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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How to Find the Presence of God

How to Find the Presence of God

You may have heard or read things about the presence of God. You may have experienced times yourself when God seemed very near and something special happened. Or you may think all this talk about the presence of God is just super-spiritualizing and meaningless for you, even though it may sound nice.

I’ve been there. I grew up experiencing a very intellectual Christianity. I’m forever grateful for the knowledge I had gained about the Bible, etc. But all that knowledge left me dry and empty when I faced some very difficult times as a young adult. The stuff I knew in my head wasn’t making any difference in the internal torment I was experiencing.

Everything changed when I began to experience the presence of God. It first happened in a large gathering of other hungry Christians, and then I started sensing God’s presence at other times even when I was alone. But not until more than ten years later did I begin to learn HOW to enter God’s presence without waiting for one of those ethereal moments of serendipity.

From my own experience and from Scripture I can tell you that God’s presence is real, it’s palpable, and it changes you. (2 Corinthians 3:18) While He is here with us every moment, sometimes He makes His presence known and felt to us humans in an extra dimension. It’s more than emotions. It’s deep. It’s real. And it’s priceless! Some people call these times the manifest presence of God.

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What to do if you Feel Unloved

What to do if you Feel Unloved

Unwanted. Rejected. Second class. Fifth wheel. Unimportant. Not good enough. Lonely. You feel unloved, and it hurts.

You want to be Number One to someone. Perhaps you never felt that from your parents, and you desperately hoped – expected – that you would find that in a spouse. But the right person hasn’t come along. You keep secretly hoping you’ll meet The One before it’s too late, but it’s not looking real good for you right now.

Or you’re married and you’ve discovered that a ring on your finger doesn’t mean you’re Number One to someone in the way you had hoped. You’re disappointed. Why do you feel so lonely and unloved? Wouldn’t your spouse treat you differently if they truly loved you? This Marriage Misery is worse than being single! At least in that case you wouldn’t have your hopes raised – and then squashed into nothingness.

I so badly wanted to be Number One to someone for many years. I was outwardly successful, had friends, and experienced quite a lot of freedom and joy – but I was alone. Some of the people around me were nice enough, but nobody loved me. Not really. Not for me, the whole of me.

Does “God Loves You” even apply to you?

You might say, “That’s just sour grapes. God loves you. And that’s enough.”

You’re right – God loves me. And you. But how does that become enough?

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Forgiveness in Marriage: How to Do it Well

Forgiveness in Marriage: How to Do it Well

Your spouse has hurt you. Guaranteed. If you haven’t been hurt by your spouse, you either got married five minutes ago (and you’re not reading this!) or you’re lying. There is absolutely no way you can connect your life that closely with another human being and not get hurt. The question now is, how can you forgive your spouse when they have hurt you?

When you hear the word forgiveness in the context of marriage you likely have one of two reactions.

  • You cannot imagine forgiving your spouse for what they’ve done. You respond to your spouse with the kind of treatment you believe their shortcomings deserve. You internally keep score, and feel justified in your less-than-loving behavior because of what your spouse has done to you. You may manipulate and control, using your spouse’s weakness as a weapon to “keep them in line.”
  • OR You are resigned to suffering as you “forgive.” You feel somehow entitled to your misery because of how your spouse has treated you. You’re determined to follow Jesus’ command to forgive, and that means you’ve chosen to “take it.” Whether the offense is small or large, current or long past, you see your wounds as yours to bear. You think you’re loving your spouse when you put up with their bad behavior.

Neither of those choices is forgiveness. You know deciding to wound your spouse in return for their wrongdoing is not forgiveness. But neither is the second choice – becoming resigned to suffering. Neither option gives any hope for restoration of your relationship.

Forgiveness is This, not That

Forgiveness is not an easy thing to learn, but once you do it opens the door to amazing freedom, connection, and love. I had to learn about forgiveness – as I believe everyone does – the hard way. Thankfully I had learned enough about forgiveness before I got married to make our marriage happy, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. I believe you can learn how to forgive now – even if you’re in the middle of a miserable marriage.

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Christianity 101: Making it Easy

Christianity 101: Making it Easy

Does Christianity seem HARD to you? What if there were a way to make Christianity easy?! That’s the beauty of Christianity 101.

Perhaps you are part of a church that emphasizes teaching. You listen to Biblical sermons and are strongly encouraged to be part of a weekly small group Bible study. You feel “less than” other believers if you don’t know as much as they do about the Bible. Occasionally (or more often) you run into other members – or leaders – who demonstrate bad character traits such as greed, lust, unrighteous anger, or pride even though their head is filled with the very best Biblical information.

Or perhaps you are part of a church that emphasizes behavior. Sin is talked about openly. You and other members are judged based on how well you adhere to an external standard – how you dress and talk, how much money you give, how often you’re in church, how well you portray the image of being a good Christian. No drinking, smoking, . . . you get the idea. When you or others do live up to the external standard you feel a little better than those who don’t – even if you’d never admit it.

Head knowledge and external behavior are both important. Knowing the Bible and hearing good teaching can help you understand God and what He wants for you. And doing the right things will certainly make your life better – at least most of the time. (At least you aren’t likely to end up in jail – in this country.)

But both of those roads can feel awfully dry. Empty. Lifeless. HARD!

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