Do Christians Stink?

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I love infant baptism. It makes me new again as I am reminded that this symbolic act is making even the newest of us…new again.

The oil of Baptism is placed on the head of the baby in a symbolic blessing that welcomes them to the Christian faith.

Today, I was reminded that this dab of oil during the sacrament of holy baptism also makes me new and forgiven through Christ.

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, heaven opened as follows:

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

Baptism delivers me from shame. The stain and stink of sin that weighs me down in this life is washed away.

The sinful stench that permeates and gnaws at my soul is forgiven.

Jesus took away the stench and I am anointed with a holy oil that smells better than the best perfume money can buy.

I don’t stink anymore…and I am glad.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

 

Bling in the New Year

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And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.        Revelation 21:5

New Year’s resolutions are expected. I don’t really do them. It is not because I don’t believe or because I think I will fail.

I have a more basic reason.

While I recognize the calendar year, I also believe that every day is a new day and a new beginning.

Change is the only constant and our lives are a work in progress. That’s a good thing. I want to grow, evolve, change, and become new in Christ. I want a fresh start. A chance to get it right.

It’s a new calendar year in a few days. But today is a fresh start to a closer walk with Jesus.

He makes all things new.

Everything is New Again!

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I enjoy Christmas cards and still send them out each year. I no longer write long family epistles of our adventures and mishaps but I do try to personalize them so that the receiver knows I put some thought and prayer behind each card.

Christmas cards are a loving tradition that reminds those we love of the birth of Jesus Christ. Somehow sending an e-card or Facebook post just doesn’t seem personal enough for me and I would miss the connection that can only come from a beautiful card featuring the nativity scene, sheep (of course), THE star, or wise men. I like to see what a friend has selected and it makes me wonder what they were thinking or what drew them to that specific card. I often keep cards that I find particularly lovely.

This year I kept just one. It’s an odd choice but I keep it in my Bible and look at it almost daily. All it says is “And just like that, Everything is New Again” – no pictures, no Christmas theme even. I just liked the thought behind the message.

Christmas is easy to celebrate because the birth of a baby is a joyous event and especially the birth of Jesus Christ. The season of Lent leading to Good Friday is a little harder to walk through as a Christian because to do so we have to remember a difficult time of pain and suffering. Who wants to celebrate that? Who wants to see Jesus crucified? It’s painful to even think about this tragic just prophesized turn of events.

As I grow older I learn that the Easter season is truly a beautiful time of worship for Christians. We go through the hard memories to cross over to the good ones. We have a chance to reflect, remember and celebrate. We celebrate a life well lived, a Savior who loves us so much that he would die on a cross for us and the final resurrection on Easter Sunday. Now that is something we should be writing about. That is something for which we should send out glorious cards of celebration and hope. That is a time when Everything is New Again!