The snow is six inches deep and still falling as this south Alabama girl makes her way through the woods from the Loge to our cabin. Though I have experienced now before, it has never been higher than the soles of my shoes.
I stomp thought the woods like a schoolgirl, taking pictures and praising God for the beauty of His art, His gift, and his splendor in the white wonderland.
His presence is so very close to me that the wind across the edges of my ears feels like the soft of His lips whispering His love for me. He is so present.
The Camellia bushes, full of buds ready to bloom, and bonneted with snow, are ready for spring’s first warmth. They bow their heads as if in prayer as the hard cold of winter tests their resolve to endure until spring.
Despite the cold and snow, the Camellia endeavors to persevere. She resists the urge to quite when difficult seasons threaten. She protects the creatures in the woods with her leaves thick and branches strong. She refuses to surrender the gift of beauty within her.
The hope of new life in spring is greater than the threat of death in winter.
I think about the church as she endeavors to persevere through hardships, persecution, and the cold of spiritual winters. I think of those who love the Lord more than this life. How they believe the Lord and His kingdom were more real and more important that this world. And they gave their all to him…even their life.
Followers of Christ have always faced persecution since the beginning. To think the world has changed so much that the ways of the Lord would now be accepted is ludicrous.
And to add to the problem, this generation of young parents are leaving the church because they don’t see the importance of going to church, hearing the Word and applying it to their lives. They may claim to be “spiritual” but not “religious.” They do not see the relevance of Church be cause they do not see the power of the Cross in their lives or in the people who claim to be Christians. They are not seeing the Holy Spirit found in the book of Acts alive and working.
Church becomes just one more item on their schedule. They see it having about as much life changing influence as a country club or social group.
But realize this that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; 2Timothy 6:1-5 
The people who are Disciples of Christ want to have God move in mighty ways as he did in the Book of Acts, but they are at a loss to know how to find him. They want to see Him and know He is real and active and honestly know that He is the Living God of Creation.
For years I have heard churches bend their knees in groups to call out for revival in America ­­– For God to send a might wave of the Holy Spirit to breath new life into the church.
But the winter of our souls has not been cold enough for us to see the revival we so desperately desire.
The comforts of this life can disguise the starvation of our souls. (Tweet this)
Do we give into the pressure to conform to the world, because they pain of rejection seems too great?
The church will begin to see revival when we become so desperate for God that the fear of persecution is no longer a weapon that is victorious over us. (Tweet this)

When life becomes more than a way to traverse from birth to death;
When we recognize each day’s job is to glorify God more than our platform;
Then, we will begin to see the church the Holy Spirit will display the splendor and power of the Living God.
This will be the church our children will be desperate to attend. ~Diane Bailey

Persecution of Christians will come, and for some it has come already. For the twenty-one Coptic Christians who were beheaded, their faith cost them everything. And my heart still bleeds salty on my pillow in the night.
“We are subjected to every kind of hardship, but never distressed; we see no way out but we never despair; we are pursued by but never cut off (from Christ); knocked down, but still have some life in us; always we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus, too may be visible in our…mortal flesh (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)
The church began in the death of a spiritual winter and was resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit. The early church was persecuted mercilessly, but this is where we see God moving most powerfully.
Friend, you and I might never see our faith tested at the end of a sword. But there is an increased wave of animosity toward Christians. We see it in jobs even in the church itself. We see it in those we call friends and in those opposed to Christianity who might live in our very neighborhoods. We feel the pressure to choose between faith and culture.
We struggle with the fear of rejection and loss in areas of our job and community unless we conform. Until we are more desperate for God than for the approval of man we will never fully know the beauty and power of the Holy Spirit in us waiting to bring the Spring of new life from the cold of the Winter of our soul.
Is your soul in a winter? Are you feeling the desperation for the warmth of a spiritual spring? Tell me your story.
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Diane W. Bailey is the founder of The Consilium – an online community of wisdom and purpose for women over 45 years of age. She is a published author. Her books include String of Pearls – From Tears to Treasure, and 30 Days To A Better Stepfamily. She creates her own line of precious metals bracelets. Diane lives in the Deep South with her husband Doc. Together they have created a stepfamily, each having two stepchildren and two birth children, and share three grandchildren, one black lab named Charlie and one long haired tabby cat named Lil Girl. Diane’s passion is to encourage women to be all God has created them to be by pressing past fear and daring to live life as an adventure. Some of her life adventures include traveling to Israel, speaking, entrepreneurship and backyard farming with Doc. She loves Gumbo, fried shrimp and seeing all sunsets across water.

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