Day 21: Hope’s Debtor: Gratitude & Humility

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

This new reinvented hope longs to please God, not self.

Scripture of the Day:

Romans 5:3-4

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

This new reinvented hope is not formed without some friends – gratitude and humility. The beauty in the struggles of life is that they can work precious character into our hearts, if we let them.

Yielding requires trusting God in the face of suffering as well as in times of blessing. Gratitude is not a normal response in heartbreaking circumstances. In the fires of affliction, it is carefully molded through perseverance and a heart and mind change initiated by the Spirit of the living God.

Instead of having the attitude that we deserve what we want, we cry out and ask God to help us “put on” an attitude of gratitude. Why did we think we deserved our way in the first place? The root of our expectations often exists in a self-centered hope. But this new reinvented hope – it longs to please God, not self. Only God can achieve that in man’s heart.

Gratitude can’t be mimicked. Anyone can be thankful in the moment, but an abiding gratitude stems from knowing God and having confidence that nothing ever transpires in our lives without His perfect good will. We can be truly grateful in sorrows because we know God wins in the end. Our hope is fixed on this truth and the fact that every jot and tittle, every moment of our lives – He is redeeming.

Humility cannot be manufactured by man, either. It comes in when we recognize, like Job, that when we question God, we truly do not understand Him or His ways. How can the one who is made know the mind of the Creator? And yet He draws us near to know Him.

Humility is a death to our flesh that wants to reign. There is no greater example of humility than seeing our great Holy God choosing to bear our sins and suffer our punishment. And He did it with joy. Gratitude that souls could be won.

If we have the mindset of Christ, our trials become our triumphs and we see them through the scope of eternity. No more do we regret suffering. Instead we see ourselves as co-laborers with Christ and cry out for Him to use it to save just one.

Mankind does not want to take the blame for anyone else’s actions. Our pride wells up and demands justice. Christ chose to be mistreated in the most extravagant demonstration of humble love ever seen.

Lord, help us to have Your understanding and to seek to honor You in every aspect of our lives. It is for Your glory alone that we live!

Mundane Monday: Freedom in Yielding

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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.

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

Author | Worship Leader | Singer/Songwriter | Speaker

Mundane Monday: Gifts are Hard Work

Artist and gift of hard work2 Timothy 1:6

“Because of this I remind you to rekindle God’s gift that you possess through the laying on of hands.  7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self control.”

This verse is significant to me because I remember when hands were laid on me in 1988 and I was told that I would be singing and playing keyboard on stage for His glory.  I was a euphonium player at the time.  (Okay, let’s call it a mini-tuba for those of you who do not know what a euphonium is).  It paid my way through college and laid the foundation for music ministry with a degree in Music Performance.

I thought they got it wrong.  I was a brass musician who loved obscurity.  I could hide behind the music stand and not be seen.  Much has happened since that time and I marvel at the sovereignty and calling of God.  I did not know at that time that the LORD would use me to write songs for Himself or that I would serve on staff at churches.  I did not feel qualified then or now, but that is the beauty of walking with God.  He uses the weak things to bring Him glory, not experts or people righteous on their own – just broken people in need of His salvation.

Oh the depths of the wisdom of God!  His grace knows no limits and His association with fallen man is beyond words.  He does not need us, but He chooses to use us.  How can it be?

After seven years of serving as a volunteer at my church, God opened the door for me recently to be on staff as the worship leader.  I thought God was through with me serving in this role, but all the heartache, all the pain of the past seven years that caused me to set aside formal ministry have been used by our glorious God who wastes nothing.  Perseverance, dependence on Him, His faithfulness – just some of the jewels found along the way.

I just got a message this morning announcing that the five songs I recorded this summer are completed and will be available for digital download later today.  How can it be?  It has been sheer determination and one of the hardest things I have done to work full-time as an executive assistant and do the work of ministry in the evenings and weekends, balancing family time and homeschooling, but even this was ordained by God and the difficulty was necessary to work the character in that God desired.  Through this time the Seeing Deep ministry was birthed.  I am humbled and stand in awe of God and what He has done.  The difficult process we find ourselves in as we try to follow God’s will is necessary as we are so very needful of the lessons hardship infuses into our being.  When redeemed man who was once an enemy of God is used by a Holy God, it is no small thing.

Sometimes we can feel forgotten and useless, like all God has spoken to our hearts will never materialize.  We might even miss the fact that it already has been accomplished because we perceived the will of God differently.  We might think we are supposed to be in a certain position, but God brings about His will in time.

The gifts God has given us are to be developed, not just used.  It is hard work.  We can sit on the gifts and use excuses to explain why we are not using them, but it is the stewardship of those gifts in obedience to God that pleases Him, no matter How He decides to use them.  Each talent, each aspect of Who God made us to be was given to us not for us to claim as our own, but borrowed treasure to be invested for His Kingdom and glory.

It is a beautiful place to be at to be unconcerned with the results of our obedience and completely consumed, instead, with glorifying Him and sharing His message of hope and healing through song and word.  It is a miracle, indeed.  It is not a place I could ever claim to have arrived at, for it is a constant surrender and awareness of our need of Him to bring us to that place of being all about Him.  Fear of failure and of man threaten to undermine the seedling of faith that bursts in the work God has called each of us to do in our lives, but God.  Oh, that He might be glorified!

So today if you feel your calling will never come to fruition and like your life is passing you by, work at the gift and trust God with His timing and process.  It will not be easy and the enemy will come against you.  It will take your all, but it will be worth it and the rewards, eternal.

Lord, to You be all the glory!  Thank you for using us at all!  What an honor and a privilege it is to write and sing songs to my King!  Thank You for the grace and strength.  Enable us to be faithful to You, Almighty God!