Thursday, July 28, 2011

The reality of God's Presence

When I was young, and even as an adult, I used to think that God was floating "up there" while I was doing the best I could walking on earth.  As my relationship with Him has developed into a walking conversation, I have realized that He is not even across town; He is right here, next to each one of us. I very much enjoyed what Oswald Chambers wrote in "My Utmost for His Highest" on July 20: "Having the reality of God's presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually.  Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence....The experience the psalmist speaks of--'we will not fear even though..." (Psalm 46:2) will be ours once we are grounded on the truth of the reality of God's presence, not just a simple awareness of it, but an understanding of the reality of it."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wallowa Mountains and the Cat's Back

The "Divide," or the "Cat's Back," evocative names the designate a remote, little visited area of Wallowa County in NE Oregon, displays some of the most beautiful country you will find anywhere in this nation. In 1885, sisters Daisy and Caroline Wasson came to live there on a homestead established by their parents. High, on an open ridge with spectacular views of the Wallowa and Seven Devils mountains, they spent ten years. Snowed in for six months of the years, they learned to sew from their mother, and do the multi varied tasks that made life bearable in the winter. In the summer, the place was magical. Daisy wrote about those who wondered how/why they could live in such "god forsaken" place: "I have a picture in my mind of Caroline, standing, listening. She has on a little white linen hat and she is holding her walking sticks, and leaning a little forward. I watch her, and then after a little bit ask what she is doing. 'I hear music,' she answers, 'when I am real still and look at the mountains. I hear it.'

"I hear music when I am real still and look at the mountains."  Meg and I have enjoyed this music, the silence, as we have enjoyed the blessing and privilege to visit the Cat's Back several times in this early summer.  I hope you enjoy this pictures as well.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

small acts of love

I love the Mother Teresa quote below.  As I read it this week, I once again realized that it is not the "big" things we do with our lives.  It is the little things of love we do--with our families, our friends, our organizations, and strangers--that make the difference.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Living Water and the Wallowa Mountains of NE Oregon

Meg and I traveled up the Lostine River road this Friday and set up camp at the trailhead to Maxwell Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of NE Oregon.  We took a five mile roundtrip training hike up the trail to test our gear and bodies for a major multi-day  backpack in the Glacier Peak Wilderness of northern Washington with younger son Michael and his wife, Sara at the end of the month. The hike was challenging as we faced a major raging creek crossing as well as downed logs on the trail. We also crossed many calmer, more gentle streams.  The water stimulated my thinking about both the protection the Lord gives as well as the sustenance, physically and spiritually, we receive from water.  Here are some pictures reflecting that theme.

"Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.  It becomes a fresh, bubbly spring within them, giving them eternal life."
John 4:13,14

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The saintly heroism of love

"There is a profound difference between celebrities and saints. In a narcissistic, self pleasing culture, we welcome celebrities because we lack courage and imagination. Traditional heroes make demands on us, but celebrities make no moral claim on us....No one ever asks how our constant exposure to the rich and famous is supposed to make us good, or wise, or faithful...But heroes--saints--stretch our imagination and stand as imperatives, calling, wooing us to a higher, holier life." James C. Howell