Crossing
Your
Jordan Ministries
Embracing God's Promise of Abundance When Hardship Endures
by Jenny on March 19th, 2020

"Awake, O sleeper, rise up . . ." Ephesians 5:14

The world stands shaken. News of a highly-contagious virus invades our minds, our hearts, and our sleep. More contagious than the virus itself is the fear of catching it, or of running out of food or cleaning supplies, or of having our schedules changed. I have fears too. Fear is a natural response to an unknown or intimidating situation. But the virus isn't the problem, and it isn't the media either. Our fears simply reveal opportunities for us to transfer our trust, our hope, our worship from an object or desire that may fail to One who will never fail (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT).

"Everything the Lord does is good." (Psalm 145:17, ERV) I don't understand everything the Lord does. Everything does not seem good to me. "Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!" (Romans 11:33, see also Proverbs 20:24, 25:2, Ecclesiastes 3:11b) My hope doesn't come from my ability to understand everything the Lord does. My hope lies in what I know about the character of God. If I don't know the character of God, I have little hope.

The character of God is too complex to explain in one blog post. The whole world cannot contain the goodness of God (1 Kings 8:27). But we can start with a glimpse.

Throughout the Old Testament, God allowed trouble and hardship to come upon His people, not solely as punishment, but in the form of discipline; to remind His people, to make them aware, to help His people wake up, to realize their need for Him.

Everything God does is good. God does not punish His children (Psalm 103:10, Isaiah 54:9). Jesus absorbed, or took on, the punishment for believers--those who believed in the past and those who would ever believe in the future--when He died on the cross. But God does test His children--even those yet to be His children. He does discipline His children, train His children, remind His children so that they will know their (our) need for Him (Hebrews 12:10).

Skeptics say God sounds narcissistic. Narcissism is "having an excessive interest in one's self" (dictionary.com). "Shall what is formed say to the One who formed it, 'You did not make me'? Can the pot say to the Potter, 'You know nothing'?" (Isaiah 29:16) When a human demands worship, it is narcissism. When a perfect God creates a perfect man who then chooses to turn away from his Creator, and the Creator makes a way for man to return to Him, and the Creator then reminds man of his need for Him . . . it is called love.

Louder than the news of the virus or of runs on toilet paper, the Lord is saying, "Return to Me." Do you hear Him? He has promised to be right there for us when we do. (Malachi 3:7)

God, we need You. We need to know You. We need to know that You will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). We need to know that You have decided every day of our lives, and every day of the lives of those we love, before even one of them came to pass (Psalm 139:14). We need to know that You have power over viruses, and over supply and demand (Psalm 24:1).  We need to know that while You may not do what we want You to do, You always do what is best (Psalm 145:17). Remind us, teach us of who You are, and all You promise and are able to do. 

by Jenny on March 16th, 2020

"Encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children . . ." Titus 2:4

Hey Moms! Anyone feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having your sweet, beautiful children home all day, every day . . . for an indefinite amount of time? It's okay to admit your fears and reservations!

By NO means am I an expert. God fashioned each of us moms with different personality types, so the words that follow may not prove helpful to you. BUT, in his letter to Titus, Paul challenged "older women" to "train, or encourage women to love their husbands and their children . . ." (Titus 2:3-4) While I'm not sure I like the "older woman" part, as an initially-VERY-reluctant-homeschooling-mom-of-ten-years, I DO know what it is like to end up home with your children all day, every day . . . for an indefinite amount of time. And I would love to encourage you. Not because I have all the answers but because I know the struggle is real.

FIRST. God chose you--yes, YOU--to be the mother of your children because He knew you would be perfect for them and that they--yes, your children--would be perfect for you. Your children can have other teachers but YOU are Mom. "Children are a gift from the Lord." (Psalm 127:3) Children may not always feel like a gift (just being real here) but Scripture proclaims that they are. Let us ask God to give us eyes to see the beauty in His gifts.

SECOND. Know your personality type. I am an Introverted Mom (click here for an EXCELLENT read on this topic. Hint, even if you are an Extrovert, being with your children all day, every day, for an indefinite amount of time may bring out the Introvert in you). I recharge by being . . . alone. Thankfully I've had nap-age children for fifteen years. We STILL have an afternoon "rest-time" for one hour EVERY afternoon, even on weekends. My youngest naps, my middles shamelessly watch PBS or another educational program and my olders read or listen to audio books or play a non-technology related game with a sibling (think old fashioned board games or card games). Since we are ALL together ALL day EVERY day for an INDEFINITE amount of time, "rest-time" gives EVERYONE a chance to have a "break" from each other. Because "alone time" refuels me, I also wake up two hours before my children. How do I know I have two hours? Because other than potty-breaks, we have asked our children to remain in their rooms until 7am. Knowing I have until 7am to prepare for my day gives me the time I need to pray, study the Scriptures, pray more, respond to e-mails, etc. At 7am, I'm "on-the-clock," so to speak. On the other hand, you Extroverted Moms will THRIVE being with [little] people all day, every day for an indefinite amount of time.

THIRD. In addition to being an Introverted Mom, I am also a type-A, thrive-on-structure type of mom. Before you tell me to loosen up, remember I'm outnumbered 6:1 during the day! I read one time that because their bodies, and therefore their little worlds, are constantly changing, young children especially perform better with routine. I like to call it "flexible structure" (how's that for an oxymoron?). Whether you find yourself homebound with your children for an extra week or an extra fifteen years, find a routine that works for your family.

Loosely speaking, M-F, all of our children, teens included, are expected to arise by 8am (see, there ARE perks to not having to rush off to work or school each day). TV is off by 8:30am (and on no earlier than 7am). The kitchen closes at 9am. Chore-time follows until 10am. School begins no later than 10am (olders often begin their school work before 10am if their chores are complete). Snack for littles at 10:30am (something quick like fruit or nuts). School runs until 12:30pm, sometimes 1pm. Then lunch followed by rest-time. School resumes from 3pm-4pm or 4:30pm, followed by an afternoon snack and at least an hour of OUTSIDE time, rain, sleet or snow! Cleanup house (because I also can't stand clutter, though dust and even a little stickiness on the floor doesn't bother me as much) and/or cleanup kids, and dinner prep around 5:30pm, dinner around 6pm, bedtime [begins] for littles around 7pm, olders to bed around 9pm. 

On "school-work." Because we homeschool, I have all of our schoolwork at my finger tips. Until/unless schools send work home with students, consider other brain-engaging work. The Critical Thinking Co. offers MANY fun brain-teaser workbooks for young and old. We've also used Paragraph Editing workbooks for Grades 2-8 during summer breaks.

FOURTH. Ask the Father for help. In every moment, with every child. If you don't know the Father, or don't know how to talk to the Father, or fail to understand how in this world the Father can actually help you (because He seems to live oh, so far away), let's talk! The short answer is that we are born apart from the Father (Ephesians 2:12), with no way back to Him on our own. Sin separated us (and though we "seem" good-enough, God's standards are so high, none of us can achieve communion with God on our own). Christ died in place of us, took the punishment for our sin which was death SO THAT we COULD be reconciled with God. We simply must RECOGNIZE (BELIEVE) that Jesus died for us. The moment we make a profession of faith IN Jesus, God's Spirit indwells us, and THAT is how He helps us in every day life. The Spirit of God helps us live in a way that pleases God, IF we will yield to the Spirit's leading. The fruit of the Spirit, meaning the evidence or the proof or ability of the Spirit is love (not hate), joy (not misery--even at home with children all day every day for an indefinite amount of time), peace (not chaos), patience (yes, the Spirit of God will HELP YOU BE PATIENT with your children all day every day for an indefinite amount of time!!), kindness (you get the idea), goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and yes, even self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) You need Jesus so that you can spend eternity with God. You need the Spirit to help you live moment by moment, day by day for a definite amount of time, which God only knows.

Obedience brings God joy. (1 Samuel 15:22) Obedience in believing Him and all He says in His Word about our condition and about His love and forgiveness and provision. Obedience in wherever He has placed you and your children during this season. Let His joy be your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

God has power over this virus and any that will follow in the weeks, months or years to come. In the New Testament Jesus commanded gems to die, and they did (Luke 4:38-39). Jesus can still command germs today. God has allowed this season for a reason. Rest in His plan. He has you at home with your children for such a time as this. God WILL call you to do more than you can in your own strength SO THAT you learn to trust in Him. 

Second Corinthians 1:8 reads, "We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it." Paul is speaking of a situation far more fearful than being home with children . . . but the feelings are mutual. Paul continues in verse 9, "But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God."

May that be how God turns what the enemy meant for harm into GOOD. May you and the children God has given you draw closer to Him, and to teach other, during this time.

As moms (or other care-givers) homebound with our children, let's continue to encourage each other. We are a community. Leave your comments here today, or in the days and weeks to come.

by Jenny on July 17th, 2019

"When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear." Exodus 20:18

Ever read much of the Old Testament portion of the Bible? Readers of the Old Testament sometimes (oftentimes?) comment that God seemed meaner in the Old Testament than He does in the New Testament. The Old Testament documents the history of Israel as a nation. The Old Testament describes wars and God's judgement and even punishment on both enemy nations, as well as the chosen nation of Israel. But the Bible tells us that God never changes (James 1:17). God demonstrates just as much love and compassion for His people in the Old Testament as He does for His people in the New Testament. But similar to today, God's people--those He has chosen to know Him, those He is in the process of calling to Himself--often fail to recognize all God has already done for them. Rather than drawing near to God to learn more about Him, they stand at a distance from God, trembling with fear.

The book of Exodus tells us that God's people lived in Egypt for approximately 400 years, living the majority of that time as slaves to the Egyptians. But Exodus 7-12 describe the mighty power God unleashed on the Egyptians in order to free His people from slavery. "God caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for" as they departed Egypt (Exodus 12:36). God led His people in a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21). God did not lead His people down the main road, because He knew His people were unprepared to face enemy territory (Exodus 13:17). Instead, God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness (Exodus 13:18), providing for their EVERY need along the way. When they wanted meat, He gave them meat (Exodus 16:12). When they needed water, He gave them water (Exodus 17:6). God led His people in this way to a mountain called Mt. Sinai. At Mt. Sinai God intended to give His people further instruction on how to live. But it is at this place that instead of standing in awe of all God had done for them, God's people stood at a distance, too afraid of Him to draw near. All of God's people stood at a distance, that is, except Moses.

Maybe Moses was just a curious guy. Maybe after spending forty years tending sheep in the wilderness Moses was desperate to see something new. Whatever the reason, when God revealed Himself to Moses through a burning bush in the desert, Moses said to himself, "I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight . . ." (Exodus 3:3, emphasis mine). Moses bowed down in reverent fear of God many times. But he never let fear of God's power distance him from God. Indeed, it was the very power of God that caused Moses to draw near to Him. Yes, God called Moses and only Moses to meet Him atop Mt. Sinai. But God wanted His people to draw near, not to stand in fear. "Don't be afraid," Moses answered them, "for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of Him will keep you from sinning."  (Exodus 20:20) A reverent fear of God is healthy and appropriate. A trembling fear of God is unnecessary and will cause us to miss out on all He wants to do in our lives.

The New Testament repeats a similar story. Those most familiar with Jesus drew near to Him to listen to His teaching and to witness His miracles (Mark 1:22), and they invited others to do the same (John 4:29). Those unfamiliar with Jesus stood at a distance, trembling with fear (Luke 8:37).

Where do you stand?

God is good (Psalm 119:68). God loves you so much He sent His Son to die for you so that you could come to Him (John 3:16). God came, not for those who have it all together, but for those who are broken, filthy and messy (Mark 2:17). Do not let your fear of God keep you standing at a distance. Come close to God, and God will come close to you (James 4:8).

by Jenny on June 28th, 2019

"When they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped." Exodus 4:31b

In the Bible, the book of Exodus describes a difficult time in history for the nation of Israel. God's people lived as foreigners in Egypt. Upon arrival to Egypt, the ruler of Egypt treated God's people well. But the longer God's people resided (and multiplied) in Egypt, the more Egypt despised them. The Egyptians forced God's people into harsh labor for generations. But God remembered His promise to care for His people. God selects a man named Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. When Moses tells the nation of Israel that the LORD is concerned about them and that He has seen their misery, their hearts fill with hope, and they bow down and worship Him. (Exodus 4:31b)

Life can sometimes make us feel hopeless. Like God's people in Egypt, we feel as if we live as slaves to an overbearing taskmaster, whether the taskmaster seems to be our circumstances or sometimes even God Himself. Exodus 6:9 tells us that God's people had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery to believe in God's goodness or to listen to His promises. But God was with them, and He was at work among them the entire time. God cared about them. He was concerned about them. He had seen them. And He sent Moses and Aaron to tell them of His care and concern.

Who do you need to tell? Who do you know that needs to be reminded, or perhaps told for the first time, of God's care and concern for them? Maybe it's you who needs to hear.

God sees you. Hebrews 4:13 tells us that, "nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." Proverbs 15:3 tells us that, "the eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good." Psalm 139:3 reads, "You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do." God sees you. He is aware of your circumstances.

God cares about you. Difficult circumstances, unfair circumstances, unthinkable, unimaginable circumstances cause us to question God's care. But the Bible is full of stories of "good" people who endured suffering (the Bible is full of stories of "bad" people who suffered too). We do not understand why God allows "bad" things to happen to "good" people but in EVERY story of the Bible, God uses "bad" for "good."

The Scriptures show us that God doesn't come along AFTER the bad and somehow twist it for good. The Scriptures show us that God planned all along, from the beginning of time, to all the time work through the bad for good. Genesis 50:20 reads, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Proverbs 21:12 tells us that, "The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; He will bring disaster on them." God will bring about His perfect plan for the redemption of the world, which includes redemption for you and whatever circumstances He allowed you to endure. Never relate difficult circumstances with God's failure or inability to love you. He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

God is coming for you. Indeed, God has already come for you. In the Old Testament God sent Moses to tell His people of His care and concern and of His plans to lead them out of slavery. In the New Testament God sent His Son, Jesus, so that we might know of His care and concern for us. Jesus made a way for us to escape slavery to sin, that we might be led in Christ in triumphal procession (2 Corinthians 2:14). God has come for you.

The disciples were bewildered after witnessing Jesus' crucifixion--an extremely difficult circumstance. But in Luke 24 Jesus "takes the disciples through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Jesus tells them all they need to know about Him in light of their difficult circumstances.

In Acts 8 we see the Ethiopian Eunuch struggling to comprehend the Scriptures. So, using the Scriptures, Philip tells the eunuch the Good News about Jesus.

Romans 10:14 reads, "But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?"

The Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Now that you have heard, who do you need to tell? Because when they hear of God's care and concern for them, maybe they, like the Israelites, will bow down in awe and worship of Him too.

by Jenny on June 21st, 2019

"Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left." Isaiah 30:21

Today is the last day of my husband's current career. On Monday, my foodie-husband will begin selling salt for a living. Yep, salt. (Anyone see a little godly humor in this? God tells us we are the salt of the earth!?!) So many questions arise when making major decisions in life. How do I know if this is the right thing to do? What if I make the wrong choice? The Bible tells us that God has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139:16, and countless other Scriptures). Once we are reconciled to God through our faith in Christ, God places His Spirit in us and promises to guide us along the best path for our lives (Psalm 32:8). With my husband's permission, I'd like to share how we came to the conclusion that this new job was indeed the way we should go.

The decision to leave his current position was not an easy decision for my husband to make.
My husband was happy with his current job, and his company has been faithful and generous to our family over the past many years. After informing his boss of his decision to leave, my husband's company made a counter-offer in attempt to get him to stay. In several ways the counter-offer appeared more beneficial for our family. But because the new job seems to better align with some of our family's desires and because the new job came about in such a strange, unique way, like the Jacob of Genesis, my husband concluded, "surely God is in this place" (Genesis 28:16).

I hesitate to give what sounds like a step-by-step process for determining God's will. However, I do believe there are certain steps we can take, certain qualities and attributes we can look for when trying to decide which way to go in life.

God is a God who wants to be known by us. God has revealed Himself--and His will for our lives--in His Word. The Scriptures may not speak to specific circumstances such as choosing one job over another, but God created us with the capacity to know and experience Him and to thereby determine to the best of our ability His will for us.

Psalm 34:8 reads, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Isaiah tells us in chapter 30 verse 21 of his book, "Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go.'" Isaiah later tells us in 41:13 that God holds us by the hand. In 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Paul explains that God uses believers to spread the "fragrance of Christ." The Scriptures tell us we can know and experience God through all five of our senses!

We do not actually "eat" God, nor have I personally ever "heard" the voice of God with my ears (in Isaiah 30:21 the Hebrew word for "hear" can also mean "understand"), nor have I "seen" God or the incarnate or risen Christ, nor have I physically "touched" the hand of God. These verses don't necessarily describe literal interaction with God, but they indicate that we can know and experience God in many ways. Because we have the capacity to know God and to experience His leading in our lives, we should trust and respond when we believe God is leading us in a particular direction.

Following God's plan starts with recognizing that God has a plan. Matthew 7:7 tells us if we seek Him, we will find Him. Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Call to Me and I will answer you." Psalm 138:8 says, "The Lord will work out His plans for my life." My husband knew to look for God and when he looked, he found Him.

Isaiah tells us that God's ways are not our ways. While we know God will never lead us to walk in a way that is contrary to His Word, the path He lays before us may not always make sense. With a background in engineering, God's ways can sometimes prove especially challenging for me to follow because I like things to make sense. With God, we can not always base our decisions on human logic. If we are unsure of God's ways, that is when we should seek godly counsel because with many counselors, plans succeed (Proverbs 15:22).

When the seemingly-better-counter-offer came through, my husband observed that the new job would require more faith on our part--another clue that God was at work! We know God has a plan, my husband and I have asked repeatedly for God to lead us in that plan, yet we also know God wants to continually grow our faith in Him.

I say again, God will never call us to go against His Word. We should not act in stupidity. We should not test God to see if He will truly show up. The only time God tells us to "test" Him is when giving. "Give generously," the Scriptures say, "and see if I don't bless you more than you can stand." (Malachi 3:10) When Satan encouraged Jesus to test the Father circumstantially, Jesus replied, "The Scriptures say, 'You must not test the Lord your God.'" (Matthew 4:7) We should not throw ourselves in front of a moving car just to see if God will save us. BUT. If you sense God leading you in a particular direction that aligns with His Word and the desires He has placed in your heart (Psalm 37:4 tells us that IFFF we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us--meaning not necessarily fulfill our personal desires, but He will place in us--the desires of our heart), then go! Walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Though God's ways may seem strange to us, if He is truly leading us down a particular path we will experience a peace only He can give (Philippians 4:7). Though the counter-offer seemed better on paper, my husband and I both felt more peace with the change in career.

Fear of making the wrong decision often times paralyzes us from making any decision at all. If we are trying to make a godly decision, God will not let us fall beyond what He can redeem. "Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand." (Psalm 37:24) Are you facing a major (or even a minor) life decision? Seek Him. He will show you which way to go.





Welcome!
Crossing Your Jordan

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, Bible-teaching mom of six, and wife to my college sweetheart. I believe everyone can live a life of abundance through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and radical obedience to His Word.

Do you have a relationship with God through Christ? If not, I would consider it pure joy to tell you about God, why you need Him, and how to be reconciled to Him through Christ.

If you know Christ as your Savior, do you know how to follow Him as Lord? If, like me, life's challenges have caused you to question whether you truly want to follow God's plan for you, or you simply don't know how to recognize God's ways due to a lack of biblical literacy, I would love to teach you what I've come to know about God through His Word.

Regardless of who you are (or aren't) or what you have (or haven't) done, I invite you to find a comfy spot, grab a cup of coffee and a Bible, and enter your contact information below.

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Visit the following link to read or search through Jenny's posts dating prior to August 2014. www.jennyhander.blogspot.com