Friday, February 17, 2012

A Blanket of White

On Sunday morning the light streaming through my bedroom window awakened me, telling me it was about 7 am, time to get up. But when I looked at my watch, I saw it was only 5 am! For a second my sleepy mind couldn’t sort out this dilemma, but then I remembered: when I had gone to bed Saturday night, it was snowing outside! A covering of snow always reflects the light.

Those of you who hate winter and snow may struggle with this next concept, but when I thought about the snow, I became like a little child again. I jumped out of bed, hurried to the window, and flipped on the outside light. Sparkling in my back porch light, two inches of snow blanketed the yard. Overnight, winter’s drab landscape had changed to a white fairyland. The dead, brown grass disappeared under the snowy blanket, and the barren trees wore sparkling white accessories.

 There’s something special about freshly-fallen snow. It causes the world to look pristine in its winter finery, making winter’s plain face beautiful once again. Winter’s white blanket insulates the plants and muffles extraneous noises. Under its blanket, the world quiets and stills. On a cold, snowy day I love to curl up under a warm blanket, drink a cup of hot tea, and read a good book. If the snowy blanket is deep enough, activities and work come to a standstill. Many rejoice in the lull from routine activities and a time to be still. People stay cocooned in their homes instead of scurrying to numerous activities.

When I allow my soul to be blanketed in God’s spirit, the same changes occur. What was drab and colorless becomes white and sparkling as God’s spirit reflects His light and love. Even though the world around me may spin out of control, His spirit allows my soul to stay still and calm, resting in Him. Just as the blanket of snow insulates the earth, God insulates me against the clamor and coldness of the world and keeps my focus on Him.

Father God, wrap the blanket of Your Spirit around me that may soul may be still and reflect Your love.

Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Bouquet of Roses

Ladies, do you remember how you felt the first time someone sent you a bouquet of roses?  The gentleman who sent them thought very highly of you, and his gift made you feel very special and very loved, didn’t it?  You may have laughed or cried, but you certainly expressed joy at the beauty of the roses and the loving gesture of the one who sent them. 

Gentlemen, do you remember how you felt the first time you sent someone a bouquet of roses?  You loved that lady very much and hoped that this expression of your love would be pleasing to her and make her love you too.  You eagerly anticipated her response to your lovely gift. 

Do you enjoy looking at flowers or pictures of flowers?  Whether pictures, cut flowers bought from a florist or growing in your own garden, flowers are gifts from God.  He loves us very much, and he hopes we will appreciate his gifts and love him even more.  Just like a suitor who sends his loved ones flowers, God’s gift of fragrant flowers woos us to His side.  May we receive his gifts with joy, appreciation, and a desire to love him too.

Oh God, lover of my soul, open my eyes to the ways you woo me.  Whenever I see a fragrant flower, let me realize that this precious gift has come from You.  Let me respond with joy and gratitude to your countless gifts of love. 

Song of Songs 2:12-13 “Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land…. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mired in the Muck

After an extremely dry fall and winter, it finally rained. All day the water poured from the heavens in a steady stream. Water ample enough to soak the earth and fill the streams refreshed the dried landscape.

I waited for a couple of days after the rainfall to venture out to the nature trails. Many of the trails are sandy, so I hoped it wouldn’t be too muddy for my walk. Fortunately, most of the trails were dry enough to walk without totally coating my shoes in mud.

 Occasionally, though, I passed those dark curves in the pathway where the sun rarely shines, and where there is no sand. In these wide, shaded places the pathway was nothing but dark, oozy mud. Carefully, I skirted around those muddy quagmires, stepping on grassy spots, twigs or rocks to keep from sinking into the muck.

As I maneuvered around the muddy places, I remembered a time, as a little girl, when the mud was oh, so attractive! Walking in my rubber rain boots, I loved to squish through the mud, thoroughly enjoying the gooshy, slippery black mess. On one occasion, however, I learned not to stomp through the mud.

On that day I stepped into the middle of an especially gooey mud puddle, and stepping forward, I heard a loud sucking noise. My foot refused to move, for my boot was totally captured by the squishy mud. When I struggled to release my boot, my foot came out of my shoe and my boot and I found myself in the middle of the mud puddle with neither boot nor shoe. My feeble little-girl strength was not enough to extricate my boot and shoe from its muddy confines. Fortunately for me, my older, stronger brother (after a good laugh at my expense) pulled my boot out of the mud and I was able to continue home. Once there, I had a muddy mess to clean up before I could step one foot in the house. That day I learned not to walk through mud puddles.

Adults generally steer clear of the mud when they can. It’s the metaphorical mud that becomes enticing. As we wander on life’s pathway, we will invariably get stuck in the mud. At times, we all like to wander into the muck and get dirty. What is that mucky mess we wander into? That varies, depending on the person and the pathway he or she walks. Some of us step into the middle of self-righteousness—“my way is the right way and I won’t listen to anything else.” Others love to wallow in guilt, self-pity, or gossip. Still others become mired in the muck of addictions: food, material goods, entertainment, pornography, alcohol, cigarettes, or illegal drugs.

Whatever mud lies in the pathway, it is wise to avoid it at all costs. Once we step into the middle of that mud puddle, we become hopelessly mired in the muck. Fortunately for us, there is One strong enough to get us out of the muck, help us find our way home, and cleanse away all the mud.

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all righteousness.”

 Oh, Lord, guide our footsteps and keep us out of the mud.