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When tragedy happens, don’t judge

Posted by on Nov 13, 2018 in Book of Luke | 2 comments

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.  And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? Luke 13:1-2

We’ve all seen it, heard it, and experienced it. Disaster strikes; we see images of suffering, destruction, and death. The pain and sorrow of these images sear into our very souls. We wonder “What happened? Why did it happen?” The horror and vulnerability we feel triggers revulsion, and to make sense of it all, we create reasons why tragedy struck “them”; reasons why tragedy won’t strike “us”.

Jesus’ followers evidently viewed the horrific slaughter of their fellow Galileans in a similar manner. Vivid memories filled their minds: Countrymen dying at the hand of Pilate who brazenly used their blood to desecrate the holy sacrifice. Jesus knew His followers were grappling in their minds with the event—so He targeted a near-universal coping mechanism—judging the afflicted and fallen.

Do you find yourself doing the same? When calamities—such as the recent fire storms, hurricanes, mass murders, etc.—befall an area, do you wonder if the sin in that region finally elicited judgment from God? Does the thought, “We’re not as bad (or stupid) as them” cross your mind?

Driving home His point, Jesus asked another question: “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?” (Luke 13:4.)

Why was Jesus targeting this all too common defense mechanism of judging the victim? Was He attempting to scare people with the randomness of tragedy? Was He mocking their sense of vulnerability? NO! In a sense, He was telling them, Mind your own business. The “why” is privatebetween the victims and their God.

Twice in these remarks Jesus made a statement revealing the antidote to judging others. He asserted, “I tell you, no, [the victims of these tragedies were NOT the worse sinners (my addition)] but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (verses 3 and 5).

That doesn’t sound very edifying, does it? Was Jesus loading a guilt trip on them all?

In our modern mindset, unfortunately we’ve equated the directive to repent with narrow-minded bigotry. But quite the opposite was the Lord’s intention. Instead of heaping judgment on them, Jesus presented them with a valuable aid to help them keep on track when others faced destruction, tragedy, or death: Don’t judge the victim—you’re not God. Concentrate on your own heart, behaviors, and life, and God will take care of you.

When tragedy happens, mourn with those who mourn—don’t judge. And while showing compassion to the hurting, mind your own business!

Dorothy

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

“So Peter seeing him [John the disciple] said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’” John 21:21-22

© 2018, Dorothy Frick

Diabolos

Posted by on Sep 26, 2018 in Reflections in the Word | 2 comments

Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 1 Timothy 3:11

[Men and women of the last days will be]…unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good… 2 Timothy 3:3

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good… Titus 2:3

I often look up the Greek or Hebrew for a word when I’m reading the Bible. Today, I looked up the Greek word for malicious gossips which I found in 1 Timothy 3:11. Here’s what I found:

Diabolos: [Strong’s Concordance, #1228]

  1. prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely
  2. a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer  [Note: a calumniator is one who makes false and defamatory statements about someone.]
  3. metaph. applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him

However, of the 36 verses in which the Greek word diabolos is used, 33 of them—nearly 92%refer to this:

“Satan, the prince of demons, the author of evil, persecuting good men, estranging mankind from God and enticing them to sin, and afflicting them with diseases by means of demons who take possession of their bodies at his bidding; the malignant enemy of God and the Messiah…” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

It hit me: Of all the sins described or listed in the Bible, this sin, the sin of making a false accusation, is the ONLY sin that is one and the same with the word uniquely used for the devil.

Therefore, of all the sins described/listed in the Bible, the most Satan-like of all when utilized by a human is not idolatry, stealing, sexual sin, simple lying, cheating, violent behaviors, etc., (all of which must be confessed to God and repented of by the human so engaged if they want to be free of the toxic internal environment caused by such involvement; see 1 John 1:9). Instead, the sin most likened to the devil himself is the sin of false accusation.

My take away is this: Be careful that you don’t jump aboard the bandwagon of finger-pointers and tongue-waggers; there’s a good chance that some, if not all, of the accusations darting around are false. Come to terms with the fact that some men and women have given themselves over to false accusations. They are DIABOLOSmen and women most closely reflecting the devil himself. You don’t want to be counted among that group. Fortunately, however, in Christ, there is redemption and cleansing for such people if they choose to confess and repent; but it is better not to devise, embrace, or further those accusations in the first place.

Some food for thought.

Dorothy

© 2018, Dorothy Frick

Concerning mob mentality: What would Jesus do?

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018 in Book of Luke, Prayer Perspective | 2 comments

…the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects, plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say. Luke 11, last two verses

Take note of three phrases in the final two verses of Luke 11:

  • began to be very hostile
  • plotting against him
  • to catch Him in something He might say

Under these circumstances…[of targeted hostility and ill-intent] He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Luke 12:1

Under the circumstances of blatant resentment and plots of violence against Him, what did Jesus do? Did He acquiesce with the demands of the mob—did He think perhaps He’d been too harsh, and in His loving way, wonder if they had a point? NO. He boldly exposed the root of this brazen hostility:  Bona fide, Grade A hypocrisy.

The Lord uncovered a principle here: Targeting an individual with hostility propelled by an intent to destroy his reputation or life reveals more about the character of the “targeter” than it does the one being targeted—they are a bald-faced hypocrite.

The Oxford Dictionary defines hypocrisy this way: “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.” It’s the old speck in the eye caution—if you seek to remove (or expose!) a speck in someone else’s eye, get the log out of your own, first. (See Matthew 7:3-5.)

Do you passionately seek to expose someone else as flawed or evil, worthless or unfit? Then first take a checkup from the neck up yourself! When you engage in undermining the reputation of someone—no matter how righteous you feel about it or how much satisfaction you derive from it—you are placing yourself in a precarious position before God.

The leaven of hypocrisy

Jesus likened hypocrisy to leaven.

Many of us consume a little leaven—or yeast—every day in baked goods. That bit of yeast added to recipes gives the whole loaf, cake, or batch of cookies a fluffy, chewable quality. Most dictionaries define leaven—in addition to its use as a fermenting, rising agent in bread—as a pervasive, permeating influence of change for the better.

Yet when Jesus stated, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”, He was highlighting the subtle, negative influence of hypocrisy—the outward display of a moral high ground which masks raw ambition and hatred toward anyone who dares to stand between them and their secretly held lust for power. Jesus knew that mingling and mixing with such power-driven hypocrites would infect the culture with unthinking, blind corruption…and the whole lump of connected humanity would “blow up” with hypocrisy, hostility, and attempts to destroy anyone who remained “unfermented” by the prevailing trend.

What would Jesus do? Quite simply, expose hypocrisy. He didn’t seek to destroy hypocrites; He didn’t shout over them or call for their humiliation or demise; He simply revealed Truth concerning them.

Cover ups

But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops. Luke 12:2-3

Jesus recognized that these religious/political leaders wanted nothing other than to destroy Him, His message, and His influence on the world. Despite all of that, He maintained His peace; a higher principle was at play and He knew it:

All cover ups would be revealed. Hidden things would be made known. Conversations in dark, private meetings would become public knowledge. Whispered secret agendas would soon be broadcast on the airwaves far and wide.

What would Jesus do? What should you do?

First, beware the leaven of hypocrites. Is something trending that grabs the minds, emotions, and passions of the many, transforming cultural thought into a lump of rage, hostility, and indignation? Beware of it. At its root is hypocrisy—the mask of moral superiority covering someone’s unseen lust for power, manipulating those with good intentions to destroy a manufactured enemy…and in Jesus’ day, that manufactured enemy was Him.

Secondly—and this is my passion—use the mind God gave you. Question mass movements and popular trends, especially the ones that seek to destroy others. Ask yourself, “Where did this start? Who ultimately benefits? What is the end game?” God never demanded that you check your brain at the door of the church, school, university, or evening news. Invite Him to reveal the agendas behind societal thrusts; compare trending ideologies to the Word of God. If it doesn’t feel right, you have the right to question it and ask God about it.

And third, pray. You may not discern who or what is behind everything going on in prevailing movements, but God certainly does. Therefore, if it feels weird to you, take Jesus’ lead: Pray for cover ups to be exposed; ask that hidden intents will be made known; request God to cause private meetings in which participants plot someone’s ruin to be uncovered and become public knowledge; and pray that all whispered agendas will be exposed and broadcast on every available media.

Again, you have the right to question. You have the right to take an unpopular stance. You have the right to use critical thinking concerning every movement and ideology that comes along. And you have the right to go God’s way even if everyone else throws in with the “lovely” façade and hidden agendas of hypocrisy.

Beware the leaven of hypocrisy!

Dorothy

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 Timothy 3:1

But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:13

But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all… 2 Timothy 3:9a

© 2018, Dorothy Frick

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

God’s response to me at year’s end

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018 in Prayer Perspective | 4 comments

During the last week of 2017 I was seeking the Lord about seeking the Lord. I realized that I had drifted away—again!—in my fervency toward Him in my daily life. Yes, I loved Him; yes, I sought to live by faith; yes, I endeavored to keep a clean conscience toward Him; and yes, I attempted to walk in love in my interactions with others.

That morning as I prayed, I heard the still small voice I’ve grown to trust and to love. The depth of correction and comfort His words brought to me may help some of you—who like me, have walked a long time in the things of God, yet who (like me) have painfully recognized some staleness in your pursuit of Him.

May you find comfort, strength, and whatever correction you may need as you read.

 

“You can be genuinely sweet. You may be extremely moral. You may walk in true kindness and have keen discernment between truth and error, good and evil.

“But you can be all this and still forsake your first love; and those things—if you do not repent and turn back to that first love—will eventually ring hollow and become more and more lifeless.

“To the good. To the kind. To the champions of My Word. To the discerning. To the giving. To the moral. To the sweet. To the embracers of Truth:

“‘Remember what I said to the beloved church in Ephesus through My apostle John in the Revelation he received from Me:

“‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;

“‘And you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.

“‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

“‘Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent’ (Revelation 2:2-5).

“What are the deeds you did at first? You hungered for Me. You pursued Me. You thirsted for My Word and for the knowledge of My Word, simply because you loved Me and all that I said—and you wanted more and more of it—of Me.

“Your hunger was not to prove yourself right. Not to appear spiritually profound or proficient. Not to be seen of others as being a fountain of wisdom or truth. No. Simply because you wanted more of Me you pursued Me hotly and with a sincere heart. Simply because you had experienced how wonderful I am.

“Now that you’ve attained much knowledge, some insight, some discipline, some success over bondages and habits, some skill in articulating My Word, some acclaim because of your connection to Me and you have some experience of My deliverance, help, and presence in trouble…you have grown complacent in your seeking. You’ve grown complacent in your pursuit. You’ve become complacent in your sheer delight at finding Me and watching Me show up. It’s as if you think My supernatural presence and involvement is normal (and it is), but the complacent normal becomes common. The complacent normal becomes average. The complacent normal becomes humdrumand if you continue to allow driftage, it all begins to slide into ‘so what’.

“When that happens, the blessing on your life becomes an entitlement to you (after all, you’ve become ‘so skillful in the things of God’). You become self-satisfied and your felt-need for connection with Me fades.

“To My sweet, My kind, My discerning, My moral, My giving, My embracers of Truth, and My champions of the Word:

“Remember your first love! Pursue Me as purely as at first and allow Me to cleanse those motives that have been tainted by pride, by wanting to be seen, by wanting to be first…or best…or foremost…or most accurate.

“Let Me cleanse you of any motive that feeds self-honor and let Me recreate in you the desire to please Me—Me alone.

“As you submit to My correction, I will rework those things—attitudes, views, motives—within you which have facilitated slippage from your first love; and I will render you down to the purity of the beginning of your fervent walk with Christ.

“It is time to purge that most insidious brand of complacency from your life and heart—complacency concerning your private, intimate pursuit of Me.

“It is written in Proverbs 1:32-33:

“‘For the waywardness of the naïve will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But he who listens to Me shall live securely and will be at the ease from the dread of evil.’

“Always I give a choice. Always. I allowed you to choose or reject My Son. And now, I allow you to choose or neglect continued intimacy with Me…that intimacy which only comes by pursuit of Me—even now, even as you grow older in Me.

“Continue to pursue Me privately. Continue to pursue Me intimately. Continue to place yourself before Me—alone—where I can correct and comfort you, discipline and direct you, fill you and free you.

“I am your God. Even now, as you have acquired years and depth and experience in Me, you still need Me as desperately as ever you did when you began your walk with Me.

“Let Me delight in you as at the beginning, for I delight in your hunger, your thirst, your pursuit, your readiness to enter in to hear from Me.

“Set yourself in this place before Me as you did in the beginning; get your sustenance and solace from Me; and you will indeed see the salvation of your God all over again with new, cleansed eyesight.

“All the other things you’ve done in a more outward pursuit—these are goodbut neglect not the first things—and everything else will fall into its proper place.”

 

Thanks for reading,

Dorothy

© 2018, Dorothy Frick

Born again; what next?

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

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

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

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

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

Dorothy

© 2017, Dorothy Frick

Jesus to the rescue

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

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

My testimony part 3:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What are you talking about?” she persisted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dorothy

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

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

© 2015, Dorothy Frick, and updated 2017.

What a terrible savior am I

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

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

My testimony Part 2:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wanted nothing more than to feel clean again.

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

With all my heart I desired that.

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

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

© 2015, Dorothy Frick, and updated 2017.

Next: December 29, 1974Jesus to the rescue

Jesus quieted the jury

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

My testimony Part 1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2015, Dorothy Frick, and updated 2017.

For Thy pleasure [Updated 2017]

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

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