A Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. The United States Congress asks people “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” Though praying should be an everyday occurrence in our homes, on this day, many faiths will take part in the annual event. Rev. Billy Graham initiated this day in 1952, so please join me in prayer.

Dear Lord,

Our Father in Heaven, we come together in humility, asking you to bring salvation to all those who are in prayer today.

Please guide our clergy, missionaries, and others blessed to spread Your Word. Comfort the souls with broken spirits and cast out the germs that try to infiltrate their hearts. Many walk our land with little or no faith, and they desperately need led to Your spiritual being before leaving this life.

Lord, lead us to the still waters and green ferns during this tumultuous time of upheavals around the world. We pray for the safety, and immeasurable responsibilities of our leader, President Donald Trump. Father, please endow him with Your wisdom and comforting arms. Speak to all the members of our congress and other political positions. Guide them to make better decisions based on the country’s needs and not their own. Help America to once again come together in unity.

Many families have suffered job losses and deaths because of COVID-19. Lord bless them with Your peace and reassure their souls. Keep us healthy and shield us from harm, Lord.

We pray, Father, for the churches in America to unify under Jesus Christ’s name. Help us see all religions in the cross’s light. We pray to be more humble, gentle, and patient with one another. Bless us, Lord, with the unity of the Holy Spirit through the bond of peace.

Lord, please be our shepherd! Jesus Christ is the Only Savior, and our only hope in this world.

Amen

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Our Faith is Being Tested

The brisk wind stirs my mind, and I ponder our current events. Shelves are empty in the stores, and a virus plagues us. Quarantined from life, it seems it’s against our nature not to roam freely with our adventuresome instincts. My excitement usually comes in the early light, but boredom sets in now as it rains throughout the day.

Are today’s trials set in place by God’s admission or schemed by Satan? Everyone has their hands tied, and the world has come to a screeching halt. No God in heaven would wish this on His chosen people… or would He? Perhaps He is telling us to take a stand. Our faith is being tested!

In the biblical scriptures of Matthew 24:6-8, Jesus speaks of the End Times events as “birth pains.” Besides food shortages and economic collapse, He also spoke of viruses and locust infestations. Throughout the Bible, God sent plagues and pestilence to deal with his own people.

Medical science has proven the coronavirus natural host is bats, and the Chinese consume them in the form of soup. Did you know the Bible labels bats as forbidden meat? China detests Christianity and persecutes believers in their country. It is undoubtedly interesting COVID-19 figures today show that over 21 million Chinese have died from this virus. Is this a message from God? It is probable He is putting you on alert.

You may ask why a loving God would allow the death of His children from a pandemic. This is a wake-up call for those who refuse to repent their sins or surrender to Christ as their Lord and Savior. After all, history repeats itself.

All the wealth and knowledge of mankind will not stop our Lord’s intentions. Are you concerned for your safety? Staying home helps… or does it? Yes, it can UNLESS it is God’s will for this to happen. I cannot affirm the coronavirus positively is such a plague, but be aware of the signs. What I write for you today may shed light on the secrets of the future.

The Lord is watching and preparing our new home. Life, at this moment, mirrors biblical prophecy, and our faith is being tested. Trying to make sense of an incomparable condition is better left to those chosen scholars of God.

Should you fear the ultimatum, or should you remain faithful? This disease is a test of our personal faith in Jesus Christ. Let Him be your refuge for peace and comfort. It is so essential in these times you pray for His protection, study the Bible, and ask for healing.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

A final thought –  a man recently delivered some lumber to my home, and he had a profound point of view on faith that I need to share with you. He said, “You can’t line dance to gospel music.” Thanks, Ira! Great perspective! Stay in faith, everyone… you’re being tested!


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The Inevitable Destiny of Mankind

www.danabicksauthor.com

Last weekend the world suffered an incredible loss of talent. As Kobe Bryant’s helicopter lay smoldering at the foothills of the mountains, people gasped in disbelief and choked back tears. Social media and our television sets covered the headlines to report on the death of nine great lives. It will forever change the surviving families as the Lord anoints them with hope and peace.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

1 Peter 5:10

A Facebook posting caught my attention about this tragedy, and it sparked me to write today’s message. The posting spoke of the horror Kobe must have felt in those last seconds when he recognized they would all die.

Death is the inevitable destiny of mankind. It’s not a pretty sight or an engaging act for those left behind to pick up the pieces. Most people never want to think about this unpleasant topic until faced with a funeral or a deadly illness. Yes, it’s scary to think only Jesus could conquer death as He rose from the dead. Our loved ones submit to their fate, and we are assured their body will never walk on this land again, unlike Jesus… yet the irony is incredibly sad.

I’m not sure of the other passenger’s backgrounds on the helicopter, but I know Kobe Bryant was an active Catholic. He attended mass and Holy Communion hours before the crash, at an Orange County church. Much of his tumultuous past was shaded in gray. Marital discord and loss of sponsorships plagued him for many years. But, just like of all of us, he had sins to conquer before the Lord. He knew only God could forgive him, so in 2003 he turned to the church for consolation and hope.

His love for the welfare of mankind surpassed all dignity. In December, he witnessed a horrible car crash in Newport Beach, California. Videos captured the moment he ran to the cars and pulled everyone to safety. He stayed by their side, speaking comforting words of love until paramedics arrived at the scene.

Kobe supported seven charities and fourteen causes. His dedication to children and their future was always at the front seat of his life. There is a lesson to be learned from Kobe about compassion and spreading God’s love!

Good practicing Christians should always be ready for their inevitable destiny. If I were a betting man, I’d place a wager Kobe prayed, like never before, in those last few seconds of his life. God heard his prayers because He, too, grieved the unjust execution of His Son, Jesus. He understands our pain. But, the Lord is rich in mercy, and He opened His arms to all those passengers on the helicopter.

Death is part of living – it is our fate set in stone by Adam and Eve. In my opinion, though, nothing is sadder than the death of an adult who never accepted Christ into their life before their mortality. As Jesus taught us, we are to confess our sins, pray for forgiveness, and never return to them. If we commit these deeds, we are assured of living with our Father in heaven. Christians should rejoice in knowing God has lovingly addressed our need for forgiveness. It clears the way for those we leave behind, and they can celebrate our eternal life with Christ.

Seek comfort in knowing God is the one in full control of our lives. He pre-planned our birth and death. Nothing and no one on earth can change our fate. It is futile to place blame for a person’s death because it was our destiny from the very beginning of life. Take solace in knowing physical death is just the start of our spiritual journey with Jesus Christ. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a good Christian’s life!

May the surviving families of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan rest in peace in the arms of our Lord.


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God and Guns

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

Last Monday, I watched an event unfold in my (almost) home state of Virginia. The people I admire and love were under attack for their 2nd Amendment rights and guns. Flashbacks whizzed through my memory as if it were yesterday. I recall my dad and brothers spending many hours cleaning their guns in the living room. My oldest brother, an NRA board member, has won many medals in target shooting over the years. However, my father was a real stickler about gun safety. His words resounded in my mind – “never point it at someone” and “don’t go near the gun case without someone being with you.”

When I moved to Virginia as an adult, most of my friends belonged to hunting clubs. Some may classify them as “rednecks,” but they were the kindest human beings I ever knew, regardless of the stigma assigned to them by outsiders. Murdering others, and disrespectful, threatening behavior was not in their dialogue. So, why are these law-abiding citizens now considered the anti-Christ?

I studied the Bible for information about guns and Christians owning weapons. Many scriptures condone the use of weaponry, such as in Luke 22:37-39, where Jesus affirmed it is sometimes necessary to be armed for self-defense. In biblical times, militaries were commanded to carry something for self-defense. Nowhere does the Bible tell a soldier to give up his weapon for a life of peace.

However, there is a glitch to ponder about God and guns. Though God encourages a believer to own weapons for hunting and protection, weapons are still to be governed by civil authorities and the will of God.

What does this mean to gun owners?

Before we purchase a gun, we should consider our motivation for owning one. Is it to harm someone else, or is it to protect our life and family? After all, Jesus’ greatest commandment is to love God and love others. Exodus 22:2-3 shows that self-defense must be proportional. We can fulfill the strength of God, often, just by our faith, not self-defense.

We inherently understand there is plenty of evil in the world. Jesus understood this because he allowed one of his disciples to carry self-protection. Murders and mass murders existed long before rifles were invented, and it still exists today in countries where firearms are illegal. Explosives and box cutters committed the worst school massacre in 1927 in America, not guns.

History has proven we will never live in a violence-free society through the laws of man. Our government is mistaken to think they can control those who walk the earth intending to harm innocent people. Mankind can never control the mentally ill or those possessed with an evil spirit. We must understand that only God can protect our life, for He had a plan for us before we were born.

Whether a Christian should take steps to protect his life and family, or trust in God for protection, will always remain a debate. I’m sure a believer’s opinion on guns will be based on cultural issues more than biblical mandates. It is unfortunate one side or the other will be hurt by a government who is falsely misleading its citizens. Maybe we should pray for the officials’ peace of understanding.

Strengthen us in the power of Your might, O God. Dress us in Your armor so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We know that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:10-12


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Covenant of Faith

God set forth an impossible undertaking when He challenged my capabilities to be the best at something I never imagined possible. But then it occurred to me – how many others seem to be on a quest for Jesus? They do not realize the disillusionment of the deserts.

I often wonder how some people got started in life. What made them so great in their lifetime? For example, Nicodemus in the Book of John became a legend in the Jewish community as a ruler and teacher of Israel. Then there was an Indian lawyer called Ghandi, and a lady named Mother Teresa. Closer to home was a little boy called Billy, who took his Bible to school every day. He was such an avid reader, and he never gave up his desire to serve the Lord.

But many others are true to their heart, and they never waver from God’s ministry. In my personal life, it’s a profound feeling of a great success to serve the Almighty. It comes with abounding rewards and grace. Now I should ask, where is the Holy Spirit in your life?

It could be too easy to stop my ministry of writing. I’d load the kayaks in the back of my pickup truck and head to the lake. Not a bad idea, but God puts His trust in me to bring others to His kingdom. My reward for faithfulness? I am so blessed in every waking moment. I’m sure my words may confuse you, but my closest friends and family know my priority is to serve the Father.

Too many believers “toe the line” in their commitment to serve our Lord. They pray for answers but give up when there’s no immediate response. Sometimes we look for answers within this world only to discover God is already working on our healing.

If you want to see faith at work, then don’t look at a three-piece suit parading up on a stage, shaking a Bible at our Almighty. That’s blasphemy – no! Let’s examine the heartbreaking scenes of the Bahamas. A mother stood in a bathroom with her three children praying to God for help in the disastrous times of Dorian. Do you think God didn’t hear her heart? (See the video below) Prayer is the only ammunition to combat evil.

https://youtu.be/SOHeYhT0LPw

With the mighty force of just one young mother, who guarded her three children in a bathroom, she brought together the strength of nations, ready to oblige her mission. What a world we could live in if we understood the destitution of our mental thoughts! Hopefully, many received the message for it was a great example of God working through His people.

God challenges us to be successful in His glory if we stay in prayer and never give up hope. Do not render your patience. As we kayak in God’s calm waters, do not evade the fact the calm waters are His too. He wants everyone to be successful and filled with hope. We shall armor ourselves in the covenant of faith for God ordained it to be ours.

God bless you, my friends, and all the survivors of Hurricane Dorian.


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