Saturday, February 4, 2023

BLOG: A Covering of Grace

By Bill Stark, HT.com blogger, president of InnerComm, and director of Cloud Walk
Oxford and Atlanta got the same snowy weather last week. Somewhat like Oxford, we get snow infrequently. So, when it does snow, even now at 52 years old, I turn into a kid.
snowI love watching kids build snowmen, I love to sit indoors watching it fall, I enjoy standing outside as the flakes land on my bald head…heck, I still eat it (as long as it’s not yellow). I even used sleet from this week’s blast as ice in my Coke Zero…just like a 12 year old.
The long-awaited gentle, quiet covering of snow over our yard, patio and home was simply stunning.
The way the snow lays so evenly like a carpet of cotton balls is amazing. It’s such a peaceful and smooth covering of beauty.
However, the snow on our patio (pictured here) covered up some things you can’t see.
We accidentally got black spray paint on our patio when hen we re-painted our patio furniture last summer. The snow also covered up an expanding crack in our patio and it covered up the places where the sun had faded the stain we laid down a few years ago. But the snow covering made me forget all of that. Now there was nothing but beauty.
Seeing all the snow this week reminds me of how our sins are covered by the blanket of God’s grace.
A grace that came at the expense of the death of Christ. However, unlike the superficial covering of snow, God’s work on the cross through Jesus, resulted in a “doing away with” our sin and the penalty of sin, if we, in faith, acknowledge Christ as our Savior.
Psalm 103:12 (NIV) says “…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
If you tend to go back and replay personal shortcomings and old sins in your head or if you still feel shame and guilt over poor decisions from the past, I encourage you to confess your sins to God, thank Him for His grand provision of forgiveness and then move on…accepting God’s reality…the reality that He has already dealt with your past.
Along those lines, you may be encouraged to hear how King David responded to the deaths he caused from his sin of adultery. The story of his acknowledgement of sin, his remorse, his confession and restoration are found in 2 Samuel 12: 1-25.
crackNo matter how bad your past, no matter how bad….no matter how bad….the beautiful soft, white layer of snow is a comforting reminder that our past sins and past mistakes are more than covered up….as though the covering of snow is like a most beautiful blanket sacrificed to put out a raging fire…cutting off its oxygen supply, stopping its advance, so restoration can begin.
What’s our response to this grand gift of forgiveness? A heart-felt prayer of thanks to our Savior Jesus.
Celebrate the beauty of that for a few minutes this day and thank Him for His gracious work to restore us to Him in perfect relationship. You are worth the pain of the cross because… He loves you.
2 Samuel 12:13: (NIV: emphasis added) Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.”
Psalm 32:5: (NIV: emphasis added) Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Isaiah 38:17: (NIV: emphasis added) Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.
Isaiah 43:25: (NIV: emphasis added) ”I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
Hebrews 9:26 (NIV: emphasis added) Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Bill Stark is a Greenville, Mississippi native who graduated from Ole Miss in 1983 with a BA degree in Journalism. Bill married his college sweetheart, Starwyn Strickland, of Brazil, Mississippi, and they have three children, including twins Mary Catherine and Ellen and son Will. He currently resides in Alpharetta, Georgia. Email Bill Stark at bill.stark@cloudwalk.org

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