DayBreaks for 5/17/18 – How Do You Smell?

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DayBreaks for 5/17/18: How Do You Smell?

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

When we were touring Kennedy Space Center, we went to the International Space Station assembly facility.  Since most of the station is now in orbit and complete, there wasn’t much going on, but they were preparing a supply module that would be carried up to the station on a coming shuttle flight.  The cylindrical modules are 15 feet in width (the cargo bay of the shuttle is 16 feet wide), and this particular module would be carrying up stuff that the crew aboard the shuttle needed. 

The guide that was at that station told us an interesting story.  He informed us that the air on board the space station is relatively stale.  When a new cargo module arrives, those aboard the space station flock to the airlock where the new module is attached to get a whiff of the fresh air that’s contained inside the module. As the lock is opened, they all breathe in deeply…and they all comment how the air “smells like Florida.”  After hearing that, the ground crew started including some fresh oranges, lemons, etc., to make it smell even better for the astronauts who are missing the fresh air.

Once the module has been emptied, it is then filled up…with dirty clothes.  There is no facility on the station for washing clothing, so the empty module becomes like a combination laundry hamper and trash can.  The shuttle then ferries it back to earth. 

When the ground crew gets the module offloaded from the shuttle, no one scurries to be there when it is opened because…well, it stinks. 

This made me think about the passage which talks about how we smell: 2 Cor. 2:14-16 (NLT) – But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume.  Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

There’s something about Christians and Christianity that smells.  Interestingly, and in contradiction to what one might expect, to God we are a fragrance.  God loves our smell!  But those who are earthbound and not heaven-destined find the fragrance quite off-putting.  It’s not because we present two different fragrances – Christians carry the sweet perfume of the Good News either way.  Our job is not to go around trying to stink to people, but our first obligation is to God, to offer our lives as living sacrifices that are well-pleasing to Him. Others will make of it what they will.

PRAYER: Lord, let us carry the sweet perfume of heaven to all.  May we live in such a way that you are happy and pleased with us, that we delight you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 2/23/17 – Why the Gospel Makes No Sense

DayBreaks for 2/23/17: Why the Gospel Makes No Sense

1 Cor. 1:23 – (KJV) – But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness…

2 Cor. 2:15-16 (NLT) – Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. 16 To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

If you listen to the hucksters on TV, the show that’s on Monday evenings called “Heroes” is a “smash hit.”  Interesting.  I’ll admit that I’ve seen it, and I do find it interesting – more for the characters than anything else (the story seems to drag on endlessly and I wonder if it will ever get to the climax of the story at all!)  The premise of the show is that there are various people in the world who have some sort of super power to do different kinds of things – and they are all needed to save the world.  The key seems to be a young blonde cheerleader who has the gift of being able to not be killed.  She has even “killed” herself several times to prove to someone else that she has the gift – she’s thrown herself off towers, intentionally crashed her car, etc., and while she should be dead, she instantly “cures” and is fine.  A bit far fetched?  You bet it is.

And that’s just why the gospel is so hard for some folks to believe.  It makes no sense.  The passages above in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians describe the extremely difficult task of the gospel: to Jews, the crucifixion of Jesus was a stumblingblock because only the most perverse criminal would be hanged on a tree and the Messiah would never die anyway.  To the Greeks, who were very logical thinkers that needed to understand the reason and logic behind something, to say that one other person’s death could remove all the sin of the entire world was ludicrous, foolish, if you will.

In the second passage, Paul says that our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God.  It’s not a fragrance we present – Christ presents it, reminding us of the incense that would be burned in the temple that rose to God to please Him, symbolizing prayer.  Our lives are to be a prayer to God, that Christ presents.  But, just as not everyone likes the smell of Chanel No. 5, not all like the scent we give off.  To those who are dying without Christ, we, well, how can I put this bluntly?  We smell like dead, decaying flesh – repulsive, the kind of smell that would make anyone turn away and throw up.  But those who are being drawn to God smell it as the sweetest, most precious perfume.  And then the stunning question: Who is up to such a task? 

Why doesn’t the gospel make sense?  I think Andy Crouch hit it on the head when he summarized it in one sentence: “There is no culture where the gospels horizons make sense – because it starts with the resurrection of a dead man.”  Why does Christianity smell like death?  That’s why…it starts with a dead man – much like the little cheerleader who dies and comes back, and who would believe it?  But somehow, some do…through the work and calling of the Spirit that transforms the smell of death into sweet perfume. 

It’s not our job to make the gospel smell like perfume.  It will smell like what it is to different people.  The catch is that we never know who will smell it as perfume and who will perceive it as a foul stench.  What if no one had told you about Christ crucified?

PRAYER:  Our minds seek to understand and reason things out, Lord, and sometimes in so doing, we wind up destroying ourselves and others.  Thank you that you have allowed us to smell the fragrance of life in Christ.  Help us to carry that scent to others, trusting in you to make it beautiful.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/02/16 – Pizza and Perfume

Aroma…

DayBreaks for 12/02/16 – Pizza and Perfume

15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? – 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

A mother tells a story of how her daughter used to work for a pizzeria.  At the end of the daughter’s shift, Mom would pick her up from the pizzeria.  There was only one problem: when her daughter would get into the car she’d smell so much like pizza that often times Mom would go back into the store and buy a pizza.

I see in this an analogy of our life with Christ.  When we give our life to him, when we spend much time with Christ and seek first to live for him; when we let His love, grace and forgiveness wash over and permeate us, then we’ll have the aroma of Christ surrounding us in our daily lives.  His love will spread and shine through us for others to see and breathe in. And when we live like that, our lives become an invitation and others will be compelled to seek him and ask questions about our faith.

When is the last time your life compelled someone to ask you about your faith?  If it hasn’t happened for a long time, perhaps it’s because we’ve not spent enough time in the presence of the Master.

PRAYER: Let us draw so close to you that the sweet aroma of Jesus’ love is so present in our lives that it cannot be ignored and others are compelled to investigate the Lord of Life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 05/31/11 – Saturated

DayBreaks for 05/31/11 – Saturated

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. – John 12:3

John’s vocabulary allows us to both see, and smell, this incident in the life of Jesus and Mary.  You’ve probably experienced something like it – someone was wearing a fragrance that was so strong that you suspected they had dumped the whole bottle on themselves!  Mary’s gift of perfume apparently nearly overwhelmed the people in the house. The smell “filled” the house, Luke says. The house was “filled with the fragrance. No one could escape it. If you had been allergic to perfume, you’d have had to leave. It was so strong, the smell surely stayed in the house long after Jesus left. For days after, the scent was a constant reminder that Jesus had been in their home, and that he’d made a profound difference in the way siblings related to one another. When Jesus becomes the focus of your family, the difference will saturate your home, too. It’ll fill every corner, and affect every relationship.

PRAYER: Fill our homes and our lives with Your Presence and heal our relationships! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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