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October 2007
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December 2007

Power of Suggestion

And Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." - Joshua 3:5 NKJV

I was driving home yesterday from bible study when a song playing from my iPod brought back a vivid memory that I will never forget.  The memory itself isn't important to this post, but the person and relative timing of when this particular memory took place surely is.   A year and a half ago, I had a brief conversation with this person - then an acquaintance, now a close friend - which sparked a chain of events that changed the course of my life.  Never underestimate the power of suggestion.  I can't remember the exact words she said but they included something like "You should share your story."    I didn't even think I had a "story" worth sharing to individuals, let alone worth sharing to groups of people with a microphone in my hand.  The funny thing is that people seem to be encouraged by it.  God does work in mysterious ways, doesn't he? 

I wonder what biblical history would have looked like had Joshua not been bold enough to inspire the people of Israel to cross the massive overflowing Jordan river (Josh 3:15) into the promised land.  Keep in mind that this was no dribbling stream and there was no bridge present to cross over.  This was a roaring river and to cross it required a leap of faith and literal miracle of God.  I love this story.  Joshua listened to God, conveyed God's message to the people and then took part in a miracle.

Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan. (Josh 3:17 NKJV)

This was the start of something big.  A turning point in the history of the nation of Israel.  Have you ever really thought about the impact of your words on those around you?  One sentence could alter the course of another's life forever.  That can be an exciting thought.  That's why we must continually seek God's direction in our lives and try to be the people He wants us to be.  We must make every moment count and be aware of opportunities to both speak for and listen to God wherever we find ourselves.   Remember, never underestimate the power of suggestion.  Live for impact.

For further thought:

1) What opportunities lie in your life where you can make a difference? 

2) How can you impact your today for tomorrow? 

3) What action will you take today to make a difference in someone else's life?  Who has made a difference in yours?  Do they know it?  If they don't, let them know.

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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.


The Wonders of God

O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise You, O LORD, among the peoples,  And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your mercy is great above the heavens, And Your truth reaches to the clouds.

Psalm 108:1-4 NKJV

Sometimes simple is just better.  Today, let's just be simple and reflect on the true wonders of God and what He provides us each and every day.  A friend of mine has posted a short video that touched my heart today because it reminded me that the real wonders of this earth can only come from God.  So true.  Why don't you visit and take a look

May you day be filled with awe for all of the little things God has given you to enjoy!

For His glory,
Janna

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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.


We're #1!!!

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  - Proverbs 16:18 NIV

What a fitting verse to think on as I relish in the rare happening that my Missouri Tiger football team is ranked #1 in the country.  This hasn't happened since 1960, and when I was in college the football program was awful, so won't you please let me be a little bit excited? 

But in the midst of all the excitement and hype, it does bring up a few questions when we consider Proverbs 16:18:

1) What exactly is a haughty, prideful spirit?

2) At what point does happiness over accomplishments cross the line into pride territory?

3) How long does it take before the inevitable pride-induced fall occur?

These are good questions to ask ourselves, aren't they? We don't have to wait for an athletic event to stir up our natural prideful tendencies.  We can manage just fine being prideful in the daily routine of our lives.   Pride is definitely destructive.  Don't fall for it.

 


Armageddon At Arrowhead?

Could it be that Armageddon is coming to Kansas City's Arrowhead stadium tonight at 7:00 CST?   According to Jason Whitlock, sports columnist for the Kansas City Star, it is.  I suppose when you pit two college football teams and 80,000 crazy fans making up the second oldest rivalry in college football history together in a game that has BCS National Championship as well as Heisman Trophy implications, you might have a college football version of the "war" to end all wars.  Why am I posting about a football game, you might be thinking?  Because the game is MU (#3) vs KU (#2) and I am a Missouri Tiger! :)  Go Mizzou!   (NOTE: For more information regarding the game, its implications and rivalry, click here.)

Our city has been abuzz with trash talking fans and the hype of this game for weeks now and I have to say that I am glad that it is here.  Honestly, I want my Tigers to win and put an end to all of the "Who is best" talk once and for all.  I'll be glad when the game is over and even though God probably could care less who wins this football game, I am praying for a MU blowout so I'm not so stressed when I'm watching it tonight!  :)

But enough about football.  As I've listened to even more of the hype this past week (did I mention that people are saying this is the biggest sporting event ever in Kansas City?) I've wondered some things:

  1. How many people really know what "Armaggedon" is?
  2. What if there was as much buzz/talk going on in society about an even bigger "battle" - the battle for men's souls?  Good vs. evil?  Heaven and hell?  Jesus vs. other religions?
  3. How can we Christians get as pumped up for the cause of the Truth - Jesus being the way the truth and the life, no one coming to God except through Him as the bible says?
  4. What would our world look like if all of the people in it professing to be Christians actually started reading their bibles, living out its Truths and becoming excited about its power to change lives?
  5. How can God use me to help people to have the passion for things of God like they have it for their favorite sports team?
  6. Does who wins this game really matter in the whole scheme of world history?

I'll stop there with my questions, partly because I got a wee bit convicted when I had to answer a resounding "yes" to #6.   The result of the game does matter.   Its a pride thing. I know that  it really doesn't matter in the whole eternity picture.  I'll remember that especially if my Tigers lose.  But if they win ... well... I'll try to keep my elation intact.  May the best team win!  Ahh ... but I digress from the real point of this post.  The hype is getting to me.

In all seriousness though, how would you answer the questions above?  Think about them.  Mull them over and think about what things could look like if we were all as excited about the important things as we are about a football game.  And then ask yourself, "What is my role in this exciting game we call life?" 

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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.


Happy Thanksgiving!

O Give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.  Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. (Psalm 105:1-3)

I'm glad that in the United States we have a holiday that by its very name compels us to have an attitude of thankfulness for at least one day of the year.  Yes, I'm talking about the Thanksgiving holiday.  Most of us who are past our grade school years - unless we are homeschooling young children - have forgotten the names and the sacrifices of the original pilgrims that settled in this country so many years ago.  I heard on a Christian radio show just this past week that the intent of the original Thanksgiving feast was to give thanks to God for all that he had provided for the settlers in their new land.  They must have been deeply religious, or should I say, God loving people.  They knew from where their sustenance came.

So today I would like to take the time on this blog to be thankful for all that God has given me.  I would like to also thank God for those things I've asked for that God has not given me because he knew what was best for me.  And I would also like to thank God for the biggest gift of all ... the gift of eternal life through belief on Jesus, his son.

What are you thankful for today?  No matter where you are in life, I know that you can find something to thank God for.  We all can.  We can all make known the blessings God has bestowed on us.  Won't you do that today?

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Janna

Dear Lord, I thank you for all that you've put into my life and all that you've taken out of my life.  While an entire list of things would not even do you justice, I still must thank you for a few things anyway.  Thank you for providing me with good health and a good life.  Thank you for a loving husband, family & friends, without whom my life would definitely not be the same.  But mostly, thank You for who you are and of Your amazing love for me. Amen.

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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.


Real Reward

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15:1)

Abram must have been a little frazzled after "these things".   He had just returned from rescuing Lot from the likes of four kings who had taken the cities and the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah captive (see Genesis 14).   The king of Sodom wanted to reward Abram with material possessions but Abram refused, not wishing to be made rich by an earthly king. 

I wonder if Abram was troubled when the LORD came to meet him that day in the vision.   There is no indication from the text that Abram needed encouragement, yet God showed up to do just that as He says "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." (Ge 15:1).  But God knew without Abram having to say a word what was in his heart.  God knew that Abram was doing the best he could in believing God would provide the impossible.  God also knew of Abram's secret doubts.

After God's initial words in the vision, Abram verbalized his doubts to God regarding his still not having an heir.  God listened, answered and acted.

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said unto him, "So shall your descendants be." (Genesis 15:4-5 NKJV)

When I picture this scene I imagine a parent standing outside with one arm around their child and the other pointing to the sky to show the child the promise.  What a sight.  What warm encouragement.  Like God encouraged Abram that He was still with him, He wants to do that to us.  I think God still encourages us.  We just need to stop and listen for His voice.   We may even feel His strong arm around our shoulders.  After all, He is our real reward.

May you sense His presence today,

Janna

For further thought:

1) What doubts do you have regarding God and His promises to you?  Give them to Him.

2) Can you think of someone in your life who might need a dose of encouragement?  Give it to them.

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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.


Revisiting the Call

From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar.  There Abram called on the name of the Lord. - Genesis 13:2 NIV

Sometimes after a long journey with God as we live out our calling we must return to the place from where we have come and seek His face again.   The reasons for this are varied.  We may be weary.  We may be facing obstacles.  We may sense that we need to change direction.  We may just need a little encouragement that what we are doing is still what God wants from us.  Whatever the reason, whether we are seeking God's face for a new direction or for renewed energy on our current trek, the fact remains that when we ask God for help, he will give it.  If we heed God's advice we will find ourselves encouraged anew and revitalized to tackle the challenges ahead.

I wonder what compelled Abram to return to that place near Bethel where he had built his first altar to God.  He had been on a long journey from Haran to Bethel to the Negev to Egypt and then back again to Bethel.  He had yet to settle in the promised land but had still managed to accumulate wealth along the way.  Perhaps he sensed he was off track in his pursuit of God's original mandate to him.  I'm also wondering if in this latest meeting with God, God didn't remind Abram of his original instruction to leave his people and his father's household.  After meeting with God, we do see from the text of Genesis 13 that Abram parted company with Lot (a relative), who had been traveling with him since he left Haran.  Once Abram shed this "load", God spoke again to Abram and reminded him of the original plan he had for him:

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west.  All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.  I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.  Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."  (Genesis 13:14-17 NIV)

Abram lifted up his eyes and looked at the vision God had planned for him.  He took his eyes off of himself and his current situation and focused on the future.  He took in the sights, the sounds, and the smells of what the future held.  We must do the same if we are to continue steadfastly in God's purpose for our lives.  Has God given you a dream for a future in His service?  What does that look like to you? Lay hold of it and start today to make that dream become reality.  God is waiting to join you.  Won't you join Him?

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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.


Do You Believe in Truth?

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)

I have a deep desire burning within my soul to equip others with the truth so that they may live the lives God intended for them to live.  I am burdened to share with them THE truth.  Not my "truth".  Not the latest "truth" from a famous author, pastor, pop psychologist, celebrity, bible study teacher, philosopher or study group.  THE Truth with a capital "T".  This truth is encapsulated in the pages of the Holy Bible that was inspired by the Creator of the universe - God - and penned by men who listened to God's inspiration so that we could have it today in a written form.   The truth is beneficial to have in a written form so that when our emotions and memories fail us, we can come back to the facts as they were written.

Truth seems so simple.  If I believe the bible is 100% true, because God is God and therefore perfect and unable to err, I have to believe that all truth stems from God.  If Jesus is God and says that He himself is the "truth" (John 14:6) and that God's word (i.e. the bible, scripture) is truth (John 17:17), shouldn't we believe what He says?

Yet our society wants to think differently about truth.  The postmodern mindset of our culture today wants to believe that everything is individually relevant.  Everyone can have their own truth.  How this makes logical sense, I have no idea.  After all, can an apple be anything but an apple at its very core (pun intended)?  No matter what it is called, it is still an "apple".  If I called it a rock, I would be very wrong because the two things are not the same.  My truth cannot be imposed on what is real.

With that said, I must defend the Truth.  It is the only thing worth living for because of what it can do for all of us.  It is profitable for us and can equip us for every good work and it can set us free from the bondage and mind clutter of uncertainty.   What does that "defense" look like?  Let me share a quote from Martin Luther as quoted in John MacArthur's "The Truth War", p. 26:

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.  Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

Will you join me in this battle to defend the Truth of the Bible?  Open yours today and let its truths speak to the depths of your soul.


From Good to Grief

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. - Genesis 6:5-6 NKJV

We don't have to go very far forward in time from creation to find mass corruption in the crown of God's creation - man.  The bible is not a long drawn out book that takes hours of reading to get to the real heart of the matter.  For instance, in my bible I see God expressing how good everything was on the first page (Genesis 1).  Then, only 4 pages later in Genesis 6, God is grieving over the state of mankind only hundreds of years later and making plans to destroy it via a great flood.   Yes, the bible doesn't waste time in getting interesting.

Poor God.  He has been fighting the likes of mankind since He created us for His pleasure.  All He wanted from us was for us to love Him.  I suppose though that was too much to ask.  I can't imagine the sadness He must suffer as He watches us ignore Him and go our own way day after day.  Our own angst over a prodigal son or daughter is no match for the emotion God feels for us.    Knowing this aspect of God should change the way we live our lives.  Won't you let it change you today?

Heart Check:

1) Ask God to reveal to you the areas of your life (including your thoughts) where you grieve Him.

2) What one thing can you do today (or stop doing) for God that might please Him?


The Crossroads

This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls..." Jer 6:16 NIV

A year ago today was the last time I attended my former church of nearly 10 years as an active member.   Ironically enough, this weekend as I sat reflecting during some quiet time at a retreat with my new church, I came across the above verse through a cross-reference in my bible.  I'd forgotten about this verse and how it was a confirmation to me that day in September 2006, the day after I had decided in my mind it was time to let go and let God lead me to another church home.  I was definitely at a crossroads then, yearning for rest in my soul.  That summer of 2006, I spent many hours standing at the crossroads looking and asking where was the good way. In my prayers I had been asking for the "old paths", longing for the way things used to be with church so that I could find rest for my soul.  I cannot express to you adequately how I felt then, to have found Jer 6:16 from some weekly CBS bible study homework.  It was indeed to me, one of many confirmations in my life that God was directing me to another path.

A lot of things have transpired in my life during this past year.  I've learned a lot about myself and a lot about God.  I've learned through coaching how to be identified by the strengths God has given me rather than by the roles that I play.  I'm learning how to slow down and walk with, not run ahead of God.  And I'm learning the benefits of standing and looking at the intersection of opportunities in my life and waiting for God to reveal His direction for me.

I think I've found rest.  At least I have it when I stay in the moment and cease trying to figure out how the many opportunities I have in my life right now will work themselves all for the glory of God.  I want to help God out, you know.

What do you do when you are at a crossroads in your life's journey?  Stop and be still.  Feel the wind in your face, smell the fragrance of life around you and look and listen for God's direction.  Ask Him for it.  He will give to you.  I know.  He did it for me.

Wishing you joy in your journey,

Janna