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March 2008
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May 2008

The "gods" Before Us

Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." - Exodus 32:1 NKJV

As I typed the last part of that verse, I thought that some of you might be wondering what has become of me over the last few weeks with my sparse postings here!  In short, I've been wrapping up some new projects for my business and ramping up for another project that is ministry related, which you shall be hearing about soon.  But enough of me, let's get to the good stuff!

The scene pictured in the above passage has always intrigued me.  First of all, I can't imagine praying to a "god" that I've made with my own hands.  That doesn't make sense to me.  But is not praying to the real God because we are too busy with all of our own little "gods" of material things and activities for our children, ministries and personal leisure really any different?  Sadly, we are just as guilty as the Israelites.   But why did they and why do we stray from a deep relationship with the one true God?  Let's look at the Israelites in this verse to see what happened to them.

1.  Impatience - The Israelites didn't want to wait for God's timing, they wanted blessings on their own terms so they coerced Aaron to take over.

2.  A Short Memory - Did the Israelites forget the nature of their God?  How could they think that Moses, or God for that matter, would abandon them after rescuing them from the clutches of Pharoah?  Apparently their faith was small and their memory short.

3.  Faith by Proxy - I wonder if the Israelites really ever had their own relationship with God.   If they were strong in their faith, why would that faith in God disappear in 40 days time, so much so that they were willing to make other gods to replace God? 

There is a lot to this one verse, isn't there?  Christians today aren't much different the Israelites in Moses' day.  We get impatient, we have short memories regarding what God has done for us and who He is, and we rely on others to give us messages from God.  In reality, if we would devote ourselves to spending time with Him through the Bible, our faith would be strong enough to withstand uncertain times.  With a strong personal faith, we won't put other "gods" before us as frequently.  How strong is your faith?

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


God Will Provide

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "See, I have called by name Bezalel ... And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship ... and to work in all manner of workmanship.  And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab ... and have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:" (Exodus 31:1-6 NKJV)

God always equips those he calls to do his work.  Plain and simple.  Time after time in scripture we see examples of God providing resources to his appointed leaders, whether in the form of material resources, people or character qualities.  The example above with Moses is no different. 

Moses was nearing the end of his tiem on the mountain with God and had probably received more instruction than he could handle.  I wonder how Moses took notes of all the things God told him he would have to do with respect to every law and the intricate details of the temple/tabernacle construction!  If it was me, I would be really worried about how I could do all of it myself!

God never intended Moses to "go it alone".  As we see in our passage above, God provided human resources to Moses, and not just any warm bodies.  God provided to Moses men that were not only skilled in the various necessary crafts, but wise and knowledgeable men as well.  Now that is my kind of team! 

Has God called you to a task that is larger than yourself?  Pray and ask God to provide you with the appropriate resources to get His job done.  On the contrary, He may send you to someone else.  Nonetheless, His will and work will be done.

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


Christianity vs. Spirituality

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, - 1 Peter 3:15

I've worked out my body, engaged my mind and fed my spirit already this morning.  Not quite  a bad start to the day, in my opinion.   I was not planning on posting today because I do have a packed day ahead of me, however, after reading today's post from a friend's blog, I thought I'd comment on something that I am very passionate about these days -the topic of spirituality, specifically Christianity vs. Spirituality.  Did you know that there is a big difference between the two?  If you know there is a difference, are you prepared to explain the reason for the hope that you have? 

I'd love to know your answers to the questions I've posed above.  There is no right or wrong because they are your answers.  There will also be no judgment passed here.  I'm merely interested in how many of my readers are aware that there is a difference between Christianity and Spirituality.  As you know, I want to help people understand why they believe what they believe.  We can have an unwavering faith and trust in God's Truth.

Now, its your turn.  Do you know the difference between Christianity and Spirituality?


Ordinary for the Extraordinary

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.--Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV

In my last post, I wrote about Moses and how all of us, like Moses, tend to make excuses for why we aren't able to do what God has called us to do.  Today, I'd like to follow up that post by sending you over to visit Deborah Shank at Chocolate and Coffee to read her April 9th post entitled "God Uses Ordinary Folks"

Here's a teaser for you from her post there.  Deborah says:

"Our success in Christ should never be limited or measured by man's opinion or evaluation. God has given each of us incredible gifts and talents. As He opens doors for our ministries we should approach them with confidence thanking God for the continued work He is completing in our lives each day. He doesn't necessarily need the most educated and the most talented individuals to accomplish great tasks...God equips the called."

Deborah concludes by exhorting us to press on in confidence...

"Don't allow the enemy to discourage you by telling you that you are unworthy for the task God has placed before you. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary works for His Kingdom!"

Yes, God does use the ordinary for the extraordinary.  He tells us that in scripture all of the time.  We just need to start believing Him.

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


Excuses, Excuses

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharoah, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" - Exodus 3:11 NKJV

When it comes down to it, Moses was no different than we are, was he? God asked him to do something and he came up with all kinds of excuses for why he wasn't the man for the job.   As you read through the list of Moses' excuses, ask yourself "Have I ever said the same thing to God's call on my life?"

  1. Who am I? (Ex 3:11)  Moses didn't feel qualified.
  2. Who is sending me? (Ex 3:13) Moses didn't know God well enough to describe him to others.
  3. What if they don't listen to me? (Ex 4:1)  Moses was intimidated.
  4. I am not a good speaker. (Ex 4:10)  Moses felt inadequate.
  5. You can find someone else, can't you? (Ex 4:13)  Moses felt inferior when he compared himself to others.

I think it is interesting that God did not take "No" for an answer.  After every excuse, God replied with reassurance that He would not only provide what Moses needed to do the work, but He also reminded Moses of how big He was.  Moses was not alone.  Moses had God at His side.  And so do we.  With God at our side helping us to achieve His God-sized goal for our lives, we cannot fail. That should keep us from making excuses. 

For further thought:

  • What is God asking you to do in your life that you feel is bigger than your capabilities?
  • How would you fill in the blanks to this question?

Who am I that I should ______________________ and that I should __________________?

  • How big is your God?  How can He help you do what He has called you to to?  Ask Him to provide what you need.

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


Ransom Money

And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves. - Exodus 30:16 NKJV

Have you ever thought of what price in dollars God would have you pay to get into heaven?  Another way to look at this would be that this payment would be ransom money to get us out of the hell we deserve because of our inherent sin nature.   Since the beginning of God's relationship with man, that relationship has cost someone something.  Please stay with me here. 

It struck me in Exodus 30:12 that God spoke to Moses telling him that "every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD ... that there may be no plague among them when you number them."   The "ransom" here was a mere half shekel, equating to 33 cents.  Sounds like a small price to pay for security with God, huh?  But what would that 33 cents equate to today?  We all know about inflation, don't we?  I do have somewhat of a financial background so I thought I'd look into this a little further.  However, I couldn't find a calculator that would give me the future value of 33 cents invested 3500 years ago! 

But I was able to calculate what 33 cents would equate to in 1000 years at a 3% inflation rate (this is a good historical average rate for the U.S.).  Drumroll please.... the answer is a mere $2,268,499,276,285.98.  Over two trillion dollars.  The point here is to see that there is no way we could possibly give atonement to God with our own efforts.  We can't afford our own ransom money.

However, Jesus bought us with the price of His sinless life.  He paid our ransom when he gave his life for us through the death of a Roman crucifixion.  Don't forget that He not only suffered that agonizing death, but he came from a throne in heaven to live on earth with us.   And I don't even like staying in a cheap motel!  I can't even fathom what he did for me.   Because of Him, because I've believed on Him, my ransom has been paid.  I owe Him my life.  What about you?

For further thought:

1) Whose atonement money am I relying on to achieve a right standing with God, to gain entrance into heaven?  My good works or Jesus' sacrifice?

2) How can I repay God for what He has done for me?  How should knowing what I "cost" Him, change the way and quantity of my service to 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.


My Way On the Highway

Can anyone relate when I say I like to defy my car's GPS system by taking my own route?  While sometimes we can outwit our GPS, we should not treat God's directions the same way. 

Come visit me today over at Laced With Grace for the rest of my post entitled "My Way On the Highway".

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.


And Thou Shalt Offer

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  -- Romans 12:1 NKJV

Reading through Exodus 28-29, I am astounded at the requirements they had for approaching God in the tabernacle.  We learn here of the priestly garments and the seemingly endless offerings required of the priests for their personal sanctification, without which, they could not approach God.   Isn't that something? 

1 Peter 2:9 says that we Christians are also part of the priesthood, designated to proclaim God's praises!

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (NKJV)

Being representatives of God ourselves, "priests", we need also to keep ourselves in a position to be most effective as witness for God.  Our position requires offering ourselves as living sacrifices each day, keeping ourselves acceptable to God, so that we can come into His presence and serve Him.  This is no small task.  Fortunately, God will help us out and clean us up.

Connecting learning to living

  • What unconfessed sin (thought or deed) is in my life that might keep me from approaching God?
  • What am I doing that might hinder the effectiveness of my witness?
  • How can I "sacrifice" one aspect of my behavior today for the good of someone else?

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


Announcement: New LWG Contest Drawing

Hello everyone!  I wanted to make sure everyone knew about the latest "contest" going on over at Laced With Grace.   In addition to a lot of good devotionals there, you will get a chance this month to win a month of free coaching services from yours truly. 

Click here to see how you can participate!

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