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September 2005
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November 2005

God Stooped

I taught Ephraim to walk, Taking them by their arms; But they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.  I stooped and fed them.  -- God, Hosea 11:3-4 NKJV

Poor God.  He loves us so much, yet it seems that we are constantly in this battle between self and the selflessness He so rightly deserves. God  says in Hosea 11:1-2 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.  As they (probably the prophets) called them, So they went from them; They sacrificed to the Baals, And burned incense to carved images."

I don't have children, but I can imagine a parent's love for a child and the disappointment when the child misbehaves, just as God references Ephraim (Israel) in the passage above. Even we, are like the people Israel back in Hosea's time.  I wonder how many of us truthfully like to admit it.  We may not make physical idols with our hands, but I believe we all from time to time set up an "idol" in their spouse, children, pets (they are my children), friendships, jobs or ___________.  You can fill in the last blank.  We get so involved and so self-sufficient that relying on God gets pushed aside.   

Do you realize that no matter where you are or whatever situation you find yourself in, that God is waiting to "stoop' to help you?  I wonder how many times that He does without me even knowing.  Lord, I pray that today when you stoop to feed me, that I will notice.


Bought with a Price

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. - I Corinthians 6:19-20

Read these words and think to yourselves if you are living out your own life or what God has planned for you.  To see the "you are not your own" part lived out, come with me to the book of Hosea!

Poor Hosea.  That is my first thought when reading about this man.  But should I really be saying that?  Hosea was, after all, living out his life in radical obedience to God, reaping lots of rewards in heaven for his obedience.  Hmmm....do you think he knew the passage of Matthew 6:19-21

Hosea was told by God to take a "wife of harlotry" in Gomer (Ho 1:2).  Why? So his marriage and children could be a "picture" of Israel and Judah's unfaithfulness to God.  I am totally humbled by Hosea's obedience to God.(Ho 1:3).  Do you think Hosea's goal in life was to marry a prostitute who would humiliate him?  Scripture doesn't always depict the human element of its characters in much detail and I'm learning to try to put myself in their places more to get the full impact of what is going on.  I would bet that although obedient, being an emotional human being, Hosea was torn up inside when he heard God's plan for him.

The bottom line is this.  Being in God's will, is the only place we should want to be, even if we don't always understand it.  I like to think of God's view of our lives as looking down from an airplane at the earth 20,000 feet below.  He can see everything - much more than I can see from the ground!  Trust and obey for there's no other way.  Sorry, I couldn't resist!  That old hymn just popped into my mind.

Seriously, the kind of radical obedience we see in Hosea requires a whole lot of trust and and a whole lot of self sacrifice.  Are you up for the challenge?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


Blessings of a Blogger

I have to admit that when a friend of mine first told me about this whole blogging thing, I was a little skeptical about it.   While listening with an open mind about how a blog might be used to connect people together in some fashion, I did have my doubts.  I started reading my Grace "family" blogs,  and finally decided to start my own blog, after being encouraged by 1) The same friend mentioned above and 2) The fact that I couldn't let the only blogging lady of our church be so outnumbered.  To my surprise, I have really been blessed by my friend'hs suggestion to consider "the blog".   Thanks, Bek, for opening this "world" to me!

Following are the blessings I've received from blogging:

1) God has really been showing me some cool things in His Word.

2) By writing down my thoughts in this manner, I am forced to better organized them and I learn more.

3) I feel like I've "met" some really cool people whom I've both been encouraged and inspired by.  Thank you for your posts on your blogs!

4) Finally, I am blessed by the people who visit this blog, because they must be coming to hear from God's Word!  I don't include much about my life, which isn't that exciting anyway, so God must be the attraction - Praise Him!  :)  I do pray that I can be an encouragement to you.

That is all for now.  By the way, I am also thankful for antibiotics!! :)  I'm feeling much better!


"Back" from vacation

I'll preface this post with the following:

Philippians 2:14-15  14Do all things without murmurings and disputings:  15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

I am trying not to complain, but I feel like big baby.  My vacation to Boston with my husband to view the foliage was short-lived. After posting my previous "vacation announcement" we took off to the airport.  What you don't know is that I've been suffering from a cold - and I'm not the best sick person - since Wednesday of last week.  Sunday night was a BAD night and this morning was a BAD morning.  Honestly, it was a tough decision to decide to stay home. 

Fearing the cold had turned into a sinus infection (turns out, it was - I went to the doctor today for some antibiotics), and noticing that on the way to the airport, I couldn't breath through my nose, I made the decision to turn around and cancel the trip.   All the time I kept thinking "If I get on the plane and can manage to suffer through the several hour flight, will my head pop off from the landing"?  That thought was finally what pushed me over the edge to make the call to the doctor.

Am I complaining?  You decide.  On the one hand, I'm really bummed because I was looking forward to getting away to explore a cool city, not to mention my husband was really excited about the trip too, that I spoiled.  On the other hand, I still have the week off of work, my house is really clean, and I can spend a lot of quality time with God and getting ahead on some ministry things while the Z-pac kicks in.    It kind of reminds me of some previous posts where I was reminded that I am really not in control of my life.

So, for now, I am back online! Thanks for the vacation well wishes!  -- J


Vacation

To my readers-

I will be out of town until Friday night of this week on vacation. I'm not sure if I will access to the internet, but I will try.  So...if you don't see any posts from me until then, that is why.  Have a great week!

Janna


The Touch of God

Have you ever felt so weary from life, whether it is home, work, worry or ministry, that you just felt that you couldn't take one more step?  That you felt all strength was zapped from you?   I think Daniel felt this way in Chapter 10 after he was left alone to have another troubling vision. (10:7)

Now imagine being on the ground, face down and feeling a comforting touch... 

Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands.  And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you."  While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.  (Dan 10:10-11 NKJV)

This touch occurred to Daniel three different times in the chapter.  After hearing words from the "angel" in v12-14, Daniel again turned his face to the ground, speechless.  The vision had overwhelmed him and no strength was left in him.  This time, "suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men" touched his lips, allowing Daniel to speak. (v16).  Daniel spoke but ran out of steam again and for the third time, God (in the form of angel or preincarnate Christ - you decide) touched and strengthened him.

Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me.  And he said,"O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!  (Dan 10:18-19 NKJV)

Admittedly, Daniel was strengthened after this exhortation!  Wouldn't you be, if Jesus Himself told you to get up and face life?   Did you know that Jesus tells us personally to keep pressing on all of the time in His Word?  I find that so awesome how he personally speaks to me. I pray that He speaks to you too, all who are weary and void of strength:

Isaiah 40:28-31 28Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.    30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.    30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (NKJV)


Messianic Prophesies-II

From my post yesterday, I couldn't just leave #13 on the list hanging out there being incomplete.  So, I'm including the rest today.  For the prophecies relating to Jesus' death, consider that He would...

13. Die a humiliating death (Ps 22; Isa 53) involving:

a. rejection (Isa 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5, 48)
b. silence before His accusers (Isa. 53:7; Matt. 27:12-19)
c. being mocked (Ps 22:7-8; Matt. 27:31)
d. piercing His hands and feet (Ps 22:16; Luke 23:33)
e. being crucified with thieves (Isa. 53:12; Matt. 27:38)
f. praying for His persecutors (Isa 53:12; Luke 23:43)
g. piercing His side (Zech 12:10; John 19:34)
h. buried in a rich man's tomb (Isa 53:9; Matt 27:57-60)
i. casting lots for His garments (Ps 22:18; John 19:23-24)

Note:  The above list was taken from the book When Skeptics Ask by Geisler/Brooks, p. 114-115.

I feel better now that I've completed  yesterday's post.  I'll leave you with a quote regarding the authenticity of the Bible, statistically speaking:

It is statistically preposterous that any or all of the Bible's specific, detailed prophecies could have been fulfilled through chance, good guessing, or deliberate deceit.  When you look at some of the improbable prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, it seems incredible that skeptics - knowing the authenticity and historicity of the texts - could reject the statistical verdict: The Bible is the Word of God, and Jesus Christ is the Son of God, just as Scripture predicted many times and in many ways.

The Bible was written over a span of 1,600 years by forty authors using three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) on hundreds of subjects.  And yet there is one consistent, noncontradictory theme that runs through it all:  God's redemption of humankind.  Clearly, statistical probability concerning biblical prophecy is a powerful indicator of the trustworthiness of Scripture.  (The Face That Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution, Hank Hanegraaff, p 132-133)

 


Messianic Prophecies

I've made it now to almost the end of the book of Daniel where Daniel is starting to have visions concerning the end times. Poor Daniel was given these visions, not immediately told what to make of them, and they made him sick!  (Ch 8:27).  What a burden he had for his people.

Ever since my mom and dad took us to see "The Late Great Planet Earth" in the 1970's, I've been fascinated by prophecy.  I remember after seeing that movie as a young girl how terrified I was that the end of the world was near.   Thoughts of the second coming of Christ, the Anti-Christ and the End Times can be scary for those who don't know Jesus as Savior. 

Personally, while I think the study of the biblical prophecy is cool, I am much more edified in my Christian walk by choosing to study scripture that I can apply to build my character. The prophecy to me, is like candy, because I think it shows just how cool and unique the Bible really is.  Hmmm...the "coolness of the Bible" - sounds like another blog post! :)

For now, I'm going to list some of the most significant Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament, along with the New Testament verse showing the fulfillment of the prophecy (see note below):

  1. Born of a woman (Gen 3:14; Gal 4:4)
  2. Born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:21)
  3. He would be "cut off" 483 years after the declaration to reconstruct the  temple in 444 B.C. (Dan 9:24)
  4. Of the seed of Abraham (Gen 12:1-3; 22:18; Math 1:1; Gal 3:16)
  5. Of the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10); Luke 3:23, 33; Heb 7:14)
  6. Of the house of David (2 Sam 7:12; Matt 1:1)
  7. Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matt 2:1; Luke 2:4-7)
  8. Anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isa 11:2; Mat t3:16-17)
  9. Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isa 40:3; mal 3:1; Matt 3:1-2)
  10. Would perform miracles (Isa 35:5-6; Matt 9:35)
  11. Would cleanse the temple (Mal 3:1; Matt 21:12)
  12. Rejected by Jews (Ps 118:22; 1 Pe 2:7)
  13. Die a humiliating death (Ps 22; Isa 53) (This is a list all of its own!)
  14. Would rise from the dead (Ps 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)
  15. Ascend into heaven (Ps 68:18; Acts 1:9)
  16. Would sit down a the right hand of God (Ps 110:1; Heb 1:3)

These prophecies were written hundreds of years before Christ was born!  Do you think our tabloid writers have that kind of accuracy?   That is all for now.

Note:  The above list was taken from the book When Skeptics Ask by Geisler/Brooks, p. 114-115.

____________________________________________________________________________

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


Belief

So many times in scripture do we find that people were healed or delivered because of their faith in God.  I wish that my belief in God would heal me of this cold!! :)  I guess I'll see how strong my faith is tomorrow when I wake up.  In the meantime, I'm going to make this brief, but it will definitely be something worth thinking about.

So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. - Daniel 6:23  (Daniel was delivered from the lion's den)

Then He said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. - Luke 7:50 (Jesus said to the sinful woman who "washed" His feet with her tears.)

But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hat made thee whole.  - Matthew 9:22 (Jesus said to the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of his garment)

Question to think about:

How many blessings/healings/deliverances are we missing out on because of our lack of faith?


Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

No, I haven't gone mad or taken up a foreign language, with the title of this post.  These comprised the famous "writing on the wall".  When I usually make comments about seeing the "writing on the wall", I think about waiting for a sign from God to make a decision about something, but I really don't think any of us want to see these words written anywhere for us!

In Daniel 5 we meet Belshazzar, probably the last king of Babylon.  Another proud boy.  (v22-23) He was having a party one day with his lords, his wives and his concubines, drinking wine and worshipping idols when...

"In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote." --Dan 5:5(NKJV).

                                                MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN

Now, I don't know about you, but I would be pretty freaked out at this sight.  After all, that old horror movie "The Hand" was just a movie, wasn't it?  Back to the story, Belshazzar was pretty freaked out and offered a reward to whomever could interpret the writing.  Enter Daniel to "save" the day. 

As described in vs 25-28, here is what the writing meant:
   Mene - God has numbered your kingdom and finished it.
   Tekel - You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.
   Peres - Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

I'm imagining myself as Belshazzar, staring at the writing now that he knows what it means.   Hmmm...Was he drunk from his party?  Did the news sober him up?  Was he fearful for his life? Daniel had just told him that because of his pride he received this writing.  Apparently, God was not pleased!  I guess we shouldn't wonder very long what he might have been thinking as "that very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans was slain." (v30)

Aren't you thankful that God has given us more grace than he gave to Belshazzar?  Our prideful spirits also deserve punishment.  I am thankful that God is patient with me.  The God who holds our breath His hand also loves me more than I can imagine.  Thank You, Lord!

* * * May the writing on your walls be only the kind left by little hands....with crayons! * * *    :)