A Thread of Faith

Have a blessed Easter!

A Thread of Faith cover


Sitting on an old boulder along the hillside, I watched quietly as if I had gone way back in time. Under the overcast skies, stood a few men that looked as though they were dressed in biblical robes milling about a field. Several knelt before the base of a rough-cut pole. I watched them pray in the shadows and observed the amazed disbelievers. They gazed upon the monument where the crucified King hung not so long ago. I presumed it must have been day four or five since He was entombed in the limestone cave. They stood praying in His honor and breaking off pieces of the treasured cross.

I heard a woman weeping as she threw herself around the base of the up righted cross. Aided by two disciples, she reached up and carefully removed the remains of His loincloth hanging from the driven spike. She tore the cloth into threads, and shared the pieces –much like a first communion. “Our Savior lives! Our Savior lives!” she announced. I began to shed a tear, for I knew the truth! They, too, saw the empty tomb and knew what happened to Him.

From her soiled hands, she passed out a thread of faith. Each of the disciples carried their pieces as a sacred memento. The doubters watched while others came forward and found salvation with her communion. As I watched, I could tell they were the first to become born-again Christians for they now accepted He was the Christ.

I don’t think they saw me; maybe I didn’t exist to them but what I saw while sitting on that ominous boulder in a pair of jeans was incredible! As much as I wanted to walk up to the site, I thought better of losing the mirage. I, a mere messenger, can only report what I saw that day. The sun broke through and before it set, I watched the rays as they lifted them into the heavens.

A Thread of Faith verse

Making Amends

An Artist’s Tribute to Palm Sunday: “The Last Supper”

Amends cover
“Truly I say to you, that one of you shall betray me”

Many times in life we must look at things in wonder. For centuries, disconcert plays a role in many people’s lives. One such situation you may be unaware of was set in 1495. The Duke of Milan wanted to have a contest for artists. The quest was to see who could depict the best painting of an unknown event from their imagination. This painting would be placed in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. So, word went out across the land to bring knowledge and talent and put their skills to the test.

Artists came from far and wide to show their talents. One such flagrant depicter had a reputation for never completing his works. Not qualified to even be considered, he stood by the wayside as others were rejected for their inequality of workmanship. Soon enough, the list was narrowed down to just two contenders. It was between the one you already know and another who was less fortunate to be made second runner-up. Now as the story goes, these two artists did not think much of each other’s skills. In fact, they detested their perspective abilities and reputations. Despising each other brought tensions and deceit. After painting a mock version of the duke’s request, Leonardo da Vinci was awarded the job, and he began to paint.

Amends da vinci
Leonardo da Vinci

Depicting the unimaginable, yet showing great reverence for the somber occasion, his characters developed from common people serving as models – some were off the street and one was just out of prison. But of all those who posed for this infamous painting, it was the character of Jesus that Leonardo struggled with and could not accomplish…. at least not until he made amends with his colleague who wasn’t as lucky as him. Da Vinci could not paint Jesus’s eyes until he asked for forgiveness.

Looking into the eyes of those who don’t see as we, forgiveness is all Christ asks of us. In the reflections, deep in the portals of the subconscious, Jesus stands with us. His eyes, as in the painting of “The Last Supper”, pierces our hearts and minds. It should remind us of our own integrity–-primary, and our lives in His hands. And as we celebrate our Savior’s passing may we never forget we can all partake in the last supper. Just look into Christ’s eyes and you will see.

 


Interesting Facts of “The Last Supper” Painting

  • Leonardo, prior to this contest, had no experience painting large pictures. It took him four years to complete it.
  • The original painting was 15 x 29 feet long.
  • The Last Supper was originally painted by experimenting with tempura paint on a dry, plaster wall. Even before it was finished, it flaked off the walls. It had to be re-done a few times by da Vinci.
  • Two exact copies of da Vinci’s Last Supper are known to exist. They were created by Leonardo’s assistants and are remarkably well preserved.
  • The painting was made to depict Matthew 26:21.

Amends Matthew 26

  • Very little of the original painting exists today. It was heavily damaged by Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers in the late 18th century, and then disintegrated by the Nazis in World War II. In fact, it has been restored seven times.
  • In 1652, monastery residents cut a new door in the wall of the deteriorating painting, which removed a chunk of the artwork showing the feet of Jesus.
  • All prior versions of “The Last Supper” had halos over the disciples and Jesus’s heads. However, Leonardo da Vinci did not paint them and many today speculate it was because he saw everyone as just ordinary people – not saints.

Amends Last Supper with halos

 

  • Da Vinci’s drawings show that most bodily proportions use the fascinating Golden Ratio: two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. Not just a simple painting!

Amends The Golden Ratio

 

  • Want to see the original painting in person? You must book a viewing at least several months in advance. Each visit consists of fifteen minutes in groups of 20-25 visitors, and you must be dressed conservatively.

Amends Da Vinci Code

 

Crucifying Christianity

….hiding behind the words they read and living by the rules that are only applicable to suit themselves.

Crucifying Christianity


Webster’s Dictionary definition states that Christianity is a practice of a religion, a belief, dating back to Nazareth. Talk about crucifying Christianity!! Now, I know I may not be the brightest light in the midnight sky, but I beg to differ with this description. I’ve practiced a lot of things but I never saw attending church as a practice. Practice isn’t a commitment! Doctors practice medicine, athletes practice their sport. And as far as their definition of it being a belief? OK, maybe that’s where our generations differ. Christianity, in my opinion, is about being and living Christlike—hence, the first part of the adjective.

Christianity, I’d like to believe, is a way of life–waking in the morning and asking God to bless your day; or praying to our heavenly father to forgive those who trespass against us, as we go to sleep. Do you practice, at our age, what we should have mastered by now–praying? Right or wrong, it’s a way of life for Christians.

I wander in my thoughts….

Some can recite bible scripture backwards, but does that make them a better Christian or more Christlike? Or is it those that wake in the morning to give of themselves, showing respect and honoring others, and living by the commandments that have been passed down? Christianity – is that when someone forces you out of your driving lane, or is it using some choice words to say how grateful you aren’t for their stupidity? NO! That’s crucifying the meaning behind Christianity!

The words, “I’ll pray for you”, does that pertain to practicing? Helping you on with your coat or holding a door…. maybe. But that’s being courteous and isn’t that what Christ would want? Christ could care less if you’re a Baptist, Catholic, or Presbyterian and those who follow His footsteps should know better than that! You treat everyone equally because it’s a way of LIFE–a life that brings you to God in the end. As Christians, we should respect all born into God’s kingdom!

 

Crucifying Christianity 2

 

Ah…and now for the Christian hypocrites – those who could care less how they drive others out of their lane, while they read the Bible over breakfast! Their swords wave as they swear. Their hearts are less than the brains God gave them (though they don’t consider that as an option). So many–hiding behind the words they read and living by the rules that are only applicable to suit themselves. Perhaps they are the people that Webster’s definition refers to when we speak of Christianity – practicing a religion!

Combatting hypocrisy was a passion for Jesus. In fact, much of Matthew 23 is dedicated to this topic:

“‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.’”

According to God’s wishes, we as Christians, must make it our duty to enlighten hypocrites of their wrongdoings. Be vulnerable, honest, and authentic with these unbelievers. Let them acknowledge their sins so they may share in the freedom of God’s forgiveness. Jesus encourages us to make disciples, not just “save” people, so let’s pitch in to help the hypocrites who are crucifying Christianity!

Crucifying Christianity 1

 

So, tomorrow when you wake, will you read your bible over breakfast, or scalp the neighbor that lives next door to you? Will you scream at the kids when it’s really your fault? Will your spouse get a hug and kiss goodbye as you go out the door and into your car?

Now tell me…. what part of practicing a belief is Christianity in your everyday walk of life? Are you, too, crucifying Christianity by knowing the Word yet living by your own demeanor? Or are you trying to do a better job of being the best you can be to others? If you’re only attempting to try, then maybe you are practicing after all!

The House of Bread

….a sanctuary for all God’s children.

The House of Bread 2


On a hilly, winding road of adventurous curves of my Midwest state, I look across the manicured mountains and the sun is altering the colors. The trees line the ridge’s crest, a grandeur of stability, a misty shade of crimson. God, what an awesome sight! I close my eyes but for just a moment and suddenly I’m thinking back to the buggy days. Life’s pace was a whole lot different back then and these old roads were nothing but, well —- dirty.

 

You know, every couple of miles it seemed as though a church was erected…. not in any particular town, but just tucked in along the side of an old, dirt horse and buggy trail. As I’m regressing in thought, I see how loners, searching for the birth of the miracle child, traveled about in their own land. Hungry and tired, they too found comfort along the dusty roads. Like Bed and Breakfast Inns, churches, back then, welcomed those in need of shelter and warmth too. But this similarity goes far beyond bread and warmth.

 

I never gave it much thought, but the purpose of churches back then, was not just for believers but for a place to rest. Along the trails that led to those sacred cities, like the suburbs of today, were wayfaring stations, you might say. They combed the country. And then, like now, roads led to the center — the center of towns. Christianity grew as the word spread and farmers turned into followers, also looking for that miracle child.

 

Thousands came to welcome Him, bearing fruits and gifts to share. Churches heard of the wonderful word and welcomed all that traveled the dusty road. Jerusalem was the capitol of regimes…. some proclaimed, some denounced, but all those who came bearing faith in the name were welcomed. The bright star led the way to where He laid in the manger. The little town was kept a secret — “The House of Bread”, as it was referred to, built for those who traveled heavily laden…. those who came searching for His nourishment.

 

The House of Bread 3

 

Now, two thousand seventeen years later, with all the clichés, you understand The House of Bread, in Hebrew, was Bethlehem. Today, we travel the backroads of life, realizing how important those little churches were…. not dilapidated like some houses but a sanctuary for all God’s children. And today, they remain standing.

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 Color Of Love

….and The Biblical Meaning Of Colors. Enjoy The Music Of Billy Ocean’s The Colour of Love

 


Though love is thought of in many shades, no one can depict the actual color. From the beginning of time, dawn awakes; I watch in awe of its spectacular wonder. Is that the color of love?

The day progresses and I look at the shades of blue in the sky. Oddly, no one has ever painted that same hue but do we love the color. Is that, in fact, the color of love?

In the culmination of day, the lazy sun sets over the pristine waters. Humbly we sit and watch the shades, different though from dawn’s early light. Holding hands on a park bench, reverently we kiss goodnight, and there the sun slips off into another horizon. Is this the color of love?

It’s a beautiful thought to depict a color that resembles love…perhaps in the peace of a forest as a mother feeds her fawn or an orchid of flowers living in harmony. Or is it that soulmate that finds their way back? And moreover, what if it’s a gift from God you hold in your hands that fills your heart as you share it with thousands?

The Color of Love

Love…an indescribable flavor, an aphrodisiac to your spirit that only God controls. But to come up with a color, is it the hint you receive from another’s world as they let you in? Does the color come from the tints of earth? Or the oceans resting on its sandy shores? Or from the heavens high above, now coming to a close as they too are resting in shades of pastels? That moment when life below and above greets the present. If it’s only for a minute or so in time, the color of love is unequal.

Saying a prayer, it’s only our Father in heaven that could bring this all together; the romance of the sun and the moon that dance together. A million miles apart, they restore our faith for tomorrow looks promising from where I stand. I pray your color of love outweighs the world and all its foes for nothing could compare to God’s gracious color of love……

 


Biblical Meaning of Colors

 

Red:  Wisdom and energy

Orange:  Creativity and the ability to enjoy oneself

Yellow:  Brilliance of wisdom and thoughts

Green:  The ability to give and receive love

Blue:  Ability to communicate with purity

Indigo:  Ability to see the unseen on the spiritual level

Violet:  Human consciousness connects with the Divine or spiritual consciousness

 


 

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