Susan Jane King

Thriving with Jesus in life's ongoing challenges

Renovating Our Minds

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My kitchen is undergoing a renovation right now. The sound of hammers and drills, and the sights of ladders and tarps are dominating the landscape of this central room for family activity. It’s good. When old systems break down and wear out, it’s time to replace them. The Bible says so.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV). That word renewing actually means “renovation”—in other words, out with the old and in with the new.

We are all made new in Christ: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV).  We’re different people once we’ve come to know Jesus. Our hearts are cleansed of sin, and we are called to represent Him to the world (2 Corinthians 5:20). The Holy Spirit works on our hearts to make us more like Jesus. His goal is that we would not be conformed to (take on the shape of) the world, but rather that we would be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), so others would see Him through us and be drawn to Him.

We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in that process. We can cooperate, knowing His movement in our lives is a sign of the great love God has for us and others.

Here’s how to undergo spiritual renovation of our minds:

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Out with the Old

We had to pull all our kitchen drawers out during our renovation. I was amazed at all the “junk” in them that was old, irrelevant, and no longer useful. In the same way, worldly ideals, thoughts, motivations, and values have no place in the life of a believer. We are told we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) once we come to know Jesus, so old, worldly values have no place in our thought life.

The Holy Spirit helps us to recognize old thought patterns that don’t align with the way Jesus thinks. When He points out this “junk” to us, then it’s time to toss it. We let the Spirit lead us in this process, and when we do, a major renovation takes place in our minds.

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6, NIV).

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In with the New

We threw away a lot of old, broken stuff during our kitchen renovation. Now, we are replacing those items with new, stronger, more useful items. For example, our oven would overcook part of our food and undercook the other part. On our cooktop, one of our burners would alternate between overheating, not heating at all, and staying hot once we turned it off. Old stuff can be dangerous. New appliances and countertops are replacing the old, broken ones in our kitchen. Soon, tile will cover the purple sheetrock on the walls.

In our thought lives, we need to replace the old, “stinking thinking” with the truths found in God’s Word. Jesus tells us that His Word is “full of the Spirit and of life” (John 6:63, NIV), that “it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV), and it “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

We must intentionally dig into God’s Word and meditate on it so it sinks into our minds and stays there. We can let it drive our lives instead of faulty thinking. We can choose to believe and act on it, and eventually, the old has gone and the new has come!

In a few weeks, all of our renovation efforts will result in a beautiful, more functional kitchen, where we can again gather as a family and be blessed by the renewal. In the same way, we and others will be blessed as we renovate our minds.

Question: What old thought patterns do you need to toss out? What new truths from God’s Word should replace them? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

Susan Jane King

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Connecting the Generations

church family

Almost every week at Sunday church, I receive the blessing of watching the little girl in this picture climb on top of the pew and wrap her arms around her mother and father. I look forward to that scene, and it always makes me smile. It demonstrates the interconnectivity of generations in a family.

As I have been reading my Bible this week, I have been struck by the influence one generation has on another. While in 2 Chronicles, I found story after story of kings who made good and bad choices, and how those choices impacted their family and their society. Our influence matters, and it impacts the generations to come.

What we do

The Lord gives us guidelines for living in His Word that are meant to bless us and those around us. He tells us His instructions are for our own good (Deuteronomy 10:13), so that it might go well for us (Jeremiah 7:23). When we choose to go another way, we step outside of a system established by God to bless and protect us and those we love . . . and we put everyone in harm’s way.

That’s why the Lord warned that the sins of the father affect the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 34:7). Sin gives birth to ugly consequences, something the Bible refers to as “death” (James 1:15). On the other hand, choosing to live God’s way ushers in abundant life, joy, and peace. The Lord’s lovingkindness displays itself in the blessings of an obedient life, and He keeps His lovingkindness for thousands of generations (Exodus 34:7).

In the Bible, the story of Amnon raping his sister Tamar has always horrified me. Yet I wondered recently if perhaps Amnon thought he could take his sister because his father King David took the wife of another man and slept with her. The prophet Nathan warned King David of the many consequences of his sin, all of which came to pass. Sin always has consequences.

So does obedience. Jesus was tempted in every way that we are; yet, He was without sin. His examples of godly living fill the gospels, and His choice to obey the Father resulted in blessings for all generations to come. He will help us when we are tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13). If we fall and repent, He will lovingly forgive us (1 John 1:9), but the consequences remain.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:7-10, NIV).

What we say

Deuteronomy 6:6-7, NASB, stresses the importance of our words: “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

These verses stress the importance of sharing with new generations what God has to say. The words paint a picture of applying God’s Word to everyday situations, sharing the Lord’s Word with younger ones as they face life’s trials and triumphs. God’s Word is a treasured inheritance we must pass along to the next generation. It contains specific instructions for specific situations, and it allows us to know the Lord in deeper, more intimate ways, so we can remember to rely on Him throughout life.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21, NASB). When we speak God’s Word to younger ones, we are offering them a more abundant life. When we utter worldly values and principles, we are holding out darkness and depravity.

We can tell the younger generations what the Lord has done in our lives: “I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; to all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth” (Psalm 89:1, NASB).

Children also learn by watching us do what we say (or not). That’s why it also says in the Bible regarding God’s instructions, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand [in what you do] and they shall be as frontals on your forehead [in how you think]. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house [how you conduct yourself in your home] and on your gates [how you conduct yourself at work] (Deuteronomy 6:8-9).

Whose we are

The next generation needs to know Whose we are. Our words and actions display that for all to see. When we cultivate our relationship with the Lord and speak and do according to what He tells us, then the younger ones around us learn Whom we serve. Our choices influence generations to come.

The Lord tells parents that they should teach their children His ways, “That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments” (Psalm 78:6-7, NASB).

I know the parents of that little girl in church. They love the Lord and want to honor Him with their lives. I am certain that just as their daughter chooses to embrace them each week in church, she also is being given the opportunity to embrace the God of her parents and His ways. That’s the beauty found in connecting the generations.

Question: How has the Lord used prior generations to connect you to Him? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

Susan Jane King

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Triumphing in the Long Trial

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Patrick and I

Stephanie Seneff, a lead researcher at MIT, recently predicted that HALF the children in the United States will be autistic by the year 2025. When I heard that shocking prediction, I thought of the many families that are and will be affected by that challenging disability.

My family has been living with my son’s autism for 21years. During that time, the Lord has taught us that the way to triumph in our trials, especially the long ones, is to focus on three things:

The Presence of God

Whatever we face, the Lord is always with us. He promises to never leave or forsake us, and He tells us He is always there to help us (Hebrews 13:5). In fact, our difficulties and trials grant us the opportunity to experience greater aspects of Him—His character, nature, and ways. We can go deeper with Him than ever before. Whatever He allows in our lives, He intends to use for good—for our good, the good of others, and the good of His kingdom purposes (Romans 8:28).

Over the years, as we dealt with Patrick’s autism, I sought the Lord. I cried out to Him for help. I asked Him to lead me, teach me, mature me, and draw me closer to Him. I learned intimate and power truths about Him that were forged in the furnace of adversity. I had to choose to trust Him during every drought and storm, but through the process, my roots went down deep into the soil of His love.

In the midst of the long trial, the Lord says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, NASB). He promises, “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” (John 14:23, NASB).

The Provision of God

When the Lord allows a long trial in our lives, He provides what we need to gain the victory in it and the blessings from it. He promises to meet all our needs (Psalm 23:1; Philippians 4:19). His goodness and lovingkindness (covenant love) remain with us all the days of our lives (Psalm 23:6).

Looking back, I can see the Lord’s loving hand at work, directing help, support, and resources into our lives. Therapists, teachers, caregivers, friends, and family members helped me and my family to persevere in dealing with the constant challenges of autism. I am grateful He opened my eyes to see His involvement in my life. Most of all, the Lord provided Himself and the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and comfort me and my family along the way. In the end, we were more than conquerors through Christ who loved us (Romans 8:37).

The Power of God

God is mighty and powerful, and He can do whatever He desires in heaven and on earth (Daniel 4: 35). In fact, He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” [His power] (Ephesians 3:20, NASB).

My son Patrick was diagnosed as autistic and mentally retarded. Doctors said he might not ever speak. He could not tie his shoes until he was 13 years old.  But the Lord had the final say. Patrick received academic and athletic scholarships to college. He is a junior in college with a 3.89 grade point average. Even more, the Lord enabled him to speak . . . and sing. He and I have been given the blessing of telling others what the Lord has done.

The Lord shows up and works in our long trials—if we let Him, “so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NASB).

The Lord is doing something in your long trial. Will you allow Him to show you His presence, provision, and power in it?

Question: How is the Lord revealing His presence, provision, or power to you? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

Susan Jane King

For more information about the MIT predictions regarding autism, visit: http://althealthworks.com/2494/mit-researchers-new-warning-at-todays-rate-1-in-2-children-will-be-autistic-by-2025/

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Receiving God’s Best

Henry1 Henry2

Do you think a dog would prefer the nub of a used bone, or an enormous, flavor-filled new bone? I watched in amazement this past week as two family dogs bartered, begged, and stole the nub of a bone between them. Several times, I attempted to distract the nub-less dog with an enormous bone that was given at Christmas. I had no takers.

I realized a great spiritual truth in watching the nub obsession. The Lord desires to bless us abundantly, and He is able to do so. However, too many times, we ignore Him and latch on to something so much smaller, convinced that it is better than what He offers. I know. I’ve done it.

How can we cooperate with the Lord in receiving His best for us?

Trust Him

Jesus mourned over Jerusalem, saying, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matthew 23:37, NASB).

We have to believe the Lord desires the best for us, that He wants to bless, care for, and protect us, the way a mother hen shelters her babies under her wings. We have to choose to trust Him. That’s faith. We must decide to believe Him and then receive His best.

Esau was given that choice . . . and he grabbed the nub. Coming in hungry one day, he found his brother Jacob preparing stew. He was “famished,” so he told Jacob to give him “a swallow of that red stuff there.” Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” We are told “Esau despised his birthright,” so he sold it for a single meal (Genesis 25:30-35; Hebrews 12:16, NASB).

As the firstborn, Esau received a special birthright that entitled him to unique privileges and blessings. All he had to do was embrace and live in light of what he already had; instead, he chose to give it away. As children of God, we have a birthright as well, being born into God’s family by believing and receiving what Jesus has done for us (John 1:12). We must be careful that we don’t act like Esau, despising our birthright and grabbing something temporary of this world. We must choose each day to believe in and embrace the eternal blessings of walking with the Lord.

Obey Him

We also receive God’s best when we do what He says, when we obey Him. He tells us in Deuteronomy 10:13 that all His commandments and instructions are for our own good. He tells us, “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you” (Jeremiah 7:23, NASB).

Like any loving parent, God provides commands and instructions in order to bless and protect us. We are blessed when we seek to know what He says (by reading His Word) and then choose to do it, to live by it. We are not to be forgetful hearers but effectual doers of the Word; the Bible tells us that when each of us does that, then “this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25, NASB).

We miss out when we “settle” by choosing to go our own way instead of following God’s instructions. We get the nub instead of the gigantic bone. King David learned that truth. When he sinned and committed adultery with Bathsheba, the Lord told him, “I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed?” (2 Samuel 12:7-9, NLT).

David traded the “much, much more” of God’s abundant blessings for some temporary pleasure that yielded a world of painful consequences . . . for himself, his family, his community, and his nation. Worst of all, David was told, “by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14, NASB). David’s actions caused others to say ugly things not only about David but also about David’s God. What a tragedy. Our actions speak about who we are and Whose we are. That’s why obedience is so important.

Anticipate Blessings

When we choose to believe and obey God, we can anticipate blessings. We can expect the “much, much more” that always comes with the Lord. We can and must look ahead to the abundant life Jesus died to give us (John 10:10).

We see this in Lamentations 3:21, NASB: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.”

The writer is looking for, anticipating, and expecting good things from God, because he knows God is good. We must cultivate the same anticipation of God’s blessings.

Today, I found my daughter Sarah’s dog Henry chewing on the nub. I decided to do a little test. I brought out the gigantic bone. Henry dropped the nub and leaped about 5 feet in the air toward the huge bone. Minutes later, he was chomping on the abundant delights of the mega bone.

May we choose to do the same!

Question: How have you experienced God’s abundant blessings after believing and obeying Him? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

Susan Jane King

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