The Light of Saint Lucia

I love learning about holiday traditions, especially when they’re linked to our ancestry. Last year, I did a Christmas blog on the German ritual and southwest U.S. practice of placing a pickle on the tree. This year, on December 13, the light of Saint Lucy shines on Scandinavia and Italy. It is Saint Lucy’s Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucy, signaling the arrival of Christmas. Though her personal story is quite sordid, Saint Lucia shines the light of Christ for all Christians. So, let’s bundle up and get ready to visit the countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Italy!

Who was Saint Lucy?

Image courtesy of catholicsistas.com

Once coinciding with the Winter Solstice (shortest day of the year), the Feast of Saint Lucy has become a Christian festival of light since the 4th century. Lucy was born in the year 283 to very wealthy and noble parents. She was a devout Christian who promised her virginity to the Lord. Her father passed away when she was five years-old, but as she reached her teenage years, her mother arranged an engagement with a man who was a pagan and paid him a handsome dowry. Against her religious beliefs, Lucy was not interested in a relationship not condoned by God. She prayed He would spare her the marriage.

This young lady worked to help Christians hiding in the catacombs during their persecutions conducted by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. She brought them as many supplies as she could handle, wearing a wreath on her head. It had candles attached so she could see in the darkness of the caves.

Image owned and courtesy of The Tour Expert

It devastated Lucy when her mother came down with a long-term illness, shortly before her wedding. She went to the shrine of Saint Agatha to pray for her mother’s health and was told by the saint her mother’s illness would be cured through faith. Lucy returned home and convinced her mother to cancel the wedding and donate the dowry to the poor.

Furious at the snub, Lucy’s fiancé reported her to the governor for being a Christian. She was arrested, tortured, and threatened to be taken to a brothel if she didn’t renounce Christianity. But, something divine occurred…

When the prison guards tried to remove her, she was a dead weight. No one could budge her away! So, they built a woodpile around her, instead, and lit it afire. In the name of God, she kept denouncing their horrific acts. One guard stuck a spear through her throat, but she didn’t stop speaking, and another gouged out her eyes. Miraculously, her eyes were restored. It is said Lucy could die only when she was given the Christian Last Rites. Saint Lucy’s death, on December 13, 304, is celebrated with a feast and different rituals by each country.

Croatia and Hungary

A popular tradition on this day is planting wheat grains, which will be full grown on Christmas. It symbolizes a new life born in Bethlehem. They also place a candle next to the plant for the Light of Christ.

Sweden

Though not an official holiday in Sweden, St. Lucy’s Day has been a special occasion since 1764. Formal dinner parties are the protocol. In the school system, students choose someone to be Lucy, and she dresses in a long white robe, red sash, and a wreath with candles are put on her head. Then maids are chosen who dress in white robes. They even hold regional contests for the best Lucy.

Saint Lucia Island in the Caribbean

Boys also dress up in several attires. Some wear a long white robe with a cone-shaped hat, or a Santa elf costume with a lantern, and some don gingerbread men outfits.

Everyone snacks on Lussekatt, a special  baked bun made with saffron. Early on Lucia morning, Swedish television airs a procession and concert, which features a different choir in a different church each year.

Finland

St. Lucy was first celebrated in Finland in 1898, and Helsinki Cathedral crowned her St. Lucy of Finland in 1949.

Denmark

In Denmark, the Day of Lucy was first celebrated on December 13, 1944. It is a yearly event in most churches at Christmas. Candles stay lit all night, representing the light of Saint Lucy.

Norway

The modern-day celebration of Lucia in Norway was adopted after World War II but it only remains popular in kindergarten and middle schools. They, too, dress in the white robes with wreaths and candles on their heads.

Saint Lucia (Caribbean)

This Caribbean island was named after Saint Lucy and is celebrated as National Day. They hold the National Festival of Lights and Renewal the night before the holiday, and the capital is covered in lights and decorated lanterns

Italy

The roots of this holiday are originally traced to Sicily, Italy. Lucy was born, lived, and died a martyr in this city, and today, it points to the arrival of Christ, the light of the world. Italians gather on December 13 to light candles and torches, and to eat, drink, and be merry. Many religious parades and feasts permeate the cities.

As the darkness falls upon Northern Europe on December 13, let us help our ancestors to celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day. Though not observed in the United States, we can pray for a message of light and the hope of Christ in our hearts.


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Autumn in October

A silence resonates from heaven as Christ fills the voids deep inside my soul. I see the troubled storm clouds approaching, and they make not a sound. A busy world persists, running in circles, but I keep an eye on the sky, for only my God do I wait.

Standing at the edge of a great canyon where extinction begins, and life ever after looks like a desert floor, I harbor the love Christ sends me. Within His peace, windows open with new opportunities. The canyon is far and wide, and in times of adventure, it seems an impossible crossing. For some, it’s a quest, but for others, it’s a stepping stone to enter eternity and be with Him.

I bundle my love and faith and wear it as a code of honor. It’s autumn in October… seasons change, and life emerges with new horizons. The sun salutes the night watchman, and I bid farewell to another night. God, in his miraculous way, restrains the spiritually encountering distance. His quiet voice calls, and I must be patient. It’s autumn in October, and the hour grows nearer.

Seeking my own passage, I step lightly on the ledge of fate. The rocks are jagged and sharp, and death is just a slip away. But God watches over me with a promissory note I pledged to Him. The canyons divulge how minute I am as I step out where courage calls.

In the autumn of life, the Lord’s love is upon me. He gathers His herd of humanity for a voyage to explore the canyon walls of life. The fiery nights beacon October, and it quenches our thirst and hearts. Please, Father, turn the desert floor into meandering waters. The quests are over – some I failed, but some I conquered by Your blessings.

It’s autumn in October, and a new child is born. Goodbyes of another life are hard. Still, a new life is always on the horizon, for as one door closes, another is born again.

Another adventure, another voyage as the pride of time, sets my course upon another mission. Only God will bridge the heavens as I wait at the ledge of the canyon walls. I built my caves… now it’s time to surrender. The slope is deep, but it is in God’s hands to bestow the faith as He calls me home.

Love is filled with memories, in yet another autumn in October. The mystical canyon mourns, and the life which once prospered refrains in the setting sun. The shadows long for God’s calling… come home with Me when you’re ready.


Our blogs will resume next Sunday, November 10, when we celebrate Christmas with the “Everything Christmas Blogs.” Please be sure to join us!

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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All Things Become The Teacher

Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the weight of thousands of miles traveled, but I nearly cried when I saw Spam Fried Rice on the menu. The overwhelming sense of nostalgia came with that one uniquely Guam dish.

Even though it had been 25 years since I was last on Guam, the place felt the same. The individuals, the business names, and the political players changed. Roads have widened and beaches narrowed. Yet the essence that is undeniably Micronesia is perhaps stronger than before.

My trip to Guam in September of 2019 was a lesson in synchronicity and serendipity. For the 10 days that I was there, I only had one activity planned: the book launch on Wednesday, September 18. I went with an open heart and mind to let the journey unfold as it would and trusted a Higher Power to guide each step of the way.

The reason for the trip? Back in 1992, while attending the University of Guam, I was part of an Anthropology field school on Ulithi Atoll. Fast forward 20-some years, the professor retired and finally had time to compile a book about Ulithi. Papers myself and fellow students wrote as a result of the field school were part of the volume, Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia: Recalling the Past, Reaffirming the Future, along with more recent research from the 21st century.

Less than a month before the formal book launch, I was contacted by one of the book’s editors to inform me about the existence of this book. That was just one of a cascading volume of “coincidences” that were part of my Guam experience.

My former professor had tried to track me down me before. When time was running out, she asked the other editor to try. If this person had tried a week or two earlier, she would not have established contact.

The only reason she was able to reach me was that, merely a week prior, I had added the URL for this blog onto my Facebook page. If I hadn’t done that, I would have completely ignored the friend request and I would have absolutely no knowledge that this book existed, and hence, I would not have journeyed to Guam. As it was, she conveyed a message through the comments section on my blog, which comes straight to my inbox.

Guam is an island of connections. It seemed that everywhere I went and everything I did wove tiny threads of synchronism linking events, people, the past, and the future into a cohesive whole. I had such an overwhelming sense that I was exactly where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there.

The day I arrived, a two-day conference ended about decolonizing Guam. This is a topic I was actively learning about to inform the novel I’m writing. Turns out, a former classmate who I had been looking to reconnect with was very involved with the issue. When we met for dinner, it was as if no time had passed and we talked and talked, much to the annoyance of people waiting to be seated at the restaurant.

Another motivation for returning to Guam was to get more information about the Suruhana, the traditional healers on Guam. This was also to inform my writing. ‘Coincidentally,’ my friend was familiar with a number of Suruhana and an avid supporter of helping the tradition survive in the 21st century.

Oh, and so many more parallels. When I had been on Guam in the 80s and 90s, I knew my friend had grown up on-island. Little did I realize that she had gone to high school in Medford, Oregon, a rather small, rural town. At that point, I had never been to Oregon. After moving away from the island I had happened to go through Medford shortly after my husband and I married in 1995. We fell in love with the area and have lived there ever since. So, my friend and I also had Medford in common.

There were too many other coincidences and parallels to mention. I’ll just say that every conversation confirmed that I had needed to be on Guam at that moment, to have that conversation, to gain that insight.

Overall, a strong sense of “it is time” pervaded my consciousness. It was time to act. Time to show up in the world. Time to let my voice be heard. Time to move beyond fear and fulfill my purpose. Heady stuff? Yes. Yet all it really means is that I must trust myself and do what is in front of me.

I can’t help but believe that my meditation practice allowed my mind to be clear and to fully discover the joy and meaning of each moment. In Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s words, “As we grow accustomed to looking at the clear surface of our minds, we can see through all the gossip about who and what we think we are, and recognize the shining essence of our true nature.” (The Joy of Living, p. 132).

I believe that you can come to know your true nature through many different religions and paths. As my husband recently heard, when the student is ready, all things become the teacher. So whether you’re in a 12-step program, a devout follower of a religion or anything in between, my wish for you is that you come to know how amazing you truly are and can follow your passion to your ultimate fulfillment.

Reprinted fromI Am Many Things

Spiritual Happiness

Much is written about joy in the Bible. Jesus spoke of being joyful unto His Father, later transcribed to, “Be joyful unto the Lord.” As we face disillusions and fears, of either, we endure many hardships. I, too, have these familiar symptoms, but God always remains constant in my mind. These words resonate in my mind, “Bring Me your woes and do not worry for I will help you with your inspirational battles.”

Unforeseen problems arise in the worldly pressures and obligations that meet us, not greet us, at every doorstep. Life, sometimes, can appear to be short-lived… unless your faith asks God for a special blessing and miracle. Some have experienced God at His best as unfortunate events end with a silver lining.

I often write of my sordid past life, but I glance back at those times and realize God intervened in my life. Today’s blog, however, is not about me, but the one I’m closest to, my wife. This young, vibrant, and outgoing woman, plagued with a virtue of grief and sadness in the past few months, almost lost her life in a car accident twenty-five years ago. The doctors just diagnosed her with heart failure as a repercussion of the injuries.

In disbelief, we took part in many tests and things seemed questionable, but nevertheless, okay… until the last test screening. It confirmed her life might be terminal. I can’t say how one prepares to die, except to “live life like there’s no tomorrow”… and so we did, in apprehension. With no other choice, I fought for the spiritual happiness of both of us. I walked on pins and needles, often hearing the crunch of eggshells. I was too frightened to speak much, so I stayed in constant prayer. Following my blog called Faith for Two, I knew only God would see us through this dilemma.

Matthew 6:25-27

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

The day arrived for her medical procedure, and hopefully, it would not become an open-heart decision. I watched the love of my life that morning, and I observed her quietly whispering, “Goodbye, mommy loves you” to her favorite parrot of twenty-seven years. I read her last words, “No food or drink after midnight,” as she prepared herself for a procedure which could end her life. It would have been easier to move a mountain than to keep her spirits positive. I maintained my strong convictions and stayed where I knew God wanted me to be – in prayer. Only my Lord Jesus could restore that which would destroy her many years ago.

In the lobby, in front of the doors to the operating room, I kissed her goodbye. Keeping up our spiritual happiness, I told her,” I’ll see you for lunch.” With tears in her eyes, we prayed it was not our last forever kiss. I needed to go to God! Father bless her and keep her in your arms, my dear Lord.

The wait seemed like an eternity. I took a seat beside a minister, and we shared our own hearts. The door at last opened, and a doctor in scrubs called out my name, “BICKS.” He took me into a quiet room and invited me to sit beside him on the couch. I had my faith until the moment he elected to move closer to me.

“She’s all clear, Mr. Bicks,” he said. “We found no blockages, and she’s as good as new.” My sweet love, who worried for five months of dying, was born again to the likeness of the sweet, little girl I remembered thirty-two years ago. She will live! Thank You, Jesus!

A curious thought crossed my mind. Two weeks ago, the cardiologist saw the blockage in a scan, and now it doesn’t exist!? Was this one of God’s miracles? You decide…

It has been six days now, and I see a glow where worry over-shadowed her face. A renewed life called spiritual happiness far exceeds a biblical joy. Saved by grace, quite literally, His miracle child is born again. There is no greater gift than the gift of life; and when death comes calling, defying Satan’s force is a miracle!

Living in a spiritual realm of happiness, where no pressure or problems exist, can be conquered when we reach out in faith. A great example of this in the bible was the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people on five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:15-21 and Luke 9:12-17). It is called the marvel of God’s healing hands, just as He did to my wife.

We read the miraculous stories of defying doctors’ diagnoses, but until it happens to you, we shun it with some other explanation. The Lord’s greatest feat was saving my wife’s life, and not once but twice; she put her heart and soul close enough for Him to heal her with His touch.

May I suggest we armor ourselves in prayer each morning to maintain spiritual happiness? Don’t identify with suffering, loss, or sickness. Remain steadfast in our Lord’s word, and He will calm every facet of your life. Today, my wife and I wake with a smile and a good-morning kiss, for God came to bless us with another anointed day. Our spiritual happiness is more than we ever asked for, and it is all because we serve our Almighty Savior.


NOTE FROM ANNE BICKS:

I would like to sincerely thank everyone for your cards, love, and support through this difficult time. Your kindness means the world to me! God bless you all!


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The Gates of Heaven

The atrocious mass murderers in El Paso Texas, Dayton Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois who attacked our beloved people wreaks havoc with my soul. I read the reports, listened to the news, and I’m fed up! I’m taking a seat on my front porch with God. Those godless acts of murder are an evil state of mind. I ask the Lord’s forgiveness for this angry rant. Maybe I can find some harmony in the peace outside with a visiting hummingbird who comes to sip his sugar water.

The Lord allows my thoughts to wander and explore into the heads of criminals and atheists. Ruthless minds of heartless humans happens when you remove God from your life. Who were they to judge who dies? Who were they to stew in their own self-righteousness? So, a deity is craziness to them, but mass murder is an acceptable way?

You can’t believe in God when you have no faith, and it is sinful to say, “I believe, but just not in your Creator.” I must ask, where did your ability to believe come from then? I know the answer – something incubated you during an explosion! I ask you to go make an eyeball or a human being if you’re so creative and don’t need a god.

These non-religious pagans who do not believe in Christ or God’s house called a church, live mentally in the gutters with the rodents who don’t know any better. Rats, after all, can afford to live without a conscience, just like their protégé Satan.

Do atheists and criminals think God listens as they curse His name? Would they listen if someone took their name in vain? No, I know, those with no conscious will say it doesn’t matter. These people lack integrity and could not care about innocent people. Satan rules every aspect of their life. How sad to live such a life with little meaning, purpose, and lack of respect for others!

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Proverbs 11:3

I think these criminals should take the place of those in a massacre and watch a loved one take their last breath. For sure, those of no remorse for their sins will find the doors closed when the trumpets sound. There is no invitation to the gates of heaven for an insane man with no mercy and stupidity in their soul. God won’t forgive those who allow Satan to rule their life.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ Matthew 5:21

We live in the hardest of times, and Satan is about to lose his empire. He lurks in every corner. We should never blame God for the decisions people make in their own in life. He created man and woman with the power to decide right from wrong. They chose to eat the forbidden apple; thus we are born into sin. It is not God who allows a man to sin – it is man’s personal choice.

As for me, I’d rather mentally be where I know God waits for me than the negative forces. Holiness drives me, for without it I’ll stay buried with the rest of the dead sinners. Yes, Christians, rise and witness more merciless killings where no God exists, and Satan is chuckling in the corner. It is just incredibly sad and pathetic!

A message to the criminals and atheists: if you think holding an AK rifle to an innocent person’s body is acceptable behavior, then do God a favor and stay on the couch so He can pass you over at the end. I can only pray you sincerely seek forgiveness and change your ways for the good. No cross will you bear on the wings of an Angel. Our Father in heaven will only bless the many innocent victims who entered the gates of heaven last weekend. But you… never!

God bless these precious families who have been affected by Satan’s actions. We will pray for you to have a peace of mind. Trust in God for hope and take solace in His loving arms!


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Some Things are Better Left Unsaid

Praising others appears to be a thing of the past. Everyone has an opinion, or so it seems, so I return to biblical days. Soldiers and others mocked Jesus’ words, and some people were bold enough to discredit Him. He was beaten with fists, blindfolded and taunted; but, not once did He turn His back on the hateful nor retaliated with scornful actions.

Some things are well said… but some things are better left unsaid.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

Clichés are abundant, but at times, not responding speaks louder than words. Rebuttals hurt, and damages integrity. Many times spoken words in the heat of a moment are later wished they were unheard by the recipient. I ask, did you pray before you spoke those demeaning comments? Most people must not, for their spew would not roll off the lips so easy. Is it human nature to bow down to such shallow depths for it sure leaves little room for two to compromise?

Some things are better left unsaid.

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23

Christ tried to make listeners comprehend, but when preaching fell short, a better method took front stage. God, in accordance, knew His actions would speak louder than words. We will learn a lot if we just listen and accept the Lord’s advice to love each other.

Some things are better left unsaid.

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

Dishonesty runs rampant in society, and it’s not only individuals but politics and businesses too. We are taught differently as children, yet it free flows into adulthood. The Bible warns us of a tragic fall when we follow the crooked paths of life. Curb the tongue as our gracious Lord taught us.

Some things are better left unsaid.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21

Those who scramble to speak like a double-edged sword will find their life spinning in circles. They shall never experience the Christ of this world without repentance. Smile instead… let your derogatory words and thoughts be a secret only unto the Lord. Be gracious unto God and let others be a witness to His love which lives inside of you. You are the Lord’s temple.

Leave some things better left unsaid.


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Satan’s Shining Sin

MATURE CONTENT

It’s another Sunday morning of crowd seekers searching for forgiveness as they rush through the eye of the needles around the world. I, too, came to find my eternal gateway to a place called heaven’s home. I walked across the side street onto the freshly paved parking area extended for convenience. The air reeked of an odor as Satan’s evil sin blew in the breeze. Little elderly women held on to their nicely brushed hairdo as they dashed in front of cars while others ran to find their pew. I reached the entrance of the church and could smell the difference between Satan’s musty humidity and the fragrance of Christ living inside the vestibule.

I wondered when the dress codes at church changed because men used to don three-piece suits with cuffed trousers and tacked ties. They held the doors for those feminine dressed ladies in their finest ensembles. After the church service, everyone mingled with each other to share the week’s news over a cup of coffee and pastries. Those were better times when men talked about the drought and ladies conversed about canning tomatoes. It’s another world away now as I vaguely remember my own childhood days.

The church was clearly a refreshing place to sit in the comfort of Jesus Christ. I wondered if it was just me or did the rest of the congregation feel the Holy Spirit? Was their only intention of attending church to just rush in with the hope of forgiveness handed to them? Satan’s shining sin glows everywhere, you know, but he’s so exposed in God’s house.

Our world of sin is never so obvious nor blatantly displayed as it is today. I will push the envelope by saying schemes and gimmickry have run to the forefront. It’s like running for the presidency. Subliminal ice cubes in a glass spelling “SEX” in bold letters was an impressive way to relay the message to the public. Most movies flaunt “R” and “X” ratings which have become the norm in this distorted society. We catch up with friends on social media only to be subjected to jokes and articles about the male and female anatomy. What happened to sex and our bodies being personal and sacred?

1 Corinthians 6:12-13

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

But as far back as the Roman Empire, sexual exploitation was Satan’s key denominator. John the Baptist contested, in public, King Herod’s lack of discipline for he replaced his wife with her sister, who was a younger, more vivacious aristocrat. John was beheaded, consequently, as requested by Herod’s daughter. Sex was the ultimate sin which began the betrayal of God’s words. Kings and Queens fell like dominoes in the world’s wake of Satan’s shining sin. Sodom and Gomorrah suffered God’s divine judgment because of prolific prostitution and homosexuality.

No measurable degree of accountability exists in sin by exploiting sex outside of God’s marriage. Adulterated sex is a gateway to Satan’s castle. If one relishes breaking the laws of God, I must ask, “Where will it end?” When you break one of God’s cherished laws, the rest will seem obsolete. More men and women today need to hold to God’s commitments because Satan, without a doubt, has made sex a sport – a game with damning results.

Satan uses his power of persuasion to convince us it’s all right to sin against God. Whether you have a lack of willpower, insecurity, or mental illness, sex outside of marriage is Satan’s invitation to give you a life of perversion, long-lasting guilt, and recordable sin. It changes personal values and corrupts the mind where cleanliness and innocence once prevailed.

1 Peter 5:8-9

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

In the beginning of this blog, I spoke of dress codes. A lack of proper attire invites Satan into the mind. His shining sin, sex, makes it appear acceptable though, doesn’t it? As history repeats itself, God seized empires because of this sin, and improper sex was the root of their evil.

Be alert and be informed for God knows our thoughts before we act on them. Satan lurks on every page of life. He is in the movies and programs we watch, and the commercials impeding clothes. Sex sells! The satanic air you breathe, whether in church, at home, or in public lures the perfumes from afar, tempting the spirits within your soul.

I pray this world, one day, will wake and beg for forgiveness from such absurd things. Straying from God is like being dropped in an ocean of sin – you will eventually drown! Your life will be forever changed when you find Christ. Pray to fill your spirit with hope and God’s true love!

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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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