Book Review | The Longing in Me

The Longing in Me: How Everything You Crave Leads to the Heart of God
by Sheila Walsh

I’ve read several of Sheila Walsh’s books by now and thought I knew most of her story, but her new book, The Longing in Me, is even more open and honest about where our cravings can take us when we look for fulfillment in the wrong places.  the longing in me

She weaves her own story in with the account of King David in Scripture and covers longings such as:  The longing to be chosen, to be protected, for what used to be, for control, for your rights, etc. Interestingly, she didn’t choose to focus on what we typically consider ‘cravings,’ and extended this list to include some of the eternal longings God Himself placed within us, like “the longing for what would glorify God or the longing to share the grace and mercy we’ve received from God, and the longing for God alone.”

This book would work well for an individual read or for  Book club to discuss.  It does not include a study guide or discussion questions, so small groups would probably want to use the separate study guide instead.

This is one book that I read quickly because it drew me in, but it really deserves a slower re-read to let her points sink in.  I loved that even after reading or hearing lots of lessons on David’s life, I learned some fresh insights. Ultimately, the message Sheila drives home is that of grace:  “He rescued us because He delights in us, not because we got it right and not because we got it wrong.  SImply because He delights in us and invites us to delight in Him.”

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Book Review | 5 Minutes with Jesus

5 Minutes with Jesus: Peace for Today 
by Sheila Walsh

Peace for Today is the second book in the 5 Minutes with Jesus series, written by bestselling author, Sheila Walsh.  I have loved both of the books in the series so much, I’ve begun giving them as gifts to friends. They are encouraging and perfect for busy women on the go.  The books themselves are also absolutely beautiful.  The size, feel, color and style of the binding and cover are definitely worthy of a gift!!peace for today

I started reading the first book on January 1st of this year and I loved it, so I was excited to read Sheila’s second book in the same format.  The devotions are quick and easy to read, definitely the “5 minutes” the book promises! The stories are funny, heartfelt, tender, and interesting, ranging from personal anecdotes to Biblical accounts to historical events.  She ties each story to a lesson for the day and then concludes with several Scriptures for you to read that go with the theme.

These little devotionals could be the first thing you read each day, the quick time with Jesus you need during your lunch break or while waiting in a carpool line to pick up your kids, or the last thing you read each night before you go to sleep.  There are lessons here for new Christians, women struggling in a difficult season, or seasoned believers who are looking to be refreshed.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Don’t Leave Me

She doesn’t want to be left behind.

My older daughters and I have rehearsals almost every night now for their upcoming big performance in a community theater show.

My youngest little one, though, could stay at home with Daddy, playing games, watching her favorite cartoons, reading books, and being tickled.  She could even snuggle into bed on time, a definite plus in my book.

She, however, is ever-watchful of signs that her sisters and I would leave without her.  Because I’m slightly neurotic, I start slowly packing bags and laying out clothes hours before we need to leave.

She sees me put their shoes by the door and shouts, “I wanna come wif you” and frantically hunts for her own sandals.

I assure her that our departure is still hours away.  But then she sees me pack the bag for the night and declares again, “I wanna come wif you!”  Then she clambers into my arms, snuggles down into my chest and whimpers, “Don’t leave me, Mommy.”

No way am I shutting the door on her now.  She’s absolutely coming with us.

We have a way, don’t we, of pleading with God just like that?  “Don’t leave me.  Don’t abandon me here.  Don’t forsake me.”

We needn’t worry.  He is, after all, Emmanuel, God With Us.  His desire for relationship with us motivated His journey to a Bethlehem stable and His trek to the cross.  Our God will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Instead, we are the ones who leave.  We wander, we run away, we linger too long after He’s called us to move on.

We’re the one wayward sheep leaving the fold or the prodigal sprinting from home with a wad full of blessing.

Yet, not only does God neither leave us nor forsake us, Scripture tells us that Our Shepherd will “leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off” (Matthew 18:12).

So for those of you who are lost and afraid, far from the Shepherd, alone and missing the companionship of your flock, know that God is actively searching for you and will carry you home on His shoulders.

For the prodigals who eventually landed in a life of pig-slop and shame, know that your Heavenly Father is running toward you with joy when you choose to return.

Maybe you’re like me, though, who shamefacedly admits that parables of lost sheep and prodigals are sometimes more mysterious than comforting.

I’ve always pictured the 99 obedient sheep left behind so the Shepherd can traipse across the countryside hunting down the one disobedient sheep and I’ve thought, “that’s not fair.”  After all, He will “leave the ninety-nine on the hills” so He can look for the lost sheep.  Now we’re the ones left behind, missing out on the Shepherd’s affection and guidance.

And I’m more the grumpy brother than the prodigal, frustrated that while I’ve been responsibly laboring in the fields my brother’s been squandering on pleasure and extravagance.  That’s just not fair.

And I’m right. It’s not “fair,” of course, but that’s the beautiful thing about it.  The Gospel isn’t meant to be fair in the sense that we get what we deserve.

For all of us, prodigals and older brothers, runaway sheep and obedient followers, our story is that God heaped grace on us that we could never merit or earn.

In her book, God Loves Broken People: And Those Who Pretend They’re Not, Sheila Walsh reminds us that our God is an ever-present, omniscient shepherd, not one with earthly limitations on time and space.  While He’s passionately pursuing the runaway, He’s also actively caring for the 99 who still need his guidance and protection.

That’s our God, the Shepherd who cares attentively for all of us.

And maybe Tim Keller is right when he says that the story of the prodigal son isn’t really targeted at “‘wayward sinners’ but religious people who do everything the Bible requires.”

It’s the reminder that even when we don’t feel like we’ve run away, we can still be steeped in bad attitudes, misplaced motivations, judgment, and religious pride.  We’re so convinced of our own “merit,” we’ve forgotten how extravagant God’s grace is for us—and how others have need of such grace.

After all, if we truly remembered that, we’d be helping to hang the streamers for the prodigal’s Welcome Home party.  And we’d be overjoyed to see the wayward sheep carried home again.  That’s because at some point, God has pursued, carried and rejoiced over all of us.

That’s His passion and heart—to be with all of us without fail or interruption.  If that’s our God’s heart, it should be what pushes blood through our veins, as well: the desire that every seeker is found, every wanderer recovered, and every child brought home.

Caedmon’s Call sang these lyrics in Long Line of Leavers.  They are on my mind today.

I come from a long line of leavers
Out of the garden gate with an apple in their hands
I expect and I believe
You’re gonna run out of love
You’re gonna give me the shove
‘Cause that’s the thing that lovers do
Then there’s you

You’re the only one
Who knows my secrets
You’re the only one
Still you’re the only one
Who never leaves
And I wake up to this mystery

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 © 2012 Heather King

Watcha Reading?

It’s time for all things New Years: resolutions and diet plans and Spiritual re-commitments.  I’m wondering–what are you reading in the new year?  Are you following a Bible reading plan?  A devotional?  Picking up a study or tackling a good book?

Here’s what’s on my kitchen table right now as I plunge into the start of my 2012 reading year.  What’s on your reading list?

The Bible:
The Daily Message
In his introduction to this one-year Bible reading program, Eugene Peterson writes, “Reading is the first thing, just reading the Bible.”  Few things thrill me more than jumping into another year of reading God’s Word and I’ve already crinkled the first few pages and written my thoughts in the margins for today’s reading.

Scripture Memory:
100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart by Robert J. Morgan
I’m excited to read Morgan’s book because it encourages Scripture Memory not just by listing off the verses Christians should know, but explaining a little bit about them and why they matter.  He’s categorized them also, making this Scripture Memory program thematic.

The Study:
James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore
I started this study just a few weeks ago and it’s a dig deep kind of book.  I love it.  James didn’t mince words or pull punches when he wrote his epistle in the Bible, so this is a study that challenges at every turn.  But, James also wrote, that God “gives more grace” (James 4:6) and “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).  That’s reason enough to step up to the challenge of serious Bible study in 2012.

The Devotionals:
Your 100 Day Prayer by John I. Snyder
I had the chance to review this devotional and prayer guide this past year and decided I’d read through it more carefully and deliberately in 2012.  It’s a commitment to 100 days of focused prayer on a specific prayer need along with a great devotional for each day.  (You can read my full review here.)

A Year with Jesus by Eugene Peterson
This is a daily devotional I started partway through 2011, so I’m still reading through as I begin 2012.  I love it.  Really, really love it.  It’s a handful of verses in either the gospel of Matthew or John, a few sentences with thoughts from Eugene Peterson and then a brief prayer.  I thought it was too short to say anything valuable.  Boy, was I wrong!  Some of the deepest and most Revelation moments I’ve had with God this year have emerged from a page’s worth of reading in this book before I go to sleep each night.

The Book:

The Shelter of God’s Promises by Sheila Walsh

Sheila Walsh writes, “God not only keeps His promises but He longs to keep us in them.”  Studying the promises of God seems like a great way to begin the new year, knowing that He will be true to His Word and faithful to do all that He has said.

It’s a reading list I’m so excited about for the new year!  I hope you’ve found a way to read the Bible, study it and pray through it in 2012 also!

Packing Up the Tent, Part I

Tents and forts.  What mom doesn’t love these?

Yeah.  That’d be me. The mess and disorder of it all.  The amount of space they take up!  The fights that occur when little people occupy too small a space. The clean up afterwards.

Whenever my girls pop up the tent, they seem to think every book and toy they own must join them inside.  Then, they drag all of the blankets and pillows off their beds and stuff those in also.

So when it comes time to clean up, it’s not just disassembling the “east to assemble” toy tent that actually requires an engineering degree and an Einstein intellect.  Oh no, it’s re-ordering my entire house.  Replacing bedding, re-shelving books, re-sorting toys.

But my girls have a renewed interest in tents and forts this month.  That’s because my oldest daughter spotted a pink teepee set at our church’s Awana store and plopped down the money she had earned saying verses so she could tote that tent right on home.

Nevermind that it didn’t come with instructions.  Seriously.

Nevermind that Momma starts hyperventilating at anything resembling a tent.

After extreme stretching of the intellect and me audibly huffing out huge sighs to remind her of what a self-sacrificing mom she has, we finally popped the last piece of the teepee into place.  She took up residence as if it were a palace.

So, this Mom has tents on the brain.

The apostle Peter did, too.  When he wrote the letter that would become the book of 2 Peter, he was nearing his death.

He wrote to his fellow Christians:

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.  I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body,  because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.  And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things” (2 Peter 1:12-15).

A tent.  That’s all Peter’s body was to him.  A temporary residence he would soon abandon for a permanent abode in heaven.

Knowing that he was about to pack in the earthly tent, he decided to focus his teaching on a few lessons that he wanted people to remember after he was gone.  After he was gone, he wanted his fellow Christians to “always be able to remember these things.”

Sometimes we need that kind of focus.  Sure, we give our kids a million pieces of glorious advice every day:

Brush your teeth.
Yes, you need to take a bath.
Eat your sandwich before your Doritos.
Say, “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am.”
Chew with your mouth closed.
Choose good friends.
Do your homework.
Don’t beat your sister over the head with a naked Barbie doll.

You get the idea.

But what matters?  When we toss aside this tent, what will they really remember?

And for those of you without children, what about your friends, your students, your co-workers, your family, your church.  What’s the lasting message they will take away from your tent?

Tabitha (also known as Dorcas) had the rare opportunity to discover her post-tent legacy.  She was a disciple of Jesus who lived in Joppa and Scripture tells us that “she was always doing good and helping the poor.”  But she grew ill and died.

The people in the town sent word to Peter to hurry on over to Joppa.  When he arrived and walked into the upper room where Tabitha’s body had been prepped for burial, “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).

They held up the outfits Tabitha had sewn for them.  They laid out the sashes that she’d stitched and the robes she’d crafted and they said to Peter, “You’ve got to bring her back!”

At Women of Faith, my friend and I had a special opportunity to sit in a small room with Sheila Walsh, one of the speakers, and she shared from this passage of Scripture.  She challenged us to live in such a way that our presence makes a difference.

When we pack in our tents, will people lay out physical reminders of the impact we made in their lives?  Will they point to tangible evidence of our kindness?

Will they, as the apostle Peter desired, be able to tell simply and clearly what life message we shared with them?

I don’t mean, “She was a nice person.  She was friendly.”

I mean, “When you saw her, you saw Jesus at work.  You couldn’t know her without getting to know Him.”

That’s what Tabitha’s life and death meant to others.  In life, her acts of kindness to widows gave them enough faith to call for Peter to raise her from the dead after her illness.

And after her death, Peter—sent for by those Tabitha had helped—-called for her to come back and “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).

In life, in death, Tabitha brought people to Jesus.

In life, in death, Peter encouraged the believers to follow Christ.

In this tent and out of it, how are you impacting others?

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