An Aroma Better Than Cologne

All my men wear British Sterling…

As a teenager of the seventies, I remember the many commercials for men’s cologne which such names as Hai Karate, Canoe, Jovan Musk, Brut, and my favorite, British Sterling.  I never could afford it but I loved the commercial.  A man in a tweed jacket and standing in the English countryside is met by a beautiful woman in a rather low cut dress riding on a huge horse.  She bends down from the side-saddle position with silver tray in hand and presents to him a bottle with a silver cap.  The commercial ends with,  “All my men wear British Sterling or they were nothing at all!”  It was an effective commercial if I can remember it forty years later.

A Cologne to impress

The most expensive cologne today for men is Clive Christian #1 Pure Perfume for Men.  It is according to Lux Millionare a sweet floral smell with a touch of masculinity and can impress your friends for $2,350 a bottle.  As a young man my selection of colognes was generally female-induced.  Each girl I dated had a particular scent they liked and I would go and purchase it for our dates and I had many different bottles in the medicine cabinet.  Today I have one special one for Vicki–Polo, since I have just one lady to impress.

Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 4:17-19 (NIV)

Paul was writing to the church at Philippi and thanking them for their support.  It is said this church had sacrificed to send Paul aid several times and he is reminding them of God’s benevolence to supply them of all they need.  When believers support causes out of their abundance it is a like the offerings of the Old Testament.  The Peace offering was the only one of the five sacrifices which was shared between God, the priests, and the giver.  It was a voluntary act of worship and if it was for the purpose of thanksgiving, it was to be totally consumed the day of sacrifice.

In the church today believers are given opportunities beyond the tithe to show thanksgiving to God by a voluntary act of worship called an offering.  These offerings help special causes, ministries, or people and are a sweet smelling aroma to God.  They probably smell better to God than the most expensive cologne does to us and it gives us a chance to show Him how thankful we are for all he has done.

Shining Like A Christmas Light

Lights fill the night

For over twenty-five years, Wheeling and the Oglebay Resort have hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors during the holiday season traveling through Oglebay’s three hundred acre park with its beautiful displays of color and motion. This is one of the nation’s largest display and the six mile drive brings AOLTravel’s designation as one of the “10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US.” (oglebay-resort.com) The colorful lights flash their color into the dark West Virginia sky and the demand by the public leads to traffic jams of those wishing to be part of the festivities. The displays are being retro-fitted with LED lights to reduce the cost of electricity by as much as 85% and they will last five times longer than the former incandescent light bulbs.

Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb but brought about changes in design which made the light bulb affordable. Edison discovered a filament in an oxygen-free environment lasted longer than previous light bulbs. “The gases are colorless, odorless, tasteless and nonflammable under normal conditions.” (Wikipedia.org-Noble Gases) These gases surround the filament which heats to temperatures nearing four thousand plus degrees. It is in this atmosphere the glowing filament creates what we see as light.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

(Matthew 5:14-15 NIV)

When I baptize someone, I say Matthew 5:14 handing them a lighted candle in a holder as they leave reminding them they are a light in this dark world. No one including God would give light to hide and expects us to give the Light of Christ to those around us. Like the filament in the inert atmosphere of the glass bulb, we live in the atmosphere of a sinful world which also does not support life. Our faith, walk, works, speech, and attitudes should glow brightly like the small lights at Oglebay so people can see them.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Matthew 5:16)
The Army teaches a sniper can see the glow of a flame or cigarette from a great distance and how to protect yourself from the enemy. While we may think our efforts are unseen Jesus bids us to continue to let this light shine by our good deeds so the world will glorify God. Our efforts, combined with others, will bring glory to God. We are more than Christmas lights!  We are lights of CHRIST!

Trees, Tinsel, and Turmoil

Why is is called Black Friday?

Black Friday earned a new low by a woman using pepper spray on a group of other shoppers about 10:20 p.m. Thursday night shortly after doors opened for the sale. The store had brought out a crate of discounted Xbox video game players, and a crowd had formed to wait for the unwrapping. Valle says the woman began spraying people in order to get an advantage.”(Huffinton Post.com)  Incidents like this filled newspapers and blogs across the country.  A man from West Virginia had a heart attack amid a crowd of buyers who walked around his unconscious body.  He would die later but did receive help from medical personnel who happened to be in the Target.  Black Friday got its name in 1966 by the Philadelphia Police Department “to describe the crowds and traffic jams associated with the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.”  (About.com)  Retailers use this day to make massive sales and during the Great Depression, retailers asked President Roosevelt to move the Thanksgiving date to one week earlier in November to lengthen the shopping season.

The Season of Sales

Now, our family did go out to the stores on Friday afternoon and were amazed by the hoards of people still standing in line for the bargains.  Sadly, is this a sign the Christmas season has shifted further from the Prince of Peace to the purchase of packages?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

Isaiah 9:5-7

God’s gift of Peace

Christmas is more than a season and Isaiah identifies four titles of the Jesus.  The Prince of Peace states he will establish, rule and be an example of the peace man can have with God because of the Child given to mankind.  The rush to save money, buy goods, and give presents usually causes many to wish for the end of this season sooner than December 25th. Many fall into their easy-chairs that afternoon with a sigh of exhaustion and glad the day is soon finished.   Many purchase gifts not because of love but to impress others by the gift’s value. Sadly, gifts are purchased for people we don’t like to prove how good we are.  God gave us the gift not wrapped in beautiful paper but in swaddling clothes.  These clothes were strips of cloth used in preparing the dead for burial.  Those on journeys would wrap these around their waists incase they died on the trip.  This sign, spoken of the angel gives us a clue this Child would suffer death in place of his parents and the rest of mankind who receive this Gift.

Quarterbacking for Christ

Football and Faith

Jake Plummer is the former quarterback for the Denver Broncos who recently made some comments about the present quarterback, Tim Tebow.
“Tebow, regardless of whether I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates, I think he’s a winner and I respect that about him,” Plummer said. “I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better.  I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.”  (AOL.Sportingnews.com)

God’s MVP

 

Tim Tebow’s extraordinary life in football speaks of a dedicated and hardworking player who excelled to become a professional football player.  The first ever sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, the accolades continued to roll in throughout his entire college career.  The son of a baptist missionary, Tim along with his siblings were home schooled by their mother until high school.  In college he was given the rare distinction of being selected by his teammates for three years as the most valuable player.  The quarterback leads the offensive players to victory by a list of plays which are either sent in by the offensive coach or the head coach.  He follows the plays which have been instilled in him by rounds of study, drills, and scrimmages.
You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. 
Psalm 44:4-8

I only played school-boy football on vacant lots or on the playground at school.  Most of the time I was the last one selected because I was not very athletic and Tim would not find a threat in me for his job with Denver.  However, each believer is part of God’s team who will one day defeat His enemies–Satan, Death, and the Grave.  It will not be by our efforts but taking the plans which God has given us and following them.  God trains us, develops us, scrimmages us, and then encourages us as any good coach to take the name of God, I AM, into a dark world.  Living his faith in a public way has made a target of Tim Tebow from those who reject or ridicule his God.  As a running quarterback, he is accustomed to having the enemy chase him when he carries the ball.

Well teammates, the ball is also now in our hands. Hike!