Millennial Life, November 2018

Millennial Life, Thankfulness

Thankfulness

Jessica LeBlanc

For many, November is the month selected to celebrate all of the wonderful things we’re thankful for in our lives. Our senses seem to be heightened to the tiny and big blessings that permeate our daily routines. But I want to challenge you to not wait for November to come around every year before you’re conscious of the daily benefits God gives you (Psalm 68:19).

There’s something about being grateful and thankful that has the power to change any situation you’re facing — or at least your outlook on it. As I write this article, I’m reminded of several times when I was facing some major challenges or had just experienced a big disappointment, and God put a praise in my heart at those very moments. Immediately, I began to thank God for His mercy and goodness. Being thankful is an act of worship.

I remember one particular situation where I had just had an emotional beat-down and I was just exhausted. The Holy Spirit whispered in my heart to start praising God. The situation didn’t change, but within minutes, as I continued my praise of the Father, I changed. My heart got lighter because the burden of my anxiety was lifted as God replaced it with His. As he promised us in the book of Matthew, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

Often, unpleasant and unwelcome thoughts of the past threaten our state of mind. And you may not feel like praising or saying how thankful you are for the things you have. But this is precisely the moment that we must press on and declare our thankfulness to God. I believe God honors our faithfulness, particularly when it’s hard to be faithful and when we physically just don’t feel like doing the right thing.

Also, we must remember that there is always something to be grateful and thankful for. If you’re reading this article right now, you can see! If you heard your alarm go off this morning, you can hear! If you got out of bed this morning, you have movement in your body! And even if you don’t have any of those things, you’re still here.God has a purpose for you and that by itself is something beautiful to be thankful for.

In Psalm 100:4, the Bible says to enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”We should always have an attitude of prayer and thankfulness. The most blessed gift any of us can ever receive is the gift of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins. It would be the worst tragedy to leave this world accepting every other gift but that one.

I’d like to challenge you to something for the entire month of November. It’s called the Thankfulness Challenge. Start your day by writing down five things you’re thankful for. Even if you find yourself thinking about it for a moment, keep thinking! I promise you will never run out of things to thank God for. Regardless of what you’re facing right now, as you turn your eyes upon Jesus, your problems will become smaller and smaller — and worship will become bigger and bigger.

Millennial Life, October 2018

Be Angry and Sin Not, Millennial Life

Be Angry.. sin not

On the topic of anger, I think we should first establish there are two different types. One is good. One is bad. Righteous anger, or as the King James version of the Bible puts it, ‘righteous indignation’, is something that all believers should have. When it comes to the evil that we see in the world today, we should get angry about that. Whatever God gets angry about, we should get angry about the same thing.

However, the other kind of anger is not of God. That kind of anger is a sin. The kind of anger I’m talking about is when someone cuts you off in traffic and you’re tempted to yell or make an obscene gesture; the kind of anger that makes you rude, disrespectful, or harsh to others; the kind of anger that won’t allow you to forgive offenses committed against you; the kind of anger you’ve held onto for years just because it feels like an old familiar friend and you don’t want to let it go, whatever it is. Also, the kind of anger that makes you bitter toward others because they sin differently than you.

The Bible says to be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26). What does that mean? I believe it means to be angry at the unrighteousness and injustices we see in the world today. For example, if you are a Christian, it should anger you that innocent children are being abused and killed. It should anger you that people are being gunned down simply because of the color of their skin or because they’re not deemed worthy to live by their murderer. It should anger you that Christians are being persecuted around the world because they’re sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and fulfilling the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

You may say that you have the anger part down. How do you work on the ‘and sin not’ part?

We must be careful to not let the Devil get a foothold into our hearts and plant seeds of sin that breed misdirected anger. Ephesians 4:29, 31 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”

To be angry that people hurt other people doesn’t mean that we are to hate them or be unforgiving. Jesus loves them and so should we. Those people who shoot down other human beings because they don’t look like them — they need prayer too. They need to know that if they repent, God is there to forgive them. We’re supposed to pray for people who are outside of God’s will because we can be that person at any moment. Instead of taking matters into our own hands, we must entrust every situation to God because vengeance is His and He will repay. God is pure and just and He will right every wrong that has been done. Nothing escapes the watchful and, loving, but just, eyes of The Most High God.

Before coming to Christ, we once were those people. We may not have committed those particular sins, but we were sinners nonetheless and we all have to come to Christ the same way … on our knees in repentance. That’s where mercy and grace come in. I believe to be angry and sin not means to be angry at the sin, but to love the sinner just as Jesus so graciously does with us. God meets each of us where we are. We only need to reach out to Him and ask.

My prayer for you is that you seek God for yourself and ask Him to reveal any hidden parts of your heart where you may be harboring anger and to replace it with righteous anger and love for others.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Jessica LeBlanc is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated journalist who was named on of the top student television news reporters in the country by College Broadcasters in 2011. While in college, she traveled to Europe and wrote political and human interest stories for UPIU.com (at an extension of United Press International). Upon graduation fro Southeastern Louisiana University, she began working at WBRZ News 2 in Baton Rouge as a multimedia journalist and later as an anchor. Originally from New Orleans, she spends her free time working on her blog Moments with Jesse, reading, taking various speaking engagements, and spending time with her family.

September 2018

Transformation, Graceful and Beautiful as the Butterfly

Transformation

graceful and beautiful as the butterfly

by Jessica LeBlanc

When I think of transformation, so many things come to mind. The change in seasons is definitely one of them because as we’re getting ready to enter the autumn months, we’ll actually get the chance to see and feel the changes. Leaves begin falling, the air gets cooler and crisper and the sun sets earlier.

However, the first thing that comes to mind is the butterfly. It’s remarkable to me how it goes through four different stages before it becomes fully developed. I think more than any other animal, this one truly captures what can happen to us sometimes, as human beings, when we’re going through a transformative process. I decided to do a little research on this colorful creation and I was able to draw some major connections.

Stages of the butterfly

Egg: This obviously is the beginning stage of its life. Fresh, new and nowhere near fully developed; a blank canvas with a lot to experience. This can represent the first part of becoming a Christian. In order to be in Christ, we must be born again to begin our transformation from being dead in our sins to being alive in Jesus. This can only happen through repentance of any and all sin in our lives and a belief and devotion to God. (See Romans 6:23, Romans 5:17) As a babe in Christ and often times as millennials, we have a feeling of trying to keep up. In a world that’s constantly changing, there’s always something to keep up with. Things can get overwhelming quick when we feel like we always have to start over. But we must stay encouraged and keep pressing forward.

Caterpillar: Sometimes called the “feeding stage,” this is the time when the butterfly is growing and eating as much as it can to store food in its body that it will need later on. It’s not very pretty at this stage in life and some may even say it’s downright ugly and a little scary looking. But the caterpillar isn’t concerned about what things look like on the outside so much as it’s determined to build its inside to what it’s supposed to be. Its main goal during this time is to eat, part of the process of becoming something beautiful down the road.

For us, this can be a tough time, the beginning stages of becoming who we are meant to be. But it starts in our minds and hearts. The Bible says in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This requires separation from the world and feeding on the Word of God in order to “live godly in Christ Jesus.”

Pupa: At this point, sometimes called the “transition stage,” the butterfly has separated itself and retreats inside of its cocoon. It can be found tucked away in the silky confines of the safe space, preparing for its grand debut. Things may look dead and quiet on the outside, but a lot is happening. Cells are expanding and other body parts are developing. For us, times when we have to separate ourselves and retreat might make us feel that we’re never going to get that job, travel to that city, marry that person. But just know that during your cocoon process, God is preparing you to re-emerge and be the beautiful person He has created you to be just like He does with the butterfly.

Adult: Finally, the butterfly is here in all its glory. Gracefully fluttering around, showing off colorful intricately designed wings, it is one of God’s many masterpieces. But even at this stage, it has a purpose — to mate and prepare for the next line of butterflies that will come after it is gone. In Matthew 5:16, the Bible says to let our “light shine before men … that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.”

We are God’s creation and we are made to glorify, praise and worship Him. And we should always be thinking of the generation coming up behind us, ready to offer an encouraging and guiding word to them when they need it. I hope as you go through the month of September, that you remember life is a transformative process and as long as you’re in the center of God’s will for you, you will always re-emerge as graceful and beautiful as the butterfly.

Jessica Leblanc is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated journalist who was named one of the top student television n news reporters in the country by college broadcasters in 2011. While in college, she traveled to Europe and wrote political and human interest stroies for UPIU.com. Upon graduation from Southeastern Louisiana University, she began working at WBRZ New 2 in Baton Rouge as a multimedia journalist and later as an anchor. Originally from NOLA, she spends her free time working on blog Moments with Jess, reading, taking on various speaking engagements and spending time with her family