What Do You Smell Like?

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Have you ever hugged someone, who was wearing a nice cologne, and later caught a whiff of their fragrance lingering on you? Mmmmm…. Have you ever hugged someone or been in their presence long enough to have their stench get trapped in your nose? [gag] Whether a person physically smells good or bad, some people have sweet smelling spirits while others have stinky ones. Just as breathing in a pleasant scent can bring a smile to our faces and remind us of a nice hug, so, too, can a sweet spirit linger and cause us to smile.

In the letters to the Ephesians and Corinthians, Paul spoke of the sacrifice and love of Christ being like a fragrant aroma to God, like the incense used by Jewish priests in the tabernacle and temple. When we imitate Him, we, too, are like a sweet aroma to God, but we can also be like a sweet fragrance of life to others. That’s what I want— the sweet spirit of God that leaves a fragrance of life.

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Photo credit: Christopher Bruno via freeimages.com with text added

Photo credit: Christopher Bruno via freeimages.com with text added

 


Be Prepared When Life Gets Slippery

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“They’re easier to take off than to put on,” our fire chief stated after some of us ‘probies’ learned how to install tire chains on the fire apparatus. We were expecting a snowstorm, but until the storm has passed, we never know what kind of weather or how much snow we’ll actually get here in Vermont. It’s not good to run tire chains on dry pavement, but being prepared is better than being caught with our chains down, especially since speed is important when responding to emergencies. I couldn’t help but think his statement provided a life lesson.

It is easier to avoid a slippery slope if we prepare ahead of time. It is easier to gain some traction by ‘putting on’ wisdom and knowing what to do if we have obtained the knowledge and wisdom needed for different situations. For example, it is easier to say, “No,” or avoid a temptation if we ‘put our chains on’ before facing that temptation, whether it’s a piece of triple chocolate raspberry torte, sex, drugs, or saying something in the heat of the moment that we’ll later regret. It’s best to ‘walk away’ at the outset of a potential problem rather than end up trying to extricate ourselves from the problem after we’ve succumbed. Remember B’rer Rabbit and the Tar Baby? Either don’t stop by the bakery for coffee, or make a firm decision ahead of time not to buy a pastry, too! Don’t even look at them!  Once you step foot in the bakery or go through the drive-thru, you’re already on the slope. Got traction?

I didn’t say it was easy.

It isn’t always easy to say, “No,” to strong desires, but making a decision about what to do, if we ever find ourselves in a certain type of situation, makes following through with that decision a bit easier if we make it ahead of time. If we choose not to think about it or prepare, we could find ourselves slipping and sliding, and not only crash ourselves, but hurt others as well. Good thing there are no maple cream doughnuts in the house.

If you liked this, you might also like… the Wisdom Wednesday series.


How Do I Decide? Well, Who or What Do You Want to Be?

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A few nights ago my daughter and I watched a movie, and something one of the characters said caught my attention. I think it can apply to more than just the obvious situation, don’t you? The main character’s best friend said:

“Don’t choose the better guy, choose the guy that’s gonna make you the better girl.” —Trish in This Means War

So who do you want to be? What do you want to be? Are your current life choices keeping you from being the person you really are deep down inside? Are current relationships with people and organizations helping you grow or keeping you stunted?

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” —C.S. Lewis, author

I’m not talking about being a snob.  I’m talking about the people you include in your inner ring, your most intimate of friends from whom you seek advice and with whom there is mutual benefit and not just a one-sided relationship.

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” —Proverbs 27:17

I’m also not talking about micromanaging our lives, and I know sometimes making the best choice isn’t always easy. After all, we’re human, and we make mistakes… sometimes, big ones. We cannot allow fear to keep us from making decisions either, because as Harvey Cox, an American theologian once said, “Not to decide is to decide.”

Don’t allow apathy to make the decision for you. Choose between what will keep you where you are or what will help you reach your goals.

Don’t just sit there. God cannot steer a car that isn’t moving.

“Are circumstances driving you, or are you controlling your circumstances?” —K. Scott Bonovich, author

It’s okay to say no.

Don’t kill yourself trying to fit into someone else’s mold. Do you want to be like them, or do you want to be you and who you believe God created you to be?

I recently made the decision to become a firefighter, and I am pursuing an education to become an EMT. I have been surprised by those who have been supportive from the beginning and those who are still not supportive to this day. One of my family members remarked that it seemed like the fire department had chosen me instead of my choosing the fire department. I assured her that it was my choice, and I worked hard studying the apparatus and equipment so that I could earn my shield and begin riding to assist and gain practical experience. Like anyone who has ever experienced great success, sometimes I had to decide between playing and working. I am grateful for those who also chose to work by taking the time to teach me. We played afterward.

“What are you prepared to do?” —Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables

How badly do you want it? What will it take to get it? Who do you want to be? It starts with a vision and then one decision after another.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” —Socrates, a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Happy New Year!!

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits

Photo credit:  David Gunter

Photo credit: David Gunter


Surrounded by God’s Abiding Love ~ Snippets of Rain

Originally posted on Heavenly Raindrops:

Surrounded by raindrops Surrounded by raindrops

Surrounded by God’s Abiding Love

I love you
With an abiding love.
It is not altered
By the certainty
Of your inadequacies.
It does not change
With the rippling tide
Of your shortcomings.
It does not fade
With the fluctuations
Of your loyalty.

It is constant,
Surrounding,
Abiding,
And everlasting.

****

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
ESV

For similar posts, seeSnippets of Rain

Snippets of Rain

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Divine Intervention and a Lesson in Logic

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A recent conversation with a friend concerning my blog post about anonymously receiving a large bouquet of balloons reminded me of a joke I had once heard from a preacher. The friend asked if I really believed the gift of balloons was the result of divine intervention as I had expressed in the post.

“Yes,” I confidently replied, then told him the joke.

There was a Christian lady who lived next door to an atheist. Whenever the atheist overheard the lady pray, he would mutter to himself that there is no God, and sometimes he would argue with her.

One day she ran out of groceries, and the atheist overheard her praying. “I’ll fix her,” he thought to himself, and he went out and bought bags of groceries, set them on her front porch, rang the doorbell and hid to see what she would do.

When she opened the door and saw the groceries, she shouted, “God did it! God did it! God did it! Thank you, Jesus!”

He jumped out and shouted, “God didn’t do it! I did! I bought those groceries and put them on your porch! See? There is no God!”

The lady started laughing and dancing and praising the Lord.

“Didn’t you hear me?” the atheist asked. “I bought those groceries!”

“I heard you,” she said. “I knew the Lord was gonna provide, but I didn’t know He was gonna make you pay for ‘em!”

Something recently said by a different preacher made me think of another joke. Well, not so much a joke as a cute analogy. The preacher had quoted the first part of James 4:8, which says, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” Unfortunately, he made a logical fallacy by stating that the contraposition must then be true— that if we draw away from God, then He will draw away from us.   So here’s the analogy:

A young man asked a girl out on a date. She accepted, and when he picked her up in his pickup truck, she sat as close to him as she could. They eventually got married, and they continued sitting close together. As the years went by, a space developed between them until one day, the wife lamented that they didn’t seem to be as close as they once were. The husband replied, “Well, honey, I ain’t the one who moved.”

The story reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son, who asked for his inheritance ahead of time, moved to the city, squandered it, and sought to return home as a servant and no longer as a son. All the time he was away, the father prayed and waited for his son’s return, and when he finally did, the father threw a huge party.

The father didn’t move.

It also reminds me of Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If God draws away from us when we draw away from Him, He never would have pursued us nor sought to reveal Himself to us so that we could have a relationship with Him. Divine intervention? Yes!!

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Love Sometimes Comes in Waves

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He Unfold the Rose

Rene Yoshi:

A beautiful, heartwarming post revealing that some things take time and cannot be forced.

Originally posted on Karina's Thought:

HE UNFOLD THE ROSE -Karina's Thought- Paul Militaru

I am very happy in the midst of my busyness take care my baby boy and did the company tasks, this weekend I could back to gardening. With my husband I walked around the garden and enjoying each flower there. In the rose section, I found a beautiful red rosebud. I am so excited and amazed then I touched it softly and said to my husband, “I cannot wait to see this beautiful rose blooming. What happens if with my hand I open its petals so the rose will be unfolded?” “I don’t think so my dear princess. You cannot unfold the rosebud “My husband replied gently.”There is a time to the rose will unfold beautifully. If we force it the rose will be dead. My dear, Let God unfold this rosebud according His time. Not our time. When? We even do not know. So just be patient to wait…

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Happiness Isn’t Free

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A recent conversation with a friend about being happy reminded me of a quote I had saved years ago, because I thought it was so profound.

“To be free to sail the seven seas, you must make yourself a slave to the compass.  Every freedom has a corresponding slavery.  We can be free from the toothbrush and a slave to cavities or a slave to the toothbrush and free from cavities.  For everything we want, we must give up something else.” —Quiet Walk Daily e-Devotional

Just as freedom isn’t free, happiness isn’t free either.  Sometimes sacrifices must be made in order to obtain both freedom and true happiness.  Oftentimes we have to give up one thing in order to have what we ultimately want.  Is it worth it?  Sometimes it’s not a matter of having to give up one thing entirely in order to have another, but it may just be a matter of moderation and setting boundaries.  Both moderation and boundaries have to be maintained, and that takes both time and energy, so it’s still a trade-off.   As my friend, Scott, would ask, “How badly do you want it, and what are you prepared to do?”

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” —Thomas Jefferson

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Freedom

Photo credit:  Luca Zaninoni - www.sxc.hu/photo/1330210


Child-like Faith

Rene Yoshi:

Excellent blog post for anyone who is struggling with trying to figure out why something is happening and what they must have done wrong to deserve it… OR for those who immediately think a person is struggling because of some sin in their life that needs to be confessed and repented of.

Originally posted on Unshakable Hope:

As I’ve said in other posts, I do not believe that God causes trials. But He clearly does allow difficult times to come upon even those that are closest to Christ. (If you don’t believe this, please study the life of the Apostle Paul).

When you read the Old Testament, especially the book of Job, you’ll find that people of those times believed trials and tribulations only came upon the ungodly. Most of the book of Job is his so-called “friends” trying to figure out what Job did or didn’t do to deserve these horrible trials. Poor Job sits at their feet scraping his boils trying to defend himself against their baseless accusations.

Trials humble us and expose self-righteousness in others and in ourselves.

I’m thankful that I don’t have friends like Job. Today, when looking upon those going through difficult trials, the humbled believer will likely think,

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Randomly Selected? Somehow, I Don’t Think So

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Have you ever had an anonymous, random act of kindness done to you? Yesterday as I was getting some work done in and around the house, I was feeling a bit like Cinderella, and I started talking to our heavenly Father about how I was feeling. You know those times when you feel like God is far away, but in your head you know He’s always close by, because Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us? That’s how I was feeling.

To my surprise a car pulled up, and a lady came out and asked, “René?”

“Yes, I’m René,” I responded as I looked on with curiosity.

She opened the back door of her car and pulled out a HUGE bouquet of balloons. “Are those for me?” I inquired with bewilderment.

“Yes, they are.”

I was so touched, tears welled up in my eyes, and I had to keep myself from crying.

“Is there a card?”

“Yes, on one of the top balloons.”

The card read, “Rene, You have been randomly selected for a happy Saturday Bouquet! Please pay it forward.  — [name of local balloon shop]”

“Wow! Who could I pay it forward to?” I wondered, “And is this something [the local balloon shop] actually does, or did someone I know send it anonymously?”

I thought of a friend, who has been homebound and in pain, and after taking pictures and posting what happened on Facebook, I loaded the balloons into my car and took them over to her. She was so surprised and happy, not only to receive the huge bouquet of colorful balloons but also to have some company, so I was doubly blessed!

Thank you, Father, for putting it on someone’s heart to send the balloons to me and brighten my day when I was feeling a bit lonely. Thank you, too, Anonymous, not only for such a wonderful gift, but also for prompting me to pay it forward, so that someone else could be blessed as well. What a great idea!

 

 

If you liked this, you might also like… God Danced?

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Three Phrases Christians Should Never Use

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There are three phrases some Christians use when talking about sin that should never be used. They often cause people to feel condemned and discouraged rather than loved and encouraged. Not only that, but the phrases are lies.

  1. God cannot look upon sin.

Christians have taken part of Habakkuk 1:13 and twisted it to make people believe that God cannot look at sin. It makes people think that God must be so disgusted with them when they mess up that He can’t even look at them. That is far from the truth. If Christians who use that phrase would just read the whole verse, they would notice that the rest of it actually reveals that God does, indeed, look upon sin, but the implication is that He cannot watch it happen without doing something about it. Yeah, I know it sometimes seems like God is blind and doesn’t care about the evil in the world. That was Habakkuk’s question, and God answered him. If anything, God is full of patience, as well as compassion, mercy, grace and love toward His children, not disgust.

  1. God can’t use you if you are in sin.

I’m not sure what verse or verses are used for this one, but it is another phrase that can make people feel condemned and discouraged. Usually, when the phrase is used, it is used in reference to ‘big’ sins or things the person speaking has strong convictions against. What of the gossip or the glutton? I’m sure they sin daily, but does that stop God from being able to use them to bless people as well, or to work with children in the church, or to sing in the choir? That God cannot use us because we sin or struggle in an area is a lie that the devil wants us to believe to keep us from actively reaching out to others, because it makes us feel unworthy. Intentional sin may interfere with our intimacy with God, but as in the parable of the prodigal son, the Father stands waiting with open arms for our return.

  1. You need to get right with God.

What makes us right with God? According to the Bible, we are declared right with God when we accept Jesus as our Savior for redeeming us from sin and rising from the dead. So to imply a Christian is not right with God because of a sin she is struggling with is to imply a works-based system rather than a faith-based one. Which is it? Are we or are we not saved by faith? I am reminded of something my friend, Randell, said in a Sunday school lesson based on a study from Hebrews 8.

He said, “It is unfortunate that many Christians think they are saved by grace but still must fulfill their Christian life according to the Old Testament law. They want the New Covenant for salvation, but they want the Old Covenant for sanctification.”

If we feel the need to approach a Christian brother or sister about something in their lives, then we need to focus specifically on the issue and not imply that the person is not right with God. What if they agree with God about the thing they are struggling with, and we come along and accuse them of not being right with God? We will leave them feeling condemned and discouraged rather than loved, encouraged, and strengthened.

We really need to be careful that we do not parrot what we have heard other Christians say without really considering the validity and impact of those things. These three phrases have done a lot of harm by hurting people and misrepresenting God, so let’s throw them out.

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Conviction vs. Condemnation


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