things.  Like a three-year-old running through the house scared in the early hours of the morning and snuggling up close for safety….or conversations on the ride home from school….or connect-the-dot-pages….or listening to piano practice.

Our to-do lists might be necessary beasts, helping us at least accomplish something and keeping ourselves slightly sane in the midst of it all.

Yet, today I’m thinking “off book,” and that maybe if I thought more about who I’m serving instead of just what I have to do, it’d keep all this life in perspective.

I do this in love.  These acts are showing I care.  This I wash, this I fold, this I pick up because I love and because I am loved.  I show grace because I just need so heaping much of it.

Didn’t God always keep the people in mind and not just the task?

He didn’t make the list: “Send a spokesperson to Pharaoh.  End slavery.  Lead nation across Red Sea.”

No, God, told Moses:

I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians….So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7&10).

And Jesus, our Savior, didn’t come because theology made His to-d0 list, not doctrine, or the need to check off a box on a divine agenda.

He said it to the disciples crowded around a Passover table:

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me (Luke 22:19 NIV).

It was for them….it was for us.

This day remember all that you do is done for another—for a friend, for family, for others, for a Savior who gave so much to you.

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 November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Cookies And Humble Pie

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine. ~
D.L. Moody

It was, perhaps, an odd question for my daughter to ask while we were making cookies.

“Why, Mom, did Haman want to kill all of the Jewish people?”

We were rolling out the dough to make Hamentaschen, the traditional cookie for Purim.  It’s a celebration described in the book of Esther, commemorating how God delivered His people from annihilation through the bravery and obedience of a young queen who put herself in danger and stood up for her people.

So, we make these cookies almost every year, roll out the dough, cut the circles, fill them with apricot and strawberry preserves and then shape into a triangle.

Covered in flour and sticky with preserves, I may not have been in the best shape to answer deep philosophical, spiritual, and historical questions.  And yet, what better time than when your child asks and when Scripture isn’t just read in a cold and academic way, but rolled out into cookies?

Why would one man strive so hard to wipe out an entire people group?  Why did he hate the Jews so much?

This is what she asked.

There’s a historical answer to the question that partly explains Haman’s genocidal mania.  Scripture tells us repeatedly that this Haman who hated God’s people was an “Agagite’ (Esther 3:1).

He was a descendant of King Agag, leader of the Amalekites, who was captured and ultimately killed by the prophet Samuel after the Amalekites were destroyed in battle (1 Samuel 15).

This was a long-standing family vendetta festering over generations.

But there’s something more in these ten short chapters of Scripture.

Pride.

Haman was a constant self-promoter, always on the lookout for ways to gain honor, admiration, acclaim, notice, advancement, reward….even worship.

In fact:

“All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect” (Esther 3:2).

How it irked Haman every time he walked by the king’s gate to see Mordecai’s head held high!

It seems preposterous, this prideful Haman, expecting others to bow down to him…Thinking that whenever the king rewarded anyone, it would be him…Thinking he had the right to wipe out an entire people group…Thinking he deserved to hang another man on the gallows simply because he was annoyed.

But oh how this world entices us to a similar pride.  Maybe we don’t expect people to bow down to us.  Maybe it’s not that obvious or extreme.

Still, we are lured into this lie that if we’ll ever get anywhere it has to be on our own.  We need to fight and scramble and self-promote, grab what we can get and push ourselves onto others so they’ll notice us.

Pride tricks us and tempts us and takes right over sometimes.

But then there’s Mordecai, who saved the king’s life from an assassination plot and instead of using that to”get ahead” or win reward, he simply awoke the next day and went to work again. And then the next day.  And the day after that.

Even later, after the king honored Mordecai, this humble man “returned to the palace gate,” clocking in for another day on the job.

Mordecai chose simple faithfulness.

His was the quiet life of obedience and serving God in the day in-and day out, the grand opportunities and the daily grind.  It was his humility that made room for God to use Him.

The Psalms reflect God’s passion for the humble:

Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud
(Psalm 138:6 NLT)

The Lord supports the humble, but he brings the wicked down into the dust.
(Psalm 147:6 NLT)

For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
(Psalm 149:4 NLT)

Pride chains us down to a captivity of our own creation.

It’s freeing, though, when we realize that “success” doesn’t depend so much on our own striving, but on simply obeying God’s call and trusting Him with the results.

It’s freeing to look past our own lives and choosing instead to reach out to others, to lift them up and be their encouragement.

It’s freeing to listen more than we talk.

It’s the freedom of making this life less about us and all about Him and serving others.

You can check out the recipe we use to make Hamentaschen here!

Storytelling

It takes an entire day for the job, but finally it’s done.

That morning I had dashed out in the cold to the garage and opened several huge Rubbermaid bins to find the sealed bags of clothes I needed.  Having three girls means we own girls’ clothing in every size for every season and when it’s time to transition from size to size it’s a chore.

Oh my, is it a chore.

I sorted through the dressers and in the closets.  I pulled out piece by piece of clothing from the bins and covered my living room and kitchen in piles for this size and that season and this child and that one.

Then I washed all of the “new” clothes, dried them, folded them and hung them on hangers.

Packing away the old size, I dashed out to the garage once more and then returned inside to collapse on the sofa with a cup of tea.

Done!

It isn’t without its share of memories, this sorting through old clothes.

I pulled out the outfits and remembered my middle girl’s preschool program when she wore this green dress….
…and the wedding that my oldest daughter had worn this to….
….and the birthday I had given this outfit to her….
…and how Grammy made the older girls these sweaters with the special buttons and they had worn them to the parade on Main Street.

Sorting these clothes is like flipping through the pages of a photo album and I find myself telling the stories to my daughters and to my husband as I fold them or pull out the hangers.

I tell them how I know exactly at what age my oldest daughter decided she had to wear dresses, all dresses, all the time—even nightgowns instead of pajama tops and bottoms.

I know it because in the size 4T bag of clothes I find dress after dress after dress.  You’ve never seen so many dresses: Dresses for play and for church and for school and for special occasions and everything in between.sewing-button

I think about it as I sit stretched out on the floor of my living room, sewing a button onto a shirt.  My preschooler fingers the buttons in the tin, choosing the one she likes and counting them.

There I sit telling a story again about visiting my great-grandmother’s house when I was a girl and how she was a seamstress, so I played with her leftover buttons all collected into metal tins and how I stacked her empty spools into towers.

I realize: We moms are storytellers so often, the caretakers of the family saga, the ones who remember grandma, great-grandma, and the babies, the births, the marriages, the days both joyful and hard.

So I take time to give my daughters this heirloom: these memories, these stories, these word pictures from the past.

But later I wonder: What stories will they tell about me?

I think of Tabitha in Scripture, a woman who followed Christ in her city of Joppa and “was always doing good and helping the poor.”

When she died, the people called for Peter to come and as he stood there in the room with her body: “All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas (Tabitha) had made while she was still with them” (Acts 9:39).

I think of this as I stand in front of my own piles of clothes and remember the stories.  That’s what the widows did.  They held up physical reminders of Tabitha’s past, of her kindness and self-sacrifice, of her service, of the way she used her gifts to glorify God and bless others.

So Peter called for Tabitha to come back from the dead and even this became part of her story, her testimony to God.

Amazingly, “she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9:40-42).

The miracle started with a woman serving others in the simplest of ways.

It continued with the women in her town telling this story to Peter.

And it ended with God’s glory and with many people believing in Him.

We also are storytellers about the heroes of faith from the past and about the God who does wonders.

And we also are forming our own story, serving, loving, giving and trusting that the legacy we leave is one that gives glory to the God who saved us, even if it’s as simple as buttons and sashes and the stories we told our children.

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 © 2013 Heather King

Setting Up Chairs and Why This Matters

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9)

“Who helped lead you to Jesus?”

It was part of the Sunday sermon at my church, our pastor opening up the floor for answers from the congregation.

There wasn’t even time for a more formal pass-the-microphone kind of testimony sharing.  People popped up their hands all over the church and some just called out their answers in tribute to those who carried them to Jesus.

Some mentioned sisters or friends, several Sunday School teachers, a school teacher, pastors and grandparents who had taken them to church.

But overwhelmingly the answers were “My parents.”

In Scripture, that’s part of Timothy’s testimony, too.  Paul writes:

 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you (2 Timothy 1:5).

If he sat in our church on Sunday, Timothy would have thrown up his hand and said, “My mom and grandma taught me about the Lord.”

It’s one of those moments in life where everything freezes for the slightest breath and you realize something deeply true—“This Matters.”

It’s not always so easy to persevere and keep on keeping on.  When you’re prepping the Sunday School materials week after week …when you’re grading papers and writing lessons….when you’re asking your friend to church for the hundredth time… when you’re just driving kids to church.

Then there are those daily tasks, seemingly unimportant, easily overwhelming, when it’s hard to feel like you’re having any significant impact at all beyond washing clothes and cooking meals.

Most of the Mom-life isn’t deep spiritual lessons and massively important character lessons for our kids.  Most ministry isn’t radical and miraculous transformation.

My children don’t sidle up to me around 4:30 each day, ask me what’s for dinner and hear me preach on the feeding of the 5000 or the Bread of Life or how we should hunger after righteousness.

Usually I just tell them chicken or spaghetti or something I’m going to make up in about 15 minutes that I haven’t decided on just yet but will surely be awesome.

I once heard a youth pastor say that “90% of ministry is setting up chairs.”

Isn’t that true of what we do as well?

Sure, God gives us these perfect moments when our kids ask the deep question and we need to know how to answer with the Bible and with prayer.  Of course, our lives need to be an example of personal faith in Christ.

Other times, though, we’re ‘setting up chairs.’  We’re washing mounds of clothes and matching the socks not devoured by the dryer monster.

We’re filling the cart with groceries and cooking those dinners night after night.  We’re packing lunch boxes day after day and bending over a child’s shoulder to watch her put the final touches of paint on a school project.

It’s jumping up every five minutes when a child calls out, “Mom!” or “Help!”  It’s standing outside waiting for the bus even in the cold and the rain and chasing down children who’ve forgotten their mittens or hats on a frosty day.

It’s losing sleep because of illness, bad dreams, night owls and early birds.  It’s foregoing any attempt at an uninterrupted conversation and occasionally hiding in the bathroom with the telephone just so you can hear what the person on the other end is saying.

It’s shuttling children here and there, cheering from the sidelines of a field on Saturday mornings or snapping photos at a ballet performance.

Setting up chairs–that’s what we’re doing day after every single day.  We’re serving in our homes and communities, schools and churches in hundreds of hidden ways.

Because we love.

We do it because God Himself, the Savior of us all, stooped onto a knee and washed the dust and grime off the feet of His own followers. Then He said, “since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow.  Do as I have done to you (John 13:14-15).

We do it without recognition most of the time.  No onlooker cheers you on for spending your day changing diapers, making meals and giving baths.

There aren’t enough ceremonies to thank the faithful servants who “set up chairs” in our churches every week.

But we can remember in this moment that “This Matters.” We can fold those clothes with a little more joy and prepare that lesson with a renewed sense of purpose.  Because every moment that we’re serving others is part of leading them to Jesus and there’s no greater ministry than that.

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

What’s Important

We sat at her kitchen table and listened as she told us about the old days. She talked about life on their farm as an immigrant family from Germany.  She explained how they trekked for miles to go to Sunday service at their church and then stayed in town, visiting with others, making it an all-day affair before traveling back home again.  She told us what it was like as a German-American during World War II and walked us through the family tree.

My mom had said we should listen to my great-grandmother’s stories now, while she was still there to tell them.  So, we did.  Then she died when I was a teenager and the opportunity to listen was gone.

If you read this blog even on the weekends, you’ll know I finished up 2011 by reading Billy Graham’s book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well.  It was a little like the day that we sat and listened to my great-grandmother tell stories.  That day, we had really listened to her talk about life.  By reading his book, I did the same for Billy Graham.

I’m not really a resolution-lover or a diet-plan designer or a prediction-maker.  But I am thinking this new year of restating priorities.  Of taking some of what Billy Graham had to say and letting it influence and guide me right from the start of this year.

It’s about making people the priority.

Billy Graham was thinking of connecting with grandkids.  But really, these principles could guide all our relationships: with our kids, our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our friends and Bible study cohorts, the folks in our Sunday School class, our neighbors, and more.

He said:

Pray consistently

We pray specifically and routinely for those we see every day and those who live too far way for frequent visits.

He said, “Don’t pray only in general terms (the kind of prayer that vaguely asks God to bless them.)  Make your prayers specific, and make them daily” (p. 98).

This is why I love my Thursday mornings with my Moms in Prayer group.  We pray for the math tests and the homework, the activities and playground witness of each of our kids.  Every week, we thank God for the very specific and identifiable ways He has answered our prayer and every week we are amazed at how He once again faithfully took care of these little ones we love.

So, what to pray?  I like to pray through Stormie O’Martian’s Power of a Praying Parent (or Power of a Praying Wife when I pray for my husband).  Yet, you can simply pray not just for physical safety, but for good decisions, for a strong Christian witness, for the growth of their faith, for their ability to withstand temptation and peer pressure, for their friendships, and for whatever specific difficulties they are facing.

Encourage Them

Billy Graham wrote, “Don’t major in the negatives!  They need to know we love them and most of all that God loves them (p. 100).  This year, I want to choose my words carefully and thoughtfully so that I can “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Be an Example

Avoid “do what I say, not what I do!”  If I want my daughters to learn to have personal devotions, then I let them see me sit at the kitchen table with my Bible and cup of tea.  If I want them to be kind, I practice kindness.

Billy Graham said “Remember, your children and grandchildren learn more about you through observing your actions and attitudes.  Do they see Christ in you?  Will they remember you as someone who was a living example of His compassion and love? (p. 100).

All in all, his book reminded me to make people the priority of my new year.  They certainly were for Christ.

We tend to give when it’s convenient.  We often make decisions based on what’s practical.  We give what we can afford.  We get together when we’re “free.”

But Jesus served others when it was inconvenient and impractical.  He skipped meals, changed plans, took the long way around, gave up time away for those who needed Him and died to save them.  He didn’t stay up on the cross for the sake of a theology or a plan.  He did it for love of people.

My husband said, “often what is important isn’t what’s practical” in our relationships with others.

So, this year I want to major on the important, even if it’s impractical, hard, or downright crazy.

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.