Previous month:
April 2008
Next month:
June 2008

I'll Go If You Go

Then he said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here." - Moses, Exodus 33:15 NKJV

Once again, Moses is deep into conversation with God about the responsiblities bestowed on him as the leader of God's people.  Moses knew the task, "Bring up this people", but he was concerned as to who was going to accompany him to the promised land.  Moses wanted assurance that God would be there and God gave him that assurance.

And He said, "My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest." (Ex 33:14 NKJV)

I find it interesting that Moses made the statement regarding what would happen if God didn't go with them AFTER God said He was going.  Was Moses doubting God? In this intimate conversation between Moses and God, my guess is that Moses isn't doubting God at this point but was merely talking out loud as he stated the importance of God's presence in the journey.

What journey are you on currently?  How is God asking you to live for Him in your current circumstance?  No matter where we are in our lives, be it a family/relationship situation or a ministry opportunity, it is important that we desire to take God with us with the same enthusiasm as Moses had back in His day.  Moses knew the futility of trying to do life or ministry without God and he wanted no part of God's absence.  We need also to say to God, "I'll go if You go."

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.


Holy Violence

"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John.  Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it." - Jesus, Luke 16:16 NIV

I've been doing some prelimary studying for a retreat I'm writing for the fall on how can attain Sabbath rest.  Faithful readers, you will be hearing a lot about this in the future!  :)  In the process of my studying out the passage in Matthew where Jesus tells all who are weary to come to him for rest, Matthew Henry's commentary pointed out the above passage in Luke as a parallel one.

Matthew Henry's point was, and we can clearly see from scripture, that people were so very anxious at the time of John the Baptist to enter into God's kingdom, i.e. they were "forcing" themselves into it.  In Matthew 11:7-15 we see that multitudes of people followed John around, even through the wilderness to hear him speak.  Here's what Mr. Henry in his classic bible commentary has to say about that multitude:

This violence denotes a strength, and vigour, and earnestness of desire and endeavour, in those who followed John's ministry, else they would not have come so far to attend upon it.  It shows us also, what fervency and zeal are required of all those who design to make heaven of their religion.  Note, They who would enter into the kingdom of heaven must strive to enter; that kingdom suffers a holy violence; self must be denied, the bent and bias, the frame and temper, of the mind must be altered; there are hard sufferings to be undergone, a force to be put upon the corrupt nature; we must run, and wrestle, and fight, and be in an agony, and all little enough to win such a prize and to get over such opposition from without and from within.  The violent take it by force.   

They who will have an interest in the great salvation are carried out towards it with a strong desire, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing, Gen 32:26.  They who will make their calling and election sure must give diligence.  The kingdom of heaven was never intended to indulge the ease of triflers, but to be the rest of them that labour.  It is a blessed sight; Oh that we could see a greater number, not with an angry contention thrusting others out of the kingdom of heaven, but with a holy contention thrusting themselves into  it!

What powerful words these are.  How "far" will you go to attain the wonderful promises of God?

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.


WWJND

So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. - Romans 8:8 NKJV

Newsflash:  I am not perfect, even though I had the "perfect" post written today before it disappeared into cyberspace when I tried to save it.  Yes, I had the perfect post.  I had a scripture reference and even a personal example, albeit without the personal details to protect the innocent (or guilty, depending on the reader's perspective).  I even had some really good questions with which to challenge Bread Crumbs' few readers in their spiritual walk.  However, the post was not meant to be, but rather this one was, inspired by my response to the disappearance of the post.

I suppose, this new post is more inspired than the last as I've been thinking "What Would Jesus NOT Do? or WWJND?"  The letters WWJD have become commonplace in Christian circles, challenging us all to ask ourselves the question "What Would Jesus Do?" before taking action.  I think though that we could also benefit by thinking about what Jesus would not do.  Actually, thinking about what Jesus would probably NOT do in a particular instance just might provide a little clearer picture about his character. 

Take for example my reaction to my disappearing post.  I am pretty positive that Jesus wouldn't have screamed and slammed his hand down on his desk while trying to withstand an urge to throw his mouse or keyboard through the computer screen.    I'm not sure exactly what Jesus would have done, but I know that he wouldn't have behaved as I did.  Case in point.  A temper tantrum is just not easy to pin on Jesus.  There is no way to rationalize the tantrum as good and proper behavior for the King of the Universe.   

Jesus always pleased God because he did not live in a manner where his "self" or "flesh" took control of his life.  We would do well to do the same by taking a look at the things we do and think and ask ourselves "Would Jesus do or think this?"  Then, we can come at our issues from both sides - WWJD and WWJND.

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.

 


The Peril of Passivity

If you took a survey of all the people you knew, how many of them would say that all religions lead to God?  I would venture a guess that the number who do not believe Jesus is the only way to heaven would be higher than you think, even among professing Christians.

What are the dangers of thinking this way?  Check out my post over at Truth Talks, entitled "The Peril of Passivity".  Hope to see you there!

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.


Finding Freeing Truth

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:31-32 NIV

The Bible says that truth can set us free.  Biblical truth applied to our lives sets us free from numerous strongholds in our lives.  But how do we find this truth and what does it look like?  A close look at the passage above indicates that we will know the truth if we study and apply the teachings of Jesus to our lives.

Jesus' teachings can be found throughout the entire Bible.  His conversations and prayers are recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Doctrines passed on to the disciples and other followers are captured in all of the New Testament.  Because Jesus is also God as part of the Trinity, we can also find Jesus' teachings in all of the Old Testament.  In essence, every word of our Bible represents what Jesus taught.

Jesus says in John 8:31-32 that those who study and carry out His teachings are His disciples.  Stated another way, those who do not, are not.  We need to remember that experiential moments with God should not replace the Truth of God in our lives.  Feelings fade, facts remain.   After all, Jesus did not say that "feeling" the truth would set us free, did He?  He said that if we know the truth, we would be set free.  He even told us how to find it.  I'm glad He did. 

Looking inside...

  • What kind of disciple would God say that you are?
  • What could you be freed from with a better understanding of God's Word?
  • How much time do you spend in God's Word each day?  How satisified do you think God is what this amount?

NOTE: For a related post see my post "Freedom With Truth"

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.


Standing Up for Truth

Jude's command "to contend earnestly for the faith" is not merely being neglected in the contemporary church; it is ofen greeted with outright scorn.  - John MacArthur, The Truth War, p. 97

What does the bible say about defending our faith?  Should we or shouldn't we stand up politely for the Truth?  Find out what God says in my post "Continuing the Good Fight" over at Truth Talks.   

Hope to see you there!


Avenging the LORD

And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves into the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian. - Nu 31:3

What makes your blood boil?  What situations stir you to action?   In the above verse, God stirred up Moses to send the Israelites to war against the Midianites.  God's people had been led astray and because of it God's "name" had been dragged through the mud.  Someone needed to pay for their acts of deception. 

I was struck by the verse above in my daily reading today because of God's call for a holy war.  It is important to note here that Moses' act of gathering the people to war was not an act of petty jealousy.  God's people had been led into sexual immorality and idol worship with the Midianites' prompting.  Moses was motivated because of his closeness with God and the wrongness of the Midianites' deeds.  He walked so closely with God that he not only heard God tell him to avenge His name, but most likely felt the same anger as God did.

We too need to take up "arms" and defend what is right and true.   Today most of our battles are not literal battles as was the case in biblical times.   Today's battles are more subtle and without careful discernment, one might not even be aware of the current day fight.  Christianity is in crisis.   Our Christian blood should be "boiling" at the thought of how many partial truths are being passed off as real Truth.  Let's dust off our "swords" and get into the fray! 

Taking up arms

  • Do you know the Truth of God's Word so well that you can immediately recognize a lie or partial truth?  If not, why not and what are you going to do about it?
  • What "lies" have you been believing?
  • What truths have you been ignoring?

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.


Strength for Surrender

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. - Phi 4:13 NKJV

Achieving success becomes paradoxical when we try to live our lives for Christ's cause.  In many ways we can't handle the truth.  Knowing all that God expects from us sometimes becomes more than we can bear because it is then that we recognize that all of our "self help" gets us nowhere with God.

Its no wonder that God's expectations can weigh us down.  He does, after all, expect us to completely surrender to His plan.  If we sincerely seek God's face through His Word, He encourages and convicts us, builds us up and breaks us down.  We must become soft clay in God's hands as He molds our character and our lives.  But it takes effort and strength to surrender, doesn't it?   Therein lies the paradox.  We have to be strong to become weak and so much strength is required that the strength for surrender must also come from God.

Why is surrendering so difficult?  It would appear that surrendering is best suited for the weak people of the earth.  Isn't that what happens in physical warfare?  The weaker army simply stops fighting and surrenders to the stronger one.  That sounds reasonable enough, but our reasoning is not wise in God's eyes.  God's Word says:

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise?  where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?  hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Cor 1:19-20)

As the apostle Paul says numerous times throughout scripture, we must die to ourselves - to our own needs, ambitions, and desire for outcome control - in order to live for Him.   This "dying" cannot be achieved by the weak in faith.  Strength and discipline are required to achieve the moment-by-moment surrender God desires for His cause and no one of us is strong enough to do that in their own power.  The good news is, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  He can even give us the strength to surrender.

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.


Set Apart By Truth

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. - Jesus, John 17:17 NIV

I am excited to announce the start of a new blog, Truth Talks, co-authored by Sharon Houk and myself.  The purpose of the blog is to provide a place where we can sort out the issues in this postmodern culture of our day through the lense of a Christian worldview.  In short, it will be a place where the truth-seeking Christian can get equipped to know what they believe and why they believe it. 

Come visit me today over there with my post entitled "Set Apart By Truth".

Tomorrow, I'll be back here!   Thanks for reading!


The Source of Rest

Come to Me, all you are labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. - Jesus, Matthew 11:28 NKJV

Our American culture runs at a frenzied pace.  We work more hours than probably more than any other country in the world in order to accumulate more things. We wear our busyness like a badge of honor.  We also have more choices in which to spend our leisure time than ever before in history.   However, with all of this "quantity" of life we are still lacking quality of life.  We have all the things that money can buy but have no time for the things it cannot.   We can't buy inner peace.  We can't buy more time.  As a result of our lifestyles, many of us simply need some rest.  Real rest...the kind that money can't buy.

Jesus said that all of us who labor and are burdened with life could come to him and receive rest.  But there is a catch.  Do you see it?  The "rest" of God requires us to do something.  We need to find time out of our busy schedules to come to Him.  When we do, He will give us more "rest" than any leisure activity could ever provide.  He is the Source, after all. 

Points to Ponder:

  • How would you rate your life's busyness on a scale of 1 to 10 (1="I'm extremely lazy", 10="My life is crazy/hectic?
  • What does God think about your level of activity?
  • Are you really giving God enough of you
_____________________________________________________________________________

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.