Praise the LORD from the Earth, You…Snow

Psalm 148:7-13 – Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, 8 fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! 9 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! 10 Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! 11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! 12 Young men and maidens together, old men and children! 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.

2014-01-02 - Praise the LORD from the Earth, You…Snow (IMG_1614_ADJ)Freshly fallen snow blankets the trees in our back yard early this morning.  Morrow, Ohio.

Here is another great passage from the book of Psalms where we read about all the earth praising the Lord, even the snow!  It is not too difficult to see God’s handiwork in an enchanted scene like this.  And yet, Psalm 148 tells us it is not just the majestic and beautiful parts of creation, but even the fire, hail, mist, and stormy winds that fulfill his word.

God in his sovereignty commands all of his creation; he can create storms (Jonah 1:4) and he can calm storms (Mark 4:39).  With all of his magnificence on display in the world around us it should be evident, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

So, who is it that is without excuse?  Not only does the psalmist tell us who it is, the “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!  Young men and maidens together, old men and children!”  He then goes on to tell us what it is that they should be doing and why, “Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.”

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© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.

Follow in His Steps

1 Peter 2:21-24 – For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

2013-12-19 - Follow in His Steps (IMG_9353)Taking a break and enjoying the view after hiking the snow covered trail up to Emerald LakeRocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

If you have ever hiked on snow, you know that it is easier to follow in the footsteps of someone who has gone ahead of you, rather than blazing the trail yourself.  But, just because someone has traveled the path before you, does not mean the hike will be easy, you still need to do the work in order to get to the end of the journey and enjoy the scenic view.

Our walk as Christians is a lot like this.  As we read in today’s passage from 1 Peter, we do have someone who has gone ahead of us, in whose footsteps we follow.  We have someone who lived the perfect life that we are unable to live and who died the terrible death we so much deserve for our sinful ways.  That someone is Christ, who took our sins to the cross and shed his blood so “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”

Even though the trail has been blazed for us, we still have work we are called to do.  And, while our works can never earn the salvation already bought for us by Christ’s blood shed on the cross, being a Christian does not mean we can just sit idly by.  As we read in Christ’s own words from Luke 9:23-24, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

The Christian walk is not always an easy one, especially when you consider in whose steps we follow.  But the rewards at the end of the journey will far exceed even the most scenic and spectacular views we find at the end of the trails we travel in this life.

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.

He Hurls Down His Crystals of Ice

Psalm 147:15-18 – He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. 16 He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. 17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? 18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.

2013-12-07 - He Hurls Down His Crystals of Ice (IMG_1403)Water, ice, and snow cover the spillway at Caesar Creek Lake after our first big storm of the winter. Caesar Creek State Park, Waynesville, Ohio.

When it is 16 °F outside and the ground is covered with snow and ice most of us prefer to stay indoors.  It is an easy decision to stay inside, warm and protected from the elements, if you have no reason to go outside and brave the cold.  Likewise, as Christians, we often find ourselves staying within the protective walls of our churches.  We are comfortable and safe among our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is easy for us to fall into a routine that isolates us from the world and the people outside the doors of our church.

Even if it is cold and harsh out there we need to remember the mission to which Jesus calls us in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Christ promises to always be with us; and, fortunately for us, the protection he offers is much more certain than that offered by the winter clothing we don to venture out on a cold winter’s eve.

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© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.

Whiter than Snow

Psalm 51:7-12 – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

2013-12-06 - Whiter than Snow (IMG_0424)Freshly fallen snow along a fence line near the Carl A. Rahe Access. Little Miami State Park, Foster, Ohio.

While this photo is not from the winter storm that has blanketed us with snow here in southwestern Ohio today, I felt a winter theme was definitely in order for today’s post.  I hope to get out and add a few nice winter photos to my “portfolio” tomorrow.

The amazing thing about photography is that we can capture a moment in time and preserve it, allowing it to be appreciated for years to come.  What I find even more amazing, though, is that our God, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator of the universe, does not see our sins like the photographs in an old family album.  Fortunately for us, through the blood shed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God has blotted out all our iniquities and removed the stain of sin from our lives.  Through Christ’s blood we have been washed clean and can rejoice knowing that we have been made whiter than snow!

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.