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First of All, Pray: Blog

Bringing Biblical Truths to Daily Life


In league with the Destroyer?

Posted by on May 23, 2022 in Prayer Perspective | 0 comments

Got your hard-toed shoes on? Hope so, because this may hurt…it sure made me yell “OUCH!!”
 
Remember the lady in the gospels who poured costly perfume on Jesus’s feet? (She’s mentioned in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, and John 12.)
 
What was one of the main gut-reactions of those who were there? “What a WASTE!! She could have sold this and GIVEN the money TO THE POOR!”
 
I was curious about that word WASTE, so I looked it up in my Strong’s Concordance.
 
WASTE: Greek word 684: apoleia, which means ruined, destroyed, damnable.
 
That caught my attention for two reasons. First, that’s VERY strong condemnation toward the gal; and second, it reminded me in both the sound and definition of an unsavory angel mentioned in the Book of Revelation—Apollyon.
 
Mr. Apollyon, according to that Book, is currently “tied up”, awaiting his release with his bizarre, pain-inflicting forces which will create havoc and distress for 5 wretched months—a true 911 crisis. You can find this being in Revelation 9:11, incidentally.
 
Anyway, Apollyon IS from the same word root as WASTE, or apoleia. Apollyon is the Greek word #623, apollyon, which means DESTROYER.
 
Back to that lady and her detractors. They accused her of DESTROYING precious goods and basically condemned her gift to Jesus as DAMNABLE.
 
Here’s the OUCH. Have you caught yourself condemning someone for their giving? I have. Once? Twice? Multiple times? Have you accused them of WASTING their resources on a certain ministry, charitable group, or even an individual?
 
What you were saying, then, was right in line with the accusers of that woman. You were virtually cursing the giver, the gift, AND the receiver as a waste, as damnable.
 
Hear Jesus’s take on the whole thing:
 
“Let her alone; why do you bother her?” (Mk14:6.)
 
He also declared, “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” (Mk 14:9.)
 
And you know something? Some of the most incredible miracles of Jesus were only recorded in one gospel. Others can be found in two or three of them. THIS act of extravagant giving, however, is recorded in all FOUR gospels. I believe this underscores Jesus’s passion and affirmation of what took place that day…AND exposes the hearts of all of us (myself included) who decry or bemoan the motives, intelligence, or wisdom of the gifts of others.
 
You do you. Let God deal with others.
 
And if you’re STILL uncomfortable with someone else’s giving, go before God and leave it with Him. He may give you the right to speak; but tread lightly…lest you find yourself in league with the Destroyer.

You will not be afraid of the arrow that flies by day

Posted by on Jan 29, 2022 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on You will not be afraid of the arrow that flies by day

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
Psalm 91:5-6

Four fears that tend to haunt people are listed under the declaration, “YOU WILL NOT BE AFRAID OF…”. The top four on that list include:

  • Terror by night
  • The arrow that flies by day
  • Pestilence that stalks in darkness
  • Destruction that lays waste at noon

I’ve discovered that the more I think on and pray through Psalm 91 and other Scriptures, the less fearful I have become. And I’ve also learned that when I do get afraid, I know exactly where to turn in my Bible for comfort and relief from torment and attack.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night…

The terror by night is, more often than not, an attack on your mind—imaginary—rather than physically undergoing a terrorizing event. Nevertheless, countless hours of sleep have been lost while multitudes of souls, ravaged by fearful torments or hideous nightmares, toss and turn. If this describes you, pray Psalm 91 before you go to bed. Let yourself think about the different aspects of God’s faithfulness to you. Picture Him near, guarding you, ready to act on your behalf. And do so often.

…or of the arrow that flies by day…

A year or so ago, drivers on a section of highway just outside of my neighborhood had been shot and killed on two different occasions about a week or so apart by drive-by shooters. People started saying, “I’ll never drive on that part of the highway again! Look at what’s happening there!”

By that time, I had been praying Psalm 91 fairly frequently, and I started feeling angry. “How DARE the devil try to stake out turf on MY section of highway?” I wasn’t scared; I was offended. So I prayed.

When I knew what I was to do, I shared the direction I’d received with a Saturday morning prayer group. They prayed in agreement, asking the Lord to lead and protect me, and after prayer, I proceeded to my assignment.

First stop was my town’s police station. I simply parked in the lot and prayed in the Spirit. I asked God to give wisdom to detectives on the case to find and arrest the perpetrators before anyone else was shot; I also prayed that He would foil any attempt to continue with the crime spree until then. I prayed against copycat activity as well.

I lingered in that lot until I had a “knowing” that I was finished there and then headed for the highway.

The approximately two-mile section was nearby. As I pulled onto the entrance ramp a plan emerged. I would drive from one entrance ramp to the next exit, cross over (or under) the highway and pull back onto it, circling around and around, praying until I knew I was finished. I prayed and sang in the Spirit, up and down, up and down the highway. After the fifth or sixth lap, a Scripture rose up in me. It was Isaiah 58:12.

Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

Emboldened, I continued with the laps, proclaiming these words over the highway—my section of highway! In triumph, I shouted, “Thank You, Father! YOU, and You alone are the Restorer of the streets in which to dwell…and that includes THIS section of highway, the section You’ve given to ME!”

I didn’t care what the people driving next to me were thinking; I was doing this for THEM, for their KIDS, and for their friends and families. Anyway, I was certain they’d seen weirder things than this on their travels!

And do you know that to this day, there has not been ONE shot fired on that section of highway?

Remember, Jesus told us that “…In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good courage! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). If the world throws some tribulation your way, you have every right to turn to the Lord to see what He would have you to do about it. Don’t just accept the mess as your “new normal”.

We were also told, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9a). We were not told to be afraid, to wring our hands, or to stop driving our familiar routes. Sure, there may be times that the Holy Spirit will intervene to send you a different way to spare you from danger, but He will never direct you to give up ground to violence or the enemy.

May you grow stronger and stronger as you put down roots in this amazing Psalm 91.

Dorothy

You will not be afraid of the arrow that flies by day. Psalm 91:5b

© 2022, Dorothy Frick

You will not be afraid of the terror by night

Posted by on Dec 15, 2021 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on You will not be afraid of the terror by night

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;

Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon
. Psalm 91:5

How amazing is this verse!? Boldly, the Psalmist lists four fears common to humanity under the declaration, “YOU WILL NOT BE AFRAID…”.

The top four on the fear list include:

  • Terror by night [things that go bump in the night; creeper stuff]
  • The arrow that flies by day [projectiles of all kinds: drive-bys; snipers; terrorist attacks; hold ups; stick ups; home invasions]
  • Pestilence that stalks in darkness [covid; flu; plagues and diseases of every kind]
  • Destruction that lays waste at noon [California wildfires; Midwest tornadoes; terrorist attacks; earthquakes; etc.]

Every one of these scary potentialities has enough “oomph” to keep even the boldest among us tossing and turning, trying to sleep with one eye open, alert to the tiniest creak in the house. Hearing a noise outside can send the sleeper shooting upright in bed, heart pounding; the tiniest tickle in the throat can cause full-blown panic; and the brain’s replay of almost any given newscast can steal shuteye from the most exhausted body.

But Psalm 91 declares “YOU WILL NOT BE AFRAID”. Personalize it, and you will proclaim, “I WILL NOT BE AFRAID”, even when you DO feel afraid. You’re not lying; you’re quoting the Word of God.

The beauty of it all is that the more you interact with this Psalm and this verse (and with all of the Word of God), the more you will believe it. And the more you believe it, the more of a reality it will be in your life.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night.

I had frequent nightmares as a kid and was obsessively afraid of car accidents, break-ins, and the wolf man. Laugh if you want, but I’ll bet you had a list, too! But as I started spending time in the Bible, reading its promises, and taking them for myself, the fear levels in my life slowly decreased.

Then sometime in the last years of the Obama or the first year of the Trump administration, I sensed God saying, “Pray Psalm 91 a thousand times.” I didn’t try to do it in a hundred or even a thousand days, checking it off rapidly to get it done. No; I’m still not done! But as I walk my neighborhood or drive my car, I will likely be praying through something…and often it is Psalm 91.

I had been praying this Psalm for a good year or year and a half, and something happened that confirmed to me that I was indeed being changed on the inside by praying Psalm 91.

In the middle of the night, outside my bedroom window, I heard noises at the side gate to my backyard. I woke up for a moment, said to myself, “Oh, it’s probably just a bad guy,” and fell right back to sleep, unconcerned.

Perhaps thirty or forty minutes later, around 2 AM, I was awakened by loud banging on my front door. I peeked out the blinds and saw two police cars parked in front of my home. I threw on a robe and went to the front door, opened it, and asked, “How may I help you, Officers?”

They told me a house had been robbed a block over, and they found the perpetrator hiding in my neighbor’s bushes. When they approached him, he tore off into my back yard, and in the darkness of night, they lost him.

I think they were shocked when I declared, almost triumphantly, “I KNEW there was a bad guy back there!” They told me if I heard any other noise out there to let them know, and they went on their way.

But that lack of fear didn’t leave! I actually had to restrain myself from going outside immediately to look for loot! I just about had to take myself by the scruff of the neck and say, “Listen here, young lady! You can look for it in the morning!”

Now don’t get me wrong—praying and meditating on this Psalm will not automatically chase every fear out of your life. But when fear does crop up—and it will—you will have a well-worn path right back to the Scripture that declares “I WILL NOT FEAR” and by that, you can calm your soul as you look to God for His powerful help. And help He will.

You will not fear the terror by night.

Dorothy

© Dorothy Frick, 2021

Nebuchadnezzar: The dream from God and the subsequent unwise image

Posted by on Nov 28, 2021 in Everyday Observations, Reflections in the Word | Comments Off on Nebuchadnezzar: The dream from God and the subsequent unwise image

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:1

In chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar had dreamt of an enormous statue consisting of sections of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and an alloy of iron and clay. Daniel explained to the king that God had given him a prophetic dream to reveal the kingdoms on the earth, present and yet to come. Daniel also told him that he—Nebuchadnezzar—was the head of gold and that all the other kingdoms would be inferior to his.

Well, this morning I opened my Bible to chapter 3 and got no further than verse one. In the margin I read something I had written on 9/21/19: “I’ll bet Neb was ‘inspired’ to do this [build the idol] because of his dream.” The dream was from God; the subsequent construction of the golden image was NOT. The note I had written started the wheels to spin in my mind.

It hit me—ministries, ministers, and everyday Christians ALL get tempted to pull this same sort of thing whether God speaks to them, uses them, or reveals to them something to come.

We are all quite capable of playing into the same temptation, revering the dream, the prophetic word, or the revealed call of God on our lives, and sometimes we even expect others to do likewise. The gift or directive of God now becomes the object of worship and awe, not God Himself! And without realizing it, we have erected Nebuchadnezzar’s image in our own likeness and name.

When Jesus is Lord and the Father Himself is the sole object of your love, worship, and devotion, you would not expect—much less demand—reverence or allegiance to be shown by others to the vision, word, or gifting that God has given to you. Any respect shown or loyalty displayed to you by others is received as a gift, treated as a free-will offering, precious, and NEVER as that which is due.

Would your refusal—as a Christian or a leader—to set up your own gifting or ministry as an idol mean that you no longer have the right to speak into the lives of others? Of course not! When self-promotion is set aside, discernment is free to operate more purely. Instead of counseling based on partisan affiliation or allegiance status, now the full motive in ministering to others is to help them to embrace the Lord and discover the direction He has for them, not to get them onboard with your church, ministry, vision, or with any particular leader. Nebuchadnezzar image-builders get people hooked on themselves and not on the Father to whom belongs all the glory.

It is my suspicion that most of the partisan, sectarian issues in the church of “I’m of Paul” and “I’m of Apollos” (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-4) has to do with the erection of Nebuchadnezzar-like statues in seeking to immortalize a simple gift, ministry, or prophetic understanding. In turn, these providential blessings from God morph into idols to which full devotion is often demanded.

Stop idolizing humans! Stop idolizing ministries!

Stop idolizing the directives and dreams that God has given to you, and just simply obey them as from the Lord! By the same token, stop expecting others to pay homage to your wisdom, your words, your dreams, your vision, or your ministry.

Let people be followers of Jesus, and as for you, be available to God to use you to help them on the course He has for them. And likewise, receive as a gift—not as what is due—the help others give to you as you pursue His will for your life.

But the bottom line is this: Shun idolatry of all kinds.

Dorothy

© Dorothy Frick, 2021

His faithfulness

Posted by on Nov 26, 2021 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on His faithfulness

… His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4b, ESV

First, let’s take a quick look at this shield and buckler. According to Strong’s Concordance, the shield mentioned here is large and covers the whole body. As for the buckler, some references describe it as smaller (Merriam Webster), portable (biblestudytools.com), and often worn on the forearm or held by a handle (forwhatsaiththescriptures.org). As a result, I like to think of this shield/buckler duo as defensive spiritual weaponry, able to cover ALL incoming attacks against me, whether large or small.

Moreover, as I’ve been praying through Psalm 91, this phrase—His faithfulness is my shield and my buckler—has revolutionized my thinking about FAITH IN GOD. Follow with me as I explain.

You see, I have listened to some of the premiere preachers on the topic throughout the past 40 or so years and felt I “knew” just about all there was about faith, having been taught by the best. And yet when push came to shove, whenever a situation arose which demanded faith on my part, I often struggled, wondering if my faith was sufficient.

I knew that in Ephesians 6, one article in the full armor of God is the shield of faith. I also knew that according to Ephesians 6:16, the shield of faith quenches every flaming missile of the evil one. And here, in Psalm 91:4, I read that GOD’S faithfulness itself was my shield and buckler.

Since God provides us with the shield of faith, and since His very own faithfulness is also our shield and buckler, my lightning-fast mind started sniffing out a connection! Could it be that individual human faith—as limited as it often seems to be—was actually a product of the big, all-encompassing faithfulness of God? I was on to something!

I had been taught to have faith in my faith. Well, my faith sometimes seemed pretty shoddy, to tell you the truth, and trying to rustle up faith in my pipsqueak faith left me discouraged, not encouraged.

But here, in Psalm 91:4, all the pressure was on God’s faithfulness, not my own faith! The faithfulness of God was a shield in which I could trust without wavering; my own faith, on the other hand tended to rise and fall with my emotions.

Then it hit me: God never called us to trust in our own faith. From the very beginning, all He wanted us to do was to trust in HIM—in HIS faithfulness to us.

It is His faithfulness that is a shield for you. You don’t need to concern yourself one bit with how big or powerful your own faith is; your job is to trust Him and His big, beautiful faithfulness. His job is to shield you.

Once I realized that my faith has been indelibly linked to His faithfulness to shield me, I was finally free. No longer do I need to crank up enough faith. No matter what may come my way, large or small, His faithfulness to me is my shield and my buckler.

And no matter what may come YOUR way, large or small, His faithfulness to you will be your shield and buckler as well!

Dorothy

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

© Dorothy Frick, 2021

Allow the “joy invaders”

Posted by on Sep 20, 2021 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Allow the “joy invaders”

This may seem random, but I have a feeling it may help some of you.
 
I was putting away a Pyrex casserole pan on the top shelf of my cabinet. I have 6-7 of these nested together up there, and to protect them from each other, I’ve separated them with a napkin or paper towel…
 
The Pyrex in question is the third smallest in size, so I removed the two smaller ones and fished around up there for the napkins to keep numbers 4, 3, and 2 separated. There I found an old bedraggled snowman napkin, wrinkled from service. And something about that snowman napkin made me happy!
 
A boost to my spirit and an injection to my memory banks of Christmas cookies and glittering lights flashed for the moment into my being, and I realized I had taken a mini vacation of seconds from the strife, stress, and contention of now. The “happy wash” has lingered, and I am better for it.
 
Wherever your headspace is, take time NOW, on the cusp of autumn, to ENJOY whatever sweet, thoughtful, even very small thing that manages to bring a smile, and be aware that you have the RIGHT and the RESPONSIBILITY to allow yourself to “joy” throughout your day. This will keep your mental health (and likely physical health) in a better space!
 
Yes, stuff is happening out there; many of us feel we are in a war zone NOT of our choosing. We must deal with so much that makes us uncomfortable; but for the sake of your soul, allow for joy to break through anyway!
 
I believe this will help ME to endure; I KNOW there is ALWAYS something to be thankful about, and despite the fact that I will continue to “stand on my post”, keeping watch and praying, I will let joy and gladness invade my moments to aid and strengthen my soul. Don’t discount those little “joy invaders”!
 
And to clench it all, this is how I choose to see our present struggles, both personal and national: “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…” 2 Corinthians 4:17
 
No matter how you view it, you will win if you are in Christ. Might as well embrace the snatches of joy along the way. 🙂
Dorothy
© Dorothy Frick, 2021

What Esther can teach the Church

Posted by on Aug 20, 2021 in Prayer Perspective, Praying for America | Comments Off on What Esther can teach the Church

I’m reading through the book of Esther today. When I landed on chapter 4, I was amazed at its parallel to our time.

A decree had been issued (chapter 3) throughout Susa and the entire kingdom of King Ahasuerus (which stretched from India to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces according to chapter 1…think Afghanistan smack dab in the middle) to slaughter all Jews in one day and to seize their possessions as plunder. This decree was the brainchild of Haman, who had a personal grudge against Esther’s cousin Mordecai.

You see, Mordecai had refused to bow the knee to Mr. Haman…and that was a blow to Haman’s overinflated ego; and he concocted a plan to get the king to sign off on the mass genocide of Jews. Whenever genocide of any race, religion, or ethnicity is on the table, you better believe petty, unresolved EGO, JEALOUSY, and SIN are at the root of it all.

Chapter 4 opens with Mordecai discovering the diabolical plot of Haman, and his response is very eye-opening. Did he hide away, in the terror of alarm? Did he seek to flee to a distant land? NO. He tore his clothes and threw on sackcloth, the garb of public mourners, and went directly to the open square and to the palace gates, wailing loudly and bitterly.

Many of us do exactly that when we speak of grievances to others and post them publicly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. We share videos and articles. We attend various meetings, rallies, and write to our Congress people. And, I believe, we are getting bolder in so doing.

But when Queen Esther found out that Mordecai was making a scene, she was OFFENDED. How do I know that? She sent a clean, respectable set of clothes for him to change into immediately. He refused.

At this point in the chapter, the question arose within me concerning our present state of affairs: In YOUR quest to make the truth of our current situation known, have you run into mockery? Scorn? Censorship? Even among your brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ or members of your own family? Are they DEMANDING you to squelch your growing concern? Does it make them uneasy? Angry? Esther was very uncomfortable with Mordecai’s open display of grievance.

Did her discomfort sway him? Absolutely not. He rejected his dearest relative’s offer to change into the clothing of status quo, and he was resolute in his refusal.

Verse 4 reveals that Esther writhed in agony at his rebuff of her “sound” offer. Perhaps your dearest friends don’t understand you; they worry about you; they have backed away from you. Perhaps they’ve INCREASED their pressure to get you to conform. Whatever may be your situation, you have become a pariah.

Fortunately, however, Esther was willing to research and step out of her comfort zone to learn an inconvenient truth. She sent to Mordecai to discover why he was so upset.

Then things got VERY interesting; from Mordecai she received the news that Haman had placed all Jews under a “seek and destroy” decree throughout the kingdom. ALL Jews. HER people. Mordecai sent her a copy of the very document that detailed the upcoming slaughter. Did Esther scream, “FAKE NEWS”?

No. Esther became red pilled.

Once YOU are red pilled to any agenda of harm, you need to act accordingly. God has given each of us varying gifts and talents, passions and pursuits in which He beckons us to act. You need to go before Him to hear Him for yourself. No one else can do that for you. Hear Him; and then DO what He says.

Esther, being the king’s wife, had a peculiar role to fulfill in this whole red pill experience. In those days, in the Medo/Persian area of the Middle East, women—including beloved wives—had little to no leverage, even in approaching their husbands.

But Esther knew she could not remain in the shadow of opulent anonymity; she had to approach the king despite the potential loss of her life. She had not seen her husband in thirty days; she probably wondered if he had decided she wasn’t quite what he wanted…maybe a new young thing had already caught his eye…

She risked enraging him, and then—death.

But now red pilled, Esther mustered all her courage; called for a three day fast; and declared that after the fast “I will go into the king, which is not according to the law, and if I perish, I perish” (verse 16).

Perhaps God in His wisdom is directing YOU to speak up and stand out contrary to our current cultural convention. He will make it clear to you as you seek Him…and then, like a godly soul from New Testament times declared when confronted accusingly by his culture, you can also say, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard ” (Acts 4:19-20).

May the blessing of boldness be on you this hour,

Dorothy

© Dorothy Frick, 2021

Christmas Eve Prayer

Posted by on Dec 24, 2020 in Christmas | Comments Off on Christmas Eve Prayer

This Christmas Eve, whether your home is as colorful as a carnival, as turbulent as a tornado, or as quiet as a mouse, I want to offer up a prayer for you from my heart.

For my friends who feel all too keenly the absence of loved ones who are no longer with you, I pray for the calm and deep comfort of the Lord to well up within you and gird you with grace and strength. May you be blessed with the gift of “touch”—knowing that just as your loved ones’ lives touched yours, so too, does your life touch those around you very deeply; and may you feel the depth of God’s gentle love for you. And in the coming year as you reach out to those He brings your way, may you find grace to comfort them with the comfort with which you have been comforted.

For my friends who brace yourselves for the storm clouds of strife that invariably blow your way this time of year, I pray for the love of God to overtake you so that you will have the grace to speak blessing where there is cursing. May you be a peacemaker in the midst of strife and a refuge of safety in the midst of turmoil. I pray that He will give you the gift of “hearing” so that as you navigate through the noise and agitation, you will hear with clarity this is the way in which you should walk; these are the words I want you to say. I pray that the Lord will go before you and make the rough places smooth and that His glory will be your rear guard. And may the seeds of peace and love and life that you sow—even in the midst of the storm—be cultivated by God in the upcoming year to produce the powerful fruit of salvation and wholeness in the lives of those you love.

For my friends who feel isolated, lonely, and without a family to call your own, I pray that the presence of God will overtake you, not only in your spirit, but also in your mind and emotions. I pray you receive the gift of “taste” so that you may taste and see that the Lord is good. May you recognize the breadth, length, height, and depth of your acceptance in the Beloved, and may you experience, in a very real way, the intensity of the love that God personally has for you. May the coming year bring deeper friendships, warmer connections, and a greater number of mutually-satisfying godly relationships into your life. May you learn to expect and receive these blessings; and may you, my friend, be a blessing in the lives of others.

For my friends who know you are fortunate to have all of your loved ones around the table again this year, yet who nonetheless feel let down by life, I pray that you receive the gift of “seeing”. May you see, by the Spirit of God, how precious each life really is; may you recognize the wealth of connection you have been granted; and may you receive wisdom from on high so you may further nurture and cultivate each treasured life given to you. May you see and experience how truly rich you are, and may the upcoming year bring forth great fruitfulness in your life.

For my friends who are harried and hassled and stretched to the limit by the demands at this time of year, I pray you find that place of quiet and refuge in the Lord, to take a breath, and to let His soothing presence minister rest and grace to your soul. May you receive the gift of “smell”—the ability to pause and smell the cinnamon, the evergreen, the cookies, and the cold crisp air. May you take mini-vacations in your mind as you pause and think on the journey to Bethlehem, the song of the angels, or the newborn babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger. May your heart be lifted with the songs of the season, and may you find humor in the hustle and bustle and even in the superhuman expectations you place upon yourself. And may your joy increase more and more, along with your strength, in the year to come.

And to all of my friends, I pray that the grace, mercy, and peace of God overtake you and strengthen you, equipping you for all that is ahead of you in 2021. May you enjoy deep intimacy with the Lord, and may His voice become clearer, your sight more focused, and His Word sweeter as you journey with Him throughout the coming year.

And tonight, may every one of you find time to sneak away and snatch some silence on this holy eve. I pray that tonight, whether by candlelight, firelight, Christmas lights, or by the light of the stars or the moon, you take the time to steal away and to say thank You to the One who came to earth as that precious Baby so long ago. And as you do, may He fill your heart with His wonderful presence.

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.  (By Joseph Mohr, 1816)

Merry Christmas and may God bless each one of you, my dear friends.

Dorothy

© 2015, Dorothy Frick; updated December, 2020

 

Freedom of speaking

Posted by on Nov 19, 2020 in Reflections in the Word | Comments Off on Freedom of speaking

do not throw away your CONFIDENCE… Hebrews 10:35

CONFIDENCE here is the Greek word parresia, which means FREEDOM OF SPEAKING.

So, here is Hebrews 10:35 in its entirety using this definition:

Therefore, do not throw away your FREEDOM OF SPEAKING, which has a great reward.

In other words, you are not required to submit to the rules imposed upon you by those who  do not fear God. You know—rules such as don’t talk about this; don’t refute that; never oppose culturally-held, unscriptural beliefs openly or publicly.

God’s Word gives you a different directive: Hold fast to your confidence. You have as much right to speak as anyone else. Speak Life. Speak Truth. Speak the unadulterated counsel of God.

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

Psalm 91:4 Faithful to cover

Posted by on Sep 9, 2020 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on Psalm 91:4 Faithful to cover

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His faithfulness shall be your shield and buckler.

When you picture feathers or wings, do you typically think of military shields? That’s not my customary train of thought, but this unusual pairing reveals how intensely protective God feels about you. His heart brims with the desire to cover you when danger lurks and to be your shield against incoming attacks.

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge…

The Creator has always had a bird’s eye view of the animal kingdom, and He chose—out of all His creatures—to liken Himself to an eagle when revealing His protective nature toward His people.

In the Song of Moses, it says of God’s relationship to Jacob, “…He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions” (Deuteronomy 32:10-11).

David also use this same imagery in five of his Psalms. In Psalm 57, you can hear his anguished devotion when he cries out, “Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by (verse 1). I love this! In the hour of greatest desperation, you, like David, have the right to hunker down under the shadow of God’s wings until destruction passes you by.

Not only did God’s people the Jews have access to the powerful shelter of God’s wings, but the Moabite Ruth also found refuge under His protective wings as well. Boaz spoke highly of Ruth’s deep devotion to and care for her mother-in-law Naomi when he said, “May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge” (Ruth 2:12).

David, Moses, and Ruth each found refuge under the majestic wings of the Lord. The Almighty God is still ready and willing to cover anyone who seeks His help; He will never tire of protecting you.

…His faithfulness shall be your shield and buckler.

When I come to this section in prayer, I am reminded of another shield—the mighty shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). But how many times—instead of believing your faith could quench every incoming missile—you’ve felt absolutely worthless? The enemy works overtime to make you feel like a complete faith-failure.

I felt like that more times than I could count…until this verse came alive to me. You see, God’s faithfulness itself is your shield! You don’t have to have monster faith; your God has enough faithfulness for the two of you! Just put your faith into His faithfulness, and when you feel weak, your trust is no longer in your own ability to be some kind of faith giant; your trust is in God!

And when it comes to God’s protective care over you? Place your trust fully in His faithfulness to do what it takes to keep you safe.

One night as a thirty-something woman, I had been passing out gospel tracts on the St. Louis Arch grounds with a group from my church. Because I was somewhat “seasoned” at this sort of thing, an inexperienced young couple were paired with me. Toward the end of the evening I was sharing Jesus with a young woman. The couple got bored and wandered off to find the rest of the group. I didn’t care because she was very interested in giving her life to Christ.

Soon, her eyes popped open as big as silver dollars, and she scrambled away. I turned and immediately was surrounded by a group of six to eight men. As they closed in around me, the oddest thing happened. I had a vision!

No longer was I standing near the top of the south stairway of the Arch; I was at a Charles Capps meeting at my church! There Brother Capps stood, preaching with his Arkansas twang, “My brother, sister, Jesus SAID ‘Let us GO to the other side of the lake’; and if Jesus SAID ‘Let us GO to the other side of the lake’, then no wave, no wind, no storm could stop Him!”

And with that, there I was, back at the Arch, surrounded by the same six to eight men. I looked across the way and saw the old Riverboat McDonald’s. I SAID to the men, “I am GOING to McDonald’s!”

I walked right through that circle; no one touched me. As I descended the long stairway, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly, “Walk. Don’t run. Hold your head high, and don’t look back.”

There were whistles and catcalls as I fearlessly walked across Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd. to the gangplank leading to McDonald’s. Down the gangplank I marched, opened the door to the Golden Arches and saw my whole team—including the young couple. In an instant it dawned on me what God had just shielded me from. My knees became Jello, and I wobbled to the counter to order a bag of fries and a Coke.

God’s faithfulness was my shield and buckler that night; and the good news is that He will always be the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Put your faith in the faithfulness of the Lord and take refuge under His all-encompassing wings!

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick