WE ALL CAN'T WEAR COLOGNE
Philippians 2:14-16 KJV
 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;  Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
This morning, I got on the elevator at our hotel and someone was on there, but nobody was there. What I mean is that that the elevator was empty but it was full of smell. The scent was so strong that it took me five floors down to figure out if it was air freshener being pumped into the vent or someone's cologne. It was too masculine to be from housekeeping so I sided with cologne. By the time I got to the breakfast area, the mystery was solved. I saw a lady well dressed waiting by the door and a gentleman equally dapper by the biscuits. His face and name will remain unknown because I saw neither, but his cologne I will never forget. I don't know if it was frankincense or myrrh, but it was a very deep and rich sweet herbal scent. Honestly, it smelled good. But it was just so much of it that if I breathed too deeply, I could taste it!
As I grabbed some Cheerios and headed to the ventilator; check that, elevator, a thought occured to me - what if we ALL wore that much cologone? Not even the same perfume or cologne, but just that much of it? The competing odors, expensive and delightful as they might be in their bottles, would have us fainting all over the place gasping for air that was simply...clear. Clean.
Putting on a scent can easily go from well intended to overwhelming. There is that line that can be crossed from wanting to make a good impression, to wanting everyone on the ground floor floor to know I'm up in here! Purity to pride is not a bridge too far thanks to our selfish natures. Hence we live "...in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation..."
This is not an anti-cologne post! Did you know that you and I are like perfume when we accept God's grace through Christ?
2 CORINTHIANS 2:15 KJV
For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
Being good smells good! But when we take that gifted goodness and make it our own goodness or by calling attention to it, it changes. When we strive to put ourselves out there rather than lift others above ourselves, that excess creates an imbalance that actually makes others turn off. It's as if we all lathered up and hit the town like the gentleman today. This clashing of competing colognes creates an aromatic Babylon that eventually makes us all run away gasping rather than growing together!
So what can be just as meaningful as a pint of perfume? How about just smelling, clean. Not smelling bad, but just not smelling at all. Being that clear air or that fresh air we long for when we want to escape both the stench and the excess. That neutral smell is like being blameless. Doing "all things without murmurings and disputings..." Nothing great, but nothing bad either. No frills and no fault.
Paul encouraged the Phillipians this way to "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke..." There is a beauty in being faithful that is more powerful than being first. Smelling "out there" for all versus just smelling clean - to the point of not smelling at all as far as the world is concerned. We all can't be chairman of the board or on the board, but we all can do our jobs well. We all can't shout on the bullhorn out front, but we can all do right when nobody is looking.
Of the simple blameless ones it is said that "...ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life..." I'd rather be blameless than bold. I'd rather be clean than beautiful. The only way to smell clean is to be clean. And all we have to do to be clean is to be in Christ! Accept Jesus today, and God will see and smell you as His sweetest scent.
So excited to share something that LORD brought to CHANGE as another way to spread the Gospel worldwide. A brother-in-Christ, Mambwe Obed, reached out to us several months ago. He stepped out in faith and asked if we could help him in his ministry in the town of Kawambwa in Zambia, Africa. As a Christian, he is seeking help in distributing KJV Bibles in English and Bemba, the local language. Along with Bibles, they are distributing books from the Conflict of the Ages series including The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy, Patriarchs and Prophets, and Steps To Christ amongst church members and others.
The following is a personal account from Elder Obed in his own words on the first distribution from our first contribution:
Dear Brethren in Christ Chris Bailey lll and your family, I [sendeth] Christian greetings to you all in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I come again to thank you for your help that you have sent [contribution]. And I want to let you know that we have purchased 10 copies of Bibles in our local languages by 16 dollars each copy of Bible. And see the receipt, and photos for distribution to Bibles for souls who are in need of Bibles. Thank you so very much for your support and those who have received Bibles are much happy and thank God through for your support. But unfortunately there are many souls who are not received Bibles because its small in numbers but those who are not received are happy and I told him to be patience. Added by this, I am ask you again to send funds for Bibles and Spirit of prophecy books. We are in need 75 copies of Bibles in our local languages, 43 copies of Bibles in English KJV and 100 copies of spirit of prophecy books, The desire of Ages, The Great controversy, Patriarchs and prophets, Steps to Christ and etc. Brethren it's not command but I have much concerning to tell you my challenges about Bibles and books. Please if you have enough funds for Bibles and books helping us. The demands so great right now! I say once again thank you, thank you, thank you.! May God replenish and multiply your sources 7 times at your ministry. We pray for you all and your ministry and waiting for your comments again.
The pictures again on top picture he is the man who much appreciated to receive a copy of Bible. And receipt for purchased Bibles as well. And another picture I am Mambwe Obed, distribution of Bibles [to] those are serious with God. Additional by this, we are not give Bibles to those who are not read no!
But we have gave Bibles to those who able to read and understand clearly. Our target is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations until the second coming of Jesus Christ Christ. It's more encouraging to hear from your comments.
Thank you and God bless you!
Bro. Mambwe Obed
ISAIAH 48:6 KJV
Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it ? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.
Have you ever bought something, but didn't find out it had a hidden feature or could do something kinda cool until waaay after you bought it? Yesterday I was drinking from my all-time favorite water bottle. It's the right ounces, not too big or too small, and blue (my favorite color). But everytime I would tip the bottle up at a certain angle, the cap would come smacking me down on my lip or on my nose if I was going full Ben Hur in the desert mode gulping. I shrugged it off and just rolled with it because of all the other things it could do. But then yesterday.
Sitting by my bed and just waking up, I popped the cap to take a swig but in my half-wake/half-sleep state, I pushed the cap with thumb and it stayed! Turns out that the cap is designed to fit securely and snugly in the bottle top and not flap around in the wind when you're drinking. Who would of thunk? Well, I'll be honest - not me. But who did think? The ones who made the water bottle.
Sometimes we can miss out on the LORD's hidden features. Sometimes we can know that God is good, but not believe that He is great. Thinking He can do alot of things, but not anything. By wrong-sizing our Creator & Savior, we can put a cap on the extent of His power and redemption.
"He can forgive this, but not that."
"He can help her, but not me."
"He did that last time, but not this time."
"That was then, but this is now."
Ask yourself if there are any hidden features or cool design hacks that you might be missing out on God? You can actually answer that question by honestly acknowledging any areas of unbelief in your heart. OR even in the things we try to do on our own that we don't trust God to do. While unbelief is fatal to faith, it doesn't scare our Savior:
MARK 9:23-25 KJV
Jesus said unto him [the father of a demon-possessed son], If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.  When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
God is more than good, He is the Greatest! So He has so much greater in store for you if we just pop the top in faith (or even by accident)!
PSALM 145:6 KJV
And men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts: and I will declare Thy greatness.
PSALM 32:3 KJV
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
Silence during worship in the morning? What a blessing. Silence in an elementary classroom? A miracle! Silence in a relationship? That's a killer. It's the mental/emotional equivalent of literally holding your breath until the smoke clears. It might bring relief for moment, but it could kill you quicker than what you're trying to avoid.
Just this past weekend, I tried to "hold my breath." There was a situation where my frustration was mounting and I wanted to sound off. One of the other parties was a beautiful woman by the name of "Fara" (names may be changed to protect the innocent). But that's necessary; it was my SweeT, my wife, Tara. In short, I got frustrated and got quiet to avoid an argument. Yes, silence may avoid the argument, but it doesn't avoid the conflict. My issue, my feelings, and my thoughts were as real as the big nose on my face. Being quiet when we are supposed to speak is like pushing mute on the TV instead of pause on the DVD. You can't hear the words but it doesn't stop the action.
I know some may want to wax philosophic and misquote some verses or proverbs on silence. But the balance to them all is leveraged in ECCLESIASTES 3:7:
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Our Father In Heaven is so wise! He knew we would run off the deep end one way or the other, so He put up a sign that says "both ways", but the key is timing. More accurately, His timing. Plainly put, when you know you want to argue, it's time be quiet. But when you know you want to make peace, it's time to speak up. Talking is the exhale to make room for the fresh inhale. Speaking in season is as powerful as giving in season.
To the Brothers: This post is for all of us, but it's the hardest for us. Most men do not want to talk it out. We may hold it in as a virtue, but it becomes a vice. It matters because the effects of silence are indeed more damaging to women than they are to us. We have to come to a place where we perceive silence OUT of season as reprehensible as family abandonment because it is the denial of a vital necessity.
With this disclaimer in mind, spouses, parents, children, siblings, family, colleagues, classmates, saints...
...when we know we want to argue with someone, it's time to be quiet. And if we just can't help ourselves and we have to sound off, go argue with God. Yes, I said it because Moses, Job, Peter, and others did it. The LORD can handle it. Prayer is talking to God as a friend, and if He is your best friend, He wants your problems just as much as your praises.
...when we know we want to make peace with someone, it's time to talk. Not yell. Not vent. Not mumble. But talk, share, explain, confess (which may include listen, cry, laugh, forgive). Learning this is not easy, so remember -
PSALM 27:1 KJV
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Don't let fear make you grab the blanky of silence and run away. Instead, let faith empower you to grab the hands of those we love and say,"let's talk."
2 Peter 3:18 KJV
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
For a while now, I've been blessed to be able to walk with my parents almost everyday. They are both over 70 and just this past Sabbath, they BOTH scaled the summit at Natural Bridge in Slade, Kentucky! But on today's walk I noticed something: trees just grow! I don't mean jiust looking up, but looking down. All the way down to...the sidewalk.
If you stroll around most neighborhoods that have been around for a while, you will notice some interesting sidewalks. Not how they look, but how they lay. Some slabs are pushed downward while others are pushed way upward. For a septuagenarian (somone over 70) athlete, they can pose a risk...or for anybody too busy minding their cell phone. But for all of us, these jolted slabs are a testimony.
The slabs get pushed up and down because of the trees nearby that refuse to stop growing. Not just upward, but downward. The roots refuse to stop reaching for more earth. They knarl, stretch, and literally bench press the concrete with ease with one goal in mind - just grow! Just grow. Have you ever seen a tree get into an argument? You ever seen a tree at a conference or at a tree meeting?
Haggai 1:2-5 KJV
Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built.  Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,  Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?  Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.
Haggai is not one of those books we crack open often (Old Testament between Zephaniah & Zechariah), but he has a powerful ministry as one of God's prophets. The LORD called him to speak after the release of the people of Israel from Babylonian captivity. A group of God's people returned to settle their homeland and rebuild the temple. But 16 years later, the project was not finished. The people had homes but the Deliverer of the people didn't. In short, personal business took priority over prophetic business.
The hearts of the exiles who returned to rebuild were noble and courageous to obey the call of the LORD Jehovah to rebuild. They knew His will and were well versed in His intentions and what they should and should not be doing. While being careful to avoid "the devil in the decision" and not stay in Babylonian captivity, they fell prey to "the devil in the delay" by not following through on entering into complete restoration - which included a living connection with God as embodied in their completion of His temple. Their example teaches us that just because we are in a better situation, that does not make it the best situation. Complete restoration was not limited to just being out of our past. It means to be living fully in God's intended blessed present.
Remember when Jesus said the parable:
Matthew 25:21 KJV
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Notice how the lord in the parable didn't say you were faithful over a few, so I'll promote you a few. That would be fair. But with the Everlasting Father of Love Who emptied the treasury of His heart and gave us His only begotten Son, that's not enough! No, Jesus said the lord promoted the servant of a few, with MANY! Could it be that God is waiting to upgrade us with many if we would allow Him to lead us to finish a few things?
To forgive or to be forgiven. To quit, for the last time. To start, by the power of God this time. He's not asking us to go back to the old life and destroy our ceiled houses or houses with ceilings, He's just asking us to finish His temple and go forward into a fellowship reflected in complete followship.
2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
The only thing better than new is re-new. New all over again. You know how you check out books from the library? You bring the whole pile back - yours, your children's, and the one you found under the seat in your car. The librarian is checking them in, then boom! One is missing. You thought you had it but no, it's gone. You honestly thought you had it but you don't want to get hit with fines. So out nowhere but the goodness of God, the librarian speaks up and says,"No worries. I'll just go ahead and renew it, so you can find it!" You know that feeling? That's what 2 Corinthians 4:16 is about!
It's not that Christians don't get tired. Hey, if anybody's gonna be running out of gas in this world it's the people trying to run from it! By the grace of God we are coming out of Babylon and into the marvelous Light of God through Jesus Christ! But hey, it's a race. It is a journey. So don't run in old shoes! Don't run on yesterday's victories or from yesterday's defeat. The heart surrendered to God through Christ, is made new all over again - daily!
Remember, our standing with God is eternally set through the sacrifice of His Son and our Savior - Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:14 KJV Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you) and all He asks is that we believe it - that's justification! But your growth, your walk, your closeness to God, that's changing daily. Yea, moment-by-moment, because God's closeness is changing you! That's sanctification.
Let's accept the new. Expect the new! If you have surrendered your life to God through Christ, you serve the Creator and have overcome the Copier who can't create. If you haven't made that choice, fall forward and into the new that God offers. And no matter where we are in the race or what's happened before, don't limit your perception of the future as an unknown, but as the possibility or the space of the new. Even, the re-new!
Revelation 4:11 KJV
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.
I can't say how grateful I am for the truth of the creation, a Creator, and having had the chance to learn it. Thank you Father for Christian parents & Christian education! But Revelation 4 takes meaning of Creation to a while new level - we weren't just made by God, we were made for God. Just one verse unwraps the whole mystery of the great WHY of life - "Why am I here?!?!"
We get tripped by the Enemy to struggle to grasp or hold on to the Biblical HOW of life. COLOSSIANS 1:12,16 KJV clearly says "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  For by Him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:" We were made by God our Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, on the 6th literal day of the seven days of creation (See GENESIS 1-2 for more).
If we can't rest on the truth of the HOW of life, it makes it virtually impossible to rise in the WHY if life. We were made for God! That makes every other why of life, every other purpose of life, a fraud. You weren't made to fail. You weren't made to make money. You weren't made to hurt. You weren't made to work then die. You weren't made to be lost. We were made to be the prime source of God's joy. We were made to please God! YOU are the gift to give to the God Who has everything! We are intimate masterpieces to not just reflect the image of God, but to eternally receive the image of God, which is His love without measure!
The why of life is just as much a reality as the how of life. May the intellectual truth of the facts of life rest in our minds, in order to prep our hearts for "the why of love?" The question that will take an eternity for God to fully explain and for us to understand, but we can believe it TODAY!
Psalm 148:5 KJV
Let them praise the name of the Lord : for He commanded, and they were created.
This Psalm is incredibly informative and motivating! It drives us to worship by right-sizing the LORD God in the context of Creator. Not a, but The. It wrecks the mythology of a mother nature by affirming the source of every natural phenomenon, both earthly and heavenly, as a manifestation of God's power and His authority. While God is the Who of all this, the how is laid out in verse 5 where "...He commanded, and they were created." And there it is: When the Creator commands, those commandments create!
How often do we see the commands of God as a positive reality? Why do we normally see them as a restrictive force? Limiting or binding? They no doubt serve to protect. But maybe the lawless one, Satan, the enemy of the Lawgiver, only wants us to see the law in this respect. And as a result, his disastrous temptations to "do as thou wilt as the whole of the law" appear liberating and even logical, while they lead to the most extreme and ultimate limit - death.
Now commands in and of themselves don't actually create. Go outside and command that a new car appear in your driveway...let me know how that works out. It's not just command or even force of will, but the power within the one who commands that brings that word to pass (or fail).
It is the command of God, the Creator, that not just leads to life, but creates life! The actual blueprint for our existence is "a thus saith the LORD." The Genesis account begins with what happens when God speaks, while the rest of the Bible records what happens when we obey or ignore what He says. If we view the commandments of God; yea, the Words of God, as a positive force, then so is obedience to those commands. Our following becomes the extension of His flowing! It goes from thinking "do this, and I'll let you live" to "do this, and you are living!"
The shortest distance between two points is always a straight line. Perhaps the shortest distance to new life is walking in God's Word...God's will.
Matthew 5:23-24 KJV
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Complaining to other people about problems you have with a person, is like complaining to the plumber about the zookeeper in the cafeteria. It doesn't make a whole lotta sense! This is true for any relationship, particularly the closer the relationship. That is why Jesus framed it in the context of a brother-to-brother connection. But this wisdom is especially true in a marriage - the closest of all relationships in the eyes of our Creator.
Now to be honest, it does feel good to gripe about the sour grapes someone may be dishing us. But that pleasure is to the flesh, not the spirit. Venting, posting, or calling to someone else might get it off your chest, but it won't get it out of your heart. "...First be reconciled..." Reconciliation is a spiritual transaction and it is exactly what the Master, the Great Reconciler, is prescribing. This process starts in a surrendered, sanctified heart that may at the same time be a hurt or broken heart. Reconciliation doesn't start in a feeling to be had, but in a decision to obey; a decision to love. The raw material to begin is divine and not human. Because the only way to truly love people is to first love the God Who made them.
After making the decision to reconcile, Jesus directs us "...to thy brother...." This is usually the hardest part because of the giant disclaimer that just because we tell someone that they offended us doesn't guarantee that they will change. Remember, that is God's job (more on that in a bit). But it is a necessary step in your search for personal peace where there may not be corporate peace. So take the first step "to thy brother" with these simple 3 points in mind:
Tara and I have practiced this over 22 years of marriage. Please note how I say practice because that is what it takes. Remember that as Christians, justification/salvation is the perfect license from God through Jesus Christ that we practice in sanctification with one another. So don't expect perfect where we are supposed to be practicing. Find your perfection in Christ and your practice will follow!
Calmly but clearly tell your brother what they have done. Let them know how what they do makes you feel. Now share with them what you would like them to do. Anybody interested in building a bridge will hear this and respond with change. If they don't, you know that right now the work may be limited to creating a safe island, but even that can be done in peace.
The work that God does in each heart is as individual as the timetable in which He does it. This is why giving the other person to God, no matter what, is the intercessory power of reconciliation! Regardless their response, putting them in God's hands allows Him to work on them while freeing us to move forward; even to return to the altar and "come and offer thy gift." Telling them where we stand, knowing where they stand, and liberating me from standing still and complaining.
We keep living as long as God keeps loving.
Psalm 34:4 KJV
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
God always hears. Being everwhere and knowing all things, He cannot not hear. And to all He hears, He answers. Because God is agape love, He cannot 1 answer, anymore than He cannot not hear. Psalm 34 is "a Psalm of David when he changed his behavior before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed." Whether you a king, psalmist, called, or direct ancestor of Christ, we all get afraid.
So to the Christian, the question is not should we fear, but what should we do when we are afraid? The testimony of Psalm 34:4 is that we should seek the LORD even in our fear! I dare say, especially in our fear. When a scared man sought the LORD, the LORD heard him. By stating what God did, David is also sharing what God not do! The LORD did not ignore him. The LORD did not condemn him. The LORD did not shame him. The LORD did not call him out.
The LORD did not just hear him. Rather, The LORD Jehovah heard and delivered him! He listened and moved. The God who is Love, agape love, has empathy and action on behalf of a scared man who would be king. It's not just deliverence from the failures of sin that God offers through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, but He gifts us freedom from the very fear of it. No looking over our shoulder because in Christ there is no looking back. No looking down because in Christ there is no hanging our head in shame. Only hanging our hopes (and fears) on the One who hears and delivers from fears - whatever and whomever they are!
PSALM 149:4 KJV
For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation.
If you are a Believer, did you know that YOU please God?! Yes, if you are anybody, a human being, a person, know that GOD LOVES YOU (JOHN 3:16)! But if you are born again Christian, He loves you and according to Pslam 149:4, He also finds pleasure in you. Not in anythng you have done, but just because of who you are - His people. Think on that. That's not performance-based, but person-based. If you are in the Son of God, you satisfy The Father of all!
Knowing that we are enough to God through Christ is what is at the heart of Biblical beautification. I'm not talking about Catholic beautification from a church or commercial beautification from a cosmetic company. We are talking about pleasing God, being enough in Christ, and a result, He clothes us in a salvation that is described by the Psalmist as simply...beauty.
I normally think of how salvation makes me think or feel, but PSALM 149:4 reveals how salvation makes us look in God's eyes. This reality creates a divine mirror to shatter any attempt to paint, press, pinch, pull, dye, darken, weave, wax, tone, tan, lighten, lift, shade, or show our bodies to beauty. It's a perfect imperfection to find value in vanity; something in nothing, when we are everything to God
To be pleasing to God takes much less than effort pleasing others. To be pleasing to God brings much more peace than pleasing ourselves.
God has something to say to us (more than we want to hear it)! That's why there is always a WORD!