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.’

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.