Entitlement

Today’s society is bombarded with many slogans that portray us to be “deserving” of something. Such self-focused messages are:

            “You deserve a break today…” used by McDonald’s

            “You owe it to yourself…” used by cruise lines

            “Treat yourself to take the break you deserve” used by Hilton HHonors

In the dynamics of families and relationships, how many times have you graciously gave a gift and never received a “thank you” of any kind? How often have you heard the stories of parents passing away, and the children fought over the estate and money? If a sibling or parent is near their deathbed, do they deserve to be treated with respect if they never reciprocated love to family members in a state of healthiness? What if a husband and wife purchase a home with their hard-earned money – should their children feel entitled to the parent’s assets?

Within the business world, employees arrive late and perform their duties with little ambition. They demand pay raises and better benefits. Are they really deserving of it? Or, a parent scrapes and works hard to grow a business, and their grown children now believe they’re entitled to run it when the parent is deceased.

Churches also run into the same dilemmas when the congregation feels entitled to receive answers from their pastors or to hold positions within the house of worship. And, while I walk down the path of religious connotations, many believers feel deserving of God’s blessings. Speaking of this, do you know why much of humanity walks away from God and stops believing in Him? They prayed for an answer they wanted to hear and didn’t receive it. He was a means to get what they felt entitled to in life! Ironically, I believe our church leaders are responsible for this incorrect train of thought. They stand on the pulpit and preach God will meet all our needs and give them their desires if they pledge their soul to Jesus. The fact is our sin separates us from the Lord.

Entitlement is a dangerous walk in life – it’s Godlessness. Let me be frank here – God, parents, and employers owe us nothing. God blesses us with things because He wants to – an unconditional love of grace. A selfish demand for His generosity will reap no benefits. It’s that simple!

Jesus’ ministry spoke of loving others with a grateful heart. This includes treating each other with respect, even amidst our differences. The well-being of gratitude promotes healthy relationships, both in our walk with the Lord and relationships with others.

In the subject of parenting, fewer children today respect their elders. They ignore the recognition parents deserve for years of hard work and dedication to their families because they live in the “gimme, gimme” world. These generations are gifted with their heart’s desires, and they expect it from the parents. Thus, the slogans I mentioned at the beginning of the message above, come into play. As the children grow older, they feel entitled to life. Little do we know, it promotes laziness, ungratefulness, and the subject of this blog – entitlement. What are we teaching our children and others?

So, how can we live a life feeling less entitled to things and people?

•          Humbly give thanks to God for all we receive. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

•          Remember the grace of God, for Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We do not deserve to be treated with graciousness for our sinful attitudes, but the Lord’s love and grace reaches out to us, anyway. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:3-5

•          Set your mind on eternity with the Lord and not on this world. Money and physical possessions mean nothing, for they cannot be taken with you to heaven. “But, as it is written, what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…” 1 Corinthians 2:9

•          Continuously pray for discernment of entitlement. Why do I feel entitled, and how can I change this train of thought?

In summary of today’s message, expect little, receive with a grateful heart, and always give thanks. Give God the glory for your unexpected blessings!

Written by Anne Bicks, Editor and Marketing of Bicks Books LLC


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Goodbye 2019

Last night I told my mom. when she said she was grateful 2019 was almost over, there were good things which happened in 2019.

Be grateful for the good things in 2019 and leave behind the rest.

I say again: BE GRATEFUL FOR THE GOOD THINGS IN 2019 AND LEAVE THE REST BEHIND.

Going further, be grateful for the lessons learned from the bad things that happened in 2019.

Overall, move in 2020 with a grateful heart. Forgive the events, people, and perhaps most importantly, yourself. Gratitude for the what was and gratitude for what will be. This is the best way to progress into the next decade.

I end with my favorite Scripture. Philippians 4:4-9:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

It’s Christ’s Time!

Today, as the season of Christmas arrives and Advent ends, my head is full of expectations. My thoughts reach as far as I can to describe God’s greatest gift. The biblical stories tell the tribulations of every person who reiterated the Good News. They took God’s word to every corner of the earth. I can narrow it down to just one word – God teaches us patience.

Faithfully we pray for unknown answers, as we remain alone with the Lord on this special holiday. If patience prevails, the wisdom of His word paints pictures for us. Times are hard at Christmas… money is tight, chores become a necessity, and patience wears thin. But let us remember, on this day, a Savior was born to save us from our sins.

Jesus was a gentle man, son of the Almighty, who walked the earth, teaching love and forgiveness. He instills everything in His good timing, such as patience, so we should each examine our hearts. Christmas images share love and forgiveness in storefronts, social media, and television screens. How can anyone be a humbug this time of year when the resounding message is “Peace to all and goodwill toward men?” Let forbearance and forgiveness ring in the holiday season and New Year!

I pray for everyone to learn the meaning of blessings from above. Kindness, consideration, and respect is the resonation of God’s love. We can’t hate yet sit in church and share the Lord’s messages. Shovel a path to a neighbor’s home, help a child zip up their coat or tie their shoes, or feed a hungry person. We are made in His likeness… a people of community.

God grants us life through His patience. He is a constant reminder we need forgiveness and understanding. If we can learn to be patient with ourselves, we can learn to be patient with others. The greatest service we can do for others is to show them His love, mercy, and grace.

It’s Christ’s time! May God exonerate you who conform to His heavenly wishes. Gather and sing… let the tune you hum this Christmas be an everlasting message. Allow Him to stay in your heart and blessed with His patience, for it’s a gift from God. Practice forgiveness on this holiday. I pray for the world’s redemption.



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The Carols Heralding

Many enjoy our words of faith and enduring inspiration; however, not all of my life is colorful as the fall. But, this is not about those I’ve turned over to God in prayer, but the joyful ending of God’s faithfulness. The holiday season is fast approaching, and I won’t focus on the ugly parts of life, but the joy of Thanksgiving.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Living in a state of humility and reverence, I find myself so thankful for answered prayers. The summer winds turned to the north, and the foliage of forests turned harvest colors. It’s time to lie down arms, repent, and comfort those we might forget this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Yes, it’s time to rejoice! Give praise to our almighty Father for our many Thanksgiving blessings. Join hands to commemorate the peace and love we’ve found in each other. It’s not just the pilgrims landing anymore. Our sovereignty, through God, our Father, blessed the table we partake this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

I so often return to the words my wise dad spoke, “count your blessings, not your problems.” I welcome you to share this thought on Thanksgiving. Lay aside the differences, if only for one day, and thank God for your life. Count your many blessings and be thankful. We fill every day with memorable moments.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

As for my family and I, this year’s Thanksgiving Day holds a significant meaning. It falls on the twenty-eighth, which was my Dad’s birthday, and I commemorate him in heaven. It was also my parent’s wedding anniversary. Married in 1958, I bet they picked this day so my dad would never forget their anniversary. Only one person knows their story for sure, and he’ll never tell… or will you, Uncle Bill?

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!


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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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