My prayer is that anyone who chooses to read my thoughts on the true Bread of Life can pick up a few "crumbs" to give them a taste of what God has to offer each of us in His Word - an appetizer, if you will. Happy reading!
My goal for this blog is for it to be an encouragement as well as a tool for others in their walk with Christ. Happy Reading!
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13
Today I'm following some of my own coaching advice in that 80% of something is better than 100% of nothing. I've been wanting to write the perfect post here for quite some time and decided that today I was casting perfection aside here at Bread Crumbs to bring you some unplugged thoughts I've had lately regarding friendships or relationships.
I love to help people. My mom always used to tell me, "Janna, you can't save the world." As a good friend of mine says, I am a "net holder". I am someone you can count on to hold one corner of your safety net, should you need to "plunge" to safety. I don't run from the tough stuff of emotions and contrary to my impatient nature I am generally long suffering with my friends.
Jesus says that there is no greater love than sacrificing for our friends. He modeled it perfectly, giving up his life on the cross as a sacrifice for the souls of man. Even with my helping nature, I can't remotely compare to Him. In fact, I'm extremely selfish in comparison!
Friendship is about sacrifice. Its about the other person, not yourself. To be a good friend according to Jesus' example means we need to give and expect nothing in return, knowing that we will eventually reap for ourselves the good we have sown if we don't lose heart (Gal 6:9), even if we suffer heart ache in the process. Sometimes it's not easy to do, especially if we care deeply about the other person for which we are sacrificing. But Jesus didn't say His way would be easy, did He?
How closely do you model Jesus' example of friendship? What stands in your way of considering someone else's needs over your own? What can you do today to reach out to someone in your world? Your small gesture may mean the world to someone else.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself will be among them, - Revelation 21:3
Christians around the globe will be celebrating the first advent of Jesus Christ tomorrow on Christmas day.As foretold by the prophets (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7, 8:10) over 2000 years ago, the Almighty God, Creator of the universe & King of Kings came to earth as a little baby…just to be with us.Let that sink in for a moment.God came to be with us.This first time He came without fanfare, yet His birth was to pave the way for something greater than we could ever imagine.
I wonder what would have happened had Jesus came to earth the first time as a Mighty Conqueror rather than a lowly babe.His name would have still been Emmanuel, meaning “God with us”.However, I suppose we would not have gotten to see the richness of God’s character that way, because we couldn’t have fathomed God as one of us.Seeing God as a man, growing from infant to teenager to manhood, in the most humble of ways, gives us a visual picture that we might not have seen otherwise.I’m thankful that God chose to come to earth in the way that He did.
Jesus will return someday the way the Jews expected Him to come the first time—as a mighty King and conqueror.He will come as John describes in the book of Revelation.He will dwell with us someday in a different way than in the past.The lowly manger will be replaced by a king’s throne, the crown of thorns by all of God’s glory.The power of His resurrection will be made known fully as He makes all things new from the seat of His throne (Rev 21:5).The bible says
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away,”(Rev 21:4 NASB)
We can doubly celebrate this Christmas by celebrating His birth and His soon again coming.How much richer will your Christmas be if you celebrate Christmas this way?
Merry Christmas to you and yours.May you always remember that God is with us.
Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts." ~ He 4:6-7 NKJV
God gives us many do-overs to start anew. He's been giving them out all through biblically recorded history. In the passage above we see King David being quoted in Psalm 95 by the writer of Hebrews. David, approximately 400 years after Joshua and the Israelites failed to enter their promised land (or "rest") the first time, spoke of another change for God's people to enter into rest.
God is still waiting for his people to come back to him and he still waits today. He is still giving out do-overs! Unfortunately, we get caught in a cycle of defeat by not making good use of our do-over, and fail to enter the spiritual rest that God promises us. Our unbelief, not trusting God, keeps us defeated.
Generally, there are four keys to overcoming our unbelief:
1)Forgive your past mistakes. God has forgiven you. Forgive yourself and start fresh.
2)Remember your past victories. Intentionally recall a time in the past where God has come through for you. He will do it again!
3) Trust God's promises. The Bible is filled with truths to hold on to. God will do what He says because He cannot lie.
4) Trust God's power. God created the universe. He can create a new beginning and craft a solution to your problems.
The bottom line is that each day is a new day and no matter where we are in our lives, God will give us another chance to believe in Him. Most importantly, He is worthy of our trust. We can pray to Him with confidence, "I can't _________________, but You can _______________." When we master that prayer, we are on our way to the "rest" God desires for us.
Points to ponder:
What are you the most tired of struggling with in your daily life?
What kinds of things do you tend to work out on your own?
At what times do you say you trust God, yet in reality still hold on tightly to your problems?
Note: This post is excerpted from a portion of a new retreat I'm presenting this weekend entitled "The Work of Rest". If you are interested in learning more about it or would be interested in booking it at your church, please contact me.
"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.
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. - Genesis 6:5-6 NKJV
We don't have to go very far forward in time from creation to find mass corruption in the crown of God's creation - man. The bible is not a long drawn out book that takes hours of reading to get to the real heart of the matter. For instance, in my bible I see God expressing how good everything was on the first page (Genesis 1). Then, only 4 pages later in Genesis 6, God is grieving over the state of mankind only hundreds of years later and making plans to destroy it via a great flood. Yes, the bible doesn't waste time in getting interesting.
Poor God. He has been fighting the likes of mankind since He created us for His pleasure. All He wanted from us was for us to love Him. I suppose though that was too much to ask. I can't imagine the sadness He must suffer as He watches us ignore Him and go our own way day after day. Our own angst over a prodigal son or daughter is no match for the emotion God feels for us. Knowing this aspect of God should change the way we live our lives. Won't you let it change you today?
1) Ask God to reveal to you the areas of your life (including your thoughts) where you grieve Him.
2) What one thing can you do today (or stop doing) for God that might please Him?
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. - (Hebrews 2:10 NKJV)
In my wildest dreams I can't imagine devising the plan God concocted to save His fallen creation from His perfect judgment. God thoughts and plans are definitely more developed than mine, and I consider myself to be a good planner. Have you ever really pondered how complex God's plan of redemption is? It is definitely easier for us with all of human history behind us to grasp. but what if we were faced with God's situation more than 6000 years ago at the beginning of our earth's creation?
Imagine yourself, not as God but just in His place, looking at your newly created humans (Adam & Eve). You are pleased at first but then you find that they had disobeyed you and through this sinful act, have thrown a wrench into your perfect world. I don't know about you, but I doubt that I would have come up with a plan of redemption so complex yet so perfect as to culminate in my only child dying to redeem the sins of the world. But then, my plan wouldn't have been perfect because I am definitely not God. Most likely I would started crying in despair before I regrouped and got out my pens, pencils & highlighters to being drawing up the solution. Personally, I'm glad that God is God and I am not. "Janna Almighty" I do not want to be.
But our scripture (Heb 2:10) says that God, the Creator of the universe, saw it fitting to have His Son - the captain of our salvation -suffer for us. This was God's plan all along. Jesus was not merely murdered. He had a choice. He gave up His life to bring us to glory. He gave up His earthly life to pay our entrance fee into heaven.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV)
God's perfect plan was contrived out of an endless love for His creation. Jesus' work on the cross as our "captain" could only have been completed through His suffering. If there was some other way, I'm sure that God would have found it. For this reason we must also conclude that for us to become "perfect" or made useful for God's purposes, we also must suffer as Christ suffered for us. While our sufferings will never measure up to His, they are still there, still real, and can help us lead others to receive God's glory. At least we can find comfort in knowing that everything taking place in our lives is all a part of God's ultimate plan.
For "Planning" Purposes:
1) How much do you trust in God's control over your life?
2) What area of your life are you having difficulty giving to God so that He can manage it rather than you?
3) What would help you view your own "sufferings" in a light that makes them easier to live through?
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. Psalm 139:1-3 NKJV
How many people in your life know you completely? It is very likely that most of us have only allowed a handful of people in our lifetimes to get to know us completely. While it can be comforting to know that someone knows all about us and still loves us anyway, it is also a very vulnerable place to be.
However with God, it is a different scenario. He knows us better than anyone ever could. I think He even knows us better than we know ourselves. King David knew this about God and wrote about it in Psalm 139. In this Psalm we see how God knows us completely.
Our ways (1-6)
There is not a thought that goes through our minds that God does not know. He probably knows what we are going to think before we even think it! He fully understands every rationale and thought behind every word and deed in our lives. How can realizing that help you to see the depths of God's love for you?
Our wanderings (7-12)
We cannot hide from a God who knows where we are going to hide before we've even found our hiding place. Whether we are on the mountain top or in the valley, God is there to comfort, to guide and to celebrate with us. How are you "hiding" from God?
Our worth (13-18)
We are God's most prized possession. He knew us - our real selves, our souls - before our bodies were even formed. He loves us because He made us to be exactly as we are. All we need to do is to allow Him to mold our personalities so that we can fulfill His plans for us. What step can you take today to allow God to complete you?
Our weaknesses (19-24)
God knows our weaknesses both within and without. He knows how to best protect us from our "enemies", including Satan, our primary adversary. He also wants to show us how to live pure and holy lives for Him. When was the last time you asked God to reveal to you the not-so-righteous areas of your heart?
Dear God, I am so thankful that you know me exactly for who I am and not for who I often pretend to be. I'm glad that you've searched out my mind and my motives and know me completely, even though I'm not who you want me to be sometimes. Search me, O God, and reveal any thoughts or ways to me that are not in your perfect will or plan for my life. Shine your light on my life so that I can truly see the ways where I displease you and align my thoughts and actions to match yours. Lead me in your everlasting way no matter how challenging it may become. Amen.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever. - Psalm 118:1 NKJV
I'm going to start out by saying today that I sure wish that God was my internet service provider. For the third day in a row, my expensive high speed internet service has been slow as molasses and essentially has been unusable at the time I've had the opportunity to post. So, that is why I haven't posted in a few days. My recent experience has given new meaning to the verses in Psalm 118:8-9:
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. (NKJV)
While friends, family, governments and internet providers may fail us from time to time, God will never fail us. Can I hear an "Amen"? His goodness and mercy endures forever. He won't make promises that He can't keep. He is never to busy to listen to our pleas for help or to lend a helping hand. He is good, He is consistent and He is always there. With the Creator of the universe on our side, what do we really have to fear? (Ps 118:6)
Our Psalmist David knew firsthand of God's enduring faithfulness. Over and over in the Psalms we see David expressing his thankfulness for God's deliverance and protection in his life. David says in Psalm 118:21
I will praise You, For you have answered me, And have become my salvation.
As I look at this verse I wonder how long it took David to allow God to become his salvation. To me, the word "become" in this passage implies a growth process. Since David was human like the rest of us, I'm sure that his strong faith didn't arise overnight but through many years of trials and testing, as he learned to put his faith in the One who was faithfully there. As I walk through the journey of my life, God is becoming more and more to me as well, as I remember to let Him be there for me. God is good. Forever. No matter what. And I will praise His name.
To think about:
1) Looking back on your life, how can you see that you've allowed God to be your "salvation"? Has your faith grown over time?
2) If your faith hasn't grown, what do you think may be hindering you in your faith journey?
3) Would you be willing to take some time today to journal your current concerns as a prayer to God for help? God will listen and answer your prayers.
As I think about today, Good Friday, I can't help but think about a song we sang at last night's church service. I can't help but reflect on God's love for me as He sent His Son Jesus to a death on the cross. This was the darkest day. However, it preceded the brightest day where Jesus Christ rose triumphantly from the dead!
Today, won't you reflect on the lyrics of this song, "The Power of the Cross", with me?
O Praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 117)
I'm ready to think on some good thoughts today, rather than my sadness over all of the things that are wrong in our churches and in our worlds. In spite of all of those things, our good LORD is on the throne of heaven and is still in control.
O Praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him all ye people. How are you, dear reader, going to intentionally praise your God today? I'm going to think about the above passage in Psalms. I'm going to attempt to shut down all of my negative thoughts today with the truth of God that endures forever so that I can be salt and light to those I'm around today. I will try to praise Him today with my thoughts and my life.
For His merciful kindness is great toward us: Can you think of a couple of things that God has blessed you with in your life that you don't deserve? I know that I can. God loves us so. There's another reason to praise Him. Today, I'm going to look for God in the little things - in an email from a friend, in a chirping bird on this first day of spring, in the company of friends. Maybe He'll even throw in a few more. :) I'll be watching today, will you?
And the truth of the LORD endureth forever. Do you know God's truth? The truth of the Lord is all over the pages of my bible. Every word, every phrase, every chapter and book is true and alive and never changes. I'd say that it endures forever. Jesus is also the Lord's truth. After all, the bible says, Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life". Just thinking on how the God of the universe loves me and will never leave me just overwhelms me. The truth of His goodness and love will never change.
I thank you so much for who you are to me and to this broken world. Show me how to love you more today and every day. Enable me today to praise and worship you with my whole heart and nothing less, seeing you in every aspect of my day. Thank you for never changing, for providing us with enduring truth and love.