From Laughter to Mourning

Lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up. 

James 4:9-10 (NKJV)

Not much is certain in life.  Investments rise and fall in value.  Relationships ebb and flow like the tide.  God's Word says that we should not boast about tomorrow, "whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow." (James 4:14)  Rather than boasting about tomorrow, thinking we've got everything figured out, James 4:15 says we should remember that we are only given in life what God wills us to have.  Its too bad we can't know in advance what God intends for us to have!

When life doesn't go our way, we have some choices to make.  We can brush off the circumstance, and keep going on as if nothing ever happened or we can examine what rocked our world and try to learn from the experience.  I think that the above passage is talking about this type of self-reflection, an intentional look inward to our innermost thoughts to see how we stack up to God's standard.  In this, we ourselves turn our laughter into mourning.  Life is serious business, and sometimes we have to temporarily leave our care-free existence behind in order to live more intentionally the way God would have us to live.   

I've recently had my world "rocked".  The situation itself has turned some, but not all, of my laughter into mourning and I have also chosen to intentionally do the same as I reflect on my attitudes and behavior and how they impact those around me.  As the psalmist writes in Ps 18:14, I pray "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."  Today, I sit humbled before the Lord, waiting on His promise to lift me up.  He promises to lift us up.  He will turn our mourning back to laughter.

Going deep:
1) When was the last time you asked God to reveal to you where you need to change?

2) How do you react to bumps in your road of life? Is there something you need to change about yourself?


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

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!


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

Remember Where You Came From

"Also you shall not oppress the stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt." - God, Exodus 23:9 NKJV

In the midst of all the laws given by God to the Israelites regarding violence, property, animals and idolatry, we see two almost identical statements telling the people of Israel not to oppress strangers.   (Ex 22:21, Ex 23:9)  Interesting.  God doesn't want strangers - those not of the Israelite heritage - dwelling with the Israelites (Ex 23:32-33) because they could cause them to stray from their faith.  However, Israel was still to be kind.   God reminded them that they too were former "strangers".

How does this apply to us?  Who is the "stranger" in a Christian's life?  Commonly we think of strangers as people we do not know.  However, let's stretch this a bit further because I think sometimes in our culture today it is easier to treat a stranger with kindness (or to not oppress them) than it is to embrace those we know.  Could a stranger then be anyone who doesn't hold the values we hold?  Could a stranger be that person in our life who isn't as far along in their spiritual or other maturity as we are?  Basically, I don't think a stranger always needs to be a person we do not know.

So what are we to do with those strangers in our midst?  One thing God tells us to do is to not oppress them.  He also tells us that we were also once strangers.  In my words, we should remember where we came from.  We didn't just "arrive" today.  When we were "strangers" in whatever area of life in which we are speaking, we might have been just doing the best we could do given our stage in life.   Is that something to be oppressed for?  You be the judge.

Connecting Learning With Living:

1) Who is a "stranger" in your life?

2) How can you treat them with kindness today?

3) What do you need to change in your own life so that you can be less "oppressive" to the "strangers" in your midst?


Janna Rust is a Life/Business Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

From Good to Bad

What is it about success that is so hard for we humans to handle appropriately?  Once again through the trek of my daily reading, the bible is proved to be timeless as God's word points out the pitfalls of pride.  Rehoboam, one of the successors to Solomon (remember, the kingdom had just divided at this juncture)  hadn't been king of Judah for very long when good things started to happen for him.  The kingdom was growing, Rehoboam was listening to God and sacrifices were being made.  And then what happened?  Once Rehoboam started realizing he was the king, he decided he didn't need to listen to THE King.

And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.   - 2 Chronicles 12:1

Confidence is a funny thing.  We need to have it, but we shouldn't desire too much of it.  Too little, and we'll never do a thing.  Too much, and God just might not do His "thing".     If we get too cocky, God just might teach us a little lesson.  Take a further look at the plight of Rehoboam.  In just the fifth year of his reign, God allowed the Egyptians and their friends to come against Jerusalem, because of their sin.  Fortunately, there remained a fragment of humility within Jerusalem that softened God's heart and caused Him to show once again His mercy to His wayward people.

And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance;  (2 Chronicles 12:7a)

Friends, we need to constantly be examining the states of our heart.   I believe that all of us at some time or other become too self-reliant, especially those of us in leadership positions.  Self-reliance leads to pride.    And we know what pride leads to - resistance from God.

...God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  (James 4:6)

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Rather than placing our confidence in God, we plan and plan without waiting for God to take the reigns of  our jobs, ministries and homes.  Do we really want to rely on our own strength when we have the power and wisdom of the Creator of the Universe at our disposal?  The solution seems simple, doesn't it?  Who wouldn't want to have God on their side?  But in reality it takes effort to place our confidence in God and wait on Him rather than to take care of things ourselves, doesn't it?  Our culture makes it hard. We have so many abilities. We have so many resources.   And we can do things so fast.  Like Rehoboam, we too can go from good to bad in God's eyes if we aren't careful.  All it takes is a little prosperity to lessen our perceived need for God.

Pondering Points:

1) How prosperous or "strong" am I?   Am I in a dangerous place of being over-confident?

2) Do I realize how much I need God?

3) What am I doing on a daily basis to ensure that I realize my proper place in this world in relation to God's marvelous majesty?   

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Revelation 3:17-19

Our Proper Place

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (NKJV)

I'm not sure why, but the above passage and the personal application of the passage have been on my mind a lot the past few days.  I don't think I've been terribly prideful, but then again, maybe God wants me to take a closer look at some areas of my life that I haven't let Him completely have yet.  So, maybe I have.  That's how God usually works, isn't it?  He starts picking at us with a verse in a bible study or our daily reading, a comment by a friend, or a phrase from a sermon that was meant "just for us".   Finally we start paying attention.   My recent musings on humility leading me to this passage started as a result of a phone conversation with a friend.  A day later, I was led to the passage above in my CBS Bible Study homework.  Then, I later read the passage on a blog I regularly read.   Now, you, dear readers, are going to hear about it.  :) 

We can't compare ourselves to others to determine how well we "stand" with God.  We need to compare ourselves with Jesus.  In the passage of Philippians 2:5-8, we see Paul elaborate on the humility of Jesus.   Do any of us compare with His humility?  Jesus came to earth as a man, giving up His throne in heaven, giving up his spiritual body for the limitations of a physical one. If that wasn't enough, our God was a servant-leader and ultimately allowed Himself to suffer the humiliation of a being crucified for the sins of the world.   Friends, that is humility, is it not?   Paul says to "Let this mind be in you..." (Phil 2:5).  Do you have it - the mind of a humble servant, doing all for God's glory and not your own?  Are you willing to surrender every thought, action and area of your life to God?

David knew his place in this world as he prays in the Psalms:

LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. (Psalm 39:4)

Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. (Psalm 39:5)

As I ponder these verses in psalms and really think about the nature and character of God, I am humbled.  I do want to have the kind of humility that Jesus had.  I suppose God will have to take care of it.  Being humble requires a lot of strength. 

Heavenly Father, please forgive us for thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.  Forgive us for wanting to have our own way instead of following Your ways completely.  As David penned in the Psalms, show us the depths of our frailty and the limits of our humanity.  Give us soften hearts to allow Your words to change us.  Make us weak so we can use Your strength.  Amen.