Tag Archives: praise_worship

More than the eye can see

As my body has aged, the acuteness of my eyesight and hearing has diminished. In May, I had cataract surgery on both eyes. Between the two surgeries, I could compare the colors and the sharpness between my “new” eye and my old one.  The difference was stunning.  In our church sanctuary, a wall that looked a dull gray was in fact a subtle pink.

Also, Meg has given me a special hearing aid that reduces the high frequency of bird songs to a frequency my ears can hear.  Suddenly, as I sit on the front porch in the early morning, drinking coffee and reading my devotions, the world is filled with this wonderful music that almost seems like a tape recording of bird sounds. Sounds I no longer knew existed.

As I think of what I had lost and the awareness what has been restored, I realize how much more awaits us in God’s Kingdom.  Beyond anything we can imagine, God’s eternal infinity awaits us.  Someday, for each of us, the curtain will be pulled back, and like Steve Jobs on his death bed, all we can say will be “Oh, wow, oh wow, oh wow!”

Jordan Valley, Malheur county

Blue Mts Oregon, Umatilla county


Absorbed in God’s song

I love these theme in Psalm 147 of being absorbed in God’s song.  As Meg and I hiked this Routeburn Track, we were reminded once again that God is both in the vastness of His sky and mountains, and in the smallness of His flowers.  And we are His children, ever part of His eternal love.  
Once again, Henri Nouwen says it well, “one thing we know for sure about oour God: our God is a God the the living, not the dead.  God is life. God is love. God is beauty. God is goodness. God is truth.  God doesn’t want us to die. God wants us to life.  Our God, who loves us from eternity to eternity, wants to give us life for eternity through the Son who is God’s Word incarnate, who came to earth to reveal dramatically Who God is.”
Routeburn Track, NZ. Harris Lake

Mt Cook lily. Meg hiking toward Harris Saddle

Our present, God’s future

Meg and I are enjoying early morning devotions on our front porch as we hear and watch multiple hummingbirds at the feeders we have set out.  However, these delicate and remarkable birds are not gentle.  They are exceptionally territorial with one species fighting against another and even “bullies” within the same species demanding first rights to the feeder.

These observations have prompted some thoughts about our “natural” world.  If we view the world only through secular eyes, we will be stuck for endless generations in our territoriality–in our selfish, egotistic “me (or my group) first”. Yet God has given us another way: Isaiah boldly predicts the “the calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion.”  And, “no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain.” Not only does God tell us that He will reverse/level the current social structures, but He calls us to be part of the movement.  From Isaiah Chapter 58: 6-8, to Christ’s call in the Gospels, we are called to bring salt and light, hope and comfort, to those who suffer. From the Beatitudes to the sheep and the goats, Christ shows us the strength in forgiveness, in giving up our “rights.”  With Him, we do not have to define and defend “territory.” We know that nothing separates us from HIs Love, and that all boundaries, of whatever kind, are removed by His mercy and justice.
Memaloose, Hells Canyon

Ohope

Light eternal

Several weeks of rain culminated last Saturday (June 9th) with Meg and me “enjoying” a picnic in the rain at Morgan Lake, normally a beautiful flower filled location within fifteen minutes of La Grande.  I had promised Meg the weather would clear and we would see a rainbow, but the drizzle never let up. Sunday, however, the weather cleared, the sun shone, and the blue sky was filled with white, puffy clouds.

As we drove into the remote Zumwalt country, I felt as though my eyes had never seen this kind of light.  The weeks of rain had dulled my senses and memory. Light was new and glorious. Since then I have thought about our transition from earthly life to eternal life.  We live with occasional intimations of Heaven, but those moments are dulled by all the material aspects of the life we live. We “sort of/kind of” know what life after life will be like.  Yet as I think of how surprised and grateful I was for this week’s sunshine–a phenomenon I already know–how much more surprising and praiseworthy will be our life after death.  “In your light we see light.”  That can only happen when we are in the Presence of our Creator.

Zumwalt Road looking toward the Wallowa Mts.

Lower Imnaha River canyons from Buckhorn Springs overlook

Living waters or cracked cisterns?

In last week’s post, I thought about how hard it is for me to give up “control” and instead seek the stillness God provides me when I slow down.  Oswald Chambers, in his January 21 reading for “My Utmost for His Highest,” discusses how our enthusiasm for God ebbs and flows. He cites Jeremiah 2:2. As I read chapter two in its entirety, I was struck by verse 13: “My people have done two evil things: they have abandoned me–the fountain of living water.  And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!”

As I share these pictures today, I think of how we and the Psalmist praise God for His magnificent creation.  Yet, despite acknowledging our Creator, who out of His love placed us on this earth, we still follow our distracting, destructive idols that keep us from giving our entire selves to Him. We allow our selves to become “cracked cisterns that can hold no water.” I am grateful for his unfailing love and never ending forgiveness that allow us to return to His living waters.

Joyful surprise

On Saturday, I participated in the annual Christmas Market at our local conference center. I have participated since 2003 and sell a variety of my photographic products. Toward the end of the day, a young mother and her five year son came by my display.  The boy could barely see above the table, but he saw a picture I had taken of a dolly varden fish jumping up a rapid.  He held in longingly, hoping his mother would buy it.  However, the fifteen dollar price was more than she wanted to spend.  So, I told she could have it for a dollar. When she paid, and the boy knew it was his, his joyful surprise of a hope fulfilled was an absolute delight to be swept into. He will never remember me, but I do hope he remembers this moment and passes it on to others when he is an adult. And I also hope that he, like each of us, will have  more opportunities to be “surprised by joy.”

Certainly, that is one of the messages of the Christmas season: to be surprised by the wonders of joy and love and to share with “even the least of these.”

Whose am I?

I remember my college years being asked, and seeking, “who” I was. Supposedly, the answer would give me self esteem when I discovered my “true self”.  Well, in the maze of possibilities, I never did find out.  Fortunately, in my mid forties, I reoriented my journey and sought a relationship with, not a religion of, God.  I found out “whose” I was.  I was a child of God. Seeking “who” led me to worship at the idol of me, of my accomplishments, my ego. Knowing “Whose” I was placed me directly in the arms of a loving Savior; one who loves me despite myself and so gives an eternal blessing beyond anything my tiny mind can imagine or comprehend.

Remembering that God loves us

Rueben Job writes, “Leap from doubt to belief and remember that God loves you, delights in you, and yearns for your response of faith in HIm and His Creation.”  Too often we judge ourselves harshly, thinking that we do not deserve God’s love and forgiveness.  Yet, no matter who we are or what we have done, His love for us is never diminished. He is always there when we turn and return to HIm.