The Consequences Are….

 

The Consequences Are verse


Years pass and memories fade; our skin grows tired and desires wither away. But only one thing rejuvenates life….

Blooming flowers permeate scents, drawing us into heavenly thoughts. We close our eyes and smile, as only one thing rejuvenates this life….

You age, withdrawn as if society closed its eyes on you. You’re not alone for many feel the same pain creeping through the window pain. I pray our Father unsheathes the frowns of miserable days, filling your life with thanksgiving. Only one thing can rejuvenate this life….

Erase your sorrows of past dormant days! Allow yourself to be reborn, and God will fill your enjoyment of life and love. One miraculous morning, the flower petals will commemorate the reflections of your smile. God’s spirit will lift you up and live on inside you, as only one thing rejuvenates life….

Today, I sit in the sun and watch you shine. A blessing to all who meet you, my brightest star – you are the one who lights my up life in the darkest of hours. Frustrations ride off into the sunset. All things were made through and for Christ, including the joy of happiness for only one thing rejuvenates life…..laughter – and it comes with a smile! It keeps us young, and most all the consequences are forever more.


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And The Rains Came

Are you witnessing too?

And The Rains Came cover


Big trees sway, musically orchestrated by the conductor who waives His baton to commence the performance. In the background, percussions give life to the motion. The rains came, and angels with wings call to the heavens, “Let us dance!” A curtain of clouds draw nearer, and the lights dim.

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The drums sound from the heavens – God is coming, God is coming! Drumsticks ping on the cymbals resembling rain. Angels spread their wings to protect the innocent from harm. Our Almighty Creator now reigns in the hearts of men. The symphony cries out an overture from the past, for God, once again, makes the rain last forever.

Angels in white robes chant as loud as they can to raise the dead, “Sing with us all ye at rest.” In His mighty voice, God speaks to all the graves, “Release the saved and return them to ME!”

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The symphony’s somber notes are no match to the exorbitant trumpets. Purifying the filth, heaven comes to reclaim its world…. and the rains came.
The resilience of the harps are enlightened, and cymbals chime like the rains. God prevails!

A tiny stick, the magical wand, directs the unrehearsed symphony to continue harmoniously onward. Not one soul can predict the magnitude of Christ’s coming!

The sun bursts and its resilient rays pierce the surface of the earth – the chosen will go first. Heavens of ocean blue showers the countryside. All God’s creations grow to magnificent proportions. Life is born again…. as the rains came.

Pragmatically, Christ reclaims His followers. The Lord now reigns upon Satan’s soil – where the big trees sway like an orchestrated wave by a little baton, keeping time in everything God creates.

Amongst the white robes, the percussion dims yet the cymbals still ping. From the heavens, diamonds appear out of the blue, and the streets are gold…. and the rains came.

Are you witnessing too?

And The Rains Came verse




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Jesus, John, and Paul – Amen!

Powerful words linking the past and present!

I told my wife I felt as if I am starting off in the middle of this blog, with no beginning nor an end. It all began with research on questions plaguing my brain about the simple word, amen. For example, do you know what it really means? I read the footnotes of articles which brought me to an inconclusive decision so, I dug deeper. Where I ended up is mind-blowing, especially for those growing up in the era of the sixties. I am from a generation of influential music such as the Beatles, and I even have to contemplate the answers I found to be true.

We all know the biblical story of God’s conception of a special child named Jesus. He was given to us for our salvation and to spiritually guide us in life on earth. But did you know the Lord, himself, never uttered amen? Of the three deities, it was only His son, Jesus, who spoke the word. Many apostles used it in the New Testament including Paul. Translated into our language today though, the underlying meaning of amen means ‘let it be’ or ‘let it be so.’ Well, this information opened a big can of worms!

Let’s fast-forward to the 60s generation. We are all familiar with the song, “Let It Be” written by the infamous Paul McCartney. I inquired how the song originated, and if there was a connection between Paul and Jesus. I wasn’t sure if there were religious ties between them after almost two thousand years, so I dug deeper again.

The music group, The Beatles, grew up in moderately religious homes. Two singers were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics in Liverpool, England. But by 1964, engrossed in fame and notoriety, they each abandoned their religion…. or did they??

In 1965, the Beatles were filming the movie, Help! in the Bahamas. It’s here they were introduced to the Indian culture through a book about reincarnation. Within three years, they migrated heavily into Hinduism, but it didn’t last long for three of the artists – John, Paul, and Ringo. John Lennon, in particular, devoutly rejected religion and even wrote and produced the song, Imagine, in ‘68 which became dubbed the theme song ‘atheist anthem.’

Paul McCartney returned home confused, or maybe even a little disillusioned. There were undertones of the band breaking up, and Paul suffered from severe insomnia. But one night, twelve years after his mother’s death, he had a beautiful dream. He saw her face and eyes clearly and do you know what message she gave him? “Let it be.” His mother’s name, oddly enough, was Mary. What a message of peace!

Paul immediately sat at the piano and wrote the song, “Let It Be,” in one sitting. It later turned into the title of an album. Shortly after that, he met his wife, Linda, and it was one of the first songs they performed musically together. It was even sung at her funeral because it was comforting and healing to Paul. A miracle was put in place by God, for it was almost as if his mother sent Linda to help him spread the message – Amen!

Thoroughly confused, I went back to my beginning thoughts of this blog – the Bible. Christ was God’s amen, so that’s why Jesus never ended a prayer but only started prayers with an amen.

If it’s possible to connect the dots, I wonder if Paul McCartney was and/or is spiritually connected to Jesus? I relish the thought of Paul finding this blog. After all, his mother’s name was also Mary, and she came to him in a dream. Then, he was blessed with the miracle of his wife to spread the message, let it be. It’s a great piece of music! Paul will forever live on through this song…. shall we all say Amen?! Could Jesus, two thousand years ago, had a clue the word amen would translate today to let it be (so)?



Let It Be – lyrics by Paul McCartney

 

When I find myself in times of trouble

Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom, “Let it be”



Video by H. Chan


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A Folded Napkin

A Folded Napkin cover


As stories became legendary, customs through the years of the Pharisees and Hebrews became scribed in ink. And the holiest of holy are annual traditions – a commemoration of beliefs we grew up with in life. The rituals and myths may be a bit of a quagmire, but one little-known truth surfaced in the basement of a Southern Gospel Pentecostal church.

It was a beautiful spring day. The sun kissed the blossoming petals, and the winds sailed pollen through the rays of the glistening air. Love was abounding as the fellowship commenced on an Easter Sunday afternoon. A congregation of fifty or so prepared a supper fit for a king. Although I was only passing through, the church made me feel comfortable, and I felt compelled to attend the quaint little service. Afterwards, I was ushered down the steps and into the basement. It was here I discovered true southern hospitality.

The guest’s table was labeled with names in front of each place setting, and flower bouquets stood between platters of food. Crystal, China, and Steiff flatware lined the perimeter. I was so amazed at the beauty of it all! The pastor’s wife instructed me to sit in an empty chair at the far end of the table set for twenty-five attendees. That was fine since being left-handed can cause elbow problems. As everyone found their proper place, one remained empty on the opposite end. I thought little of it as the scrumptious meal made its way around the table – roast, chitlins, not to mention black-eyed peas, succotash, and ham.

Individual plates filled with the colorful spread. As the pastor stood and said a blessing, a vacant seat caught my imagination. I thought someone was probably running late. In the abundance of generosity, conversations easily flowed. Then, the ladies paraded from the kitchen with the pies. Oh, my gosh! Did I say fit for a king – and his court?

I knew not a soul, but they made me feel so welcomed. One by one, folks finished their meal, wadded up their napkins and either tucked them under their plate or set it over the dinner plate. But still, in reverence at the end of the table, remaining poised, was a vacancy place setting with a folded napkin, waiting for another guest.

I could be mounted above a mantel after indulging to the point of being stuffed. The crowd moved outside for a breath of fresh air. I wanted to thank those who particularly made me feel so welcomed. As I reached the doorway to exit into a courtyard, a gentle puff of warm air entered the breezeway.

An elder stood at the door and shook my hand. “It’s so nice to have a bright young man, a new face too, come for our Easter supper.” I smiled and returned the compliment. Then, I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “What happened to the person designated for the place at the opposite end of the dinner table from me?”

He smiled and replied, “You see the folded napkin?”

“Yes,” I said.

He further explained, “If it’s folded, it means they will return.”

“Who?” I asked, “They never showed.”

“Christ,” he said. I was perplexed. He looked at me and smiled again. “We are waiting for His return.”

John 20:6-7
“6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.”

 



EDITOR’S NOTES:

This story alludes to the interpretation of the linen cloth which was wrapped around Jesus’s head at the time of his burial. The disciples Simon Peter and Peter were the first to arrive at the tomb. They saw the wraps of linen cloth lying in the spot where Jesus was placed to rest. However, the “cloth” put over his face and head were lying off to the side.

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Three different versions of the Bible translate this cloth to be a napkin. The NIV version renders it to be a burial cloth, and yet a third interprets it to be a handkerchief. The truth is napkins were not used in the days of Jesus – only a simple piece of fabric.

Though stories run rampant of the validity of this account, it can be noted that it was an unknown custom in Israel. However, some Jewish traditions do support the act of folding a napkin to denote their return to the table.

So, is it conjecture or did this event actually happen? The answer is unknown and requires more research of Jewish customs in the days of Jesus’s life. It certainly makes for an interesting conversation over breakfast!


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Alone

Is this a true story? Scary, isn’t it??

Alone Cover



You never suspected it! For days you watch, yet go about your merry way, ignoring all the signs. The spring weather should be warmer, but a bone-chilling cold signifies God is throwing in the towel. Frost on the ground proves spring isn’t coming anytime soon. You persistently hope for a change of seasons, but there is no reason for a deviation.

Finally, in a glimmering light, you watch the morning come alive. Is there an eclipse of the sun? It’s rising, but it seems blackened by something. You observe this phenomenon and question. Something is wrong and makes little sense! There are no rays of sunshine – just indirect light shading your day. When you gaze into the valley below, the traffic lights aren’t red or green – they’re just flashing yellow, and not a car on the streets are moving!

As you look up into the ominous sky, there isn’t one cloud – only a somber shade of gray. There are no plane contrails in the air or even a bird. How odd! Now very suspicious, you pull out your cellphone to make a call, but there is no service. Suddenly, you realize there isn’t one sound from anything around you – just dead silence. A nearby pond, usually full of fowl, is dead still with just a cold, yellow glow. Every bit of life is gone! The air begins has a stench – an indescribable smell.

You run a marathon, along with others, to the local chapel. At the altar rail, tears flow for the relatives and friends who departed and now gone forever. Separated by fear, Christ came and made his appearance. It’s too late! Beg God for forgiveness! You stare at one another, realizing what happened is written in the Bible.

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Is this true? Do you really want to find out or just be safe knowing you love our Lord, the creator of all mankind? The predictions of Revelations in the Bible, speaks of such a coming of our Lord. If you are unprepared, it is written it will be your worst nightmare. What did you do five minutes ago that you could answer to five minutes from now? Scary, isn’t it? In the quiet and dark, without a drop or hint of noise, God will send his Son to gather His chosen in the Rapture. All believers will ascend unbeknownst and leave you standing alone with unbearable suffering.

With nothing left, the cosmic heavens will disrupt the hemisphere, knocking out everything connected to satellites – even electric. A vast few will linger amongst the chapels and churches, praying to be saved, but will they, or will you? Like an Armageddon about to begin, the world will now come to a complete halt. You have arrived at the End Times, alone, and stranded from God…. or will you? It is your decision today to be a follower of God or a hopeless non-believer, but choose wisely! It’s better to be a believer in God than not to believe and wish you had!

 

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The Forgotten

A Dedication to Oklahoma City

The Forgotten cover


Philippians 3:20-21

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

It seems like the first day of spring with branches budding and birds bathing in the reflecting pond. Folks lounge commemorating the forgotten. They read the names of God’s children on the soot-caked wall that stands in infamy; sons and daughters that will live on in our hearts forever. A tear gently falls as I pause between the bronze plated walls. God’s presence is here – amongst the pines and the pond. A young ranger tries to make sense of it all, and he can’t give answers to the senseless ‘why?’ questions.

The Forgotten pic 1
The reflecting pond at Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC.

It was a beautiful morning, similar to an early summer day, and the employees paraded in holding their children’s hand. There was a State to run, and a daycare downstairs meant Mom was not very far away. But everything changed in a blink of a second. Just as so many times before they thought it was safe, a non-conspicuous van double parked by the entrance.

April 19, 1995, at 9:03 AM will live on in infamy.

Today, a young gentleman lays his hand in the blessed waters of the reflection pond and places his palm against the bronzed plated wall. I reverently observed, not wanting to ask about his connection to this sacred site. But it was clearly a tribute to God who is ever mindful of the innocent, but now lost. There is a special place held in heaven for these blessed children of this casualty.

I am touched to the core. Girls and boys of every color and creed were saved by grace that day. They take their place in the shade of a one-hundred-year-old elm tree – its limbs almost dead from the blast. I stand in the shadow and feel the presence of kids running hither and yon around my legs. The muffled laughter of children now resides with the Lord. He held their hands and guided them away to the promised land. God bless every child and their families involved in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

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The “survivor tree”. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC

EDITOR’S HISTORY NOTES:

This true narrative was written based on a recent visit to the historical site of the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing – Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. This beautiful and serene site is dedicated to its 168 victims who were in the building, a woman in the parking lot across the street, a rescue worker struck in the head by debris, and three others in adjoining buildings.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, ex-army companions, plotted this travesty to show revenge for the US Federal Government’s participation in the burning of Waco. Before his decision to bomb the building, he considered assassinating some government officials involved in the Waco incident but later felt his message of disdain would be better perceived if many people were killed. So, McVeigh considered government buildings in Missouri, Arizona, Texas, and Little Rock, Arkansas.

McVeigh and Nichols purchased or stole the fertilizer and chemicals needed to bomb the building. Four days prior to the attack, he rented a Ryder truck using an alias name and parked a getaway car several blocks from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. His original plan was to destroy the building at 11 AM but that morning Timothy, instead, chose 9 AM. With 4,800 pounds of explosives, and a manila envelope carrying pages from The Turner Diaries, he detonated two bombs at 9:03 AM. It could be heard and felt up to 55 miles away. Ninety minutes later, McVeigh was stopped on an interstate for driving a vehicle without a license plate and having a concealed weapon.

On June 11, 2001, Timothy McVeigh was executed by lethal injection. Terry Nichols stood trial twice and now serves a life sentence, without chance of parole.

The National Park Service’s memorial site is at the location of the bombing. Before entering the grounds, a chain link fence displays hundreds of notes, pictures, teddy bears, etc. left in commemoration of the many children who passed away from this senseless act.

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Besides the empty chair monuments which represent every fallen victim, a reflecting pond was created to allow time for visitors to reflect on this historical moment. On the opposite side, still stands “the survivor tree,” a one-hundred-year-old American Elm. Two years after the bombing, an arborist saved its life, so today it stands to remind us that life continues after tragedy.

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Empty chair monuments representing each fallen victim. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC.

 

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The “Survivor Tree”. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC.

 

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The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift 3


 

Much like an approaching season, we attempt to deliver the greatest gift one could ever receive – the ability to share God’s work with those who do not know Him intimately or even understand Him—the unbelievers. With all the compassion life has to offer, Christians need to hold their heads up to God’s direct command that we all become disciples of His word.

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Reverently, I beseech you to be a witness to His almighty works, exploiting that which you know best as a Christian! When you introduce others to Christ, they become children and temples of God. All their sins are forgiven, and they will begin to experience His peace and love. What more significant gift can there be than to witness the power of God changing an unbeliever’s life?

It is our Father in heaven that will give you the strength, as you wander out into mountainsides of the unknown. Sow the seeds and relax. Let God do what He wants to do through you. As words of wisdom, I say, make sharing your faith a way of life! As for those Christians who steer away from such things, may we remind you that God is in command and in the business of making miracles happen?

There is ample proof in today’s world that men and women want to know more about Christ, especially when administered by a true Christian. Yes, you can go door-to-door, but that typically is not received well. Instead, nonchalantly speak to others about something (a miracle or blessing), that He did to make you a believer, a testimony of sorts. Write a blog for your church. Display acts of service in charity drives and allow them to witness kindness. Join a mission trip at your local church. Wear Christian themed t-shirts to open up a conversation. Create a free helpline for people who are depressed or lonely. Share your faith on social media. Be charitable to those who are down and out. Become a mentor to those with lack of direction in life, for example, troubled teens or battered women shelters. Read the Bible in your lunch break to peak others’ interest. Join a church prison ministry to reach out to inmates and share the gospel.  Let God expand your mind as you pray for guidance and leadership.

Do as it is required of you: give the greatest gift of sharing the miracle of God!

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