Monday, November 7, 2011

Which Path Do You Follow?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)

I awoke today to the sound of the snowplow going down the Old Glenn Highway. Another 4 or so inches of fresh fallen snow. This makes nearly a foot of snow in the past 24 hours. I looked out the window, with its aluminum tracks peppered in white frost. Snow was piling up outside like powdered sugar on Christmas cookies. This didn’t bother me as Monday is my day off.

I let Toonie (the dog) out to do her business as usual. It was funny to watch her. The snow up to her chest. She would jump, and plop down in the snow bank, then jump and plop again. She continued this until she reached near the fence to do her duty and repeated her jump-plop motion to get back to the deck.

After making a hearty breakfast of eggs and sausage I watched some television and then decided to gear up and shovel snow. On my car was 4 inches of neatly stacked snow and the sidewalks covered with a foot snow since I didn’t shovel the previous day.

Good Morning!
Shoveling was a lot easier than back home. The snow is very dry, and powdery not wet and heavy. After digging out I loaded up the dog and we headed off to the post office. The roads were okay but the on and off ramps were unplowed. We returned home to eat and then headed out to the Eagle River Nature center for a hike.
Cow Parsnips 
Winter Wonderland
Walking in the snow was difficult, sinking up to my knees with each step. I tried to walk in the prvious footsteps others had made but they didn’t fit my stride. This was the scene that continued for the first 15 minutes of the trail. I was then passed by snowmobile pulling a trail groomer. After it passed it left a more compacted and smooth trail and the going was much easier.
Toonie loves the snow
The mountains were hard to see since it was snowing.
Love the trail guided by spruce trees
Following in the groomed path made come across a devotional thought. I began thinking about how Jesus commanded us to deny ourselves and to follow Him. God calles us to follow Him by thinking and acting like Him. The Bible clearly outlines the right way for Christians to behave and believe. He wants us be kind and loving. However, if we think that we can gain God's favor by doing good deeds, we will have missed the point that salvation is a gift of God's pure grace that we can never deserve, no matter how good we are.
Cow Parsnips
There were several trails that remained ungroomed, including the first path which led to and from my car. Making new tracks was always harder than following previously existing groomed path. In terms of following Jesus, when we pray for His guidance and seek to act in accordance with His plan for our lives, life always goes better. When we strike out on our own, the going is always more difficult. Co-operation with God and submission to His will is the essence of Christian discipleship.

The snow just stacks up on the railing
On the ungroomed trail there were previous footprints in the snow. I assumed that these dimples in the snow were the tracks I should follow, but they weren't. I likened this to the temptations of life that confuse us as to what God wants us to do. When life is confusing and we realize that we can't control our circumstances or other people, that is the time to remember that our goal is to be self-controlled and to become like Christ in thought and deed.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

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