Laying it Down


By: Denise Pass © 6/30/14

1 Corinthians 10:4b-7

:4b “For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them and the Rock was Christ. 5 But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. 6 These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. 7 So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”

Craving a warm chewy chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven is one of those weak spots for me. Especially when I am trying to diet. In fact, inevitably I am offered large amounts of chocolate when I decide to be more disciplined in my eating. One would wonder, why bother? While sugar might not be evil, (ok, I can hear some of you saying it is), the lack of control or focus on food can become unhealthy. But I digress . . . this blog was not supposed to be about food at all . . . see what I mean?

So what was evil about what God’s chosen people were craving? First, I am humbled that it is believers that were displeasing God. This passage is a reminder that God is a jealous God Who cares very much that our hearts are worshipping One. Certainly the Israelites were craving things that God commanded them not to, but the odd thing is that God gave them everything they ever could want or need, but they still wanted more.

At the root of their craving was a lack of trust that God was going to provide sufficiently for them. With so many miracles, we might be tempted to wonder how they could ever doubt . . . manna from Heaven? Parting the Red Sea? Really? After encountering such an awesome God, how could they doubt? But perhaps all around us are signs of similar provision, and yet we do not like to have to be so dependent upon and wait upon God.

Maybe we prefer to make idols, too, just like they did. Polite looking, sophisticated idols today that are an escape from the discomfort of having to wait on God. But that is where relationship is. What would our relationship be, if God just gave us things and we never knew what is was to be in want? He longs to show Himself faithful, to be the One Who knows what we need before we ask and lovingly gives what we need at just the right time.

If there is something inhibiting your complete trust in God, lay it down. Whatever is the “god” you have run to, it does not compare. The thought of displeasing the One Who made me hurts my heart. So let’s lay down whatever we are craving and ask Him if it is worthy of our desire.

Almighty God, thank you for revealing our sins that we might confess them to You and be set free from the bondage of trusting in things other than You. Please help us to lay down the things of this world and only pick up what you want us to.

What Are You Afraid Of?

Lost and Confused Signpost

A ship lost out at sea, an intruder in your home, a scorpion in your bed, a bully threatening you, a terrorist attack or world war III . . . all legitimate fears, I think.  But what scares me the most is apathy concerning my faith in God.

It is easy to focus on the here and now – that is all that is in front of us.  But to maintain a zeal for the unseen, which lasts forever is not easy to achieve.  I can become easily distracted and thrown off of a consistent devotion time, or allow that time to become stale.

So many have walked before us living to please their flesh, but I cherish watching the faithful who never cease to seek God and know Him more.  That is how I want to be, all my days.  I want to leave a legacy of faith for my children, where they can say I walked with God and was not merely religious.

Life is a mere whisper in the voice of all of creation and time . . . I pray that I can remember that truth and make my life count for Jesus and His glory.

keeping faith

Life in Death, part three

Part 3 Writing 101

(Part 3 of the series)

Freedom comes at a high price.  You often have to lose or sacrifice much to find it.  Sometimes the toll is so high, you would probably not have paid it if you knew ahead of time what it would cost you.  But then there is this new found freedom that you did not expect.  The thing you dreaded and hoped would never be a part of your story has happened.  Living in reality can sting, but the new joy mingled with past pain, would never have been achieved had you not walked through the door of suffering.

Loss can be hard to deal with – especially if the one who inflicted the pain is still there.  Reminders of remorse are easily found in the midst of everyday life.  A familiar face or name or place, an old photograph.  So many things lost – what was thought to be a perfect family, normalcy, a heritage of no divorce, and our innocence.  The trauma and PTSD that follow as you seek to accept your new reality only serve to intensify the feeling of being lost that you cannot shake.

But there is a treasure to be found by those who persevere and use the pain as a tool to find their way to a new life.  Letting go of the former boundaries that defined happiness, our eyes are opened that we were actually imprisoned.  Being groomed and controlled was not freedom at all, and now we finally understand that although scary to undergo so much change, the horrifying scandal only served to deliver us.

What was lost could never compare with what has been found.  Understanding.  Wisdom.  Comfort.  Reality.  The ability to help others in ways I could not before.  Drawing nearer to Him – my God – Who truly is an ever-present help in time of need.  Sometimes getting lost is the only way you can truly be found.

In Good Company


By: Denise Pass © 6/26/14

Psalm 62:4, 12, Psalm 63:11b, Psalm 64:3, 7, 8,10

:4 They spend all their time planning how to bring him down. They love to use deceit; they pronounce blessings with their mouths but inwardly they utter curses. 12 And You, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love. For you repay men for what they do. Psalm 63:11… everyone who takes oaths in His name will boast, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be shut up. Psalm 64:3 They sharpen their tongues like a sword; they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge. 7 But God will shoot at them; suddenly they will be wounded by an arrow. 8 Their slander will bring about their demise. All who see them will shudder. 10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord and take shelter in Him. All the morally upright will boast.

Ever had someone who just did not like you? You try to do everything you can to affect their feelings, but to no avail. Perhaps it is just the position you hold in their life, but making sense of it appears to be impossible. Accepting it is even more difficult.

When I am tempted to be absorbed in self-pity due to the discovery that someone has slandered me or expressed to others their hatred, I find comfort in God’s word. It just is not about me. Godly men in Scripture suffered similarly and had drama surrounding them. David had enemies – Joseph did, too – within their own household. David’s son would betray him, Joseph’s own brothers would be blinded by jealousy – but God would ultimately use it for good. In fact, all throughout Scripture there is a pattern repeated many times within families. Separation due to jealousy, anger, hurt feelings. Sometimes due to faith, too.

Such behavior seems nonsensical, inane, but assuredly most everyone will encounter and have to deal with being the object of scorn. How can we glorify God in that situation? First, bringing the pain to God and asking Him to reveal any hidden sin in ourselves can shed some light. Seeking His perspective, not ours, begins to make things clearer. Asking questions of myself, such as why it bothers me when I am slandered, helps me to understand that I am seeking glory, seeking to be admired and accepted. Did Christ worry about people liking him? Not so much. He embraced the reality of dissenters and prayed for them.

What if I was more worried about God being robbed of glory than myself? Ultimately it is all about God’s glory and He is my Defender. Resting in His deliverance versus striving on my own brings peace and joy. If I lay down the idol of my reputation and seek to glorify Him in my response, perhaps then I can see how something so insidious as someone talking about me can actually work for my good and God’s glory. Lastly, counting our blessings and focusing on all the good in our lives puts the focus where it needs to be.

If you find yourself despised today, know that you are in good company. Our Savior and many amazing biblical characters suffered similarly. He is able to help you take your eyes off of yourself and set your gaze on Him – the only One Who truly was innocent, and Who we all were once enemies of.

Lord, it hurts when we are shunned or when people believe slander about us. Help us to rejoice in those times that we can experience a tiny portion of what You endured. Be glorified, Lord – in our afflictions and momentary hardships – which can never compare to Your willing sacrifice.


Complacent No More


Writing 101, Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You

You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!

The sign by the boardwalk was tattered from the many years of use.  I smile, a feeling of peace washes over me as the waves echo in my ears.  Multiple times of renewal experienced by many people.  Would it be the same this time?

As I walk through the outer gate, something is different.  None of the usual decorations are up.  I wonder if I have come at the wrong time?  Perhaps the sign by the boardwalk was up from last year?  My hopes begin to dissolve as I see new signs up for another event.

Reflecting on all my past years of coming to this place that felt like home, a tear forms and falls like my hopes.  In its place, a political gathering.  Certainly there must be a mistake!  Suddenly another person comes up behind me.  “Did you used to go to that conference, too?”  A flicker of hope ignites in me – maybe this person knows what happened.  “They shut it down, due to it offending some people – too Christian.”  I could not believe my ears.  How could this happen in our free country, where we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech?

I politely thank my informant and crawl away, walking backward to get one last glimpse of what I remembered.  Do we just accept this silencing, or do I fight?  The answer is clear.  The memories of thousands of people worshiping God together could not be merely history, no it had to be available for future generations, too.  Setting aside the numbness, I begin to formulate a plan.   Apathy and acceptance cannot replace the joy, healing and fervency that were once here.  May it never be.


Life in Death Part two – Finding Freedom


Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Serial Killer II

Earlier in the course, you wrote about losing something. Today, write about finding something. For your twist, view day four’s post and today’s post as installments in a series.

PART TWO – Finding Freedom

The evidence of a disaster was all around us.  Shattered dreams and broken lives.  The reality of our circumstances was to hard to accept, but it was true.  The father of my children was removed within a day of the Lord revealing his sin.  The person we thought we knew was someone completely different.  What now?

Our innocence lost, it would seem there was no hope of recovery.  But sometimes you have to get lost to be found.  Sometimes what you thought was good was not what it seemed.  Perspectives change in a flash, when the reality of the damage becomes clearer.  No, we were not suffering in vain –  we were delivered.

In place of a facade of  a perfect family that we thought we had, there was raw pain but there was healing and in that place of suffering our eyes were opened.  Opened to the enslavement we had been living under and to the subtle underlying deception that encompassed us.  We had lost much; all we knew and trusted was blown away – but we had found something far greater – our freedom, wisdom and insight.

PART ONE (From Day 4 – previously posted)

Family pic serial killer 1

When I was a girl, I dreamed about happily ever after.  Guess it depends on what the definition of happiness is.  If happiness was defined as being happily married, having healthy children, wealth and minimal problems in your life, then I do not know whether anyone will every achieve perfect tranquility and bliss, known as happiness.  But for a short while I thought I had it.  Despite a bumpy childhood, I thought I could have the perfect family and lasting joy.  Then the enemy of our souls came and snatched it away . . . seemingly.

My family would never be the same, and the father of my children was to blame.  The death of our family as we knew it was agonizing and there was no escape from the mark it had left.  The signs of death were all around . . . functioning on a normal level was hampered, and life just seemed numb.  The children and I clung to one another, knowing God was going to take our pain and use it for good.

But then, what did normal look like?  How do we move on from this place of death?  Perhaps the death of what we idolized was more painful than we could imagine, but would also open our eyes to what in fact was wrong with what we were considering happiness…

Most Influential Blogger Award!

I’d like to thank John Mark Miller at The Artistic Christian for nominating me for the Most Influential Blogger Award!

Most Influential Blogger Badge

If you enjoy inspiring meditations, reviews of movies and books, fun articles and even Haikus, check out the John Mark’s blog at:

Award Guidelines

Here are the guidelines for acceptance – really very straightforward.
To accept this award, the awardees must do the following:
1. Display the Award on your Blog.
2. Announce your win with a blog post and thank the Blogger who awarded you.
3. Present 10 deserving Bloggers with the Award.
4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded with a comment (or a pingback).
5. Include an embedded video of your current favorite song (YouTube has almost everything, just copy and paste the link into your WordPress editor). If a video is not possible you can embed a SoundCloud track.

My Favorite Song

Recently I wrote a piece for Writing 101 in which we needed to select three songs.  Now I am tasked with this difficult selection again.  The song, “Already There” by Casting Crowns is a song that always uplifts me to know our Sovereign God is always in control.  He already knows the end completely and is there – outside of time.  Check it out here:

My List of Most Influential Bloggers!

It’s my privilege to introduce you to some talented bloggers who I believe are Most Influential Bloggers. I hope you enjoy their writing as much as I do:

1. Anchor Community Church

2. Christine, at Christine’s Collection:

3. Discover One Thing:

4. We Are Abundantly:

5. Tina, at Golden3devotions:

6. Amanda at Amanda Jo Norwood:

7. Carl, at Three Iron Nails:

8. Pen of the Sheep:

9. Shearon, at Refreshing Times for Women:

10. Walking in Freedom:

Funny Friday – Saved by Cake


By: Denise Pass © 6/20/14

Isaiah 38:5, 20-22

5“Go and tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will add fifteen years to your life. 20 The Lord is about to deliver me, and we will celebrate with music for the rest of our lives in the Lord’s temple.” 21 Isaiah ordered, “Let them take a fig cake and apply it to the ulcerated sore and he will get well.” 22Hezekiah said, “What is the confirming sign that I will go up to the Lord’s temple?”

I love this passage in God’s word for several reasons. First, we see God’s mercy and healing in answering Hezekiah’s prayer when he was most certainly going to die. Second, we see Hezekiah responding in faith at just the word from Isaiah that God was going to heal him. But my favorite part is how God healed him. I mean, I have always been a little too fond of sweets, and I get the sense that Hezekiah munched a bit too much on them, as well, but to apply it to his boo boo for healing? I can understand Hezekiah asking for a little assurance when the method was an application of fig cake. I hope you are laughing now, because that is the point of today’s blog.

Hmmm . . . I can see it now on Dr. Oz . . . apply a Fig Newton to your wound and miracle cure by morning! But the point was not the method – why God chose that method, I do not know. But Hezekiah’s heart and I am sure ours would be tested by such a means. I have had the blessing of hearing God tell me that He was going to heal me and seen Him do it. This testimony I cherish, because He initiated the healing and He kept His promise. It was not naming and claiming it, nor anything too dramatic, just Him whispering in my ear what He was about to do and me stepping out in faith and believing Him. I have also had seasons when I could not hear Him at all, when I was not healed but cleaved to His word, knowing He would ultimately make sense of hardship. Either way, God is good and all that He does is good – all the time.

Sometimes God will ask us to step out in faith and do things that we think are a bit odd. Recall the blind man in the New Testament who had mud placed on his eyes. Was it the mud that healed him? I think not. Perhaps God wants us to lighten up a bit and do something silly. If we have for certain embedded in our souls that God is in control and sees our pain, our mess ups, our victories – He sees it all and adores us – maybe we can rest a little more when the road is bumpy.

Today if you are in a place of pain, I am not wanting to trivialize that pain – I know it is real. I personally suffer daily with a variety of autoimmune diseases. God cares about your suffering, too. But if you can find the courage to dig in His word and cry out to Him – give Him your pain and maybe even dare to be brave enough to find humor in the situation – now that’s sweet! Sweeter than cake, to be able to laugh in the face of disaster! The next time you have a piece of cake, maybe you will think about it a little differently – Hezekiah did. (o:

Father, thank you for this story about Hezekiah. Help us to trust you when life hurts and things are scary, too. May we run to you and seek your face. Help us to have faith like children and to laugh again.


Hiding No More

By: Denise Pass  © 6/19/14

 Psalm 30:5

“For his anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one’s life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning.”

Psalm 57:1-2

“Have mercy on me, oh God! Have mercy on me! For in You I have taken shelter. In the shadow of your wings I take shelter until trouble passes. I cry out for help to the sovereign God, to the God Who vindicates me.”


On a recent trip to an aquarium I spotted this little turtle and was captivated by the boldness he modeled as he stuck his head out to see the onlookers. Needing a break from the burden he was bearing, he tenaciously gripped the leaf and pushed himself up. Do you identify with this turtle? I do. Sometimes the trauma and difficulties we face make us want to stay in our shell and hide away from all pain – but we would miss the beauty around us if we never poked our head out again.

Their outer shell is a shield which protects them, but it can also be something they hide behind, too. I also have outer shells that I have hidden behind – without being aware of it. Boxed in by my burdens and by fear that threatens to silence me if I dare step out and share my life to help others, the turtle and I are well acquainted. Yet I, too, am compelled to venture out, knowing it is part of the healing process.

The motivation to keep going on living, to keep risking pain is a bold move, but a necessary one. If it were not for the Lover of our souls, I could not do it. What hope there is in God’s word! If we would take our shelter in Him instead of our man-made shells, which do not really deliver us, how great is our victory! Our trials are temporary moments in a sea of time, but crying out to our Sovereign God, who already knows the end, gives us great hope and courage to be willing to stick our neck out again. And again. Today, when you survey the world and are unsure of even sticking a toe out there, cry out to God and give Him your burdens. Amazing things can happen when we bring our cares to the only One Who really can handle them.

Lord, help us to trust You with our burdens, to be willing to step out again and not allow fear to hem us in. May You be glorified through our pains and our joys! Amen.



The Root of Sound Judgment


The Root of Good Judgment

By: Denise Pass © 6/18/14


1 Samuel 25:33

Praised be your good judgment! May you yourself be rewarded for having prevented me this day from shedding blood and taking matters into my own hands!

It can happen in a flash – suddenly you are thrust into a disastrous situation and wonder how you can overcome. Surely Abigail felt a surge of panic when she heard that King David was coming to destroy her husband and his household. Not good news at all. Her level-headedness and sound judgment serve as such an example. She quickly and courageously met David and his men with provisions. She even dared to go before the king and bear the blame herself.

Bravery. Responsibility. Humility. I wonder how I would have responded. Hindsight is always a perfect view, but how about when we are thrust into a tragedy with no preparation? Do we give in to our fears or stand firm and trust in God for deliverance? All the while doing what needs to be done, sometimes just one foot in front of the other?

Oh, to have such bravery today as Abigail demonstrated. We can observe hardship in someone else’s home and think it might not visit our own, but assuredly the rain falls on the good and evil, and we are not unable to pass through life without some pain. But a life hidden and rooted in Christ and His word will grant the stability to face any crises.

Sometimes good judgment is reflected in our daily choices, as we seek to establish godliness in our homes. A lifestyle of good judgment prepares us for the unexpected, and will be a foundation we can stand on in the face of danger. There is no magic pill, no way of escape from the human condition of not being able to control all of our circumstances, but there is One Who can enable us. There is a preparation of heart, a quiet trust daily in Jesus that cannot be faked or trumped, but is lived out day to day, and ultimately will serve as our anchor when the storm rolls in.

Lord, thank you that You do not leave us or forsake us in times of trouble. Help us to rely on you in good and bad times, to have established a dependence and hope in you and nothing else for our deliverance.