I just finished a leisurely walk through not-quite-blizzard conditions. Stop biting your nails, I was bundled up, from head to toe, like I haven’t been since elementary school. I wasn’t even cold. In fact, I enjoyed the walk. As I tromped haphazardly along, I was mesmerized by the falling snow, the eerie silence apart from the wind, and the perfection of the packing snow. Indeed, I was in elementary school again. As my snowballs missed target after target and my arm grew tired, I soaked in the white beauty of winter. So white. Is there anything as white as snow?
Oh yes, there is. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18. What can bring this kind of cleansing? “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” There is hardly a more impressive thought than the cleansing of our wicked souls to white purity. As snow. This is no simple feat. It required the blood of the Son of God – God the Son – Jesus. How rarely we value the cleansing we’ve received and how often we flippantly contaminate the snow! May the snow that God gives us this winter make us ever grateful for cleansing provided through His Son. Glory be to God for we are as white as snow.
The media has been inundated with information and opinions about the recent tragic massacre in Connecticut. I add no information, nor opinion to the mix. Instead, I hope to bring clarity to the darkness.
In darkness lies the human soul
Completely wrapped wicked sin
No knowledge of the deathly toll
Content to rot, decay within.
Our scand’lous souls would shift the blame
That weighs so firmly on our backs
Blind to our guilty tarnished names
Convinced our souls are not so black.
So lost are we, our souls rebuff
The slightest hint of truth or light.
We cower back into the bluff
That hardens our eternal night.
O Wondrous Light, dispel the dark
Break through the veil that hides our hearts
Make shadows fly by holy spark
Enlighten every darkened part.
Disperse the dark, the night shall flee
For as you quicken shadowed souls
The light dissolves the dark debris
Majestic brightness now controls.
These souls, enlightened by the Son
Soon shine, reflecting to the world
The glory of the brightest One
The Truth, the Light of Lights unfurled.
Lord Jesus now we need your light
Eyes of Fire, and Righteous Blaze
Cast out the darkness, make us right.
Though we would hide, arrest our gaze.
The darkness cannot fight the glow
That shines from us, in whom You dwell
So make us brighter lights to show
This world needs You to make it well.
Top ten ways to succeed over break
This list of tips is meant to make
You well prepared for Christmas break.
A break is good for rest and fun,
But sometimes we get nothing done!
It’s good to find some balance there,
And of the dangers be aware.
Please read down through this list I’ve made,
I think you’ll find it quite an aid
To help you flourish in this rest;
Maybe this break will be the best!
And though this list is written in tandem,
The order here is completely random:*
1. Get some sleep, but just at night.
Sleep’s been sparse, I know the facts;
Maybe 5 to 6 hours at the max,
So please get some rest over the break,
But please avoid this one mistake.
Don’t wait till 3 to go to bed,
And sleep until mom thinks you’re dead.
If you don’t get to bed too late,
You can be up and at ‘em by eight!
Shoot for 8-10 hours each night,
And you might just find you feel alright.
2. Pick up a hobby – read or write.
Find something to do that you enjoy
That’s more productive than a toy.
Build or cook or practice your aim –
Don’t waste your time on a video game!
3. You don’t know it all though you think you might.
You’ve learned some things – that’s really cool,
And I don’t want to sound too cruel,
But keep in mind you’re still quite young
And would be wise to stop your tongue
And listen to your Dad’s advice,
Your Mother’s help is always nice.
At church, at home, at work, with friends,
Don’t be too critical of them,
But listen, learn, and you will see
How truly helpful they can be.
4. Open up, don’t be uptight.
When family asks, “how’s life?” you should
Be open, don’t just say, “I’m good.”
It’s hard – there is so much to share,
But know they really, really care.
So open up and share it all,
The highs, the lows – that one close call.
Through thick and thin they’re there for you,
You need to share; they’ll help you through.
5. Jump in at church with all your might.
Four weeks is an awkward amount of time,
It’s not just a visit (which is just fine),
But it’s also too long to get over-involved.
With one simple rule, this dilemma is solved:
Jump right in like you weren’t ever gone!
Tell your pastor that you are no longer withdrawn.
You can sing, you can play, you can teach or clean.
Jump in; get involved, you’re a serving machine!
6. Set goals at an achievable height.
To chop down the forest is hopeless at best,
But a tree at a time is an easier quest.
Try to set goals that you know you can do
And you’ll be more likely to follow them through.
7. Make time for God; He’s your delight.
As you head home, routine is lost,
And that can come with a heavy cost.
Your time with God can disappear,
And this is really quite severe.
So make a plan to walk with Him –
At dawn, at dusk, or at the gym.
Just do it! Ask a friend to be
A source of accountability.
8. Review the year, the wrong and right.
The semester’s gone, it went so fast,
Remember the things you want to last.
The funny, the sad, the memories abound!
What would you change next time around?
9. Pray until your knees turn white.
The semester is packed with really good stuff,
But sometimes the prayer life can start to sluff.
If you don’t pray on break when the time is there,
You surely won’t pray when there’s no time to spare!
Keep a list of important requests,
And pray with your pastor if he’ll acquiesce.
Just pray and pray and pray and pray,
You won’t pray tomorrow if you don’t start today.
10. Keep the highest goal in sight.
With all these things you do, keep in mind,
This is not just part of the daily “grind.”
As you live your life, you write a story.
Make it all about His glory.
In every choice you ought to say,
“How can I honor Him today?”
You do this well, make no mistake,
I guarantee a successful break.
*You may have noticed all the rhymes
(It’s hard to miss so many times!).
I did this because someone asked
Me to fulfill my yearly task –
To write a funny Christmas rhyme.
I was not sure I’d have the time;
I’d planned to skip the rhyme this year
And simply give this list, I fear.
But then, thought I, “Combine the two!”
I made a rhyming list for you.
I know you’ve read ‘Top Ten’s before,
But this one rhymes – and rhymes galore!