Weeping and Rejoicing

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. (Ne 8:9 NKJV)

It is not surprising that the people were weeping & mourning when they heard the words of the Law being read by Ezra this day.  It was a sacred moment and a life-changing experience for the listeners present.  They could have been thankful that their city wall was finally constructed.  Perhaps they realized just how sinful they had become over the years and the punishment they deserved from God.

Think back to the last time you were emotionally impacted by either the spoken or written word.  What sparked the emotion in you?  Was it thankfulness or conviction? Words are powerful because no matter where they come from, they speak into our lives.  God's words are the most powerful of all because they convict us of wrongdoing, comfort us in our sorrows, and create hope in our circumstances.

Hearing God's truth with respect to our personal lives is oftentimes hard to digest.  We don't like to hear how we've been wrong and necessary life changes may seem too monumental a task.  However, God is not asking us to change in our own strength.  We need not be overwhelmed.  When Nehemiah, Ezra and the priests exhorted the people to quit crying, they made sure to tell them why they should as they proclaimed ""Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Ne 8:10 NIV). 

The Israelites had help to change and so do we.  God graciously extends forgiveness and provision to those who diligently seek to follow his ways.  He can be all that we need if we rely upon him.  This is the joy of the Lord.


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.

Try God's Word

“ For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
  And do not return there,
  But water the earth,
  And make it bring forth and bud,
  That it may give seed to the sower
  And bread to the eater,
  So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
  It shall not return to Me void,
  But it shall accomplish what I please,
  And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."  (Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV)

A common practice in coaching, which would also be beneficial in day-to-day living, is to ask someone what they've tried before in solving a particular problem, before offering solutions.  If we offer a solution that has already been tried without success, we are really offering no solution at all.  We could be contributing to insanity, as I've heard someone say "Insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results."   

How are you about trying something new to achieve the results you desire?  Sometimes it is difficult to try something new.  But what if that new "something" would be the solution to your problem?  A fellow Christian I know is having difficulty in a relationship but refuses to try the one thing guaranteed to help--spending daily devotional time in God's Word.   As little as 15 minutes a day could make a huge impact on this person's life circumstance. 

God's word is powerful and life changing.  I know from personal experience.  It deeply saddens me to see how many people forsake the Bible's life changing power in order to continue doing things their own way.  Just as the water from heaven brings life to earth, the Living Water of God's Word will bring life to your life.  All we've got to do is drink it regularly.  Try God's Word.  You'll be glad you did.   

To ponder:

1) What is really holding you back from a devotional time with God through His word?

2) How would your life be different if you could use God's power to make changes?


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.

Back to Basics

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof; for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

Like all of us, I have a set of beliefs about God, life after death, etc.  Foundational to those beliefs is the belief that the Bible, the canonized 66 books of it, is the very Word of God.  I cannot not believe the Bible is true because it a) does not contradict itself, b) every prophecy ever presented has come true and c) archaelogical evidence supports it.  Basically, I have examined it thoroughly and have found it sufficient to bet my eternal destiny upon.

Why am I saying all of this?  More importantly, many of you are probably wondering why in the world I would choose to "call out" a major religion on this blog in my last post when I have never done it before?  (If you haven't read that post and the lively discussion there, I'd encourage you to do so).  The answer, dear readers is because if I know the truth and see that others may be going down a slippery slope of deception, I must warn them.  When I come across something presented in the world (in this case it was from a Newsweek magazine in my doctor's office) that contradicts my faith, I must speak the truth in love.

Does it mean that I shout from the rooftops or every street corner or confront everyone I know at the exact moment I notice an error?  Does it mean that I think less of the person in error? Absolutely not.  My history in life as well as on this blog over the past two and a half years proves otherwise.   I do not like to pick on or pick apart other religions.  Doing so is an endless task and does nothing but bring others down rather than build people up in their faith. 

With all of that said, I am thankful I came across the article this week in Newsweek and dared to post about it.  Controversy is good, you know.  If we never address our differences but instead avoid talking about them, how can we ever find out who is right?  If there is not a spark to light the fire of awareness, won't most people just continue on in their own ways?  We can all be better in life.  We can all understand what we believe in and why if we just take the time to study out the issues.  In closing I have just two questions that every believer of any faith, religion or creed can ask themselves and I challenge you to do so:

1) Do you really know what you say you believe? Dig deep into your religion or association's beliefs.  What appears good on the surface may not be so good underneath.

2) If your belief system differs from another's, have you asked why?  Chances are, that one is true and one is false.  Two opposing "truths" cannot both be true.

Do You Believe in Truth?

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)

I have a deep desire burning within my soul to equip others with the truth so that they may live the lives God intended for them to live.  I am burdened to share with them THE truth.  Not my "truth".  Not the latest "truth" from a famous author, pastor, pop psychologist, celebrity, bible study teacher, philosopher or study group.  THE Truth with a capital "T".  This truth is encapsulated in the pages of the Holy Bible that was inspired by the Creator of the universe - God - and penned by men who listened to God's inspiration so that we could have it today in a written form.   The truth is beneficial to have in a written form so that when our emotions and memories fail us, we can come back to the facts as they were written.

Truth seems so simple.  If I believe the bible is 100% true, because God is God and therefore perfect and unable to err, I have to believe that all truth stems from God.  If Jesus is God and says that He himself is the "truth" (John 14:6) and that God's word (i.e. the bible, scripture) is truth (John 17:17), shouldn't we believe what He says?

Yet our society wants to think differently about truth.  The postmodern mindset of our culture today wants to believe that everything is individually relevant.  Everyone can have their own truth.  How this makes logical sense, I have no idea.  After all, can an apple be anything but an apple at its very core (pun intended)?  No matter what it is called, it is still an "apple".  If I called it a rock, I would be very wrong because the two things are not the same.  My truth cannot be imposed on what is real.

With that said, I must defend the Truth.  It is the only thing worth living for because of what it can do for all of us.  It is profitable for us and can equip us for every good work and it can set us free from the bondage and mind clutter of uncertainty.   What does that "defense" look like?  Let me share a quote from Martin Luther as quoted in John MacArthur's "The Truth War", p. 26:

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.  Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

Will you join me in this battle to defend the Truth of the Bible?  Open yours today and let its truths speak to the depths of your soul.

The Prevailing Word of God

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. - Rev 19:13-14 NKJV

The truth of the matter is this.  One day, in spite of all wordly efforts to dissolve any notion of absolute truth in our culture with the fallacy of relative moralism, the truth will win out.  The Word of God, Jesus, will prevail and we believers will be at His side.  The passage above precedes the prophecy of the final judgment up on our very real adversary, Satan,  as he is cast into the bottomless pit (Rev 20:3).   Truth trumps a lie every time. 

Isn't it interesting that Jesus is called the Word of God and that we are shown so very clearly in John's vision that He triumphs over Satan?  Jesus is the truth and the Word of God.  Satan is the father of lies.  Consequently, in the battle of truth, the Word of God gets the win in the end.  Jesus says in the gospel of Luke that

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Luke 21:33 NKJV)

God's Word will never pass away because it is truth.  Absolute truth.  How well do you know it?  How well can you explain truth?  Today's society needs people more than ever who know the value and power of absolute truth.  The idea that all truth is relative and that there are no absolute truths is saturating our culture.  Yes, God will eventually win with it in the end, but wouldn't you like to see some victory in the here and now?  Get to know it.  Stand on it.  Share it today.  It is the one thing that will last forever.

Meeting God's Approval

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. - 2 Tim 2:15

I recently bought a new study bible - the Thompson Chain Reference kind - and honestly I have to say that I'm going to need to do some studying to figure out how to "work" the tools in it so that it will be useful to me.  And of course, like a good little modern Christian, I had to buy a new leather bible cover to protect it.  :)  This bible cover included a highlighter pen with the verse above printed on it.  I suppose so that if the pen ever got separated from my bible cover I would know where it belonged!  All humor aside, I do have to say that I have finally succombed to the "pressure" and am now writing a blog post on this verse.

Paul is telling pastor Timothy that he needs to get to know God's Word by diligent study so that he will be approved unto God.  This passage applies to us as well.  We are in a day and age where real truth is hard to come by because more and more the philosophy of relative moralism is seeping into every aspect of our lives.  If we as Christians, who have the truth, don't know how to explain and share it with others, who will?  As Christians, we only have one weapon in our arsenal against spiritual warfare of all types, and that is the sword of God's Word.  God's Word, when understood can not only protect us in the battle but can encourage, convict and instruct us to be the people God is desiring us to be. 

Most importantly, we must not fail to see in this passage that by studying God's Word, we will please God.  Our motivation to study should not be to impress others by our bible knowledge or to check off on a task list that we completed so many word studies in a year.  Our motivation to study should not even be so that we can be comforted or be a comfort to others by passing on a particular scripture passage.  We should be studying God's word so that we can please Him because by reading His Word - His Mind - we will get to know Him better.  That's what God really wants.

This is what the Lord says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts, boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the Lord. (Jer 9:23-24 NIV)

If we can study God's Word, rightly dividing it so that we get the correct meaning of what He is saying to us, we will get to know God, we will please God and all of the other benefits of God's Word to us will come.  Doesn't that want to make you study?  I know I'm ready to look for more treasures.

For the Faithful "Workman":

1) How well do you know your most important weapon?

2) What can you do today to get to know it/God better?

3) If you are having trouble getting started in a bible reading plan, what is really holding you back?

The Word In Us

NOTE: This is a "reprint" of my original post at Laced With Grace from 9/12/2007.  Due to the subject matter and the fact that it fits with my next post, I felt that it was worthy of posting in its entirety at Bread Crumbs.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. - Col 3:16 NKJV

I heard a radio preacher - it may have been Dr. David Jeremiah - include this verse in a sermon of his that was broadcasted a couple of weeks ago. What he said really hit home to me as he described how so many times if a person would eavesdrop upon a room full of Christians in conversation, most of the time one could not tell a Christian was in the room because there was no mention of God or the bible in the conversations. Think about it. How many Christians do you know with whom you can carry on a deep conversation about what you are both learning from your daily bible reading? When was the last time you had such a conversation?

This was a disconcerning thought to me, although not a new one. I know the statistics regarding how many Christians actually read God's Word every day, and without looking it up, I do know that the number is not the majority. I consider myself very fortunate to have a few friends, including my own brother with whom I can discuss scripture. We frequently discuss our learnings and sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron (Pro 27:17) because the Word of God is dwelling richly in us. I know without a shadow of a doubt that these dear individuals in my life are not only searching the bible for knowledge about God, but are letting God's word change the way they think and the way they act so that they can be conformed to God's image. What a blessing they are to me.

Just this week I have been blessed (and challenged!) by my brother and a dear friend by thoughts about what a particular passage in the bible really means. What would you share this week with a friend from your quiet time with God this week? How are you letting God's Word affect your life? Are you letting it dwell in you because you have saturated your mind with the thoughts and words of the Creator of the Universe? Conversely, are you barely in the Word, and thus letting the truth of scripture only strike a glancing blow at your heart and mind?

If the Word of God does not get the opportunity to dwell in us richly and deeply, we will not obtain or retain its benefits for ourselves, much less be of any use in teaching others about who God is. What type of a Christian do you want to be - powerful or powerless? Without a doubt I know what I prefer. I want to have the mind and heartbeat of God working in and on my life so I can make an impact for Him. How bad do you want to make an impact? Why not start today?

For His Glory,


Sword vs. Pocket Knife

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  1 Cor 1:25 NKJV

If you were in a battle and given a choice of weapon with which to fight, would you choose a pocket knife or a sword to slay your enemy?  While I think the answer to this question is obvious, I am shocked to see that a lot of Christians and even those in leadership are choosing to "fight" with a pocket knife.  I'm saddened by preachers and "bible" teachers who teach their congregations and students more from what they've learned through other men's writings than from their own study of God's word.  I don't understand how the riches of what God has to say can be replaced by watered down explanations of the Bible from other men, quoted to the "flock" as if their words were just as important as God's Word.  Please don't misunderstand.  I am not against all use of scholarly quotations.  A good quote from time to time is an effective tool.  However, I still hold on to the belief that the most powerful and life-changing quotes will come from the pages of The Book, God's Word, not just any book.

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  1 Cor 1:20 NKJV

Knowing this, I would rather have God's foolishness any day than man's wisdom.  I would rather learn through the God-breathed/inspired writings of Paul of how God intertwined all of human history so that I as a non-Jew (gentile) could also partake in the rich inheritance of eternal life, than hear through a contemporary author why all of this is so.  I want the undiluted, untainted, get-right-to-the-point words of God to fill my ears, heart and mind.  The depth of God's wisdom is unending, but we can unearth it directly for ourselves if we work hard at searching for truth.  I want to fight in this battle for the souls of men with a double-edged sword, not a pocket knife.

Basic Training...

1.  What weapon are you taking into the battle each day? 

2.  How adept are you at wielding the double-edged sword of God's Word?

3.  What steps can you take today to get skilled in the use of your "weapon", the Bible?

NOTE:  I will gladly point anyone in the direction to getting to know God's Word better if they sincerely want to learn.  Please don't hesitate to contact me regarding your next steps in applying God's word to your life.

Hope in His Word

Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. - Psalm 119:43 NIV

I don't know what I would do without having God's word in my life.  Of all the things in this world, there is nothing more truthful and life-giving than the very words of God I can read each day from the pages of my bible. 

Psalm 119 is a wonderful devotion about the benefits and importance of God's word to a believer.  While I've read this particular psalm many times over, I'm not sure I've ever noticed what I'm about to write about in this post.  That is another thing about God's Word that is so intriguing to me - the fact that it speaks to us in many different ways depending on where we are in our lives at the time we are reading it. 

I hope (pun intended) that I will never be separated from my bible.  Like the psalmist says in Psalm 119:43, I have put my hope in God's "laws".  God's Word and hope are connected in many ways.  Hope in God's Word provides...

  • Light for the world - By applying God's word to our lives and trusting in the promises contained therein, our lives can shine to the world as bright testimonies of God's love for mankind.

May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. - Psalm 119:74 NIV

  • Salvation for the weak - By knowing God's word in our hearts we can know that God will provide for us; we can know of the wonderful future in heaven that is promised to those who have placed their trust in Him. We can have that eternal perspective in life.

My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. - Psalm 119:81 NIV

  • Refuge for the weary - By reading God's word we can enter into the shelter and refuge of God.  Immersion in our bibles and in God's presence is a surefire way to get out of the storm.

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. - Psalm 119:114 NIV

  • Help for the worrisome - By memorizing God's word we can call to mind God's promises of provision for us during our times of greatest distress. Thinking on the pure things of God will bring us that peace that passes all understanding and enable us to put aside our concerns.

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. - Psalm 119:147

Where does your hope lie?  In yourself?  In a friend?  In your spouse?  In your pastor?  Anchor your hope in God's word and it will never let you down.  If you don't know how to get started in "hoping in God's Word", email me and I would be glad to help.  Grab on to that hope today.  God's Word is truth.  God's Word is life.  God's Word is hope.

Better Than Chocolate?

I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.  - Job 23:12 NASB

How hungry are you for God's truth in your life?  What would you give up to spend time in God's presence, reading His words to you?  Do you think Job meant what he said when he was in the depths of despair trying to make sense of the nonsense his friends kept accusing him of?  I believe Job meant every word.  Job had such a deep relationship with God that nothing could permanently shake him.

Yes, Job wished he were dead earlier in the book of Job.  But even the most grounded Christians have moments of hopelessness when faced with a pain that is so piercing.  Remember, Job had lost everything - his family all except for his wife, his possessions and his health.  Not to mention it, but if I were him, I'd think about ditching those friends who would not shut up!  Most importantly though, Job had not lost His God nor his faith in Him.  Look at what Job said regarding God's path for him:

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

As He did with Job, God also has a refining purpose for all of us.  The paths He may have for us to take might not always be the comfortable paths we would have chosen, but we must rest assured that they are the best for us.

For he performs what is appointed for me, And many such decrees are with Him. (Job 23:14 NASB)

Because God's ways are not our ways, we must rely on the promises of His word so that when storms make their way into our lives we can stand firm.  In troubled times, we have to hold on to one thing in our lives that will never change - the Word of God.  Our feelings about God may change with our circumstances, but those words in black and white stay consistent from day to day, year after year.  Yes, I believe His word truly is better than my necessary food...even better than chocolate.

Priority Check:

1) What are you placing higher on your daily priority list than your time with God?

2) When was the last time you had to rely on God alone for strength?

3) How are you currently sharing God's truths to others in your life?