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


Click HERE to sign up for the Newsletter with no obligation!


Advertisements

The 8 Most Powerful Women in the Bible: Part Three

What makes a woman powerful? Is it money, fame, a political position, or is it an Oscar-winning actress? Any of these attributes may be true in today’s society, but not in biblical days. Many excellent examples of strong, influential women grace the pages of the Bible. Now two thousand years later, everyone may find much wisdom in the biblical females. Use them as a guiding tool in your personal lives and to develop a relationship with God.


Did you miss the first two parts of this series? Click HERE for Part One. Click HERE for Part Two.


Joanna the Apostle (also known as Junia)

Joanna does not have a specific story as some other women in this series. In fact, her life is pieced together by many scriptures throughout the Bible, but what an influential person! She was an upper-class Jewish woman in 1st century Palestine. Her grandfather was Theophilus, the High Priest in the Second Temple, in Jerusalem.

The earliest mention of Joanna was in Luke 8:3, where she is referred to as the wife of Chuza, a steward to Herod Antipas. They were married when she was very young, and they both maintained jobs in Herod’s royal household. I’m sure this placed Joanna in a very unpopular category with ordinary Jews. One of her husband’s duties was to make sure everyone paid their taxes to Herod.

Like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, too, had demons in her body. She was often curious about Jesus and His miracles. Would He cleanse her as well? On the days she traveled away from the royal household, she would sit as a bystander and listen to His sermons of parables. One day, Jesus directed his attention to her and spoke with conviction. As the healing miracles of Jesus’ power tell, He knew she was possessed, too, with infirmities…and so He healed her.

Joanna gave a lot of money to Jesus and His disciples. She was wealthy, well-connected, and influential, so she was able to protect Him in subtle ways. She became instrumental in the success of His mission. In this biblical age, it was scandalous for a woman to be financially supportive of a man, much less a female who came from King Herod’s house. But, she took the risk, even though she witnessed her employer, King Herod, behead John the Baptist.

Ruins of King Herod’s palace

At some point in Joanna’s marriage, she becomes single again. One can only imagine the reasons why this happened – perhaps Chuza divorced her, or was he murdered for his position in the royal home? The Bible does not state a specific cause. But, Joanna was in the ranks of the Galilean poor with no social standing or financial security, but she held her head high, turning her life to serve Jesus.

She memorized the Lord’s parables and joined Jesus in storytelling among the poor villages along with a few other women. Many of their listeners were rejected for their conversion to Christianity, so Joanna could sympathize with their feelings. Indeed she was inspired by Jesus’ teachings. She traveled as far as Rome, being a witness to the Lord. She was eventually named an Apostle.

It is spoken in scripture Joanna and Mary Magdalene prepared the cloths to wrap Jesus’ body after His crucifixion. She was also a witness to the empty tomb after His resurrection. Her love for Jesus was deep, and she served Him faithfully until the end of His life.


What made Joanna a powerful woman?

Joanna was brave and proud. She faced public condemnation by becoming single and leaving a royal household, but she held her head high amidst the turmoil and confusion. I’m sure her conversion to Christianity was a radical change too.

When she lived among the elite and wealthy, she gave her money to Jesus and the disciples. She was generous to a fault. Her high values didn’t place wealth on personal belongings, but rather to God.

Joanna was inspiring because she transitioned from an aristocratic woman to a humble servant during her life. She didn’t mourn the loss of possessions but became a witness to the strength of the Lord. Money was a means-to-an-end to serve others.

Jesus healed her ailments because he recognized the self-power she had inside her to change.

Her stewardship to Jesus and the Gospel was uncompromising, and in return, He blessed her with grace.

After Jesus’ death, Joanna became a traveling missionary. It is implied that if she died outside the Holy Land, they brought her body back to Jerusalem. In the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, they adorned Joanna a saint.


EVE

Imagine if suddenly your body just appeared as an adult. You are facing another human who looks different, and his name is Man. Everything around is magically beautiful. Objects called trees stand taller than yourself, and the ground is green with grass and shrubs.

God spoke to them saying they could eat from any fruit of the trees except for the tree of good and evil in the middle of the garden. God warned them if they ate from the tree, they would die. This scenario is precisely the one Eve faced on her creation day. I wonder what her thoughts were at this exact moment?

As she walked through the shrubbery, she saw a slithering serpent who spoke to her. (Genesis 3:1-6, NIV)

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Eve responded, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”

“You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” the serpent retorted.

The fruit on the tree looked delicious, so she picked it off the stem and took a nibble. Then she handed it to the Man who also took a bite of the irresistible fruit. Their eyes opened wide when they realized they were naked. Ashamed and embarrassed, Adam and Eve pulled fig leaves off of the trees, sewed them together, and covered the most intimate parts of their body.

Suddenly, they heard footsteps walking in the garden, so they hid, in fear, among the trees. The Lord God approached them and asked why they were hiding. Adam spoke first… “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Adam and Eve hung their heads down.

Adam answered, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then Eve responded to God, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:11-13 NIV)

God sternly faced Eve and said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 NIV)

Then the Lord God said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 NIV)

The Lord made garments of skin for them to wear and moved Adam to the east side of the Garden of Eden, where he would work the land for food. Adam and Eve procreated, and a son, named Cain, was born. Later, another son, Abel, was born. As they grew older, their children learned to struggle, working in the fields.

Eve realized the curse God placed upon them, for life was a battle. Childbirth was unbearable, and then she endured the death of her son, Abel. The Lord punished Cain for killing Abel and placed him in the land of Nod, east of Eden, to become a wanderer. We must do what is right before God or reap the consequences.


Many misunderstandings about Eve swirl throughout the generations and since the beginning of mankind. She is held responsible for the sin of humanity by eating the forbidden fruit. Some believe she ‘enticed’ Adam to eat it, too. However, there isn’t biblical truth to this statement. The fact is, Adam did not have to take the fruit and eat it, but he did, knowingly aware of the consequences.

Eve is mislabeled with names such as “the devil’s gateway,” “temptress,“ and “wicked persuasion.” My response to any of those unwarranted titles come from this standpoint – Eve did not know of evil, nor Satan and his lies. How can she be singly be held accountable for the fall of mankind?


What made Eve a powerful woman?

Eve was the first woman, no other before her.

She is “the mother of all living,” for she is the beginning of humanity. Eve represents the maternal potential of adult women. She proclaimed the sons she gave childbirth to were created by man and God.

Eve was created with a pure heart, and her only knowledge of life came from Adam and God.

Created in God’s image, Eve carries the feminine qualities of the character of God. Her power of being a woman teaches us mankind cannot exist without ‘womankind.’


Eve’s powerful story wasn’t so much about her good qualities, but what she taught us about life and a relationship with God:

Disobedience to God leads us to follow our own will, thus unfortunate consequences. She believed Satan rather than God. How many of us, today, act on impulse versus praying to God for the correct answer to problems?

When we compromise God’s Word by blocking out or changing the parts we refuse to hear, it becomes a means to continue sinning.

If we do not resist sin when it presents itself, we will eventually give in to the temptation.


Next Sunday will be the final two women in this series. Be sure to join us!


Click HERE to subscribe!


A permanent struggle

How easy is it for you
To do what you know
Is right?
How easy is it for you
To stick to
What you know is
right?
When temptation’s hand
Is being stretched
To you,
How easy is it to resist?
Isn’t it so hard
To be pure in a world
That is full of sinners?
We live in a world of sin,
Where great is anyone
Who lives above sin;
And scarce, are such
To find;
Yet, we must not throw in
the towel in our struggle;
We must continue
To climb to the top
Of the ladder of purity;
Where sainthood dwells;
And each time we fall,
As many times we will do;
Many times we must get up,
Dust ourselves
And continue;
It is a permanent struggle.

Satan’s Shining Sin

MATURE CONTENT

It’s another Sunday morning of crowd seekers searching for forgiveness as they rush through the eye of the needles around the world. I, too, came to find my eternal gateway to a place called heaven’s home. I walked across the side street onto the freshly paved parking area extended for convenience. The air reeked of an odor as Satan’s evil sin blew in the breeze. Little elderly women held on to their nicely brushed hairdo as they dashed in front of cars while others ran to find their pew. I reached the entrance of the church and could smell the difference between Satan’s musty humidity and the fragrance of Christ living inside the vestibule.

I wondered when the dress codes at church changed because men used to don three-piece suits with cuffed trousers and tacked ties. They held the doors for those feminine dressed ladies in their finest ensembles. After the church service, everyone mingled with each other to share the week’s news over a cup of coffee and pastries. Those were better times when men talked about the drought and ladies conversed about canning tomatoes. It’s another world away now as I vaguely remember my own childhood days.

The church was clearly a refreshing place to sit in the comfort of Jesus Christ. I wondered if it was just me or did the rest of the congregation feel the Holy Spirit? Was their only intention of attending church to just rush in with the hope of forgiveness handed to them? Satan’s shining sin glows everywhere, you know, but he’s so exposed in God’s house.

Our world of sin is never so obvious nor blatantly displayed as it is today. I will push the envelope by saying schemes and gimmickry have run to the forefront. It’s like running for the presidency. Subliminal ice cubes in a glass spelling “SEX” in bold letters was an impressive way to relay the message to the public. Most movies flaunt “R” and “X” ratings which have become the norm in this distorted society. We catch up with friends on social media only to be subjected to jokes and articles about the male and female anatomy. What happened to sex and our bodies being personal and sacred?

1 Corinthians 6:12-13

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

But as far back as the Roman Empire, sexual exploitation was Satan’s key denominator. John the Baptist contested, in public, King Herod’s lack of discipline for he replaced his wife with her sister, who was a younger, more vivacious aristocrat. John was beheaded, consequently, as requested by Herod’s daughter. Sex was the ultimate sin which began the betrayal of God’s words. Kings and Queens fell like dominoes in the world’s wake of Satan’s shining sin. Sodom and Gomorrah suffered God’s divine judgment because of prolific prostitution and homosexuality.

No measurable degree of accountability exists in sin by exploiting sex outside of God’s marriage. Adulterated sex is a gateway to Satan’s castle. If one relishes breaking the laws of God, I must ask, “Where will it end?” When you break one of God’s cherished laws, the rest will seem obsolete. More men and women today need to hold to God’s commitments because Satan, without a doubt, has made sex a sport – a game with damning results.

Satan uses his power of persuasion to convince us it’s all right to sin against God. Whether you have a lack of willpower, insecurity, or mental illness, sex outside of marriage is Satan’s invitation to give you a life of perversion, long-lasting guilt, and recordable sin. It changes personal values and corrupts the mind where cleanliness and innocence once prevailed.

1 Peter 5:8-9

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

In the beginning of this blog, I spoke of dress codes. A lack of proper attire invites Satan into the mind. His shining sin, sex, makes it appear acceptable though, doesn’t it? As history repeats itself, God seized empires because of this sin, and improper sex was the root of their evil.

Be alert and be informed for God knows our thoughts before we act on them. Satan lurks on every page of life. He is in the movies and programs we watch, and the commercials impeding clothes. Sex sells! The satanic air you breathe, whether in church, at home, or in public lures the perfumes from afar, tempting the spirits within your soul.

I pray this world, one day, will wake and beg for forgiveness from such absurd things. Straying from God is like being dropped in an ocean of sin – you will eventually drown! Your life will be forever changed when you find Christ. Pray to fill your spirit with hope and God’s true love!

SUBSCRIBE TODAY TO OUR NEWSLETTER WHICH COVERS BEHIND-THE-SCENES INFO ON BLOGS AND THE LATEST CHRISTIAN NEWS! CLICK HERE… www.danabicksauthor.com/subscribe-today

The Three Will Meet

As the sun glistened in the sky, so shall God’s love and mercy radiate below the heavens. The waters receded reflecting the beginning of life. The elegance of the ocean’s beauty permeated in every ripple and sparkled like diamonds. Marine life emerged, slowly inhabiting the pristine bodies of the sea. The earth turned green from the growth of new sprouts. Creatures with feathers perched atop cliffs and took their first flight in the morning breeze. Beasts of the earth moved along the ground frolicking and seeking food. God was pleased He created a perfect balance to the sea and land.

It is here the three will meet…

So, God decided it was time to create His own image and let him enjoy the fruits of His imagination. Man, the most sophisticated species, roamed the land and learned to hunt above and below the earth’s surface. But, our Creator realized man needed a complement, so he didn’t have to live alone. He made a correction to the plan and gave the man a submissive woman to love, adore, and honor. She was a goddess from heaven, where all human life evolved, and a rib created her. They cultivated the earth with the enjoyment of love, bringing gifts to God. What a masterfully crafted world designed by an architect far beyond our scope of knowledge!

It is here the three will meet…

Image courtesy of cobbledstones.wordpress.com

Then suddenly, out of the blue, cumulus clouds mounted, and storms roared destruction to His creation. Evil evolved, and lightning tried to conquer the earth. God was furious Satan, a fallen angel of all people, found pleasure in the flames of wickedness. So, Noah built an ark to help Him wash away the sin of the world, but to no avail. Evil came back with a vengeance. This time, God sent Moses with scripted laws in stone which gave guidelines for mankind to live by, but still, immorality existed. Now distraught, God insisted on filling the world with love, so He divinely created an offspring in His own image. This child would attempt to right the wrong in people.

There the three will meet…

Ultimate wealth now lies upon the edges of the origin of the earth. God vowed His son shall return and destroy all persisting evil. If you lay claim to worldly idols, be prepared… you won’t have them much longer. Death and destruction are in the forecast. God will eliminate sin with the same scorching flames evil derived from when Satan arrived on earth.

So, I shall run to meet Him, at His point of origin – the beginning of life. Like all sinners, I too will bear the heartaches of hell on the incoming tide. God will scold for poor choices, yet many will still choose the path of least resistance. Behold your breath, for the undertaking of God words, shall not be minced in heaven. I will stand with all of humanity, when the firestorm commences, praying our Father will save those who asked for forgiveness.

I beacon all believers to join me. Let us gather, in good faith, and bring love to the beach where Christ will come calling once again.

For there the three will meet – the Father, the Son, and… will you be joining me too in the celebration? ~~www.danabicksauthor.com~~

____________________

____________________

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!

www.danabicksauthor.com

______________________________

___________________________

The Warning Signs

I approached the corner of a gorgeous, stately community. A large sign didn’t show which direction to proceed, and its definition confused me. Marveled by the message, I wondered if God was trying to tell me something. Dare I make a wrong turn because some things seem so inviting yet sin lies just around the corner?

God makes it abundantly clear we need to listen to His messages, but sometimes our spirit disagrees with the subconscious mind. Second thoughts might lend themselves to be valid than reality. God didn’t really place the sign but whoever did, might be sent by Him. Sitting with my foot on the brake and profusely sweating, how do I know for sure if it’s His warning sign?

John 8:47

“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

In an instant, my car rumbled to a halt. Was it trying to tell me something? My mind went in reverse as God made His presence known. I cried out for Him to save me before I traveled further down the wrong road. I’m confident He saved me from a horrible error.

Can you imagine the magnitude of our mistakes if we did not have a close relationship with the Lord? We live in a world filled with signs, some good and some bad. The sole way to distinguish the best ones is to have a heart committed to understanding His words. This requires a heart fully surrendering to Him and plenty of prayers. In our moment of silence, God will relay His guiding words.

I started the engine again and regained my composure. The car behind me honked his horn, so I made a U-turn. I smiled at the driver and politely acknowledged I was in the wrong with a hand signal. God also knew where I might be if I not heeded the warning sign.

It’s a safe bet to acknowledge God tries to save all His children who hang on the brink of self-destruction. His voice speaks to us through the Bible, a friend, and yes, even a sign now and then. But don’t be tempted to look for a quick answer to the warning signs. God may not be finished revealing a situation to you. It is all in His perfect timing.

It is important to understand the Bible has many stories of people doing exactly what God wanted them to do, yet they still suffered hard times, persecution and even death. After all, His idea of success will not be your own, and sometimes there will be plenty of pain to endure along the road. Even in the darkest highways of life, we still need to stick to His plans. This is obedience to His word!

Not sure of your directional heading? Then turn to God who needs to be your driver. Follow the biblical legend, Jesus Christ, for the only way to get to heaven is with an invitation from Him. I pray every day the heavens gleaming light will radiate in your heart. The passion from heaven will transform you making life’s little temptations so much easier for you to handle. Learn to read the warning signs. Christ is here to help you if you let Him….. just don’t obey the warning signs of your subconscious mind.

_______________________________

Please join Blogging 2 Believers to enjoy discussions about our blogs! Let’s talk about God… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC18-nUUbWapzOyRjzZaTCxw?view_as=subscriber

__________________________________

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?

The light and darkness of the world?

The period of lent that led into Easter was a period of renewal. We suffer with Jesus throughout Lent, and our sins are expected to die with Jesus on Good Friday when he dies on the cross.

As Jesus resurrects into a new life on Easter Sunday, we who are his followers are supposed to resurrect too from our sinfulness into a new life. This means we leave sin behind to become new creations – the light of the world.

Are you a new creation? Have you left sin behind? Are you determined to fight sin and stand out as the light of the world as Jesus Christ?

May God grant you the grace to be that – a new creation; the light of the world; fully what he created you to be so that you will help make the world a place that people will feel happy, comfortable and safe to live in.

For now, the world is far from what God created it to be because instead of being the light of the world, a lot of us are the darkness of the world.