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December 2007
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February 2008

Declaring God's Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. - Psalm 19:1 NKJV

If the heavens declare God's glory and all that He allows to happen in this world is also for His glory, how am I reflecting God's glory ...

... in my home?
... in my finances?
... in my relationships?
... in my conversations?
... in my attitudes?

To pray about: If you really believe you should do everything for the glory of God, how would your life need to change?

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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.


Igniting Passion, Releasing Power

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. -2 Cor 4:7 NKJV

I read the following quote today form Os Guinness' The Call that really started my mind thinking regarding who God uses and the timing of when He calls someone into service for Him.  Here's the quote:

God's calling is the key to igniting a passion for the deepest growth and and highest herosim in life. - Os Guinness, The Call, p.78

Why is God's calling the key to igniting passion for more personal growth and heroism than we would normally attain without it?  I believe the essence of the "key" is the size of God-sized goal compared to the goals we form without considering God's involvement.  Simply said, our human-sized goals and dreams are too small. We typically don't plan to do things we know we can't do on our own.  Our plans revolve around the means our "earthen vessel" bodies can supply.

God revels in our weakness.  If we truly believe that our whole purpose in life is to bring glory to Him and Him alone, we would better understand God's ways.  God wants to be sure we acknowledge that all excellence comes from Him.

What would you do if you knew you would not fail because God was on your side?

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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 Pitfall of Comparison

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.  And he said to his people "Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land." (Ex 1:8-10 NKJV)

How do you react when you hear of a friends' or maybe even a competitors' (another organization - business, church, etc.) success?  Do you react with genuine happiness or is there a twinge deep inside you that wonders "Why not me?".   I think that sometimes hearing about anothers' success is harder to honestly deal with than hearing about someone's failures because our pride often gets in the way of honest celebration.   The more content we are in our own circumstances and who God made us to be, the easier it is to truly rejoice with someone else.

The human races has been struggling with jealousy since the beginning of time.  While I won't go back that far, I do want to explore the situation early in the nation of Israel's existence which I have referenced in the above passage. The children of Israel had been living in Egypt, tending to their animals and working for the Egyptians.  I don't see in the bible that there was any evidence of any uprising on their parts in wanting to eventually rule over the Egyptians.  However, the new king over Egypt seemed to fear the Israelites and subsequently tried to suppress them.  I wonder why he couldn't just "live and let live" and take advantage of a godly people living in his midst.  Had he been able to do that, a lot of future suffering would have been avoided.   Hard telling how successful everyone could have been.   

From Learning to Living...

1) How have you reacted lately to the success of someone around you?

2) If your reaction to the above had a hint of "Why not me?", do you know why?

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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.


Optimistic or Oblivious?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. - Philippians 4:8 NIV

This verse has always been a "get your mind focused on the good things and not your circumstances" verse for me.  For instance, I turn to that verse to combat the disappointment of coming home from church as I did today wishing I could discuss my "aha" moments from the sermon with someone who could understand.   I also turn to that verse when I see some "Christian" teaching that is not even biblical being embraced by Christians who don't know it is not biblical.  God provided these wise words so that we could protect our hearts from perpetual pessimism and live peacefully and joyfully through all circumstances of life.  I am thankful for the reminder to think on the good things and keep an eternal perspective, knowing that God and His good ways eventually win over evil.

My question is, can we take optimism too far?  When does "looking on the bright side" give way to victory by the dark side? When does that optimism turn into oblivion, where we keep our heads in the sand because it just isn't politically or maybe even "spiritually" correct to raise an awareness of life as it is, with all of its imperfectness?   

I suppose that the solution is to have a balanced "attack" by keeping our eyes open to reality but also keeping our minds grounded in the knowledge of the truth of the Bible and whatever is excellent or praiseworthy.  Being a servant of God is definitely a balancing act, but God is always ready to steady us if we ask Him to.

For further thought:

1) What unpleasant truth are you trying to ignore in your life or in the world around you?

2) What is holding you back from facing that truth?

3) What needs to be done about it to make your world a better place? What do you feel God calling you to do about it?

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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.


Are You Listening?

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.

Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4 NKJV

All of creation is shouting out the praises, glory and wisdom of God.  We see it in the moon and the stars and in the sunrise and sunset.  Every day we hear a message from God.  But are we listening? 

I've heard many people say that they never hear from God.  Sometimes, I know that God chooses to be silent in our lives for a season perhaps to teach us something.  Other times, we may not be hearing from him because we are not living our lives with the eager anticipation that He will in fact speak to us through His Word.  Finally, we may not be hearing from Him because we are too far away from Him.    Maybe we just aren't listening for His voice.

For Listening Pleasure:

1) When you begin your daily quiet time with God, do you expect Him to speak to you?  Ask Him to reveal His will for your life.  Then wait and watch for the answer to come.

2) How much time do you spend in God's Word?  Getting to know how God thinks is essential to understanding how and what God speaks.

3) How observant are you? Be in the moment today.  Be totally present in your environment - your conversations and your surroundings.  Pay attention.  You just might be able to connect what is happening with your prayer requests.

For further thought, check out Sharon Houk's post "Re-Think God".  Her elaboration on Psalm 19:1-4 inspired this post. 

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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 King of Self

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. - Judges 21:25 NKJV

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.  In a strange sort of way, this post was inspired by my watching the season premier of American Idol last night.  Every year when I watch footage of the auditions, I am in disbelief at how disillusioned some of the contestants are to think they should be participating in a singing contest of that magnitude when in fact they can't even sing.  I told my husband that I feel sorry for those contestants but am angry at their friends or family members who didn't tell them the truth.  Ahh...but "speaking the truth in love" is a whole other topic.  The whole point is that those bad singers thought they were good when in fact they couldn't sing...and they let the whole world know.

Getting back to the passage above, are we merely talking about the nation of Israel in its early state of existence or could this apply to the post-modern culture in which we live today?  I'm wondering if in fact the verse isn't more applicable now than ever before.  I am no church history or sociology scholar, but I have done my share of research and I do in fact live in today's culture of relative moralism.

So how do we know what is right, anyway?  Any faithful reader of this blog is going to know where I'm headed with this one.  A close encounter with God's Word will definitely show us the way to live.   If God is truth, and therefore the epitomy of what is right because He is by nature all that is holy and pure, then it makes sense that the Bible would be our guidebook.  It can reveal to us personally what we need to change about the attitudes and actions in our lives to conform to God's standard of living.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

We may think that we are right in the things that we do, but are we?  How can we know what right and wrong really is if we only rely upon ourselves?  Our motives and emotions can sometimes get in the way of rational thought if we aren't careful.  I know that happens to me.  I want to do what is right as best as I can.  Therefore, I keep trekking through the bible daily and ask God to show me where to change.  I know that everything is not always right through my "eyes".

Eye Openers:

1.  How do you view a passage of scripture that contradicts the way you live your life?  Do you try to change your life or do you attempt to modify the interpretation of the passage to fit your life?

2.  How often do you consult the real "Truth" for guidance in your life?  How do you think it would make a difference in the way you live?

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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.


Live and Learn

What an interesting week I have had.  It has been a week of surprises, good and bad.  It has passed both fast and slow.  I've been both focused and scattered.  I can't believe that I haven't posted here since Wednesday.  And today with this post, I have so many things to say that I can't find one thing to say.  What an interesting dilemma.  So, I think that I will just post here some random things I have learned or relearned through this past week.  As with all good learning, all can be tied to key points in the bible.  While I have not posted the verses here because I have not taken the time to look them up, I'm sure I could find a reference for all of my key points.  That can be your homework assignment.  :)  Then we can all learn from my life.

I have learned...

  • Less of me means more for you.  In speaking twice this week and having to deal with a lot of unexpected personal issues in my family, I've learned that the more I let God take charge, the better I can be for everyone else. 
  • There is freedom in structure.  This may seem like a paradox but it is true.  Knowing that I've scheduled time in my week for work, physical fitness, ministry & time with friends allows me to live in the moment rather than in worry that I will not finish all that I need to do.
  • God's message of hope transcends all generations.  The good news of the Gospel is not old news but a reminder of the hope it provides speaks to young and old alike.  It's power never ceases.
  • An authentic friend is a rare gift from God.  We should make time each week to nurture the relationships in our lives.   
  • Slowing down speeds up progress.  By seeking God's direction through prayer, we can do less but accomplish more.  Strange but true.

This isn't all that I have learned this week.  I'm going to mull over some of my more skeptical "learnings" and save my public thoughts regarding them for another day when I am sure they are truths worth sharing.  What have you learned or re-learned this week that you can build on in the upcoming week? 

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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.


Faith and Work

Do you experience inner conflict over commitment to God and your work because you feel you aren't devoting enough time to ministry?  Can a Christian's true "calling" be to the secular marketplace? 

Join me over at Laced with Grace today to see what the Bible says regarding this dilemma. 

Hope to see you there!

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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.


Its All About Time

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (Col 4:4 NKJV)

It is all about time isn’t it? We need to redeem the time because we only have a certain amount of it allotted to each one of us. We all get the same amount of time to do the things that God has for each of us specifically to do.

We have about 75-80 years of life on this planet.

  • 52 weeks in a year
  • 7 days in a week
  • 24 hours in a day       

How are we each redeeming the time we have to fulfill God’s unique calling on our lives? How do we know if we are “called” to do something? 

Look at Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:1-5.)

            

  • Nehemiah was heartbroken for his people.  Ne 1:4
  • Nehemiah had counted the cost of his passion.  (He was ready to give up his good job as the cupbearer to the king to rebuild the wall for his people.)

Chuck Swindoll in his book “Hand Me Another Brick” quotes Alan Redpath in his book on Nehemiah as saying:

Let us learn this lesson from Nehemiah: you never lighten the load unless you first have felt the pressure in your own soul.  You are never used of God to bring blessing until God has opened your eyes and made you see things as they are.  There is no other preparation for Christian work than that.  Nehemiah was called to build the wall, but first he had to weep over the ruins.

To redeem the time, we need to be purposeful with the time we have, discerning the best activities from the good.   We need to do those things we are called to do. What are you doing to pursue your unique calling?

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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.


Destined for Greatness

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn of many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. - Romans 8:29-30 NKJV

How does it feel to know as a Christian that you are destined for greatness?  Maybe you don't know that.  Well, friends, if you are a Christian, you are destined for greatness.  God knew each one of us before the foundation of the world.  He knew who would follow Him and He knew who wouldn't.  He knew who would answer His call.

God has great plans for those of us who picked up the "phone" and thus answered the call of God on our lives through first accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and making Him Lord over our lives.  The bible says it.  We can believe it. God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His perfect Son.  Isn't that cool?  This takes a cooperative effort on our part to listen to and obey God's commands, but at least we can know that God is on our side.  He wants us to be a part of His world, His way

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (Eph 1:4-5 NKJV)

How does this make you feel to know that the Creator of the universe chose you to do His will before the foundation of the world?  When I think about it, it takes my breath away.   God has predestined me for "greatness".  Keep in mind that I am loosely translating God's use of the word "glorified" into "greatness".  We won't be fully glorified until we get to heaven, but I'm sure glad that God does give this perfectionist some hope for a perfect existence someday.  :)  In the meantime, I'm just going to keep pressing on one step at a time, trying to do what God tells me to do.  How about 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.