Why God?

February 3rd, 2016 No Comments

by Lisa Leidenfrost

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

Sometimes we ask ‘why’ of God when we don’t understand why He has given us such a hard trial. Job asked that of God and notice that God did not answer his question directly. He answered it by saying, ‘take a good look at who I am and that will be enough for your answer’, and that truly was enough to silence Job and realize that God knew what He was doing. But in 2 Cor. 4:7 we get a little more light as to ‘why?’.

“but we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (7)

We are weak and when we go through something hard in our weakness, this magnifies God’s power so that there is no question where the strength to get through the trial came from. Can you imagine God asking someone in ICU to go out and fight on the front lines and actually be victorious? That would be only God’s strength coming through. Anytime there is no question whose strength is acting, He gets the most glory. And if our purpose is to glorify Him, this is a good thing. read more…

A New Report on Eileen

January 20th, 2016 No Comments

Last week we had another CT Scan. The results showed that the lesions on her liver were again, half the size they were at the last CT scan. So, it appears that the chemo is doing its job and the cancer is shrinking. Praise the Lord.

On the other hand, Eileen is feeling the tumor in her stomach more than before. Because the CT scan can’t see what’s going on with that, we are going to have another endoscopy next week to see what effect the chemo is having on the tumor. Pray that the doctor will be able to see what he needs to see and that he will have good news for us.

Eileen had her seventh chemo treatment yesterday (12 are planned). She is beginning to have difficulty maintaining high enough blood cell counts. She will be receiving shots to help her white blood cells recover before her next scheduled chemo treatment—February 1. Please pray that her counts will be high enough. read more…

God’s purposes in Hardship: a lesson from the apostle Paul

January 20th, 2016 No Comments

by Lisa Leidenfrost

It is hard to see at first how God uses trial to bless, but let’s take a look at Paul’s trials and what God does with them.
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5).

If we are God’s bondservants, then He can do with us as He pleases for His glory, even if it is to give us hard things to accomplish His purposes, and that is what He did with the apostle Paul. Consider who this God is who is asking such hard things of Paul.

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (v. 6).

But He is God, and we are not. We are weak.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (v. 7).

Being weak is part of the design feature that God gave us which is not ‘a negative’. It serves a glorious purpose. Because we are weak, God needs to be strong. So, if God is going to be using weak creatures to show forth His glory, then His power must be there to help. And it is. Look at the result of this power in the life of Paul who trusted God in very hard things. He writes:

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (vv. 8-9). read more…

Change: time moves on

January 19th, 2016 No Comments

by Lisa Leidenfrost

Change is not an easy thing, especially when it goes in a direction you don’t want. Let’s face it. When you are in a severe trial your life changes. The initial trial may be bad enough on its own, but there is often a series of negative changes that happen in its wake with things being taken away from you that you had found precious. For an example of this, consider a person who is suffering with a severe physical ailment like chronic fatigue. What type of changes take place? And what as a result is taken away from the person due to the change? Based on my own personal experience with this, here are some of the things that were taken away from me due to the severe fatigue: read more…

When…Various Trials Come

December 7th, 2015 2 Comments

Many years ago, a friend of mine told me that my life was too nice and easy. Everything came easy to me and nothing bad ever seemed to happen. God was blessing me and my life. But that was going to change.

At the time, I thought my friend just took everything in a bad way. Every little thing that happened in his life was some kind of judgement from God and really bothered him in a negative way. I always viewed good things as unearned blessings and when things went badly, that was just God letting me learn new things in new ways. I always thought of them as good things disguised as tragedies. My friend struggled to praise the Lord when things went in ways he didn’t appreciate.

At the end of this past September, I had the opportunity to remember my friend’s prediction for my life. Just after we had visited Home Depot and ordered our new kitchen cabinets and had torn out the, then, current cabinets and floor (yes, a full kitchen remodel), my wife complained of a terrible stomachache. Of course, in my normal, easygoing way, I told her to take some tums and if it still hurts, I would take her to her doctor in Pullman to see what’s what.

An hour later, she called me and said the pain was really bad and she thought we needed to go to the emergency room. So we went. Hospitals are full of sick people, doncha know, and as it turned out we were about to join them. Three hours later, after a bunch of poking around, a camera down her throat, a lot of blood tests, and a CAT scan, we were told that Eileen has Esophageal cancer. The tumor on her esophagus was over four inches long.

Furthermore, the cancer had caused her lymph nodes to become swollen and the cancer had caused lesions to form on her liver (50 of them, all at least ¾” in size). Because the cancer had spread and was in her throat, it was inoperable and the could not be treated with radiation. Chemotherapy was all that was left. Without the chemo, the doctors said she might live another six months. With it, she could expect to live for another year and a half to two years.

Since then, we have been visiting St. Joe’s Cancer Center in Lewiston, Idaho every other week to get chemo treatments. The chemo wipes Eileen out and for the next week or so, she is very tired and slow. So far she has slowly been recovering for the next week until she has to go in for her next treatment. It has affected her thinking very minimally, she is slower, can’t get as much done, and is very tired after doing pretty much anything. She takes a lot of naps.

On the up side: her brother, Tom, who brought his wife (Carolyn), came up from California to help redo the floor and give aid and comfort to Eileen. They were great and were a great blessing from God. The men in the church jumped in to help finish the kitchen, which is almost finished. Some of the folks in the church bought us a new stove. We’ve been given some financial aid. The women of the church have been bringing us meals every night the whole time. There is a cleaning service in town that irons my shirts every week. Some of the young ladies clean our house every week. The women are bringing Eileen soups and other mushy food every day. The church is letting me take as much time as I need to care for Eileen and get our house back together. The church has been doing an amazing job of taking care of us.

Things are bad, but God is so good to us. It has been an amazing example of how God works through his people to build up the church. While Eileen is going through a very tough time physically, we are going through a very blessed time spiritually. We know that our redeemer lives and that he loves us. Whatever happens with Eileen, therefore, will be a blessing to her and to Rachel and me. While we dread, and even fear the future on one hand, at the same time, we are thrilled to be a part of what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around us. It’s all part of the adventure. And God is good.

So, my friend was right and he was wrong. My life was smooth and nice, but that didn’t mean that God was planning to throw a stone into the middle of it. God wants me, Eileen, and everyone else to walk with him, to become more like Christ, and to shine his light on all those around us. He uses the hard things, the trials, to mold us and shape us into effective ministers of his Word. And so, we consider it all joy when we face various trials because we know that the testing of our faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (Jas 1:2-4).

Oh, one more good thing: another CT scan a couple of weeks ago revealed that the lesions on Eileen’s liver are less than half the size they were when the treatments started. They can’t tell how the chemo has affected the tumor on her esophagus because of the way it has grown in her throat. The doctors were hopeful that since it has affected her lesions, it has also affected the main tumor.

“Whatever else in the Bible catches your eye, do not let it distract you from Him.”

November 9th, 2015 Comments Off on “Whatever else in the Bible catches your eye, do not let it distract you from Him.”

JI Packer

Death/ Resurrection: a pattern for life

November 9th, 2015 Comments Off on Death/ Resurrection: a pattern for life

By Lisa Leidenfrost

Right now the weather is changing and cold is setting in. The trees are dropping their leaves, the flowers dying, the birds leaving, the animals hibernating and we’re spending more time indoors due to dark, rainy days. We are going into another death pattern descending into the lifeless cold of winter.

This happens every year. The world dies and is resurrected again in a predictable pattern, going from the full life of summer, to the preparation of death in fall, to the actual death of winter, back to the first signs of budding life in spring where the daffodils poke their heads up heralding the full gardens of flowers to come in the complete resurrection of summer. We do this every year, and spring always follows winter. This happens due to a good God who is over all. But in the lifeless cold of winter, it can seem that it will never end. But it does. It always does for the Christian who has the Lord Jesus who represents the height of death and resurrection. Since this is His pattern, we can grab onto the hope that is to come after winter. We can look forward to the glory of the full gardens of flowers and birds, and warm, sunny days.

But, if you are in a winter now, consider this verse:

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts…”

Though the actual death process is a time of mourning for what is being taken away, God has made each stage beautiful in His own way. In fall, when the death process starts, God has given us the beautiful colors of fall, and the crisp cold days, with apple cider, and walking in the fallen leaves. And in the death of winter, God has given us the snow to beautify everything from the trees down to the garbage cans sitting on the street corner. In the turning of the seasons, where the weather lingers cold and wet, we get the first sign of the spring bulbs popping up, that will continue to come until there is a riot of color all over heralding the arrival of summer, with the warm sunshine, the beautiful days and full gardens. God crowns each stage with His beauty to give us hope and show who He is. But sometimes, in the midst of winter, you have to train your eyes to look for it.

Consider these death patterns capped with beauty:

  • Praying to God in your need and seeing Him answer.
  • Having a severe physical ailment and being ministered to by the love of the saints.
  • If there is no one to minister, then being touched by the presence of God ministering to His hurting child.
  • Enduring the harshness of labor, then giving birth to a much anticipated child.
  • Suffering at the end of your life, then waking up in the full glory of heaven to spend an eternity with the One who has lead you so lovingly in life.

That is our God. Let us ever be mindful of His ways and rest our hope there.

God’s To Do List

October 26th, 2015 Comments Off on God’s To Do List

Have you ever wanted a ‘to do’ list from God to make sure you are pleasing Him? Well, I have good news for you. I actually stumbled across a couple in the Psalms and these lists may be quite different from what you would normally think. Take a look:

 

Psalm 105

Oh give thanks to the Lord!

Call upon His name;

make known His deeds among the peoples!

Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him

talk of all His wondrous works!

glory in His holy name;

let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!

Seek the Lord and His strength

Seek His face evermore!

 

Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!

Serve the Lord with gladness;

Come before His presence with singing.

Know that the Lord, He is God’

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves’

we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

for the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

 

Notice how it is more the attitude and the relationship that matters here and not the actual things  done. The underlying attitude is one of gratefulness, thankfulness and joy. The relationship is to a good God whose mercy is everlasting and whose truth endures. To be thankful for Who He is and what He has done for us is of paramount importance.

 

All our other ‘to do’ lists should flow out of this.

Be Anxious for Nothing

October 19th, 2015 1 Comment

By Lisa Leidenfrost

“Rejoice in the Lord Always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil.4:4-7

This is a great step by step approach on how to get rid of anxiety and worry. The verses walk you through it. read more…

My Redeemer gives me songs in the night

October 13th, 2015 Comments Off on My Redeemer gives me songs in the night

Job 35:10

By Charles Spurgeon—part of a sermon on Job 35:10

The text: “My Redeemer gives me songs in the night.”

But what does the text mean, when it asserts that God giveth songs in the night? We think we find two answers to the question. The first is, that usually in the night of a Christian’s experience God is his only song. If it be daylight in my heart, I can sing songs touching my graces—songs touching my sweet experience—songs touching my duties—songs touching my labors; but let the night come—my graces appear to have withered; my evidences, though they are there, are hidden; I can not “read my title clear To mansions in the skies; “and now I have nothing left to sing of but my God.

It is strange, that when God gives his children mercies, they generally set their hearts more on the mercies than on the Giver of them; but when the night comes, and he sweeps all the mercies away, then at once they say, “Now, my God, I have nothing to sing of but thee; I must come to thee; and to thee only. read more…

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