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Joseph’s brothers realized what their father’s death could mean. So they thought, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us? What if he decides to pay us back for all the evil we did to him?” They sent a messenger to Joseph to say, “Before your father died, he commanded us, ‘This is what you should say to Joseph, “I’m begging you to forgive the crime and the sin your brothers committed against you. What they did to you was very evil.” ’ So now, please forgive our crime, because we are servants of your father’s God.” Joseph cried when he got their message. Then his brothers also came and immediately bowed down in front of him. “We are your slaves!” they said. Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I can’t take God’s place. Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it. This was to keep many people alive, as he is doing now. Don’t be afraid! I will provide for you and your children.” In this way he reassured them, setting their minds at ease.
Genesis 50:15-21 GW


Oregon has a political party super-majority. Our state, like many others, consists of rural conservatives and urban liberals. The division between these two philosophies runs roughly ten percentage points in the liberal’s favor – though during today’s climate it may run lower – with several independent parties. Due to the minority party not using legally available means to resist overreach, the conservatives have little recourse.

The Founding Fathers structured our national constitution so that no one branch of government had absolute power — this is true of the states also. Oregon is finding out the hard way.

If one party can call all the shots, then the other party can feel hopeless. Conservatives’ many needs are not met. Short-term solutions can involve civil disobedience or peaceful protest to garner the attention of the supermajority. Convoys in some localities this weekend are an example. A few long-haul solutions mean solving gerrymandering issues, the eastern and southern counties ceding to Idaho, or voting in more local elections.

This week, leading up to the convoy at the capital today, Oregonians are praying for a return to a lawful government.

Joseph was rent from his family for approximately twenty years. His brothers were jealous of him and sold him as a slave. They convinced his father that Joseph was dead when presented with his coat covered by animal blood.

After Jacob died (his family reunited before he did), his brothers came before him starving and humbled. Just as he had dreamed metaphorically of unhealthy wheat stalks and cows many years before. Evil had been done, but God had a plan to save his family and descendants from decimation.

Just as Joseph reunited with his family, Oregon can reunite under the hand of God.

Prayer should be our first, middle, and last response for redress. Wisdom comes from petitioning the Lord for redress. He hears the cries of conservative Oregonians who come before Him in humility. Only He can give us the strategy to return us all to working together. It is a given some will not want to work together, and God will have wisdom for that too.

Division can be healed. Just ask Joseph.

Painted Wonder of Oregon

Photo by Adrian N on Unsplash

I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.
Psalms 9:1-2 The Message


Several years ago, I drove through the Painted Hills on my way to visit Montana. Though I did not stop to walk the trails, I looked in awe through my windshield at the warm pastel and bold hues against the blue sky.

The Painted Hills are one of the three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

John Day was a vague, interesting man — what is documented about him. And some of the biographical information that exists about him is conflicting. He had four death dates, and his birth date is estimated. Even though he spent only eight years in Oregon country (he predated Oregon as a territory), cities, dams, and geographical formations are named after him.

Born in Virginia, he also lived in Kentucky and Missouri. From Missouri, he joined the Pacific Fur Company’s passage to Astoria in 1812. Astoria was founded in 1811 and became a monopoly on the fur trade. His hunting and trapping skills were sustenance during the expedition to the Northwest.

The Painted Hills contains an abundance of fossils from the remains of horses, camels, and rhinoceroses covering over 3,132 total acres. The hills began as a floodplain. The layered red, yellow, brown, and black colored soils originate from different climate eras, ranging from drier and cooler to warmer and humid.

The Painted Hills are one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon.

When I am stressed, one of my activities to breathe deeply is to walk along the Pacific. I instantly feel awe and wonder. To see the limitless horizon of ocean and sky reminds me of my Creator. It never gets old.

It may be a walk in a forest trail for you, brown sandy wide open spaces of the desert, the mountain vistas, or plains of wind-swept grass. It may be a park in a cityscape or the square of your backyard.

God’s nature reminds us of our Creator, keeps us humble before him. It reminds us of Who is in charge.

Tart Fruits of the Spirit

Photo by A on Unsplash

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:22-23 The Message


Cranberries have grown in Oregon since the 1880s or 1890s, depending on what region of the state. W.C. King, the “cranberry king,” grew his crop in Tillamook county. Further south in the 1880s, Charles McFarlin planted the cuttings he brought from Massachusetts in Coos county.

The Oregon coast has ideal conditions for the cranberry crop. The sandy, peaty soil combined with the humid and foggy atmospheric conditions and the long winter rainy season give the Oregon cranberries their rich red color and stoutness. These conditions also increase the sugar content, increasing the sugar levels of the fruit, decreasing the amount of added sugar. It is not perfect – the wind coming off the Pacific disperses weeds into the beds.

Cranberry farmers maintain natural pest control by flooding or sanding the beds. Harmful insects are eaten by beneficial flying creatures, keeping insecticide usage low.

In bogs, cranberry fruit grows on vines. During harvesting, water floods the bogs so reels, tractor-like machines, can beat the vines to cut the berries loose. Harvest time in Coos county occurs from mid-October to early December.

Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving Dinner – though Oregon produces green beans and potatoes to go with that dinner. They are juiced, freeze-dried, powdered for supplements, and locally brewed for cranberry wine.

Learning the fruits of the Spirit is not usually a sweet experience. It usually comes through trials and tribulations, sharp and sometimes bitter experiences.

Pruned fruit removes damaged pests and inferiorly positioned branches, increasing the light and air penetration.

The pruned fruit brings us forth to be holy lights. We will need to be compassionate for those who see, peace for those in turmoil, and life to the spirit of death.

Naming Oregon

north-america-ga2b38139d_640
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

So out of the same ground the man was made from, the Eternal God sculpted every sort of animal and every kind of bird that flies up in the sky. Then He brought them to the man and gave him the authority to name each creature as he saw fit: whatever he decided to call it, that became its name.
Genesis 2:19 THE VOICE


Visions of swash-buckling explorers, storm-tossed sea navigators, and hard-tack pioneers are among the theories behind the naming of the state of Oregon.

Romance aside, many theories arise, but there is no one definite answer. With its diversified geography, it would be apropos that there would not be any one answer.

Some theories are much more convincing than others. That Oregon was named after the culinary herb oregano stretches the imagination.

Several theories put a European influence on her naming. A Portuguese navigator who heard the poetry of the waters of the Columbia River. A kingdom of Spanish Catalonia. The French word for hurricane Ouragan.

Theories made in America also abound. One includes an 18th-century error made by a mapmaker regarding the Wisconsin River. Or another from history: the Shoshone word that means River of the West.

One poetic theory encompasses the poem “Thanatopsis”, written by William Cullen Bryant. Published in 1817, the poem refers to Oregon as a river: “Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound.” Jonathan Carver, who wrote the book Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, used the name Oregon in his book to refer to the Great River of the West. From this passage, Bryant wrote this idea for his poem.

Oregon also has a plethora of nicknames. Oregon became a state in 1859. Oregon then became the westernmost state of the United States and earned the nickname The Sunset State.

Other nicknames refer to her natural history: Hard-case refers to the hard life of the pioneers moving westward in their covered wagons. Webfoot refers to the rain total amounts west of the Cascades. The most well-known now, The Beaver State, is pictured on the backside of the state flag.

No matter the origin of the name, it was named, plausibly a conglomeration of the different and abundant theories.

God giving Adam the authority to name the creatures in the garden speaks more of just naming the birds and animals. He gave him authority to name, to create, and to rule over his surroundings with humility and wisdom.

We have a chance to speak life into our state – to name it Oregon again, a state of trailblazers, pioneers, and rebuilders.

Oregon’s Bio Light

Lightening and Bioluminescence
Photo by Trevor McKinnon on Unsplash

Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-7 NIV
The desert and the parched land will be glad;the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.


Sailors call the bioluminescence on the surface of the waters “sea fire.” Astronaut Jim Lovell, while a Navy pilot, landed safely on the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La. He used bioluminescence as a navigation system when the mechanical one failed.

Noctiluca scintillans is a Latin term. Noctiluca means shine by night and scintillans means sparkling.

On the Oregon coast (and other places around the world but primarily on coastal areas), Noctiluca scintillans are the organisms that illuminate the waters. Since they can’t swim, they move through waves action.

Between prolific reproduction and water movement, a bloom may form. They reproduce through either binary or multiple fission. In multiple fission, the cells divide from the parent cells as buds.

Their molecules die at sunrise and rebirth at sunset. Their light is inherent; it comes from within them and does not rely on an outside source. But it is a cold light, meaning that less than 20% of it generates heat. The bioluminescence in healthy cells appears as a flash, and it appears in the dying cells over minutes.

We have the light of the Holy Spirit within us, and it can spread into a blooming light to spread His love and righteousness in our state. Sometimes He speaks in a flash, sometimes over time. As we accept the calling on our lives, sometimes it takes some dying to ourselves to answer the call, but the light flashes even during this process.

Bloom, as a verb defined, means to mature or glow with a healthy color. Though the light of Oregon maybe a cold one now, it is still a light that can mature into a God-given heat of health.