How do you Smell Today?

What’s your aroma like today? Are you putting off an aroma that is pleasing to the Lord or one that is displeasing to the Lord, maybe even pungent? If we think back we can probably all remember times in our lives when we’ve been near someone who did not smell very good, or maybe even someone who was wearing way too much perfume or cologne that thought they smelled good that made you want to get away from them as quickly as possible. Well, the way we live our lives has the same effect for God.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.

When we live our lives according to God’s will our lives, as a sacrifice to the Lord, put off the smell of a sweet perfume. When we do not live our lives according to God’s will our lives simply stink. We can try to cover up our smell with some good deeds, but ultimately God will not be deceived. When we don’t live our lives properly but still try to make it look like we are following God we put off a displeasing smell for God just like the person who is wearing too much perfume or cologne. We may think that we are covering up a displeasing smell, but God will not be fooled.

Romans 12:1
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

We have a choice to follow God and to live our lives as a sacrifice to God and when we abide in Him our lives put off a pleasing aroma for Him, but when we don’t we are a stench in His nose. How we live our lives matters and even though following God may not be appealing to the world it is not the world who gives us eternal life. We each have a choice to make today in this moment and in all the moments in our days until the Lord returns. We all put off an aroma to the Lord, but only we can decide for it to be a pleasing aroma.

Praise be to God for His son Jesus Christ that we have a choice to follow Him and to have life, even though we are sinners. We have the opportunity to please God by loving Him and following Him. We have the opportunity to bring others with us and to bring His light into the world. It’s up to us, you and me and all those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ to spread His love and to light up the world. Let’s bring as many as we can with us and make this world a better place until the Lord returns.

May God bless you as live your life as a sacrifice to Him and may your life be as a sweet perfume in His nose. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Numbers 6:24-26
24 ‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’

A Life of Worship

I go to church on Sunday and I raise my hands to the music as it moves me, sometimes I sway a little bit, and once in a while I may even shed a tear. But…it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard I try I cannot get into it and then the message comes. Sometimes the message is powerful and it really makes me think and yet others I really cannot relate. I go to church because it is what Christians do, but sometimes I wonder if I really need to go. After all, I don’t really need to be at church to be a Christian or to experience God right…

Most of us at some point in time or another in our life have felt this way and if you haven’t then you have truly been blessed. Sometimes this even happens to us in the middle of our walk, things have been going really well and then all of a sudden….BAM…we are in a “dry spell.” I have personally experienced this and know that it is no fun, but is it me or is it God? I would submit to you that it might be both, there are times when God becomes silent and causes us to go through a time of testing; however, I would say that more than likely it is us.

So if it is us then how do we change it? Where did we go wrong? The answer is probably simpler than we think, yet more challenging than we think. The answer lies within our worship of God. Joshua knew what it meant to worship God. He met with God on a regular basis when he was Moses’ assistant. When the pillar of cloud would descend on the tent of meeting he would go in with Moses and even when Moses would leave to give the people a message from God Joshua would stay there as long as the pillar of cloud was present (Exo. 33:7). Joshua met with God regularly and knew what it meant to worship Him; he had learned from Moses to trust God and to give Him all the glory.

Joshua was so familiar with worshipping God that it became a priority in his life. When God had instructed him to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River one of the first things that he told them was to “consecrate ourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (Josh. 3:5). He was making sure that they were prepared for God to be in their presence. Then as they began to cross the Jordan which had been overflowing from its banks the river stopped and created a wall of water that stood up and made way for them to pass through on dry ground (Josh. 3:17). In the midst of this occurring, once everyone had safely passed through the river, Joshua commanded that one man from each of the twelve tribes go back to the dried up bottom and get a boulder and bring it back to where the priests stood with the ark of the Lord as God had commanded. When they returned Joshua built a memorial in which all of the future generations would be reminded of how God had stopped up the waters of the Jordan and had provided safe passage for them (Josh. 4:1-24).

Joshua was more than familiar with the importance of worshipping God. It took priority in his life and as a result God continued to bless him. He also understood the importance of consecrating himself by repenting of his sins and seeking forgiveness. For Joshua worship was a lifestyle. God desires his people to worship Him and when they do He responds, but He wants more than for us to simply feel moved to worship on Sunday morning at church. He wants for our entire lives to be an act of worship. As Paul stated we are to offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice that is hoy and pleasing to God for that is our spiritual act of worship. He followed that up by saying that we must not be conformed to the world, but must test and discern what is the will of God (Rom. 12:1-2).

Photo by Nicolas Raymond
Photo by Nicolas Raymond
So how do we begin to worship God and offer our bodies up as a living sacrifice? The answer will be different for each of us, but it starts with meeting with God regularly and learning to discern His voice. It starts with the heart. Just as Moses and Joshua would meet with God in the same place every time it is helpful to create a private place to worship God; a place in which we can go to everyday and put aside the distractions of our day and truly worship God. The more that we do this the easier it will become and soon a habit will form, just as it had with Joshua. We must learn to consecrate ourselves to God daily and to seek forgiveness for where we have not met His standard. By doing this we begin to actively see what God desires for us and as our lives begin aligning with His plan we will begin to see more of His hand in our lives, but it takes practice, it takes honesty, and it takes commitment. We all have a choice as to how we will respond just as Joshua had given the Israelites a chance to choose for themselves who they would serve, God or the gods of the world. Joshua stood and proclaimed that he and his house would serve the Lord (Josh. 24).

How will you respond? Will you and your household serve the Lord?

If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.

Monday of Holy Week

Monday of Holy Week
On Sunday evening of what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus left Jerusalem and went to Bethany where He stayed the night (Mk. 11:11).

Mark 11:12-19

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple. And he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.

Castiglione,_Giovanni_Benedetto_-_Jésus_chasse_les_vendeurs_du_temple_-_17th_century

The cursing of the fig tree is possibly a parallel to the Parable of the Fig Tree (Lk. 13:6-9) and symbolic of what was happening as the nation had, at this time of the cursing, rejected Jesus for three years. In keeping with the parable of the barren fig tree the tree should be cut down since it was not producing any fruit, just like what was happening in the nation at this time.

The clearing of the temple was to remove those were selling sacrificial animals to help those who lived in far off lands make their appropriate sacrifices to God through purchasing their sacrifice. The problem was that they had turned it into a way for people to make money and to cheat people who were not able to bring the appropriate sacrifice the distance to the temple. As Jesus entered the temple he knew what had been going on and immediately cleared the temple. This was one of the few occasions where we see Jesus exhibiting any sort of anger, and it was a righteous anger at that. The people had defiled the holy place of God and Jesus would not stand for it.

Today we do not offer sacrifices at a temple like people used to have to do, instead we are to “offer [y]our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). We are told in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 that we “are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in [y]our midst.” So if you picture your body as a temple of God and then place yourself into the timeline as the temple that Jesus cleared out. What would He have to clear out from you? Our bodies are the holy temple of God. Holiness is an attribute of God and no other, so whatever is not of God must be removed from the temple. These are the things in our life that the Holy Spirit is prompting us to change. Some are small things that can be easily discarded while others will take more effort and God sees the effort that we put forth. He knows when we love Him and are willing to do anything it takes to be closer to Him.

This is the final week before Jesus is placed on the cross for the sins that we carry. What sins need to be removed from the temple that you house within you today?

Cleansing of the temple

Father, we thank you for Jesus who on this day in history cleared the temple of the money changers who were cheating the people. We ask of you to reveal the money-changers within us who are cheating us from being closer to you. Father, we desire to offer ourselves to you as holy and pleasing, but we recognize that we can only do that with your help and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We turn to you Lord and beg of you to cleanse us, remove everything from us that is not you and fill it with your presence. Lord, use us as a light to the world to illuminate those around us who are in darkness. Father, place these people on our hearts and place a burden on our hearts to see them come to you. Let your Kingdom come here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Bless us and strengthen us to do your work. In Jesus’ name. Amen.