I met a new sister in Christ today here on WordPress and read her post about the fragrance of Christ. It got me thinking about a crazy supernatural story my Pastor friend Brian in Boulder once told me. Nope, this time the supernatural stuff didn’t happen to me! Sit with me for a moment, while I testify on behalf of my friend and tell you a true tale of God’s power and the aroma of Christ!
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?”
2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Now I always thought that was some kind of metaphor, but my friend Brian learned a very different lesson in Mexico. I met Brian in college at the University of Northern Colorado. He was an all state champion wrestler on a full scholarship, and he was and still is one of the strongest and most joyful brothers in Christ I have ever known. He is a Pastor in Boulder, Colorado and has been for many years.
Brian was in my Bible study when he was a Freshman along with a bunch of other young brothers. I was a year or two ahead of most of them, and I took care of them like they were my younger brothers. One time, Brian told us about a mission trip he went on during his high school years with his youth group to Mexico. They were at a bus stop and he went in to use the bathroom. That is when the weirdest and scariest thing of Brian’s life happened to him!
He was alone in the bathroom, and as he was standing at the stall doing his business a man came into the bathroom, walked right up to him, and said, “You’re a Christian aren’t you?”
Now it is shocking enough that a guy would walk right up to another guy at a urinal and start talking to him–because ladies, we just don’t do that! That is a big no, no in the men’s room. You don’t say a word when you are at the urinal and you look straight ahead at the wall in front of you. Every man knows this, and if you don’t, then please learn it.
Brian slowly looked at the man and said, “Yes.” What the man said next was the strangest and scariest thing my good friend had ever heard in his young life. The man was right next to Brian at this point practically touching him, and as he sniffed the air next to Brian he said,
“I can smell it on you! I came in here to rape and kill you, but I am afraid of what God will do to me.”
After that, Brian ran out of the bathroom and ran right over to his Pastor. The man came out of the bathroom, and the Pastor walked right up to him. Once the Pastor reached him, the man’s body jerked and he started looking around frantically asking, “where is it?! where is it?!”
The man looked over at a corner in the bus station and his gaze froze. At that moment, the Pastor turned and by the power of the Holy Spirit he could see the demon that had possessed the man hiding in the corner. It had jumped out of the man in the presence of the Holy Spirit, which was strong inside the Pastor!
The man confessed to the Pastor that the demon had been inside of him for many years making him rape and kill people all over Mexico. He desperately wanted to be delivered from it. The Pastor preached to him and prayed for him, and that was the end of that battle.
I will never forget that story. The demon inside the man could smell Jesus in Brian! We truly are the aroma of Christ! And we are most definitely His soldiers fighting an ancient spiritual war that Jesus has already won!
Grace and peace to you all!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Hello everyone! I wanted to give you an update on my cousin Eric since he had his surgery yesterday. I posted a tweet to him this afternoon and this is what he tweeted back:
“Hey Ry the surgery went well my brotha. Now we are just waiting to find out if that piece of soft tissue is cancerous or not. Please have everyone keep praying for me. Love ya my Cousin!! E”
I appreciate all of you praying for my cousin! He has been fighting cancer for a long time, and we are all praying that the Lord delivers him from it! I know the Lord has him in His arms. The Lord is lifting him up and he sounds encouraged and hopeful!
“Lord Jesus, in Your Powerful Holy Name, I pray that You cast out that cancer and completely heal Eric! Amen!”
I will let you know once Eric finds out what the results are.
God bless you all! Thank you for the continued prayer!
Many people around the world know the story about The Triumphal Entry when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. A large crowd gathered and they placed their cloaks on the ground ahead of Jesus. They also cut palm branches and laid them ahead of Jesus. They did this because they were honoring Him as their King as He entered the Holy City.
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to the Daughter of
‘See, your king comes to
gentle and riding on a
on a colt, the foal of a
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of
“Blessed is he who comes in
the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest!””
That is a stirring scene of respect for Jesus! It is a peaceful scene and very calm. Jesus came to us gentle riding on a donkey, even though He is the King of kings and Lord of lords!
I am here to tell you today that when Jesus Christ comes back, He will not be riding on a donkey! The Book of Revelation paints a far more intense picture of His return. When Jesus comes back, He will be coming back to fight and win a war! The armies of Heaven will be with Him. Included in those armies will be people who believed in Jesus. He will be coming back to defeat Satan at Armageddon and take His rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords!
First of all, did you know that the Book of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus Christ! Yeah, it is His testimony, and folks, that is the most important testimony you could ever read! This Revelation was given to the Apostle John while he was imprisoned by the Romans on the Island of Patmos, which was near Ephesus at that time. John was very old at this time in his 90s. He wrote Revelation and finished the Gospel of John while in this prison. He was eventually released from the secluded prison on Patmos, and history records that he most likely died of natural causes around 100 A.D. in Ephesus. No, the Romans were never able to break him or kill him!
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw–that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
After John heard this, he turned around and he saw Jesus shining in blazing glory!
“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
John is understandably frightened by all of this, and he reacts as many of us would.
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”
And that is exactly what John did! He wrote down what he saw that day, and I highly recommend reading the entire Book of Revelation. There is great blessing in it!
So, what did John see when he saw Jesus coming back in the vision? Let’s take a look.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”
Do you understand that when Jesus comes back He is not messing around? I must warn you, He will not be riding a donkey. He will be riding on a white horse as The King He is coming to destroy evil on the earth! Listen to how the battle of Armageddon is going to go down.
“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”
That’s right, he said “gorged” folks! Satan is defeated in one short paragraph and his armies are eaten by a massive swarm of birds. You do not want to be a part of his army! You can read more about “the mark of the beast” in my post titled “Don’t Ever Get Chipped!”
“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore…”
I pray with all my heart that you take to heart what is written in Revelation. You will be so very blessed if you take heed of these warnings. I can promise you that with all my heart! Jesus loves you and He died for you to save you!
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Grace and peace to you all!
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
I love the book of Proverbs. I read it all the time. No matter what I might be studying, I always like to read Proverbs (and Psalms as well). Many nights, Proverbs is the Book of the Bible that I read to my son before his bedtime. It is filled with great insight and wisdom for living a righteous life in everything you do on earth. God gave this wisdom and insight to Solomon, son of David, king of Israel at that time, and with that wisdom he penned the Book of Proverbs.
My son is eight years old. He just started third grade this year. He hit a growth spurt over the summer, and he is much taller and stronger. He is a smart kid, and very witty and funny. He likes theater and he can really ham it up! I love that about my son, but sometimes he has a tendency to not take things as seriously as he should…and that gets him into trouble.
He has been learning hard lessons about respect and a good name at school. I have told him many times, “Son, salvation is a free gift from God, but you have to earn respect.” I tell him to act right and listen and watch what you say because people will know you by how you live your life. I tell him to not hang out with foolish kids who act wild because he will end up getting hurt or in trouble. Sometimes he hangs out with kids at school that are well known trouble makers, and I have had to share Proverbs 13:20 with him many times. So much so he knows it by heart now. I tell him these things because of the mistakes, sins, and trials I have been through in my life, and I want him to be victorious and live in peace with the Lord.
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
He has been doing great and we are very proud of him for his effort and dedication in his school work. He is not a trouble making kid, and my wife and I make sure of that. With that said, a few weeks ago, he was caught messing around in the school bathroom and I received a call from the principal. It wasn’t too bad, and he got off with a warning. Then last week I received another call from the principal. Apparently, my son was trying to flush a locker lock down the toilet. I was in the middle of writing a piece when I got that call around 2 p.m., and I had to go pick him up early because the principal sent him home. He is blessed he wasn’t suspended. The principal was mad because he could have damaged the entire plumbing system.
He lost his bathroom privileges at school, and now he can only use the bathroom in the nurses office. The school security guard and the principal both talked to him about trust, and now they are watching him more closely. He lost his good name. It was a hard day for my son.
We were upset with him and disappointed, but he is learning valuable lessons from this. Mainly, that a good name is worth a lot. He does not like dishonor, he does not like the feeling of losing the respect he had, and he is working hard to earn it back. My son is well liked in school by all the teachers and his fellow classmates, and he wants to keep it that way. He is a kind kid who is nice to everyone (even the foolish ones!)
He has been more focused at school the last week, and he is back on track to earning that respect back. Last night, I opened the Book of Proverbs and turned to chapters 21 and 22. I prayed for our time and I prayed over my son, and then I read these Scriptures to him:
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
“A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.”
“He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.”
“Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.”
My son was listening intently as I read each verse. When I had finished, he looked up at me with such a deep look of understanding I knew he was having an epiphany! I said, “Do you understand now son?” He looked deep into my eyes, shook his head yes, and smiled real big. “Keep earning that respect son,” I said warmly, and with that, I patted him on the back, put my arm around him, and prayed for him.
As I prayed for him, I prayed those verses over myself and our family as well. It is not only eight year old little boys who need the wisdom of God found in Proverbs. We would all do well to take heed of those verses and strive to live them out!
“May we all keep a good name in Christ, never stray from the path of understanding, fear the Lord with humble hearts, and pursue righteousness and love all the days of our lives, in the Name of Jesus, Amen!”
I love to study the historical context in which the Bible was written. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is writing from a Roman prison cell. He is nearing the end of his ministry. The time frame is around the 60s A.D. when Emperor Nero was persecuting Christians after falsely accusing them for the great fire in Rome. Paul knows the Romans are going to kill him, so he is writing Timothy to encourage him to keep following Jesus and be strong in his faith.
The beginning of the letter is beautiful:
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2 Timothy 1:1-2
He comforts Timothy and encourages him to not be ashamed because of his imprisonment. He also tells him to not be ashamed of Jesus, and gives a powerful explanation of the Holy Spirit.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God…”
2 Timothy 1:6-8
The persecution in Rome is fierce and the believers are scared and scattered. Many people who were once trusted friends to Paul have deserted him and want nothing to do with him or Christianity.
“You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me…”
2 Timothy 1:15
Paul talks about his first court hearing where he barely escaped an execution by lion. At this time, Nero was feeding Christians to the lions in the coliseums as a spectacle for all to enjoy. Rome was Satan’s playground.
“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.”
2 Timothy 4:16-17
Paul knows his time is coming soon and throughout the entire letter he impresses upon Timothy the importance of persevering in his faith in Jesus. He loves Timothy as a father would a son, and he wants him to continue the ministry. Paul gives him wise advice at every turn of the page.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:14-17
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.”
2 Timothy 4:1-2
“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
2 Timothy 2:22
In the last chapter of the letter, Paul pens some of the most heartfelt words any human being could ever write at the end of their life. He is not scared. He is at peace, and he is ready to go.
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:6-8
Paul was never fed to the lions. When he was in his sixties, shortly after writing that letter, the Romans chopped his head off with a sword. He never gave up his faith and he preached the Gospel to the very end. I am very much looking forward to meeting Paul in Heaven someday, and I pray that I can be as strong in my faith to the very end and be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.”
I think Australia is one of the coolest countries in the whole world! No, I have never been, but I would love to go! I remember studying Australia as a kid and I was fascinated by the outback, the animals, and the Aboriginal people. I mean really, who doesn’t love a koala, right? One very cool hunting tool the indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia used was the boomerang. This will tie into the Bible, I promise.
There is a verse that makes me think of a boomerang every time I read it. This verse was always very special to me. So much so that I had it on a little picture verse card the size of a business card stuck to the dash of my truck.
One day in the long years of my suffering, I got very angry about the disease. I took a drive in my truck to blow off steam and think. I saw the verse on my dash and as I read it, I got more and more angry until I finally yelled out at God, “Yeah right!”, as I ripped the verse card off my dash and threw it out the window.
This was during my time when I was wrestling God regarding Celiac Disease and the anguish I was living through. Here is that verse:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I really hope somebody picked up that verse card and it was a blessing to them. Time went on and I continued to suffer Celiac and wrestle God over many things regarding my new life with a chronic illness auto-immune disorder. A few months later, we took the kids to a cool shop called the Parker Country Market just down the street from our house. It is a novelty shop with all kinds of different things for sale. Artwork, little and big statues, wind chimes, fountains, jewelry, sports memorabilia, trinkets, knives, old school posters–you name it, they might have it! They even have a really nice Christian section with Bibles and all kinds of cool stuff. It’s one of those places you can spend two hours in and not even realize that much time has passed.
We walked through the store and my wife and kids headed in one direction, and I headed for the Christian section in the back. I looked at the cool artwork with verses, and the wall crosses for a few minutes, but I didn’t see anything that I wanted to buy. As I turned around to leave the section something caught my eye though.
I like earth tones and leather for aesthetics, so I noticed a leather check book cover with nice designs and stitching on it. It even had Scripture engraved into the leather. I walked closer to get a better look and that is when the boomerang blessing came back around and landed right on my heart!
Here is that checkbook cover with a very familiar verse on it:
It could have been any one of the many verses of the Bible, but it was that one! I could practically here the swoosh of the boomerang as it came back around! It is so awesome how God works! Just when you think He has forgotten you and He doesn’t see you at all, He shows you that He is right by your side and He cares!
It hit me hard! I had thrown out that verse card months ago and I was not even thinking about it anymore…and that was the problem. What I had really done was thrown out God’s promise to me in my heart. In that moment I understood that God was still with me, He loves me, and He was not going to let me forget that He still has good plans for me even in the midst of my worst suffering…and this time He made sure I couldn’t toss it out the window! I grabbed it right away to buy it, and I quietly had a moment of awe as I thanked and worshiped God right there in that store.
I am still here today because of Jesus and His love and power inside of me! I am here blogging to the world about Jesus with a future full of hope, and I am so honored and blessed to be a part of His work! I came through my suffering with a deeper appreciation for life, and I know the Lord–who is The Almighty, King of kings and Lord of lords, I AM–most definitely knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future!
He has those types of plans for all of His people! Don’t toss God’s promises out the window. Trust in Him today! He might just surprise you with a “boomerang blessing!”
That is not easy for human beings to do. Be still. We would rather not, right? Most of us cannot stop moving or thinking, or we get so bored we go nuts. Nobody likes cabin fever! This verse is not talking about movement though. This verse is talking about our hearts and how we trust God. It is about not letting your heart leave His rest.
This morning has been one half crazy and one half chill. My kids over slept their alarms and it was a mad dash to get them to school on time. After the whirlwind of making lunches, breakfast, and getting everybody out the door, I was able to collect myself.
There is a stillness in the air as everything wakes up. There is no wind, and there is almost always wind here in Colorado. The crisp air has come down from the Rockies and it is sweet and fresh with that classic chill to it.
I stepped out onto our back deck around 6:45, and I saw this little guy chillin’ on the window:
This little leaf bug was just hanging out in the stillness of the morning. He let me get right up to him with my cell phone and take a close up. Look at the intricate design that God created to make him look like a leaf! So cool!
I turned to look West at the Rockies and the morning moon was perfect hanging in the sky. Most mornings we can see the moon because the sky is so clear and blue at higher elevation. Except for a little low lying haze along the front range from the forest fires (hard to see the mountains again), it is a perfect blue sky day.
The whole scene made me pause. Everything was so quiet and still it was like all of nature was just resting in God. From the moon in the sky to a little bug on the ground, He holds it all in His hands. In that chilly morning stillness I just closed my eyes, put my hands out with palms up towards Heaven, took a deep breath of that Rocky Mountain air, and exhaled slowly as I gave God glory and acknowledged that He is absolutely in control. “I choose to serve you this day Lord Jesus,” I said. “May your will be done.”
I will get busier as the day goes on, but wherever I go and whatever I am doing I pray that I take that stillness in my heart with me. I pray you do too. God is in control today. He is in control every day. From everlasting to everlasting He is God.
He holds the moon and cares for the little bug at the same time. He is God. He loves you and He knows everything about you–even how many hairs are on your head. He is God.
Find time every day to rest in Him. Be still and know that He is God inside your heart no matter what you do. He is the God of all creation, and He’s got this!
Grace and peace to you all!
“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”