Archive for June, 2014

Smells Soooo Good!

For some unknown reason, breakfast at my Grandmother’s house still holds the blue ribbon. Breakfast is good just about anywhere, but according to my memory banks, it resonates strongest from a little farmhouse hidden from the world by 120 acres of orange trees at zip code 33805 (Gibsonia, Florida). good smells The aromas are the triggers.  The combination of several smells usually brings back the full experience. My grandmother always squeezed fresh orange juice, and it filled the whole house the moment she sliced one in half. Soon after, came the smell of fresh flour and buttermilk for the biscuits.  She would retrieve a huge jar of fig preserves and dip out a large amount into a bowl, the smell of which was delightful  and extraordinary when properly applied to a hot buttered biscuit.  Then the coup d’état over all others, the smell of bacon! No greater smell hath mortal man than the aroma of bacon frying in a pan. In addition, last but not least were the coffee and eggs, butter and cheese.  It’s the smell of these farm delights coupled with the aroma of that house.  The different blends of pine, oak and cedar and the orange trees wafted through the open windows.  Grandpa’s tobacco and leather boots, Grandma’s kitchen bowls and towels and metal utensils. Everything had a smell, most of them pleasant and to this day it still wafts its way into my nostrils.

A great gift from God is our sense of smell. More complex than sight is our ability to register quantum amounts of information via our noses. Good or bad, smells trigger massive data storage within our brain to help to determine if we should fight, flight or feast.  Anosmia is the inability to perceive  odor or a lack of functioning olfaction.  Although it is not fatal, the inability to smell is very dangerous and can lead to death or severe injury.  Smells warn of impending dangers such as toxins and poisons.

In the grand arrangement of God’s creation, almost everything emits some kind of odor.  This crucial building block, the ability to smell or detect smells, is also helpful to us spiritually as we look to grow to be more like He is.

2Co 2:12-14  When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord,  (13)  my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.  (14)  But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. From these verses we learn a couple of things;

1. Paul wanted to preach the Gospel in Troas, but not having Titus with him made him uneasy and so he left.

2. Although he didn’t preach in Troas(at that time), His presence was so strong it had the saving effect anyhow.

Although Paul is instrumental in bringing so many to Christ and establishing churches throughout the Roman Empire, it is not Paul but the fragrance of Christ that won men over. In the case of Troas, that aroma was so powerful, that Paul did not even need to spend time there for there to be success.

                Now this odor we emit can be pleasing or it can be foul.  When we present ourselves before the world, is Christ truly in our lives? Do the sweet smells of Christ emanate from us or the stench of hypocrisy?  Will our fellow man be gifted with the sweet aroma of the Gospel by the things he sees and hears from us, or will he hide his face from the foul smell of apathy, lukewarmness or shameful activity?    Through us, is the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ being spread?  Odors trigger memories.  Maybe the scent you leave will trigger a fond memory and bring someone to Christ.  Let us all make sure we’re wearing that wonderful fragrance.

Darryl Fuller

 

Get in the Boat

800px-The_Life_Line_1884_Winslow_HomerIn “Man Overboard,” a masterful short story written by Winston Churchill,  the anonymous character falls overboard from a “mail steamer” that is sailing east through the Red Sea. It is “a little after half-past nine,” the narrator informs us, “When the man fell overboard.” He’d left the ship’s “companion-house,” where a concert was in progress, to “smoke a cigarette and enjoy a breath of the wind,” when, leaning back upon a railing which gave way, he “fell backwards into the warm water of the sea amid a great splash.”  What follows is a harrowing tale of a man now separated from his companions and the safety of the ongoing vessel. With each passing second, the steamer moves further and further away, oblivious to the cries of help from the lost soul. Rescue and salvation fade into the dark of night as the wake of the ship is replaced with the rippling of sharks all around him.

 It’s a gripping story and one that reminds me of an equally fearful passage; Heb 2:1-3   Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.  (2)  For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,  (3)  how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,

This warning is echoed throughout the epistle, in Heb.4:1; 4:11; 10:28-29; and 12:25. The Hebrew writer appeals earnestly, through stark contrast, that there is dreadful and fearful judgment to escape and we must not miss the lifeline thrown to us. What is the lifeline but the words of Jesus, who bids us to come to Him?  Heb 12:25  See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.

It is apparent from my perspective that a lot of people, religious and non religious, don’t understand the brevity and doom of this world and all that is in it.  According to the politically correct, it’s morally wrong to say that “something” or “someone” is wrong.  Likewise, according to worldly thinking, many fear to speak against Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Hedonism, Humanism, or Mysticism for fear of being labeled a “bigot” or “homophobe”. On the contrary, it’s quite acceptable among those inclined to worldliness, to embrace these religions as other paths of faith or different avenues to God. However, God’s final message to all men (Heb.1:1), of judgment and salvation,  is through His son and His son alone. Act 4:11-12  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  (12)  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  It may very well make people feel better about whom they are and where they came from by accepting their mistaken and misguided beliefs, but making them feel better about here, won’t rescue them from eternal damnation.  It is said that some on the Titanic refused to board lifeboats.  They stubbornly held to the belief that the ship would not sink or another form of rescue would come.  Sadly, the ship did sink and they rejected the only and last way off.

If I had to sum the Bible up in one word it would be “rescue”.  We are lost without the rescuer.  Jesus Christ came to Earth during the height of the Roman Empire, paid the price for rescuing us, and left the instructions (gospel) and lifeboat (church).  Read the instructions and get in the boat!    

Darryl Fuller

Lost Books

Thomas Jefferson loved books! In 1770 his family home in Shadwell burned, and all the books he had collected were lost. This, what he considered his greatest loss, invigorated him to restock his library. In the midst of the American Revolution and while serving as the United States Minister to France in the 1780s, Jefferson acquired thousands of books for his library at Monticello.  jefferson-library-locThen in 1814, the British burned Washington D.C. They employed as kindling, all the books from the Library of Congress (3,000) to start a fire in the Capitol. Devastated by the lost of such a collection, Jefferson offered the sale of all his books (6,487 volumes), to Congress at a tenth of their value. For $23,950 dollars the U.S. government acquired Jefferson’s library and refilled the Library of Congress. Then in 1851, another fire devastated over 4000 of those books, and to date has not been fully recovered. Thus, in just a short amount of time, thousands of precious volumes have been lost.

The collection of books we call the Bible and its remarkable preservation is indeed a gift from God! Hold it tight and cherish it fervently. The 66 books you have in your lap or off to your side have made the most remarkable journey. Although the Bible that is near you now is one of millions of copies, its abundance was not always so.

Original books that have survived for more than 500 years are hard to come by. A few have made it and are locked away tightly in museums and vaults. Books such as:

The Gutenberg Bible which is the world’s oldest mechanically printed book – the first copies of which were printed in 1454-1455 AD. Printed by Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany, it is considered to be oldest printed book using movable type in the West. There are 48 original copies in known existence, of which 21 are complete. Estimated age: 559 years old.

Scotland’s Book of Kells. The pocket-sized book of Psalms is housed at the University of Edinburgh, where it went on public display in 2009 for the first time. The book is thought to have been created in the 11th century AD, making it Scotland’s oldest surviving book.Estimated age: 938 years old.

Discovered in 2013, was a ‘Siddur’ – a Jewish prayer book dating back to around 840 AD. The complete parchment, still in its original binding, is so old that it contains Babylonian vowel pointing – akin to the Old or Middle English for the English language. This allowed experts to date the book to the times of Geonim – Babylonian & Talmudic leaders during the Middle Ages.Estimated age: 1,173 years old.

The Book of Kells is kept in the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland, and is thought to have been created by Celtic monks around 800 AD. The book is an incredibly ornate illuminated manuscript Gospel book, written in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament.Estimated age: 1,213 years old.

Europe’s oldest known surviving intact book is the St Cuthbert Gospel, bought by the British Library in 2012 for £9 million pounds as part of a fundraising campaign. The book was buried with St Cuthbert, an early British Christian leader, on the island of Lindisfarne off Northumberland, in around 698 AD. Only just surviving the Viking conquests, the book was moved to Durham to avoid Viking raiders, narrowly escaping destruction. The book was again rediscovered in 1104 AD.Estimated age: 1,315 years old.

The preservation of such books is a testimony to the power and providence of God.   Consider the example of Thomas Jefferson. Within an 80 year period, thousands of his books were lost.  Since around 127 A.D. the collection of the 66 books of the Bible have withstood every fire, war, plague, and catastrophe  that you could think of.

Interestingly, within the canon (collection of books) of the Bible, God reveals the names of other books that have been lost.  By God’s providence, these books, for whatever reason, were not preserved.  They include:

  • The Book of Jasher (whose title fully translated means the Book of the Upright or the Book of the Just) is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. From the context in the Book of Samuel it is implied that it was a collection of poetry.
  • The Book of the Wars of the Lord Referenced in Numbers 21:14.
  • The Book of  Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the Seer” (also called Story of the Prophet Iddo or The Annals of the Prophet Iddo) is mentioned in the book of 2nd Chronicles. (II Chr 9:29, 12:15, 13:22). Iddo was a seer who lived during the reigns of Solomon, Rehoboam, and Abijah.
  • The Manner of the Kingdom.
    Referenced in 1Samuel 10:25.
  • The Acts of Solomon
    Referenced at 1Kings 11:41.
  • The Annals of King David
    Referenced at 1Chronicles 27:24.
  • The Book of Samuel the Seer. Also called Samuel the Seer or The Acts of Samuel the Seer, which could be the same as1 & 2 Samuel
    Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29
  • The Book of Nathan the Prophet Also called  Nathan the Prophet or The Acts of Nathan the  Prophet 
    Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29, and also 2Chronicles 9:29.
  • The Book of Gad the Seer
    Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29
  • The Prophecy of Ahijah   might be a reference to 1 Kings 14:2–18.
    Referenced at 2Chronicles 9:29
  • The Book of Jehu could be a reference to 1 Kings 16:1–7.
    Referenced at 2Chronicles 20:34
  • The Sayings of the Seers
    Referenced at 2Chronicles 33:19
  • The Chronicles of King Ahasuerus
    Referenced at Esther 2:23, Esther 6:1, Esther 10:2, and Nehemiah 12:23.

Although we do not have these lost books, we can nonetheless be assured we have God’s complete message to us.   2Pe 1:3  His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.

Jesus also, in His prayer before His crucifixion stated: John 17:8  For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

 

                The Library of Congress has restored a great deal of Thomas Jefferson’s collection and all may go to Washington and view or read these books. In his lifetime he  collected and lost thousands of books, but all we really need is 66.  Chances are you’ve got that library sitting next to you.  It’s a lot older, far wiser, contains the secrets of God, the mystery of all ages, the eternal truth and precious promise of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Cherish it! It’s come a long way and endured much sacrifice to be in our hands, so don’t lose it!

Darryl Fuller