In today’s “My Utmost for His Highest,” Oswald Chambers writes, “We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute.”
It is not busyness or achievement that brings us close to God. Our efforts will always fall short. Rather it is the undeserved kindness, the Grace God gives us, that makes us whole. Romans 3:24
I stand in awe at the force and the depth of Paul’s intellect and spirit. Do I really love people; do I always hold tightly to what is good? There is no neutral ground. How will I choose?
I am again turning to Thomas a Kempis, a 15th century theologian for this deep desiring to know God.
“You are the object of all good, the apex of life, the depth of wisdom. Your servants’ greatest consolation is to hope in you above all things. I turn my eyes to you. In you, my God, Father of mercies, I place my trust. Bless my soul and make it holy with your heavenly blessing; let it become your holy dwelling, the place of your eternal glory. Let nothing be found in you temple that may offend the eyes of your majesty.”
Rueben Job writes, “We move away from doubt at our own pace and with our own set of doubts and beliefs to master….One step along this journey that causes many people to stop and struggle is the step of actually believing God loves them and that they can be lovable in God’s sight. This more than any other step along the journey makes men and women, young and old, stumble and fall from faith to doubt. Why is it so hard for us to believe that God’s love really is unconditional and that we should imitate God’s love, not only for others but also for ourselves?
“We are unwilling or unable to give ourselves the same gentle grace that God offers us and that we believe should be offered to others. Leap from doubt to belief and remember that God loves you, delights in you, and seeks your response of faith in Him and in His creation.”
Although La Grande does not present the quantity and intensity of fall colors that you find in New England, nonetheless, this valley vibrants with the reminder that the season is changing, that this is the color finale before the white of winter.
I taught a photo workshop to a group of students this past Saturday afternoon. After I finished the indoor, photo techniques session, we went outdoors to shoot. The weather was changing, but we had a nice soft light late in the afternoon. We spent nearly two hours just shooting in a one block area, shooting close ups and distance shots, enjoying the vast array of compositions. That night it rained, leaves started to vanish from the trees, and it snowed on the peaks above town.
“Lord, let us seek you in longing, and long for you in seeking; let us find you in love and love you in finding, O Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” Ambrose of Milan, c 333
And may we seek You and pray to You in weakness, so that you can be our strength alone.
Last week’s trip into the Eagle Cap Wilderness of NE Oregon reminded me how life is a blessing to be celebrated. Despite the challenge of rain and “agedness,” Bob Carter and I enjoyed the kind of trip we never wanted to leave. We passed through storms into rainbows and clearing skies. Psalm 23 always reminds me that the God of life is a living and a loving God, whose presence never leaves us.
The Hurricane Creek trailhead, located between Enterprise and Joseph, OR, is one the most accessible to the Eagle Cap Wilderness. In less than a mile, you find yourself in this wide canyon with towering peaks on both sides of you. A three mile hike takes you to Slick Rock Creek falls, an excellent place for a picnic and for exploring the upper creek. However, it is another eight miles to reach the Lakes Basin, and few people commit to this distance.
Bob Carter, my PCT hiking partner, had never hiked the entire trail. We have hike most of this larger wilderness area, and we were eager to fill in this “blank.” Despite predictions of rain, we took off last Saturday morning, October 9. Here is the first set of pictures.
“The still dwelling upon God is the quietest but most potent action of all.” Emmet Fox