Christmas Storms

Heavy snow storm in the woods

A cold heavy snow storm

Life is full of storms, most far worse than this snow storm. The Bible assures us that in such hard times, God is with those who love Him, even when we struggle with doubt. He promises to not only bring us through, but use our ordeal for his glory and our good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Unfortunately, this verse has been used clobber people over the head. Minimizing their travail with “don’t worry, be happy.” Instead of helping, it makes those undergoing difficulty feel guilty for not being able to rise above their fear, worry, anger and sadness. Jesus in Gethsemane felt all these emotions to the point of sweating blood, so our own dark swings of emotion are shared by our Creator…He understands.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

The point of these verses is to plant a tiny seed of hope — not make us feel guilty. They are given to help us endure the howling winds of life by reminding us that morning is coming. A glorious Christmas morning like none have ever known before.

The two pictures below were taken the following morning. They would not have been possible except for the cold winter storm.

the morning after a storm

After the storm

SHg10_151222-1200-Edit

Icicles sparkling in the morning sun

A Prayer Plagiarized

snow covering a meandering stream

Pure peace, and gentle rest, wrapped in love for us to enjoy.

The LORD’s Prayer given to me.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13

My prayer given back.

Deliver me from lust, and lead into into love.
Starve my stomach, and feed my heart.
Forgive what I have done, and reveal in me what You are doing.
Remove my shame, and drench me with Your grace.
Help me let go of my worry, and lead me in the pasture of Your peace.
Drown my pain with the hope of Your glory.
Remove the curse, and anoint me with joyful blessing.
Let me forget where I have been, by the power of whose I am.
Cover me with thy presence.
Rescue those I love, and bring us together in Your goodness … forever!

Alone at Christmas

lonely pine in the Methow Valley, Washington

Cold and alone, but the sun is coming

This time of year (Christmas) many feel terrible loneliness. This season brings that about because we are reminded of past holidays when departed loved ones were present. Also we look around and see others enjoying the company of family and we grieve at our loss. At such times it is good to let your heart and mind dwell upon God’s message to us at Christmas.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

Christmas is about Jesus, coming to die for us, so we might live in Him and with Him never to be alone again.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20

Unfortunately in the holiday hubbub the message of Christmas becomes cliché and thus tossed aside when we need it most — when we feel lost and alone.

The Miracle of Ice

SHg10_140320-5991-Edit72

Ice patterns on a frozen pond

How amazing are the intricate patterns on the surface of this frozen pond. This reminded me of another amazing fact about water and ice. Ice the solid form of water is lighter than its liquid form — opposite of other substance (the solid form of most things is heavier than its liquid form). This little anomaly is the reason lakes freeze from the surface down. If water did not have this peculiarity lakes would freeze solid from the bottom up, killing all the fish. No polar ice cap or floating icebergs for penguins, seals, and polar bears. Rivers would freeze from bottom up causing flooding. I am sure there are many other essential things that are related this quirk of nature. The bottom line is life, as we know it, could not exist. So next time you see an ice cube floating in your glass give thanks for God’s marvelous creation.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20