Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sweet Fragrance

As I began pulling off the first section of an orange peel, the aroma was refreshing and sweet and I could hardly wait to eat the orange.  The more I peeled the orange, the stronger the fragrance.  My hands also absorbed some of the smell and even after washing them, a light scent of the orange still remained.  And when I ground the orange skin in the garbage disposal, the aroma seemed to permeate the room.   I noticed that when I went back into the kitchen, after doing a few chores, that the aroma of the  orange peel still lingered.

Whether it’s the fragrance from an orange peel, food, flowers, or perfume, we tend to appreciate pleasant smells and sometimes associate them with special occasions and memories.  In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul reminds us that our lives are to be a fragrant offering to God.  Wherever we go and whatever we do, we are to share and spread the message of Jesus, like a sweet perfume, to everyone we encounter.  Because of our relationship with Jesus, Christ in us, our lives are a pleasing fragrance to God.  May our lives continually permeate the sweet fragrance of Christ’s great love, provision, care, and hope for all.  And may the scent be extra sweet and strong during the trials/garbage disposal moments of life.
But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, he has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume.  As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us.
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (The Living Bible)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.
Psalm 34:8 (The Message)

Saturday, January 24, 2015


The first part of last month, Larry was involved in a fender bender which resulted in his car needing a new back bumper, side panel and other repairs.  In order to have the least amount of hassle having the work done, the insurance company had a preference for where they recommended Larry take his car.  Although it was a different type of car dealership than the make of his car, Larry was assured that they would repair the damage without having to call the insurance company for every part that needed to be ordered or repair that needed to be made.  A rental car was provided to make the process more convenient and less frustrating.  With the holidays, change in personnel at the dealership, parts needing to be ordered, and other time delays, weeks later the car was finally ready to be picked up.  Driving away from the dealership, Larry noticed that the backup sensors had not been installed.  After more phone calls, a knowledgeable representative met with Larry that knew what needed to happen to correct the situation.

If Larry had taken his car to the dealership for his type of car, the mechanics would have instantly known what parts to order and how to install them properly.  Because that is their specialty, what they work on day after day, they are familiar with what is needed for their type of car to function properly.

Just like the options for the wrecked car, there are times when I, too, look for solutions or repairs from outside sources first.  "Father, when the wrecks and fender benders in life come, help me to constantly desire to look to You first for wisdom, guidance, and instruction, knowing that You are the One who made me, knows me best, has a plan for my life, and is always with me." 

Before I was born the Lord called me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
Isaiah 49:1b

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:13-18

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Instant Kindness

In a sport that is known for its competiveness and roughness, Canadian Maple Leaf fans showed an incredible display of sportsmanship in the game against the Nashville Predators on November 18, 2014.  Prior to the start of the game, as in other sports, the national anthems of both countries were to be sung.  The vocalist took to the ice to sing the U.S. national anthem and the crowd stood out of respect.  As the woman began to sing, the microphone began cutting out and it was obvious that there were technical difficulties.  Within a few words, the predominantly Canadian spectators immediately joined in with the Americans to complete the singing of our national anthem.   It sounded like the anthem was being sung with surround sound because it was so loud.

There are so many things I appreciate about this event.
* People didn’t wait for a committee to be formed to decide what they should do.
*Fans from both countries recognized a need and immediately responded to it.
*Respect for another country’s national anthem was held and displayed by an opposing team’s fans.
*People joined in because it was a kind thing to do and not because they had to.
*When something wasn’t up to par, what one person couldn’t accomplish alone, a crowd of people were able to do together.

For Jesus’ sake, may I, too, be quick to respond and show kindness.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Luke 6:31

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 
I John 4:21 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Interrupted by Joy

On my Bible Reading Plan for this year, the book of Luke is the first New Testament book to be read.  So even though it is January, the year begins with the reading of the Christmas story.  For me, the account of the shepherds holds a dear place in my heart.  They were a group of people doing their every day task when an angel of the Lord appeared and God’s glory shone around them.  Their work was interrupted by a joyous revelation.  God had chosen to announce His best news to ordinary people who were working in a field at night.  The shepherds believed the good news, changed their schedule and went to see the Christ child they had been told about, and then joyously shared what they had seen and heard.

Earlier this week, we received a phone call from Abby that the beginning stages of labor had begun.  Prayers began and plans for the next day were joyously interrupted.  We arrived at the hospital a little after 5:00 a.m.; and the waiting began.  Whatever plans we had for the day willingly took a back seat to the anticipation of the arrival of a grandchild.  Early that afternoon, Daniel made his appearance.  He now joins Scott, Abby, and Mary in a family of four.  Daniel carries his father’s middle name.  He is also named for an Old Testament man who was willing to take a stand for his God even when others around him chose not to.  When threatened with sure death, Daniel chose to affirm his belief in God.  He exhibited faith and courage throughout his lifetime.  Our grandson’s parents gave him his name, but we pray that a day will come when Daniel will choose for himself the name “Christ follower” because of his belief and trust in Jesus.

Later that evening, surrounded by parents, a big sister, two sets of grandparents, and an aunt, Larry led in a prayer of thanksgiving for Daniel who is “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  He was acknowledged as a gift from God.  Larry prayed for wisdom for Daniel’s parents as they raise him.  He also prayed for the day to come when Daniel would choose Jesus as his Lord and Savior and live out God’s purpose for his life.  As Larry was in the process of concluding his prayer, Mary’s little voice spoke up and said, “Thank you for the baby.”  I, too, thank you God for the gifts of baby Jesus and baby Daniel.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
Daniel 6:3-6

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2:8-20