Heavenly Perfume: How to Smell Good as a Christian

Heavenly Perfume: How to Smell Good as a Christian

Jesus smelled good. Do you?

I don’t mean Jesus showered every day; He didn’t. People used various methods to try to smell nice, but cologne as we know it wasn’t available 2000 years ago. But no one could come near Him without feeling an almost irresistible attraction. The heavenly perfume of Jesus’ goodness and holiness was undeniable.

The attraction to Jesus was not some sappy happiness or momentary feel-good “love”. It had nothing to do with religious stuff. Yes, He healed people and gave them hope for a better life. But everything about Him – not only but including His words – radiated fierce courage, jealous love, and a call to a deeper, fuller, wilder, and more purposeful life than anyone had previously imagined.

You couldn’t meet Jesus and not be changed. Not everyone who sensed the fragrance of Jesus responded positively. But no one could leave His presence or His life without facing a choice – to either follow Him on a journey to goodness and holiness and purpose themselves, or to reject His offer and follow evil instead.

You Have an Aroma Too

Everything about you has an effect on others. You can’t keep that from happening any more than you can keep your body odor or perfume to yourself.

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A Woman’s Beauty and Strength: Dangerous or Delightful?

A Woman’s Beauty and Strength: Dangerous or Delightful?

Can we talk? Just you and me, girlfriend?

A woman’s beauty is one source of her strength. But everything depends on how you use it.

As a woman, you are powerful, beautiful, strong, smart, vulnerable, intuitive, and resilient. When God made you earth and heaven smiled, and you completely took Adam’s breath away. You are the expression of the part of God Himself that longs to connect, communicate, and nurture life, intimacy, and so much more. As John Eldredge describes it, every woman has a beauty to unveil.

In part because of your combined beauty and strength, God’s enemy has unleashed his most destructive weapons against you ever since the beginning. You have survived indescribable pain, loss, and torment. You’ve faced the worst that evil can dream up.

And yet you are still here! The assaults on your body, mind, and soul have not taken you out. You may feel down, but you’re not finished yet!

But the question is, What Will You Do Now?

You have two choices.

You can use your beauty and strength to wreak havoc on everyone around you. You DO have that power.

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How to Find Healthy Motivation to Change

How to Find Healthy Motivation to Change

HikingYou know you should, but you just don’t. Perhaps for you that means you know you should lose weight, reign in your spending, give up the junk food, or change some other aspect of your lifestyle. Why can’t you do what you know you should? How can you find the healthy motivation to make the changes you know would help you be healthier, happier, or more successful?

Acting on what you know you should do doesn’t often work very well. Should usually implies that someone else thinks you should do or not do something. It’s usually an external motivation. It may create some change for a period of time; you may exercise more frequently if your work offers a financial incentive to do so, for example. But as soon as that external motivation ends, you’ll most likely revert to the habits you had previously.

You may agree with what you should do, but you can’t seem to find the internal motivation to stick with any changes. In our most recent reader survey a number of you spoke of the frustration between what you know you should do and what you actually do:

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When Judgmental Christians Hurt You

When Judgmental Christians Hurt You

Judgmental ChristiansYou’re trying to do good. Or at least you want to. Really, you do. You believe (at least most of you believes) that doing things God’s way is the best way. But every time you try to take a step forward, judgmental Christians seem to cut you down, point out your failings, and act like they’re too righteous to associate with you. They hold your sins over your head and try to prevent you from doing what you believe God has asked you to do. It’s awfully discouraging. You’re tempted to wonder if it’s even worth continuing to try.

You’ve probably heard people say that you’re supposed to keep your eyes on Jesus and not on people. That’s true. But how do you deal with the “friendly fire” from those who claim to be Christians?

In our most recent survey I heard from several of you who have been wounded in the name of God. A young man wrote, “The deepest hurts in my life are from Christians and the worst part of it is that they use God to hurt me.” A woman who struggles with her church wrote, “The bible talks about Christians restoring each other if we backslide. Often people are too judgmental to restore anyone.” Perhaps you too can identify with the frustration, hurt, even anguish behind these words.

I’ve been there; I’ve also been hurt in the name of God. I know that some of those who hurt me did so unintentionally, and some did so out of their own woundedness. Some also did so consciously and directly. And it hurts.

If you’ve been wounded in the name of God, my heart bleeds for you. And I want to give you some hope. Here’s what I pray you will understand and remember.

The Truth about your Christian-inflicted Wounds

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Do You Know How God Works With You?

Do You Know How God Works With You?

Biblical InsightHow does God work with you? Do you know? How do you hear His voice? How do you understand what He wants you to do, what He wants to grow in your character, or what He thinks about you? What does He use to change you into who He wants you to be?

Sure, there are the Bible studies on “How to hear God’s voice.” There are plenty of people who interpret Scripture, preach theology, or tell their experience of God’s activity in their life. But what about you? How has God acted in your life? What are the characteristics of His interaction with you?

One of the core beliefs that most of us Christians share is that God has been active in human affairs throughout history, and that He is active in the world today. But He can and does show up in many different ways in our lives. How we experience Him depends on our own personality, history, life circumstances, and openness to hearing and seeing Him.

Over time I’ve come to understand some things about how God has worked in my life. Some of those things are very different from what I understood about God and His working as a young person.

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