Tag Archives: Jesus

Still Refuse To Believe? Consider The Evidence.

“And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).

I think I’ve heard every excuse for why this couldn’t be blood in Jesus’ sweat. Some claim that the word, “like” gives an out to the skeptic. Others deny that “blood sweat” exists. Many simply shrug and say they can’t explain it.

But “hematohidrosis” is real. It is a rare condition. And a 21-year-old patient, who was recently treated for “blood sweat,” definitively answers the critics.

The young woman in question has dealt with “blood sweat” for at least three years. She was a patient of Dr. Roberto Maglie at the University of Florence. Hematologists at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto further studied her case, and they recently published their findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Sometimes “blood sweat” occurs in her sleep, other times under stress. It can appear on her hands and her face. The condition causes her stress and depression. She even ostracized herself from society due to the condition.

Having ruled out cuts, colored sweat secretion, such as chromhidrosis and pseudochromhidrosis, and other possibilities, doctors treated her for hematohidrosis. The medical team also reviewed 42 medical articles since 1880 about the condition. Yet some doctors still refuse to accept its existence.

Why is it so difficult to believe? Medical historian Jacalyn Duffin from Queen’s University in Ontario wrote, “the long-standing association of hematohidrosis with religious mystery may make its existence harder to accept.” In other words, because “blood sweat” is Biblical, it gets dismissed.

In and of itself, this kind of skepticism is nothing new. If the Bible said it, then secular-minded individuals want to disregard it. But at what point does overwhelming evidence not cause one to review the facts?

Of course, hematohidrosis is just a small example of a larger issue. Many will deny anything associated with religion. But consider this: every time the truth comes out, the Bible’s message is always confirmed.

Jesus was under such great stress that, Luke, a physician, wrote of a condition that appears to have been “blood sweat.” Jesus wept on behalf of humanity. Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and arose resurrected on the 3rd day. You might not want to believe any of that either, but you should carefully examine the evidence.

There will come a day when, at His coming, the truth is completely revealed to all…how does that impact your next decision?

I’m Surprised You Are Still So Easily Surprised!

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).  

Surprise! That word has come to mean something fun, hasn’t it? Perhaps it is a surprise birthday party, or it could be a gift, or it might be some good news. But when Peter used the word xenizo, translated as “surprised” in 1 Peter 4:12, he had something completely different in mind. And we would do well to heed his warning.

You see, when Peter used the word translated as surprised, he was saying that Christians should not be shocked or astonished “by the strangeness and novelty of a thing.” In other words, he wanted Christians to expect persecution and difficulties in this world. He knew that when we are surprised in that way, we act like scared, insecure people without faith. But if we expect the fiery ordeal, we will (hopefully) react with the dignity of Christ.

Yet, as I see Christians interacting in the world, one thought repeatedly strikes me: “Why are you still so surprised at the fiery ordeal?” I’m surprised that you are still surprised.

Don’t get me wrong; I get it. It is frustrating to look out in the world and feel like everything is against your way of thinking. This is especially true when you were sold on the idea that this is a Christian nation. I understand.

But that is never an excuse for Christians to behave like scared, insecure people without faith. If the media shows a bias toward publicizing one shooting and downplaying another, don’t be surprised! If people are praising one football player’s “taking a knee” despite having condemned another for “taking a knee,” don’t be surprised! You see where I’m going with this?

“Surprise” leads to negative, hateful, vitriol that spews forth from the Christian, lashing out like a frightened, wounded animal. Rather, as Christians, we need to follow the advice my old science teacher used to give. When asked if there would be a test the next day, he would say, “pray for the best, but expect the worst.”

When we do that, we will be less overwhelmed. When a fiery ordeal happens, we are prepared. Then, we actually leave room for a true surprise – delight when things go better than expected! Jesus experienced this kind of astonishment when He saw faith among the Gentiles that exceeded the faith of Israel.

Caleb Engle, the usher who stopped the shooter at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, is a good example of what I mean. After being hit in the face with a gun, and after wrestling the gunman from further killing and shooting, he asked people to pray for the church, the first responders…and the gunman. Now that is a delightful surprise to hear…and (by the way) an example of what Jesus would do.

Of course, Caleb is a Christian so that shouldn’t be a surprise. Yet, it is always a delight when God’s people act accordingly. Let’s try to be that kind of surprise for the world this week and leave the scared, wounded animal talk behind.

Wait Until The End. It is going to be amazing!

So maybe you saw the Tennessee-Georgia Tech game. Tennessee won in double overtime. How? No one really knows. Butch Jones called it a, “will to win,” season. I just call it another 4th quarter heart attack season!

But during the game, many Tennessee fans gave up. Many said…“unflattering” words on Facebook or Twitter. Many fans began planning Butch’s retirement party.

Then, with a solid effort, UT caught up, blocked a field goal, and stopped a goal line run for victory in double overtime. And, in football, “a W is a W,” no matter how messy it was getting there. It is in the books. Tennessee is 1-0.

That game was a little like the Christian life. Our lives are messy. We sin. We fail. And sometimes Satan backs us up like Georgia Tech running a triple option.

But, especially in hard times, we need to cling to one truth – we win! Victory is certain for those in Christ. Satan has been defeated. Sure, he will take down as many players as he can along the way. But, for those who remain faithful to the end, eternal salvation is secure.

You see, unlike some fans, the team never gave up. They stayed in the game until the end. And that is the Christian life. We aren’t fair-weather fans watching a game; we are players on the field.

There will be times of discouragement. There will be times of disappointment. You may not be able to see how God will use your life to bring about His glory. You may not see how these present struggles will end in a “W.”

But if we remember that victory is in Christ, the Christian will never give up. The final enemy, death, will be crushed when Christ returns. Just be faithful until the end…it’s going to be amazing!

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Ouch! Falling hurts.

So, as the folks at Clover know, I fell a couple of weeks ago. Wish it was a better story, but there were no heroics; I just slipped and fell. I was trying to wrestle a pontoon boat onto a trailer, slipped, and slammed into the trailer on the way down.

Of course, getting injured is never fun. Despite a small ding to the pride, a couple of stitches in the knee, and some back pain, I’ll be ok. It certainly could have been worse.

The fall reminded me, though, how quickly we can lose our footing and injure ourselves. And if physically slipping causes an ER trip, just imagine what can happen from a spiritual fall. A sprained back and banged knee are no fun; but a damaged soul can end in disaster!

In fact, falling is such a dangerous and important topic that we describe all of man’s experience in Adam as “The Fall.” Paul warns us to be careful that we do not fall from grace (Galatians 5:4). Peter warns us to be on guard against a “fall from your own steadfastness,” (2 Peter 3:17).

So what can we do? We can’t undo the fall. That’s done. There is no going back.

But, moving forward, there are two solutions:

  • First, we need to see the great physician. When I went to the doctor, they examined me, cleaned out the wound, and patched it up. Going to the Lord when we sin is similar. We honestly confess, ask for healing through forgiveness, and receive treatment.
  • Secondly, we need to do our best to remain on solid ground. The sure footing of salvation is in God alone. Scripture warns that we had better be careful so we don’t fall, especially when we think we are “fine” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

We all slip in sin. When we do, John comforts us with these words: “if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” (1 John 2:21). He picks us up when we fall and helps us to stand securely when we live in Him!