Why I hope you don’t see me

1 John 1

Years ago, I read about a man who had one daily habit he still maintained after decades and decades upon decades of marriage.

Every morning, he woke up before his wife and everyone else in the house.  He took a shower.  He shaved.  He brushed his teeth.  He combed his hair.  He dressed.

He wasn’t trying to give his wife more time in the bathroom either.

He said he always wanted his bride to see the best of him—the washed, brushed, shaved and dressed side of him.

I remember thinking the sentiment was sweet.  Every so often, I feel a bit guilty when less-than-the-best-of-me is rushing around the house getting everyone ready for school in the morning.  Maybe the guy had it right.  Maybe I should do the same.

But I don’t.  I’ll be honest.

The truth of my life is that my kids are my alarm clock and they seem to wake me up early enough already.

My son is the first sound I hear right across the house— “Mom!!!”

And, he doesn’t seem to mind the sight of me as I pad into his room in bare feet and lift him out of bed, carry him to the sofa and snuggle down with him for a few minutes of quiet before everyone else awakes.

He never complains about my bed head or my morning breath or my yoga pants and t-shirt.

He seems pretty content simply to enjoy my presence.

And in those moments of quiet as we wait for the rest of the house to cease their slumber, I quietly pray and consider the day (and try to actually wake up).

Maybe those few minutes of heart-grooming are what I need anyway.

Because facing my husband, my kids, the blur of the morning activity with my mind set on Christ feels like it reaches down into deeper parts of my soul than any session with make-up and a hair dryer anyway.

And surely what I want for them to find in the morning is a wife and a mom reflecting Jesus, even before I’ve had caffeine and a few minutes in front of the mirror.

Not that I’m begrudging some hygiene and grooming, of course.  No need to forego personal care indefinitely!

But I’ve been thinking lately about what it would look like for me to be a tabernacle for the Spirit of God, a place where His glory dwells, just a building really, an outer frame where Christ lives within.

And, after all, that’s what we’re supposed to be.

John 1:1 tells us:

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (HCSB).

He took up residence here.  The root of this phrase is “He tabernacled among us.”

This is Christ dwelling among men, housing the very nature of God within the confines and restrictions of human flesh.

And now— His spirit dwells within us, and He should still be visible, not hidden away—not by our skeletal frames, not by the skin, not by the makeup, not by the outfits, not by the coordinated shoes and handbags.

Whether we’re still in our pajamas or we’re dressed to the nines, people should see God’s glory all over us.

Because, that’s what happens when God’s Spirit dwelt in the Tabernacle out in the wilderness with Israel.

34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  (Exodus 40:34-35 ESV).

The cloud of God’s glory settled on that mobile sanctuary and you couldn’t see the building itself for the glory surrounding it.   It was completely covered by the cloud of His presence.

All you could see was Him.

And, that’s what I want.

Yes, in the morning.

Yes, when I’m stressed.

Yes, when I’m annoyed.

Yes, when I’m hurt.

Yes, when I’m rejoicing.

Yes, when I’m failing.

Yes, when I’m weeping.

Yes, when I’m serving

ALL the time yes—may God’s glory settle on my life with such a cloud of His presence that people can’t see me through the thickness of it.

They can only see Him.

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

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

Stopping at the Krispy Kreme

I didn’t even know exactly what to look for.  We were driving back to the hotel after a morning at the beach on vacation and my husband said, “It looks like their sign is on.”KrispyKreme1

Sign? What sign? I leaned forward in the minivan passenger seat to see what this apparently well-known phenomenon looks like.  The sign looked dim like normal to me, but he pointed to the circle underneath the words Krispy Kreme and I saw it: the red letters announcing newly baked treats.

He swung into the parking lot and three wet and sandy daughters piled out of the back of the minivan totally confused by our impromptu stop at the doughnut shop.

This was not part of the plan, not on the vacation agenda, not on the list of expected activities we reviewed that morning at breakfast.

They balked a little.  They are tired, wet, sandy, and cold.  Can they just go back to the hotel?  Pleeeeeaaaaaase.

We assured them…you will like this.  This will make you happy.  Just trust us.  We are your parents, full of the wisdom and insight that comes with age.

A few minutes later, they emerged wearing paper hats and carrying the box of hot doughnuts: fresh, deliciously soft and gooey, hot doughnuts.

Photo by Serge Bertasius; 123RF.com

Photo by Serge Bertasius; 123RF.com

We devoured them.

I’d heard all the hype and hadn’t believed it.  How could hot doughnuts be that much better than the plain old ones I bought in a box from the grocery store?

But oh my, they just melted away in my mouth.  Normally, one doughnut would be enough, but these evaporated when they hit your tongue.

I assured myself that calories don’t count when you’re on vacation.

But there it is in my soul, as I’m chomping down on hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts of all things, the realization that it wasn’t the ingredients that were different or the baking method that made them my new favorite treat.  Those doughnuts in the boxes at the grocery store were baked the same way by the same company with the same recipe.

What made the difference was freshness.  There was not one second of staleness as they moved from the oven right onto our tongues.

And I long for this now.  I think how too often I let my time with God grow stale.  I come a little too complacent to His Word, a little too rushed, a little tooKrispyKreme2 distracted.

I’m too apt to treat my time with Him as what a good Christian girl does because that’s what good Christian girls do.  We have our quiet times.  We read the Bible through every year.  We check the box and maintain righteousness and right standing.

As an elementary school girl, I used to feel flat-out guilty and sin-stained if I hadn’t read a whole chapter in the Bible before going to sleep at night.  A few verses wouldn’t do.  I was clearly selfish and in need of repenting for not hitting some magic holy quota.

I think of my hot, fresh doughnuts and I think of the fresh-baked bread the priests laid out in the Old Testament Tabernacle once a week.

God told them:

Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times (Exodus 25:30 NIV).

They didn’t archive that bread and let it sit and grow moldy there before the Lord.  They replaced it week after faithful week.

It needed to be fresh.  It needed to be new.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him (Psalm 34:8 NIV).

That’s what the Psalmist assures me, that when I taste, I will discover the Lord’s goodness.

So, if I’m biting into what’s stale and moldy, crusted over and hard, then I’m missing out; I’m missing Him.

Help me, Lord, to stop being satisfied with yesterday’s bread and start craving the freshness of Your presence.

May I come into Your presence expectant instead of coming into Your presence complacent.

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 When 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

 

Mom, This is Embarrassing

It was my oldest daughter’s first big school project and she was nervous about it.

After reading a book about a character named Flat Stanley, she had to color a picture of him, cut him out, take him all around town on some adventures and then write about all the things that Flat Stanley did.

“Mom,” she whined, “I don’t want everyone to see me playing with a paper doll!”

“What paper doll?  This isn’t a doll.  It’s Flat Stanley!  He’s a prop, maybe a puppet, perhaps your best friend. C’mon; it’ll be fun!”

I wasn’t persuasive enough for her.

So, we started out by posing in front of the statue in the center of our town square.  We waited until all the other sight-seers passed by and then whipped out Flat Stanley for a picture.  My daughter scanned the area to make sure nothing embarrassing happened.

He shared a picnic lunch with us, sat in the town supervisor’s chair, and then toured the  museum.  By this time, my daughter had overcome the embarrassment and discovered the crazy fun of the day.At our local park, he see-sawed, climbed, investigated a hollowed-out tree and swung on the rings.  Flat Stanley even completed the exercise trail!Tired from all of his adventures, Flat Stanley finished off the day with some frozen yogurt.The next day, we made sure Flat Stanley came to church, where he danced on the piano keys, of course!

As we toted this little guy around town, it was a clear reminder to me that God is our Emmanuel; He is God With Us.

This is our great assurance and comfort, so we can stop being all embarrassed about it.  No more whipping out God when only other Christians are around and posing for the necessary spiritual photos.  Like Paul, we can proclaim, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).

Why be embarrassed when we have such a promise and hope?  This was God’s design from the beginning–to be with His people in everything they faced.  He shared perfect fellowship and communion with Adam and Eve as they strolled in a paradise garden together and chatted about their day.

Even when sin sundered their relationship, God designed ways to be with His people.  He gave instructions to Moses for the tabernacle, which was a portable worship center.  Everywhere the people traveled, they could worship and sacrifice to God.

God’s design for the tabernacle was specific.  He gave every detail of dimension and material.  It’s not because He’s a micromanager of a deity or because He’s dull and boring and liable to put people to sleep when you spend time with Him.

It’s for this one incredible and amazing reason—the tabernacle God designed for the earth is a reminder of what’s to come in heaven.  In Hebrews we read: “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain'” (Hebrews 8:5).

Here’s the point.  The Tabernacle was God’s idea.  He created a way to be with His people wherever they went.

The temple, the set in stone, unmoveable center of worship in Jerusalem wasn’t God’s initial idea.  It was King David’s.

David wanted to make a permanent dwelling place for God on earth.  Even Nathan the prophet thought this sounded like a great idea and gave God’s blessing on the building project.

But God had something to say about this.  That night, He told Nathan the prophet, “I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another” (1 Chronicles 17:5).

Ultimately, after David’s adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah (her husband), God prohibited David from building the temple at all, allowing his son, Solomon, to construct it instead.

But, all along God had another plan.  He sent Jesus—-God in human flesh.  He sent the Holy Spirit—the indwelling presence of God in our lives everyday and everywhere we go.

We don’t have to wait until heaven to feel His presence.

We don’t have to trek across the world on a spiritual pilgrimage to find the only place where God lives.

We don’t live with segregated lives for the times and places we meet with the God and the times and places we leave Him home.

We don’t face anything in this life alone.  Not one single trial.  Not one hurt.  Not any temptation or sadness.  No fear.

It is God’s presence in our lives at all times and in all places that brings us joy, hope, comfort and courage. As God said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

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