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Better than Chanel No.5 perfume One of my favorite parts of Shabbat is the Havdalah service. Havdalah is the closing service, and it ends the twenty-four hour period of Shabbat. The service is short, and its purpose serves to distinguish between the Sabbath and the rest of the week. The word Havdalah is Hebrew and it means isolation or separation. To God, the sacred is always separate from the secular. That is why God's word says that the Sabbath day is holy and the Havdalah service serves to illustrate this separation of the sacred and the secular. I love this ceremony because of the unusual items used: a double-wicked candle, a glass of wine and a spice box. The spice box is my favorite part, as we inhale the contents of the spice box. This serves to remind us of the sweetness of the Sabbath rest, and the time we spent with God and with our loved ones. The fragrance of Shabbat remains for a while after Havdalah ends. All through Scripture, we see fragrance depicted two ways - either as an odor (good or bad), or as an aroma that accompanies an acceptable sacrifice. In Ephesians 5:2, we are encouraged to walk in love, just as Messiah Yeshua Jesus loved you, and gave Himself up for as, an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. This is not so great a mystery if we look a bit into nature. There is a tree called the balsam tree, and it is most special. When it is cut, it exudes a wonderful fragrant oil that has medicinal qualities. Although there are many hybrids of this tree, true balsam trees are found in Peru and in Israel, in Gilead, thus the term the balm of Gilead. The Gilead balsam oils sooth, restore and medicate for the purpose of healing. Only when the axe is laid to the tree do the fragrant oils find their true purpose. We believers are to model Yeshua Jesus. We are to exude a fragrance, even as the balsam tree. Instead of seeing harm in the affliction, we are to embrace the trial, knowing that the fragrance of Messiah Yeshua will come forth. Rabbi Sha'ul Paul writes of this in his letter to the Philippians, making mention of the gift offered for his work..."I received everything in full...a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice well-pleasing to God." Phil 4:18. The imagery Paul wants us to see is that of a fragrant burnt offering. The aroma of that burnt offering was pleasing to God as it entered His nostrils. Thus, it becomes an acceptable sacrifice. (the LORD smelled a sweet savour Gen.8:21, also note a sweet savour unto the LORD in Lev. 1:9,13,17; 2:9,12; 3:5,16; 4:31; 6:15;8:21;17:6;23:13;26:31.) Fear not the trials that come your way. When God sends the cross into your life, endure patiently, because the cross is also your deliverance. God's no always draws us closer to Him. Every denial, every loss, every frustration and every humiliation is the opportunity to learn new revelations about God's love. Is it easy to be like Yeshua Jesus? NO. Is it easy to be like a balsam tree? NO. Yet each trial gives birth to new understanding about God, about His love, His mercy, and His power. Trust Him. He will eventually turn every no into His yes. "Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." Ps. 27:14

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