Chapter 1: Day 5 – At the King’s Table

Welcome to Day 5 of Chapter 1 for Arise & Shine, a devotional written by Bettie Gilbert.

“’Don’t be afraid,’ David said to him, ‘for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.’ And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.”  2 Samuel 9:7,13

The story of Mephibosheth, the one Scriptures say “was lame in both feet,” always touched a deep chord in my young heart. Here was a boy who was the son of Jonathan, and the grandson of King Saul—the one who tried to have David killed. Yet when his entire family was killed, and his home was destroyed, King David invited him into his own Royal Palace, all for the sake of the covenant made with his father, Jonathan, years before. 

As I first heard that story decades ago, something critical to my way of seeing was planted in my child-like heart. And when God saw that it was time, He reawakened the earlier question by asking a second question.

Is it true that the King of Heaven would really invite me to HIS own table?

And how can that be possible, since I have only grown more disfigured over the years?

As chronic illness stripped away my old way of living, I wondered what would happen as the years progressed. Would I be able to bear up under the pain? Would bitterness finally one day take root? I felt powerless to stop the darkness I felt as I watched my own lameness grow more pronounced.

As the chronic pain and inflammation wore away at the strength of my feet and ankles, another label was placed onto my identity: lame and slow. How could the King, the perfect Royal One, ever look on me as beautiful again? Would I ever be found worthy to come to His table?

And then He opened the pages of a long-forgotten story. He placed my heart in the open air of HIS royal Temple, and He invited me in, showing me the seat next to His own dear Son. Joint-heir with Jesus, He called me: “Come inside with me! The Kingdom of God is within you. I am not offended by your pain, and I am already here, waiting for you to open the door.”

Feasting With The King

Where is my home?
Where is my dwelling place?
Everything I’ve known
What I’ve seen
Has been devastated

What can I do?
Where can I belong?
Everything I’ve done
Where I’ve worked
Has been swept away

How should I feel?
How is life to be lived?
Everything I’ve tasted
What I’ve shared
Has been covered up

I hear a voice
Speaking my name
Ushering an invitation
And setting me on a new path
All for the sake of a choice
Made on my behalf
An eternity ago

How is the table spread
Here before me now?
How is the King’s house
The place of my dwelling?
Why would my name
Be the one He calls?

He sets me at His Home
He calls me His child
He opens the door

All for the sake of Love
All for the sake of Covenant
A kindred heart promised
A kindred heart responded

And suddenly my lameness
Doesn’t matter anymore
The King calls my name
Feasting at HIS table
Eating of His bread
Forever I belong with Him.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 NIV

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21 KJB

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the voice of Your invitation. We pause and shake ourselves when we first hear Your call. How can it be? We know of our lameness all too well. We don’t belong at the Royal Table, and we aren’t worthy to feast with You.

Oh, but thank You for the gift that You poured over our hearts when YOUR own son entered the covenant of grace on our behalf! Now You call us worthy because of HIM, and You seat us at the table of Your presence to feast with You.

Help us to receive the joy of Your presence today. Help us to rest at Your table with You. And help us to lift our voices in praise of Your son, our Savior Jesus.

In His name we pray,

Amen.

Thanks to Andreas Rønningen @andozo for making the profile photo for this post available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/S2YssLw97l4

Part 1 – Chapter 1: A Dwelling Place

Welcome to Arise and Shine: Beloved You are Mine. This is Chapter 1: A Dwelling Place of Part 1: The Bread of Life. You can choose to listen to the introduction (read by Anna Smit) and the opening prayer (read by Bettie Gilbert) in the two recordings below, or read on further below.

Recording of Introduction & Blessing
(Anna Smit)
Recording of Opening Prayer & Invitation (Bettie Gilbert)

Have you ever noticed that God gathers us together in the most unlikely ways? Have you ever noticed that every way He sets us apart is His Way of joining us together in His suffering?

Sometimes, chronic illness or trauma can make us start to believe God has sidelined us, set us aside. It can even make us feel like we don’t truly belong in God’s family, or that we are second-rate citizens somehow. We can believe that God’s beautiful setting apart, the breaking of His Bread of Life, is His rejection of us.

But then God begins to open our eyes. He cups our face in His hands and lifts our eyes up and away from the ground. It’s then we begin to see how He is building His dwelling place in our hearts and our very midst. How He is weaving our lives together with people we never would have met, were it not for the suffering He has invited us to join Him in.

As He lifts our eyes to His, we suddenly see how He has been breaking the box we had tried to put Him in. How He has been leading us out into His yearning world for His good good purposes: to recognize Him and honor Him in those we previously would have ignored, or even condemned in their need.

It’s then we see how our very weakness is becoming the birthing place for new life: in us and in others through us. How He is using our very weakness to gather us together the world over, to restore His broken Body.

We suddenly see how His Spirit is laboring in intercession in and through us. How He is unveiling His goodness and mercy before our very eyes. How He is inviting us to celebrate His holy breath in every child of His He sends us, as we begin to see His Promises alive and kicking in them and through them, in ourselves. 

We see how He is causing us, just as He did Peter, to now live out the very Word He had long ago put into our mouths to speak. We see how His humbling in our weakness has been His Way of setting us free to walk in His purposes, unafraid and unashamed.

In the flesh, we see the now: but Jesus sees eternity. All made whole and complete in Him already and He’s always inviting us to come sit up there in the heavenlies with Him to see what He sees. To live by faith and not by sight.

Have you too noticed that it suddenly changes everything to realize that we were busy grieving something God has already restored? And yet it’s in entering into that pain of our setting apart, and finding Him present there, that this new sight comes. It’s as we join Him in His suffering that He catches our every tear and turns our mourning into dancing, at the sound of His Voice.

Oh how easy it is to try and push through the pain, to numb it away, to detach ourselves from it or to sink into it as our just deserves, as bitter tears flow. But right there in the midst of that pain, Jesus is inviting us to come in and sup with Him. 

He is not ashamed of us in our weakness. It is His gift to us, that He might unveil His power in us, right there.

Just as He did with Peter, He breaks us apart from those we idolize, in our weakness, not to hurt us or to divide His Body. No, He breaks us apart to build us back up in His pure and unadulterated Word and to unify us all by the power of His Spirit. 

For, it’s in our weakness and setting apart from others, we begin to hear Christ calling us into His death and resurrection. It’s then we realize, like Peter, that it is not man or our own ability that gives us the authority to live out and speak the Word God has called us to. It is God and God alone.

It’s then we grow in the confidence of God’s calling upon our lives, releasing the path our lives take into His hands also. Like Peter, as Christ continually asks us to take up our Cross, to face persecution for doing the will of God, Christ enables us to abide in Him and His comfort. He enables us to keep loving and forgiving others, as He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. 

And in our suffering for doing the will of God, it is such a gift knowing that it is Christ who is performing and completing each good work in and through us. In this freeing knowledge we can begin to rejoice in our sufferings for the sake of others, as we recognize that in our flesh we are filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church (Colossians 1:24). We can praise our God, “who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (2 Corinthians 2:14, ESV). 

For, even when the Words we speak and live out appear to fall on deaf ears, we can be assured that God is at work, spreading His fragrance far and wide and taking the Word deeper into our own hearts. Each time He calls us to surrender others into His hands, is a new opportunity to die to ourselves and live unto Christ Jesus and His power to save us and those we love. It is God’s invitation to be cleansed by the Word of truth and grace, as He reminds of His eternal Promises.

As we sit together with Jesus this week and in the weeks to come, may He continue to open our eyes to see and celebrate Him binding us together in love into a dwelling place in which He lives, by the power of His Spirit.

May Christ slow us to savor His beautiful heart in our setting apart for His glorious purposes. May we see His love and mercy flowing freely in this womb of His choosing. In this dark place may we see Him growing new life in us to be birthed in His beautiful timing. 

May God help us not to push through the pain we feel, nor to turn away from the pain in shame. May He help us instead to enter into the pain we feel to find Him so very present there. May we see His heart of compassion and mercy growing so strong in us, as His intercession begins to flow freely in and through us, as we enter into His suffering. May we see Him give us beauty for ashes, as He fills us with the faith and trust to believe Him at His Word.

May specific Promises from His Word rise up within us, as the Holy Spirit compels us to bring them forward to Jesus as beautiful freewill offerings, filled with His breath. May each Promise that flows directly from the throne of God, wash over our hearts, cleansing us of all unrighteousness and quickening our hearts to beat in tune to His. May He lift any heavy yoke of responsibility we have taken upon our shoulders, enabling us to die to ourselves and arise afresh in Him.

May we daily arise and shine afresh in Christ Jesus, as He opens our hearts to see and celebrate all the ways in which we “too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22). May we recognize each setting apart as His way of building His dwelling place, not through human hands but through the power of His Holy Spirit. 

May we continually be reminded of the sovereign hands of our mighty God who holds all together by the power of His mighty Word and breath. May we see the beauty of the path of His choosing for our lives.

May our Abba Father show us that “Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Hebrews 9:24, ESV). May we see the power of His loving labor of intercession at work in us and those gathered around us, the world over. May Christ be magnified in our midst.

Opening Prayer

Dear Holy Father, Precious Son, and Beautiful Spirit,

We bow here before you, awed at the beauty of your plans. You have set before us YOUR ways to bring freedom.

Will you cleanse our hearts and wash away the sin and the dross that we have chosen in place of you? Will you set our vision upon the beauty of You instead of the world? Will you bring YOUR holiness into our offerings?

Transform these offerings into YOUR freedom, and come to us Lord. Will you make your dwelling place in our humbled hearts? WE are YOUR people, and YOU are the ONE we long to worship.

Abba Father, we pray in your Son Jesus’ Name, Amen  

Our Invitation to You

Join us here each day this week, at the feet of Jesus, as we add another portion of Chapter 1: A Dwelling Place. Each devotional, prayer and poem we will add here daily is filled with free will offerings Christ invited us to lay at His feet. Now, we invite you to join us, through our sharing here, in bringing your own personal free will offerings before the LORD, through the power of His Holy Spirit at work in us all.

Day 1: Longing for Home (a devotional by Bettie Gilbert)

Day 2: Our Holy Dwelling Place (a poem by Bettie Gilbert).

Day 3: The Unveiling of the Great I Am (a poem & devotional by Anna Smit)

Day 4: A Harvest Breaking (a poem by Anna Smit)

Day 5: At the King’s Table (a devotional & poem by Bettie Gilbert)

Day 6: Growing into Love (a devotional and poem by Anna Smit and artwork by Wendy Simpson)

Day 7: Silent No More (a poem by Anna Smit)

A Dwelling Place in Praise

Colossians 3:15 KJV 
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.


Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.




Thank You, LORD
For grace
That covers me
For innocence
You've paid
In scourge
And pain so cruel
I'll never know.

Thank You, LORD
For giving me
What's undeserved
Of cruel and harsh
This heart here turned
To selfish tides
And prideful dams
To anger's chains
And holding reigns.

Thank You, LORD
For love so great
It reaches deeper still
Than cruel and harsh
Than selfish pride
And anger's reigns
To all accuser's claims
Would rather hide
From sight unseen
In shame to chain.

Thank You, LORD
For fencing tight
In holy linen white
For Spirit drawing in
And holding tight
The dust of desert's strife
From hardened heart
To strip and me
Righteous wrap
In dazzling white
Of undeserved bright.

Thank You, LORD
That washing
Dazzling white
You speak
Each hidden sight
The pain, the fears and doubts
I know not bleed
Beneath
My heart
You cast and pour
My cup
Not just outward
Cleanse
But inward
Search to know
In Spirit raise
From death to Life.

Thank You, LORD
For grace
That covers me
For innocence
You've paid
In scourge
And pain so cruel
I'll never know.



Dear Holy Father,

We are amazed that You would choose to come to us, to make Your dwelling here in our heart. We have nothing to offer you except these shards and pieces that are the bones and bodies holding our vulnerable hearts. But we thank You that Your Word declares these very bodies Your holy Temples.

We thank You that where we, and others who look at us, see nothing but brokenness, You see Your chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for Your own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of You who called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light.

We believe You, Father, but help our unbelief. Give us an undivided heart that we might fear Your Name above all else. Help us to shed the lies of the world and to clothe ourselves in the light of Your love and grace. Help us to keep boasting in our weakness, that You may perfect Your power in us here, as we proclaim the finished work of the Cross.

We thank You that even as our bodies, minds and hearts fail us, Your Son, in whom all Promises are yes and Amen, remains so strong in us. Thank You that You have placed the seal of Your Holy Spirit upon us, securing our eternal inheritance in You, and that nothing can separate us from the love that is in Christ Jesus.

Help us to lift our frail selves up to You in His Name, again and again. Help us to trust You when You tell us that the light momentary affliction we are walking through here on earth is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. Help us look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For we know that the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Help us not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but to lay up for ourself treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Set our hearts on You, as we walk through the fire and are met by storms, that we may find hidden treasure in the darkness.

Thank You that You dwell here within us, in this secret place, created to be Your home: Your heart in us. Thank You that You have hidden us in the clefts of the rock to protect us from every scheme of the enemy. Thank You for the love of Jesus that has been shed abroad in our broken hearts to make us whole. Root us deeper in that love that we might live and move and have our being in You alone.

Thank You for Your great and wonderful promises. Help us to cleanse ourselves in the light of these Promises from everything that contaminates body and spirit. Help us to live our lives set apart for Your purpose in holy awe of You alone. Fulfill the prayer of Your Son in us and make us One in You.

As we come to Jesus, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by You and precious to You— build us like living stones into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to You through Jesus Christ, just as You have promised us in Your Word.

In the name of Your Son, Jesus, we pray,
Amen.



This is a poem written by Anna Smit and a prayer co-written by Bettie Gilbert and Anna Smit a long time ago, but a Scripture-infused poem and prayer that still express the praises and prayers rising up in our hearts today. For:

"We've no less days 
To sing God's grace
Than when we first
Began"