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REDEEMER Reformed Presbyterian CHURCH


So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do." - Luke 17:10

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Somewhere It's Snowing
(Note: If you  are a married person, perhaps you may want to read this blog posting together with your spouse, and listen to the song referenced below together.  Just a thought, not a necessity, but a possibility).

Isa 1:18  "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 

Psa 51:7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 

Dear Congregation of Redeemer Reformed Presbyterian Church,
In 1993, soon after I had started at Hope Reformed Church in Clifton, NJ, my wife and I found ourselves blanketted with snow on a Sunday morning.   Maybe 2 feet or more had fallen since we retired for the evening on Saturday night, but the elders had no plan to close the church that morning since at least a third of the congregation walked to worship from the local neighborhood.  At the last minute, Lois and I took out a book of songs that Stephanie Boosahda sings, which included, "Somewhere It's Snowing".  We rehearsed it, and sang it together for the congregation as a testimony to how God had forgiven our sins, and was offering that free forgiveness to all those who believe upon our Savior, Jesus.

Right now it's snowing here in Queensbury, and it isn't a Christmas snow, wrapped up in all the White Christmas sentimentality which can distract.  It's simply a New Year's snow.  And the ground which my wife described to her parents yesterday as brown, and barren, and needing some snow . . . well right now, the snowflakes are surrendering to the hardening ground, and it seems like a new place compared to yesterday.   Do you need a fresh start, in this new year?

Here is a version of this song as it is sung by a different artist.....you don't even have to look at the youtube screen video to get the effect, just click on it, turn up the volume on your computer, and listen to this song of God's grace.

May I respectfully ask all who listen to this song, or read the lyrics pasted below, to consider whether or not your life . . . your heart ... could use a snow cover today.   I know I do.  I've been saved, or what we could call "born again" as a believer more than forty years, and I am ever more aware, every day, of MY NEED FOR A DAILY WALK OF CLEANSING.  Having been justified once and for all, I need daily cleansings to maintain a walk of empowered fellowship with my Savior.  A close friend of mine shared this verse with me recently, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8, 9).  From all unrighteousness.  That allows us to have a fresh start, even after sin.

I plead with you as a pastor to believe God's Word.   To get that fresh start in 2011, regarding anything in the past which you regret as sin, and from which you repent right now.  Believe that cleansing work of God is effective for you.  

And then move on.  That does not mean that you blithely forget your sin as if it had never happened.  It simply means that God forgives and does not hold to your account the guilt of that sin, and that God is prepared to remove shame related to that sin, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." - Rom. 8:1.  Moving on also means, that you take specific steps, to walk away from sin in the fellowship of God's people.  Will you obey God's written Word and accept that Galatians 6:1 is truly a verse applies today ?  That when we in the Body of Christ are overtaken in any trespass, that we are meant to offer, and to receive conversation and relationship that leads to restoration?  Restoration means a return to normal, healthy, friendly Christian relationship, in the church family, as in brothers and sisters in Christ.  "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted."

The people who have helped me the most are the ones who have been uncompromising about Ned's sin, but gently assuring Ned of God's love and of their commitment to bless me and walk with me in a journey of sanctification.  This process began back in my parent's home, it continued in Christian Service Brigade Frontier Camp, it was deepened in TEAM, a high school youth group at a local Baptist church, it was nurtured at Grove City College by roommates who held me accountable (Tom Ertsgaard and Joe Stehle, thank you brothers), and as I stepped into leadership after graduation at Stony Brook School, some fellow teachers and administration gently guided me to steward my gifts and mold my character to be Christ-like.   

But you know, it had only just begun.  It was only after I was married, and after I honored my wife as my discipler-in-chief, that God worked through that relationship to start honing me for effectiveness in ministry at 6th, Hope, 1st, and now Redeemer churches. 

There are many areas where we need forgiveness, a fresh start, an experience of snowfall on our consciences.  Let me just highlight one area that comes to mind as I write about my path of sanctification and how it was deepened in through my marriage to a Christian woman.

Husbands, I urge you not to regard your headship in marriage as a reason to avoid the corrective word that you need from your wives. Behold the example of Abigail and David.  If Abigail, a woman who was not David's wife, was able to speak so effectively and bring such godly counsel to David, (1 Samuel 25:35 - "David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, "Go up in peace to your house.  See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person."), and to help David avoid sin, how much more should we heed the voice and respect the person of our very own wife, who is committed to us in the covenant of marriage.  Believe you me, I have counted the cost in my life for maintaining in Christ's church, the biblical teaching of headship in marriage and in the church, so I would respectfully adjure you, that I feel I have the credibility to say this:  Do not allow headship to derail mutual discipleship in your marriage !!  Read 1 Samuel 25 as an example of a man who listened to and was radically influenced by a woman who would then one day be his wife.

Today, it is my goal to invite you men to experience the grace and forgiveness of God as you come to God pleading for his mercies won for you at the cross, and that you would know some snow cover today.  

"If somewhere someone’s turning, he’s giving his all,
And God’s grace, like the snow, is beginning to fall!"

Men, then walk forward, through that snowfall, hand in hand with your help meet for you, and be sanctified together in Christ Jesus as a couple.

In Christian love, 
Pastor Ned

Somewhere It's Snowing - written by David Stearman Hayes
I once read in a poem, 
when snow covers the earth,
That it hides the worlds scars, 
and gives nature new birth,
And they say when a man turns from sin to the Lord,
That forgiveness, like snow, covers him evermore!

And somewhere it’s snowing – 
see the soft drifting down
As the snowflakes surrender 
to the hardening ground.
Like the good grace of Jesus 
that now covers our sin,
In the kingdom of Heaven, 
it’s snowing, again.

Now, I’ve heard that the angels 
lift their hearts and rejoice,
When one traveler turns homeward 
from his ways, to the Lord.
If somewhere someone’s turning, he’s giving his all,
And God’s grace, like the snow, is beginning to fall!

And somewhere it’s snowing – 
see the soft drifting down
As the snowflakes surrender 
to the hardening ground.
Like the good grace of Jesus, 
that now covers our sin,
In the kingdom of Heaven, 
it’s snowing, again.
5:32 pm est          Comments

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Redeemer Reformed Presbyterian Church
548 Luzerne Road * Queensbury * NY * 12804 * 518-798-9794