Sunday, November 23, 2014

Power: Mathew 5:7

By Odon Bulamba


You can’t know the quality of a cake until you have tasted it.  I have seen people holding a board with a picture of a burger on it and when you see the picture, you feel attracted to it and you can’t resist buying a burger.  You expect the big mac to look huge like the poster but it is small.  One day I asked why the picture looks more attractive and they said, “sorry, next time but give me your money in the meantime and next time we’ll see”.  In my country, they say, tomorrow never comes so when someone doesn’t want to give you something, they will say tomorrow so when you go back the next day, they will say, I told you to come tomorrow not today.  For God, He is talking about today and not tomorrow so we have to focus on today.  We have to follow God today and ask for forgiveness today, we can’t wait until tomorrow because tomorrow never comes.


Today I want us to chew on the Word of God and eat it.  The message today is about mercy. Everyday people talk about mercy and we hear people cry out to God to have mercy on them. What does mercy mean for you? What does mercy mean for God?  This word mercy starts from the beginning of the Bible to the end - the Bible is full of mercy, every verse and chapter. 


Before to eat the cake, normally we look first for the knife to cut the cake but our fingers could break the cake or we could just pick up the entire cake and put it in our mouth.  We need a knife so we can make the cake into nice attractive pieces that people can easily pick up a portion.  If I ask you to bite this cake and then I ask the next person, we won’t be comfortable to bite the cake after someone else has already done it – we might be afraid of germs etc.  In the Kingdom of God there are things that God wants in order.  We have to take the knife first before reading Word of God. The role of knife is to cut and once the knife has cut, the food has a good shape that is easy to eat.  We have to cut the Word of God into portions we will be able to easily undertand.


Mathew 5: 7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Are we merciful?  If yes, then we obtain mercy.  If not, we should never expect mercy from any person or from God.  What a condition, what a tough game – to be merciful.  Someone killed your mum and now you have to have mercy and let it go.  Someone hit your car, or stole from you but now you have to have mercy and let it go.  How often are you ready to be merciful?  How ready are we to make it one of the qualities in our lives, to be a character of ours, to make it be a part of our behavior?  I hear people say, I’m so angry, I’ve given you too many chances so no mercy now.  How often should we be merciful to others?  70 x 7.  That’s a big mathematics.


Mathew 18: 21- 35, Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.   As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.   “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go.  “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.  He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


This story is a good example of mercy.  It started with a character called Peter (there is no character in the Bible like Peter – he is really a character).  Jesus is telling them they have to live in unity because you are all like one body and so you all have to stay together, work with one another and love each other.  Peter was like, “how can I be in unity with x person because they keep making mistakes, should I tolerate them more and more?  Should we only forgive 7x?”  Peter had already forgiven someone 7 times and now he wanted that person to be removed.  Jesus replied saying, not only 7x but 70 x 7.  Meaning that if someone does something wrong, we don’t’ have to say, “I’ll give you one more chance,” but instead we have to keep forgiving that person and keep having mercy.


Jesus came with a different angle and said, look at the Kingdom of God, I want you to be in unity because of the Kingdom of God, he secret of the Kingdom of God is like the following:  a king woke up one morning and checked his books, like an auditor.  Auditors don’t tell you when they are coming, they just turn up and they use their intelligence and calculator and go through all your items.  If you sold two boxes of chocolates, you write it down in the book and the auditor will ask for that book, he will ask for the record.  The king decided to have an account with all his servants. 


The first man was to be audited was a servant who was given 10,000 talents which equals 344,000 kg of gold.  1 kg gold equals US$38K so 344 thousand kilograms of gold equates to millions of dollars.  The king trusted that servant with a huge amount of wealth.  The servant did not use it properly - maybe he was taking money from it to organize a party, to travel and he didn’t keep his records clean.  When the auditors came, they took the servant to the king and said, “he doesn’t have your money”.  The servant begged the king and promised to pay back that HUGE amount of money.  How long would it take to pay all of that back?  The servant fell at the king’s feet begging for patience. 


God has trusted you and me and given us more than 10,000 talents.  First, you are alive.  You have your family, you can see, touch, move, and it is all at zero cost.  Many will tell you they wish they had eyes, others wish they could have legs.  How many people in this world wish they could be the way you are?  Do you know? 


Someone was created crippled or blind just because God wanted to be glorified.  How will you feel if God created you blind just for His glory compared to those who see.  When my father became sick, my family took thousands of dollars and begged doctors to keep him alive, “if he stays alive, all this money will be yours”.  Doctors could not keep him alive.  We breathe freely and breathe as much as you want but my father who was paying money to keep breathing could not.  Doctors fight to keep their patients alive but when the breathing stops, there is nothing more that can be done.  But God who is the supplier, keeps giving you the free oxygen everyday and we are to keep notes in our books.  The supplier will come one day and ask what we did with that oxygen.  What will you answer? I was playing soccer?  God will ask you, “Did I give you that breath so you can misuse it?”


Because He is a God who trusts us, He gives us everything we need and trusts when He comes back there will be a good record of how we used what He gave us.  He gives us the body shape that others can appreciate.  I saw a man in Asia who looked so terrible – a very deformed face and we can’t look at him twice because it is so hideous and this man was proud walking around.  God created him that way and people stared at him.  We stand in front of the mirror and the ladies will trim their eye brows, apply powder and turn around and around looking at themselves in the mirror and people appreciate the way they look.  Have you seen someone refusing to look in the mirror?  I have seen someone smashing a mirror because he believed he was ugly.  So when you look at yourself and you see you are so good just remember that all the wows from others are glory that belongs to God.


When people comment and say how good you are at something, just remember that you didn’t buy those talents with money - God gave them to you.  When He comes back to audit you, he will say, I trusted you with these qualities, what did you do with them?


At night we sleep for free but many people can’t sleep and require medicine to fall asleep.  You have nice dreams but others can’t even sleep.  The first thing in the morning we do is to look for breakfast. You can have eggs for example, but how many chickens have you created to produce those eggs and God supplies everything for you but you don’t even think about it.  One chicken gives one egg per day and only for a period of time.  If you take 30 eggs, you take the lives of 30 chicks.  Some people complain about the price of eggs or the price of milk.  How much effort does the cow do for the milk?  God keeps trusting you and making people and animals work for you to buy a tray of eggs for $5.  Sometimes we are even picky and we don’t want to eat that.  God looks at us and wonders why we don’t stop and think about how blessed we are.


The servant lost the 10 thousand talents and he begged the boss for patience.  The king forgave him and said don’t pay anything to me – be free.  Imagine buying a car with finance but when you ring the finance company and tell them you can’t afford to pay and you need time, they say, “you don’t have to pay it back, keep the car.”  Imagine if it were a house. What will your first impression be?  You’ll be confused.  Imagine you miss one payment on your $600,000 house and the bank tells you that you don’t have to pay the loan.  Will you cry? Smile? Say thank God or will you doubt and ask the bank to put it in writing. 


This man was forgiven and the Lord had compassion on him.  He was full of joy because he was told that that the servants should take him and sell him and sell his wife and children and everything that belongs to him. 


Have you heard about the selling of human beings?  Slavery: people would come by force and take you somewhere and you become a product that they will sell and trade.  You will be given to someone you don’t know and normally they will treat you as a slave and not as a free person, they will be harsh to you and if you attempt to escape you might be beaten to death.  I have seen in Africa places where they used to store slaves and it was a very tall building with one small window and people were packed in the room and no chance to go out of the room for the toilet. You might be allowed out of the room for a toilet break once every three days.  Once the room is filled with slaves, the ship will come and take you to the US.  It can be hot or cold but you have to wait in that room.  Many people lost their lives.  They stayed in that room for montHoly Spirit until it was filled.  They will put a choker around the neck and a rope to stop you from running because it will choke you if you tried to run away.  No matter how strong you are, if someone touches your throat, you are nothing – it is the weakest part of the body.  This man in the bible knew that his wife would also be sold and now his relationship with her would be over.  Imagine how much his wife was in love with her husband and now she will be separated.  How will you feel if your child has to be sold into slavery?  That is so very hard and all because the servant didn’t keep his book in order.


Your weaknesses and sins can have an impact on those around you, your family and nation.  Today the church doesn’t want to recognize that.  After forgiving the man, he was free and shouting and then he sees one of his servants and tells him he is owed 100 denaries which is about $700. He jumped on him and attacked the neck and strangled him, he wanted to kill him.  Because of that action of attacking someone else and not listening to him the other servants went back and told the master, “that same person you forgave does not have compassion”.  Here God is teaching us the power He has given us.


When you are someone somewhere, how do you use your power?  How do you control yourself in order to not harm yourself or others?  How many times do you hurt your heart, your Holy Spirit, your Christian life, your personality and you make yourself look stupid.  Some get drunk and they make themselves look so foolish by banging into things, or beating people.  Where is compassion on your behavior, your personality, your Christianity and after doing all that rubbish, they will tell you that they will never do it again but they do. The Lord told the bad servant, I forgave you but you didn’t forgive so for that reason, give back what you owe me.  You lose the blessing of God sometimes when you don’t have compassion on others, He reverses his blessing. 


Because you didn’t have compassion on your life and the people I gave you, you have to pay back the blessings I gave you and they will all be flushed down the toilet.  We want so much to get glory and money but many don’t want to be known as Christians – they are ashamed because they want to live their own life.


Jesus said, this man was given to those who know how to torture until he paid back everything.  Imagine having a conflict with God because you didn’t want to have compassion/mercy for others.  You tell others, “You keep doing the same thing so I break the relationship”.  The solution is to break the relationship rather than having compassion.  You tell them to stay in your corner and we will go somewhere else. 


We always meet here to pray because we are preparing the way to the Kingdom of God.  We need to know the rules of Kingdom of God to enter it.  We need to understand the rules.  When we became citizens of New Zealand, we had to repeat what we needed to say and once making the oath, it is a big engagement.  When you became a Christian, you told God that you now live for Him and you took a big engagement with God.  That was the beginning of accounting and God is looking at you.  I give God false promises but live my own life and still want God to bless me.


Some people have lost their sense of taste and everything is tasteless but those with a good tongue will know how tasty the cake is.  Have you lost the taste of the Word of God in your life?  Does your tongue feel that you really belong to Jesus?  If not, now is the time to fall at the feet of God and cry out for mercy and then change your life. What you are living now is yours but after tomorrow you don’t know.


Lebon and I were watching the news yesterday and in Hamilton, after celebrating a party, a house caught on fire.  Three people died.  They were sleeping and then fire.  Although the house had windows and doors, they died.  We don’t have to be foolish and think that we will jump through the window when the time comes.  Don’t think you still have time to fix it.  God is not our friend in the world’s way of thinking of friends.  We don’t have to tell Him to wait until we are ready.  The auditor is at the door and He will ask you, “what did you do with your hands, feet and everything you have?”  It will be a shame if you have to use excuses because God will tell you, “no you should first take care of your soul”.  You might say, I didn’t do your work God because I was sitting next to someone who is sick but He will tell you, “being next to the one who is sick cannot stop him from dying”.


When Lebon was in hospital I remembered how he always talks about being strong and fit which he is but now he is in hospital.  He was talking about how cold he felt but why couldn’t he run and warm up his body to remove the cold?  It was serious.  A girl came with a blue shirt and she had to take blood sample.  Lebon has very big veins and when the lady tried to take blood it was impossible.  No veins.  Lebon was suffering.  After doing that, another nurse came to try to get blood and Lebon started to shake.  The body that you believe is yours puts you in trouble.  You look after your body but it doesn’t look after you.  You wash it and put on make-up but it doesn’t look after you.  You have to look after your body but you need to also look after your soul because your soul will look after you.  If you don’t’ look after your soul, you will lose.


I used to drive Lebon every day of the week to his training like a taxi driver and I had to pay sometimes for his accommodation and then suddenly he had to go to Japan to represent NZ in his age group for soccer.  The trip cost $10,000 for one week.  All of that money?  And you give and give to the point that I started to forget my other responsibilities and praise God he grew up and can now drive himself.  Lebon’s soccer boots were around $350 and he needed about 5 per year.  I was investing time, effort, energy, brain etc for Lebon to be on a soccer team.  We need to remember that we belong to God’s team.  We have a role to play and what are we doing as parents for our children, what are we doing for our neighbours, our friends our work collegues?  We do our physical exercises but do we spiritually run and walk or do we say we are tired?  We should be active spiritually.  Give to Cesar what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God.  Do we only give to Cesar or do we give to God as well?  


Thursday, November 20, 2014

"This I know, that God is for me" Psalm 56:9

by Hayley Boud

Most of the time human beings think that God is for me when we are blessed according to what we consider a blessing.  God is for me when I pass my exams, or God is for me when I get a new job, or God is for me when I get healed.  So when we read this Psalm, we might think that David wrote it when everything was perfect in his life. Yet, it was the exact opposite.  David was crossing a difficult time in his life.

Before we begin discussing the verse and the actual situation that David was facing, let’s first look at where David had come from.  David was a simple shepherd boy that no one even noticed.  According to the Bible he was ruddy which apparently means he had healthy complexion.  I suppose I would like to be remembered as looking healthy rather than sickly but if I were a man, I think I would rather be remembered for being handsome or strong.  So obviously there was nothing remarkable about David as a boy.  But then, Samuel (Priest and Prophet) anoints him to be the future king of Israel to the surprise of even his own father.  Then poor David is sent to give food to his brothers and when he sees Goliath, he believes he can fight him but instead of being encouraged, his brother misinterpret him and tell him he’s  conceited with an evil heart.  Imagine being told by your own brother that you have a wicked heart and you are conceited while you genuinely want to serve God.  But we all know the story of how David killed the huge giant with a stone.  Then victory and David is glorified and people sing songs about him, he marries the king’s daughter and becomes the personal assistant of the king.  And just when David is getting settled into his new life, the king throws a spear at him.


The king had become jealous of David and wanted to kill him.  David’s life changed and now he was on the run.  He had to leave everything behind, his wife, his friends, his good food, nice bed and live in caves.


In 1 Sam 21:10-14, “That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’? David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”


David goes to Gath – a city of Philistine where Goliath was from, carrying the sword of Goliath.  Could you do that?  Go into the city where people hate you?  In order to survive, he starts acting as a madman.  It sounds comedic but it wouldn’t have been funny at the time.  It would have been terrifying and hugely humiliating.  When I was very sick, I couldn’t remember things and I felt like such an idiot.  I couldn’t remember my birthdate or what simple words were like “oven”.  I remember asking someone, “what’s an oven?”  It was so humiliating to not know simple things.  How humbled was David at this point – to act like a madman.  The future king of Israel brought down to a VERY low point.  This is the man that God declares as a man after his own heart.  This doesn’t seem like a blessing.  It doesn’t seem like God is on his side.  Yet, being humbled is a blessing.  We all know the saying, “pride comes before a fall”.  When we are humbled, it is because God doesn’t want us to fall.  I was made sick because without that, I would have become the most proud person on earth – believing that sickness is only for weak people or for people who don’t have faith.  Praise God when we are humbled because this is a sign that God is for us.


When Peter was on the boat and Jesus was walking on water…Jesus said “come” and so he did.  He had so much courage and faith but somewhere, he started to fall and he had to cry out to Jesus to save him.  How humbling.  Imagine how much the disciples laughed at him, “ha ha, Peter, what happened?”  God calls us out and we believe we are going somewhere really good (like Peter – remember all the fish he caught in the boat and now God calling him on water) but then we start to fall and things get worse than before (like David – better to be at home as a simple shepherd than to be living in caves and in the wilderness) but remember when we cross those situations to be like Peter who cried out to Jesus to save him.  God saved him by holding on to his hand and that is exactly what He does for us.  Remember when we cross hard times to be like David and say, “this I know, God is for me” because those hard times are protecting us from pride and making us a new creation.


When we cross hard times be like David and take the time to talk to God.  Tell Jesus all about your situation as David did by writing  Psalm 56.


Psalm 56:1-2 Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride.


Fear is rising up inside of David, he is alone and cries out for mercy.  And then declares…


Verses 3-4 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?  


When we are afraid, the only place to turn is God.  I remember one time driving over the Kaimais at 10pm at night and the fog was so thick I had to drive at 10km an hour and I could only see a few centimetres of the white line at a time and I just kept following it.  I was so afraid my whole body was shaking because I could have gone over the cliff at any moment.  I just kept saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” over and over because it was the only thing I could do.  I could only cry out to God and He was the only One I could trust during that time.  During those times, we have faith to believe that God is for us.


Whatever you are crossing right now, you may have worries or fears but put your trust in God and know that God is for you.  You might be worried about your health, your job, your family, your finances, your studies…trust in God.  And as the verse says, Praise Him.  Keep your eyes on God and worship Him no matter what is going on around you.  As the song says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus….and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”.  But when we take our eyes of Christ and start looking around us…we start to doubt again…


Verses 5-7 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life. On no account let them escape; in your anger, O God, bring down the nations.


 One minute David is declaring ‘What can mortal man do to me’ and the next minute he’s talking about what they will do.  We have faith that God will take care of us and then suddenly we get a power bill and we freak out over whether we can pay it.  We have faith that God will take care of us and then we get a health scare and freak out…what if it is cancer?  We have faith until we use our physical eyes to see what is going on around us.  Just like Peter walking on water.  He had so much faith to jump on the waves when he saw Jesus walking on water but then he looks around and realises what he is doing.  He starts to fall but he knew where to find help…he cried out to Jesus. 


When we feel doubts creeping in, when we start to worry or feel afraid, remember…


 Verses 8-9 You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me.


This verse has got me through many trials.  When I cry I remember that God is saving my tears in a bottle and He is for me.  As human beings, we think that blessings must always be good according to us.  Blessings can also be difficult times that we face.  This is a blessing for our soul.  When we are transformed into a new creations, this is a blessing. This is a better blessing than material things which only last for a short time while we are on earth.  The difficulties we face don’t seem like a blessing but they are because they make us into the kind of Christian that God is proud of.


During our difficult times, times where things feel so uncertain and we start to doubt (like Peter on the water), the only thing we can know for sure is that God is for me.  We might not know the future, or why we are crossing this hard time, but we can know for sure that God is for me.


Verses 10-13 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise— in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. 


When we feel doubts rising in us, take the time to read the Word of God and the promises that are in it.  When we feel ourselves falling down (like Peter) cry out to God, worship Him and tell Him exactly what we are facing (like David) and then remind ourselves, that God is for us.



Friday, November 14, 2014


By Colleen Podmore


 ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God am holy’ Lev 19:2

This is a commandment that God made to the Israelites. His people were to be holy. The book Leviticus is written to the Levites and is about how they were to be holy, so that they could minister between God and His chosen people and ultimately to all nations on earth.

‘I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.’ Lev 11:44

The people, all the Israelites were to do this, consecrate themselves or dedicate themselves to being holy, living by and under the law and living for God. The point I want to make here is that it was the people’s responsibility to consecrate themselves. It starts with a choice, a desire and it is reflected in the way they lived their lives. God decided to dwell with them and He showed them how He was to be worshipped and He showed them how to build the Tabernacle and all the furnishings; what they were to sacrifice and where and how to go about making the offerings, but the people were to dedicate themselves, making the decision to be holy.

‘We no longer live under the Law,’ you might say –‘that was 3 000 years ago, we live under the new covenant, we live under grace’. True, but aren’t we also called to be holy? Aren’t we to consecrate, dedicate ourselves to God? Of course, we have the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4), to prompt our consciences whereas the Israelites had the law. Peter also exhorted the church to be holy, counseling Believer’s to be alert and fully sober, not conforming to the evil desires of this world’.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ (1Peter1:13-16)

We want to be like Jesus? Then we will be holy in all our thoughts, attitudes and actions! We will not conform to evil desires

Is holiness something we aspire to? Do we wake up in the morning and say, ‘Today I’m going to be holy?’ or is it reserved for a few people only? What do you think? Do you know any ‘holy’ people?

What is holiness?   Definition of holiness is the quality or state of being holy, which is not very helpful. Another way to look at it is to think about  synonyms, or words that are similar. Synonyms to holiness are: humility, purity, righteousness, sanctity, godliness, piety, reverence, sacredness, saintliness, prayerfulness, goodness. And opposites (antonyms) are: godlessness, impiety, ungodliness, unholiness.


The passage in Hebrews chapter 12 gives us some clues about holiness, especially what it is not

Heb 12:14-17, says, ‘Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

This is a very sobering warning that we should take seriously. We see from the example of Esau that it is so easy to loose your birthright. He thought he was secure because he was the firstborn son. We may have said the sinners prayer and been baptized but will that be enough? Esau was godless, he did not take God seriously, and instead he lived to please himself. Others were sexually immoral, still others were bitter.

‘Without holiness, no-one will see the Lord’ Heb 12:14-17.

This passage points to three areas in our lives where we need to do a stock-take, if we want to see God.

Firstly, take God seriously. Everything we do for God is important, the messages we prepare, our leading, coming together to fast and pray, diligently reading our Bibles. We may think that what we contribute makes no difference but even the tiniest thing we do, if we do it for God, can make a difference in the kingdom of God. Don’t be discouraged from doing good.

Don’t get into sexual immorality. This can take many forms and we can inadvertently be compromised especially with some of the programmes on TV. What images come back into your mind afterwards? We as God’s holy people are counseled to think about … ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things’ (Phil 4:8).

I’m not saying don’t watch TV, but be careful what sort of programmes you watch. Don’t be enticed by the lusts of the flesh and remember even that to think something is to commit the sin and so become defiled. ‘Jesus said whoever lusts after a woman in their minds has committed adultery with her already.’ (Matt 5:28).

 Don’t fall short of the grace of God – or in other words, don’t miss out on receiving grace because of unresolved feelings and letting bitterness and resentment dictate our words through gossip or slander. What flavor, what aroma do we leave behind in a room when we leave it?


The other day I was reading in Leviticus the way that God enjoyed the aroma of the sacrifices. It says, ‘it is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD’ (Lev 1:17b).

I thought yes I can relate to that – it smells nice when the roast is cooking – unless you are a vegetarian, but what do you think when the roast starts to burn, catching on fire? Is that still a pleasing aroma?

It’s not the smell so much as what the smell represents. The sacrifices were an act of worship, of atonement and as such had a pleasing aroma. As we worship we are a pleasing aroma even though we are using our voices, God sees what our motives are and how pure our hearts are and this is fragrant.


In the book of Romans we are exhorted to be ‘living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God’ (Romans 12:1), an aroma pleasing to God. Jesus was a ‘fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’ (Eph 5:2)

The other day as I was thinking about these things, I said to God, ‘I want to be a fragrant offering.’ and for a while I may have been but then I spoke to my husband in a wrong way and straight away I thought I was more like a ‘stench’!  God showed me the difference between a fragrant aroma and a stench. Let us always be a pleasing aroma, a fragrant offering, through our attitudes and actions!


Becoming holy is also the process of being sanctified. To be sanctified means to be set apart for special use or purpose. If you want to be used by God then be sanctified, value holiness,

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…’ 1Thess 4:3

Remember we are first of all justified when we come to faith in Christ – legally set free from the penalty of our sin which is death. Then our lives are sanctified as we change and become more like Jesus and finally we step into heaven and we are glorified!

Let us live holy lives, consecrated to God, fragrant offerings, aromas pleasing to God.