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Fragrance or Stink: What Do You Smell Like?

1 Oct

A woman, trying to control her dry hair, treated her scalp with olive oil before washing it. But then, worried the oil might oliveoil_margenauer_pixabaylinger, she washed her hair several times.

That night, as she went to bed, she leaned over to her husband and asked, “Do I smell like olive oil?”

“No,” he said, sniffing her.

“Do I smell like Popeye?” *

I once read that if you lick your wrist and wait 10 seconds, and then smell your wrist… that’s what your breath smells like!

Is that true? Oh wait … Yikes!

There are sweet smells and offensive smells, right?

  • The smell of a newborn baby (minus a soiled diaper).
  • The smell of old books.
  • The smell of exotic perfume.
  • The smell of a bakery.
  • The smell of a wet dog.
  • The smell of honeysuckle vines.
  • The smell of an angry skunk.

But the smell I’m considering today is the aroma that lingers from my attitudes. 

Even if you are not aware of it, you are leaving behind a fragrance wherever you go.

Encouraging, godly attitudes will bless others, but when our attitudes “stink,” it will affect everyone around us in negative ways.

Although sin grievously affects us personally, we don’t sin unto ourselves—others are affected. Our “stink” can rub off on others! One example is the stinky attitude that comes from an unforgiving, bitter attitude that “defiles many” (Hebrews 12:15).

The story is told of an old homeless man, taken in by a God-fearing couple who wanted to help him. They took him home where he showered and cleaned up. But then he put on his old, dirty, stinky clothes! He didn’t realize the loving couple had laid out fresh, clean clothes for him.

This is what we Christians do sometimes. We are “washed” by the Lord when He rescues us and makes us His own (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26) and God wraps us in a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10); but then we keep righteousrobe_stinkygarments_lolwithgodputting old “stinky” garments over that robe!

Our hearts are changed, but we still resort to stinky thinking patterns that lead to stinky actions.

When tempted to put on those stinky attitudes, we need to lay them down and pick up the attitudes the Holy Spirit has “laid out” for us.

What are these attitudes?

Sweet-smelling attitudes arise from the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and goodness (Galatians 5:22-23). They include behavior that shows we have become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4-7).

And our thoughts help us focus on these attitudes. We need thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). We need to think these kinds of things and practice sweet-smelling habits that flow from those thoughts.

We all sin. Every day. If we say we don’t, we’re deceiving ourselves (1 John 1:8). But that doesn’t mean we cozy down with our sins. We should hate our sin as God does, and confess it to Him in repentance (1 John 1:9) so we can move forward in His grace to thoughts, words and behaviors that please Him (Ephesians 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Romans 12:1-2).

We need a “daily washing” to make sure the aroma of Christ is what lingers, wherever we go and in every situation;

“For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15, Amp).

King David, after committing terrible sin, cried out to God, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity [wickedness], and cleanse me from my sin!” (Psalm 51:2). In essence, David was saying, “Scrub me clean. Soak out my sinful attitudes and actions, and let me be pure again.”

Determine that your aroma will be the fragrance of Christ, not the stink of sin!

How can you know what “aroma” emanates from YOUR life? By others’ reactions and responses? Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit? From the Word of God?

from * Adapted from The Cybersalt Digest, Issue #4177, 9-1-16

~ Dawn

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Pride and the Day I Fell – Hard!

11 Jan

When I was a cocky teenager, I decided to show off in front of my family. “Watch this!” I yelled.

Wait. Let me set this up for you. Our kitchen at the time was in an old military Quonset hut. It was cramped, with two parallel counters, close to each other. I placed one hand on each counter, planning to swing a leg way back and then forward with great gusto, switching my body’s direction in mid-air to totally impress my Embarrassed_DidAnyoneSeeMyFallfamily with my agility.

I’d done this several times on the parallel bars at the high school gym, so I felt pretty confident. Or as I said, “cocky.”

When I was sure everyone was watching, I swung my leg back and forward and …

Crash!

Both legs came out from beneath me and I fell to the floor in an awkward heap. And shock. And pain. And awful embarrassment.

My family will never let me forget how foolish I looked as I rubbed my sore rear end and scurried off to my bedroom – their loud guffaws drowning out my loud wails.

Even now, I cannot read or hear Proverbs 16:18 without thinking of that incident:

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

The truth was, I was trying to show up another family member for her recent achievement. I wasn’t rejoicing in her success; I was haughty, trying to “prove something.” I wanted to demonstrate I could be even better than her.

Years later, traveling with a revival ministry, I had the opportunity to study pride. A few things I discovered about Pride were:

  • Pride is not compatible with love (1 Corinthians 13:4).
  • Pride can bring disgrace, but humility accompanies wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).
  • Pride puts distance between us and God (Psalm 138:6). [The truth is, it puts distance between us and others too!]
  • There is no room for God when thoughts are full of pride (Psalm 10:4); in fact, pride can make us forget about God completely (Deuteronomy 8:14a).

Yes, I remember that embarrassing fall in my teen years, and how God used it to teach me. I learned the heart that swells with pride and arrogance is “disgusting, hateful, and exceedingly offensive” to God (Proverbs 16:5). It’s always better to choose humility. As the Psalmist said, “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12).

I’m thankful my prideful fall happened early in my life. Whenever I’ve been tempted to get puffed up with prideful thoughts, self-congratulation – or even worse, a haughty spirit, comparing myself with others – I remember how quickly I can take a serious tumble!

Do you have a story of a “prideful fall”? How did God teach you to be humble?

Regarding Unwelcome Gifts

16 Dec

Back in 2010, a shopping website suggested holiday gifts that nobody really wants. Here area few samples:

  • Microphone Tongs – So you can sing while serving your salad?
  • A Pet Petter – for those who love their pets but don’t have time to actually spend time with them
  • A Bed Bug stuffed animal – oh joy…
  • A LifeGem Memorial Diamond (created as the by-product of a recently deceased pet. Horrors!)
  • Inflatable Fruitcake

Now I’m not crazy about regular fruitcake, so I certainly wouldn’t enjoy an inflatable one! (But if one of you have a fruitcake recipe that tastes nothing like fruitcake, let me know!)

They say that when it comes to gifts, “it’s the thought that counts,” but I really wonder what people would be thinking when it comes to some of those gifts. LOL!

Here are some thoughts on Some Normally Unwelcome Gifts:

(1) Don’t give a “final sale” item unless you know it will absolutely please or absolutely fit.

(2) Be careful with re-gifting unless you have memorized re-gifting etiquette: Be sure the person you are gifting would actually like the gift; be sure the gift is not dated or old (unless you can somehow freshen it up or the recipient truly loves antiques); and be sure you pass it along to someone who didn’t give it to you in the first place!

(3) Closely related to this … if you got something “for free” with another purchase, count on someone else knowing. They probably saw the same offer. They might have even made the same purchase! Freebies do not normally impress others as Christmas gifts.

(4) Duplicating. It’s also not a good idea to get everyone the same thing. I have to admit that I’m guilty of this one. I tend to think: (A) If so-and-so sees this, they’ll want it too, or (B) This sure does make shopping easier. One of my friends says this kind of shopping saves time and stress. “Make one year a sweater year,” she says, “and another year the bathrobes year.” Actually, that’s not a bad idea, but it’s not a good idea to get everyone the same sweater or the same bathrobe. We need to give it more thought than that!

(5) It’s not the best idea to give self-help books for Christmas (especially if they have to do with losing weight). Christmas isn’t the best time to drop hints about relationships and life-style changes. The book might be helpful and even “spiritual,” but it’s likely going to offend as a gift rather than bless. Similar to this gift is the “You oughtta…” gift. You know ~ the gift designed to help your family member of friend change a habit or get-with-it in some area. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Do you really want a “You oughtta…” gift?

(6) Another sometimes unwelcome gift is the run-of-the mill offering. You know … you wrap up some from-the-mix sugar cookies or some other generic treat and hope they’ll think it’s homemade. And fruitcake fits here, too… so unoriginal!

(7) Think simple, not hard-to-use. Especially for the techno-challenged, avoid gadgets and high-tech gifts that require an engineering degree to figure out how to use. Good rule of thumb: If you’re puzzled with how it works in the store, what makes you think others will find it easy to use?

ALL THAT SAID …

If YOU receive a non-returnable final sale item, an improperly re-gifted present, a “freebie,” a look-alike gift, a self-help book, a “You oughtta…” gift, a run-of-the-mill gift, or a hard-to-use gift …

  • Please be gracious and kind. Smile and say “Thank you.”
  • Give your expectations (and disappointments) to God. Remember that Christmas is about God the Eternal Giver, not any one person’s temporary gift.
  • If you receive a self-help or “You oughtta…” gift, ask God for the lesson in the gift (even if it is only to forgive your well-meaning friend. LOL!).
  • Remember the millions who would love any kind of gift for Christmas.
  • Look beyond the gift to the giver ~ some people are just lousy gift-givers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you or care about you.
  • Resolve to communicate more. Help the person get to know you better so they will anticipate what you would love to receive next year.

And while we are talking about unwelcome gifts, remember that many around you don’t appreciate or don’t want to receive the gift of eternal  life in Christ. To them, the Father’s indescribable gift of the Son (2 Corinthians 9:15) is an unwelcome gift … until they see their desperate need for it.

They may misunderstand the meaning of the gift or its value ~ what it cost. They may be cherishing other things in their hearts; they have no room for God’s gift. They may be hurting, confused, frustrated, bitter ~ the enemy blinding them to the beauty of the gift of God, the transformation the Father longs to begin.

Pray for these people during this Christmas season. Pray that God will open their eyes and change their hearts. Pray they will welcome and receive His gift ~ ask God for the right opportunity to invite them to receive it. Without this gift there is no life, no lasting peace or joy.

– Dawn

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