Devotions By Jan

Do You Smell Lemons?

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Scripture for Today: Proverbs 27:9 “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.”

We have all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” For the Crested Auklet seabird in Alaskan waters, the smell of lemons is a good thing! This gregarious bird does not attract a mate with its noisy honking, barking or whistling. It attracts a mate by secreting a strong citrus smell during breeding season! The scent is so strong that it is noticeable some distance away from the bird colonies.

Today’s verse acknowledges the joy that can come from a good pleasing scent. This proverb likens that pleasing smell to the pleasantness of hearing good advice from a true friend. Heartfelt advice is advice that is sincere and disinterested, not looking for personal advantage. Giving advice to a friend puts one squarely in a place of obligation and caring. There is no agenda nor are there hurt feelings if the advice is not taken. Heartfelt advice is motivated by simply wanting the best for the other. Asked for or not, advice from the heart shows thoughtful concern.

Quite frankly, I am not always open to advice, heartfelt or otherwise. There are plenty of times that I think I know better. And sometimes I do. But when a suggestion comes from someone’s heart, sincere and earnest in the spirit of friendship, I am more likely to consider it. That offered advice usually shows true friendship and a willingness to get involved. And when I do the same for a friend and it is well received, the friendship grows stronger. That give and take brings joy and we both smell good!

Thank you Lord, for the counsel of true friends.

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