"...Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now." - John 2:10
In the Old Testament, there is much written about God's love for all things sweet and savory. It is mentioned in these books that God is pleased by things that are sweet-smelling.
There is a lot of debate in the church over wine: should you drink it, is it a sin? In the New Testament, we read of Jesus actually replenishing the wine after it ran out during wedding celebrations in Cana.
After telling the servants to listen to Jesus and do whatever he says, they are told to fill the waterpots that were there for the "purifying of the Jews." In the KJV, it says that the waterpots contained two or three firkins a piece. A firkin is a unit of measurement equal to 11 gallons, so Jesus was set out to make 22-33 gallons of wine for the celebration.
The steps are: growing of the grapes, harvesting and de-stemming, crushing and primary fermentation, pressing, and more fermentation. Wine can take 10 to 15 days to ferment, but many wait for months before they crack open a bottle. This gives the wine more time to ferment and offer up the best flavor.
In addition to having a new love for life, those who allow Jesus to do a transformative work in their life will have favor with God, just as those sweet-smelling savors. In fact, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about our sweet savor when we accept Jesus as our Lord:
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:" - 2 Corinthians 2:15
Thanks to the miracle of salvation that Jesus gave us at Calvary, we are now of a sweet savor to God. Without Jesus, we wouldn't be counted worthy. If you want to learn more about how you can accept Jesus into your heart, click the "Details" button below.
My prayer for you in these next few weeks is to thank God for the transformation that allows you to be called a sweet savor in His house. Without God's selfless sacrifice of Jesus, we would all stink!
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
To me, a caterpillar was just another creepy crawly thing that grossed me out. But after several weeks, our classroom was buzzing with questions as the caterpillar began to form a barrier around itself.
Where are they going? What do they do in there?
We learned that the caterpillars were undergoing this amazing process called metamorphosis. If you don’t know what that is, or you just need a refresher, allow me to give you a few key points on metamorphosis.
Butterflies go through four stages in the metamorphic process. The stages are the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (barrier), and the butterfly. During the pupa stage, old body parts are changing to form new tissue, limbs, and organs.
Today, as I refresh my knowledge on butterflies, I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:17. Whenever we accept Christ as our savior, we are new. We are like the butterfly. Now, we can fly and reach heights we never could reach before.
My prayer for you for these next few weeks is that you will remember who you were before accepting Christ. I want you to be humble and realize that you would not be who you are today if it wasn’t for that “supernatural” transformation, that metamorphosis of your soul.
If you haven’t yet accepted Christ, you can click the “details” button below for more information on how you can accept Him.
Since there won’t be another (Son)days Until (Christ)mas before Christmas Day, I wanted to use this Sunday to talk all about Jesus’ birth. I will be restating what the verses say, but I think you should go check it out for yourself for sure.
MATTHEW 1:18 TO MATTHEW 2:23
In this gospel, much of the first half of the verses in the first chapter are the family tree of Jesus’ earthly parents. By verse 18, the chapter begins to detail Jesus’ birth and origin story.
Matthew says that Jesus’ mother Mary, who was to marry Joseph, became pregnant with a child of the Holy Ghost. Joseph, when he found out, was troubled because he didn’t want to embarrass her, so he started to think about breaking off the engagement. However, the Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream and told Joseph that the child was of the Holy Ghost.
The angel told Joseph they would have a son and that they should name him Jesus. It then says that Joseph went on to marry Mary and didn’t break her virginity until after she had Jesus in Bethlehem of Judaea.
The wise men left and found the child. It says here that they came into the house to see the child with Mary. They then worshiped him and presented him with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Frankincense is a resin that is obtained from an African tree. It is sweet smelling and is often burned as incense. Myrrh is similar. It is also a resin from trees near the East that is used in perfumes, medicines, and incense. Both would have been very valuable in those days.
After finding the child, the wise men had a dream where God told them not to go back to the king. After their dream, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in a dream, telling him to leave and go to Egypt because Herod was set to destroy Jesus. They left in the middle of the night and lived in Egypt until Herod died. But, before he died, Herod decided to kill all of the children in Bethlehem who were two years old or younger since he did not hear from the wise men.
After Herod died, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again and told him to take his family to Israel, and he did. They moved to a city called Nazareth.
LUKE 1:36-37 AND LUKE 2:1-20
Interestingly enough, Luke begins with the origin story of John the Baptist and mentions Jesus’ birth by verse 26. In verse 26, it says that the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she was highly favored by God and that she is blessed among all women. Mary was confused and worried when she saw the angel, but the angel told her not to worry.
The angel said that she was going to have a son named Jesus who would be called the Son of the Highest and he shall have the throne of David and that his kingdom will never end. Mary said she didn’t know how that would be possible since she was a virgin. The angel explains she will conceive through the Holy Ghost. Her cousin Elisabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, was also brought up. The angel told Mary her cousin would also have a child.
Shepherds in the same area were watching their flock when the angel of the Lord came to them, which scared them. The angel told them not to be afraid and told them of Jesus’ birth. A bunch of other angels appeared and praised God. The shepherds went to visit Jesus.
HOW THE STORIES WORK TOGETHER TO COMPLETE THE NARRATIVE
In Matthew, we are told that Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Luke gives us the reason they were there: to be taxed by the Roman ruler of the time. We are also given the reaction from Joseph and from Mary, and we also learn of the shepherds and wise men.
Additionally, we see that some time must have passed between the birth of Jesus and when they fled to Egypt because Herod has all children aged two and younger killed.
These two gospels work together beautifully to give us a description of Jesus’ life before and after he was born, though it doesn’t give us much about when he was growing up.
I've done a lot of thinking and heard a lot of wise words on this subject. No matter if you're looking for a Christian lesson plan for your Sunday school class, or if you're simply interested in how common Christmas symbols can be related to Jesus or Christianity, keep reading!
SANTA CLAUS = GOD/THE TRINITY
God can be related to the jolly man in red mainly due to his omnipresence, or his ability to be everywhere at once. In the popular song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the singer says "He sees you when you're sleeping, and he knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."
CHRISTMAS TREE W/ LIGHTS= CROSS & LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Jesus is often referred to as the "Light of the World." Basically, He brings goodness in a world of bad and brings salvation to people of all creeds and races. He was placed on a tree, much like our Christmas lights. On the day of His death, Jesus shone bright, showing humility and strength and forgiveness. Those who are drawn to the cross are likely to use their God-given gifts for Jesus' glory, laying their talent at His feet.
CANDY CANE = THE GOSPEL NARRATIVE
POINSETTIAS = THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM
SNOW = PURITY
I hope you enjoyed today's post. I know that Christianity isn't everyone's thing, but I only think it is right to spend this season talking about Jesus this way. I hope you will take some time to still enjoy my Sunday posts and pass them around to your friends!
Welcome to a new series all about Christ! For the next few Sundays, the blog posts will be Jesus-themed focusing on Christmas as the time of year where Christians observe Jesus' birthday.
In today's blog, I wanted to talk a bit about the religious origins of Christmas. Grab a snack, sit back, and prepare to learn more about the day we celebrate Jesus' birth.
EARLY RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS
Several centuries prior to Jesus' birth, the winter months were always used as a time of celebration to help lift the spirits around the darkest times of year. Dark meaning the opposite of light. However, you could also say that time of year was rather dark, as many cattle were slaughtered so that farmers wouldn't have to feed them in the winter.
Winter solstice was often celebrated as long days were finally over! Celebrations also happened in Norse communities where Dec. 21 marked the first day of Yule when it was customary for fathers and sons to gather logs to burn while they enjoyed a Winter solstice feast. This is where the Yule log's name came from.
Pagans paid respects to Oden, of whom they were terrified. The pagans believed that Oden would fly through the sky and watch them at night to decide their fate. Even though the winter was freezing, most pagans would say they were staying inside to escape Oden's watchful eye.
JESUS' INTRO TO WINTER CELEBRATIONS
Unsurprisingly, Christmas wasn't the most important holiday to early Christians. Instead, Christians focused their religious celebrations on Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the grave after being crucified three days earlier.
No one is 100 percent sure as to why the date was chosen, but most scholars believe that Pope Julius I was trying to have the Christian holiday around the same time as pagan holidays and holidays of the non-religious in order to take over their traditions.
Christmas spread to Egypt by 432, then to England by the end of the 6th century, according to the History Channel. People around the world all the way to Scandinavia celebrated the holiday. Of course, the tradition came to America along with the pilgrims and other early settlers.
A MISDIRECTION IN PLANS
I apologize if this blog post seemed entirely too long, but I really enjoyed doing the research! I hope you learned something new. It seems that our modern-day Christmas combines a number of old traditions and Christmas traditions.
I hope you enjoyed and I hope you enjoy this educational series!
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: