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?

Blessing, Cursing and Compassion

"Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. - Deut 28:1 NASB

"But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God ... that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:" - Deut 28:15 NASB

It seems so simple, doesn't it?  So cut and dried.  Obey and be blessed by God.  Disobey and be cursed by God.  These were the instructions given by Moses to the people of Israel, straight from the mouth of God.  Despite the clear instructions, however, throughout recorded history Israel cycled in and out of obedience, blessing and cursing.  I shake my head at them until I realize that I am oftentimes no less stubborn in wanting to pursue my own way rather than God's way.

Granted, my stubbornness doesn't get me into the same kind of trouble.  I've yet to receive a literal plague upon my home or person, and I have literally gone hungry or thirsty from a famine or drought because I failed to wholeheartedly pursue God's path.  But objectively as I look upon my life, I know I've received some "plagues" in a figurative sense and missed out of God's blessings as well.  No matter who we are, God's timeless principles apply.

The good news is that while God promises not to spare us from calamity if we disobey (note that he also might cause some distress to bring us back to him), he is also quick to forgive and return us to favor in his eyes.   

"So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you ... and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul ... then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity and have compassion on you ... " - Deut 30:1-3a NASB

Our compassionate God will restore us and bless us again, no matter how far we've strayed from him if we sincerely come back to him.  His anger towards disobedience only exists because of his great love for us.  Is there something you need to run from so that you can run back to God today?  Are you being disobedient as a result of not doing what God has called you to do?  Don't wait.  A blessing awaits.


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


Ransom Money

And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves. - Exodus 30:16 NKJV

Have you ever thought of what price in dollars God would have you pay to get into heaven?  Another way to look at this would be that this payment would be ransom money to get us out of the hell we deserve because of our inherent sin nature.   Since the beginning of God's relationship with man, that relationship has cost someone something.  Please stay with me here. 

It struck me in Exodus 30:12 that God spoke to Moses telling him that "every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD ... that there may be no plague among them when you number them."   The "ransom" here was a mere half shekel, equating to 33 cents.  Sounds like a small price to pay for security with God, huh?  But what would that 33 cents equate to today?  We all know about inflation, don't we?  I do have somewhat of a financial background so I thought I'd look into this a little further.  However, I couldn't find a calculator that would give me the future value of 33 cents invested 3500 years ago! 

But I was able to calculate what 33 cents would equate to in 1000 years at a 3% inflation rate (this is a good historical average rate for the U.S.).  Drumroll please.... the answer is a mere $2,268,499,276,285.98.  Over two trillion dollars.  The point here is to see that there is no way we could possibly give atonement to God with our own efforts.  We can't afford our own ransom money.

However, Jesus bought us with the price of His sinless life.  He paid our ransom when he gave his life for us through the death of a Roman crucifixion.  Don't forget that He not only suffered that agonizing death, but he came from a throne in heaven to live on earth with us.   And I don't even like staying in a cheap motel!  I can't even fathom what he did for me.   Because of Him, because I've believed on Him, my ransom has been paid.  I owe Him my life.  What about you?

For further thought:

1) Whose atonement money am I relying on to achieve a right standing with God, to gain entrance into heaven?  My good works or Jesus' sacrifice?

2) How can I repay God for what He has done for me?  How should knowing what I "cost" Him, change the way and quantity of my service to Him?


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

God Will Make A Way

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.  But God does not take away life; instead he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. (2 Sam 14:14 NIV)

Do you ever feel like "water spilled on the ground"?  Do you ever feel estranged from God or perhaps just distant because of busyness, sin, or other distractions?  If so, what do you do to find your way back to life - to God?

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.

Yes, we must all die.  After all, dying is a part of life.  Physical death is inevitable.  However, as I ponder this verse in light of my life experiences and biblical examples, I propose that "death" occurs in more ways than just the physical, and at multiple times in our lives.  Our lives are but cycles of ups and downs, successes and failures, "life" and "death".  If we aren't careful, our successes can keep us away from God because we feel we don't need Him.  To me, the times I have really "lived" have come when I've been in a state of total dependence on God - when I have "died" to my own selfishness and acknowledged that I am nothing without God in my life.  How do you need to "die" so that you may really "live"?

But God does not take away life; ...

God is truly the giver of life.  Contrary to popular belief in the non-christian realm, living a life for God does not mean that you will have all of the fun in your life taken away.  I think of the times I've talked to unbeliever about a relationship with Christ and many times the reason they don't want to make a decision to accept Christ as their Savior is because they aren't ready to give up their current lifestyle.  A life lived for God rather than for our own desires is so much more rewarding.  Yes, we may have to give up some things, but God replaces them with so much more.  How has God given you new life?

... instead he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.

God has devised the ultimate "way" for us to come to Him in His son, Jesus.  Jesus is THE way, and their is no other that we can have eternal life, basking in God's presence.  Without Jesus paying the price for our sins on the cross at Calvary, we would all be in eternal torment after our physical deaths, separated from a God who loved us but who could not be with us because of our choice not to accept His way. Have you accepted God's way or are you relying on your own?  Click here if you have any questions.

Fellow Christian, are you feeling estranged or maybe just distant from God in your current life season?  Are you feeling a little uninspired?  You don't have to remain there.  God's way for you is through His Word and through prayer.  If we can change our priorities and take the time to be with Him, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)  He will take us from our desert place and restore our souls.  God has indeed made a way. 

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.  (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Newness of Life

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  - Romans 6:4

Do you feel forgiven by God? Totally?  As I read 2 Samuel 22, I noticed the freedom that King David had to speak to God the words of a song of thanksgiving for all of the good that God had done for him through the years.  We all know that David did not live a perfect life, but David kept moving forward

through his folly of sin
through his fear of death
through his faithlessness  in God.

Not once in David's song in this chapter do we see evidence of God's remembrance of David's sin with Bathsheba or David's forgetfulness to consult God on occasion throughout his life.  God rewarded David not because he was perfect, but because he tried wholeheartedly through the ups and downs of life to follow God's direction.  I don't know about anyone else, but that is a comfort to me as I travel down my own journey of life. 

Have you asked Jesus to personally come into your life to deliver you from the consequences of your sin?  Do you believe that Jesus was sent by God as payment for your sin through His physical death on the cross?  Do you believe that He rose again to life in victory and still lives today so that we can walk in newness of life, forgiven, free and worthy before God to gain entrance into heaven rather than suffer the wrath of hell?  Jesus is truth, and He will set us free from all of those heavy burdens we carry around with us, just as David was set free so many years ago.  If you want to get to know Him on a personal level, click here for answers.

Life Without Regrets

How many times do you look back at your life and wish you had made different choices along the way?  All of us do this from time to time.  In fact, as I reflect on my latest adventure (the CLASS seminar which I've posted about recently), I think of the fact that I'm 39, for real, and that I've spent so many years early in my faith walk (my 20's) just getting by.  However, there is no time like the present, no matter where we are in life to start with a new plan of action.  I would like to share a devotion written by Becky Kinney, Director of Womens Ministries at KC/FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes).  My favorite phrase was at the end where she states "The key to living a satisfying life without regrets is in recognizing the eternal value of the little things you do."  I wholeheartedly agree.  Happy reading!

Life Without Regrets-by Becky Kinney

Jane was in the winter of her life and had many regrets. She spent much of her time reflecting over her many years and the things that she wished she would have done differently if only she could do it all over again. She would have been a more compassionate mother, allowing her children to see her softer side more often. She would have taken more risks instead of always making the safe and predictable choice. Change would have been an adventure instead of a struggle. Daily thinking about what might have been brought her great sadness and robbed her of the joy she should feel over the wonderful life she had lived. It also took a toll on her relationship with her family and friends.

I do not believe that there is a life without any regrets. However, regrets can become either burdens that interfere with your present happiness and restrict your future, or a motivation to move forward with hope. Many of us become overcome by regrets. Monica, a nurse, said: “Not the cancers, not the bedsores, not the death and dying…What bothers me the most is when a dying person verbalizes their regrets about what they ‘shoulda done’ or ‘coulda done’ in life. Life should be lived so that there are no regrets in the end…no missed opportunities.”

It is important to determine what your regret really is. Is it something you did? Something you didn’t do? Something someone else did or did not do? A circumstance beyond your control? Is it based on facts? Was it a situation that you assume would have happened if you had chosen differently? Holding on to regret will produce consequences. When we hold on we experience feelings of sadness, possibly anger, and then bitterness may work its way into our lives. Here are just a few steps to help us look to the future and not dwell on the past.

  • Write down the truth from the past. Writing about your regrets, feelings, and frustrations can help a lot. Putting your thoughts into written words can clarify them in ways that will astonish you.
  • Talking to a trusted friend or family member can also help you identify any false thinking and help you sort through your feelings instead of keeping them internalized. Forgive and make amends. If there is something you can do now, do it!!  Ask God for courage, strength and insight.
  • Recognize what God has taught you and the growth you experienced even though your life has turned out differently than you imagined. See the opportunities that are now yours, instead of focusing on the “what might have beens.”
  • Live today like it matters for eternity.
  • Decide the kind of person you want to be---and do something today to make it true.
  • Focus on what you want to give, not what you want to get. Set your goals for living significantly, rather than looking at the reward you want to get. The key to living a satisfying life without regrets is in recognizing the eternal value of the little things you do.

“At the annual sand-sculpting contest near the ocean in Newport Beach,California, talented artists create incredible art out of sand. However, a few days later, those works of art have been washed away by the elements. Our lives don’t have to be washed away and forgotten; they can be significant.”

God’s purpose for your life is to trust Jesus Christ.

“Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” I Thessalonians 5:28

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace
by John Newton

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Thru many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.

We've no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun... I just love this song.  I don't know why I woke up singing it this morning.  Maybe it is because I sang it at my aunt's gravesite last week, maybe it is because I am just so amazed at God's grace for me. 

This is a song not just for those who have yet to find Jesus, but for those that have found Him and can't live without Him.  Once blinded by myself, I can now see, even though I do still need to clean my glasses - figuratively and literally - from time to time.   God's grace leads me "home" every day.  What about you?  He'll lead if you will follow.

Whiter Than Snow

"Come now, and let us reason together, " Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. - Isaiah 1:18

Is there anything whiter than snow?  Anything?  Think about it.  I love snow.  Matter of fact, last night around 9:00PM when I realized that we were going to get another 4 inches on top of the 5 we already had, I couldn't resist playing "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" on my piano!  :)  Did I mention that I love snow?

It wasn't until several years ago that I started looking at snow through "spiritual glasses".  Aside from enjoying the beauty of each individual snowflake piling up on the ground to form a sparkly carpet, I now look at it as a wonderful picture of God's clothing of righteousness to all who believe in Him.  As our Lord says in Isaiah 1:18, our sins can be made white as snow by the blood of Jesus.  Like the snow that covers the ground completely, allowing no dirt to show through, so can we be seen by God if we believe on His Son for salvation and confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9).  How comforting to know that no matter what we have done or where we have been, we can start afresh and pure with his cleansing.  God has promised it to us.

White as snow.  Pure white as the view of a snow covered street, rooftop, or field.  God's wonderful grace can cover us all as snow covers everything in its reach completely.  We can sparkle in His glory!

Hidden Treasure

Good afternoon, dear readers!  I feel that my posts have been erratic (time of day) of late, and I apologize for that.  I've been burdened about what to share today and God finally gave it to me.  Let's just say, that you will be blessed not to hear of more strange visions out of Zechariah.

I attended a Beth Moore bible study this morning, The Patriarchs, and it is a tiny portion of the lesson that I want to share with you.  We're studying the story of Joseph in Genesis 43 and it is about the time that Jacob's sons went to Egypt and met up with their brother, Joseph.   In Genesis 43:23, they were "caught" with silver in their pouches (Joseph's steward placed it there, read the story for more details) and were probably afraid for their lives. 

To get to the point, there is nothing like God's providence to bring about "treasure" from circumstances in our lives.  In the study, p. 210, Beth Moore says the following:

"Beloved, I don't know what kind of circumstances this season of your life poses, but could they be worse than those Jacob's sons perceived?  They could hardly experience deeper peril or greater risk, yet God's providence was in perfect play.  In the midst of His unfolding plan, He'd buried treasures for them to unearth at times they least expected.  Do you feel in deep peril?  At great risk?  Your God...has given you treasure.  Search for it."

Are you going through a difficult season in your life?  The year 2005 has been that for me.  Although a rough roller coaster ride at times, I still have managed to see the "treasure" God has placed there for me.  God will bless us if we just hang on long enough and don't bail out before He gives us that blessing.

What treasure has God left for you, buried in your life's "rubble"?

Second Chances

Second chances. Are you glad that God gives them to us?   I am, just as I am that God also shows us the imperfections in the bible characters He allows to do His will.  Remember that they are just people, just like you and I.

Jonah got a second chance (Jonah 3:1) to do what was right and he listened to God this time.  I wonder though, from Jonah's subsequent behavior, what Jonah's attitude was as he delivered the message to Nineveh and said "Yet forty days, and Ninevah shall be overthrown!".  Was he obeying in protest?

Refreshingly to me, after all of the reading through Isaiah and Jeremiah when Israel would not change their ways, the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth to show God they were repentant.  The king made a proclamation for the fast as well and told everyone to repent and "cry mightily to God" (v 3:8).  Hmmm...prayer again.  What a concept.

Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. (Jonah 3:10 NJKV)

Wow.  What a reminder of God's mercy.  He really, really just wants us to do what is right.  Check out God's words on this in Jeremiah 18:5-10.  God is a God of the second chance.  He is longsuffering beyond my comprehension. 

To think about:

What past failure am I holding over my own head as an excuse for lack of future action that God has already pardoned me for?