Saturday, January 20, 2018

Treasures of the Snow

This time of year, my mind drifts back to Pennsylvania winters of my childhood, and the wonder of snow falling all around. Like an angel’s kiss floating to my mittened palm, each snowflake would linger for a moment before vanishing into thin air. Later I learned that each snowflake was unique, symmetrical, like a six-pointed star, an ice crystal that could melt into water or sublimate into vapor.

Before scientists invented magnifying lenses, the beautiful, delicate crystalline shape of the snowflake could be fully appreciated only by God Himself, which may be why He, in illustrating His great power, asked Job if he had ever entered into the treasures of the snow (Job 38:22).

Six, like the sides of the snowflake, is the number of man (Revelation 13:18), for God created man on the sixth day to be the crowning jewel of His creation, made in His image (Genesis 1:26-31). How amazing that Creator God has a distinct design for every snowflake, even though we don’t usually see it because the flakes clump together or dissolve before our eyes.

Small wonder, then, that the Creator Who devoted so much attention to the snowflake also created each of us to be unique. Each of us is special, not only physically based on our DNA structure (Psalm 139:14), but in terms of the soul that motivates us and the plan He has predestinated for each of His children since before the beginning of time (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5,11).

Like the snowflake, our physical existence is all too short, like a warm breath that escapes our lips only to disappear into the frosty air (James 4:14). The snowflake may transform from a crystal to vapor, or it may compact with others into a glacier of tremendous power, sculpting the earth and depositing precious soil where it is needed. Or it may melt, becoming part of a mountain stream that nourishes the earth in early spring, not only with water, but with dissolved minerals.

Whether melted or evaporated, the snowflake enters the never-ending water cycle that hydrates the earth, a fact that was supernaturally recorded in the book of Job, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, thousands of years before science had discovered it (Job 6:15-17; 24:19; 37:6,9-12; 15-22; 38:22-37). If we are born again (John 3:3-8) by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we may mingle together in rivers of His Living Water, bringing spiritual refreshment to all whose lives we touch (John 4:10-11; 7:37-38; Song of Solomon 4:15; Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13; Revelation 7:17).

Snow does not last long in the form it originally appears, and our time on earth is also limited (Job 14:1). Once the curse of sin entered the Garden of Eden through Adam and Eve’s disobedience (Genesis 3), death and dying entered too, so man could no longer live forever in his earthly body.

But the apostle Paul tells of the amazing transformation that occurs once our corrupt, mortal body enters the earth. Although it decays, like a snowflake melts or a seed appears to shrivel away, it awaits God’s awakening power. When Jesus Christ returns for His children, the bodies of those saints who have died will be resurrected into glorified, immortal bodies, never again to age; to feel pain, sickness or sorrow; to sin or to die (1 Corinthians 15:35-58).

And like the snowflake that vanishes or sublimates, God’s children who are still alive when Christ returns will disappear from the sight of those who are left behind, for we too will be changed into immortal bodies that are caught up into the air to meet with Jesus Christ and live forever with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

When snow blankets the grime-covered, muddy streets, all appears new, fresh and pure, reminding me of the new beginnings God gives us every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Job speaks of cleansing his hands in snow water (Job 9:30). But true, complete cleansing comes only from the shed blood of Jesus, which has washed away our sins, turning them from scarlet to the pure white of driven snow (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18).

When we trust Him as Lord and Savior, He clothes us with the whitest robes of His righteousness (Job 29:14; Psalm 132:9; Isaiah 61:10) and remembers our sins no more (Psalm 103:12). One day we will see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12) and perceive that His clothing and even His head and hair are white as snow (Daniel 7:9; Matthew 28:3; Mark 9:3; Revelation 1:14).

May those of us who are blessed to see snowflakes this winter take the time to reflect on their pristine beauty and to admire the handiwork of the Master Designer, with His infinite attention to every detail. May we thank Him for the cleansing power of His shed blood. May we remember that He created each of us uniquely beautiful, to fulfill the perfect plan He has for each of us until He raptures us to live forever with Him!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Dine at the Lord’s Table!

In my dream I am meeting my son at a party, but I arrive late.  Some guests are already leaving and servers are cleaning up, but there are still large buffet tables laden with food. I ask my son, who is a gourmet and knowledgeable about fine dining, if there is anything that I must try because it is so good, or anything I should avoid.

“No, you may not like it all, but it’s all good,” he says.

I go to get food but there are no clean plates, only dirty ones. I ask the server who is behind the table for a clean plate and he looks at me as if I have two heads. “Plate? Why would anyone want a plate?”

Rather than just take finger foods from the buffet table, I return empty handed to where my son is sitting. There is a lovely china teapot on the table, decorated with pink roses and fragrant with floral tea within. As I lift it to pour for my son, some noisy strangers approach the table and I hope they don’t join us, as I don’t know them and am hoping to have a quiet conversation with my son. 

As they prepare to sit down in the seat I had chosen and the neighboring seats, I feel anxious and my hand shakes, causing me to spill tea, pouring it not only into the delicate porcelain cup but onto the paper plate on which it rests. To my dismay, the hot tea begins to dissolve the paper plate.

Once I am awake, I begin to contemplate the meaning of the dream and realize that the banquet, or gathering of many people for fellowship and dining, could represent our Christian life once we are saved by faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). 

I was born again (John 3:3-8) late in life, 18 years ago when my son was 10 years old, and he was saved shortly thereafter, responding in part to my testimony and witness. So I entered Christian fellowship relatively late, while he did so relatively early in life, just as he had come early to the party in my dream while I was the latecomer.

Our spiritual nourishment determines the growth we experience in our Christian life, just as a balanced diet nurtures our physical growth. As babes in Christ we begin with the milk of His Word (1 Peter 2:2-3), but as we grow, we should begin to digest the meat, or more substantive issues that may be more difficult to understand and follow (Hebrews 5:13).

But all that God sets before us in His Word is worthwhile (2 Timothy 3:16), allowing us to taste and see that He is good! (Psalm 34:8). If we cherry pick the verses that suit the lifestyle we desire but ignore those that convict us, we do so at our own peril.

The food at the table may also represent the experiences God allows into our life once we are saved, some enjoyable and others unpleasant, yet all necessary according to God’s perfect plan for our lives. As my son, whom I respect greatly for his intelligence and wisdom, pointed out, we may not like it all, but it is all good, for God works all things together for good in the lives of His children (Romans 8:28).

God gives us what we need when we need it, just as He supplied the Israelites with daily manna that they gathered from the ground and ate immediately, before it spoiled (Exodus 16). In my dream, plates were unnecessary, for there was an ample supply of finger foods to be freely eaten at the table. We are not to worry about storing up supplies for the future, for Jesus said to store up our treasures in Heaven instead (Matthew 6:19-20).

We can rest assured that He will provide for our daily needs (Psalm 37:25), for He knows what we need before we even ask Him (Matthew 6:8). Jesus told us to pray each day for our daily bread (Luke 11:3, Matthew 6:11) which He will bountifully supply (Philippians 4:19).

But in the dream I did not partake of the food offered, as I would have preferred to eat it at my own table in the company of my son. I believe God was warning me not to rely on my own preparations for the future, but to trust Him moment by moment (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Similarly, in the dream I shied away from fellowship with those I did not know, perhaps missing out on opportunities to bless and be blessed by fellow believers. Despite our differences, we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28).

Once we are saved, the fragrance of Jesus Christ, the Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1), should emanate from our lives to bless others (2 Corinthians 2:15). Thankfully, God gave me the opportunity to encourage my son to follow Him, and I pray He would use me in this way in the lives of others, despite my shyness at times.

As I filled my son’s cup to overflowing in the dream, perhaps representing God’s abundant grace available through salvation (Psalm 23:5; 1 Timothy 1:14), the plate beneath dissolved, again reminding me that we cannot store God’s blessings. But thankfully, we don’t need to, for His mercies and blessings are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24).

The dream reminded me that whatever God has in store for us, it is part of His perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11). We don’t need to worry about tomorrow or to isolate ourselves from fellow believers who may differ from us, for God brings new experiences and people into our lives in His perfect timing. May we step out of our comfort zone, be open to these divine appointments and follow His guidance to fulfill His intended purpose in our lives and in the lives of others!

© 2017 Laurie Collett