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Thoughts For A Cold and Wintry Night

Snow 7J

For the second time in about three weeks, we have been hit with snow in the Chattanooga area. Last time, it caught most of us by surprise (much of the South, actually). This time, however, we were a little more prepared (or as prepared as we get, I suppose). While we were expecting some snow, I don’t think most of us expected as much as we got.

Snow 5JI will say this, however… while many folks around this area may not fully appreciate a good snowfall (and the inconvenience it brings), there is something about it that is most intriguing. To look out across a landscape that had been diverse – filled with beauty, flaws, focal-points both positive and negative, and works of art (some man-made, some “Creator-inspired”) – then to see it all covered with the same blanket of snow, the same texture and tone, it is as if a good snowfall becomes the great equalizer. The edges and inconsistencies of the topography disappear into one solid, flowing, undisturbed landscape of snowy perfection, punctuated by trees, ponds, and structures. Even the night seems less intimidating, less mysterious, and less ominous.

imageSnow and winter have long been popular subjects for writers, poets, bards, and balladeers. The great Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote…

Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long. ~ from “Woods in Winter”

Snow 2JRobert Frost painted a picture of a snowy paradise…

A winter garden in an alder swamp,
Where conies now come out to sun and romp,
As near a paradise as it can be
And not melt snow or start a dormant tree. ~ from “A Winter Eden”

The beauty and purity of snow was not lost on those who penned the Bible either…

“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow…” ~ Isaiah 1:18

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” ~ Psalm 51:7

imageFreshly-fallen snow paints a beautiful picture of grace. Regardless of what went on before, upon snow’s arrival,  the blemishes are forgotten, the inequities are forgiven, and below the surface, new life is waiting to be born.

However, another picture comes to mind with the invocation of snow. Think of the majesty of a snow covered mountain range. Think of the creative power displayed in the beauty of a snow-covered vista. Now, with that in mind…


“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.” ~ Daniel 7:9

“The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.” ~ Revelation 1:14-15

Think about it the next time you encounter a good winter’s snowfall. You may not look at snow the same way.

(Special thanks to my friends who braved the cold, and shared their pictures with me.)


When the World Goes Mad…

At one time or another, we all want to run and hide. We want to resist the urge to get out of bed in the morning, simply pull the covers up over our head, and pretend the rest of the world has dissolved into time and space. For many, the recent events in our world make these feelings not just a passing fascination, but a genuine wish…

The recent terrorist attack in Boston, and information being reported in its wake make us question the safety of our nation.

The revelations coming out in the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell makes us question the sanity of a civilization that allows the horror of abortion to be perpetrated upon the most innocent and helpless among us… the unborn.

The contrast of the media reaction in treating a professional athlete who “comes out of the closet” (with regard to his sexuality) as a hero, while ridiculing and denigrating another for simply being unashamed of his Christian faith, makes us skeptical of an “unbiased” media clearly bent on force-feeding the public with a left-wing, liberal, Godless agenda.

I could go on for days, but you get the picture. Honestly, sometimes we just want to hide.

So how should we deal with it? How do we keep our sanity when the world is losing it’s collective “mind”? How do we maintain a heart-cry of holiness when we feel as though we are being drowned-out by the noise of profane and abhorrent voices actively pursuing our silence?

How do we find “the secret place”?

Must I wrestle as Jacob? Must I run as Elijah? Must I weep as Isaiah? Must I be martyred as Paul?

No. These are only the outward circumstances that lead us to the simple secret of his Presence. The answer lies in having a depth of spiritual hunger and thirst. God is looking for some people with a desire as strong as a parched and thirsty man lost in a desert. Such a man would give all he owned in a desperate moment for a lifesaving drink of water.

Our desperate cry for Him should be wholehearted and passionate! In Scripture, we find out how to seek Him, and discover promises from the Father for those who are thirsty. Are you…

Like a deer running from a hunter? (Psalm 42:1-2)

Like a weary worshipper, tired of the ordinary? (Psalm 63:1-4)

Like a tired traveler on a journey? (Psalm 107: 5-6)

If any of the above describe you, then ACT!

Stretch your hands toward Him. (Psalm 143:6)

Claim His promise of outpoured blessing. (Isaiah 44:3)

Respond and come before His grace. (Isaiah 55:1)

Realize that you are invited – not to religion – but to Jesus. (John 7:37)

Your responsibility is to come. (Revelation 21:6)

When you arrive, you may drink of Him. (Revelation 22:17)

In Matthew 5:6, Jesus says…

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

My only requirement is a holy dissatisfaction with all that is around me. My heart must be thirsty for Jesus, and Him alone. I can hear Him calling me up the stairs into the High Place where there flows an artesian well of life. It is mine to enjoy. I may drink, or I may splash in it like a child on a hot summer day.

I come, O Lord. Indeed, I come with all my heart and soul.

~ from my book, Secret of the Stairs