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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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The Secret to Banishing the Worst Wrinkles

1 May

Wrinkles are adorable on butterball babies, but they cease to look cute as we get older.

That’s why I like to wear big necklaces. As Olympic champion figure skater and film star Sonja Henie once said, “Jewelry JewelryAndWrinkles_LOLtakes people’s minds off your wrinkles.”

Talk to people in Hollywood and you’ll get all sorts of opinions about wrinkles. Some hate them and go for Botox. Others are content that they add edginess and character, inviting scripts with substance—weightier acting roles.

Personally, I’ve made peace with my wrinkles, especially my smile lines. As a friend told me, “It’s important to have a twinkle in your wrinkle!”

But that’s only one kind of wrinkle, found on the face or body.

There are wrinkles in clothing. Years ago, every wrinkle had to be ironed out; but today, wrinkled clothes aren’t just Bohemian, they’re “casual chic.”

We also talk about “a wrinkle” in relation to our work, or when projects go awry. To “throw a wrinkle” is to cause a potential but easily-overcome problem. And then, when the problem is solved, we say we’ve “ironed out the wrinkle.”

Another kind of wrinkle is found in the soul. For example:

  • General Douglas MacArthur said, “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”
  • Poet and humanitarian Samuel Ullman said, “Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

But I think the worst wrinkle of all happens in the spirit.

In Ephesians 5:25b-27, we discover Jesus will make his Bride a “radiant church, without stain or wrinkle….” Stain and wrinkle in this passage means a defect in beauty, freshness of life or holiness. Paul told the Ephesian church, someday we will stand beautiful and “faultless” before the Lord.

This will be the Church in glory forever!

Matthew Henry said, “The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now shall be glorified hereafter.” *

Right now, although we are declared righteous in our position because of what Jesus did for us and our trust in Him, we’re far from faultless as far as our daily sinful choices. This is why we confess our sins—we agree with the Father that they are an affront to Him and that’s why Jesus had to die in our stead (1 John 1:7-9). We admit our sinfulness and celebrate our forgiveness.

Jesus is preparing His bride and interceding for her (Romans 8:34).

Jesus prays for us because He desires a shining, holiness-adorned Bride, a reflection of His love and grace.

Jesus is our “righteousness, sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30, HCSB). He is making us pure and holy— “sanctifying” us day by day (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:14). This is the Father’s will for us (Hebrews 10:10).

The Lord will “sanctify you through and through” so you will be blameless (spotless, without wrinkle) when the Lord returns! (1 Thessalonians 5:23) The “secret” remedy for banishing spiritual wrinkles is becoming more like Jesus!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a “wrinkled” Bride when the Bridegroom comes!

What wrinkles in your spirit does God’s Holy Spirit want to deal with today?

* Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Eph. 5:22-33,

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/ephesians/5-27.htm

– Dawn

How Can We Be Perfect?

8 Nov

I love these “perfect” one-liners:ImPerfekt_Not

  • “No one is perfect – that’s why pencils have erasers.”
  • “I’m a nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore, I’m perfect.”
  • “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change OFTEN!” – Winston Churchill

I was thinking about Matthew 5:48, which tells us to be “perfect.”

Is that ever possible in this world?

Pastor Daniel Harrell wrote about his efforts – along with 19 members of his congregation – to spend 30 days “living Levitically.” He describes, in How to Be Perfect, their experiment to understand some of the biblical commands in the book of Leviticus. How would Jesus have obeyed this book? How can we, like our Lord, live perfectly for the Father?

Their ultimate goal was holiness, but in the process, they discovered their “overwhelming need for God’s grace” in order to obey the book’s precepts.

Paul said, in Galatians 3:24, the law was meant to be a guardian, watching over us until the Messiah came. (Some scholars say the word is “school master” or “tutor,” but too many envision a tutor-taskmaster with a big stick, trying to keep someone in line! The clearer translation of the word paidagógos is guardian or trainer.) In the ancient world, a legally-appointed paidagógos took care of a wealthy family’s children (until the children matured), guiding them toward maturity and helping them make wise moral choices.

Paul was saying the law was given to protect us until the Messiah would come to justify us by faith. Another function of the law was to show sinners their dreadful condition without the Savior. No one can keep the law well enough to be right with God (Galatians 3:11; Romans 3:10-12).

But it’s important to remember: The law was meant to be a servant, not a cruel taskmaster.

So the scriptures teach us, the law was put in charge of us to lead us to Christ. The Holy Spirit used the law to convict sinners and illustrate the need for Redeemer and the mercy of God. But after faith in Jesus comes – when we receive Him as our Savior and Lord – we are no longer in need of this special “guardian” (Galatians 3:25-26).

Harrell wrote: “… The Levitical month ended up not being about our ability to obey enough, but about our ability to trust God enough to live the life He’s determined to be the best life to live.”

How do we live a life “set apart” to God so it shows up every day? What in our lives points people to the Lord?

It is Christ in His resurrection power living in us, not the power of the law, that makes the difference (Galatians 2:19-20).

The conclusion of Harold’s book?

“By His grace we are saved. By His grace we obey. It’s the only way to be perfect.”

Being perfect is all about God’s grace. It’s about his gracious work in us …

  • giving us a Savior,
  • changing our hearts,
  • encouraging us to live righteous lives, and ultimately,
  • making us like His Son in Heaven.

Are you resting in the wonderful grace of God today? It’s the only way to become “perfect.”

– Dawn

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