Signature Fragrance—What’s Yours?

January 27, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Robin J. Steinweg –

One of my students told me that when she catches a whiff of vanilla, she always thinks of me. Vanilla—I can’t get enough of it. I love it in hand wash, lotions and candles. I love it in cookies, ice cream and pancakes. If I could, I’d wash my hair and my clothes in it.

Ever since my student’s observation, I’ve paid more attention to others’ fragrances. Some are hard to identify, since they switch from one brand to another. Some folks wear the same perfume their whole lives. Others carry the scent of their occupation. I had a high school friend who worked on a pig farm. No matter what strong cleanser he scrubbed with, the smell of pigs would not wash off. So he covered it up with cologne. To this day I can’t smell Old Spice without thinking of how it never quite disguised the odor of pig manure. A friend’s father, a mortician, unwittingly carried a scent of embalming fluid everywhere he went.

Our sense of smell can lead us (mm, the brat stand is this way), protect us (uh-oh, I smell gas!) identify us (that’s not my mommy’s smell) and invoke memories (does that take me back…).

If it’s such an important factor in our lives, I need to ask: What fragrance do I carry spiritually? Do I overwhelm others with religious talk, or do I leave a hint of heaven that draws them in? Do I occupy myself with moral filth that I can’t wash off? When someone crushes my spirit with harsh words, do I respond in like, or do I give off the aroma of forgiveness? What scent is my trademark?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, when You were bruised for my sins, You gave off the most appealing aroma. Let my life be a sweet-smelling offering of worship. Let me leave the trace of Your essence wherever I go. Your signature fragrance is forgiveness. I bless and thank You!

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NKJV).

Endurance

January 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Donna McCrary –

Endurance is the ability or power to bear prolonged exertion, pain or hardship; toleration of hardship; persistence over time.

Endurance is the soldier’s sleepless nights listening to the bombs exploding.Endurance is the athlete’s relentless pursuit of perfection to master a skill.

Endurance is the farmer who works tirelessly for the sweet taste of an apple or a fresh ear of corn.

Endurance is Paul’s experiences in prison for sharing the gospel.

Endurance is Joseph sitting in prison wrongfully accused of rape for three years.

Endurance is Noah building a giant boat without ever seeing a drop of rain.

Endurance is David waiting for his rightful place as King.

Endurance is staying power.

Endurance is patience.

Endurance is survival.

Endurance is stamina.

Endurance is continued existence.

Endurance is fortitude.

Endurance is a trait of a Christ Follower who has learned where their strength comes from.

As Paul explained to Timothy there will be times in our journey where we don’t feel we can endure any longer; a breaking point where our faith seems to run out. Endure anyway because God is always faithful.

If we could ask a soldier, an athlete, a farmer, Paul, Timothy, Joseph, David, and Noah if it was worth it; worth the pain, the hardship; I believe we would hear a resounding OOOOORAHHHH!

PRAYER: God forgive me for the times when I get lazy, or gripe and complain about my circumstances. You have called me to a life of endurance for Your kingdom’s sake. Father, give me an attitude of thankfulness.”

“May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints inheritance in the light” (Colossians 1:11 HCSB).

Fast to Feast to Fast

January 3, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Robin J. Steinweg –

I confess. Sometimes I fast to feast and feast only to fast again.

How many Thanksgiving Days have I gone without breakfast—maybe even no lunch—so I’d have room for more Thanksgiving dinner? More turkey, more mashed potatoes and gravy, more stuffing, relishes, scalloped corn, rolls, frozen cranberry salad and pumpkin pie. M-o-r-e, please. Eat some more! Won’t you have some more? Look how much is left; have some MORE! And then I skip the next meal or two afterward because the thought of food makes me feel ill.

I don’t mean to cause a guilt trip here (not that I think you’ve ever done this). But I pondered this subject when I read an article, “Extending the Table” by Leslie Leyland Fields, in Kyria magazine.

Feasts and fasts—each can have a meaningful place in my life rather than be a gut-level response to a harried holiday time or to a family reunion.

A feast might be held in celebration of the Lord, one’s faith, country or family.

A fast might be physical (cleanse the body’s system, increase mental clarity, reset one’s body clock, change habits or diet). It might be spiritual (deny the body’s appetites to gain discipline, rely more on God, grow closer to Him).

In the future, I’d like to think things through in advance. To be intentional about it; purposeful. Not a fast to feast, or a feast to fast.

AUTHOR QUOTE: Feast or fast: without intent, they are harmful at worst and pointless at best. But what a productive thing either can be, if carried out for a good purpose!

“Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting” (Daniel 9:3a NKJV).
[They celebrated] “…with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another” (Esther 9:19b NKJV).

Beyond Understanding

December 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Cheri Cowell –

“Can you tell me that my son has gone to heaven?” the mother asked the hospital chaplain.

Not knowing the family, and only knowing that the boy had committed suicide, the chaplain looked deeply into the soul of the seeking mother’s eyes. He wondered, What do I tell her? What is the right thing to say, Lord? Then he tenderly said, “Tell me about your son.” As the mother poured out her heart about the life of her only child, she heard within her own words the answer to her question, and the chaplain was once again reminded that true wisdom isn’t always the textbook answer. God’s answers sometimes carry wisdom that is beyond our understanding.

When God offered Solomon whatever he wished, he asked for wisdom or discernment and not wealth. God was pleased with his request and gave him an abundance of wisdom, and in the first account of the use of Solomon’s gift, he found himself in a dilemma between two mothers. This scenario would have been difficult for anyone, yet Solomon knew he possessed something outside of himself that would make all the difference. Often the solution to our own dilemmas is not logical, easily seen, or reasoned. But when the solution comes from God we will know, for His solutions are perfect and wise.
“Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.” When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice” (1 Kings 3: 27-28 NIV).
PRAYER: I praise You God for Your perfect wisdom. Help me seek Your wisdom when it would be easier to rely upon my own logic, reason, or understanding. Thank You for always providing Your wisdom that is beyond my understanding but not beyond Yours.

Visibility

December 15, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Robin J. Steinweg –

I can not see the road in front of me. I don’t dare stop the car, or I might get hit from behind. Besides, I can’t even find the shoulder of the road if I wanted to pull over. The wind-hurled snow looks like a scene from a sci-fi movie, where the space ship leaps into hyperspace—white lines are coming at me, or maybe emanating from me—who knows anymore?

My visibility is nearly zero.

It’s dangerous not to have vision while on the road. My car might go too far in either direction; I could collide with another car head-on, or end up sideways in the ditch.

It’s also dangerous not to have spiritual vision. Without it, I have no grounding, no focus, no purpose, no moral compass to keep me from destruction. But with it—with spiritual vision, I have Someone to guide and direct me. Someone who has a plan for my life, who knows what is best for me and what I should avoid.

He can keep me safe, no matter the conditions of the road.

PRAYER: Lord, my vision will be perfect if I keep my eyes on You. If I trust in You, You will direct my path.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18a KJV).

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