Low Octane

Certain formulas just make sense, as in the Hi-Performance engines of my younger days. We raced muscle cars every Friday or Saturday night if the weather cooperated on those days. Low octane fuel was for little less-powered engines. But, if we wanted great strength and power, high octane gave us a much better performance. Our health and well-being run on the same performance factors, and it’s equated to the relationship we have with God.

I’m sure some of us have observed people who sat in the back of a church and appeared as though they slept in their clothes. Some believers come to take up space and really don’t take part in the songs of praise. But in the front pews of God’s church, sat the brilliant Christians, praising the Lord, and magnified by God’s glow. Those beautifully dressed believers in the front rows, with their hands held high to receive God’s word… need I say more? They are full of high octane. Then, I examined those of ill-faded color, dull complexions, blemished, and disheveled, and it was apparent their spirituality may be (or was) filled with low octane. Their engine’s performance could be directly related to the quality of octane they put into their bodies.

“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:17

Though a remarkable difference in the congregation is clear, there appears to be a more profound correlation not so noticeable. My theory is purely hypothetical, so I did some research to discover the accuracy of my prognosis.

“You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.” Exodus 23:25

Jesus proved in His healing work that it is God’s will we have good health. Many examples in scriptures reveal the miracles of Jesus healing those with ailments. Our health is the inevitable result of knowing God and living a life filled with His love and direction. Let’s look at a few of these examples.

My wife’s mother was a devout, God-fearing Christian who lived her life by God’s commandments. When she passed away at ninety-five years old, she barely had a wrinkle on her face. She glowed in God’s spirit, and He took her from us peacefully, without pain and struggle. I have a high school friend who has not had a natural heartbeat since 1995. Pacemakers have been the source of her existence, but she praises the Lord for her health and life. Looking at her today, she is the epitome of health – glowing skin, smiling ear-to-ear, and shiny, beautiful hair. She runs on high octane and lives every day to the fullest. God bless her heart!

On a more notable scale, the evangelist, Billy Graham, was ninety-nine years old when he quietly passed away. He struggled with cancer and eventually died of pneumonia, but until the day he died, he looked healthy. He had God’s glow of high octane. The late Bishop Eddie Long, head of one of the largest mega-churches in the U.S., is another example of one who passed away from cancer. He maintained his youthful appearance and high octane looks until the day he left us.

Our health is a gift to all of God’s children. We can overcome disease and sickness, in some sense, by living a faithful life to Christ. Now do not misinterpret my words to mean we will never get sick or recover from terminal conditions if we live on high octane. God doesn’t promise us life with no pain or sickness. But one has to wonder… why are those with spiritually low octane, appear not so healthy, yet those who run on high octane rarely show any illnesses? Pay close attention to those around you who are suffering ailments and tell me if my observation isn’t correct.

The principles of well-being are not only our mental health but the condition of our physical health too. It’s simple – God is the highest octane you can receive for your body. Where can you get it? We obtain it through prayer and living a godly life. The more the Lord resonates in your life, the better you will look and feel. Let the love of God be Your octane bust!


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Fall Calls

The night sparkles and a less humid night clears the way for a splendid view of the heavens. Flowers fade, and the lack of chlorophyll yellows their leaves. Fall calls… the chill in the air tells the story. I love this time of the year! My mind reverts to a time when the faded foliage lined the river banks. It was a time to take a deep breath and inhale the crisp chill of the Severn River autumn air.

I remember the autumn days my Dad and I sailed his 28 foot Triton, hard to the wind. It seemed as if nothing else mattered, even as the chilly breeze threw a summer spray of water onto the deck. Courtships blossomed on that boat, and many friends were also delighted to join me in an occasional afternoon of sailing on the Severn. Gazing out over the picturesque shoreline gave a luster of the magnificence of God’s fall calling.

Those were the young, innocent days as God watched over us with shades of red, orange, and yellow. Though my dad passed, I still thank him for the love he instilled in me for sailing on the river. The irretrievable years of childhood are gone now, and I fight to survive in another autumn’s cycle. Sometimes we’re hit with a monsoon of situations, but faith and God carry us through these times.

Fall calls once again, and I look forward to walks with my wife in the crisp evening air and chatting with neighbors who enjoy the refreshing breeze too. I will look up to the heavens and thank my awesome Father for His wonderful gifts.

Life is full of unexpected circumstances – things like a leaky tire we forget to fix or to put trust in someone who didn’t keep a promise. But we, somehow, adjust always thanking God for protecting our destiny.

I’ve learned one lesson since my anointment ten years ago, and it’s to armor yourself in prayer every day. Build your surroundings with a strength to endure the cold streaks. Honor God for Satan waits at the corner of every turn in life. Just keep moving toward our Almighty.

Fall calls, so breathe a sigh of relief! Protect your autumn traditions as placed by our Lord Jesus. The season brings us nearer to His great paintings of majestic colors. The earth presents itself in an array of shades and much needed cooler temperatures. As the leaves wilt and die, they, too, will flourish in a rebirth. It is our promise of glory.

“The seasons come and go, so focus on the God who remains unchanged and unchanging. “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

(Psalm 90:1-2)


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Be in God’s Presence

Can you be in God’s presence? Many search for a time and the place where God lives while sitting in a quiet corner, reading their bible. Others pray to ask for an anointed morning. The sin of Adam and Eve prevented our ability to be in the physical presence of God. So, I find comfort in the reality of His existence – the miracles of each beautiful day. Obedience to His written word brings me closer than I can ever imagine to the Lord.

I examine the blessings which flow before me outside my home – beautiful flowers of every species blossom in the morning light. Young, saplings stand tall and proud. I dug them out of the nursery and fed and nurtured their delicate roots over a prayer. Lord, please take care of my trees. Let my integrity follow as I love the tree in me as much as this seedling I planted in the ground.

God’s presence brings joy and peace. He awaits to hear from us. I remember something my dad would do when I was a young boy. Before heading to work, and just as the sun peeked over the cove, he’d stroll down our long pier. I’d ask him why he occasionally walked the dock. He said he was looking for crabs attached to the poles. But, I understand now for he found his presence in God through the tranquility of the water. The bay was his church outside his actual house of worship.

Home

My wife is the editor of my blog and website. She often speaks of God’s presence while she is editing my narratives. I write my pieces, but she must find the coordinating bible verses. Many times she’s stumped finding the correct scripture. Within a few minutes of frustration, though, He puts her back in His presence and guides her hand.

The Old Testament describes the presence of God directly associated with the tabernacle in the wilderness or the temple in Jerusalem. It is here we speak of entering God’s presence for it is a place where He appointed His name, purposely for us to dwell. It is why we feel nearer to Him in church and not the building’s spatial orientation. He offers us a transforming and joyful experience within the confines of His house.

“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:28

Regardless of how late I’m awake each night, I have to honor our Almighty in the dawn’s early light. At my tender age, I feel the love I missed most in my life, and it derives from God. His presence is in the fragrance of serenity and in the accomplishments of each nail I drive and every word I write to you. I silently pray, give me strength, dear Father, and anoint me each morning so I may better serve You and Your masterful plan. I’m honored that You chose me to be a part of that which I can’t comprehend. I keep my faith because of You, Lord.

When our heavenly Father greets us with peace and a breeze, it is a subtle reminder our life on earth is because of Him. The Bible begins and ends in the presence of God for Eden will return and expand into a new heaven and a new earth. God’s chosen people will enjoy His presence forever. Rejoice in the joy!

Surrender your sorrows for yesterday is forgiven and tomorrow is a new beginning. Render not what is yours, but what is God’s possessions, so you may be absolute in heaven. Start your day in praise and prayer. You, too, will be in God’s presence.


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Things I Take for Granted

My front porch calls me at the time of the morning most people are asleep or perhaps at work. The mowed lawn is edged, and a gentle southern breeze talks to me. The flag flaps in the breeze, and I can hear cars on the busy highway, not far away, echoing through the trees. My flowers are all in full bloom…

… the things I take for granted.

I rest my legs on the glass table and lean back against the cool metal glider. Staring across the neighbor’s lawns, I listen to the birds as they feed their young. My American flag stands tall and proud at the corner of my property as I thank God for blessing me with this homestead. In the shadows of the roofline, the sun approaches with a refreshing breeze. What a beautiful morning to enjoy a warm cup of coffee!

… I thank God for the things I take for granted.

Happy thoughts ignite as I remember my wife and I sitting on two empty crates, in this exact spot, before we closed on this home. I smell the shrubbery I’ve planted since then; the fragrance is enticing for the little bluebirds who frolic amongst the branches.

… I count my blessings for the things I take for granted.

I should mention, of course, my health and personal life. I’m pushing seventy years old, but I feel as though I’m thirty-five years young. Nothing hurts or aches me much today. What a gift from God to be anointed with such good health! Then there’s ‘my love’ who rediscovered me after thirty-two years of searching – thank goodness for social media. Every day is a celebration as we wake in love, together at last. Nothing will ever separate that which God has united. After decades apart, our life is nothing short of pure, blissful matrimony.

… oh, the things I used to take for granted.

It is in peaceful times like this, I wonder if our future generations will ever know what real love feels like, or if they will find it one day. Will they be able to sit with their feet propped up on a rail and look out over their own lawn at the forest? We live in desperate times, so they allocate every penny to bills. I will remain in my own little world and pray for their success.

… I thank God for that which I have taken for granted.

In this hurried world of pressures and appointments, the greatest gift I take for granted is the one from God. He makes everything possible in life. Can I ever thank Him enough, for He so richly deserves it? What can I tell Him? What can I do to prove how much love I have for Him, my dear Lord, while I sit on my front porch, taking this glorious morning for granted?  I guess I’ll sit here a while longer to say,

“Thank you, God, for all I took for granted and the joys I rendered from Your blessings.”

What a wonderful Father in heaven we really serve!

www.danabicksauthor.com

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Good Sunday to you

Good Sunday to you sweet friend;
May this Sunday be a special one;
May it bring you sunshine;
Love, happiness and peace
In abundance;
May the Almighty God
Be ever there for you;
Helping, guiding, protecting,
And providing for you;
And may you find the wisdom;
The grace to follow his ways!
And may your work bring glory
To his mighty name!
Amen!

Fill the Empty Hole

It was February 2017 when I laid eyes on him for the first time in thirty-two years. Though we both aged gracefully, it didn’t stop the thumping of my heart for the beautiful man I dearly loved, Dana Bicks. A smile that lights up the camera lens and a sense of humor so witty it’s absurd, but oh… what a man of God!

I spent most of my adult life in and out of dysfunctional relationships, so I never really learned the concept of “loving” a man the godly way. In fact, I’d sworn off marriage. Many times I prayed the Lord would lead me to a job where I could serve Him. So, I pursued mission work in Africa and even signed up for the Peace Corps (which I decided against), but still, a great emptiness lingered in my soul. Something or someone was missing in my life. Help me, God, to fill the empty hole.

And, along came Dana…

Dana and I had many missing years to catch up on, so we left very few moments without speaking a word. But, when I discovered he was a struggling Christian author, I knew God had a reason for reuniting us. Dana had hundreds of narratives written on paper and in his cellphone, and an unpublished book poorly edited by Tate Publishing. I had several years’ experience of working for a publishing company. OK, Lord, you have a funny sense of humor! You put this man back in my life to fill my empty hole – both professionally and on a personal basis.

It is rare, indeed, to find a man who loves as deeply as Christ loved His church, but this is the story of Dana. He is a profound and humble man, chosen by the Lord to be His representative to the world; he never takes God’s messages for granted. Deeply devoted to serving, Dana is a blessing to all who come in contact with his healing words, and I can only stand back in awe.

I reminisce on the day we eloped on a beach in Destin, Florida. Just as we were pronounced ‘man and wife,’ doves flew out of the tall grasses. A sign from God? Perhaps, but better still was a rainbow which appeared over our heads in some pictures we snapped of each other. We glanced behind us to observe its pretty colors and no rainbow was in the sky! Yes, our dear Lord blessed this marriage.

In recent weeks, we learned our faith and love will be put to the test. A doctor diagnosed me with heart failure and other serious problems – a devastating blow to newlyweds whose lives just hit the top of the barrel. With many more inspirational books to write and other deeds to do for God, Dana continues to wake each morning shining in hope. Each night he gently touches the skin over my heart and prays for healing and answers. He is a husband and a father with so much love for God and man, and I cannot thank him enough for just being him.

On this Father’s Day, I want to thank God, my Father, for blessing me with the special husband who filled the empty hole. Regardless of my outcome, I know the Lord will let Dana soar above the clouds, for he is truly gifted. However much time I have left to love him, I am honored to be a small part of Dana Bicks’ world. My time with him has been filled with compassion, respect, and love of life. Better yet, he allowed me the opportunity to serve the Lord as I so desired for many years.

God bless you, my sweet baby – I dearly love you! Happy Father’s Day!

Written by Anne Bicks

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The Hardest Thing To Do Is… Listen

We found our way around the yachts parked in their cradles. An empty spot was right next to the dock. We quietly got ready to embark, and the cloudless skies made us wonder how far off heaven was from the pier. The snoozing seagulls perched on the post tops. As we set sail, the gentle breeze bellowed the fabric, and God became our propulsion. The shores of the water looked so endless. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and no place would I’d rather be than with my love and God at the helm. He created this perfect world of pristine water, and all we had to do was sit and watch Him work.

Sometimes it is difficult to accept God is with us day in and day out. Just as sailing into the open blue, we do not realize we are always at His mercy. Many times our sails luff and we pray as though we ran aground. As hard as life is, even doctors can do little to relieve discomfort. In the distress of my wife’s health, I’m left standing in a vacuum for everywhere I look, I see the remnants of the doctor’s aura.

So, I turn to God and ask Him if He has a minute. The hardest thing to do is… listen and wait for His messages. Our faith is only part of the process. Listening for His answers and reacting accordingly is the trick, so we must have a seeking heart. We should talk to Him as though he is a brother and reveal our frustrations, fears, and doubts. God will teach us how to recognize the difference between His voice and just our thoughts.

Find a location to be with Christ and His great mercy. The Lord always has a place open to sit with me, especially on this endless journey my wife and I have encountered today. I wish I could run away and take her sailing to the place called heaven, but it’s not time yet. God gave us responsibilities we must partake and fulfill. Instead,  I will sit with God and try to understand what advice I need to listen to and praise His great gifts. He united the two of us for some much-needed healing in our difficult road of life. So, I will carry her in every way I can possible. In His strength, we will travel as far as the Lord’s work will need us to go for He isn’t done with either of us yet.

The hardest thing to do is listen for God’s words, but if you acknowledge His involvement in your life, you will always recognize His heaven sent voice. Praise God! It’s our intimate relationship with Him that counts.

www.danabicksauthor.com

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