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
“You owe it to yourself…” used by
“Treat yourself to take the break
you deserve” used by Hilton HHonors
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
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.”
• 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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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
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!
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…
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
It is here the three will meet…
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…
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~~
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.
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.
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.
who accepted his message were baptised….” Acts 2:41
DOES BAPTISM AUTOMATICALLY SAVE
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
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?
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
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
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.
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!
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?
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?
is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that
you are not of God.”
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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!”
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.