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Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Friday, March 2, 2018

Red Snow

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.”

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Growing up in South Africa, and spending the first 55 years of my life in that mostly hot and dry country, I have had very little experience of snow. The first time it snowed in my lifetime was in 1981 just a few months after Chris and my marriage. The next time was in 1996, when our children were 13, 11 and 1. At the end of 2015 we moved to Norwich in the United Kingdom and here it obviously "snows" a lot more ... but the so-called "Beast from the East" weatherfront has brought to Norwich (and most of the UK) my first experience of "serious" snow. 

It gives fresh meaning and life (especially in the Lenten season of reflection) to what the Lord has done for us.

When we are in Christ, our God looks at us and sees this:
But when I look at myself, I see this:
Below is one of the places I sit with my Lord in our garden ... and I see red, but He sees white. I might be snow, but it is red snow
This is what Paul describes in Romans 7:14-25 ... I realise he's describing Red Snow. This is how The Message puts it:
I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

This is, of course, how grace works: washed in His red blood, we become white as snow. No wonder it is called Amazing Grace.

Through the prophet Isaiah (64:6), God said:
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
 and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
[as an aside, the filthy rags are an illusion to unclean menstrual cloths]
and Paul (Rom 3:23) reminds us that:
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
and John (1 John 1:8)
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us
but God sees the born again like this:
and not this: 
This is Amazing Grace.
This post box reminded (red and white) reminded me of a game we used to play as children while we sang a song which included the words: 
I wrote a letter to my love
And on the way I dropped it,
I dropped it, I dropped it,
And on the way I dropped it
...
It was sung while children danced in a circle. One of the number ran on the outside of the circle and dropped a handkerchief. The nearest child would then pick it up and chase the dropper. If caught the dropper either was kissed, joined the circle, or had to tell the name of their sweetheart.

The Bible, God's love letter to us, tells us that we are Christ's love, His sweetheart. Yet ... we drop Him so often ... Oh Lord, have mercy ... Oh Lord, thank you for having mercy.

I am indeed Red Snow.

Each of the following pictures taken over the last few days, reminds me in some way of how amazing our God is.





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