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April Fools

Posted by on Apr 1, 2019 in My testimony | Comments Off on April Fools

I was water baptized 44 years ago tonight, April Fools Day. I was thinking back on that event in my life and wanted to repost what I wrote about it a few years ago.

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.1 Corinthians 3:18

never would have planned it this way, but I was water baptized on April Fools’ Day. The last thing I would have ever dreamed of doing was to make such a serious act of commitment to Jesus on a day associated with pranks and practical jokes. But God sees things differently.

I had been saved barely three months; yet every time I turned on my newly-discovered Christian radio station, all I heard them talking about was water baptism. I soaked it up, but was utterly perplexed. How do I get someone to baptize me? I pondered. I didn’t go to a traditional church; my church was the Tuesday/Thursday night dorm Bible study. My pride was kicking in—I didn’t want to be laughed at for my ignorance about baptism—but nevertheless, I sought out a seasoned saint in the dorm. She was the ripe old age of 21 and about as learned as Moses. Sheepishly, I asked her to explain it to me.

Instead of teasing me for my limited knowledge, her face lit up. She got on the phone with Rick, the leader of our Bible study, and said, “We’re having baptism tonight. Get everything ready!”

The only problem: I was mortified that it was April Fools’ Day! Wouldn’t I dishonor God and open Him up to ridicule if—of all days—I was baptized on April Fools? I almost backed out.

When my wise counselor perceived my dilemma, she assured me that God would not be offended if I got baptized on April first. In fact, she shared, I was obeying Scripture—I was allowing myself to be foolish so that I could become truly wise (see 1 Corinthians 3:18). It was settled. I was getting baptized—that very night.

This was the first of many baptisms I attended while in college; every one of them was an event full of love, joy, camaraderie, and the first blush of commitment to Jesus Christ as new believers obeyed the command to be baptized in the name of Jesus.

Before I was saved I had watched this motley crew of Christians trek back to the dorm more than once after water baptisms late at night—that’s how I knew who the believers in the dorm were when I needed them later on—and here I was—on April Fools’ Day, 1975, doing the same thing. Who would have thought?

The group of fifteen or so of us hiked down to the rock quarry across campus. Some of the guys had gone ahead of us to build a huge bonfire on the bank. Several of the ladies were carrying towels and blankets. I invited three very special friends who didn’t attend our Bible study to witness my “burial and resurrection”—Linda, who was unsaved; Miriam, who was from a prominent family in her mainline Protestant church; and Carla, who was backslidden.

Rick shared on water baptism from the Bible: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). By the light of the fire, I saw joy and expectation on everyone’s faces—except for Linda’s, Miriam’s, and Carla’s. Their heads hung low; none of them gave eye contact either to Rick or to me.

It was time. Around 8:30, with stars twinkling in the sky, I followed Rick (another Moses-type to me—he was nearly 22 and had been saved most of his life) into the quarry. The water took my breath away, it was so cold, but the joy I was experiencing warmed me to the core.

“Dorothy, have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” Rick asked.

“Yes,” I responded.

“Then in front of these witnesses, I baptize you in the name of Jesus!” And with that, he dunked me under the nearly-freezing water and pulled me back up.

On the bank, I heard whooping and hollering, followed by guitar and the sound of loud, jubilant singing:

“Break forth into joy, oh my soul! Break forth into, oh my soul!

For in the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore;

Break forth, break forth into joy, oh my soul!”

As Rick and I emerged from the water, both of us were greeted with blankets wrapped around our shoulders; and as I stood by the fire, I received joyful hugs all around. Everyone was beaming ear to ear, worshiping around the crackling bonfire—everyone, that is, except Linda, Miriam, and Carla. All three of them—the unsaved, the religious, and the backslider—were weeping uncontrollably.

God was touching each one of them, very deeply, that April Fools night.

Linda got saved less than a year later, getting baptized in the quarry herself in the dead of winter when we had to break the ice covering it—and now she is a prominent businesswoman in my area; Miriam wrote me a beautiful letter describing how the Scriptures came alive to her that night and how “newness of life” meant something new to her now, as well; and Carla went on to return to her first love, Jesus—and she has been winning souls to Him ever since.

As for me, I was through with trying to appear wise. I realized that the wisdom of the world was absolute foolishness to God; if I truly wanted to be wise, I must become foolish first—with the foolishness of God. And then—and only then—would I become wise.

And that’s no April Fools.

Dorothy

© 2016, Dorothy Frick

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Born again; what next?

Posted by on Dec 31, 2017 in My testimony | Comments Off on Born again; what next?

I had been born again, not due to the prodding or preaching of men, but by the longsuffering, interactive invasion of the Living God into my confused but seeking life.
 
I had little training outside of my mainline denominational church as to what to do next; but a Christian friend back in high school told me years before that I needed to “get into fellowship”. I’m so thankful she planted that seed in me, because it was about to bear fruit. Here’s what happened next:
 
Sometime in January, 1975, I was back to Mizzou after Christmas break. But nothing was the same. Over break, as you know, I had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ; my day-to-day life as I knew it was about to undergo a sweeping overhaul as well.
 
Because my entire perspective on life and living had just been radically altered, I was not quiteshall we sayas celebrated by my party friends upon my return to school as I had been when I left for break.
 
Alone and feeling dejected after a post-party Friday night accusatory grilling by peers (you see, I had the audacity to drink Sprite and not liquor throughout the party), the next morning I wandered the 3rd floor of my dorm where I knew some Jesus freaks lived, knocking on doors. Finally, a door opened, and who should answer but one of those Jesus freaks!
 
I announced, “I am a Christian now and none of my friends like me anymore. Will you be my friend?”
 
She was prepping to take a bus back to her hometown for the night but offered me an invitation that would set the stage for the stability and depth of my faith for the remainder of my life.
 
“Bible study is Tuesday and Thursday nights. This week it’ll be in Rick’s room up on 6th floor Hatch. Be there.”
 

I went; I continued to go until I graduated two and a half years later; and I experienced what real community and care among believers was all about.

The foundation I received in those dorm meetings established my faith with biblical, rock solid anchoring; the atmosphere that prevailed of love, acceptance, and celebration of each individual soul in that ever-growing group of youths remains to this day my measuring stick of what true Christian community looks like.

I am forever grateful to God for His marvelous and timely intervention in my life!

Dorothy

© 2017, Dorothy Frick

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Jesus to the rescue

Posted by on Dec 29, 2017 in My testimony | Comments Off on Jesus to the rescue

The Bible says that God is longsuffering. He patiently presents His truth to us throughout our lives in a variety of ways. He is the Supreme Teacher, and He provides individualized instruction to each of us. Sometimes we “get it” and sometimes we don’t. Still, He persists in His patient pursuit. On December 29, 1974, I finally “got it”.

My testimony part 3:

Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins! Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin! Psalm 51:1-2, Good News Translation

Repentance is a funny thing. It demands that you recognize your own sin; but it is also accompanied, very often, by an abhorrence of what you have allowed, done, or become; and true repentance will birth a change of heart and behavior in you as well.

When I was in high school and quit drugging and drinking due to the heavenly “vision”, some may have considered this to be an act of repentance, but it wasn’t. Yes, I changed my behaviors; yet I, myself, remained unchanged.

Later, in college when I recognized that I had become an alcoholic, I grieved terribly about the control I had allowed drinking to gain over my life and told God how sorry I was, but even that was not full repentance. I sorrowed, but my behaviors remained stuck, unchanged.

After crying out to God in November, 1974, I continued drinking but didn’t enjoy it; I felt enchained by it and couldn’t get free. In fact, a couple of days after Christmas, once again, I was getting drunk in a bar while my friends partied away with glee. As I sat alone, absentmindedly watching the band play song after song, I noticed that many of the folks on the dance floor were swaying with their arms lifted up to the sky. Just then I heard a voice in my ear: Lifted hands are a sign of worship.

I dropped my head and said, “I’m in hell.” I had acknowledged my sin but had no idea where to go from there.

But God had a plan, and He came through for me in the most unexpected way.

Two evenings later, on December 29, I received a phone call. I took it in my parents’ bedroom on their princess telephone while standing next to their full-length mirror. (For those of you much younger than me, princess phones were quite the thing back then.) My friend on the other end wanted to know if I was planning to get drunk on New Year’s Eve. Now remember, I had gotten smashed just two nights earlier and desperately wanted to quit but felt utterly unable to do so.

Out of nowhere, I heard my mouth saying, “Haven’t you heard? I quit drinking.”

“You WHAT?!” she bellowed. I WHAT?! my mind echoed.

“What are you talking about?” she persisted.

I looked at my reflection in the mirror and gave myself a puzzled look. I also noticed a small smile tugging at the corner of my mouth.

“Drinking is so un-ecological! Think of it! You drink and drink and drink, and all those resources are just wasted! Trashed! It’s just not good for the environment!” I could feel my mind scrambling for some sort of excuse to cover for what my mouth had just announced.

“Oh man, are you ever messed up!” and with that our conversation abruptly ended.

There I was, standing before my parents’ full-length mirror, and two things happened. First, I felt something literally leave my body, making me feel about two thousand pounds lighter. Second, as I looked into that mirror, my face was glowing. I’d never seen anything like it in my life. Something very profound had just happened to me, that’s for sure, and I had a feeling that Jesus was in the middle of it.

I went to my bedroom and found a daily devotional I had just bought sometime in November to make sense of my spiritual condition. Instead of opening it to December 29, I opened it to my birthday page. And there, in bold Living Bible terminology was Hebrews 10:19-20. It said, “And so, dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain—his human body—to let us into the holy presence of God.

And then I saw Him. There in my bedroom, all alone, I saw Jesus opening His chest with His two hands and beckoning me to enter through Him into the presence of the Father. And as I wept in gratefulness to Him, I said, “I must be a Christian now!”

And thus my journey ended; and so my journey began.

Dorothy

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:13-14a

…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation…for whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-10, 13

© 2015, Dorothy Frick, and updated 2017.

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What a terrible savior am I

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 in My testimony | Comments Off on What a terrible savior am I

Yesterday I posted an encounter I had with Jesus when I was a teen. This second of three posts describes my attempt at cleaning myself up and taking charge of my destiny. Like so many others, I decided that if I could get good enough, I probably wouldn’t need to upend my life by receiving Christ. The thing I didn’t reckon with was this: I sucked at being my own savior. Therefore, I have entitled this part “What a terrible savior am I”.

My testimony Part 2:

After Jesus appeared to me while I was in an opium-induced hallucination back in January, 1972, I decided that I needed to stop all my drugging and drinking. After all, I would be a Christian some day. This began a very frustrating, legalistic season in my life. I stopped drinking; I stopped doing drugs; I was working my way to Heaven.

This lasted a good year and a half…but then I went to college. There was no way I could attend Party School, USA, and not join in on the fun! Therefore, I compromised with my savior (who was, frankly, me, myself, and I at the time): I could drink all I wanted to, but no dope.

Quite honestly, I learned something profound through that decision. Improving myself was not the same thing as being a new creature. I had tried to be good for God; however, I was terribly bored with that lifestyle, and deep down, I knew I still wanted to party.

I jumped into freshman year with gusto. Five of us—three gals and two guys—became a close-knit band, gallivanting from party to party, kegger to kegger, and bar to bar. I taught them camp songs that we sang at the top of our lungs through the streets of the campus following our nights of drinking; after that we would return to the dorm and buy chocolate milk as a chaser, always throwing the empty cartons on the roof of the dorm lobby. After the five of us parted ways for the evening, it was my practice to sit on the landing of the seventh floor stairwell and talk to God about the evening’s adventure.

Life was good; I was a good person—I wasn’t doing drugs and I was keeping the lines of communication open with God. I was pretty much in charge of life and doing a darn good job of it. And then came the summer.

I had been assigned the role of primitive camp director at my summer camp. I loved that camp, I loved the woods, I loved primitive camp, I loved the magic of it all. However, there was one problem. I made a lousy primitive camp director. I could build fires and shelters with the best of them; I could spit a watermelon seed further than most; however, I had no clue how to build a diving tower, the premier project every summer at primitive camp. You’d think I’d just tell the camp director that neither I nor the young man hired to assist me had any idea how to manage that job, but as a daughter of the seventies, “I was woman, hear me roar,” and I couldn’t swallow my pride enough to admit “WE NEED HELP OVER HERE!” Two sessions later—and no tower—sent up a big red flag back at main camp: Get a skilled male counselor over to primitive camp and do it now!

Although I felt relieved, the whole thing mortified me. No one else thought anything about it (except probably the male counselor who lost his job); however it left me feeling like a total failure. My fantasy of being a super woods-woman was crushed; frankly, by the end of that summer, I was spiraling into disillusionment and near self-loathing.

Sophomore year couldn’t come too quickly. My two female friends had joined sororities, but I still had my trusty partners-in-crime, John and Charlie. We partied our way through first semester, and on Halloween, I decided to take a little alcoholic trip down memory lane. I purchased a bottle of Boone’s Farm apple wine and a six-pack of beer—the first smorgasbord of liquor I got pass-out drunk on back in high school. Dressed as Mary Poppins, I downed all of it as I wandered the campus with Charlie, John, and a few others. And I discovered something that utterly shook my already-fragile frame of mind—I wasn’t getting drunk; I wasn’t even tipsy. I needed far more alcohol to achieve far less! And then it dawned on me—I had become an alcoholic, just like my dad.

The next morning, November first, I woke up early, fighting a growing, gnawing sense of panic—I’m out of control! I’m not in charge of my life; I’m a mess! My fantasy about my personal invincibility had been eroding rapidly ever since the diving tower fiasco; and now here I was—an alcoholic at nineteen years old. And I knew I could do nothing about it.

I grabbed a Good News for Modern Man: New Testament and Psalms which I had acquired earlier in my quest for truth and headed out to the only place of refuge I could think of—the woods toward the edge of campus.

I made my way to a creek, and with tears streaming down my face, I trudged down the dried up creek bed, ashamed to speak to the God I once thought I had all but figured out. The sense of guilt and unworthiness overwhelmed me as I carefully held the Bible, frightened of the contrast between its purity and my sin.

It fell open. Fearing to read it, but needing to with every fiber of my being, I saw the heading: Psalm 51.

1Be merciful to me, O God,
    because of your constant love.
Because of your great mercy
    wipe away my sins!
Wash away all my evil
    and make me clean from my sin!

I recognize my faults;
    I am always conscious of my sins.
I have sinned against you—only against you—
    and done what you consider evil.
So you are right in judging me;
    you are justified in condemning me.

I remembered the jury in that hallucination so long ago. I continued reading.

7Remove my sin, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

I wanted nothing more than to feel clean again.

10Create a pure heart in me, O God,
    and put a new and loyal spirit in me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence;
    do not take your holy spirit away from me.
12 Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach sinners your commands,
    and they will turn back to you.

With all my heart I desired that.

17 My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God;
    you will not reject a humble and repentant heart. (Good News Translation)

Feeling lifted but still heavy-hearted, I picked my way back out of the creek bed, through the woods, and back to the dorm.

© 2015, Dorothy Frick, and updated 2017.

Next: December 29, 1974Jesus to the rescue

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Jesus quieted the jury

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 in My testimony | Comments Off on Jesus quieted the jury

My testimony Part 1:

One of the last stanzas in the carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” asks this of the Lord:

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.” (Phillips Brookes, 1868)

This birth is exactly what happened within me in 1974, four days after Christmas. I want to take a few days to share with you my personal journey to both the manger and the cross. Perhaps my story is somewhat non-traditional; however, as this same carol declares:

No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in
.”

I was raised in a “Christian” family; we were Presbyterian, but the church we attended in the sixties focused more on issues of social relevance than it did the state of our souls. As far as I could tell, everyone went to Heaven if they were good; Hell was likely a really bad state of mind; and the devil was either an allegorical representation of evil or a red-pajama’d fairy tale, believed in only by the weak-minded.

My mom had been raised by a staunch southern Baptist. She and her sisters married intellectual men and shunned the more “primitive” demonstration of Christianity. Whereas Mom and Dad held to the ritual of denominational Protestantism, my aunts and their spouses ran as far away from religion as they could. Grandma was the “black sheep” of the family; we visited her only because we had to; we put up with her praying over the meals only because we had to; we tolerated her “are you saved?” inquiries only because that was part of the whole package of who she was—and the rules said we had to go see her.

I didn’t mind Grandma, though; I secretly admired her persistence in the face of eye-rolling, dismissive behavior, and condescending comments.

At home, however, with Mom and Dad, religion—especially talk of relationship with God (and even worse, with Jesus)—was taboo. If you wanted to see over-the-top discomfort, just drop the J-bomb. Talk of Jesus was fine at church—where it was safe—but you didn’t bring Him into the conversation at home unless you wanted to be branded a religious fanatic like Grandma.

One snowy night late in January of 1972 after a high school basketball game, my date and I planned to go to a party. He took a detour to a park where he showed me two joints that he wanted to share with me. I was game, but told him that they would likely have no effect on me—I’d smoked pot eleven times before without any noticeable results. (Have I ever mentioned that one of my quirks is an OCD tendency to count things?) He assured me that these were different—they were laced with opium.

When we got back to his car after puffing them down to nothing, I said to him, “I told you these would have no effect…” And then my words echoed back at me, again and again.

As he drove to the party, I was in a virtual echo-chamber. I could see nothing but flashes and sparkles. He commented to me as he was driving, “That tree just turned into a pine cone.”

Unconcerned about having a hallucinating chauffeur driving me around the streets of our town, I replied, “Give my regards to its mother.” I was too busy in my echo-chamber to give much thought to safety.

And then a series of hallucinations happened that resulted in a type of “line in the sand” between the Lord and me. First, as I looked out of the big windshield on that dark January night, I saw my mom’s loving face filling a brilliant blue sky. I became terribly convicted, realizing that I was breaking massive rules, potentially hurting her very deeply. Then her face was gone, and I saw the dark expanse of the starry heavens and thought, “God can see me!” so I ducked below the dashboard in an attempt to hide from the Almighty.

What happened next forever changed the way I viewed Jesus. Immediately I was at my trial on Judgment Day (not a popular topic in the particular mainline denominational church I attended). I was about to be sentenced to Hell by a raging jury; they shouted at me with faces filled with fury, pounding their fists. I stood with my head hung down knowing I deserved no mercy. And then Jesus approached. He was robed in white with a gold cord around His waist and radiated a golden liquid love. He first turned to the jury, raised both hands and then lowered them in a gesture of silence. Begrudgingly, the jury quieted as the Lord turned to me.

I will never forget the love I saw in His face as He gazed into my eyes while speaking to the jury. “This is My own dear daughter whom I love very much. She wants to be with Me. I think she will.”

With that, the hallucination/vision faded. I was back in the car, in a vehicle driven by someone who had just smoked the same stuff I had—and I was very aware of the dangerous position I was in. But a deep sense of peace and God’s protection came over me as I said to myself, “I’ll be a Christian someday.”

© 2015, Dorothy Frick, and updated 2017.

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April Fools

Posted by on Apr 2, 2016 in My testimony | 1 comment

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 1 Corinthians 3:18

never would have planned it this way, but I was water baptized on April Fools’ Day. The last thing I would have ever dreamed of doing was to make such a serious act of commitment to Jesus on a day associated with pranks and practical jokes. But God sees things differently.

I had been saved barely three months; yet every time I turned on my newly-discovered Christian radio station, all I heard them talking about was water baptism. I soaked it up, but was utterly perplexed. How do I get someone to baptize me? I pondered. I didn’t go to a traditional church; my church was the Tuesday/Thursday night dorm Bible study. My pride was kicking in—I didn’t want to be laughed at for my ignorance about baptism—but nevertheless, I sought out a seasoned saint in the dorm. She was the ripe old age of 21 and about as learned as Moses. Sheepishly, I asked her to explain it to me.

Instead of teasing me for my limited knowledge, her face lit up. She got on the phone with Rick, the leader of our Bible study, and said, “We’re having baptism tonight. Get everything ready!”

The only problem: I was mortified that it was April Fools’ Day! Wouldn’t I dishonor God and open Him up to ridicule if—of all days—I was baptized on April Fools? I almost backed out.

When my wise counselor perceived my dilemma, she assured me that God would not be offended if I got baptized on April first. In fact, she shared, I was obeying Scripture—I was allowing myself to be foolish so that I could become truly wise (see 1 Corinthians 3:18). It was settled. I was getting baptized—that very night.

This was the first of many baptisms I attended while in college; every one of them was an event full of love, joy, camaraderie, and the first blush of commitment to Jesus Christ as new believers obeyed the command to be baptized in the name of Jesus.

Before I was saved I had watched this motley crew of Christians trek back to the dorm more than once after water baptisms late at night—that’s how I knew who the believers in the dorm were when I needed them later on—and here I was—on April Fools’ Day, 1975, doing the same thing. Who would have thought?

The group of fifteen or so of us hiked down to the rock quarry across campus. Some of the guys had gone ahead of us to build a huge bonfire on the bank. Several of the ladies were carrying towels and blankets. I invited three very special friends who didn’t attend our Bible study to witness my “burial and resurrection”—Linda, who was unsaved; Miriam, who was from a prominent family in her mainline Protestant church; and Carla, who was backslidden.

Rick shared on water baptism from the Bible: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). By the light of the fire, I saw joy and expectation on everyone’s faces—except for Linda’s, Miriam’s, and Carla’s. Their heads hung low; none of them gave eye contact either to Rick or to me.

It was time. Around 8:30, with stars twinkling in the sky, I followed Rick (another Moses-type to me—he was nearly 22 and had been saved most of his life) into the quarry. The water took my breath away, it was so cold, but the joy I was experiencing warmed me to the core.

“Dorothy, have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” Rick asked.

“Yes,” I responded.

“Then in front of these witnesses, I baptize you in the name of Jesus!” And with that, he dunked me under the nearly-freezing water and pulled me back up.

On the bank, I heard whooping and hollering, followed by guitar and the sound of loud, jubilant singing:

“Break forth into joy, oh my soul! Break forth into, oh my soul!

For in the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore;

Break forth, break forth into joy, oh my soul!”

As Rick and I emerged from the water, both of us were greeted with blankets wrapped around our shoulders; and as I stood by the fire, I received joyful hugs all around. Everyone was beaming ear to ear, worshiping around the crackling bonfire—everyone, that is, except Linda, Miriam, and Carla. All three of them—the unsaved, the religious, and the backslider—were weeping uncontrollably.

God was touching each one of them, very deeply, that April Fools night.

Linda got saved less than a year later, getting baptized in the quarry herself in the dead of winter when we had to break the ice covering it—and now she is a prominent businesswoman in my area; Miriam wrote me a beautiful letter describing how the Scriptures came alive to her that night and how “newness of life” meant something new to her now, as well; and Carla went on to return to her first love, Jesus—and she has been winning souls to Him ever since.

As for me, I was through with trying to appear wise. I realized that the wisdom of the world was absolute foolishness to God; if I truly wanted to be wise, I must become foolish first—with the foolishness of God. And then—and only then—would I become wise.

And that’s no April Fools.

Dorothy

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