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Encountering trials

Posted by on May 20, 2020 in Daily walk, Help from God, James 1, Prayer Perspective | 0 comments

I cracked open my Bible today to James 1. This section jumped right out at me:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Consider it all JOY?? If you are anything like the various people I’ve been keeping up with, your life is getting hit from all sides with varying levels of agitation, piles of distraction, a suffocating sense of cabin fever, perhaps overwhelming grief or loneliness, concerns about finances and health, and the creeping helplessness of uncertainty. I could list all of the things hitting me, but your list is probably longer and more intense! HELP!

But when I gazed on that phrase, consider it all joy, it brought a smile to my face and a sense of relief to the pit of my stomach. Oh, yeah!! I remembered. God is capable of helping me through all of this!

Yup. The trials are here. We are all encountering them, big and small, piled up and weighing us down with all the typical symptoms of stress and anxiety. That means every one of us qualifies for this James 1 exhortation, and the good news is this: We will emerge on the other side of every one of these trials!

You and I may not see instant results, though. That’s OK, because the main ingredient in making it successfully through any trial that hits you (next to leaning hard on Jesus) is ENDURANCE. Perseverance. Not giving up. Knowing that this trial—and all of these trials—will be behind you at some point.

You have made it through past trials. God steadied you, covered you, assisted you…He was there with you back then; He is with you now. He is faithful. That is what you nail your endurance to—His faithfulness to you. Bind yourself to that Rock with the good sturdy rope of Truth and refuse to untie it. He will see you through every one of these tests, both great and small. He loves you.

As you hunker down in tight proximity with Him, endurance will be working on your behalf by the hand of God. Oh, so subtly, but oh, so thoroughly, endurance will have its perfect work. You will make it through Trial 1. You will make it through Trial 2. You will make it through Trial 3….and all the rest of those attacks against your peace, your health, your finances, your sanity, your loved ones, and maybe even your very life.

Most of all, though, you will have walked through this season—perhaps while feeling like a total loser—choosing to fix not only your gaze but your entire being as well on the Capable One who loves you and is willing to hold you close. As you do, my friend, you will find at the end of this onslaught of piled up trials, that you will be perfect (as opposed to destroyed) and complete, lacking nothing.

May God, the Capable One, help all of us.

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

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The winds are blowing

Posted by on May 11, 2020 in Everyday Observations | Comments Off on The winds are blowing

Today I passed by two different bird’s nests, violently spilled upon the ground. Nearby the second lay a blue egg, never to burst forth with feathered life. Instantly I realized that yesterday’s high winds had casualties: They swept away both home and offspring for more than one bird.

My mind shifted to a biblical application: During “interesting” times this one thing is of utmost importance—upon what have you been building your “home”?

Are you basing your decisions and hopes on shifting sand (or vulnerable, branching outliers of popular thought)? Or are you building your life on the solid, wind-resistant bedrock of the One who created the wind, ground, rocks, and branches?

His Word is a sanctuary in times of peace; during the storm. His Word is a living refuge of protection.

Be cautious as you build. The winds are blowing.

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

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The Parable of the Little Black Cat

Posted by on Apr 17, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on The Parable of the Little Black Cat

Most of the world has been sheltering in place for a month or so now. While in isolation, I am becoming increasingly aware of how easy it is to let life’s distractions, the media, and an urge to just numb out swallow my attention away from my first love, the Lord.

Recently, He illustrated to me how that makes Him feel. I’ve read in the Bible several times that He is a jealous God. He longs for a reciprocal intimate relationship with people; yet throughout history, humans have tended to prioritize anything but Him. And here I am, in isolation, glad that His consistent love for me will never change, but at the same time, I’ve been rather oblivious about how those lulls in my attention may affect Him.

I hope this parable helps you to see how God simply wants your friendship and love…and for you to be as attentive to Him as He is to you.

Enter Remington Emerald, aka, Remmy, a little black cat I adopted two months ago on Valentines Day. It is through a recent experience with him that I present to you

The Parable of the Little Black Cat

One day not too long ago, a little black cat was adopted by a human. This cat, who once lived in a cage in a large room filled with cages, was so thankful that he now had his own home and his own human. He had freedom now to explore and play and eat and sleep—and to love and be loved by his human.

He frequently found his human throughout the day to meow a greeting, purr at her feet, or jump into her lap to be snuggled and loved.

He also liked to look out the back door at squirrels and birds. His human thought, “This cat would like to have a platform to sit on as he looks out the window.” So she set a stool by the door.

Soon, she decided to surprise him with a special box—a fluffy platform with a toasty cubbyhole beneath—so he could be cozy and warm while looking outside.

The day arrived when the special box showed up at the little black cat’s home. He had become very familiar with his surroundings and his human by this time, so when the human set the wonderfully cushiony box by the door, he knew instantly that it was his.

Quick as a wink he dashed into the cubbyhole inside the box and curled up for a snooze. His human went about her day, and from time to time peeked into the box to check on the little cat. Yes, he was still there.

Time went by; the human saw less and less of the little black cat. She attempted to interest him in looking outside at squirrels and birds; he glimpsed disinterestedly for a second or two and then turned to slip back into the box.

The human noticed that the cat was purring less; he was less interested in sitting at her feet or jumping into her lap. The box had become the cat’s entire world.

The human moved the box to a different spot in the house. The cat simply followed and scrambled back into his fluffy cubbyhole.

When the human realized that the little cat hadn’t purred when she petted him in several days, she became concerned. “What is wrong, little cat?”

He only lifted disinterested eyes and curled up deeper in the back of the box.

The human began to feel a strange emotion: Jealousy. “The little cat loves a box more than me!” she thought. “This must not continue! I adopted this little cat for friendship. I adopted this cat to love! I must do something.”

When the cat was busy with his dinner, the human took the box and hid it in a closed room. The cat noticed and ran to the closed room, pawing and scratching at the door. He moped and stared at the door the rest of the night. He was still nosing frantically under the closed door as the human turned out the light to go to sleep.

The next morning, the little cat meowed a greeting, purred at the human’s feet, and soon jumped into her lap, purring contentedly.

What do you know? The cat started looking out the window again at the squirrels and birds, he played heartily with his toys, and once again, he was thankful to have his own home…and his own human.

May we, too, recognize those things in our lives that we love more than God, and simply let them go.

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

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Are you living like it’s Saturday?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Are you living like it’s Saturday?

[Here is some background on this entry I posted two years ago:

Two years ago on the Saturday before Easter, it was a dark, rainy, gloomy day. My cat Gideon was in late stage kidney disease, and his buddy Rowe wasn’t acting right; he’d fall down and yowl in pain from time to time. I knew something was wrong with him, I just didn’t know what. Then that Saturday before Easter, I found a full cat canine tooth on my kitchen floor. It was Rowe’s…which only kicked up my despair and foreboding to panic level.

It was in that very circumstance I wrote the following blog entry. Now, two years later, it seems as if the whole world is grappling with despair and foreboding. All this on the Saturday before Easter.

I hope this speaks to you:]

Are you living like it’s Saturday?

For most of us, Saturday means this:

Projects. Pastimes. Parties. Plans. Playing.

Rest. Recreation. Recuperation. Recharging.

But once, a couple of thousand years ago, there was a Saturday unlike any other Saturday. That day, like every other Saturday before it and after it, was sandwiched between a Friday and a Sunday. But those two days (as you can imagine) were unlike any other Friday or Sunday before or after.

On that Friday a group of friends witnessed the vile, unjustified arrest of their Friend, a blatantly rigged trial, and a patently predetermined death verdict. They watched helplessly as their Friend was dragged away, flogged, and beaten beyond recognition.

The hope which permeated His every word burned in their own hearts, stoked by the power of His presence. He was the One. He was the Messiah; but here He was now, brutally cut down as they heaved Him high on the crossbeams, slamming His tormented body into place for all to see…to mock, to jeer…

Hope was fading. Joy had withered away. Their Friend, the One who had healed the sick and raised the dead, was gone. His lifeless body was laid in a tomb with a stone covering it so decay could finish its slow work unmolested.

It was Saturday. A numb, raw, gloomy Saturday.

Sunday had not yet arrived.

Now, you and I know what that particular Sunday had in store for His friends…for the world…and for you and me. We know of the pre-dawn rendezvous at the tomb; the rolled-away stone; the discarded burial ointments and herbs when once the strange salutation was spoken, “Why do you seek the Living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen.”

Now, we, like His friends of old, know Him. We have walked with Him and have talked with Him. We know He is risen, He is alive, and because of that, we know that we too are alive in Him.

But today I heard the Lord ask me, “Are you living like it’s Saturday?”

It jolted me. Was I? Was I, a friend of the crucified One, so saddened by losses and weighed down by the perplexities of life, living as if it were only Saturday? Was I living a pre-Sunday life?

I KNOW BETTER.

I had to come to terms with the Truth: It’s not Saturday anymore!

Jesus conquered death. He conquered sin. He conquered pain. He is the Way-Maker when there is no way; He is the Quiet in every storm; He is the Light that overcame darkness—and He is my God. He who crushed the serpent’s head and pulled me out of self-destruction can walk me through torrential winds or crashing waves to the other side—Safely. Unscathed. Strengthened in hope and in faith.

I’ve made up my mind. I refuse to live like it’s Saturday ever again. For me, it’s Sunday now.

Dorothy

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God…When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1, 4).

© 2018, Dorothy Frick; reposted 2020

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Pillar #6: Mouth and speech

Posted by on Mar 1, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Pillar #6: Mouth and speech

When I was seeking God concerning my vision back in the end of 2019, He presented me with six principles, or Pillars, to hold prominently in my heart as I pursued Him throughout 2020. Each Pillar has been stabilizing to me, and together they have brought greater insight as I’ve navigated the first two months of this new decade.

Pillar #5 concerns mind and thoughts. As Isaiah 26:3 states, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” The more we guard our minds and steady our thoughts with God’s Word, the greater our peace will be.

Pillar #6 is similar in nature, and concerns our mouths and our speech. Your mouth—or as the apostle James says, your tongue—is like a rudder of a ship and can influence the course of your life. And if you’re like me, someone who enjoys talking, you’ve probably found that your unguarded mouth can get you into some fairly uncomfortable—and avoidable
—predicaments.

On the other hand, like Proverbs 21:23 declares, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.

Much has been taught, mistaught, applied, and misapplied concerning words and speech—i.e., our “confession”—in the last forty or fifty years in the American church. As a result, great schisms have developed between believers, causing mistrust and suspicion, judgment and criticism. It’s not my goal to solve such long-standing divisions; but I do want to bring attention to a precious biblical concept, Pillar #6, which I find is helping to restore my vision.

Pillar #6: Mouth and speech

Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.

They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.
    Psalm 145:6-7

I’ll bet that no one on any part of the “confession” spectrum in the church today could argue with King David about what he wrote concerning the appropriate use of words. In fact, this last Pillar seems to cap off everything God is directing me to focus upon in this new year.

They will speak of the power of Your awesome acts…

I am choosing this year to talk about God’s awesome acts. In prayer, I will remind Him of them. I will also mention them to others. In fact, if I begin to doubt or worry that I won’t make it in any upcoming situation, I’ll rehearse His powerful deeds to myself.

What are His awesome acts? The Bible is loaded with examples; and I know that I have personally experienced some nearly unbelievable, jaw-dropping answers to prayer and deliverances from danger. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have as well. All that King David is saying here is this: Don’t stuff what you know about God in the vault of your soul.

…And I will tell of Your greatness.

Once again, you’re called upon to speak up! Tell God, tell others, and tell yourself about His greatness. What comprises that greatness of God? Truth is, anything you know about His character is part of His greatness. His kindness, His justice, His power, His willingness to listen, His vastness, His creative ability, the fact that He came to earth in the person of Jesus to take on our sin debt and make us His own…all of this and so much more make up the amazing greatness of God. It’s my desire to daily tell someone something concerning His greatness. He deserves it.

They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness…

There’s no shyness or hesitation here. Think about it. How has God shown His goodness to you? You have the right—and indeed, the privilege—to share it. I mean, we see ads daily that eagerly declare the “magnificence” of skin lotions, hemorrhoid creams, breakfast cereals, weight-loss programs, and even ED products! Why should we, then, hem and haw, fighting with our nerves, when we recount something wonderful God has done in our lives?

And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

When your favorite team scores a goal, makes a touchdown, or clears the bases with a grand slam, what do you do? Quietly patty cake with your hands and try to keep it down so you don’t offend someone? I rather doubt it!

By the same token, what do you do when God comes through for you in a big way? He answers a prayer; He heals you of a serious disease; He miraculously rescues you from a deadly accident or a violently crazed individual. As much as I love cheering on my home team for athletic feats and victories, how much more thunderous attention should I pour out upon my God for His righteous deeds on my behalf?

I believe it’s time—wherever you fall as a believer on the “confession” spectrum—to give your mouth to fearlessly speak of the power of His awesome acts, to tell of His greatness, to eagerly utter the memory of His abundant goodness, and to shout joyfully of His righteousness.

The Lord deserves to be honored with our words; the world around us deserves to hear how great He really is.

Lord, keep us mindful of this proper use of our mouths, and forgive those of us who have neglected this vital aspect of knowing You.

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

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Pillar 5: Mind and thoughts

Posted by on Feb 19, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Pillar 5: Mind and thoughts

2020. It’s been here a little more than a month and a half. I’ve been seeking clear vision from the Lord, and He gave me some direction on Christmas Day. As I was reading in Psalms, it dawned on me that He was setting forth certain principles—Pillars—for me to embrace daily this year as I prayed and went about my life.

Pillar 1: Walk in the fear that is due the Lord

Pillar 2: Ask God to teach me concerning my daily priorities and then follow through

Pillar 3: Request that He bring gladness to me proportional to the days I’ve experienced affliction and sorrow

Pillar 4: Ask for favor from God and for Him to establish the work of my hands

This brings me to Pillars 5 and 6. They fit together beautifully and are perhaps the simplest of the six pillars; however, both require a high level of diligence, discipline, self-restraint, and self-awareness on my part—and yours. After this long break (I’ve been preparing my house for a new feline roommate who moved in on Valentine’s Day!), I should have Pillar #6 ready to go sometime next week.

Pillar #5: Mind and thoughts

On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:5

What you think about is huge. Your thoughts affect your mood; your mood can color your attitude; your attitude will affect how you see your life; and how you view everything will influence the entire course of your life. We’ve all observed this principle in others; it’s just as true for our own lives as well. Thinking, as Psalm 145:5 declares, on the glorious splendor of God’s majesty and on all His wonderful works will safeguard your mind.

That said, I’m not a big fan of “mind over matter” teachings. Oh, I’ve seen it work, even in my own life before I became a Christian. However, here’s my qualm: although there may be something to the concept of mind over matter, who gets the credit? It goes to the “man with the mind”—or in my case, to the “girl with the gall”! Focus is on Self; Self becomes Amazing in its own eyes; and soon all thoughts of the Creator Himself tend to fade away with the grandeur of “My Amazing Ability” or “My Magnificent Mind”.

Although many Scriptures exist which highlight the proper use of your mind, the primary emphasis is NOT on you, the thinker! Instead, biblical focus is directed to the underlying reason for taking charge over your thoughts in the first place—to obey God, to bring Him glory, and to allow Him to be center of your world—not developing your mental ability to manipulate matter!

What I’m talking about is a partnership of sorts between you and the Lord. You discover what He says in the Word about your responsibility regarding your thoughts, and in turn you begin to allow those truths to redirect what you think about and even how to think about everything going on in your life and mind. Throughout your life you will be His junior partner in this endeavor—tutored, taught, and instructed by His Word and His Spirit.

This is the best mentoring situation you could ever ask for. He’s a Mentor who certainly will correct you—not with the back of His hand across your face or a bludgeoning blow to your back—but with patience, firmness, clarity…and love.

Here are some of His instructions, truths, and prayers to pray about the use of your mind:

…You understand my thought from afar. Psalm 139:2b

  • Whether you love Him, hate Him, believe in Him, or view Him as an imaginary creation of weaker minds—He knows and understands every thought that’s ever crossed your mind.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

  • YOU give the Lord greater access not only to search your mind, but also to help bring order and peace to all those piled up thoughts.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

  • It is of utmost importance for you to be careful about what lingers in your thought life because it will eventually determine your actions, affections, and pursuits.
  • I’ve heard it said, “You cannot stop birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.” This is also true concerning thoughts—they pop up in your mind out of the blue, but you have the right and authority to evict them.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans12:2

  • You are responsible for what you allow yourself to think. This verse lets you know how to help yourself—your mind can be transformed bit by bit as you spend time in the Word of God.
  • The more you direct your thoughts to what’s in the Bible, the more it will speak to you. You may be minding your own business, talking to someone, and BAM! A Scripture will pop up inside of you and redirect your conversation or give you an “Aha moment”—and suddenly you’ll have an answer to some pressing issue. Most of the Bible readers I know have experienced this more than a few times.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

  • God’s Word is alive. You can read Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Tolstoy, or Dr. Seuss, but no matter how classic, beautiful, gripping, or entertaining any of those writers may be, their words do not contain life. God’s Word does.
  • The words of the Bible are sharp—even surgical—in their precision and force.
  • God’s Word divides between soul and spirit; in other words, the simple act of reading, studying, or meditating on the Bible gives you discernment between “Is it just me?” and “This is from God.” I’ve experienced this surgical “division” between soul and spirit many times by spending time reading God’s Word; perplexing choices I was facing have become suddenly clear due to the working of His Word inside of me.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

  • What you think about affects everything in your life. The more you delve into all the horrible things you see and meditate on how awful you’re being treated, the more intense those feelings become. As a result, you can’t see God’s solutions sitting right in front of your face while pain, anger, or hopelessness tightens around you like a spectral straight-jacket.
  • When you recognize that poisonous thoughts are starting to camp out in your mind, you have the right—and authority—to take them prisoner. Ask the Lord to give you HIS thoughts about what you’re thinking; pull out your Bible and start reading—out loud if you can. He will help you.
  • Choose daily to be aware of your thoughts and inner monologue. As soon as you catch yourself thinking negatively about something or someone, jump in and chase that stream of consciousness with God’s Word.

Pillar #5 is simple—just pay attention to your thought life and replace any negative flow with God’s Word. Neglecting to take account of your thoughts can produce disastrous results for your life, your joy, and your walk with God; however, simply taking thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ will not only honor God, but will also facilitate His peace and stability in your life—and clear up your vision.

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

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The year of clear vision, Pillar #4: God’s favor and establishing the works of our hands

Posted by on Jan 3, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on The year of clear vision, Pillar #4: God’s favor and establishing the works of our hands

On Christmas Day I was seeking God concerning 2020, the year of clear vision. As I read the Psalms, six principles came across my radar. I had a hunch that these were exactly what I needed to embrace in my pursuit of clear vision, and after further prayer, I committed to keeping these “pillars” before my eyes all year long.

Pillar #4 (a): God’s favor

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us…Psalm 90:17a

I will not be shy this year about asking God to pour out His favor upon me every day. Without His favor, I may go through the motions—work, pray, write, study, counsel, give—but nothing of substance will be built up or stored to my account. Why not? Because of what I’m leaning on—my own abilities.

On the other hand, when I ask for the Lord’s favor to rest upon me, I am acknowledging that my own abilities are not enough; I need Him. I need His favor.

As you may remember, Pillar #1 also touched on favor from God: The Lord takes pleasure in [favors] those who fear Him (Psalm 147:11). Are you recognizing your need for God’s favor? Then camp out in the fear of the Lord. It pleases Him and will cause His favor to come upon your life.

Pillar #4 (b): God establishes for you the works of your hands

…establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands…
Psalm 90:17b

Humans are creative. We do things. We make things. We think, sing, run, talk, serve, dream, solve problems, and ponder about new ways to approach everyday issues. Bottom line—we all work one way or another. And most of us can admit that at some point we have felt like a mouse on a treadmill, constantly running, doing, working, but getting nowhere fast.

Solomon lamented the futility of the human condition when he wrote, Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?(Ecclesiastes 1:2b-4).

Remember, there was a time in Solomon’s life when he was in limbo—he knew God was real, but he wasn’t living for Him at all. He had stepped away from his earlier fear of the Lord. The result? The heavy oppression of futility rested upon him despite his fabulous wealth, women, and accomplishments.

It’s my observation that a large percentage of the human race (with and without Solomon’s advantages) are living daily lives of futility, feeling absolutely worthless. But no matter how much failure, oppression or plain old existential nothingness any one of us have faced in life, it doesn’t have to remain that way. Psalm 90 shines a light through the darkness of futility.

You can ask for favor from God. He gives you permission to do just that. Then ask Him to establish the work of your hands—to cause lasting, eternal impact through your work—however that may look in your life. And realize that in God’s economy, the quietest, most obscure person can have an enormously profound impact on multitudes of lives just for the asking: Lord, Establish the work of my hands for me—yes, establish the work of my hands.

An amazing truth about allowing God to establish for you the work of your hands is this: you may never know until eternity just how very impactful your life has been.

And remember this: The dark season of vanity in Solomon’s life had nothing to do with bad luck or tough breaks. He entered his season of futility when he set aside his fear of God and allowed life’s distractions to distort his vision.

But as for you, determine that this year you will fear the Lord. Ask Him daily for His favor to rest upon your life, and dare to trust Him to establish—making eternally fruitful—the work of your hands.

And I’ll bet that as you pursue this course, your vision will grow ever clearer.

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

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