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The Aroma Of Your Character

Fall is my favorite time of year to stock up on lotions and body sprays from Bath & Body Works. I love to wear my “fall” scents all year long! I like the way they smell, and come on, who doesn’t like to smell good? I don’t know a girl that doesn’t smile when someone says, “What are you wearing? It smells good.”

Just like we put on our favorite lotions, body sprays, and perfumes, we also put on our attitudes and sometimes our attitudes don’t smell good. Quite frankly, they can stink! Recently I heard my professor, Pastor Frank Damazio of Portland Bible College say this in a lecture: “Your attitude is the aroma of your character. If you are sour and bitter, people will smell you coming.”

43042880 - young beautiful dreaming woman with bouquet of chamomiles. portrait of pretty brunette caucasian girl smelling flowers

Daily we choose what scent we want to wear, just like we choose our outfits. We also choose our attitudes. We can choose to be cheerful just as easy as we can choose to be grumpy.

What are you putting on each day? I know you would not purposely put on a fragrance that makes you smell bad; so don’t put on an attitude that stinks. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)

Daily I hope you choose to put on an attitude that comes from the Holy Spirit. The “fruit of the spirit” to be exact…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

Remember, your attitude is the aroma of your character and it is a reflection of Christ to your peers.

Originally posted on the Whatever Girls

 

 

 

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Taking Him at His word

20140901_141537Guest Post by Kari Villarreal

 

“Then [the remnant of Judah] said to Jeremiah, ‘May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.’”       [Jeremiah 42:5-6]

So I read this passage a few weeks ago and cheered inside, thinking that God’s people had finally woken up to their sinful, disobedient ways. Here, they finally decided to seek direction from the Lord, and not only seek His direction but then vowed to obey whatever He would tell them to do, “whether it is favorable or unfavorable”! That sure sounded like renewed devotion to me! God responded quickly, speaking through Jeremiah and giving specific instructions to His people. He even went as far as to warn them of exactly what will happen if they did not follow His instructions. Pretty clear, no?

As the reader I’m thinking, “Okay people, how can you possibly ask for anything more? God answered your specific questions with specific directions and promises attached, to boot!” Apparently, their ‘renewed devotion’ was quickly thrown out the window. The answer they received from God through Jeremiah wasn’t the answer they wanted, so they chose to ignore it. Not only that, but when warned AGAIN about the idol worship that was angering God Almighty, this was their stubborn response (just two short chapters after vowing to obey whatever the Lord spoke to them through Jeremiah):

“‘We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord. We will certainly do everything we said we would: we will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.’” [Jeremiah 44:16-18]

Anyone else exasperated by these crazy people?? The two passages above sound like they have come from two completely different people. This was their arrogant response: ignoring the Word and warnings of the Lord, they chose to look with eyes of flesh at their situation and draw their own conclusions (i.e. ‘we were so much better off when we were worshiping this idol’). How easy it was for me to sit back and scoff at the arrogance and ignorance of God’s people…but then there was that gentle and loving, yet firm and convicting stirring in my spirit, and it hit me. How many times have I done the same thing? Too many to count. In many different areas and contexts of my life.

Currently my struggle is with bitterness and un-forgiveness. It’s absolutely toxic. I didn’t even realize the extent to which it had begun to consume my heart until I asked Him back in June of this year to search my heart and reveal to me the things that were not pleasing to Him. May I just say, be careful and be ready if you ask God this question? Because He will, and when I did I was not at all prepared to see the blackness that had grown in my heart that I was mostly unaware of (or maybe just deep down, unwilling to give up). So for almost three months I have spent time digging deeper into His Word and praying through what He revealed to me. Seeing not much progress, I became discouraged and confused. “Lord,” I prayed, “I’m asking You each day to please remove this ugliness from my heart! It’s going to eat me alive! Where are you? Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it, I just want this gone!” (Sound at all familiar?) Looking back, I realized there have been times in my life when some things were “easier”, yet at many of those times I was spiritually dead or asleep-or worse, jut flat-out disobeying Him-ignoring His very Word, the bread of life, to worship my own idols (again, sound familiar?).

Then I came to chapters 42-44 of Jeremiah in my Bible reading plan and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “My Word says that if I have forgiven you, what can you possibly hold against anyone else? It also says to get rid of all bitterness […] along with every form of malice. It ALSO says that love does not envy and keeps no record of wrongs. Haven’t I spoken? And I have spoken clearly and specifically. It’s all in my Word, you have the choice to heed it or ignore it.”

OUCH!

So I suppose I’m really not all that much better than those ‘crazy people’. Was this revelation an immediate fix to a deep issue that the Lord was (and still is) working out of me? Wish I could say it was, but this time the answer is no. Does God sometimes work that way? I definitely believe so. Ultimately, I have made the choice (through His strength alone) to let go and trust that this very painful, humbling process will bring me closer to my Jesus than miraculous deliverance in a moment of revelation. I believe that is always one of His priorities, along with bringing glory to His name and building His kingdom. My hope in sharing this personal internal struggle and the revelation through His word that He so graciously imparted to me is that it brings glory to His name. He is so incredibly patient with His kids!557_10202467181544508_1797414666_n His correction is accompanied with His gentleness and His loving kindness. He is always, always good. I know the outcome of this process will be worth the (delayed) freedom, versus ignoring it or putting it aside until I feel like dealing with it.

If there’s a heart issue you know the Lord has been nudging you to deal with, I encourage you to dig into His word and hear the specific instructions He has already given us, and ask His powerful Spirit to breathe those words to life and penetrate them deep into your heart. It will probably be difficult, but will be worth the outcome because He is faithful and completely trustworthy.

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God is like an all you can eat buffet

Every once in a while, my dad likes to take us all to the local buffet for an all you can eat dinner.  He loves it because the grandkids can get what ever they want. It is also fast and everyone leaves full.

The hot out of the oven rolls are my favorite along with a little mashed potatoes and gravy and I have
blown my calorie intake for the whole week.   We laugh about wearing our buffet pants so we can get our moneys worth.  For those of you that don’t know what buffet pants are…. they are sweats or loose-fitting pants.  They help you avoid having to undo your pants on the ride home after you have over eaten at the buffet.  Those buffet pants come in handy when you find your way to the tasty desserts.  I often think I’ll need to run a half marathon to burn those extra calories off but it is always a fun family time so it is worth it.

Sitting in church I got the picture of God being much like a buffet.  Just like we step up to the lay out of all kinds of food with an empty plate, we can step up to God and fill our souls with exactly what we need.

The best thing about His buffet is that it is free!!  One day we may need a serving of grace, with a double helping of forgiveness.  The next time we might need strength, peace, and comfort.

Just think of all the wonderful things that we can help ourselves to when we step up to the buffet of the Lord?   Joy, wisdom, understanding, compassion, kindness, love, forgiveness, comfort, strength, peace, gentleness, patience, clarity, rest, grace, and healing are a few of the wonderful things He offers.

There is no limit on the serving sizes you can take.  You can come as often as you need!  There is no guilt when you serve up at His buffet. There is no shame and you always feel satisfied.

Psalm 34:8 says, 
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Don’t you think it is time to step to the buffet and start loading up your plate with what you need?  There is never a line and it is always open.

What are you waiting for?  Go and get your fill!!

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What if Christ were like that?

As believers in Christ we are the first impression as to whom he is that a non-believer gets. As Christians we are given a chance to show Christ to those around us in our words and in our actions. It is sad the image that believers often portray to the world. I have heard, “Those Christians are……rude, hypocritical, judgmental” and so on.

(WARNING: If you read on you will see that this mid-life domestic goddess is a bit fired up and to really share this story I will need to use some harsh wording as I quote someone)

My heart is sickened still today, as the words I heard yesterday ring in my ears. I was waiting for my daughter while she was seeing the doctor. A mom and her daughter (whom looked to be about my age were sitting across from me). I was trying as hard as I could to not listen to their conversation but short of putting in earplugs I could not avoid it. They were arguing and the mother spoke something that sickened my heart. She told her daughter that she needed to tell the person they were talking about, “I will pray for you, if you will pray for me”. What came out of the mother’s mouth next shocked and saddened me. She said, “If she won’t pray for you than tell her to F#@% it!” Really? It is no wonder believers have such a bad image.

Can you imagine if Christ said, “I will die for your sins so you can be free from all condemnation and have eternal life in heaven? However if you don’t understand it and take it to heart the first time you hear of this than F&@% it!” Or, what if Christ said, “I’ll die for you but you must first die for me?” My husband raised a great point and a very sad one at that. He said, “where did Christianity go wrong for her to feel that praying is a two way obligation?”

I was so stunned at what I heard today and I had no idea what to say. They were already arguing so I just sat there. It was so uncomfortable. Thankfully I was the only one with in earshot of that statement. As believers we really need to think before we speak. We have no idea who may be listening and it may be our one time to show the love of Christ. I know that what I saw yesterday is not a Christ honoring way and certainly not a good picture of how the body is to function. For the mother’s sake I am glad that Christ is not a “first chance only” savior. As I type this I am convicted to pray for her and thank God for his grace. My prayer for her is much better than any judgement I could give my sister in Christ. I am only posting this to show how careful we must be. All who believe are reflections of Christ.

As you go about your day-to-day routine. Remember you are a reflection of Christ. What is that reflection showing? I hope it is showing love, forgiveness, grace, gentleness and so on.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

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