Finding Our Identity in the Nativity

Copy of SD Blog 12-2-19

Acts 17:27-28 (NLT)

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”

We were made for another world and have lost our identity. But God has a secret . . . our identities can be found again.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 years ago a decision was made to leave perfection, to leave a God who loved us and to leave an identity in Him. As time went on, God’s people pursued idol after idol trying to fix the desperate need in their souls to find their identity again.

And today people are still on a search for this sense of completeness. Lost in a world with seemingly never-ending options, none of it fulfills us because our Designer made us for Himself, not for temporary things that perish. And the idols and fake identities we choose don’t satisfy. They are merely creations themselves from fallen man.

Two thousand years ago a baby was born, a God-man, to save our souls and restore what had been lost in the Garden. This baby came to give us an identity in Him that we forfeited when we opted for a fallen, broken identity instead.

Those who had ears to hear and eyes to see understood that they could not save themselves and that no identity and nothing in this world could. Still, many did not accept this free gift of salvation and continued the futile search for life in nonliving things, or in people, relationships, achievements, roles, positions to fill this ache in their souls.

And here we are today. Nothing new underneath the sun. Maybe a little more updated, but the struggle is the same. Man searches to be his own God, to find his identity apart from God, and yet he was made in the image of God.

We don’t recognize that the identity theft on the rise today that we bemoan is also happening to our souls. An identity theft that reaches further than our wallet, to our souls. That place where man tries to find that place of peace and fulfillment apart from His Creator.

Still, our Savior came and He is coming again. Will we see what He accomplished in the Nativity? What His birth did for us and how it relates to our identity?

The enemy of our souls is the author of confusion. If he can confuse our identity, we remain preoccupied with self and miss out on a relationship with God and His purposes for our life. Understanding our identity is important. We need to understand who and whose we are to live a fruitful life in Christ. Confusion happens when we don’t have a right understanding of our identity in Christ.

Identity confusion is even causing people to try and choose their identity. Some are confused about their gender, something that truly there is no confusion about. God made two genders. No in between, no confusion:

Genesis 1:27 ESV,

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

While others try to choose an identity from another race or another age. This is foolishness. God made us in His identity, in His image. We are children of God, if we have accepted His free gift:

John 1:12 (ESV)

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Made in His image, this image was broken because of the sins of Adam and Eve:

Genesis 5:1-3 (ESV)

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

But the birth of Christ restores what sin took away. Christ is the second Adam, sinless, who lived a sinless life so He could pay for our sins and then give us back our rightful identity as a child of God, once again.

1 Corinthians 15:22 (NLT)

“Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.”

Read More button

The Gift that Never Stops Giving

retiro-de-yoga-en-ibiza

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Joy from a gift given is temporary, but the joy from the gift of God lasts forever.

Scripture of the Day

1 Peter 1:8-9

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 

So, what did you get for Christmas? Did the longing for the gift equal the satisfaction you hoped it would bring? The joy from every gift is temporal, but not the joy of the LORD.

Throughout the day I have been thinking of you, friends who have chosen to stop in here for a moment each day to hopefully be refreshed as you press on to know God more. Writing this blog has been one of the greatest joys in my walk with God, and I thank you so much for joining me on this quest to go deeper with God.

As I thought about what I would say to you on Christmas day, “Merry Christmas” could not adequately express the greeting I wished to give. It feels a little “surfacey” for a blog that seeks to go deep.

Frankly, we don’t use the word “merry” all year long except for when Christmas rolls around, and it is a somewhat antiquated term. So, what is meant by this term?

A search on Google yielded these results: “cheerful, cheery, in high spirits, high-spirited, bright, sunny, smiling, lighthearted, buoyant, lively, carefree, without a care in the world, joyful, joyous, jolly, convivial, festive, mirthful, gleeful, happy, glad, laughing.”

Thing is, if we have lived long enough in the world we know about tragic events as have unfolded in this fallen world as well as in the life of my church in the past two weeks – two young lives tragically lost, a week apart, due to merely curving off the road and hitting a tree. Young children diagnosed with cancer. Spouses being unfaithful and breaking one another’s hearts.

How can simply saying, “Merry Christmas” bring the joy we hope it will? It can’t. A day can also not extinguish the hardships this life brings.But the message behind the term “Merry Christmas” is life-changing and brings a joy that nothing in this world can ever take away.

The gifts God gives us are temporary, as is this life, but the gift of His salvation never ever fades away. A secret joy is stirred in our souls that covers all the disappointments a fallen world brings. This life with all of its blessings and burdens was never supposed to be our joy. He is. His word, His Spirit are an ever-present joy to those who have learned to abide.

So, I wish you a Joy-filled Christmas and life, friends. When the floor beneath your feet is unstable and your heart longs for the pain just to stop, there is a joyful refuge we can run to, and it was revealed on what we now celebrate as Christmas. This joy, this gift, is not just on Christmas day. Jesus is ours forever.

Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Son. May we walk in the joy of the LORD every day of our lives, cognizant of Your sacrifice and love for us.

A Gift of Joy

he-came-to-give-us-joy

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It is in our worship of Him that we find our joy is complete.

Scripture of the Day:

John 15:11

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Christmas is almost here and parents all over are wondering if what they have done, what they have given, is enough. While it is easy to get caught up in the busyness of preparations, in the stillness of the night we can still hear a baby’s cry if we listen.

The cry of our Savior pierced the night as He entered this world to give all that He had. A cry that spoke volumes to the reality of our dire need and His extravagant gift. God in the flesh, the only answer for our bankrupt souls, came to bring us the gift of salvation for all of eternity – a gift that never fades – and He came to give us JOY.

Our culture can distract us from this original message of Christmas, but deep within if we will pause and consider the point of all our purchases and planning, it is ultimately to remember our God’s sacrificial gift with great joy.

This contemplation is medicine for my soul today. I confess to a meltdown yesterday. The combination of the busyness of the season, demands of my schedule, shepherding my precious ones through their college finals and school sometimes is more than I can bear.

As a parent, you want to give everything to your children, but you realize that is not what they need. They need us – and sometimes what they need is not what we want to give – instruction that is not well received.

It is in these moments that I think on what my Savior gave. His people did not understand their need, nor realize the gravity of such a gift. Still God came and He gave. He did not look to see if we were appreciative of the gift, but it is in our worship of Him that we find our joy is complete.

Come and worship our Savior with me. No matter what is stressing you out, grieving or burdening your soul, He is enough and we find our joy when we do what we were made to do – worship and know our Savior.

Oh God! Forgive me when I get caught up in all that is around me and forget to look to You in all things. You are enough and You are my joy, no matter what – at all times!

Healer of our Broken Hearts

jesus-came-to-take-away

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Jesus came to free us from the burden of sin and to heal us from the effect of it, as well.

Scriptures of the Day:

Isaiah 53:4-5

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Psalm 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 41:2-3

“The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes. 3 The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness.”

Psalm 30:2

“O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.”

Life hurts sometimes. In our most painful moments we can hurt emotionally and physically and wonder if God sees. Broken, we come before our God and King Who is a Master at fixing broken people. He made us and knows more than anyone what we need to be whole again – Himself.

Healing is needed for many reasons. Some need God to touch them spiritually, some need help emotionally and others need a physical healing. In all of these, God sovereignly uses our infirmity for good, even though it might seem pointless at the time.

I know well what it means to be sick, diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases.  I also know what it is to be healed and what it is to not be.  In all these occasions, I praise His Name.  He is my Jehovah Rapha, (The Lord our Healer).  He heals our hearts from emotional pain, our bodies from physical pain, whether it be on this earth or ultimately in Heaven, and our souls from the pain of sin.

Healing is sometimes a difficult subject to discuss.  Some Christians believe that God always heals, some believe He does not.  Either way, all who are in Christ are healed spiritually for eternity, which is the most significant healing there could ever be.

We are all destined to perish on this earth, and sickness is often one of the vessels which might bring us to eternal bliss with our Creator.  Our bodies were not designed to live forever and our limit is 120 years.  This is not Heaven.  We cannot avoid the fact that we all have an end, but the sting has been removed!  Praise His Holy Name!

Sometimes the most difficult thing to heal is our broken hearts.  The effects of sin are profound and can leave one limping through life, but Jesus came to not only take away the burden of sin, but the effects of it, as well.  The scar of sin may long be remembered, but its crippling effect can be changed into a divine tool of healing instead.  That’s our gift this Christmas and for all of life – Christ our Healer.

Lord, thank You for healing us and for the hope of a complete healing in Heaven with You.  Help us to be content and worship You in whatever thorn you have permitted into our lives, knowing full well that our future hope with You is to be completely restored!

The Real Miracle of Christmas

christ-came-in-the-flesh-as-a-baby-and-christ-still-comes-today

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Christ came in the flesh as a baby and Christ still comes today – manifest in our flesh as we yield our lives to Him.

Scriptures of the Day:

John 1:1-5

1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.”

Hebrews 2:14

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil.”

Movies abound today about the “magic” of Christmas.  Somewhere a child inside hopes it really is true that someone esoterically posing as Santa is the real deal.  Not so much.  But there is One Who really does know when we are sleeping and awake – One Who truly does provide for our needs and watches over us.  He certainly knows whether we have been good or bad and keeps a thorough record of it in His Book of Life.  Even more amazing, when we truly do deserve a boatload of lumps of coal, He gives us eternal life – freely.

But sometimes the miracle of Christmas can get lost in the simple fact that it is a well known story that has been told and retold and we forget just how amazing a reality the miracle of Christ’s birth is and what Christ accomplished in His birth.

Mankind was condemned to a fallen world, no thanks to Adam and Eve (well, we all would have done the same thing).  But right there in that moment, God knew we needed a Savior.

In His sovereignty He planned to come and Himself crush the head of our mortal enemy.  He did it as a baby.  Talk about the enemy being whipped.  

This baby was born miraculously, fulfilling prophecies, fulfilling perfectly the genealogy of Christ, born of a virgin.  A miracle indeed.  Holy.  Righteous.  Fully God and fully man.  How amazing.  Much more amazing to me than reindeer flying through the air – just sayin’. And this same Christ is now revealed through us, His people.

So if we are struggling to get that Christmas “spirit”, perhaps what we need is a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it is in the simplicity of stepping out of our ordinary routine to give that we have that “Christmas feeling”. How is God leading us now to give during this season? How can we help others around us? Christ modeled what it meant to serve by giving His all. May we do the same.

The miracle of Jesus is not confined to one day. We can search for opportunities to give and serve others not just when we feel celebratory or the calendar dictates the moment.  The miracle of Jesus lives on in the hearts of those who choose to accept Him.

Christ came in the flesh as a baby and Christ still comes today – manifest in our flesh as we yield our lives to Him.

What a miracle this is – Christ in us. When we operate in a manner just like our Father did – giving of Himself, we have the greatest joy, and it is a miracle indeed that He uses us at all.

Merry Christmas, all.  Be a part of the miracle in someone’s life this Christmas.

Lord, thank you for the miracle of Your birth.  I stand in awe of You.  Fill us with the wonder of what You did and Who You are.  Love you!

The Ruling Baby King

colorfulparties-co

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Instead of conquering us and ruling over us ruthlessly, God conquered our hearts and saved us.

Scripture of the Day:

Isaiah 9: 6-7

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Don’t be fooled – this King baby will reign.  Despite the enemy’s attempts to destroy Him, God’s plan stood firm.  Despite a supposed defeat by ultimately being crucified, He rose from the dead and is coming again, only this time to reign.  For spectators of a movie, this story is difficult to watch – the injustice of the wicked seemingly destroying the Holy One and His plan; the Almighty God coming in perceived weakness.

The Jewish people were looking for their King to come and rule – now – not in the future. But God’s ways are not our ways. In His wisdom, God came as a babe so we could understand His salvation more than a God far away.  Instead of conquering us and ruling over us ruthlessly, He conquered our hearts and saved us.  He is our LORD, our Wonderful Counselor, to Whom we can come daily and moment by moment.  His rule is righteous and just.  His rule trumps every other ruler or government in this world.

In those moments when the wise men, shepherds and onlookers gazed upon God as a babe, how filled with wonder they must have been.  How humbled to see their Creator coming in such a form.  The most hardened heart was surely softened by such a gift.  May we have this same awe in reflecting on our Jesus, coming as a babe to rule our hearts.

Lord, You are all-wise, all-knowing, Almighty God!  Holy and humble, perfect One!  I worship You and thank You for ruling in my heart and opening my eyes to see.

Do You Know Him?

god-does-not-make-us-choose-him-but-our-holy-god-bids-the-unholy-to-come-drawing-us-near-with-his-forgiveness-and-mercy

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

God does not make us choose Him, but our Holy God bids the unholy to come, drawing us near with His forgiveness and mercy.

Scripture of the Day:

Luke 4:34

“Ha!  Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene!  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God.”

Such a small statement, and yet so profound.  Even the demons knew who Jesus was and shuddered – but that knowledge did not equate to salvation for them.  When confronted with the God of this universe this evil spirit did not want to be in His presence.  Evil cannot be in the presence of God without being consumed or having atonement for sin.  Fear and rejection of God was the only choice for this demon.  How do we respond to seeing this gift of God? Are we fearful, do we think He wants to harm us, like the demons, or do we recognize the gift of His goodness, embrace His acceptance and come to know Him?

When my kids were little, they would try and sneak a look at the gifts before I wrapped them.  As they got older, they might resort to peeling back the tape just enough to catch a glimpse, or to shaking the item to gauge what it was.  They could not wait to see what gifts were given to them.  It is that yearning that I want to keep fervent in my heart, when I think of seeing Jesus when He returns and when I meditate on what it must have been like to gaze at the King of kings as a baby.  A precious gift, bundled in swaddling clothes was the redemption of all mankind – if we accepted the gift.

Now all these years later we know what a gift that first Christmas was.  We can know that Jesus is God, but that is not the same as knowing Him.  Sin brings fear of sure condemnation, but perfect love casts out all fear.  When confronted with our sin by a Holy God, we have a choice – to bow down and worship Him, confessing our sins and receiving mercy, or to pridefully pretend we do not need His salvation.

Our Holy God does not make us know Him, but came to an unholy people as an infant to bid us to come and know Him, drawing us near with His forgiveness and mercy.

He established His law that we might see our need of Him, and He set the expectations for how we were to live for His glory. He wants us to know Him and how very much He loves us, for this is what we were made for. This Christmas, even though the story has been heard so many times, we can still with anticipation come to learn more of our living Savior and know Him more.  He truly is the gift that keeps on giving, long after other gifts have faded.

Lord, help us to understand what You accomplished when You came to this earth.  May we know You and not just know about you.

Truthful Tuesday: It Only Takes One

www-denisepass-com

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The road of faithfulness is often a lonely road, but when it is paved with the love of God, our destination and hope are certain.

Scripture of the Day:

Ecclesiastes 9:18-10:1

“Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.”  10:1 “One dead fly makes the perfumer’s ointment give off a rancid stench, so a little folly can outweigh much wisdom.”

It always astounds me that it can only take one dissenter to bring about chaos and destroy something good.  A small percentage of a population can speak louder and change what the majority voted on.  How is this able to happen?  Passion.  Activism.  Devotion.  Leadership . . . and pressing on despite it not being popular.

We admire when people accomplish great things when the odds are against them, but much more admirable are deeds done in righteousness than the wicked prevailing.  A liberal agenda will not bring about the freedom its followers desire, but they still passionately fight for what they believe is right.  Now more than ever the righteous must not let their voices be silenced.  Our nation needs us more now than ever.  It will not be popular to hold ground and try to turn the tide back, but it is possible.  Your voice matters.  Make it count for righteousness.  It only takes one to begin to make a change.

Only One could pay for the sin debt of all mankind.  He was not popular, but He knew His mission and completed it, despite much opposition.  He changed this world forever – not just for a generation.  This Christmas may we remember what Christ did for us and all mankind.  May we all honor God with our lives and affect this society for His glory.  It only takes one.  Shine brightly in this generation – there is no other voice just like yours – it is needed now.

Christ showed us what living for One looks like. Only one road leads to life with our Savior and this narrow road is often fraught with trials on every side. The road of faithfulness is often a lonely road, but when it is paved with the love of God, our destination and hope are certain.

The song, “This Little Child” by Scott Wesley Brown, written in the late 70’s is so very fitting in our times.  I end today’s post with lyrics contained within the second verse:

“And over half the world is starving While our banner of decency is torn;
Debating over disarmament, Killing children before they’re born.
And fools who march to win the right to justify their sin.
Oh ev’ry nation that has fallen Has fallen from within
Yet in the midst of this darkness There is a hope a light that burns
This little child the King of kings Some day will return.”

Hear and see the lyrics to the complete song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riSAYsLTQBs

Lord, help us to shine for You brighter and brighter.  May we not cover or hide the light You have placed in us and boldly stand for truth and for Your glory.  

Mundane Monday: The Calling of Christmas

the-same-god-who-intervened-in-time-and-came-in-the-flesh-is-calling-us-to-participate-in-the-christmas-story-too-2

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The same God Who came in the flesh is calling us to participate in the Christmas story, too.

Scriptures of the Day:

2 Peter 1:10

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.”

2 Timothy 1:9-10

“He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. He has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!”

We are doing a series at our church during this Christmas season on the calling of God on His people. The same God Who intervened in time and came in the flesh is calling us to participate in the Christmas story, too. Will we be like those who gathered around to adore Him, like those who proclaimed His birth, or will we miss this opportunity altogether?

As a mom, I can get focused on all of the details of buying gifts for my 5 children and all of the aspects of the holiday celebration that I begin to lose perspective. As a wife, I am thinking about how to honor my husband in the purchases and bless him, too. As a worship leader, I am focused on provoking my church to worship God passionately during this Holy season. So many things to be done and so many hearts to affect with the Gospel. But we can’t allow the busyness of the season to hinder the vision God wants us to have for His work and His people – at Christmas and for all of time.

As we remember what God did when he demonstrated His radical love by leaving His throne in Heaven to allow mankind to provide care for Him, God stirs our hearts to respond to this amazing show of His affection for us. To make Himself that vulnerable, entrusting Himself to a wicked people – what lengths God went to in order to reach us with His love – how can we share this love with those around us?

For years my children and I would bake cookies for our entire neighborhood, then go and carol while we gave them out. Violins and guitars were sometimes in tow. We were cold, it was a lot of work, but the joy it brought others as well as ourselves was unmatched. The classical children’s choir I directed would go to nursing homes, raise gifts for local orphanages and sing to encourage others. Sweet times, indeed.

New seasons bring new opportunities and new ways to serve. In all our roles that we serve in on this earth, the greatest is as a child of God. How can we be His vessel today? What mission has He given to us?

What lengths can we go to this Christmas to reach people with the love of God? This is our calling. It might be uncomfortable. It might mean laying down our agendas or doing something different than our tradition (ah, the sacred cow). But when we are motivated by the love of God and give selflessly, we get just a glimpse of what God did for us and our joy is complete.

Finding Joy at Christmas

finding-joy-at-christmas

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Sometimes we have to lose joy to find it.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 124:1

“If the Lord had not been on our side”— let Israel say this!— if the Lord had not been on our side, when men attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive, when their anger raged against us. The water would have overpowered us; the current would have overwhelmed us.  The raging water would have overwhelmed us. The Lord deserves praise, for he did not hand us over as prey to their teeth. We escaped with our lives, like a bird from a hunter’s snare. The snare broke, and we escaped. Our deliverer is the Lordthe Creator of heaven and earth.”

Christmas can be a difficult time for many.  The celebration of Christmas does not deliver what we hoped.  Painful memories echo in our minds of family members who left us or harmed us.  Thoughts of what should have been or could have been – regrets and longings can loom large and steal our joy.  Maybe you do not even want to read this or dare to hope that there could actually be real joy at Christmas – keep reading.

The world offers many solutions for this emptiness of our soul. Entertainment, satisfying the flesh, avoiding the pain.  God’s prescription is quite different – feel the pain in all of our humanity, but come to Him, Who can heal our souls.  It is not a “just be happy” or just “choose to be happy” solution, but it is a choice to come to God and a real answer in the face of real pain.

One of my favorite books of the bible to read from when I am bummed is the book of Psalms.  A songwriter myself, I cherish David’s songs – a heart cry to His LORD. If anyone understands what it is to have emotional torment, it is David.  He could have been diagnosed with many labels in his day – PTSD, panic and anxiety disorders, even depression.  He said as much in many of the Psalms.  But He was looking to One who he knew would resolve the battle within.  David demonstrated again and again what looking to God for help would do – give hope and peace – even joy again.

That is what Christ does for us.  He offers us hope through His trustworthy promises and deliverance.  Christ understands suffering, too, and when we look to the Christ child this Christmas, we see a God Who is our Master, but Who also walks beside us.  He chooses to call us friend – we are friends with a King!  Now a King can grant any request – so it is with our God.  Happiness at Christmas or any other time is not based on getting what we want, but on being content with what God has allowed.  We can trust Him and He can bring real lasting joy more than a day ever could.

Pain is real – what do we do with it?  The pain may not be absent and scars might last the rest of our days, but there is a healing balm in Jerusalem found in an infant Who changes our heart, understanding and perspective.  The compassion gained through our pain is a beautiful gift we lay at the feet of our baby King, and He is pleased.  May we lay down our idols as gifts much like Frankincense, gold and Myrrh, of what we wanted from life and Christmas and humbly accept the gift of life that God has given us.  This is when joy enters our soul and we are relieved of the burden we have been holding onto. Give it all to Him and ask Him to help deliver you.  He will do it and His grace is sufficient to all who call on His Name.  It is going to be a Merry Christmas, after all, friend.

Thank You, LORD, for the amazing gift of your baby Son.  What a treasure, what a delight!  We lay our burdens at Your feet and trust You with all of what life brings our way.  Amen.

#JesusIsTheCureForDepression