Fragrance of the Sacrifice

And live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

I have often wondered about the prayer Jesus prayed in Gethsemane. The awesome power that Jesus had to command wind and waves and to raise the dead was humbled in His plea to be delivered from the cross. He could have miraculously hidden himself again or struck down a thousand soldiers by a word and yet He struggled and sweat blood as He yielded Himself to His Father’s will and the shame and suffering that lay ahead.

He could have prayed; “I know I have to die so let’s just get this over.” In sullen acceptance, but instead He yielded His heart in love. How often I have prayed and given grudgingly but without surrender? I dodge the bullet of disobedience but miss the mark of true sacrifice.

But because Jesus gave His life in loving obedience, Peter was brought to full repentance, Nicodemus had opportunity to be courageous and a thief was brought to paradise. A rich man had the chance to learn how to give and just three days later Mary Magdalene got to be the first to see Him risen and alive. These all received because Jesus gave himself willingly. They became a part of the fragrance of the offering of Jesus. So what about this morning? Will we surrender whatever is in our hands today to God? Will we willingly let go of what is ours to gain something for others? Will we surrender and follow our Lord and offer a sacrifice with a sweet fragrance to God today?

My Mother the Bat and Being a Disciple

But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 13:16 KJV

Being a disciple means being a learner, and I learned from my mother that you can’t be afraid if you want to learn something new. As a science-fiction writer, she always was learning something new and doing a lot of research so that her books would be as accurate as possible. Her second published novel was about a planet whose people were blind and got around like bats using a radar like sense. This really impressed my eight-year-old imagination and got me wondering what it would be like to just listen like a bat to what was around me.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Then one day as I was playing in the woods behind our house, I found a real live bat hanging upside down and sleeping a few off the ground on a tree trunk. Excitedly I ran home, found an empty peanut butter jar, then scooped up the bat, slid the lid over the top of the jar and raced home. I couldn’t wait to show mom! When I ran into the house letting the screen door slam behind me, Mom put down what she was doing and came in just as I flipped the jar upside down and dumped the bat on her kitchen table, shouting, “Look mom! A real bat!” Most women back in those days would have either run away screaming or they would have picked up a broom to send the poor bat into eternity. But not my mom! Because she wanted to learn more, she was just as excited as I was to watch our sleepy friend as he stretched his feet and slowly started crawling across the table. That memory got me to wondering how ready any of us are for what God has in store. The only way to be ready is to be in His word every day. Then when a bat is dumped on our table ,  we’ll be excited to learn all about it instead of running away. That new thing God is bringing us is exactly what we need for the story He is writing in our life today.

God Gave Him a Song

God Gave Him a Song

A rich and a poor man met Jesus one day
One ran to the Lord - one sat by the way
One asked for heaven while the other called out
“Lord I need mercy!” as he started to shout

But the rich man was shocked when he heard Jesus say
Both your heart and your wealth must be given away
So, he turned and went home in shock and dismay
Wondering why God asked all on that day

But the poor man jumped up and he started to come
Left his robe in the dust in his hurry to run
First, He knelt then he wept at the feet of the Lord
And He asked for His eyes to be fully restored

And Jesus delighted to give him his sight
 Then He told him go home and praise God there tonight
But instead from that day he followed Jesus along
For He got more than sight - His God gave him a song!

God Gave Him a Song by Peter Caligiuri
Copyright 2021 use by permission only