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Archive for November, 2010

In 2 Cor. 2:14-16 we read something pretty astounding about who we are in Christ – and what’s at stake regarding how we carry out that identity for those who do not yet know Him:

14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

15For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

16to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life And who is adequate for these things?

The word translated “triumph” (v.14) had the word picture of a triumphal entry of a military hero. 

Regarding the words “sweet aroma” (v.14), it was customary for the triumphal processions of conquering armies to be accompanied by the release of sweet odors.

Thus, the Bible compares us to triumphant soldiers “in Christ” (v.14), as He leads us to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12; cf. 1:18; 2 Tim. 4:7).

What is the desired outcome of us abiding in Christ (John 15:1-8) and of us co-laboring with Him (2 Cor. 6:1)? The Bible compares us to “the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14)!

To those who refuse to repent, we apparently smell to them of death (and that’s ok), but on the other hand, those who are currently lost are drawn to Jesus simply through our lives (v.16)!

How much is at stake in whether or not we take seriously our need for complete, whole-hearted devotion to our Lord!

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 10We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.  11To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;

 12and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;  13when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

The above passage comes from 1 Cor. 4:10-13.  The phrase “roughly treated” (v.11) meant to beat with the fist to openly humiliate.  “Toil” (v.12) meant to work to the point of exhaustion (making leather tents was hard work).

The word “scum” (v.13) referred to one considered as “dirt,” or to be “filthy” and was used of condemned criminals of the lowest class who were sacrificed as offerings for the cleansing of a city.

“Dregs” referred to the cleansing of a filthy utensil.  Yet in the midst of this all, Paul and his apostolic team never questioned or blamed God for any of this.  They understood well that they were suffering for the gospel “according to the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8).

Indeed, all the suffering Paul had to endure actually drew him closer to our Lord in love, awe, admiration and devotion.  That’s the irony of our faith; tests, trials, afflictions, heartache and disappointments are meant to draw us closer to God.

Will you let Paul’s example inspire you to the same, whenever you go through anything similar – and instead of blaming God – praise Him instead?  May He help us both to do so!

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The LORD made “heaven and earth; the sea and all that is in them” (Ps. 146:6).

 I’m almost finished with the Psalms and am already looking forward to starting again in Psalm One from this extraordinary book!

 I can never read the Psalms without marveling at how the psalmists extol our God for His extraordinary Creation.  Part of that creation can be seen in the smallest-known bird – the Bee Hummingbird.

What astounds me is that this little bird (the one that visits our backyard has a fascinating, deep-green color) can flap its wing anywhere from 12-90 times per second – while hovering in mid-air.

Moreover, hummingbirds are the only group of birds that can fly backward!  They can also fly up to speeds of 34 miles per hour.  What a stunningly wise and creative God we serve!  Imagine the attention to detail and thought that went into creating this little thing.

 And better yet, imagine (and understand) that far, far beyond this, Jesus tells us that we are much more valuable to God than mere birds (Mt. 6:26).

 How good and refreshing it is to meditate on the simple (yet profound) things of God!

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