What’s Your Fragrance these Days
Do you enjoy pleasant fragrances? Did you know that God does, too? Did you know you can be a sweet fragrance to God? He can get a whiff of you and think, “You smell good!” How fun is that – to smell good to our Heavenly Father? How in the world can we smell good to God? Ephesians 5:2 answers that question. It tells us to “…walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a FRAGRANT AROMA.” Christ’s sacrificial love and life were a fragrant aroma to God. And, we’re to imitate Christ. When we do, we’re a sweet aroma to our Heavenly Father. What if we haven’t been walking in sacrificial love, but rather been selfish or unloving? We need to acknowledge our sin to our Heavenly Father, repent, and ask Jesus to forgive us. We need to ask us to fill us with Christ’s Spirit. How does that affect our spiritual “aroma”? When writing Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion, I used my daughter’s puppy, Bailey, as an example that we smell like whatever we hold close to our heart. Bailey had a distinct puppy odor and after holding her, her odor remained on me. It wasn’t pleasant so I showered and changed clothes. Just like a dog has an odor, so sin has an odor. If we’re clinging to a “pet” sin, God and others get a whiff of it. What can we do to rid ourselves of the stench of sin? Put the sin aside and bathe in God’s forgiveness and grace. Then, as Christ was, we’ll be a fragrant aroma to God.
Christ Jesus, we praise You for walking in love and giving Yourself as an offering and sacrifice to God; a FRAGRANT AROMA. Help us follow Your example.
***Be a fragrance of Christ to God and others. Share 365 Days of Praise to others by forwarding it as an email or use the social media buttons below to share them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. AND, if you like the example of I gave above from Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion, you’ll enjoy plenty more in the online study we’re preparing that can be delivered to your inbox. Stay tuned. 🙂
The Source of Illumination
Our nation and the world are going through what some would call a physically, intellectually, morally, and spiritually difficult time. What should we do in times like this? Shed God’s light, whom James 1:17 describes as the FATHER OF LIGHTS. The prince of darkness, Satan, would love nothing more than for us to stumble in darkness. But James points to our hope. “Every good thing is given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the FATHER OF LIGHTS, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Charles Ryrie comments on this verse, saying, “God is the source of all light – physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual – and He does not change.”* Rather than stumble physically, intellectually, morally, and spiritually, we can pray with all our hearts, minds, souls, and spirits and walk day by day shedding the illumination of the FATHER OF LIGHTS.
Father of Lights, illumine our hearts, minds, souls, and spirit with Your Light so we walk as children of Light and spread Your Light to others.
Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion Bible study coming soon.
How would you describe yourself? Would you use “DOOR” to communicate with others who you are? I certainly wouldn’t. But Jesus did. In John 10:9 He said, “I am the DOOR; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved,…” Why would Jesus describe Himself as a door? He wants us to know that there is an “outside” of heaven and an “inside” of heaven. Heaven is a place and we are “outside” until we go “into” heaven through Jesus. Make no mistake. Everyone will not live eternally “in” heaven. Only those who enter through Jesus will be in heaven. Our Heavenly Father sends a personal invitation to you to enter eternal life in heaven through Jesus who paid your entrance fee when He hung on the cross for your sins. No knocking required. Just a prayer. Repent of and confess your sins to God. Ask Him to forgive you. Receive forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Learn more at Meet Jesus.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for opening the DOOR to heaven through Your sacrifice on the cross.
I See You
You’re the best! Yes, you. I’m thinking of YOU. I see you and what you are doing. You’re the one who is devoted to your family and doing above and beyond. You encourage your children to follow Christ and His teachings. I see you. You’re the man or woman who lives alone. Your spouse has died and it’s been rough. But you are continuing on – one day at a time, trusting God. I see you. You are a quiet, humble person. You wrote out a check to Hill Country Ministries. You said you are glad that we have two of my studies being taught to a group of 50 inmates in prison and to another 50 after that and another 50. I see you. You have dealt with alcoholism. You confided in me and it has been an honor to pray for you. I celebrate your sobriety and all God is doing in your life. I see you. You are leading my Bible study, “Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion” in your church. You prepare beforehand to lead your group. You pray for the ladies. I see you. You were concerned God wasn’t using you, but God used your phone call to prompt me to offer my Kids Time devotional for parents and grandparents to use with their little ones. I see you. You are Christ’s beloved daughter and son and God is using you. In ways we praise God for who He is, I see Him in you because you are being transformed into His image. “But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit,” 2 Corinthians 3:18 Yes, I see you, and more importantly, God sees you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for being our Heavenly Father. Thank You, sweet Jesus, for offering Yourself as our mediator, and that we can come before You, kneel in Your presence, pour out our hearts and be filled with Your Spirit. Thank You for the sweet saints who are living out their faith and being used by You. Comfort them. Give them Your joy. Help them celebrate Your presence.
If you’d like information about my online Bible study, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion, reply to this email or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be able to do it at a time that is convenient to you.
When You’re in Freezing Weather, There’s Nothing Like a Comforter
One blanket. Two blankets. Three blankets. Four. Keith and I sat in front of the fire trying to get warm. The winter storm had brought a temperature of 3 degrees that the weatherman said, “feels like minus 11.” If only we had power and water. We had neither. The winter storm continued and we couldn’t get down our icy driveway to get to our children’s homes. If you’ve lived in an area affected by a winter storm you know how devastating the cold can be. Especially if you run out of wood, which happened to us. We couldn’t complain, though. We had a comforter. A comforter that we may take for granted is more than appreciated during a winter storm. So, too, is a spiritual Comforter when we’re experiencing life’s storms. Second Corinthians 1:3 describes the as Lord as the God of All Comfort. Yes, when a person’s crisp tongue chills us to the core or the howling wind of despair blows through our heart, or we are experiencing a literal storm, the God of all Comfort comforts us like none other. Why? The Greek word for comfort means “to call to one’s side, speak to, in the way of exhortation, console, teach.” How incredible that God gives every believer the gift of His presence through the Holy Spirit. Our Comforter is an abiding presence who will never wear out, never become threadbare, and never leave us. The more we blanket our lives with His teachings, the more we’ll know the warmth of His abiding presence.
Adapted from Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion, page 67.
Sweet friends, you are in my prayers as you suffer through life’s storms.
Heavenly Father, You are the God of all COMFORT! Please comfort all who are suffering. Give them Your wisdom. Bring resources to help them. Strengthen them as only You can. In Jesus’s name, amen.
It’s Not Too Late
Do you wish you could do something positive to help? Help what? Anything! Help mend a relationship. Help tone done the anger among people. Help people turn their eyes to the Lord. All of those are big Christian actions and all of them are needed. How might you do them? Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. How, where does He prompt? In our hearts. In our minds. But best as I can tell, we have to have alone time with Him to develop our relationship, to learn His voice, to know His ways. I think our heart has to be in the right place. We have to want Him. Or, as He says, “If you seek me..” (Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9; Acts 17:24-28) If we haven’t been too close to God in the past, is it too late to get close to Him, to learn His voice and be used by Him. Again, as far as I can tell from studying the Bible, no, it’s not too late. He called Paul even in the midst of his trip to round up Jews who had started following Christ. He spoke to Abraham when he was 99 years old. Genesis 17:1-2 says, “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God ALMIGHTY; Walk before Me, and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.’” Ninety-nine and God ALMIGHTY says, I’m the “most powerful God who holds sway over all things. Walk blameless.” It’s never too late to open our ears, minds, and hearts to God ALMIGHTY. It’s never too late to say, “Hold sway over my heart.” It’s never too late to be used by God for His purposes. Will we seek Him? Will we ask Him to hold sway over our hearts? Will we learn His voice and obey His prompts? How about we all say, “Yes,” and open our Bibles and study the above passages. Make the move today toward a closer relationship, more intimacy with God.
ALMIGHTY God, forgive us for busying ourselves with things of the world that are meaningless in view of eternity and people’s souls. Forgive us for closing our hearts rather than opening them to Your powerful sway. We ask now, “Hold sway over my heart so I walk blamelessly before You.”
*Excerpt from Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion- a timely read for 2021.
Better Than Mighty Mouse
When you were a child, did you watch the cartoon, “Mighty Mouse”? Do you remember the chorus, “Here I come to save the day!” When I was young, I was confident Mighty Mouse would save the day. Growing older doesn’t mean we no longer need someone to save us. We do. We need someone to save us from our sins. We need someone to save us from physical, emotional, and spiritual threats. Unlike Mighty Mouse, the One on whom we call is real. Joshua 22:22 says, “The MIGHTY ONE, God, the Lord, the MIGHTY ONE!” Our God can save our today and tomorrow. Call on Him. Commit Psalm 119:147 to heart, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words.” Learn ways you can call on the Mighty God by getting a copy of my book, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion.
If You’re Faltering
I’ve had the blessing of holding our newborn children and grandchildren. Holding them was no problem. They weren’t heavy. As a matter of fact, it was a delight to hold them. I could intently gaze on their faces. I could pray for them. The more I held them, the deeper my love grew. Wouldn’t it have been silly if our little ones had argued, “Don’t hold me. I’m too heavy.” Or, what if they had said, “I don’t want to bother you. You don’t need to hold me.” In light of that, consider our Heavenly Father’s words in Isaiah 41:10, “I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will UPHOLD you with My righteous right hand.” In the Bible, God’s right hand symbolizes His strength. His right hand is a strong righteousness hand. We can relax in His grip, in Him. As He upholds us, we become increasingly aware of His deep, abiding love for us. If you feel like you are faltering and unsure of your steps, rest assured – God has you.
LORD, Thank You for UPHOLDING us with Your righteous right hand. Thank You for the depth of Your love for us. Thank You that we don’t have to be afraid.
“For I am the Lord your God, who UPHOLDS your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:13
*Copyright Debbie Taylor Williams, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion. This is the book that began my collection of God’s 365 names, titles, and attributes. It features chapters that give an in-depth description of 26 of His A-Z names and includes lined space for you to record your prayers, repentance, and praise. Also included are discussion questions for group or personal study. I pray it blesses and deepens your prayer life. It also makes a great Christmas gift for friends and family as they begin 2021. BUY NOWat hillcountryministries or AMAZON.
“Are you wearing a mask when you go to the store,” a friend asked. I quickly replied yes. “Whew,” she responded. I’m not sure what her response would’ve been if I’d said no, but she seemed relieved. Wearing a face mask is a government recommendation to help stop the spread of a physical virus. But, are you aware of God’s spiritual mandate to stop the spread of sin? Yes, Ephesians 6:10-18 says to put on God’s armor of truth, righteousness, peace, and faith and to take the sword of Spirit which is the word of God. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve trained ourselves to put on a mask to stop the spread of a virus. Are we putting on our spiritual armor to prevent the spread of sin? Learn how to armor up in my book, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion.
The Key to Not Living in Darkness
Are you excited about all the ways Jesus is described? Every day when I select a description to share with you, I have a renewed sense of awe. Often the way our Lord is described is in contrast to that which is in the world. Such is the case today. Many in our world are living in spiritual darkness. They are seeking to be enlightened by powers apart from Jesus Christ. But in John 1:9 we find the word “true” in reference to Jesus. Although there are many sources of “enlightenment,” there is only one TRUE LIGHT: JESUS CHRIST. He enlightens our soul, mind, and heart when we turn to Him. The world apart from Christ is dark. Take seriously His charge to let His light shine through you. His Light in you is a beacon to those living in darkness.
Lord Jesus, You are the TRUE LIGHT who enlightens every man. May we be lighthouses through whom You shine.
“There was the TRUE LIGHT which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” John 1:9