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

Special Edition: An Encounter with God

encounter with God

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

As we go through deep valleys, He uses those valleys to help us go deeper with Him.

Scripture of the Day:

“God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

Today I was blessed to have The Upper Room feature one of the devotionals I had written previously: http://devotional.upperroom.org/devotionals/2016-06-01#comments. They also invited me to write a follow up devotion, which is below and here on their website: http://devotional.upperroom.org/blog/2016/06/pass060116.

It has been such an encouragement and a joy to interact with the many readers and see God work. All the troubles we encounter in this world can ultimately lead to an encounter with the living God if we surrender our burdens over to Him. He is faithful, and amazingly able to use all things together for our good and His glory.

As we go through deep valleys, He uses those valleys to help us go deeper with Him. That is the thread woven throughout this ministry called “Seeing Deep” – in all of life we can see the deeper purposes of God in the midst of the mundane, often painful and seemingly senseless part of life. God is good all the time.


Blog featured on “The Upper Room” today:

One of the most amazing moments a writer or a reader can have is when a truth is imparted. In that moment, a revelation and deeper understanding open our eyes to the goodness of God. Suddenly, the former confusion is gone and we know at once that the burning in our soul is witness to an encounter with the living God.

When I wrote today’s devotional, I wept. Not because it saddened me, but because I had seen the goodness of God. I would likely not have recognized God’s goodness if I had not suffered first. The devotional was an answer to how I had felt when life had caused considerable pain. It did not matter if no one else understood – my God did.

I had just started blogging a few days prior to writing that devotional, but I have journaled for 28 years. Now two years later, I have written many more devotions with similar impressions. I cannot help but get emotional when I consider how awesome God is.

It is in the valleys that we can choose to focus on the problem at hand or to trust in the God of the universe who has the problem in hand. Faith is simpler than we let it be. We complicate things by placing expectations and rules where God gives freedom. It’s ok to cry out and admit we don’t have it all together. It is beautiful humility to see our need for God, who longs to answer the prayer of the contrite and broken.

When the waves of the sea are billowing all around us, it is easy to become distracted, but the greatest moments in my walk with God have been when I surrendered my broken heart and trusted God, even though the pain puzzled me. It was in those bittersweet moments that I began to see God’s divine purpose.

The Israelites mourned the loss of the food they had eaten while in Egypt when the desert was becoming unbearable. We, too, can become disillusioned and wonder what God’s purpose is and deceive ourselves into thinking any earthly belonging could ever compare to his promises. Like the Israelites, I had to walk through many hardships, but God brought me out and restored my joy. He can do that for you, too.

Come stop by, bring a cup of joe and visit my blog at www.denisepass.com or my ministry website and music at www.seeingdeep.com. I would love to hear God’s story in your life, too. He is faithful and will complete the work begun in you!

Lord, thank you for Your undefinable, amazing, unconditional love that reveals to us deep truths that we might know You more. Love you!

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A Season of Thankfulness: Day 11 – My Deliverer

Photo Credits: notetoselfdailyremindersforthebrokenhearted.wordpress.com

Photo Credits:
notetoselfdailyremindersforthebrokenhearted.wordpress.com

Psalm 129:2

“Since my youth they have often attacked me, but they have not defeated me.”

Psalm 130:5-7

“I rely on the LORD, I rely on Him with my whole being; I wait for his assuring word. 6 I yearn for the LORD, more than watchmen do for the morning, yes, more than watchman do for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD, for the LORD exhibits loyal love, and is more than willing to deliver.”

Psalm 50:15

“Pray to me when you are in trouble! I will deliver you, and you will honor me!”

If we have lived long enough, we have all experienced someone who was jealous of us our just did not like us.  Since childhood, I have seen this reality played out in the lives of others and in my life.  I never understood it then, and I do not understand it fully now – but when we come to God, He is able to grant insight and wisdom.

The flesh wants to glorify itself and exalt self above everyone else, if left unchecked.  People vie for position as if it can bring them life, or try to make miserable the one who was placed in a position, as if they were to blame.  But God’s sovereignty and purpose is woven throughout.

I used to really get upset when I learned of people gossiping about me or someone else, but now I see it as a golden opportunity to glorify God and let it work character in, instead.  The persecution of jealousy begins to work in our character a jealousy for God’s glory and not our own.  No longer upset that someone is not a fan of us, we become upset if someone’s actions would hurt Christ’s bride, the church.  I would not want to be that person.  Sadly, we all have been at one time or another.

If we are all honest, we have all not liked some personalities. This being true of us all, we are still called to love.  We are not the standard – God is.  Popularity is fleeting.  When backbiting and slander happen even within the church, we must resist the devil and put on love.  We must care more about the church than our own offenses.

Praise be to God Who delivers us from attacks from the enemy!  Instead of being caught up in a mire of drama or becoming offended, we are freed up to have concern for the one who is offended by us.  Instead of fear of their perception, we cry out to God who defends and delivers us from it all.

Sometimes He delivers us through understanding and sometimes He defends us from attack.  Ultimately He led by the perfect example; being LORD of Lords, but choosing to be a servant.  Being mistreated and putting on love in the midst.

Lord, thank You for being our Deliverer!  Thank You for showing us a better way and opening our eyes to see the real spiritual warfare all around us.  Help your church, oh God!  May we care more about Your glory than our own.

Thoughtful Thursday: Job’s Lessons – Trusting God in Affliction

Job 8:5-7

“But if you will look to God and make your supplication to the Almighty, 6 if you become pure and upright, even now He will rouse himself for you and will restore your righteous abode.  7 Your beginning will seem so small, since your future will flourish.”

Sitting in handcuffs, dazed and shocked, I wondered how this could happen to me.  I was innocent.  But in that moment the LORD spoke to me clearly.  “Guilty by association”.  Associating with one who had lied to me and placed me in a mess. You’re a modern day Job, lady”, the police officer told me sarcastically, yet laced with compassion.  Me?  Job?  No, I could not compare my sufferings with his.  Or could I?

Life has some crazy turns in it – many we would rather avoid, but traveling down those roads leads us to unexpected places with cherished lessons learned.  Job’s counselors all speculated that some hidden sin caused his demise.  Why would a good God allow such suffering in, after all?  I am sure Joseph felt similarly.  He was only prophesying what God placed in his heart, only to find himself at the bottom of a well and then a betrayed slave.  What was God thinking?

Staring at the spot on the ceiling of my hospital room, I wondered how I got there, too.  Worried faces of doctors unsure of what to say, I laid there and trusted.  Patiently.  In the midst of that hard place, a resolve began to form that was not from me.  Even in that horrid place, God spoke to me.  Would I be willing to let Him use me in this way?  Yes, God.

Back to Job.  He questioned himself, examined what could be the cause of such difficulty in his life.  He did not know that Satan had asked if he could mess around with his life.  Job’s chief sin was in doubting God and in justifying himself rather than God.  When we cannot figure out what God is doing, we can cry out to God to trust Him and place our faith in Him. Lack of understanding is not wrong, but doubting God’s goodness and purposes are.  Introspection at times of confusion is a great gift – an opportunity to pause and clarify our lives before God.

In the end, God blessed Job more than he was before.  Sometimes we cling to what we knew as the past, wondering if we will ever see God’s goodness again.  Our view of the past just might not be all that we thought it was, either.  God has new heights, new blessings for us.  His idea of a blessing might be different than ours, but He and His ways are always good.

Lord, when we don’t understand, help us to draw near to You and to trust You fully.  Be glorified in our mess – You Who makes sense of everything, almighty, sovereign LORD!

Preparations for the New Year Begin with the Mind

Romans 12:2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Proverbs 4:23

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”

“Just Do It”, the famous Nike slogan is a manifesto to exert our will and make the necessary change to better health.  The problem is, our flesh is strong and often our wills are weak, and we fall short of our goals.  Recognizing that the source of our struggle and of our motivation is in our minds can be the key to victorious planning and living.

It is on my heart to take the days leading up to 2015 and lay a foundation for the inevitable resolutions and plans that are being formed.  How will we use our time in the coming year?  What goals will we set?  What changes do we need to make spiritually, emotionally, physically, or in our relationships?  Since we cannot control circumstances or those around us, let us begin with ourselves.

God is so merciful to give us new days, new seasons and new years.  Another year approaching is an opportunity to take inventory from the past year and take an honest assessment of what went well and what needs to change.  Of course changes are not easy to make and habits not easily undone or formed.  The insanity of it all is that year after year we can try to make some of the same changes and fall short each time.  Does that mean we should cease attempting to change?  No.  The battle lies in the mind.

Beginning with the One who was perfect in how He lived and fulfilled His plan is a great place to start.  The only truly sane mind is that of Christ’s.  Basking our minds in His word is the first step toward a godly perspective in our lives.  Our minds infused with God’s word helps us to see clearly and to rid ourselves of obstacles which impede our progress.  Christ quoted Scripture when He was tempted, demonstrating how the Word of God is our source of strength in time of need.  Perhaps we need to put God’s Word in front of us when being oppressed and lay down the mental baggage that has been plaguing us.

If only it were as simple as knowing and understanding God’s Word to be able to accomplish our plans.  Our minds become cluttered with many things.  Being aware of the distractions is a first step, but overcoming them is another.  Others around us can either help us achieve our goals or impede them.  Mental turmoil via manipulation, guilt, expectations or controlling can wield a devastating blow to being inspired to live the abundant life that God has called us to, but it does not have to.  The choice is ours.  Do we believe that?  We do not have to be held hostage by another person’s perception of us – just God’s view of us matters.

It will take a significant amount of effort to form plans and fulfill them, but as we submit them to God we find that He gives our plans back to us altered.  It is not about us, after all.  Those things I wish I could change about myself I leave in the Master’s hands and surrender to Him to make the changes.  In dependence and trust I yield to His ways and take each day, each breath, each moment as another opportunity to invest for God’s glory.  My plans might lay in ruins if they were of the flesh, but if they are for and by Him, they will last forever.

LORD, help us to seek You and the plans You have for our lives in the coming year and to walk in obedience and discipline to Your Word.  May we not grow discouraged but focus on your truth and know that ultimately, it is Your work in our lives, not us, and You will complete the work You have begun in us.  Amen.