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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Yankee Candle
A very pleasant scent!

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"Lessons From The Stink Bug"

"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).

Stink bugWe are being inundated with a little insect known as the "stink bug". Actually its full name is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and scientific name Halyomorpha Halys (just in case you want to try to impress someone).  It was not previously seen on our continent, but was accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania (likely in a shipment from Asia) and first collected in September of 1998 in Allentown, but it probably arrived several years earlier. As of March 2010, Halyomorpha halys has been recorded in 36 counties, including Lancaster (as if I we didn't know!)

The little critters are all over. If you pick one up it has a very distinct odor or stink, although I don't find it as unpleasant as some odors, such as a skunk's spray. The smell comes from a stinky liquid that flows from two glands on the bug’s thorax. Once released, the odor remains on whatever the stink bug touches. To most predators, a stink bug tastes as bad as it smells. Many birds spit out stink bugs right after biting into them. However, other birds don’t seem to mind a stink bug’s taste. (Please Note: We've never tried tasting one.)

Unique "stink bug" scent for Yankee CandleWe enjoy pleasant scents in our home and especially the scented candles. A wonderful olfactory experience is a visit to the Yankee Candle flagship store in South Deerfield, Massachusetts where they have an incredible variety of scented candles. In fact you'll find 400,000 candles in over 200 different famous Yankee scents!

When we lived in New England that was a pleasant day trip and a favorite spot for Brooksyne. I was especially intrigued at how they came up with so many scents and did such an outstanding job of replicating them.  But we are quite certain there will be no market for the Stink Bug scented candle, although I am pretty sure I would be the first and only one to suggest such an idea!

Smell is a sense, pleasant or unpleasant, that is detected by inhaling air carrying airborne molecules of a substance.  Our scent detector comes from the olfactory gland. 

Adjectives that describe smells such as reek, stench or putrid are the kind of situations we all seek to avoid by pinching our nostrils and breathing through our mouth.  Words such as aroma, fragrance or perfume invite us to inhale deeply in hopes that the pleasant smell will linger. Around here we especially enjoy when the winds from Mount Joy send a wonderful aroma from the chocolate factory such as we had last night. On the other hand we sure can do without the stench a few times each year when the farmers spread manure (especially during the picnic season)! 

Likewise, Paul 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 a rat is extremely offensive to my sensory glands, but to the hawk its scent is much like succulent sirloin steak sizzling on the grill!

The message of the gospel is to be released in the world through the transmission of God's Word and through our Christian testimonies.  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 have chosen the temporal thrills over the eternal existence of life 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 the captives they had taken in festive procession, while the people watched and applauded as the air was filled with the sweet smell released by the cloud of spice-filled incense in the streets.  To the victors the aroma was sweet but to the captives in the parade it was the smell of slavery 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 a prison, may the fragrance of Christ be released through your words, attitudes and actions. May others want 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 release 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 physical inadequacies as they breathe in the spiritual fragrance of Christ, as His sweet presence is released through our endeavors.  It is in Jesus' name that we pray. Amen.

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

"Offering"  Video  a beautifully orchestrated version of this song of commitment.

A PSU fact sheet on the stink bug.  Apparently the greatest problem is in the Allentown area where my niece Heidi and her husband live. Please don't report us to the insect rights people but we usually try to flush the stink bugs we find down the toilet.

Before long we may be able to transmit odors through the internet! See here.

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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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