Have you ever thought about how you look, taste, smell or feel to God? According to 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 we have the smell of life to God because of Jesus. “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” The verse also says that to the unsaved we are the smell of death. Why would that be the case? The unsaved have no love or appreciation for Christ. They have no faith in his power to save and are stuck in their sin which leads to death. Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Through Him we are washed clean and are sweet smelling. There is no death or sin smell about us. We do not remind God of sin as we are redeemed and according to Jeremiah 31:34 “‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” The Lord sees us as pure and righteous because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
So next question is- where are you spreading the sweet smell of Christ? Do people feel uplifted after having a conversation with you? Do they see you doing ‘sweet’ things for others without thinking about yourself? Jesus calls us to be self-less in our witness for Him. As you head out this week, remember you are wherever God has put you , uniquely you, to be that sweet smell, aroma of Christ in the world.
Knowing Jesus and bathing in His Word keep us sweet smelling!
What does it mean to you to be chosen by God? Can you even wrap your head around the fact that God loved you enough to choose you through His Son Jesus? He has chosen us for all eternity to be His and to live with Him. There are many verses that speak of God choosing us- here are a few for you to meditate on.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,” Colossians 3:12a
For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. 1 Samuel 12:22
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
The theme of these verses is that God chose us because it pleased Him to do so, because He wants to make something out of us that will bring Him glory and so that we can tell others about His great salvation. What a privileged place it is to be- chosen by God to love Him, worship Him and be one of His own. Take time today to relish the place you have in God’s love and as a member of God’s people. He could have chosen anybody but He chose you!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for choosing me to be with you for all eternity, loved by you and wholly belonging to you. Thank you for sending Jesus so that through His sacrifice I can enter into this relationship with you and belong to you. You are an amazing God! Thank you for the privilege of telling others about your great love and redemption. Give me boldness as tell others about You. Amen.
Praising God for being His and knowing He will not let me go,
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
This is one of my favorite promises and is included in my book, Promises for Dynamic Living. We are assured that God has begun something good in us when we accept Jesus as our Savior and that good will be accomplished though us. He even gives us a timetable for this good- it will be completed when we get to heaven or when Jesus returns, whichever comes first. God’s promises are eternal and will always be accomplished just as He intends. The writer of Proverbs was well aware of God’s ability to complete what He started. He reminds us that commitment to the Lord -faith, belief in Jesus is required for that good work to happen within us.
Proverbs 16:3-4 3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,and he will establish your plans. 4 The Lord works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster.
I love the thought that my salvation is thought of by God as good work. He loves and cares for me (Nahum 1:7) and wants only good things for me (Jeremiah 29:11). Therefore, I can live with confidence that God will keep me and use me for His good which means good to and for me. Memorize this verse, it will increase your confidence and sustain you when times get hard! Share it with a fellow believer or be bold and tell an unbeliever of your confidence in God’s work today.
I want to wish each of you a Happy 4th. The 4th of July is a favorite holiday filled with family BBQ’s, games, swimming, picnicking, corn on the cob, apple pie and fireworks. But as you know, the 4th is more than that to each of us. America and the freedom it represents and holds for each of us was bought with a price- sacrifice, hope and struggle by those that went before us and those that labored to secure our freedom. Our struggle over the centuries has been to secure,defend and maintain freedom of religion, peace, prosperity and hope for us and our children. We desire to live in an unbiased, loving and accepting society. Is this possible? Actually I believe it is not possible without Christ. He is the one who can make all things right and gives us the power to love and live in harmony with others.
This summer I have been writing on what we have in Christ- our inheritance and our identity. Today’s thoughts of freedom bring me to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Galatians 5:1. Paul was teaching the Corinthians how to live together in harmony and purity. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own: you have been bought at price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Paul was reminding the Galatians what they had in Christ. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves by burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Christ died for us so that we might be free from sin and its bondage and have the ability to live lives that honor Him. The cross was the ultimate sacrifice for us. Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He bought us with a price, his life. He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death. My freedom in Christ was bought with the price of His life on the cross.
I have FREEDOM in Christ- freedom from my sins, freedom to live for Him, freedom from eternal death and freedom to live with Him for eternity. Just as we are thankful for those who died to secure the freedom we have in America, we need to be thankful for the freedom we have in Christ alone. He is the one who secures it all and brings us to the place where we can enjoy freedom.
Today as you are thankful for America, think also of the greater freedom you have though Christ and say a prayer of Thanks to Jesus.
This summer I have been working on memorizing the verse from 2 Peter that I claimed for my book Promises for Dynamic Living. The more I have meditated on this verse the deeper my appreciation has become for Christ and what He has given us through faith in Him. Take a close look at this verse.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
First, Jesus promises He has given us everything, absolutely everything we need for a godly life because we know Him. The promises He has included in His Word should be extremely precious to us as the promises help us to be one in the Spirit with Him and live a life that is above the corruption of this world that is motivated by evil. I find this simple truth encouraging. Satan wants us to believe there are things missing from our lives that only the world can provide. Christ says, “NO!!”, I have given you everything you need. Satan wants us to believe that the world is fulfilling and will lead to a good life. Christ says, “NO!!”, the way of the world leads to destruction and away from godly living.
So what exactly has Jesus provided for us in His promises? As you study the scriptures, you find that we are promised many things- comfort, love, salvation, hope, peace, joy, understanding of godly things, fellowship with God the Father and Son, infilling of the Holy Spirit, eternal life….. the list goes on. Each of these are promised by our faithful loving God. Hebrews 13:8 tells us“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” God and His truth is unchanging from the creation of everything until now-God does not change and will not change. We can count on this. So all the things God promises in His Word from the beginning are still true and unchanging. Hebrew 6:17-18 further confirms God’s mind for us. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.
How can the truths of 2 Peter 1:3-4 effect our lives? If we take Jesus at His Word and believe in His great and precious promises, we will live abundant lives that are filled with His Spirit. He wants us to lead godly lives. Take the challenge today and look into His Word- seek His precious promises and then claim them in your life. Need help finding promises? Get a copy of my book Promises for Dynamic Living– there you will find 70 different promises written in God’s Word just for you to enrich and lead you towards greater godliness in Christ.
One of the most important things I receive from Christ is forgiveness. It is not just a little forgiveness for everyday sins but total forgiveness for all the things that I have done and will do because of the sin nature I was born with. Jesus paid the price required by God for my sin and yours, “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 3:23. Through His death on the cross the penalty for my sin and yours was marked paid in full. “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ onceforall. ” Hebrews 10:10. This sin nature I was born with is evident in my life each day. The Apostle Paul said it best in Romans 7:15 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” It seems while in this world we are constantly susceptible to our sin nature. I am so thankful that Jesus provided a way for me to be redeemed from sin, a way for me to be victorious over sin, a way for me to rise above the sins that would entangle me, and a way for me to live each day by His grace and mercy.
As you consider Jesus’ sacrifice and your sinful nature, consider Colossians 1:13-14 in the Amplified version. 13 For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,14 in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].
We can say with absolute assurance that we are totally forgiven though the power of Jesus’ blood. Now that we have it- we need to claim it and live like we are forgiven. Let go of the guilt and shame brought on by sin. Don’t let Satan entangle you with guilt- he is a great liar and deceiver. He wants us bogged down by our past. Pray and give it to Jesus- know that you are forgiven once and for all though Jesus!
Prayer: Father, help me to feel your forgiveness today and take it into my being. Help me to shed my guilt and shame and step out in faith believing that I am totally forgiven. Thank you that I am clean, pure and unencumbered by sin before You because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Holy Spirit teach me today and give me your seal that I am forgiven. Amen.
Peace seems like such an illusive thing. Some days I revel in it and some days it seems out of my reach. What we can be assured of is that peace is ours through Christ and is always attainable. Jesus said in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The peace Jesus gives is not worldly calm and freedom from activity but a peace with God that will satisfy our souls. It is the peace the pervades us even when the world is swirling around us. Paul describes this peace in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Paul assures us that the peace we have though Christ brings us into relationship with God and is filled with His grace and purposefully holds us no matter what else is happening in our lives.
Since peace is ours for the taking in Christ, why do we struggle with it so much? I think it is because of the pull of the world on our lives. We are free in Christ from the power of sin over our lives but we live in a sinful world. The effects of sin on us and our lives is unavoidable. Staying above this and living in peace takes work- prayer, diligence to stay in the Word and fellowship with other believers. Are you getting a dose of each of these in your life each day or week? Summer is a good time to renew commitments and take time to pray, read God’s Word, memorize a verse or two and have fellowship with other believers. It is good for your soul and will bring you peace!
Do you feel loved by God today? Jeremiah 31:3 reminds us that God was in the habit of reminding the children of Israel that they were loved by him. It was not with just any love but an everlasting love based on His mercy and kindness. Based on His promises to Abraham and all of his descendants in faith. Based on God’s faithful character! Since God does not lie (Hebrews 6:18) and God does not change (Hebrews 13:8), we can rely upon His love and faithfulness. He keeps His promises forever. God made us and loves us now and forever.
3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
How does that help us today? God’s eternal love and care for me gives me an anchor to hold onto in the storms of life. I can trust His Word and know that He will always be with me and has good planned for my life. He wants me to trust Him and let Him develop and shape my character to be more and more like Jesus.
Know who you are today.Youare deeply loved by God, made exactly as He wanted you and created to give Him glory and honor. Make it a do it for God day because You are loved by Him!
Prayer: Lord, I know you love me and created me with kindness. Guide me today and show me ways to express your love toward others. Thank you for the assurance that your love is unfailing and forever. I do not ever need to doubt Your love for me. I know you deeply love me. Amen.
Has your life been swirling around you and activities coming so fast and furious you can’t seem to keep track? Life has a tendency to turn us around and around and cause us to lose our focus on what is important. Whether or not it is furious activity or the doldrums, focus on the things of God tend to be put on the back burner. I am hoping that my summer blogs will help you to regain your focus and see the purposes that God has intended for you from the beginning. This year I have been involved in several studies focused on the Armour of God, by Priscilla Shirer, and prayer, Fervent. I would recommend both. Priscilla included a list of what we have in and through Christ as our inheritance and our identity. This summer, I invite you to come along with me as I blog about those things we can claim as our inheritance and those things that form our true identity in Christ. It will be an exciting and growing adventure for me and I hope for you as well.
James 1:5 from the Amplified Bible speaks of our inheritance, wisdom from God.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.
God in His goodness will share His knowledge and wisdom with us if we will but ask. He will not blame us or put us down for not knowing the answer or the way. Unlike earthly friends and family, He is always good. I am reminded of Nahum 1:7“The LORD is good a refuge in times of trouble, He cares for those who trust in Him.” God is good; it is an integral part of His character. We can trust Him and know that He will not give us bad advice or lead us in the wrong way. I don’t know about you, but it comforts me to know that God is willing to share His knowledge with me and guide me. How do I get that knowledge? That requires looking into God’s Word, praising and praying. If we are diligent and patient, God will reveal His perfect will to us. As my friend Iris always reminds me, ‘We need to wait upon the Lord for His answer’. It is the waiting that causes me to stress. We don’t want to be like Abraham and Sarah and run ahead of God’s perfect plan- we need to wait and follow His direction. How much time do you spend seeking God’s wisdom and guidance in prayer? I’m definitely asking myself that too. God tells us “We do not have because we do not ask. We do not receive because we ask with wrong motives.” James 4:2b-3 Prayer- honest, sincere, heartfelt is required.
One other thought, the Lord promises to give us wisdom generously. We won’t get just a little bit of wisdom but enough to do what God has for us to do.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for your great wisdom, generosity and willingness to share with me your perfect answers when I ask. Thank you that I can always trust you to give me exactly the amount of wisdom I require. Give me the faith to trust in You and to wait patiently for Your answer. Amen
Desiring to wait for God’s leading, He will give me wisdom as it is part of my great inheritance in Christ.
The National Day of Prayer is today May 4th, the first Thursday in May. In 1952 the Congress passed a law establishing an official date for a day Americans are called to pray and meditate. Often in our history presidents have asked the nation to pray, meditate or fast but it did not become officially set aside as a specific day until 1952. It was challenged in court in 2011 but upheld as constitutional.
The Bible has a lot to say about prayer and Jesus modeled how to pray in his prayer to the Lord. You can find the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Jesus was teaching the disciples how to pray so they would not be like the hypocrites that made loud noises to the Lord but did it all for show. Jesus would often pull away from the disciples, the crowds and pressures of his daily life and seek solace, comfort and renewal from His heavenly Father in prayer. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray continually”. James5:13-18 tells us to pray for others, pray for the sick and pray if you are in trouble. We are told to PRAY. When our prayers are answered we are told to rejoice and praise God. What situation has brought you to your knees before Almighty God this year? Was it a death, natural disaster, troubling circumstances, problems with addictions or money problems? For what answered prayer have you thanked God? We are told in the next verse of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Prayer and thanksgiving are to go hand in hand.
Today, let us give thanks and offer prayers for our great nation. Our problems are many but so are our blessings. Turn to God and acknowledge Him. I am reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 as we celebrate this day of prayer together. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Let us thank God for our many blessings as a nation and then turn to Him with petitions and prayers asking forgiveness for our sins and looking to Him to lead our way.