I managed to sneak out of the house this morning for a half and hour walk in the winter-wonderland that was my neighborhood.  It was good and cold and beautiful, and as snow whipped up and into my cowled face, I bowed my face, and shared some time with my Lord.  I admit it was an odd morning to go walking, but why not? On my way back home, I ran into a neighbor several streets down, who was out shoveling his drive.  “Another terrible day!” he called out as I walked by.  “Hang in there!” I responded through the whipping wind. But as I rounded the corner and headed to home, I marveled that some will write the day off as terrible before 7am just because of a few inches of snow.
Call me an optimist–but who can live life like that, I wonder?  With the wind practically pushing me all the way back down our street, I felt fully alive, thankful for God’s mercies which are undeservedly new every morning, and I wholeheartedly rejected his prediction. Nope, I said to myself — it’s gonna be a great day. 

It was, too.
Every step, it seemed, was marked with prayer and scripture.  I’ve been working through Romans 8 for 2 weeks, and the words are now reciting themselves in my mind.  Today, I chew especially long on these: “to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace…”

Did you experience his life and peace today, friends?
I can say that we did.

Do you feel the presence of God with you, even in the mundane?  Or do you find your spirit discouraged over the temporal things of life, things even so small as a few inches of snow?
When we abide in Him, and He in us, we will have the eyes to see Him in all things.  So often, I feel His presence most fully right here in the simple things, as I serve my children and husband in our home.
When our eyes are open, we will see every moment as grace.

I sense His grace as I sit together with my kids and read through our history and science lessons–as we learn together about the Turks and the Ottoman Empire, and the fall of Constantinople, I’m reminded that it’s God who establishes and deposes kingdoms as He wills.  I sense Him in our art…sensing that He rejoices over us as we paint sea turtles and make beautiful things, for He is Creator, and we are made in His image...
And in Science as I read aloud to my wide eyed children about Primeval Reptiles, the Leviathan and the ancient sea monsters of the deep, I am reminded by scripture that they were made by our great God to bring Him glory.

I sense His presence as we gather around the table to eat our simple lunch, and feed our spirits from His life-giving Word.

I sense His beauty and goodness and JOY as we bundle up and head outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and the snow.  The whole of creation is declaring His glorious majesty, and we join in the song.

I feel Him go before us as we walk through the doors of our local nursing home, another chance to love and serve Christ among the least of these.

The smiles on the faces of the seniors remind me that life is indeed worth living, when it’s lived, not for self, but for Christ Jesus.  He is Emmanuel–God with us.  

Emmanuel was with us today, as we visited room-to-room, and as we held the hand of a senior, who only last week had his leg amputated below the knee.  He was listening as this soul confessed that he “hasn’t always been the best Christian” and Christ Jesus, the Healer, was with us as we joined him in prayer, asking for new beginnings–and for hope in the midst of a deep trial.  

No, a few inches of snow on the ground do not make a day terrible.

Lack of hope and joy and love make a day terrible.  But we are a people who can boldly rejoice over “Christ in us, the hope of glory!”  And His abiding presence means that even in the deepest of trials, He remains faithful.
I hear Romans 8 again–
“Those who are in the flesh are hostile to God, for they do not submit to God–indeed, they cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, IF in fact, the spirit of Christ Jesus lives in you.

Believer, I want to encourage you to life each moment fully abiding in Christ.  Stand before Him, whose spirit dwells in you, and ask for a greater manifest presence of His Spirit in your life.  Ask to have your eyes opened to see past the temporal and right into the grace and glory of God that surrounds you in all things.
For the believer, all is grace!
Count the ways He loves you!

Count even the “small” things–
Spotting a woodpecker at the feeder, and having the camera near enough to take a quick photo.

Finding the perfect hill for sledding near our house–the kind that’s so steep that the kids can penguin slide as fast as if they were on a sled.  

Cold cheeks and hands, warmed by hot tea and snuggles on the couch for read-aloud.

Husband home from work early–warm soup–family gathered around the table together for fellowship and dinner.

Yes, He is here, with us–every moment of every day.  
His Spirit offers us life and peace.
Will we see it?
Open our eyes, Jesus.