Brighter Horizons

…On The Eve of a New Year


 

Brighter Horizons

In the freezing evening air, I stare off into the warmth of the sun so many light years away. The winter vice has us in its clutch. I pray to God as bitterness penetrates my soul, my spirit lies in the grips of the winter winds. Buttoning up my collar I turn away from the howling.

It’s during this time of year that my thoughts follow my heart–it goes out to those who have lost love ones, as the bitterness reigns and winter winds destroy the joy. Saturated by this chill, we’re buried by the bitterness we hide inside as the last year has left us full of mixed emotions. Tears of joy sit framed on the dresser, though some I know are from broken hearts and relationships too. I share in your pain as well.

Yet, despite it all, God promises us that there are brighter horizons ahead and a good future with hope! Through the power of Jesus, you will be able to look forward with joy to God’s destiny on your life. So it is written….

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

We will never understand or explain God’s reasoning for allowing us heartaches and losses to endure, but you must trust it is because He knows your future. Make this new year an exciting time of anticipation—waiting for God’s gifts to be bestowed upon you! Praise His name!

2 Corinthians 4: 18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

God grants His grace upon those with an open heart—those who are willing to wait on His message. I know this to be true. Those who know me personally, can vouch for the hard times I was suffering through at this time last year. But His miracles started with just a phone call in January, and the rest, you could say, is history.

So, on this eve of a new and better year, the bitter sun sets for the last time on 2017. Feel the warmth in the dead of winter, and put a joy in your heart. Take the time to watch our Father as he begins to create our dreams, like little flowers breaking through the frozen tundra. Buds on branches bring hope to those who pray that spring can’t be very far away. Yes, the snow that captures a majestic landscape portrait, will soon melt like memories of the cold.

Happy New Year and hope–for brighter horizons!

happy-new-year

A Silent Voice

With God’s hands lying over top of his, dyslexia has come as his greatest gift….the gift of creativity. An emotionally-charged, true story…..

Little boy learning to write alphabet on white board


He listened to the adolescents innocently frolicking beyond the school. The merry-go-round is full of petticoats and saddle shoes, as very young men in dungarees and penny loafers fair the propulsion. Life was grand back then – hide and seek, dodge ball, and tag….except for the little child who remained on the school steps writing in his loose-leaf notebook. Tear drops fell where the pages filled up with dreams – sketches of boats and homes. A little child, reserved in dialog, smiled at the others as he drew a world others had never seen.

Parked on the hard concrete steps, weathering-in a t-shirt, shorts and Keds, sat this little butterball of an overweight kid. Drawing his life away, believing in his brothers, “Boy’s Life” magazines, he dreamt that someday he’d find his way to those pristine places.

A door opened and a teacher kicked him from behind. “Let’s go!”, she said as she blew her whistle. “It’s time for class. Lunch and recess is over.” So as not to be stampeded, he slid to the side and grabbed ahold of a rail, hoping the herd of classmates didn’t trammel his dreams. Last in class, he pulled his chair up to the front by the teachers desk. The class unmercifully laughed him.

A Silent Voice 3

But in his world, time didn’t matter – just the joy of living somewhere else other than at a dirty desk of pencils and crayons. Trying to comprehend as a little child, the shortest in class wandered off in the middle of arithmetic. He took up space until the pre-dismissal bell rang. Finally! Another day of being made fun of had come to an end! So, he walked home with Peter, his next door neighbor.

And as the night drew near, the portable black and white waved it’s tinfoil rabbit ears. It was time to stick his nose back into the books of things he couldn’t remember. His little school desk at home sat in front of the window. He stared out into the dark and tried to count the lightning bugs. His mom would blurt out, “Okay, let’s go over your spelling words.” So he bluffed his way as though he had studied but there was no use….letters were reversed. Another night. In the tub, then saying prayers by 8:30. If only his father, who didn’t live with him, was there! He prayed so hard to him.

~~~~

No one knows the artistic mind of childhood dreams, especially when many things in life are incomprehensible. Dyslexics only observe their life like a race. Their peers succeed, leaving them behind to only dream and think, “Why can’t I be as lucky as them?” But our God above knows, like a mother’s love, when one is so distraught. Where discipline was physical abuse, the frustrations would then grow as his living became more difficult.

Looking to the heavens today, where only answered prayers are sent, we see this little child again, struggling to do another mission – God’s work. We now listen to the innocence of a silent voice – one that brings home the memories of messages of long ago. For no one could ever imagine that that little child, today, would ever become an author! No one – not even him!

A Silent Voice 4


You have just read an emotionally-charged, true story written and lived through the eyes of its “author”, Dana S. Bicks. Though it was very difficult for him to recall and write these early moments of his life, his message can be read loud and clear – NOTHING IS UNATTAINABLE! With God’s hands lying over top of his, dyslexia has come as his greatest gift….the gift of creativity.

Exodus 4:10-12

But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

 

 


EDITOR’S NOTES:

I do not profess to be in this medical field so my notes, here, will not dwell into the causes of learning disabilities. Rather, I prefer to expand your knowledge about the thought processes of adults with these types of handicaps.

Your chances of knowing someone with an LD are pretty good. Do not assume that learning disabilities are always a bad thing. For many individuals, an LD gives them a distinct advantage. Consider these facts:

  • People with dyslexia tend to be broad thinkers, and intuitive. They are a sign of character and strength when tackling every day’s problems.
  • Dyslexics are often said to possess exceptional creative skills and an ability to bring together ideas from different areas of their life – an original and out of the box thinker, if you will. (Excellent story tellers and writers, you think?)
  • Many individuals have the dual diagnosis of being both gifted and LD. Therefore, everyone stands to gain from their brilliant mind.

 

Do you or someone you know, suffer, as an adult, with learning disabilities? Here is a list of suggestions to overcome LD adult fears of success:

  • Work at a job that takes advantage of your strengths.
  • Get lots of physical exercise.
  • Identify people who, “say what they mean and mean what they say” and hang out with them as much as possible.
  • Find that special thing that you do extremely well and run with it!
  • A positive attitude makes a big difference.
  • Remember that you do not have to be perfect!
  • Work in an area with few distractions so as to remain focused on the job at hand.
  • Use books-on-tape and assistive technology, such as screen readers, voice-recognition computer software, and spell check features.

Above all, pray for God to bless you with all your capabilities! He does answer prayers! God uses the disabled for His glory. He allows some people to be disabled to show His awesome love for all of creation and to help us imitate His love.

 


Learning Disabilities and the Law:

Public Law 105-17, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, is the federal special education law. IDEA was signed into law in June 1997, with final federal regulations published in March 1999. This law replaces all earlier versions of Public Law 94-142, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.

In 2004, there was a reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, where significant changes were made as to the identification of individuals with learning disabilities so that they can receive the needed educational services.

The Last Dance

God watches the intentions that connects the spirits of the heart and instills hope….


The Last Dance 1

With best intentions, my integrity precedes and daily obligations manifest. Never would I ever believe the twists and curves I’ve been through. My life has now led me down a path of heaven’s way. From the gates of hell to the silver reflections as oceans wash ashore, God has certainly protected the innocence of my heart.

With riches from gifts that cannot be assessed, blessings pour from my writing hand to yours. Wanting to do my best for readers to share, my wealth now lies in God’s hands. In all the years of tribulations and trials, only a couple of bright spots exist in my mind – my son and daughter. My life appears as a child’s chapter story book. And I know many of you can relate.

The Last Dance 4

God watches the intentions that connects the spirits of the heart and instills hope. Though we wait in frustration, our souls hold on to faith. He allows our tough times to happen to test out our dreams before He gives us our gift. It is against all logic that He then places certain people in our lives to carry out His purpose. How can one not be in awe of His works??

 

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
~ Isaiah 55:9

 

Personally, in my eleventh hour, hell appeared to be an avalanche of no escaping. Miraculously, God heard my dreams that rang out years before. Saving the best for last, as an old Philco of songs we knew every word to, she waltzed back in for the final dance. A Scandinavian blond, with babes in hand, brushed my conscience with her poise and presence. The embryo of unforgotten love was held on to as the years moved onward.

The Last Dance

 

As seasons gray and gravity plays games, 20/20 reminisces with bifocals. But the band still plays our favorite tunes. Now embraced, I’m dancing my last years with her! Cheek to cheek, looking into teary eyes, I see dreams of fulfillment.

 

The Last Dance 2

 

Pray for your dreams and hopes and see what happens. Share it with me – I would love to hear your story! For it is He that now controls my destiny and yours too. What an awesome God we all serve!

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
~ Matthew 21:22

 


Related Verse:

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
~ Ephesians 3:20-21

A Theft In The Night

Cursed, a city can’t get out of the way as nature steers a direct hit….


A Theft In The Night 5

 

As the gale’s howled and thunder rumbled, torrential rains inundated where fears were so fragile. You laid in bed worrying, wondering, and praying as God was the only one who would hear. Awake, the tears streamed. Feeling helpless, you wondered what the morning would bring. Looking at the clock – no electricity! The world had stopped and Satan reigned. A peaceful night’s sleep had turned into a hell you couldn’t imagine. The night was darker as the pressure closed in…

 

Preparing for another enjoyable day of work and a sunset cruise on the lake later tonight, I was unaware that a few hundred miles away Satan had unleashed his fury. Cursed, a city can’t get out of the way as nature steers a direct hit. Sympathetic, I listened to the news as a tear comes but there’s nothing I can do.

The phone rang. I answered, “Hey Sam….”

He responded, “Pack your bags! We are heading out in an hour.” My first thought, oh God protect us!

 

A Theft In The Night cover

By sundown we were the first to arrive on the scene. Now a deserted city, only the traffic lights work. We found a hotel on the outskirts of town where the first floor is flooded. The second floor is bearable; it has water but no electricity. Too dangerous to venture out in the dark, we are bedding down early not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

 

Day 1:
At daybreak, we knew it was the DMZ all over again. Firstly, and before breakfast, I walk into a hotel. The skylight on the twelfth floor is destroyed; windows in the lobby – gone! Walking on broken glass, there is nothing left worth saving. Staring at the walls, the wallpaper is peeled off by the gales and glass. Walking down the halls, all the offices show how high the waters were recently. Four feet up all the sheetrock and insulation is to be removed by our crews….

 

Day 2:
House calls, normally illegal…. this is life and death now. Breaking and entering, we look to see if anyone stayed behind. The stench unbearable, perishables ruined, all the memories of livelihood gone in a wrath. Antiques destroyed, soggy scrapbooks scattered on the floor and bookcases are turned over. Just nothing salvageable! Even the toilets are reversed – disgusting. Now, to the next house. It’s pretty depressing after eight hours.

A Theft In The Night

Day 3:
Drained, my disposition is uncomfortable. Not assured of anything, I just want to go home. Knowing it’s not just a race but a race against time, obligations prevail. Innocent victims, who never invited Satan’s hell, needs me…I’m off! Kicking in front doors, wading in water, pushing floating furniture out of my way, we feel for bodies submerged beneath our boots. Alone, we pray to God everyone is okay.

 

Day 4:
The tide is turning; some electricity, finally! It’s spotty though. Dryer roads, blue sky, and there is a God, I think to myself. Helping strained folks that can only afford a smile, “just sufficient” is enough to make our day worthwhile. People begging for water, I emptied my cooler in the first hour.

A Theft In The Night 2

God knows, it takes a catastrophe to bring people together. Though it’s the most deplorable of conditions, it does bring out the colors of some. Humanity and integrity equals dignity for your fellow man, no matter your race.
After arriving home where normal was real, I prayed for those who will never find their normal they lost again. I hugged my family and reminded them to never take life for granted. Be humble of what God has blessed you with every day…..

 

God bless all victims of Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria!

A Theft In The Night 4


Author’s Notes:

 

I was there….2008, after Hurricane Ike. It’s an image that instills forever.

A memory of helplessness…. a war against the elements.

A loss just immeasurable…..

 

The Calm

The calm before the storm….

The Calm cover

 


Perched on a wire high above my newly mowed lawn, two doves enjoy the sun. One faces south, one faces north. Entertained by their posture as I sit on my back porch, I feel a calm as the dawn has come. Thank God for the quiet and the love which has found its way into my heart.

Through times of choppy seas, my little ship took on water. It’s then I prayed for calmer waters as my ship was tossed about. Though I wore my faith like a life jacket, I never looked back at the rising storm clouds. The calm has settled deep in my soul and nothing means nothing if there’s nothing to rejoice about.

The Calm
A dictionary quotes it so well – rejoice is the next word after reject. God has plans of which I cannot see. My tiny ship, now tattered by the seas, lays in port calmly nestled against the pier. Like the doves high on the wire, the gulls congregate to wish me well. Thanking Jesus, I have made it through another stormy week.

It was once said in a sermon that God puts storms in front of us just to see how well we weather. Ever more persistent, I’ll continue my journey as God has so planned. But for now, like a figurehead on my bow, Anne has come to carve the way through the turbulent ocean of critics. My tidy ship, with its fresh coat of white, is ready to set sail.

The Calm 2

Sitting at the helm, my Father is on my right hand and my mate firmly holds my left arm. The dockhand shoves out the bow and we are…off. No more storms. “Just Us” written on the stern, we idle out into the pristine waters.

 

God, my guiding light and beacon, protect me from hardships yet to come. I pray Father, for the love I deserve. May my written words always bless your Holy messages.

Smooth Sailing!

 


Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

A Mother’s Hell

When you find yourself in a dark hour of trial, lean into God. That is where you will find strength, hope, and courage.


Long before her minstrel or thoughts of cotillion…. do we ever know the magnitude of the tribulations and trials our parents went through as children? Cell phones and computers were words of nonexistence. But almost a hundred years ago, a mother, scorned as a child, lived with a scar that not even God could change.

In the West Virginia hills, a family of five barely thrived as the coal mines were the heartbeat of the nation. Raising children was an experience that, well, anyone who can read could never imagine. Muddy roads, outhouses and central air from a pot belly were the only conveniences of life. It was here, in a Berkeley community, that a disaster of enormous proportion occurred. A Mother's Hell 2

At the tender age of four, this mother’s tiny brother slips under the water in a bathtub as she reached for a towel. Scorned for life-changing circumstances, the mourning family was cursed. The Mom and Dad divorced and on a rainy, cold Monday morning, they packed up the Packard and moved away to Baltimore.

As God tried to comfort, the scars still remained and life went on. A broken family finds little peace. Faith is blocked and the Holy Spirit is not received anymore. The mother remarried and the dad heads to Greensboro. Now torn, two sisters parade into the Presbyterian….numb and bearing the shame every Sunday.

That little sister now lies beside her brother and joined in heaven where only God can heal the sorrow. In forever eternal love, God has wrapped His arms around them both.

As He lovingly looked down on His little children, He smiled and said — “All is forgiven”.

 

Please enjoy this video from Pastor Greg Laurie and Steven Chapman on pain and grief.  Know you are never alone……..

 

 


Related Verses:

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

For they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36)

Wrath of God 101

God brings out the best in believers as he swirls His wrath about the sinners. God Bless the Florida Keys –


wrath of god 2


It’s another beautiful Sunday morning, praising God for His gifts we share. Sipping on my coffee, it’s a day to praise His word. Like a million other viewers, I turn on the news to watch the storm as it slams south Florida. Memories now are all but washed away. I once resided in the Florida Keys, a quiet little strip of islands as tranquil as the Caribbean could ever be. The Reggae sounds would illuminate the evening air at the end of U S 1. But that was then and this is now.

wrath of god 6

The Bible is full of predictions. Luke 21:25 quotes the eclipse in August and now the fury of Irma. You wonder if this is just a coincidence; never doubt the leather bound. Determined to make a difference, God brings out the best in believers as he swirls His wrath about the sinners. And to those who question, I watch, as only God can move the oceans. Some, though, take for granted the power God controls. Protected from the elements, God is first in my every thought. My heart goes out to ones who know not.

Read your BIBLE!!! ( Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth).

So the sun breaks through on Mallory Square in Key West. Twisted palms, damaged yachts, and tattered Victorian homes are scattered about the little island. Ship wrecks emerge, thought to be lost forever. They’re like memories of love lost long ago and then resurrected…. I should know. My son, an original “Conch”, can only show loyalty to the island life. Vacationers fill their scrapbooks with happy memories. It’s the churches and the faith that’s protects the lifestyle of residents.

wrath of god 4

Knowing the joy of being a resident, my roots too anchor my heart for this is where I met my soulmate. Memories are treasured and thoughts won’t wash away by the hurricane. Now in my comforts, I pray for the memories to be restored to all as soon as possible.

As God’s wrath continues, He cleanses the impurities. The wealthy are humbled; the meek resonates as heroes, saving the disbelievers who doubt that God truly exists. The weary and ragged stand hand-and-hand singing Hallelujah! God has spared the conscious.

So does tomorrow ever come?? South Florida can only hope. Like Houston’s Harvey, you come to appreciate what you really have.

Respectfully, God controls….

wrath of god

 


Related Verse:

I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them. (Ezekiel 25:17)

 

God does judge the nations, and He can use any means to do so. For example, when God rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, it was a judgment of God. Of course, it’s a fallen world, and time and chance happen to us all (Eccl 9:11), and bad things happen because the root cause of all pain, suffering, sorrow, and death is sin, and until sin is no more, there will still be sorrow, suffering, pain, and death, but that too is coming to an end someday (Rev 21:3; 22:4)! We all fall short of God’s glory.

 

wrath of god 3