Good Morning Brothers…
The 2014 rifle season for white-tail deer has come to a close and I hope those of you who care about such things have meat for the freezer and bone for the wall. I was talking to my Associate Pastor the other day and I told him that if he wanted to take up trapping in his spare time (in which he has none), he needed to remember one very important lesson; when dealing with a skunk…park the truck upwind. As you smirk and laugh quietly to yourself, I suggest you steer clear of my truck. I made the mistake of parking downwind as Mr. Skunk let off 8 titanic blasts up into the air. It’s funny how certain odors are unmistakeable, even to the city slicker type who has never seen a live skunk.
The Holy Spirit is like that.
In Acts 2:1-4 it says, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
It would be fair to say that the disciples (and friends) were downwind of the Lord.
Many in the crowd were amazed because they were hearing these men speak in their native tongues. Others thought they were drunk, and I’m sure others were just confused. Peter stands up and delivers a sermon (Acts 2:14-36). Not just any sermon, but one of those sermon’s empowered by the Spirit that convicts hearts and builds resolve. When he finished, the crowd reacted with alarm. The text says in Acts 2:37, “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”” Peter answers their question and provides direction into living the Christian life in verses 38-42, “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
It would be fair to say that the listeners of Peter’s sermon were downwind of the Lord.
The disciples were downwind because they carried the odor of God; of love, joy, peace, righteousness, and declared this to the crowd. You could see that they were different. The crowds were downwind because they carried the odor of God. The text describes them this way, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Again…you could see that they were different.
Jesus uses an analogy in The Gospel of John to describe the work of the Spirit. He uses the wind. In John 3:8 He says, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” In Ezekiel 37:1-10, there is a story that speaks to the partnership of God and man. A story that describes the impact of the “Spirit Wind” on the lost and fallen if God’s chosen (Christians) would be inclined to live downwind and carry the odor of the Lord. It reads:
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”
It is rather ironic that hunting and trapping involve the taking of life, which demands an approach from upwind. Christianity, our partnership with God to bring about “life”, demands that we approach from downwind. Always carrying the odor of our Lord because His odor is the sweet smelling essence of life. May God bless us all and enable us to read the winds…to read the flow of Spirit…and to get blown away by Him.