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Choose to Understand Guilt

October 13, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

Jesus came so we could have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). This is not referring to health and wealth. It’s telling us that Jesus came to give us eternal life, plus we have an even more abundant life because while here on earth, Jesus resides in us. We have a relationship with Him.

Unfortunately, there are factors wanting to hinder that relationship. The Bible warns that there are thieves trying kill, destroy, and steal that relationship with Jesus from us (John 10:10). I think one of those thieves is false guilt.

I like to classify guilt into two categories: real guilt and false guilt.

For the Christian, real guilt comes from going against our conscience. We want our conscience in agreement with God’s standard. Then it can let us know when we’ve blown it or sinned. At these times, it is only natural to feel remorse for what we’ve done. Real guilt helps us acknowledge when we’ve done something wrong, but it doesn’t condemn us to a life sentence of punishment, like Satan would have us believe (John 3:17; Romans 8 1-2). We bring these mistakes before God and He forgives us (Ephesians 1:7; Psalm 32:1-2). He remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:14).

However, false guilt is different. False guilt comes from us not living up to our own standard of righteousness, not God’s. We might feel guilty because we ate fast food, don’t pray enough, don’t study our Bibles enough, aren’t involved at church, need to lose weight, don’t serve at the homeless shelter, or haven’t called our parents in a week. These feelings are painful, but it’s not real guilt, which is the result of not living up to God’s standards. It’s false guilt trying to masquerade itself as real guilt because these are our own self-imposed standards.

For example, let’s say we feel guilty because we don’t study our Bibles enough every day. How much time does God say we should spend on personal Bible study every day? Well, He doesn’t really say, does He? There are biblical principles to study God’s Word but God gives us the freedom to decide how often and how long. We might want to set a standard of so much Bible study a day, but we have to realize this is our standard, not God’s. So there should be no real guilt connected to it if we fall short of our own expectation. This would be false guilt because we haven’t done anything wrong.

Another example might be feeling guilty because we didn’t give enough in the offering basket last week. How much money does God say we should give as an offering each week? Well, He doesn’t really say, does He? The Old Testament had a specific tithing command but the New Testament does not. However, there is a biblical principle of giving to God and generously. However, we have the freedom to decide how much, to whom, and so on. We might want to give more than ten percent. We aren’t limited in what we do in this area. Actually the amount we give is not as important as how we give it anyway – from the heart. We have the freedom to decide how much.

The Old Covenant was all about lists of “dos and don’ts.” The New Covenant is about Jesus living His resurrected life in us. We do not earn salvation; it is a free gift.

Consider this… The Bible tells us that problems occurred when Christians wanted to impose the Old Testament practice of circumcision on new Gentile converts. They tried to make the Gentiles feel like they weren’t Christians unless they got circumcised. Major guilt trip! Paul had to set them straight (Galatians 5:2). Is circumcision wrong? Of course not! But it was not and is not necessary for salvation.

In so many areas of our lives, God gives us the freedom to decide, using biblical principles as guides – without condemnation. Someone else might try to put us on a guilt trip because we don’t want to teach Sunday School, serve on the PTA, or run in a marathon for cancer, but God does not. There is freedom in Christ. We can’t do everything, so God gave us the freedom to prayerfully decide what to do and what not to do, without feeling guilty.

One final thought… Get over the “not doing enough” syndrome. We will never be able to “do enough!” If we could, we wouldn’t need God.

 

 


Choose to Actively Wait on God

October 6, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

There are times in life when we pray and feel God responds instantly. Then there are other times we try to lift our prayers to heaven and feel they get no farther than the ceiling. But that’s okay. Even though we may feel like our prayers aren’t going high enough, they are – because God is always with us. So God always hears our prayers and always answers.

Sometimes He says “yes” and sometimes “no” and sometimes the answer is to “wait awhile.” If the answer is “yes,” we break out into our happy dance. If it’s “no,” we may be disappointed but we adjust. However, I think “wait awhile” can be the most difficult to deal with. No one today wants to wait for anything. We are always in a hurry and we want what we want when we want it. Once I was in such a hurry, I ordered fast food at a drive-through and drove off without my burger.

Today we don’t have to wait for much at all. We can get money when banks are closed through ATMs. If we don’t have money to buy something, we don’t need to wait until we save the money to get it because we have credit cards. We don’t have to wait until we get home for a phone message because our cell phones are always with us. We don’t have to email and wait for a response because we can text. We don’t like to wait. Yet, many time God makes us wait.

The reason might be that what we learn by waiting on God can be just as important as what we are waiting for. If deliverance from a dire situation comes too quickly, we can consider it coincidence, good timing, or the result of our own ability. When we have to wait for something, we usually appreciate it a little more. Waiting is a “building block” of life. It builds our character, builds our patience, and builds our dependency on God.

Many in the Bible had to wait. Abraham and Sarah waited for Isaac’s birth. Noah waited for the flood. Moses waited to get out of the wilderness. Joseph waited to get out of prison. Job waited for deliverance. David waited to become king. We are now waiting for Christ’s return.

Before Christ ascended into the clouds, He told the apostles to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. He said to “tarry until” they were endued with it. Tarry is just another word for wait. God could have had the Holy Spirit given to them instantly, but He chose to have them wait (Acts 1:1-5). They walked all day to get to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives (Acts 4:12). They all went into an upper room – along with other followers – 120 in total (Acts 4:13-15). All waited for the promised Holy Spirit.

While they were waiting, they spent their time wisely. They prayed (Acts 4:14). They studied the Scriptures (Acts 4:15-20). They continued God’s work (Acts 4:21-26). They were not idle.

Isaiah 40:31 tells us what happens to those who wait on the Lord. God renews their strength. They run but don’t get weary. They walk and don’t get faint. This shows they must be active. They are moving – running and walking – not just sitting around moping. Waiting on God does not mean sitting around doing nothing, sulking, and feeling sorry for ourselves. Waiting is doing what we are supposed to do: praying, studying, and doing God’s will (Psalm 37:34). Waiting on God builds patience, trust, and faith.

This waiting not only applies to our lives but the lives of others we are praying for. Instead of waiting for God to deliver them, sometimes we want to deliver them ourselves. Oswald Chambers puts it this way: “Are we playing the role of amateur providence, trying to play God’s role in the lives of others? Are we so noisy in our instruction of other people that God cannot get near them? We must learn to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert.”

Consider this…Not only are we waiting on God, we are waiting with God. He is with us every step of the way. We are not alone in our wait. While we wait, we need to stay focused on God so we don’t grow weary (Galatians 6:9). It’s our relationship with Him that gives us strength and courage (Psalm 61:1).

One final thought… I love what Psalm 62:1 says. “Truly my soul waits on God: from Him comes my salvation.”

 


Choose Not to Overcommit

September 29, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

Remember the old adage that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. This sounds great, unless we happen to be the busy people getting all that “to do” stuff dumped on us. Let’s talk a little about overcommitting – a subject I happen to know a lot about from personal experience.

Some of us think we can do everything. We think we can fix every situation. We think no one can do it (whatever “it” is) better than us. We overcommit to our jobs, our church, our families, our friends, various organizations, our children’s school, and so on. While these are all worthy causes, they can add hours of work and stress to our already busy lives. In addition to these worthy causes, we still have to do our daily responsibilities such as grocery shop, cook meals, wash and dry laundry, build relationships with our spouse and children, visit ailing parents, pay the bills, walk the dog, and feed the cat.

Did you know that overcommitting can lead to health problems, stress, depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness? Because we can only do so much, we get overwhelmed. We are in danger of a “crash and burn” scenario. Then we are no good to anyone, especially ourselves.

Whose fault is it when we overcommit? Ours! We are not victims; we are the product of our poor choices. We have to make hard decisions about how we use our time and energy. Sometimes it’s difficult to know the difference between a need and a want. If we place needs before wants, we can sometimes weed out a lot of unnecessary commitments.

Some of us overcommit because we don’t know how to say no. We are people pleasers and afraid of disappointing others. Believe it or not, saying no won’t kill us. We can say something like, “No thank you. I’m very flattered that you asked me, but I’m already overcommitted at this time. However, I’ll be sure to pray that you find the right person to do this.” Or if we think we might be able to do it, don’t say yes too quickly. Say, “Can I pray about his, check my calendar, and get back to you?”

Some of us think only we can do certain things. Believe it or not, others can do it, too. It may not be done as well as we could do it, but it will get done. And guess what? Not every project needs to be done.

Consider this example in Exodus 18… After Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they still had lots of hardships and problems. Many days all Moses had time to do was sit, listen to people, and make judgments about their situations – from morning to night. When Moses’ father-in-law Jethro saw this, he said, “What are you doing and why are you doing it all alone?”

Moses answered, “When the people have difficulties, they come to me, and I judge between one and another, and make known the statutes of God.”

Jethro basically replied, “Well, this is good, but it’s too much for you. You’re killing yourself, son! Teach these people the statutes, choose men of truth who fear God and place them to be rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Then only problems they can’t solve will come to you.”

WOW! What a concept! It was a lightbulb moment for Moses and he followed Jethro’s advice. So even Moses, God’s chosen and anointed one, had to learn a lesson about overcommitment.

We can’t do everything we would like to do, so we shouldn’t try. There is only so much time in a day. We must learn to balance our time and energy. It’s better to do a few things well than a lot of things mediocre.

One final thought…Remember that when you say yes to some things, you have to say no to others.

 

 

 

 


Choose to Use Common Sense

September 22, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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).