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O Holy Night: Christmas Series

Posted by on Dec 16, 2019 in Christmas | Comments Off on O Holy Night: Christmas Series


“O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”  By Placide Cappeau, 1847

God had a plan from way back, before the foundations of the earth. He created the species of man to fellowship with Him and to populate the planet. In His great wisdom and foresight—before we ever arrived on the scene—He saw that we would go our own way, fall into sin, and descend into the agony of spiritual darkness.

He gave the first hint of His plan to pull humanity out of the abyss of their own making early in man’s history. After the man and woman He created fell into deception and disobedience (see Genesis 3:1-7), God told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15).

And so it came to pass. Jesus came to earth through the seed of woman; the virgin birth enabled the Savior to be both a Man—through Mary, His mother—and to be God, through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:35). And as history rolled on through time, God gave more hints about His plan to deliver men and women from their sinful nature through an astonishing sacrificial act. And according to Galatians 4:4, “…when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.

In due season. For millennia the world, steeped in sin, pined away in error, and tooled along on an evil course. So dark and oppressed was the race of man. The Jews, likewise subject to the permeating stain of sin, nonetheless held promise through their holy Scriptures of hope and help from Heaven that the Messiah—the stem of Jesse, the Promised One—would someday appear and set up His Kingdom.

At the right time. “…when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.” Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God, was born at the right time into the history of the human race. Angels proclaimed His birth. Wise men from the east calculated—by the stars and Hebrew prophecy—the exact timing and location of the birth of this new King.

And the world?

“The thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

The shackles of sin would soon be broken by the voluntary sacrifice of the Man who now lay as a baby in a manger. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).

Yet for so many, the chains of sin remain, two thousand years later. Darkness still seems to permeate the planet. How could that be? Again, let’s look at Scripture. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

You see, Jesus voluntarily gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind; likewise, receiving deliverance from those sins is also on a voluntary basis for every individual man, woman, and child. “Whoever believes in Him…” is a voluntary act; the one true God never coerces or intimidates anyone into submission; He states His case, He reasons with facts, He displays signs and wonders, and He woos. When religion is imposed with threats or violence, God is not in it.

Many throughout the past two millennia have attempted to force their brand of “whoever believes in Him” upon others through coercion, threats, tyrannical laws, and wars. But wise souls have always known that such enforcement was never the plan of God. God’s plan—then, now, and forever—was this: for His Son to bear the sin, sorrow, and error of our race, thus canceling out our debt of sin, and to simply receive anyone and everyone who believed in Him from the heart as sons and daughters.

This is the reason for the “thrill of hope”. This is why the “weary world rejoices”. And this is why each soul can now feel its worth—because whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. The God of all things places great worth on each human soul; He sees worth in you.

We sing, we pray, we celebrate because of who that little baby was—the Sacrificial Lamb, the Son of God and the Son of Man. In the fullness of time, that little child of Bethlehem laid down His life for you and for me—voluntarily—because He valued us.

What can we do in response to such a great and selfless act? Listen to the carol:

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night, o night divine.”

Take time this season to fall on your knees and affirm your faith in the baby of Bethlehem; worship Him—the Christ—the Son of God and the Son of Man.

Dorothy

© 2015, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning the grumbling of the Pharisees and a look at Jonah

Posted by on Nov 1, 2019 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning the grumbling of the Pharisees and a look at Jonah

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2

For some reason, this scene brings to mind some thoughts I had when reading the book of Jonah recently.

You see, it hit me—Jesus closely related to the prophet Jonah. Of course, Jesus knew He would be buried for three days in the tomb just as Jonah experienced three days in the belly of that humongous fish (see Matthew 12:40). The Lord thought about that eventuality—probably often—and took comfort that as Jonah was vomited out of the fish after three days, He, too, would be blasted back to life by the power of God. I believe He kept His thoughts on Jonah’s deliverance as a faith-builder.

However, Jesus and Jonah had another similarity. Both were called to preach to a volatile, rebellious people. Both knew the chances of rejection were huge and could very likely end in a violent death. Jesus, though, knew that undergoing this kind of tortuous death wasn’t a mere probability; it was fact.

Both men also understood that their obedience could lead to widespread, history-changing repentance and reconciliation to God. Jesus delighted in that end; Jonah, on the other hand, recoiled from it.

Fast-forward to Jesus’ day. Although the educated and religious folk of His time probably scoffed (as I have in the past) at Jonah’s rank disgust at the thought of the repentance and reformation of his foes in disregard to God’s plan, here they had a Man before them who unashamedly preached repentance and life transformation to the non-religious around them.

Did they say to themselves, “Now, here’s a Man—unlike Jonah—who willingly embraces sinners and the dregs of society, and by His preaching, their entire lives are miraculously changed and made whole!”?

No, they grumbled. They had no interest in “sinners”; they had no interest in the transformational intersection of a human with his/her Maker. They could care less about the secret fears, sorrows, or pains of those with whom they were spiritually charged. They were Jonah—yet a Jonah who never turned to offer repentance and hope of God’s forgiveness.

Jesus, like Jonah, preached repentance as the doorway to the kingdom of heaven. He didn’t sugar-coat His message and made no exceptions concerning sin; but He preached repentance out of a heart of love and compassion for those stuck in the quagmire of their lives. And their lives, deemed valuable to this Shepherd, were transformed as they gave Him their hearts.

May you and I see our lives and those around us with the eyes of Jesus, not Jonah—and certainly not with the eyes of the “learned” religious ones of Jesus’ day.

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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Concerning watchers and boxes

Posted by on Oct 30, 2019 in Book of Luke | Comments Off on Concerning watchers and boxes

It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. Luke 14:1

I don’t think they can help themselves. People bound up with a “religious spirit” seem to be compelled to inspect everyone else’s words, behaviors, worldview, clothing, spirituality, you-name-it—and have no qualms displaying open offense if the object of their inspection deviates in any way from their pre-set, tightly-clenched perspective. In fact, these folks frequently search high and low for even the slightest offense.

If you think your job is to coerce others to toe your line and use snubbery, open put-downs, whisper campaigns, smear blitzes, or even physical force to do so, there’s a good chance you’ve picked up a good old-fashioned religious spirit.

The intended outcome of such “watching” is to squeeze the “watchee” into a box of the watcher’s choosing. I’ll bet most of you reading this have experienced fervent box construction by those who should have been welcoming, warm, and harbors of refuge for you. Their goal? To to silence you; to label you with their own definitions; to force you to conform to an image of their choosing…whether you want to or not.

Such were the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. Only problem was that Jesus didn’t play along. He marched to a different Drummer…the drumbeat of His Father.

You can watch the hand-wringing and scheming of the offended ones who “watched” Jesus throughout the gospels, and every time they set their snare, you can see how unimpressed Jesus was with their traps and faux outrage. In fact, the Father, with whom He maintained constant communion, always gave Jesus words to say and/or unabashed actions that silenced, stymied, or frustrated their best strategies to entrap Him.

You, like Jesus, also have a link up with the Father by which you can access His wisdom and direction every time you encounter the inevitable box-builders in your life. Trust Him to deliver you from those snares; He has a custom-made strategy for every trap; and He will download it to you just for the asking.

However, one thing you must do in your determination to be free of imposed boxes—don’t impose boxes of your own making upon others.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1, NKJV

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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Comparing

Posted by on Sep 11, 2019 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Comparing

For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12

When comparing is the wrong choice

Have you ever found yourself thinking that someone else has it so much better than you? If you have—as I have at various times—you probably also noticed that your thoughts were not infused with the spirit of love and grace! Instead, if you were honest with yourself at all, you would have recognized jealousy, bitterness, and possibly even some hatred rising up within you. And as the apostle Paul wrote, that attitude of bitter comparison shows a dire lack of understanding on your part.

On the other hand, have you ever found yourself thinking that you were better than someone else? If so—as I have, also, at various times—you may have noticed that your mindset was not like Christ’s—with humility of mind regarding another as more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3b, paraphrased). In fact, if you were at all self-aware, you would have recognized pride, arrogance, and possibly even some hatred lodged like a rock within your soul. Once again, as Paul wrote, that attitude of a smugly superior comparison reveals a blatant lack of understanding on your part.

What do you do when you realize you’ve compared yourself to others, whether from jealousy or superiority? Acknowledge those thoughts and attitudes to God, own them before Him, make no excuses for yourself, and repent. Apply 1 John 1:9 to yourself and trust God to help you to walk comparison-free.

When comparing is the right choice

…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… Philippians 3:8a

You know not to compare yourself to others, whether for better or for worse. But here, Paul is directing all of us to compare two deeply important aspects of our own personal lives, one to the other—knowing Christ Jesus as Lord vs. Everything Else.

As I look around my home—my safe, secure, comfortable home—I recognize that in comparison to what others own, it lands on both sides of the spectrum. It’s better than some, not as nice as others. And I’m OK with that because my value in life is not in what I own.

However, Paul wraps it all up—possessions, wealth, beauty, talent, prowess, position, reputation, and even spiritual “ranking”—in the same package he calls All Things. He then compares that total package of his whole life to ONE thing—knowing Christ. Guess which wins?

In fact, Paul states this: “Everything else is loss compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ.” Knowing Jesus—in ever-increasing intimacy—causes everything else in your life to take its rightful—and subordinate—place. Knowing Christ doesn’t denigrate everything else, but it certainly allows you to put it all in perspective. Knowing Christ is far more valuable than Any Other Aspect of your life, whether your possessions, wealth, beauty, talent, prowess, position, reputation, or spiritual “ranking”.

I pray we all grow in our full appreciation of the surpassing value of knowing Christ.

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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Jesus’ advice to sheep in the midst of wolves

Posted by on Jul 8, 2019 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Jesus’ advice to sheep in the midst of wolves

Wow! This just came up on my Facebook page as a “memory”. I wrote it three years ago, but it hit the bullseye for what I’m going through right now. Here it is:

I can’t sleep yet. I had three Scriptures weighing on my heart as I laid in bed weeping and praying.

Jesus said, “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matt. 24:12) He saw it coming across the millennia. He told us this not to scare us but to prepare us.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Prov. 4:23

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matt. 10:16

You and I are NOT accountable for the conditions of anyone else’s heart. We are each accountable for our OWN heart, attitudes, actions, and behaviors.

Therefore, what I am telling myself I will share with you: Don’t let your love grow cold, guard your heart, be shrewd [alert] AND be innocent.

May God’s blessings, protection, discernment, and direction be on all of us as we navigate this crazy world.

–Dorothy

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Why I pray for America

Posted by on Jul 4, 2019 in Prayer Perspective, Special days | Comments Off on Why I pray for America

I wrote the following about four or five years ago. It is a passion I intend to pursue the rest of my days:

As I look at my nation, I must pray. It’s in my DNA; it is built into the very fabric of my relationship with God. When I see obstacles in my nation, I am challenged by my rich heritage to stand my ground and trust God.

I feel I owe it to the Founders who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to guard, nurture, protect, and defend the fledgling nation.

I owe it to past generations of men and women of God—Charles Finney, D. L. Moody, William J. Seymour, Billy Sunday, Maria Woodworth Etter, and all the rest, both known and unknown—who took advantage of their American liberty to pour out their lives for the cause of Christ.

I owe it to my dad, who although he never claimed to know God intimately, was willing as a young man to risk his life in service to a country which guaranteed that his daughter, yet to be born, would bear the sacred right to lead her own life, speak openly, and worship God without any fear that acting on her convictions could lead to loss of her freedom…

I must pray. I must pray the Word of God over my nation. I must seek her deliverance when evil threatens her. I must stand my ground even if it takes the rest of my life. I can do no less, so help me God.

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A prayer of consecration

Posted by on May 13, 2019 in Prayer Perspective | 1 comment

Father, You said in Your Word that if I would delight myself in You, You would give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).

Lord, You’ve been very good to me, but You’ve been no genie! My wish has NOT been Your command. I understand WHY now better than I did before; I also appreciate Your great wisdom in it, as well. Now I am asking You to sort through and filter my wants and desires so that the chaff—the wrongly-motivated, wrongly-based desires—blows away by the wind of Your Spirit.

Also, please filter through my expectations. Those presuppositions that I’ve placed on others which have not been conceived by Your Spirit, I release to You to abort and eradicate. I ask that a right spirit, a right heart, and a willing soul be renewed within me and that all my expectations will arise from Your Word and intimate fellowship with You—not from what I THINK people ought to do.

Thank You, God, for cleansing, removing, rebuilding, and reordering my desires and expectations so they more fully align with Your purpose. And I believe, according to Psalm 139:23-24, that the “hurtful way—the way of pain” will no longer have a voice within the recesses of my soul.

Thank You, God!

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