Archive | Biblical Thinking RSS feed for this section

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

Dig a Little Deeper

28 May

A pirate captain was out to retrieve his buried treasure. After months of hard sailing his ship caught site of land, the land to Pirate_DugganArts_Morguefilewhich his treasure map had been leading. He and his first mate disembarked on the island to search out the buried treasure, which was supposed to lie hidden deep with in a swamp at the center of the island.

Sure enough, at the center of the island was a swamp, and the Captain and his first mate bravely entered the swamp. Soon the swamp began to get deeper, and the pirate’s feet, then ankles, and finally entire leg below the knees was covered in swamp.

It was at that time that the Captain banged his shin against something hard. He reached down, searched around, and pulled up a treasure chest. Prying the lock open, the chest revealed gold and jewels beyond imagination.

The Captain turned to his first mate and said, “Arrrr, matey, that just goes to show ye—booty is only shin deep!” *

LOL!

I am forever indebted to my Chemistry teacher who inspired me when I, as a high school sophomore, told him I “hated” chemistry.

“Dig a little deeper, Dawn,” he told me. I doubt he’d remember that quick statement, but it sure stuck with me!

At this point I can’t help but sing Disney’s catchy tune, “Dig a Little Deeper” from Disney’s “Princess and the Frog.”

But I digress.

Back to chemistry … I DID dig a little into my chemistry book and actually learn to ENJOY class—well, except for that time I almost blew up the chem lab.

I carry my teacher’s wise advice with me to this day.

Whether I’m struggling with trying to understand something about my computer, or trying to figure out how to conquer my gardening “black thumb,” I’ve discovered “digging” into the subject not only gives me answers and new strategies for learning and applying knowledge, it also deepens my appreciation for the topic.

In other words, I’m digging for hidden treasure, and loving what I find.

Case in point. One of the tough things for me has always been trying to figure out what made the Old Testament prophets tick—why God had them write such tough words, and if they had any meaning at all for me. So I plodded through Ezekiel and Micah and the other prophets, wondering why I struggled so much understanding them. In fact, at one point I gave up and started avoiding these prophets and their tough messages.

Big mistake. God wants us to know ALL of His Word.

But remembering my chemistry teacher’s words, I dug a little deeper, looking for the buried treasure in these Old Testament books. What did that look like?

  • First, I had to ask myself, “Do you even understand what prophecy means?” That was enlightening.
  • Then I started examining related history and geography. (I checked out some archaeology and looked at maps.)
  • I considered the different cultures represented.
  • I trudged through the boring repetitiveness in some chapters—they don’t all have a smooth “story line”—and eventually realized some texts were poems, conversationssermons or warnings to God’s people.
  • And I also asked if these books were all just “ancient history,” or if God had messages for ME in these books. (Yes, He did, especially concerning sin.)

As I read, studied and “dug in,” I realized I often had the same issues God’s people were judged for: phony religious attitudes, a rebellious heart, idolatry (things I put before the Lord), hard-hearted disobedience, ingratitude, selfishness, etc.

(Here are just a few examples of God’s “issues” with Israel: Exodus 32:2-10; 2 Kings 17:7-8; Nehemiah 9:13-17; Psalm 78:39-42, 59-62; Ezekiel 16:15-59; Hosea 1:1-2; Amos 9:8; Hebrews 3:8-11.)

And I found, God doesn’t take any lack of repentance lightly—theirs or mine.

I also discovered God calls His chosen ones to return to Him, be revived and restored, and enter into His rest (Nehemiah 1:9; Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 4:1-2; 15:19-20; 24:7; Hosea 6:1, 14:1; Joel 2:13; Zechariah 1:3)

Part of the treasure I uncovered in comparing scriptures:

Many of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus (with others to be fulfilled in the future Kingdom).

And that is what amazed me and brought me new JOY! As I was digging deeper in the Old Testament, I kept seeing the Lord—I kept seeing Jesus. He is the Redeemer, the great King, the mediator of a better covenant and more.

I would have missed deep treasures if I’d decided studying prophecy was too hard … if I hadn’t started “digging.”  

  • Is there something physical you hate to do? — Would digging into benefits of exercise or better nutrition help?
  • Is there some emotional struggle or mental confusion? — Would digging into the “why” of your feelings and thoughts—with the Word of God in hand—clear some of these things up?
  • Are there any spiritual questions that put you off a bit? — Would digging into some apologetics (in a book or online) give you a better foundation for thinking biblically?

Try to dig a little deeper. Ask the Lord to show you amazing treasures you might not find otherwise.

– *Buried Treasure Humor – Cybersalt 

– Graphic: Pirate, DugganArts, Morguefile

– Dawn

Be Careful What You Assume

16 Apr

During a stay at an expensive hotel in New York City, a man woke up in the Assumptions_LOLwithGod_Graphic-morguefilemiddle of the night with an upset stomach. He called room service and ordered some soda crackers.

Later, when the man looked at the charge slip, he was furious. He called room service and raged, “I know I’m in a luxury hotel, but $11.50 for six crackers is ridiculous!”

“The crackers are complimentary,” the voice at the other end coolly explained. “I believe you are complaining about your room number.” *

LOL!

The man’s assumption was absurd, and refuted.

Christians often make assumptions that are just as silly, and the Word of God refutes them.

Here are just four examples:

(1) The news or my friends will tell me all I need to know about life.

God’s Word tells us people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).  Wise counselors can help us, but we need to be careful not to walk in the “counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1).

It’s always wise to compare what’s going on in your world (and the world) with the wisdom of scripture.

(2) If I’m godly enough, I won’t have any struggles.

A study of the life of Job should be enough to refute that.

But Jesus said we would have trials in this world (John 16:33). Our struggles are meant to develop character and make us more like Jesus (Romans 5:3-5), and to draw us closer to God, our only true hope and security (Psalm 62:5; John 10:28-29; Philippians 1:6).

(3) If I know and love the Lord, I won’t need people.

God didn’t create us to live outside a community.

People are God’s gift to us, to encourage us and help us grow, to bring comfort, to add wisdom, and to help us heal. He means for us to “bear one another’s burdens….” (Galatians 6:2).

Think about it. If we were meant to live a solitary existence, why did He give us all the “one another” scriptures?

(4) If I just make all the right choices, I’ll be a strong Christian.

This was one of my basic life assumptions. I mean, my whole ministry (Heart Choices Today) is about making wise, godly choices. And one of my blogs (Upgrade with Dawn) encourages wise choices too.

But God has been teaching me this important distinction: making choices is more than mere human will power. Will power can fall short because we are totally human. Instead, we need to surrender our whole self–mind, heart, will–to the Lord. We must have His power in our lives.

Sometimes, in ourselves, we just don’t want to do right. We have other loves or idols that keep us from making godly choices (Romans 7:22-24; Galatians 5:17)

We need the transforming power of Christ (Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 5:16-18) and the desire for holiness that comes from Him alone (Philippians 2:12-13).

Making right choices is the result of growth in Christ—not the other way around (Galatians 3:3).

There are many other assumptions we make that are based on lies the enemy of our soul feeds us daily. And if we keep on believing them, we may experience great regret.

That’s why it’s crucial to study the Word of God.

Know and apply scripture so you won’t be embarrassed with silly assumptions. 

Some questions to contemplate:

  • Do I know what I believe?
  • Where am I getting my information about life?
  • Do my assumptions square with and hold up under the scrutiny of scripture?
  • Have I redefined God’s Word to fit in with my assumptions or preconceived notions?

Paul gave instruction to Timothy that would be good advice for all of us:

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV).

Knowing the truth will help you become holy (John 17:17) and wise (Psalm 19:7b).

Have you ever made an assumption and later found out it was false? How can the Word of God help that not to happen again?

 – *Humor: Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3945, 4-6-13; Graphic of crackers, courtesy of xandert, Morguefile

 – Dawn

%d bloggers like this: