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A SUDDEN "SHRIEK" OPENS A WINDOW OF REVELATION

Years ago, I was having lunch in a restaurant in Boynton Beach, Florida,

sitting alone, and a short distance away was a large table with six or seven

middle-aged ladies. All were well-dressed and I assumed were members of a

Garden or Bridge Club. The same waitress was serving their table and mine.

The restaurant was crowded but quiet. I happened to be watching when the

girl waiting on them quietly removed an empty salad plate from the table.

When she did the woman nearest her screamed loudly, waving both arms, "Get

away from me! Get away from me!" Her voice was mean, very angry. The

waitress jumped back, frightened, and frozen in position. Everyone in the

restaurant jerked to attention. The ladies at her table were both shocked and

embarrassed–taking humiliated glances at each other. There was no reason for

the woman’s outburst.


Later, when the waitress came to my table I said to her, "Do you want me to

explain what happened over there?" She first looked startled at my question,

then sat her stack of dishes on my table. "Please!," She answered, "I never

touched her! All I did was pick up an empty salad plate–that is what I was

taught to do!" Her expression was still one of fright." "Let me explain," I

said, "That was not a woman to woman shriek–That was a ‘spirit’ to ‘spirit’

shriek!" She looked puzzled.


"The unclean spirit in the woman recognized the Holy Spirit in you," I said, "It

felt threatened by your presence and wanted to chase you away! That was the

reason it said, "Get away from me!" The girl listened intently. "You are a

Christian," I said, she nodded "Yes," and I continued. Whenever demons are

threatened by the Holy Spirit's nearness they lose control. ‘Get away from me’

was that spirit’s automatic response!" The waitress’ expression changed to

complete agreement. Those at the woman’s table probably never understood

the spiritual implications behind the attack.


That being so, I want us to examine ourselves in the light of the waitress’

experience. Observe this scripture carefully: "Now thanks be to God who

always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of

His knowledge in every place. 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" (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). I explained in detail, "To the

woman at the table, you were the aroma of ‘death leading to death.’ The

demon felt the threat of his future judgement and began screaming "Get away

from me! Get away from me!" He panicked by your presence.


But why this example of "fragrance?" Hear this explanation carefully: Had

you been standing near Jesus’ tomb during the Resurrection--but in early

morning darkness--you would still have known the grave was opened. The

whole area was suddenly flooded with the fragrance of 100 pounds of spice

that had anointed His body. He was gone but the perfumed witness of His

Resurrection was powerfully present. That fragrance fulfilled the prophecy

that Solomon wrote 1,000 years before Christ.


Read it with your spiritual eyes:

"Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind!

Blow upon my garden, That its spices may flow out.

Let my beloved come to his garden And eat its pleasant fruits."

— Song of Solomon 4:16.


In the restaurant, it was the spiritual fragrance on the waitress that forced the

demon to cry out. The Bible gives us other examples of people who carried

this anointing. Zacharias the Priest and father of John the Baptist is one. After

burning incense in the Temple and being bathed in its fragrance, Zechariah did

not have to explain to people on the street or to Elizabeth his wife where he

had been. He smelled like a man who had worshiped in the presence of God!

He carried the "fragrance" and diffused it every where he went. Luke 1:8-14.


Years ago I was in a meeting with Mel Tari, the wonderful Indonesian

minister, and during prayer the building was suddenly filled with the powerful

fragrance of wine. I assumed we would be having Communion. I was wrong.

The wine-aroma was wholly spiritual. It was so impacting that more than 40

years later I still remember it vividly. God expects there to be a fragrance upon

us that will testify of the Holy Spirit’s presence. As servants of Christ we

must be able to give congregations more than religious talk. They don’t want

it! They have heard it before and are tired of it! They want reality!


Let me ask a personal question: "When people get around you, what do they

smell?" I am not being factitious or crude. Do you carry on your person the

"aroma of life unto life" or do you have the odor of "death unto death"? Those

are our only options. There is nothing else. God intends that "Kingdom

People" carry His "Kingdom Fragrance." This fragrance cannot be identified

by doctrine or denomination; it is an endorsement from the "age to come." It

doesn’t come in a bottle–you can’t buy it.


When Isaiah said the Messiah would not judge "by the sight of His eyes, nor

decide by the hearing of His ears," Isaiah 11:3, he was implying that like a

sheepdog can smell a wolf in the dark so the Messiah would detect truth by its

fragrance. God and the world smell us. The New Testament gift of

"discerning of spirits" parallels this action very closely. Like smelling the

fragrance of a flower you can sometimes discern people’s purity and

cleanness–or their dishonesty and deception. We Christians would save

ourselves a lot of grief if we obeyed Paul’s admonition to "desire earnestly the

best gifts." In my opinion the gift of "discerning of spirits" is among the very

best, (1 Corinthians 12:10). It can save us from many wrong choices. Our

problem is that we do not recognize the need for the Spirit’s fragrance in

ourselves–or our need to detect its message in others.


Here is my point, we can quote scripture until we faint and fall on our faces

but if we carry no miraculous fragrance we will do better to be quiet. Once I

was in a meeting when I lost my voice and could not speak a word. But! The

Holy Spirit still moved in incredible power on the people. Hear this: I would

rather be mute with the anointing of God than be fully vocal without His

miraculous presence. Preaching without the "anointing" produces religion--not

spirituality.


Paul said it this way: "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph

in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every

place. 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," 2

Corinthians 2:14-16. In other words, God expects there to be a holy fragrance

upon us that whether talking or silent, our witness becomes alive with

awesome power. This happened with the waitress.


The gospel of John gives a perfect illustration of what I mean: "After this,

Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the

Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave

him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who

at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and

aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it

in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in

the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new

tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of

the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby," John 19:38-20:2. Our

ultimate question is this: When people get around us what do they smell? Hair

spray? Sweat? Perfume? Dirty clothes?


Once when I was preaching in Kazakhstan, a dirty-looking stranger dressed

totally in black rags became so overcome with the transforming power of the

Lord that he suddenly ran forward, grabbed me under my arms, lifted me from

the floor, and spun me around. I was a captor! His hair was greasy-black, his

beard thick and messy, but in that moment he became angelic and beautiful

beyond description. What had happened? He smelled the fragrance of Jesus

and was transformed. The dirt, grime, and darkness, of a sordid life vanished

and he was changed to the Glory of Christ. His demons were banished! He

stepped into a new life in Christ! This is the point: God intends that kind of

transformation for all of us.


That day the restaurant was a "photograph" of humanity. It revealed Sin,

Redemption, Demons, the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of Life and Light, and the

other of Death and Darkness. The stranger in Kazakhstan showed how the

worst can run from pain and sorrow and be translated into one of God and

Glory! The waitress showed how someone can be a silent but transforming

witness of the Holy Spirit’s life and power!


Think on these things!

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