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Summary: 3rd in series on Hebrews (Section 4) This message emphasizes the power of God in our lives.

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It takes Faith to survive Winter

“1816 and Froze to Death”

Especially in Michigan! Most of us survive winter because we have seen spring – many times – in our lives! We know that winter ends – eventually. But even with a history of many winters behind us it can be difficult for us to endure a long difficult winter – especially when it’s April and snowing!

But consider for a moment 1816 – It was called the year without summer.

Mt Tambora – 100 times bigger than St. Helens – Tambora was a 14,000 foot mountain that ended up about 9,000 ft high after the top blew off on April 10, 1815. It was also a period of low sunspot activity. The result was the year with summer.

From Brethren Life: Frontier

"This was a very bad year, everywhere, but especially on the frontier. A popular expression was: "1816 and froze to death!" It got cold at night all summer and crops would not grow, There was a killing frost at least once during every month. June 5 and 6, the temperature dropped to below 40, then on the 7th it snowed. There were killing frosts all three nights. By June 11th, the corn was withered and dead in the field. It was replanted, then in July the new stand was killed by another killing frost.

On August 20, 1816, the temperature again plunged and any remaining crops were destroyed. Sept. 27 saw the start of winter with another killing frost. ... Snows started early in October, and stayed on the ground until April 1817. The snows were two feet deep with a terrible ice crust on top. Many survived only because the deer were trapped by the snows and ice and could not escape the hunters. Following that winter, deer were so scarce that they could not be depended on as a source for meat, nor was the common deerskin britches and jacket any more available ..."

ARTICLE from The Decatur County Journal, June 9, l892

``The year without a summer, l8l6, is now being quite generally recalled. According to the records, January and February of that year were warm and spring like. March was cold and stormy. Vegetation had gotten well along in April when real winter set in. Sleet and snow fell on seventeen different days in May. In June there was either frost or snow every night but three. The snow was five inches deep for several days in succession in the interior of New York and from ten inches to three feet in Vermont and Maine. July was cold and frosty, ice formed as thick as window panes in every one of the New England States. August was still worse; ice formed nearly an inch in thickness, and killed nearly every green thing in the United States and in Europe. In the spring of l8l7, corn, which had been kept over from the crop of l8l5, sold for from $5 to $l0 a bushel, the buyers purchasing for seed ... ’’

Some of us are experiencing winter – in life. If you aren’t right now – you will. In fact, let me suggest that this physical life is just that – winter. And someday, through our FAITH in Jesus Christ we will experience new life. The difficulty is that we struggle with the winter of this life.

In Hebrews 12 the author tells us what we need to do to survive the winter of this world. He uses the metaphor of a runner and what it takes to go the distance…

Go the distance

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Let us… throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…

First, If you want to finish you must lighten the load. You simply have to get rid of anything that will drag you down, hold you back, or wear you out. The goal is simple and clear – make it to the end of the race.

Let us… run with perseverance the race marked out for us…

Second, you must run the race marked out for you. Each of us has a different route. There is a different path. Some will find the way rough and hard – others may find the way filled with potholes and dangerous drop-offs. Still others may find the way smooth and clear and you may be tempted to look at their path and wonder why they get the easy way to go.

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