Digging in Deeper: 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

A few weeks ago, I was riding in the car with some friends. As we drove, one of them popped a mint in her mouth. It was something she’d done numerous times before. For whatever reason, though, this time was different. A few minutes later, not realizing what she had done, I began noticing an odd smell in the car that was gradually growing stronger. It was minty fresh, but it was quickly becoming overwhelming. Eventually, wanting to be sure I wasn’t the only one smelling this, I asked what was going on. We finally had to have her spit out the mint and we opened the windows the smell was getting so strong. What has me thinking about that this morning is recent, heartbreaking and infuriating news from the Southern Baptist Convention, and something Paul says here about our lives smelling like Jesus. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Luke 15:14-16

“After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever considered someone to be irredeemable? It’s easy for us to do. When someone does something terrible enough, our first instinct is to write them off. Or, when someone falls into a pattern of troubling behavior long enough, the ones who have tried to help them out of it for a long time finally throw up their hands and give up on them. Sometimes, when another person just irritates us enough, we pass a final judgment on their character as terrible, and that’s the end of their story as far as we are concerned. How many marriages have ended with the stated reason given being “irreconcilable differences”? In all of this, we begin to believe a lie: That person or situation will never change. This is certainly a tempting lie to believe, but a convincing lie is still a lie. Let’s talk about the truth this morning.

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Morning Musing: Mark 4:21-23

“He also said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? isn’t it to be put on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus famously describes His followers as the light of the world. In that context, He says that we are not to live such that our light is obscured, but rather to shine for all the world to see. That is, indeed, the purpose of light: to be seen. When we come to these couple of verses in Mark and see Him talking about not putting light under a basket as He did in Matthew, we’re tempted to think He’s talking about the same thing and move on. I’ve thought that before. Taking a closer look, though, reveals something else is in view. Let’s talk this morning about what that is.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 1:8-9

“I looked out in the night and saw a man riding on a chestnut horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in the valley. Behind him were chestnut, brown, and white horses. I asked, ‘What are these, my lord?’ The angel who was talking to me replied, ‘I will show you what they are.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Discipline is not fun. It’s not fun and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who takes the opposite opinion. It certainly doesn’t appear in the Scriptures. The most explicit reference to discipline there comes from the writer of Hebrews who says it plainly: “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful.” This is doubly true when you are the one doing the disciplining and the object of your effort is your children. When the discipline is over, though, what is needed then? We get a glimpse of that here in Zechariah’s first vision.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 1:3

“So tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: Return to me — this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies — and I will return to you, says the Lord of Armies.’”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had someone do something to hurt or offend you, apologize, but then do it again? How did you feel the second time? Perhaps foolish if you left yourself in a position to be hurt again, but certainly angrier than you were the first time. If they apologized for subsequent offenses, how did you feel about their apology? How genuine did their repentance feel? Not very. Why? Because repentance needs to be a lifestyle, not merely a point in time.

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