Sunday, September 18, 2011

Love your local library!

One of my favorite places has always been the library.  Where else can you find a way to travel around the world without spending any money?  Where else can you find a way to let your imagination run free?  Or learn about various things for free? 

I loved reading when I was a child.  My parents were poor and we didn't always have the money to do things, but I could go to the library and check out books to read.  I could read fiction books and imagine myself in the story. I could learn about other countries and other time periods.  I could check out books that taught me how to do different things.  I could use the reference books to do reports or learn about things. Books were my friends when no one else would be. 

I still love to read and I still love the library.  And I love the written word (but not more than the Word).  Today, the library is more than just books.  The library has magazines and newspapers.  It has microfiche machines where you can look at old newspapers and see what life was like in earlier times. The library has movies and computer software that can be checked out. Our library has a genealogy reference section.  There is a section of computers with Internet access for card holders to use.  Our library also has audio books you can check out.

Even in this day of Internet access and computer use, books are still the best way to find out information. A love of reading does not come naturally, however.  It has to be modeled.  My son loves to read, and it's because he sees me reading.  We also make weekly library trips. My husband is not a big reader, and I believe it's because it was not modeled to him when he was growing up. 

This year is the 175th anniversary of the Belleville Public Library, which is the library we visit every week (and is pictured above).  This post is dedicated to the librarians there, who help us find the books we want to read, buy Boy Scout popcorn from my son and helped him with his Reading merit badge.  Your local librarians are great resources for information.  They're there to help.  So go to your local library and see what's there.  You never know what you might find. 

See you next time!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Ah, a sweet aroma

In  2 Corinthians 2:15-16a, Paul states the following:  "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one [we are] the aroma of death [leading] to death, and to the other the aroma of life [leading] to life." Let's take a look at what this means.

Webster's Dictionary has two definitions of  "aroma." Definition 1a is "a distinctive pervasive and usually pleasant or savory smell." Think of the wonderful smell of a fresh flower,or the smell of coffee brewing. Or the smell of fried chicken cooking.  Definition 2 is "a distinctive quality or atmosphere." This definition is the one that fits the verses the best, I think.

So how can we be the fragrance of Christ to God among believers? I don't think that personal hygiene was what Paul had in mind, although that certainly wouldn't hurt. LOL!

I think what Paul meant was how we present ourselves as Christians.  Smell precedes sight. You smell the  fragrance before you see what is causing the fragrance. When you meet someone for the first time, how you treat that person is being the fragrance of Christ.  And how do we do that?  By being kind, courteous, caring and welcoming.  When a brother or sister in Christ is hurting, being there for them and helping if possible is being the fragrance of Christ.  When a fellow Christian is rejoicing, we rejoice with them. Worshiping the Lord with all your heart and soul is the fragrance of Christ to God. 

But what about the second part of that verse - the part about we Christians being the aroma of death to those who don't believe?  I think it means that our actions and words are so sweet that they are sickening.  The aroma of Christ that emanates from believers shows the lost how dark their souls are and what their eternal destination will be - unless they repent and trust Christ for salvation.

So think about how you are the fragrance of Christ in the world and how you can smell even sweeter. I know I am!  See you next time!