My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude today at the successful completion of the grueling process of being certified as a journalist — a dream I have had since I was graduating from college with the wrong degree and too scared and clueless about what it would take to get into the field professionally and how it would affect my life. But God is giving me another chance to pursue His calling in this so I am committed to stop being Jonah and pursue His leading with all that I have and trust in Him to provide that which I lack — which is considerable on the business aspects that all this implies!
My pastor was talking yesterday about how the recent wrenching heartbreak of their oldest daughter’s still unsolved murder has given them voice and influence in places they never had before and how important it is to use the voice and influence that God gives you for His glory. While the whole context of his words still brings tears to my eyes because of our love for their family and friendship with their young granddaughter who now has no mother, I could not help but sit up and take notice that God seemed to be talking directly to me and putting me on notice in the middle of the pressure cooker of the tight deadlines for the final test of authorial creative immersion. He is reminding me that as He brings me to a new place where I can begin to develop a voice and an influence in matters that are near and dear to my heart, I need to keep my focus on Him and bring Him glory in all that I say, do and write.
It is more important to influence one person for Him than to go viral every day for a month, as much fun as it is for writers to see big numbers pop up in their readership statistics. I need to keep my focus on using my new platform to glorify what He is doing in my life and not get a big head and start thinking it is all about me. He placed the gift of writing in me and commissioned me to use it. Now my job is to take my assignments from Him and seek approval only from Him no matter what Google Analytics tells me about my readers. So today anew I put my writing in His hands and let Him take it where it will make the most difference to the person who needs it most. I will ‘just write’ and trust Him to take care of the rest.
In honor of His overwhelming goodness in giving me this opportunity, this devotion that I wrote a few years ago and placed at faithwriters.com is on my mind and I wanted to post it to highlight my desire to have my life and my new writing career be God’s morning cup of coffee:
While returning from our family camping trip a few weeks ago, we stopped at the store to pick up some things for dinner. We undoubtedly smelled like dirt, sweat and campfire since the organized campgrounds were full and we ended up in a primitive roadside campsite, cooking over a fire and hauling water from the creek like the pioneers of old. We enjoyed the impromptu adventure and returned in good spirits but the other customers at the store may have had other opinions when they could smell us coming from a distance.
On the other hand, the smell of coffee invokes warm memories of waking up at my Grandmother’s house as a child to the fragrant aroma of coffee brewing downstairs. Then there is the first sign of Christmas in the grocery stores–the scent of cinnamon pine cones wafting in the air; or the unexpected whiff of an unseen field of flowers on a sudden breath of wind. Whether pleasant fragrance or odorous stench, smells can be your first hint of what lurks in your immediate vicinity.
In Genesis 8, Noah’s act of worship brought a pleasing aroma to the Lord that caused Him to relent from His anger.
“Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man.’ “(Genesis 8:20-21)
Many times the Old Testament describes the sacrifices and oils used in Temple worship as a sweet aroma to the Lord. Your worship is God’s morning coffee. Its’ fragrance is His favorite way to start the day! Hebrews 13:15 tells us, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” If you go through the day with a spirit of praise and worship in your heart, God will be pleased with the fragrance of your spirit and your testimony of God’s goodness, grace and power will precede you as a fragrant perfume and bless everyone around you. But, if you put yourself in a rut of anger, disappointment, frustration and resentment, blaming God for whatever you don’t think is right or fair in your life and taking it out on anyone unfortunate enough to cross your path, you will give off a powerful spiritual stench that weighs heavily on everyone with whom you come in contact and damages your Christian testimony.
2 Corinthians 14-16 tells us, “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing , to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.” If we are to be the aroma of Christ to the world, shouldn’t they smell us coming and draw close to our Lord and Savior? What is your spiritual aroma?
Prayer: Dear Lord, I confess that my spiritual aroma is not always as sweet as it should be. Help me to practice a heart of worship that brings others near to hear the good news of Your saving grace and loving goodness. As David writes in the Psalms, ” May my prayer be counted as incense before You” rising to You as a pleasing fragrance. Thank you for being my sufficiency where I am weak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
by Tamara Christine
(text in italics originally placed by author at faithwriters.com and made freely available for use)