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Concerning rejection of the message

Posted by on Sep 27, 2017 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning rejection of the message

Jesus was frequently misunderstood. In fact, when He taught His disciples how to deal with those who rejected His message, the strength of His directive was enormously misinterpreted by a couple of His disciples.

And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. Luke 9:1-2

Jesus commissioned His disciples to hit the road and proclaim the gospel sometime in the midst of His three year ministry. Matthew’s gospel cited Jesus’ charge this way, “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 10:7).

“…As you go, preach…” Whether formally sent out by a commissioning ministry or merely on the go in everyday life, the directive from the Lord was clear: “As you go, preach.” In other words, be on the lookout for assignments from God.

and [He] gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. Luke 9:1b

These anointings were specifically imparted to the twelve, not to everyone following Jesus at the time. However, just before Jesus ascended to the Father, He intentionally included every believer in His charge when He stated, “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18).

You and I are commissioned as ambassadors for Christ. Jesus relegated that authority to you and me. As you go, preach…and these signs will accompany those who have believed. This is not meant to pressurize anyone; it is meant to inspire and direct every single believer.

And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city.” (Luke 9:3-4)

During His ministry, Jesus charged His disciples to travel light—no money, food, or extra clothes. He was training them to trust God for their every need.

However, right before He was crucified, He adjusted this directive: “And He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’ They said, ‘No, nothing.’ And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one’” (Luke 22:35-36).

The only explanation He gave for this modification was this: “For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment” (Luke 22:37). Evidently, Jesus knew that some people’s perception about His death would make daily life tougher for His followers. And with this redirection, He continued to make provision for them.

But what about those who didn’t want to hear the message? Check this out:

And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Luke 9:5

Not everything would be kittens and sunshine for followers of Christ. Some people would reject both the message of Jesus and those who proclaimed it. In response, did the loving Jesus admonish, “Be tolerant of the folks who don’t like My message. Try to see things their way and compromise”?

Not on your life. Instead, He told them to leave the unwelcoming city and shake the dust of that place from their feet.

Aware of Jesus’ firm stance on this issue, a couple of the disciples stepped it up even more when, on the way to Jerusalem, a certain Samaritan village refused to receive Him (see Luke 9:51-53).

When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Luke 9:5

Hey,” they said to Jesus, “Let’s show them—let’s call down fire and watch ‘em fry!” After all, He did give them authority, didn’t He?

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them…”  Luke 9:55-56a

Wonder if—during the days of the guillotine and the stake and the handling of “heretics”—any of them ever studied this Scripture? Jesus said, “Protest, indeed; but make it short-lived—and non-violent.”

When believers are upfront but peaceful with those who don’t receive them, they leave room for God to do His thinghowever He sees fit.

…And they went on to another village. Luke 9:56b

What do you do when you’re rejected as a believer? You go on your way. Don’t fixate on the rejection; leave it with the dust you shook off back in that city…and then go about your Father’s business.



© 2017, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning rocky soil

Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning rocky soil

Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture…Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. …Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. Luke 8:6, 11, 13

I have a confession to make: Whenever I read the parable of the sower, I’m not very concerned about rocky soil. Instead, my attention is usually riveted on what Jesus said about thorny ground…the type that grows lots of distractions…and worry. Yep, that’s been my personal Achilles heel. Distractions. Worry. And Jesus made it perfectly clear—those things, if not pulled out of your heart and mind as soon as you identify them, will choke God’s Word. And if the Word is choked in you…good luck trusting the Lord to move on your behalf! It is what it is.

This time, however, as I read this parable I couldn’t stop thinking about the rocky soil…and I wanted to dig deeper (pun not intended).

Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy…

There’s something about rocky soil people that is wonderfully endearing. Their eagerness for new adventures and concepts just oozes out of them. When they hear about Jesus and all He provides, they don’t hesitate—they jump right in and get excited about everything they hear. Come on—who doesn’t want to share the Gospel with someone so willing to grab it up?

and these have no firm root…

We want to see results. We want to see receptivity and growth in those with whom we share the gospel. But according to Jesus, what we see on the surface isn’t necessarily an indicator of success; even more significant is this: What’s going on beneath the surface?

Under a shallow layer of topsoil in some people’s hearts lies rock-solid hardness. The composition of that hardness varies from person to person (even as the composition of rock varies, depending upon the circumstances and environment in which it was formed—multiple types of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks exist, each formed in various ways), but unfortunately, that hardness serves as a formidable barrier to healthy root-growth. Tiny roots start to sprout, but they are restricted to the shallow upper layer of soil; the rocky ground below blocks deeper penetration of root systems.

they believe for a while (Luke 8:13)…but are only temporary… (Matthew 13:21; Mark 4:7)

For a while: Impermanent. Momentary. Brief. Passing. Short-term. Temporary. Such an outcome of hearing the Word is, sadly, all too common…but is there a remedy? I am certain there is. But first, we need to understand the results of rocky soil faith so we can address its remedy more effectively.

and in time of temptation fall away. Luke 8:13; … when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. Mark 4:17

We’ve all seen it; some of us have experienced this sad phenomenon in our own lives. This rocky soil faith, without intervention, will sooner or later create a case of backsliding.

Three environmental scenarios create the conditions in which our more “rocky soil” brothers and sisters fall away according to Luke and Mark.

Temptation. By grace and the Word of God, you are equipped to resist the temptations that come your way; with every one, God prepares a way of escape for you—and as you resist the devil he has to flee from you. However, there are times, for whatever reason, that you are tripped up by temptation and yield to that lust, greed, rage, self-absorption, sloth…whatever it is that you may be more vulnerable to. At some point, maturing Christians recognize their attitude/behavior as sin and ask God for forgiveness and cleansing—and then they get back up out of sin with a repentant heart…because of God’s abundant mercy.

But for our rocky soil faith friends, that’s easier said than done. Somehow the ability to access the grace of God to resist temptation or the mercy of God to receive forgiveness after yielding is found in deeper soil—soil unencumbered by rocky barriers. When temptation arises, a rocky soil person lacks the roots to withstand and trust God to make a way of escape.

And, unlike a deep soil person who has also yielded to temptation (but after facing up to it, repents), the rocky soil brother or sister starts to wonder if following Jesus is worth all the sacrifice of fun, comfort, or peer acceptance. Hence, while one believer looks to God for forgiveness, repentance, and restoration after falling into temptation, the other thinks, “Why bother?” and falls away.

Affliction. Affliction means “trouble, tribulation, oppression, and anguish”. Bad stuff. Stress. Whatever it is you don’t want to happen…like the bumper sticker back in the 80’s stated (my paraphrase!), “It happens.” Jesus said it this way, “[God] lets rain fall on [people] whether they are just or unjust” (Matthew 5:45b, GOD’S Word Translation).

Although a deep soil believer hates affliction as much as the next guy, he purposes to let his roots dig even deeper into the soil of the Word so he can draw up the strength, wisdom, and Bible nutrients to deal with whatever is coming at him. Even when trials seem to persist and afflictions grow more severe, he stands with his deep roots wrapped around Jesus Himself and he refuses to throw away his confidence in God.

But the rocky soil believer has a different experience. When affliction arises—sickness, lack, loneliness, disappointment, frustration, or pain—he falls away. The rocky soil prevents his dwarfed, dehydrated root system from obtaining the rich sustenance available to the deeper soil individual. Because of that blockade, his faith withers, and he no longer sees the sense in believing. If he doesn’t feel better immediately, then just as immediately he falls away.

Persecution because of the Word. Satan hates the Word of God; it was by the Word (“It is written”) that Jesus effectively sent the devil packing when the enemy tempted Him in the wilderness.

Because Satan hates the Word, don’t be surprised if persecution—slander, rejection, or worse—smacks you in the head from time to time. It’s just the devil, and don’t ever forget—he’s a defeated devil.

Again, no one enjoys persecution; if they say they do, I wonder seriously about their sanity! That said, when it arises, the deeper soil believer digs down into God, finding comfort and shelter under the shadow of His wings despite the chaos leveled against him. Unfortunately, the rocky soil believer finds only impenetrable hardness barricading his shriveled roots from the subterranean waters of God just below the surface; as a result, he immediately falls away.

Is there help for a believer who begins his walk of faith with a rocky soil heart? I believe so; but it will require diligence both on the part of Mr. or Ms. Rocky Soil and on the part of those believers who love them and want to help them.

When you interact with someone, you may not know for quite a while what lies beneath the surface. However, despite the type of soil upon which an individual enters the kingdom of God, we can’t forget this important Truth: We are co-laborers with God in laying foundations (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-11)…whether that ground be rocky, thorny, or good.

So what might the work of laying good foundations look like? How could this help rocky soil believers survive and eventually grow a decent root supply?

  1. Teach them foundational truths: Who God is; what He did for them in Christ; and who they now are in Christ. Teach them this concerning their new birth: The great exchange has taken place—God has removed from them a heart of stone and has replaced it with a heart of flesh.

 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT).

The good news is this: Rocky soil believers can learn to count on the promise that God has created a tender, responsive heart in place of the stony heart they’ve grown accustomed to. When they feel their faith shaking and can’t seem to find their way, help them to remember what God has done in them—they can take comfort and draw strength from this.

As their lifeline, the more mature Christians in their lives (including you) will likely need to be more hands on with these precious believers, walking and praying them through the inevitable shakings that arise. Keep it simple and remind them—they are God’s property now, and He will cover them. Pull out those wonderful Scriptures that remind them of who they are in Christ and who their God is. Pray with them, and then let them know you will be praying for them (and do it!).

And remind them—God’s given them that new heart, and He longs to help them with everything that concerns them.

  1. God’s Word is a Hammer

“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” Jeremiah 23:29

Rocky soil is, by definition, hard, and it is a barrier to seed growth. So when you know that the Word of God is a Hammer, you can let it break down the rocky soil, while you bring comfort and support to your friend. But how?

Lead your rocky soil friend to a daily discipline of Scripture reading. Whether they start in the book of John or the Psalms or somewhere else, continue to encourage them to prioritize their Bible time daily. Perhaps you can get them a Bible-based devotional book and have them look up the Scriptures they see in it. Maybe hook them up with solid online devotionals and encourage them to stick with reading them daily. (I would recommend veering them away from Christian prophecy sites or books that are all over the place now; these rocky soil believers need the Bible itself.) All the while, the Word will be hammering away at the rocky soil, causing cracks for the tender roots to find their way down to the deeper ground.

During this process, they may be tempted to fall away, nonetheless, as pressures arise. But the Word has been hammering the rocky soil, and your prayers for them have been watering the soil. Stick with them, love and encourage them, and in most cases, they will emerge with deeper roots and a sense of victory on the other side of their trial.

  1. Break up fallow ground

Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12

What an excellent exhortation for every one of us! I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone through cycles of “hardness” in my Christian walk—anything from harshness and a critical attitude to dullness of heart and lethargy. And I’ll bet I’m not alone in this.

Under seasons in which we go through the motions of our Christianity, lash out judgmentally at others, cower in fear, or drift into complacency, the soil of our hearts grows hard…even for those of us who started this walk with good soil.

And like our friends, Mr. and Ms. Rocky Soil, we, too, must then go back to the basics of our first love…soaking up the truths about Who God is, what He did for us in Christ, and who we are in Him. As we feed once again on these powerful truths, the Word, as a Hammer, breaks up the hardness of our once lush soil, and restores our souls.

I have found a sure way to break up the hardness of my soil when once I recognize it. Here it is: I overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb, the Word of my testimony, and I love not my life even unto death (see Revelation 12:11).

The blood of the Lamb: I’m not in this alone! I’m not expected, by my own power, to overcome this hardening! When I realize that Jesus’ shed blood not only cleansed me of my past sins but is also my present great help and antidote in any kind of trouble, I fall in love with Him all over again. I realize that He went through agony, shedding His blood for me, so that I can walk through whatever circumstances come my way with His help, tenderizing my heart, and leading me by His Spirit.

The Word of my testimony: I have experienced times of near-devastating hopelessness and heavy depths of oppression that stubbornly refused to let go. I’ll bet I’m not alone in that, either. The soil of my heart seemed to harden by the minute. But one day, during a particularly dark season, I decided to look away from my despair to the Lord. I said to Him, “Lord, I’m going to tell you my testimony—all the things You have done for me from way before I was a Christian to now. Lord, act like You’ve never heard it before, because that’s the way I’m going to tell it. Here goes.” Then I proceeded to reach way back to the days when God started making Himself known to me and told Him my story, details and all.

And what do you know? Before I got very far, the oppression started losing its hold. I continued, and joy started bubbling up in my soul. I continued, and soon tears of gratefulness and laughter of great freedom filled my home. And the fallow ground was broken.

I love not my life even unto death: Not many of us will die a martyr’s death. But this verse, nevertheless, applies to every one of us. Remember the verse that reads, “The fear of man brings a snare” (Proverbs 29:25a)? If you refuse to let go of what others think of you, allowing yourself to let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould (see Romans 12:10, JBP) so you don’t get singled out by them as “weird”, then you may escape man’s heat momentarily, but you put yourself at odds with the Lord…and you harden your heart.

On the other hand, when you choose to obey God despite the cost to your reputation (whether outside the church or in it), He will honor, vindicate, and deliver you;—and you will have guarded the fertile soil of your heart.

God is faithful both to us and to His Word. When we are faithful to His Word, He will provide amazing support.

Trust the Lord as you minister to others to bring about depth of connection to Him in their lives; and trust Him to empower you to be wise with the soil of your own heart, keeping it broken up and prepared for His harvest.

He is faithful.



© 2017, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning the fine art of pettiness and nitpicking

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning the fine art of pettiness and nitpicking

I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:28

After documenting how Jesus honored John the Baptist while also commending those who hungrily sought after the kingdom of God, Luke penned an observation about the religious ruling class:

the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves…Luke 7:30a

Quite honestly, that’s a frightening statement. They had rejected God’s purpose for themselves. In their ambition for religious superiority and precision, they had discarded the very reason for religious pursuits—embracing God and His purposes for their own personal lives.

Please don’t think that since you’re not a Pharisee from back in the day that you, yourself, are immune to drifting into complacency or indifference toward God, and as a result (and even far worse), rejection of God and His purpose for you.

The writer of Hebrews warned about that: “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it(Hebrews 2:1). Drifting away can snowball into “I don’t care” which can, in turn, roll right down the hill into utter rejection of God’s purpose for you. Every one of us must guard ourselves vigilantly against this drifting, snowball effect.

To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like?  Luke 7:31

I can picture Jesus, the foremost People Watcher of all time, observing these self-proclaimed holy ones with near amusement.

“Let’s take a look at these people…what do they remind you of?” I can just hear Him saying this with a smile tugging at the corner of His mouth. He’s about to give some telltale signs of drifting, apathy, and God-rejection in otherwise religious souls.

Telltale Sign #1 of drifting, apathy, and heading down the road toward God-rejection:

Publicly calling others out for not marching to your personal drumbeat.

They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.” Luke 7:32

Notice, the complaint here had nothing to do with the love walk, ethics, morality, or Scriptural deviation of those in question. The public complaint was petty and nitpicking: “You’re not playing the way we play. You’re not conforming to the way we like do things.”

The areas of pettiness that people can embrace are unending: How others dress, wear their hair, eat or don’t eat, exercise or don’t exercise, talk, spend money or don’t spend money, music choices, differing personal interests—these are just the tip of the iceberg as to the things we believers can end up judging others about.

The message here is clear. Once you start majoring on the minors, you are drifting from God. If you catch yourself doing this, turn around; run, don’t walk, back to the Lord. Sure, you have your own interests and style (or lack thereof!). But are you really commissioned by God to call others out for being different than you?

Telltale sign #2 of drifting, apathy, and heading down the road toward God-rejection:

Negatively labeling others who follow a more stringent spirituality than you do.

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, “He has a demon!” Luke 7:33

Maybe you like your cheeseburgers and beer…but the guy (or gal) who abstains from meat or alcohol due to conscience really irks you. Instead of letting them pursue God in their own way, you find yourself wanting to label their abstinence as some kind of spiritual weirdness to justify yourself and make you feel like you’re the normal one.

Newsflash: You’re the petty one. “…To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:4b). If you catch yourself feeling the need to mock or label someone else’s stricter walk, you are majoring on the minors and are drifting off course. Again, turn around! Run, don’t walk, back to your Father and ask Him to forgive and cleanse your critical heart.

Telltale sign #3 of drifting, apathy, and heading down the road toward God-rejection:

Negatively labeling others who are less strict in their personal habits than you.

The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Luke 7:34

Jesus enjoyed eating. He drank wine. He reached out to the “untouchables” of religious society. And yet, as Scripture says, He was without sin (see Hebrews 4:15). Nonetheless, there were those who abhorred His freedom and sought to diminish His impact by labeling Him a glutton and a drunkard. Never mind that He was not addicted to either food or alcohol; the truth didn’t matter. If they could create a perception, they were hopeful that the gullible would buy it…and they could regain their control over the “little people”.

You may have it all together. You may walk a straight line without deviating from your P’s and Q’s. But when you bump into another believer who seems a bit loose—they seem to romp through life with an abandon that offends your carefully disciplined routine—you are convinced that they’re “off”.  And you find yourself labeling them “glutton”; “drunkard”; “shallow”; “loose”; “undisciplined”; or any other number of labels.

Yes, you, too, have become a nitpicker. You have judged your brother on his outward appearance, and as a result, you’ve set yourself up as superior and as Judge—a job-title belonging to God alone.

Don’t get me wrong: There is nothing wrong with personal discipline. “It is for discipline that you endure” (Hebrews 12:7a, NASB). But when you start to feel superior to others because of your disciplined ways, this is a telltale sign that you have started drifting away from the One who enabled you to be disciplined in the first place!

And—you guessed it—you are now majoring on the minors and have veered off course. Once again, turn around! Run, don’t walk, back to the Lord who pulled you out of the pit where He once found you, and ask Him to forgive you of your condescending attitude.

 Wisdom is vindicated by all her children. Luke 7:35

When you keep the main thing the main thing—justice and mercy and faithfulness (see Matthew 23:23), and cast the care of all those different than you on the Lord—you’ll find a greater peace and wellspring of joy rising up within you. It’s good not to be God! God is God—and He’s a lot better at it than you could ever be!

Those who don’t dance to your music; those who stay home when you party; those who feast when you fast—let them be. It could very well be that they have been following God with a full heart all along…and He will vindicate them in the end. Even if they are “off”, God will reveal that to them and deal with them as His children (see Philippians 3:15 and Hebrews 12:7).

And His wisdom in them will become visible to you one day when you observe all the good fruit pouring out of their lives.

In the meantime, be the person God created you to be, and live for His glory.


The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Romans 14:3

Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14:4

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ…Philippians 1:9-10


© 2017, Dorothy Frick

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Typical week in the life of Jesus: Observing the effects of prayer

Posted by on Jul 27, 2017 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Typical week in the life of Jesus: Observing the effects of prayer

Have you ever taken a walk on a hot summer’s day only to find that you’ve become a gnat (fly, horsefly, mosquito, etc.) magnet? I have…but my bugs were nothing like the “gnats” that always seemed to swarm around Jesus throughout His three-year ministry.

Now it happened…on a Sabbath [that] His disciples were picking…and eating the grain. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” (Luke 6:1-2.)

They couldn’t help themselves. They were irked that He wouldn’t submit Himself to them; how could this crude Man and His disciples develop such a following? These enlightened leaders just had to point out their concerns to Him…

On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him (Luke 6:6-7).

The gnats were gathered, prepared to ambush. Would their Target have the audacity to heal on the Sabbath? Buzzzzzz….You could hear these gnats holding their breath, ready, set…positioned to swarm…

But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward (Luke 6:8).

Jesus knew what they were thinking…but He proceeded to step into their trap, anyway. Jesus! Be careful! Don’t You know who You’re dealing with????

And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9.)

Incoming: Holy Ghost wisdom. Yup—He’s been praying!

After looking around at them all, He said to him, “Stretch out your hand!” And he did so; and his hand was restored (Luke 6:10).

It never failed: God always showed up when Jesus was surrounded and ambush was imminent. He had prayed beforehand; God downloaded wisdom; and Jesus chose His Father’s direction rather than saving His own skin by taking the easier, more politically-correct path. As a result, miracles followed. In this case, a man’s withered hand was completely restored before their very eyes! How could anyone get mad about that??

Wait for it…

But they themselves [you know who!] were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus (Luke 6:11).

Outrage filled these “enlightened” ones. How dare He heal a man’s hand on the Sabbath! Yes, they certainly had their priorities…

But so did Jesus:

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12).

The Son of Man set the standard for all who would follow Him: Pray. Pray before, during, and after. Pray first of all; pray last of all.

Do you desire wisdom from Heaven and miracles from God? Fortify your desires, hopes, and dreams: PRAY. And don’t stop praying.


Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2, ESV

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit…Ephesians 6:18a

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17


© 2017, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning five effects of prayer (The good, the bad, and the glorious)

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning five effects of prayer (The good, the bad, and the glorious)

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:16

Jesus had just healed a leper, and large crowds gathered wherever He went to hear His preaching and to be healed of their infirmities. Signs and wonders abounded.

But the Scripture doesn’t mention any celebratory high-fiving on Jesus’ part; right after such successful campaigns, Jesus would often slip away to isolated places and pray.

Effect #1 of prayer: Bolstering groundedness and stability in the praying person.

Reading between the lines in this section of Luke 5 reveals an inarguable result of prayer—fortifying single-minded devotion toward God and His purposes. No one would have begrudged Jesus a victory celebration after drawing huge crowds and healing incurable diseases. Perhaps His disciples secretly wished He would toot His own horn in the face of all the opposition coming at Him from every side.

But Jesus basked in this alone: Bringing glory to His Father, seeking His face, and doing His will. And this built depth and rootedness into His character as He lived out His life as the Son of Man.

Effect #2 of prayer: Outwardly religious people are likely to follow you around, dissecting and finding fault with you and your message.

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem…Luke 6:17a

It seemed wherever He ministered (and even when He was at rest), certain religious folks were always showing up. However, they weren’t drawn by the power or purity of God; they were hungry for scandal, dishonor, and the destruction of Jesus’ ministry. They watched Him like hawks hoping He would mess up.

Did Jesus adjust His preaching to cater to them? Did He soften His message? Did He restrict the number of deliverances, healings, or dead-raisings? Did He seek in any way to make Himself more palatable to an easily-offended crowd?

You know the answer to that.

Instead, His response was this: He would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Thinking, analyzing, making adjustments, and walking on eggshells to appease the most offended ones in the crowd does not access the wisdom of God. Jesus knew that; He turned consistently to the One who was faithful to gird Him and guide Him and give Him the edge—despite the outrage of His detractors.

Effect #3 of prayer: You may be scorned or hatefully targeted.

On one occasion, four friends of a paralytic couldn’t reach Jesus due to the size of the crowd surrounding Him, so they dug out a hole in the roof and lowered their friend right in front of Jesus…and the Pharisees.

Seeing their faith, [Jesus] said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Luke 5:20-21

When your life is built upon the sincere, deeply personal pursuit of God, don’t be surprised if others notice it. Some will be drawn to the light and stability coming from you; but unfortunately, as in Jesus’ life, others will seek to undermine your reputation and effectiveness. It happens; don’t be alarmed, dismayed, or discouraged.

Continue doing what you’re doing—consistent, steady, humble pursuit of God and bold living for the Lord. In this way, you will let your forbearing spirit be known to all men (see Philippians 4:5). As you keep your behavior excellent among them when they slander, all anyone will see are your good deeds—and eventually, they’ll end up glorifying God (see 1 Peter 2:12).

In fact, in no way [be] alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God (Philippians 1:28).

How can you survive—and even thrive—when all the scorning and hating begins? Like Jesus, slip away often to the wilderness and pray. (Any quiet place will do!)

Effect #4 of prayer: Instantaneous, penetrating wisdom in the face of insults and attacks.

But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? Luke 5:22-23

On every hand, belittlement, dismissiveness, and insults pile up against those who seek to live godly in Christ Jesus. Trickery and deception are used to snare men and women of God into both verbal and behavioral missteps. What can you do to counter such a turbulent tide when it rises up against you?

Again, like Jesus, make it your practice to slip away often and pray! Then, also like Him, you will be primed and ready in the face of mockery, manipulation, and scorn to receive instant messages straight from the Spirit of God, bringing light and life on the scene—and silencing those who seek to silence you.

Do you remember what Jesus said to His disciples concerning times of persecution to come? Instead of encouraging them to rehearse their best defense, He told them to expect Holy Ghost messages to rise up within them at just the right time! “So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute” (Luke 21:14-15).

Are you a believer? Then expect Him to do this when you need it. It’s not by your powerful eloquence or my mighty debating skills; it is by His Spirit that we will stand triumphantly in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (see Zechariah 4:6 and Philippians 2:15).

Effect #5 of prayer: The miraculous.

“But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. Luke 5:24-25

During your times with the Lord, He quietly downloads truth, wisdom, confidence, joy—indeed, all good things—into your spirit. He forms sensitivity within you to His nudges and promptings, and you learn the sound of His voice.

As you grow day by day in these things, you develop internal spiritual “antennae”, and you start to recognize His leadings more and more—whether you’re at home or at work, driving, sleeping, shopping, eating, or just goofing off.

And as you step out in response to do, say, or pray what He shows you, your very cooperation with Heaven will pave the way for the miraculous to unfold…and God will get all the glory.

Yes, slipping away often to pray will ground you in faith and stabilize your character, but it will also provoke jealousy and opposition from those with insecurities, issues, and hidden agendas—they sense something is different about you, and it unnerves them. However, here’s good news. As they seek to destabilize, demoralize, and undermine, the Holy Spirit Himself will  not only download what you’re to say but will also confirm His Word with signs following.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16b


But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:16

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. Isaiah 32:17, ESV 


© 2017, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning shortcuts

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning shortcuts

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. Luke 4:1-2

Most of you are very familiar with the fourth chapters of both Matthew and Luke which deal with Jesus’ forty-day fast and the three infamous temptations that Satan attempted to use to lure Him off-course.

This time as I was reading Luke 4, I was struck by one glaring element underlying each temptation: The devil’s lure of shortcuts.

In other words, with each temptation, Jesus was presented with a shortcut that would enable Him to avoid any of the discomfort or suffering He’d invariably face doing things “old school”—God’s way

Shortcut # 1: Using your gifting from God to meet your own needs

And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”  Luke 4:3

God has endowed every member in the body of Christ with various gifts. These gifts are meant to be others-oriented, not self-oriented. Peter explained it this way: “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10, NLT).

When someone uses their spiritual gift to meet their own need—whether that need is material, physical, social, or promotional—they are using a shortcut. Jesus countered the devil’s enticement by insisting on doing things God’s way: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

In other words, our giftings are given as a means to meet someone else’s need; the method Jesus specified for meeting our own need is faith in God and His Word.

This shortcut is brilliantly diabolical. The believer is tempted: Instead of employing the gifts God specifically deposited in them to help others, those very gifts are now used to gain ground, goods, or glory for themselves. Rather than waiting on God to bring their desire to pass in His way and timing, they attempt to manipulate the gift of God in them for their own end. In essence, this believer has become his/her own god: My gift to benefit me—not God’s gift to help someone else. And look who ends up getting the glory. Good ol’ self.

But doesn’t the Scripture say, “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16)?

Indeed it does; but as in Jesus’ case with His hunger, using a spiritual gift for the purpose of meeting your own needs or promoting yourself lands you squarely in the temptation zone. Yes, let the gift make room for you; but don’t use the gift to promote yourself. The difference may be subtle, but guarding the purity of both the process and the outcome makes avoiding this shortcut very worthwhile.

Shortcut # 2: Worshipping anyone other than God to attain your goal more quickly

And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Luke 4:5-7

What a shortcut! Jesus knew that Adam and Eve had forfeited humanity’s authority over the earth to Satan. He knew that the kingdoms of the world were in the devil’s hands; He also knew that the devil could hand them off to the Son of God….at a horrible, wretchedly steep price.

How many have flung aside their values, their better judgment, or their conscience to embrace a shortcut they assumed would guarantee them their hearts’ desire? A little compromise here, a little cutting corners there—what does it matter if I get what I want?

Sadly, a willingness to take shortcuts to accomplish a goal doesn’t stop on the secular front. So often Christians find themselves taking unwise shortcuts to achieve a “greater” purpose. Does the end justify the means?

According to Jesus, emphatically, NO. Despite the very tempting  prospect of a cross-free (and therefore, pain-free) attainment of global Lordship by simply bowing down to Satan, Jesus declared, “NO SHORTCUTS, DEVIL. You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve (Luke 4:9, my paraphrase).

Shortcut # 3: Using your gifting to prove your power

And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.” Luke 4:9

It seems that people have always been fascinated by the miraculous power of God, and the devil was no exception. However, his motive was neither curiosity nor thrill-seeking. This temptation was meant to lure Jesus into a compromising, potentially suicidal decision by jumping into the air high above Jerusalem, and in doing so, granting Satan equal footing with the Son of God. You see, had Satan been able to goad the Lord into using His gift to prove His power, then Satan would have walked away with the upper hand.

Jesus understood the devil’s motives, however; therefore, when Satan said, “Jump,” the Lord refused to ask “How high?” On the contrary, in no uncertain terms would He stoop to submit Himself to the enemy of those He came to save in a shallow attempt to prove “two can play that game.”

No, the Lord remained Lord; He called out the devil in the most effective way possible, declaring, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Luke 4:12, NIV).

And you? Don’t allow yourself to be lured into a “prove it” showdown with the devil or with those who seek to box your faith in. Remember, the gifts and power of God operating in your life are for the purpose of helping others—not to prove how powerful you are.

And hold fast to this truth: God is quite capable of showing up supernaturally to deal with people if you will leave off with the theatrics. When God does His thing, it’s on His terms without one bit of preening or posturing needed from you. Best of all, when God comes on the scene, no doubt will remain in anyone’s mind as to Who showed up.

Most temptations for Christians involve some kind of shortcut or another to achieve a desired end. Think about this when stepping out in new directions; and then ask God to expose every snare masquerading as a shortcut that pops up across your path.

And don’t forget your best comeback: “IT IS WRITTEN.”



© 2017, Dorothy Frick

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