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A Lingering Scent

8 Apr

Had to laugh at this foodie humor:

“We made some changes in our lives. My husband lost 50 pounds and after eight years of being a housewife, I took a Pancakes_MaxStraeten_Morguefilejob in a restaurant. 

“When I returned home after my first day at work, I gave my husband a big hug.

“He seemed to cling to me longer than usual.

“‘Did you really miss me that much today, dear?’ I asked.

“‘No, came the reply. But you smell so much like pancakes that I hate to let you go.'” *

LOL!

Some scents, we want to linger. Others – like a spray from a skunk – not so much.

My two daughters-in-love are “into” fragrant oils. Sometimes they are used directly on skin, but placed into a diffuser, the essential oils fill the room with relaxing, health-giving scents.

I like the scents vanilla, peppermint and a special oil called “thieves.” Everyone has their favorite scents.

But did you know there is one scent every Christian should delight in?

Paul wrote,

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV).

Our delight is the pleasing aroma of Christ.

Like a precious, aromatic flower, Christ was “crushed” for our sake, and the scent of His death was fragrant to God.

To those who don’t know the Lord, that odor might seem offensive.

But to those who are touched by the grace of salvation in Christ, it is a precious scent indeed.

And the scent lingers upon us.

We are the sweet savor of our Savior in the world.

We are admonished to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2, ESV). As we walk in love, His fragrance rests upon us.

What does that look like?

  • We offer forgiveness when offended.
  • We share our blessings with others.
  • We practice kindness, even when there’s little hope others respond “in kind.”
  • We share truth in love.
  • We accept and appreciate a person’s humanity (made in the image of God), though we don’t affirm his or her sinful habits.

In other words, we spread the fragrance of Christ wherever we go, no matter our circumstances. If we don’t, we may be emitting the “stink” of self!

The best thing? As the precious aroma of Christ lingers, people will be drawn to the Lord.

I want to “diffuse” His love to the world, don’t you?

 – * Cybersalt Digest, #3984, 11-8-13

 – Dawn

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Lights That Work!

5 Dec

Christmas lights can be frustrating!

Ever put up a string of lights that shorts out? And can you believe how easy it is to tangle up those lights?

I read that a supermarket posted a job ad on its website–they were looking for an “enthusiastic” person to detangle Christmas lights for customers!

Reader’s Digest ShortCircuitingYourShine_LOLwithGodcarried this funny story about Christmas Lights:

A customer walked into our store looking for Christmas lights. I showed her our top brand, but—wanting to make sure each bulb worked—she asked me to take them out of the box and plug them in. I did, and each one lit up.

“Great,” she said.

I carefully placed the string of lights back in the box. But as I handed them to her, she looked alarmed.

“Oh. No, I don’t want THIS box,” she said abruptly. “It’s been opened!”

LOL!

I got to thinking this week, as I anticipated getting out my Christmas decor: “Do I shine brightly for Jesus?” Not just in this special holiday season. But all year long?

Or am I short-circuiting my “shine” like a faulty string of Christmas lights?

Jesus, the Light of the World (John 8:12) told His followers, “YOU are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14a).” Is light is the light we should reflect to others.

John said Jesus is”the life that is the light of men” (John 1:9)—the “light that shines in the darkness (John 1:4-5) said,

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

In other words, Shine! Don’t short out!

This has been a message to my heart since childhood, when I sang a familiar song this way:

Jesus bids us shine, Shine for all around. Many kinds of darkness in the world are found. Sin and want and sorrow, So we must shine—You in your small corner and I in mine.

What does it even look like to “shine” for the Lord?

I think it means:

Don’t just talk about the Lord, show people what He’s like … and what living for Him looks like. In other words, DEMONSTRATE His nature (love, forgiveness, etc.).

An English revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill, once said, “The world is waiting for a practical demonstration of the Gospel of the grace of God.” Another unknown Christian said something similar—a quote that motivates me to evaluate my Christian “example” from time to time:

“The world waits for a demonstration of the Christ Who lives in you.”

Pastor John MacArthur wrote, “The Christlike life is the platform on which individual testimony becomes convincing.”

We need to be sure we’re not “tangled up” in sin!

We must be careful not to walk in darkness by practicing sin (1 John 1:5-6; John 3:19-21). We don’t want to dishonor the Lord. As MacArthur further noted, “Christians who do not have changed lives have a credibility gap.”

We’re to let our light shine in the home, in the church, in the workplace, in our neighborhoods. This was the mission of the first disciples, and it’s still our mission today.

Jesus never spelled out a disjointed, compartmentalized lifestyle. He is either “Lord of all, or not at all.”

This gets really practical. We are to shine as brightly in our choices of entertainment as in the songs we choose to sing in church. We’re to serve as faithfully as we wipe our children’s noses as when we teach a women’s Bible study.

We’re to shine in a million practical ways so others will see our “good works” and give God the glory. We’re to live so our Lord gets the credit for everything that is true and pure and good.

The funny thing is, sometimes our light will shine its brightest in the darkest moments of our lives. When our plans fall apart and yet we trust Him for direction. When our health fails, our bank account is drained or our children wander away. When a loved one is killed and yet we can still say, “God is good.”

The truth is, we need to “practice” shining so we won’t short-circuit when hurts, struggles and even tragedies interrupt our lives.

When you put up your holiday lights this year, pause for a moment and pray: “Lord, help me shine brightly in my family and in my neighborhood. Show me how to reflect your glory in the world.”

Are you shining brightly for the Lord today? If not, what is shorting you out? What has “tangled up” your light?

– Dawn

 

Show and Tell

15 Nov

A kindergarten teacher gave her class a “Show and Tell” assignment. Each student was instructed to bring in an object toShowAndTellToday share with the class – something that represented their religion.

Benjamin stood before his classmates and said, “I am Jewish, and this is a Star of David.”

Mary got up next. “I am Catholic and this is a rosary,” she said.

Then it was Tommy’s turn. He reached down into a big bag, took out his Show and Tell object, and walked to the front of the room. “I’m a Baptist,” he said,  “and this is a casserole!”

Now I would have preferred for little Tommie to show his Bible – but that’s funny!

This got me thinking about the “Show and Tell” people might experience in my own neighborhood. What does my life “show” or demonstrate to my neighbors? What did they really hear in our conversations?

Growing up, I don’t remember much interaction with my neighbors. We were a Navy family and moved many times. Maybe that’s why we never put down roots or reached out to our neighbors.

My husband’s family, on the other hand, loved to tell me stories about how they talk to and ministered to their neighbors – especially a grumpy one next door. Reaching out was part of their Christian stewardship.

When I got married– after I turned my life over to the Lord –I had the opportunity to think biblically. I’ve been thinking about the subtle Show and Tell my husband and I share in our own daily routines.

It’s simple things:

  • When my neighbor sees us driving off to church every Sunday but she works on her front yard garden, that speaks volumes about our commitment to church, if not Jesus.
  • When another neighbor tells a smutty story and sees how that makes me uncomfortable, that speaks of my commitment to holiness.
  • When we give our seven nearest neighbors Christmas treats every year, we are building relationships. We so want them to understand the greatest Gift, Jesus; and the Lord is giving us opportunities to share the Word of God.

Matthew 5:16 tells us to let our light shine before others. I like the way the Living Bible expresses this (verses 15-16):  “Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.”

Your neighbors desperately need a daily demonstration of the reality of your faith and walk with God.

When we Show and Tell our relationship with the Lord in practical ways, our neighbors will see our “good works” and, hopefully, be drawn to our Father God. We can create opportunities to explain the “light” they see!

How is your life a Show and Tell demonstration to others – especially your neighbors – about your life in Christ?

– Dawn

Graphic Adapted, Image courtesy of Phaitoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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