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July 2009
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September 2009

The Moment of Truth

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; - Dt 30:15
 
Picture this scene. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, God finally allows Moses to prepare the Israelites to cross over into the Promised Land. It is here where they must make a decision to move forward or resign to stay in the status quo of the wilderness.
 
We are no different than the Israelites in that we are all on a journey towards significance or happiness whether or not we consciously realize it. The interesting thing to me is the place we find ourselves when we intentionally decide to search for purpose or significance, to make changes in our lives and begin to glimpse our "promised land".
 
To clarify this point, I recently finished teaching a class on Life Purpose called Blueprint for Life. Throughout the class, each participant was tasked to draft their life purpose statement and set measurable and achievable goals for each main area of their life (spiritual, relational, physical, financial, career) to support their life purpose statement. In essence, each member defined their personal "Promised Land" as they currently saw it to be. This was an emotional and live-changing experience for many of the group members.
 
Something happens inside us when we finally uncover the purpose God has for our lives. Suddenly, we realize how much we need to redeem the time ahead of us. Looking at or defining our "promised land" also puts us in an interesting position because we put ourselves between the "here" and the "there". We know where we are and yet we see how things could be.
 
It is at the boundary between current reality and our "promised land" that we find our moment of truth.
 
It is at this boundary where we must ask ourselves:
  • What will I do with what I now see?
  • What will I do with what could be?
  • What keeps me from entering in to the promised land?
Where are you in the journey? No matter where you are in the process of discovering your purpose, you have a choice between life and prosperity, death and adversity. The choice is yours. You CAN have your "promised land" with a little hard work (physically and spiritually) and trust in God.  What are you waiting for?
 
For more resources on life purpose, click here.
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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 other blog at www.purposefulleadershipblog.com.


Receiving Love: Obstacle #4-Perspective

Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction. 2 Corinthians 7:4

In case you are just joining in for the first time, I've been going through 2 Corinthians 7:1-4 and discussing how having too much pride, too many priorities and too little patience affect our relationships (for the first post in the series click here).Today I will be discussing the fourth obstacle to receiving God's love through our personal relationships-having too limited a perspective.

While I don't know if most people believe this, difficult times pave the way to more intimacy and deeper connection between two parties. Sure, no one enjoys a disagreement, but if two-way communication is allowed to take place around the disagreement, the relationship can soar to new heights from the mutual understanding.

Unfortunately, most people view conflict as undesirable in a relationship. I've heard many times from people that good relationships "are supposed to be easy". 

Well...yes and no.

Great relationships do have a sense of ease about them. However, great friendships can have points of contention from time to time and still be great. Paul expressed his joy in the troubles he had with the Corinthians. Perhaps he knew that the tough times were only temporary and circumstantial and would bring forth change for the better. Paul never ceased to communicate either, even though it appears in his letter that he was the one who was pleading for acceptance. Paul knew that the Corinthians were worth fighting for.

The key to any relationship's survival is perspective and honest communication. If we keep our minds open to the possibility that our limited perspective is not the only way things can be, and keep the lines of communication open, any relationship with two people willing to reconcile can be salvaged and propelled to greater heights.

Dear Father, you know my heart. Show me your heart in all of my relationships. Thank you for the trials that keep me compassionate towards others. Give us all the hearts and minds to suspend our own judgment and open the lines of communication with those you have put into our lives. Give us your humility and patience and enable us to understand your priorities and perspective. Amen.


Receiving Love: Obstacle #3-Patience

I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together. - 2 Cor 7:3 NASB

Relationships take work and time to be all they can be. In my previous few posts we've been making our way through 2 Corinthians 7:1-4 where Paul seems to be pleading his case for why the Christians in Corinth should accept him. We've addressed the affects pride and priorities can have on the amount of blessings we receive from relationships. Today, I will address why patience is a necessity.

We are an impatient people. Our fast-paced, instant-gratification, mobile society has taken a toll on everything in our lives. We quickly change activities and jobs at the drop of the hat. If something takes effort to repair, we just toss it out and buy a new one. Unfortunately, I think this thought process also transfers to our relationships. I don't think God meant this to be so.

All types of relationships require varying degrees of patience from the two parties involved. To illustrate, most of us have heard of the "inner" and "outer" circle. With us in the center, the closer a person is to us within the circle, the more patience is required because more intimacy is involved. For example, a marriage partner is closest to us, our closest friends/family next. Acquaintances belong in the outer part of the circle. Because we don't interact as much with those farthest away from the middle, less patience is required.

In our passage above, Paul considered the recipients of his letter to be somewhat close to him. He obviously felt that God put them in his life for a lifetime because he says that they are "to die together and to live together". He knew them and he'd labored for them. He obviously had patience with them and expected the same in return. Later in the passage, Paul goes on to express the blessings of their connection.

Relationships take work. Some require more than others. Some deserve more than others. How hard are you willing to work for the blessings that come from those God has put into your life?

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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 other blog at www.purposefulleadershipblog.com.


Receiving Love: Obstacle #2 -Priorities

Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one. - 2 Cor 7:2 NASB

None of us have enough time to do all of the things we want to do. Careers, hobbies, family, friends and ministry all make demands on our time.  So how do we decide what to do with our time?

How we prioritize our time significantly impacts the quality of our lives. Getting out of balance affects our level of joy because we get out of God's will.  When we spend too much time in one area, the other neglected areas scream for our attention. The sad part is, sometimes those "screams" come from the very things or people that could help us. Being out of balance gives us tunnel vision.

Paul apparently felt the need to plead his case for a part in the Corinthian's lives. We see him defending himself, his comrades, and the purpose of his upcoming visit (his third visit to them) in 2 Corinthians 7:1-4. He had earned his place in their hearts through his prior service and he wanted to minister to them more. He wanted to remove all obstacles in the way of them receiving his love.

How do your priorities stack up to what God has called you to do? Does the way you spend your time agree with what you say you value? Are you depriving yourself of a blessing by being focused on the wrong things? Having too many priorities or having unbalanced priorities will wreak havoc on our lives over time. Seek God's counsel on the matter. Ask Him to reveal what is stealing your joy. Then, when the answer comes, take action.

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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 other blog at www.purposefulleadershipblog.com.


Receiving Love Obstacle #1-Pride

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. - 2 Corinthians 7:1 NASB

Too often we let ourselves get in the way of what God wants for our lives. In my last post, I mentioned that there were four things that cause relationships to break down: too much pride, too many priorities, too little patience and too limited a perspective.  Actually, these are tactics to avoid in any aspect of our lives!

Today we will talk about pride. Pride is the root of all evil in the world. Pride hinders holiness because it creeps into the fabric of our lives, sometimes without our knowing. It shows up in our priorities, causes impatience and keeps us from seeing the big picture. Unfortunately, pride isn't always self-recognizable. It is often unearthed only after someone (or the Bible) confronts us with the error of our ways.

Essentially, pride is selfish and wants to be right at all costs. If we are prideful we will look for ways to prove we are right, rather than try to understand someone else's point of view. Admittedly, I am guilty of this at times. I will research a point until I've found the answer that proves what I've already decided was true...and then stop looking.  After all, why would I want to dig up evidence that I could be wrong? I quit while I'm "ahead". But am I really ahead and am I really right?

We don't get "ahead" or gain just by being right. A lot of times we lose. Conflict erupts that might have been avoided. Fellowship breaks down and we miss out on the love God intends for us. God wants us to experience His love on earth and in eternity. We can have all of that if we seek Him and His wisdom with an open rather than a closed mind. How is your state of mind today? What would God say about you?