Thank God for today!

What a lovely day
This promises to be!
As I see
The morning star,
Shining so bright,
Beyond the hill,
Good tidings,
I hope,
It brings;
To counter the horror
That fills
The morning air;
Being our
Main menu daily
For breakfast,
Lunch and dinner.
Immense thanks
To almighty God
For this day!
Let us enjoy today!

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A Stone of Faith

Sometimes in life, our faith in God waivers in and out. We might roll our eyes when confrontation is before us and shun the real strength we prayed for in difficult times. But then we return to the very spot we waivered from in the beginning. Our Almighty God always remains with us, though, with welcome arms and forgiveness of our bad decisions.

Last night my eyes were opened a little wider by a word God whispered to my conscience. I woke in fear of trying to comprehend His message. So I picked up my Bible for protection and tried to find the meaning of the word He sent me. As many knows, I’m a man of great faith. I’m not a Bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I do my digging when times like this are derived from God.

Before I tell you what the Holy Spirit spoke to me, you must know this word is written in scriptures only three times. It was used in the Old Testament in 543 B.C. by Samuel. He, too, was a man of great faith who led the Israelites to a battle with the Philistines for over forty years. The Israelites lost twice, but then Samuel looked to God and set up an Ebenezer between two mountains. He said, “Lord God, You are my stone of faith, my rock I shall not break.” (1 Samuel) Scriptures say, “The Lord thundered loudly against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they were defeated by the Israelites.” From that day forward, Ebenezer became the name of an altar for God to protect the Israelites.

So the bigger question is, why did God send me the word Ebenezer? Is it because I, too, am fighting two personal battles, and God came to tell me it will be Ok? Is it to inform you that your struggles are being watched over by the Lord? Yes, all the above is true! Remember, your enemy is not greater than God. He can make miracles occur with a stroke of His hand.

My word for the day, Ebenezer, is the moment you realize you could not have made it through the fires without God’s help. Your faith is like a stone, and only God can bring you through these impeachable battles.

Ebenezer is as powerful of a word today as it was with Samuel in the Old Testament. We all bear our crosses, and as Christians, we must realize it is only God who protects us. Our awesome Father will come to our rescue in times of need. All you have to do is humbly pray for His help. May your Ebenezer be an altar as it was for Samuel. God bless.


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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.

A Heart of Gold

Have you ever wanted to reach out to a stranger and give a gift of appreciation? My mother, God bless her soul, had one bright spot I will always remember. At Christmastime, she purchased gifts for those who only came around periodically, such as the trash man and the meter reader. She even snuck a little gift in the mailbox and addressed it “to Mike,” the guy who delivered the mail no matter the weather. With a broad smile, he gave her a big “thank you.” During sweaty, hot, and humid days to the bitter arctic winds swirling over the icy bay, Mike never failed to check on my mom when she was housebound. Her heart of gold made a friend for life.

A notion overcame me derived from my mother’s uncanny disposition. What a wonderful time of the year for random acts of giving! Moments of undying love and appreciation will reach the hearts of the unexpected. So, I thought I’d try it this year too. I can’t tell you the end results yet, but deep inside my soul, God thanked me – that’s all I need to know. There must be a little of my mom in me, as I reciprocated my gratitude.

I mailed a gift to a talk show host who I’ve grown to identify with through the radio. I admire his reputation and Christian walk in life, which he occasionally shares with the listening audience. The other recipient, I can’t hold a candle to… right or wrong, we’ve become friends. We’ve shared correspondence, and I’ve come to know his heart – not his reputation. He is our President of the United States. Few could envision giving either of these gentlemen gifts of adoration, but then again, I’m not a normal man.

My address, you see, is not written on a box, but somewhere outside the box. I live and breathe God’s given air. As our Lord expects of me, I think of thoughts that would please others. Those random acts of kindness should follow throughout the year, but many only surfaces when we reach into our spirit at Christmas.

I deeply thank the men and women who unselfishly devote their time to giving to others – not just a politician or a minister but ordinary folks with a heart of gold. It’s so easy to be appreciative when you walk with the spirit of God.

To all the many Christians I have grown to know and connect with over the years, let Christmas never leave your soul! Show adoration and excitement year after year with a heart of gold. The random act of giving will bless you and change you for the better.

May your faith in friends and family be a tribute to your own random acts of kindness which comes from God. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

www.danabicksauthor.com


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Keep thanking him!

We take the gift of life
For granted,
Which is not correct.
Can you imagine
How many people
Have departed
From this world this day!
Hard to guess.
But they are many;
And through no fault of theirs;
They would have loved
To be here like you and me.
And so you can see
The immense thanks
You owe
To Almighty God;
He has given you all
By giving you life.
Do not stop thanking him.
Keep thanking him;
Thank him until
You can thank no more.

20 things to thank God daily for

You have many reason to thank God. Here are twenty of them:

  1. Thank God for your life
  2. .Thank God that you have seen this day.
  3. Thank God for your family.
  4. Thank God for those who are close to you.;
  5. Thank God for your friends.
  6. Thank God that you are so blessed;
  7. That Godll that he has offered you many blessings.
  8. Thank God that your health is whatg uit is. It could have been worse.
  9. Thank God for the challenges you have which make you strong.
  10. Thank God for your neighbours. Whether good or bad, they are there for a purpose.
  11. Thank God for the free air you breathe.
  12. Thank God for your opportunities.
  13. Thank God for your wisdom.
  14. Thank God for your financial prowess.
  15. Thank God for your leaders. They could have been worse.
  16. Thank God for he is so pure.
  17. Thank God making you know him.
  18. Thank God for His grace in your life.
  19. Thank God for giving to you a heart to love.
  20. Thank God for making you who you are.

Is there any other reason for you to thank God?

Did you thank God?

Did you thank God?
Did you thank those who allowed themselves
To be used
As instruments of your success?
If you did not,
That was a big omission;
Your first duty
Was to shower God
With thanks
For his kindness,
His generosity;
His unconditional love
For you;
Then you thank all those
Who accepted to be his
ship to transport your gift;
And you can’t leave out
Those who interceded for you;
Your lawyers in heaven.
Thank them all;
And thank yourself
For your availability;
For accepting his divine call.

Easier Together: Group Meditation

Why do I find it so much easier to meditate in a group setting? I recently visited a local branch of Tergar: The Meditation Community of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. This group is from a Tibetan Buddhism tradition, yet is also heavily influenced by mindfulness meditation research.   I’ve only gone twice, but am excited about the teaching and practice I am finding there.

I frequently lapse in my regular meditation practice. Weeks (months?) go by with no ‘formal’ meditation, but merely moments throughout the day when I pause and take a quiet, reflective moment. When I do set actual time to meditate, sometimes even 15 minutes can feel like an eternity. I was using a meditation app for a while, but soon after was feeling constrained by the guidance.

When I joined the group in meditation, it felt like almost no time went by before he rang the bell at 20 minutes. I felt so refreshed. This group also has a discussion period focused on different themes. There is so much to learn! I’m looking forward to learning more, meditating more, and experiencing more joy in my life.


I originally posted this on my blog, I Am Many Things, in February of 2019. Fast forward six months, and I’m still going to those weekly meetings. It has changed my life. For the first time, I am meditating regularly, even daily. I’ve only missed a couple of days since April, and I can’t describe how much freer I feel.

While this is definitely not the only form of meditation or Buddhist teaching, I have found that it uniquely fits me. I love how Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche connects cutting edge neuroscientific research with this ancient practice. Also, the focus on practical application, consciously using the techniques in everyday life, has definitely improved my attitude, which in turn greatly benefits my family (and eases their suffering)!

Since this initial post, I’ve undergone more formal teaching in this tradition and am looking forward to continuing my journey. I believe that, at 53 years old, this student was finally ready to listen to a teacher.