Jesus: The Christian’s Durable Everyday Work Clothes

Several years ago, I started doing my own laundry, especially my everyday clothes and basics.  Most days, when I was milking, I wore one set of clothes all day long, beginning with the morning milking and ending with the evening milking. I had about 5 sets of work clothes, so that would do me for about 5 days.  I suppose I could have extended the time between washings by re-wearing the same jeans and shirt on consecutive days, but  no one would have wanted to be around me on that second day.

When you work in dirt, you will get dirty. This is the purpose of heavy duty “work” clothes. They are made to durably withstand the continual cleansing needed to remove the grimy residue which will inevitably stick to them when they are daily worn in a grubby environment.

Christians are given one set of spiritual clothing.  When one believes in Jesus and is baptized into him, he “clothes” himself with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27) This garment is not to be reserved as a “Sunday go to meeting” tailored suit, but it is to be worn as an everyday work garment.

Mouse over scripture reference to view entire scripture text.

Christ is never to be taken off by the Christian. When one daily wears Christ, he will often find the sinful residue of this world trying to cling to his spiritual clothing. This is nothing new.  The world has tried to soil and spoil the purity of Jesus for centuries.  Time and time again, the carnal world has tested  the clothing which God provides for His children, and yet Christ has always come out spotless (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Christians wear a durable and extremely tough spiritual garment.  It has been made to last a lifetime and to endure washing after washing (1 John 1:5-2:6). Often times we find ourselves wondering if we are excessively using Jesus, or if He is wearing out due to the rugged environments and circumstances that we find ourselves in. Sometimes we wonder if our weakness to temptation is so great that holes are beginning to mar the integrity of our gift. That’s when we need to remember that as long as we do not choose to remove Christ by rekindling our love for the sinfulness of this world (2 Peter 2:20-22), He comes with an eternal lifetime guarantee (Romans 8: 31-39).

Believers in Christ need not be concerned about their garments being filthy when they stand before the Father on the Day of Judgment (Ephesians 5:25-27), for the beautiful robe God has tailored for them can never wear away into a filthy rag.

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Frozen Pipes Can Be Easily Repaired; A Frozen Spirit Is Devastating

When I was operating the dairy,  I heated the barn with a sheet iron wood stove.  I didn’t like to build a fire unless it was absolutely necessary to keep the water pipes from freezing.  Some called this laziness, but I preferred to think of it as being frugal and not wasting natural resources.

Choosing to provide only the bare minimum of necessary heat often proved to be quite stressful. I found myself almost daily debating myself as to whether or not a fire was needed. When the temperature dropped below freezing and stayed below freezing, that was a no brainer.  But Kentucky winters rarely produce long stretches of below freezing temperatures.

On mostly sunny days, when the outside temperature rose to 40+ degrees, the temperature could drop to the mid-teens at night and the temperature in the barn would not fluctuate enough to matter.   However, when the temperatures hovered just around 32 degrees both day and night, that was the time that I was more likely to make a fool-headed decision.  On those days, I personally, physically did not feel a need for an external heat source. Between my own internal body heat and the insulated clothing which I wore to preserve it,  I didn’t realize that the temperature inside the barn was steadily dropping.  My perception was that as long as I felt reasonably comfortable, then everything else must be experiencing the same degree of warmth.  As a result, just about every winter, there would be at least one morning when I regretted having lost the previous night’s debate concerning the need for a fire.

Thus, the stressful inner debates which often plagued my days and produced many a sleepless night.  “Do I build a fire or not?”  “Did I make the right choice in not building a fire?”  “Should I get up, put my clothes back on, and go build a fire or not?”

Spiritually, the times that offer the most risk for us to allow our faith to grow cold are not the times when our moral environment and circumstances are drastically fluctuating.  We may occasionally find ourselves temporarily cast into a very immoral environment.  We are cast there by chance, and not by our own choosing.  For just a few hours or days, we find ourselves  surrounded by people who unashamedly and openly practice sin.  But then our spiritual environment changes for the better. We are afforded the opportunity to return home to the warming strength of our loved ones who faithfully serve the Almighty.   We are afforded the opportunity to gather with our spiritual family to praise God and to build up our faith. The warmth produced by these experiences and bonds help erase the freezing effects of the past few days, and our souls become warm again in the light of the Son.

Spiritually, the times that offer the most risk for us to allow our faith to grow cold are not the times when we find ourselves totally submerged in an immoral environment for an extended period.  No doubt these prove to be trying circumstances; more so than the afore described situation.  But the initial shock of the undesirable surroundings often motivates us to kindle a large fire within our hearts through prayer, Bible study, and self-evaluation, so that we can keep from freezing in our devotion.

Often, the times that offer the most risk for us to allow our faith to freeze are the times when we hover around the dividing line of sin and righteousness; sometimes rising just above it in order to serve God for a short while, sometimes dipping below the line to indulge in sin for a few hours.  During these times, we generally find ourselves surrounded by attractive, engaging personalities who really seem neither evil nor righteous; they are just good old boys and girls trying to grab the most out of life.   During these times, we generally find ourselves tempted to indulge in seemingly innocent, enjoyable activities that really appear to be neither right nor wrong; they appear to be colored with a grayish hue.  During these times, we find ourselves gradually spending less and less time worshiping and serving God with our faith-filled families.  Instead, we find ourselves spending more time engaging in activities that once were taboo; activities from which we at one time abstained, but which now steadily are becoming a part of our lifestyle.

In our minds, we really don’t feel that our spiritual temperature and fervor has drastically changed.  Since we do not feel spiritually cold, we reason that we evidently are not cold and there is no danger of our faith freezing. We may even begin to reason that there never was any danger of freezing; that the danger was just an illusion created by those who wanted to control us.  Then one day, we wake to find that the temperature of our hearts has crossed the line which separates between sin and righteousness. The thought of serving God no longer generates even the smallest amount  of comforting warmth. Spiritually, we have frozen.

When I was milking, it didn’t take a great amount of labor to thaw or repair a water line, so I took a lot of chances.  Spiritually freezing is a totally different story.  Losing our desire and ability to serve God because we have allowed our hearts to wonder far away from the Son is devastating.

If you ever find yourself hovering around that line between evil and righteousness, build a fire before it’s too late.

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:9-13)

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When Christianity Becomes a Competitive Game

“The goal of that game is to come home with whatever it is you want, and to take it from whom ever currently possesses it.”

My family stood staring at me with a somewhat dumbfounded look on their respective faces.  They couldn’t believe I had said it.  The implications of the statement flew in the face of the spirit of Christmas and the very nature of the faith which we all espouse and proclaim.  The spirit of Christmas is best summarized as “the joy of giving to others.’  The nature of our Christian faith can best be summarized with an acrostic for JOY;  Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between. Yet all I had done was plainly state my understanding of the intent of the game, and the attitude with which one must play if he is to “succeed.”

The game we played is called “Dirty Santa”.  In this game, a player chooses an unknown gift from a pool, and then he may opt to either keep the gift or swap it for another player’s gift; a gift he deems more desirable.  The rules of the game vary,  often being modified by house rules, but the basics remain the same.

My statement produced the momentary shock because I uttered it in defense of my coming home with my desired “gift” .  It explained  why I had “stolen” the gift from my dad.  The statement implied that I had played the most recent game with a completely selfish intent, and that this was not the first time I had done so.

The objective of competition is always to win.

Some of us are competitors at heart.  When we encounter a circumstance which we perceive to be competitive, something inside us kicks in, and we just can’t seem to reverse that need to “win”.  (I even feel the competitive spirit when shopping for the gifts for this game.  In my mind, I must choose the gift that will be “stolen” the most times, or my shopping is in vain.)  Competition inherently produces selfishness.

I offer this not as an excuse, but as an explanation for why some of us need to purposely avoid competitive circumstances.  Competition can easily get the best of us, and produce a selfishness within us which prompts us to live by an unchristian like “win at all costs” maxim.

Mouse over scripture reference to view entire scripture text.

Spiritually, the perception of competition can sometimes hinder us from serving God with the proper spirit.  When we believe that our salvation in some way depends upon our works, or our goodness, then we begin to compare ourselves to one another. (2 Corinthians 10:12,18) When we believe that the success of converting others to Christianity depends upon our wisdom, our ability to turn a phrase, or our ability to market the gospel, then the divisive spirit of competition naturally kicks in; we begin to divide the church into competing denominations or congregations, and we begin to speak of “my” church, “my” faith, and “my” belief. (1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-6)

Neither division, nor competition, nor the inherent selfishness these produce, has a place in true Christianity.  (1 Corinthians 3:1-9).  As Paul would say, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

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Don’t Ask Me To Predict His Reaction

Several years ago, I had a bull that acted about as mean as a bull can act and he voluntarily remain within a loosely fenced lot.  I was afraid to intermingle within “his” herd, and dreaded the times when I needed to separate some of the heifers.  Needless to say, he did not stay on the farm for a very long period of time.  Before I unloaded him at the market, I told the men that he was aggressive.  They responded by spreading the word down the line so  that all in the alleyways would be on high alert.  When I opened the trailer door, I literally had to force the bull out, and he walked so humbly that one of the market employees placed a hand on the bull’s hip to encourage him along.

Holstein-Friesian bulls’ behaviors are unpredictable.
http://www.landlearnnsw.org.au/home

Several days later, my brother took a bull to the same market.  This bull had shown no signs whatsoever of aggression.  Even when being loaded, the bull calmly and humbly stepped onto the trailer without so much as a snort.  At the market, my brother told the men that the bull was passive and should be no trouble to herd through the alleyways. When he opened the trailer gate,  the bull wildly jumped out of the trailer and reacted to his new surroundings by trying to tear down everything in his path.  The men who were scattered along the alleys had to avoid injury by climbing the gates as he ran by.

As it is with cattle, so it is with mankind.

Spiritually,  one can never accurately predict how any one person will react toward a set of circumstances.  This is especially true when those circumstances involve the person’s being confronted with the cross.  At their initial encounter with Jesus, some of the most heathenish acting people will eagerly bow at the foot of the cross.  On the other hand, after many encounters with the gospel, some of the most politically correct, sociably acceptable, patriotic, law abiding citizens will defiantly stand with clinched fists, casting insults at that bleeding “enemy” of mankind hanging before them upon the tree.

Hover over scripture references in order to read the cited passages. All passages appear as translated in the English Standard Version.

We are never called upon to prejudge a person’s probable response to the gospel.  Thank God that we aren’t because even a prediction based upon the most intense statistical study would prove erroneous.  We are called to sow the seed by preaching the word, and then to rely on the author of the word to give the increase.  (Matthew 13:3-9, Matthew 13:18-23, 1 Corinthians 3:7)

“But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. ( 1 Cor. 1:23-24)

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Are We Walking on the Roadway or the Treadmill of Life?

Walking on a treadmill and walking on a roadway are two entirely different experiences.  One may walk the same distance in the same amount of time on a treadmill as he does on a roadway.  He may burn the same amount of calories and reap the same health benefits.   But the two experiences are far from the same.

A person may walk a circuit on a roadway, going out a certain distance and then returning along the exact same pathway to the starting point; but the return trip is never the same as the advance trip. The flora and fauna are viewed from a different perspective.  When returning, the person sets new landmarks and goals to reach.  Vehicle traffic varies.  The surroundings are ever changing and the possible encounters unpredictable. But the most rewarding part is feeling as if one is advancing.

On a treadmill, the goal is to cover an imaginary distance within a predetermined time limit. The goals and landmarks are numbers on an electronic display.  And though one may try to take the edge off of the boredom by watching a televised event, the surroundings and encounters are both controlled and  predictable.  And the worst part is experiencing the feeling that one is going nowhere fast.

Life is much the same. When one sets attainable goals for each day, and then consciously strives to methodically reach those goals by moving forward in this ever-changing, unpredictable world, at the end of the day, he will look back at the day’s efforts with pride and pleasure.  He may find himself at the very place he started, but he will have the satisfaction of knowing that he did his best to advance.

However, if one spends an identical amount of time simply existing, he may feel the same amount of seconds ticking away from his lifespan. He may walk the same amount of steps. He may seemingly put forth the same amount of effort, all the while pretending to cover the same amount of ground. But the experience will not be the same. He will inevitably find that his day was filled with clock watching and sighing.

The perception of advancement makes all the difference in our outlook on life.  If we feel like we are on the treadmill of life, we will spend our time asking how much more time and effort we  have to put in until we have completed our walk. However, if we feel that we are advancing toward a goal, we will spend our time asking  how much further we get to walk.

Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
(Ephesians 5:14-17 ESV)

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Seagulls in Kentucky? What Are They Doing Here?

Look!  Up in the sky.  Is that a some type of pigeon?  Is that some type of huge killdeer or dove?  No.  I believe that’s a seagull.  What’s that doing here in Kentucky?

Wildlife abounds in our region of rural Kentucky; far more so than during my youth.  During the 60’s and 70’s, people rarely caught glimpses of deer, fox, wildcats, or local Canadian geese.  Turkey, coyotes, bear, and bald eagles were virtually nonexistent in this area.  Most of these species were at one time indigenous to south-central Kentucky, but through the years they had been uprooted to other areas of our state.  Now, through renewed wildlife conservation practices, flocks of turkeys roost in every small patch of woods, herds of deer graze along tree lines, choruses of coyotes echo throughout the night, and even the occasional bald eagle can be seen perching on a limb at the top of a tall tree.

These gulls were resting in a shopping center parking lot in Glasgow, KY. 12/19/16

But seagulls?  What are they doing in Kentucky?

I remember the confusion I experienced the first time I saw gulls circling around a shopping center parking lot in Campbellsville.  They landed directly behind a Long John Silvers restaurant and I concluded that the franchise had imported them to create a more authentic atmosphere. Since then, I have seen several flocks of gulls in different towns around the region, and I have come to understand that although gulls do not usually abound in an inland area like ours, it is not uncommon for them to settle in areas surrounding rivers or lakes.

The term seagull is a misnomer.  Not all gulls are restricted to saltwater habitats.  Gulls are scavengers.  Some species – like the Ring-billed gull and the Herring gull – even breed in the Great Plains and in Central Canada. (http://www.hiltonpond.org/ThisWeek040115.html)  Since they are scavengers, gulls also sometimes find trash heaps and landfills to be inviting.  So basically, one should not be surprised to find “seagulls” anywhere that food and water may be found.

Spiritually, we may have been conditioned to believe that only certain types of people “belong” in the church or will become Christians.  Those of us who are Christians sometimes contrive the notion that  salvation and discipleship is limited to people like us; our type people are the only type people who can understand the truth and will be willing to accept the truth.  Those who have yet to believe and obey the gospel sometimes convince themselves that salvation and discipleship is exclusionary to people like themselves; our type people don’t belong there and we won’t be accepted by those type people.

Hover over scripture reference to see Biblical text.

The Bible plainly teaches that the saving gospel is available to all. (John 3:16-17; Revelation 22:17).  The Bible is filled with examples of men and women coming to Jesus from all walks of life ; highly immoral and destitute people, (Matthew 9:10-13), moral and religiously trained people (John 3:1-36), physicians (Colossians 4:14), royalty (Philippians 4:22), military leaders (Acts 10:1-47), governmental officials (Acts 8:26-40), those who practiced witchcraft and sorcery (Acts 19:17-20); and the list goes on (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

“Seagulls” belong in Kentucky just as much as any other bird.  My ignorance convinced me to exclude them.  God has made the saving grace-filled gospel available to every person. (Acts 10:34-35)  Only human ignorance makes it exclusionary.

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Keep the Heart Fires Burning

A man who sold firewood as a sideline gained a contract to sell several semi-truck loads to be delivered to a metropolitan area.  For a couple of years, he made sure that only the best hardwood (oak, hickory, ash, etc.) went on those loads. Hardwoods are considered the best, most desirable wood for heating. The dealer kept the softwoods for his own usage.  He thought that in doing so, he was keeping the seconds and shipping the prime cuts.

On one visit, the man purchasing and reselling the fuel looked at the “seconds” pile and told the contractor, “I see what you’re doing.  You are keeping the best for yourself and sending all the stuff no one wants with me.”

Most of his customers in the metropolitan area did not purchase wood to be burned in a stove for heating purposes.  They intended to burn it in indoor fireplaces, in outdoor fire pits, or in other settings where the heat was a nice side benefit, but the real desire was ambiance.  His patrons wanted  wood which would ignite and flame easily and which would continuously crackle and pop while being consumed.  They wanted to create a warm and cozy atmosphere through the  visual and audio effects of the burning softer wood.

The next year, the seller kept all of the hardwood to sell to his local customers and to burn for himself.  He shipped only the soft wood to the metropolitan area.  The middleman responded by saying it was the best quality of wood which he had ever purchased and that his customers loved it.

Spiritually, God intended Christianity to be a long lasting, enduring source of heat; a source which continually burns in a person’s life and is fueled primarily by spiritual hardwood which produces a life-sustaining, long-term warmth and comfort.  Many are searching for this type of lifelong, life-changing “heat” when they approach God’s word.  And they are not disappointed.  They both discover and nestle in the warmth of the gospel.

Others want something different when they look to build a spiritual fire with the fuel of Christianity.  Some  simply want the ambiance; the comforting, peaceful looks and sounds which a softer form of Christianity can produce. They welcome any stimulating heat produced, as a nice side benefit, but it’s not really the primary purpose for including a Jesus-based religion in their lives.  For these souls, the “Jesus” fire needs to be quickly and easily ignitable, but  just as easily extinguishable, so that they can enjoy it on an “as needed” basis.

One can find both types of spiritual wood in God’s Word.  The key is to search out and use both types. There are times when we need an easily ignitable source of fuel in order to create an immediate atmosphere of spiritual warmth, comfort, companionship, and security.  However, we need to never forget that exclusively using spiritual softwood to ignite an occasional fire totally defeats the purpose of the cross.  Christianity is never to be used exclusively to produce an ambiance; a visual and audio psychological effect. Our faith in Jesus must produce a life-changing, life-sustaining fire that burns so hot that it can never be extinguished; and only the hardwood of the Gospel can fuel that type of fire.

“Therefore my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  (1 Cor. 15:58)

 

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Go To Church, But Not Because Mama Said To

“Always Be Humble and Kind” went all the way to the top of the charts.  Tim McGraw recorded the country favorite, but it was written by Lori McKenna. Mrs. McKenna wrote the song as a poetic way of reminding her children of several noble practices she hopes they will implement throughout their lives.  Going to church is one of those practices.  The fourth line of the song exhorts, “Go to church ’cause your mama says to.”

Often, the writers of songs, TV shows, movies, and books will inadvertently express an attitude or motivation which resides in the hearts of much of the populace.  Perhaps they have observed it within themselves, perhaps they have observed it in others, or perhaps the expression just naturally fits and completes their work of art.  Either way, the author embeds the phrase within the piece and fans hear it repeated over and over.

“Go to church ’cause your mama says to” is one of those inadvertent phrases.

Today, many in this world will attend a worship service devoted to the God of the Bible simply because Mama, or Daddy, or some other family member told them to do so as a child.  Through the years, a seed of belief may have been sown on the surface of their heart, but it never deeply embedded itself, and it never grew into faith.  For them, “going to church” was, is, and always will be a family tradition; and nothing more.

When a child is young, “Because I said so!” may prove to be the easiest, quickest, and simplest solution to a Sunday morning conflict, but it should never be the go-to  answer.  Parents must be willing  to take the time at home to describe the love of Jesus to their children, and explain the true motivation behind the Sunday gatherings of the church.  They must take the time to explain the meaning of worship, the motivation for expressing adoration to the creator, and the personal benefit of practicing a sincere faith.  Otherwise, the child’s faith will not mature as he matures, and “going to church” will never become anything more than “going to church.”

Today, as we go to worship, may we all understand that we are going to worship, and not going to church.  May we praise God from a fervent heart; not just carry on a family tradition.  May we teach our children this all important difference.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42 ESV)

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24,25 ESV)

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Can We Increase Our SEO With God?

In researching the best way to increase the popularity of a blog, I’ve run across many terms, mnemonics, and acronyms that are unfamiliar to me. Any novice tech geek can easily define them.  SEO is one of those acronyms.  SEO means search engine optimization.  It refers to the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a web search engine’s unpaid results.  The use of highly recommended SEO practices will increase the chances that Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other search engines will easily locate the webpage, and it will be displayed as one of their primary recommended results for a search.

I want my page to continually increase in traffic and to increase in it’s number of repeat readers, so I added a plugin to my site which evaluates each post’s readability and SEO.    Even as I type, the plugin is counting the number of transition words, repeated words, and passive verbs.  It measures the length of each paragraph, evaluates the use of pictures and blank space, and it will list recommendations for improving my post’s readability.  Eventually, the plugin will tell me how I can increase my SEO by modifying the title, slug, and key words.

If I’m going to blog, I want to blog right. I want to be located and recommended by the search engines. I want my readers to come back to my site because they enjoy reading each post.

Spiritually, many of us have a desire to be noticed by God and by Jesus.  Deep down, we believe that there is a formula somewhere in this universe which will increase our visibility and SEO by God’s search engines.  We think that if we conduct our lives in a certain way, Jesus will like what he sees, and this will cause him to regularly return to observe and enjoy the posts we have written by our lives.

But we are mistaken.

God has no search engine because he does not need one.  Although we may feel unnoticeable and undetectable as we are jostled around by the crush of humanity which inhabits this vast universe, God knows the exact number of the hairs on our heads. (Matthew 10:30).   Although God made many promises to humanity as a whole, he made just as many promises to each of us as a unique individual; “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). Although Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1,2), we can assuredly know that he died to save each of us as individuals from the eternal consequences of our sins. (1 John 1:1-10)

May we each accept the loving sacrifice of Jesus so that our sins can be forgiven (Acts 2:36-41). May we each feel the security of God’s arms as he lovingly wraps them around us. (John 14:15-21)

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Snow: Do You Consider It A Blessing or a Curse?

Snow is a prime example of the mixed blessings of God’s creation.

It can be a source of fun, excitement, and anticipation, or a source of extra work and energy sapping dread.

Snow can come in the form of a soft, mesmerizing shower or a bone chilling, frightening blizzard. It can form a beautiful blanket of purity, peace, and tranquility, or it can lay upon the ground as a shroud of destruction, danger, and death. It can be a dream come true or a nightmare transformed into reality.

Snow can be a boon in moving objects by sled or a hindrance in moving them by automobile.

Snow puts nitrogen into the ground and acts as an insulation blanket for the earth, but it also hides the natural food supply from birds and wildlife.

Snow produces appreciation for warm clothing, and warm dry houses.  It produces active empathy and compassion toward those who do not have warm clothing, or warm, dry lodging. It creates opportunities for service, and opportunities for neglect. It creates opportunities for wise decisions based upon careful observations, correct evaluations, and healthy concern for the safety of oneself and others, and it also creates opportunities for making unwise decisions due to lack of observation, under estimating the severity of the situation, and overestimating one’s ability to handle the circumstances.

There are many more ways in which snow can be construed as being a blessing or a curse; it really depends upon our age, responsibilities, attitude, the amount of snow received, the length of time it remains, the  preparations we have made, and the people that surround us.

Snow is an illustration of life in general; to some it is a blessing, to others it is a curse, yet to all, it is a reality with which we must deal.

“He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.” (Psalm 147:16-18 ESV)

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