I just want to share to you guys how our God change my acts, desires, mindset and life. It took me many years and a braver heart to post my testimony. I pray to God that if you are not okay today, trust in Him and surrender all your worries and fears. God will provide you not only the things the will fulfill your daily needs but also the answer your heart is seeking for a long time. God bless us all!
I am Basha, the eldest of the three beautiful children of Marie and Victorio. I grew up as an independent child for I used to live with my aunties and uncles. My mother had to work far from home and my father was staying with his first family. Yes, I am an illegitimate child. I was raised by my aunties and uncles, exposed to various vices and chaotic neighborhood. I remember those nights that I couldn’t sleep because my uncle and his wife were into quarrel. He even pointed his gun and I saw his eyes fiercely cursing his wife.
I had to live with that kind of life. Before my mom left me to the hands of her brothers and sisters, she taught me how to pray before having my z’s. But, I forgot to do it as I grew older.
Then, one night, it was fifteen years ago, an event happened that changed my life. That made me act and talk like a cold and numb soul.
I WAS RAPED. For an early age, I did not know that it was already a rape.
An unknown truck pulled up in front of my home, and I wondered about their intention. A young man stepped out, introduced himself and said, “I’m here to mark the ground for electrical lines, do you mind?” Our conversation quickly moved from generic to personal all in the same sentence. One thing led to another, so I invited him inside to meet my wife. Marking the yard was the least important topic to talk about at that moment. We found significance in our impending dialog because he saw we were new to the area. He knew nothing about me but he still kindly invited us to join him at his church along with his family members.
Our conversation deepened as he told us about his father who
spent time in India doing God’s work for seven years. He and my wife swapped
mission stories as she, too, served in Africa. You see, when you’re in God’s
grace, things just seem to generate for the best. He places people in your path,
shining His grace and approval.
I ponder now about Moses in the book of Exodus of the Old
Testament. He was an arrogant and stubborn man who murdered another person. He
constantly doubted God’s word. Though Moses failed to trust God by not speaking
to a rock, the Lord nevertheless guided him. How gracious was this? God’s grace
is perpetual, even to the unaware.
Do you know if you’re in God’s grace? I can
describe grace, in a biblical sense, as God’s unmerited favor – a blessing we
don’t deserve because we are sinners. To be in His grace is a gift.
Like Moses, grace is redemptive. How many of us follow our
own path in life, ignoring God’s requests? Do you drink, experiment with drugs,
have sexual taboos, gamble, or struggle with eating disorders? Because some choose
the wrong path doesn’t mean God isn’t willing to take your hand and lead you to
a better way; but you must allow Him to do so. He will do this through His
personal love and grace for you. But remember, God’s grace is conditional so we
should pray often but also refrain from repeating our immoralities. The Bible
contains repeated warnings against using grace as a pass to continue in sin.
If you are in our Lord’s grace, take a sigh of relief for
you are right where you should be in His eyes. Realize life is truer than
fiction. Just as this young man’s visit to our home, you will feel God’s love
showering down on you. We serve an amazing God. Sometimes, standing still is
all that is warranted to receive His guiding messages and ultimately His gifts.
God is ready to extend His grace to those who are called to follow Him in the
name of Jesus.
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Christmas – another year of rushing to find the perfect gift. You know, the latest state-of-the-art, hottest item on the market? What a time to share your love by giving gifts to others! It might be cold outside, but come inside and feel the warmth of Christmas. The tree ornaments, decorations, and the smell of baking cookies stimulate excitement for the holiday. It’s a season full of hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Once upon a long time ago, my favorite toy was all I ever needed from Santa – a remote-control XK Jaguar convertible which ran on Eveready batteries. Fascination ruled the eyes of this little lad because it had a steering wheel right on top of the battery box. Boy, it was sure better than a plain old car for it was dove gray with a red leather interior. Wow, my very own Jaguar! So what if it was sixteen inches long; it was the best gift ever.
At the flip of a switch, the headlights shone, and I steered my very first Jag around the living room. Oh, I was in seventh heaven driving it down the right side of the dark hallway. But, suddenly, my older brother opened his bedroom door. He walked out and stepped on my brand new Jaguar! In a second, the tie rods broke, and he demolished the plastic wire-spoked rims. So much for my favorite toy that Christmas!
It’s funny how material things mean everything to a young child. But, as we mature their significance fades, especially when God enters your soul. He refills our dreams with blessings galore even if they get crushed. What greater joy than to have God illuminate your heart at Christmas, for His gifts will last a lifetime! He will give you peace, forgiveness, and a chance at a relationship with Him. Jesus paid the cost of God’s present so let us be thankful for our gift of eternal life!
From my family to yours, I pray God blesses you this season! May His light always shine love in your life! Merry Christmas!
Be sure to join us on Christmas Day for the final episode of “Everything Christmas Blogs”!
Welcome to Part Two of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus. For example, how many details do you actually know about His family? Though most information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts of the Bible, to understand this holy dynasty. Today, we will learn of Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ. Enjoy!
Enjoy this gorgeous Christmas song, “Mary, Did You Know?” sung by Clay Aiken:
Nothing is more glorious or miraculous than giving birth to a child. Who will the baby resemble and what will they become in adulthood? But, can you ever imagine going to sleep a virgin and waking up to discover a baby growing in your womb? And then, to compound the mystery, you are told the child will be a Savior to all mankind! What?? How does this happen? God’s power over man is astounding, if not scary. It proves we, ultimately, have no control over our lives. His miraculous deeds exceed earthly desires, so let us praise His name!
This is the true account of Jesus’s mother, Mary, a poor Jewish girl who lived in Nazareth. Her honorable family was descendants of King David, but they were not any different from others who struggled to live daily in the thriving, small town. Mary’s parents raised her with strong convictions and a deep love for the Lord. She was carefully trained in the Scriptures and so highly favored by God to be the mother of His Son.
Mary’s story begins in the Bible at the tender age of twelve to fourteen where she lived with her parents but betrothed to Joseph. (This is young to be engaged but the lifespan of the generations in biblical days were short.) One day, the angel, Gabriel, came to visit her and said:
“….Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Put yourself in Mary’s place. What would your reaction be to such a claim? I think it would terrify me, as it did Mary, for she was still a virgin. Though she didn’t understand, she humbled herself before the Lord. Her faith and trust in God would see her through the explanation to Joseph and the birth of the child. What a remarkable young girl!
Mary paid a visit to her older cousin, Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah in a small town of Judea. Would they believe her story? They were preparing for the delivery of their first child. As the Bible tells, when Mary arrived, Elizabeth dropped to her knees and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” God used Elizabeth to confirm to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God. She knew nothing was impossible for God. But, Elizabeth understood, too, an unmarried mother in their culture could be stoned or put to death. It would place shame on the tribe in their township. So, she let Mary stay with her until their son, John the Baptist, was born three months later.
Upon Mary’s return trip home, many thoughts afflicted her. How would she explain her pregnancy to Joseph and her parents? They would accuse her of something she did not do. This young woman of such character was about to be put to the ultimate test.
When Mary relayed her story to Joseph, he appeared extremely upset and hurt. She knew he didn’t believe her. What would she do now, and where would she go to stay safe in Nazareth? The Bible does not detail her parent’s reaction, but one can only imagine. Mary’s stress level must have been unbearable.
The next day, Joseph arrived at Mary’s home to pick her up and take her to his house. He loved her! A visit from an angel to him the night before confirmed her pregnancy. (Read Joseph’s history in the first part of this Special Edition – www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/a-real-father-christmas). He protected her and her character, and still wanted to marry even though the townspeople gossiped and shadowed her reputation. Is being a servant of God ever easy?
Near the end of Mary’s pregnancy, she and Joseph trudged an eighty-mile path to Bethlehem. Caesar required the citizens to enroll in a tax census but there was a hidden agenda. He knew a child was to be born who held the name “Savior.” The only way to find out who was carrying the miracle was to demand all citizens report to him in person. So, not only was Mary very pregnant, tired, and concerned of Caesar’s request, she endured a trip which must have been physically painful. Little to eat and little to drink, Joseph, and Mary climbed the many mountains, probably making many short stops along the way for her to rest.
As they approached Bethlehem, Mary began the early stages of labor. The city was full of people, and no place was available for them to stay the night. Joseph found a stall for animals and made a bed of straw for her to lie upon and be comfortable. In a strange town, with no relatives to help, a young Mary gives birth to her first child. She must have been terrified, and perhaps, even a little sad she could not share their joy with family members. But God’s celebration of His son was her drive to remain strong and steadfast. What an extraordinary, uncomplaining mother!
Mary, the humble mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ, was an incredible girl. She served God at any cost and was an obedient follower. How many women, today, can hold a candle to her? She was a nurturer, entirely devoted to her son’s health and spiritual well-being. But, as like all servants of the Lord, there’s great suffering too, especially being the mother of a Messiah. She was a holy woman of rare strength, confirming the human nature of Jesus Christ.
I think it’s proper to remember Mary on Christmas. She taught us to reach out and take a gift, accept God’s blessings, with a faithful and sincere heart. This is the reason for the season, my friends.
Enjoy this beautiful song, “Memories”, sung by Elvis Presley!
Another year of memories will be soon be added into my 67-year-old book of life. I sit in the dark shadows of the garage, now packed up to move south after thirty years in the Midwest. God calms and soothes my exhausted spirit. The chill of the dreary rain penetrates my coffee, and it turns cold. I patiently wait on life as God makes good on all His promises.
In the darkness of the rubbish and boxes, two objects which I’ve personally touched, leave me wondering of their memories as well. An old red rocker gave up the ghost – it came from a yard sale. I have no concept of the famous children of God who wept for hours sitting on it. But, with a little love, its rejuvenated life will totter a little longer. I wonder where its life began and wished I could reminisce the stories it would tell.
And a second memory was created with a little carpentry work – something I built for my beautiful wife and me to enjoy in our new home. I never thought of how old and new memories join in matrimony until this morning; an old rocking chair, tossed to the curb, and the other, an entertainment stand I gave birth to using lumber. The stand is brand new with a story to tell – a memory of how my wife and I put it together in our first year of marriage. It will be with us for the rest of our days. Someday, it will be passed down to the grandchildren who will remember Pop-Pop built this by hand in his garage.
For now, though, they quietly stand alone, waiting for their remembrances to unfold of decorating them for many holiday seasons to come. The bright red rocker, wise and strong, sits beside its impressive partner. An entertainment center quietly stands, but the rocker is not in a hurry to go anywhere. It looks up to the new grains of lumber. The stand feels the only comfort from the chair accompanying it in the garage.
Cherished memories, a gift given by none other than God, carries us throughout the years. The new ones, like this cabinet, will be held so dear to us too. With the hands that hold you, my love, I molded something special for you to love as well!
We eat our lunch amongst the sawdust and scraps, with sticky, varnished-stained fingers and share thoughts of new beginnings and new memories. God will be in our every thought, in the coming years, in our new home. May we never lose sight, He only, shapes our future. So, let us thank Him for the gift of remembrance.
My thoughts run wild as an acquaintance tells stories, squandering the paths led to by God, of brothers in Christ. I’ve sat amongst those groups of finger pointing who is always asking, what gives you the right. Speaking for myself, I gather much wisdom from the stories of these men who have crosses to bear. The paintings etched in their fragmented soul of the past’s pain, still relay its toll. Respectfully, I pray God, our great Father, will heal the life which destroyed your soul.
In a sanctuary of dreams and prayers why should the chosen few be deprived of the goals we seek and only God controls? Do you think faith is not our driving force in creating an opportunity to serve the Lord? Life’s path may have led us astray, but faith shall be our strength. Our scars of personal wars fought long ago, will always cast shadows on our inner spirit.
So, let us walk where the milestone starts…. we all bear the right to withstand and be counted for life’s woes. Any man or woman who serves the Lord is no better than your life’s paramount test of time. But, I congratulate and commend you as you, too, are our inspiration. Who are you, I speak so highly of my friend in Christ, that leads us not to where temptation reigns?
Let’s review the meaning of 1 Timothy 3: 8-10, Paul’s perspective of a healthy, functioning church. Most churches assign deacons and elders to their congregation. It does not ordain them ministers or priests living in divine holiness. The verse, 1 Timothy 3, describes the mannerisms and ethical morals one must gain to hold this title. But, their function is to be a mere “prop” or support to its people which connects the foundation of Christ to the fallen world. They are not the authority or truth on earth, lest they stand in judgment.
So what gives some of us the right to spread God’s word, even though we had another life of perhaps ungodly decisions? Because it is what God asks us to do as believers in Him. We are fallen children which God uses as an example of His forgiveness and salvation. It is not our job to rescue and save others, but merely to tell others, “God loves you and wants you to seek eternity with Him”:
We all have axes to bare, but brothers, every Christian can be a deacon of God’s church. I pray we take a page from the patrons past that God, somehow, will give us everlasting life through teaching His word to lost souls. Though our routes may waiver, we plot our course in life and never ask why we were chosen. Isn’t is more Christian-like to support and love our fellowman rather than be Satan’s vessel?
We, the servants of God, are layered in armor for impending negative narratives as we follow Christ on an endless journey. I reminisce and pray someday we will stand together in the sight of our Lord, take a number and be counted as we walk where the milestone starts.
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As day breaks, I meander my way through the carved paths few traveled along the mountainsides. Thousand of years ago, God arrived and planted trees to hold the hillside, and His flowers bloomed adding to the beauty of nature. A river bends through the swaying trees where barren life once existed on earth. Valleys burned from heaven’s thunder as God cleared the land to rebuild the forest. Life is so unrehearsed.
Life changes in an instant when God bestows gifts upon the unsuspecting. We start to live as God so ordered. Like a burning bush growing sprouts from the leftover ashes, we too do much the same by picking up the pieces of a life we never had and beginning again.
If we research the Bible, we quickly find Christ’s path was unrehearsed too. I cannot conceive the astonishment of being the chosen one, sent by God, to start a new religion in a new world. Jesus lived day to day on prayer and faith. Planned by His Father in heaven, few could have endured His journey. But Jesus saved us by teaching us to follow His unrehearsed way of life. The Sermon on the Mount clearly describes the Beatitudes He preached to the disciples (Book of Luke).
Today, we try to do our best to walk in the shadow of our Savior, living our lives in an unrehearsed manner. Two thousand years later, the sun still shines and the seasons’ surrender. Our tomorrows are impromptu, and no one can predict the future of God’s direction for us.
The world will shine as it wants, and our faith in His light will allow life to prosper once again for us. Staying in prayer is the only antidote to the spontaneous plans of God. Disappointments reign when the thunder ignites the mountains, but life goes on….unrehearsed.
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