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November 2006
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January 2007

A New Thing

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

I'm listening right now to a CD I just bought by Selah, "Bless the Broken Road - The Duets Album".   The songs of Selah always put me in a reflective mood.  What better time to reflect than on the eve of a new year with promises of new friendships, new opportunities and new healing of old wounds.  If you were here right now with me sipping your coffee (while I drink my coke out of the can-I don't know when I'll ever get the coffee thing down) you would hear the title track "Bless the Broken Road" from the CD playing in the background.  I'm posting the lyrics at the end of this post.

I liked this song upon my first hearing of it last week. Its about God's sovereignty.  Its about how God is always in control and how even the broken roads in our lives can lead us to happiness.  The song is about someone's search for their true love.  However, to me, I can't help but hearing through the words about how all of my "broken roads" have led me to a closer relationship to God, my True Love.   As I read/sing the words, the "you" in my song is God.  Has God been drawing you closer to Himself this past year?  If He has, I hope that through your trials you've been able to see His outstretched hand.  Through all of life, God is in control. 

This past year has brought me both blessings and sadnesses, gains and losses.  Looking back I can see God's hand in one way or another, gently nudging me in the way I should go.   Let's look forward now and not backward, in anticipation of the new things He will do with our old broken roads.  Happy New Year!

Bless the Broken Road
(Marcus Hummon, Bobby E. Boyd, Jeff Hanna)

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
I wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

Chorus 1
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were just northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
And led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to take the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Chorus 1
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were just northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
And led me straight to you

Now I'm just rolling home
Into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
And led me straight to you

Yes, God blessed the broken road
And led me straight to you.


Saddam and Sadness?

As I finished my bible reading this morning, 1 Kings 15 & 16, I was having trouble deciding what to present here at Bread Crumbs for a daily post.  Hmm...that's the reason I didn't write yesterday!  Too many things to say, I suppose.  I turned on my laptop with the intention of writing about how our broken dreams and broken hearts lead us in full humility to the feet of God.  But I'm putting off that post until a  later time, even though the subject has been pressing on my mind, to write about something totally different - Saddam Hussein's execution.

Don't fall over in your chairs, dear friends, at the thought of me writing about a current event or politics.  I'm not going to delve deeply there.  When I "heard" the news via a friend's blog, I was surprising saddened about this evil dictator being executed.  After all, I thought I'd be happy about it.  But, thoughts went through my mind about his eternal fate, and how he is probably in hell right now because he believed not in Jesus, but in the God of the Muslims, who is not the same god as our God of Christianity.  He sincerely believed in something, but he was sincerely wrong.  I am truly saddened by his fate.

Our soldiers in Iraq have made that country a better place by removing Saddam Hussein, an evil dictator and murderer from power.  I believe they are fighting a good fight.  But the battle needing to be fought is a deeper and more difficult battle than a physical one.  The true battle lies in the hearts of men.  Don't you wonder what it would be like if  men and women all over the world would hear the gospel and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives?  Their  hearts would be changed forever if they would allow the Holy Spirit to work inside of them.  Sounds simple doesn't it?  It is simple.  The simple truth of the Gospel can change the world from the inside out.  Wow.

Christian, are you letting God work on you from the inside out through a daily cleansing of bible reading and prayer?  Are you winning the battle on your own home front?  I wonder if I am sometimes, but I keep pressing on, picking myself up when I get too battle weary and fall to the ground.  Confession: Sometimes the "picking myself up" consists of  a friend sending me an encouraging word or a bible verse or two to put me back on track.  So, I suppose I must give that credit to God.   Friends, if you are battle weary, I would love to "pick you up" today.  The battle we fight is a crucial battle.  The world - even if it is just our little slice of it - is counting on us.

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.  Amen.

Jude 24-25


What Do You Trust In?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  Acts 17:11

I suppose an alternate title to this post could be "Are you gullible?"   So often, especially in today's times, we are advised or instructed to do things that may or may not line up with what God really intends for our lives.  Have you ever been in a situation where you were told or read something that you thought "just couldn't be right?"  Did you check it out with what the bible says to see whether or not it was true or trustworthy? 

Admittedly, I don't always check out every bible reference in a book or blog to make sure that what the teacher is saying is true.   I do though, know enough about the bible to know when something is way out of wack.  However, any of us can be misled if we allow ourselves to become complacent.  Just look at the "man of God" in 1 Kings 13.    This man was a prophet and was known for his testimony - yet, he still disobeyed God and met an untimely demise after he was deceived.    First, he did a little truth-telling to King Jeroboam based on what God had told him.  when King J asked him in for dinner, the man of God said:

...If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place.  For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.' (1 Kings 13:8-9 NKJV)

Now there's some conviction and obedience, huh?  So good, so far. But an old prophet found out about the man of God's deeds, tracked him down and asked him to eat bread with him.  The man of God's answer was still the same.  "No, God told me not to". (my paraphrase).  So what happened then?  Take a look from 1 Kings 13:18-22.

18 He said to him, "I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water,'" (He was lying to him.)

19 So he went back with him , and ate bread in his house, and drank water.

20 Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back; 21 and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, "Thus says the LORD: 'Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you, 22 but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the LORD said to you, "Eat no bread and drink no water," your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.'"

To make  a long story short, on his way home, the man of God was killed by a lion.   The man of God was deceived by a prophet with a hidden agenda.  What a shame.   The bottom line here is that if God tells you through His word what you are supposed to do or how you are to live, don't let something or someone sway you from the truth that you know.   Likewise, if you are teaching someone truths from the bible, always encourage them to check you out for themselves to ensure what you are teaching is right.  Readers, please do that with what you read on blogs, or books or whatever you hear as teaching.  Please do it with this blog, and please let me know if something I say doesn't line up with the teaching of God's word.  Be like the Bereans Paul wrote about in Acts 17 and you can know what is or isn't "so".


Be Steadfast

Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.  - 1 Cor 15:58

This verse headed the devotional I read yesterday morning.  Interestingly enough, these words of God were exactly what I needed then ... and now.  As I struggle with certain aspects of my daily life, I am reminded how important it is that I not get defeated and "quit".   I am so thankful that God's word doesn't change to fit my emotions and attitudes!

My labor - in my marriage, in my family, in my friendships, in my ministry (wherever that may be) - is never in vain if I am doing it for the right reasons.   If I truly am doing all things for the glory of God, He will turn my efforts into something glorious for His name.  I know it.  After all, the bible says it.

Friend, what are you struggling with today?  What stronghold has you in its grip that needs to be surrendered to God?  Are you willing to seek God's counsel through prayer, His word or the advice of another mature trusted Christian and then heed what God is telling you to do?   It is hard work, but the good news is that God will help us complete the task.

"...He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" - Philippians 1:6

That is good news, is it not?  The God of the universe, who saved your soul, will complete the good work He started in us.  He will make us to be more like Jesus.  We just need to let him.  Are you ready?


White Christmas

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heav'nly  Lord,
That hath made heav'n and earth of naught,
And with His blood mankind hath bought.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

(From the 6th stanza-The First Noel)

Yes, unto us a Child was born over 2000 years ago, the gospel of Luke says.  But He was more than a child.  He was the Creator of the universe come to earth from heaven in the body of the the most helpless of creatures - a human baby.  He was a gift from God.  His humility is staggering.  His power is astounding.

33 years after Jesus' birth, all of mankind was "healed" by His stripes because He was wounded for our transgressions as He laid down His life for us. With His blood, Jesus did buy the souls of mankind, including yours and mine.  Because of His blood, if we accept God's gift to us in His son, our scarlet sins shall become white as snow in the eyes of God.

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

When I think about this, I realize that no matter whether or not there is snow on the ground at my house, I have a white Christmas every year because I have personally received Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  Because of Jesus,  my sins are white as snow. Is your Christmas a "White Christmas"?  Have you ever personally asked Jesus to come into your life and make you whole?

If you know that you are a sinner (even a white lie will send us to hell without Jesus), and believe that Jesus lived, was crucified, and rose again to life on the third day so that you could have eternal life in heaven with Him, you too can have a white Christmas.  All you need to do is personally accept Jesus into your life.   I'm including a sample prayer here if you have never received God's gift of salvation.  This prayer alone cannot save you, but God will hear your heartfelt words to Him.  If you pray this prayer and believe it with all of your heart, being ready to turn away from your old life and start anew, you too, can become a child of God, with your sins cleaned as white as snow.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for sending your only son Jesus to die for my sins and for raising Him from the dead so that I could be forgiven and live eternally with You in heaven.  I realize that I cannot get to to heaven by anything I have done or will do and ask Jesus into my life right now.  I accept His gift of eternal life.  Please take my life and make me into the person you want me to be.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Messiah

At church this morning I heard the pastor speak of the uniqueness of the bible and the confidence we as Christians can have in our bibles being the very words of God. How true and how wonderful it is that we can have this confidence.   This time of year, when we celebrate our Savior's birth, we can know that His first coming to earth 200o years ago is one of the most compelling reasons we can believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is 100% true...every word of it.

Did you know that there were dozens of prophecies in the old testament point to the Messiah (see my previous posts here and here for more details) ? According to Josh McDowell, a leading apologist, the chance of only 8 of the prophecies being fulfilled in ONE man was 10 to the 17th power.  If I have my math right, that is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000!  Pretty slim odds, don't you think?   Pretty incredible.

We can have confidence in our bibles and we can have confidence in the fact that it was God who gave His Son Jesus to us as the ultimate gift.  Immanuel.  God with us.   It is the Gift that I cannot comprehend, but a gift that I am ever grateful for.  I cannot comprehend the kind of love it took to leave a home like heaven to live on earth as a baby, a toddler, a teenager and a man, and then die so that I may live. 

Merry Christmas, friends.  I pray that your Christmas celebrations are fun-filled and that you also find some quiet time to spend with Him on His day.


My first journal entry...ever

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before here, but I've been on a cleaning/reorganization binge in my house for the past month.  In the process, I've cleaned out lots of clutter from my life and found a few treasures as well. One of those treasures I'm going to post right here - my first ever "spiritual" journal entry.   I was being discipled - a subject I will cover in detail in a later post - by one of our pastors' wives and it was then that I was made encouraged to keep a journal of my daily bible reading to be checked weekly by my discipler at our weekly meetings.  Enjoy!

1/18/1998  Matthew 1

Chapter Summary

There were 14 generations from Abraham to David.

There were 14 generations from David until the carrying away of Babylon.

There were 14 generations from  carrying away into Babylon unto Christ.

Virgin Mary gave birth to Messiah.

Personal Application

As Joseph listened and obeyed God, I should try harder to obey what is written in the Word, just because God said it.

That wasn't too bad for a "baby".  :)  I even had a personal application.  A noble one at that and one we should all aspire to.  However, my second journal entry, was not so profound with its personal application.  Take a look.

1/19/1998 Matthew 2

Chapter Summary

Jesus was born in Bethlehem but quickly moved to Egypt to escape Herod's wrath.  When Herod was dead, God told Joseph to take his family into Israel where he settled in Nazareth.

Personal Application

?

You know, a person has to start somewhere.  Who would have thought that 7 years later I would be posting much of my thoughts about my daily bible reading out here on a blog.  Hmm...I didn't even know what a blog was until less than 2 years ago.  Like I said, a person has to start somewhere.  I suppose that is the point of this post other than my sharing my personal "baby" scratchings from years gone by just for the fun of it.  Wherever you are in your personal spiritual walk, start there and start walking.  And find someone to guide you along the way. 


Silent Night

Who isn't familiar with the old hymn "Silent Night" by Joseph Mohr?  I would suppose that most everyone is.  I wonder though, how much the depth of this song as been lost in the familiarity of its tune.  I thought about this as I sat down at my piano and played and sang this Christmas song yesterday afternoon.

Silent night! Holy Night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

It was a night like any other to the rest of the world.  I wonder in what hour of the night Jesus was born.  I wonder if it was in the middle of the night where the night is calm.  Can you smell the smells of an animal stable?  Jesus, the Holy infant, was lying in a manger surrounded by those smells on this night. 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  (Luke 2:11-12)

While Baby Jesus slept, the angels in heaven were proclaiming His arrival.  While Jesus slept, the shepherds journeyed from far away places to see the newborn King. 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward all men.  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which the Lord hat made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  (Luke 2: 13-16)

Is it any wonder how amazed they were at the sight of their promised Messiah finally come into the world?  I still can't imagine how they must have felt looking upon a baby's face and realizing that He was God. 

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born,
Christ, the Saviour is born.

Yes, Christ the Saviour was born and is still alive today.  What an event that was.  It is hard enough for me to wait for something for 10 minutes, let alone hundreds or thousands of years for something to come to pass.  The angels had waited for a long, long, time!  It is no wonder they were singing!

As I sang this song yesterday and reflect upon it now, my favorite verse is this last one. 

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

At His birth, Jesus was Lord.  Simeon knew it fully, even better than Mary and Joseph, the proud parents.  Look what Simeon had to say to Mary and Joseph about their baby boy:

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:30-32)

Yes, Jesus was Lord, even at his birth.  As the song says, His birth was the dawn of redeeming grace as we know it today.  It wasn't until approximately 33 1/2 years later that the redeeming grace became reality as Jesus was crucified but rose again from the dead.  He was Lord at His birth by destiny, but still lives today because of His power. 

May you, dear readers, take some time to sing today this song of God's redeeming grace as presented on a silent night in a tiny little baby.  As you hear it over the speakers in the mall or other shopping venue, may you smile as you think about Jesus, the real reason for this Christmas season.

Lord, thank you for your redeeming grace.  Thank you for timeless songs that so beautifully depict the reality of Your word so that we can sing praises back to You.  And thank You most of all, for giving us Your Son in that manger so many years ago.  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.


What Are You Building?

I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for King Solomon to take on a project such as building a temple for God.  Can you?  It took 7 years to build that temple (1 Ki 6:38).  It takes me days to reorganize a closet!  :)  So as I came to 1 Kings 6 where we see Solomon's part in the temple building and we are told its dimensions and some of the intricate details of the inside, I am in awe of the whole process.  I wonder what a house made of cedar would smell like.  I wonder lots of things that I won't delve into here.

However there is one thing I noticed in the middle of the chapter that was also intriguing to me.  In the middle of all of the busy details, we see the following passage:

Then the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying: "Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you,which I spoke to your father David.  And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel."  (1 Kings 6:11-13 NKJV)

Think about this for a minute.  We know from previous chapters that it was Solomon's charge to build the temple, but what was God really concerned with?  As always, God was concerned with Solomon's character, not what Solomon was doing.  God made sure that Solomon remembered His promises of continued blessing to the house of David (2 Samuel 7:13), but also reiterated the conditions for the blessings to come.  Interesting.

The same is true for us.  God wants us to fulfill the plans He has for us, but we can't just "do, do, do" to achieve those plans.  It is easy to complete tasks.  It is not so easy to examine our hearts and obey God's instructions for our character.  That is why we must continually, humbly, give our thoughts and lives over to Him on a daily, hourly and minute-by-minute basis, so that He can complete His "building project" in us.

For mulling over:

1) What is my current "building project"?

2) What is my motivation for the "project"?

3) How am I allowing God to work in or on me as I complete the "project"?