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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Today’s morning prayer 36

Lord, our most High God;
Today,
I got up feeling worried
More than ever;
Many things worry me;
Insecurity is growing;
No one is sure
Of what comes next;
I commit this day to you
As I do other days;
Lord, take full control;
Protect your children,
Pave the way for peace
And security;
And make our landing
Successful;
So that more glory will come
To your holy name,
Amen!

In The Spirit

So often we look over the obvious and miss the big picture in life. We become wrapped up in living for the moment and cannot see the signs. Let me connect some dots and bring you the wisdom God revealed to me today about being in the spirit. Do you think this may not apply to you? Think again, for it applies to everyone who walks the earth.

Have you ever watched four or five-year-old children put their little hands over their hearts and fumble through the Pledge of Allegiance? How adorable this is to witness! As they grow, they find other activities to cultivate their minds, such as Cub Scouts, Brownies, and sporting activities. They are living… in the spirit of competitiveness and good citizenship.

Some mature young men and women take an oath to defend our country. Do you know why? They are entrenched… in the spirit of preservation, duty, and honor.

Doctors and nurses work endless hours hustling and bustling among patients. Their high energy is formidable and do you know why? For the love of people… they live in the spirit of caring.

Christmas is a wonderful time to give to others. This past holiday season, the Saturday before Christmas, was the largest shopping day in history. Why? Because shoppers were in the spirit… the love of family and friends.

Let’s take a second and think about the thirteen men who, in 1787, wrote the guidelines of the U.S. Constitution. They were not making a grocery list; in deep Christian faith, they carried their pens and drafted this American historical document. Only five men had a formal education, so how could they skillfully devise a draft to protect a nation for years to come? Our founding fathers were in the spirit… their beliefs led them to write collectively and defend the principles of God’s chosen people. Ironically, other than adding the Bill of Rights, it has never been changed or contested.

Now, I’ll turn my thoughts to the greatest book ever put together, the Bible. Some of it was written five hundred years before Christ, such as the Book of Job. Other books were written during Jesus’ life of thirty-three years on earth and before His crucifixion. But most of the Bible was written many years after His death. Who were these scholars of great wisdom? Who was on their Board of Education and honored them with a Ph.D. to write these sacred and everlasting scriptures? The Bible was written in the spirit… mostly men, but also by some women in love with the Holy Spirit and His greatness. God divinely visited them and ordered their thoughts to be placed in writing for future generations. Spiritually grounded to Jesus Christ, they endured the wrath of all those who did not believe in our Savior. Those who could write did so… in the spirit.

Paul, the Apostle (or Saul from Tarsus), never met Jesus while He was alive, but God’s spirit confronted him on the road to Damascus. As a result, Paul wrote almost half the New Testament, and with no education. He was in the spirit… so, God gave him the strength and guidance to deliver His Word throughout the land.

Conversion of Paul, the Apostle courtesy of Sweet Publishing/Freebibleimages.org

Every one of us can be in the spirit. Life is a journey, and we must follow God’s lead when He gives us a nudge. We will become the bearer of the Holy Spirit’s fruit if we pay attention to the signs.

I look back on my own spiritual walk. God awakened me in the middle of the night and told me to write His messages. I challenged His request but in the spirit… my award-winning book, “There in God’s Grace,” graced every brick-and-mortar store. My strong Christian beliefs led me on a path I can never deny.

Those who walk in the Spirit are united with Christ. Do you have the spirit too? It will fill you with thankfulness, joy, and a life of righteousness. Trust this promise!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25


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Prayer for the suffering people of the world

Almighty God and father,
All over the world,
Many of your children are suffering;
And are helpless;
They do not have the means
Or the knowhow to help themselves,
Dear God, do something for them;
The people of Australia;
The people of other disaster zones;
Those in war torn zones;
Who are either fighting
And killing themselves,
Or dying of other causes,
Many are on the run;
People are perishing
From hunger,
Sickness
And lack of medical care;
Almighty God,
Everything is under your control;
You have the means
To solve all the problems
Of the world;
You can stop suffering;
Hunger,
Sickness;
Malnutrition;
You can stop wars,
And the killings going on;
You can make peace
And happiness prevail
In the world,
Please, God, do it for us.
Amen!

The Carols Heralding

Many enjoy our words of faith and enduring inspiration; however, not all of my life is colorful as the fall. But, this is not about those I’ve turned over to God in prayer, but the joyful ending of God’s faithfulness. The holiday season is fast approaching, and I won’t focus on the ugly parts of life, but the joy of Thanksgiving.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Living in a state of humility and reverence, I find myself so thankful for answered prayers. The summer winds turned to the north, and the foliage of forests turned harvest colors. It’s time to lie down arms, repent, and comfort those we might forget this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Yes, it’s time to rejoice! Give praise to our almighty Father for our many Thanksgiving blessings. Join hands to commemorate the peace and love we’ve found in each other. It’s not just the pilgrims landing anymore. Our sovereignty, through God, our Father, blessed the table we partake this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

I so often return to the words my wise dad spoke, “count your blessings, not your problems.” I welcome you to share this thought on Thanksgiving. Lay aside the differences, if only for one day, and thank God for your life. Count your many blessings and be thankful. We fill every day with memorable moments.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

As for my family and I, this year’s Thanksgiving Day holds a significant meaning. It falls on the twenty-eighth, which was my Dad’s birthday, and I commemorate him in heaven. It was also my parent’s wedding anniversary. Married in 1958, I bet they picked this day so my dad would never forget their anniversary. Only one person knows their story for sure, and he’ll never tell… or will you, Uncle Bill?

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!


Be sure to join us again on Sunday, December 1 for the ongoing “Everything Christmas Blogs”

Confused and bewildered

In the day, sunshine,
In the darkness of night,
My adrenalin shoots up;
Scared as a timid baby
By the least sound;
Almost, I jump out
Of my skin;
Danger hangs overhead,
Like a mighty rock
Above a roof;
Men of the underworld,
Tear one to pieces;
Confused and bewildered;
Where is the fullstop?
Can’t have a sentence
That never ends!
Let me snore in my sleep;
And not wake up at night,
To count mosquitoes
Sounding in the room.
Can we have back our peace
Peace we want;
Don’t we deserve it?

“The History of Hope”

Today, I acknowledged a miracle of words when I picked up my sacred golden pages known as the Bible. I was seeking special words of encouragement to share with my readers when a light shone on a preface. Among the Scriptures and descriptions of my Bible were four simple words clear as the morning sky – The history of hope. Wow! This Christian compilation of sixty-six books and letters, written by over forty authors, says more about the complexity of God’s holy words than anything else. What better way can you describe the Bible than hope!

If I ever find time to pen, ‘A Bible for Dummies,’ I’ll use these encouraging words to show the love God shares with humanity. I often mention the voids we have in our souls. We look for something to fill the emptiness deep inside us. Its HOPE, of course, hopes our faith will withstand the depression of the world we live in today.

This divine and extraordinary book is God’s plan for our salvation. The Bible gives us deliverance from sin, repentance, a roadmap for faith, and a refuge in times of trouble. It’s a sourcebook for everyday living, regardless of your religion. Even though its stories took place in Asia, Africa, and Europe, the message is still the same for all believers – everyone needs hope.

Everyone dreams of a better future, but what do we use as guidelines to make it happen? We can rely on our wisdom and knowledge, or we can refer to biblical scriptures for the exact answers. I know someone right now is saying, “I can’t understand or comprehend the Bible.” Guess what? Neither can I, but I take one passage at a time, and I ask for God’s help…and it works! Another resource for better comprehension is to do a careful search on the internet. Only use resources written by the church and their ministry.

The word “hope” in the Bible means “a strong and confident expectation.” It deals with things, yet unseen, and the testimony of God’s promises. In other words, the Bible is HOPE. Hope – based on heavenly realities, which gives us the power to live courageously, and to be all we can be through Christ Jesus.

The words “The history of hope” alone alludes to peace and sovereignty. Hope gives us strength and courage. Never give it up nor the hope in the power of our Lord!


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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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The Rant of Racism

The origin of racism is a fact many are clueless about because it did not start in the city streets of any town. In my opinion, racism should be best described as similar to chickenpox – a thing of the past. I spent my entire life listening to this language of division. It was not math but hatred which divided humanity. Six decades later, I wonder what, if anything, have we learned about the division of people? The consensus says “nothing,” and in fact, we may be reversed in our knowledge.

I ask you, friends, what would you do if Jesus reappeared in your church on a Sunday morning or in your living room in the darkness of an evening? Is your soul cleansed, or is it consumed with bitterness for the differences in people? I spoke to my educated neighbor on the porch one day and asked her why descendants of color (such as herself) relate themselves as African Americans? She could only reply with, “That is how they like to be identified in society today.”

Dark-skinned people are no more African than I am German! Our descendants have nothing to do with the parentage who are born and raised in the United States. Racism, a word derived in the days of slavery, should have been abolished with the civil war. Jesus was of orient descent. He was not white, so I wonder, what was His take on the division of humanity?

I start the rant of racism with the church for this is where the word racism all began – shocking, isn’t it? In the first century AD, churches divided the Jews and Gentiles. The apostle Paul addressed the problem head on:

“There is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.” Romans 10:12

Moving ahead two thousand years later, and in the United States, the church began racism once again – the ‘blacks’ sit upstairs, and the ‘whites’ enjoy the service below. Are you kidding me? The House of the Lord actually provoked prejudices? It makes sense to me why so many believers and non-believers think religion is filled with hypocrites. God is about unity, not separation! One day, as Jesus speaks of in the Bible, a totalitarian church will be built, and churches will fall under God’s guidelines – not their own rules. Christ will be our ultimate Pastor, who shall lead us not into temptation, which is where we are headed now.

I was in a McDonald’s in Hong Kong, many years back, and no one would take my order. People of other religions stepped in front of me as if I wasn’t standing there trying to get food. I know how it feels to be at a disadvantage. It’s incredibly sad the ignorance which rears its ugly head in the world!

I am blessed to go to work today, in a place where I am a small minority. My co-workers are like my family. So how do we make it work? Though everyone comes from different backgrounds, we have one thing in common – we believe in Jesus Christ. Reverence reassures our quality of life. We work in unison to protect our covenant of faith in God.

Let us work together as one under Jesus Christ!

It’s the love of God I rant about today. Why do we go against His cautions and make ourselves divided? Our evil thoughts and slang verbiage for differences among people aren’t uttered in God’s house. It’s only in the profound gutters of dirt and filth which lies in a littered mind. We are not any better now than two thousand years ago. Can’t we at least respect all of God’s children?

Far beyond the wars of separation, let us come together in peace and bear the love of God. It is there you shall be cleansed.

“I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone.” 1 Timothy 5:21


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Be in God’s Presence

Can you be in God’s presence? Many search for a time and the place where God lives while sitting in a quiet corner, reading their bible. Others pray to ask for an anointed morning. The sin of Adam and Eve prevented our ability to be in the physical presence of God. So, I find comfort in the reality of His existence – the miracles of each beautiful day. Obedience to His written word brings me closer than I can ever imagine to the Lord.

I examine the blessings which flow before me outside my home – beautiful flowers of every species blossom in the morning light. Young, saplings stand tall and proud. I dug them out of the nursery and fed and nurtured their delicate roots over a prayer. Lord, please take care of my trees. Let my integrity follow as I love the tree in me as much as this seedling I planted in the ground.

God’s presence brings joy and peace. He awaits to hear from us. I remember something my dad would do when I was a young boy. Before heading to work, and just as the sun peeked over the cove, he’d stroll down our long pier. I’d ask him why he occasionally walked the dock. He said he was looking for crabs attached to the poles. But, I understand now for he found his presence in God through the tranquility of the water. The bay was his church outside his actual house of worship.

Home

My wife is the editor of my blog and website. She often speaks of God’s presence while she is editing my narratives. I write my pieces, but she must find the coordinating bible verses. Many times she’s stumped finding the correct scripture. Within a few minutes of frustration, though, He puts her back in His presence and guides her hand.

The Old Testament describes the presence of God directly associated with the tabernacle in the wilderness or the temple in Jerusalem. It is here we speak of entering God’s presence for it is a place where He appointed His name, purposely for us to dwell. It is why we feel nearer to Him in church and not the building’s spatial orientation. He offers us a transforming and joyful experience within the confines of His house.

“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:28

Regardless of how late I’m awake each night, I have to honor our Almighty in the dawn’s early light. At my tender age, I feel the love I missed most in my life, and it derives from God. His presence is in the fragrance of serenity and in the accomplishments of each nail I drive and every word I write to you. I silently pray, give me strength, dear Father, and anoint me each morning so I may better serve You and Your masterful plan. I’m honored that You chose me to be a part of that which I can’t comprehend. I keep my faith because of You, Lord.

When our heavenly Father greets us with peace and a breeze, it is a subtle reminder our life on earth is because of Him. The Bible begins and ends in the presence of God for Eden will return and expand into a new heaven and a new earth. God’s chosen people will enjoy His presence forever. Rejoice in the joy!

Surrender your sorrows for yesterday is forgiven and tomorrow is a new beginning. Render not what is yours, but what is God’s possessions, so you may be absolute in heaven. Start your day in praise and prayer. You, too, will be in God’s presence.


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