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When tempers flare in cultural dialogue

Posted by on Jan 24, 2019 in Daily walk | Comments Off on When tempers flare in cultural dialogue

In light of the recent conflict concerning the Covington Catholic School boys and all of the intense, often hugely judgmental dialogue that has followed, I posted this verse and two-sentence comment on Facebook.

“Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:12-13

This applies to all of us. Guard your hearts out there.

Many people “liked” the post; some commented and expressed their exhaustion with our cultural conversational warfare. In response to the back and forth, I posted this:

“We must all do our best to apply this warning of Jesus to our own thoughts, attitudes, and conversations with everyone. The temptation to hate those who think differently than we is cleverly coated with a sense of self-righteousness…but to resist that, we’ve got to be shrewd as serpents, harmless as doves.

“The thing that hit me about our current Catholic kid story is when I recognized that BOTH SIDES of the commenters have similarly intense strong convictions–right or wrong–AND similar responses of offended self-righteousness toward one another! I saw that for us to be effective, we must learn to navigate NOT ONLY the issues in question, but also our own sense of being slighted, disrespected, or being misunderstood. And when attacked, it matters not which side of an issue we are on, if our RESPONSE is from wounded ego, hurt feeling, offense, or bruised pride, we aren’t going to effect the change that we so desire to bring about…we will do the opposite of what we want: We will push people further into what we perceive as delusion. Goes for both sides!

“That’s why I believe many progressives are currently shooting themselves in the foot…they are reacting so strongly, so vehemently, and so judgmentally. People who don’t take sides are really getting their fill of that (think Kavanaugh confirmation era viciousness) and tend to want to side with the less “spit-spewing” side. Those of us who embrace a more conservative, traditional worldview can be every bit as tempted to react with similar vehemence, judgmentalism, and dogged self-righteousness. However, when we speak our peace in love, are patient when wronged, honest, bold, yet never vicious, we can watch what God will do. He will help us!”

Praying that each of us press on to “study to show ourselves approved” not only in CONTENT but also in DELIVERY.

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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Christmas Eve Prayer

Posted by on Dec 24, 2018 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 the year to come. May you enjoy deep intimacy with the Lord, and may His voice become clearer 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

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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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