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September 2005
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Second Chances

Second chances. Are you glad that God gives them to us?   I am, just as I am that God also shows us the imperfections in the bible characters He allows to do His will.  Remember that they are just people, just like you and I.

Jonah got a second chance (Jonah 3:1) to do what was right and he listened to God this time.  I wonder though, from Jonah's subsequent behavior, what Jonah's attitude was as he delivered the message to Nineveh and said "Yet forty days, and Ninevah shall be overthrown!".  Was he obeying in protest?

Refreshingly to me, after all of the reading through Isaiah and Jeremiah when Israel would not change their ways, the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth to show God they were repentant.  The king made a proclamation for the fast as well and told everyone to repent and "cry mightily to God" (v 3:8).  Hmmm...prayer again.  What a concept.

Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. (Jonah 3:10 NJKV)

Wow.  What a reminder of God's mercy.  He really, really just wants us to do what is right.  Check out God's words on this in Jeremiah 18:5-10.  God is a God of the second chance.  He is longsuffering beyond my comprehension. 

To think about:

What past failure am I holding over my own head as an excuse for lack of future action that God has already pardoned me for?


Be honest.  If you had just been thrown overboard into a raging sea and were swallowed by a big fish would you see the blessing in that?  How could you see at all?  Being inside of another animal sounds pretty disgusting to me!  Actually, I wonder what thoughts would be going through my head.  I would probably be wondering how long it would take me to die....unless, I got my wits about me and decided that praying might be the best option.

Prayer.  Isn't it funny how it is easy to seek God when things aren't going that great?  Jonah apparently didn't want to listen to God a little while earlier while He was fleeing to what he probably thought of as the end of the earth to get away from God. 

We saw in Jonah 1:17 that God prepared the "great fish" to swallow  up Jonah.   God was just waiting for the right moment to bail out His prophet.  He was waiting for Jonah to ask for help. Waiting for him to pray.  Get the idea? Let's take a look at a description of Jonah's prayer from the belly of the fish in its entirety from Jonah 2:2-9:

...I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.  For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.  The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped around my head.  I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. 

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.  They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed.  Salvation is of the LORD.

I believe that when God finally sees a pure heart, He can't wait to answer our prayers (James 5:16) .When we decide to quit running, to quit making excuses, quit relying on our own strength and start praying, He steps in and blesses us in ways we can't even dream of - in His time.   

And the LORD spoke unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. (Jonah 2:10)

What do you need to "quit" doing so that God can put you on dry land?  You know He is just waiting on us.  Now that is patience.

You Can't Get Away From God

Have you ever been explicitly told by God to do something yet turned and "ran" in the opposite direction as a blatant answer of "No way am I going to do that, God!"?  Think hard about this, because even a prophet sometimes runs from God and experiences momentary glimpses of insanity.  After all, someone would have to be insane to think that they can run from God, right?  Maybe we all fall into the crazy category.   Let's get back to the bible.

Jonah was a man of God who knows that God is the creator of the universe and says that he fears the Lord (Jonah 1:9).  In the first chapter of the book of Jonah, our prophet hears a word DIRECTLY from God telling him to go and rebuke the city of Nineveh.  Apparently, Jonah didn't want to because he fled from God's presence by ship to Joppa.  Try to capture the emotion in the voices of his fellow passengers as they realized that Jonah's fleeing from God was the reason their lives were in peril on the stormy sea:

Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said unto him (Jonah). "Why have you done this?" For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. (Jonah 1:10)

Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. (Jonah 1:14)

(Aside: This situation reminds me of why some people are afraid to fly - because they might be on the plane with someone at 30,000 ft whose time it is to go meet their Maker!  :)  After all, on a plane, you can't just throw the one person overboard.)

Do you remember the rest of the story?  The men in their fear of God, and probably impending death, tossed our prophet overboard and subsequently the sea stopped raging.  Jonah ended up in the belly of the fish, but I'll save that for tomorrow. 

What really spoke to me in this passage was the apparent lip service that Jonah gives to fearing God.  Do I do the same?  Now I know that Jonah was a prophet, and I do believe that he feared God, but the fact remains that Jonah was still a human being battling against his own selfish nature.  He didn't want to do what God desired in this instance because it was unpleasant.  The men on the ship feared God and acted upon it immediately - but then they were afraid for their lives.  What unpleasantry is God asking you to do today?  this week?  this month? this year? 

A Work in Progress

I was at a women's bible study on Tuesday when the truth hit me again.  My life experiences as far as life and ministry are NOTHING when compared to the "aged" woman.  As I listened to the comments of two "aged" woman of 63 and 39 (spiritually "aged"), I was so humbled by their wisdom.   

I am only 38 years old and the Women's Ministry Director of my church.  When I compare myself, as I'm not supposed to do (2 Cor 10:12) but can't help it sometimes I find myself wondering why God even gave me this responsibility.  Can anyone else relate?   Thankfully, after that bible study, I remembered to cast down my thoughts of comparison and focus on the following:

1) I am a work in progress.  No more, no less.  God will finish what He started, give me wisdom beyond my years, and hold my hand when I need help.  Thank You, Lord.

2) Nothing can take the place of a lifetime of experiences.  I will lead from my experiences, be sensitive to things I do not yet understand, and press on.

3) I will lead as I live, striving to stay a step ahead and seek counsel when I'm not familiar with my way, doing the best I can with what God has provided.  I will maintain a close walk with my Teacher.

I hope that you, my readers can be encouraged to just do what God is asking you to do no matter how big or small it is or whether you think you are capable or not.  As I think of these things, I wonder if our other leaders sometimes feel the same.  Our church body is pretty young as is its leadership.  We just need to keep pressing on, seeking God and doing the best that we can.

One final thought to ponder:  God doesn't always call the equipped, but He always equips the called.

Things about Me

Well, at the prompting my friend Bekah, I am posting some little things about me that you may or may not care to know.  It has been fun thinking of these things and I hope you enjoy them.  Happy reading!


I don't understand why people eat steak any way but Medium-Medium Rare.  No blood = Dry steak.

My favorite smells are 1) Nestle's Tollhouse chocolate cookies baking in the oven, (2) The smell of lilacs in the spring, (3) Food on someone else's grill when I'm on hole #18 on the golfcourse!

Toilet paper - Any way it gets on the roll is fine with me.  (this one is for Bek)

I don't like cats and they don't like me.

Dogs are people too.  Aren't dogs people?

My favorite hobbies are: (1) Anything but work! (2) Golf-I've "retired" due to lack of time from my other sports of volleyball, softball & basketball, (3) Reading, (4) Playing my baby grand piano (5) Spending time with friends-when I'm not busy with everything else

I LOVE driving around looking at the fall foliage.

I'm a Kansas resident and wouldn't change it, but a Missouri fan and alumnus.

My favorite sports to watch are NFL football (Go Chiefs!) and college basketball (Go Mizzou! And anyone who plays Kansas)

I was in Zeta Tau Alpha sorority in college, but I am NOT a "sorority girl".

I like computer games and actually enjoy being the only female at my brother's LAN parties.

Life is a big game and I hate to lose.   I am mellowing somewhat in this area.  Praise God!

My mom always told me to let the boys win...but I didn't listen.

My favorite classical movies are Gone With the Wind & The Sound of Music.

My favorite contemporary movie is Dangerous Liasons.

I love scary movies.

I love music and have too many favorites to pick just one.

Chess is a cool game.

I would never choose to live anywhere that I couldn't enjoy all of the four seasons.  I love the fall and the crisp air it brings in the morning.

Sunrises and sunsets are one of my favorite things to see each day (although I don't see many sunrises) and they remind me of God.

I hate coffee.

Coca Cola is my drink of choice.  Ice cold, out of the can!

With all my heart, I believe that McDonald's has the best Cokes of any fast food chain around.

I think my husband and I are addicted to frozen custard.  My favorite = chocolate with cookie dough.

Made from scratch Nestle's Tollhouse cookies (with semi-sweet chocolate chips) must have been what manna from heaven tastes like.

My favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes.

I never, never dreamed I would be a "blogger"!

As I type, I'm fighting the urge to organize this list into categories!  :D

Shout to the Lord

Do you ever get a song in your mind that you just can't get rid of?  If you do, I hope it is one you like!  :)  Yesterday,  while I was thinking about the Chris Tomlin concert the night before and trying to decide what to post, I kept thinking of the song "Shout to the Lord" by Darlene Zschech.  I guess the song does express how indescribable God is, but just in a different way.  Hold on to your seats as you journey through this song with me while I let the scriptures do the "talking".  I promise you this will be a fun ride! :)

My Jesus, my Savior
Lord there is none like you
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love

Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.  (2 Samuel 7:22)

My Comfort, my Shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psalm 91:2) I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O most High. (Psalm 9:2)

Shout to the Lord, all the earth let us sing
Power and majesty praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name

All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. (Psalm 86:9-10)

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)

I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
Forever I'll love You
Forever, I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:7)

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (Isaiah 53:5)

Prayer:  Lord, how awesome You are.  Thank You for Your power and strength, tenderness and mercy.  Nothing....NOTHING, compares to the promises I have in You. Thank You for Jesus and for His healing "stripes".  I love You.


This will be brief, and hopefully I'll get my "official" post in later today.  For now, though, I just have to talk about the concert I went to last night - "The Indescribable Tour" - with Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman & Louis Giglio.  Let's just say it was awesome!

As I stood there among the crowd, all of us singing praises to our indescribable, uncontainable, untameable, incomparable, unchangeable, amazing God, I could feel His presence in that place.  Christians who have never been to a concert of this sort have truly been missing out.

Louis Giglio showed us a presentation of how God uses the heavens to declare His glory.   Nothing like some Hubble telescope photos to put it into perspective how little we are on this "pale blue dot" in the heavens!  Can you believe that our God has it all - everything - in the palm of His hand?

The amazing part to me still is that a God so large...

            ... the One whose spoken Word created the universe and everything in it ...

...came to earth in the form of a man to die a humiliating death on a cross....for me.   Wow.


Janna Rust is a Life Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at


What Does It Take...

... to get us to be obedient to God's call in our lives?  Have you ever asked yourself that? 

As I was reading through Amos - yes, I will soon be in the New Testament (YIPPEE!) - the other day, I came across a portion of scripture where God, through Amos is marvelling over the stubbornness of His people.  Okay, I don't know if He was "marvelling", but I was.   As we read through Amos 4, God is listing all of the things He has done to try to change their behavior.  Five times (Amos 4:6,8,9,10,11) you find the phrase "yet have ye not returned to me, saith the LORD."  Five times.  Do you think God is trying to make a point here?

What "plagues' are you going through right now?  I can think of a few of my own.  Have you ever stopped to think that the "plague" was there so you would seek out God?  It takes awhile for me to see that sometimes.  Whatever trouble we are in (and really, BEFORE trouble sets in), we should seek God, like water in a dry land.  When we are "hungry and thirsty" for something or someone, most likely we are missing the One who alone can satisfy.  If we are missing something, are we seeking the kingdom of God first?  Why not?  I dunno. 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Mt 6:33)

Wouldn't it be great if we never left God?  Not for one minute of ANY day?  Oh, to have that kind of discipline!  Then we would never have to return to Him because we would have never left! My prayer of late is this:

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.  Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.  (Ps 63:1-3)

Jacob's Ladder

Have you ever stopped to consider what the ladder in Jacob's dream in Genesis 28:12 really represents?  I know.  I bet you were lying awake just last night thinking about it. :)  Well, when I heard what I'm about to share with you in a bible study last week, I thought it was too cool not to share.  Here we go!

In Genesis 28 we find the place where Jacob has his first real and personal encounter with God Almighty.  Look at Genesis 28:12:

And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

Note that the ladder was setting upon the ground.   Its purposes were that of connection and access from earth to heaven.  This is important, and I don't think Jacob would have been dreaming of an aluminum ladder either!  Fast forward in your Bibles with me to John 1:51 where Jesus says to Nathaneal

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

Compare John 1:51 with Genesis 28:12.  Can you see that the ladder in Jacob's vision was a foreshadowing of the "Ladder" we use now to connect with God in heaven - Jesus?  Isn't that cool?  Can you see now the importance of the wooden (not aluminum) ladder stuck on the ground?  Could the ladder represent the cross that was stuck in the ground with our Savior dying on it?

Without Jesus, we would have no access to heaven at all.  Jesus says in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  Do you know Jesus personally?  Unless you do, you cannot have ladder access.  Click here to find out how to know Him.

The Way I Was Made

Do you live the way you were made? Do you live your life worrying about what other people are thinking?  One of my favorite upbeat songs of late is a song by Chris Tomlin entitled "The Way I Was Made".  The chorus is below.

I want to live like there's no tomorrow
I want to dance like no one's around
I want to sing like nobody's listening
Before I lay my body down
I want to give like I have plenty
I want to love like I'm not afraid
I want to be the man I was meant to be
I want to be the way I was made

A lot of biblical principles come to my mind when I hear this song.   I could write about redeeming the time (Eph 5:15-16, Col 4:5), spiritual gifts (Ro 12:4-8) or my motivations for service (Eph 6:5-7).   However, I think the most interesting thing to explore here is the reason why sometimes we don't live our lives to the fullest ... fear.   What if we all put into practice the following verse?

1 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

I contend that fear (perhaps combined with pride) keeps us from living the way this song's chorus suggests.  If we could overcome our fear of failure, looking silly, or getting hurt and realize how fearfully and wonderfully made we are, I think that we all would accomplish more for God's kingdom.  Our motives would be purer, our lives would be much richer and  I bet we would have much more fun.

If you want to dance, sing and love more, why don't you give thought to the following.  I will.

1 )   If I don't "dance" or "sing" like no one's around, am I really living my life just for Jesus?

2)   What is really keeping me from being the man or woman God made me to be?