Worshipful Wednesday: Worthy of Worship, part II

He is beyond full comprehension yet invites us to know Him. (1)

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

For this is what we were made for – to tell of His worth. What makes God worthy of worship to You? 

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 93:1-5
1″The LORD reigns! He is robed in majesty, the LORD is robed, he wears strength around his waist. Indeed, the world is established, it cannot be moved. 2 Your throne has been secure from ancient times; you have always been king. 3 The waves roar, O LORD, the waves roar, the waves roar and crash. 4 Above the sound of the surging water, and the mighty waves of the sea, the LORD sits enthroned in majesty. 5 The rules you set down are completely reliable. Holiness aptly adorns your house, O LORD, forever.”

Last week I was trying to put the finishing touches on a new worship song, “You Are Worthy” and today as I am driving home after three days recording in Nashville, I am completely lost in the idea of just how worthy our great God is.

I cannot wait for you to hear the song – it challenged me to sing more passionately than I have before, when I considered just how awesome our God is. The verses above were a part of my bible reading plan today – how fitting.

This great God who commands armies and rules over the entire earth has always been King. No one appointed him as such. He is beyond full comprehension yet invites us to know Him. He is the highest King of kings, yet He chose to be a poor servant and to die a sinner’s death. He chose to be our Redeemer before we ever were.

As I sat with the amazingly talented co-writers this week trying to convey God’s worth, I felt His worth more than I had before. Aching to write what was in my heart, God showed me that this ache to know Him more is never fully quenched. The longing in my heart begins to give me a glimmer of what it is going to be like when we are fully in His presence in Heaven, worshipping Him. For this is what we were made for – to tell of His worth.

As the lyrics were penned and I considered each word as it relates to why God is so deserving of my worship, new revelation came and things I had taken for granted before were now new opportunities to worship Him.

He longs to be our Deliverer, to show Himself strong on our behalf. To this soul, He saw me in shame, unloved and broken – and gave me a new name.

It seems only fitting to close today with an opportunity for you to join in on the worship – how about you – what makes God worthy of worship to You?

Oh God, You are great and greatly to be praised! I worship You, my Lord and Savior! Be glorified in me and in this world! We long for you, our worthy One!

 

Truthful Tuesday: Worthy of Worship

A casual acquaintance with God cannot reveal the deeper things of God. and play

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

A casual acquaintance with God cannot reveal the deeper things of God.

Scripture of the Day:

2 Samuel 7:18, 23-26

18 “King David went in, sat before the LORD, and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? 23 Who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation on the earth? Their God went to claim a nation for himself and to make a name for himself! You did great and awesome acts for your land, before your people whom you delivered for yourself from the Egyptian empire and its gods. 24 You made Israel your very own people for all time. You, O LORD, became their God. 25 So now, O LORD God, make this promise you have made about your servant and his family a permanent reality. Do as you promised, 26 so you may gain lasting fame, as people say, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel!’ The dynasty of your servant David will be established before you.


Dwelling on the truth of who God is overwhelms us but brings us to a new revelation where we can know Him more. I was wrecked again this morning, finishing a worship song in the wee hours. What a glorious moment it is, seeking Him and finding Him. But it costs to get there.

Writing songs, blog posts and now a book comes from a place of deeper worship. A casual acquaintance with God cannot reveal the deeper things of God. But we often still try to achieve relationship apart from it. Our flesh just flat out resists God’s presence. Silly us. But our graceful God draws us back to Himself, anyway. So patient, so faithful.

In this new song I have been agonizing how to convey how worthy God is. I know it sounds common – we all have probably said that God is worthy at some point. But have we meant it? Have we understood fully the worth that is truly due His Holy, mighty Name?

Although I sincerely worshiped Him this morning and hopefully reached my goal of provoking others to pause in awe of God’s worth, in reality I know I have only scratched the surface.

His greatness cannot be confined on a page or contained in a lyric. His Holiness impossible to accurately convey, who can reveal God’s splendor that we might adore Him fully?

Contemplating what was meant by “Lord of hosts”, I melted into wonder and joy. Our self-existent God Who needs no one or no thing chose to call Himself a Redeemer. Who would redeem enemies who don’t recognize your worth or the magnitude of your sacrifice –  God slaying Himself for our gain? Oh God, I am undone.

He is the universal Ruler over every force – all the Hosts of Heaven and everything underneath. Why would he notice me? That’s just Who He is. All good. Selfless. Gracious. Forgiving. Lover and Healer of our souls. Worthy of worship.

Lord, I worship You. You are too great for my mind to fully grasp, but I worship You, nonetheless. You are our awesome, Holy, most gracious God. You are worthy.

 

 

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.

Thoughtful Thursday: Treasured Treasure

treasure

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Something might not have even been precious to us previously, but the absence of it makes its value increase exponentially.

Scriptures of the Day:

Proverb 2:1-5

“My child, if you receive my words, and store up my commands within you, by making your ear attentive to wisdom, and by turning your heart to understanding, indeed, if you call out for discernment – raise your voice for understanding –if you seek it like silver, and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand how to fear the Lord, and you will discover knowledge about God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up effective counsel for the upright, and is like a shield for those who live with integrity, 8 to guard the paths of the righteous and to protect the way of his pious ones. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity – every good way. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and moral knowledge will be attractive to you. 11 Discretion will protect you, understanding will guard you, 12 to deliver you from the way of the wicked, from those speaking perversity.”

The thrill of the hunt is the height of our pursuit, until we find that precious treasure we were hunting for. Once we have found what our hearts longed for, we have peace and satisfaction – until another treasure calls our name.

When we lose something dear to us or something we needed to function in this life, everything else suddenly pales until we find that thing. It might not have even been precious to us previously, but the absence of it makes its value increase exponentially. It is in this moment of revelation that we are grateful and realize we took for granted the treasure we had.

With each each quest for treasure is a burning need for what we are searching for and at the same time a sense of our status of being unworthy of receiving the gift of the treasure in the first place.

If life is about going on one treasure hunt after another and never being fully satisfied with that treasure once we find it, then it is in vain that we pursue such a temporary pleasure, yet an inward craving for something more urges us on.

But there is a lasting treasure that calls out to those who will listen. It’s jewels never fade and the treasure hunter never ceases to discover new beauty within the treasure trove. It is the treasury of wisdom.

For me there is a delight in learning. The discovery of knowledge that was before hidden from my understanding is a delight to my soul. But it does not compare to the sheer ecstatic joy I feel when reading God’s word and the inward burning in my soul imparting truth deep in my heart.

Some walk right past wisdom and don’t recognize its value. Walking in His wisdom, we understand our purpose on this earth and don’t waste our days with temporary treasures. When we don’t understand, wisdom teaches us the value of fearing God so we live in a way that pleases Him. Everything is suddenly viewed through the lens of God’s perspective. When this crazy world tries to distract us, wisdom guides us to God’s deeper purposes and sets our hearts at ease.

This insight from God’s word is not just knowledge stuck on a shelf. It is our very life and a constant companion in all of life. Understanding the God of this universe is the highest treasure we could ever receive – even if it is only in part, for His vastness is far superior to any learning we could ever obtain and there is no end to the limitless wisdom of God.

Lord, thank You for the treasure of You. Help us to chase after You and never tire of seeking You. You are beautiful and our heart’s desire.

Denise Pass Promo Pic Denise Pass | Author | Singer/Songwriter | Speaker

http://www.seeingdeep.com | http://www.denisepass.com

Truthful Tuesday: Steward of Grace

Stewards of grace

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our unique voice reaches exactly who we are called to.

Scripture of the Day:

Ephesians 3:1-4, 17-19

1 “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles 2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that by revelation the divine secret was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly.4 When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret of Christ. 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, 18 you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

Blind to the ways of God, we are desperate for our God to have mercy on us. When we cry out and ask Jesus to save us, it is in that place that we are then given a trust – the LORD opens our eyes to see and understand His great salvation.

But how do we steward this undeserved grace? We are called to nurture our faith and to give it away, to invest what we have learned in the lives of others. But more than that, to search His precious Word and seek to know and understand Him more.

 

A steward must prove faithful and not take for granted the great gift he is given. There is no credit on our behalf, for all that we have was freely given to us. Instead, the steward seeks to magnify the One Who owns what we are stewarding.

In our desire to fulfill the position of steward, we cannot lose sight of the Kingdom purposes and our role of bringing people to meet Christ. We are just empty vessels filled to overflowing, and God has desired us to play a part.

Each of us will have different gifts and callings that we are held accountable to and they cannot be compared, but our unique voice reaches exactly who we are called to.

Lord, thank You for calling us and entrusting Your great salvation to us to share with Your people. Help us to be faithful stewards, all for Your glory.

Denise Pass Promo PicDenise Pass | Author | Artist | Speaker | Worship Leader

http://www.seeingdeep.com | http://www.denisepass.com

Fickle Friday: Endless Pursuit

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Even though our work on earth is temporal, that which is done in the spirit lasts forever.

Scripture of the day:

2 Corinthians 1:17

“Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?”

We have a lot of goals that we pursue, but any purpose that is attempted in the flesh will ultimately fail – even if it appears to be successful according to the world’s standards.

Our desires change and fluctuate moment by moment. That’s just our nature. As Solomon questioned all the activity underneath the sun, he wondered what really mattered. Even though our work on earth is temporal, that which is done in the spirit lasts forever.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results, I think we would all qualify.  So many resolutions offered your after year with few ultimately accomplished.

Wow. I really sound like a downer. We certainly never should cease trying to be more like Christ and working toward goals that he puts on our hearts.  It is the vain pursuit of success apart from His leading that is a futile effort, even if we achieve our objective.

Sometimes when God calls us to do something, it will take a lot of effort and tenacity. But when we know that He has placed a vision on our heart, we cannot deviate or vacillate from it.

Our double-minded, fickle nature makes it a challenge to discern between pursuits that don’t matter and ones we were destined for.  But in our weakness he is strong.  He knows we are flesh and His grace is greater.

Lord, help us to know your will for this life and to be faithful to that calling all for your glory.

Denise Pass | Seeing Deep

 

Worshipful Wednesday: Our Strength

the-lord-is-my-strength-text

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The admission of our inability is the beginning of our ability in Christ.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 59:9-10

“You are my source of strength! I will wait for you! For God is my refuge. 10 The God who loves me will help me; God will enable me to triumph over my enemies. 17 You are my source of strength! I will sing praises to You! For God is my refuge, the God who loves me.

When my heart is overwhelmed like the Psalmist’s, I have learned to look to the Rock, Who is higher than I. He is not surprised by our weakness or the new storm swirling about us. He is waiting to hear and answer, for He is glorified in our weaknesses when we recognize our need of Him.

In the past, I sought God for strength but did not understand that I needed to wait on Him. This required more patience than I wanted to give in the moment, but when I have truly rested before Him and sought His strength, I have been empowered on high.

The admission of our inability is the beginning of our ability in Christ.

Whatever the strength we need – strength to walk faithfully with God, strength to handle emotional upheaval, hardships or the greatest sorrows – in all these, how amazing to consider that the Almighty God of the universe – stronger than anyone else, notices us. Even more amazing – this God loves us and Scripture says He WILL enable us. It is a promise for those who wait on Him. We, small creations of the Most High God, who were once His enemies, can call on Him at any time and get strength!

How do we access this strength? Singing and waiting. As a worship leader, I really like the singing part. 🙂 There is a component of faith as we approach God and ask Him to take what is too big for us. But even where we lack faith, we can ask and He will give liberally.

Lord, thank You for being our source of strength. Help us to always run to You when we are weary and weak. You are enough and we worship You, our strong God!

Worshipful Wednesday: Our Generous God

God is generous

1 Corinthians 1:5-7

For you were made rich in every way in him, in all your speech and in every kind of knowledge– 6 just as the testimony about Christ has been confirmed among you– 7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 25:14

“The LORD’s loyal followers receive his guidance, and he reveals his covenantal demands to them.”

We worry about provision in a world system that requires payment for everything. Yet God says that if he takes care of the grass, flowers and a small sparrow, He will provide for us, too. Trouble is, flowers don’t spend well in our economical system and sometimes we don’t know how God is going to do it, but He always comes through.

His provision is vastly more than we could ever imagine and lasts for all eternity. What kind of God is that? The richest person in the world according to the world’s riches could not compare with the riches God has for those Who would call upon His name and be saved.

We were (past tense) made rich in EVERY way – but it might not always appear to be the case. Man looks at the outward, but inwardly God is at work in amazing ways. We received everything we needed when we were saved, but sometimes we do not perceive it.

When my kids were little, I wanted to instill in them a love of learning.  I wanted them to treasure knowledge and wisdom, for wisdom opens our eyes to see the truth, and knowing God and His truth is the greatest gift of all.  When other kids were getting electronics, my kids got books. When I would come back from Homeschooling convention, they would run up to me and wonder what devotion or new journal I got them.  I pray that sticks with them their whole lives through.  Knowing God is our greatest treasure.

When we don’t understand, we can come to Him and He will generously give us wisdom without finding fault. When we lack faith, we can run to His Word and to Him and He will give us hope.  When we are weak, we can cry out to Him and He will strengthen us. When we are depressed, He gives us the gift of joy.  When we are hurt, He comfort us. Once again we come back to the word, “relationship”.  Access to these precious gifts He has bestowed is given when we come to Him and He does not withhold.

Lord, thank You for giving us everything we need, and most importantly – the gift of Yourself and Your only Son.  Help us to be a grateful people, recognizing your generous provision for your children.

Mundane Monday: Imitation Invitation

imitation.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Copying someone worthwhile is one of the most worthy investments we can make.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Corinthians 11:1

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

Philippians 3:17

“Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.”

1 Thessalonians 1:6

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 4:16

“Therefore I urge you to imitate me.”

“Mom, he is copying me again!  He is eating the same thing I am!”  What a crime, right? Why is our flesh bugged when someone wants to do the same thing we do? Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, but maybe to some people it is just being competitive.

Name brands and generic brands vie for the same consumer. The imitation brand might not be the same quality, but it serves the same purpose.

Doing the same thing over and over again is B-O-R-I-N-G, yet the consistency gives a stability and a peace.  We know what to expect. The disciplines of the Christian life are precious tools that help us to walk faithfully before God.

When Paul told the believers to imitate him, he was not talking about his style, preferences or food choices.  Each one of us is uniquely gifted from one another and we are not mean to be carbon copies.  Paul was talking about us following his passion and love for Christ and His service for the Kingdom of God.

Asking someone to emulate us is humbling.  Not one of us is perfect, but Paul knew that. He did not allow his weaknesses to disqualify him – he boasted in them, for then God received all the glory.

We are who we surround ourselves with. People can influence us and we can influence them.  Imitating excellence is one step closer to greatness, just as mindlessly following bad examples brings us down. We are either impacted by the culture around us or affecting our culture for Christ.

It might be easy to follow someone if they seem blessed, but following an example of suffering is another matter entirely. There Paul sat in chains, appealing to us to follow him. Seems crazy at first, until we see things beyond the surface.  Sometimes walking with Christ will bring persecution, but the treasures we gain in the midst are priceless.

When Paul was inviting us to imitate Him, He was inviting us to die. Sweet death that brings true living, though. To follow after and hunger after God is one of the hardest things we will do.  We have to resist the flesh and seek to do what is completely contrary to it. God help us to be mindful of who and what we are following – our decisions today may very well affect all of eternity.

Lord, help us to seek to be like You. When the world tries to lure us to be comfortable and apathetic, help us to never grow weary in well doing – for is due time we will reap a harvest.

Truthful Tuesday: Bitter or Better

Bitter-or-Better.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Bitterness blinds us to the truth.

Scripture of the Day:

Ruth 1:21

“I left here full, but the LORD has caused me to return empty-handed. Why do you call me ‘Naomi,’ seeing that the LORD has opposed me, and the Sovereign One has caused me to suffer?”

Proverbs 19:3

“A person’s folly subverts his way, and his heart rages against the Lord.”

One thing you can say about Naomi – she did not pull any punches.  She was going to tell it to you like it was.  No sugar coating needed.  But perhaps her recounting of the story was not true, after all.

Sure, Naomi told the truth about how she felt, but her description of God was affected by those bitter emotions.  

Naomi felt that God opposed her.  Such an admission revealed a distrust of God.  Was He still the good God who blessed her in Jerusalem?  Was He still faithful in the famine? Or is faithfulness dependent upon us always being what we perceive as “blessed”?

Scripture says that God does oppose the proud, but it also says to endure all hardship as discipline from a loving Father. It is difficult to feel loved when we suffer. We wonder why a good God would allow pain when he is All-powerful and able to remove our sorrows.

I remember bowing down and crying out to God when I lost my baby.  I did not understand, until I came to God.  There in His Word was a precious promise.  He loved me, and “in His faithfulness He afflicts those He loves”.  I had to sing a song in a wedding the next day that mentioned a baby’s heart beating.  I had just watched my baby’s heartbeat stop beating the day before on an ultrasound.  Why would circumstances have to collide in such a fashion?

Beautiful brokenness brought me closer to my God and somehow the veil was lifted and a glimpse at the mystery of suffering with God was a moment of Holiness I will never forget.

I did not just worship God when I was healthy and blessed.  I now knew my God in a deeper way and trusted Him, even though, like Job, it seemed that He slayed me.  He did.  A part of my flesh was crucified that day and what rose was a soul comforted by the living God.

The former presumption that I only deserved blessing now humbled me. The feeling of betrayal and hurt was replaced by a daughter of the King who ruled her emotions and laid them at Her Master’s feet.  Trusting that His plan was best instead of mine – set me free to have a living faith in the One Who knows and sees all.

A surface relationship with God views His permitting of suffering as proof that His character is questionable.  But when we walk in the deep waters with God, our perspective changes and we realize that a relationship with God is during times of blessing and famine.  Sunshine Christianity, worshiping God only when He allows no pain in our lives is not true Christianity.  Carrying our cross and glorifying Him in the midst?  Priceless.

In the end, Naomi was not forgotten by God and was blessed again.  We can’t see the end, but how precious it is to trust in Jesus even in the rain.

Lord, thank You that You allow any blessings at all in our lives.  Thank You for Your mercy and kindness.  Help us to overflow to others around us with the healing You have given.