For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Whiter than Snow

Psalm 51:7-10
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

In Southwest Ohio, the snow blanketed the ground this morning. I took our dog, Olive, outside and stepped into at least four inches of fresh, white snow. I admit; I love winter. We’ve had more snow and low temperatures this year than we’ve had in a long time. Secretly, or my husband would say not so secretly, I’ve enjoyed the white stuff. The low temps, not so much. The pure whiteness of the snow and the glitter effect create a winter wonderland, a pure white contrast to the darkness of sin.

In Psalm 51, David cried out to God to forgive him. He’d pursued Bathsheba and placed her husband in the line of fire. When he realized his sin, he knew he needed God more than ever. In his repentance, he asked God to cleanse his heart. Only God can renew a person’s heart. Only he can make me whiter than snow. When I see the snow, I’m reminded that Jesus died for me. He gave his life so my sin could be forgiven. So yes, I love the snow and the reminder God forgives. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Forgiveness--not always easy

Colossians 3:12-13
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

My husband, Tim, and I were meeting at McDonalds to get a bite to eat before we attended the Christmas eve-eve service at church. I arrived at the restaurant before him. As I waited, sirens screamed along the road. A sick feeling hit me. Within fifteen minutes my phone chimed. Tim told me he’d been in an accident. He was okay but they were taking him to the hospital to make sure. What I found out after that made me mad.

The man who hit Tim wasn’t paying attention. He simply did not slow down when he should have. I don’t know what distracted him. At that point I didn’t care; I just knew he hurt my husband, who I love. My anger grew for several days. Even though I praised God that Tim was not seriously injured and was still with me, I raged inside. I was able to thank God but I was not making progress in the forgiveness department. I knew I needed to forgive the man, but my anger kept rising. Through Christmas, I tamped it down while I celebrated with family. When the New Year rolled around, I knew in my heart it was time to let go and forgive. Even at that I struggled, until one Sunday during communion I thought about how much God had forgiven me. At that point I let go and prayed. I forgave the man, and God forgave me once again, for holding on to my anger. I praise God every day that Tim walked away from what could have been his last drive, and I thank God for forgiveness.

Friday, January 10, 2014

As Simple as That

Psalm 37:3-4
Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
 Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Nothing brings me joy like the promises of God. My friend, Holly, shared this scripture on Facebook this week. As I read the words, it hit me how easy it is to love God. Sure the struggles come and the difficulties of life press on all sides, but loving God brings me peace. Whether he sends me to Africa on a mission trip, Chicago for a conference or my backyard for a cookout, I’m in the place he wants me to be because I’ve been obedient, trusted him and followed his lead.

God wants me to succeed. He hopes that I’ll use the common sense and the loving heart that He gave me to take delight in him. He’s on my side. Why is it so difficult at times to listen to Him? As a person who wants to know what, why, when and how (yesterday) sometimes it’s hard to just follow. But it’s truly as simple as that. Trust God and delight in Him and He will not let me down. As a matter of fact, He’ll give me safe pastures and the desires of my heart. Those desires are not wants or needs. For me they include loving others, helping when I can, encouraging people, hugging and wishing folks well. I love the Lord. Praise Him for loving me back.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Glorious Reminder of his Love

Psalm 28:7-8
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.
The Lord is the strength of his people,
    a fortress of salvation for his anointed one (Jesus).

I love the words that David wrote in this psalm. He’d been through so many trials, temptations and tribulations, yet he looked to God. He’d tried doing things his own way and failed. But he knew where to turn. He fell before the Lord with praise because his strength came from Him. He trusted completely and understood that God shielded him from danger.

God hasn’t changed. He remains the strength of his people. Gathering with folks each week for worship reminds me that God is my fortress of salvation.  We sing, pray, listen to the wisdom of the Bible, share in communion and dwell in His presence. There are times that my soul is so stirred that my heart leaps for joy, just like the psalm says. What a glorious reminder of His love.