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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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Therefore I have hope

Posted by on Dec 23, 2019 in Christmas | Comments Off on Therefore I have hope

Are you dealing with stress beyond your limit right now? Maybe a bad diagnosis, or harsh words from someone from whom you expected compassion? Maybe long-standing pain or a sense of rejection or isolation? Maybe the stress of not knowing how you are going to make it?

Despite the beauty of the Christmas season, some of you are facing what may feel like insurmountable odds and pressure beyond your ability to handle.

Like some of you, I found this beautiful time of year colliding with some intense pressures in my life. Although I have chosen not to dim the Christmas lights or stop the carols of the season, the cloak of sadness and hopelessness has been present, attempting to wrap me in despair and shield me against hope.

But God!

To those of you in a similar situation, no matter how all-encompassing the hopelessness may feel, press on. Your feelings may not change; but you are building strength into your spiritual muscles as you resist the pressure to give up and despair….and the God whom you have served is not ignorant or unaware of your situation.

And then early this morning, as I was slogging around the house praying, I heard a short phrase on the inside of me: “Therefore I have hope.” I knew God was sending His Word to deliver me. I searched…and there it was, in the middle of Lamentations 3.

“This I recall to my mind,
THEREFORE I HAVE HOPE.

“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.

“They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“THEREFORE I HAVE HOPE in Him.”

“The Lord is GOOD to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:21-25

If you are in a place of desperation, RECEIVE your HOPE. THIS is why the Baby was born over 2000 years ago! THIS is why the angels rejoiced over the field where the shepherds herded their flocks. THIS is why the magi traveled by camel over hundreds of miles…to SEE, to BEHOLD, and to TOUCH the Desire of nations–the very Son of God.

And THAT is why I am sharing with you. YOU are the reason that God sent His Son, the Babe of Bethlehem and the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief. May the Light of the World fill YOU with a girding power of hope in your inner man, and may you live to tell of the great things God has done for you.

God bless you.

Dorothy

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O Holy Night: Christmas Series

Posted by on Dec 16, 2019 in Christmas | Comments Off on O Holy Night: Christmas Series


“O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”  By Placide Cappeau, 1847

God had a plan from way back, before the foundations of the earth. He created the species of man to fellowship with Him and to populate the planet. In His great wisdom and foresight—before we ever arrived on the scene—He saw that we would go our own way, fall into sin, and descend into the agony of spiritual darkness.

He gave the first hint of His plan to pull humanity out of the abyss of their own making early in man’s history. After the man and woman He created fell into deception and disobedience (see Genesis 3:1-7), God told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15).

And so it came to pass. Jesus came to earth through the seed of woman; the virgin birth enabled the Savior to be both a Man—through Mary, His mother—and to be God, through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:35). And as history rolled on through time, God gave more hints about His plan to deliver men and women from their sinful nature through an astonishing sacrificial act. And according to Galatians 4:4, “…when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.

In due season. For millennia the world, steeped in sin, pined away in error, and tooled along on an evil course. So dark and oppressed was the race of man. The Jews, likewise subject to the permeating stain of sin, nonetheless held promise through their holy Scriptures of hope and help from Heaven that the Messiah—the stem of Jesse, the Promised One—would someday appear and set up His Kingdom.

At the right time. “…when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.” Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God, was born at the right time into the history of the human race. Angels proclaimed His birth. Wise men from the east calculated—by the stars and Hebrew prophecy—the exact timing and location of the birth of this new King.

And the world?

“The thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

The shackles of sin would soon be broken by the voluntary sacrifice of the Man who now lay as a baby in a manger. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).

Yet for so many, the chains of sin remain, two thousand years later. Darkness still seems to permeate the planet. How could that be? Again, let’s look at Scripture. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

You see, Jesus voluntarily gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind; likewise, receiving deliverance from those sins is also on a voluntary basis for every individual man, woman, and child. “Whoever believes in Him…” is a voluntary act; the one true God never coerces or intimidates anyone into submission; He states His case, He reasons with facts, He displays signs and wonders, and He woos. When religion is imposed with threats or violence, God is not in it.

Many throughout the past two millennia have attempted to force their brand of “whoever believes in Him” upon others through coercion, threats, tyrannical laws, and wars. But wise souls have always known that such enforcement was never the plan of God. God’s plan—then, now, and forever—was this: for His Son to bear the sin, sorrow, and error of our race, thus canceling out our debt of sin, and to simply receive anyone and everyone who believed in Him from the heart as sons and daughters.

This is the reason for the “thrill of hope”. This is why the “weary world rejoices”. And this is why each soul can now feel its worth—because whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. The God of all things places great worth on each human soul; He sees worth in you.

We sing, we pray, we celebrate because of who that little baby was—the Sacrificial Lamb, the Son of God and the Son of Man. In the fullness of time, that little child of Bethlehem laid down His life for you and for me—voluntarily—because He valued us.

What can we do in response to such a great and selfless act? Listen to the carol:

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night, o night divine.”

Take time this season to fall on your knees and affirm your faith in the baby of Bethlehem; worship Him—the Christ—the Son of God and the Son of Man.

Dorothy

© 2015, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning the grumbling of the Pharisees and a look at Jonah

Posted by on Nov 1, 2019 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning the grumbling of the Pharisees and a look at Jonah

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2

For some reason, this scene brings to mind some thoughts I had when reading the book of Jonah recently.

You see, it hit me—Jesus closely related to the prophet Jonah. Of course, Jesus knew He would be buried for three days in the tomb just as Jonah experienced three days in the belly of that humongous fish (see Matthew 12:40). The Lord thought about that eventuality—probably often—and took comfort that as Jonah was vomited out of the fish after three days, He, too, would be blasted back to life by the power of God. I believe He kept His thoughts on Jonah’s deliverance as a faith-builder.

However, Jesus and Jonah had another similarity. Both were called to preach to a volatile, rebellious people. Both knew the chances of rejection were huge and could very likely end in a violent death. Jesus, though, knew that undergoing this kind of tortuous death wasn’t a mere probability; it was fact.

Both men also understood that their obedience could lead to widespread, history-changing repentance and reconciliation to God. Jesus delighted in that end; Jonah, on the other hand, recoiled from it.

Fast-forward to Jesus’ day. Although the educated and religious folk of His time probably scoffed (as I have in the past) at Jonah’s rank disgust at the thought of the repentance and reformation of his foes in disregard to God’s plan, here they had a Man before them who unashamedly preached repentance and life transformation to the non-religious around them.

Did they say to themselves, “Now, here’s a Man—unlike Jonah—who willingly embraces sinners and the dregs of society, and by His preaching, their entire lives are miraculously changed and made whole!”?

No, they grumbled. They had no interest in “sinners”; they had no interest in the transformational intersection of a human with his/her Maker. They could care less about the secret fears, sorrows, or pains of those with whom they were spiritually charged. They were Jonah—yet a Jonah who never turned to offer repentance and hope of God’s forgiveness.

Jesus, like Jonah, preached repentance as the doorway to the kingdom of heaven. He didn’t sugar-coat His message and made no exceptions concerning sin; but He preached repentance out of a heart of love and compassion for those stuck in the quagmire of their lives. And their lives, deemed valuable to this Shepherd, were transformed as they gave Him their hearts.

May you and I see our lives and those around us with the eyes of Jesus, not Jonah—and certainly not with the eyes of the “learned” religious ones of Jesus’ day.

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning watchers and boxes

Posted by on Oct 30, 2019 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning watchers and boxes

It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. Luke 14:1

I don’t think they can help themselves. People bound up with a “religious spirit” seem to be compelled to inspect everyone else’s words, behaviors, worldview, clothing, spirituality, you-name-it—and have no qualms displaying open offense if the object of their inspection deviates in any way from their pre-set, tightly-clenched perspective. In fact, these folks frequently search high and low for even the slightest offense.

If you think your job is to coerce others to toe your line and use snubbery, open put-downs, whisper campaigns, smear blitzes, or even physical force to do so, there’s a good chance you’ve picked up a good old-fashioned religious spirit.

The intended outcome of such “watching” is to squeeze the “watchee” into a box of the watcher’s choosing. I’ll bet most of you reading this have experienced fervent box construction by those who should have been welcoming, warm, and harbors of refuge for you. Their goal? To to silence you; to label you with their own definitions; to force you to conform to an image of their choosing…whether you want to or not.

Such were the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. Only problem was that Jesus didn’t play along. He marched to a different Drummer…the drumbeat of His Father.

You can watch the hand-wringing and scheming of the offended ones who “watched” Jesus throughout the gospels, and every time they set their snare, you can see how unimpressed Jesus was with their traps and faux outrage. In fact, the Father, with whom He maintained constant communion, always gave Jesus words to say and/or unabashed actions that silenced, stymied, or frustrated their best strategies to entrap Him.

You, like Jesus, also have a link up with the Father by which you can access His wisdom and direction every time you encounter the inevitable box-builders in your life. Trust Him to deliver you from those snares; He has a custom-made strategy for every trap; and He will download it to you just for the asking.

However, one thing you must do in your determination to be free of imposed boxes—don’t impose boxes of your own making upon others.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1, NKJV

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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