Peasants of the Fields: The Pentecost

Have you ever noticed the corners of grain or vegetable fields after the farmer plows them? Look closely the next time you pass one and see they are left uncut. It’s strange, but this tradition started in biblical days, and it dates back to the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which begins exactly fifty days after Passover. Today, June 9th marks the 2019 celebration better known as the Pentecost. Yes, I know what you are thinking – Pentecost(al) is a sect of religion who speak in tongues and follow the Holiness Movement. However, Pentecost Sunday commemorates the receiving of the Holy Spirit by early Christians which is steeped deep in Jewish roots. This tribute inspired the beginning of the “church” as we know it today.

In scriptural times, the Jews were commanded to offer the Lord new grain in the form of two wave loaves made with the finest flour and baked with leaven. The Jew, Gentile, and other nationalities came together, speaking different languages. (Thus the origin of speaking in tongues in the Pentecostal church today). Peasants of the fields harvested their grain for an offering but under one stipulation. The Lord required them to leave all four corners of the field untouched, so the poor and strangers had crops to eat too.

The Jewish religion sees the Feast of Weeks as a symbol of the coming Messiah and His ministry. The celebration denotes the Lord gathering both Jews and Gentiles and making them one in Him.

Ephesians 2:14-15

4For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,

In Christian churches, Pentecost Sunday is an observance of the gift of the Holy Spirit. He lives and breathes in each one of us, just as He breathed on the disciples when they were filled with fear upon witnessing Jesus’ resurrection.

John 20:21-23

21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Waiting on Christ’s return, today, we congregate and construct our churches for praise and worship. Inside its four walls, regardless of the religion, we are baptized by one Spirit, into one body. The Lord resides in each of us. It was Peter who prophesied all men must unite in one church under heaven. Let us open our minds and understand, it was God’s request the world is to be but one religion. Let each of us pray that one day we will fulfill His wishes.

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Born Again

All men are equal creations in God’s eyes. We are a miraculous life up to our last breath of oxygen on earth. Born sinners, we are considered spiritually dead. Just as the morning sun rises over a cup of coffee though, we can renew our birth. God gives us another day, yet another chance, to announce the forgiveness of our sins and walk with Him.

A church’s grand ceremonial display, known as baptism, is the only way many find comfort in their spirituality. In my opinion, the rhetoric of the performance sets an example of what’s wrong with our society today. Hypocrites grandstand in church with applause as a new believer gives their life to the Lord. Far too prevalent are those who “talk the talk” but do not “walk the walk” as a born again Christian. The simple act of being submerged in holy water will never bestow you the rank of being born again. It isn’t how much of the Bible we memorize, but how many scriptures we can live by every day thereafter. It is being ever mindful of our sins and praying for God to teach us a better way.

Being baptized is not a date on a calendar. It’s a way of life to honor Christ as a religious follower. Even though Jesus was not a sinner, John the Baptist still baptized Him. You may ask why, then, did He enter the Jordan River? Jesus humbled himself in obedience to His Father to set an example for us of faith. Baptism publicly declares we are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is also a symbol of His burial and resurrection.

“Those who accepted his message were baptised….” Acts 2:41

DOES BAPTISM AUTOMATICALLY SAVE ME?

In today’s times, too many born again Christians believe baptism automatically saves them, but this is just the beginning of the journey. Do you realize the act of receiving the holy water places you under harsher scrutiny in the Lord’s eyes? Why? God sets higher expectations on believers because we now know the difference between right and wrong. As I mentioned above, hypocrites fill our churches. They walk out the doors and continue on with their comfortable lifestyle without giving God the time of day throughout the week. The commitment to living for Him stops at the steeple. We must stay in shape and be willing to serve His kingdom at every corner. Be alert in times of need and show others who we are – God’s anointed children. Set an example for this our job as a born again Christian!

The Bible teaches us prerequisites to follow before we can be a born again Christian. These specifications will also reveal why the christening of babies performed in some church denominations, is not a scripturally accepted act.

Though I’m sure someone will challenge me on this statement, we cannot deny the Bible verses which substantiate this blessing of holy water:

PREREQUISITES TO BAPTISM ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURES

  • We must hear and understand the Gospel. Can a baby perform this duty?

Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 1 Corinthians 14:20

  • We must believe the Gospel. Infants do not understand the Gospel.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27

  • We must fully repent of our sins. A baby knows nothing of sin. This is a decision to turn from sin and live for God.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

  • We must believe in our heart and confess Christ with our mouth. Infants cannot communicate faith. We must first speak an understandable statement, so a minister/pastor knows they are baptizing someone who has faith.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is LORD,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

A born again Christian is a renewed person in Christ. They are now a member of Jesus’s body and must walk as sinless as possible on earth. It requires full control of the mouth, mind, and body language. God is first in our life, over and above everything and everyone. I’ve been up for the challenge for many years, are you? The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection will be here in a couple of weeks. Won’t you commit your life to be one with Him? To be born again will be your eternal salvation and a promise for a brand new life!

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Quintessence of Faith

She stood under the cross motionless and watched her son’s holy blood dripping upon her feet. Bitterness and tremendous grief overwhelmed her soul while she stayed with Him until the last minute. The reverence of heaven exists as we can only imagine what it’s like to witness your child brutally crucified at the hands of haters. But, Mary, according to scriptures, remained passive and resisted the temptation to protest the unfairness of Jesus’ prosecution.

It is often said there is nothing worse than outliving your child. I can attest to this as I watched my grandmother sob while her son laid dying on a hospital bed. I can only imagine Mary’s anguish as she witnessed the excruciating pain Jesus suffered from the stakes in His feet and hands. In her glorious strength, still, Mary fought off her own inhibitions to be first, a mother. She knew she would make the ultimate sacrifice when she accepted God’s invitation to give birth to a Savior for Simeon warned her of Jesus’ fate.

Mary was the quintessence of faith in God. As an inexperienced, pregnant mother, she knew the truth about her son’s existence. It was her destiny to deliver a child who would save the world. Throughout Jesus’ life, Mary often feared for her son’s life, but her intuition spoke He was in God’s hands. However, on Good Friday, she must have questioned why Jesus was sent to earth to save sinners, only to be killed by them. I’m sure she also wasn’t prepared for the method of His brutal death.

It is my observation, though, Mary is to be the ultimate example of strength for parents who lose their child to senseless religious crimes. When we defend our Creator, it becomes a movement towards the only ray of light which exists in this world’s darkness. We stand under the cross to eliminate chaos and bitterness, spreading the love of God. How can it be wrong?

Mary could have easily fallen into the trap of screaming and attacking evil-doers at the presence of Jesus’s injustice. But, she walked with loyalty to the Lord in gentleness, forgiveness, and peace.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

What a model of discipleship Mary portrays to Christians today! Let us stand in strength, under the weight of the cross, and resist the shadows of evil.

Praise His holy name! www.danabicksauthor.com

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The Wall

I meandered through the lush ivy alleys where courtyards honored memories of the past. Majestic stonework around the church dated back to who knows how old.

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But if the wall could talk, I’m sure the warrior’s stories would be plentiful. I came across a place where a stone was missing right in the center of a ten-foot high wall. Yes, one little stone fell out. I wondered if the missing rock weakened the structure, and sure enough, a crack splintered to the top.

Inside the history of the walls, we honor the fallen. At one time, the outside reigned in terror as cannonballs pelted it attempting to destroy this magnificent wall. But, the one little stone which dropped to the ground left a guiding light of God’s grace. It allowed soldiers standing guard to observe and protect those in harm’s way.

The cobblestone yesteryears are decorated with 3-D symmetry. Walls were signed by the technique and style of proud masons who engineered the prolific works of art. These barriers, for all intended, have a persona all their own. But, let’s not forget… where there are walls, there must be gates. Let us just ask Christ about gates.

Walls of biblical proportions will stand the test of time according to the Book of Revelations. Our heaven, the New Jerusalem, will have a high wall made of jasper. Angels will guard twelve gates made of pearl. Each one will be inscribed with the twelve tribes of Israel, descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Evil will be refused the right to pass through these gates. Isn’t this very familiar to the privacy walls we build around our own homes and countries today?

Our world is full of walls we must conquer to achieve goals. Find the open gate! After all, we were created within the walls of a womb, rested in the walls of a crib, and developed social skills within the confines of a playpen. The barriers of our backyards protect us from harm and sets boundaries. Christ knew the wall of life would separate us from evil and the unbelievers, so it’s acceptable.

Today, go in peace knowing the wall between you and God has a passage – a gate. The stepping stones which fall out of the walls you cross is the foundation for future generations. God’s gates will be open and waiting for every believer at the wall of heaven.

www.danabicksauthor.com

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Cornerstone-A Designated Landmark

In the beginning, a body of water or a pile of rocks designated property lines. God drew out a line marking the earth’s plane as His cornerstone, a designated landmark when He first created the world.

As time passed, walls were nearly always built around cities in biblical days. For example, the one surrounding Babylon was 387 feet high and 87 feet thick made as a barrier of protection. God thought it was necessary and approved it because they had a right to protect their nation from evil.  So, why would countries of both the Old and New Testaments build walls in the first place? Religious beliefs, not recognized by neighboring countries, was the primary reason to fortify territories. They stacked rocks, held together by mud, to protect themselves and make their landmark.

Did you know, in 1791, George Washington took forty stones and strategically placed them as the cornerstones of Washington, DC? It began at the south corner of the square at Jones Point in Alexandria, Virginia. On each stone at all four corners, the side facing the District of Columbia displayed the inscription “Jurisdiction of the United States” and a mile number.  In 2011, the vandalized cornerstones were relocated and deemed federal historical monuments. Now, their original location is designated by a chipped face on the corner of the foundation of the building where the rocks originally sat in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.

Today, we respectfully divide our private homesteads from each other’s territories by survey flags. It might be a simple parcel or an estate, but if it is yours, it is so deemed by perhaps a six-foot privacy, or a chain-link fence.

Regardless of how small your cornerstones are, stand quietly in the name of God, and thank Him for that which He has afforded you. Respect the poor’s pillars and the wealthy’s gated courtyards. The Lord’s Seventh and Tenth Commandments, “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods” forbids the act of wrongfully taking someone else’s property. It also condemns feelings of envy, greed, and jealousy to what others own.

Jesus has to be known as the cornerstone, a designated landmark, to Christianity. He wants us to build spiritual walls, defending our faith, even if it means our values and attitudes differ from the rest of the world. If we live within the confines of Jesus’s walls, we are morally stronger. But, when we follow the false gods of materialism, our moral and spiritual walls lie in ruins, and we manifest ourselves in prideful attitudes.

The Book of Isaiah refers explicitly to God as the “cornerstone.” One particular passage even details, in construction terminology, the firm foundation we can find in the Lord:

Isaiah 28:16–17

16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. 17 I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place.

Amidst our current world’s turmoil, we build physical walls for protecting God’s people. It is unfortunate Satan roams our great lands with followers who seek its destruction. But, as Christians, we have to seek the cornerstone of faith – our Lord, Jesus Christ. We should not be content with broken-down walls. Let us look forward to our new world, under God’s jurisdiction, where the pearly gates will be open to all believers. Those gates will be our designated landmark!

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The Compass Heading

The Compass Heading cover

Occasionally, a real case of humanitarianism surfaces through the cracks of disbelief at Christmas. I verify this World War story surfaced through President Reagan in 1985, and all facts are verified as accurate. I would love to share it with you in this “Everything Christmas Blog.”

Enjoy the song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”:

As WWI was winding down, Generals swore there’d never be another war truce at Christmas observed (such as the historical event of the Germans and Americans uniting on Christmas Day). Bloody beyond belief, “The Battle of the Bulge” brings home horrible memories… except for a chosen few.

The Compass Heading pic 3

Battle of the Bulge

Snow was on the ground, and bitter temps plummeted on Christmas Eve. A wounded and lost soldier in the woods stumbled upon a cottage in Huertgen Forest, near the Belgian border. Inside the dimly lit cabin, a mother and her son heard a knock on the door. She was hoping it was her husband coming home for Christmas Eve dinner. Instead, the intruder was a lost American soldier, not even old enough to vote. Startled, Elizabeth carefully examined his condition. He begged for food and a moment to thaw. He was just a mere child shot by the Nazis.

The Compass Heading pic 2

Huertgen Forest, near the Belgian border.

A little twelve-year-old Fritz sympathetically watched his mother care for the enemy, Ralph Blank, who could have easily killed them. Neither spoke the other’s language but conversed just the same. As she tended to his injuries, the best she could, another knock broke the silence. Hoping it might be the love of her life this time, Fritz ran to see. But the tone of the voice behind the door told his mom it wasn’t his father either.

Pushing Fritz away from the chill, four Germans coerced her into letting them inside the home. But before she opened the door, she had to be honest and tell them she had a request which might get her murdered. The German corporal responded, “It is the Holy Night, and there will be no shooting here.” They left their guns outside and were then welcomed in to have dinner with her other uninvited guest.

Two of the German soldiers were only sixteen-years-old, and the corporal was twenty-three years of age. One was an intern at med school, and he dressed the wounds of the young, bleeding American. With the help of some broken French, the German soldiers explained their positioning to Ralph. Elizabeth told Fritz to go get Hermann, the chicken, for this very rare occasion of friendship at wartime.

The Compass Heading pic

 

So, picture this….. a little cabin, deep in the woods, buried in snow with five combatants. Also present was a distraught mother with a twelve-year-old son, and no husband to defend her! But the squeamish soldiers became comfortable sitting together around the fire.

Ralph told the German soldiers he was lost, pointing in the assumed direction. One soldier reached into his pocket and gave him a compass and a map. He told Ralph which direction to go to get back to his line. Then everyone gave thanks to God for this rare occasion.

At the end of the evening, everyone graciously thanked their host – a wonderful woman. She welcomed them regardless of their beliefs of war. She kindly fed them and sent them off. Shaking hands and wishing each other a Merry Christmas, all the soldiers were back to wartime. Just one quick hug and a salute, and they parted ways before they enemy caught them.

Fifty years passed and Fritz Vincken now lived in Honolulu, Hawaii. He tells he and his mother’s touching story to friends every holiday. But one year, an old vet in a nursing home in Frederick, Maryland described the very same incident. As fate revealed, the television show, Unsolved Mysteries, put this American soldier and German child together, once again, in 1995. Ralph Blank, still had the compass and map from the German soldier. They had lots to get caught up on! Ralph told Fritz, “Your mother saved my life.” This reunion was the high point of Fritz’s life.

The Compass Heading Ralph and Fritz reunion

Ralph Blank and Fritz Vincken reunion

Fritz passed away on December 8, 2002, almost 58 years to the day of the Christmas truce. He was forever grateful for his mother’s recognition. She so bravely deserved it. The lesson to learn from this touching true story is you’ll never know how, or when, your generosity will touch someone. Remember, we are all God’s children, no matter the language or circumstance.

The Compass Heading prayer

Be sure to join us again on Thursday, December 20th, for another Everything Christmas Blog!

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Paying Homage at Christmas

Paying Homage at Christmas cover

I’m not racist or blasphemous, as I’d like to believe we are all men of God. That being said, there’s a piece of history I’ve stumbled upon I want to share with you. As the war broke out over Germany, America felt compelled to help by joining forces with the UK. This is common knowledge but what I’d like to share is a little-known history, not readily available. I won’t rewrite the books on WWII, but I want to give credit where credit is due.

As Hitler ensued his killing mission during the Holocaust, Germany showed little mercy for the Jewish people. A good many Jewish community inhabitants went underground to escape his horror. A lot of them were prominent and educated. Most were musically inclined and so thankful for the Christians who fought for them. So, they composed commemorative songs. They were not just any tunes, but Christmas songs, the melodies we grew up with and know, today, by heart.

Paying Homage at Christmas Pic 1.jpg

I will uncover the truth. Jewish conductors wrote and composed the best-known Christmas carols! Let’s show them gratitude and give thanks for they hoped to write lyrics Americans would remember every holiday season. The Jewish composers found these carols uplifting and joyful, in contrast to Hanukkah hymns written in minor keys and more solemn. Christmas songs became a national celebration for all faiths.

Image of Johnny Marks

Image of Livingston and Evans

Image of Irving Berlin

Nearly 50% of our favorite lyrics, today, are the proceeds of a rejoicing Jewish people. Here’s a list of just a few of the Christmas carols and their Jewish composers:

“Winter Wonderland”
1934, composed by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith. Made famous by Bing Cosby

“White Christmas”
1942, composed by Irving Berlin (who also wrote “God Bless America” in 1938)

“Let it Snow”
1945, composed by Jule Styne (Julias Stien) and Sammy Cahnn (Sammy Cohen)

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
1943, composed by Walter Kent and Jerry Vale. Made famous by Bing Cosby
Little known fact: American songwriter, Buck Ram copyrighted a song with this same title in 1942, though it’s lyrics were completely different than the Christmas song.

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)”
1945, composed Mel Torme and Robert “Bob” Wells
Fun Fact: This song was written in July in the middle of a desert

“The Little Drummer Boy”
1941, composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”
1939, composed by Johnny Marks

“Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree”
1958, composed by Johnny Marks

“We Need a Little Christmas”
1966, composed by Jerry Herman

“Silver Bells”
1950, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

“A Holly Jolly Christmas”
1964, composed by Johnny Marks

These songs are just a small sample of how the Jews graciously contributed to the Christian’s Christmas holiday. Today, we need to give a special thanks and remember their heritage comes from a more somber background. The Jewish songwriters greatly deserves our love for the Christmas holiday. My prayers this year is to share this homage. We are all men of God, regardless of our religion.

Christ has risen if only in our hearts!

www.danabicksauthor.com

Please be sure to join us again on Tuesday, November 27th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


Give the gift of hope, love, and understanding! Order your book today!

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Make a name to be proud of

What are you doing
To your name?
Are you building
Or destroying it?
Are you making a name
That you will be proud of
Tomorrow
Or one that you will be
Ashamed of?
What does your name mean
To those who know you?
What does your name mean
To those who hear it called?
Does your name inspire?
Does your name annoy?
When your name is called,
Does it draw respect
Or disrespect?
You have to manage your name;
So that it is fruitful
Not barren;
So that it bears sweet fruit
Not sour fruit;
So that when people hear it
They will feel happy not bitter;
They will smile not frown;
Yes, manage your name well;
So that your progeny
May inherit a blessing
Not a curse;
So that they may be proud
Not ashamed
Of their family name.
Mind what you do to your name.
Some names are great;
Some names are a disgrace.
Some names give honor;
Some names evoke hate;
Some names evoke love.
Think about the name
You are building
And the name
You will leave behind
After your earthly life.
Make a name to be proud of.

The Value of Thoughtfulness

 

The Value of Thoughtfulness cover

Doing a thoughtful deed for others has such high rewards, but when it happens unexpectedly to yourself, it dramatically changes the credence of kindness. I’ll never forget coming home one day to find a neighbor who lived across the street, mowing my front yard. How do you put a value on their thoughtfulness? The most significant action is the act of giving! It’s the only thing our government hasn’t figured out how to tax either. A simple smile, a ‘hello’ or ‘good morning,’ means so much and it costs so little to deliver to the receiver. It is the sweetness of Christian life – care, love, and consideration.

The Value of Thoughtfulness pic 1

Thoughtfulness denotes good character and earns respect. God expects us to model His love to others for it shows we have Him living inside us. Giving unconditionally is the value of thoughtfulness, and it becomes a domino effect. It’s the priceless heartfelt feeling when you witness someone smiling over such a little act.

The Value of Thoughtfulness verse

I am blessed to remain in these rejoicing moments. God promises to honor us tenfold when we give to others out of consideration and love for one another. It is my calling, too, to walk blindly into the valleys and spread His good news to the confused. Making others feel like they matter in a sometimes cruel and unrelenting world can be challenging, but the reward is so great. Be not afraid, our gracious God has a gentler side.

The value of thoughtfulness goes a long way in making so many people happy. It restores the faith in humanity. Christians, we have a calling to give with a free spirit. It will shine in heaven’s armor, trust me! Let us follow God’s path.

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