Why Do We Follow Jesus?

Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled." - John 6:26 NKJV

We can fool some people some of the time, be we can never fool Jesus, no matter how crafty we are with our words or behavior.  When we try to fool Jesus, we can also be assured that He will set us straight when He catches us paying attention to what He has to say.  Jesus' followers found themselves receiving rebuke from Jesus just one day after Jesus had fed 5,000of them with five loaves of bread and two fish. 

What is interesting to me about the scene is that before Jesus rebukes them for their motives, there is no indication given in the passage as to the reason that those followers were following Jesus.  However, Jesus knew that they weren't seeking Him to get to know Him, but rather to fill their hungry bellies with food.  They were seeking after Jesus because of what He could give them, not for who He was.  Why do you seek after God?

God does want to provide good things for His children, but it is clear that He wants us to get to know Him for who He is, and to seek more for our lives than what we need to take care of our physical needs.  Right after Jesus revealed that He knew the true motives of His followers, He told them what they should really be seeking after when he said

"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you..." - John 6:27 NKJV

The "food which endures" is Jesus, the bread of life.  When take steps to get to know Him and appreciate Him for who He is, we will receive from Him more than we can imagine in the form of godly character and eternal riches that will never fade away.

Going deeper:

1) How often do you thank God for who He is rather than the specific things He has done for you?

2) What is your motive for following Jesus?  To serve Him or to receive from Him?


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.

Offended By Worship

Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the might works they had seen...And some of the Pharisees callled to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."~Luke 19:37,39 NIV

When I look around the room during our Sunday morning church service, I always enjoy the different ways people express their appreciation for God.   Some quietly listen to the music, others sing at the top of their voice.  Some raise their hands or clap, some keep them at their sides or on the pew in front of them.  Some people pray aloud while others pray silently.  If heartfelt, all forms of praise are pleasing to God.  However, not all people appreciate this variety of expression and some would probably prefer that it not take place at all. 

Giving praise to God was not always appreciated in Jesus' day either.  In Luke 19:37-39, Jesus was making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and the disciples were ecstatic.  I can picture the multitudes lining the streets as they would for the a popular parade, erupting with cheers and clapping as Jesus passed by.  The Pharisee's didn't like what was going on and asked Jesus to rebuke the crowd.

I've wondered why the loud praise would matter to the Pharisees.  Why were they offended?  Were they afraid?  Was it disturbing their nap time?  What did it matter to them at all?  I'm going to speculate that the praise given to Jesus made them uncomfortable because they didn't understand the reason for it.  Unbelievers can't possibly understand the motive behind worship, and that's what the Pharisees were.  For that matter, depending on their level of spiritual maturity, some believers might feel the same as the Pharisees.

No matter how its expressed, worship for our Creator and Savior cannot be squelched by man.  As Jesus said, even if the people are silenced, the rocks would still cry out. How do you feel about the way different people express their personal worship around you?   

And Thou Shalt Offer

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  -- Romans 12:1 NKJV

Reading through Exodus 28-29, I am astounded at the requirements they had for approaching God in the tabernacle.  We learn here of the priestly garments and the seemingly endless offerings required of the priests for their personal sanctification, without which, they could not approach God.   Isn't that something? 

1 Peter 2:9 says that we Christians are also part of the priesthood, designated to proclaim God's praises!

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (NKJV)

Being representatives of God ourselves, "priests", we need also to keep ourselves in a position to be most effective as witness for God.  Our position requires offering ourselves as living sacrifices each day, keeping ourselves acceptable to God, so that we can come into His presence and serve Him.  This is no small task.  Fortunately, God will help us out and clean us up.

Connecting learning to living

  • What unconfessed sin (thought or deed) is in my life that might keep me from approaching God?
  • What am I doing that might hinder the effectiveness of my witness?
  • How can I "sacrifice" one aspect of my behavior today for the good of someone else?


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.

Declaring God's Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. - Psalm 19:1 NKJV

If the heavens declare God's glory and all that He allows to happen in this world is also for His glory, how am I reflecting God's glory ...

... in my home?
... in my finances?
... in my relationships?
... in my conversations?
... in my attitudes?

To pray about: If you really believe you should do everything for the glory of God, how would your life need to change?


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 Wonders of God

O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise You, O LORD, among the peoples,  And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your mercy is great above the heavens, And Your truth reaches to the clouds.

Psalm 108:1-4 NKJV

Sometimes simple is just better.  Today, let's just be simple and reflect on the true wonders of God and what He provides us each and every day.  A friend of mine has posted a short video that touched my heart today because it reminded me that the real wonders of this earth can only come from God.  So true.  Why don't you visit and take a look

May you day be filled with awe for all of the little things God has given you to enjoy!

For His glory,


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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

O Give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.  Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. (Psalm 105:1-3)

I'm glad that in the United States we have a holiday that by its very name compels us to have an attitude of thankfulness for at least one day of the year.  Yes, I'm talking about the Thanksgiving holiday.  Most of us who are past our grade school years - unless we are homeschooling young children - have forgotten the names and the sacrifices of the original pilgrims that settled in this country so many years ago.  I heard on a Christian radio show just this past week that the intent of the original Thanksgiving feast was to give thanks to God for all that he had provided for the settlers in their new land.  They must have been deeply religious, or should I say, God loving people.  They knew from where their sustenance came.

So today I would like to take the time on this blog to be thankful for all that God has given me.  I would like to also thank God for those things I've asked for that God has not given me because he knew what was best for me.  And I would also like to thank God for the biggest gift of all ... the gift of eternal life through belief on Jesus, his son.

What are you thankful for today?  No matter where you are in life, I know that you can find something to thank God for.  We all can.  We can all make known the blessings God has bestowed on us.  Won't you do that today?

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Dear Lord, I thank you for all that you've put into my life and all that you've taken out of my life.  While an entire list of things would not even do you justice, I still must thank you for a few things anyway.  Thank you for providing me with good health and a good life.  Thank you for a loving husband, family & friends, without whom my life would definitely not be the same.  But mostly, thank You for who you are and of Your amazing love for me. Amen.


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.

Real Reward

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15:1)

Abram must have been a little frazzled after "these things".   He had just returned from rescuing Lot from the likes of four kings who had taken the cities and the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah captive (see Genesis 14).   The king of Sodom wanted to reward Abram with material possessions but Abram refused, not wishing to be made rich by an earthly king. 

I wonder if Abram was troubled when the LORD came to meet him that day in the vision.   There is no indication from the text that Abram needed encouragement, yet God showed up to do just that as He says "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." (Ge 15:1).  But God knew without Abram having to say a word what was in his heart.  God knew that Abram was doing the best he could in believing God would provide the impossible.  God also knew of Abram's secret doubts.

After God's initial words in the vision, Abram verbalized his doubts to God regarding his still not having an heir.  God listened, answered and acted.

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said unto him, "So shall your descendants be." (Genesis 15:4-5 NKJV)

When I picture this scene I imagine a parent standing outside with one arm around their child and the other pointing to the sky to show the child the promise.  What a sight.  What warm encouragement.  Like God encouraged Abram that He was still with him, He wants to do that to us.  I think God still encourages us.  We just need to stop and listen for His voice.   We may even feel His strong arm around our shoulders.  After all, He is our real reward.

May you sense His presence today,


For further thought:

1) What doubts do you have regarding God and His promises to you?  Give them to Him.

2) Can you think of someone in your life who might need a dose of encouragement?  Give it to them.


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.

Declare His Praises

1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; 2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night, 3 On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound. 4 For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. (Ps 92:104 NKVJ)
What shall you give praises for today in addition to praising God for who He is?  What kind of instrument will you sound like as you declare His wonderful work?  God can make us glad through His work, not ours...the work of HIS hands.
I'm praying for the work of God's hands to be seen through me this week as I will be speaking in St. Louis & Jefferson City, MO, tomorrow through Thursday.  May I decrease so that He may increase!

Take My Life...My Voice

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.  - Psalm 40:3

I'm opening with prayer today to the One who is worthy of all our praise - to the One who daily puts new songs in our mouths and restores our souls.

Dear Lord,

Mere words cannot express how grateful I am that you are who you are and that you are there for me always to sustain and restore my soul.  I will give praise to you for the new songs you have put in my mouth and I will sing them so that others can come to also know your goodness and grace. As a hymn I love says, "Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King", I ask that you do just as the words say.  Please take my voice and let it sing your praises. 


Take my voice and let me sing... God has given us many reasons to sing and praise Him for all He has done in our lives.  Sometimes we don't have to look very far to recognize the blessings.  Sometimes we need to dig deep to find God's treasure in the rubble of our lives.  Whatever the case, we will always have cause to sing and when we sing of God's truth, mercy, love, protection and restoration in our lives, people around us will want to have what we have found.  I am choosing to close with Psalm 138 today which also gives many reasons why we can and should take our voices and sing to and about God.  Read this psalm slowly and as you read it think about each line and how you can thank God for some similar circumstances in your own life.  You may even want to use it as a prayer today...I think I will.

Psalm 138 (NKJV)

1 I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
2 I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
3 In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul.

4 All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, When they hear the words of Your mouth.
5 Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the glory of the LORD.
6 Though the LORD is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
8 The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.


Come Before the Lord

Today, if you will hear His voice: "Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.  (Psalm 95:7b-9 NKJV)

Are you ready to hear from God?  Will you hear from God or will you close your ears and harden your heart to what He has to say to you?  God wants us to not only come before Him in praise and adoration,  but also in obedience and submission.  Just as He was angered when the people of Israel questioned and turned away from God in their stubbornness while in the wilderness after their captivity in Egypt, it pains God to see it today. He wants us to come to Him, as Psalm 95 clearly calls the reader to do, but he wants us to come in praise, in humility and in submission.  Psalm 95 exemplies a wonderful progression of how we should come to God in prayer.  Praise leads to humility, which should lead to complete submission to God's will and not our own.  Let's open our bibles to Psalm 95 and dig in!  :)

Come...in Praise (Psalm 95:1-5)

The psalmist implores us to sing unto the Lord joyfully with thanksgiving to the Rock of our salvation.  God is so worthy of praise.  If we carefully consider all that He is - all-powerful, majestic, creator of all - our awe and adoration of Him should flow from our lips.

Come...in Humility (Psalm 95:6-7)

For me, there is nothing like an understanding of how puny I am in relation to God to bring me to my knees.  He is my Maker and my Shepherd.  He is our God.  Fully understanding who we are should bring us to our knees when we approach God.  We must revere Him.

Come...in Submission (Psalm 95:7-11)

Today if you hear from God through your daily bible reading, another devotional, a bible teacher or even this blog, what are you going to do with what you've been told?  That is the question of the day.  God love us, like He loves His Israelites, and because of that love He wants so much for us.  He wants the best for us and only He really knows what that "best" is.  To enter into the "rest" God has for each of us, we must wholeheartedly attempt to follow His direction in all areas of our lives, not just the areas we want to follow. 

Heavenly Father, show me clearly today even though it may be painful to see, the areas in which I am hardening my heart toward your desires for my life.  Help me to walk in the full power of your Holy Spirit so that I can change in these areas.  Thank you for allowing me to come to you at all.  Your steadfast love for your wayward "sheep" is incomprehensible to me.  Help me to remember your past miracles in my life as I anticipate the future you have planned for me, trusting in your goodness as you work your will in my life.  Amen.