Choose Carefully What You Do in the Name of Christ

Barbara | May 20, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

 It is quite amazing what is done “in the name of Christ.” Some professing Christians take scriptures out of context to justify death threats, bigotry, bullying, and war. Some Christians want everyone to see things their way – not necessarily the Christian way – but their interpretation of Christianity.

Years ago I read about a pediatrician who refused to treat a young child’s ear infection because her mom had tattoos. He felt that tattoos and piercings went against his Christian faith. He was perfectly within his rights because he was in private practice. The sad part is that he did it “in the name of Christ.”

Christ’s standards seem to differ from the good doctor’s. In fact, Christ raised a few eyebrows when he spent time with tax collectors, lepers, the downtrodden, prostitutes, the poor, the weak, and lowlife sinners (Luke 5:31-32). He went out of His way to heal and give hope to such people. I can’t picture Him turning away any hurting child. Instead He said, “Let the little children come to me (Mark 10:14)” – not “Let only the little children with parents who meet my high Christian standards come to me. The rest can take a hike.”

This doctor reminded me of a biblical group who got very hung up on the minute details of keeping God’s laws. They added their own, private interpretations of what the law meant. Then they imposed their standards, not God’s, on everyone around them. They were called Pharisees.

Christ had much to say about the Pharisees and none of it was good. He told people to beware of the teachings of the Pharisees (Matthew 6:11-12). They bound heavy burdens on people, and only did good deeds when others could see them so they could get the glory instead of God (Matthew 23:2-9). He called them vipers and hypocrites (Matthew 3:7; 23:13, 23-24). They were self-righteous and prideful (Matthew 9:11; Luke 7:39; 18:11-12), which was further emphasized in the parable of the publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14).

Jesus showed disdain for Pharisaical laws when He and the disciples went through the fields on the Sabbath, picked corn, and ate it (Mark 2:23-28). He openly rebuked the Pharisees (Matthew 12:39; 16:1-4) because adherence to traditions and how they were enforced had become more important to them than what God’s teachings actually meant (Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:5-8).

Unfortunately, by New Testament times, these Pharisees were widely recognized as the religious leaders. Perhaps they meant well to begin with, but they became such extremists that they couldn’t even recognize the Messiah when He was in their very presence.

Consider this… If we aren’t careful, we can get bogged down the same way. We can get caught up in the letter of the law instead of the spirit of what Christ came and died for. If you read the teachings of Christ, you know He looked on the heart, not the outward appearance. He loved people. He empathized with them. He felt their pain.

Those who want to do something “in the name of Christ” might lean more toward scriptures focusing on love, not being judgmental, going the extra mile, forgiveness, mercy, or grace. After all, aren’t these the things we want others to think of when they hear Christ’s name??

One final thought…

Ask yourself, “What would Jesus really do?” Then do it.


Choose to Remember What God Has Done

Barbara | May 13, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

There are many positive things about aging. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what they are. That’s my problem. I can’t remember much of anything – and what I do remember can be inaccurately influenced by time, bias, and suggestion. I am not alone. Recently a friend was relating a childhood incident that happened with her parents and her three siblings. “The funny thing is,” she mused, “although we were all there, we all remember it differently.”

Police officers experience this all the time. When eyewitnesses are questioned about who they saw do the robbery, the descriptions indicate the crime was committed by a short, tall, black, Caucasian with short, long, brown, blond hair wearing blue sweatpants or a brown suit.

Most of us do not intend to shade the truth, but sometimes we do. For example, if we tell an embellished story long enough, we actually think it is true. If we are having difficulty with a person, our minds magnify their imperfections. We even believe our fantasized ideas about how much better things were in the good old days, but were the good old days as good as we remember them to be? Maybe not!

Such was the case when the Israelites came out of Egypt. For years they groaned for deliverance because of their unbearable hardships (Exodus 1:8- 22; 2:23; 5:7). However, when God delivered them, they grumbled about how much better off they had been in Egypt.

When they didn’t like how God provided for them, they’d recall their distorted view of the good old days. “Remember the fish we ate in Egypt… (Deuteronomy 11:5)” or “It would have been better if the Lord had just killed us in the land of Egypt! At least there we had plenty to eat (Exodus 16:3 ERV).” Yes, they may have had fish, but they also had oppressive slavery under cruel task masters to the point that even their baby boys were killed at birth.

Later God would tell them to remember when they were slaves in Egypt. Remember that God delivered them to freedom (Deuteronomy 5:15). Remember what God did to Pharaoh and to Egypt (Deuteronomy 7:18). Remember how God led them through the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:2).

This was more than exhorting them just to remember these things; it was telling them to remember accurately. “Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live (Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT)!”

Consider this… Human memory is flawed. Life, even the Christian life, is not easy. So when times get rough, we might imagine it was better before God revealed Himself to us. Not true. We forget how lonely, depressed, angry, hopeless, or void of purpose we felt without God. We forget all God has done for us.

Sadly, I know I forget the many wonderful things God has done for me. Fortunately, my salvation is not tied to my faulty memory. God remembers me even when I forget Him (Isaiah 49:15, 16). But I want to remember. So I continually ask, “God, please help me remember Your love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness to me and my loved ones, plus all those little prayers You answered immediately and the ones where You wisely did not give me what I wanted because You had a better plan.”

One final thought…

God always remembers us; we should always remember Him!


Choose Progress Over Perfection

Barbara | May 6, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

Reading “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” in Matthew 5:48 reminds me of all my imperfections – which are many to be sure. The imperfection I hate most in my life is that I’m not perfect.

Those who struggle with perfection know too well the feeling of never really being good enough. We are like those children learning to write the alphabet for the first time who tear their papers up the second they see they have malformed a letter. It makes no difference that they made it to the “R” without a problem. If the “S” looks sloppy, then in the trash it goes. Instead of focusing on the progress made, they focus on their lack of perfection. Instead of looking at how far they’ve come, they lament about how far they need to go to achieve perfection. It can be very discouraging.

In psychological terms, perfectionism is the belief that perfection can and should be attained. When that belief transforms into thinking anything less than perfect is unacceptable, problems set in. Through a perfectionist’s eyes, a person’s self-worth is determined by flawlessness. Of course, ideas of perfection vary from person to person. Perfectionists set rigid standards of performance for themselves and sometimes for others. They never feel they “measure up” and neither does anyone else. Perfection is greatly overrated.

One of my favorite movie lines comes from Mary Poppins when she humorously replies, “We practically perfect people never make mistakes.” Poppins, like most everyone else, links perfection to lack of mistakes. Sometimes Christians make the same error in reading the Bible. Actually the word “perfect” in the above scripture in Greek is “telios” meaning finished, full grown, mature, lacking nothing, or brought to completeness. It has nothing to do with making mistakes or not being good enough.

People commonly think that all perfection is about physical actions such as being good, successful, or sinless. When God speaks of perfection, He wants us to “be complete” by being spiritually one with His Son Jesus Christ. This perfection is not designed to make us look good or perform flawlessly, but to let Christ’s life be manifest through us. Physical perfection is more concerned about actions we perform to a certain level, whereas spiritual perfection is about becoming totally dependent on God, letting Him work through us to perform His will – not ours. It is not concerned about “self.”

The good news is that we are already perfect in God’s sight. We are reconciled through Jesus Christ and He lives in us. This comes not from our false concepts of trying to attain perfection or being good enough. It is a gift given freely to us. With Christ in us, we are brought to completion and we lack nothing.

Consider this… Will we make mistakes? Sure. But a spiritually mature Christian tries not to make the same mistake twice. That’s progress!

One final thought…

Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.


Choose to Be Spiritually Mature

Barbara | April 29, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

As Peter neared the end of his ministry, he left the churches with an exhortation to be steadfast and to “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:17-18) These are his last written words to the churches, so they must be pretty important.

Growing in grace and knowledge means to become spiritually mature. God never intended us to remain babes in Christ forever. He expects us to grow up. (Hebrew 5:13-15)

Babies are cute when they are little. However, twenty or thirty or forty-year-old BIG babies are not. Fifty-year-olds who have not learned how to share, play nicely with others, or control their emotions are definitely not fun to be around. Longtime Christians who are still selfish, undiscerning, and belligerent are not fun to be around either. (Hebrew 5:13-15)

Maturity is reflected in our thoughts, words, actions, reactions, and attitudes. So Christians wanting spiritual maturity need to “walk the walk, not just talk the talk.” It can be summed up in James 1:22: “Be ye doers of the word, not hearers only.”

When James wrote this book, it was to the Christians living outside of Palestine – to those scattered abroad. (James 1:1) Nero’s persecution had caused many believers to scatter throughout Asia Minor. Believers became lethargic. Their focus shifted from Jesus to succumbing to temptations. (James 1:13-15) They were not practicing what they had learned. Therefore, their spiritual growth had halted.

While it is true most of us aren’t scattered abroad, we do have lots of time-wasting temptations of this world to draw us away from Christ. Just having a cell phone, TV, and Internet access can make us spiritually lethargic. Spending time with Christ no longer seems to be a priority. Has our spiritual growth slowed or possibly halted altogether?

Spiritual growth means applying God’s truth in every area of our lives. It means continually seeking God and wanting to know more and more and more about Him. It means never reaching the point where we think we know it all. It means never becoming complacent. It means fixing our eyes upon Jesus and wanting to become more and more like Him – which is difficult to do if we aren’t spending time with Him.

Consider this… If we aren’t growing in grace and knowledge, we are remaining spiritually stagnant. God doesn’t want us to be stagnant; He wants us to grow. When Paul prayed for the church at Philippi, he asked for their love to overflow more and more, and that they would continue to grow.” (Philippians 1:9) Our spiritual growth should never end.

One final thought…

We all have those days when we are out of sorts. When you know you are ill tempered or overreacting, say this to yourself: GROW UP YOU BIG BABY! You’ll be surprised how quickly your attitude can change. It’s even more fun to say it someone else, but I don’t think that would be spiritually mature. 🙂

 


Choose to Capture Your Thoughts

Barbara | April 22, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

 

The Bible tells us to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) This is just a fancy way of saying we need to control our thoughts, not let our thoughts control us.

While we may not be able to control everything that happens to us, we are still responsible for how we think, act, feel and respond in any given situation. At times our choices may be limited, but we can still choose to “act” responsibly instead of “react” negatively. Will we respond with strength or weakness, courage or despair, love or hate? How we respond makes a big difference in our quality of life. Our response actually begins in our thought process.

When we “react” to what life throws our way, we allow circumstances and other people to determine our behavior. We let our emotions control what we do. Many times reacting is an autopilot response resulting from previous programmed behavior. In other words, we don’t really think about our responses, we just react subconsciously based on what we’ve always done. Old habits die hard.

However, when we “act,” we are making a conscious choice. We have to actually think and evaluate each situation. Our goal should be to do what God’s Word would have us do, not what we want to do or what we feel like doing. Therefore, each circumstance becomes a learning experience, helping us grow in grace and knowledge.

Daily life is full of stress, frustration, and offense. What do we do when faced with a whiny kid, annoying spouse, or difficult boss? What do we do when we feel hassled? Do we lash out, blow up in anger, say hurtful things, or try to get even? Scriptures teach us that these are not healthy responses and will not produce positive results.

We can determine some of our responses by planning ahead.

When we are stuck in a traffic jam, do we fuss, fume and make ourselves miserable? Those reactions do not produce good fruit. When we drift into the habit of reacting, even minor irritants become monumental. We lose perspective. Since we all know traffic jams are inevitable, why not decide ahead of time how to act when they happen? Perhaps when a traffic jam occurs, we could plan to listen to music, listen to a book on CD, count our blessings, thank God we aren’t in the accident causing the jam, pray for the person who is, or meditate on Jesus’ teachings.

When someone is rude, do we react by being rude too? Do we say, “Are you always so stupid or is today a special occasion?” Or “Keep talking and maybe someday you’ll say something intelligent!” God tells us how to deal with difficult people in Colossians 4:6. If we internalize scriptures, we can determine ahead of time that we will consciously choose to be gracious even when others are not. We will be courteous and respectful to everyone – friends and enemies.

Consider this… Automatic thoughts which lead to thoughtless reactions will lead us astray. They need to be brought under control – into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) One way to accomplish this is to think about what is true, honest, lovely, virtuous, of good report, and praise worthy. (Philippians 4:8) Why? Because when our minds are filled with such thoughts, we are less likely to react inappropriately.

One final thought…

Learn to respond, not react. There is a difference.

 


Choose to Be Part of the Solutions, Not the Problem

Barbara | April 15, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

1 Corinthians 8:1 tells us that knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. This is a fancy way of saying “know-it-all” people rarely enlighten others or improve situations because no one is interested in what they say. However, when the motive is love for others, it is reflected in what we do and say. In other words, it is edifying. To edify means to enlighten or improve.

The Greek word for edify is “oikodomeo” and technically it means to build up. When we cheerfully build others up we become part of the solution, not part of the problem. We become a stepping stone to a good result, not a stumbling block. That’s why we are encouraged to edify one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)  Here are some ways this can be accomplished.

Cooperate: When we cooperate, we don’t foster a feeling of competition. No one wants to be around those who think they are better than everyone else. Learning to work together is a key to getting anything accomplished. We shouldn’t expect others to do what we are not willing to do ourselves. So be a team player, not a superstar!

Accept: People want to be accepted for who they are. Acceptance does not mean we condone bad behavior. It just means we don’t judge and condemn. We all have areas in our lives that need changing, but being critical does not bring about healthy change.

Pursue Peace: The Bible tells us to “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (Romans 14:19) This can be done by not making a big deal out of something that is not a big deal. If we stay calm, pray, and look at something from another’s point of view, our perspective may change.

Be Considerate: We can start by using words like “please” and “thank you.” Give a sincere compliment. Be on time. Show up for a commitment.

Use Nice Words: Cursing, gossiping, and putting others down are not edifying. The Message Bible gives this instruction: “Say only what helps, each word a gift.” (Ephesians 4:29) Even if it is necessary to correct someone, it can be done constructively so it doesn’t leave a person devastated, but rather encouraged to move forward.

These are just a few ideas. We could all make an extensive list of ways to edify others.

Consider this… When we tear others down instead of building them up, it actually grieves the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:29-30) In other words, God doesn’t like it. Not only do we hurt others, but we rob ourselves of blessings.

One final thought…

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” ~Henry Ford

 

 


Choose to Understand Grace

Barbara | April 8, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

We cannot come to Christ apart from God’s grace because we can’t save ourselves. If we could, we would not need a Savior. The gospel of Christ is all about grace.

Here’s the deal: We are saved by grace. (Ephesians 2:5-7) This grace is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8) Forgiveness, redemption, and salvation come from this grace. (Ephesians 1:7) Jesus is full of grace and has given His grace to us. (John 1:14-16) While we were sinners, Christ extended this gift to us by dying for our sins. (Romans 5:6-8) Therefore, it is definitely something we did not earn or deserve.

God loves us! In fact, there is nothing we can do to make Him love us more, and there is nothing we can do that would make Him love us less. God’s grace is with us on our good days and on our bad days. One would think this concept would be liberating, but for centuries it has seemed to confuse Christians.

Most early Christians came out of a Jewish background, strongly rooted in works and traditions. They were familiar with the Law of Moses, but grace posed a problem. They were used to trying to earn a place in God’s kingdom by offering sacrifices, eating certain foods, and keeping certain rituals. And they were intent on having Gentile converts adhere to these Jewish traditions, too.

Paul warned the early church against abandoning grace for legalistic doctrines. (Galatians 1:5) Paul encouraged living by grace rather than by works. He exhorted all believers to seek to know Christ through a personal relationship with Him.

Legalism has a certain appeal because we get all the credit. We keep the law. We do it. With grace, God gets all the credit. He forgives. He pardons. He extends His hand to us. He gives us salvation. We don’t earn it; He freely gives it.

Our relationship with God should be based on love, not works. Even the Old Covenant Ten Commandments weren’t really based on love. We can honor our parents without loving them. Not coveting our neighbor’s stuff is not the same as loving our neighbor. Not having graven images or other gods before God is not the same as loving Him. Some might say, “But aren’t these ways of showing love?” Perhaps – but only if the motive stems from love. The New Covenant is all about loving God and our neighbors.

The same law versus grace struggle exists today. People are still trying to earn their way into heaven. They strive to stay close to God by performing certain religious deeds or rituals. Such practices are not necessarily wrong, but even David understood that God didn’t want sacrifices and offerings as much as a heart for Him. (Psalms 51:15-17)

Humans have a tendency to go to extremes. In the matter of grace, they either want to have a list of do’s and don’ts – still trying to earn salvation – or they think since salvation is guaranteed through grace, what they do doesn’t matter.

Does the fact that God has extended us grace and forgiven our sins mean He no longer cares about what we do? No, it doesn’t! Romans 6:1-2 makes that abundantly clear. God did not call us to live an unholy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:7) So living in grace doesn’t mean we just do what we want. This grace should bring forth good fruit in our lives through the relationship we experience with God. (Colossians 1:5-6)

God does not want to guilt us into a relationship with Him. He doesn’t want us to worship, pray, study, and meditate because we feel guilty. He wants us to do it because we love Him and appreciate His gift of grace. The law could not save us (works), so Jesus did what the law could not do. (Romans 8:1-6)

Consider this… God’s grace is always with us. Romans 5:1-2 tells us we stand in God’s grace. In other words, it is with us in our daily walk with him. Living by grace means to be totally dependent on God. God’s grace is our sufficiency. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

One final thought… 

Grace is not something we do; it is something only God can do for us.

 

 

 


Choose to Keep God in the Picture

Barbara | April 1, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

 

Most of us like to be in control. We would like to have more self-control and, if we’re totally honest, we’d like to control others and every situation. In our desire for control, we sometimes leave God out of the picture. God is the One we should want to be in control. Yet most of us prefer to manipulate others into doing what we think is best. Unfortunately, what we think is best for others and what God thinks is best may be totally different.

There is nothing wrong with helping people when appropriate. We don’t want to turn a blind eye to suffering or develop a “go and be filled” attitude when we haven’t given a needed drink of water or crust of bread. (James 1:16) The Bible encourages us to be concerned about the poor, the elderly, the fatherless, the widowed, and those less fortunate. But there is a difference between helping those who can’t help themselves and helping those who refuse to help themselves or make changes that would enable them to lead better lives.

We must determine when needs are legitimate. It’s one thing to give a starving person a meal, it’s quite another to continually loan money to a spendthrift or gambler, get a drug user/seller out of jail, or let a deadbeat relative crash on your couch for a year or more. Yes, I know people are weak and can appear helpless, but sometimes our desire to help others causes us to intervene when perhaps we shouldn’t. It’s natural to want to alleviate another’s dire circumstances, but in doing so, we may be circumventing the work God is doing in a person’s life.

God uses difficulties to draw people closer to Him and teach principles such as “what you sow, you reap.” (Galatians 6:7) When we step in and continually rescue people, we may be blocking them from receiving certain blessings from God and learning life lessons needed for physical, emotional, and spiritual maturity.

God sets an example for us. We all know we are pardoned from all our sins (past, present, future) – the deliberate and accidental ones. And while it’s true God has taken away the ultimate penalty for sin (death), God does not always take away the residual consequences. In fact, He rarely takes away the consequences for our actions. God loves us unconditionally, but He usually allows a circumstance to take its course. If He didn’t, we would never learn any life lessons.

Consider this… In our zeal to help others, could we sometimes circumvent the lessons God has built into a system so people will not habitually repeat the same mistakes? There is a difference in forgiving someone and continually bailing them out of situations. God always forgives; He doesn’t always bail out.

Do we really believe God can take care of a situation or do we feel He always needs our help? We need to let God be in control. God can do it. We don’t have to have all the answers, we don’t always have to intervene, and we don’t need to react or immediately try to fix every situation. Maybe we can help more by listening, smiling, encouraging, and pointing them to God instead of getting sucked into their situation. When we are the ones doing it all, we are usually very proud of ourselves. Even if we give God the credit, a little part of us says, “WOW! Look how God used me in that situation.”

If we prayerfully turn our concerns over to God, He can do things we cannot. God can solve problems better than us and God knows what’s best for each person. Perhaps we should learn to trust God more than we trust ourselves.

One final thought…

Sometimes we need to just get out of the way and let God do His thing.

 


Choose Not to Make God into Your Image

Barbara | March 25, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

Theologian A. W. Tozer said: “Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image.”

Academically we want to be made into God’s image (Genesis 1:26); emotionally we want to make God over into our image, so we tend to give Him a spiritual “face lift” – a nip here and a tuck there, so He can be a reflection of us instead of us reflecting Him.

Subconsciously, we think God tends to reflect our own personalities which can influence the choices we make. Introverts might think God is distant and not all that interested in our day-to-day lives, so they withdraw from interaction with others. Extroverts might think God is the life of the party, so they live it up. Happy people might think God wants to give everyone a big hug, so they smile, smile, smile. Angry people might think God wants to annihilate everyone, so they stay grumpy. Activists might think God is interested in social change, so they run for office. Pacifists might think God will just let everything take its course, so they remain uninvolved.

To carry it a step further, many of us think God likes what we like and hates what we hate. If we are vegetarians, God visits the salad bar. If we sing country music, God wears a Stetson and strums a guitar. If we are rich, God lives in a mansion. If we are poor, God lives in a shack.

We even think God judges a matter the way we would judge. We think His views are our views. Of course this makes life so much easier because the phrase “what would Jesus do” (WWJD) quickly morphs into “what I want to do.” Actually, there’s nothing wrong with having preferences or opinions as long as we don’t think they are the standard for righteousness.

It may be hard to acknowledge that what we feel is not as important as what God feels. What we think is not as important as what God thinks. Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8) Our views are not necessarily God’s views, and almost assuredly our preferences are not the same as His. This may come as a shock, but God does not like what we like just because we like it. God does not hate what we hate just because we hate it. God does not react how we react just so we can justify what we do. If He did, we would not need to seek the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) and be transformed (Romans 12:2). Therefore, we should strive to align our thinking with God’s, not His to ours.

Consider this… God is God and we are not. We should be trying to become more like God instead of imagining Him more like us.

One final thought…

We are not God even though we might think and act like we are!


Choose Not to Look for the Quick Fix

Barbara | March 18, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

A few years ago an acquaintance with a bothersome back problem was lamenting to me that God had not healed her.  She wondered why.  Then she named off those in the Bible God had healed and a few others she knew first hand.  After all, she was a Christian who prayed for others.  Why had God not taken away her pain after she had consistently beseeched him to do so?

There were a couple of things I tried to gently point out to her. First, it’s not wise to compare our situation to another’s, since God works with each of us on an individual basis. Secondly, perhaps God does not exist to take away our pain.  Healing is something God performs for His glory not our comfort.  This was a totally foreign concept for her so she said, “I’ll have to think about that.”

Indeed, God is capable of easing our pain, but He doesn’t always touch us with a magic wand where it hurts to make it better – like kissing a “boo-boo.”  Although, He might sprinkle a little fairy dust of stamina, endurance, encouragement, perseverance, or peace of mind to help us make it through the hard times.

Living in a “quick-fix” society, we would all prefer God to instantly, magically fix our circumstances.  But God is not always in the “quick-fix” business. Sometimes He offers pieces of solutions – bit by bit.  Maybe He will plant a seed coming from something we might read, a phrase we might hear, the lyrics of a song we’re listening to, or something someone says off-handedly that starts us on the road to healing. We discover that perhaps God isn’t as concerned about our circumstances as our reaction to them or what we can learn from them.

Consider this… God is not our big sugar daddy in the sky waiting to grant our every request. True, He is omnipotent and has the power to give us everything we want, but He isn’t our personal Santa Claus anxious to fulfill everything on our wish list – even if we have been nice instead of naughty.  That would not be good for us and God is interested only in our good.

I often think of the following poem written by that famous author, Anonymous…

I asked for strength,
And God gave me difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom,
And God gave me problems to learn to solve.

I asked for prosperity,
And God gave me brain and brawn to work.

I asked for courage,
And God gave me dangers to overcome.

I asked for patience,
And God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.

                                              I asked for love,                                                                             And God gave me troubled people to help.

 

One final thought…

God promised to supply our needs, not our wants.