Susan Jane King

Thriving with Jesus in life's ongoing challenges

Acknowledging and Enjoying God’s Presence

Henry toy

Henry with one of his toys

I was cleaning out some drawers in the bathroom this week, and then I saw it—Henry’s ball neatly deposited right in the middle of the trash can I was using. I smiled. My daughter’s beloved dog has a way of positioning his toys in the midst of whatever we are doing. I have found his toys in the dishwasher, on top of my crawling grandson, and at my feet when I’m sweeping the floor. Henry sneaks up and quickly drops his cherished toy into whatever has my attention at the time. He’s hoping I’ll recognize his presence and start interacting with him (usually through a rambunctious game of fetch). He engages with the entire family this way.

So does the Lord. Not so much with a toy, but with His presence. He’s with us always (Matthew 28:20), and He gives us opportunities every day to recognize and enjoy His nearness to us. When we take the time to acknowledge Him and His activity around us, we experience the joy of intimacy with Him. When we communicate and fellowship with Him, we find true delight.

The Lord gives us several ways to engage with Him in the midst of our daily activities:

His Word

The Bible tells us about the Lord and His promises toward us. We know Him better as we read His love letter to us and think about what He says. God breathes life, truth, and awareness of Him into His Word (2 Timothy 3:16).We can better connect with and enjoy Him through His Word. We can make His Word a part of our daily living.

Prayer

When we talk to God and listen to what He says, our connection with Him grows. That’s prayer. We can set aside specific times to intentionally connect with Him, and we can simply talk with and listen for Him as we go about our daily activities. That’s how we can pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Thankfulness

We also are instructed to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As we walk through each day, we can intentionally look for God’s presence and activity around us—in the smile of a loved one, in a beautiful sunset, in a much-needed rain, in the comfort of a friend. And we can thank the Lord for being present to us in those things.

His Church

The church is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). We have the opportunity to experience different aspects of the Lord through His people. We can encounter His love, grace, compassion, wisdom, faithfulness, and so much more as we engage with His people.

When it comes to Henry, we don’t have to look far to find him. He’s always nearby, eager for some interaction. How much more so is the Lord ever present—and eager to welcome us with open arms as we choose to connect with Him.

Question: What are some ways you have found to acknowledge and enjoy God’s presence? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

Susan Jane King

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Goodbye Perfectionism. Hello Joy!

joy

I sometimes struggle with perfectionism, and those feelings often try to block me from doing something, telling me I’m not good enough, inadequate, and unable. If I let those feelings stay around long enough, a heavy weight of responsibility replaces the joy in my life. The Lord showed me something wonderful this past week, and I hope it helps you as much as it helped me: Just walk with Him, and let Him be God!

God is good.

Jesus Himself emphasized, “No one is good except God alone” (Luke 18:19, NASB). When God calls us to join Him in something He is doing, we can rely on His goodness to see us through. He is good. He is faithful. The Lord tells us in Lamentations 3:21-26 that we can confidently rely on His goodness, lovingkindness, compassion, faithfulness, and powerful presence in whatever situation we find ourselves (Lamentations 3:21-26). We don’t have to concern ourselves with being good enough. God is good, and when He is with us in something, He is faithful to see us through.

God is adequate.

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5, NASB). The Lord empowers us to do His will and His work so that He gets the credit, not us (2 Corinthians 12:8). Our lives are meant to bring glory to Him, that others might know Him too (Matthew 5:16). We can know without a doubt that He who called us is faithful, and He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

God is able.

On our own, we are weak and unable, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). In fact, He is “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power [His power] that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20, NASB). He can do whatever He desires because He is God. We are meant to acknowledge our weakness and live in dependence on God, “so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NASB).

When I turn away from my fears and perfectionistic tendencies, and look at the goodness, adequacy, and abilities of God, I’m overwhelmed . . . and overjoyed. I’ve realized the Lord wants to give us the joyful delight of joining Him in whatever He is doing . . . and the joy comes when we look to Him, release our lives to Him, and simply enjoy the journey, because we are walking it with Him. He wants to give us the blessing of being with Him and enjoying His presence.

When the enemy comes at you in the future trying to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) this beautiful opportunity to walk with the Lord and look at Him, remind yourself to fix your eyes on Jesus instead (Hebrews 12:2). He is good. He is adequate. He is able. He promises that when we abide in Him, in His Word, and in His love, His joy will be in us and our joy will be made full (John 15:4,7,9, and 11).

Question: In what area of your life do you need to say goodbye to perfectionism and hello to joy? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

Susan Jane King

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Cutting Our Teeth

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My grandson Landon with his parents, my son-in-law Curt and daughter Katie

My grandson Landon is cutting his first teeth. Two little white pearls are emerging through his bottom gums. While the rest of us are excited about this new development, our little man now sometimes trades his winning smile for a little furrow between his eyebrows and uncharacteristic fussiness. It hurts. Even though cutting teeth will open up a whole new world of experiences for him and will benefit him tremendously in the long run, right now it’s painful.

The same can be said for our spiritual lives. The Lord says He is constantly working in our lives to make us more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). He works in our lives to grow character traits that manifest Jesus to a world that needs Him (Colossians 1:27) so that others might be drawn to Him (Matthew 5:16). But it hurts. Saying no to comfortable bad habits and desires of the flesh isn’t easy. How do we do it?

Relying on the power of God

First of all, we cannot overcome and grow to become more like Jesus by ourselves. We are told we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). His power is meant to come into our weak places and move (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). His power is surpassingly great toward those who believe (Ephesians 1:19). The first step in “cutting our teeth” is relying on the Lord’s power instead of our own.

Obeying the voice of God

If we are truly serious about growing up into the image of Jesus, then we have to cooperate in that process and do what our loving Lord tells us to do. He knows our hearts better than we do (Jeremiah 17:9-10), and He tells us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8, NASB).

Of course, we have to open our hearts to hear from Him and place ourselves in a position to listen with the intention of doing whatever He says.  We can hear His voice in the Bible, as we pray, as we look and listen for Him throughout our daily circumstances, and in the gathering with other believers at church. We can better hear from Him when we place ourselves in a position to listen.

Rejoicing in the presence of God

Children often take on the attributes of their parents. It comes from spending time with them. The Lord tells us He is always with us (Matthew 28:20) and that He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Unfortunately, we sometimes lose our awareness of His presence because of the world around us. We need to seek Him above the clamor of the world. We can do that by thanking Him for His presence with us, rejoicing when we see His activity around us, and speaking the truths about Him from His Word on a daily basis. As we focus more on Him as we go through each day, His presence becomes more real and intimate, and we grow in our relationship with Him.

Celebrating the purpose of God

No matter what we are experiencing, we can celebrate that our loving, wise Father is always at His work (John 5:17), accomplishing His will, which is always good, acceptable, and perfect (Romans 12:2). His plans are meant to prosper us, not to harm us, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). At the same time, He wants to impact other lives through us in a way that blesses them and draws them to Jesus (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:20).

That process requires growth, but we can know that, while we cut our teeth, the Lord is working in our lives that we might “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15, NASB).

One day, when his teeth are in, my grandson will get to experience more adventures in eating and better abilities in speaking. His teeth will add greater beauty to his smile and more depth to his facial expressions. His teeth will prove that he is growing up.

May our spiritual growth prove that we are maturing as well, and may that process bring glory to our beloved Jesus!

Question: How is the Lord challenging you and helping you to cut your spiritual teeth right now? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

Susan Jane King

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