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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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For Thy pleasure [Updated 2017]

Posted by on Dec 23, 2017 in Christmas | Comments Off on For Thy pleasure [Updated 2017]

Will you be alone on Christmas Eve? I was in 1978.
 
My parents had moved to Pittsburgh; my sister was in Oregon; and my brother was AWOL as far as the family went. I was a substitute teacher with very little income and couldn’t afford the flight to PA. So this 23 year old braved the cold and attended Grace Christian Center’s Christmas Eve service alone.
 
As I joined in the worship, the carols ministered to my quiet melancholy, drawing my attention off of myself and onto the newborn King. Then, a song welled up from the worship team—not a carol—but a simple worship song honoring the God of creation. It went like this:
 
For Thou hast created, hast all things created.
For Thou hast created all things…
And for Thy pleasure they were created.
Thou art worthy O Lord.
 
My eyes were closed and as these words played: “And for Thy pleasure they were created…” I saw something flash across the screen of my consciousness…
 
A gentle snow was falling, and I saw a little raccoon waddling down to a very familiar, half-frozen creek—the creek that traversed land that my family once owned and where I used to catch crawdads. As I watched, the raccoon took a sip of water at creek’s edge.
 
It surprised me—it wasn’t a Christmasy-type of “vision” at all. But then I heard the Lord say softly on the inside of me, “This just happened, and I wanted to share it with someone. I knew you’d like it, too.”
 
And ever since then, I’ve known I’m never alone, really. And my friend, neither are you.
 
My prayer for you—no matter what’s going on in your life—is that you will experience Christmas this year with the One who created all things.                
 —Dorothy
© 2016, Dorothy Frick
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Faithful, joyful, and triumphant [updated 2017]

Posted by on Dec 22, 2017 in Christmas | Comments Off on Faithful, joyful, and triumphant [updated 2017]

 

If you’re like me, you’re getting tired of the nonstop bad news and constant spin (from all sides!) demanding attention and manipulating cultural thought into a pattern designed to conform with those who “know better” than the rest of us. It seems as if we can’t get a break from it all—even now, just days before Christmas.

But listen to the words of a familiar carol:

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 uniquely peaceful 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 to tell you who you are. You are the faithful. You are the joyful. You are the triumphant. And you have the right to 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, Dorothy Frick

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Christmas Series table of contents

Posted by on Dec 5, 2017 in Christmas | Comments Off on Christmas Series table of contents

Merry Christmas!! I am presenting my Christmas Series again this year. If you want, go to the categories menu and click on the “Christmas” link on the right and look around.

Or, if you prefer, here is a table of my Christmas Series blogs to look through.

  1. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year  http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7668
  2. O Holy Night    http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7674
  3. The Forerunner     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7676
  4. According to Your Word     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7678
  5. Joseph     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7680
  6. Emmanuel     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7683
  7. The government     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7686
  8. Bethlehem     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7689
  9. O Little Town of Bethlehem     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7695
  10. No room     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7697
  11. Shepherds       http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7699
  12. Interview with the magi, part 1     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7702
  13. Interview with the magi, part 2     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7704
  14. Interview with the magi, part 3     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7706
  15. Heaven greets earth     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7708
  16. For Thy pleasure     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=8114
  17. Faithful, joyful, and triumphant    http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=8107
  18. Christmas Eve     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7713
  19. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day     http://www.firstofallpray.com/?p=7715

May God bless you and keep you safe and sound throughout this holy season, and may you bring honor to Him in your life every day.

Warmly,

Dorothy

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I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day: Christmas Series Part 18

Posted by on Dec 25, 2016 in Christmas | Comments Off on I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day: Christmas Series Part 18

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a song on Christmas Day during a tumultuous time in American history—during the height of the Civil War. We, too, like Longfellow, live in a time of great challenge and can also attest to the fact that hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men.

But, like Longfellow, we can take courage: God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. Truly, we can rest assured that in accordance to the Word of God, the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1863)

As you walk closely with the Child of Bethlehem, the Lord Jesus Christ, He will lead you through this fallen world as a light shining in a dark place. Don’t be afraid; He will be with you wherever you go and will manifest through you the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Indeed, because of your connection to the Lord, you are part of a great restraining force that has not yet left the earth. Let Him use you in the days ahead to pray for and to reach out in kindness, truth, and grace to a lost and hurting world. He will lead you; just trust Him and follow.

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2 Thessalonians 2:7

Hold your head high this Christmas Day. Your God is alive and well, and your Redeemer lives!

Dorothy

© 2015, Dorothy Frick

To learn more about the circumstances surrounding the life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which prompted the writing of this poignant carol, see the following article at the Christian Post.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day-111313/

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