Sometimes you just don’t know what hits you.
That’s what a player for the Houston Cougars found out in 1970 when he was playing against the Florida State Seminoles.
I wish I could hav
e seen the hit. I wish it were on YouTube like a lot of clips from old football games are. I bet the Cougars’ player wished he had seen it coming but he didn’t. No one knew it was going to happen except for a Seminole player named Dan Whitehurst.
It was during the last game of the 1970 season and Houston was trouncing FSU when the Houston player intercepted a pass and took off bound to make another touchdown. Bill Parcells, who would later coach the New York Giants and New England Patriots to Super Bowl victories, was an assistant coach at FSU at the time. He began yelling, “Somebody, do something!”
Whitehurst, who played linebacker for FSU, did do something. He left the sidelines and tackled the Houston player.
Like that Houston player, I have had times when I didn’t know what hit me. I didn’t know what hit me in December when I went into cardiac arrest and woke up the next week in the hospital in Tallahassee. I had always thought that there would be pain and warnings associated with anything like that. The only thing I can remember before it happened that day was that I was tired. I didn’t know that a linebacker was going to step off the sidelines and knock me flat out.
We don’t always get warnings, so isn’t it better to be prepared? We take our lives in our hands every day when we get in a car and head to work. Others have to take their lives in their hands at work.
I am glad that when I got blindsided, I was healed but I am happier that I was saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. If I had not been rescued from death’s door, I know what would have been on the other side of that door – eternity in Heaven with my Savior.
What is the alternative for those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior? An eternity in a lake of fire, filled with everlasting torment.
There’s your warning. If you have not, make a decision to accept Jesus Christ today.
Tag Archive for Jacob’s Ladder
Sometimes you just don’t know what hits you.
I have seen some amazing things in my lifetime. I have been a part of some awesome things myself. Awesome and amazing are not words that can describe what people must have seen in Galilee 2,000 years ago.
I remember sitting at an FSU baseball game. It was being broadcast live to the nation (at least the cable subscribers back in 1986 or 1987) on ESPN. FSU vs. LSU. An epic battle between two teams ranked number one and two. Mike Martin had removed the FSU pitcher (it seems that it was Richie Lewis) from the game with FSU leading 2-1. I may have the score wrong. Anyway, in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 2-2, Paul Sorrento launched a rocket over the fence with a runner on base and FSU won 4-2.
I remember watching on TV as Byron Wells, a reserve FSU senior with very little playing time, hit the shot of his life and FSU beat Duke for the first time 89-88.
I even know that I was on the brink of death and Jesus brought be back to life. That was awesomely amazing. It was amazingly awesome.
All these amazing and awesome things cannot compare with what those people in Galilee and Nazareth and Jerusalem saw. They saw God incarnate as Jesus Christ performing miracles. He was a man who was God. He was God, yet He was a man. How amazingly awesome and awesomely amazing is that?
Today, we read the Bible and find that God insists in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Awesome. Amazing.
I look forward to that awesomely amazing day and that amazingly awesome day when I will get to see Jesus, who paid the price for my sins, face to face.
I can feel your hurt, I know your pain,
You’re walking against the wind,
Walking in the hurricane.
You need someone to erase the stains
You can’t hide, you can’t pretend,
Walking in the hurricane.
So many nights you spend on bended knees,
Crying tears, saying, “Lord, help me please,”
Your broken heart you can’t explain
To anyone not walking in the hurricane.
And, your heart breaks like it never has before,
The rain keeps falling and you watch it pour,
No umbrella, no raincoat you walk through the storm,
With nothing there to keep you warm.
Looking to Heaven for answers, not knowing if there’s one,
You pray to God in the name of His Holy Son,
“Lord, help me please, come and take this pain,
I’m so tired of walking through the hurricane.”
As you tread through the streets, you see the toppled trees,
But through the power lines you hear a hum like a symphony,
You can make it, Jesus can conquer your pain
And send a dove to lift you out of the hurricane.
Keep walking on water, with your head held high,
Remember always God is there in the night,
He’s there in day, He’s there in the pain,
Helping you walk through the hurricane.
Sunday is Mother’s Day and my mind thinks back on my beautiful mother who did so much for me, Debbie, Danny and Abbie and for our daddy. I have written before that she told me to love books and to love reading. We used to have a great time reading the same books. Either I would read a book first and recommend it to her or she would read a book and recommend it to me. The year before she died, she had read through the Bible two or three times. A few years later, I read through the Bible three times in one year.
Mama had not only taught me to love reading, she also taught me to read. This led to some confusion for me when, a few years later, I was practicing for the school-wide spelling bee and my mother was reading the words to me. She read the word “rendezvous.” I had never heard it and had not seen it on my list of words. RON-DAY-VOO Mama had read to me. I told her that word was not on the list. She showed it to me. “Oh, that’s ren-dez-vious,” I said. Mama laughed and said, “No, it’s not.”
Mama had taught me to read phonetically so that word just about blew her whole teaching technique out of the water.
Although I am six years older than my sister, Abbie Gail, sometimes she can be a mother figure to me. Sunday evening, I was not feeling well, so she came and took me by the hand to try and make me feel better. She was worried about me.
My sister, Debbie, can be a mother figure to me also. She inherited our mother’s dark hair and dark eyes and her talent for cooking. When I was in the hospital, Debbie stayed near watching out over me.
I have other mother figures in my life, including aunts, church members and an adopted mom who I have never met before but will the next time she is in Madison County. I adopted her after her daughter would post these pictures of food that her mom brought her, along with the fact that she is a really sweet woman, just like my mama was.
I am glad that mothers have been given their own day to celebrate. One of my favorite songs of all times is “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” which was sung by Steve Wariner and Glen Campbell. Let us always remember “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”
Thank you, Lord, for the good, kind mothers of this world.
The young girl knew that the king would soon be passing by where he waited at the bottom of the hill.
She had seen the king before. She had been there a few days ago when the king had made his triumphal entry into the city.
The girl had been there when the king had been brought before the court that was not only wanting to impeach the king but also to execute him. She could not believe such rebellion against a king.
She had been there when the governor had tried to release the king because he could see nothing wrong that the king had done. Instead, the crowd cried for the king’s blood.
She saw the crowd coming toward the hill. The king was being forced to carry a cross. She saw the blood dripping from his face where a crown of thorns was implanted into his skull, where a true crown, representing his royalty, that he did not wear should have been.
She saw the stripes on the king’s body. The king who had healed her, the daughter of Jairus, and raised her from the dead would be able to heal people for centuries to come. She recalled the words of the Jewish prophet Isaiah who had written, “By His stripes, ye are healed.”
The next few hours, she saw the king nailed to the cross. She saw him bleed and die. She cried with the others. She felt despair but something deep inside her told her that the king would be back.
A few days later, she heard the news that the king had arisen. King Jesus had arisen and was now King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
By Jacob Bembry
When I was in college, there was a song out that people couldn’t help but smile when they heard it. If they tried singing it, it was impossible not to take its words to heart and feel them. You probably know the song; you may have even sung it. The song was Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
My sister, Abbie, absolutely loves that song. She even loves my old broken down voice singing a different version of the song I came up with: “Don’t Worry, Be Abbie.”
Believe me, I am probably one of the biggest worrywarts in the world and I know that God did not intend for us to be like that. Jesus told us “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34 In other words, he was telling us, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
With the cares of the world encompassing us and threatening to strangle us, sometimes we have to step back and think if what we are worrying about is really worth our time. Is it just FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real? The majority of the time, I’ve discovered that many things are not worth worrying about and I don’t need them crowding and clouding my mind.
We should just hand our cares to Jesus and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
Jacob Bembry – Columnist
Have you ever felt like you were on top of the world? Nothing could stop you? You could do anything and you did not need help at all? Who would need anyone else if you could walk on water?
I wonder how Simon Peter felt when he stepped out of that boat and began walking on the water. At least, he had his eyes focused where they should be – right on Jesus Christ. I wonder if he began to get pride in himself, though. When he turned away from Jesus, he sank and it was only because of Jesus that he was saved from the crashing waves around him.
It’s only when a person is sinking that they can be saved. They have to realize their helplessness without Jesus Christ. They have to realize that they cannot walk on water or deal, at times, with even the day-to-day stuff in their lives.
Christ is my strength. He is my best friend. He is my guide. He talks to me through the Holy Spirit and through His Word.
Don’t sink without Christ. Reach out your hand to Him and He will save you.
Jacob Bembry – Columnist
I’m not a prize pig or a prize bull. There are not too many people who are but God doesn’t give us those designations as humans do with livestock.
When you think about it, unless it’s a thoroughbred horse or a workhorse (and a few other things), most livestock are worth more dead than alive. That statement may make the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) angry, but I grew up in a rural agriculture community and still live in one. People here know that livestock keeps us fed. Ranchers spend money to fatten up the calves so we can have steak and hamburgers. Hog farmers fatten up their pigs so that the pigs can be food later on.
As I said before, humans are not livestock. Though sometimes it’s hard to believe, a human life is worth more than an animal’s life, even those of dogs and cats. Believe me, I have had pets that I dearly loved before.
The laws that we follow prove the fact that humans have more worth than animals. If you kill a human, the punishment will (or should) be greater than if you run over a squirrel or a dog.
God gave man rule over the animals. He provided them for our food and, yes, for some to become domesticated and become our pets. We don’t slaughter humans and sell them off by the pound like we do cattle and pigs. The worth of humans is determined by how we live our lives, how we serve Christ and how we serve others. Let’s all increase our value.
It’s Wednesday afternoon, a little after 2 p.m. It has been a long time since I remember being this exhausted.
The reason for my exhaustion is that I took my sister, Abbie, to the dentist Tuesday night in Gainesville. I thought that it would be a routine examination and then decide where to go from there. I knew that Abbie needed her teeth extracted and I thought that she would be put under anesthesia when they did it. She would be in dreamland and wouldn’t know what had happened until it was over.
Instead, the dentist decided to start extracting her teeth. Abbie was placed in feet straps and hand straps and a number of dental assistants also had to hold her head and her shoulders down. At one point, she flexed the muscle in her arm and broke one of the straps. I had told them how strong she is. I don’t know if they believed it until they saw that.
A local anesthetic was used (I believe Novocain) and the dentist began pulling her teeth. Abbie struggled against the pressure. The dentist said that he had given her plenty of anesthetic so she wasn’t feeling pain, but she was feeling pressure.
As I watched, my heart was breaking because I didn’t like to see Abbie struggle the way she was doing or be subjected to any pain or pressure. At the same time, I was relieved because I knew that she would not have to worry about any toothaches again and she has suffered with them for years.
My family and I were down there with her for hours Tuesday evening and when we all went home, it was one long trip back.
I believe that Abbie will get over any anger that she may feel towards me at this time when she realizes that what was done was in her best interest. For years, we had been trying to find someone who could help. Thanks to Zane Gaston, a dental assistant at the health department, we found out about the after hours clinic at Tachachale in Gainesville.
God has given me a tough and strong little sister, who will celebrate her 42nd birthday this Tuesday, Aug. 9. If you see Abbie, make sure you tell her “Happy birthday.” I am sure that it will make her happy.
Jacob Bembry – Columnist
Emails. Text messages. Tweets. Almost forgot phone calls and definitely almost forgot letters – you know the things that you stick a stamp to and send.
There is so much information out there that it’s hard to process some of it. This past week, I learned from information stuck in with a letter to the editor that Utah has the highest percentage of Internet porn subscribers of any state. I learned from a tweet that one of the people who follows me finished a cardio workout up in New Hampshire and has a new workout buddy. I also learned from a tweet that I missed seeing Maryse Oullett on TMZ. Of course, I never watch TMZ. I am too busy trying to process the information that is overloading my brain.
Tweets and emails I get from Poynter.org and Al Tompkins give information about the news business, as well as story ideas.
Some of my tweets, texts, emails and Facebook messages are uplifting. Tom Ziglar always sends uplifting quotes that his father, Zig, has either said or written in his books. Benjie Dyal, the pastor at New Home Baptist Church, sends an uplifting text message at least once a week. Delbert Redditt, the Faith Baptist pastor, sends a daily devotional by email and Judy Dean sends prayer requests and Bible verses.
Being a high tech redneck, I try to process what information I can and store it for future use. I try to apply the uplifting messages and prayers when I get them. It’s a crazy world when we get bombarded with information, but, being the geek that I am, I would not have it any other way.
More than once, these past few weeks, I’ve had people compliment me on taking care of my family. I appreciate the compliments but I feel that they are undeserved, because no matter how much I try to take care of my family there is nothing I can ever do to repay them for what they have done for me.
My father has been a rock in the family. Although he is a few inches shorter than I am, to me he stands as tall as a mountain. He has taught me how important family loyalty is. He has given me insight into life and into the Word of God. Although he has only a seventh grade education, Daddy is one of the smartest people I know. He worked hard and helped me make it through school and then college. There is no way I can ever repay him.
My heart swells with pride when I hear my brother sing. He usually sits next to me in church and you can hear him singing above the other voices in the church. He has a gentle spirit. When Daddy was in the hospital a couple of years ago, Danny was always there with Abbie and me when we would make the trek to Gainesville or Tallahassee to see Daddy. I can never repay him for his gifts of gentleness and of music.
Of course, I can never repay Abbie for everything she does. Her smile and laugh melt my heart. She has more love than anyone else I know and I am proud to call her sister, but I know there is nothing I can do to ever repay her.
I can never repay my “big brother,” Jesus Christ, for what He did for me. He was beaten and scourged, had a crown of thorns thrust upon His head and had nails driven in His hands and feet.
I wish I could repay these debts but I can’t. I am grateful for what my family and my Savior have done for me.
Jacob Bembry – Columnist
During the closing days of World War II, as the Nazis faced sure defeat, they executed Dietrich Boenhoffer.
Boenhoffer was a theologian who realized, in times of war, certain actions must be taken. He knew that Adolf Hitler was evil and he engaged himself in a conspiracy to rid the world of the mustachioed dictator. Boenhoffer could not sit by passively, as many of his fellow Germans had done, and watch a madman take control of his beloved country and attempt to take control of the world. He knew that when Christians failed to act, they opened themselves up for many things.
If other Germans had acted earlier, there would have been no need for Bonhoeffer and his fellow conspirators to plot Hitler’s assassination. Hitler would never have risen to power if Christians had not sat by idlyand watched history which would mark Germany forever unfold before their blinded eyes.
In England, Prime Minister Winston Churchill had to unite the British against one common enemy. Instead of just saying that Great Britain was at war against the Nazis, he said they were at war against Germany. Soon, all Germans were counted in with the Nazis. The British became unable to discern between a good German and a Nazi.
Following the war, the scales began to fall slowly from their eyes. In London, a memorial service was held for Boenhoffer. English people realized he was both a good person and a German.
Christians today do not need to sit idly by and let our freedoms be taken away; neither do we need to engage in an assassination plot like Bonhoeffer did. Things do not need to proceed that far. We simply need to exercise our power to vote as Christians; we need to be involved in activities in the community; we need to control what our children watch on TV; we need to read our Bibles and pray, and we need to attend a Bible-believing church.
Don’t let evil control our city, county, state or country.
I have been really busy the last couple of months and I don’t know which way is up or down, anymore. From work, I go home and find more tasks to do. The work can be so mentally draining, but it is also rewarding. As I have written before, sometimes tired is a good feeling.
I thank the Good Lord that I have a job, that I have a home, that I have a family, that I have friends, that I have a church. I don’t have much money, but I have rewards that many people can only wish for.
Some people may look at me and say, “Poor guy,” but they don’t know the abundance of blessings that God has bestowed upon me.
I pray that when I complain about any lack that God will give me a gentle nudge and show me how much I truly have. I truly have a lot.
I had played tennis on a team in high school and I played for myself in college. I was amazed Sunday afternoon as the swing and the grip came back to me. The fellow across the court was not hitting the ball very hard or very often, but I was burning calories. Everything was going fine until he hit the ball and it traveled to the out-of-bounds marker.
In high school or college, I could have easily hit the ball back to young J.W. Phillips. I made a move that back in the day would have been balletic, even poetic, as I hit the ball and followed through; not this time, however.
What should have been a graceful, athletic move turned into disaster. I must have looked like a whale trying to beach himself. Somehow, as I saw eminent disaster looming, I had the mental state to remind myself to dive for the grass and not fall on the court. I managed to get most of my body on the grass with only my feet and the lower half of my shins on the court. If I had not done that, it would have meant broken bones, including probably broken ribs. I survived with a few scratches and minor bruises.
It was at my church’s Family and Youth Day at Lee Town Hall and my pastor, Retis Flowers, said that I had taken the chain like fence on the side out. I think the fence was like that before and I do not remember hitting it. He fixed what I think had already been leaning over.
Jacob Everhart, the church’s youth director, jumped the fence to help me up. I just wanted to lie there for a moment because I had no breath left. I don’t think it was from getting it knocked out of me, though. I think it was because I had exhausted all of my energy hitting the ball around. It felt good, though; even the pain from the fall.
It is so hard to take time to get the physical exercise one needs. This past week, I’ve had to run from one end of the county to the other covering things for the newspaper. I spent last weekend working and I spent a couple of nights this week doing things for the newspaper. By the time I get home, it’s hard not to just sit and chill. My mind hurts and my body aches. I know the tonic for both problems, though.
The remedy for the body aches is to exercise and the remedy for the mind hurts is to pray and read God’s Word, to meditate on Him and to find quiet time alone with God.
For more writings and thoughts on life, books, music and the universe in general, please visit www.jacobbembry.us
She had done it to me before but never had she put me in the predicament I now found myself in. “Uh-oh,” I thought, “I’m going to go to jail.” I could see the headlines emblazoned across the front of the newspaper, “Editor Arrested.” Then I thought, maybe we could send her to jail. After all, evidences of the crime were on her mouth. The judge would probably release her on her own recognizance. Me? The judge would probably keep in jail.
I looked at my hands. All the evidence a prosecutor would ever need to prosecute me was in my right hand.
I looked at Abbie, who looked perturbed that I had taken the Twix bar out of her hand before she had finished eating it. We were in Winn-Dixie and I had just paid for my items and I did not have enough money left to pay for the candy, which Abbie had picked up in the line. She had opened it and started munching.
We were now criminals. Should we take it on the lam or should we turn ourselves in? I made the executive decision to do neither. Instead, I turned to a superhero. I had one of the store managers page my younger brother, Super Danny, who was also in the store.
Faster than a speeding bullet, Danny arrived on the scene and paid for the candy bar. All was once again well in Metropolis.
I told Abbie not to do that again, but I can’t really fault her. She was hungry at the time and that candy bar looked so good to her. She did not realize that I did not have the money to pay for it. Other times, I would let her eat something in a store and take the wrapper and pay for it at the checkout counter.
Sometimes, there are temptations that look so good to us. Like the gold and red-colored wrapping on the Twix bar that Abbie took, they are bright and shiny. When we yield to temptations, they become sins and sins have consequences. When Abbie, who knew no better, took that Twix bar, there was a consequence. It had to be paid for and, fortunately, Danny was in the store to help us out with it. Sins have to be paid for and, fortunately, we have an advocate there for us also. Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins. When we mess up, He is there to help us, but He tells us to resist temptation and not to yield to it.
The consequences we face when we sin can be much more overwhelming than the consequences of the Twix bar Abbie picked up in the store.
Please visit www.jacobbembry.us for “Jacob’s Ladder” and other writings by Jacob Bembry.
I wrote last week about my mentally-challenged sister, Abbie, and her God-given ability to make friends. This past Saturday, I saw that Abbie also has some of the gifts of an ambassador.
For the first time in her life, Abbie, went to a manicurist. I took her to TL Nails to have her fingernails done. Believe me, Abbie did not act like an ambassador at first. If I were to evoke memories of seeing film clips of Nikita Kruschev pounding his shoe on a table and telling America that he was going to bury us, it would be closer to the truth. Abbie is a very protective person and no one – and I mean no one – had better try cutting her fingernails.
Even as small as Abbie is, she would have made two of the girl who was doing her nail. Another problem I thought that they had – and I was later proven wrong – was that they could not communicate with each other. The girl could not speak English, and well, Abbie (although she can) just won’t speak most of the time.
Anyway, after I wrestled Abbie’s hands to the table and held them while the manicurist – if I remember her name right, I think it was Thien Ho – trimmed and filed her nails. After she had finished that part, and put lotion on Abbie’s arms and massage them a bit – Abbie liked her. Enter Abbie the Ambassador.
At times like that, if Abbie reminds me of anyone, it is my grandmother, Ava Lee Sealey. She becomes the sweetest person ever, if the situation suits her.
I am always proud of Abbie, but there are some times more than others, my heart swells with pride that she is my sister. Despite her handicaps and shortcomings, she has so many qualities that I wished that I possessed myself. She is truly a gift from God.
I just wonder if President Obama could appoint her as an ambassador. She would probably do better than most of the ambassadors they have now.
Okay, here’s a question that I have for all atheists and agnostics: If God does not exist (as the atheists say) or may not exist (as the agnostics say), why do you get upset about anything that has to do with Judaism or Christianity?
Another question is, “If you’re an atheist or agnostic, why try to convince others to be like you?” It doesn’t make sense, does it.
An atheist does not believe in God. I don’t believe in the tooth fairy or in Santa Claus, but I’m not going around trying to convince anyone — least of all little children – that they don’t exist.
An agnostic doubts God’s existence, yet he will try to convince other people to believe like him. Why should I believe in doubt?
If atheists and agnostics get upset with something they consider “Christian,” they run bawling to the ACLU. The ACLU recently complained that a voting precinct in Suwannee County was in a church. Hey, atheists, if it is in a church and if God does not exist, why should you care where the voting location is?. Are you afraid that the God whom you do not believe is going to sway the vote?
The atheists have also complained about municipal boards praying before their meetings and about prayer before sporting events in the area.
Why should someone who does not believe something exists work so hard to make you believe that it does not exist?
My simple answer to this is that I think they are afraid. I believe they are afraid of the convicting power of Christ.
I also know that some Christians are also afraid. They hear that our beliefs offend people and they run scared. They hear ACLU and jumped in bed and hide under the covers. Stop it! The battle is not ours but it is the Lord’s.
A question to my Christian friends and readers is, “Why aren’t we working as hard as they are to convince others that Christ is real and that He forgives our sins and trespasses?”
Yes, He will even forgive an atheist or an agnostic.
The words are written in books read around the world. They have been translated from their original language into English, Japanese, Mandarin, Hindi and virtually ever other tongue spoken on Earth. The words find themselves displayed in homes, businesses and even government bodies. In fact, even the United States Supreme Court has them on their walls. They are the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments have power. They have power to share the love of God and they have power for God to convict people of their sins. Jesus Christ saves us through His Grace, but He didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfill the law.
The Ten Commandments are a standard of excellence for everyone to strive to live by. We should have no other God besides the Lord our God. We should not kill or steal. We should not lie. We should not commit adultery.
A monument of the Ten Commandments now sits across the street from the courthouse lawn. The courthouse lawn is where private individuals had asked for them to be placed but some lawmakers chose to fear lawsuits and complaints from others rather than to have faith and allow the commandments to be placed there.
Even if the Ten Commandments monument is never placed in another public institution again, we should read them, write them down and memorize them. Most important of all, however, is that we live them. If everyone did, imagine how much better the world would be.