Truthful Tuesday: Trust Me!

Trust Me

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

And when the mountains ahead seem too high to overcome and our problems loom large and are not solved, He still says, “Trust me”.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 78:22

22 Because they did not have faith in God, and did not trust his ability to deliver them. 23 He gave a command to the clouds above, and opened the doors in the sky. 24 He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate the food of the mighty ones. He sent them more than enough to eat. 27 He caused meat to rain on them like dust and winged birds as the sand of the sea… 32 Despite all this, they continued to sin, and did not trust him to do amazing things.

The Israelites were so forgetful. One moment they would see the hand of God in mighty ways and the next they doubted Him completely. Despite the LORD moving and accomplishing amazing miracles, the Israelites soon forgot and whined about the next problem life sent their way. We could stand in judgment if we did not have the very same plank gouging our eyes.

In this capsule of time, we tend to live in the moment.

God knows this. He knows we are flesh and continues to pursue us in this cycle of failure, conviction, repentance and redemption. Thank God He does!

If we perceive God’s activity in our lives, we enjoy that moment until the next significant distraction comes our way.

Sorry to paint our condition so bluntly. It is not that I am trying to lack grace but instead to display this magnificent grace that is given for all.

We cannot deny it – we all have a short term memory when it comes to acknowledging all that God has done for us, and we tend to distrust Him when troubles come. But in that same moment when we forget who we are in Christ and Who He is, His grace is  greater.

He moves through His word, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and in our circumstances to open our eyes to our blindness and draw us back to Himself. Revealing the counterfeit of the world’s promises that we are looking to, He is whispering all the while, “Trust Me”.

When we breathe a sigh of relief as a speeding car misses ours narrowly, He says, “trust me”. When a check arrives in the mail when we did not know where our next meal was coming from, he says, “trust me”. When our child recovers from a deadly illness, He says, “trust me”. And when the mountains ahead seem too high to overcome and our problems are not solved, He still says, “Trust me”.

We can tend to see our heroic God as the One to solve all of our problems, but He wants a deeper relationship with us than that. Instead of an immature faith that just wants to receive, He leads us to the revelation that we were made for His pleasure and He delights in us.

When the chips are down, He is our Comforter. When we lose something that He gave us in the first place, He is our Healer. In this chaotic fallen world, He is our strength and the One we run to.

We can trust the One who gave us our very breath and every single thing that we have, if we recognize this truth and see we don’t have a right to any of it. When we open our hands and offer it all in worship to Him, we are doing what we were created to do. Our very lives are His, whatever misadventure or adventure they contain – and He is walking through each moment with us.

Lord, help us to trust You more and more with each moment You have given. Grant us understanding and help us to deliver Your faithful message to others so they, too, can trust You!

Mundane Monday: The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

Mundane Monday terrible day

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Every day is a blessing if we are breathing and above ground.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 118:24

“This is the day the LORD has brought about. We will be happy and rejoice in it.”

Alright, I already feel convicted having the title that I chose for this posting, but I wanted to cherish one last vent in my pity party.

Monday sure is a fitting choice for the happenings of today. Admittedly, they are first world problems, but when you have a job to do and cannot get anything done because of technologicial issues one after the other, it is frustrating. And I confess – I cried. Yup. And it felt good. 🙂

After all, the word “technological” taken apart says tech – has – no – logic. Yep, so true. Sometimes you just keep trying to make things work and they just don’t. What then? Get some chocolate, wings and a soda . . .

Oops – no, do the opposite of what you want to do. Instead of complaining, which only makes things spiral further downward, laughing about circumstances can help. But more than anything, is focusing on God’s truth. If this is the day that the LORD “brought about” or allowed, He wants me to be happy in it. Um – I failed.

But when I consider much larger problems I have had, I begin to smile. For in comparison, these problems are minor and I am humbled that they bothered me so.

So if you are out there and had a struggle today, thank God that you are alive to struggle. If there are things that have broken or malfunctioned, thank the LORD for all the days that they have not. Maybe, just maybe, there is character being worked in and someone around us needs to see how we handle it. And sometimes – someone will notice and bless you and bring you flowers. 🙂

Lord, thank You for your grace and strength when things don’t go “my way”. Help me to praise You at all times and to have a heart of gratitude.

 

Truthful Tuesday: To Know Him is to Serve Him

Serving and Knowing God

Photo credits from 924jeremiah.wordpress

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Knowing God means we begin to have His heart for His people, particularly the poor and needy.

Scripture of the Day:

Jeremiah 22:16 (NET)

“He upheld the cause of the poor and needy. So things went well for Judah.’ The LORD says, ‘That is a good example of what it means to know me.'”

Righteousness cannot be attained by good works, yet valid faith cannot exist apart from them. The life hidden in Christ is one that seeks to follow after the Spirit, walking in obedience to God, which will undoubtedly involve service to others.

Christ, Who reigns over all, chose a path of humility and service. His followers will do the same. Seeking to understand the real need around Him, Jesus met people where they were at and ministered to the physical and spiritual need of all people.

When we examine ourselves in light of Scripture and the example of Christ, we will always come up short, but that does not mean we replace the standard of Christ. The plumb line of Jesus reveals our desperate need of a Savior and His costly salvation exposes our inability to ever be able to adequately thank Him for His free salvation.

Christ simply asks that we believe and do what we see Him doing – serving others. Knowing God means we begin to have His heart for His people, particularly the poor and needy.

The same things that burden Him become our mission. In His infinite wisdom, God knows we need to serve others. Our flesh is preoccupied with self, while so many unmeet needs surround us. Knowing God makes all the difference in our service to and for our King and is a witness to the world that our God is living and we belong to Him.

The Holy Spirit within provokes us to do righteous deeds – not to earn our way to Heaven, but because we know God and love Him.

Religion can attempt to do the work of God and make great strides in helping people, but it can never achieve inward heart change. Serving others from a relationship with God is not self-motivated by achieving glory for ourselves or securing a spot in heaven, but fueled by a zeal to please God and initiated by the living Holy Spirit within us.

Ultimately, when we are serving God’s people, we are serving Jesus. Our service to our King might be radically different from person to person. One might be poor materially while another might be poor in spirit. Being sensitive to our Master Who instructs us how to serve, we become the beautiful hands and feet of Jesus, affecting His people for eternity. How blessed are the feet who bring good news!

Lord, help us to see where You are working around us and to join You. May our hearts burn with compassion and may we be poured out for Your glory alone.

Mundane Monday: Freedom in Yielding

masterpiece-1

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When we yield to our Creator’s will and plans, we become what we were meant to be.

Scripture of the Day:

Jeremiah 18:4-6

“Now and then there would be something wrong with the pot he was molding from the clay with his hands. So he would rework the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit. 5 Then the LORD said to me, 6 I the LORD, say: “O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.”

My youngest child still loves to play with clay. The delight shown on his face by a new creation made according to his specifications is felt by those around him. The clay responds to his touch and yields to the form the creator is making. If it were made of another material that was less pliable, it could not do so.

So, too, when we yield to our Creator’s will and plans, we become what we were meant to be. But when we fight His working in our lives, we do not rise to our God-given potential.

There are many ways a lump of clay can resist the work of God. We might look the part on the outside, but on the inside we resent the work being done. Instead of yielding, we can inwardly seethe and doubt God’s goodness when we would rather be left alone.

Or perhaps we can compare ourselves to other vessels and wonder why their process of being shaped seems easier. We wonder what the purpose is in it, anyway. It might seem mundane or perhaps cruel, this shaping of our wills in which our flesh has to die so our spirit is made alive.

But when we resist the shaping of our lives because it hurts, we do not recognize that we are in fact harming ourselves. Protecting ourselves from God’s work on our hearts is only impeding the progress He is making. The tools might seem crude or unnecessary, but our loving God sees the complete design. His character is revealed in the fruit of the work He is doing, and His grace is sufficient to enable us during the process.

There is hope in the knowledge that God’s work is always redemptive and for our good. It is in fact in yielding that we taste of the freedom of being a child of God. Free from the shackles of sin, at peace and free to be what He intended in the first place.

The joy my son has in displaying his creation reminds me of the joy of the Father, delighting in His children. He is glorified when we surrender our lives to Him and let Him work in us. Patient perseverance develops us, changing us from the inside out. The end of His labor is a beauty to behold – forever changed into His image, made to be more like Him!

Lord, help us to trust Your working in our lives and to yield to Your purposes, even when they do not make sense to us.

Denise Pass Promo Pic

Denise Pass  •  www.seeingdeep.com  •  www.denisepass.com

Author | Worship Leader | Singer/Songwriter | Speaker

Mundane Monday: The Struggle is Real

struggle_0.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Struggling is an indicator of an ongoing fight – we have not given up. When we keep up the fight of faith and struggle toward righteousness, leaning on God and His word as our light, we are becoming more like Christ, our LORD.

Scripture of the Day:

Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”


Spoken often in jest, we confess with our mouths about the struggle of living in a chaotic world, yet we are often unaware of the real struggle lying underneath. The Prince of the air is busy – constantly striving to steal, kill and destroy. Ignorance is not our friend, no, we perish for our lack of understanding.

Blaming a devil behind every evil is not the answer, but seeing the influence this evil is waging on us and those around us is paramount. This influence might not be as obvious as acts that we see which can be clearly understood. The power of the enemy can be borne out in our thoughts, attitude and behavior.

When we perceive that someone does not like us or we feel negatively toward another person ourselves, these pessimistic thoughts have but one source – the pit of hell. Judgment, shunning, gossip, deceit, superiority, self righteousness, unkind remarks – all have a common root of flesh affected by enveloping darkness. We who are in Christ are given a great gift of recognizing this evil and turning away from it.

Filtering our thoughts and actions through the Bible and prayer instructs us on how to live and how to discern things outside and inside of ourselves. True freedom comes from recognizing that our flesh does not desire conviction but then yielding that flesh to Jesus, anyway.

While we will never arrive on this earth, we can know that Jesus knew we would struggle and He loved us so much that He made a way out. We do not have to be imprisoned by the negative influence all around us, but can cry out to God for understanding and choose to obey Him, instead.

Even though the struggle is indeed real, whether or not we perceive it, we are not without hope. Struggling is an indicator of an ongoing fight – we have not given up. When we keep up the fight of faith and struggle toward righteousness, leaning on God and His word as our light, we are becoming more like Christ, our LORD.

Jesus, thank You for opening our eyes to see sin in our own lives. When we see demonic influence in other people’s lives, help us to pray for them and not judge them. Help us to examine ourselves for worldly influence that we might be a faithful witness for You – testifying and living for Your glory alone!

Denise Pass Promo Pic Denise Pass – Seeing Deep Ministries – http://www.seeingdeep.com

 

Author | Singer/Songwriter | Worship Leader

Thoughtful Thursday: Shameless Promotion

Shameless self promotion.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Judge the content, not the cover.

Scripture of the Day:

Mark 8:38

“For if anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”


In an age where social media is booming with messages all vying for our attention, the motivation for such massive propaganda should be considered.

What drives a person to want to post incessantly? The many platforms for engaging socially on the internet are dizzying. The vain pursuit of following and unfollowing that some partake in to increase “followers” of themselves is superficial if it is void of relationship and has no eternal merit, if not for the Messiah. So, should we engage in it at all?

Knowledge is increasing substantially in the last days. If we want to reach this generation, we have got to be able to communicate where they are at. There are dangers and many pitfalls in putting yourself out there, but just as Christ went to where the tax gatherers were to lead them to Christ, we, too, have got to go where the people are and live our lives for His glory.

As ambassadors for Christ, we put forward His message. We can’t use his picture, but in a visual world that looks on the outward, people are curious to see who it is that is speaking. It is in that moment that how we live and who we point to that makes all the difference in the world.

There are so many unwritten rules that surround the social media world. Self promotion (gasp) can be assumed if you put messages out there with your name, business or ministry. But when our identity is in Christ and we are propagating His truth, it is not self promotion but God glorification. It could be the very message a soul desperately needs to hear that we type and send out into virtual space.

When people see the weak vessel pointing to the One Who is greater, it gives them pause to praise. Not because the person is superhuman, but because that person admits their need for a Savior and proudly associates him or herself with Christ.

So, then, what is the purpose of gaining more followers? Influence. To share the love of Christ with as many as possible with the message that God has placed in our hearts. Our personal experience with Him is not about us, but about what God can do with messes.

Judge the content, not the cover. The outside fades away, but the inside lives on forever. If the message is all about God and testimonies of what He has done, then we should get behind and encourage such a message. Don’t worry about who is following who or trying to look like we are more than we are. It is not a popularity contest but an opportunity to put Gospel content out to an ever-growing audience that is being pummeled with deceptive and truthful messages, trying to discern what is life. Be the voice for Jesus. Anyone following us is ultimately following Him.

When we consider all of the people out there spreading messages, encouraging godly content is essential. We need to be the light of the world called to share the Gospel. If we shrink back and are ashamed for fear of man’s judgment, untold numbers of people will never hear the message he placed in our heart. Jesus is looking for real “followers” who don’t just subscribe as followers, but live out His message for the world to see.

Lord, thank You for every opportunity we have to spread Your fame. Help us to be faithful witnesses, wise and pure, proclaiming Your great salvation – for You are worthy!

 

Thoughtful Thursday: Idle Idolatry

idle idolatry.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When it seems God is absent or far off, His answer and presence might be closer than we realize.

Scripture of the Day:

Exodus 32:4-6

“He accepted the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molten calf. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt. 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow will be a feast to the LORD. 6 So they got up early on the next day and offered up burnt offerings and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.”

Moses was missing in action. Gone too long on a mission by God, or so the Israelites felt. Forty days in the presence of God, thunder on the mountain, the God who parted the Red Sea – and the people asked for another god.

When the cat’s away the mice will play. Idle lives focused on their entertainment rather than on pleasing God was the stumbling block that began their campaign of idolatry. Coupled with impatience, the people of God ached to fill their emptiness with something greater. They did not want to have to wait. Their solution seemed religious enough – they were going to worship, after all. Sure, it was a “god” that was handmade by Aaron their leader from the jewelry they had worn just a few minutes earlier, but it gave them purpose and filled the empty spot in their souls that cried out to worship the living God.

What a sad account. Not just because God’s people accepted a counterfeit for their God who had just rescued them, but also because a man of God who was their leader – enabled them. Aaron was the one who would hold Moses’ hands up to lead Israel to victory. He was the very voice of Moses when Moses felt too fearful to speak. But when Moses was absent, Aaron quickly turned away from God and gave the people what they wanted – even though it would ultimately lead to many of their deaths.

In the times when it seems God is absent or far off, His answer and presence might be closer than we realize. The Israelites did not want to be disciplined and wait. They wanted to play. God saw what they were doing, anyway.

We are not unlike the Israelites. Busy, distracted, absorbed in modern technology, we have many options for idle time spend with modern idols. At the moment of our compromise, in His mercy, God shows us our sin so we will be freed from our idolatry and come back to Him. Even though idols can have a strong appeal, God’s grace is greater than our weakness and He longs to set us free.

Our response in the moment of our sin being exposed makes all the difference. Aaron said a calf “popped” out of the fire when his sin was revealed. Wow. Add a big fat lie on top of the grievous sin is not the way to forgiveness. When the scales fall off our eyes and we become aware of our sin, concealing our sins will not hide them from the eyes of God or heal our waywardness. God welcomes us to lay down our idols at His feet and to worship the only One of worth – Himself.

No substitute could ever replace you, God. Keep us from useless idols and keep our hearts near to You.

Denise Pass, Worship Leader/Songwriter/Artist/Author

 

Truthful Tuesday: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

respect

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When we understand that we are all on equal footing, respect is a natural default for how we treat others.

Scripture of the Day:

Isaiah 66:2

“My hand made them; that is how they came to be,” says the LORD. “I show special favor to the humble and contrite, who respect what I have to say.”

1 Peter 2:17

“Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king.”

Respect is almost a dirty word today. No one wants to be humbled, yet it is the truly humble that God elevates. When we recognize that anything good in us is truly God alone, we cannot view anyone else as less than ourselves.

Treating one another respectfully is a beautiful response of love to those we value. It is saying, “you are valuable and worthy”. We each have worth before God because He chose each one of us and died for us.

Respect does not demand or expect that others treat us a certain way; instead it views others through God’s lens, each one precious and unique.

The loving system of authority God set in place was not just so youths had to respect their elders, but so their could be loving guidance, trust and care in a special relationship. Marriage is not just about a wife respecting her husband, and employment is not just about an employee just respecting their boss. In all these examples, both mutually respect one another. In this way, God is glorified and each person is encouraged and built up in Christ.

Paul said it beautifully in 1 Corinthians 12:23-24, “and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity, 24 but our presentable members do not need this. Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member.”

When we consider how we have been treated unfairly by others, remembering that Christ loved people who hated Him. The Ruler of all the earth, He chose to stoop and wash our feet though He was King of Kings and we should have bowed down before Him.

Lord, thank you for modeling perfect humility. Help us to remember the undeserved grace You have so abundantly given us so we can extend Your grace to others.