I got a powerful hankerin’…

via Daily Prompt: Desire

“… for some steak and taters! What did you think I was gonna say?  Get your mind out of the gutter boy, your crowdin’ me.” Or so my uncle Wylie used to say.  I saw a couple of good quotes today regarding: desire.

My purpose in life does not include a hankering to charm society.” ~ James Dean

Hankering after material happiness is called lust & such activities are sure to meet with frustration in the long run.” ~ author unknown

For years, I’ve had a hankering for the portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis.  Franklin is credited with so many inventions: the postal system, lightening rods, the constitution.  He was a rock star before there was such a thing.” ~ Jon Bon Jovi

Everyone has strong desires. Strong desires make us feel alive.  Granted, some people are so driven by their desires that the lusting, craving, longing, aching, passionate search for fulfilling these desires leads to destructive behavior and meaningless or broken relationships.  Such is the nature of desire gone amuck.

It seems some easily justify this powerful hankerin’, as they quote the Bible out of context, simply to bring affirmation to their licentious lifestyle.  Imagine God’s anger when folks twist and pervert David’s words from Psalm 37, to fit their own agenda.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

The masquerading hypocrite who uses God’s word to authenticate a “worldly” lifestyle knows nothing of God’s will or ways.  They only see the second part of this verse while ignoring the meaning of “delight yourself in the LORD.”  If we delight in God’s will, His Holy Spirit transforms our human “hankerings” to align with His purposes.  Only when this transformation has taken place can a person “in God’s will” ask, and the desire will be met.  Only because, it was God’s delight first, and these “desires” brings Him glory.

If you need some help with what mis-aligned desires look like, turn to John’s first letter for the details.  God’s Word is pretty specific here:

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

Lust of the flesh = material wealth or goods
Lust of the eyes = human sensuality (all five senses)
Pride of Life = achievement, power, fame

When these hankerings get the best of us, we are definitely not delighting in God, but in ourselves.  We are completely out of balance with what God intended our lives to be.  The pull and power of these three areas (flesh, eyes, pride) is completely destructive.

Now for the positive side of hankerin’.

Don’t miss the more exciting truth of Psalm 37:4… “He will give you the desires of your heart, (when you) delight yourself in the LORD.”  A person of faith knows that God wants only what’s best for them.  This knowledge gives foundation for leaping joyfully, and shouting mightily, telling of the great things God is at work doing in their life.  The person of faith is busy every day discovering and experiencing God’s grace.  This daily experience brings confident living, which shines like a beacon to those walking in darkness.

I have a powerful hankerin’ to be this kind of light … in a very dark world.

Psalm 42:1
As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.

Scent: Fragrance or Odor?

via Scent

The fragrance of obedience is like a pleasing aroma in God’s nostrils.  It’s why the Apostle Paul wrote regarding the importance of offering ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.  The simple act of yielding submissively to the will and ways of God, in obedience, is to God – as a fresh spring breeze is to us.  I love the smell of freshly mown grass.  Perhaps it’s one of the pulls that compels me toward the golf course.  It gets in my blood and bones and drives me outside to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.  This scent has a powerful effect on me.

The odor of disobedience will often have the exact opposite effect on God.  In fact Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, that the putrefaction he smelled in this church caused him to want to hurl. Revelation 3:16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.  Think: rotten eggs, spoiled milk, three-month-old leftovers, or a maggot-infested corpse.  How awful we must smell to God when we stubbornly refuse His grace, or neglect to listen to His voice.

People of faith, walking in faith, serving God, each other, and the strangers around them, are living out the Old Testament picture of a burnt offering.  The sacrifice of themselves to God’s will is the image of the smoke rising from the altar all the way to God’s throne in heaven.  The ultimate completion of human purpose is to glorify God, and this brings God great joy. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.

Scent is one of the ways we were created in God’s image.  In your own bible, conduct a search for how many times the phrase “pleasing aroma” is used in the imagery of Old Testament sacrifices.  The scent (aroma) is the bond of a sacrifice meant to represent complete obedience to the will of God.

Hence, scent is a powerful force in our lives today.  It has been so since Adam and Eve were created with this discerning sense of smell.  Scent can be a powerful attraction, or it can repel us in ways even more repulsive than I’ve already mentioned.  One of the unique things about scent is its ability to stimulate memories.  Even now, after all these years, I can smell my mother when I pick up a “Puffs” tissue.  It was distinctive to her and those long years of sickness.

What is the scent that represents your life today?  I suggest the physical may not be nearly as significant as the spiritual scent you wear.  Fragrance or odor? That is the question.