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Obey anyway

Posted by on May 14, 2018 in Everyday Observations | Comments Off on Obey anyway

Here’s what I just posted on Facebook:

A little something I saw while reading Hebrews 11:7 (I capitalized the part in question): “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, BY WHICH HE CONDEMNED THE WORLD and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
 
Here’s what knocked me over the head: Your obedience to God CAN result in someone–even MANY–feeling condemned. You yourself are not condemning them, but your obedient actions are.
 
Obey God anyway.
Dorothy
© 2018, Dorothy Frick
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Barbara’s got all the blankets

Posted by on Nov 25, 2016 in Everyday Observations | Comments Off on Barbara’s got all the blankets

It’s Thanksgiving time again, and like many of you, my mind goes back to the kinder, gentler times of my childhood.

Our family usually traveled to Oklahoma City to spend the holiday weekend with Grandma and Granddaddy Bollinger. They had a small three bedroom house, so my sister and I shared Grandma’s double bed while she sacrificed and slept in Granddaddy’s bedroom with him.

Well, despite the quieter days of the early 60’s, when Barbara and I had to share a bed…WW3 was soon to follow.

That first night we arrived, the night before Thanksgiving, Mom tucked Barbara and me into bed and then joined the other grown ups as they sat and talked and finished up all of the Thanksgiving preparations.

Let me tell you. Barbara is four and a half years older than me, and I was extremely suspicious of her privileged position as the oldest girl in the family. She was vicious in my opinion, as she was known at times to pin me down and tickle me until I nearly wet my pants…OK…I did wet my pants. She was a true foe of the highest order.

On the other hand, she was equally leery of me. I was the baby of the family, and she knew I was the privileged one. To her way of thinking, I got away with murder as I screamed “MOMMMMMY!!!” every time she even looked at me.

Yes, war was brewing as soon as Mom turned out the light…

“Give me the cover!” I cried as I grabbed hold of a wad of blanket.

“Let go! It’s MINE!” she demanded as she pulled the cover back.

Soon we were kicking, yanking, screaming like little wildcats, pulling blankets in every direction. Flashes of static electricity snapped like enemy fire in the darkened Oklahoma bedroom…

The noise of our warfare soon reached the kitchen where Mom and Grandma were taking the last pie out of the oven.

And then we heard it…the unmistakable sound of Mom’s feet, walking across the living room, into the hall, her hand upon the doorknob…

“GIRLS!” she whisper-yelled. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???!!”

I felt vindicated. I, the victim, the baby, and the innocent recipient of the oppression of that older person of privilege–my enemy and my sister, who lay over there in this very bed–I would revel in the justice only Mom and Dad could meet upon her.

I yelped out in my very best “poor-me-I’m-the-victim” voice, “BARBARA’S GOT ALL THE BLANKETS!!!!!!!”

As Mom cracked the door open and switched on the light…there, before God and all the turkeys of a million Thanksgiving dinners, lay the truth….

Barbara, entirely exposed to the cold in her little cotton flannel pajamas, lay shivering….and I, yes I, the victim of her privilege, had the entire pile of blankets heaped up on me and spilling over my side of the bed to the floor.

I may or may not have gotten spanked…but as I crawled back under the re-spread blankets, a new thought began forming in my little girl brain that late Thanksgiving eve: Maybe I’m not ALWAYS the victim here. And MAYBE…just MAYBE…my supposed people of privilege don’t ALWAYS have the advantage…

And if you ever watch the news with me nowadays, you may hear me whisper this little saying under my breath as I watch the conflict of our time: “Barbara’s got all the blankets.”

Happy Thanksgiving,

Dorothy

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Skim away the dross

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in Everyday Observations, Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Skim away the dross

Take away the dross from the silver, and there comes out a vessel for the smith. Proverbs 25:4

I was reading Proverbs 25 recently and paused on verse 4: “Take away the dross from the silver, and there comes out a vessel for the smith.” I asked the Lord to remove any dross that might be present in my life…and then I got nervous for a couple of reasons.

First, dross is made up of impurities —non-silver particles that mar the value of silver. In my life, dross is anything I’m involved with or putting up with that’s not pleasing to the Lord—and I realized that I may have more dross tucked away than I bargained for! Was I really prepared for all the minor—and major—overhauls this dross-removal prayer may have initiated?

Second, the way in which those impurities are removed from silver is to super-heat the metal until it is molten hot. Only then can the dross be skimmed off the top.  Did I really want to undergo the fiery crucible indicated by this verse to remove soulish impurities from my life?

I read further in the Proverb as I pondered this, and I noticed several instructions and warnings. And it dawned on me—many of these were dross-removing instructions! If I followed them, the dross would skim right off. And as for the warnings—they were perfect dross-identifiers. I didn’t need to undergo fiery trials to remove the dross from my life—I merely needed to heed the Word.

I found the warnings—dross-identifiers—extremely helpful and eye-opening. Here are some:

Do not reveal the secret of another (vs. 9). Don’t open the door to trouble by telling someone’s secret to others. If you are a secret-blabber, you need to get busy with dross-skimming.

Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely (vs. 14). If you try to build yourself up in the eyes of others by stretching the truth about your gifts, talents, abilities, or accomplishments, you have some dross to get rid of.

Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor (vs. 18). If you lie about someone…or stretch the truth to make them look worse than they are, you’ve got dross. You can’t be a pure vessel until it’s dealt with. This means you need to repent of it and ask for forgiveness from God. In turn, He will likely tell you to apologize to the one you lied to AND the one you lied about.

Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble (vs. 19). Follow through with your commitments to others…including those who have no ability to enhance your resume. When you are untrustworthy or unfaithful to your word, you have some undealt with dross marring the purity of your integrity.

Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda is he who sings songs to a troubled heart (vs. 20). As well-intended as your cheery songs may be, someone who is going through difficulties may view your upbeat treatment as a curse rather than a blessing. “Well, I just don’t want them to go around in the dumps,” you may say; but if you’re not sensitive to the Holy Spirit in the situation, you may find that your “ministry” is more self-serving than it is other-serving. If others tend to wince at your upbeat input when they are going through troubles, make sure that what you’re offering isn’t just a bit of dross you’ve pulled out as a bandage so you don’t have to deal more directly with their pain. This isn’t an easy impurity to identify in ourselves, but it’s certainly a hindrance to Christ-directed ministry.

Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked (vs. 26). One type of impurity comes in the form of the fear of man. When you and I give way before the wicked—when we recognize wicked actions or attitudes overtaking boundaries set by God and do or say nothing about it—we have become like a trampled spring and a polluted well. How can we offer the pure water of life when we yield to the standards of wickedness set up to bring those we want to help into bondage? Are we willing to take a stand when it is unpopular to do so? Lord, help us.

It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory (vs. 27). When you search out your own glory, you tend to turn conversations back to yourself, your accomplishments, your blessings, and how God’s used you. Another verse takes it further: Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips (Proverbs 27:2). If you find yourself turning every get together into a showcase of how great (wise, spiritual, insightful, gifted, giving, ad nauseam) you are, chances are good that you’ve got some dross-skimming to do.

Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his own spirit (vs. 28). We all get annoyed at times. We all feel disappointed every now and then. Many of us have gone through a season or two in our lives when nothing goes right and storm clouds seem to hang over our souls. But if we lose utter control in the face of these things, we become like a city without protective walls. The good news is this: Even our own bad responses to trials can be treated as dross to be skimmed off and thrown away. Here’s how: Through all the messes, aggravations, disappointments, rejections and dashed dreams, you know there is an anchor. You know there is a Rock. You know there is a tower to which you can run and be safe. And knowing this—focusing on this—will bring stability to you when annoyances, disappointments, rejection, loss, or dashed dreams loom large. When your life seems to be going nowhere fast—or utterly falling apart—and you feel like you’re about to lose control, prepare to skim that dross by just saying to God, “I have no idea how You’ll fix this, but I know You are my anchor and my rock. I choose to run to You instead of losing control of my behavior or my mind right now. In You I find safety, relief, and comfort.” As you fix your attention on His ability and loving care, stability will start guarding your heart and will direct you in the way of peace.

The take away is clear: You don’t have to go through a gut-wrenching trial to remove the dross from the silver. All that’s required is for you to allow God to teach you from His Word, granting Him permission to meddle in your life, attitudes, and behaviors. He’ll show you the dross if you’re willing to see it, and He’ll lead you in the simplicity of skimming it off, once and for all.

If you wait for the fiery trials of life before you deal with issues, you are not only short-changing your growth, but you are also a fiery trial waiting to happen! Skim the impurities away nowas you become aware of them—and you will find you’ve become a vessel for the smith!

Dorothy

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21

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A lesson from Cameron

Posted by on Apr 23, 2016 in Everyday Observations | Comments Off on A lesson from Cameron

Some of my more inspiring moments of revelation don’t come while I pray. No, more often than not, they alight during times of the mundane—and gritty—daily activities of my life. And if you know me, you know that part of my daily grit involves cats—and litter boxes.

So last night as I was scooping the litter pans, my darling Cameron helped to bring an ancient point home to me in a fresh way.

First some background. Cammie will be 18 years old in June. She’s a little slower, a little stiffer, and a lot more demanding than she used to be. Rowe, the eleven year old baby of the bunch, is 17 pounds of muscular energy who finds crotchety Cameron fascinating. He’s been known to stalk her as she wanders her way to the litter box, only to pounce on her just as she’s about to do her business.

Here’s my problem: Cammie refuses to use the litter pan without a human escort. So I take three daily trips downstairs to Litter Box Land, coaxing Cammie to wind her way to her pan. (Yes, her pan. She refuses to use either of the other two). After much (I mean much) coaxing, prodding, and encouragement, she goes. And that’s the short version.

Last night was no different. I called Cammie out of the little house I made for her out a doorless cat carrier and fuzzy towels and walked with her as she sniffed her way around the basement (I swear she’s part bloodhound). She paused often, looking this way and that to see where Rowe might be, and then continued with her sniffing. A 10-second walk to the litter pan takes five or ten minutes with her—but if I don’t escort her, she doesn’t go.

We finally made our way to the pan. Of course, she needed to sniff around the rim—some spots were so very interesting—and then of course, she couldn’t make up her mind which side of the pan she wanted to enter. As I waited on the queen, I thought to myself, “Might as well do something while I’m waiting!” and started sweeping the area around the three litter boxes, something I usually save for last—flying litter, and all.

Funny as this may sound, I instantly heard the Lord say inside of me, “That’s what you need to do while waiting on Me—get busy with other things.”

It hit me. Often we get so hyper-focused on waiting for the next thing or the next miracle that we do nothing while waiting. Sometimes a need or that next thing becomes our entire world. And that’s not what God wants.

Cameron, after circling in the pan several times, relieved herself, stepped out, and sniffed her way to a good spot under the table and waited to get her treats. And I finished sweeping, but with a little better insight into the whole waiting process.

So as you go through the mundane routine of your life, know that God’s not only with you but that He’s also liable to teach you a thing or two in the middle of your “same ole same ole”.

And as you wait for the next thing or that much-needed miracle—get busy. Live life, love God, and leave the care safely in His capable hands.

Dorothy

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Kindness observed

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in Everyday Observations | Comments Off on Kindness observed

My church will be launching into its annual vacation Bible school today. There will be a four-day session each week for the next two weeks for kids—from teensy-tiny to eighth grade—and it will be jam-packed with amazing kid-things to do and outstanding Bible drama and worship every day.

I’ve volunteered in this event for several years. My job for the past couple of years has been to check kids out of their cars in the morning and help to make sure they made it to their various groups safely.

This is what I wrote about my experience at my church’s kids’ camp a couple of years ago:

I just finished working with my church’s vacation Bible school this week. Now, I’m not in the state of Texas, but my church may as well be!  Almost everything it does is BIG, especially this summer outreach to kids. My job was to help direct traffic as parents dropped off their children, aiding as kids hopped out of vehicles, and directing them to “walkers”—individuals from age fifteen to eighty—who walked them to the crosswalk and then to their stations.

As I participated in this massive movement of munchkins, I was very aware of the friendliness of the volunteers serving all around me. Kind words, gentle humor, and great encouragement filled the atmosphere as hundreds—no, literally thousands—of kids said goodbye to their parents and hello to the fun-filled environment awaiting them.

And I observed parents in their cars, vans, SUVs, pickup trucks, and jeeps respond to the thoughtful smiles, waves, and well-wishes just as much as their children. I watched, in more than one case, tension just drain away from a frazzled mom when a volunteer acknowledged her with a smile and a parting word of encouragement.

And I thought, “This is how we are to operate every day.”

  • Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:5-6
  • Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Philippians 4:5

Despite the chaos swirling in the world, we can walk in confidence that our God is on the throne. And we can also know for a fact that He longs to show forth His love and stability through us as we engage more and more consistently in everyday random acts of kindness.

If your church is holding a VBS this summer—or you know of others that are—pray for those events. The adults and teens volunteering their time could use your prayers for strength, grace, stamina, and wisdom from God as they reach out to boys and girls and younger teens who may have never clearly heard the gospel before in their lives. Pray that God will prepare the hearts of these kids for an encounter with Him.

May the hand of God be upon every church campus involved this summer in presenting the gospel to our youngest generation.

Dorothy

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A lesson from Gideon

Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in Everyday Observations | 2 comments

The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:15-16

Gideon has a personality like Barney Fife. That cat virtually sniffs with cockiness around his feline siblings, nosing his way into anyone’s food bowl whenever he pleases–even the bowl of his 19-pound brother. You see, it’s not the size of the cat that counts; it’s the size of the attitude. Gideon has attitude in spades.

But like Barney Fife, underneath Gideon’s bluster lies a great big scaredy cat. Just sneeze when he’s snoozing sweetly next to you, and up he leaps with a start, wild-eyed with terror, scrambling for cover. The mighty Gideon is first to flee with a knock on the door or the roar of the vacuum. You get the picture.

And Sunday morning before church, God used this little red cat to convey profound spiritual truth to me.

I stumbled out of bed that morning feeling like a cross between a corpse and an empty Hostess cupcake wrapper—surely the result of that humongous piece of caramel apple pie I devoured on Saturday. I ached in more places than I didn’t, and as I groped for coffee it dawned on me that God was somewhere out there…and that He wasn’t aching.

The cats, certain they would starve to death, demanded immediate attention. I obliged, feeding the girls upstairs in the kitchen, and separating the boys from each other in the basement.

They grew up eating the same thing in the same room, playing musical chairs with their food bowls—every meal, all meal long—until every bite was gobbled up. No big deal—no one starved—and I was free to do my own thing.

But now the boys both have special needs. Rowe eats specific food for urinary tract health support, and Gideon was diagnosed a few months ago with failing kidneys—as a result, he’s on a strict low-protein diet. His health and telltale behavioral issues have improved, but I hover like a hawk—he’s convinced everyone else’s food is much better than his. Frustrated with his pickiness and insistence that he search out everyone else’s bowl, I quickly learned that he would eat his food if I fed it to him with a plastic spoon. Now all I have to say when he ignores his dish is, “Wanna spoon?” and there he is, basking in the attention—lick, lick, lick. Chew, chew, chew. Shake, shake, shake—crumbles of cat food flying. And then lick, lick, lick all over again. He milks it for all it’s worth.

That morning, I was absent-mindedly aching and thinking that it had been way too long since I’d really dug into the Word as I spoon-fed my red menace. Minutes crawled by. And then Rowe wanted out of his breakfast room and Gideon wanted Rowe’s leftovers. And the girls wanted anything they could find flung around from Gideon’s mess.

After securing the leftovers for their rightful owners later on, I wrote in my journal, “I’m craving my relationship with the Word, Lord. I’ve gotta do that for which I was created—feast on Your Word and receive food and revelation by Your hand.”

And then it hit me: God wants me to become like Gideon! That cat didn’t just want food—he insisted that I spoon-feed him. He wanted his food and closeness with me. In the same way, God didn’t want me to ignore Him while I downed verse after verse, chapter after chapter (shaking off chunks of Scripture before I wolfed down some more)—that wasn’t the way He wanted me to feed on His Word. He wanted me to sit with Him—like Gideon did with me—and feed on the portions of Scripture that He saw fit to feed me by His hand.

Even though I get annoyed with Gideon’s “love of the spoon”, I am noticing great improvements in his feline quality of life. Gideon is a living example of how all of us should become in our relationship with the Lord and His Word.

And the amazing thing is this: God will never get annoyed when any of us persistently push in for closeness with Him while feeding on His Word! He enjoys it!

Gotta go—the cats are telling me it’s dinnertime.

Dorothy

…like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation… 1 Peter 2:2

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