Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Whiter than snow...

"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."Psalms 51:7

There is nothing more beautiful that fresh fallen snow. In the area where I live we are now into our 4th major snow storm and though I do not like the clean up part, I confess that I love the snow when it is falling and fresh on the ground. If you go outside when the snow is beginning to fall there is a holy hush, a serene quietness, almost as if nature is standing in awe of it's own beauty.  And when it has fallen to the ground and no man nor animal has marred it's surface, it is the cleanest, purest, and most pristine sight! 


And yet the scripture says that when God cleanses us, it is even whiter than snow. What a wondrous miracle that is!  That He loves us so much that when we ask Him to take away our sins and mean it from our hearts He removes them and cleanses us of all unrighteousness. 
[I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.]


Several years ago, around this time of the year, one of my best friends, who was very ill with just a few more weeks to live on this earth said to me in a phone conversation from her bed: "When I look out the window at the snow, I think of how clean the Lord has washed my sins away." She was a person that loved the Lord with all her heart and was a blessing to her family and so many others. The illness was not kind to her, she suffered very much in her body and yet she still was at peace, so very much at peace and in her own way declared from her heart with great assurance "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

Every time I see snow at it's purest I think of her and it is a gentle reminder of God's unfailing love for us.  I don't know about you but God had a lot of cleaning up to do with me and it is still a daily practice that I ask Him to forgive me and cleanse me. And He is so faithful.







Here is an old hymn that says it all:

"O for a Heart whiter than snow"
Eliza Edmunds Hewitt (1851-1920)

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Kept, ever kept 'neath the life-giving flow,
Cleansed from all evil, self-seeking and pride,
Kept pure and holy by Calvary's tide!

Refrain

O for a heart whiter than snow!
Saviour divine, to whom else shall I go?
Thou who didst die, loving me so,
Give me a heart that is whiter than snow.


O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Calm in the peace that he loves to bestow,
Daily refreshed by the heavenly dews,
Ready for service whene'er he shall choose!

Refrain

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
With the pure flame of the Spirit aglow,
Filled with the love that is true and sincere,
Love that is able to banish all fear!

Refrain

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Then in his grace and his knowledge to grow,
Growing like him who my pattern shall be,
Till in his beauty my King I shall see!

On another note:  Here are some pics of my "Winter White" d├ęcor















And a "Hello" from Mr. Winter White himself!  BRUNO!









Saturday, January 4, 2014

Serendipity?

Serendipity , one definition is 'being pleasantly surprised".  I think that I have lost the capacity of being "pleasantly surprised". I read a devotional from Chuck Swindoll, one of my favorite writers, and he says "When we lose our capacity for [surprise-ability and spontaneity] we settle into life's rut. We expect little and we're seldom disappointed."
Sounds like me! I've fallen (in a big 'ol rut) and I can't get up! (laughing but not so funny)

I find that I am prone to be found in my comfort zone, where things are predictable and not hard to figure out.  I like things that are reliable and planned for ahead of time.  While these things are good qualities, sometimes we or rather I can get too comfortable and need to change.  My Mom always bought really good quality, name brand clothes for us when we were children, but she always bought them at least a size bigger than what we needed. She did this because she knew that we were in our
growing stages and no sense paying all that good money for clothes if you just grow out of them in 4 to six months.  Makes sense and good thinking!   But what doesn't make sense is that up until a few years ago I was still doing that for myself, a middle aged woman.  I would go into a store and buy clothes that were at least a size bigger because of what?  At my age I'm surely not growing, well not vertically anyway and I'm working on not growing horizontally and thank God have been successful thus far.  So why buy the bigger clothes?  Because it was a comfort zone for me, in a crazy way it represented security, being prepared.

I remember being in a leaders' meeting at the church I attended at the time many years ago and the pastor saying to me "You have quite a happy smile." And I remember thinking I FEEL happy!  I was a relatively new Christian, my husband and I were getting involved at our church and things were really on a good roll.  I felt almost invincible, to be sad as a Christian was unheard of to me. I mean how can you be sad and be a Christian at the same time?  I had found my comfort zone and I wouldn't let anyone pull me out of it. It was fine for a while then a thing called LIFE began to grab my attention through a series of events like disappointment, rejection, and even a failure in health. I was forced out of my comfort zone to confront LIFE and God reached out His hand and carried me along, never leaving me just as He said He would do.  Underneath all the howling winds of adversity, the waves of questions and the plummeting of disappointments was the constancy of God, my Father holding me and taking me through with a promise that I would make it.

I must admit that through all of this "growing up" I still seek out my comfort zone. I think that I have retreated back into what I know to be secure and reliable. While it is always good to trust in God's reliability and faithfulness, I on the other hand confess that I had begun to trust a little too much in
me. What can I do to make sure I don't get hurt again, that I don't get disappointed again, that I don't get stuck with clothes that are too tight...just in case...

My husband had a long term illness, that came with a voraciousness and then at times would be in a remitted state and a lot of the symptoms would be gone. This went on for years and together we believed that God would totally heal him one day. But when it came back the last time, he never recovered and passed away with both of us believing until the end that God would raise him up from the affliction.

In the years since his passing I believe that I have built a comfort zone around me that though it protected me somewhat from some unexpected things, it also kept out the "serendipity" that God wants for me.  Those pleasant surprises that He wants to bestow on each and everyone of us.

I love the movie "Serendipity", it's about a man and a woman that keep meeting in some crazy and strange events, in accidental, pleasant surprising ways. Ultimately  those serendipity events bring them together which was meant to be. Great chick flick!  But my prayer for 2014 is that I will allow the Lord to help me to relax and enjoy this life that He has entrusted me with.  That I get out of my comfort zone and once again believe Him for the pleasant surprises and that I will not fear of being caught without being first prepared.  My security is Him and He is always prepared.

Father, I thank You for allowing me to see another year and I pray that You take me by the hand and lead me through the purpose that You have for me. Amen!








We've been hit with snow 3 times in the last few weeks here are some pictures:

front porch
 
view from the porch
 
We got about 8 inches this time!
 
But Bruno and I are warm and safe inside!