Between a Rock and a Hard Place

God can change your course of history. Have you ever been between a rock and a hard place, where you have to make a choice between two unpleasant options? I grew old from throwing stones, so I conceded to stay in prayer.

I’ve found myself at dead-ends of lonely highways, and at the edge of cliffs I thought was a gentle shoreline. I drove in storms where no man ventured, unaware I was being protected by God. Do you, too, look at your world and question how you ended up where you are today?

Second-guessing our world allows Satan a place to rest in your life. No rest for the weary may have more meaning once you understand the complexity of the verse. Being placed between a rock and a hard place is best described as a vice on your spirit. God will not allow our hearts to be bound if we continue in loving prayer. We can apply God’s command by choosing His way…

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him.”

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

How does God give us direction? He guides us by the wisdom of the Bible and wise biblical counsel from His servants. It addresses every complexing situation in life. Sometimes, though, answers may not be clear through scriptures. Search out guidance in a library or Christian websites to gain a piece of broader knowledge.

“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

Maybe you’re afraid of deciding about something which you may regret later. Everyone has to make choices, and my friends, our Father’s abundance of grace and mercy freely flows to His children. His forgiveness is unending.

I give God the glory! The mighty savior’s strength protects us from the storms. He knows we face situations of being caught between a rock and a hard place. But in the sanctuary of His safety, He delivers answers within the ferocious winds and the sigh of calm waters. The Lord’s love abounds among the fear. He mends the broken threads of Satan’s fury for His way is forevermore.

I pray your prayers will make miracles happen when you are between a rock and a hard place. Wouldn’t you rather find peace in a quiet harbor than on a violent sea? Pack a paddle and head for the Lord!



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Off to See the Wizard

The highlight of my Easter season, when I was a child, was watching the nail-biting TV movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” I remember my tears flowing as Dorothy handed Toto over to Miss Gulch on the bike. But today, I look at this Academy Award Nominated motion picture in a different light. From a Christian writer’s perspective, the underlying message and morals in this movie are phenomenal! Let me take you for a walk down my yellow brick road…

DOROTHY

Dorothy was a character on a soul-searching mission. She was an orphan, adopted by her aunt and uncle in Kansas, yet she appeared to have a deep-rooted longing to find a true home. Insecurities plagued her because she didn’t fit in with the older relatives, and a mean Miss Gulch wanted to take her only friend, Toto, away from her. Auntie Em became frustrated with Dorothy’s antics and yelled, “Find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble.” Dorothy picked up Toto and said, “Is there such a place Toto? Not a place you can get to by boat or train.”

Aren’t most of us looking to fill an empty spot inside our soul – a place where there isn’t any sadness? Always seeking, we get mixed up in wrong relationships, addictions, and false idols. When we finally accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, we soon realize we have everything we need daily; and it’s not a place you can get to by boat or train.

But, Dorothy, like so many people, run from their problems. A tornado swept her from safety, and she entered another world. Her only path home was down the yellow brick road. The Good Witch of the North, Glinda, warned her to never venture off its path for darkness loomed in every corner. What a great metaphor! We must walk through life on God’s golden road only for Satan will quickly invade if our guard is down. Temptations of sin can fog a mind when difficulties become overwhelming; prayers are the answer to tackle the troubles. Seek God first before using your own solution.

The central theme of the movie centers on Dorothy’s quest to go to the Emerald City; she sought the Wizard of Oz’s help to take her back to Kansas. Along the way, the Wicked Witch of the West and her minions attack her and her friends. This is so like Satan trying to intervene in our life! By the end of the film, Dorothy discovered the Wizard was a phony, a false idol if you will. She is devastated until Glinda (her guardian angel, perhaps?) magically came to her rescue. “Dorothy,” she said, “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.” What lesson did she learn from the whole experience? A heart’s desire isn’t any further than your own backyard (or in my case, a bible). The love and acceptance she wanted were always at her doorstep.

The moral of Dorothy’s story is God’s power makes our life fantastic for He is greater than any physical object or place we seek on our own. As we come to know Jesus Christ, we understand He promises to guide us because the love for His children is eternal. When we resist the enemy, we draw closer to Him, and He becomes our home. The solution to our problems is right under our nose.

SCARECROW AND A BRAIN

The first friend Dorothy met on the yellow brick road was the happy-go-lucky scarecrow who wanted the Wizard to give him a brain. It’s quite funny, often throughout the movie, he acted as though he had a brain and common sense. How frequently do we take action as if we don’t have sense? We beat ourselves up for the mistakes we make along the way and we lose forgiveness in the shuffle of stupidity. God forgives us our sins so why hold on to regrets? Did you ask God to clear your heart and mind of all the clutter which pulls your progress down? Did you diligently pray for forgiveness?

At the end of the show, it’s quite ironic the Wizard actually did not fulfill the scarecrow’s wishes. He only gave him a diploma of higher thinking. This character simply lacked self-confidence. The Scarecrow sought a higher power to confirm he could be smart. Little did he know, confidence comes from a relationship with Christ. Yes, we must be secure in God’s Word and not in our flesh. He gives us hope in times of adversity.


THE TIN MAN AND A HEART

A second character who befriended Dorothy was the rusted Tin Man. He wanted the Wizard to give him a heart, hence emotions. The Wizard of Oz told him “a heart will never be practical until it is made unbreakable.”  The Tin Man quickly learned what a broken heart was when he said goodbye to Dorothy.

Suffering hearts is a common thread among humanity. We have to trust God has a better plan for our life, thus healing us from the inside out. He replaces the feelings of rejection and abandonment with a sense of renewal. All we have to do is pick up the Bible and allow His words to soothe our soul. Once we connect with Jesus, everything changes and nothing or no one has the same power over us again. God forms a shield to protect our innocence.

THE COWARDLY LION AND COURAGE

Onward to Emerald City, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Dorothy trotted arm-in-arm. Suddenly a large curly-haired lion jumped out from behind a tree and tried to scare the trio. The ferocious lion growled and snapped at them until Dorothy slapped him. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” The lion quickly retreated behind his own tail and cried. Throughout the movie, his fear reared its ugly head. Could the great Wizard give him courage?

We sometimes experience scary situations in life – perhaps bullying, roadblocks, and other fear factors. Hard times are unavoidable, but we can count on God to pick us up, dust us off, and help us through these failures. An important message from this is Satan instigates fear. My favorite saying is, “Where there is fear, there is no faith.” Let us rely on God for strength to conquer our personal battles for He is always in control and will not abandon us. Be of good courage for the Lord is with us every step of the way!

OUR CHRISTIAN WALK

The Wizard of Oz, though not written with religion in mind, can teach us about our Christian walk with God. We should examine our relationship with the Lord and strive, every day, to be more like Him. Draw on the intelligence of our brain; maintain a heart open and sincere and pray for the courage to stand up for our belief. If we stray along the way to the Emerald City, known as heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ will be there to lift us up. Just as Dorothy had to “learn it for herself,” our journey helps us grow to be the best Christians we can be for eternal salvation. Everything we need is in the power of God, not the ruby slippers.

The next time you watch this excellent motion picture, look for the hidden Christian parables – you will be amazed at how many you’ll witness!

www.danabicksauthor.com

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Crying “Wolf!”

Across the pond, a familiar Aesop tale sends a very succinct message. A little shepherd boy stood guarding sheep at the foothills. It bored him waiting for a wolf to chase the flocks. He thought it more entertaining to watch the villagers run to his imposing calamity as he cried out, “Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is chasing my sheep!” But, there was no wolf, nor an emergency. The second occasion he fooled them, he became known as a nuisance, and the angry men told him “Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong!” As fate dictated, a wolf later appeared, and when he screamed for help, the village did not pay attention. The moral of the story is no one believes a liar, even when he tells the truth. How often is humanity shrouded in dishonesty? It’s one of life’s most painful experiences.

During the Last Supper, Jesus became troubled and overcome by grief. He announced, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you shall betray me… to the chief priests and elders, in order to be put to death.” The disciples looked at him in great astonishment wondering who would betray Jesus’s loyalty and honor. The Gospel of Mark gives no motive for Judas’s betrayal, only that he committed the disloyalty in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. But when he learned Jesus was to be crucified, he attempted to return the money; the Romans denied the coins and Judas committed suicide by hanging. In this biblical story, Jesus understood Satan overcame Judas. Isn’t this a common trait of evil and unholiness – lying, deception, and betrayal?

John 8:44

“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

As human beings, we usually want to believe the best in others, but generally, this is not the situation. For liars, it turns into a scary second nature. Their behavior provides comfort and an escape from discomfort and boredom, just as the little boy crying “wolf.” If public figures are caught lying, a scandal erupts, but what if children lie to their parents? Children have a fear of being scolded and punished for their mischiefs. It is easier for them to take refuge in their lies rather than tackling a problem head-on. But, many parents accept their behavior without giving a consequence, and the fibs grow into more significant issues. Then we hear the horror stories of spouses lying to each other too. The innocent person tries to make excuses for the other’s actions, and a dysfunctional whirlwind creates a less-than-honest marriage.

Oddly enough, these dramatic lessons can be traced all the way back to Jesus’s time. In the restitution of life, there comes a time when we have little choice but to give it to God. Be it a child, spouse, or Judas’s betrayal, stretching the truth will haunt you for the rest of your life. Crying wolf, without due cause, finds you at the mercy of God and the wolves, “for you reap what you sow.”

My dad was a tough, wise man who quoted, “There are no exceptions to experience. You have to go through it to understand.” He’s right! It is awful to be deceived, but we can learn from the mistake and move forward knowing God is in our heart to ease the pain. We need to sharpen our wisdom tactics and pray for those who attempt to cry “Wolf.”

www.danabicksauthor.com

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The Warning Signs

I approached the corner of a gorgeous, stately community. A large sign didn’t show which direction to proceed, and its definition confused me. Marveled by the message, I wondered if God was trying to tell me something. Dare I make a wrong turn because some things seem so inviting yet sin lies just around the corner?

God makes it abundantly clear we need to listen to His messages, but sometimes our spirit disagrees with the subconscious mind. Second thoughts might lend themselves to be valid than reality. God didn’t really place the sign but whoever did, might be sent by Him. Sitting with my foot on the brake and profusely sweating, how do I know for sure if it’s His warning sign?

John 8:47

“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

In an instant, my car rumbled to a halt. Was it trying to tell me something? My mind went in reverse as God made His presence known. I cried out for Him to save me before I traveled further down the wrong road. I’m confident He saved me from a horrible error.

Can you imagine the magnitude of our mistakes if we did not have a close relationship with the Lord? We live in a world filled with signs, some good and some bad. The sole way to distinguish the best ones is to have a heart committed to understanding His words. This requires a heart fully surrendering to Him and plenty of prayers. In our moment of silence, God will relay His guiding words.

I started the engine again and regained my composure. The car behind me honked his horn, so I made a U-turn. I smiled at the driver and politely acknowledged I was in the wrong with a hand signal. God also knew where I might be if I not heeded the warning sign.

It’s a safe bet to acknowledge God tries to save all His children who hang on the brink of self-destruction. His voice speaks to us through the Bible, a friend, and yes, even a sign now and then. But don’t be tempted to look for a quick answer to the warning signs. God may not be finished revealing a situation to you. It is all in His perfect timing.

It is important to understand the Bible has many stories of people doing exactly what God wanted them to do, yet they still suffered hard times, persecution and even death. After all, His idea of success will not be your own, and sometimes there will be plenty of pain to endure along the road. Even in the darkest highways of life, we still need to stick to His plans. This is obedience to His word!

Not sure of your directional heading? Then turn to God who needs to be your driver. Follow the biblical legend, Jesus Christ, for the only way to get to heaven is with an invitation from Him. I pray every day the heavens gleaming light will radiate in your heart. The passion from heaven will transform you making life’s little temptations so much easier for you to handle. Learn to read the warning signs. Christ is here to help you if you let Him….. just don’t obey the warning signs of your subconscious mind.

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A Thousand Words

The picture above is such an appropriate scene for many of my followers today! I took this snapshot five years ago (sorry, it’s not the best of quality). Complacent as it is though, my thoughts run deeper. I never realized, until this morning, how much it says about life. The heavens were so blue and tranquil. Yet the beauty of the landscape hid a time when my spirit was riddled with frustration and hope. In all the luster and calmness of the frozen and packed ice, I traveled the road with determination. Living in a house of selfish people who cared more of fulfilling their own desires, I only had God on my side. He knew the truth of my anointing to be His messenger. I was headed home to a world full of doubts and far from harmonious. Slippery promises of change, like drifts in the snow, laid heavily in my mind.

But, in this photo, there is another obstacle not readily observed by the naked eye – faith. You must succumb to life’s icy patches to make sure you’re qualified for God’s blessings which He has in store for you. I was never really alone on the treacherous road. You see, faith is tested more during times of trials and tribulations. Things may not always appear to be as you wish, but pray for strength and guidance, and God will protect you. Reminiscing those scary road conditions, it’s obvious He watched over me. He made sure nothing obstructed His view of me. Our Father never deserts His children!

I learned many family members doubted me because not one soul witnessed me being touched by God. But I didn’t care who believed or disbelieved me. My decision to be a writer of our Lord’s messages would honor Him. I trusted God implicitly to guide me through my passages of a thousand words, and He has never failed me.

This morning, over breakfast, I told my wife, “Thanks, honey, for believing in me.” She, to this day, has a hard time comprehending she is the first person to believe God touched me. As our miracles continue to mount, there is little doubt. Even the picture above mysteriously appeared while writing this blog – a clear sign He acknowledges this message to you.

It is important to remember this… when life hands you an icy road to drive, don’t stop looking up to the heavens! You may not understand immediately the “why,” but one thing is for sure, God wants to use your hardship to draw you closer to Him. Stay connected in prayer for He is testing your obedience. Our Father will always be with you on those snowy back roads of life!  

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