Thousands of people gathered in Washington D. C. in 1964 for the victory of the Civil Rights Movement. Military victories are celebrated with homecoming parades throughout the nations. When the Romans won a major war victory in the first century, the commanding officer led a procession of musicians and soldiers who led the enemy captives through the city. Added to the celebration, the Romans burned incense on altars for a sweet smell of victory in the whole city. Ponder the impact of the following Scripture written by Paul, a Roman citizen:
“Thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
THINK ABOUT IT
Friends, we have an opportunity to be a sweet smelling aroma to God among those who follow Him and others who reject Him. It is God’s desire that all would follow Him into eternity. What will we do to change the hearts of those perishing as a result of their bad choices?
PRAY ABOUT IT
Holy Father, make us instruments of love so others will experience your mercy and choose to follow you. Empower us with your truth in ways that people will understand. Help us to show compassion as you show compassion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have you ever felt weak? Moses, one of the greatest prophets in the Bible, felt that way when God called him to rescue His people from the Egyptians. Moses told God that He had the wrong man, because he had a speech impediment. Yet, God empowered him with his brother’s help to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land.
God called Gideon, a mighty warrior, to save His people from Midian and the surrounding countries, but Gideon didn’t feel like a mighty warrior. He asked God to show him two signs to prove to him that what He said was true. First he said he would put out a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If the dew fell only on the fleece but nowhere else, then he would be convinced. God let the dew fall only on the fleece, and Gideon squeezed a bowl full of water out of the fleece. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. . . This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.” God performed this sign too. Gideon gathered 12,000 men for battle, but God said that was too many. He reduced the army to 300 fighting men. Why would He do that? He did it to demonstrate that victory was by His strength alone (Judges 6:36-40).
THINK ABOUT IT
Are you facing something you think is impossible because of inferiority or suffering? Paul asked God to take away what he called his thorn in the flesh, but God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Many times I’ve felt like Paul did, as if I couldn’t go on anymore. I discovered that when I got to the end of me, it was God’s opportunity to do things I never thought I could accomplish.
PRAY ABOUT IT
Holy Father, we need your help in times of weakness, and we pray for your help. As you strengthened Moses, Gideon and Paul, strengthen us too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.