Smell Ya Later!

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My dear friend Kathleen always signs off her e-mails with “Smell ya later”.  I love her sense of humor and I think that is hysterical.  Believe it or not, this holds a tremendous lesson for those of us who are IN Christ!  Let me explain.

I had someone in my life that was very near and dear to me, and whom I cared for very much.  She wore a particular perfume that I liked.  Although I have not seen her for a few years, as soon as I come across that aroma, I am reminded of this person.  I will then often simply pray for her.  On the flip side, sometimes the odor and memory may not be so pleasant.  Amazing how an aroma can bring us back to a person, a place, etc.

This is why I love 2 Corinthians 2:14-15.  It says:   “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;” In context, Paul was referring to their ministry in Troas and Macedonia and the surrounding area.

This is true of YOU as well.  As you go about your day, living in dependence on Him, God will manifest (and probably has many, many times) THROUGH YOU the wonderfully sweet aroma of JESUS.  It is God doing the triumphing, and it is also God doing the manifesting.  Notice there is no mention of “being obedient” or “getting right with God” or any other Christian catch phrase. NO!  As we walk in a dependent love relationship with Jesus, others will catch a whiff of Him.

I can hear some of you asking, “We won’t give off a heavenly aroma if we just live like the devil.”  Interesting how we always want to go there.  It’s not about behavior but rather about identity.  First of all, to God, you ARE a sweet aroma…period! And the aroma is Jesus!!!

Those who are IN Christ (saved) have Christ IN them.  Thus the aroma of His presence will be released.  It is HIS work not ours.  Therefore, like cologne, I too can enjoy this wonderful heavenly fragrance of Jesus being manifested through me…..wow what a blessing!

In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul says that we HAVE become the righteousness of God IN Jesus.  So, when He sees me, He sees Jesus’ righteousness.  Therefore, when He gets a “whiff” of you, He (and the world) is actually smelling the sweet aroma of Jesus.  My dear friend, chew on that awhile.  We no longer have to work real hard trying to get ourselves “smellin good”.  We ARE the aroma of Jesus.  Enjoy it along with those being touched by it as well.

Rest in this truth!!!

So then, how can this wonderful fragrance be manifested more and more?  As we are being broken more and more, this sweet aroma of Jesus is released for more to enjoy.  It reminds me of the woman in Bethany who broke a vial of costly perfume.  The room was filled with this sweet perfume only AFTER it was broken.  Paul said in Romans 7:18, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;” Let’s stop trying to clean up our “flesh”, and simply allow God to do His work in us (break us) and thereby manifesting HIS aroma through us.

Finally, there is another application I need to share.  When you are with your brother or sister in Christ, what do YOU smell?  Are you always focusing on their behavior and the outward appearance?  Or, like God, do you “smell” the sweet aroma of Jesus who dwells IN them?  Again, I am merely speaking of identity here.  There is always some aroma there….. take your time to get a whiff of it!

Gott go………SMELL YA LATER!!!!!

THE GLOVE!

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In the Amplified Bible, Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

I’ve talked about how the Christian life is Jesus’ life…period!  It’s a life of total and radical dependency on Jesus to live His life through us.  It is this phrase, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” that I would like to illustrate.

I have a leather glove sitting here on the table.  If I told the glove to pick up my Bible and move it to the other table what would happen?  Nothing!  Exactly!  No matter how much I might teach it about it’s fingers and thumb and teach it how to pick up the Bible, it is still powerless to accomplish this simple act.

This is precisely how the Christian is to live.  The hand IN the glove is indispensable to the function OF that glove.  We are the glove; Jesus is the hand.  The glove takes on the strength of the hand to do what needs to be done.  The glove as I illustrated, is absolutely useless without the hand.

We too as Christians are effective and truly alive because the life of God was put back in us when Jesus came in to take residency. Only hen we surrender to Him and by faith allow Him to live His life can we experience real living!

The glove without the hand beautifully illustrates dead religion.  No matter how “pretty” or “righteous” we may look or how many religious things we may “do”, it is all empty and dead. It doesn’t matter if you’re the preacher, elder, deacon or anyone in “church” if you are living/acting in your own power and or initiative it is for naught.

Jesus is the only one who EVER lived the Christian life and He is still the only one who can live it today…through YOU and me as we by faith allow Him to do so.  Don’t you think it’s time we display to the world what Jesus looks like by abiding in His life in us?

STOP TRYING!!!

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Oh to live in “victory”!  The longer I walk with Jesus the more I realize how rare this is in the Body of Christ.  Yet, it IS the very life our Father intends for us.  Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.”

    When I consider how many of true believers are not experiencing Jesus alive living in us who IS our only “hope of glory”, my heart breaks.  My heart saddens because I lived like this for sooooo long!     What is sad is that the TRUE gospel is so simple yet so profound. It is simply this: (1) the FINALITY of the cross – He reconciled us while we were His enemies and (2) the REALITY of the resurrection – He rose to give us HIS life!

    Hudson Taylor (5/21/1832 – 6/3/1905), who was a missionary and founder of China Inland Mission discovered this realty WHILE in China as a missionary.  He wrote the following in a letter:

 

“…to find your heart all taken up by Him; to be reminded of His love by His seeking communion with YOU at all times, not by your painful attempts to abide in Him.  He IS our life, our strength, our salvation; He IS our wisdom and righteousness, our sanctification and redemption; He IS our power for service and fruit-bearing, and His bosom IS our resting- place now and forever…”

 

    So, how do we then live and experience this victory?  The apostle Paul said this in Colossians 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, {so} walk in Him,” and again he says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

    We walk (live) just like we got saved…by grace through faith… period!!!

    Again here is what Hudson Taylor had to say about this:

 

“How then, is this faith increased?  Only by thinking of all that Jesus is and all that He is for us: His life, His death, His work, Himself, as revealed to us in His Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts.  Not a striving to have faith, or to increase our faith, but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need – a resting in the Loved One entirely for time and eternity.  It does not appear to me anything new – only formerly misapprehended.”

 

May we REST in Him today!

Thank You Brother!

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small-butterfly-flapping11Have you ever wondered if there are people you have impacted with the gospel, but never knew about it?  

     I know I have, and the Lord has blessed me a few times on the receiving end when someone expressed thanks for touching their lives and I didn’t even know it.

     Well, this is why I would like to bless someone.  There is someone who has had a profound effect on my life, and I wanted to say thanks in a public way.

     Bob George of People to People Ministries was truly a God-send in my life.  Back in the fall of 1993 I began listening to his radio show, and I was instantly blown away.  I remember thinking, “I’ve never heard anything like this.”

     Up to that time, I lived a life of bondage going from defeat to defeat rather than victory to victory.  I had absolutely no idea what it looked like to walk in freedom.  Well, I was captivated by his book Classic Christianity and I will never forget the day I got to chapter 4. 

     I broke down and wept when I realized that as a Christian I have a new life and it is Jesus life being lived in and through me.  The concept of the exchanged life overwhelmed me.

     Although the “grace life” began captivating my mind and heart, it’s sad to say this but I was so steeped in legalistic thinking that it still took a good 7 years until I began to experience real transformation.  I discovered that sometimes it hard to shake all those lies.

     I could go on, but I will spare you.  I just wanted to say,

 

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart Bob!  You have been and still are a huge blessing in my life and the reason why I am now walking in freedom and victory. I love you brother!”

 

Classic Christianity Conferences

Real Answers

People to People blog

LET HIM DO IT!

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When we talk about “being saved” I think we often forget or maybe we’ve never been taught that our salvation has three tenses or parts to it.  They are as follows.

– I was saved when I believed in Jesus;

– I am being saved as the character of Jesus Christ now becoming manifested in my life; and

– I shall be saved when at last, in resurrection life, with a glorified body; I stand in the presence of the Son of God fully glorified forevermore.

It is the second part of our salvation that I would like to address.  The term for this is sanctification.  This is a term and concept that is often misunderstood.  Here is a fantastic definition:

“Sanctification is the appearing of the characteristics, the perfections, of the Lord Jesus in terms of your human personality.” – Oswald Chambers

Mr. Chambers absolutely nailed it!  It is a growing process by which Jesus manifests Himself more fully in us AND through us.

It thrills my heart every time I reflect on the reality that it’s all about Him.  He started it (I was saved not of myself but as “a gift”); He continues it (sanctification) and He completes it (glorification.)

So, we see that our becoming more “like Christ” is about His work in us and His work through us as we trust Him by faith to live out His life.  It reminds me of Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for {His} good pleasure.”

It’s not by my effort, my cleverness, my determination, my discipline, etc.  It’s ALL Jesus!  He gave His life TO ME!  It was the Great Exchange.  I exchanged my filth and imperfection for His wonderful righteousness. 

So, rather than wear a bracelet that says “W.W.J.D.” to remind me to behave properly.  God is calling me to live a life of faith in the finality of the cross (sins were fully paid for) and the reality of the resurrection (I have a new life).  It’s the difference between wrestling about trying to “get it right” and resting in Him.

This motivates me to be more and more consumed with Jesus and all that HE is in me; to live each day with a grateful heart in all that He has done and is doing.  Faith simply says, “Thank you!”  This is normal Christian Living.

Is MY Experience the Normal Christian Life?

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I stumbled upon this on the internet and had to pass it on.  It is from Dr. Bill Gillham’s book What God Wishes Christians Knew About Christianity, pp 3-4.  The chapter is entitled: THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN’S EXPERIENCE IS NOT THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE.  I pray the Lord encourages your heart…blessings!

“…yet many have no knowledge of how Jesus Christ holds the secret to their victory over the flesh.

     The Spirit of Christ living through them can overcome their flesh.  There is nothing quite so sad as the tale of an effective Christian whose ministry was launched with the spiritual equivalent of a Super Bowl half-time show only to blow its fuses and leave the “spectators” choking on the smoke. Gang, moment-by-moment victory over evil is not a reality for many sincere Christians with a heart to glorify Christ. Their actions fall far short of their desires due to having no knowledge of how to let Christ express His overcoming life through them.

     Although this is the normal experience of many Christians, it’s a far cry from the normal Christian life that the Bible describes. I would guess that most Christians believe it’s inevitable for us to sin hundreds of times per day (when you include the sins of the thought-life), and they’ve settled into this fatalistic mode until they die or Jesus comes. The Bible does not teach that our physical death is God’s provision for our freedom. It teaches that Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit is God’s provision for our freedom. Since that is so, then why is the body of Christ not enjoying this freedom?  What’s the problem? Did some significant truth that is able to empower us to victory either fall on deaf ears or fall instead through the cracks and leave many of us crippling along with dirty spark plugs? This was certainly my case. I never dreamed that God had a solution already installed in me. Perhaps this is the case with you as well. If so, let’s open God’s love letter to us and trust the only One who can teach us the mind of the Lord-the Holy Spirit-to give understanding of how to appropriate the victory that is ours in Christ.”