Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lessons From a Saint

The snow does two things to my dog:

  1.  Brings out the dirt in my dog.
  2. Makes him really happy.
Interestingly enough, spending time with Jesus does the same things to me...
  1. Brings out the dirt (sin) in my life.
  2. Makes me really happy. 

When comparing the sparkling white snow to my beautiful dog, I can't help but instantly notice how dirty my dog is. And while it is always apparent that he is a dirty boy, the snow really makes it stand out! The snow turns BROWN wherever Poco Bear (that's my dog's name) gets up from where he lays in the snow. And every time this happens I shudder at the thought of the dirt that is brought into my house because of my dog. 

The more time that I spend with Jesus, either by reading the Bible, or in my discipleship group, or worshiping at church, or in prayer... well you get the idea... When I submerge myself in Him, my dirt (sin) becomes really noticeable to me. And yes, this fact makes me shudder, but it also gives me a joy that I don't think I will ever be able to describe (well at least on this planet).... which leads me nicely to my next point... 

You would think Poco (that's what we call him for short) was a puppy if you saw him play or go for a hike in the snow. Reality is, he is 9 or 10 which is really old for a Saint Bernard. X-rays have shown that his hips aren't even really like hips anymore. But the way he bounces around and pretends to pounce and wants to play... you would never know that he is an "old man". Sometimes he will want outside at three in the morning just so he can lay in the snow.  During the summer months, when my husband and I go for hikes in the mountains, Poco will spot a patch of snow and sprint for it... then roll in it... and then beg us to play in the snow with him. The snow gives my dog a joy like nothing else can.

You would have to visit with my friends and family that have known me since before I became a Christian to begin to get a sense of the joy that God has brought into my life. But that would just scratch the surface. As I sit here at my computer, contemplating how to get across to you (the reader) the joy that God has brought into my life... I come to this conclusion: God gives me a joy like nothing else can. NOTHING. That's right; joy. Joy despite all of this worlds "dirt" and the "dirt" in my life.           JOY. 

If this dirt and joy thing is a new concept for you... then may I suggest going outside... 
look up at the stars...
and God will take care of the rest. 
I promise.

And for you Bible junkies:
"I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever." Psalm 16:8-11 (New Living Translation) 
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes You sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24 (TLB)
 "Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you." Psalm 51:7-12 (New Living Translation)
 "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment." Psalm 32:1-6 (New Living Translation)
 "But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23 (TLB) 
 "Come. Sit down. Let's argue this out." This is God's Message: "If your sins are blood-red, they'll be snow-white. If they're red like crimson, they'll be like wool. If you'll willingly obey, you'll feast like kings. But if you're willful and stubborn, you'll die like dogs." That's right. God says so. Isaiah 1:18-20 (The Message)

God is love,

PS. Listen to:

  •  "Beautiful Like This" by Josh Wilson
  • "Let It Go" by Tenth Avenue North
  • "All The Pretty Things" by Tenth Avenue North

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