- Who We Are
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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:
That is our God. Let us ever be mindful of His ways and rest our hope there.
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:
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!
“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.
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…
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…
By Lisa Liedenfrost
Here is an example of a king that did it right when faced with danger and fear.
“It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat” (vs 1). The king is told of the precarious situation in verse 2. He gives his reaction, which was fear (who wouldn’t), then his immediate action of going to seek God and getting everyone else to seek Him. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah” (vs 3).
Verse 6 Starts his prayer to God. The first part of his prayer is a series of rhetorical questions that is stating Who God is, focusing on His attributes of power and might. “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” He then states God’s past actions of faithfulness to them, their connectedness to Him and His promises to them. “Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us- sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine- we will stand before this temple in Your presence and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save'” (vs 7). read more…
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“People change because they make decisions in the details of their life.” Winston Smith
It becomes incumbent on us then, if we are to help people change, to help people recognize those choice points and help them to make godly choices in the future. Windows of Opportunity is a way to do just that.
In the course of their lives people make choices all day every day. The Bible tells us that these choices are based on what the person wants and grounded in who they are at the heart level (Jas. 4:1-3; Luke 6:45). Because what is in our heart determines what we think, do, and say, it is important, if we want to help people change, to help them see that what they are doing is simply the outworking of what is in their heart. This is why the Bible commands us to circumcise our hearts (Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4). If we want to have new life, we need new hearts. read more…
You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice (Exodus 23:1-2).
I was in a classroom in college, listening to a debate between a local pastor and a profligate philosophy professor. After a particularly exciting exchange between them, the professor finally said, “What makes you so confident in what you are saying about God and the things of God?” The pastor slowly stood up, and in a very quiet and bold voice said, “I’m confident because I know him.” The professor just sat down. He had nothing to say. I was blown away. What an incredible answer! What a great gift. That is exactly what our great God has called us to. To know him, to worship him, to share him and his knowledge with others.
The announcement in Deuteronomy 6, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” is followed quickly by, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (v. 4, 5). What glorious announcement and command! The command tells us what we must do in the light of who it is we are dealing with, but it is also an invitation to relate to the living God. “Come and worship the only God there is!” Or “Hey, there’s one God! And he is inviting us to know him, to love him, to follow him, and to be like him! It doesn’t get any better than this!” read more…
The Scriptures are clear that man has a certain amount of knowledge about God and a kind of knowledge about God which comes from man’s observation of the natural world (Rom. 1:18-20). He also knows the difference between right and wrong because God has written that information on his heart (Rom. 2:15). What this means for counseling is that no matter who comes into my office I know that they know that God exists, that God has standards and, even to a huge extent, what those standards are. I don’t need to prove God’s existence, I can safely assume it. I don’t need to argue about what is sinful and what is not. I can safely presume that it is true. I don’t need to pretend that God does not exist, I can simply assume it and move on in the counseling or evangelism process from there. read more…