Focus

“O God, give them their just deserts! You’ve got the whole world in your hand!” Psalm 82.8

The scene was stunning in a way nobody could predict. She was 75+ if she was a day; looked like she should be in an old folks home until she walked! Her bright, crisp walk with a bounce combined with curly gray-blue hair and sparkling eyes that let everyone know she was a surprise in the making!

The impromptu program was stumbling along, people trying hard with audience encouragement at every step. There was nothing-special happening, until the Kentucky surprise. Up she bounced onto the stage and began a hillbilly poem song with a clap, foot-stomping rhythm. The audience expressed a single silent gasp and then joined in with a force that raised the tent! The verses went on and on always circling back to the chorus of the Holy Ghost dancing! The verses were full of stories and parables; fun and spirits raised for people of all ages. read more

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Banquet

“You’ll feast on my [God’s] fresh-baked bread spread with butter and rock-pure honey.” Psalm 81.16

Imagine the scene: sapphire blue skies punctuated by cotton puff clouds, gentle breezes, family and friends sitting around eating hand churned ice-cream. Follow the scene with three friends taking a four-mile run through the Redwood hills. Run dumbstruck from the tracks along the river up over the hills and down into the cut Redwood grove and through the blackberry bushes back to camp.

Feasting on God’s gifts is true eating. read more

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Love

“Oh, dear people, will you listen to me [God] now? Israel will you follow my map?” Psalm 81.13

I sit surrounded by people in the pursuit of quenching their thirst for God. In many ways, I understand their quest, given my own passion to know and hear this same God. The time with friends and family is refreshing, but I want more! The time in study and discussion are good, but I want more. The sessions exploring God’s words and stories of interacting with people are interesting, but I want more! read more

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Words

“I hear this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would talk to me.” Psalm 81.6

Listening for the voice of God is often frustrating. The need often comes in times of trouble or pain and then God is often silent. Where is this God of love people talk about? Where is the God who takes on our burdens? Why is life so difficult when I pursue knowing God?

Listening for the voice of God in the Redwoods appears to be redundant. Away from hassles of daily life, routines, life pressures, and habits trigger openness in one’s heart. Being in the middles of tall trees reaching up to the heavens, a stream flowing with peace and friends of old is a setting of a Hollywood script. read more

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Dawn

“A song to our strong God! A shout to the God of Jacob!” Psalm 81.1

First light in the Redwoods continues to be an unusual event to an ex-New Yorker. Something about waking to cool fog, virtual silence punctuated by the sound of logging trucks climbing hills for their first pick-up, and the quiet rustle of small animals searching for food doesn’t make sense. Where is the constant hum of the city? Where is the glow of city lights? Where are the garbage trucks making their early morning runs? read more

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Energy!

“We will never turn our back on you; breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!” Psalm 80.18

Once every once in awhile you discover the “perfect” something. It could be a great sushi restaurant, the perfect cup of coffee, or, in my case yesterday, the perfect swimming hole for making big splashes! These events, usually small and personal, are God’s love gifts to us for renewed energy.

I wish you were with me! We drove south of camp along a logging road searching for a swimming spot. Ten kids and two dogs crammed into a Suburban heading for destinations unknown! Traveling along the South Fork of the Eel River, the stunning beauty and awesome simplicity stretched our eyes and souls. Five miles out we dropped the Suburban into 4WD and headed out across the river rocks. Stopping next to a group of horses roaming free, the kids excitedly reveled in the new excitement. Doug and I were the early scout party, pushing ahead to find the nice spots of past years. Doug found it first, yelling for everyone to follow him. read more

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Ask

“God of the angel armies, turn our way!” Psalm 80.14

Asking for what one needs is a good idea. If you do not ask then how can someone help, especially God. God knows everything; every need, problem, issue, and opportunity. God can only act if someone asks Him to do something. There are boundaries I do not understand, probably never will. The Psalmist raised a number of specific issues and, consequently, found God’s presence and action.

With the morning fog receding and new sun streaks cascading through the Redwood trees, one could easily imagine a world with no pain and troubles. The soft ground pads your walk, lulling one into a dream state where everything is wonderful, kind, and gentle. Everything is comes with the edges rounded and softened by winds and winter storms. Life reflects the real world and yet things are worlds apart. read more

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Relationship

“God, come back! Smile your blessing smile, that will be our salvation.” Psalm 80.3

Slowing is easy in the Redwoods. There are no TVs, radios, appliances, restaurants, or ready access to the net to keep the pressure on. The music of the trees, nurture of raw beauty, and results of spending time with family and friends delivers an unexpected impact.

I have no idea how I should describe this experience. I look around and see majestic Redwoods, standing tall and cascading long shadows of cooling shade. I receive a shock of energy when I experience the rivers and spring water. The prevailing puff of dust coming from one’s steps reminds one of earth. The sheer enjoyment of stepping away from the normal, coming apart, and becoming submerged totally in nature is unique, awesome, and life changing. God is here. In this stunning setting, I realize that I want most of all to experience is God. read more

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Conditions

“We’ll tell everyone we meet how wonderful you are, how praiseworthy you are!” Psalm 79.13

Everything in life is conditional, even in the Redwoods. I stay presentable if I get the showers frequently. I wish I could say I love my Cherry unconditionally, but at times, even I know that I do not act like it. The Psalmist is conditionally promising God praise if God does a series of things, mainly rescuing us from the affects of our decisions. Sounds like a frequent prayer of mine!

I look around and wonder at our arrogance. Redwoods tower into the sky having stood the test of time for a dozen plus centuries. Crystal streams wonder through the hills changing their courses to accommodate the winter storms and spring rains. Deer and mountain lions hide themselves with the occasional cruise for food and water. Everywhere one looks, there is evidence of an awesome creativity and power. It could only be God! read more

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If not, Who?

“[God,] Don’t blame us for the sins of our parents.” Psalm 79.8

Waking up to fresh mountain air, sea fog still hanging on, the occasional bird waking its neighbors, is precious. I know the experience will end all too soon and the moments are treasured nuggets that one should hold and consume.

The contrast between the Redwoods and the world I live in is stark. London’s dense population groups vs. the deer of the rural Redwoods. People working farms and making a living at a life nurturing pace vs. a hectic stress creating run. London’s bottled water to sustain life vs. Redwood’s clear, clean, mountain springs. Fresh, pure mountain airs vs. inhaling a few cigarettes with your morning run. Clean smells vs. the smells of refuse waiting for special people to cart away to a far place. read more

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