Pages Navigation Menu

Four life-changing insights from Luke 11

Posted by on Nov 29, 2017 in Book of Luke, Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Four life-changing insights from Luke 11

Jesus is the most profound, well-grounded Human in the history of the planet, and Luke 11 is chock-full of His wisdom. The fifty-four verses in this chapter reveal a universe of Truth; here’s a sampling:

Insight # 1: Developing a deeply personal, intimate prayer life isn’t as tough as you think.

Lord, teach us to pray…Luke 11:1b

The disciples had a ringside seat to the compassion-packed power and wisdom of the Master. Wherever He went, amazing things followed; whenever He was absent, they knew He was off praying. As a result, it wasn’t surprising when they asked, “Lord, teach us to pray like You do.”

His answer was simple but powerful; the expected in-depth dissertation never came. Instead He shared a short set of priorities for them to pray about, and with this, the well-known Lord’s Prayer was launched. He told them:

  • Honor God as your Father and treat Him and His name as holy (vs. 1).
  • Ask for God’s will and kingdom to be established in your life and in the world around you (vs 2).
  • Ask Him to provide your daily needs (vs. 3).
  • Acknowledge your need for forgiveness in the specific areas where you’ve fallen short (vs. 4).
  • Purposely forgive others who have wronged you in the same way you’ve asked God to forgive you (vs.4).
  • Request that He lead you away from the things that tempt you (vs. 4).

Realize this: Jesus never expected His disciples to rattle off this little prayer, line by line, day after day, clocking in and clocking out. The Lord didn’t present this targeted outline to be used as a magic spell, mantra, or fix-it elixir. Instead, He provided these simple prayer points as springboards by which anybody could launch into prayerful intimacy with God, just by talking to Him about these things. And in this way, He opened the door for His disciples to get as personal as they possibly could with their Father.

The Lord invites you, too, to use the “bullet points” from the Lord’s Prayer to enter into deeply personal, very specific communications with Him. His door is always open; His welcome mat will never be pulled out from under you. And as you enter in, know that you’re praying just the way He prescribed.

Insight #2: Persistence pays off.

…because of his persistence he will…give him as much as he needs. Luke 11:8b

I’ll bet you’ve heard someone say, “I don’t want to bother God about that.” Maybe you’ve said it yourself, hoping the Lord would appreciate your humility. So you back away from praying about those needs you’ve hoped forever that God would take care of, and you tell yourself that you can get by without. And all the while you feel more and more distant from the One you long to know.

But then Jesus goes and tells a parable that flips your “don’t-bother-God” humility on its head!

You see, Jesus told a tale about a persistent man who pounded relentlessly on his neighbor’s door at midnight. A visitor had unexpectedly arrived; the man was out of bread and needed to feed his guest. The neighbor had already gone to bed; climbing out from under his cozy blankets was the last thing he wanted to do—friend or no friend. Surely Jesus was about to rebuke such loud, demanding racket; how very impudent of this man to expect his friend to get out of bed merely to help him out of a self-inflicted jam! You can feel it—you just know what Jesus’ punchline will be: “And YOU? Don’t you DARE bother God about your petty little needs! Don’t you know He’s busy running the universe?”

But wait! Jesus didn’t condemn this man’s boldness; He commended it! “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:8).

Could it be true? Is Jesus actually saying to YOU, “Don’t you dare NOT bother God about your needs! And while you’re at it, stick with it until you get your answer!”? Believe it; your bold persistence doesn’t bother Him—it blesses Him.

Insight # 3: The lit lamp and the clear eye.

The eye is the lamp of the body…watch out, then, that the light in you is not darkness. Luke 11:34a, 35

Paul once wrote, “…I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

Jesus said it this way, “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar or under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light” (Luke 11:33). Why would anyone put a brilliantly glowing lamp in a cellar or under a basket? Could it be that they feel ashamed of the light?

Paul’s attitude toward the gospel was the opposite of shame; he embraced it as the power of God for salvation to everyone who believed. Jesus likewise highlighted what a normal, healthy attitude toward the Light looked like: Not hiding it; just letting it do its thing—SHINE.

Interestingly, right after Jesus taught about displaying—not hiding—the Light in your life, He said, “The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34).

I don’t know how many times I’ve read this section in Luke, but this time, I saw it differently. Could it be that Jesus linked our approach toward letting His light shine in our lives with the health of our vision? Could our perspective about the Light of Jesus—whether we hide it or let it shine—affect the clarity of our perception?

When you allow the Light to shine brightly in your life, do you safeguard your vision? By the same token, is your vision mucked up when you’re ashamed of the very Truth that once set you free?

If you are currently experiencing overwhelming darkness, confusion, or oppression, make tracks back to the Light of the world, soak up His rays, and allow His brightness to radiate boldly once again through you. His Light is unquenchable; the only one who can block it in your life is you.

Go ahead—pull that lamp back out from under the bed or basket where you’ve been hiding it. Bring it on up from the cellar and let its beautiful radiance once again be a beacon of Life to the world around you.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Insight # 4: Cleanness—major on inner; minor on outer.

When the Pharisee saw it [that Jesus had sat down for lunch without washing up], he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal. Luke 11:38

Some of us seem to place top priority on how we appear to others, whether physically, socially, intellectually, or spiritually. We want to “get it right” on the outside no matter what might be happening on the inside. As long as we look good to others, that’s all that matters. Or is it?

Jesus, frustratingly so to the religious folks of His day, wasn’t too concerned at all about the externals. Oh, He nitpicked, but not about how people looked. He pointed His laser light on the inner workings of the heart—pride, ambition, kindness, and humility before God and manmotivations of the heart.

He said to them, Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness” (Luke 11:39).

Imagine offering your friend a steaming cup of coffee or tea in an exquisite, sparkling cup. As they gratefully receive it and start to sip the contents, they notice crusty leftovers growing mold inside just below the lip of the cup. Then they notice something wiggling around, making figure eights in the brew. A critter surfaces and winks at them.

“What are you trying to do to me???? Are you crazy???” they yell as they toss your beautiful cup aside.

But you blink with astonishment and say, “But that cup is gorgeous! It looks so clean and sparkling in your hand!”

This is, in reality, what we are doing when we place all our focus on how we appear to others—whether physically, socially, intellectually, or spiritually. We may be a beautiful, stylish, with-it looking vessel, but beneath the surface—where it really counts—we’ve let leftovers accumulate, growing mold and attracting critters. If this describes your situation right now, don’t be surprised if someone says, “No thank you” to your offered cup of tea.

Jesus declared, “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also? But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you” (Luke 11:40, 41).

When you pay more attention to the climate inside of you than you do to how others think you look, your outer appearance will reflect a pure heart sooner or later.

Then when you offer your cup of brew to someone, they will find its contents wonderfully refreshing and mold- and critter-free.

May you walk freely, simply, and boldly with your Friend, the Light of the world.

Dorothy

 

© 2017, Dorothy Frick

Read More

Curtailing freedom

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Curtailing freedom

***Breaking with my Book of Luke writings to share this. I will return to the Luke project soon.***

I just posted something on Facebook after I heard Rush Limbaugh say this: “Loss of freedoms always begins as a good thing…” It struck a chord with me, and I started writing. Interestingly, the first person who liked what I wrote is at the opposite end of the political spectrum than me. She commented, “I agree completely with you on this.” 

Honestly. We have so much to lose as a nation if we are not vigilant and if we don’t think critically. Don’t be afraid to speak your opinion, but don’t be afraid of different thought, either. If you are anchored in Christ, you can afford to be like the apostle Paul, who not only preached, but also listened to the souls in the various towns and cities he entered. He earned their respect and trust…and then spoke words that changed lives forever.

My progressive friend wants to be heard. She is of Jewish descent, and she knowsprobably by family historywhat it is like to be on the outsto be hunted downby those in charge.

I also want to be heard…or at least have the freedom to speak what I want to say without my liberty revoked. In order for this American experiment to continue, both her rights and mine to speak must be safeguarded. It may be awkward; it may be uncomfortable; it may even be offensive at times, but for the Gospel to spread unhindered, we must allow for differences without compromising the Truth of the Word.

Right now, both conservative and Christian speech are undergoing tremendous assault. We must stand boldly and speak truth in love. We must not conform to externally imposed constrictions that are becoming more and more pervasive.

However, I also believe that any attempt to enforce Christianity upon this secular society in any way other than the freely given, freely received model laid out in the early days of the church would be a huge mistake. God never forced any of us to believe; neither should we force anyone else to conform unwillingly to the kingdom of God. As strange as this sounds, I have read suggestions that such enforcement is a valid way to proceed. I disagree wholeheartedly.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook:

Loss of freedoms always begins as a good thing…
 
When that which offends me is outlawed BECAUSE it offends me, it curtails everyone else’s freedom who may actually feel differently—even slightly differently—than I do. When you are penalized for speech that offends me, do I become one bit freer?
 
In fact, when my feelings become the barometer of what’s appropriate for everyone else, we all lose. You lose your right to disagree openly with me; I lose out on the very essence of being a human engaged with another human (who, by virtue of being someone else, will always be different than me)—an interaction sometimes humbling, sometimes enlightening, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes infuriating, but always an eye-opening, exploratory adventure into the very real diversity of thought found wherever there are two or more individuals engaged in conversation.
 
If you get penalized for offending me, do I, likewise, get penalized for offending you? If not, why not? Who decides which areas of diverse speech are offensive? Who decides the penalty? Will the goalposts ever be moved? If so, how far? Which way? By whom? Why?
 
These are some of the thoughts/questions I have concerning the regulation of speech.
 
If you feel differently, that’s also OK, because I value the freedom to have diverse thought and speech. However, I am unnerved by what I view to be a trend toward cutting off certain types of speech because they offend someone. Haven’t we walked down that path before? What good did it ever produce?
 

Do we really want to return to those days, albeit different topics, different offenses? I think I’d rather be offended than have our freedoms eroded.

 

Thanks for listening,
Dorothy
© 2017, Dorothy Frick
Read More

To turn the hearts of the fathers

Posted by on Feb 9, 2017 in Daily walk, Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on To turn the hearts of the fathers

It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17

One morning toward the end of 2016 as I was keeping my appointment with God, I heard this snatch of a verse: “…to turn the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous.” I looked it up and found it in the book of Luke. It was the angel’s proclamation to Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father, about this yet-to-be conceived child.

I thought about my generation and the swelling tide of disobedience and chaos throughout the earth…particularly in America. I want nothing more than to see an outpouring of hunger and thirst for the things of God and a moving of His Spirit upon every living soul in this generation—including the rebellious.

As I began praying about this, however, I glanced back at the Scripture open upon my lap. In my New American Standard Bible one phrase was capitalized to show it was an Old Testament quote. It read this way:

…TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN…

I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it. I knew God was showing me something I’d never thought about before. And then it hit me: The hearts of the fathers had drifted away from their children, and it was epidemic in our culture and world—and this turning away—this gross disinterest—was responsible for most of the chaos and upheaval surrounding us.

I thought of my dad and his difficulty with showing affection. I thought of his temper and tendency toward punitive actions and belittling words. And yet despite his massive flaws and mistakes I knew his heart was for me…and knowing that had helped to keep me somewhat steady in life.

Then I thought of my days as a camp counselor. We all knew it: you were either staff-oriented or camper-oriented—you either put the kids first or you prioritized hanging out with or flirting with other counselors.

I also thought about my teaching career. I had observed some who consistently arrived to school as late as possible and left right after the buses. There were those who sat in the lounge “chill-axin’”throughout every break; others stayed glued to their computer most of the day; and toward the end of my career, as smart phones worked their way onto the scene, I knew of teachers who constantly texted back and forth to each other while supervising students.

I thought of ministries and para-ministries, men and women in governmental positions (both elected and appointed), business leaders and executives, even those in volunteer roles—and yes, fathers and mothers. In every one of these cases, I could instinctively recognize those who prioritized “my ministry; my office; my position; my career; my needs; my desires; my gifting; my talent; my abilities; my expertise, my insight” above everything else. These were the ones—the “fathers”—of whom the angel spoke, whether they were male or female; whether they had children of their own or not.

These were the ones whose hearts had turned away from the children. These were the ones who viewed with gross disinterest those entrusted to their stewardship . These were the ones whose hearts were stuck on self.

You see, my dad was extremely dysfunctional and often unkind; but he wasn’t stuck on self. There’s a big difference.

And I then I saw it. Our nation doesn’t so much need a spiritual outpouring on the disobedient; instead, what we desperately need is a move of God on the fathers—on every last one of us called to leadership in any capacity—whether to steward, shepherd, teach, nurture, guide, direct, correct, or oversee anyone else. Without such a move, the full outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the rebellious, the disobedient, and the unpersuadable will be stifled.

The hearts of those in leadership must be broken and redirected once again to genuine care for those under their oversight.

And as for the rest of us? I sense the same is true for both you and me: Consider your ways toward those entrusted to you—whether they be many or few. Is your heart genuinely toward them—sincerely listening, pondering, and probing the Spirit of God on their behalf—or is there some “stick-age” in your stewardship—gross disinterest—stuck on self?

Don’t feel bad if you discover you’ve been stuck on self; all of us have been to some extent or other. But now it’s time for the One who has stewardship over each one of us to correct, redirect, and transform our focus, unsticking our stick-age, and to bring our hearts into alignment with His heart…turning us back in genuine concern for those He’s entrusted to each one of us…eradicating any remnant of gross indifference from our souls.

And I believe that as those of us in any leadership capacity at all will yield to Him and turn in real compassion toward those He’s given us, then “the disobedient and incredulous and unpersuadable” will turn “to the wisdom of the upright” (see Amplified Classic) and be transformed.

Lord, prepare us to follow You fully—even in this!

Dorothy

Read More

Make an appointment

Posted by on Feb 2, 2017 in Prayer Perspective | 2 comments

As I was seeking God in December about this year, I was also very aware of some areas of vulnerability in my life. One such shortcoming was this: I was not as consistent in set-apart prayer time as I had been in the past. Sure, I talked to God on and off throughout the day and enjoyed hearing from Him in the surprising ways He would “drop in on me”, but I knew He was re-directing me to a more focused, disciplined pursuit.

And as He would have it, one of those surprise “drop-ins” came as I was wrapping up reading through the Old Testament in the book of Amos. I read

Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?” Amos 3:3, NASB

Now this verse is more famously quoted this way: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (KJV) That’s how I’d always heard it preached—we need agreement with one another to accomplish God’s work; we need to be in agreement with God to walk in His ways.

However, this word “appointment” jumped off the page at me. My complacent lethargy concerning daily prayer was in for a makeover! And it all had to do with making an appointment with God.

Here’s how God directed me. He reminded me that I made appointments with the dentist and the doctor—and that I kept those appointments. I also remembered that when I met a friend for coffee, we would text each other ahead of time to confirm our meeting. Basically, the Lord showed me that most of my dealings with others involved appointment making—and by the same token, the way to return to my first love and zeal for Him simply involved making and keeping appointments with Him.

So here’s what I did: Before I would go to bed, I asked the Lord, “What time tomorrow is our appointment?” and I’d hear a time and would agree to meet with Him then. Simple…yet profoundly helpful.

Are you having difficulty finding time to set apart for God? Then call out to Him, set up an appointment, and then show up. Then do it again the next day.

A funny thing started happening soon after I began those appointments…I seemed to blunder into divine appointments and supernatural unfoldings more and more in my everyday life. And then it dawned on me—I was honoring the appointment part of the verse, and God was showing up in the walking together part!

Now don’t get me wrong—I’ve missed an appointment or two since that verse jumped out at me. But I know how to make my way back to Him quickly and to pick back up: I make an appointment and keep it!

Here’s to walking with the Lord persistently and consistently!

Dorothy

Read More

A Word from God Received June 29, 2008

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in Prayer Perspective, Praying for America | Comments Off on A Word from God Received June 29, 2008

The following revelation came to me on June 29, 2008, while meditating on Scriptures as I was drinking coffee at Panera Bread Company after my church’s 9:30 Sunday morning service. (You can hear from God anytime, anywhere.)

“I’ve made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with two edges. You’ll thresh the mountains and beat them small and shall make the hills as chaff.” Isaiah 41:15 (my paraphrase)

“For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

As I studied that morning, I was picturing that one job of the Isaiah 41 threshing sledge is to separate wheat from chaff. The word of God, which is also two-edged and of the sharpest substance known to man, is likewise used to separate, this time to the division of soul and spirit. This is the sword of the Spirit we are to wield as we embark on our new, sharp threshing sledge with two edges.

At this point of my study, the revelation began.

As we yield to the Spirit of God and abide in the Word, we will be directed in the job of threshing mountains of opposition and intimidation and “beat them small”. We will do this under the direction of the Lord and will possibly be unaware of the effectiveness of our act of threshing, beating, and pulverizing. Telltale signs will emerge, however; strongholds will start to lose both their “strong” and their “hold”; institutions and systems set up to mock, block, or defrock justice, just laws, and the righteous will start to totter, falter, and fail, and men and women who have exalted themselves and agendas not of God will be challenged, exposed, and will flounder and fall, seemingly out of nowhere.

Those who know their God will find their places and their parts in this new economy. To the world, the bulk of the vibrant, vivid vigil of victory energizing these folks will be unseen as believers take their stand in this hour.

God will move in churches and in meetings and will visit these gatherings in sweet and unusual manifestation.

However, He will also move in the pastor’s quiet study; He will move on the young mother as she returns from seeing her children off at the bus stop; He will move on the grocer and the shelver, the checker and the bagger. He will move on the gristly retiree as he sits on his porch with his coffee. He will move on the rush hour commuter as he breathes a quiet prayer. He will move on the working woman pumping gas into her car. Wherever humanity lifts its face or bows its knee in humble faith, God will move.

We—believing humans—are far more potent and powerful than we have ever imagined.

“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”  Psalm 5:3

In the midst of an orchestrated assault on the values and advantages of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, men and women of worldly privilege and power plot and plan to gain leverage over those they deem small-minded, narrow-minded, and shallow. Webs are woven, snares are set, and global corralling of capital and thought is being brokered. Wonderful inroads, to their way of thinking, are being paved into the lives, livelihoods, and loves of this current generation. The confident expectation emitted by these celebrity candidates and their power-partners seems to sweep through the nation like a flood with one aim: the capitulation and conformity of the American Dream to a new paradigm, their paradigm, “Land of our Greed, Home of our Slaves”.

Climbing in confidence, conquest, and coverage, the elite prepare for their ascendency and establishment upon the summit of our time. The bases are covered, they think; the stage is set. Those who offer resistance are growing weary, losing support, and fading in appeal. With time, even these voices will be silenced and forgotten, so they believe.

However, God has reserved for Himself a weapon, a secret weapon—hidden, trained, held in the wings for such a time as this.

“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”  Psalm 5:3

In the morning.

In the quiet, private personal time of the day, men and women of faith have met with their Father, the Lover of their souls, for years. Quietly, faithfully, nearly daily, verses of scripture here, whispers of prayer there, the army of God has seemed scattered, disjointed, incongruous, ineffective in the eyes of the world. Yet one Master, one General, has trained them all, daily, morning by morning (or evening by evening), verse by verse, prayer by prayer…the small and the great, the mighty and the weak. And such training, although intensely personal and private, has been coordinated and orchestrated from above, from the Headquarters of the Ancient of Days Himself. And the time has arrived and now is that a corporate anointing will rest upon the many in their individual quiet times, bringing forth a multitude of pieces to  the puzzle to unite the Body of Christ as never before in binding and loosing, confronting and confounding, exposing and expelling the designs of the wicked. Impenetrable plans will be toppled and forces of darkness will be held back and stymied in the fulfillment of their schemes.

In other lands and other times, during seasons of persecution and distress, the Holy Spirit has, on more than one occasion, gathered a body of believers from the North, South, East, and West to one place for assembling without one word uttered or published by human agency.

Thus we ourselves will become participants in the greatest series of “corporate” gatherings this side of Eternity—and each one of us—each one—will have a part—a key part—to play!

The very depths of darkness will be shaken to its core; men and women who insist upon their sponsorship and establishment of this new slavery will cry and gnash their teeth in fury as this quiet, unseen force wreaks havoc on their carefully calculated constructions. Indeed, throughout the earth where plots of wickedness are being devised, they will be revealed to men or women of faith and be thwarted. More than a few times will the evil engineers be enraged as was the king of Aram in Elisha’s day when he discovered that “…Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” (2 Kings 6:12)

Supernatural knowings, Holy Spirit-directed thwartings, reworkings, and recoveries will be the rule of the day, not the exception, in the time of the end.

Wickedness may, indeed, pour forth as a flood, but the righteous God will lift up a standard—His people and His Body—against it! We are witnesses and participants in this day of confrontation between the consolidated forces of darkness and the supernatural, almighty workings of God which He is orchestrating and directing through the prayers of His people!

[The above entry can also be found in the back of my book First of All Pray: Prescription for a Nation in Crisis (© 2013 by Dorothy Frick). It can be viewed or purchased at https://www.amazon.com/First-All-Pray-Dorothy-Frick/dp/0985756438/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471536193&sr=1-1&keywords=first+of+all+pray ]

Read More

My guy won. What now?

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in Prayer Perspective, Praying for America | Comments Off on My guy won. What now?

I posted this on my Facebook page today, the day after the presidential election. I wrote:

Like many of you who stayed up most of the night last night, I am operating on fumes. I know many of you are rejoicing in this outcome, but today my heart has returned often to thoseand they are manywho voted for Mrs. Clinton, for Gary Johnson, for Jill Stein…or who left the “president” section of their ballots blank.

I’ve been praying for them. I know they feel hurt, devastated, even broken, and I don’t revel in their pain. They are part of this wonderful American experiment and we NEED them.

If you are so inclined, join me in praying for those who now feel like some of us felt in past post-election days. God has NEVER called us to gloat or mock the pain of others, but rather to love, to minister to, and to pray for them.

Friends don’t always see eye to eye; families may experience strong disagreement among themselves; but we are called to peace as we pursue our future with confidence and an eye to Him who cares for the sparrow.

Remember this: “A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” (Isaiah 42:3). If God doesn’t crush someone when they are down, then we have NO right to do so, either.

May God bless and bring His peace to us all.

Dorothy

 

 

Read More