Wednesday 15 March 2017

The Essence of Courage

 As women we encounter multiple challenges, while simultaneously wearing
many hats. We need courage to face our challenges and commitments. In Song
of Solomon 4, Solomon ascribes the essences of his locked garden to the
courageous woman he has taken as his wife. This inspirational study will
provide an opportunity for you to discover:

• The secrets of the fruit, spices, and essential oils in Solomon’s locked garden.

• A deeper meaning of these fruits, spices and essential oil essences in Scripture by studying different women in the Bible.

• How others learn through their struggles and triumphs when you meet Cinnamah-Brosia and the women with whom she does life.

• Encouragement to allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate the essence of courage in your heart.

• Fun facts about the spices and essential oils, along with ways for you to
enjoy incorporating reminders of the fruit they represent into your life.

~ AmazonAmazon UK

Pulled reluctantly into women’s ministry nearly four decades ago, Lynn Watson now treasures the opportunities that were provided to lead, encourage and mentor women through relationships and Bible studies. She wrote a few of the studies, too. Drawing from those experiences, along with years serving others professionally in the complementary healthcare field and her love for essential oils, Lynn delights in bringing her readers freshly inspired insights drawn from and focused on the many fruits, plants, oils, and spices mentioned in God’s Word. Married since 1973, Lynn and Steve call Bartlett, Tennessee home. Their
home is filled with handmade treasures and lots of love for family, especially their five beautiful (of course) grandchildren.

Connect with the Author here: 

Chapter 3

Cinnamah-Brosia and Friends

Share about Peace

Diffusing Today: Spikenard and Lavender

Aromatic Influence: These outdoorsy and floral aromas may help provide a spiritually uplifting and peaceful feeling in the room.

Daily Delight: Cherry Crumb Coffee Cake

Musically: You Lift Me Up (Celtic Women) Verse of the Day:

The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.

(Psalm 29:11, NASB)

Jesus’ peace. It fell on me like a warm velvet robe in the ER waiting room and never left. I knew where Ben was going when he died. He didn’t always believe, but many years ago – your mom was a teenager then – God gave your Gramps a second chance, and he’d taken it. God will take care of me. I have His peace and His joy,” she assured me.

I’ll never forget those words the day Gramps passed on to be with Jesus. I had only known him as the kindly man that bounced me on his knee, taught me to fsh and grow tomatoes, caught lightening bugs with me, and read stories to me before Gram tucked me in on summer nights. I missed him terribly, but not nearly as much as I knew she would. Everything in Gram’s life was changing. There would be storms ahead, but she kept her voice lifted in praise:

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me, And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;

I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow; [1]

That was ffteen years ago. Gram kept the café open. It would keep her focus on others instead of her new reality – life without the man she had loved for ffty years. Gram still had lots of spunk, but a little help to keep it all running smoothly was essential.

Jeremy and I faced a crossroads in our life, with few prospects. We chose to come “home.” Jeremy joined his dad in his business. Their new partnership blessed both of them and our whole family. Gram delighted in my assistance to continue the work she loved.

My own children grew up spending lots of time hanging out here, experiencing Gram’s kindness and gentleness like I had. I watched her manage well, overcoming her fears with unexplainable peace and joy every day. Her gift of encouragement flowed freely and blessed many.

I was sharing all this with our Tuesday night group shortly after my own daughter and I had renovated and reopened as Cinnamah-Brosia’s Coffee Cottage and Gift Shop. Most of the ladies had been regulars here since childhood. All listened intently as, one by one, the ladies shared their stories of Gram’s peaceful spirit affecting their lives. Carol went frst.

When we lost our baby at just two months old, Miss Dot crocheted a blanket to wrap her tiny body. Tucked inside her soft and cuddly handiwork was a silver cross with a Scripture attached. I treasure it dearly.”

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NIV)

Melanie spoke up next. “My parents and I really clashed on so many things when I was a teen – that might be an understatement. Miss Dot believed in me when I believed no one else did. I accepted her invitation to help here after school. As we worked, she shared her own challenges as a young woman. She encouraged me to align my choices with God’s Word and obey my parents. There’s a special Scripture she gave me, too. ‘Focus on the promise of this Word and living it, too; and blessings of joy and peace will abound in your life,’ she said. She was right.”

Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, so you will live well and have a long life.

(Ephesians 6:1-3, MSG)

Gram believed God: she and her family were doubly clothed. Their physical needs were met. She prayed a spiritual cover over them every day, then shared Jesus every chance she found. Countless times she spoke the words of the Peacemaker, and lives changed. I’m sure she claimed this promise often:

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.

Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.

(John 14:26-28, HCSB)

With fear and trembling rather than tranquility in our hearts, it’s challenging to fnd courage to make a difference for others. Many broken lives await Jesus’ peace and a touch of kindness. Our little group knelt together in prayer.

Father God – giver of every perfect gift, help us hold each other accountable. Open our eyes to the people around us desperate for Your touch. Give us courage and boldness to offer Your love, not knowing the reception our words and deeds will receive. Cover our families with Your peace just like Miss Dot’s warm, velvet robe. Let it invade our own stress. Enable us to reach out in the practical and kind ways, the same as Miss Dot always did . . .

So quiet except for tears, until one voice broke the silence and we all joined in.

My Jesus I love Thee….[2]

[1]Featherston, William R., My Jesus I Love Thee, 1864, (Public Domain) [2]Featherston, William R., My Jesus I Love Thee, 1864, (Public Domain)

The Essence of Spikenard in Scripture

What is Your Spikenard?

Botanical name: Nardostachys jatamansi; fragrant oil steam-distilled from the roots; native to India

"Ewww.... that smells like my closet floor with all my dirty clothes and smelly socks!" That was one young lady's spontaneous reaction as my husband shared spikenard with his ffth grade Sunday school class. The day's lesson: Mary anointing Jesus’ head. We can be sure the aroma of a full pint of the oil flled the room. Shooey!!!

The cost – not the aroma – alarmed the disciples (especially Judas, the one who later betrayed Him for personal fnancial gain). The others’ concerns acknowledged the fact spikenard sold for a handsome price, and the money could help the poor. There was surely a better use for the resource than pouring a whole pint of expensive oil on someone's head.

Considering the cost and undeterred by their criticism, razzing and complaints, Mary chose to serve Jesus. She believed He was the most valuable investment opportunity in her life. Hindsight tells us she was absolutely correct!

Using spikenard for its comforting and calming scent and its potentially helpful topical support for healthy-looking skin was common frst century practice. Passover was just two days away. Jesus was quickly approaching His death and resurrection. Prophets foretold the deep stress and painful wounds he faced.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

(Isaiah 53:5, NIV)

Mary may have known Scriptures foretelling the abuse he would face, but she would not have made the imminent connection. Jesus Himself recognized exactly what lay ahead. He assured them, “By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial." (Matthew 26:12)

A pint of pure 'nard' represented a year's wages for a common worker. For a woman of ill repute, it was her life and livelihood. Recognizing her unworthiness and seeing Him as The Priceless Treasure worth seeking at any cost, Mary gave everything to the One who was about to give His life for her.

"By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial. I assure you: Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her."

(Matthew 26:12, 13) See also: Mark 14:3-9

Breaking open that full jar of oil would have contributed to a peaceful atmosphere for all that were present. Considering the conflict that arose, Mary may have been the subject of the controversy in this scene, but she may well have provided the antidote too.

Centuries earlier Solomon observed, noted, and experienced the fruit of an intimate relationship with God in the life of his bride and included spikenard – an aroma of peace and calming – in his garden descriptive.

When serving others, you lead with your heart. The act of serving is known to reduce stress and mild depression, and even make us happier. That sounds like a recipe for greater peace in our lives; and serving the poor, the naked, the stranger in need is seeing and serving Jesus. Serving is many times smelly at best. When we recognize our unworthiness, we see Jesus as The Priceless Treasure worth the cost and the stench. What is your spikenard? What

represents your life and a huge sacrifce if asked to pour it out for Jesus? Knowing your future may be affected and/or your action may draw heavy criticism, could you do it? Would you fnd the courage to do it? Do you see how, like Mary, your actions could bring much needed peace in that moment?

A Woman of the Bible Displays the Fruit

The Lady with the Peace Symbol

Peace is a belief that exhales. Because you believe that God’s provision is everywhere – like air. [1]

~~Ann Voskamp

Peace symbols everywhere . . .the sign of the times! That symbol made its debut in 1958. Very young children then, but as teens in the late 1960s the boomers (my generation) embraced the upside down “Y” and the two-fnger greeting. We searched for elusive peace in all the wrong places. The symbol became as familiar as the school bell signaling the start of a new day. We longed for a new day of peace.

The Vietnam Conflict (never ofcially declared a war) raged on and on. The three big networks’ six and ten o'clock electronic scrapbooks broadcast this unpopular battle into our homes every evening. The United States alone lost 58,220 lives. Thousands more were seriously injured. These were our siblings and friends. A tumbler bearing the theme of the day – “War is not healthy for children and other living things” – is all that remains of my personal artifacts. It holds pens, pencils, and a few strange memories as it keeps silent watch on my desk.

The peace symbol recently emerged in a huge comeback. I asked my grandchildren what history they knew of that sign they loved to draw and wear. Not much, but their generation is in need of peace, too. Wars, on one stage or another, from domestic to global in scope, rage on today. Their lives and ours are affected.

The symbol's history dates back to the early days of the nuclear war threats.[2] Theories exist of roots in some heathen rituals as well. The concept of peace and the desire for peace were not new as the boomer generation came of age, and it's not new today. Peace is elusive, and the sign is just a sign. It attracts attention, but doesn't end war and conflict. Unrest entered the world with Adam and Eve’s sinful choice in the garden. It intensifed when their son, Cain, murdered his brother, Abel. War and Peace claims high ranking on the list of longest novels ever written. Wars have punctuated all of mortal history, and they will until Jesus comes back for His bride.

Deborah, one of the greatest peacemakers in all of Scripture, knew a thing or two about war and peace! A prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, and a judge in Israel, Deborah regularly communed with God. She shared the wisdom He entrusted to her. As God directed, she summoned Israelite military leader, Barak, with these words:

Hasn't the Lord the God of Israel, commanded you: 'Go deploy the troops on Mount Tabor, and take with you 10,000 men from the Naphtalites and Zebulunites. Then I will lure Sisera commander of Jabin's forces, his chariots, and his army at the Wadi Kishon to fight against you, and I will hand him over to you.'”

(Judges 4:6-7)

Hesitant Barak would only go if Deborah went, too. Really? The request surely gained this lily-liver a royal roasting around the campfre for many years to come. Whatever grief this decision earned him, Deborah agreed to go. God warned Barak through her:

I will go with you,” she said, “but you will receive no honor on the road you are about to take, because the Lord will sell Sisera into a woman's hand.”

(Judges 4:9)

Deborah delivered the orders. She, Barak, and the army moved forward. Not one of Sisera's men was left – only Sisera. True to Deborah's words of warning from the Lord, Sisera himself fell at the hands of a woman. This scaredy cat ran to a home he believed safe. Jael greeted him, invited him in, and played the most gracious hostess. When he fell asleep – boom, he was dead! She nailed a tent peg right through his head!

Barak worried about the instructions he received from God. The odds were poor, and he lacked trust for a good outcome. Deborah knew no worry at all. She prayed. God spoke to her clearly. She trusted His guidance, and responded with courage. Deborah's calm in the midst of the storm and Jael's quick thinking landed this Israeli battle in the victory column with a capital V.

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7)

There was great joy in Israel that day in answer to Deborah’s prayers! Centuries later Jesus – same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – would make this promise:

Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.

(John 16:24, NASB)

In Philippians, Paul instructed that making our requests known to God brings peace. Where we have peace, we also have joy. The Greek word used to tell us the peaceful fragrance of Mary's spikenard “flled” the room is the same Greek word Jesus used to tell us that, through our communication and relationship with Him, our joy would be made “full.”

Deborah and Barak's full joy in God's victory spilled over as they sang and praised Him for the full 31 verses of Judges 5. The chapter closes, “And the land was peaceful 40 years.

Not just wars, but personal struggles, relationship challenges, family disputes, corporate politics, church disagreements, neighborhood battles, and more complicate our lives every day. Are you more likely to be a part of the peaceful solution when you fnd yourself in struggles like these, or do your actions add to the drama? God desires for our lives to be joyful, because peace then resides in our hearts. When you see a peace symbol, think of spikenard; inhale its earthy scent. Ask Jesus to go in front of you and behind you. The victory is His, and an eternity of peace awaits you.

1.     Voskamp, Ann, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas, (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2014) page 44.

2.     “The Origin of the Peace Symbol: A History of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) Logo,” Docs Populi,

Spikenard Essence Droplets

She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed.

(Proverbs 31:21)

Fun Facts about Spikenard

·         Spikenard has become an endangered species. It is often harvested with little consideration for proper steps to assure its sustainability. [1]

·         May be found growing wild on a stony or grassy slope. [2]

·         Pope Francis incorporated spikenard into his coat of arms. [3]

·         The entire plant is very fragrant, which is spikenard's defensive system to fght bacteria and insects.

·         It was common in Biblical times to preserve spikenard in an alabaster box. Mary brought it exactly this way when she anointed Jesus feet.

·         Spikenard essential oil is very thick. Colors range from amber to green to deep blue. Green is considered higher quality. [4]

·         Humility™, a proprietary blend from Young Living Essential Oils™, contains spikenard. Without humility there is little peace.

Your turn

– The lyrics of the song “Alabaster Box” (CeCe Winans) beautifully portray the peace that surpasses understanding, poured out with the spikenard in Mary's alabaster box. Use your search engine to fnd the lyrics to this song. Download it from your music app store. Or perhaps it's already in your collection. Take the time to listen, and be refreshed in the powerful message.

– Mix spikenard and lavender essential oils with aloe Vera for an after sun spray. Use approximately 2 ounces aloe Vera gel, 10-12 drops of lavender, and 2-3 drops of spikenard.

– Diffuse spikenard essential oil coupled with another oil or two of your choice. Spikenard blends well with lavender, cistus, patchouli, pine, and vetiver.

– Find a pint container of your choice to represent an alabaster box. Fill it with Scriptures and sayings about peace. When you or your friend needs encouragement, these inspirational notes will be at your fngertips.

1.     Spikenard,” Only Foods,

2.             Spikenard,” Only Foods,

3.             The Coat of Arms of Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana,

[4] Spikenard Organic Essential Oil,” Victorie, Inc.,

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