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October 2008
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December 2008

Giving Thanks For All Things

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen. - Eph 2:20-21 NASB

Perception is reality.  Unfortunately, with our little minds, we cannot see the entire reality of a situation before us, even if we are earnestly trying to understand.  The good news is that we don't always have to fully understand everything to appreciate how specific situations might just be part of a bigger picture. 

God sees far beyond what we see, in the past, present or future, blending all things together in our lives for good.  His perception is Reality.

To illustrate this point, I'm including a powerpoint, sent to me by a friend this week, with beautiful scenery, music & story as a Thanksgiving prayer for all of my readers.  Please take a few minutes to watch it and consider how you could look at your world through the eyes of God.  I'm sure you will be blessed.  Click below to watch:

Thanksgiving Lesson

Happy Thanksgivng to all!

Warmly,

Janna


Trusting God With Our "Isaac"

I originally shared this post back on 12/1/2005.  For those out there in need of a miracle in your life, this one's for you.  Through every trial of life, God has our welfare in mind.  We can trust God with our "Isaac".



Life is a series of tests.  God gives us tests to determine our level of commitment to Him and if you haven't noticed, sometimes He keeps giving us the same tests over and over.  Did you know that each "test" you receive is uniquely yours?  God wants you to get the "A", not the "B","C", or dreaded "D" or "F".   Friends, what is your test? Will you get an "A" this time through?

I'm going to share a poem from Beth Moore's Whispers of Hope (Nashville: LifeWay Press, 1998, p 114-15) today.  Read it carefully, slowly, and try to put yourself in the text.  It is about tests...and our great reward.

TRUST ME WITH YOUR ISAAC

For every Abraham who dares
to kiss the foreign field
where glory for a moment grasped
Is for a lifetime tilled . . .

The voice of God
speaks not but once
but 'til the traveler hears
"Abraham! Abraham! Bring your
Isaac here!"

"Bring not the blemished sacrifice.
What lovest thou the most?
Look not into the distance,
you'll find your Isaac close."

"I hear the tearing of your heart
torn between two loves,
the one your vision can behold
the Other hid above."

"Do you trust me, Abraham
with your gravest fear?
Will you pry your fingers loose
and bring your Isaac here?"

"Have I not made you promises?
Hold them tight instead!
I am the Lover of your soul -
the Lifter of your head."

"Believe me, O my Abraham
when blinded by the cost.
Arrange the wooded altar
and count your gains but loss."

"Let tears wash clean your blinded eyes
until unveiled you see -
the ram caught in the thicket there
to set your Isaac free."

"Perhaps I'll send him down the mount
to walk right by your side
No longer in your iron grasp
but safer still in mine."

"Or I may wrap him in the wind
and sweep him from your sight
to better things beyond your reach -
believe with all your might!"

"Look up, beloved Abraham.
Can you count the stars?
Multitudes will stand to reap
from one dear friend of God."

"Pass the test, my faithful one;
bow to me as Lord.
Trust me with your Isaac -
see,
I am your great Reward."


What is Your "Fortune"?

Do you ever wish you could see into the future or visit with a loved one long deceased? Some believe consulting the spirit world could assist us in our lives.  But what does the Bible say about this?   Check out my post over at Truth Talks today for insights.

Hope to see you there!


A Brother In Need

But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17 NASB)

Without a doubt, we will most likely never go through life without having a person or two in our life in need of our support.  We need each other, and our good Lord has seen to it that we are not alone on this earth. 

God tells us that if we love Him, we will help and love our brothers and sisters in need.  To name a few of God's exhortations:

Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. - Gal 6:2

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. - Gal 6:10

"This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:12-13

God knew what he was doing with His continual reminders to keep our hearts and hands open and available to help our brothers and sisters in need.  He knew that our own selfish nature would trip us up and keep us from reaching out.  He knew that our pride would keep us isolated and from seeking assistance.  The love of God enables us to share our lives with others.  How are you sharing the love of God in your life today with those whom God has put into your life?

For further thought:

1) Read 1 John 3:17 again (top of page).  What causes you to close your heart to others?  What can you do about it today? 

2) As a practical matter, we can't help everyone.  How do you decide who you reach out to?


Patience is a Good Thing

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9 NASB

We are all born with different personalities.  I attended a personalities workshop yesterday that was geared towards helping people understand their own behavior style and appreciate how those different from us can be good for us in our teams.  From my own personal application, some of us impatient types need the perspective and slower pacing that our kinder, gentler teammates bring to the table. 

In 2 Peter, Peter is addressing the impatience of the persecuted Christians in Asia Minor, reminding them that God's justice would prevail - eventually.  Peter reminds them that God's timing is different than their timing: "with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day." (2 Pe 3:9).  He also reminds them that they should be thankful for God's patience, because God was also being patient with them.  Truth be told, they could also have been judged by God.  Peter reminds them of this when he says

...be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation... (2 Pe 3:14-15 NASB)

The patience of God is our salvation, not our persecution.  I am glad that God is the patient "type".  He is the perfect personality or behavior style blend.  I am glad that While I sometimes struggle to be patient with myself and others, God is always patient with me. I suppose that patience is a good thing. 

For further thought:

1) With what are you the most impatient?
2) How do you curb your desire to act "now"?
3) Where do you see others, God included being patient with you?

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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.


Opening Our Minds to the Truth

Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven."  They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How does He now say, "I have come down out of heaven?"  John 6:41-42 NASB

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who couldn't seem to understand you no matter how many ways you tried to explain yourself?  Have you ever been that person who just couldn't understand?  Misunderstandings usually occur when either there is a lack of communication between two parties or when the parties involved can't step outside of their own paradigms regarding how life is supposed to work to see another point of view.

Jesus was often misunderstood.  In John 6, Jesus was trying to explain to the Jewish followers that He was the "Bread of Heaven", sent by God to to do God's will on earth.  However, the Jews couldn't get past their preconceived notions of who Jesus the man was.  They couldn't open their minds in faith to what they had never seen before, God on earth.   After much bickering among themselves and another question and answer session with Jesus, they walked away.  They walked away because they couldn't fit Jesus into the mold of what they already believed.  As a result, they missed out on the most transformational experience of their lives...hanging out with the Savior and learning from Him.

We can all take to heart the message in this passage.  I know I can.  When we interact with people, we can learn to ask ourselves "How could what they are saying/feeling be true?"  When we interact with God through His Word, we can ask God to reveal how His word applies to us and how we need to change to become more in line with what He says rather than what we think.  When we learn to open our minds to the truth, we will open the door to becoming more like Jesus.

How can you apply the truth in your life today?

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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.


A Fair Trial

"Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?" - John 7:51 NASB

Something I heard last week at conference resonated with me.  Without looking at my notes to see exactly what the speaker's topic was, I remember that she was talking about some of the core values she held.  She said she had her own "Fairness Doctrine".   I thought to myself "So do I! Now I know what to call it."  :)  Perhaps I hold this "doctrine" because my mom always wanted to make sure that my brother and I always got equal amounts of Christmas presents.  Who knows.  Whatever the reason, this value even followed me into my career in Corporate America where my subordinates always knew me as fair, even though I was sometimes had high expectations for performance.

As with anything, there are different levels to fairness.  It is one thing to expect or exact fairness in the workplace with respect to performance reviews, yet another in our personal lives.  Being "fair" in our personal lives get complicated, doesnt it?  It is not uncommon for us to judge another person based on a particular behavior, filtered through the eyes of our own sucesses, failures or attitudes.  That's why we need to take special care in rendering decisions about someone before we know all of the facts. 

The bible speaks often of passing judgment on others.  The tricky part in "judging" is not in assessing whether an action is wrong in and of itself, but in assessing motive.  It is not something to be taken lightly or to be done without extensive due diligence into the heart of the matter.  Even then, we are at our own risk, and probably shouldn't engage in the process at all because truthfully, only God can really know true motives. 

I'm glad that God sees inside to the deepest recesses of my heart.  He can be my judge and He can correct me through His Word as it enters my mind and I ask Him to change me on a daily basis.  I trust in His gentle correction and I am thankful for it.  How will you let God's Word change you today?

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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.


Election Perspective

A friend sent me a link to a 4 minute John Piper video that lays out some good perspectives on the election.   Here's the outline:

  1. Prophetic perspective
  2. Sovereignty of God
  3. Gospel

Now, here's the video:

Any thoughts?  I'd love to hear from you!


Every Day Is Election Day

Today may be Election Day in the United States, but every day is essentially an election day when it comes to the choices of our lives.  Come join me over at Truth Talks today for more with my post "Casting Your Vote". 

How will you cast your "vote" today?

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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.