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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Amish one room schoolhouse in eastern Lancaster County
Amish one room schoolhouse in eastern Lancaster County.

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"Life Giving Fragrance"

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life…" (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

Candle warmer
Brooksyne often burns scented candle tarts in warmers in several locations throughout our home.  They're safer than lighting candles, the scent is more intense, and they're less expensive than the large candle jars.

We recently had a guest who, upon entering our house, immediately inhaled the Gingerbread Fragrance Brooksyne was heating on the candle warmer. Linda commented on the pleasant aroma several times.  Later she sampled some of Brooksyne's spicy nuts and observed, "These nuts taste like the smell of your house."  Now that's the first compliment of that type she's ever had!

It's interesting how our senses intertwine and what Linda wouldn't have known is that one of the spices Brooksyne puts in the nut mixture is ginger.  We often work in our office with the scent of pumpkin filling the air as it melts on the warmer.  It gives the sense of pumpkin pie baking in the oven minus the calories but alas, its delicious taste is also missing!

Smell is a sensation, pleasant or unpleasant, that is detected by inhaling air carrying airborne molecules of a substance.  Our scent detector comes from the olfactory gland.  Descriptive adjectives such as reeking, stench-filled, and putrid are the kind of odors we seek to avoid by pinching our nostrils and holding our breath (as long as possible.)  But  words such as aroma, fragrance, or perfume invite us to inhale deeply in hopes that the pleasant smell will linger. Due to several nearby chocolate factories we often get the pleasant aroma of chocolate that smells just like freshly made fudge.  On other days we  get the not-so-pleasant farm odors from freshly laid fertilizer.

Paul also describes contrasting scents in today's text; "to the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life."  The smell of roadkill is extremely offensive to my sensory glands, but to the encircling hawk the malodorous scent may be as appealing as a succulent sirloin steak on the grill is to us!

The message of the gospel is to be released in the world through the transmission of God's Word and through our Christian testimony.  It should always be sweet-smelling to God and to those who are being saved.

But some are repulsed by our "fragrance of life" because they have chosen the spiritual "smell of death."  They prefer the world's temporal thrills over eternal existence in heaven.

Paul is thanking "God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ" which is imagery of the Roman Triumphal Procession.  The victorious Roman general would lead his soldiers and their captives in festive procession while the people watched and applauded their victorious capture.  The air would fill with the sweet smell released by the cloud of spice-filled incense being offered to the Roman gods in the streets. To the victors the aroma was sweet but to the captives in the parade it was the smell of slavery, defeat, and death.

We, as believers, are called to spiritual warfare and we are triumphantly led by God through Christ Jesus.  Left to our own frailties we could not spread the fragrance of life, but it is through the power of God that we spread the "fragrance of life" everywhere we go.

Whether you're in your own home, your workplace, the store, visiting a hospital or prison; wherever you are today, may the fragrance of Christ be released through your attitudes and actions. May that sweet fragrance prompt others to linger and take in the life-giving "aroma of Christ."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer – Father, we thank You for our five senses of seeing, tasting, touching, hearing, and smelling that are essential to our lives as we gather and disseminate information from our sensory glands. As we interact with others today we want to be the aroma of Christ as the Holy Spirit makes us adequate for the task before us.  We choose to focus on what You can do through us, not on what we do in our own strength.  May others look beyond our inadequacies and take in the fragrance of Christ as His sweet presence is released through our endeavors.  It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Today we conclude our study of the five senses that is an integral part of our worship to God and service to others.  In the last several days we've written about seeing, tasting, touching, hearing, and smelling.  If you're new to our site or you missed any of the four previous messages you can click previous message link to get an overview of all fives messages.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Fragrant Offering"  Video  Rita Springer

Video  Audio  By Paul Baloche, A beautifully orchestrated version of this song of commitment.

"The Stephoscope"  An interesting video that may bring a chuckle as well as convey a spiritual message at the end.  Last night our little friend David sure enjoyed it and clapped along with the music!
David laughing at the stethoscope video

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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