Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from Richard

Merry Christmas to each of you who take the time to read my blog posts. It means a lot for me to be able to express myself through blogging/writing. You are the ones who see me when I am soaring through the clouds, as well as the ones who see me fall hard.

This holiday season has been quite a difficult challenge for me. I had been in the hospital on the week of Thanksgiving from not taking my meds correctly, that threw my whole life in disarray...so I am thankful for my psychiatrist of 8 years who has patiently seen me through my lowest and highest. I am thankful for my dad who no matter what who has encouraged me when I run to him. He is a tender and patient man who I love as my father.  It is very difficult and humbling at these low points in my life to pick up and carry on with the responsibilities that God has given me right now in my life. There are good days and there are bad days, but I must carry on,  and release those heavy burdens to the LORD JESUS, taking baby steps daily.

It is so easy to run but tough to stay and face things and try to change what I can.

On the bright side of things, it is a time of season for giving and not thinking about self and the problems it has. A time to remember who it is really all about, and that is JESUS.




Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Breaking Out...

     A shell is a tough outer exterior that is very difficult to penetrate. People can erect shells around their inner self as a result of some type of hurt in their childhood and carry that protective shield into adulthood. But who and what is it really protecting us from?

     It can appear that we have "tough skin" to other people but not to GOD...for HE sees all and knows all hearts.  It is clearly close to impossible and very tough to minister and get close to a person who is "All shelled up."   

     Another way we could barricade ourselves is by building up "walls" around a hurting heart. It's all about the same thing.  We build up a defense mechanism over the years because we can not bare a hurt that deeply impacted our lives.  Also for some reason those who experience trauma as a child put up certain outer characteristics.

     "The walls I have put up in my life had withdrawn me from the life to be who God has really made me. I have learned that it is okay to be me, flaws and all. God still loves me and wants my light to shine."

     He has not made us to hid our lights under a bushel, but to display His light in a way that shines for all the world to see.

     Sin can block the light and impair our fellowship with God and with others as well.  It is time for us to trust HIM completely.  As we let down our defenses HE then can repair and build us back up restoring our lives in the character and image of Jesus.

     God desires for us to come fully to him.  He knows everything about us hidden or laid bare before Him.

     Their is a balance to be found in Christ. We can be bound up for years with many walls of defense around us. I believe God wants us to break out and get free of all structures we have created to protect out souls from abuse and hurt.

     I dont know why I am writing all this, or if it means anything to anyone else.

     What I want is to be a real person, not a duplicate or form I had crafted around my heart that is false...

     How can we ever grow if we are stunted. In our weakness HE is strong.  

     ~I pray for Godly characteristics intended to make me strong in the Lord to come forth in Jesus name.  I do not believe that God has made a mistake. That is a lie and is false. I pray that I will be the person that God can use to display HIS grace. Amen.~

     For a very long time I had hid my self.  Childhood trauma caused me to hide my deep hurt. It caused me to say I was not as good as everyone else...that I did not deserve to have friends and did not have a chance of happiness in my future.  A part of me died and didn't want to live but hide under rock. I succeeded in doing just that. I just don't want that anymore. I want to trust...it is okay to trust!

     God has his own way of breaking down those walls, we can be stubborn until the day we die, but for me personally I want all HE has for me. Its time to learn and grow and trust HIM with all my heart.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Best Gift I can ever have...

    



 I have written about a lot of things in my blog, but there is one treasured blessing that I must say I have failed to acknowledge is the greatest gift God has given to me, and that is my marriage.  I have taken it for granted many times over the last six years.

     For someone who deals daily with a mental illness it makes my marriage a much harder toil than it really is.  God has given my wife and I, a great and precious love that can be shattered if not nourished and preserved in prayer...

     Many times I have fallen into the trap that the enemy sets up to tear this precious gift of love out of God's hands.

     I have to be vigilant in the devil's schemes, because he hates marriage as much as God hates divorce.  Satan is the culprit of many failed marriages. I pray for the peace and protection of my own marriage and my precious bride...

     I thank God for my dear wife, who relentlessly loves me "beyond" this malady that I fight daily. This blog post I dedicate to Fonda, my beautiful wife, my gift from Heaven...

     Apart from my salvation experience her love is the greatest gift that I have.

     I thank God for the hard worker that she is. She goes above and beyond the call of duty where I am unable to hold down a job.  She toils greatly and God graciously provides all our needs in glory in Christ Jesus.

     I thank God for the blessing over our home and family.  The atmosphere of peace radiates from her heart into every ornament she has placed in our safe haven called a home.

     I thank God for her willingness to embrace me when all others push me aside.

     I place my marriage into God Almighty's strong hands, and I ask you Father to protect my wife in every way wherever her daily path may lead her.  Embrace her in a way that only she knows that is from you alone. 

     Help me to cherish and love her as Christ Jesus does for His own bride,  I so long for that great marriage, but more than that I pray for restoration where the enemy of our souls has tried to separate Fonda and I on many attempts. I pray for a deeper unity and a precious intimacy that can only come from spending time with you God that nothing can tear us out of God's hands.

     I have been greatly blessed with her love. I don't want to miss one minute without it.

   Thank you Jesus for taking those blinders off, how can we treasure something we cannot see. You have manifested your perfect love for me...

     This Christmas is a precious reminder of 1 Corinthians 13...

I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don’t have love, I am nothing. 3 I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned.[a] But if I don’t have love, none of these things will help me.

4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. 5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. 6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

8 Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed, but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages, but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used. 9 Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete. 10 But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways. 12 Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.


13 So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best and greatest one of these is love...

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Merry Christmas

This season can be a time of giving. Giving of yourself, your time , your talents...

I am constantly reminded of my many blessings around me this year...My beautiful wife, and my healthy kids, my home and all that I have. I pray that I do not take them for granted for they could be here one season and gone the next. The treasures we store here on earth are fading fast but the true treasure is within us.  The treasures we have in our heart lasts for eternity...

I have put writing on the backburner for several months. I pray that the Holy Spirit will once again prompt me, use me, inspire me and teach me to write what God would have for me to say.

My prayer is for you to see the light of his glory in this Holiday Season.

Count your blessings and let the love of Christ's birth shine down on you....

Richard

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I will never Forget....

when you were born held by your mother's hands.

I placed you there and watched you over the years,

tenderly wiped and dried each tear.

I remember then full well.



I watched you grow into your teens,

as your curved around the corner a little too fast...

and as you finally left home.



Years have come and gone

days and nights have passed

seconds to minutes

minutes to hours

weeks to years

I have always been by your side...

in your heart.



I have always loved you

I always stretched my grace out

when you went too far...

no matter what or when or where

my mercy has never left...



As you have grown closer to me

during those tough times

I have allowed you to feel My Presence even more...



Like the breeze on the river

blowing past the trees into eternity...

into those green pastures

or the smell of a rose as you pass by...



So great the love I have for you

even in the dry times...

always remember these words



I LOVE YOU...


You will find JOY...

You will find LOVE!

You will find HOPE!

You will find GRACE!

resting in the arms of God our Father...



He will bring that healing,

that you need on the inside...

He sees where you once were,

on the front-line of Heaven's army...



He sees where you were hurt,

He sees the area where you were struck...

He knows the pain you feel fully well.



For He will send forth His mighty angels

to surround you around about...

He will send His Holy anointing oil,

pouring down upon your soul and spirit...

Just receive that healing touch,

right now wherever you may be...

be made clean and whole.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Prayer for God's direction

You would think that I had no problem talking when you read my blog posts.   But I am all around a very quiet guy. I don't know why I have a tough time contributing to a conversation because its not that I do not wish to be a part.  My wife and I don't even have many deep conversations, she can be pretty quiet too.  A lot of times though it is more about being in each others presence...than how many words we contribute...

     When I have something to say I say it and that is just about it...I do talk to God, we have many conversations...I do believe we communicate on a divine Spirit to Spirit level.  To the human eye I guess you might say you probably could not tell, I am just very reserved and quiet. That doesn't mean I do not like to be around people.   

     Back in my twenties and early thirties believe it or not I did sing a lot of solo's in church and even had chances to bring a sermon a time or two. These days they are far and few between. At times you might say I am curious how I would do these days behind a church podium.  I keep thinking that it would be good for me to give my testimony in front of the church that I attend. I feel that when I do that its going to take my calling in a whole new direction... 

     This whole blog was started with the concept that these are my sermons I would preach if I were a preacher...I do not really think that I am called to be a pastor.  Many years ago when I attempted to go to college,  I remember making my only A and that was in speech class. I have not gave up on the aspiration of writing a book of my testimony.  I believe that they will go hand in hand to form my ministry.  

So, I ask for your prayers on making some headway in writing a book. It may not be a best seller but I feel that it would bless some people, and put me just where I am directly in the will of God for my life...

Thanks and Take care,
Maranatha,
Richard T. Hicks

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Deep-end of Faith---3rd Place level one FW Competition

Peter stepped out of the boat into ‘God’s Zone’ when He met Jesus in the deep that day. His faith in God moved him to go beyond the natural elements of his surroundings. Can you imagine what the other disciples must have thought or felt as they witnessed this miracle? God is also calling us to step out of our flesh and walk in His Spirit by faith. We will most likely feel like fish out of water at first. But when we are obedient, we begin to feel the electricity of our faith compelling us to do certain things that don’t feel comfortable to our flesh.

Over the years I have learned to face my fears in many ways and once I got past the fearful stage I experienced the exuberance of water-waking-victory! Getting remarried was a big step for me. Moving from my home state was another giant step. Then there was the hassle of finding a new doctor and mental-health support group, but I slowly began coming out of my comfort zone. I opened up about my past, my paranoia, and depression, sharing how it had almost destroyed my life; soon I started experiencing an awesome peace like I had never before. Today I can say that I feel freedom for the first time in life.

Whatever we are called to do, God is simply asking us to get out of our boat, begin to walk, and He will do the rest.

I am sure Peter struggled within himself when God asked him to step out into the deep that day. While in the boat, I am also sure the disciples asked him what he was doing, but God had spoken, so he was going to look toward the prize. Later Peter preached to thousands leading them to salvation and those would then take the life-saving message for themselves and likewise share it with others. Acts 2:14-41 (NKJV)

Will there be times when we lose our focus and sink? Yes, I’m afraid that we are human beings and do err. We lose our perspective and have to refocus on Jesus Christ. He will always reach out and lift us up when it looks like we are drowning. There will be times when the wind blows us off course, but when we make the decision to obey God, nothing stands in the way but our fears. God gives us the strength for what He has called us to do.

Peter went on to do great things and so will I in God's great timing. There is so much I desire to do with my life. Just because I have been labeled with a disability and don't work doesn't mean that I am a couch potato watching TV all day long. God is raising me up as I let Him lead me into totally different situations that I have never been in before. 

My story is not easy to tell. Sometimes I go into places where a stranger I come into contact with will ask me who I am, and where I work. Not only am I in a minority because I am a Christian, but I have a mental-health challenge as well. My whole life is really a lot about living outside of my comfort zone; therefore it is tough to always know how much to say when someone asks me questions. It is not always easy to know where to draw the line. 

“Got an hour or two and I will tell you all about it, I think to myself."

Another area that God is pulling me out of my comfort zone is my writing. It was not easy re-living my testimony and typing it, but I did it. This whole ' fishy' subject makes me a bit squeamish, but I am here to say, 'When I step out in faith, even when it is scary; it is growing me and glorifying Jesus.'

One steps out and reaches into the very Zone of God when they step out into this kind of faith. Yes, God has a Zone; I really believe it. When you get there you will know. When we FEEL like fish out of water then we know we are going in the right direction.

A Little Witchy--2nd Place level 1 FW competition

The house next door looked distinguished and eerie. It was the only house on the block that was two-story. It was Victorian style, seeming as if it were transported from somewhere back in time. The yard was unkempt with ivy vines that climbed the outside of the house. Bobby's spine tingled; continuing to stare, he knew that this house was haunted. His family was new to this neighborhood. He was seven; his little sister Lucy had just turned four.

Before sunset, Bobby decided to get Lucy from the toy room to show her the ‘evidence.’ “Come and look, Lucy.” She proceeded to follow Bobby to the large window in the dining room. In amazement and fear, walking across the front lawn of the old house, they saw a witch. She wore a tall black hat, a black coat; slightly bent-over as she walked with her cane. She even had two black cats following her.

“What more proof do you need Lucy? My friend Billy from across the street told me that she was a mean old witch who screamed at his friends when they threw a baseball through her front window.”

Though Bobby only saw her from a distance he was able to see enough detail so that she looked very scary and threatening, like an evil witch would. While they were still looking out the window, she suddenly stopped, turned and looked over in their direction, sneering with her missing teeth. “She's seen us,” exclaimed Bobby, ducking down, he pulled Lucy with him.

It was Halloween and mom was busy getting their hand-made costume’s ready. Bobby was going as the ever courageous Superman; Lucy wore a sparkly Cinderella outfit. That night they had fun going to the different houses getting their candy. Finally, it was time to go home. As they walked by the house with the witch, the front porch light suddenly flickered on. 

Bobby spoke quivering, “Mom, do we have to go to that house? We saw her today and believe she is a wicked witch” 

Mom smiled, “Bobby, be the brave young man I know you are. You and your sister, go knock on her door.” 

“Come on Lucy, she is giving those other kids some candy.”

When they got up to the door, Lucy broke free of his hand gripping hers. “I’m not going," she ran back to mom.

Bobby stood there all alone, knees wobbling, as the door slowly creaked open. The elderly lady peered out from behind the door and smiled. "Here is some candy; give some to your sweet sister.”

Bobby was amazed as he stood there wide-eyed with his mouth open. 

Unexpectedly the lady motioned for his mom and sister to come closer. “Please come in and visit for a spell, I want to get to know my new neighbors.” Their mysterious neighbor now guided them down a hall into the quaint, and quiet subdued living room. “My name is Eva Rhodes; welcome to the neighborhood.”

Lucy abruptly spoke up, “You’re a witch, aren't you?” The kids were silent anticipating the answer. Eva and Lynn, the kid’s mom, started to laugh. 

Speaking sweetly Eva said, “My dear, I saw you and your brother peering out your window today. I smiled and waved at you, but just as I did, you disappeared out of sight. The neighborhood boys know well enough not to cross my path. They pull pranks on me all the time and I am well aware that these boys think I'm a witch. However, I assure you kids that these boys have jumped to wrong conclusions about me. I gave them a good talking to; they need to learn that they can’t treat people this way and get away with it. I am harmless and wouldn't hurt a fly, I don't bite."

Bobby and Lucy were giggling by this point as they were getting sugar-rushed from eating so much of their candy. Bobby and Lucy now saw that though she was firm, she was kind and all their fears seem to vanish. She even invited them to her church on Sunday. That Sunday, Bobby’s family did go to Eva’s church. As the kids went into their Sunday school class, they recognized the teacher, it was Eva, the woman the children thought was a witch. She hugged Bobby and Lucy. She was dressed in white – definitely not a witch. That Sunday she taught about not being afraid because God is always with you.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Catting Around...





Birthday:
April 2nd 2008

Coloration:
Black

Likes:
wrestling and playing tag

Pet-Peeves:
being picked up by any human more than 10 seconds

Favorite Toy:
Papercat tunnel, toy triangle, small cat toys with catnip inside

Favorite Nap Spot:
On any ledge in the house, or unless their owner is in the computer room.

Favorite Food:
Purina's dry cat food

Skills:
Rocky is definitely the leader of the Pack, if it wasnt for his friendliness at a very early age, the other brothers would not be as tame they are.

Dwells:
indoors

Bio:
I believe that Rocky was the very first kitten that made contact with his human owner. I believe he was Miss Momacat's first son to be born. He was the only kitten that would come up to my feet and lick and bite my toes. OUCH! Rocky and his brother's like to cuddle to my feet and nap and sleep when I am on the computer. Rocky has a distinguised blue collar that sets him apart from the rest. He is the leader of the pack,and Smoky follows close behind his brother. They are a little on the aggressive side, and has got into so much mischieve that they cannot go into the livingroom/kitchen are without human supervision. Blacky is always close by momacat. Sometimes washing her. Not too far behind her at all times.....UPDATE: Smoky and Blacky are now outside cats. Getting into the spiritual side of things. Some time I feel like I am observing a pack of wild lions. It is really neat to watch this family of cats grow over the days and months. I am reminded of Daniel in the Bible who was thrown into the lions den. I could not even imagine being thrown in a pit with 3 or 4 hungry growling lions. When the palace gaurds looked down in the pit, It does not say but i feel like He was petting those lions. Can you imagine the astonishmentof the guards who were watching over that pit. They were actually there to witness and testify Daniel to be torn of shreds by those lions. Imagine the expressions on their faces when they looked into the pit? They may have saw Daniel actually playing around with tame lions. What a reminder of a great story. I believe one day in the future we will be able to witness seeing the lions sitting with a lambs.



Kitcat

Quick Bio:
-mixed breed

Birthday:
December 25th 2002

Coloration:
Black and White

Likes:
running on wood floors

Pet-Peeves:
moving vehicles

Favorite Toy:
a old tied up sock with catnip in it

Favorite Nap Spot:
window ledges

Skills:
knocking on front porch screen door

Dwells:
indoors and outdoors

Arrival Story:
One winter morning around Christmas of 2002, I opened my front door to a small kitten sitting on my front porch looking up at me. I was surprised that the kitten didn't move when he saw me. I was able to pick him up and bring him into the house. I'm not really sure how or why he was on my front porch. Maybe God knew Kitcat needed a owner and I needed a pet.

Bio:
As kit grew so did his personality. He loved to run on the wood floor from window to window looking outside. He was a content and well behaved most of the time. Well one time he did get a hold of the toilet paper when I was gone one day. I came back to torn toilet paper all over my house. Also, as Kit grew his interest and longing to be outside with the other cats increased. Finally one day, He made a run for it when I had the front door open. He then became a inside and outside cat. Kit and I really connected. There were times I would open my front door, and Kit would be standing there. Other times when he wanted in the house, he found a way to knock on the screen door. When he wanted outside he would stand by the door. There were times when I woke up in the night, that Kitcat would be licking the top of my forehead, im not sure why he did that. But in some way, I felt comfort from it. It was a sad day when we found kitcat. He got ran over by a car when i was out of town and ran under my apartment. I couldnt look at Kit I wanted to remember him when He was living. My next store neighbor buried him in the yard behind the apartment.

Kitcat Wesson Street




Lessons From Miss Kitty--Highly Commended award

A pet is one of God’s creations, impacting us as well as teaching us important truths like unconditional love and trust. They are a godsend bringing healing to soothe our hearts. Sometimes though, we have to learn to expect the unexpected when it comes to having animals around us.

In particular I have always had a love for cats. In fact, I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have a cat as a pet. Many cats have come and gone throughout my adult life. But the one that stands out most is Miss Kitty. I call her a ‘Sylvester cat,’ like the cartoon; all black and with a ribbon of white on her belly.




I adopted her from the animal shelter back in 2005. The volunteers were hesitant because she was feral. I was unaware of what that meant, and didn’t think to ask. They told me to have her spayed in about a month. 

When I first brought her home in a box, she jumped out, ran and hid. Miss Kitty was so unfamiliar with being domesticated that she was in hiding practically 24/7. I left her food and water out, and a litter box nearby so that she would at least eat and do her “business” when I was not at home. This process was a lesson in patience for me. It took her a little over a month to finally trust me enough to come out of hiding when I was home. Our relationship eventually grew into a mutually loving and trusting one.

Then I moved to a house that had a laundry room with an outside door. One day I left it open and well, you know how the story goes. Yes, Miss Kitty was gone. I couldn’t find her anywhere. She was missing in action for 4 days. Finally, the light bulb in my head went on and I thought, “What if I leave the laundry room door open and just pray that she makes it home safely?”

As I went about my daily chores, I spied her in the kitchen eating. I crept in the laundry room and quickly shut the door. From that point on I made sure that she didn’t get out. 




The cat’s whole demeanor changed right before my eyes. She would literally run and jump and sit on my lap. I thought to myself, “This is nice for a switch from her more feral temperament.” At the time I was completely ignorant as to what was going on with Miss Kitty. She actually would let me pet her and pick her up, much different from her usually aloof personality. I did notice that she was gaining weight, but I didn’t think anything of it, “She is just a happy cat.”

Then one spring night I was laying on the couch watching TV. I had a blanket over me. Miss Kitty jumped up in my lap. I noticed something was bothering her because she was so restless. Finally, she lay down in between my knees, and I positioned myself to give her more room, and before I knew it I heard crying. But it was not Miss Kitty crying, it was a baby kitten. I watched in child-like excitement as she bore four more kittens. I was witnessing the miracle of life. Four were solid black and one was a baby ‘Sylvester.’ 

This was the very first time I had witnessed an animal giving birth, and in between my knees of all places! This most natural of all events taught me to expect the unexpected. 

Baby Sylvester did not make it unfortunately, and I had to bury her. The rest of Miss Kitty’s litter grew up to be healthy and happy kittens, and went to fine homes after they were spayed / neutered. 

Miss kitty, who initially was so timid, learned to trust me enough with her most important treasures. 

I think about trusting God a lot these days, and realize I have learned so much. Yet, there are still times when it is tough to really let go and trust Him. Where in the “Good Book” does it say that it’s supposed to be easy? We do it because He has loved us unconditionally and without reservation. When we do finally realize His lavished love, how much we grow up and really learn to trust God, and expect His love! Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)




Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Erma's Chili"--placed 3rd in FW Competition

During fourth-grade recess, you could find me by myself swinging on the monkey bars. A certain girl would always migrate in my direction to sit along beside me, or to watch the other kids play on the playground.

She was a pretty black girl. Her name was Erma Johnson. 

My heart skipped a beat when I first saw her on the playground. She had sparking brown eyes, smooth dark-skin, and her smile could light a dark sky. She was tall for her young age, and when she spoke my name, my heart would melt like snow. I couldn’t believe she actually wanted to sit with me.

Erma followed me everywhere I went and we shared several classes together. I liked all the attention I got from her. She would also sit with me at the lunch table in the cafeteria.

One particular day, Erma sat down at the table. She batted her big brown eyes at me. “Hi.”

What she did next proved to change my life forever. We had chili that day for lunch. Erma took her little bag of saltine crackers and crushed them with her hands. After that, she poured them on top of her chili. 

I hadn’t seen anyone crush crackers over the top of chili before. With her spoon, she mixed the crackers up in the chili. She looked up at me with those brown eyes and pointed her spoon at me. “Try it; I think you’ll like it.”

I crumbled up the plastic packet of crackers, tore open the little pack and poured them into my chili. I mixed it all together in my bowl. It seemed to accent the chili into another realm of great taste, with just the right combination of crunch and saltiness.

Although older now, I still crush up the saltines in my bowl of chili. I find myself salivating when looking down at that rich mixture setting before me. “Mmm Mmm good!”

When I think of Erma now, I am thankful for the sweet childhood memories of turning a boring chili dish into a savory experience.

As Christians, we should be the crackers in God’s chili.

We are called to be the salt of the earth. That is why we are here. Matthew 5:13 (MSG) In our own way, the flavor of God should accent our lives to a lost and dying world. 

It is our purpose and destiny to be salt-seasoned. We should bring out the God-flavors to season everyone around us. The more time we spend with God, The more God’s flavor will be evident in our lives.

If we lose our saltiness, the world will not know the flavor of God.

He has called us to reach out, being seasoned in our words and by our deeds. This is what the grace-filled life is all about. 

God’s amazing grace resides upon us and inside our hearts. In essence, that is the perfect saltiness that differentiates us from the rest of the world. 

Dear Jesus, help me to be salt-seasoned in Your mercy and grace. Show me how to spend quality time in Your Presence. Then, use me to reach out to those who are lost and hurting. In Your precious and most holy name I pray, Amen.

Authors Note: The story in this devotion is loosely based on actual facts.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Wonderful Sighs of Life

      I used to love to go to Mawmaw and Pawey’s house in Smackover Arkansas.   They were my mom’s parents; they got ‘pinned’ with those names early on because as toddlers, my siblings and I had trouble pronouncing ‘Mamaw’ and ‘Papaw.’

     Smackover sounds like a hillbilly town, but it was far from it.   It was a quaint, nice-sized country town that they lived in, off of the highway.

     We lived twenty-five miles away from Mawmaw and Pawey in a town called Camden Arkansas. This allowed us to be able to visit every Saturday, as well as every Thanksgiving and Christmas during my growing up years.  Their house was an older home with three bedrooms, a living room, den, and a double carport; my cousins and I used to play under that carport on real live cast-iron cars that rode around like bicycles.  

     I especially loved to go to Smackover in the spring time; it was like stepping into another world.  When I would get out of the car, I would immediately smell the giant Magnolia tree’s lemon-scented blossoms with its big white blooms.  Mawmaw had a beautiful yard neatly arranged with many varieties of flowers.  I imagine it was like stepping into a botanical garden at a state park.  I still remember the scent as we kids would be running around the house about our play. They even had a big pecan tree out front, while in the back Pawey had the biggest garden I’d ever seen which he tended to on a daily basis.  The wonderful garden grew a variety of string beans, squash, and tomatoes, too many to name, all through Pawey’s tender loving care.

     While I was playing in her yard I would have to be very careful of the wasps that were hanging around the flowers. Seems like I would get stung on occasion, and Mawmaw could always doctor me up with a baking soda mixture, as well as Dr. Techinor’s  antiseptic preparation which she used to treat my mosquito bites. 

     I found the inside of  Mawmaw’s and Pawey’s home with the antique dresser’s from my mom’s childhood to be just as alluring as the magic of the grand Magnolia, their hearty pecan, and the beauty of their outside gardens.   The closets had their special smell of cedar and mothballs.   I was always meddling in there, finding interesting toys and old pictures.  I would find colorful post cards and sometimes Hot Wheels race-cars.

     My mom would always scold me, “Bubba, stop meddling,” but I couldn’t help myself with my investigative nature.   I really believe Mawmaw would put little goodies in those dresser drawers and closets just so I would find them. When I asked Mawmaw concerning ‘whatever it may have been at the time’ if I could have it, she always said yes.

     The smells of Thanksgiving and Christmas would come and go throughout this old house over the years, yet their aromas have lingered in my memory.  I especially would remember the deliciousness  of a smoked turkey and savory dressing that penetrated the air during those special times, and how could I forget my very favorite dessert made from our home-grown pecans; pecan pie!

     I can still smell the deep fragrance of this precious home deep in my soul, and even the images of Mawmaw and Pawey are etched in my mind, and will be forever.   Remembering my Mawmaw and Pawey helps me to respect and appreciate the simple things in this life. Mawmaw always had such a big heart.   She was always smiling and laughing with such a carefree spirit about her.  She had a big hug for me and told me that she loved me every chance she got.

     As I got older, they would come to our house on Friday, and we would go to their house on Saturday. We did that for many years. She would always bring a full grocery bag which consisted of Lemon cookies, Little Debbie’s, and a Three Musketeer’s candy bar, my favorite.   Of course, there were always many fresh and colorful vegetables from Pawey’s garden.

     Heaven will be a special place because I will get to see all of my relatives like Mawmaw and Pawey who have gone before me. It will be a glorious reunion as we bask in the presence of our Heavenly Father and tell the treasured stories of long ago.  Jesus was truly there during those early years, as I remember in childlike wonder.
Note to reader:  I found this link on Dr. Techinor’s special medicine while doing research for this story, and yes this is my own personal story.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_H._Techinor

Faithwriters Writing Competition Stories

Hey dear readers,

I have been in the progress of transferring my writings from my old blog to this new one. It is really unbelievable that I have been writing consecutively since 2012. Folks that was 4 years ago. I want you to know that if you desire to write then God can fulfill that passion of your heart.  A big majority of the blog post here at Sacred Grace, are rewrites and re-edits from my old blog postings.

For a good year I was in the writing competitions at Faithwriters. I hope to get back to that someday, but for the next week I will be posting some of my old entries to this blog. I hope to close down that blog someday. I have already shared two of the stories in this blog. You may get up to two stories a day, until I get them posted. I pray this will not be a inconvenience to you. Just bear with me, for about a week.

Thanks,
Richard

Stand Up and Fight

It is so easy to get in the flesh, living out our fleshly nature.  But that is not the way for a true born again spirit-filled Christian to live...By the Spirit of God inside of us, we put to death the deeds of the flesh...it is that simple.  We cannot fight the fleshly desires by staying in it but by allowing the Spirit of God that resides within us to overcome by the blood of the spotless lamb. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit.  We should not be full of carnality.           

     We have to push through the crud by the Spirit of God. We have a real live threat and that is Satan and his forces of darkness. If you doubt the spirit-realm and it's reality you will always fight a losing battle, You have to identify who your real enemy is, and that is not a human being.  You also have to recognize your victor and that is Jesus Christ. He is the Lion of Judah that resides in our hearts that gives us bold victories!  I pray He can reveal these truths to you.

     I wish I had known this when I first became a Christian. You cant brush things under the rug, you need the full truth of the word of God.

     The enemy of your souls wants to dig up as much dirt as possible on you. Why? He is out to destroy your character. All the godly characteristics in you are from God. You know full well what they are. The righteousness of God resides in each one of His children!  We have no goodness or righteousness on our own. The Scriptures say that our righteousness is as filthy rags to the Lord.  

     Satan wants you to look at your sin, and throw in the towel. He wants you to take the easy way out and grovel in the mud and mire. He doesn't want you to move on, he wants you to stay in  your corruption...

     God wants you to look at His Son and what He has done. Through Jesus Christ we have been delivered and set free from the darkness of hell into God's marvelous light! We have been brought by the price of the spilled blood on the cross of Calvary! This is not a small thing, but it is a giant deliverance from the grip of the prince of darkness! We should not have any problem looking and lovingly putting the lover of our souls first place in our life. It's when we have lost sight of this is when the enemy comes strong to distract us... that we need to give the victory completely to Jesus. He will stand strong and bring us forth as Champions!

     To sum it all up, I want to say, "Stand up and fight!" Do not let the enemy run all over you with past sins and mistakes.  Trust me He will bring out all the artillery.  Stand-firm and steadfastly fight the fight of faith! and watch the enemy and his minions flee from your life!  You will not regret it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Intimate Friendship



Have you ever met a person that has many friends?   There is no stranger in their eyes. He  is a true friend of friends of friends, and is there for them through thick and thin.  He is the "give you the shirt off their back" kind of friend.

A true bond or spiritual kinship does not just leave you high and dry or drift away in the night.  They are steadfast to stay the duration. Personally, I do not believe in seasonal friendships. That is a sure sign of a weak friendship. I am talking about the type of friendship that distance doesn't hamper or hinder the bond that you share in Jesus.

Recently, I was thinking about intimate friendships, and the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jesus and His twelve disciples. What a intimate relationship they must have had with the master of the universe who commanded the storms to cease.  He truly is our best friend and as close to us as He was with His disciples, but as a person with flesh and blood as myself, who has been a introvert for so many years you develop a vulnerable neediness, a loneliness for close friend.  Someone you trust who can you can be real with, and will stick around no matter what.  No walls built up... for you are the friend that Jesus would be to the other person to be healing and kinship.

I have had the privilege of having 2 online friends that were guys that I consider over and above the call of brotherhood and friendship. No time or distance can come between true friends. They have both deceased. 

Some of us shy away or reject anything that remotely requires intimacy. To them it is not a sign of manliness looking through worldly eyes   That is what keeps or hinders having a close bond with others. I was recently asking God what my deal was and why I didn't have any close friends, and His answer was very simple and clearly that I have a root of rejection in my life.  I believe that we have hidden roots from childhood trauma.   I was rejected at a young age and erected a personality of walls built up around me that no person could penetrate. It was like with the enemies help I crafted around me a quiet and shy personality because of some type of childhood rejection...maybe from a parent or sibling or maybe even a childhood friendship. I believe a true intimate friendship can bring true healing to your soul. I dont want no part of working with the dark forces, I want to walk in the light of Jesus and have friendships that honor Christ.

Knowing root issues give the Holy Spirit assess to reconstruct and restore those deep wounds inside of us. As for me,  The Lord is breaking down those walls so that I can have intimate friendships. 
I am excited about that. I have had no friendships outside of the internet during my life, and the Lord is opening those doors, as I lay my life and open my heart before the Lord in a whole different capacity.  He knows our deepest needs and desires to bring them to the surface.

Maybe you don't have friends...maybe you are needy for true intimate friends. My prayer is that you break down the dividing walls that would keep you bound up and isolated.  My prayer is that you would make yourself available and watch God open the doors of friendship for you in Jesus name!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Silent Prophets, "Come Forth!!"

     There have been so many times over the years that I have held back in giving a prophetic word to the body of Christ, thinking I was not good enough to give a word to the church...

     I ask God to forgive me right now for not standing up and giving that Word, even If I have to give it from where I am standing... 

    I have held back so many words that should have been spoken and have been disobedient in giving words to the church.....God does not honor or bless disobedience. He blesses His messengers with hope and courage and boldness to be ready to speak His Mighty Word!!  He desires us to follow hard after Him...declaring the Father's very own words!!!

     After a while of being hesitant the enemy comes to you telling you you have blown it and messed up so much chances that God will never use you again. That is wrong and a lie.

     God wants you to rise back up on a even greater passion to give the words of God to the body of Christ, so many need to hear what you have to say, don't let man and man-made programs stand in the way!!

     I see a greatness and boldness coming over those who prophesies...No one will be able to resist the prophetic word of God coming from the mouth of a prophet that has been silenced for so long!! It will be like a great desert rain washing over the parched body.  Yes rivers of living water will come forth once again...


     I adjure you to come forth into all that God has for you.  For your gifting's and callings are irrevocable!!  Especially if you are called to prophesy!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Keep It Out!!

     Worry seems so far from trusting God at times. That is because that are extreme opposites.  When we worry, we take on situations that only God is meant to handle.  They become unnecessary yokes upon our shoulders that we cannot easily get rid of.  We need to learn to release those things and trust in the Lord's divine timing. I know by experience that is easier said but it can be done in the Lord's great grace. More than likely we are fretting over things in the near or distant future...and can daily attack us and learn us distraught...tossing and turning endlessly in the night.

     Our great God and Father created us with a greater destiny than we can't even imagine!!  Jesus Christ is more than capable to handle all of our past, present and future, as we hand all our worries completely over to Him.  

     In fact all the doubt and anxiety was all nailed to the cross of Calvary. We need not to carry our worries all alone, because they weigh us down and give us heavy hearts...We can let them go as Jesus did not create us to waste our energy with worrying because it can get to us spiritually as well. He took it all upon Himself at the cross so we wouldn't have to.

     If you are continuously worrying, it robs your mind of peace and you lose sight of trust in the Fathers love and grace. Worry will attempt to take a 'backseat' in your mind, then rear its ugly head when you go through a rough time.   You have to demolish that stronghold of worry.   That can only be done by the powerful anointing of God's Holy Spirit. He can and will grant us trust and peace instead worrying in the midst of the storm.

     If you do not let God deal with worry and fear they will work together daily to make us miserable and stagnant in our faith and trust in God.  Kick worry out of your mind like a sack of garbage. Has it not tormented you long enough?!!  

I believe the Lord is saying to some of you that, "It is time for you to rest in the Lord with all your heart!!" I believe this can only be done by abiding in the grace of God!

    God would have us to step out into all he has for us with "all our hearts" not just a part. His grace is greater as we walk in faith and trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..

Why can we not trust God in the hard times?  Why do we have fear and worry? God is speaking through this message for you to once again put your trust in Jesus.  It is time for you to take His nail scarred hand as He leads you.  Do not let go, but trust God no matter what.

     We cannot trust a little bit, it is 'all or nothing.'  Satan can come and steal the little bits of truth, and before we know it we are right back where we started with worry at the center of our universe. That is a sure indication that we have placed ourselves in the enemy's territory especially our minds.  We cannot just halfheartedly trust the Lord to get us by, because there is always something around the corner where we will have to have a greater measure of trust and faith to get us through. 

Father in heaven, we come to you and ask you to break the yoke of worry that is upon our minds. It has corrupted our soul. Help us! We cry out to you!!  Help us to move into a supernatural dimension of faith and trust in you that sweeps our mind clean. Empower us by Your Holy Spirit I pray, and lift up those reading this right now. Help us all Lord to quit worrying, and kick it out by the power of the resurrected Christ!  We demolish that strong hold of worry in the mighty name of Jesus...We  trust Jesus in a deeper level with our whole heart, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN!


Monday, June 6, 2016

Word of God for Today....

God has called us to a vision that is higher and bigger and wider than ourselves!! 

Maybe you are afraid or timid to step out. Step on out in the divine timing in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, surrendering to the high call of King Jesus!! 

He will lead and guide your steps. He will open the door and He will give you a firm vision of the path that is before you. 

Walk into the door of your greater calling, man cannot hinder you unless you allow it. I break off the spirit of discouragement and disappointment in the name of Jesus!! 

The Holy Spirit has prepared you and restored and anointed you for His greater vision!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Are you a Offender?

     I don't think a Christian should make it their mission to offend others, and then be proud of it.  Our speech should always be with grace, seasoned with salt. Our conversation should be Christ centered and pointing to the resurrected life of the empty tomb.

     I would hate to think that I said something to make someone so offended that they stumble and fall away from the grace and glory of God. No where in the bible does it say that we are to offend our brother or sister in Christ but to wash their feet.  The greatest among you will be their servant.

     I myself have been so offended by people in the body of Christ that it made me turn away from serving God. While it is true that we should not have our eyes on people in the first place, we should lead them back through our own repentance, leading by example of bowing before the presence of the Father in heaven.

     Some people twist the truth of offending others and then make great boasts that their group or church is better off without those souls, thus we have groups and churches in small numbers(?). Our mission is the great commission. Remember our commission is to make disciples not break them with our version of the truth. We should not get into the habit of pushing people out but bringing others back into the fellowship and body of Christ.

     I also read in the bible that with the measure you judge others, you yourself will be judged.

     We are not called to be callous truth tellers. but to represent the church with the Spirit of grace, letting the word of God convict and change the heart of others. 

     I think that you should rethink your lofty position and bow before the feet of Jesus.

Luke 17: 2 states that it is better for him if a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Moving on Up...

     How can I help others to move forward in their walk in Jesus Christ?  That seems to be the theme of this blog as stated above.  It is my desire to help others through my writing. I pray that God leads those people to read my blog who are ready to get up off the ground level and move on up in their relationship with God.  If one person is moved and encouraged to get back up with the help of God, then His will has been done.

     All of us have our seasons of successes and failures. That doesn't mean that we are failures.  Many of us are troubled with complications and addictions. Some of us struggle with severe illness. What ever has come against you or got you down. I want you to know that you can pull forward with God's help. Nothing in this world and flesh can stop you from going forward.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Now he holds the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.

     When the Bible tells you to get rid of everything, God's words means what it says! If it distracts you from the race that is set before you, then get rid of it. Nothing can stop you, unless you allow it. Sin and sickness cannot stop you...if God is for you, then who can be against you?

     Moving forward is really not all about religion and being religious. When you are being religious and get knocked down you don't have any power flow or source. Obeying the commandments cannot help you give you power for living, but it shows how weak you really are!!   "For you are not under the law, but under grace!!"  In our weakness He is strong..

     When you place your heart in Christ's hands you have resurrection power.  The spirit of God is your complete energy source and eternal life. It is all about relationship with the master of the Sea, the water walker Himself, Jesus Christ!!  With Him, you can walk on rivers, lakes and oceans...

The Spirit of God renews your faith, can give you strength and even yet, give you the grace that only God our Father can bestow on His beloved Children!!

     Maybe you have turned your back on God. My brothers or sisters I know from experience that is very disastrous!  Turn back to Jesus your Savior!  Even if you are wounded, even if you are tired, and lonesome...even if you are weak.  We cannot allow the enemy to drag us down in his gutter!

God wants to lift you up on the highest high, where the eagles fly!!

Father I pray for those right now, that are reading this message....Lift them up in healing grace, releasing them...let them fly again. If they don't know you as their Lord and Savior, reveal your glory to them, that they will know your love, Your  beautiful life and Your amazing grace!! In Jesus name I ask and pray, Amen!


Maranatha,
Richard Hicks





     




Saturday, May 21, 2016

In Memory of Jason Hubal

      

     This is a time of honoring his life and to rejoice for Jason Hubal who has been set free from the shackles of this life...

"Jason was a friend to many, and this is the way I want to honor our friendship.."


     We spent many hours chatting about everything under the sun...our chat windows were always open. I cannot wait for the day that we meet in Heaven. He is gonna get the biggest "Bubba Hug!!"


"There is nothing I can say or do, but give the spotlight to you Jesus."


For it was you, Jesus who gave Jason and I this precious time of friendship...  

If it were not for you Jesus we would have never crossed paths... 

     We would have never known the presence of each others company either when we were chatting or when we were quiet, Jesus was always there in our chats...

     These songs are dedicated to you my brother and my friend. 

Nothing or no one can take away or diminish our friendship...ever. 

You are in a much better place. I will miss you a lot, but I also celebrate you being with our King most of All.






Thursday, May 19, 2016

Do you trust in the Blood?

     





      The life flow that ran through the body of Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed at the cross of Calvary did not dry up in a grave and is no more.  The most powerful force that can ultimately free us from the chains of sin and death did not die forever. It is alive forevermore and through it we obtain our deliverance and salvation. It is the blood of the Jesus that washes us and gives us victory over sins.  

     As the song goes,"Oh the blood of Jesus, that washes us white as snow!"   The blood is like soap to our souls.  It is a deep cleaning agent of all our sins and impurities. Its cleanness is compared to the whiteness of snow.  When we accept Jesus into our hearts, His blood goes to work. We can rest in faith in the finished work of the cross of Christ in our heart.

God showed us that Christ is the throne of mercy where God's approval is given through faith in the blood...In his patience God waited to deal with sins committed in the past. Romans 3:25

Our past life has been annihilated through faith in the blood.  Through the blood of God's son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness. The past is washed away in the sea of God's grace of forgiveness and forgetfulness.  We have been reconciled  with God by Christ's blood sacrificed on the cross Colossians 1:20

Since all of these sons and daughters have flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood to be like them.  He did this so that by dying he would destroy the one who had power over death (that is, the devil).  Hebrews 2:14  The devil is the only one who will remind us of our past and try to destroy our self esteem and confidence in Christ. We have to trust in the blood!!!

He used his own blood, not the blood of goats and bulls, for the sacrifice.  He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever. Hebrews 9:12    Praise God! We can go into the most holy place in confidence and trust that God in his glorious grace and mercy will bring us into his holiness by allowing us this divine access!!  Because of the blood of Jesus we can now confidently go into the holy place.  Hebrews 10:19

Without the Helper, the Holy Spirit,we will not be able to obtain this wonderful redemption.  We should daily come into the Presence of the God's Spirit, through worship and praise meditating on God's word.  The Father knew you long ago and chose you to live holy lives with the Spirit's help so that you are obedient to Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with his blood. 1 Peter 1:2

God so loved us...the destiny of His son Jesus Christ was to snatch us away from the devil.  He had to make the ultimate payment with His own blood! The payment that freed us was the precious blood of Christ, that lamb of God had no defects of imperfections.  1 Peter 1:19

Thank you Jesus for shedding your blood on the cross. Give us the revelation of this cleansing flow from Emmanuel's veins. Let us feel and receive your divine blood to cleanse, deliver and make us whole! AMEN!








Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Into The Presence of God...

Into The Presence of God

I want to see His Smile like the sunshine on my face...

I want to feel His tears as raining flowing down my cheek...

Oh the joy of seeking the face of Jesus and being united with Him...

of hearing His voice singing as sweet as the birds...

feeling his warmth as he shelters us with the presence of His love...

in the shadow of the Almighty I will take my refuge in Him...

~~~~~~~~~~

written by Richard Hicks



To My Christian brother and my best bud, Jason Hub, who went to be with the Lord on Sunday 
May 8th, 2016.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Your Love...



Your Love...
is like the sweet smell of a rose in springtime
or like the blue sky above
the lightning bolts crashing through the sky
or like the tallest evergreen
~
Your love is like being on the highest mountain
in the crisp clear air
or like the flowing of river steams
the sweet sounds of the rushing water
~
Your love is like a gentle baby's laugh
or running with You through the meadows green
Your love is captivating, breathtaking
like the highest fastest roller-coaster ride
~
You take us on the heights
soaring like the eagles
to greater places of grace
or the tenderness of Your mercy.
~
Come forth, lover of our soul
Come forth, lion of Judah
Come forth, everlasting Father
Drown us in the grace of Your love.

~

Nothing can Separate Us...

 No matter what you have gone through on this earth since the day you have been born - can rip you apart from the Father's heart. He has...