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November 2007
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January 2008

Impatient Hope

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only this, but also we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.  Romans 8:22-23 NASB

As I look out the window on this bright winter's day, I wonder what creation would look like if it were free from the curse placed on it because of Adam and Eve.  I wonder if we would even have winter.  I wonder if we would have snow.  Would the leaves on the trees still wither and fall to the ground leaving the naked and bare branches behind for a season?  In an incorruptible world would the green grass turn brown and lie dormant as it waits for the warm weather to return?  If nature could in fact "groan", I wonder what it would say. 

As a part of God's creation, I can't speak for the plants and animals, but I can at least speak for myself.  I am waiting eagerly for the full benefits of adoption into God's family.  After all, the bible says that as a Christian I am an heir of God. 

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of god, and if children, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. 

Romans 8:14-17 NASB

But we must wait for our inheritance because it is in heaven and not on earth.   Our full adoption as sons and daughters of God culminates with new bodies, spiritual bodies, that can inherit the kingdom of God.  This is our ultimate hope.  The day when corruptible becomes incorruptible.  This is what we are all eagerly waiting for, aren't we?  Even creation itself.   It will be then that death will be swallowed up in victory.  (1 Cor 15:55)  It will be then that we will claim our rewards for faithful service.  Then we will get what we've been so impatiently hoping for.  It will be worth the wait.

Keeping the end in mind,

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.


Laced With Grace Giveaway

Lacedwithgrace_giveaway_button_2 Dear Readers,

I am a couple days late in getting this announcement posted, but I am not too late!

The Laced With Grace blog team would like to share their blessings with you.  Come by the devotional blog and sign up for your chance to win the following:

  • an NIV Study Bible from Women of Faith
  • a Bible study for busy moms by Lisa Welchel
  • the book "Love and Respect"
  • the movie "The Nativity Story"
  • a mug by "Mugs of Truth"
  • a CD by a new artist.

The giveaway runs from December 24th - January 1st and the winner will be announced on January 2nd.  If you participate, please post a link on your own blog to the giveaway.

Hope to see you there!


Mary, Did You Know

Here's a "bonus" post for you this Christmas, courtesy of an email devotional I received this morning from Pam at Pathways to Freedom.

The following is a video for the song "Mary, Did You Know?".  What a wonderful song to think about on Christmas Day!  Thanks, Pam!


Born This Day - Jesus!

Luke 2:10-21 (NKJV)

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”[a]

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.


Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your words of truth.   Thank you for the best gift ever - your Son, whose birth we celebrate today.  Glory to You.  You are the Highest.   Allow us to find time today to really ponder all of your miracles in our hearts, especially the miracle of Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary in a stable.  Let us adore Jesus this day as Mary did with her newborn Son and know Peace on earth. 

Amen.


Room at the Inn

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7

There was no room for them in the inn.  No room for Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, in the inn.  Mary and Joseph had to take up temporary residence in a barn so that God's Son would have a place to be born. How does this apply to you and me?  We weren't even there.  Yet as I finally take the time on this day before Christmas to reflect upon the reason for this beloved holiday, I find that I have been no different from the innkeepers over 2000 years ago this particular year.  I have not made room for Jesus in the "inn" of my life. 

Yes, I have thought about God and Jesus and my Bible this past week.  Yes, I have been a good servant (albeit sometimes with a not-so-good attitude) by helping out someone in need this December and giving up a room in my home and some of my time in the name of showing Christ's love.  I have shared the gospel twice within the past week at speaking engagements and passed along encouraging words of hope and the power we have through God's word to live our lives to the fullest.  I have proclaimed the truth on my blog, given away Christmas presents and enjoyed family get-togethers.   I'm sure there are some other good deeds I have done if I really stop to think about them. 

But the deeds are not the point.  In fact, the good deeds are what have contributed to my lack of "warm fuzzy-ness" about the holiday festivities that will descend upon my house tomorrow.  The good deeds and lack of devotional time have prompted me to say to my husband just a couple of hours ago "I wish Christmas would just be over."  Such a sad statement that is!  I have unusually missed the point this past week before Christmas, allowing household distractions and the excitement of new possibilities to interfere with my usual routine of  daily quiet time with God, the One who refuels my soul.   I have not made enough room in my "inn".

Today is another day.  Better stated, this hour is a new hour.   Today is a beautiful and sunny Christmas Eve day where the white snow on the ground and rooftops glistens as a reminder of God's gift to us in Jesus, His one and only Son, sent to redeem the world.  It is a day worth treasuring and not wishing away.  Christmas day will be the same.  It will be a good day - a great day - because today I will again make room for Him in my "inn".  Lots of room.  What about you?

Merry Christmas to all of you!

With warm regards,
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.


Back to Basics

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

Like all of us, I have a set of beliefs about God, life after death, etc.  Foundational to those beliefs is the belief that the Bible, the canonized 66 books of it, is the very Word of God.  I cannot not believe the Bible is true because it a) does not contradict itself, b) every prophecy ever presented has come true and c) archaelogical evidence supports it.  Basically, I have examined it thoroughly and have found it sufficient to bet my eternal destiny upon.

Why am I saying all of this?  More importantly, many of you are probably wondering why in the world I would choose to "call out" a major religion on this blog in my last post when I have never done it before?  (If you haven't read that post and the lively discussion there, I'd encourage you to do so).  The answer, dear readers is because if I know the truth and see that others may be going down a slippery slope of deception, I must warn them.  When I come across something presented in the world (in this case it was from a Newsweek magazine in my doctor's office) that contradicts my faith, I must speak the truth in love.

Does it mean that I shout from the rooftops or every street corner or confront everyone I know at the exact moment I notice an error?  Does it mean that I think less of the person in error? Absolutely not.  My history in life as well as on this blog over the past two and a half years proves otherwise.   I do not like to pick on or pick apart other religions.  Doing so is an endless task and does nothing but bring others down rather than build people up in their faith. 

With all of that said, I am thankful I came across the article this week in Newsweek and dared to post about it.  Controversy is good, you know.  If we never address our differences but instead avoid talking about them, how can we ever find out who is right?  If there is not a spark to light the fire of awareness, won't most people just continue on in their own ways?  We can all be better in life.  We can all understand what we believe in and why if we just take the time to study out the issues.  In closing I have just two questions that every believer of any faith, religion or creed can ask themselves and I challenge you to do so:

1) Do you really know what you say you believe? Dig deep into your religion or association's beliefs.  What appears good on the surface may not be so good underneath.

2) If your belief system differs from another's, have you asked why?  Chances are, that one is true and one is false.  Two opposing "truths" cannot both be true.


The Mormon-Evangelical Divide

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15

The December 17, 2007 edition of Newsweek features the two leading Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in its cover story "A New American Holy War".  Interesting, huh?  A "holy war" in the United States?  Well, not exactly.  However there is much discussion of late regarding the faith of these two men.  Romney is a Mormon.  Huckabee is a Christian & former Baptist preacher.  Today I'm not necessarily concerned with how the different faith's of these two men should be weighed when considering who to vote for, but rather the importance of knowing what we believe as Christians and why.

Consider the following question from the "New Newsweek Poll", where Princeton research associates  intervied 1,408 Iowa registered voters via telephone Dec. 6-8.  Asked of likely Republican caucusgoers:

Do you consider people of the Mormon faith to be Christian? 

57% said yes, 27% said no and 16% didn't know.

Where would you land in this poll?  Could you explain your position?  It all boils down to how well you know your own Christian faith.  It all might depend on how much you've studied the bible, rightly dividing the word of truth.  As Christians we need to test all things to see if they line up with the truth of God's Word, the Holy Bible.

It is important to understand why we believe what we believe for many reasons.  We are definitely living in some interesting times where the truth is hard to come by. For me personally, I just want to believe in the truth, especially if that truth might impact my eternal destiny, heaven or hell.  I want to be confident that I am trusting in the right belief system for my own eternal destiny as well as for the ones I love.  I want them to know the truth as well. 

Please know, that I do not have a corner on every truth in town.  But I do know this.  I know that my Jesus as described in the Bible is the one and only Savior of all mankind.  He is God and remains the same now and forever.   The Jesus of Christianity is not the same Jesus as the Jesus of the Mormon faith.  Only the name is the same. This election year provides a great opportunity to share the real truth of the gospel.  Are you prepared?

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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.


My Purposeful Blog

  Greetings! Robin at the Heart of Wisdom Blog has graciously awarded me with the "Blogging With a Purpose" award.  Thank you, Robin!

The rules of the award request that recipients of the award give the award to five more bloggers who have not yet received the award who blog with a purpose.  This was a very difficult thing to do for me, since a few of the bloggers I would select have already been awarded the award.  However, I did manage to find some other worthy recipients.  Here goes!

  1. Lynn & Dineen @ Spiritually Unequal Marriage - These ladies have a purpose in sharing how they have survived in spiritually mismatched marriages.  You will see by their writings how much they care.
  2. Danielle @ The Bipolar Diaries - Danielle shares her personal successes and struggles as she lives with bipolar disorder.  This blog is a good resource for those affected by the disorder.  I love her spirit.
  3. Sara @ Stones of Remembrance - If you feel like a dose of encouragement through the deeper meanings of some spiritual songs, stop by Sara's blog.  She is very purposeful in sharing how a believer can become an overcomer through the power of God & His word.
  4. Deborah @ Health Meditations - Deborah is an M.D. who does an excellent job with giving practical health tips with the added bonus of spiritual nourishment as well.  A must read.
  5. The Ladies @ Faith Lifts - This blog, an extension of 5 Minutes for Mom, is an excellent devotional.  It brings an added tool to help moms live our their faith and "survive" the busyness of motherhood.

That's all!  Please take some time to visit these outstanding purposeful blogs!

Living with a Purpose,

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.


Can Christians Be Sinless?

Whoever abides in Him does not sin.  Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 1 John 3:6 NKJV

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.  1 John 3:9 NKJV

I love debating conversing about the meanings of scripture passages and engaging in dialog that makes me think about why I believe what I believe.  I love digging for the truth.  Knowing what we believe and why is essential in today's culture where Christians are not respected and not understood.  Having an unshakeable belief system and being able to back it up with biblical truth is also crucial in discerning whether or not new ideas we are being exposed to are really worth considering.   

Last night I had a great discussion with someone regarding the passages above.  In essence, the topic of the conversation could have been boiled down to one question being:  "Do we have the power as Christians to cease from sinning?"  From reading the text of 1 John 3:6 & 9, it would appear on the surface that Christians must no longer sin.  Could it be that we become sinless - totally perfect & God-like - at the time of our conversion?  After all, the bible does say that we do become a new creation.

For the record, I do not believe that Christians ever cease from sinning.  I do believe however however, that we have been given all of the power through the Holy Spirit of God to overcome sin, should we choose to keep our minds focused on God's ways 100% of the time.  That, I don't think is practically possible. 

Now it is your turn to think and share if you will.  I obviously didn't share all of my response to my friend's question here on this blog for a reason.  Just as I had to think to pull out other principles and examples from the bible to back up my position, I'm challenging you to do the same.  How would you answer the question: "Can Christians be sinless?  Could you?

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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.