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Choose to Be a Blessing to Others

February 3, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

Blessings are mentioned specifically over 400 times throughout the Bible and implied many more. No wonder Christians use the term freely in their walk with God. Prayers are filled with asking God to bless our children, grandchildren, spouses, parents, relatives, friends, co-workers and so on. We sign our cards with “God bless” and use phrases like “Have a blessed day.” There is no better word to describe God’s goodness towards us and hopefully we thank him daily for our blessings. However, I think it’s also important that we be a blessing to others.

When God told Abraham to leave his country, God told him what he would do. “I will make you a great nation. I will bless you. I will make you a great name and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1, 2) The NLT says, “…and you will be a blessing to others.” I meditate on that scripture a lot. Am I a blessing to others?

We know it is more blessed to give than receive. (Acts 20:35) We know that we should share our blessings with others. (Matthew 10:37) But I think being a blessing to others goes deeper than that. A blessing is something conducive to happiness, good fortune, or a godsend. Do people feel better or blessed just being around us? Or would they rather hang out with someone with a brighter outlook on life?

As Christians we are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14-16) Our job is not to solve the world’s problems, but show forth a little light in the darkness. Did you know that light travels faster than sound? Does our very presence light up the world of those we meet? Or do we light up a room and make everyone happy by leaving, which is just another way of asking, “Are we a blessing to others?”

Being a blessing to others is not contingent on everything going right in our lives. When Paul and Silas were imprisoned they chose not to curse their situation. They still praised God. Their example blessed the other prisoners and the prison guards. (Acts 16:25-31) Sometimes our actions during times of adversity can bless others and we won’t even know it. If we yield to God, he can do miraculous things through us that we are totally unaware of.

Consider this… We really don’t know how many lives we touch. It is said that one person can influence up to 10,000 people in a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be a blessing to each and every one of them in some small way?  It could happen. We just need to ask. “Lord, please make me a blessing to others!”

One final thought… The world would be a better place if we adopted John Wesley’s philosophy.

Do all the good you can

By all the means you can

In all the ways you can

At all the times you can

To all the people you can

As long as ever you can


Choose Not to Rely on Your Emotions

January 27, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices Change Our Lives

By Barbara Dahlgren

Often our feelings and emotions are substituted for faith. Deep and satisfying experiences are part of the Christian life, but not the essence of it. Trials, conflicts, battles, and problems are encountered along the way as well. These are part of our journey. Regardless of our feelings, we need to rely on the indwelling of Christ in our hearts and walk in obedience to Him. This is where many Christians get into trouble. They try to walk by feelings not by faith. So we must learn to trust God’s Word and His power more than we trust our feelings and experiences.

If we all followed our feelings, it would be a scary world, indeed! Feelings are ever changing. One day we are up and the next we are down. Feelings are unpredictable and unreliable. Some people say, “If it feels good, do it.” Afterwards, those same people might say, “Boy, I wish I hadn’t done that!” What feels good one day, may feel horrible the next. Our feelings can be as fickle as we are. Feelings should not rule our lives.

The Bible says we can be angry, but do not have to sin. (Ephesians 4:26) In other words, we should control our emotions, instead of letting our emotions control us. Cain did something horrible when he couldn’t control his feelings. He killed his brother Abel. Cain did not know how to deal with his feelings of jealousy, resentment, and inadequacy. Following our feelings can sometimes get us into trouble.

We need to learn to make decisions that are not based on feelings. We must make right choices regardless of how we feel. God can help us do this. He won’t do it for us, but He will guide us in the right direction through prayer, meditation, and reading His word. We need to choose to follow godly principles, instead of human nature.

We have to listen to what God says, not what people say. People want to debate scripture based on how they feel. Truth is truth, regardless of how we feel. People might say, “Follow your heart!” There may be some truth there, but remember that God warns us that sometimes our hearts can be deceitful and lead us in the wrong direction. (Jeremiah 17:9, Proverbs 28:26) Feelings can cloud issues, because feelings are not facts. Just because we feel something, does not make it true.

Believe it or not, our feelings are important to God. Jesus felt deeply about things. He wept. (John 11:35) God keeps track of our sorrows and tears. (Psalm 56:8) He came for the brokenhearted. (Luke 4:17) He rejoices with us. (Zephaniah 3:17)

God created feelings and expects them to be an outlet for what happens in our lives. However, He never intended them to be a guide for what is right or wrong. It’s unwise to base decisions totally on how we feel. We might feel attracted to someone, but if that someone is already married, better look for someone else.

Sometimes we must fight our feelings or they will lead us in the wrong direction. Feelings of desire can lead to adultery. Feelings of jealousy can destroy relationships. Feelings of hatred can cause death. Feelings of success can lead to being self-centered.

Consider this… Our feelings are uncertain and constantly changing, like shifting sand. However, Jesus is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) So perhaps we should let Him rule our lives, instead of our emotions. If we focus on Jesus, the emotional roller coaster ride of life will not get out of control. (Hebrews 12:2)

One final thought… We don’t want to be at the mercy of our emotions. It’s much better to be at the mercy of God.


Choose to Be a Well Balanced Christian

January 20, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

Balance is a part of our daily lives. We want to eat a balanced diet, send our kids to schools with a balanced curriculum, and balance our check books. Balance holds us steady and allows us to cope with life. It keeps us healthy and happy.

Without balance we tend to go to extremes leading to terrible results. If we eat, eat, eat too many carbs, we get fat. If we work, work, work without rest, we get sick. If we spend, spend, spend without thought, we go bankrupt.

Unfortunately, we all have a tendency to be unbalanced. We think if a little of something is good then a lot must be better. That is not always true. Prescription drugs, medicinal herbs, or even trace elements might be helpful in moderation but too much could lead to illness or even death.

Just as there should be balance in our physical lives, there should be balance in our Christian lives as well. Zealous Christians don’t always understand this and have difficulty seeing the bigger picture.

This was an area of growth for Peter. At first Peter did not want Christ to wash his feet, until Christ explained, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.” Then Peter said, “Wash not only my feet but my hands and head, too.” (John 13:6-11) Peter also told Christ he would never deny Him, but he did. (Matthew 26:35, 69-75) Christ knew Peter didn’t fully understand certain things. Peter tended to be a bit of an extremist…and so do we.

After Peter grew in grace and knowledge, his statements became more balanced.

Unbalanced Christians go to extremes and miss the mark. For example, some devote their lives to diligent theological study and can debate doctrine with the most learned. However, they neglect to have an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus and can’t apply scriptures to their daily lives. Others do just the opposite. They think all they need to do is pray, but they don’t study the Bible so they are swayed by every new idea that comes along. (Ephesians 4:14) They don’t know what they stand for.

Consider this… Balance does not mean compromising beliefs or being unsure of your faith, nor does it mean shoving spiritual understanding down someone’s throat with clever arguments.

Balanced Christians know how to combine Bible study with a Christ centered relationship so they can live life to the fullest. They know how to trust God. They know the Christian life isn’t an either/or scenario. They realize we need intellect and emotion, head and heart, form and freedom, plus grace and knowledge. (2 Peter 3:18)

Leading a balanced Christian life is important. Without balance, we fall – physically and spiritually.

One final thought… The key to keeping good balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.


Choose to Have a Good Perspective

January 13, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

by Barbara Dahlgren

Perspective or how we see things determines how we live our lives or react in any given circumstance.

Without good perspective, even everyday living can become a burden. Each day we have deadlines to meet, bills to pay, and appointments to keep. We have houses and cars to maintain. We have relationships with spouses, kids, parents, siblings, and friends to nourish. Our lives are full of stress, stress, and more stress. Plus, we have those unexpected inconveniences which can be time consuming and throw us “off our game.” It’s overwhelming. When we get overwhelmed, it’s hard to discern the difference between an inconvenience and a tragedy. This is why perspective is so important.

Do we muddle through life or look for God in all our circumstances? Do we view others as an inconvenience or as children of God? Do we see problems or possibilities? Do we focus on conflicts or do we focus on Jesus? Do we make mountains out of molehills or molehills out of mountains? Do we discern what is really important or stay in a perpetual state of crisis management? We must focus on Christ and ask God for His peace if we are to experience joy in our daily lives.

Keeping good perspective helps us evaluate our circumstances. A flat tire, a snoring spouse, a missed appointment, a late airplane, a lost game, the guy who cuts us off in traffic, the gossipy co-worker, a criticism, the slow Internet connection, the stock market being down, or our weight being up is not as big a deal as a loved one dying or finding out we have cancer.

Of course God can take care of even the direst of situations but we could save ourselves a lot of turmoil and grief if we didn’t act like a bad hair day is the end of the world.

Consider this… a bad day is not a bad life. Before we over react, we might want to ask ourselves if it what we are experiencing will really even matter to us five years from now, much less to anyone else.

Keep a healthy perspective. Don’t look down at the ground; look up to Christ. With Christ in our lives all is not lost! Most times it’s not as bad as we think! As Scarlet O’Hara would say, “Tomorrow is another day!” Let’s get a good night’s sleep and wake up with the knowledge that God loves us! Always keep this perspective in mind – with God in our lives, each day and every tomorrow can be filled peace and joy.

One final thought…

Two people can look at the same thing and see something different. Be the person with the good perspective. Then you will be able to see more clearly.

 


The Choice Is Yours

January 6, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Choices change our lives…

By Barbara Dahlgren

Each New Year we make resolutions to help us change our lives for the better. Although we usually have every intention of keeping them, all too soon they are abandoned because change is hard. Most of us want changes to instantly happen without any effort on our part. We think if we write them down they will miraculously come to pass. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

That’s why for the past few years I’ve resolved not to make resolutions, but to focus on daily choices instead. So my blogs have been devoted to choices and will be until I exhaust my idea file about choices. Hmmm??? Not sure when that will be, but one things for sure, we will never exhaust our need to make choices. We face them daily.

Some choices are proactive and some are a little more passive, but just as important. In other words, what we choose not to do is as important as what we choose to do. On the surface, consciously “choosing not” to do something may seem complacent, perfunctory, or lazy. I assure you that it is not any of these things. In fact, what we “choose not” to do can take a great deal of thought and self-control, plus save us a lot of present and future trouble. Ultimately, what we choose to do or not do greatly impacts our lives and the lives of those around us.

Here are some givens in life: God has forgiven us for our sins. Nothing we can do will ever earn us salvation because it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8) Nothing we can do will make God love us anymore than He already does.

However, even though God gives us salvation, grace, and love, He does not automatically give us good habits or moral character. Those qualities are determined by the choices we make.

Right choices bring peace of mind; bad choices bring difficulty.

God does not need to zap us when we do something wrong, because wrong choices bring their own penalties. When we make wrong choices, we punish ourselves. It’s the cause and effect principle. What we sow, we reap. The seeds we sow today determine the harvest we reap tomorrow. Although God always forgives us when we make poor choices, the effects remain and we have to deal with and live with them. Choices set off a chain of events which shape our lives and sometimes the lives of those around us.

While it is that true time and chance happen, many of our problems could be avoided if we trained ourselves to make better choices. A lot of trials are brought on because of our poor choices; other trials may not be our fault, but still we must choose how to respond to them. So there is always an element of choice in everything we do.

Consider this… The Bible is full of exhortations encouraging us to walk in the way of the Lord. As we read the Bible we can listen for God’s voice whispering to us, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) God exhorts us to do this or don’t do that, but the choice is ours.

Some choice quotes about choices…

“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.” ~Ken Levine, video game designer and author

“It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities.” ~J.K. Rowling, author

“When it snows you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels.” ~Anonymous

“Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways.” ~Proverbs 3:31

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” ~Roy Disney, co-founder of Walt Disney Productions

 

 


Choose to Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

December 30, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

 

As one year closes and another begins, we can reflect on what’s passed and look forward to what lies ahead. A year gone by is usually filled with good and bad. We can learn from the bad and move on. But let’s not forget to think about the good things that happened. In fact, the Bible encourages us to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable… If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”

How can we be sure our next year will be better than the last? We can’t – not really. But we can be sure that we can make it through if we stay focused.

Proverbs 4:25-27 (NIV) tells us, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” To go one step further, we need to be looking to God. Only He has the power to save us. (Isaiah 45:22) We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2) We lose power, hope, and purpose when we don’t focus on the right things.

We will all face turmoil and trials in life. However, we can’t afford to let problems block our focus. Think of this biblical example from 2 Chronicles 20…

Jehoshaphat’s kingdom of Judah was being threatened by the armies of many nations like Ammon and Moab who joined together to annihilate Judah. These huge armies were strong and surrounded Judah. There seemed to be no chance of survival. So people from every town came together to seek help from the Lord.

The men, their wives, and children stood in the courtyard of the temple and Jehoshaphat prayed a heartfelt prayer extolling God’s greatness and acknowledging Judah’s lack of power to withstand the inevitable attack. It ended with, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)

God told the people not to be afraid or discouraged. He told them to face the enemy and stand firm. They would not have to fight this battle because it was the Lord’s. The people fell down in worship to God.

Early the next morning, Jehoshaphat encouraged the people to have faith in the Lord. As they headed off to battle, he appointed men to lead the way by singing and praising God. “Give thanks to the Lord. His love endures forever.” As they sang, a miraculous thing happened. These armies began to attack one another instead of Judah. By the time Judah got to the battleground, they saw only the dead bodies of their enemies.

Consider this… When life gets overwhelming, hard decisions need to be made, or the enemy is attacking, stay focused. Keep your eyes on Jesus and pray, “Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on you.” Read Scriptures. Thank God for what He’s already done in your life. Sing praises. Pray, pray, pray: “Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.”

With Jesus in our lives, we are never alone or forsaken. (Hebrews 13:5-6) I don’t know what this next year will hold for us, but I do know we can face anything if we keep our eyes on Jesus.

One final thought… May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!

 

 


Choose to Shine a Light

December 23, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

When I think about the birth of Christ, I think of light. A star shone bright casting a light to guide the wise men to where Christ was born. Jesus, Himself, will later tell us, “I have come into the world as a Light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Jesus is referred to in Scripture many times as the Light. Jesus, the Light, came to the world, but men loved darkness instead of the Light. (John 3:19-21) As Christians we should love the Light, not darkness.

The contrast of light and darkness is often metaphorically used in the Bible to contrast good with evil. There is so much evil and darkness in the world that it’s easy for us to get discouraged. Yet, most would agree that it is “better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

That familiar saying was first spoken in public in 1961 by Peter Benenson, the British lawyer who founded Amnesty International. A candle encircled with barbed wire became the society’s emblem. Paul said something similar when he told us to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” He goes on to reveal what this armor of light is: “Put on the Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:12-14)

Jesus living His life in us makes us a light in the world as well. Our lights should not be hidden. People don’t light a lamp and put it under a bowl so no one can see it. Instead they put it on a stand so it will give light to everyone in the house. We are encouraged to let our lights shine before others, that they may see our good deeds which glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

We should never underestimate the ability of our light to influence the world for good. Impacting just one person with the light of Christ can make a big difference. Unfortunately, many would rather curse the darkness than shine their lights. Some would prefer to condemn others rather than share God’s love and grace.

We should never let the darkness in the world keep us from shining a light, no matter how small we may think it is. Jesus tells us that darkness cannot overcome light. (John 1:5) Although we might feel like a small candle in a vast darkness, even a small candle can benefit others. It offers light and warmth. Even the small ways we reflect the light of Jesus can benefit others.

We are God’s children – children of light. (1 Thessalonians 5:5) Everything we do can bring light to others. (Colossians 4:5-6) Being a good example shines a light. The testimony we share shines a light. The scripture we quote shines a light. The encouragement we give shines a light. The love we show others shines a light. We are told to let our light shine before others. (Matthew 5:16)

Consider this… Sometimes we forget that we were all once in darkness, needing light. Now we are children of light. (Ephesians 5:8) This would not have been possible without the birth of Christ – the Light coming into the world.

One final thought…

“How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

~William Shakespeare
 


Choose to Look Beneath the Surface

December 16, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

I guess some idioms will soon be obsolete. Those who grow up reading books on Kindles may one day not even know what judging a book by its cover means. Perhaps a better way to say it would be to look beneath the surface. In other words, we shouldn’t judge one’s quality, talent, or character just by looking at their outward appearance.

Britain’s Got Talent, the British counterpart to our American Idol, found that out when a frumpy-looking 48-year-old unemployed volunteer decided to try out for the television show a few years ago. The audience was skeptical and judges rolled their eyes until Susan Boyle sang her inspiring rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. A standing ovation followed and so did a new career.

Our human tendency is to make evaluations based on outward appearances. We might think a man is poor because he wears raggedy clothes and drives an old car, but he could be a millionaire. Someone might look wealthy and be a big spender, but he may have maxed-out credit cards and a house in foreclosure.

In today’s superficial world, people tend to judge by appearance. We make wrong assumptions when we judge someone’s character by what appears on the surface. Meekness is not weakness. Sociability is not spirituality. Loquaciousness is not intellect. Using wisdom is not cowardice. Having biblical knowledge does not mean one is close to God.

The scribes and Pharisees appeared spiritual on the surface, yet they judged Jesus and His disciples’ religiosity because they saw them eating without washing their hands. That was a definite no-no against their purity laws which were a big deal at the time. These laws were what the religious hierarchy used to determine one’s devotion to God. (Mark 7:1-8) Some thought Jesus was a glutton and drunkard because he ate and drank with sinners. (Luke 7:34) They didn’t know they were criticizing the very Son of God.

Samuel would have chosen Jesse’s first born son Eliab to replace King Saul. After all, he was tall, handsome, and athletic. When Samuel saw him he said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here.” (1 Samuel 16:6, 7) But God refused him because God looks on the heart, not the outward appearance. So a lowly shepherd boy name David was chosen instead.

When God wanted someone to deliver the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, He did not choose an eloquent speaker. He chose Moses who was not what you would call dynamic. In fact, he was slow of speech; perhaps he even stuttered. (Exodus 4:10) Yet he was a man of God. (Deuteronomy 33:1)

Consider this… Making snap judgments based on appearances can lead to prejudice, segregation, and stereotyping. Yet, it is easier to judge quickly than to take the time to get to know people.

Only through knowing people can we determine how they think or feel and where their hearts are. Only by looking beyond the surface can we discover those hidden qualities, talents, or character traits worth finding.

One final thought… Jumping to conclusions about someone based on outward appearance can have you leaping in the wrong direction.

 


Choose to Be Faithful

December 9, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

Galatians 5:22 tells us that faithfulness is a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. The Greek word for faithfulness here “pistos” means to be trusted, reliable, believing, firmly persuaded, and having deep conviction. Other meanings would be standing fast, steadfast, loyal, devoted, trustworthy, dependable, resolute, and honest. It also speaks of endurance and a firmness of purpose that supersedes a just “grin and bear it” attitude when the living gets tough.

“Pistos” is a powerful little word. It’s a very positive, active attribute of character and much needed in today’s flippant, irresponsible world.

God sets the example in faithfulness. He is the source and standard of faithfulness which He has demonstrated in His dealings with the human race. The great old hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness comes to mind. We can count on God to be faithful. He does not change. He doesn’t get tired, weary, or fed up with the passing of time. He is not slack concerning His promises. (2 Peter 3:9) That’s why we can totally trust Him.

How many of us have trusted medicine but found it didn’t solve our ills, investors but found they were crooks, spouses but found out they committed adultery, evangelists but found they were preaching one way and living another, or politicians but found out they lied? It’s a disillusioning world. Yet, God is always faithful! He is the Rock of a foundation upon which we can build our lives.

Faithfulness conveys the concept that someone will be there when needed. God tells us He will always be there for us. He will never leave or forsake us. What about us? Are we faithful to God and to others? Life is a training ground for faithfulness. Handling little things with consistency, steadiness, and faithfulness is how we learn to be faithful in all things.

When Pompeii was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, archaeologists discovered many people buried in different positions, in places they ran for safety such as attic chambers or deep vaults. However, the Roman soldier who stood as a sentinel was found standing at the gate of the city where he had been stationed with his hands still grasping his spear. There, while the earth shook beneath him and floods of ashes and cinders overwhelmed him, he stood. He did not abandon his post even when he was engulfed by the hot, molten rock.  There he was unearthed after a 1000 years.

The Parable of the Bags of Gold teaches us that each of us has been placed on earth as a caretaker of God’s business. We have been given a portion of life and charged with the responsibility of taking care of it, increasing it, investing it, and presenting it back to God. (Matthew 24:14-30)

Consider this… Most of us are average people, not spectacular, but we can all be faithful. What have we done with what God has given us?  No one is equal in talents, but we can all be equal in our efforts to use our talents. Faithfulness is so important that God tells us “…let love and faithfulness never leave you.” We are to write them in our hearts. (Proverbs 3:3)

One final thought… God really didn’t call us to be successful. He called us to be faithful. The faithful person is dependable in all of life’s circumstances.

 


Choose to Be Rooted in Christ

December 2, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

 I love beautiful flowers but must admit I don’t have a green thumb. When someone gives me a plant, the family takes bets on how soon it will die. I’m still hanging onto a Christmas cactus my cousin gave me last year and have high hopes it will bloom in December. We’ll see??!!

However, my husband’s roses are the envy of the neighborhood. Once he had the most gorgeous climbing mandevillas. These four plants produced large pink flowers that spread across our front fence. Even strangers marveled at their beauty. Imagine our shock when we returned from a trip to find the vines cut straight across about 10 inches from the ground. The plants, roots and all, were gone.

It took us a few days to notice them missing because the flowers looked as lovely as usual. It was disheartening when we noticed our loss. Whom does one call in a situation like this? The potted plant patrol? The horticulture police? The lawn lawyer? The mandevilla militia? It was all I could do not to wish the culprits ill will. What kind of a warped person steals plants from someone’s front yard? I didn’t know whether to feel sorry for them or wish they’d get an incurable case of poison oak.

At first the flowers appeared to flourish and looked as good as ever. If you didn’t know the roots were gone, you’d have never suspected they were slowly dying. It was sad to see them one by one wilt and turn brown. The top blooms looked like they were reaching for the sun, clinging to life – but to no avail. Without the mother plants and roots, they couldn’t make it.

It reminds me of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. (NIV) Some seeds fell along the path on the wayside. Some fell on stony ground. Some fell among thorns. Some fell on good ground. (v. 3-8) These seeds represent the Word of God. (v. 18 -23) Those that fell among the rocks represent people who receive the Word with joy and gladness but the seed doesn’t really take root.

Because these believers are filled with joy, no one would ever know they aren’t really rooted in Jesus Christ. By all appearances, they look like they are flourishing. They bloom a little and, like our dying mandevillas, they look like they are growing, but without roots they are doomed to wither and die. They believe and endure for a time. However, when tempted, afflicted, persecuted, or offended, they fall away. They do not persevere.

So I guess the question is, “Where are our roots?” Are we rooted in Jesus Christ? Are we rooted in the Word of God? Are we seeking to do the will of the Father? Are we developing an intimate relationship with Him on a daily basis? Or do we just come to church every week giving the appearance we are growing and flourishing. If so, when the trials come, we won’t make it.

Consider this… If we aren’t rooted in Christ, we might make it through temptation, affliction, or persecution only to have the least little offense do us in. Those close to God cannot be uprooted. (Proverbs 12:3)

One final thought… Those rooted in Christ are like trees planted by streams of water and yield fruit in due season. (Psalm 1:3)