Choose to Use Common Sense

September 22, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

There is a fine line between wisdom and common sense. Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge what is good or true. However, common sense is good sense and sound judgment in practical matters. Common sense needs no specialized knowledge or training. It is just everyday stuff that people should know. That’s why they call it “common.”

However, the phrase “common sense” is almost a misnomer today, because it isn’t very common anymore.

The Bible says, “Folly is a joy to him who has no sense…” (Proverbs 15:21). I found one translation that used the word “wisdom” here, but the rest said “no sense.” In fact, the International Standard Version goes so far as to say, “Stupidity is the delight of the senseless.” I’m not saying those who lack common sense are stupid, but they certainly are irritating.

Some people don’t care if they hurt or inconvenience others because they are looking out for themselves. In their minds, they are the most important people in the world. They don’t really lack common sense; they are just rude and arrogant! However, those without common sense don’t even know what they are doing is inappropriate.

Here is a prime example: Years ago my husband and I went to a movie in the middle of the day. I’m sure you know why – cheaper prices, less of a crowd, etc. Since this very large theater was empty, we got to sit in our favorite spot – right in the middle of the theater. Just before the movie started, a family of four came in, moseyed into the row ahead of us, and sat directly in front of us. This was before stadium seating, so we would have had to peer over and around their heads to see the show. Five hundred seats to choose from and they pick the ones obstructing our view. Apparently clueless, one of them looked back at us and said, “I hope this movie is good!”

We smiled. As the previews of coming attractions started to roll, my husband whispered, “Do you want to move?”

I responded quietly with, “Yes! I want to move directly in front of them.” But we didn’t. Wisdom dictated it would be better not to make an issue out of this, so we just moved four seats to the left.

Synonyms for a lack of common sense might be words like oblivious, unaware, dense, thick, unobservant, foolish, and clueless. I hesitate to use the word stupid because some very academic, highly intelligent people can be clueless.

Consider this… We as Christians should not be oblivious, dense, foolish, or clueless. We should be aware and observant. We should be attuned to those around us and concerned about what we do because it influences and affects others. It also impacts our own lives.

Common sense would have us ask a few questions before we do the simplest of tasks. If I do this, what will happen? Will it inconvenience others? Will it hurt me? Will it hurt others?

Those that lack common sense should definitely ask God for it. And those who have it should ask God for the wisdom and love to deal with those who don’t.

One final thought… Here’s a little obituary I found about the death of common sense. Although funny, there is a lot of truth mixed in with the laughter.

The Death of Common Sense
(Author Unknown)

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend named Common Sense who had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valued lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies such as don’t spend more than you earn. He had reliable parenting strategies like adults are in charge, not the kids. His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. He lost the will to live when churches became businesses and criminals started receiving better treatment than their victims. He gave up the ghost when he felt unappreciated and lonely because there was no one left he could identify with.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents Truth and Trust, his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers named I Want It Now, Someone Else Is to Blame, and I’m a Victim, plus one sister called Ima Whiner. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.


Choose to Be Anchored to Christ

September 15, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

There are times in life when our circumstances seem so daunting it feels hopeless. Yet, as Christians, we never need to feel as if there is no hope because our God is a God of hope.

The Bible likens hope to an anchor. It is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our soul (Hebrews 6:18-19). What does an anchor do? When the boat drifts a little this way or that way, the anchor tugs it back and keeps it centered and steady. We need to be anchored to our living, loving God so we don’t drift away.

Paul prayed for the early church to be filled with hope: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Hope is even one of the big three Christian principles mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13: faith, hope, and charity. So hope must be pretty important.

When the world thinks of hope, it is usually wishful thinking. People hope they have a good day or hope to win the lottery. But hope from a spiritual perspective is not wishful thinking.

The Old Testament word for hope is “yachal” and means to wait or be patient. The Greek word for hope in the New Testament is a little different. It is “elpis” which means favorable and confident expectation. We aren’t just waiting; we are confident our wait will reap positive results.

Why is hope important? Believe it or not, hope is as necessary to the human spirit as oxygen is to the physical body. When people lose hope, they are overcome with despair and lack of purpose. Without hope, we lose all desire to go on. Our problems overwhelm us. Not having hope can literally destroy our lives.

There is a lot of pain, tragedy, trauma, and suffering in this world which can lead to feelings of hopelessness – if we don’t have God in our lives (Ephesians 2:12). Those without God don’t understand that the problems of this world are temporary. Even death is a temporary condition (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Where does this kind of hope come from? As Christians, our hope comes from Christ living in us (Colossians 1:27). Christ is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1). So our hope is connected with our relationship with God.

Consider this… When Jesus died and was resurrected, we were “begotten to a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3-5). We have an inheritance that will not fade away. Our hope is blessed assurance that everything God has told us is true. We know salvation is a done deal. We don’t have to wonder about it. We don’t have to doubt it. If we stay anchored to Christ, we can be confident that what God promised us is true (Titus 1:2).

One final thought… If we anchor our souls to God, no stormy weather will set us adrift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Choose to Develop Discipline

September 8, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

In our last blog we discussed self-control, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. On the surface it may appear that self-control and discipline are the same thing. However, there are certain nuances of these two traits that can differ.

Self-control usually involves restraint. Most of us need self-control so we don’t mess up our lives, make fools of ourselves, or hurt others. We usually need to stop ourselves. In other words, don’t do it! Restrain!

Discipline can involve restraint, but it usually involves action or being proactive. So being disciplined means to be “doers of the word, not hearers only” (James 1:22). You might say that while self-control protects us, discipline actually trains us to do what we need to do. The dictionary says that discipline as a verb means to train someone by instruction and practice. This training is vital in the Christian walk.

The New Testament speaks about Christians disciplining themselves in forming godly habits. Paul said that mature Christians have “trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14 NIV). Timothy was told to train himself in godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). So this self-discipline is about spiritual training. Spiritual discipline submits our worldly desires to the will of God. We control our bodies and minds to do what they should do, rather than what they would like to do. Discipline is training ourselves to do the right thing when we don’t feel like it.

We, like Timothy, should be training ourselves to have godly character. John MacArthur wrote, “Godly character is not the result of good intentions, wishful thinking, some mystical zap, or even sheer Bible knowledge. It’s developed through the self-disciplined application of God’s Word at a very basic level, enabled and empowered by God’s Spirit.”

How do we accomplish this? Paul tells us: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice” (Philippians 4:9 NIV). Practicing spiritual principles is how we train ourselves. God will not automatically give us good habits. We get good habits by consciously and consistently using what we’ve learned from Christ – in other words, through developing discipline.

Spiritual disciplines are good habits we practice that bring us closer to God. Remember that God is always with us. He remains constant – the same yesterday, today, and forever. We, on the other hand, have a tendency to drift away from Him. Developing discipline in spiritual areas of our lives keeps us from drifting.

Most Christians today do not like the idea of spiritual training which requires drawing close to God, studying His Word, meditating on how to apply it in our lives, and asking God to guide, direct, and motivate us. They would rather God funnel His godly character into us. Some want to change, but not put any time or effort into the process. They don’t want to participate with what Christ is doing in their lives, they would rather just “be” or just call themselves Christians.

Consider this… We can call ourselves lightbulbs, but we won’t shine without turning on the electricity.

One final thought… Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”


Choose to Practice Self-Restraint

September 1, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

Self-restraint is another way of saying self-control, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23). The Greek word here is “enkrateia” which means not only self-control but self-mastery, self-restraint, and self-governance. Self-control is also used in a list of qualities to be practiced by Christians (2 Peter 1:5-9). Those failing to practice them are called shortsighted to the point of blindness. So self-control is very valuable in the Christian journey.

Self-control is the ability to live within certain restraints. Even if we are within our rights to do something, sometimes it is not wise to do it (1 Corinthians 6:12). That takes self-restraint. This is a valuable asset in almost every area of our lives.

Some in society would have us be free of all restraints. They want us to do our own thing, look out for number one, and “let it all hang out,” so to speak. More than one person has been caught on social media “letting it all hang out” and, believe me, it has not been a pretty sight.

Today we have a binge mentality. We think if a little is good, a lot is better. We want to binge on food, TV, sex, sports, work, spending, collecting grown-up toys, etc. If people want something that isn’t theirs, they just take it. If people don’t like others or a group’s lifestyle, they send hate mail, persecute them, or kill them. All of this is done under the umbrella of self-justification.

The Bible cautions us about lack of self-restraint.

  • Unrestrained lust can lead to fornication or adultery (Proverbs 6:26-32). Paul tells us the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:13).
  • Unrestrained spending can lead to squandered lives or even poverty (Proverbs 21:20).
  • Unrestrained ambition may bring money but not understanding (Proverbs 23:4).
  • Unrestrained love of money can lead to trusting riches instead of God (1 Timothy 6:9-10, 17-19).
  • Unrestrained drinking leads to doing things we wish we hadn’t done (Proverbs 23:29-35).
  • Unrestrained anger will have others view us as foolish (Proverbs 29:11).
  • Unrestrained coveting or wanting what we don’t have can lead to wars (James 4:1-3).
  • Unrestrained tongues can do irreparable damage to others (James 3:6-10).

Proverbs 25:28 says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” Building and maintaining walls was pretty important in Old Testament times. Walls were a source of strength and protection. Cities with broken walls had shameful reputations and were easy for others to conquer. Do we see a parallel here with people who lack self-control or restraint?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 gives us a long list of what leads to a nation’s downfall. Nestled in the middle of all of them is “without self-control.” When Paul presented the gospel to Felix, a Roman governor, he chose to emphasize righteousness and self-control (Acts 24:25). Historians think lack of self-restraint, drunkenness, orgies, and an “anything goes” mentality led to the fall of the Roman Empire.

Titus did not have it easy as a young pastor on the isle of Crete. Crete was well known as the first-century party place with residents considered to be liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons (Titus 1:12). So Paul wrote to Titus and encouraged him to teach self-control to his new converts.

  • Teach elders to be men known for their self-control (Titus 1:8).
  • Teach older men to be sober and temperate (Titus 2:1).
  • Teach older women to tell the truth, not drink too much wine, be discreet and chaste (Titus 2:3-5).
  • Teach young men to have integrity, reverence, and be incorruptible (Titus 2:6-8).
  • Teach bond servants not to answer back or pilfer (Titus 2:9).
  • Teach all Christians to say, “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (Titus 2:11-14).

In other words, they all needed to learn restraint or self-control – and so do we!

In this Titus passage, Paul also mentions God’s redeeming grace. Well, this same grace that redeems us can reform us if we yield to the God who provides it. Yielding to God is essential because the self-control or restraint we are discussing is not human willpower. Godly self-control is power from God that enables us to govern our lives.

Another meaning of the Greek root word “krateia” or “kratos” is strength. The inner strength we need to exercise in “enkrateia” or self-restraint comes from God. As we draw close to God, He infuses us with that little something extra we need to exercise godly self-control.

Consider this… It would be so much easier if God would just control us as we yield to Him, but that’s not how God works. God will guide us and help us, but He won’t control or restrain us. He gives us free moral agency. However, when we yield to God, draw near to Him, and make Him a priority in our lives, He gives us what we need to exercise self-restraint.

One final thought… It’s not really others who lead us astray; it’s our inability to practice godly restraint.

 

 


Choose to Look for God to See the Miracle

August 25, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

In the book Thrilled to Death, clinical psychologist Dr. Archibald Hart describes our pleasure-seeking society as one that overloads the brain circuits, driving us to seek more intense and sensational experiences. We become addicted to extreme forms of stimulation and bored with the ordinary. I think he’s right.

In today’s technologically driven age, we are constantly exposed to ever increasing mind-boggling activities. We are plugged in, turned on, or hooked up all day long. We are all a bit addicted to this lifestyle.

How does this affect the Christian community or those searching for Christ? Well, no longer are they satisfied with the ordinary. They must have dramatic faith healings and spectacular miracles or in their minds God does not exist or at least isn’t doing a good job. Unfortunately, they have the cart before the horse. People want to experience a miracle to believe in God when actually they need to believe first.

Contrary to popular opinion, miracles do not always increase belief. The Israelites proved that. God performed miracle after miracle for them, including parting the Red Sea, and they still didn’t believe He could take care of them in the Promised Land.

Sometimes God does provide a visual when He knows it will actually boost our faith. Such was the case with Thomas who said he wouldn’t believe Christ had risen from the dead unless he saw Him, but Jesus was quick to tell him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:24-19).”

The need for Christ to authenticate His message through miracles has long passed. His message speaks for itself. Sadly, some professing Christians are still seeking signs and wonders long after their conversion. This is not so much that they doubt Christ’s existence as they are looking for a “thrill” that comes from a miracle. It gives a “high,” a byproduct from an overstimulated society. But when we are always looking for the next BIG thing in our lives to feel God’s presence, we forget that He is with us all the time. We miss the daily walk.

Do we see God in our day-to-day grind? Do we see Him when the 6 o’clock alarm rings and we drag ourselves out of bed? Do we see Him as we are driving to work in the same old car to the same old job and coming home to the same old family? Do we see Him when we are cooking supper, doing the dishes, helping the kids with homework, and falling into bed dog-tired? Can we cheerfully get up and do it all again the next day and stay totally centered on God?

Consider this… Healthy Christians are able to go through life without God having to supernaturally zap them with an addictive spiritual methamphetamine to get them through the day. As we grow in God’s grace, we realize the miracle of God revealing Himself to us all the time. It might be in the laughter of a child, the smile of a coworker, clouds in the sky, sunlight on a window pane, or the guy who lets us merge in traffic.

If we are truly looking for a miracle, we need look no further than where we are. For where we are, God will be. He’ll never leave us or forsake us no matter what. He can be our peace and calm in an overstimulated world. If we don’t see that as a miracle, there is no need to look anywhere else, because we’ll never find it.

One final thought… When you wake up in the morning make yourself say, “Good morning God” instead of “Good God! It’s morning!” You might just have a better day!

 

 

 

 


Choose to Be Careful What You Wish For

August 18, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

 

Many wish God would reveal Himself to them through a supernatural happening. They miss the fact that not all miracles come from God. Here are a few scriptures that illustrate this:

Deuteronomy 13:1-3 says that if people foretell dreams or signs and wonders that come to pass, then encourage you to follow other gods than the one true God, you should not listen to their words. Therefore, it must be true that others besides God can perform certain signs and wonders.

Mark 13:22-23 tells us to be on guard because others than God can perform miracles that can deceive us into thinking they represent Christ.

Matthew 7:22-23 tells us that many will come to God pointing out that they had performed miracles but God will say, “I never knew you. Get away you evildoers!”

2 Thessalonians 2:8-9 reminds us that Satan has the power to perform counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders.

Exodus 7:11 recounts how Moses and Aaron performed miracles such as having a staff turn into a snake, but Pharaoh summoned his sorcerers and they did the same thing.

Therefore, miracles are not always proof of where God is working. Plus, we cannot always trust what we actually see. Just watching a master illusionist in Las Vegas will prove that. Did he really make a tiger appear out of thin air or did he make you believe he made a tiger appear out of thin air? It’s a tricky world.

When we watch faith healings on television, is the person really healed? I’m not so sure. Perhaps some, but in Jesus’ day when He gave a blind man back his sight or made the lame walk, it happened in a setting where a whole village actually knew the person. They could attest to the fact that yes, indeed, that person had been blind from birth or this person had never been able to walk. A whole town had seen them struggle day after day. That was different than watching it on TV, attending a faith revival, or having someone you don’t even know interviewed on TV and claim healing. There was no doubt about what Jesus did. It wasn’t left up to speculation.

And consider this… Miracles rarely increase one’s belief in God. The Israelites experienced miracle after miracle and still they did not believe. Once people experience one miracle, they want another, and another, and another.

Do we look to God or to what we think God can do for us through a supernatural wonder? If that is our approach, we miss some of the biggest miracles of all like Christ living and dwelling in us, the peace that surpasses understanding, and fruits of His spirit manifested in our changed lives.

So be careful what you wish for. If it’s a miracle you want, you might get it. But just remember this – not all miracles come from God.

One final thought… Looking for the BIG supernatural happening prevents you from seeing the miracles right in front of your eyes. If you learn to look at life as a miracle, perhaps you appreciate it so much more!


Choose to Get Rid of Negative Self-Talk

August 11, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

We all know that words have power. That’s why we are told to bridle our tongues (James 3:1-10). Words can bring hurt or healing (Proverbs 18:21). This not only applies to how we talk to others, but how we talk to ourselves.

We are constantly talking to ourselves through our thoughts – and most of it is not too positive. We call ourselves fat and ugly. We call ourselves stupid idiots. We tell ourselves we are worthless, unforgivable losers. We call ourselves clueless jerks.

While it’s true that we are all clueless jerks at one time or another, to dwell on it and get down on ourselves is not productive. It lingers in our subconscious and plants negative seeds of doubt. These seeds can take root in other parts of our lives and lead to destructive behavior. It can also cause depression and keep us from moving forward in the faith.

Proverbs 4:23 (GNT) tells us to “be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 23:7 tells us that “as a man thinks, so he is.” These scriptures caution us about how and what we think.

The father of General Semantics, Count Alfred Korzybski, once marveled, “Man is the only creature who can talk himself into a nervous breakdown and the only creature who can talk himself out of it.”

Consider this… We won’t always be able to block negative self-talk, but we can certainly limit how much time and consideration we give it. We can choose not to continuously entertain it. We can choose to replace it with those things God says are worthy of our time and thought.

God says to bring every thought into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are told to meditate on things that are noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Thinking we are fat and stupid does not really fall in any of these categories.

We also need to view ourselves as God views us. God doesn’t think we are worthless or He wouldn’t have died for us (John 3:16). God doesn’t think we are unforgivable because He forgives us (1 John 1:9). We repeatedly condemn ourselves, but God doesn’t (Romans 8:1-2). God doesn’t think we’re losers. Through Him we are victorious winners (1 Corinthians 15:57).

If we fill our mind with what God thinks, we won’t have room for a lot of negative self-talk.

One final thought… It’s been said that you are what you think about all day long. It that’s true, then it’s best to keep your mind on things above (Colossians 3:2).

 


Choose to See blind Spots

August 4, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

 

A blind spot is something we cannot see that can negatively impact us.

Drivers are very familiar with blind spots. A car or truck’s blind spot can be quite large. It’s the area where another car, truck, bicycle, or motorcycle cannot be seen with the rearview or side mirrors. Many accidents occur when drivers don’t take a moment to actually turn their heads to glance quickly at those areas before changing lanes. If they don’t look, they won’t see what is in their blind spot.

All of us have spiritual blind spots as well. We have weaknesses we may not be aware of.

Once I was talking to my doctor about how a certain health problem I had was handled by her colleague. She said, “Yes, that definitely should have been done differently and I can see that you are angry.”

I responded quickly, “I am not angry.”

She patiently said, “Yes, you are.”

I thought for a moment, said a quick prayer, and then said, “Maybe I am angry.” I didn’t think I was angry but I’m sure my body language and tone of voice revealed my true feelings – feelings I wasn’t even aware of until pointed out to me.

Anger is a tricky thing – as are so many areas of our lives. In fact, our lives are full of blind spots we can’t get a handle on because we don’t know they are there.

Psalm 19:12 says, “Cleanse me from secret faults.”

Could some of our faults be so secret that even we don’t know what they are? I think so! And to make it even worse, sometimes we don’t want to know the truth about ourselves, especially when it comes to our hidden weaknesses – weaknesses we aren’t even aware of – blind spots!

These blind spots not only impact our lives but the lives of those around us. So it would be a good idea to ask God to gently reveal them to us and help us to make changes. Blind spots hinder our relationships with others and with God. They also block our spiritual growth. God’s Holy Spirit can search us and keep us attuned to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). David asked God to search him and lead him towards God’s truth (Psalm 139:23-24). We need God’s guidance even when we think we don’t. Inviting God to lovingly help us see our blind spots can make it easier for us to deal with them.

Good friends whom we trust can also help us get a grip on reality with a “spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). It is so easy to deceive ourselves into thinking we are okay when we really aren’t (Galatians 6:2-5). Psalm 19:12 also says, “Who can discern their own errors?”

Usually, we can’t discern our own errors because blind spots are hard to see. Are we stubborn, selfish, or angry? Are we bitter, or resentful? Do we feel entitled? Are we ignorant and proud of it? Are we performance driven or Spirit driven? Not only do blind spots keep us from seeing the truth about ourselves, they can keep us from seeing the truth about others.

Consider this… David asked God to “forgive his hidden faults” (Psalm 19:12). Hidden faults are blind spots, and even if we don’t know what they are, we are held responsible for them anyway.

One final thought… Blind spots become visually clearer when we walk in the Light! (1 John 1:5-7 ESV).

 


Choose to Ask God to Tune Your Heart

July 28, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

 

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is one of my favorite songs. The first two lines read:

Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace.

Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise.

Those thoughts are profound and seem to represent the contemporary worship music movement so prevalent in churches today. “Tune my heart to sing” and “songs of loudest praise” seem like phrases tailor-made for today’s contemporary Christian. It’s hard to believe they were written in the 1700s.

The author, Robert Robinson, was born in the mid-1700s. His dad died when he was eight and for years he was associated with a notorious gang of hoodlums in London. According to Kenneth W. Osbeck’s book 101 Hymn Stories, at the age of seventeen Robert and his friends went to a church meeting with the purpose of scoffing openly at the preacher. However, the Lord had other things in mind because that night Robert Robinson became a Christian. He went on to become a minister. He wrote Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing at the tender age of twenty-three. Although his words were the contemporary thoughts of his time, by today’s standards this song is classified as a traditional hymn.

Worship music is a volatile topic in many churches. Older members tend to like traditional hymns while younger people lean more toward contemporary praise songs. A lively discussion of both points of view could ensue. What one might consider sacred, another might deem secular. Indeed, during the 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s, it was quite common for sacred songs to be sung to secular tunes. So you see, controversy surrounding worship music is nothing new.

I think we miss the mark believing it’s a certain style of music that pleases God. God is more interested in substance than style. That’s why it’s important to have a heart full of worship for Him. The phrase I love is “tune my heart to sing.” Robinson is wanting God to “tune” his heart. Do we want a heart tuned by God or a heart we’ve tuned to give God what we like?

People who play musical instruments know how important it is for them to be tuned. For example, if a piano has not been tuned in years, the piano tuner will tune it once and then return a few weeks later to tune it again because the piano will have a tendency to waver and not stay in tune. The process takes quite a bit of time. Once a piano is tuned properly, it still needs to be tuned twice a year to really stay on pitch. Extreme cold or heat or even humidity can affect a piano’s pitch. If a piano is moved, it needs to be tuned again. That may seem like a lot of work to those of us who don’t play the piano, but to a pianist, it’s a necessity.

An analogy can be drawn for Christians. It should be important for us to have God tune our hearts often if we want to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24), and if we want our song to truly be a sweet, sweet sound to His ears. A tuned piano can sound good whether the pianist is playing classical or rock ‘n’ roll. Christians whose hearts are tuned to God will please Him whether they sing traditional hymns or contemporary praise songs.

Consider this… Asking God to tune our hearts so we can sing His praise is a simple little prayer, but it could have a profound effect on how we worship.

One final thought… A God who rejoices over us with singing should have no problem tuning our hearts to sing His praise. (Zephaniah 3:17)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Choose to Serve

July 21, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren  

A Christian is called to a life of service. We need to be serving God and we need to be serving others. This is actually a circular area because when we serve others, we are in a way serving God. Jesus said that what we do for others, we are doing for Him. (Matthew 25:40-45)

Jesus came among us as one who served. (Luke 22:27) He didn’t come to be served, but to serve others. (Matthew 20:28) Paul even described himself as a bondservant for Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:5)

It isn’t just those ordained who are called to ministry. Every Christian is called to be a bondservant for Christ. However, being called to ministry is not being called to be above others. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Those setting spiritual examples should not only be ready to teach the gospel to others, but be willing to do something like wash a disciple’s feet. In other words, be willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation, but count as everything to God.

True Christians will be serving others. Service is the overflow which pours out from a life filled with love and devotion. Service is what we bring to the relationship with God and is a reflection of our identity in Christ. In fact, being willing to serve is one of the main attributes of Christians.  Let’s look at a few reasons why.

Serving fulfills God’s purpose in our lives. Paul tells us we were created to do good works.  (Ephesians 2:10) These works have nothing to do with whether or not we receive Christ’s gift of salvation, yet these good works should be part of the Christian life. When we aren’t looking for ways to serve others, we are robbing ourselves of blessings built into God’s plan for us.

Serving follows the example of Christ. He set an example of service for us to follow and we have a responsibility to model that example to others. (John 13:15) Christ did not come to be served, but to serve others. (Mark 10:45)

Serving reflects God’s glory. As we serve others, they get a glimpse of Jesus. Peter told us to live our lives in such a way that when others see our good deeds, God is glorified. (1 Peter 2:12) These good deeds are ways we serve others.

Consider this… Every Christian has opportunities to share in the ministry of Christ. It isn’t just a pastor’s job to visit the sick, the fatherless, the widowed, the homebound, those in hospitals, those in hospice care, those in nursing homes, or those in crisis. It isn’t just an elder’s job to be sure everyone feels included in God’s plan, send notes of encouragement, extend the hand of fellowship, and invite people to their homes for a potluck or Bible study.

Remember this quote from Martin Luther King: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

One final thought… When you are in the service of others, you are in the service of God.