Choose to Drink or Not? (Part 2)

Barbara | August 19, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

Recently I heard a radio preacher tell people it was a sin to drink alcoholic beverages. He cited death statistics for drunk drivers, scriptures focusing on wine being a mocker (Proverbs 20:1), alcohol being the root of our problematic society (Proverbs 23:31-32), and drinking leading to drunkenness (Isaiah 5:11). These are all true. Being drunk is bad. It’s condemned in the Bible. It’s a sin.

However, not all who choose to drink should be lumped in with drunkards. This preacher failed to mention that the majority of scriptures mentioning fermented drink take a positive view, not a negative one.

For example, fermented drinks were used:

  • In offerings (Exodus 29: 38-41; Numbers 28:7)
  • For tithe paying (Deuteronomy 18:4)
  • In worship (Matthew 26:27; 1 Corinthians 11:25-26)
  • In celebrations (Genesis 14:17-20, John 2:1-10)
  • To gladden a person’s heart (Psalms 104:14-15)
  • In the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18)
  • For thanksgiving and honor to God (Proverbs 3:9-10)
  • As blessings (Genesis 27:28; Joel 2:19, 24; 3:18; Amos 9:13-14)
  • For medicinal purposes (Proverbs 31:6; 1 Timothy 5:23)

Fortunately, the speaker had the good sense not to say the wine mentioned in the Bible was not really fermented but just grape juice. Plus, he didn’t say, as many do, that when Jesus turned the water into wine it was a “watered” down wine and not potent.

However, he did try to slam dunk his thesis with my two personal favorite reasons not to do anything – abstaining from all appearances of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and not causing someone to stumble (Romans 14:20). These are great scriptures people emphasize out of context when they want biblical backing for their point of view.

Does he not know that from the inception of Christ’s birth, Christianity has been steeped in “appearances” of evil by the world’s standards? A virgin gets pregnant giving the impression of immorality. Christ drinks wine leading some to call him a drunkard. Christ associates with sinners, offending many. Christ wastes costly ointment to wash His feet that could have been sold to help the poor. The list could go on and on.

And as far as causing someone to stumble, read all of Romans 20. It is the deliberate action of flaunting one’s belief in someone’s face that causes the offense. It’s that “in your face” action that God warns against. A drinker could easily trip into this pitfall, but so could a non-drinker with an “I’m more righteous and holier than thou” attitude because he chooses not to drink. The kingdom of God is not about meat or drink. (Romans 14:17)

Christianity misses the mark when it doesn’t give the freedom in Christ for people to make these decisions. We can’t rewrite scripture to say, “You have heard it said in the Bible that wine is okay to drink within moderation and drunkenness is wrong, but verily I say unto you, that all drinking is wrong and a sin.” That is not what the Bible says.

Is all this rhetoric leading up to a license for us to go “tie one on” for the Lord? I think not. The point is: if you are a Christian who chooses not to drink alcoholic beverages, do not condemn another Christian who chooses to drink them. If you are a Christian who chooses to drink alcoholic beverages, don’t condemn or flaunt it in front of Christians who choose not to drink.

Consider this… Is it a sin to drink wine and such? Not according to the Bible! But drunkenness and gluttony are. And here are some other sins to watch out for: judging others, condemning others, being quick to call someone a sinner, and setting up your standard as God’s.

Now, I’ll drink to that! (But I won’t tell you if I’m having wine or grape juice!)

One final thought…

Here are a couple of quotes. They might have been said in jest, but there may be an element of truth in them.

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy.” ~Benjamin Franklin

“Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven. Therefore, let us drink beer.” ~Martin Luther

Choose to Drink or Not? (Part 1)

Barbara | August 12, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren


Recently I heard a radio preacher tell people it was a sin to drink alcoholic beverages. This minister seemed pretty well-versed in the Bible and has a fairly large following. Yet I found his message disconcerting. It always bothers me when Christians try to support personal beliefs biblically. This tactic tarnishes the credibility of the Christian community.

Now I’m not suggesting we take tequila shots every time we see the word “winebibber” as we read the Bible. Although, this might encourage some to search the scriptures. However, to condemn those who drink a glass of wine with dinner goes to the other extreme. And that’s a problem – because people tend to go to extremes. Many who drink aren’t satisfied unless they are drunk; many who don’t drink aren’t satisfied unless they convince others they shouldn’t drink either. We tend to make our standard God’s standard. We think what we like God likes – whether it be music, clothing, hairstyles, food, or drink. Thus we make God over into our image, instead of the other way around.

God has given us many blessings. But every blessing can be a curse if not used properly. The following can be blessings or curses, depending on how they are used: food, sex, money, and even wine, beer, and other forms of fermented beverages. Not everyone who eats is a glutton. Not everyone who has sex is an adulterer, fornicator, or pervert. Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. The sin lies within abuse of the blessing, not the blessing itself. Why else would wine be spoken of as both good and bad in the same texts in 1 Samuel 1:14, 24 and Joel 1:5, 10?

Martin Luther summed it up well when he said, “Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we prohibit and abolish women? The sun, moon, and stars have been worshipped. Shall we pluck them out of the sky?”

There is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol for the right reasons such as medicinal purposes, celebrations, or to “gladden the heart.” (1 Timothy 5:23, John 2:1-10, Psalm 104:15-16) Drinking is not a sin; drunkenness is.

Consider this: Choosing to drink or not to drink alcoholic beverages is a personal choice not condemned by God. However, judging one who makes this choice is! (Matthew 7:1-5)

One final thought…

Others will judge you if you choose to drink or choose not to drink. So whatever you choose to do, do it for the right reason. That won’t stop people from judging you, but you’ll sleep better at night.


Choose to Ask for Water

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



Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

I do not function well in hot weather. Growing up in the Mississippi River area, I am very familiar with hot weather. It’s not so much the heat that gets me; it’s the humidity. Some people perspire or glow in hot weather. Not me! I sweat! I mean really sweat.

Whenever it gets hot, I always think of the expression “hotter than hell.” I don’t know how hot that is, but if I can’t take the 100-degree temperatures, I don’t think I will function well there. So I want to avoid it at all costs.

When it gets really hot, nothing seems to quench my thirst like water. I don’t want soda or juice. I just want refreshing cool water. I want to jump into the water. I want to pour water on my head. I want to mist a little water on my face. I want to drink water. I just want water.

Water is an amazing substance. We all know that it is an essential element to life. Our body mass is more than 60% water. Every cell, tissue, and organ needs it to function. We can live longer without food than water. But did you know the following? A 1% decrease in water in our body makes us thirsty. A 5% decrease will cause a fever. An 8% decrease will cause our body to turn blue and we won’t be able to produce saliva. If we have a 10% decrease, we won’t be able to walk. A 12% decrease results in death. Is it any wonder that the Bible is full of analogies about water?

Some people get ill from being dehydrated, not knowing that all they need to do is drink some water. Our souls can get dehydrated as well. Our souls need living water, and it is there for the asking.

When the Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well in John 4, Jesus told her that He could give her “living water.” (John 4:10-14) He told her that those who drank her well water would thirst again, but those who would drink of His “living water” would never thirst again.

She implored, “Sir, give me this water.” (John 4:15) She was a wise woman. She recognized a good deal when she saw one. Later on Jesus said, “If any thirst, let him come to me and drink” and He went on to say that if you believe in Him, He will give you this “living water!” (John 7:37,38)

Of course, this is a spiritual analogy but we are spiritual in nature, not just physical. Our bodies have need of physical water, but our souls have need of this “living water.” This “living water” is ours for the asking. Just ask and believe.

We are told in Revelation, “…let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

Consider this… We are probably going to have more hot days ahead – a lot more! I don’t know if they will be “hotter than hell.” I do know that there is no need to endure unbearable heat when we can easily ask for a drink of “living water.”

One final thought…

Only “living water” can quench the thirst of a parched soul.

Choose to Listen and Recognize God’s Voice

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


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

Music has given me much joy through the years and I’m pretty good at identifying singers of old standards or early rock n’ roll. Being able to recognize someone’s voice is a great way to bore all your friends. “Who’s singing that?” I’ll say. They don’t care, of course, but I give the right answer and it fills me with a certain amount of pride. In the game of life, it’s not all that important to be able to recognize someone’s voice – unless it is the voice of God.

Hearing God’s voice is a tricky proposition. People tell me they hear God’s voice all the time. God tells them to do this or God tells them to do that, but I’m skeptical. Sometimes it seems like they are not really listening for God’s voice to guide them, but to put a stamp of approval on what they have already chosen to do. In that case you can get God’s voice to tell you anything you want to hear. And you can always blame God if it doesn’t work out. After all, He told you to do it!

God speaking directly to a person is the exception not the rule, even in biblical times. In ancient times people were not always happy to hear God’s voice. It was usually telling them to do something they didn’t want to do. Moses had to lead the complaining Israelites. (Exodus 3:14) Hosea had to marry a woman of ill repute. (Hosea 1:1) Job found out how insignificant he was. (Job 40:1) Paul was struck blind. (Acts 22)

Such was the case with Ahab. He wanted to attack the King of Aram. All his advisors knew he had already made up his mind and just wanted God to bless his decision. So they told him what he wanted to hear. “Go for it! You will win.” The prophet Micaiah cautioned him against going.

Ahab never cared much for Micaiah because he always told him the truth. In 1 Kings 22:8 (NLT) he said, “There is still one prophet of the Lord, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.” Ahab, like all of us, only wanted to hear support for what he wanted to do. If we listen closely, we may hear God’s voice. However, He may not tell us what we want to hear.

As God’s sheep we should be able to recognize His voice. (John 10:4-5, 27) However, we cannot recognize the voice of one we are not close to. Therefore, we need to be in constant relationship with God through prayer and Bible study – praying to align ourselves to God’s will and studying to become more like Jesus.

When Christ lives in us, recognizing His voice becomes easier because we know God’s voice will not tell us to do things contrary to the biblical principles He has set in motion. And He expects us to be able to discern what those are. A voice telling us to snipe people from a tall building or get revenge is not the voice of God.

However, God is the great communicator and He can speak to us in many ways. He can speak through…

  • His Word: The Bible is written for our instruction, training, correction, and edification. (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
  • Creation: We see God’s greatness in His creation. (Romans 1:20)
  • Events: Through trials God may be saying, “Learn patience.” Through celebrations He may be saying, “Do not forget Me in the good times.” (James 1:2-5)
  • Prayer: Prayer is two-way communication. We ask and God answers. (James 1:5) However, God does not always give us the answer we want to hear.
  • Our Conscience: Sometimes an inner voice tells us not to do something. (1 Peter 3:16)
  • Meditation: Slow down. Be still so you can hear God. (Psalm 46:10)
  • Others: Friends can be closer than family at times and a wise man seeks counsel before making decisions. (Proverbs 18:24; Proverbs 11:14)

Consider this… Sometimes we are so intent on looking for a special sign or revelation that we miss what God says to us daily. The closer we are to God, the easier it is to hear and recognize His voice.

One final thought…

The voice of God will never contradict the Word of God.


Choose to Trust God Instead of Blame Him

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


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

Some things that happen in life are not easy to understand. It’s disconcerting when bad things happen to good people and puzzling when good things happen to bad people. This does not seem fair. When life is not fair, it can be a major source of irritation and frustration for most of us, so naturally we look for someone to blame. When we run out of people to blame, we want to blame God.

Some of us are willing to admit that every bad situation is not God’s fault. Sometimes we make poor choices. Sometimes we suffer because of the poor choices of others. And sometimes it’s just time and chance. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) However, many still want to blame God for what He allows to happen. After all, can’t God control everything? Can’t He keep us from screwing up? Can’t He keep someone from screwing us over? Can’t He shield us from every trial of life? Sure He can – but He doesn’t.

Ironically, those people who want to blame God when things go wrong usually aren’t thanking Him when things go right. It’s like we want to take the credit, but we like to give God the blame.

Unfortunately, bad stuff happens. We have all experienced things like financial setbacks, the unexpected death of a loved one, severe health problems, a bad marriage, job loss, drug addiction, and so on. Sometimes God intervenes and sometimes He doesn’t. But just because God doesn’t intervene in every unfair circumstance doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us.

The Bible is full of examples of Christians suffering unfairly. Nowhere does the Bible say life is easy. Joseph was thrown in a pit and sold into slavery. Stephen was martyred. Saul repeatedly tried to kill David. Jeremiah was ignored and abused. Jesus was crucified. The list goes on and on.

Life is hard, but the Christian has something other people don’t have in their hardships – God! God never promised life would be easy, but He did promise to be with us every step of the way. He promised He’d never leave or forsake us. He promised we’d never be alone. He promised His peace, comfort, and strength.

Instead of blaming God, perhaps we could take a different approach. What about trusting God? We can trust God to be with us. We can trust God to do what’s best overall – not just for us. (Romans 8:28) In fact, when those bad things happen is the time we need to hold our faith tightly. We need to trust even more.

The book of Job is a life lesson about bad things happening to good people. Job could be the poster boy for that scenario. Righteous Job lost everything – his health, his family, his fortune. Job was afflicted. Job suffered. When Job tries to make sense out of all of it, he questions God about it. “Why? Why? Why? Haven’t I done everything you wanted? Why are these things happening to me?”

Guess what? God neither explains nor defends what is happening to Job. However, God does answer a more significant question Job failed to ask. Who??? Who laid the foundations of the earth? Who is the Creator? Who has divine wisdom? Who is omnipotent? The list goes on and on. (Job 38-41) Job never finds out why, but he does find out Who – and ends up with more faith, confidence, and trust in God!

Consider this…. God is God. Either we have faith in Him or we don’t. God does not need to explain His actions to us. God does not need to apologize for what He does. God does not need to cower in a corner for not intervening when we thought He should. If the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, do we still bless the Lord? (Job 1:21) We should, because we need to remember who God is. God is love (1 John 4:8) – and He loves us. 

One final thought in a poem…


When Is the Time to Trust?

Selected from Streams in the Desert, devotional by L.B. Cowan, July 21

When is the time to trust?

Is it when all is calm,

When waves the victor’s palm,

And life is one glad psalm

Of joy and praise?

No! The time to trust

Is when the waves beat high,

When storm clouds fill the sky,

And prayer is one long cry,

“Oh, help and save!”


When is the time to trust?

Is it when friends are true?

Is it when comforts woo,

And in all we say and do

We meet but praise?

No! The time to trust

Is when we stand alone,

And summer birds have flown,

And every prop is gone,

Only God remains.


When is the time to trust?

Is it when hopes beat high,

When sunshine gilds the sky,

And joy and ecstasy

Fill all the heart?

No! The time to trust

Is when our joy has fled,

When sorrow bows the head,

And all seems cold and dead,

Only God sustains.

Choose to Honor Your Family Name

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


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren


Our family name can give us a glimpse of who our ancestors were. For example, Irish names with an “O” or “Mac” indicate the person is the son, grandson, or descendant of a certain family such as O’Brian or MacDonald. A family name can tell what your family’s occupation might have been such as Miller, Cooper, Smith, or Shoemaker. Today, names do not have much significance other than designating one person from another.

This was not the case in biblical times. In fact, the word “name” in the Old Testament actually stands for “a mark or a brand.” In other words, the name would reflect who a person was. For example, Adam means “man.” Eve means “mother of all living.” Esau means “hairy” because he was hairy when he was born. Jacob means “heel catcher” because he was Esau’s twin, but Esau was born first.

When certain people developed a relationship with God, God changed their names to reflect that. Abram became Abraham which means “father of a multitude.” Jacob was changed to Israel which means “prince with God” because God was going to use his lineage. Simon became Peter which means “rock” because Jesus was going to use him to build the church upon.

In a way, that’s what happens to us when we recognize we are saved by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and develop a relationship with Him. We are given a spiritual family name. We are called “Christians.” The name “Christian” was first given to the disciples in Antioch. (Acts 11:26) Have you ever wondered why? Did the disciples meet together and vote on what they should be called? Did the marketing team do a demographic study then send out a memo stating that henceforth and forevermore we shall be called Christians? I don’t think so.

These disciples were called Christians because they were defined by their actions. They were followers of Jesus Christ. Not only did they talk about Jesus, but they met together and were taught the scriptures. (Acts 11:20; Acts 11:26) Those who believed in Christ probably made certain positive changes in their lives. Others noticed this and gave them the name. It was the unbelievers who saw something different and special about this group of people, then called them Christians.

I think today we have cheapened the definition of Christian a bit. Society loosely defines people as Christians just because they attend church on Easter and Christmas. Webster’s defines a Christian as one who believes in Christ. On the surface this gives the impression one just needs to believe Christ existed. True Christians know better. Those who truly believe in Christ do much more than attend church twice a year. They realize they have been saved by Christ. They stand for the same principles Christ preached about. They sometimes suffer for righteousness’s sake. They serve a living Christ. They love God and their neighbors. They hunger after God’s Word. The list goes on and on.

Consider this… What about us? Do we embrace Christ’s teachings? Do we honor Him with our lives? Do others identify us with Christ – not because we are preaching and cramming Christ down their throats, but by how we live our lives? They should. After all, it is our family name.

One final thought…

Our name is our identity.

Choose to Pray for More Love in Your Life

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


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

The love chapter is found in 1 Corinthians 13 and describes in detail exactly what true love looks like: Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, trusts, and hopes.

That’s a lot to ask of a person and almost impossible to attain without God’s help. Therefore, it would be wise to pray about those attributes found lacking in our lives. Simple prayers like the following might be helpful.

  • Since love is patient, Lord, help me to be quick to listen, hesitant to criticize, and eager to encourage. Help me always remember Your patience with me and pass it on to others.
  • Since love is kind, Lord, help my words and actions to be gentle and kind.
  • Since love does not envy or boast and is not proud, Lord, help me have a humble heart and see the good in others.
  • Since love is not rude or self-seeking, Lord, help me be respectful to everyone and consider their needs.
  • Since love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs, Lord, help me not to hold grudges and forgive others as You have forgiven me.
  • Since love does not delight in evil and rejoices in truth, Lord, show me how to make a difference in the world by helping the helpless and defending the defenseless.
  • Since love always protects and trusts, Lord, help me be accepting and warm to others – a refuge for those who need one.
  • Since love always perseveres, Lord, help my heart continually be full of love for You and others.

Consider this… The world would have us believe that true love is a subconscious state of euphoria – rendering us helpless, making hearts beat faster, and casting a spell. Euphoric conditions rarely last. What will we do when euphoria fades and reality sets in?

One final thought          

Love is not somewhere we fall; love is something we do.

Choose to Appreciate Freedom

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


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

I love the Fourth of July. I love the barbeques and I love the fireworks. However, I sometimes wonder if I truly appreciate the freedom that makes this celebration possible. For freedom is not really free. As our forefathers found out, freedom has a price and sometimes requires great sacrifice.

Signing the Declaration of Independence was more than just writing a “John Hancock” on a piece of paper. Those men had courage. From the moment they signed their names, they became traitors in the eyes of the British. We romanticize that signers like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson became future presidents, and Benjamin Franklin’s wit and wisdom wowed the world, but most did not fare quite as well. They sacrificed a lot for our freedom.

Did you know that the British considered John Hancock and Sam Adams criminals and placed a price on their heads? The British chased Thomas McKean, George Reed, and William Hooper like foxes. They had to move their families from town to town to escape being captured. Ned (Edward) Rutledge, the youngest signer, and Thomas Hayward Jr. became prisoners of war. Richard Stockton was captured, tortured, and killed. James Otis was beaten by the British and left mentally deranged.

William Floyd, Lyman Hall, George Clymer, and Lewis Morris had their homes plundered and destroyed. While “Honest John” Hart was away, his wife died during an attack on their home. His children had to flee to neighbors for refuge. Francis Lewis had his Long Island mansion destroyed. His wife was imprisoned and tortured. The Revolutionary War swept away his fortune.

War costs money so many, other fortunes were lost, too. Lewis Morris was a wealthy merchant in Philadelphia. His home and business were destroyed. He ended up in debtor’s prison. Thomas Nelson died, leaving his family deeply in debt.

John Morton of Pennsylvania had all of his friends (mostly Quakers) turn against him. These stories could go on and on. The trials of all 56 men are too numerous to mention. They did more than sign a historic document; they sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Someone else sacrificed His life for our freedom. His name is Jesus Christ. He was rich and, for us, he became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). He died to give us freedom from sin (Romans 6:18, 22) and freedom from bondage (Galatians 5:1). He gave us the free gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17) and the free gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8). Through His death we have free justification (Romans 3:24). This list could go on and on as well.

Consider this… When Fourth of July rolls around, think about those who gave up much so we might have freedom – and think about Christ whose sacrifice allows us to truly enjoy the freedoms we have.

One final thought…

Freedom is not free. Someone always pays a price.

Choose to Accept What You Cannot Change

Barbara | June 24, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

I have a phrase for helping me to accept what I cannot change: “It is what it is!”

Say you are seated in a restaurant, they bring the menu, and you notice there are no prices. You are too embarrassed to ask what the items cost or leave, so you order. When the bill comes – “it is what it is” – and you pay it, but the tip may be a little low.

Say you are traveling and have car trouble in a remote town. There is only one lone gas station and you need your car fixed. When the bill comes – “it is what it is” – so you just  to pay it.


Life is full of what I like to call “it is what it is” situations. Some are inconveniences such as: Your child gets sick at school and you must leave the big meeting you planned to  to so you can pick him up. You have a really, really bad hair day. Your car won’t start and you are late. You get lost. Men forget to shave. Women get a run in their pantyhose. “It is what it is” – so you deal with the situation.

Some circumstances are just soooo unfair: The other person gets the promotion. A debilitating illness strikes a loved one. Your girlfriend breaks up with you. Someone gossips about you. You do the work; your supervisor takes the credit. “It is what it is” – so you cope.

Other things may be unfair but you get the benefit: You get the promotion when the other guy should have gotten it. You survive the accident when you should have died. The cop didn’t give you a ticket even though you were speeding. “It is what it is” – so you rejoice!

You can’t control life, but with God’s help you can control your reaction to it. That’s what the first part of the serenity prayer is talking about.

            “GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”

This serenity is not indifference to what we are going through. The prayer goes on to ask God for “courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  This serenity is a peace that can only come from God. It passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7) We don’t need to fret or worry. We know God is with us. This kind of peace or serenity can only come through a relationship with God.

Much of life is a mystery. We don’t know what will come next all the time. It is what it is! I think God planned it that way. If we knew everything, we wouldn’t need faith. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. It is what it is! Fortunately, we know Who holds tomorrow. And God will see us through whatever lies ahead, if we let Him.

Consider this… The great “I AM” (John 8:58) can help us make it through any “it is what it is” situations that come along in our lives!

One final thought…

Sometimes good things may fall apart so better things can fall together.


 The Serenity Prayer

GOD, grant me the serenity

to accept the things

I cannot change,

Courage to change the

things I can, and the

wisdom to know the difference.


Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardship as the

pathway to peace.

Taking, as He did, this

sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it.

Trusting that He will make

all things right if I

surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy

in this life, and supremely

happy with Him forever in

the next. Amen

Reinhold Neibuhr-1926

Choose to Build a Strong Foundation

Barbara | June 17, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

In December 2003, a big earthquake hit central California. It was the biggest earthquake to hit the area since 1952 and one of the most widely felt in California history. The jolt stemmed from a fault line near San Simeon where the famed Hearst Castle is located. Buildings as far away as San Francisco swayed and many in nearby Paso Robles collapsed including their historic Clock Tower, causing two deaths. Paso Robles was 24 miles from the epicenter. Oddly enough Hearst Castle, which was only 11 miles from the epicenter, sustained very little damage. One might ask, “Why?”

The answer could be because of Julia Morgan who designed the famed Hearst Castle. She was a woman way ahead of her time. Born in San Francisco, Morgan was the only woman to complete a civil engineering degree from the University of California in 1872. While other ladies dreamed of marriage and babies, Morgan dreamed of building the houses they would live in. She traveled to Paris to study architecture but was refused admission for two years because she was a woman. They eventually were forced to accept her after she won almost every prestigious architecture competition in Europe.

After returning to San Francisco, she opened her “Julia Morgan: Architect” office and never lacked for business. In 1919, William Randolph Hearst chose Julia Morgan to design the “ranch,” his affectionate term for Hearst Castle, in central California’s sleepy hamlet of San Simeon. Morgan’s engineering and architectural background as well as her experience using reinforced concrete made her well suited for the enormous task. She spent the next 25 years working closely with Hearst on every detail of the Castle. They discussed everything from structure design to purchasing and placing antiques and works of art – even which vacuum cleaner to buy.  

Rumors would have us believe that Hearst plucked Julia from obscurity and took a chance by giving her this golden opportunity but not so. Julia Morgan had a 20 year, well established career by the time she met him. Some Hearst Castle tour guides say that Morgan was chosen because her buildings withstood the 1906 earthquake. That is not documented but may be closer to the truth. In any case, her Hearst Castle withstood the 2003 earthquake which adds to her legacy.

Let’s contrast that to the collapse of the 111-year-old historic Clock Tower of Paso Robles, which was renovated just 12 years before the 2003 earthquake. Unfortunately, during the renovation no one took the time, effort, or expense to reinforced it so it would withstand an earthquake, even though Paso Robles is located near a well-known fault zone.

It reminds me of the old biblical parable about the wise man and foolish man. (Matthew 7:24-27) The foolish man built his house on the sand and when the rains came, it collapsed. The wise man built his house on the rock and when the rains came, it stood firm. A good foundation can make all the difference in the world. Do we have one? God makes a mighty good foundation. In fact, Matthew 7:24 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Consider this… If we want to withstand the earthquakes in life, we need a good, spiritual foundation.

One final thought…

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. It will eventually collapse.