I've already sort of talked about some of my goals over on our YouTube channel but, since today is #WorshipWednesday on the blog, I wanted to talk about some of my spiritual goals in particular. So, here we go:
READ THE ENTIRE BIBLE
Luckily, audio books have made a surge in recent years, and my app that I use at church can read the Bible out to me with a year-long reading plan. This makes it so easy to listen to it and absorb in the car. I just need to make it a priority of each day and morning!
SERVE MY COMMUNITY THROUGH MY CHURCH
From free Easter egg drops, monthly meals for the homeless, a food bank, feeding our first responders around the holidays, and much more, my church is super involved in helping our local community. With that being said, I haven't been the best at getting involved myself. So, I'm hoping to really make that effort this year!
LEARN MORE ABOUT APOLOGETICS
I learned about apologetics a few years after I graduated from college. I think it is the best and newest way to communicate with this generation and generations to come.
LISTEN TO MORE WORSHIP MUSIC
I’ve been listening and reading the Bible through my church’s app. It had broken up the reading so that you can read the Bible in a year. Lately, my reading has taken me into the Book of Job.
If you’re a Christian, you’ve likely heard plenty of sermons on the Book of Job. Basically, Job is a righteous man (in a good way) who has a ton of luxuries in life. He has a big family, a ton of land, riches, and cattle. You name it, Job had it.
It was a devastating loss, but Job still praised God. Seeing this, the devil went back to God and told Him that nothing had happened to Job himself (physically), and that’s why he didn’t curse God. God said to the devil that Job was righteous and wouldn’t curse Him, but allowed the devil to bring harm to his body only for Job to still praise God, despite what his wife and friends said of him.
After all of these trials, Job was blessed much more than he was blessed in the beginning. The story is often used as a way to tell Christians to keep the faith in hard times because God will bless them later.
There are so many reasons why this message needs to fall on the ears of millennials and younger people today. I want to share some of those reasons.
1: TIMES ARE TOUGH
I was blessed to have a job right out of college. It paid $11/hr. It was a job in my field of study as a journalist. I went in as a staff reporter. When I left, I had been named a features editor. The entire time I was there, I was never given a raise. I was simply handed more responsibility.
Management refused to clean it up and simply pointed fans at it in hopes of “drying it up.” This caused mold infestation which, I believe, led to illness that sent me to the hospital.
But now, I truly appreciate the circumstances I live in now. Our lights might not work in one room, and one of our toilets might not be working. But it is so much better than it was, and I can only thank God for that.
2: THERE IS MORE OPPOSITION NOW THAN EVER
A new wave of atheism struck the U.S. and around the world. It is fierce. It wants others not to trust it because of the actions and opinions of a few hateful people who I believe shouldn’t call themselves Christians.
In times of hardship, we are always the first people questioned. “Where is your God, now?” “Why isn’t your God helping us through this?” It is the faith of Job that will get us through hard times. God always has a purpose for everything, but that doesn’t mean He caused everything. We are told explicitly in the scriptures that the devil is like a roaring lion, walking about seeking out who he can destroy.
3: TO HELP US SEE OUR SMALL BLESSINGS AS BIG
But I and pretty much everyone in developed countries around the world take it for granted.
Job’s story helps us realize that we should be thankful, even if all we have is life. At least we are breathing. At least we can see the beauty around us. That’s something.
4: TO SHOW US THAT BAD THINGS DON'T ALWAYS COME FROM EDIFICATION
One school of thought is that bad things happen to bad people or people who have done bad. That every bad thing that happens is a punishment from the hand of God. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
That poses the threat of taking their souls from him and directing them toward God. I can’t tell you how many times, at my old church, pastors or leaders would try to insinuate that something happening in our lives was because we weren’t able to come to church on Wednesdays. Yet, some of the most faithful church members would have serious medical conditions fall on them.
No one knows, but it is important that you, the reader, know that your trials may or may not be due to your deeds. It is up to you to use discernment and prayer to find that out!
5: IT HELPS YOU PREPARE FOR THE REST OF LIFE
You now have a full-time job, you may have an apartment or home, you might be married or having children. Either way, you’re just starting life’s journey on your own as an adult.
Reading Job at this age is so important. We comprehend it more when we experience it. While some of us may have lived in the grips of near or full poverty, most of us likely had parents who did their best to make life as good as possible. But now that it is our turn to do that for ourselves or for our own children, we may need some guidance.
Not only can we now understand a bit of what was going on with Job, we can also prepare for life’s future hardships (as they will always come) while we are young. Job was older when he experienced this. He didn’t learn this lesson as a young man. But we can!
If you’re a Christian, you know that this week is holy week. I know that some of the days in Holy Week aren’t celebrated by every church. I work at a Methodist school, so we have observances for every day.
For today’s Worship Wednesday post, I wanted to talk about some of the science behind some of the conditions that Jesus suffered from on his way to the cross. And, if you’re a non-believer who thinks I will be saying “he didn’t really die and rise from the dead,” then don’t bother reading. I fully believe this happened.
So, let’s get in to this:
JESUS SWEATS BLOOD
The medical term for sweating blood is Hematidrosis. While doctors don’t know exactly what triggers Hematidrosis, many think it is linked to the body’s “fight or flight” response. Hematidrosis has been linked to extreme distress or fear like facing death, torture, or severe and ongoing abuse.
While this could just be a sort of imagery in Luke to mean that Jesus was praying with great effort, it seems his situation would warrant the medical side of this very real condition.
Although there doesn’t seem to be too much information about it, we know from historical research from the time that this was the normal scourging that went on. Most scholars believe the soldiers who scourged Jesus used a flagrum (pictured) which was a leather whip containing pieces of metal, glass, and metal balls at the end of each strip of the whip.
CROWN OF THORNS
They mocked him by putting this crown of thorns on his head. They also gave him a reed in his hand and said to him, “Hail, King of the Jews.”
I never really connected it before, but I wonder if they chose thorns because of his parable of the seeds where he says that seeds are often chocked by thorns. Interesting!
But, at this point, we know that Jesus is severely stressed, he has taken a beating with a very dangerous weapon, and he has had a crown of thorns placed on to his head.
CARRYING THE CROSS
So, imagine being beaten, mocked, and wearing a crown of thorns and being forced to carry the cross up to Calvary. We know it was hard for him to carry.
“And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.” – Matthew 27:32
JESUS' TIME ON THE CROSS
as he pushed up on his nailed feet just to breathe. This would also cause him pain on his wounds and his hands and arms. The goal was to make those being crucified suffer as much as possible. It might take days for someone to die. People would come out for the set up and stay for a while, but then they would leave the crucifixion victims out there until they passed.
Usually, to make sure that they couldn't escape, the guards would break their knees. This didn't happen with Jesus.
"Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." - John 19:32-34
This water mingled with blood is a condition that happens when the organs begin to shut down. This was likely coming from his lungs and heart. Dr. Cahleen Shrier from Azusa Pacific University, said that this watery liquid was lkikely caused by carbon dioxide build-up in the blood, which causes a high level of carbonic acid in the blood.
This makes the person want to breathe to get more oxygen in the body. However, if the person can't breathe well, it causes damage to tissues which cause capillaries to leak!
Photo Credit: YouTube
As I sit in a dim waiting room while my mom is getting a five-hour surgery, I can’t think of a better time to write this blog.
You have probably heard the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” It is a question many Christians are asked when beloved family members are strapped into hospital beds or when a helpless child diagnosed with leukemia seems to be slowly wasting away. Suffering.
I found myself asking God this question and tossing the question around in my subconscious in my quiet time.
MY MOM'S STORY
Only a few months later, she found out she had cancer and had to have a hysterectomy to remove it. As I sit writing this, she is currently in surgery to repair her foot, which has been in a boot for the past month or two.
Because of her stroke, and undoubtedly some other health conditions she suffers from, she ended up with Charcot’s foot, a condition that causes the bones in her foot to break. Her doctor took and x-ray and explained that her foot looked like a cracked, scrambled egg. My mom, an independent and strong woman, has been chained to her bed for the last several weeks, and will no doubt be stuck there for weeks to come as she recovers.
WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?
As you can imagine, I’ve hated to see my mom suffer through so much in only a few years. I can tell from our talks that she’d much rather be healthier and more financially independent, but she doesn’t have that option right now.
This got me to thinking on today’s topic. My mom, by societal standards, is a good person. She is supportive, loving, kind, charismatic, and understanding. So, why are bad things happening to her?
In many instances, some would blame God. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who claim that, if God were real, he would deliver their loved ones out of the tribulation they’ve found themselves in. But I don’t see it that way.
of control to let us choose our own path. He did this because He wants us to love him, and love isn’t love if someone makes you feel it.
So, we have the ability to choose to live in our own will or in God’s will. Man historically has lived in its own will. That’s why crime rates have skyrocketed, the ice caps are melting, men are becoming lovers of their own selves, and well, you get the picture.
BEYOND FREE WILL
The enemy loves free will because it gives him the chance to enter his own metaphorical pony in the race. He does this to make us lose our faith in God. I believe that the moment you accept Christ as your savior, you are His for eternity. I don’t believe you can lose your salvation, because you are granted eternal life which is, according to its name, eternal.
But you can lose your zeal for God. This isn’t abnormal because, as humans, we feel that some burdens are just too heavy and we don’t understand why God would saddle us with them and seemingly not help us. This aides the enemy. You stop annoying your friends about how good God is, and you stop witnessing and living a God-filled life. You stop doing God’s work. That’s why it is important to remember that evil is the absence of good. When you aren’t doing good, you’re helping evil, and that can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes.
He doesn’t want you giving to the poor, praying for the sick, or, loving your enemies. That will only draw people closer to God. If you don’t believe in God, you will likely find yourself in the devil’s trap. The devil is a hunter. He sets a trap and leaves attractive bait. For some, the bait is fame, money, drugs, alcohol, or something else that makes the flesh feel good. But, for many, when the bait is taken, he can spring the trap and make life, quite frankly, a living hell.
Honestly, if nothing bad happens to you or your family, you are either highly favored or you should check up on your relationship with Jesus. As for me and my family, I know God is in control. He added extra strength and sass to the mixing bowl when he made my mama, and I know that with His help and the help of her friends and family, my mom will kick butt and conquer anything the enemy throws her way.
LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: