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Pillar 5: Mind and thoughts

Posted by on Feb 19, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | 0 comments

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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The year of clear vision, Pillar #3: Gladness instead of affliction

Posted by on Jan 1, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on The year of clear vision, Pillar #3: Gladness instead of affliction

The year of 2020 is upon us. I have heard several interesting and uplifting things about this new year which are worth pondering. But for me, my Number One focus is clear vision. I found six principles from the Psalms that I intend to set as pillars for the coming year as I embrace all the healing, clarity, and restoration that God has for me in 2020.

Pillar #3: Gladness instead of affliction

Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us,
And the years we have seen evil.
Psalm 90:15

Psalm 90 was written by Moses, a man who had seen a lifetime of affliction. Instead of resigning himself to endless years of heavy oppression and painful suffering, however, he requested God for gladness—and not just for an hour or a day of gladness. He asked God to grant him gladness in exact proportion to all the misery he had lived through. That’s a lot of gladness!

Most of us have experienced trials, difficulties, disappointments, and setbacks in our lives. I have. And I realized as I was praying about these things that a great vision-strangler is the tendency to embrace low expectations. Getting used to so much disappointment and pain can start to squeeze the vision right out of you.  

“But what if God doesn’t want things to change?”

Look at Moses! He knew that much of the affliction his nation ran into on their forty-year journey came as a result of their own disobedience, yet he dared to ask for gladness anywayabundant gladness—despite their track record of self-inflicted misery and suffering.

I believe God is challenging me—and many of you, too—to refuse to live any longer under the dictates of low expectations. Has life been tough? Then look up! Do what Moses did; ask God for gladness—so much gladness that it will outweigh all the oppression you’ve experienced.

Here’s how I’m praying concerning Pillar #3:

“Lord, I want to thank You that You love me and care for me, and I ask you very simply, please bring gladness and fruitfulness to my life in proportion to all the seasons where I’ve been hurt, disappointed, bereaved, distraught, and dismayed. Thank You for walking with me today; I lean on You gladly and receive Your overwhelming peace and joy which will cause everything else to pale in comparison. Your Word says You cause all things to work together for my good—even the bad stuff—because I love You and I’m called according to Your purpose. I dare to believe, like it says in the book of Joel, that You will restore to me all that the locust has eaten…and, like Job, You will bless my latter days more than my earlier ones.”

Pillar #3, trusting God for gladness instead of continued troubles, will take faith. However, I am willing to resist the pressure of low expectations, allowing my vision to clear, as I simply fix my eyes on the One who is worthy of my trust.

How about you?

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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The year of clear vision, Pillar #2: Teach me to number my days

Posted by on Dec 31, 2019 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on The year of clear vision, Pillar #2: Teach me to number my days

2020. For me it’s a no-brainer. I need clear vision; God has pre-ordained this year to be called 2020; therefore, I am determined to embrace His focus for my life. I believe this pleases Him.

On Christmas Day I was drawn to six concepts in the Psalms. I realized that if I cooperated with the Lord and fixed my heart to pray for His grace to walk in these principles, then my vision would be enhanced, not diminished. I decided to call these principles Pillars—supports for clear vision. Pillar #1 was the Fear of the Lord.

Pillar #2: Teach me to number my days

So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
  Psalm 90:12

One of the greatest vision-chokers may very well be the one-two team of Complacency and Carelessness. Other synonyms for these “illustrious” vision-stranglers might be dillydallying; dawdling; fiddling around; puttering; goofing off (my favorite term); and my mom’s personal favorite when describing me as a kid getting anything done: piddling around.

Now you Type A personalities may need a little goof off time now and then to give your body and mind some time to unwind. However, for us “piddlers”, the very human tendency to sigh “Que sera, sera…whatever will be will be…” as we flip the remote or link onto the next click-bait may be the very thing that is hindering us from running our race with any level of endurance.

That’s why this verse grabbed my attention. The Lord never put all the responsibility for the direction of your life on YOU! Teach us to number our days! He’s willing to teach you how to effectively order your time day by day, stringing week to week, month to month, and year to year…for the asking.

I believe that if I will daily ask the Lord to teach me how to number my days and order my steps (see Psalm 37:23), then wisdom will come. God is pleased to teach us life skills—especially those skills which enhance and advance His vision and purpose for our lives. And bonus—you and I will not only increase in wisdom, but we will also have more divine appointments along the way!

But beware—there’s another vision-choker that comes with insidious stealth—the voice of distraction! First Corinthians 14:10 states, There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without meaning (King James 2000 Bible). I don’t know about you, but I have found that distractions come in many voices. Urgency; insistence; demands; pettiness; fear; silliness; you name it—each one has a distinct voice. How do you wade through the voices of distraction?

Lord, teach me to number my days that I may present to You a heart of wisdom. Talk to God. Pour out your request first thing each morning before the voices start hammering for your attention. Wisdom will come. You will discern that proper route to take; you will also discern which routes to delay or to avoid altogether.

Vision can get crimped by pressure piling up from every direction. That’s what actually causes glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness—pressure on the optic nerve resulting in the death of individual vision nerve cells. That’s why I plan to rise up every morning before the pressures of life start screaming for attention and simply ask the Lord to number my days. Then, when all is said and done, by His mighty grace I will be able to present to Him a heart of wisdom.

Pillar #2 for 2020, the year of clear vision, is to ask the Lord to teach you to number your days. Pillar #3 will be coming soon.

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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Pillar #1 in the year of clear vision: The fear of the Lord

Posted by on Dec 29, 2019 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Pillar #1 in the year of clear vision: The fear of the Lord

The older I get, the more I realize that things once clearly centered in my field of sight have become a little fuzzy. I’ve been praying, as many of you have been, about this new year and decade ahead, seeking God as to what my focus should be as I enter 2020. Then it dawned on me that sharper, clearer vision is something that I not only desire but also desperately need.

How convenient—in light of my deepest need—that the upcoming year is 2020! I have been crying out for clearer vision; and now the very name of the year will inspire me daily—I have indeed entered the year of clear vision.

On Christmas Day I read through some Psalms and found six scriptural pillars which will prepare and empower me to walk with clear vision in 2020. You’re welcome to claim these for yourself as well. Today’s post concerns the first Pillar.

Pillar #1: The fear of the Lord

Who understands the power of Your anger
And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
Psalm 90:11

The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy.
Psalm 147:11

“But that stuff about God’s fury and the fear due Him—it’s so…negative!” you may be thinking. Actually, it’s quite the contrary! Grab a concordance and run the references on the fear of the Lord, and you will find an amazing catalog of treasures that follow the sincere fear and reverence for God: knowledge, wisdom, favor, and length of days, to name a few.

But what is the fear of the Lord? It’s certainly not paranoia; neither is it anxious terror or dread. It is simply the open recognition that God is the Author and Creator of all things; He is the One who determined that YOU would win the egg/sperm lottery; He’s the One who has always been a silent presence in your life; and He is the One to whom you are ultimately accountable. If you seek to live your life according to this understanding, then there’s a good chance you have the fear of the Lord.

How do I intend to ramp up the fear of God in my own life? I plan to daily remind myself that Jesus is Lord and I am not. I will be asking Him every day to help me make decisions based on His Word, His purpose, His leading, and His kindness; and I will ask Him to intervene—to tweak my conscience—when I start to move into selfishness, thoughtlessness, cowardly fear of people’s opinions, or when I wander upon any of the other hundreds of landmines that may be laying in wait to shatter my vision, my effectiveness…or even my life.

The fear of the Lord is not a bad thing at all. I find it comforting to read that He takes pleasure in those who fear Him—He doesn’t shoot at our feet to make us dance like the cartoon character Yosemite Sam did to Bugs Bunny. Instead, the fear of the Lord is linked forever in Psalm 147:11 with an expectant hope in His mercy.

So, Pillar #1 for 2020, the year of clear vision, is to walk in the fear of the Lord. Pillar #2 is coming soon.

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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Faithful, joyful, and triumphant

Posted by on Dec 25, 2019 in Christmas | Comments Off on Faithful, joyful, and triumphant

“O come all ye faithful, joyful, and triumphant
Oh come ye O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him born the King of angels;
O come let us adore him Christ the Lord.” (Attributed to John Francis Wade, 1751.)

This company, from every land, language, and race, spans both history and the globe. This company—the faithful, the joyful, and the triumphant—is your company. If you have made Jesus your Lord, you are counted among them.

Who is this company of the faithful? Who are these joyful and triumphant? Do the lyrics refer to men and women from the past who because of their unique, comfortable time in history were able to live victorious Christian lives? Is this the company to whom the carol refers?

Indeed, in the last days difficult times will arise. Men will be lovers of self and haters of good, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. The Lord warned us of this ahead of time. But you, Christian—you are called faithful. You are called joyful. You are called triumphant. This is who you are. This will never change—despite the spin culture puts on your deeply held, Bible-based beliefs.

You are faithful because of the Lord’s faithfulness to you. Therefore, your ability to be faithful does not rest upon circumstances or the rise or fall of the popularity of the gospel. You can remain faithful because you know He will never fail you nor forsake you. You will be able to stay faithful throughout the rest of your days because He will never let you down. Let this truth build great strength within you.

You are joyful because His joy—one of the fruits of the Spirit—is planted deep within you. This joy, like God’s Word, is imperishable. It cannot be stolen from you. Whether you feel it or not, joy is there inside of you, waiting to be cultivated and nourished through your sacrifice of praise to God. As you sow thanksgiving to Him, the crop of joy will increase and abound, and sooner or later it will overflow in your life. The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is your strength. God’s joy will lift you above every subtlety, scheme, and snare that Satan can concoct. God’s joy, when acted upon, will transform your tests into testimonies—whether the culture believes it or not.

You are triumphant because of Jesus’ triumph over sin, death, and hell. You have been ransomed from the domination of the devil and have been transferred into the safety and soundness of the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. Because Jesus has crushed the serpent’s head, you, too, can tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm you. Because Jesus rendered powerless him who had the power of death—that is, the devil—you are now free from slavery to the fear of death. Of this you can be confident: God will always lead you in triumph in Christ and will manifest through you the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Will the knowledge of Him always be warmly embraced? If the prophecy concerning the turbulent last days in 2 Timothy 3 is any indication, the answer to that is no. However, take it from those faithful, joyful, and triumphant souls who have gone before you: Your victory is not based on the behaviors, opinions, or applause of the age in which you live. You are triumphant. It’s a done deal in Christ. So walk in it with the confidence that comes from above.

Don’t allow this generation or your circumstances to tell you who you are. You are the faithful. You are the joyful. You are the triumphant. And you unashamedly adore Christ the Lord.

Dorothy

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould… Romans 12:2, J.B. Phillips

© 2015 and updated, 2019, Dorothy Frick


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Christmas Eve Prayer

Posted by on Dec 24, 2019 in Christmas | Comments Off on Christmas Eve Prayer

This Christmas Eve, whether your home is as colorful as a carnival, as turbulent as a tornado, or as quiet as a mouse, I want to offer up a prayer for you from my heart.

For my friends who feel all too keenly the absence of loved ones who are no longer with you, I pray for the calm and deep comfort of the Lord to well up within you and gird you with grace and strength. May you be blessed with the gift of “touch”—knowing that just as your loved ones’ lives touched yours, so too, does your life touch those around you very deeply; and may you feel the depth of God’s gentle love for you. And in the coming year as you reach out to those He brings your way, may you find grace to comfort them with the comfort with which you have been comforted.

For my friends who brace yourselves for the storm clouds of strife that invariably blow your way this time of year, I pray for the love of God to overtake you so that you will have the grace to speak blessing where there is cursing. May you be a peacemaker in the midst of strife and a refuge of safety in the midst of turmoil. I pray that He will give you the gift of “hearing” so that as you navigate through the noise and agitation, you will hear with clarity this is the way in which you should walk; these are the words I want you to say. I pray that the Lord will go before you and make the rough places smooth and that His glory will be your rear guard. And may the seeds of peace and love and life that you sow—even in the midst of the storm—be cultivated by God in the upcoming year to produce the powerful fruit of salvation and wholeness in the lives of those you love.

For my friends who feel isolated, lonely, and without a family to call your own, I pray that the presence of God will overtake you, not only in your spirit, but also in your mind and emotions. I pray you receive the gift of “taste” so that you may taste and see that the Lord is good. May you recognize the breadth, length, height, and depth of your acceptance in the Beloved, and may you experience, in a very real way, the intensity of the love that God personally has for you. May the coming year bring deeper friendships, warmer connections, and a greater number of mutually-satisfying godly relationships into your life. May you learn to expect and receive these blessings; and may you, my friend, be a blessing in the lives of others.

For my friends who know you are fortunate to have all of your loved ones around the table again this year, yet who nonetheless feel let down by life, I pray that you receive the gift of “seeing”. May you see, by the Spirit of God, how precious each life really is; may you recognize the wealth of connection you have been granted; and may you receive wisdom from on high so you may further nurture and cultivate each treasured life given to you. May you see and experience how truly rich you are, and may the upcoming year bring forth great fruitfulness in your life.

For my friends who are harried and hassled and stretched to the limit by the demands at this time of year, I pray you find that place of quiet and refuge in the Lord, to take a breath, and to let His soothing presence minister rest and grace to your soul. May you receive the gift of “smell”—the ability to pause and smell the cinnamon, the evergreen, the cookies, and the cold crisp air. May you take mini-vacations in your mind as you pause and think on the journey to Bethlehem, the song of the angels, or the newborn babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger. May your heart be lifted with the songs of the season, and may you find humor in the hustle and bustle and even in the superhuman expectations you place upon yourself. And may your joy increase more and more, along with your strength, in the year to come.

And to all of my friends, I pray that the grace, mercy, and peace of God overtake you and strengthen you, equipping you for all that is ahead of you in 2020, the year of clear vision. May you enjoy deep intimacy with the Lord, and may His voice become clearer, your sight more focused, and His Word sweeter as you journey with Him throughout the coming year.

And tonight, may every one of you find time to sneak away and snatch some silence on this holy eve. I pray that tonight, whether by candlelight, firelight, Christmas lights, or by the light of the stars or the moon, you take the time to steal away and to say thank You to the One who came to earth as that precious Baby so long ago. And as you do, may He fill your heart with His wonderful presence.

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.  (By Joseph Mohr, 1816)

Merry Christmas and may God bless each one of you, my dear friends.

Dorothy

© 2015, Dorothy Frick; updated 2019

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