Entitlement

Today’s society is bombarded with many slogans that portray us to be “deserving” of something. Such self-focused messages are:

            “You deserve a break today…” used by McDonald’s

            “You owe it to yourself…” used by cruise lines

            “Treat yourself to take the break you deserve” used by Hilton HHonors

In the dynamics of families and relationships, how many times have you graciously gave a gift and never received a “thank you” of any kind? How often have you heard the stories of parents passing away, and the children fought over the estate and money? If a sibling or parent is near their deathbed, do they deserve to be treated with respect if they never reciprocated love to family members in a state of healthiness? What if a husband and wife purchase a home with their hard-earned money – should their children feel entitled to the parent’s assets?

Within the business world, employees arrive late and perform their duties with little ambition. They demand pay raises and better benefits. Are they really deserving of it? Or, a parent scrapes and works hard to grow a business, and their grown children now believe they’re entitled to run it when the parent is deceased.

Churches also run into the same dilemmas when the congregation feels entitled to receive answers from their pastors or to hold positions within the house of worship. And, while I walk down the path of religious connotations, many believers feel deserving of God’s blessings. Speaking of this, do you know why much of humanity walks away from God and stops believing in Him? They prayed for an answer they wanted to hear and didn’t receive it. He was a means to get what they felt entitled to in life! Ironically, I believe our church leaders are responsible for this incorrect train of thought. They stand on the pulpit and preach God will meet all our needs and give them their desires if they pledge their soul to Jesus. The fact is our sin separates us from the Lord.

Entitlement is a dangerous walk in life – it’s Godlessness. Let me be frank here – God, parents, and employers owe us nothing. God blesses us with things because He wants to – an unconditional love of grace. A selfish demand for His generosity will reap no benefits. It’s that simple!

Jesus’ ministry spoke of loving others with a grateful heart. This includes treating each other with respect, even amidst our differences. The well-being of gratitude promotes healthy relationships, both in our walk with the Lord and relationships with others.

In the subject of parenting, fewer children today respect their elders. They ignore the recognition parents deserve for years of hard work and dedication to their families because they live in the “gimme, gimme” world. These generations are gifted with their heart’s desires, and they expect it from the parents. Thus, the slogans I mentioned at the beginning of the message above, come into play. As the children grow older, they feel entitled to life. Little do we know, it promotes laziness, ungratefulness, and the subject of this blog – entitlement. What are we teaching our children and others?

So, how can we live a life feeling less entitled to things and people?

•          Humbly give thanks to God for all we receive. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

•          Remember the grace of God, for Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We do not deserve to be treated with graciousness for our sinful attitudes, but the Lord’s love and grace reaches out to us, anyway. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:3-5

•          Set your mind on eternity with the Lord and not on this world. Money and physical possessions mean nothing, for they cannot be taken with you to heaven. “But, as it is written, what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…” 1 Corinthians 2:9

•          Continuously pray for discernment of entitlement. Why do I feel entitled, and how can I change this train of thought?

In summary of today’s message, expect little, receive with a grateful heart, and always give thanks. Give God the glory for your unexpected blessings!

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


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Stop this greed and pride

Greed and pride,
Two evils
That place the world
On a danger list;
Greed and pride
Eating deep
Into human hearts;
The desire
To have the best
Each
For themselves,
To enjoy the best,
Caring nothing
About the rest;
The desire
To be honoured;
Hailed;
If not adored
By fellow humans;
The vaulting ambition
To be great;
To enter the annals of history;
Forgetting
That all is vanity;
Nothing but vanity;
Empty air
That soon melts
Like snow
At sun rise.
Vanity of vanity.
Let us be honest;
Let us stop
This greed and pride.

The Three Ghosts of Christmas

Behold, the joy of the holidays – giving and receiving, is upon us! It was just a week before Christmas that Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol in the year 1843. The many books this author wrote reveals his deep Christian faith and the principles of a moral life. His most infamous character, Scrooge, is the story of a heart transformed, or should we say re-born? It’s no wonder Dickens called this work-of-art his “ghostly little book,” for Christ reflects all over the pages.

If we analyze the character of Scrooge, like ours, we see the light and darkness of life, salvation, and a second chance of God’s blessings. Three spirits visited him: The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Let’s begin with the first spirit…

Our Ghost of Christmas Past

The Ghost of Christmas Past reflects on Scrooge’s younger years. Similar to us, there is happiness, sorrows, and perhaps even regrets. We struggle to find the true meaning of life. Where do we fit in, and what is our purpose? We work so hard to achieve comfort, security, and the American dream. However, we avoid suffering and challenges to preserve our dignity and self-worth. Soon, it becomes clear those ghosts will eventually reappear to haunt us later in life. Just as Scrooge learned, bad decisions leave us fearful, confused, shaken, and empty, and we carry them into the rest of our years.

Our Ghost of Christmas Present

Scrooge is now absorbed by the worries and burdens of wealth. Consumed in running his business and providing for his own needs, he cared little about others. His happiness equated to money and possessions, but ironically, he is the most unhappy character. Our Ghost of Christmas Present opens the door to glimpse how quickly we alienate friends and family with self-centered actions of greed. The lack of helping others in need placed Scrooge in the category of being a miserly, old man. How would others see us too?

Many characters in The Christmas Carol opened their hearts to Scrooge. His nephew, Fred, encouraged him to be a part of his life and home, even at Christmas. Scrooge grumbled, “Bah humbug.” His employee, Bob Cratchit, wanted him to participate in fundraising for charity. Still Scrooge quickly snubbed such a crazy idea. Cratchit tried to make him see that joy should come from our treasures – family, friends, life, and love – not material goods.

The characteristic of imprisoning ourselves with possessions, if we don’t share with our neighbors, is synonymous with a lack of love and compassion for others. Jesus warns us in the Bible we can’t take earthly things with us when we pass from this world. So what’s the point of it all?

I have a revelation to ponder… what if God only gave us our blessings to give to others who really need them? What if they were not meant for your exclusive pleasure?

The joy of Christmas should reflect a smile of happiness when someone receives a gift of love, yes? I know many say that presents are not what the reason for the season is about, am I right? Jesus was our gift from God. He walked the earth to teach us how to live graciously, godly, and always to serve others. What better time than the season of giving, to follow in His footsteps?

Scrooge realizes his selfishness and sins, and a change soon comes.

Our Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Scrooge’s “conversion” points to finding his salvation based on redemption and charity. He walked the streets with a smile, greeted everyone, helped beggars, and glowed the love of God. Though many were apprehensive of his attitude change, they discovered some significant event, indeed, altered his life. Isn’t this how everyone, one day, falls into God’s grace? We realize this life is more comfortable in a relationship with our Savior. When we break our own mortality, our hearts soften for others.

Christ gave Scrooge a second chance to make it right, and He does this for us too! Our life should be a journey of service to the Lord.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

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May everyone be blessed with a beautiful Christmas! Give and receive with a gracious heart to your family, workplace, and community. It is the three ghosts commandment – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!


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Weren’t We Warned?

Today is the day to exploit my messages from God. I think it is important to summarize and discuss the last three week’s blogs – The Stars Are Lining Up, The Ides of Suspicion, and What If Christ Came to Rule the White House. Every single person, most of all Americans, need to understand these words because readers may have missed the point. My thoughts are strong on the severe condition of this world and the End Times nearing, so I must expand upon my words of hope and faith. 

DEMOCRACY

It doesn’t take a scholar to read the Book of Revelations and comprehend the forecasts within it are Bible predictions. History does and will repeat itself again. I began this mini-series with the Ides of Suspicion because Julius Caesar laid the groundwork for the first-ever democratic nation. He thought it was the only fair way to protect the middle and lower-class people. A coup of his envious and stubborn Roman senators, however, killed him. Their belief was a dictatorship could financially harm them and give Caesar too much power over the Roman empire. Why is Caesar’s death important to the United States? Our country, also was established on democracy. We have the freedom to elect our own President and practice social equality. But, today, we are witnessing a shift of events, repeating history. Our government and its citizens are in conflict. Senators are stubborn and deeply rooted in ungodly practices. Many Americans turn their back on the Declaration of Independence, religion, and the symbols which formed this great nation. It is a sure sign America will not be long before it implodes for this country was based on Christianity – not atheism or agnosticism. A civil war, just as the Roman empire suffered after Caesar’s death, cannot be denied as a future event by US citizens.

BIBLE PROPHECIES

My blog, The Stars Are Lining Up, addresses bible prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes. The breaking of the seven seals (Revelations 6-8) possibly marks our beginning era of the Great Tribulation. Countries, including the US, are seeing a significant increase in war, natural disasters, economic troubles, starvation, and genocide. The Laws of God are severely broken, and it marks the beginning of the end for mankind. As I mentioned earlier, history repeats itself through the Bible. Our Lord is merciful and loving but is also vengeful and fierce when we do not live and abide in His word. Do you remember the story of the Canaanites in the Old Testament? God ordered the Israelites to “save alive nothing that breathes” in Canaan because of their filthy life. They worshipped other gods and practiced sexual inappropriateness; they sacrificed children and boasted of their evil practices. God obliterated a whole nation for their failure to heed His words. As we study this story, one must ask, could God be sending us an angry message today? Forest fires are wiping out entire towns, earthquakes are causing mass destruction, and tidal waves and record-breaking rainfalls are obliterating whole towns. How many more signs of His fury can we see around us?

 WHAT ABOUT THE UNITED STATES?

Let’s visit the most powerful nation on earth and founded on Christian morals and the Bible. I’m sure many do not believe this to be true, but again, Satan works wonders in a foolish mind. I wrote the blog, What If Christ Came to Rule the White House because it is time for US citizens to realize their life, as they know it, is walking a fine line. Our government is in turmoil, just as the days of Julius Caesar. Laws pass approving abortion, talks of socialism is an everyday discussion, and our highest officials practice shady dealings. US citizens lack respect for the leader of our country, dwelling only on past indiscretions. Even the voting system is faulty. All countries have corruption, but our founding fathers built the United States to be a leader of the world. Today, it hopelessly flounders in front of our future generations because of greed, lack of belief in God, and poor morals. What does it take for people to see without God, there is no existence?

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2 Peter 2:19

The Roman Empire was once the greatest and most influential nation in the world. Its demise was the corruption because man was not created to rule himself; only by the word of God. History, once again, is staring down the neck of the United States. Our country, the most powerful and barbaric on earth, is about to have a close encounter with God, our Maker. Lucifer has lounged here for thousands of years, in the lap of luxury, but not much longer.

CONCLUSIONS

Once upon a time, God placed His only son, Jesus Christ, on earth to teach the truth of His kingdom and to save lost mankind. But, in this cruel world, even Jesus was a hunted man. When Augustus Caesar took over Rome, he knew a Savior was coming, and he elected the Three Wisemen to go find this great Messiah. He even placed a tax levy to force the pregnant mother, Mary, to come forward. But, God intervened and redirected Joseph to take Mary, and the baby Jesus, to the only country which Rome did not rule – Egypt. The lesson to learn is God always protects the innocent from harm. He is the great Overseer of our nations, governments, and life; His son, Jesus, was crucified to save our sins.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

So, as God sees His beloved people failing to flourish, once again, He will gather His army into battle for one last time. Christians, this is a war we can win with faith and prayer! As God takes His fury out on the corrupt nations of this world, He promises to protect His anointed children – it requires the belief in Him. Live by the Laws of God and turn away from evil. Fight for God’s word because even in the face of death, we will be winners.

As for those who are not believers, Christians will pray for your salvation because – weren’t we warned?

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Ego Avenue

The giant oaks turned golden in the fall, shading the avenue of homes trimmed of gold. The walkways of washed aggregate and stained concrete floors in the garage smell of money. An oriental rug lies squarely beneath the oil plug of the minister’s Rolls and Bentleys. It’s a lovely life – a weekend cabin in the foothills of the Castiles, a yacht swaying at the dock of their favorite country club. Their lifestyles are of the rich and famous. Do I need to tag them with names for you or the descriptions of these church leaders who appear on TV and radio, bearing witness?

Have you ever tried to contact these evangelists personally even if you are a member of their congregation? Several of these ministers started following my blog last year. I tried to respond to some of their emails, but a computer-generated nonresponse system returned it. One such minister put an email address at the bottom of his correspondence with an enticing note to always feel free to connect with him. Are you kidding me? This is a man who is a public servant of God, and he lies about his contact information on his website and newsletters! It makes me wonder…

I used to collect mail from a rather sizeable religious outfit who films daily television and documentary shows. I’d call it a church, but it was all about money. I never met the soft-spoken old man who read from the pulpit, though he wasn’t there when I entered the building. He hides behind the silver screen while anointing his son to be the Senior Pastor.

Another younger notoriety wears his sacred cross, but is more concerned of the welfare of his structures, which he owns, than of those whose dollars helped to build it. An example of his personal greediness was during a hurricane which hit his area two years ago. Homeless people, seeking comfort from the storm, stood outside in nature’s wrath because he wouldn’t open his church doors. Perhaps he was afraid of damages incurred – a chunk out of his own pocket which might affect the mortgage payment on his $10.5 million home.

I could continue with my tirade, but Christians are smart enough to observe who indeed professes to do the Lord’s work. There was only one minister I knew who was genuine and a spiritual adviser to many Presidents. His money filtered through to the crusades he conducted in 185 countries on six continents. He passed away last year and now works for Christ in a different capacity.

I see the actions of these Bible scholars, who can’t live what they preach in front of millions. Most believers are aware clergy are the amongst the lowest-paid occupations. So, how are they living in mega mansions and in the lap of luxury? Do they ever use their personal income from TV appearances and other sources to give back to their communities? Or is preaching the Word of God just a business designed to make them a millionaire?

As I look down Ego Avenue and observe its evilness, I thank God for my health and my wife who keeps me in check. A simple Christian writer and life, I am blessed by the Holy Spirit, and I have peace in my soul. A few friends asked me if I was afraid of giving out my cell phone number which is written on my business cards. My honest reply was why? I’m no better than the mentoring I try to give to others. I meet many wonderful people from around the world – some famous, but most are common folk. I treat everyone the same. Spiritual leaders should be receptive and have personal contact with believers, especially with individuals they follow on social media.

To those who live on Ego Avenue and read my blogs, are you better than our Lord? After all, Jesus was a dirt poor man, and he was always reachable in desperate times. He laid the foundation for your obligations as a clergy member – to provide spiritual, moral guidance, and assistance to believers. If I’m wrong, then please correct me.

My examples of hypocrites and false witnesses, in the name of our Lord, only touch the surface of the United States. I’m sure dozens more exists in countries worldwide. Some may say security issues are dilemmas facing the famous religious leaders, but I highly doubt this. Too many other upstanding clergy submerge themselves in others’ lives unharmed. I think the root of the problem is simple – the love of money. Perhaps it should be explained as “delivering God’s word in order to become a millionaire.” Call it greed or narcissism; either way, God will place a harsher judgment on them. As someone once said, “Knowledge is a dangerous thing!”

Are there any “amens” to my point of view?

14 reasons to share your blessings as opposed to hoarding

There are people who are good at sharing their blessings. Such people are blessed. They benefit from the blessings that sharing brings.

They also bless others.

There are others who do not share regardless of what they get. They accumulate for themselves. Such people suffer from two ills that are killing so many around the world.

There are 14 reasons you must learn to share your blessings.

  1. Sharing pleases God.
  2. Sharing makes people happy.
  3. When you share, you enrich others
  4. When you are blessed you are expected to share with those who are not .
  5. What you share multiplies.When you share you receive more.
  6. When you share, you help God answer some one’s prayer.
  7. The Bible instructs us to share.
  8. At times it is only when someone shares that some people are able to meet certain needs.
  9. Sharing strengths friendship ties.
  10. Sharing helps to create a relationship of trust.
  11. Sharing knowledge helps build people and the one who shares
  12. Sharing reduces lack and suffering.
  13. Sharing is an act of generosity.
  14. Sharing is caring.

You can see from the aforementioned that sharing brings many blessings. The wonderful blessings of sharing. Do not hesitate to share so that you can benefit from these blessings.

You are encouraged to share. Do not be greedy. Do not hoard the blessings of the world. Share! Let them reach others especially the less privileged.

There is no use stock piling earthly treasures which you will leave behind when the bell rings for you.

Sharing blesses you. Greed may lead to your destruction. There is the story of Greedy Mouse that found a basket full of corn. He made a small hole on the basket and got in. He ate and ate, but when he wanted to come out he found that he had become too fat to pass through the hole.

He started to cry desperately for help. Along came Rabbit. When he asked Mouse explained his plight.

Rabbit laughed and went his way. By morning Mouse’s stomach had gone down and he could have easily slipped out through his tiny hole but greed pushed him to want more corn. So he started eating again. Before long he was again full and unable to go. Again he cried out for help. Thus time around it was Cat who came around.

Before long Cat was having a sumptuous meal of a healthy mouse.

Often, this is where greed takes the people it takes captive.

Sharing, on the other hand, many people believe, causes a multiplication of what is shared. As someone has said, no one has ever become poorer because they shared their blessings. Instead, when you share, you grow because new doors easily open to you. When you share, you win more friends and more good feeling towards you. They will give you their support if the need arises.

Do not forget that the shoes or clothes you might not have won for a year will make another feel like a king at an upcoming wedding or celebration.

Do you know what you can share?

  1. Food
  2. Clothing
  3. Shelter
  4. Water
  5. Money
  6. Time

Sharing is an act of kindness that the Bible and the Koran, the two greatest books encourage.