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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

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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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Comparing

Posted by on Sep 11, 2019 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Comparing

For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12

When comparing is the wrong choice

Have you ever found yourself thinking that someone else has it so much better than you? If you have—as I have at various times—you probably also noticed that your thoughts were not infused with the spirit of love and grace! Instead, if you were honest with yourself at all, you would have recognized jealousy, bitterness, and possibly even some hatred rising up within you. And as the apostle Paul wrote, that attitude of bitter comparison shows a dire lack of understanding on your part.

On the other hand, have you ever found yourself thinking that you were better than someone else? If so—as I have, also, at various times—you may have noticed that your mindset was not like Christ’s—with humility of mind regarding another as more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3b, paraphrased). In fact, if you were at all self-aware, you would have recognized pride, arrogance, and possibly even some hatred lodged like a rock within your soul. Once again, as Paul wrote, that attitude of a smugly superior comparison reveals a blatant lack of understanding on your part.

What do you do when you realize you’ve compared yourself to others, whether from jealousy or superiority? Acknowledge those thoughts and attitudes to God, own them before Him, make no excuses for yourself, and repent. Apply 1 John 1:9 to yourself and trust God to help you to walk comparison-free.

When comparing is the right choice

…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… Philippians 3:8a

You know not to compare yourself to others, whether for better or for worse. But here, Paul is directing all of us to compare two deeply important aspects of our own personal lives, one to the other—knowing Christ Jesus as Lord vs. Everything Else.

As I look around my home—my safe, secure, comfortable home—I recognize that in comparison to what others own, it lands on both sides of the spectrum. It’s better than some, not as nice as others. And I’m OK with that because my value in life is not in what I own.

However, Paul wraps it all up—possessions, wealth, beauty, talent, prowess, position, reputation, and even spiritual “ranking”—in the same package he calls All Things. He then compares that total package of his whole life to ONE thing—knowing Christ. Guess which wins?

In fact, Paul states this: “Everything else is loss compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ.” Knowing Jesus—in ever-increasing intimacy—causes everything else in your life to take its rightful—and subordinate—place. Knowing Christ doesn’t denigrate everything else, but it certainly allows you to put it all in perspective. Knowing Christ is far more valuable than Any Other Aspect of your life, whether your possessions, wealth, beauty, talent, prowess, position, reputation, or spiritual “ranking”.

I pray we all grow in our full appreciation of the surpassing value of knowing Christ.

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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Jesus’ advice to sheep in the midst of wolves

Posted by on Jul 8, 2019 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Jesus’ advice to sheep in the midst of wolves

Wow! This just came up on my Facebook page as a “memory”. I wrote it three years ago, but it hit the bullseye for what I’m going through right now. Here it is:

I can’t sleep yet. I had three Scriptures weighing on my heart as I laid in bed weeping and praying.

Jesus said, “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matt. 24:12) He saw it coming across the millennia. He told us this not to scare us but to prepare us.

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

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matt. 10:16

You and I are NOT accountable for the conditions of anyone else’s heart. We are each accountable for our OWN heart, attitudes, actions, and behaviors.

Therefore, what I am telling myself I will share with you: Don’t let your love grow cold, guard your heart, be shrewd [alert] AND be innocent.

May God’s blessings, protection, discernment, and direction be on all of us as we navigate this crazy world.

–Dorothy

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