An Eternal Flame

I wake in deep thought… dear God, save me as my life is riddled with missing parts. An eternal flame burns for my father whose life was cut short, fifty-five years ago today, by carelessness. Though I am a product of divorced parents, no one can take the place of your biological Father.

I think of all those special moments in life I wasn’t afforded the luxury of my father. We couldn’t build a model together, fly a kite, or throw a ball. He couldn’t teach me to hunt or fish. He never taught me to drive, yet it I became the chauffeur to his own loving mom and dad. My dad never experienced my graduation day, though I pray he looked down upon me from heaven. He didn’t meet my important first date. Late at night, I cried myself to sleep for the many times I missed his love.

The void I tried to fill was grander than a canyon. Nothing can fill the shoes left behind of my six-foot-two, father. This morning, an eternal flame still burns inside me, and I memorialize the father, I did without, in my entire life.

Image of Jean Bicks owned by Bicks Books LLC

Seeking God, I know it is He that connects the bridges of all the days of our lives. My time on earth is limited, too, as I look at my own son and ask God to watch over him. Someday, maybe, he will understand the meaning of picking up the phone and giving his dad a ring. Our moments are too short to waste on regrets.

I listen to the busy world as it is getting underway, but I feel the warmth from the Son shining down from heaven. It is God who has saved me in all my lonely days. Many children grow up in a happy home, and I, too, wish I could claim the same.

The sun is now covered by a swirling storm system. Still, an eternal flame for my father will forever endure whatever weather arrives today. I pray God grants me the moment I can stand by my Father again someday. I’ll give him a hug, he so richly deserves, for making me the son I became in his honor.

It was once said, “You can’t miss something you never had.” I strongly disagree! You can’t imagine what it’s like to walk a mile carrying your own father’s shoes. Yet here I am… throughout my life, without him here, beside me.

“God, my Father, I so pray Your holy hands will guide me all the rest of my weary days alone. Never lead me astray. I pray that not another child will experience the pain I’ve suffered and endured by the loss of my Father. Lord, let me be an example of Your love to other children who has had a parent pass to be with You. Hear my thoughts, on this day of memorial, and tell my father I said hello.”

I love you, Pop. May you rest in peace till the day we will walk in God’s light together.

Advertisements

House of Prayer

The bobbing little heads are so thankful to see me this morning. They’re grateful for the seed I throw their way. It is amazing they know it’s safe to fly out of the trees and eat, so long as I am there. Perhaps I am… a house of prayer for all my feathered fowl.

In my house of prayer, my humbled heart guides my conscience. I cannot list the blessed gifts God sent my wife and me in our short few years of marriage. But many people are not so fortunate…

Some families lost their finances, especially over the past few weeks. Others gambled their money, and even life savings, instead of reading the laws of God. In a Christian’s house of prayer, the Bible dictates this distinction:

Many abodes are filled with “prized possessions” from floor to ceiling. We can witness this sad condition on TV, such as “Hoarding: Buried Alive” and even “American Pickers.” Or, shoppers fill their carts with unnecessary items after each paycheck to fill a void in their heart. I must ask, “How can you love two Gods if you are a true Christian?” This ill-fated, psychological condition promotes money and the love of physical items. In this house of prayer, the Bible states:

We can easily find the standard salary of clergymen on the internet. It is far below the national average income. But some televangelists, who I call “false prophets,” steal from the poor to live in their dynasty. They build multi-million dollar lifestyles, believing they can buy into heaven’s gates. In their masonry house of prayer, the frigid winds blow through the cracks and crevices.

So, what kind of house of prayer is your residence? Is your home blessed, or does Satan appear to send signals of acceptable sin? If Jesus walked in your house today, would He feel the warmth of love and graciousness? Could He easily place His hands on your Bible?

Just like the little feeding birds, they eat only enough to fill their bodies. They, too, come to me for comfort. We should turn to God for life’s blessings. Share your bread, for it is His will you are supplied with His love, including the little birds that feed in your backyard.

I pray your life and home is a sanctuary, filled with God’s blessings and love. Be content with your basic needs being met and avoid materialism. It is only the flesh that yearns for the security of money. Our wealth belongs to God – and it’s a gift. Make Him first in your life. Only faith, prayer, and your walk in the light of God will bring you to His house of prayer.



Sign up today to receive these blogs in your email! No obligation! Click HERE.

If We Only Understood

I rarely dream, but when I do, it is about something in my conscious thoughts. The aspiration I will share with you comes with a great message.

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”  Acts 20:28

I dreamed, recently, my wife and I was driving through a neighborhood on a brief sight-seeing tour of a town. She stopped the car as we noticed a church called Humbled Ministries. The billboard outside the church flashed a recognizable pastor’s name – it was someone I longed to meet. It piqued my curiosity, even though I detest ministers who advertise religion as if they are running for a political office.

Like so many other famous clergymen, he is so unobtainable when the public reaches out to him. But I thought, wow! I can finally write this off my bucket list. I climbed about six or seven steps and cracked open one of the heavy double doors. For such a large church, it had a small vestibule! Another set of double doors led into a tiny sanctuary. I didn’t understand the complexity of having such scaled-down amenities in an enormous complex.

I stood in the doorway and could literally count the number of parishioner’s heads. It confused me! Why would this church, in the middle of nowhere, and partially filled with poor, working-class people have a prominent named evangelist on their marquee? I stood quietly in the doorway, waiting for his grand entrance to the pulpit. A pastor, instead, was reading scriptures from the Book of Luke.

So, where was this all-powerful minister I was dying to meet? Suddenly a telecaster flashed the famous face in living color. My inner thoughts were best not spoken in church. I found myself in another dead-end altercation, much like meeting the wizard who lived in the land of Oz.

As I woke from the dream, my thoughts gathered a list of renowned clergymen, only seen on TV or the internet who oddly title themselves “men of Christ.” You know who I mean, don’t you? They wear their $600 suits on camera and speak the Lord’s messages. Regular outsiders can never reach them because customer service staff filters the calls and emails. They are much too busy to talk to those who need guidance. Doesn’t this tell you a lot about who they truly are and what is more important to them? Money!

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;  they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.” Matthew 23: 5-8

When Jesus walked upon the earth, His integrity and personal touch WAS His message to the world. He blessed the poor, healed the sick, and scorned the rich who believed in their idolatry of money. He made little of His contacts in religious settings. Jesus asked most of the questions in conversations because it was His way of connecting with people’s thoughts and feelings.

Today, we can turn on the television and see the fancy attire of ministers parading behind a pulpit. They make millions from their shows and books, yet they are unreachable because they are categorized a “personality.” Is this really how Jesus views them? It’s no wonder many Christians walk away from sanctuaries!

If we only understood, it would sadden Jesus, today, by the clergymen who claim themselves a “personality.” Ordained ministers bear the privilege and responsibility of being servants and leaders in the ministry of the Church. The keyword here is servants. Yes, these famous pastors I speak of today are spiritual leaders, but are they servants? Are they sustaining the community of the faithful? No, they do not, unless it’s accompanied by a hefty paycheck. It’s an incredible disgrace to the Church!

I find it strange we lost the very essence of God’s intentions. I can only pray for those who’ve lost their way and are searching for the only gift they cannot find – a good steward to give them advice and peace. The gift from God is the joining of hands in prayer and leading the believer to worship through personal contact. Communication will set the integrity in relationships between the clergy and members in society – not a television screen. Oh, if we only understood… the mockery!


Don’t miss any of the messages! Sign up today to receive them in your email and with no obligation! Click HERE.

Sixth Sense

My Cockatoo parrot lays his head on my shoulders and even gives me the best little kisses. He severely injured his foot a year ago during our move. Covered in blood and crying from the pain, he allowed me to cut the string off that severed into his bone and tendons. Since the incident, I have become his best friend, his “mate,” if you will. I pondered our body’s faculties – the sense of touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. They send information to the brain to help us understand and perceive the world. But I know God gave us a sixth sense, which began at the beginning of time.

If we go to the Book of Genesis, God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden. But soon after that, He recognized man was incomplete and needed a mate. Eve solved the problem. Do you know what God realized was missing for Adam? It’s a sixth sense….

I believe every living creature on earth has not only five senses, but a sixth sense called LOVE. Love floods the brain with chemicals and hormones, producing pleasure, obsession, and attachment. However, the emotion of love sets in after we sense the endorphins. God knew Adam needed to love, just as He loves us. Jesus walked the earth to explain the innate love born into each person. Men couldn’t characterize it at the start of time, but love always existed, just as it does now.

Love is a sense of the inner spirit and a force of nature. It is unpredictable, irrefutable, and radiates independently of our fears and desires. So, if God formed all His creations with love as a sixth sense, how then could it not apply to animals too?

As we see on social media, mammals can show humans, love. Millions of caretakers of dogs and cats I’m sure will agree with me. They slurp kisses on our face and sleep in bed with us. But particular creatures, like fowl, are instinctively non-receptive to people. Their nature is to fly from danger… or is it?

I am happy to report that birds, too, are born with a sense of love. How did I reach this epiphany? By a bird – yes, by my parrots! We can’t teach our feathered friends to hug or give us a kiss. Instead, they sense (the sixth sense) when they are loved and protected. They reciprocate in a language only they can understand.

Image by Bicks Books LLC

Now to test my experiment on the outdoor birds. Each morning, I throw tiny seed on the ground, and then take a seat on the deck. Almost immediately, the small birds gather in the nearby trees. I call them, and they flock down to the grass to feed and greet me. Some even venture onto the deck and handrails and chirp. They feel protected and sense love.

 I even took my “love” hypothesis to Wal-Mart. As I walked down an aisle, I encountered many service dogs. We made eye contact, and they too broke and ran to me for a pat on the head. You see, God communicates with animals. He led the animals to Noah’s ark.  Scripture tells us that the breath of life resides within them; therefore, they have a sense of love too.

“Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark.”  Genesis 7:15

Love is the sixth sense inside all creations that share God’s spirit. It is the connection between all the universal languages. Humanity and animals do not have to be created alike to have the same compassion and love derived from God. He so loved the world first so that all His creations have the ability and instinct to love others.

“For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.”  Psalm 50:10-11


Receive these and other blogs in your email! Click HERE to sign up.

“40” Days

God opened a door this morning and sent me this simple message: “40 days.”  So, I explored the Bible for hardships endured based on the number forty. It astonished me to discover that in biblical history, forty is found 159 times across both the Old and New Testaments. It appears to be a set time for testing and trials in times of vulnerability and trouble.

Here are just a few of the examples where the number “40” played out in the Bible:

The ultimate test of faith occurred with Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. They fasted for forty days and gained new insight into God’s plans. Moses received the Ten Commandments, Elijah was told how to lead the people of Israel, and Jesus denied Satan’s temptations in the desert.

Three Hebrew kings – Saul, David, and Solomon each ruled for forty years, of which twenty of those years were prosperous. The other twenty years their lives were in ruin because the kings took more from their people than they ever returned – a test of dedication and prosperity.

Remember the story of David and Goliath? Goliath and the Philistines humiliated and fought the Israelites for forty days. Then God sent the shepherd, David, to defeat them and solidify Israel. This was a test of the Philistine’s humility.

Noah built an ark under God’s instruction. Because man’s sins were too great, He flooded the earth for forty days and nights, destroying every living thing on earth. It was a test of Noah’s faithfulness.

Image attributed to John Paul Stanley/YoPlace.com. Courtesy of FreeBibleImages.org

Days before they crucified Jesus, He prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. Forty years later, the Roman Empire burned the city to the ground.

Jesus spent forty days on earth after His resurrection

Today, as you are reading this message, we are in Lent, the “40 days” before Easter. The Lenten season is a time to reflect on Jesus Christ and the meaning of His life – the most significant sacrificial event in the world for Christians. It also includes self-examination and fasting.

Though the Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in a few scriptures:

“So I turned to the LORD God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”  Daniel 9:3

“Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.”  2 Samuel 13:19

The Lord does not call us to search for secret meanings in the Bible, but interestingly, this figure plays a huge part in scriptures. Pagans trust numerology, but I have great faith that God used “40” for specific reasons. One such cause is that the word month was unknown, so “40 days” was just a general time period of about a month in biblical times.

So, I ponder this question: Are our prayers answered in about 40 days of a trial and testing? It’s a refreshing thought the Holy Spirit could replenish our spirits and faith every forty days. What an inspiring idea of hope! Our God is awesome!

To those who believe He does not answer prayers, begin practicing your faith on a deeper level. It just might take you “40 days,” but rest assured – God is waiting!


Click HERE to sign up today!

Isn’t It Time for Some Good News?

I open Google and social media each day, and the negative news floods the pages. People are murdering the innocent with fortitude, a grim reminder Satan still walks the earth. Those with the gold try to pass absurd laws for citizens to follow while they release the guilty to commit more crimes. Lines are drawn in the dirt as men of power speak lies. We, the meek, are artists left to draw our own conclusions. Today, I sit outside in the rain to witness God’s tears of sadness as I pray for those who desperately need His help. But every now and again, we might glimpse His holy goodness.

So, isn’t it time for some good news? God is coming soon to save the faithful and who believe He is the great healer of all our pain. Prophecy promises He will honor those who uphold His holy name.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4 NIV

Let’s make hope the new headlines! The brown lawns will soon resonate to a gorgeous green, and budding plants will regain their strength. Even in times of disaster, we can witness God showing His power, and mankind, together, fights off evil as one. Many non-believers, especially overseas, have found the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t this a joy to share with others? Let us join hands in solidarity and honor God, for He will be the successor! Spread the hope of salvation to everyone!

Today, I challenge every man, woman, and child to become a leader for God. Sweep away the dead foliage of yesterday, and salt the icy bricks so we can climb the steps to heaven’s gates. Let your Christian faith shine through in every aspect of your life! Make positive changes that reflect God’s love and spread His good news.

“A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV

Memorize scriptures with a strong heart and an encouraging message. It will improve your relationships, health, and happiness. Learn new ways to replace the old negative ones. Pray for the Lord to show you the way for He is in total control of your life.

Yes! YOU will be the good news this world is so desperate to find! Faith unto us has great continuity.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2  NIV

God bless you, my friends!


Receive our blogs in your email and with no obligation! Sign up HERE


Fallen From Grace

God placed before me an obstacle course of challenges to navigate last week. Two individuals felt it imperative to attack my Christian beliefs. As we observe in the world today, many people have fallen from grace while they adhere to the trending fads of social justice. Though I could have tweeted and emailed rhetorical answers, I go forth in the light of God, and write this message. I welcome a good challenge, though, for they are not aware of my history with the Lord.

I investigated a word that rattled in my brain, for there must be some form of justice in my chain of events. It occurred to me God is not just a god of love, but He is “just” – morally right and fair.

Two kinds of justice should be the most concerning for Christians: social and biblical. Much of present-day humanity confuse biblical justice when applying it to our current laws – social justice. So, let me give you some prominent examples.

BIBLICAL JUSTICE

God created all humans equal in His image and the blessing to be treated with fairness and justice. But, from the beginning of the Bible, mankind rejected God’s principles. Paul, the Apostle, warned of this blight. Biblical justice is only what is right in the sight of the Lord – not man’s laws.

“God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” Ecclesiastes 3:17

Biblical justice occurs when we see people as God sees them. This spiritual freedom causes us to fully embrace the cause of Christ by joining the community and reconciling others to the Lord. We should not to participate in something for just our own benefit, but for the glory of God.

He calls us to confront evil and to care for the vulnerable, however many people back away from this for fear of losing their life. So, thirty-five million people live in slavery, of some form around the world, because there is no one to save them from the horror. Injustice is rampant, and very few take action to protect the innocent. The news recently broadcast the story of a seventy-seven-year-old man beaten and robbed for a couple of hundred dollars. Did any Christian come forward to help him? Christ’s followers are to “do justice” because Christ came proclaiming justice. It is He giving a voice to the voiceless!

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” Psalm 82:3

SOCIAL JUSTICE

In matters of social justice, we become entrenched in who wronged whom, and who wronged whom first, in an undertone of anger. It spreads division and destruction, as is evident within our current U.S. government. Social division becomes based on the judgment of everyone who does not see things “our way.” The distinction Jesus taught was never about skin color, religious, ethnic, or cultural affiliations or political positions. Condemnation of people blind us to the forgiveness Christ offers us as sinners.

Also, consider this… how many social media lovers refuse to discuss religion with others? Why? Is it the fear of social injustice invoking us to hide underneath the covers? Let’s drop our apprehensions and model Christ’s truth and grace.

Social justice will never represent the law of God passed down by Moses. It is unrighteous and dehumanizing, and the moment we accept it as a way of life, we have fallen from grace.

CAN A CHRISTIAN DO GOOD IN A SOCIAL JUSTICE SYSTEM?

My answer is, “absolutely!” Upholding our dignity and biblical justice laws, we can become activists for the unborn, the elderly, marriage and family, and religious freedom. It’s not a glamorous feat, but it will quiet and humble the expression of biblical Christian justice.

May we all go out into the world with the spirit of our Lord! Be an inspiration for those who have fallen from grace. Your endeavors will be greatly rewarded!


Never miss a blog! Receive them in your email and with no obligation! Click HERE to sign up.

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


Are you receiving these messages in your email? Sign up to begin today and with no obligation! Click HERE.

Positivity in Negativity

Positivity in Negativity

I’m a firm believer in anxiety and the power of negative thinking     Gertrude Berg

Positive thinkers

Be happy,be positive,be successful etc are very popular statements, we come across these days.

This philosophy says, you wish any thing and be positive and you are sure to get it.

So simple ! Abracadabra !

Oh My God,if only life were that simple ! Positive thinking pattern does not work just like that.

The problem with us is that you have hundreds of options making you uncertain of your choice resulting in wishing for good ones thus going in for positive thinking.

Positive thinking is nothing but a kind of ‘being hopeful’ that can be ‘deceitful’.

Nothing more deceitful than ‘Don’t worry be happy’ attitude.

In positive thinking there is no fear factor,because your wishes are on a platter !

If you go on relying on these so called positive vibrations,there are chances that you may relax a bit become overconfident and lenient resulting in failures and disappointments.Do you wish this to happen ?

This is where negative thinking comes to the rescue.How is that ?

The psychology applied here is very simple.

“When I expect the worst,then I won’t be disappointed when things go wrong”

Respect your negative thoughts by not getting demotivated and try to broaden your horizons.Negative thoughts are natural.Welcome it.

  1. Negative thinking makes you understand the problems thoroughly and keeps you well prepared to face the eventuality and you are sure to come out successfully.
  2. Negative thinking makes you a stronger person mentally.( you become a realistic )
  3. Negative thinkers have greatest advantage in winning the situation because if plan A fails…you already have plan B in motion.
  4. Negative thinkers foresee the problems,willing to learn and easily convert failure into success.
  5. You develop confidence and survival instinct.

Check this youtube clip

“Being able to tolerate negative feelings can be crucial to a wide variety of life situations: delaying gratification, learning from bad experiences, truly hearing what other people have to say, and assessing our own circumstances.”
Julie K. Norem

Please share your views.

Thank you.
Philosophy Through Photography

credits-Image-pixels.youtube