After I graduated college, I worked as a reporter for a newspaper located in one of North Carolina’s highest crime cities: Lumberton. I can’t count the number of murders, deaths, and controversies I reported on.
We have a saying in the news business: “If it bleeds, it leads.” This means the most controversial stories like murder or hit-and-runs are always printed above the fold so you could see the horrific headlines on the newsstand. Sales and views always went up when someone was murdered, or whenever some white-collar worker got mixed up in a town-wide scandal.
I’ve often found myself being the interviewer, the reporter asking all the questions to the grieving person. This is the first time in my life that I’ve become part of the headline rather than part of the byline. It’s hard, and I never realized how easy I thought it was.
In my own personal life, I tend to make the bad aspects of my day define my day, week, or even month. I always let the worse things lead my emotions, and that can cause me to totally ignore the blessings God sends my way.
It all started last week. I was replying to messages and scheduling social media posts at my job, when I found myself nervously staring down at my phone, impatiently waiting for a message from my mom. I couldn’t wait any longer.
“Did you find her?” I remember typing the words with shaky hands and quivering breaths.
My mom had called me minutes earlier to tell me that she couldn’t find my grandmother. She was supposed to be going to a doctor’s appointment, but she never arrived. This worried me because my grandmother has dementia, is over the age of 70, and drives like a maniac, so she really shouldn’t be driving anywhere.
But, I will tell you that there are only two things keeping me going: God and my family.
I try to remind myself on a daily basis that Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary was one of the biggest headlines of His day. Jesus was a rebel. He went against the grain of society in the humblest and kindest way possible (except that time he literally flipped a table). His motivations were always pure and God-driven.
But Jesus still ended up on the cross. He still suffered and died for me and you. He was scared, too, judging by the fact that he began to sweat blood (Luke 22:24) in the garden before he was taken to be crucified.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, Hematohidrosis is the name for the condition Jesus suffered from. The condition is rare and causes humans to sweat blood. This can happen for a number of reasons, including excessive exertion and psychological factors (like high levels of stress).
Jesus taught me that it is OK to be scared, but giving your problems to God can help.
One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7, which says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
The proof that this is now natural comes from Genesis. In Genesis 3, God goes looking for Adam in the garden after Adam and Eve eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
“And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where are thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9-10
Adam wasn’t afraid until he ate the fruit that Eve gave him from the tree. Eve was persuaded by the serpent, who many scholars believe to be the devil.
The verse in 2 Timothy reminds me that God is in control and God will always win, and it reminds me to talk a look at the power, love, and sound mind that God has given me, rather than harp on the worldly things I often tie myself up in.
Whether my grandfather passes sooner rather than later, or if he lives another five years, that verse from 2 Timothy will always remind me that I am a child of God, not of this world. Satan has no hold on me, no matter what he tries to hurl at me.
I’m praying that my anxiety doesn’t get to the point of sweating blood, but rather stops at “it is well, with my soul.” Have a great week everyone, and remember that you have a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind inside of you.
"...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.
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: