Promises, Promises

Promises, Promises
By: Denise Pass © 7/8/14

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Isaiah 54:4-6, 13-14, 17

:4 “Don’t be afraid, for you will not be put to shame! Don’t be intimidated, for you will not be humiliated! You will forget about the shame you experienced in your youth; you will no longer remember the disgrace of your abandonment. 5 For your husband is the One Who made you – the LORD who commands armies is His Name. He is Your Protector, the Holy One of Israel. He is called “God of the entire earth”. 6 Indeed, the LORD will call you back like a wife who has been abandoned and suffers from depression, like a young wife when she has been rejected, says your God. 13 All your children will be followers of the LORD, and your children will enjoy great prosperity. 14 You will be reestablished when I vindicate you. You will not experience oppression; indeed, you will not be afraid. You will not be terrified, for nothing frightening will come near you. 17 No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the LORD will do for His servants – I will vindicate them,” says the LORD.

Have you ever felt shame from a circumstance in life, like there is no recovery for you? Not so, according to God. He is never finished with any of us. I remember the biggest fear I had in the wake of the scandal that rocked our home was that my children would no longer believe in or love the Lord. How could a Christian do something like this to his family? Hypocrisy from a believer is almost worse than the crime itself. The damage infidelity and abuse do to the human soul is incomparable. Lives are shattered by a parent who do not keep the sacred promise to not harm their own children. But God.

Maybe it was a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a stranger who you were counting on, or maybe you were the one someone else was counting on. In an uncertain world, we all cling to the hope that there is something, someone we can count on. But when that person lets us down, our innocence and hopes are dashed temporarily and we can search for something, someone to fill that void. The problem is, no one is perfect but the One. Whatever we find that we think will deliver perfect comfort simply cannot bring lasting peace and security.

So how do we learn to trust again in promises in such a shaky world? Promises are the foundation of every good relationship, but being vulnerable to another person or entity is an act of faith and difficult to do in a day and age when promises can be taken very lightly. Without promises, there is no security, but broken promises can be mended by the One Who always keeps His Word.

These verses above are full of amazing, precious promises from God to … His servants … not just anyone. Who would not want to be His servant when you see what God does for them? We have all been on the receiving end of a promise not kept, or kept a promise that was not deserved. But nothing is ever wasted with God and what we detest which was a reproach to us can be the very tool God uses to bring us into a beautiful place. Instead of trying to cover over our shame and pain, lay it bare before the Lord and trust Him to pick up the pieces. He’s good at that… and He keeps His promises.

Lord, Thank you for making and keeping your promises. Help us to honor our promises and to let our yes be yes and our no be no.

New Seasons

Isaiah 50:4
“The Sovereign Lord has given me the capacity to be His spokesman, so that I know how to help the weary. He wakes me up every morning, he makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do.”

What a privilege it is to write for my King! It is amazing to me that He would choose the weak things to glorify Himself. If you are sitting there wondering how I could boast that I am God’s spokesperson . . . so are you! Each one He has called with a distinct purpose, none to be compared to the other, and we are ALL to be His voice on the earth. Every voice unique, precious and needed.

I am in awe of Him as I write this, because it is laughable to me that the King of kings and Lord of lords would use us at all! Surely He does not need to, to proclaim how amazing He is, but he wants to. Wow.

I find myself at a crossroads tonight. Ever been there? God placed something on your heart (or so you thought), and then slowly you begin to feel that the calling is no longer there. A sense of guilt makes you feel bonded to this assignment – how can you let it go? But then there is another voice telling you to trust and lay it down. The problem is, sometimes when one door closes, another one has not opened yet. Be still. Wait. Not my favorite words in the dictionary.

If we are to be His workmanship, then we are to do His bidding – sometimes it might not be what we imagined or desired, but there is no greater satisfaction to be found than seeking to be in His will. So while we wait or embark on a new season, may God help us to be thankful for the season we are leaving behind and trust Him that the new calling is an answer to a prayer. Maybe one we uttered in the middle of the night, or maybe someone else’s prayer of need. We’re on a mission, lest we forget – not for a perfectly comfortable life on earth, but to spread the love of God to all the earth.

Oh God, thank you that you paid for our sins and have a calling on our lives. I am in awe of You! Please help us to not be afraid of stepping out of the boat into a new season you are calling us to.

What Troubles Breed

What Troubles Breed
By: Denise Pass © 7/2/14

Psalm 66:10-14, 16-20
:10 “For You, O God, tested us; you purified us like silver. 11 You led us into a trap; you caused us to suffer. 12 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open space. 13 I will enter your temple with burnt sacrifices; I will fulfill the vows I made to you, 14 which my lips uttered and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. 16 Come! Listen, all you who are loyal to God! I will declare what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him for help and praised him with my tongue. 18 If I had harbored sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened. However, God heard, he listened to my prayer. God deserves praise, for He did not reject my prayer or abandon his love for me!”

I love the Psalms and love the fact that the Psalmists often wrote songs about their trials and relationship with God. I wrote a song based on this verse back in 1990 – just a worship song between the Lord and me. At the time I thought I knew what hard times were. That is not to say that I had not suffered through various difficulties, but compared to another significant trial that would come, let’s just say that I now understand testing and refining in a whole new way. Nonetheless, God used the song in my life then and it is precious to me now when I reflect on what God has done through hardship in my life and the lives of countless others.

Troubles have the potential to precipitate accusations against God and to initiate questioning of His character. Notice I say potential. Why would He allow evil into our lives? This verse is pretty blunt about God allowing it in. But later we see God heard and answered the prayer of the afflicted one. I chuckle when I see in verse 13 the Psalmist referring to a vow that he made when he was pressed hard. Ever made a promise to God? Best fulfill it. The Psalmist turned the occasion for complaining into an occasion of praise and crying out to His God. Struggles turned to praise.

Our flesh can be quick to get angry with God when hardships are let in. Such a response can come from a prideful stance in which we do not think we deserve hardship. What do we think we deserve? Certainly not the grace and forgiveness God has so freely given. Adversity can stir up ire without understanding, but thankfulness can quell that fire.

Our viewpoint of hardship could also possibly be in error. We consider discomfort and pain as evil, and assuredly they are not fun, but the fruit that can be produced from them is a beautiful sight to behold. Seeing calamity as having a greater purpose than the temporal suffering ignites hope in the future good that our Sovereign God is going to produce from something insidious.

The harvest of what God can breed from troubles can be bountiful, multiple and varied. Looking past the momentary pain and gazing into His Word and promises brings relief. Hang on, dear friend, God has plans for you and hears your cry.

Lord, help us to not allow disillusionment, bitterness or hopelessness to creep in when things are less than ideal. Produce a life of righteousness in us as we yield to Your will and plan in all aspects of life, good and bad.

Integrity Has Its Own Rewards

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Integrity Has Its Own Reward

By: Denise Pass © 7/1/14

1 Samuel 26:25

Saul replied to David, “May you be rewarded, my son David! You will without question be successful!”

David is being praised not by his friend, but by his enemy who was pursuing him relentlessly. That is a rare find. What provoked such a response from Saul? David had just spared his life, when he could have easily taken it. He could have “gotten Saul back” for all the evil Saul wrought upon him. But he didn’t.

David could have taken matters into his own hands concerning the promised kingdom; after all, God Himself promised that David would be king. He did not even count himself worthy and revered his God and the position of being king, which Saul held.

David recognized something so profound and valuable – every position we have is only because God put us there. How beautiful that David trusted in God, even though it seemed the prophesy of Samuel would never come true. Oh to have such patience and operate in complete surrender to God.

We all want to be successful, but how we go about achieving that success is what defines us. How we define success is equally as significant a factor as the success we are striving for. Is it success to be wealthy? To be king? David valued being right with God above all else and walking in integrity as a way of life.

In life we will have people who attempt to throw us off the calling God has placed on our lives. We will also be guilty of not staying on that path ourselves, but God is always faithful and can enable us to walk before Him in integrity. The same David would also later choose to murder a man and commit adultery. He was not perfect, but he was a man after God’s own heart who would confess and renounce his sins and bear the consequence. He cared more about God’s glory than his own comfort or fame.

What is it God has called us too? Perhaps disillusioned along the way, perhaps taunted by enemies or our own flesh that hurl accusations and doubt upon us, we have forgotten our calling or stopped trying to find it. May we open our eyes afresh and realize the mission we are on. The time is too short to miss it. God needs us to be people of integrity in a world of compromise.

Sweet Lord, thank You that you have a plan for each one of us and you will never forsake us. Please help us to seek You and walk faithfully with you in integrity of heart. Help us to be people after your own heart who do not bow to please the world. Your will be done.

Thankful for recognition

I am truly honored as a newbie here that Ellie with http://newcreationsministries.wordpress.com/ would nominate me for two awards.  Thank you for your encouragement, Ellie!  It has been such a joy getting to meet many folks who are so gifted in writing and an inspiration to me to join their ranks.  I accept the Versatile Blogger Award and the Sunshine Award.  Check out Ellie’s blog, bursting with joy and wisdom for everyday life.  versatileblogger11[1]

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The rules of acceptance for the above awards are as follows:

1)  Thank the person who has nominated you.

2)  Place the award badges on your blog page.

3)  Answer the ten questions listed below.

4)  Pay it forward!  Nominate ten deserving bloggers for the same awards. See, Easy Peasy . . .

So now let me answer those “Ten Delightful Questions” and I’d love to know how anyone else would answer them if one sticks out:                           

1)  What is my favorite food? Barbeque!!!

2)  Who is my favorite actor? Kirk Cameron.

3)  What is my favorite television show?  I know, boring – Fox News.  (o:  Christian Fitness is behind that!

4)  What is my favorite “Tear Jerker? Sense and Sensibility.

5)  Tea or Coffee?  Both!  LOL.  Coffee in the morning, Kombucha tea during the day, and hot tea at night.

6)  What is my favorite sport?  Baseball. 

7)  What is my lucky number? Number 7 because it’s the number of completion.

8)  What is my favorite holiday?  Thanksgiving.

9)  Twitter or Facebook? Facebook.

10)  What is my favorite Christmas movie? “Little Women”

Now the Ten Deserving Bloggers Nominated Are:

  1. http://joyinlifeministries.com/
  2. http://shineblog.org/
  3. http://madetodisciple.wordpress.com/
  4. http://teaamongfriends.wordpress.com/
  5. http://johnorth.wordpress.com/
  6. http://christmyoasis.wordpress.com/
  7. http://adreaminmyeyes.wordpress.com/
  8. http://wordmadefleshblog.wordpress.com/
  9. http://witandit.wordpress.com/
  10. http://adisplayofsplendor.com/