Hide and seek

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  - Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

What powerful and intriguing words these are, the promises of God, contingent upon  the mission of our souls to seek God and God alone.  This is the noblest of pursuits, to seek God and His plans for our lives, but it must be done wholeheartedly.

When was the last time you called upon the Lord with all of your being for direction in your life?  Have you ever sought God that fervently?  If you did, I bet you got some interesting answers to your life's questions.  I know that I have.  After all, our earnest quest for God never leaves us feeling empty, now does it?

It is late, or early, depending upon your perspective, and I'm here writing to the "world".   Tomorrow, or today, November 3rd, is the day of our Women's Conference.  This year's theme is the Wide Open Spaces of God, whose key premise is how God is with us throughout every "landscape" of our lives - our promised lands, our deserts, our mountains, and so on.  Where are you in your journey of life?  Are you seeking God no matter where you happen to be? 

I'm looking forward to our conference - formerly known as a retreat - not only for what it will bring to the ladies of my church, but as always, I love hearing what God has to speak to me personally.  After all, I have been earnestly seeking God's direction of late, more so than usual, and I want to hear what plans He has for me.  What I do know is this, that His plans are good, for both me and for you.  Now that is a promise.


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

The Lord Bless Thee

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:  The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.  And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. (Numbers 6:22-27)

As I read the passage above, I think about how many times throughout the bible up until this point that the children of Israel had neglected God.  I think of how many times they doubted God, cursed God and turned away from God as they wandered through the wilderness on their way to the promised land, wishing they could give God's blessing of deliverance back to Him because they were uncomfortable with change.

Yet God still chose to bless them.  God still chose to give them peace and grace and allow His name to be associated with His.  Can anyone relate to this?  Has anyone else ever been frustrated with God even though in your heart you know that God has delivered or is delivering you from something?   I'm sure we;ve all been in similar circumstances.  Obedience is hard and change is scary.   If we get overwhelmed, we must go back to the basics:  God loves us and is in control of everything, including our lives.  He has good plans for us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

Good plans.  No, great plans.  I can't imagine that God would just settle for good in our lives, can you?  But how do we know these plans?  We only need to wholeheartedly ask God for answers and then listen for Him to speak through our circumstances, our Christian friends and our daily bible reading.

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  (Jeremiah 29:12-13)

Oh, to find God.  Can we really find Him? 

And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I have caused you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:14)

Yes, dear readers, we can find Him.  God wants to bring us back to Him  no matter how far we've strayed so that He can protect us, guide us, keep us and bless us.    I want His face to shine upon me, don't you?

Questions for reflection:

1) How bad do I want the blessing? Enough to keep seeking God with my whole heart through prayer every day?

2) What is keeping me from seeing God and getting to that place He wants to take me? 

Where We Lead, They Will Follow

Happy Fourth of July! On this day where we observe our country's independence, I thought it was interesting to read about leadership in my daily reading.

In Jeremiah 15:4, God says that He will punish Judah because of what Manasseh did in Jerusalem (2 Ki 21:9). Is that fair? With a closer look, I find that it is fair. Jerusalem followed in the steps of their new king, Manasseh, in spite of what they knew was right (Hezekiah had them on the right path). So, they weren't innocent either. Personally, I can't imagine looking to a 12 year old king for wisdom - thankfully I live in a different age of history!

In my current reality, I must reflect upon this passage because of the responsibility I have as a leader to follow God so that anyone (my dog-kids, co-workers, friends, church family) who looks to me for guidance will not be led astray.

Ps 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Pray Not?

Whew! Jeremiah gets exhausting sometimes! I may have to take a break and read some in Luke where I'm also reading. But for now, back to business.

I find it interesting that in the last few chapters of Jeremiah I have found verses where God tells Jeremiah specifically not to pray for Israel/Judah ('this people"). (Jer 7:16, 11:14, 14:11) What? Not pray? Because of "this people's" unrepentant sin, God must be implying that Jeremiah would only be wasting his time. After all, God says He won't hear the prayers and is ready to exact His judgment.

What a scary place to be, in a place where God has said "Enough of your attitude". Fortunately, our Lord gives us many chances to repent, does not expect perfection and is extremely patient with us. Thank You, Lord, for accepting my sincere apologies and giving me those many "second" chances!

So Be It.

What a statement. "So be it." Honestly, I have to admit that when I think of how I've used the phrase before, the act of humbly submitting to God's calling isn't what comes to mind. :)

However, in Jeremiah 11:1-5, I see the following:

vs 1-5 God asks Jeremiah to relay His message to the men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem

v 5...."Then answered I, and said, so be it, O Lord. ---> Jeremiah willingly submitted to God, regardless of what it would cost him personally. As a result, in v6, God gave Jeremiah more words to say.

I wonder how many times I question God when I should be just saying "So be it, O Lord."? What blessings do I miss out on?