Friendship Day

Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. - John 15:13 NKJV

Friends are a gift from God and should be cherished, celebrated, and never taken for granted. My friend Patti Ann says this about friendship in her recent post entitled "Happy Friendship Day":

I personally believe that friends are God’s way of taking care of us.  God not only directs the steps on our journey of faith, but He also places people in our lives at specific times to touch our lives or for us to touch theirs.  Each person has a story - life experiences no one else can claim.  From these things we learn what we could not from any other person.  Our lives are enriched by those we keep close to us.  Some remain a lifetime, some only for a short while for the purposes God intends.

True friends know your faults but love you anyway.  I used to think that we chose our friends for who they are – I found out we actually love them because they accept and support who we are.

"Friendship Day" was a "holiday" I had never heard of, but will gladly pass along to you, my faithful readers.  True friends, are indeed those who love us no matter what. Please take some time to day to stop by Patti Ann's blog and read the entire post, complete with some biblical references and a friendship prayer. You'll be glad you did.


Dear Lord, I thank you for Your friendship most of all, because in spite of who I am, You have never left my side. Thank you for the friends you've put in my life --new or old, near, distant or "estranged". Please let my friends know how much I care about them, even though we may not see or communicate as much as I'd like. Help me to learn from them, support them, and never take them for granted, for they are gifts from You to mold me into the person you want me to become. Amen.


Jesus and Friendship

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.
Note: For more thoughts regarding the impact of small gestures, check out my post "Little Things Make Big Impacts" over at Purposeful Leadership.

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

Receiving Love: 4 Obstacles to Acceptance

I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? - 2 Corinthians 12:15 NASB

I can feel for Paul.  Being pushed away and misunderstood by someone you love is a very painful and emotional experience. By the nature of Paul's writing in 2 Corinthians, it would appear that he was not being well received at the time. I think we've all been on the receiving end of rejection and have most likely pushed someone else away at some point in our lives. Why do things have to be this way? What causes this to happen?

I believe that we see a very clear picture of what causes relationships to break down in 2 Corinthians 7:1-4. Here's a quick summary:

1. Pride...too much (v1)

2. Priorities...too many (v2)

3. Patience...too little (v3)

4. Perspective...too limited (v4)

The bottom line here is that we all get in the way of our own happiness and what God has intended for us. When we do, we often start blaming other people for the lack of satisfaction or reciprocity in our relationships, when in fact, we may be the ones causing the problem.

In my next few posts we will dive into 2 Corinthians 7:1-4 and learn about those obstacles getting in the way of how we receive love from others. Stay tuned for my next post on how our own pride gets in the way.


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

Prerequisites for a Priceless Friendship

But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.  For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.  For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 2:19-21 NASB)

A friend with a kindred spirit is a priceless gift from God.  He or she can only come from God.  God definitely has a unique way of bringing people together.  I've been blessed to have a number of close friends over the course of my lifetime.  As I've matured over the years, my friendships have also changed.  Some have endured, some have faded away and new friends have also entered into my life ... all in God's perfect timing.

In this particular week of my life, I happened to stop by a blog I hadn't read in a long time and found this post about the kindred spirit friendship of Paul & Timothy as well as that of David and Jonathon.  When I read one commenter lamenting that she doesn't think these types of friendships exist any more, I wondered why this is so.  While I don't believe they are "extinct", because I am fortunate to be a part of one, I do agree that they are rare.  I also wonder if the reason for the rarity doesn't lie somewhere within the above passage, specifically because deep down people "seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus."

Priceless friendships require both parties to be seeking after Jesus with all of their hearts.  Both parties should be passionately seeking God's will over their own, pouring over the Bible in prayer for answers.  They need to pray for each other, spend time with each other and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's prompting to either exhort or listen to the other.   Pride and self-serving agendas should be put aside.   These are the prerequisites for priceless relationships.   

Finding one person meeting these prerequisites is hard enough to find...and a relationship takes two! Even Paul could only find Timothy to be genuinely concerned about the Philippians and I'm sure that even Timothy wasn't all of these things all of the time.  I'm wondering how much richer our friendships would be if we all persistently sought God's help to mold us into His image.  Maybe we could become priceless friends.

To ponder:
1.  Do you have what it takes to both "sharpen" and be "sharpened by a friend? (Pr 27:17)
2.  How much are you seeking God?
3.  Who do you need to become?


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

Importance of Teamwork

But Moses' hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it.  And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.  So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (Exodus 17:12-13 NKJV)

This is such a wonderful picture of teamwork.   Israel still hadn't stopped complaining about their situation (Ex 16:3), Moses was at his wits end and the Amalekites had come to fight with Israel in Rephidim.  Moses, however had a plan.  He sent out mighty Joshua with some men to fight them while he (Moses) stood at the top of the hill overlooking the battlefield with the rod of God raised in the air.   As long as Moses kept his hands up, Joshua prevailed.  But Moses got tired.

Moses got tired and his friends Aaron and Hur picked him up.  They knew the importance of Moses' task, saw his need, and jumped in to help.  Yes, God was in the rod and was ultimately the source of Moses' power, but a rod on the ground did not victory make.  Let's keep focused on the human aspect this time.

We can help others or ask for help in a variety of ways.  We can pray or be prayed for.  We can roll up our sleeves to help or ask a competent friend to do that with us.  Together we can definitely accomplish more than we can alone.  Sometimes one plus one does equal three.  Whose "arms" can you lift up today?

Dear Father, I thank you for the support of those people you have put in my life who take the time to pray for me and support me when I am weak.  Thank you for your wisdom and your provision and for your persistent care for me.  Help me to see where I can be helpful to someone in need so that I can assist them in your will as Aaron and Hur helped Moses.  To you be the glory.  Amen.


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

The Power of Encouragement

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV)

I spent time in 2 Timothy this morning.  I love the letters Paul has written to Timothy, his beloved protege/apprentice and son in the faith.  As I read them, especially the second, I see in Paul's words the pride and love for this young man and friend. Paul was in prison, most likely waiting to be executed, when he wrote this letter.  It seems he was lonely as well (2 Ti 4:11) and wanted to both see and exhort Timothy in his ministry one last time.

As I ponder what Paul's mood must have been at the time of its writing, I also wonder what Timothy's reaction was when he received the letter from his dear mentor.  Was he spurred on to action within his ministry?  Was he strengthened by the reminder that he was gifted by God and had God's power, Spirit, and the benefit of a sound mind? Was he saddened by Paul's need to see him one last time?  I suppose the answer could be "yes" to all.   To me, that letter would have meant the world.  Oh, the power of encouragement!

I love to encourage the people in my life to strive for and achieve their personal best, whatever that is.  That is why I started my coaching business.  It makes my day to see that I, or most likely God through me, was able to encourage someone to press on through trying circumstances and help them realize that the trial will not last forever.   I love to see other people succeed and it encourages and motivates me as well in my own journey.  Maybe that is why I love this letter from Paul so much. 

When was the last time you offered to someone a listening ear, word of encouragement, or perhaps just a note or phone call to let them know that you cared and were pulling for them?  Won't you do that today or this week?  I guarantee that it will be a richly rewarding experience - for you and for them.

For further thought:

1) What is the gift of God in you?  We all have been given something.  Are you using your gifting?

2) If you know your calling, what is stopping you from fulfilling it to its maximum potential?

3) Who can you enlist to help you on your journey to fulfill your calling & keep you focused on your strengths so you can avoid the "spirit of fear"?

Silent Speaking

Sometimes being silent is the best option.  Have any of you ever tried to comfort someone in their grief or distress and been told that you didn't help at all?  I have, and it is not a pleasant feeling.  Have you ever been "comforted" and said to your friend that they were no help at all?  I think we've all been there.  And wouldn't you know, that in one of the oldest books of the bible we see that Job has been there too.  No matter what we've been through or are going through, we can always find an example in God's Word to match our situation.

Do you remember Job?  In the first few chapters of the book of Job, he lost everything due to the results of a little dialog between God and Satan.  The result: Job faced adversity.  More than his fair share.  His three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar heard about his calamities and came together to comfort him.  At least their hearts were in the right place. And they didn't do a bad job ... at first.

So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.  (Job 2:13)

What happened after the seventh day?  Job opened his mouth and made himself vulnerable to his friends by telling them that he wished he would never have been born (Job 3).  I suppose this was seen by his friends as a solicitation for advice because soon after, they seized the opportunity to speak.  Without going into all of the details about the conversation that ensued, let's just get to the point.  I don't think that Job was comforted by his well meaning friends.  From Job 16:1-2 we see

Then Job answered and said, I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

Ouch.  I think I'm having a flashback to one of my meager attempts at providing comfort.  There is a lot to learn from this passage, isn't there?  Here are my life application points:

1) Fixing does not equate to comforting.  How many times do we try to fix someone's problem when all we really should be doing is listening?  We all want to be helpful, but there is a time to solve and a time to sit.  Job's friends didn't get reproved when they were just sitting with their friend. Am I comfortable in the silence?

2) "Knowing it all" will get us nowhere. Job's friends sure thought they had all of the solutions didn't they?  They even thought they knew why the horrendous things had happened to Job.  But were they right?  Sure, there were some truths to the things they said, but in Job's circumstance they didn't apply.  Oh, we need to pray before we speak.  How often do I pray before I speak and why do I really offer advice?

3) Listening is the optimal response - for all.  Listening is a challenge sometimes because of our pride.  Did Job's friends ask any questions of him to see what was really going on before they offered all of their words?  I didn't see any.  Should Job have listened to what his friends said anyway? I think so.  Listening well will always produce favorably results.  Had his friends really learned about Job and his situation, their words may have been different.  If Job could really listen to his friends in his grief - which I know sometimes isn't possible - he might gather some truths whereby he could examine his life.  How am I listening and learning to be a better friend?

Until next time...

Further Still

I was all excited about the post I was going to make today regarding how we are of the royal priesthood of believers, contrasting us with the Levitical priesthood.  However, that will have to wait for another day.  You see, once again, I went to my Thursday night Beth Moore bible study and came away very emotionally impacted.

In week 4 of  A Heart Like His, the video presentation was about Christ and how we could see 5 priority relationships in His life.  Beth noted that for sound spiritual health we also need to be a part of these 5 groups.  Christ interacted with...

1.  The multitudes - (Mt 14:13-14, Acts 1:8).  Where Jesus bore witness of God's power in His life.

2.  The 72 - (Luke 10:1).  These are those we serve.  Those in our local body of believers.

3.  The 12 - (Matt 20:17).  The disciples. The place were we can grow spiritually.

4.  The 3 (Matt 26:36-38).  Christ's inner circle.  These friends know us better than any others, just like "the 3" knew Jesus more intimately than the others.

5.  The 1 (Matt. 26:38-39) - Beth says "These are times of intensive care when God beckons that we come to Him all by ourselves."

She elaborated on "the 1" and called this "A Place of 'Further Still.'"   This is the place that our inner circle friends cannot come with us.  This is the place that we may wrestle with God's will and where we go when we are overwhelmed or maybe surrounded with grief.  This is the place that the most serious matters our lives are settled and a place from which we must emerge changed.  Beth states that if God calls us to the place of "Further Still", don't stay with "the 3" because they will disappoint you.  God wants to call us to the place where only He can sustain us - where only He can supply our deepest need. 

Have you been to the place of "Further Still"?  I have been there too many times in the past several years.  I think this is why the video struck me so.  While Beth said that this place is the place we must go for healing where our inner circle friends cannot come with us, I have learned this is the place we also go when those same friends are ripped from our lives for whatever reason and we have no other place to go.   We must learn to encourage ourselves in Him (1 Sam 30:6) because our loved ones might not always be there.   

I have emerged from the place of "Further Still" a changed woman.  My inner circle has changed.  My reliance on God has changed.  Change, though painful at times, is not always a bad thing.

To contemplate:

1)  What does it look like to solely rely on God for my happiness, rather than on someone else?

2)  Am I interacting with people on all of the levels that Christ did?  If not, what can I do to become a part of these relationships?  Am I a part of a small group of believers that I can grow with spiritually?

3) How is my relationship with "The 1"? 

Closer Than A Brother

And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David in the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.

1 Samuel 23:16-17

Once again I find myself drawn to a couple of things - the words we say and the friendships we have.   As I read the above passage, God kept pointing me back to 1 Samuel 23:16 where it tells of how Jonathan strengthened David's hand "in God."  Do you have a friend that will come along beside you when things aren't going so well, take your hand and put it in the "hand" of Jesus?  Are you that kind of friend to someone else?

David needed his friend.  He was running literally for his life from a man whom he'd loyally served in his courts and in battle.  David had done nothing wrong to deserve Saul's wrath except have a heart to do what God told him to do.  Could David help it that God chose him to succeed Saul on the throne rather than Saul's son, Jonathan?  Was it David's fault that Saul repeatedly chose to disobey God by taking matters into his own hands and thus prematurely cost himself the kingdom?  I think not.  Saul was merely jealous of David and to top it all off, Saul's son Jonathan was David's best friend.   Go figure.

Yes, David needed his friend, and despite the potential wrath that Jonathan faced from his father for meeting David, Jonathan came.  More than once he came.  In previous passages we've seen Jonathan  weep with his friend.  In this though, we see Jonathan encouraging David in his faith.  He strengthened David's hand in the Lord.   Remember, that David was no spiritual baby.  Everyone needs to be "picked up" from time to time.  I wonder if David was crying in fear of his life when Jonathan said "Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father will not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel.." (1 Sam 23:17).   I can imagine, upon hearing these words of encouragement combined with the promises of God, David slowly gathering his composure as the tears stopped and his strength returned.  The comfort of a good friend is priceless, isn't it? 

I admire the loyalty of Jonathan.  I admire the availability of Jonathan.  Jonathan was a true friend.  After all, he didn't care that David would take Jonathan's place on the throne as king someday.  He didn't care that his father probably preferred he not be friends with Jonathan.  He was simply following his heart and possibly God's direction in being a support and a friend to a future king.  We all need friends like these.   Are you this kind of friend to someone?  I'm sure there is someone out there that needs you too.

Tribute to Friends

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.  (1 Samuel 18:1)

Upon reading this and the following few chapters in 1 Samuel, God kept bringing to my mind the friendship of Jonathan and David.  It was indeed a marvelous friendship, and I do believe that they were definitely soulmates.  So today, rather than give my own thoughts about friendship, I'm going to present some quotes out of John Maxwell's "The Treasure of Being a Friend", given to me by one of my soulmate friends a few years ago.  I hope you are blessed by them and that you are reminded to thank God for the blessings of true friendship God has put into your life.

A Friendship Prayer (from p. 78)

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the special gift, one that cannot be bought for any amount of money.
Thank you for a gift wrapped in beauty, that is wonderful in all seasons and times.
Thank you for a gift that is always near in times of need and brings great joy.
Thank you for the gift that sparkles with freshness every day.
Thank you for my friend.
May I never take this gift for granted.


My friends have made the story of my life.  In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation. - Helen Keller.


The happiest business in all the world is that of making friends;

and no investment on the street pays larger dividends,

for life is more than stocks and bonds,

and love than rate percent,

and he who gives in friendship's name shall reap what he has spent.

-  Anne S. Eaton


Dear Lord, I thank you today for the gift of Your friendship to me; for the way you speak to me through your Word, for the way you listen to me when I cry out to You.  You are a true friend.  Thank you for the gift of friendship and for those you have put into my life, old and new, to bring joy into my heart.  May I never take Your precious gifts for granted. Amen.