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Faithful, joyful, and triumphant

Posted by on Dec 23, 2018 in Christmas | Comments Off on Faithful, joyful, and triumphant

I love Christmas. However sometimes, if you’re like me, this time of year can be visited with uninvited thoughts of “what if…”, “how come…”, or “is this all?”.  Before you know it, a feeling of melancholy can creep in like a pall over the beauty, laughter, and lights.

This time of year can push the rawness of disappointments, losses, and unfulfilled dreams right up to the surface. In response, folks tend to put on a happy face but never address the nagging sadness. All the while, despondent thoughts and feelings pile up like gray autumn leaves in a neglected backyard.

How do you fight back? How do you deal with the dull waves that may attempt to overtake you this season?

A familiar carol was written in 1751. Every year it fills the air with its traditional melody, but the lyrics aren’t merely “feel-good” memory-makers;  they are fighting words. Listen and take courage:

“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.)

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, cushy time in history were able to live victorious Christian lives? Is this the company to whom the carol refers?

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.

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, 2018, Dorothy Frick

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When tragedy happens, don’t judge

Posted by on Nov 13, 2018 in Book of Luke | 2 comments

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.  And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? Luke 13:1-2

We’ve all seen it, heard it, and experienced it. Disaster strikes; we see images of suffering, destruction, and death. The pain and sorrow of these images sear into our very souls. We wonder “What happened? Why did it happen?” The horror and vulnerability we feel triggers revulsion, and to make sense of it all, we create reasons why tragedy struck “them”; reasons why tragedy won’t strike “us”.

Jesus’ followers evidently viewed the horrific slaughter of their fellow Galileans in a similar manner. Vivid memories filled their minds: Countrymen dying at the hand of Pilate who brazenly used their blood to desecrate the holy sacrifice. Jesus knew His followers were grappling in their minds with the event—so He targeted a near-universal coping mechanism—judging the afflicted and fallen.

Do you find yourself doing the same? When calamities—such as the recent fire storms, hurricanes, mass murders, etc.—befall an area, do you wonder if the sin in that region finally elicited judgment from God? Does the thought, “We’re not as bad (or stupid) as them” cross your mind?

Driving home His point, Jesus asked another question: “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?” (Luke 13:4.)

Why was Jesus targeting this all too common defense mechanism of judging the victim? Was He attempting to scare people with the randomness of tragedy? Was He mocking their sense of vulnerability? NO! In a sense, He was telling them, Mind your own business. The “why” is privatebetween the victims and their God.

Twice in these remarks Jesus made a statement revealing the antidote to judging others. He asserted, “I tell you, no, [the victims of these tragedies were NOT the worse sinners (my addition)] but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (verses 3 and 5).

That doesn’t sound very edifying, does it? Was Jesus loading a guilt trip on them all?

In our modern mindset, unfortunately we’ve equated the directive to repent with narrow-minded bigotry. But quite the opposite was the Lord’s intention. Instead of heaping judgment on them, Jesus presented them with a valuable aid to help them keep on track when others faced destruction, tragedy, or death: Don’t judge the victim—you’re not God. Concentrate on your own heart, behaviors, and life, and God will take care of you.

When tragedy happens, mourn with those who mourn—don’t judge. And while showing compassion to the hurting, mind your own business!

Dorothy

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

“So Peter seeing him [John the disciple] said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’” John 21:21-22

© 2018, Dorothy Frick

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Diabolos

Posted by on Sep 26, 2018 in Reflections in the Word | 2 comments

Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 1 Timothy 3:11

[Men and women of the last days will be]…unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good… 2 Timothy 3:3

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good… Titus 2:3

I often look up the Greek or Hebrew for a word when I’m reading the Bible. Today, I looked up the Greek word for malicious gossips which I found in 1 Timothy 3:11. Here’s what I found:

Diabolos: [Strong’s Concordance, #1228]

  1. prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely
  2. a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer  [Note: a calumniator is one who makes false and defamatory statements about someone.]
  3. metaph. applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him

However, of the 36 verses in which the Greek word diabolos is used, 33 of them—nearly 92%refer to this:

“Satan, the prince of demons, the author of evil, persecuting good men, estranging mankind from God and enticing them to sin, and afflicting them with diseases by means of demons who take possession of their bodies at his bidding; the malignant enemy of God and the Messiah…” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

It hit me: Of all the sins described or listed in the Bible, this sin, the sin of making a false accusation, is the ONLY sin that is one and the same with the word uniquely used for the devil.

Therefore, of all the sins described/listed in the Bible, the most Satan-like of all when utilized by a human is not idolatry, stealing, sexual sin, simple lying, cheating, violent behaviors, etc., (all of which must be confessed to God and repented of by the human so engaged if they want to be free of the toxic internal environment caused by such involvement; see 1 John 1:9). Instead, the sin most likened to the devil himself is the sin of false accusation.

My take away is this: Be careful that you don’t jump aboard the bandwagon of finger-pointers and tongue-waggers; there’s a good chance that some, if not all, of the accusations darting around are false. Come to terms with the fact that some men and women have given themselves over to false accusations. They are DIABOLOSmen and women most closely reflecting the devil himself. You don’t want to be counted among that group. Fortunately, however, in Christ, there is redemption and cleansing for such people if they choose to confess and repent; but it is better not to devise, embrace, or further those accusations in the first place.

Some food for thought.

Dorothy

© 2018, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning mob mentality: What would Jesus do?

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018 in Book of Luke, Prayer Perspective | 2 comments

…the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects, plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say. Luke 11, last two verses

Take note of three phrases in the final two verses of Luke 11:

  • began to be very hostile
  • plotting against him
  • to catch Him in something He might say

Under these circumstances…[of targeted hostility and ill-intent] He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Luke 12:1

Under the circumstances of blatant resentment and plots of violence against Him, what did Jesus do? Did He acquiesce with the demands of the mob—did He think perhaps He’d been too harsh, and in His loving way, wonder if they had a point? NO. He boldly exposed the root of this brazen hostility:  Bona fide, Grade A hypocrisy.

The Lord uncovered a principle here: Targeting an individual with hostility propelled by an intent to destroy his reputation or life reveals more about the character of the “targeter” than it does the one being targeted—they are a bald-faced hypocrite.

The Oxford Dictionary defines hypocrisy this way: “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.” It’s the old speck in the eye caution—if you seek to remove (or expose!) a speck in someone else’s eye, get the log out of your own, first. (See Matthew 7:3-5.)

Do you passionately seek to expose someone else as flawed or evil, worthless or unfit? Then first take a checkup from the neck up yourself! When you engage in undermining the reputation of someone—no matter how righteous you feel about it or how much satisfaction you derive from it—you are placing yourself in a precarious position before God.

The leaven of hypocrisy

Jesus likened hypocrisy to leaven.

Many of us consume a little leaven—or yeast—every day in baked goods. That bit of yeast added to recipes gives the whole loaf, cake, or batch of cookies a fluffy, chewable quality. Most dictionaries define leaven—in addition to its use as a fermenting, rising agent in bread—as a pervasive, permeating influence of change for the better.

Yet when Jesus stated, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”, He was highlighting the subtle, negative influence of hypocrisy—the outward display of a moral high ground which masks raw ambition and hatred toward anyone who dares to stand between them and their secretly held lust for power. Jesus knew that mingling and mixing with such power-driven hypocrites would infect the culture with unthinking, blind corruption…and the whole lump of connected humanity would “blow up” with hypocrisy, hostility, and attempts to destroy anyone who remained “unfermented” by the prevailing trend.

What would Jesus do? Quite simply, expose hypocrisy. He didn’t seek to destroy hypocrites; He didn’t shout over them or call for their humiliation or demise; He simply revealed Truth concerning them.

Cover ups

But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops. Luke 12:2-3

Jesus recognized that these religious/political leaders wanted nothing other than to destroy Him, His message, and His influence on the world. Despite all of that, He maintained His peace; a higher principle was at play and He knew it:

All cover ups would be revealed. Hidden things would be made known. Conversations in dark, private meetings would become public knowledge. Whispered secret agendas would soon be broadcast on the airwaves far and wide.

What would Jesus do? What should you do?

First, beware the leaven of hypocrites. Is something trending that grabs the minds, emotions, and passions of the many, transforming cultural thought into a lump of rage, hostility, and indignation? Beware of it. At its root is hypocrisy—the mask of moral superiority covering someone’s unseen lust for power, manipulating those with good intentions to destroy a manufactured enemy…and in Jesus’ day, that manufactured enemy was Him.

Secondly—and this is my passion—use the mind God gave you. Question mass movements and popular trends, especially the ones that seek to destroy others. Ask yourself, “Where did this start? Who ultimately benefits? What is the end game?” God never demanded that you check your brain at the door of the church, school, university, or evening news. Invite Him to reveal the agendas behind societal thrusts; compare trending ideologies to the Word of God. If it doesn’t feel right, you have the right to question it and ask God about it.

And third, pray. You may not discern who or what is behind everything going on in prevailing movements, but God certainly does. Therefore, if it feels weird to you, take Jesus’ lead: Pray for cover ups to be exposed; ask that hidden intents will be made known; request God to cause private meetings in which participants plot someone’s ruin to be uncovered and become public knowledge; and pray that all whispered agendas will be exposed and broadcast on every available media.

Again, you have the right to question. You have the right to take an unpopular stance. You have the right to use critical thinking concerning every movement and ideology that comes along. And you have the right to go God’s way even if everyone else throws in with the “lovely” façade and hidden agendas of hypocrisy.

Beware the leaven of hypocrisy!

Dorothy

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 Timothy 3:1

But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:13

But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all… 2 Timothy 3:9a

© 2018, Dorothy Frick

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Obey anyway

Posted by on May 14, 2018 in Everyday Observations | Comments Off on Obey anyway

Here’s what I just posted on Facebook:

A little something I saw while reading Hebrews 11:7 (I capitalized the part in question): “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, BY WHICH HE CONDEMNED THE WORLD and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
 
Here’s what knocked me over the head: Your obedience to God CAN result in someone–even MANY–feeling condemned. You yourself are not condemning them, but your obedient actions are.
 
Obey God anyway.
Dorothy
© 2018, Dorothy Frick
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