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December 2008
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February 2009

Is Feeling Worthy Being Prideful?

It is only in the possession of God that I lose myself. It's in the height and breadth and glory of the sunshine that the littleness of the dust particle playing in its beams is seen, and it's by humility that we take our place in God's presence to be nothing but a speck dwelling in the sunlightof His love. - Andrew Murray, "Humility"
Mainstream society tries to make us think that each one of us is and should be the center of our own universe yet the bible compares our best efforts at righteousness to filthy rags (Is 64:6). It is no wonder that so many of us are confused!
 
We are all worthy to be used, but not worthy to be praised. I believe that there are two keys to recognizing our place in this world and stepping up and out to make a difference in it.

1. We are important to God - God loves us and gave His son to die for us, so that He could empower each one of us to be lights in the darkness of this world. He needs us, for the very reason that we are so imperfect, so He can show the world what He can do and so people will know that He is God!

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:4-7 NKJV)

2. We are not important in relation to God - In the whole scheme of things, we are pretty insignificant indeed. However it is the realization of insignificance that gives us true power, and in that lies the paradox. In my opinion, this is the essence of faith, for to have true faith in God, we must not have faith in ourselves.

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor 12:9 NKJV)
Feel worthy to be used by God, but not so worthy that God can't use you. We can feel worthy to fulfill God's call on our lives without being prideful as long as we still remember who we really are in light of who God is.  Fulfill your calling with a humble confidence.  Just show up for work. God will get the job 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.


Love is Kind

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Eph 4:32 NKJV

 

“Love you guys!”, I heard someone exclaim as they left our small group meeting several years ago.  I remember thinking at the time how loosely the word “love” is thrown around in our culture today.  Most of the time, it is not referring to the type of agape, unconditional love Jesus modeled to us and expects us to give to our fellow Christians.  I am very careful to not to throw out the words “I love you” to someone unless I’m willing to put actions to my words.

 

Love is patient.  Love is kind.  Loving another Christian is more than just hanging out and sharing good times, although that is part of the fun. How clever it was of God to tell us that love was patient before he got into the rest of His definition for love!  He knew we would need to master patience first and foremost because the rest of love’s requirements imply an investment of time and energy on our part.  

 

So what does it mean to be kind? According to Strong’s Concordance, being kind means to be useful and to furnish what is needed to those around us.  I love involves kindness, true biblical love is definitely difficult in today’s fast-paced society.  All of our lives are complicated and to complicate things even further, all of us are wired with different personalities. 

 

These complications and differences combine to make kindness quite a challenge.  It takes a long time to figure out how to be kind to another person because what they see as kind or useful may not be what we think of at all.  Being kind takes a concentrated effort to see things from another person’s perspective rather than our own…to walk in their shoes. 

 

In a nutshell, to be kind means a sacrifice of self to help someone else.  It is more than just not being cruel.  Kindness is usefulness and providing for someone else’s needs.  What can you do today to be kind to someone in your life?

 

For further thought:

1)      What keeps you from being kind?

2)      What is your deepest 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.


Love Is Patient

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pe 4:8 NASB

 

I have struggled with patience all of my life.  I’ve learned to be patient in rush hour traffic, long lines at the store, and in waiting for Christmas to come.  However, a harder lesson for me has been in the area of being patient with people.  While I am usually patient over the long haul, the intricacies of day-to-day interactions often trip me up.   Apparently I am not alone in my struggles because the biblical commands for us to love each other so often connect love with patience or longsuffering.

 

Love is patient (1 Cor 13:4 NASB).  The King James Version translates the same verse as  “charity suffereth long”.  Loving others is not always easy.  To fulfill God’s command for loving our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, it takes patient endurance through the tough times in a relationship.  Tough times are inevitable in the good ones.    However, biblical love will get us through the tough stuff. 

 

The bible says to keep fervent in our love for one another above all else, because love covers a multitude of sins—and we are all sinful creatures.  Fervency consists of effort, action and communication, indicating that love is not passive.  Our intimate relationships (e.g. spouse, family, inner circle friendships) require this effort most of all because we have the most investment in them and we see more of their sins.  I wonder how many good relationships end prematurely because of our impatience and the fact that pop psychology today tells us to run for the hills when the going gets tough.

 

Love is a challenge, but God in His own longsuffering with us has given us the perfect model to follow.  Additionally, He has given us the power to overcome the challenges through His word and His spirit.  How has God’s word challenged you today in your relationships?   How will you use His power today to fervently love 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.


Love Them Like Jesus

This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. – John 15:12 NASB

 

Love one another.  Jesus is very clear about how we are to treat other Christians.  On the surface, loving those with whom we choose to serve God with seems pretty easy.  However, there is much more to Jesus’ meaning of love.  Jesus tells us to love our fellow Christians in the way that He loved us—and he died for us. 

 

Dying for a child or spouse might not seem like that big of a stretch to some of us, but dying for a Christian is another story.  How much should we give of ourselves to a fellow Christian?  What does this agape love look like in practice?  How do we love others as Jesus did?  All of this provided some great discussion in my Sunday school class this morning.  I’m still thinking about it.

 

The apostle Paul gives us some good examples of what love looks like in life in 1 Corinthians 13.  This is quite a checklist and is more than a pretty poem to be read at weddings.  As you read the following, consider how well you love those around you.

 

Love…

 

  • is patient
  • is kind
  • is not jealous
  • does not brag
  • is not arrogant
  • does not act unbecomingly
  • does not seek its own
  • is not provoked
  • does not take into account a wrong suffered
  • does not rejoice in unrighteousness
  • rejoices with the truth

 

Love…

 

  • bears all things
  • believes all things
  • hopes all things
  • endures all things

 

Love never fails.

 

When I compare how I love others to how God says we should, I realize that I fail miserably much of the time because my selfishness gets in the way.  Plain and simple, love is hard. Fortunately, love never fails either.  God’s love for us as well as His Holy Spirit inside of us enables us to love others.   Our love for others can eventually right any wrong.  Commit to love better today.  Ask God to empower you.  God never fails.

 

For further thought:

 

1)      How well do you love the fellow believers God has placed in your life? 

2)      From the “checklist” in 1 Corinthians 13, what is your biggest challenge?

3)      What baby step will you take today to love others as Jesus commands?

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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.


New Beginnings for a New Year

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. – Gen 1:1-2

 

There is just something about starting a new year that provides fresh motivation.  Whether it is the symbolism of leaving the past behind or the anticipation of what the future year holds, nonetheless, I look forward to hitting the ground running toward new and exciting things.

 

As God started with a clean slate of creation, similarly, we have an opportunity to do the same on January 1 of each year.  Just as most businesses close out their books at the year-end, we too can close the books on the past year of our lives.   We all have the opportunity to start with a clean slate or blank canvas.

 

Each year for me, the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a time of reflection and refocus.  I revisit my successes and failures and resolved to change some things for the coming year.   This week, I updated both personal and professional goals and am ready to start painting on the blank canvas of 2009. 

 

I like fresh starts and second chances.  I like creating something out of nothing and even fashioning a new thing from the broken pieces of an old thing.  The start of a new year gives all of us a chance to begin in with the things in our lives we can control.  

 

What are your goals for 2009?  Do you have a particular theme or emphasis?  How will you build on your past successes?  What will you do to remove the obstacles in your path?  Don’t forget to involve God in your plans.  Not only can he help set the direction for your life, He will be by your side as you progress toward those plans you design with Him.  2009 is here.  Let’s get started, shall we?

 

Dear Heavenly Father, please reveal to me the path you wish for me to take as I move forward one step at a time.  Show me Your way.  I hold up 2009 to you with anticipation of new and exciting things.  Your power to create and restore is amazing to me and I’m thankful in advance for what you will accomplish.  Make me into the servant for You that You desire and deserve.  Amen.

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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.