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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

Creatures of Habit

29 Jul

OOPS!

This post appeared earlier today (unfinished)! Sorry about that, if you wondered. I was planning it for September, but accidentally clicked on the wrong button, so I guess I’ll send it out today! (I’m a creature of habit … which really makes this funny, with the title.)

Anyway, before we get started …

My friend Janet Baker, a secretary for her church Bible study in Georgia, sends out a simple newsletter each week with reminders about the upcoming study session. She said at the end of almost every email, she adds a LOL from the LOL with God book to brighten the ladies’ week. Thank you, Janet! That’s being creative as well as encouraging.

And now for our LOL …

The driver screamed! He lost control of the taxi, nearly hitting a bus. He drove up the sidewalk and crashed into a store window.

After a few seconds of total silence, the driver yelled at his passenger.

” You scared me half to death!” he said.

The stunned passenger apologized and said he didn’t realize a little tap on the shoulder could scare him so much.

“You’re right,” the driver replied. “I’m sorry. It’s not really your fault. Today is my first day as a cab driver. I’ve been driving a hearse for 25 years.”

That driver was responding out of his experiences over many, many years. We do that too. We are creatures of habit.

The good thing about habits is that we can leave some things to our subconscious. Patterned grooves in our brain allow us to remember important things like phone numbers, our locker combination at the gym, our spouse’s birthday, etc.

The bad thing about habits is that we can succumb to nasty stuff just because we always have.

Psychologists tell us we need to get precise (very specific) when we want to change a habit. We need to think about the specific habit we want to change. Then we need to expect that it’s going to be difficult. After all, there’s that groove in the brain thing. And finally, we need to plan what we’ll do when we get tired of making positive changes, because changing habits are hard and everything in us will resist change.  We need to figure out what we’ll do when we feel most vulnerable.

We face our habits in many ways. We might rationalize our behavior. We might not really want to change. Or we might be trying and failing.

The truth is, it takes proactive choices to change habits. It takes positive replacement (Romans 12:1-2). We might temporarily change a habit, but more often than not, it takes more than will power; it takes the power of God.

Romans 8:2 explains that the struggle with bad habits (sinful or hindering habits) that captivate us (Romans 7:22-23) can only be conquered by the power of the Holy Spirit within us … the law of the Spirit working in us to overcome the law of the flesh. When we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17).

Have I arrived? Have I conquered all of my bad habits. Certainly not. But I’ll tell you … there’s been some real breakthroughs! And I’m glad, because God didn’t rescue and redeem my life so I could live a “normal” life. He changed me so I can live a supernatural life.

Here are some things that are helping me get rid of bad habits in my life:

1. I’m getting in the habit of yielding my life (every part of it) in prayer to God’s control, and asking Him for guidance and strength (Romans 6:1-14).

2. I’m getting in the habit of recognizing and confessing every detour (sin) into areas where God doesn’t’ want me to live (1 John 1:9).

3. I’m getting in the habit of thanking the Lord for the power of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

4. I’m getting in the habit of praising God for every victory ~ a God-ward focus (1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 Peter 2:9).

5. I’m getting in the habit of believing God for not only the ultimate victory (never experiencing the presence of sin in heaven), but many powerful-right-now victories as He conforms me to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

Think about your habits today. What characterizes your life? What do you do on a regular basis? What are you known for?

You ARE a creature of habit ~ either habits that pull you away from holiness and pleasing God, or habits that make you a better Kingdom Servant, bringing joy to the One who loves you.

May we all be godly creatures of habit … living out the life the Creator designed for us.

5 Ways to Encourage “Resolution” Success

2 Jan

By now, you may have made some New Year’s resolutions. It seems that resolutions change through the years.

  • 2007: I will get my weight down below 160 pounds and get into my new red dress.What's Your Resolution
  • 2008: I will count my calories until I get below 170 pounds and fit into my sweater.
  • 2009: OK… I will follow my new diet until I get below 210 pounds and maybe I’ll buy some new slippers.
  • 2010: I will talk to a counselor about developing a realistic attitude about my weight and appearance.
  • 2011: At my doctor’s suggestion, I will work out five days a week at my gym.
  • 2012: I will drive past the gym once a week … and if I have my gym bag in the car, I’ll go in. And if I don’t, I will take that as a sign that I should go to the Dairy Queen next door.

The most common New Year’s Resolutions are, according to studies, “losing weight, exercising more, and quitting smoking,” but other popular resolutions include “managing debt, saving money, getting a better job or education, reducing stress, taking a trip, or volunteering.” (1)

Although some studies say making a resolution increases the likelihood of achieving a goal, making a resolution ~ in and of itself ~ isn’t really enough.

I’ve found that New Year’s resolutions don’t work unless people work at making resolutions stick.  Otherwise, by February 1st or sooner, the resolutions are a dim memory. The same old frustrations or longings linger.

ResolutionsMany resolutions are made after periods of indulgence. For example, we give ourselves “permission” to go crazy over the holidays, but then we feel guilty, or we don’t like it that our clothes no longer fit.

Resolutions are our way of convincing ourselves we will eventually take control. At first, we feel pretty confident that we’ll win out… but then those feelings of discomfort and stress return. If we haven’t developed a new habit or acquired the character quality of self-discipline, we aren’t likely to keep those resolutions.  Or, when our “results” take longer than we expect, or we find that our new choices haven’t made us any happier, we tend to give up.

But here are five ways to encourage success with “resolutions.” Continue reading

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