Multnomah Falls

SHg3_170610-8393-Edit-Edit

Multnomah Falls and the celebration of Pentecost

Certain elements of this picture transform it for me from nondescript picture into wonder to behold. The elements are the water cascading down, and the rock balancing the picture in the foreground. Without them I would have tossed it away.

This is the same for my life certain elements make it so worthwhile. The Rock of my salvation, Jesus, who anchors my life in his forgiveness and love.

“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
2 Samuel 22:47

The second element is the Holy Spirit cascading down, refreshing and anointing my life with God’s goodness.

“ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:17

Multnomah Falls a celebration of Pentecost.

Deception Falls

Deception Falls

The lower portion of Deception Falls, WA

If you have never stopped at Deception Falls, while traversing Stevens Pass, you are missing a beautiful spot. Now about my personal deception falls.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

When I make a sinful choice, I often place the blame on someone else, or point to the circumstances of life as the reason for my relapse into wrong (I can always find an excuse). This lets me think of myself as the victim and not the perpetrator. Unfortunately, this rationalization only takes me further from what I really need––forgiveness and the Holy Spirit’s help. So, I mope around enslaved to this subtle self-deception missing out on God’s joy. The good news is I am just a humble confession away from a pure heart and a renewed spirit. God’s grace to wash away my deception and renew the joy of my salvation

Killing Time Till I Die

Crystal clear water of Iceberg Creek

Crystal clear water of Iceberg Creek

This stream coming down from Iceberg Lake reminds me of a hiker I met on that trail. He had diabetes and lived out of his car. He had a little money saved, and with it was able to buy gas, food, and insulin. Stopping at various camp grounds his days were spent hiking the trails of national parks. As we hiked and talked he spoke of the many regrets in his life. He really wanted to do something meaningful, something to make his life worthwhile. After a pause he woefully admitted: “Right now I’m just killing time ‘till I die.”

How sad to wander through life with such an epithet. It made me think of my own life. How do I avoid falling prey to similar regrets? The pursuit of what seems worthwhile, only to find in the end that it is mirage, empty of any lasting purpose.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

In truth there is a spiritual battle going on. One side wants to steal and make my life worthless — “killing time, ‘till I die.” On the other side Jesus wants me to have a full life, a life with lasting significance.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last.  John 15:16

This “fruit” is explained in the rest of John 15. The big thing for me is to know is life has a good purpose beyond the years of my existence an eternal purpose.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

God has good things for me to do, so instead of “just killing time ‘till I die,” I want to follow Jesus, being filled with “living water” and flow like this stream — in the fullness of life.

Let Goodness Flow

Along the trail to Colchuck

Water flows from on high

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Medical genetics has discovered epigenomes that turn on/off the expression of genes. Thus in identical twins one may get cancer where the other is spared.  When the genes of identical twins are tagged for activity they show nearly identical activity as babies, but later in life they show marked divergence in activity. This change is from epigenes, but what cause epigenes to do this? There are environmental factors that have an effect, but what is surprising is that emotions also produce changes in epigenes. This explains why when a person loses their spouse there is a higher than expected incidence of cancer in the following year. I wonder if this helps explain the placebo effect, associated with any treatment, if one expects a positive out come our emotions cause the production of epigenes that produce the change. Thus the proverb about a cheerful heart is more than a nice statement, it speaks to an underlying biologic mechanism. The opposite emotions also take on new significance in that anger, stress, spite, and hate become avenues for destructive change in our genetics.

All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.        Proverbs 15:15

So let your mind dwell upon the good things God has given and give thanks.

Filling the Void

Cedar grove along Snow Lake trail

Cedar grove along Snow Lake trail


There are days when I feel a void in life. The void can appear with the Monday morning blahs, and my longing for freedom. Somedays I feel it facing the same old boring routine repeated over and over, that is when somewhere in me whispers, there must be more in life. Other times the void looms after of a long and difficult day, I just want to run away to a place of peace and quiet. There are all sorts of voids in life, some of the most difficult, and largest, come in the form of fear, loneliness, depression, and grief.

At some point all of us try to fill these voids. The list is long of things we use to quell the ache: food, spending money, traveling, risk-taking, lust, gambling, alcohol, drugs, it goes on and on. The trouble is that filling the void with these things is temporary and grossly inadequate. They can only pretend to fill the void, but do no more than divert attention away from the hole in life.

That is the issue that Jesus addressed with the woman at the well (John 4). She tried to fill her void with men: five failed marriages and starting on the sixth. Her thirst to be loved could not be quenched with a thousand men. To fill her void Jesus offers her living water that only he can give. We are all like this woman and must choose to continue trying to fill the void with self-indulgence, or deny our own remedy and let Jesus fill our life with living water. But what is this “living water” that Jesus wants to give us?

“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” (John 3:34)

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)

Since the beginning, the main void we have had is a relationship with God. No wonder nothing of this world can satisfy. Through Jesus, we can have the one thing we need the most, that fills the void as nothing else can, the Holy Spirit, God in us.

On Being Still

Olympic National Park, rain forest

Olympic National Park, rain forest


I have stilled and quieted my soul (Psalm 131:2)

Oh, to have my soul still and quiet.
I cannot do this of myself.
I need someone stronger than my fears.
I need someone to take away my gnawing guilt.
Someone to forgive and remove my regret,
To quiet my shame.
Someone to quell the ugliness I have seen,
Someone who will lead me by quiet waters,
To restore my soul in innocence.
I need the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace,
To still and quiet my soul.

The Photograph

Deception Falls

Deception Falls


The warm sun on my back.
A cool freshness tumbling with the water.
The sound of birds singing in the trees.
The smell of water and cedar.
There is so much you can’t experience from the picture.

The love of family.
The the laughter of the ones I cherish.
The smell of meals rich with each other.
The warmth of their presence.
There is so much more than what you see in a picture.

The love of God.
The comfort of His compassion.
His peace that surpasses all understanding.
The joy in His presence.
There is so much you can’t know from standing outside and looking in.

The photograph is a window to entice you to come in.