Find Your Fearless—Overcoming the Past

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Philippians 3:13-14

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

The past can shadow the present, snuffing out our joy. We can overcome pain from the past like heroes of old did. Could the women from biblical times speak to our fear today? It is possible to rise above the doubts that try to kill our courage. Listen in as Denise and Angela share from Angela’s new book, “Fearless: Ordinary Women of the Bible who Dared to do Extraordinary things“, and learn how to stand up to fear from our past.


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Day 9: Facing Fear


Inspirational Thought of the Day:

We face fear when we see its potential consequences, place them in God’s hands and adopt His hope, instead.

Scripture of the Day:

Proverbs 23:18

“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

Psalm 119:116

“Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.”

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words from his first inaugural address still profoundly convey a truth that exposes fear’s impact.

Fear has been a foe of mine for some time. Over and over again it would rise up, taunting me with its threats. It promised destruction and failure. It spoke of an end to hope and propagated a message of being forgotten or forsaken. It left a lingering feeling of uncertainty and insecurity.

Fear grips our hearts and minds and threatens to paralyze us from moving forward in life. When we give in to fear, we let it rule us and limit the life God has for us.

Fear is formed in the midst of a disruption of our hope for our life. Struggling to put together the pieces of our broken dreams, we grasp onto a counterfeit hope and try to build again. We fake a smile or try to pretend the fear building inside of us does not exist. We try to placate the fear with a substitute hope, but it just does not work.

God has something better to help us overcome fear and restore a new hope.

Instead of trying to escape fear, we can look at it square in the eyes and speak to it in light of what God says about our hope and future. Fear is intimidating, but in the face of perfect love, it is cast out. 

When fear attempts to consume us, God’s word speaks a living promise.

Isaiah 34:4

“Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear;

your God will come, he will come with vengeance;

with divine retribution he will come to save you.’”

The gavel pounded and my heart pounded within me. My children would have to testify in court. The asthma which was formerly in remission tightened its noose around me and I struggled to breathe. Looking around the room, I felt the piercing stare of hatred from those who pursued me relentlessly.

Trying to maintain control over my emotions, I silently prayed for God to give me strength to not give in to fear. He overwhelmed me with His grace and strength. I did not want to endure the suffering I had feared, but I learned to trust Him when the path hurts that He has me on and to approach fear with God’s grace instead of my own strength.

My heart hurt so desperately for my children and I wanted to spare them, but in that moment the LORD told me that they were His and He would enable them. Sometimes we don’t want to have to walk through the door of fear, but until we walk through it we cannot see the victory and hope that God has for us on the other side.

Ultimately, God granted victory, but more important than the victory in court was the victory over broken hope and the creation of a firm hope in Him.

Fear can take on a life of its own. Fear feels so very real and sometimes it is not based on reality at all. Either way, there is a way out and it is not through our own manufactured hope. We face fear when we see its potential consequences, place them in God’s hands and adopt His hope, instead.

Rather than fearing losing what we planned or hoped for, we have an alternative that never fails. If we give our hopes and fears to God, He can show us another kind of hope that is based on His goodness and mercy, rather than our gain.

Lord, thank You for revealing Your goodness and hope to us. Help us to trust you when we are filled with fear and fill us with Your hope and joy instead.



Where Does Your Confidence Lie?

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Isaiah 36: 4-5

4 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 5 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. In whom are you trusting, that you would dare to rebel against me? 

Isaiah 37:5-7; 16-22; 32-36

5 When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard – these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me.  7 Look, I will take control of his mind; he will receive a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down with a sword in his own land.”’” 

16 “O Lord who commands armies, O God of Israel, who is enthroned on the cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky and the earth. 17 Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe! Listen to this entire message Sennacherib sent and how he taunts the living God! 18 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the nations and their lands. 19 They have burned the gods of the nations, for they are not really gods, but only the product of human hands manufactured from wood and stone. That is why the Assyrians could destroy them. 20 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” 21 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Because you prayed to me concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22 this is what the Lord says about him: “The virgin daughter Zion despises you – she makes fun of you; daughter Jerusalem shakes her head after you. Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at? At whom have you shouted and looked so arrogantly? At the Holy One of Israel!  

32“For a remnant will leave Jerusalem; survivors will come out of Mount Zion.  The intense devotion of the Lord who commands armies will accomplish this.  35 I will shield this city and rescue it for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.”’” 36 The Lord’s messenger went out and killed 185,000 troops in the Assyrian camp. When they got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses! 

Our confidence can be shaken by so many things in this world.  Our own failures or stepping out in faith can be triggers for insecurity.  The violence being carried out by evil men, zealously killing in the name of their dead god can be terrifying when our confidence is in men, military, or our own abilities to rescue us.  Threats can intimidate us and make us feel isolated, without hope.  That is how Hezekiah must have felt when every other nation was succumbing to the Assyrians and he was being bullied by leaders who were sent to intimidate him and all of Israel.  But he chose wisely to place his trust and confidence in the One true living God.

We, the church, have a similar choice before us right now.  We do not have to fear anyone or anything on this earth.  We can unite in a prayer like Hezekiah’s – to the living God – and cry out for His deliverance.  We cannot look merely at the circumstances now or the world leaders and hope they have a solution.  Our battle is not against flesh and blood – it is spiritual and requires a spiritual solution.  Notice, I did not say a religious solution, couched in religious dogma and promoting world peace, which cannot be had apart from a genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

It is also not to the god of politics that we must bow.  No, the tides of evil are spreading and we must drop our knees before our merciful God and seek His glory in this war, which has happened before.  May we unite in prayer together and ask God to turn the hearts of our leaders toward Him.  He has done it in the past, He can do it again.

Man will rise against man, nation against nation; wars and rumors of wars are destined to happen, but we must not merely give up – we can fight on our knees!  All these events God will use for good and in His sovereignty He already knows the end. May many come to know Him even now.  May we trust in Him, whether He determines it is best to deliver His people now or not.  God help us to cry out for those in need right now, even though it is not yet on our doorstep.

Lord, help Your church to rise up and overcome evil.  God, fight for us.  We look to You, alone.  Only You can defeat the enemy and rescue Your people.  Help us, LORD – don’t forget Your promises and Your children who cry out to You.  For Your Name’s sake, show Yourself strong and draw many to Yourself.  You have saved us, LORD.  You have delivered Your people.  We ask that You do it again, Abba Father.  In Jesus’ Name, all for Your glory.

Fear Not!

Psalm 91:1-9

“As for you, the one who lives in the shelter of the sovereign one, and resides in the protective shadow of the mighty King – 2 I say this about the LORD, my shelter and my stronghold, my God in Whom I trust – 3 He will certainly rescue you from the snare of the hunter and from the destructive plague.  4 He will shelter you with His wings; you will find safety under His wings.  His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall.  5  You need not fear the terrors of the night, the arrow that flies by day, 6  the plague that comes in the darkness, or the disease that comes at noon.  7  though a thousand may fall beside you, or a multitude on your right side, it will not reach you.  8  Certainly you will see it with your very own eyes – you will see the wicked paid back.  9  For you have taken refuge in the LORD, my shelter, the Sovereign One.”

Fear is in the air . . . especially if you get your daily dose of the terrorist propaganda or news of the spread of the dreaded Ebola.  You can even watch a poor soul being beheaded to terrify you, though I have not done so and would not recommend condoning such savagery by viewing it.  The pictures are enough to make us wonder if this evil force will succeed in their purposes, but somewhere in the quietness of our souls we know there is a Hero who has already won the war.  Though we might suffer temporarily, we know God has a good purpose in it and that ultimately He will deliver.  Praise His Name!

I cherish the promises in the Scriptures above.  The casual observer might wonder what it means to be sheltered in His wings – He is not a winged being, but it is an illustration of His covering.  Hidden in Him, He is our Protector.  I had to laugh at the disease arriving at noon – that’s how life is, isn’t it?  One moment, all is well, then the next you have a diagnosis or some crisis.  But we do not need to fear what comes next or borrow troubles that might not ever visit us.  Even when hardship or problems come our way, God never removes His love from us.  No, He even uses that necessary evil to make us more like Him – a treasure far more valuable than temporary suffering.

Fear speaks of a lack of trust, uncertainty.  Our times might be uncertain, but our God isn’t.  He is from everlasting to everlasting, the Eternal God.  He already knows the end completely and it is His faithfulness and His character we can rest in.  Evil will come and go and the temptation to fear will be tangible.  It is at that moment that we need to CHOOSE to place our trust in God – our fear in Him, not in things which are destined to be destroyed.  He is Our Defender and wants to show Himself strong on our behalf – we activate that defense by confidently trusting in Him by faith.  Don’t worry if you do not have sufficient faith – He can help you with that, too.

To everyone in these troubled times, God is in control.  He is not surprised by the turmoil and evil around us, He’s seen it before.  The rise and fall of wicked men is a cyclic pattern, ultimately all for God’s glory.  Yes even evil will bring Him glory, because He is the only One, true, Holy God and He is the One Who is All-Powerful and able to conquer any foe.  In Him I place my confidence, not our military or our leader, who the LORD put in the position of leadership, but in God alone.  I hope this inoculation of the real “reality” of God’s strength will help us to all realize the weakness in the enemy’s armor – he is not a god, he is not all-powerful.  He is a tool of the devil, destined to hell.

Lord, help us to trust in You – when we can’t see You, when we are prone to doubt, increase our faith and help us to rely solely on You.  Thank You, God, that You are always faithful!  You know we are dust and You long to protect and defend us.

Would I Lie to You? (The deceitfulness of sin)


Hebrews 3:13
You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.

I was inducting my youngest son into the biblical symbolism in the movie “Lord of the Rings”, when suddenly he casually said, “Mom, why do they want the ring if it does that to them?” How wise beyond his years, and yet he did not fully comprehend his own question. What if we saw sin as it really was, undressed and not sensationalized? What if we knew the effects of cherishing something so vile? What if we recognized sin in our lives instead of rationalizing it away? But sin is deceitful.

The ring represents sin, which will destroy us unless we do so first. Frodo, the protagonist of the film was not able to destroy it, either. But God sovereignly used someone who intended evil (Gollum) for good and only He, God alone, could destroy sin and its power.

Sin tantalizes its victims with the hope of gaining power, and yet instead subdues and destroys the owner. Oh, but sin looks so attractive and is so often concealed. We do not recognize it in every day life and its destructive power. It is laced with frosting, while underneath is a deadly cake.

So how do we avoid falling victim to sin’s seduction? The Word of God and prayer. We are blind and cannot see, lest the Lord opens our eyes. The Word of God is a mirror and reveals our hearts, if we seek truth via an exegetical study versus an eisegetical approach. In another words, we cannot approach God’s word trying to make our ideas fit randomly into Scripture taken out of context.

We also need one another. As a mother, I see worldliness creeping into our churches and our homes. Giving in or doing nothing is doing something – permitting sin to weave its way into our hearts. We need to be accountable to one another in an age of intense social media and we have to take a stand against sin and be different in an day where sin is praised and bragged about. Talking about the temptations and being aware of them can be a great step toward being free from sin’s entrapment.

Lord, help us to be aware of sin in our lives and to surrender to you instead of the sin. Give us strength to persevere and abstain from that which destroys our soul.

Pressure’s On

© Denise Pass 6/2/14


2 Corinthians 1:8-11

8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Squeezed like a lemon in life’s juicer of trials, one can often not find the comfort one hopes to receive, though well intended, from well-meaning Christian friends. “God will not give you more than you can handle”. Hmmm. Paul had a different point-of-view on this. Pressed on every side, he confessed that his trials were, in fact, more than he could bear. Sometimes we can be hyper spiritual and think that we need to put on a facade of faith, while inwardly we are broken. But honestly confessing our anxiety and inability is where victory lies. The faith comes as we set our hope on the promises and truths God gives us. Paul admitted he was enduring more than he could handle, but in the same breath he proclaimed God’s faithfulness and exhibited genuine faith that God would deliver him. His hope was set on God’s ability and promises to deliver him, but he also knew he needed the prayers of the saints around him. If we are not in the valley at this present time, may we notice those around us who are, and not try to offer “Christianese” advice to the weary and wounded. May we instead lift them up and cry out to God on their behalf, that God will indeed deliver them in due time. If you are one who is bearing a burden so heavy that you cannot even contemplate it, there is hope for you in that place of desperation. God is with the brokenhearted and He counts your every tear.

Lord, please help us to know that even though we seem incapable of handling life’s demands or struggles, you are completely sufficient to bear our burdens and strengthen us.


The Essential Stumbling Block

© 5/24/14 Denise PassImage

Matthew 18:7

“Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! It is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come.”

My heart stopped as I read those words, seemingly as if I had never seen them, but I had read this verse so many times before – yet this time something new apprehended my soul. “It is NECESSARY that stumbling blocks come”. Why? Why must we ever endure or be tempted by evil? What fruit can that bear in the life of the believer? If we continue on in this passage, a radical ideology is presented – if something causes us to stumble, we must cut it off – sever it, as it were, from our life, to prevent damnation. Likened to an analogy of a gardener, we can see the importance of removing weeds or other hindrances that impede growth; but oftentimes we cherish those very stumbling blocks or weeds that have grown in our life and do not recognize them for the vile enemy of our souls that they are. Why would our loving, gracious God allow a stumbling block to be present in our lives? James tells us that God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone; yet in this fallen world we will have opportunities to choose freedom through obedience or enslavement through permitting a stumbling block to rule over us. How would our faith be proved genuine, if it were not for overcoming an obstacle and choosing to believe God over our present circumstances? How would the character be forged, if not through the exercising of our will, triumphing over our sinful tendencies? Where would our relationship with God be, if we did not cleave to Him and cry out when tested? It is difficult to be thankful for stumbling blocks, but if we seek God and His wisdom in the midst, the very stumbling block can become a step instead. A step toward becoming more like Christ. A step toward healing by overcoming. A step out of difficult circumstances by going through it, rather than avoiding it. Ironically, Jesus was the benign stumbling block – for the religious Who did not recognize Him as God. May stumbling blocks not create resentment toward our Creator but help us instead to see our need of our Savior, Who promises to use all things together for good for those who love Him.

Dear God, may we not harbor in our hearts disdain for hardships or stumbling blocks, but instead gratitude for your Wisdom in allowing the insidious stumbling block in!