Fragrance and Beauty

Hosea 14:4-9 “The Lord says, Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

Thoughts on these verses:

God says he will be like the refreshing dew. = There is no end to the dew, it is new every morning, it is continually replenished. We should Look for Him, Expect Him, Feed on Him and His Word.

Then you will bloom like the lily. = The lily is compared to great beauty.

Your roots will go as deep as the cedars of Lebanon. = The cedars of Lebanon were more fruitful as they aged and their roots held firm, as we are to hold firm to our faith and in our relationship with God. (Also, the cedars were resistant to rot and decay and repelled insects. We should be resistant to sin and repel the enemy.)

Your branches will spread like a beautiful olive tree. = Branches will provide shade for others, to guard them, nurture them, teach them in the knowledge of God.

Flourish like grain. = Each stalk of grain produces many seeds and grain feeds others.

You will be fragrant like the oil of the cedars of Lebanon. = Fragrance attracts

You will Blossom like grapevines. = Constantly bearing fruit again and again, season after season and make new wine. Be an example of the true grapevine, Jesus Christ and our Father is the Gardener. (John 15:1)

Fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. = Again, fragrance attracts and wine quenches thirst.

The Lord answers our prayers, He cares for us. = We should have a prayer relationship with God. Not a ‘laundry list’ of our desires but prayers of thanksgiving and worship, we should care for him as He cares for us.

He is the tree that stays green. = The cedars of Lebanon are evergreen, we should not wither, but have life continuously.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord  and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

He is the source of our fruit. = Our fruit can only ripen and be fully formed through Him. How can any bad fruit come from God?

Matthew 7:16-20 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

When we are wise in the Lord, we understand. = When our wisdom comes from God, we have understanding.

When we have discernment, we listen carefully. = When we perceive what is true and good, we will listen intently to the Word of God.

Proverbs 4:10-13 My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths.  When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble. Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Righteous walk in the true and right paths the Lord has prepared, however sinners will stumble and fall in the very same paths. In the NIV, it says the rebellious will stumble. If you are not following God, you are rebelling.

Prayer: Father, help me to seek you daily and worship you, to recognize your refreshing ways Every day. Help me be firm in my faith, to attract with the beauty that comes from inside of me, which is your light. Help me to guide others to you and show them the fruit which you have given me. Help me to be an instructor, an encourager, and a protector of those who are less mature in their faith. May I be fruitful and fragrant with your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Who is your accuser?

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT)

Accuse verb def: to charge with crime; to impute guilt or blame. Jesus took accuse out of accuse(r) and left us with His Righteousness. See John 16:9-11

Who is stealing from you?

Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.”

Jeshua was a high priest who was standing before an angel of the Lord. What did God say to Satan, the accuser? “I reject your accusations!” If we take this personally, ‘Where are our accusers?!’ See John 8:7-10 They are rebuked when seen through God’s eyes. Nobody or nothing can steal our salvation except who and what we allow! Only the thieves we allow into our house (our temple) can rob us of joy or our relationship with God. We are the burning sticks which have been pulled out of the fire by Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.

 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”

But Jesus didn’t stop there. Not only have we been redeemed, he looks past our filthy clothes (our sins) and removes them! Plus he has given us new clothes – a New image! A reflection of God! Who are your accusers? Thoughts? Self? 

Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.

Things just get better with God. They placed a covering on his head. As in Ephesians chapter six, we are given the helmet of salvation. What is the helmet of salvation? It is the mind of Christ. It is placed on our heads. It is our responsibility to keep it, by renewing our minds to the Word of God.

Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here.

“If you follow my ways …” We are instructed to follow God (in His way – in His will) and he prepares our paths before us. See Proverbs 3:5-6 

“Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, (which says)* and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.

“Listen…” it says, the Branch is Jesus Christ who bore our sins on the cross. “I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.” Day here is yowm in the Hebrew. I find the definition of day here very insightful. It comes from a root word ewy which means to be hot (in the heat of the day) or from sunrise to sunset. Jesus’ crucifixion only took one day – his sacrifice which gave us a new covenant all occurred in one single day. The trial, the beating, the cross all occurred in the span between sunrise and sunset. See Matthew 27:1 & Matthew 27:45-46 During the light portion of the day, the “light of the world” was squelched but Not destroyed!

“And on that day, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.” Zechariah 3 (NLT)

The last verse in this passage of Zechariah three talks of the day when we will all follow God in unity of faith. In That day, (when we are unified by the Spirit) we will live peacefully. See Ephesians 4:3 and Ephesians 4:13

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
      For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
      and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
   I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
      or a bride with her jewels.
The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world.
      Everyone will praise him!
   His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
      with plants springing up everywhere. Isaiah 61:10-11

Prayer: Father, help me to know who I am through your enduring Word. Help me to see myself as you see me and not as any thief sees me. Help me to keep my eyes focused on you. Thank you for your love for me and all of your people, which is everyone. Thank you for a rich and satisfying life! Thank you for my salvation! Amen.

*Added for clarification from other translations.

The song I Am Who You Say I Am by Kelanie Gloeckler captures the essence of what I wrote @ kelanie.com:

I Am Who You Say I Am

Unity of Faith

From dictionary.com: 

unity (noun) 
  • the state of being one; oneness.
  • a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.
  • the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.
  • absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character.
  • oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement.
Synonyms: accord, agreement, harmony, integrity, peace.

Unity of faith brings maturity, peace and perfect love.

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:14-15

What will bring this maturity about?

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 4:13

When will we have this unity of faith; what has to happen?

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16

Unity of faith brings maturity. Then we will live as we were created to live, by complementing each other in the body. We will live in peace and grow in perfect love – God’s love.

In Jesus Christ’s own words:

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  John 17:20-23

(Emphasis by underlining is added.)