Stepping Out of the Boat – AGAIN

Photo Credits quoteko.com

Photo Credits
quoteko.com

Matthew 14:28-30

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Joshua 1:9

“I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do.”

Standing in the midst of an assembly of people all worshiping the LORD, the speaker’s eyes caught mine.  “Young lady, please come up here.  The LORD has a message for you”.  Twenty-six years ago as a new Christian, I was unsure of what was about to happen.  God had called me through a prophetic message given to me in a dream when I was a little girl.  I do not know why, in His mercy, He chose me, but I know I cannot cease praising Him for His mercy.  At this moment, in front of all these people, I was singled out and a music ministry was spoken over me.  I would be singing and playing keyboard on stage.

Funny thing was, I really was not a pianist at the time and did not seek to be in front of people.  In fact, I played the mini-tuba, puffing my cheeks and pulled the music stand just high enough so no one could see anything but my eyes.  I liked it that way.  An introvert by nature, why on earth would the LORD want to use me in front of people?

Within weeks of that prophesy, I was asked to play keyboard and sing on a worship team of a church plant.  “What?”  “Me?” There were far more talented people – extroverted people with charismatic personalities.  Uncomfortable as I was, I could not deny that the LORD has begun to pour songs into my spirit and I was suddenly writing music, singing and playing piano – something I had not had the ability to do before.

When God calls you to something, it is not always fully realized until a much later date. The Israelites would wander 40 years until they got to the promised land.  Joseph would ultimately see his prophesy come to pass, but not before many side roads that did not seem to be of God.  Abraham had to wait until he was 100 to finally gaze upon his promised son. Who says that when God calls you it will be fulfilled right away?  Not this girl – not this girl.

My music ministry has seen some interesting twists and turns.  Confirmation again and again, despite setbacks.  Winner of the “Do Good” ministry award (2000), chosen to be on The Spirit Radio Compilation CD (2001), radio play from both CDs, (2001, 2007), Inspirational album of the year (2006), first place IMMA Christian Contemporary Artist on “An Evening with Champions” television show (2007), an artist with Mission of Mercy helping sponsor children, a worship leader on staff and as a volunteer in several churches.  In the midst of all of these things was the greatest calling and delight of my life – raising my children, home educating them and discipling them.

But all the external validations are not what meant the most to me in ministry.  Seeing people encouraged and the opportunity to share God’s amazing, awesome goodness to help others keep putting one foot in front of the other and to know the One true God – brought me far more joy than any award ever could.  Seeing my children get a heart for missions and ministry by being a part of the process – priceless.

At the height of ministry, horror and trauma impacted my family and I set aside formal ministry.  My attention was where it needed to be – with my children.  Over the years, I have wondered if that calling was over or if God was not through with me yet.  I have battled with self-doubt and a variety of reasons why I should just give up, but inside me is an insatiable calling that I can no longer deny.  When I sing and write music, or I write or speak about my LORD, I sense His pleasure.  (Sure, this is a line borrowed from one of my favorite films, “Chariots of Fire”, but it so well describes the confirmation in my soul of this calling).

I am humbled and excited to share with you all that I am officially stepping out of the boat and going to step back into formal ministry.  So here it is, the eve before I officially begin the process of recording my next CD and step back into a calling that was interrupted by tragedy, but not forgotten.  It is hard to express the feelings in the depths of my soul.  At New Life Community Church in Louisa, VA tomorrow (Sunday), I will be sharing personal testimony and announcing the recording of a new 5-song EP to be produced by Shay Watson and released this summer.

We are launching a Pledge Campaign TOMORROW on 2/1/15 and invite you to partner with us. Be a part of the creative process by pre-buying music, donating or participating in exclusive offers on our campaign website. Please visit www.pledgemusic.com/projects/seeingdeep and come with me on this faith walk.  Learn more about the Seeing Deep project and join us in this adventure. Thank you all so much!!

Blessed and Amazed,
Denise Pass | Seeing Deep

Worshipful Wednesday: Freedom and The Favor of God

Photo Credits thespiritscience.net

Photo Credits
thespiritscience.net

Psalm 3:1-8

Lord, how numerous are my enemies!  Many attack me. 2 Many say about me, “God will not deliver him.” (Selah) 3 But you, Lord, are a shield that protects me; you are my glory and the one who restores me. 4 To the Lord I cried out, and he answered me from his holy hill(Selah5 I rested and sleptI awokefor the Lord protects me6 I am not afraid of the multitude of people who attack me from all directions. 7 Rise up, LordDeliver me, my GodYesyou will strike all my enemies on the jawyou will break the teeth of the wicked. 8 The Lord delivers; you show favor to your people(Selah)

Psalm 4:1-3, 6-8

1 When I call out, answer me, O God who vindicates me! Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place.  Have mercy on me and respond to my prayer2 You menhow long will you try to turn my honor into shameHow long will you love what is worthless and search for what is deceptive? (Selah3 Realize that the Lord shows the godly special favor; the Lord responds when I cry out to him6 Many say, “Who can show us anything good?” Smile upon us, Lord! 7 You make me happier than those who have abundant grain and wine. 8 I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure.

David was fleeing for his life from his own son when he wrote this Psalm.  In a moment he, though he was King, lost the freedom He had.  When we consider all he had to go through prior to becoming King, the thought of returning to a similar state of hiding out in caves I am sure evoked thoughts of horror.  Once he had tasted of persecution and had the resulting freedom, he probably never anticipated going through it all again.  But there it was.  And from his own flesh and blood.

There is a war on freedom today, felt as far away as Syria and as near as a neighboring county.  Sometimes from strangers, sometimes from family and sometimes from those in authority.  The familiar struggle for power from the enemy of our souls is wrought upon those he would seek to control.  In particular among all of the freedoms we earn (not given), freedom of religion is perhaps chief among the freedoms that are the most difficult to maintain.

We dare not grow apathetic about our brothers and sisters who fight for their lives because of what they believe.  Nor can we disregard when basic freedoms threaten to be removed in our own country, county, city or town because of someone’s misinterpretation (ill-conceived or in ignorance) of the law.

Such was the case last night when the freedom to home educate children under the religious exemption statute in Virginia was being threatened.  I do not ever recall feeling more proud of home schoolers and fellow citizens than last night, seeing sincere mothers, fathers, children, citizens – speaking up for freedom, even though it might not have been their own freedom they fought for.

There is something inherently wrong about individuals or organizations thinking they have the right to come into someone’s home and tell a parent or a child what they should believe or what educational choice they should make for their child.  But last night, freedom won. Common sense won.  All present had the opportunity of seeing democracy fleshed out and felt the very amazing, patriotic feeling of seeing freedom being reinstated.  Much like those who first came to this country for the very same reason – freedom to worship their God and live before him in accordance with their convictions without interference – witnesses of last night’s debate once again thanked God for the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

A funny thing happens when basic freedom of religion is threatened.  God’s people cry out.  God hears.  People who had formerly forgotten that the freedoms gained must be maintained, suddenly ignite with a sense of purpose.  The joy felt when justice is given and the favor of God is apparent is indescribable.  Sometimes we have to almost lose a freedom to appreciate it all the more and recognize the favor of God that is upon us when we walk in accordance to His Word. Although I am certain my friends would have preferred not to undergo the persecution and threats they suffered, the result ended up in God receiving glory and their freedoms cherished by many.

Lord, help us to not take for granted the freedom we have to worship You.  May we cry out to You and see once again Your favor on our land, one nation under God.