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Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Our friend Lee Smucker sent us this interesting photo he took at an Amish horse auction here in Lancaster County. These auctions are not only practical but major social events in the Amish culture. Some buy horses as a sign of prestige much like the automobile in the non-Amish culture.
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"A Lesson From A Smelly Skunk"
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
One of my daily early morning routines includes taking our two dogs out to visit our cat "Dottie" who lives in our barn/shed. I say "Let's go see Dottie" and they both seem to know the routine. Dottie is always pleased to have some company but she sheds so bad and has a clawing problem we don't keep her in our house.
Then I step out into the open air and take a deep breath using my lungs and putting to good use my olfactory glands. Usually breathing in the fresh country air prompts me to give thanks for the privilege of living out in the country away from large buildings, busy traffic, and free of an oppressed government. But occasionally I'll get a whiff that is a warning not to breathe in too deeply such as the morning after a field has been fertilized (organic) or an uninvited skunk comes for a visit such as the one we share about today.
We had stepped out of our car and immediately picked up the ugly smell of a skunk. "Pe-ew", I reacted to the silent but potent intruder. Brooksyne smiled and responded, "Gloria a Dios* reminding me of an interesting perspective we had heard in church earlier. A Brazilian brother who only spoke in Portuguese introduced a song through an English translator and was recalling how his father-in-law would express appreciation for all of God's creatures. Early each morning he'd walk outside and greet the outdoor creatures. He would say "Good morning little skunk." Now how's that for a positive outlook!
As I breathed in the skunk contaminated air I got to thinking about the skunk that was functioning as God designed; a small mammal less than 5% my body weight being able to overpower me in such an irritating way. Their spray can also cause irritation and even temporary blindness. One odorous spray can be detected by a human nose up to a mile downwind. The foul odor of a skunk's secreted liquid has been described as a mix of rotten eggs, garlic and burnt rubber. Thankfully, this morning the air is fresh, there are no foul odors, and it looks like we might get a shower or two!
Today most of us will encounter some "skunk smells"; perhaps literally, but many more figuratively. How are we going to deal with them? Are we able to say, "Gloria a Dios" or do we say something we'd rather others not hear.
Our daily verse is very familiar and most likely many of you have memorized it. You should! Let's look at a single word in the text today. "In." I note a consistency in all major translations in using this word and I feel it's very significant. In this text Paul does not use the word "for". He uses the word "in". I believe he's speaking of living a thankful life; being thankful "in" the midst of pleasant circumstances and "in" the midst of difficult circumstances.
The "everything" of life includes the good reports as well as the bad reports. The worldly outlook of thankfulness includes giving thanks only for the good. God's Word says "in everything". After all, as Christians we have an assurance that "God is working all things out for good for those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
In living a life of thankfulness those of us who seek to do the will of God are clearly obeying a Biblical mandate. Let us be thankful even when we get a whiff of skunk smell!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Gloria a Dios for the blessed gift of our five senses. Our surroundings become very much alive to us through our sense of touching, smelling, tasting, hearing and seeing; all a part of Your plan to help us navigate our way through life as we journey here below. And yet it is through these senses that we also experience the irritations of life, the undesirable circumstances that can prompt an attitude of grumbling instead of gratitude, unless we have developed a sixth sense, the sense of gratitude which does away with grumbling. It doesn't come as naturally as the five senses but Your Word develops our sense of gratitude as we apply its truths and prayerfully adapt it to our way of looking at things. Help us to give thanks in everything, for this is Your will, through Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.
* Gloria a Dios is translated "Glory to God"
Brooksyne's note: I wish it was as natural to thank God for the skunk smell as it is when I smell the sumptuous baking chocolate from Wilbur Chocolate Factory in Mount Joy. It takes me back to my childhood when Mom make numerous batches of fudge at Christmas. It's a delightful aroma that comes to our neighborhood frequently. But I am thankful God has given discernment to our sense of smell to rule out danger. It's a blessing we usually take for granted and in certain instances do not appreciate.
Brooksyne washing Roxie: This photo was taken in our backyard after Roxie was skunked for the second time. She didn't understand why she had to be subjected to a cold bath outside but we sure weren't going to treat that smelly problem inside. We have found success with using a hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda and soap. The smell goes away very quickly and it's not a messy treatment either. See here.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resource
"In Everything Give Thanks" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
"In Everything Give Thanks" Video Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter
Whenever we are driving along and smell a skunk, someone will say, "I smell a skunk, do you?" Then we just might spontaneously launch into the chorus of the "Dead Skunk Song" Video I didn't know that there were actually verses as we just recall the chorus (Note: This video is not intended for spiritual edification!)
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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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