Health and Artificial Fragrance — What’s the Connection
Our God-Given Senses
Who can resist the aroma of fresh baked bread, or the tempting smell of cinnamon or vanilla? What would life be like without the smell of salt air, the scent of piney woods, or the fragrance of our favourite flowers? Natural scents add immeasurably to our enjoyment of life, and are tied to strong memories of past events. God gave us our sense of smell to enhance our personal experience of his awesome creation. Fragrant incense was an integral part of the temple service, symbolic of the praise and prayers of God’s people, that is a sweet-smelling aroma to God. But something has changed in the past few years. No longer is that “vanilla” scent the product of the vanilla bean. Rather, it is a toxic chemical counterfeit that excites the senses while damaging the respiratory tract and producing ill-health. There was a time, not so long ago in Canada, that wherever you were, whether on a flight or in the airport lounge, at your favourite restaurant, or even in the respiratory wing of a hospital, you could find yourself subjected to the toxic effects of secondhand smoke. Luckily the dangers of smoking for both smoker, and bystanders, has become well-documented over the past decades. The discoveries of medical science were brought to bear and legislation was put in place to protect the health of the public. As a result most public places are now “smoke-free” zones. More
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Is the Bible Fake News or Good News.
Skeptics and Fake News
We live in an age of skepticism and the target of many skeptics is God, and the veracity of his Word. The Bible has come under attack as “lacking historicity” or not being true to the “record of archaeology.” But is this fact, or just more fake news. Recently, researchers have published their findings regarding the presence of Canaanite genetics in modern nations in the Middle East. They boldly asserted that these findings contradict direct statements from scripture. But did they get their facts straight? And does the archaeological and genetic evidence confirm or refute the biblical accounts? More
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Faith is the Foundation
Faith is the foundation of our spiritual life, but is biblical faith rational? We are physical beings limited to knowing our universe through our five senses and the machines we have created to extend those senses. Our perception of reality is limited to the material. The bible on the other hand views what we can “see” with our senses as “temporary.” According to the scripture, the eternal reality is something we cannot see except through faith. This spiritual dimension is the true reality. Our “reality” physical life as we experience it, is like a mere two dimensional representation of the greater reality. So is this rational? More
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Speaking for God and to God
Abraham set an example of speaking to God, and speaking for God. Can you imagine speaking face-to-face with the Lord as Abraham did? The Lord God had enjoyed a meal with Abraham and then decided to let him know about the purpose of the Lord’s trip to Sodom. Would we have the same reverent, respectful approach? Would we be willing to negotiate with God, for the lives of others, as did Abraham? It is a fascinating story of the importance of our willingness to communicate with God. Or, would we be like Daniel, intervening on behalf of his people, and believing his words with God could make a difference?
Moses God’s Spokesman
Moses example is instructive to those who would speak for God. He is initially described as “powerful in speech and action” as the son of the daughter of Pharaoh. Yet many years and trials later he is reluctant to speak for God, when confronted at the burning bush. Through experience he had gained a realistic understanding of what was required of those who are called to speak with God and for God. He had learned through the things he had suffered. He came to understood that it was God’s power and not his own that enabled him to speak for God.
Samuel, David, and Other Prophets
Samuel learned as a young child the importance of speaking the truth faithfully as God had delivered it to him directly. He was very careful so as to “let none of God’s words fall to the ground.” David communed with God regularly, and handled the word of God faithfully. In his role as king of Israel he had the duty to read, write, and then teach the people the words of God. His Psalms remain as examples of his teaching. Yet there were other teachers who were not faithful. There were those who used God’s name to teach their own lies. As ambassadors for Christ, are we handling God’s words faithfully? Are we steadfast in our role as teachers of the truth even in the face of opposition?
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My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. James 3
Taming the Tongue is a challenge. The apostle James likened it to controlling a powerful horse with a bridle or taming a wildfire. Our ability to do so grows through diligent study, a lifetime of experience, and compassion for those who listen to us. It requires godly insight to be able to offer the right words at the right time. It takes wisdom to know when to speak and when the “sound of silence” is your best response. In a world of bloggers, social media rants, trolls and tirades, it takes the gift of discernment to know what to say and how to say it. So what are some of the aspects one must consider when taming the tongue? Here are some videos to give you insight into what God has to say about how and when we should speak.
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A Time to Speak
Walking With God comes with a Responsibility
God’s wisdom tells us that there is a time for everything, a season for silence and a time to speak
As those called by God’s mercy into a relationship with him, we begin a new life of walking with God. We are to live by every word of God. Like the ancient nation of Israel, God advises all who believe in him to choose life — obeying his teachings, and loving his ways. And as parents and grandparents one of those commands is to speak with our children about our walk with God. More
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Be Careful What You Say
Christ, the Lord of our lives, wants us to be prepared to give an answer to others. The Lord is our shelter and sanctuary. When men ask us questions about our faith, we are to respond as if we were in God’s presence. For, we will have to give account to the Lord for our words. We are his ambassadors. The answer we give is to be an “apologia” — a well reasoned-argument with compelling proof. The Lord is asking us to be prepared to give a logical defence. But there is more to it than an intellectual response.
Be Careful How You Say, What You Say.
When we engage with others in discussing our belief in God and His purpose, we are instructed to do it in a specific way. With godly fear, “phobos,” so as to give an answer that would be approved by God. As Christ’s ambassadors, we must speak respectfully with gentleness. Why? Our goal is to exhibit God’s love for others with our words. So in accordance with our prime directives, our answers should encourage with wholesome words. We are to express love for God and neighbour. Are we prepared to give an answer to everyone?
Who’s the Audience?
As God’s servants, we must not quarrel. Yet, there are those who would like to drag us into foolish speculations, and endless controversies. God advises us to avoid this kind of argumentation. Instead, we are to be gentle, kind, and patient with everyone. We need to understand our audience, their prejudices, attitudes, and motivations. Then, we can answer with wisdom. Different people need different approaches. God is the one who qualifies us to speak on his behalf. He makes us sufficient and prepared to give an answer. One that will be engaging and fresh to those who are truly desirous of knowing more about God and his way of life.