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Posts Tagged ‘Sunrise’

We were fortunate to be in the center of the eclipse that crossed the USA this week.  It was surreal seeing the clouds on the northwest horizon suddenly go dark while clouds all around were still brightly lit.  Within a few seconds the light went dim as if a dimmer switch dialed down our celestial light just short of the “off” position.  As I slowly spun around, the “sunrise” visible on all 360 degrees of the horizon was beautiful.  The corona flared from behind the sun while pearls of light trickled through lunar valleys 250,000 miles away.  One hundred a fifty-three seconds after it started, the diamond ring appeared and our eclipse glasses had to go back on.  It was an amazing, and for most of us once-in-a-lifetime, experience.

Since I am in a sling I wasn’t able to do much photography during the eclipse.  However, I found several really good pics on the website BoredPanda.com.  I am attaching ones that I particularly enjoyed.  I hope you enjoy them too.

The hype for the eclipse was tremendous here in the USA, and particularly for those of us  in the “zone of totality”.  The eclipse became a cultural event crossing the US from coast to coast.  It was a nice respite from controversial matters, if only for a day.  One commentator in Oregon even made mention that for some the eclipse was a “spiritual” event.  While I don’t subscribe to the stars dictating things of the spirit, there is precedent of the Lord using the stars and other celestial bodies to point us toward truths that He wants to emphasize.  Here are some truths that yesterday’s eclipse brought to mind.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
https://www.bible.com/bible/59/JHN.1.5   The sun is hidden from view during an eclipse, but is never put out; likewise, Jesus is the one and only Light of the World.  His enemies try myriad ways to diminish or divert His light, but they cannot.  The light of the sun was darkened for a time, but it was never put out.  All we had to do was wait and trust in the light we couldn’t quite see and shortly the light again shown brightly upon us.

“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” Psalms 19:1-6 https://www.bible.com/bible/59/PSA.19.1-6

The ancients thousands of years ago saw the same sun, moon, and stars we do.  They stood in awe of the marvels in the heavens and realized that the intricacy and order in the universe point to the existence of a creative hand.  The second law of thermodynamics states that all things progress from order to chaos without the input of energy.  There had to be an intelligent designer- creator to achieve the tremendous complexity and perfect inter-relationships we see in creation.

“”Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”  Matthew 24:29-31  https://www.bible.com/bible/59/MAT.24.29-31

There is a day coming when Christ will return.  By His resurrection, Jesus has conquered death, hell, and the grave.  Yet God has chosen to allow life on earth to continue until a set time, a time of His design.  Until then every person has the opportunity to draw close to God or to turn away from Him.  There is a climax to time on this earth and one set of heralds of this end are amazing signs in the heavens.  One of these signs sounds like an eclipse that is witnessed by multitudes.

Those who follow Jesus, who have traded their broken sinful lives for His, will rejoice at His appearing.  Those who have chosen to follow anything other than a relationship with Jesus will be dismayed.  They will mourn, for they have chosen not just the lesser thing, but the wrong thing.

My prayer as I close is that you will be lifted and encouraged by the pics to consider the awesome Creator Who provides such amazing sights.  And as great as His creative genius is, His all encompassing love is even greater.  I encourage you to seek Him while He may be found.

Be blessed and be a blessing today.

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One of the main events at Gauntlet each year is the sunrise baptism in the ocean.  This year 1400 persons waded into the Atlantic Ocean to be baptized in a pattern followed by  Christ-followers for close to 2000 years.  Baptism is a rich symbol in the Christian faith.  In baptism we are identifying with Jesus is His death and burial as we plunge under the water.  In rising out of the water we are connecting with His resurrection from the dead.  Baptism is an outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace God has given us in our salvation.  By baptism we proclaim we are followers of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

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Even as organized as our church has become through the 10 previous Gauntlets, baptism of 1400 people takes some time and creates quite a spectacle.  Below are a few pics of the service.  Three short vignettes stand out to me.

First, we met and spoke with Maddie as she provided Life guard support.  I explained how Jesus is real and that baptism is a person’s next step after accepting Him as their savior.  Maddie is at a life change point as she enters her final year in college.  She has questions about what she is going to do with her life.  As we walked away after praying with her, I could sense the Holy Spirit stirring in her heart.  I pray that she too will soon be baptized and experience the joy and peace that Jesus gives.

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The next shots are from the lifeguard seat in the middle of our service.  One of the staff came up to me and pointed out the man kneeling in the sand to the south of our group.  He had wandered up early in the baptism and, after chatting with some of our folks, fell to his knees and remained there for the entire time I was there – close to an hour that I know of.  His posture of prayer over our group remains one of the most poignant images for me of the week.  It also reminded me that there were literally thousands of people back home praying for us before and during the Gauntlet.

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The final Baptism morning vignette was when Greg, Dylan and I held our devotion on the pier.  We wanted a vantage point where we could continue to observe and pray for the baptism service, but also open the Word and see what God had in store for us.  As we finished an older gentleman from the restaurant on the pier approached and asked what was going on up the beach.  I shared about the baptism and Gauntlet which lead to an engaging conversation with Mark.  A one-time minister, Mark had slipped and backslidden to the point that he had ended up on the streets.  A year and a half earlier he decided he had to turn his life around so for 16 months he had worked at the restaurant and was staying away from the drink and other temptations that had caused him to fall.  We prayed with Mark.  I was blessed as my guys were fully engaged in the conversation, even encouraging Mark to watch the services on-line.

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So many people… so many God-stories… so many miracles… such an amazing God.

The next post will be about the worship.  The one after that is about one of the mighty miracles that occurred and which is continuing to play out in a most marvelous way.

God is moving… the wave started in the student section and it is growing in intensity.  Come Lord Jesus – overwhelm us with more of you.

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At some point in our lives, most of us want to hear God speak directly to us, directly into our life situation.  I am convinced that intimacy with God is our highest calling.  What Adam had in the garden before the Fall is a picture of what life in Christ can become… intimate, familiar, loving, without secrets or shame, the PERFECT relationship.  But for almost all of us we are still a long, long ways from it.

If intimacy with God is our highest calling, then why do we struggle so with achieving it?  Why is it that we don’t hear about or see where God is speaking to people regularly?  Why does my prayer life feel more like a one sided conversation than a dialog?  Why is the silence so quiet?

A conversation this weekend has brought this question into my spirit and I have been wrestling with it for three days now.  While I suspect there may be other reasons, I have insight into some of the reasons and a path through a season of silence that may be beneficial for you.

Let’s begin with the order of priorities God has for us.  The most important thing God has for us is to know Him.  That is priority #1.  Not knowing ABOUT Him, but knowing Him.  He sent Jesus to earth to engage humanity face to face, skin to skin, heart to heart.  Jesus’ life on planet earth was brief – 30 or so years, but in God’s providential plan, He inspired the writing of the Word which not only fleshes out the “God Story” for the billions of us who did not get to know Him in the flesh, but creates the pathway to meet and truly know Him.  Also in His plan, Jesus’ resurrection means Jesus is alive.  If He is alive then He is knowable.  At my conversion, I believe Jesus was right there with me, talking to me, offering me life in Him.  When I accepted, He placed His Holy Spirit within me and I was changed.  I know it.  I felt it.  Others saw it and commented on it.  It really happened.  Now humanity’s enemy, the bible calls Him Satan, has periodically tried to convince me otherwise.  Most of His attempts have been to get my eyes off Jesus, my spiritual ears from listening to the Holy Spirit, and my actions away from intimacy with God.  Those times I have been diverted, quiet ensued.  This brings me to the first reason we may enter a time of silence in our relationship with the Lord.

Spiritual warfare is a reality.  The enemy actively fights against God.  The children of God, believers who have been saved through faith in Christ, are at the frontline of that war.  There are many similarities in warfare we see and what goes on in the spiritual realm, but I want to focus upon one aspect – communication.  Knowing the battle plan and keeping in touch with command is vital in battle.  This is often hard to do, particularly when the fight is intense and the din of battle drowns out all other sound.  Spiritual warfare will have times when we are getting hit with any number of  assaults.  The good news is our Lord God is the ultimate Commander in Chief.  He has both a plan and resources to win the war and bring us through the battle.  When we are in the battle, we may not clearly hear Him, but we can trust Him.  We make our requests, we hold our position, and we do what we know from His Word we are to do.  In the absence of a clear word from the Lord, we trust the Word of the Lord and the last thing He told us to do.  And we hold on.  We also look for reinforcements.  This would be Godly friends who can come alongside us in the fight.  Ones who will join us in the battle.  Ones who will also be communicating with our Commander, the Lord God Almighty, about our needs.  Scriptures for this are 2Cor 10:3-5 and Eph 6:10-18.

Reason 2.

On-going sin.  Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins – all of them.  God in His wisdom has given us a role to play in our salvation.  We repent – we turn away from sin and turn to God.  There are many things that can be said about why sin is such an evil thing, but for the sake of this discussion I’m going to focus upon just one aspect.  From where we stand sin lies in the opposite direction of God.  If we choose to run after sin, we are turning our back on God.  Have you ever noticed the orientation of our ears?  They are cupped forward.  This allows the capture and amplification of sounds in front of us.  This also provides a degree of shielding from sound waves coming from behind us.  This is a physical picture of a spiritual truth.  When we turn away from God, it becomes much more difficult to hear God’s voice calling us back to Him.  That which we are facing grows louder and more strident.  The voice of God grows harder to hear.  And God seldom shouts.  Hopefully I can come back to that theme in another post.  God can and will shout, but it is the exception rather than the rule.  His gentle whisper and subtle nudges are the norm.

The remedy when on-going sin causes us to lose awareness of God’s voice is simple, if not necessarily easy.  Cease the sin immediately, repent, confess, and seek the Lord’s help through Godly friends and counselors who can help you take your next steps.  In this I have seen an accountability partner provide tremendous benefits.  God works through His people in the healing process.

Reason 3.

Emotional wounds not dealt with.  My understanding of God is that He has saved me utterly and completely.  My experience has been that in a few cases God walks me through the healing of damage created by sin, my sin and the sins others have done to me, over time.  Although I have been a believer for 30+ years, there are still times of periodic cleansing, teaching, and healing that He does in me years after I felt Him power-wash my soul.  I am getting into an area that still holds a degree of mystery for me, but I have seen this at work in my life and in others.  God will choose to heal some things from our past years into our walk with Him.  The forgiveness has long since been applied, but sometimes God wants to heal the scars.  In some cases our stuffed hurt actually encases a bit of poison that must be removed.  If the Lord wants to do the healing, our role is to allow Him, the Great Physician, to do surgery.  Covering it up, holding it in, saying it doesn’t exist does not further the Lord’s work in this area.  Giving it to the Lord, confessing and lifting it up to Him, is the right thing to do.  One of the areas I have seen this frequently take place is for people who have been victimized by sexual sin.  Opening up about this to a caring and wise counselor is a one of the most benefical steps in the healing process.

Reason 4.

Our unrealized expectations of God leading to a “God Grudge”.  An unfortunate situation often occurs when a person comes to faith.  A well-meaning soul will tell the new convert something like, “You are changed and your life will be rich, full, and exciting because you are a Christian.”  While there are many blessings that come with being a Christ-follower, absence from life’s difficulties is not one of them.  In fact, when we immerse ourselves into living a fully surrendered life we will experience times of need that lead us into greater dependence upon Him.  Sadly many believers reach a point where their expectations are not met, but rather than seeking Godly counsel, they bottle up the disappointment and trudge on.  Over time and as more unrealized expectations occur, a God Grudge develops.

I have seen this and been fortunate enough to speak words of encouragement to people to help them identify the source of their grudge and help them take it to God.  He already knows we are holding it.  He just wants us to admit it and then give it to him.  I can think of five situations where the persons took this step of faith and within a month a break-through in the natural realm of a long-standing problem was manifested.  Intimacy requires honesty.  God can handle our honesty.  We just need to be open to what He has to say back to us.  Psalm 51 resonates for Reasons 2 – 4.

Reason 5.

Disobedience to what the Lord has said.  I know that disobedience to the Lord is sin, but I want to zero in on disobedience to God’s personal word to us.  I shared my most poignant and painful example of this in a post last summer. https://areliablefaith.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/responding-to-the-nudge/.  In this story I share how I rationalized my way out of obedience to the Holy Spirit’s nudge and the consequences were significant.  This example and some lesser periods of waffling when presented with promptings from the Lord have clearly shown me that quiet ensues when we ignore what the Lord tells us.

Our Pastor has shared this with us as well.  “Have you done the last thing I told you?”  This is the question the Lord has laid on his heart when he has tried to maintain a dialog, while not being fully obedient to the last thing the Lord told Him to do.  I admit to the same thing.  A few years back I went through an extended time where the Lord repeatedly brought the same scripture to my mind as I prayed.  It wasn’t until I obeyed the practical application of that scripture that my prayer life moved forward.

God is not into superficiality.  There is no façade that works.  Obedience is essential if we desire unhindered dialog with the Lord.

Reason 6.

We are to wait.  This one is perhaps the most common for me.  And it really only becomes an issue when we get our priorities backwards.  At the beginning I said our #1 priority is to Know the Lord.  For the finite to know the Infinite takes all our life and at the end we will still fall far short of knowing God fully.  But that is what God desires and has called us to.  Part of the process for getting to know the Lord is that we walk in our second priority which is: Know and Do the Things God Wants Us to Do.  Life spent being where God wants and doing what God created us to do is a life well lived.  However, our “doing for God” can usurp our first priority – Knowing God.  When this happens we can get out of the Lord’s whisper range and we can move into the realm of silence.

I have fallen into this pit more than once.  I am an active person.  I also tend toward being a workaholic.  I struggled to type that because in my mind I am just thorough, but my wife and others have pointed this out with enough examples that I cannot deny it.  It is not uncommon for me to get involved in a good thing but fail to take the time to validate it against the Lord’s leading.  Being over-committed to good things invariably leads to being under-committed to the best things.

The solution here is pretty simple.  Make the #1 priority the #1 priority.  Isaiah 40:31 is on the spot.  “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.  The shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not grow weary.  They shall walk and not faint.”

If we seek first God and His righteousness, then we put ourselves in position to hear, to learn, and to move when He says move.  For me waiting is manifested in a number of ways, but let me share my primary few.

1) Rising early with the bible, a cup of coffee, and a heart to enjoy anything new that I perceive is from the Lord.  This may be a new insight in the scripture.  It could be a person the Lord brings to mind that I pray for.  It is often an idea that rumbles around in my Spirit picking up scriptural ties that becomes a blog post.

2) Attending worship with the sole intention of lifting up adoration and praise unto the One Who is worthy of every last bit of praise I have to give.  There was a time in my life when I had to listen to a number of praise songs, concentrating on their lyrics before I moved into deep worship.  I seem to have moved to a place where I come expectant and ready to commune with the Father in worship.  This is awesome within our church, but it now occurs regularly whenever I listen to praise and worship.

3) Serving others has become a source of blessing for me.  I have found that in praying for and caring for others, I become more sensitive to the Lord nudging me, prompting me, leading me.  I know Who the answer is and so in listening to others in need, I am open to the Holy Other speaking life and hope to them.  Sometimes it may be through me.  Sometimes it may be through another in the conversation.  But I have consistently seen the Lord minister.  My role is to simply wait, be open and receptive, and do or say what I believe He leads me to do or say.

4) Out in nature – particularly at sunrise or sunset.  For this one I generally am simply swept up into the awesomeness of Who God is… Creator, Sustainor, Artist, Master Designer, intimate Friend, Loving Father – and worship ensues.  The utterences of my heart flow unbidden to the throne of grace.  Sometimes I sense something specific in my Spirit.  Always I receive the Lord’s refreshing.

 

I know this has been a long post.  I hope and pray it has been encouraging for you.  The Father loves you and He has a message for you.  Seek Him and He will speak to you.  Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

In closing I share a few of my favorite pics from my sunrise and sunset devotions.  Be blessed my friend and allow the Father’s blessing to flow in, through, and around you to in rich abundance.

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Sunrise over Crater Lake, Oregon.

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Crater Lake, Oregon

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East Rim of Crater Lake at Sunset

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Alpine-glow on Mount Rainier, Washington.

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Update South Carolina Foggy Sunrise

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Radiant!

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The heavens declare the glory of God.

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The best man can do is but a glimmer compared to the beauty the Lord bestows on the canvas of this world. View across our front yard.

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Sunset on Ruby Beach, Washington.

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Ruby Beach at Sunset and Low Tide

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Splitting the Sky

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Rows in the heavens

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Sunrise in the South Pacific.

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Darkness tried to hide it, but the Light cannot be contained!

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Sunset over the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.

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Sunrise over Mahon’s Pool at Maroubra Beach, Australia

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Sunset over my backyard this past Sunday.

Pretty Place, Camp Greenville, SC, Oct 16, 2015 (47)

The reason for our hope. Pretty Place, Camp Greenville, SC

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There are almost always leftovers.  You know, the food at the end of the meal that you just don’t want to throw away so you wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator.  Sometimes it becomes lunch at a future date.  When I was a child we would occasionally slip it to the dog.  Usually it still ends up in the trash, just days or weeks later when we realize it’s been in the fridge for an undetermined amount of time and we are reasonably confident that what’s growing on it is not penicillin.

There is a phrase I’ve never heard.  “Why don’t you come have dinner with us?  We’re serving leftovers!”  You see while leftovers are convenient compared to the effort to create a nice, fresh meal, they aren’t what you serve when you want to serve your best.  No, if we are inviting guests we want to make a good impression.  We want to honor them with our best effort.

I realized something the other morning as I headed out to work here in Tacoma, Washington.  The sun was just rising behind the mountains in the east.  The dark, jagged silhouettes pointed upward into the multi-hued dawn of orange, pink, and various shades of blue.  It was an inspiring sight yet again.  As I got to my exit ramp, a spectacular view of Mount Rainier awaited and it struck me – God never serves me Leftovers.  His mercy and love is new every morning.

As I relished that thought I also realized that all too often I give Him my leftovers.  I have learned that first and foremost the Lord calls us to intimacy with Him.  He wants us to walk in close communion with Him.  It is because He loves us.  It is also because He knows that it is the best thing for us.  Yet too many times I come to Him at some later point in my day.  Time alone with God often gets relegated to a lesser spot on my TO DO list and He gets my Leftover time.  If we are not careful our giving can become just another bill rather than an opportunity to honor God with our first fruits.

I want to honor God – the lover of my soul, my redeemer, my Lord, and my friend.  That means I will not serve Him my leftovers, but rather He will get the best of what I am and what I possess.  He is worthy.

Now, a second thought closely followed.  When we give God our first fruits, He is able to do amazing things with what we have left.  When we tithe (that’s 10% off the top) God is able to accomplish more with the 90% we have in our hands, than we could ever accomplish with the original 100%.  I’ve seen this play out in my life and through the lives of others on a number of occasions.  Jesus said, “Give and it will be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.”  In other words when we give cheerfully from whatever container we give out of, when we look at our container after we have poured out, it will be packed full to overflowing.

But there is also giving of our time.  I am a morning person so I know my best is first thing in the morning.  When I give God my morning, somehow He fills my day with so much more – more joy, more effectiveness, more divine appointments, and seemingly more life.

The final thought this morning brings me back to food.  My wife is a great cook.  She is from Louisiana and one of her specialties is a Cajun dish called Jambalaya.  It is a spicy rice dish that includes a lot of different meats.  She served it for our home group recently and it was delicious.  Of course we had leftovers which I dutifully wrapped up and placed in the fridge.  Over the next few days I let Lisa know she didn’t have to cook because I had LEFTOVERS, Yeah!  Lisa’s Jambalaya, as good as it is when she first cooks it, is even more flavorful over the next few days as the spices fully saturate the rice.

For me, Lisa’s Jambalaya serves as a good picture of what God does for us.  When we give Him ourselves, our first fruits, the best we have to offer He receives it as our faith offering.  What we have left – our Leftovers if you will, become saturated with God’s favor to such an extent that they are better than the original.  And that, my friend is something I look forward to.

Psalm 34:8a – Taste and see that the LORD is good.

Have a blessed day.  And don’t forget to be a blessing.

 

 

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Sunrise on Mount Rainier viewed across Reflection Lake.

Sunrise on Mount Rainier viewed across Reflection Lake.

 

I will finish my reminisce of my Mount Rainier weekend with today’s post.

It was a glorious experience hiking around the mountain.  Any direction I looked there was stunning beauty.  Invariably though my eyes always were drawn to the mountain.  On both mornings I got into position before sunrise to capture the event in all it’s glory.  Saturday at Reflection Lake was a bit less than I had hoped for due to my inexperience shooting in this type of lighting.  The mist rising off the water was kinda cool, but it wasn’t until later in the morning that I got the Reflection Lake pic that had the light balance I wanted.

Mist rising off Reflection Lake about 5:30 am.  It was in the low 50's and not a cloud in the sky.

Mist rising off Reflection Lake about 5:30 am. It was in the low 50’s and not a cloud in the sky.

Waiting for sunrise at Reflection Lake.

Waiting for sunrise at Reflection Lake.

A split density filter will be a next purchase for me to get the bright sunrise on the mountain and the darker reflection in the lake.  I guess that means I have to come back.

A split density filter will be a next purchase for me to get the bright sunrise on the mountain and the darker reflection in the lake. I guess that means I have to come back.

The mountain's reflection in the flower-filled shoreline.

The mountain’s reflection in the flower-filled shoreline.

The first kiss of sun on Mount Rainier's peak.

The first kiss of sun on Mount Rainier’s peak viewed from Reflection Lake.

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Seeing as in a mirror darkly.

Seeing as in a mirror darkly.

After my hike up to the top of Plummer Peak I returned and got the Reflection shot I had hoped for earlier in the day.

Really cool pic of the peak in Reflection Lake.

Really cool pic of the peak in Reflection Lake.

Sunday at Sunrise delivered in excellent fashion.

Arriving at Sunrise Point about half an hour before sunrise, I found 20 or so people already awaiting with cameras and tripods ready.  The glow advancing up the horizon  was rich with color and promise.

Arriving at Sunrise Point about half an hour before sunrise, I found 20 or so people already awaiting with cameras and tripods ready. The glow advancing up the horizon was rich with color and promise.

Boosting my exposure brought distant peaks in the Cascade range into relief against the brightened sky.

Boosting my exposure brought distant peaks in the Cascade range into relief against the brightened sky.

I waited at Sunrise Point until almost sunrise, but the gathering crowd was not quite as interested in quiet and courteous reflection on the magnificent sunrise so I moved a little closer to the mountain and set up in a lonely pull-off on the final approach to Sunrise parking area.

Here I greeted the sun as it gently dawned on the peak and slid down the glacier-covered slope.

About two minutes before first sun on the crest.

About two minutes before first sun on the crest.

Sunrise has arrived to the peak.

Sunrise has arrived to the peak.

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Sunrise on the Mountain.

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The sunshine walks down the mountainside.

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A few folks I met later who were out on the trail through the night said they could see the lights of the mountain climbers in the darkness up at the peak.

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Dawn breaks in a wondrous display of color.

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Who needs words – the pictures speak for themselves.

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The last of the golden glow shots as the sun crests the horizon and the light brightens.

The last of the golden glow shots as the sun crests the horizon and the light brightens.

Morning has arrived and I head to the trails above Sunrise.

Morning has arrived and I head to the trails above Sunrise.

The next pics are of some of the wildflowers and fields aflame with living color.  I talked with a few people and they expressed disappointment that the flowers are so far ahead of their normal schedule and many have already peaked.  While I accept their local knowledge, I couldn’t let their disappointment cause me to miss the riot of color and life bursting from meadow and rocky ledge alike.

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View east over Burroughs #1 to the Cascades.

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Hardy ground cover leaps to life when the snows melt to take advantage of the 3 month or so growing season.

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Locals told me the flower display was less than normal, however to a first time visitor the many hues interspersed amongst the rocks, boulders, and occasional fir trees was both delicate and dramatic.

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The growing season is short and the soil was not much to look at, but the flowers they did sprout.

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I could count about a dozen or so different flowers.

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This little flower was like many I saw. Although it didn’t look like it should be here, it is and it flourishes.

After hiking around Paradise on Saturday, I stopped at the Grove of the Patriarchs near the Steven’s Canyon entrance into the Park.  The Grove is a stand of ancient Western Cedar, Douglas Fir, and Western Hemlock on an island in the middle of the Ohanapecosh River.  Being isolated on the island has allowed these trees to avoid both the ravages of fire and the loggers saw.  Some of the trees are 1000 years old and 10 feet in diameter.  This is a very easy hike, flat and well-shaded.  No vistas, stunning views, or challenging climbs, but sometimes a few moments spent in quiet reflection amongst giants is a welcome diversion.

Rounding out my time on Rainier with pics from my morning at Sunrise and on Burroughs Mountain.  These are in reverse order of my hike.

My last view of Mount Rainier as I am almost back to the parking area at the Sunrise Visitor Center.

My last view of Mount Rainier as I am almost back to the parking area at the Sunrise Visitor Center.

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Shadow Lake

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This was a campground in the 1920's on Shadow Lake at Sunrise.

This was a campground in the 1920’s on Shadow Lake at Sunrise.

Shadow Lake in Sunrise.

Shadow Lake in Sunrise.

This waterfall is on the side of Goat Island Mountain and is one of the beginnings of the White River.

This waterfall is on the side of Goat Island Mountain and is one of the beginnings of the White River.

Close up of the bottom of Emmons Glacier.

Close up of the bottom of Emmons Glacier.

View toward Sourdough Ridge across the Sunrise meadows.

View toward Sourdough Ridge across the Sunrise meadows.

Every spring as the snow melts the creeks and rivers rise dramatically scouring the stream beds and carrying rocks, trees, and boulders further and further downstream.  The stream bed looks grey and fairly ugly now, but just a few months earlier it was a raging torrent of great power.  This is the White River.

Every spring as the snow melts the creeks and rivers rise dramatically scouring the stream beds and carrying rocks, trees, and boulders further and further downstream. The stream bed looks grey and fairly ugly now, but just a few months earlier it was a raging torrent of great power. This is the White River.

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View east along the Sunrise Rim Trail back to the road into Sunrise and Sunrise Point.

In the right side of the picture it appears that the stream emerges from a cave.  That's actually the bottom of the Emmons Glacier and the stream is the primary source of the White River.  The grey color is due to all the rocks lying on the glacier ice.

In the right side of the picture it appears that the stream emerges from a cave. That’s actually the bottom of the Emmons Glacier and the stream is the primary source of the White River. The grey color is due to all the rocks lying on the glacier ice.

As I walked on the Sunrise Rim Trail here I realized a slip could easily result in a 1000 foot or more tumble.

As I walked on the Sunrise Rim Trail here I realized a slip could easily result in a 1000 foot or more tumble.

Notice the glacier colored lake in the valley next to the White River.

Notice the glacier colored lake in the valley next to the White River.

The Sunrise Rim Trail was nice because it was primarily all downhill.  As the name implies you are on the edge of the high meadow where it falls off dramatically to the valley where the Inter Fork River, one of the main tributaries of the White River flows.

The Sunrise Rim Trail was nice because it was primarily all downhill. As the name implies you are on the edge of the high meadow where it falls off dramatically to the valley where the Inter Fork and the White Rivers flow.

While the terrain was very tundra like, it did not lack for brilliant patches of color like this one.

While the terrain was very tundra like, it did not lack for brilliant patches of color like this one.

A resting spot in the middle of the Sunrise Rim Trail on Burroughs #1.

A resting spot in the middle of the Sunrise Rim Trail on Burroughs #1.

Trail back down from Burroughs #2.

Trail back down from Burroughs #2.

The waters of Emmons Glacier form the White River which is the valley about a mile below where I was standing.  On my drive out I essentially followed this river all the way to where it entered Commencement Bay about a mile from my hotel in Tacoma.  I estimate the river length to be about 100 miles since it flows east off the mountain before turning north and then west to the sea.

The waters of Emmons Glacier form the White River which is the valley about a mile below where I was standing. On my drive back to Tacoma I essentially followed this river all the way to where it entered Commencement Bay about a mile from my hotel in Tacoma. I estimate the river length to be about 100 miles since it flows east off the mountain before turning north and then west to the sea.

At the top of Burroughs Mountain, Peak #2.  I turned around here and headed back down the Sunrise Rim Trail.

At the top of Burroughs Mountain, Peak #2. I turned around here and headed back down the Sunrise Rim Trail.

Phlox growing wild on the side of Burroughs Mountain.

Phlox growing wild on the side of Burroughs Mountain.

Even though the conditions are brutal for much of the year, chipmunks were in abundance wherever I hiked.

Even though the conditions are brutal for much of the year, chipmunks were in abundance wherever I hiked.

More evidence of the lava flow from eras gone by.

More evidence of the lava flow from eras gone by.

Interesting rock formations on the north side of Burroughs Mountain.

Interesting rock formations on the north side of Burroughs Mountain.

Burroughs Mountain Trail up to Burroughs #2 - the second peak of Burroughs Mountain.

Burroughs Mountain Trail up to Burroughs #2 – the second peak of Burroughs Mountain.

Signpost where the Sunrise Rim Trail meets the Burroughs Mountain Trail.

Signpost where the Sunrise Rim Trail meets the Burroughs Mountain Trail.

An unnamed lake beside the Wonderland Trail below the Burroughs Mountain Trail.

An unnamed lake beside the Wonderland Trail below the Burroughs Mountain Trail.

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Frozen Lake which is almost always still frozen at this time of year, but not in 2015.

Frozen Lake which is almost always still frozen at this time of year, but not in 2015.

View from near the top of Burroughs #1 toward Frozen Lake.

View from near the top of Burroughs #1 toward Frozen Lake. The peak in the top left is Mount Fremont.

Notice that the Burroughs Mountain terrain is much like the Tundra from areas much further north.

Notice that the Burroughs Mountain terrain is much like the Tundra from areas much further north.

View toward Emmons Glacier from the Sourdough Ridge Trail.

View toward Emmons Glacier from the Sourdough Ridge Trail.

I am so thankful for the time I got to spend in one of the world’s most beautiful places.  I am thankful the weather was excellent and that I was able to pack a lot of into the 2 days or so.  And when I say I am thankful, I address that partially to my wife who was okay with my staying over the weekend away from home, the folks I work with who gave me plenty of good advice and practical tips, and most of all the One Who made it all possible… from creating it in the first place to providing the wonderful weather to giving me a job that allowed me to do this.

View from my hotel while in Tacoma.

View from my hotel while in Tacoma.

One final thought.  As I got into my hotel room I looked out the window back to the mountain and I sensed the Lord whisper, “I’m bigger than the mountain.”

That phrase is richer with meaning for me now.  I have been to the mountain and stood in awe of it’s size, it’s beauty, it’s grandeur – but I know God is so much bigger.

I followed the trip to the mountain with a trip to Gauntlet X, our youth event at Daytona Beach which I wrote about in my last post.  Many of those in attendance had / have mountains in their life – but God is bigger than those mountains.  Many had the mountains in their life removed, while others were given God’s perspective that made their mountain shrink.

I have had mountains in my life, the latest one was an unexpected job loss that left me with some big questions.  This weekend was a resounding affirmation that my Heavenly Father not only knows where I am and what is going on in me, He is working it for my ultimate good.  (Romans 8:28)

I don’t know where you are now in your relationship with God, but I can say with absolute confidence, God is bigger than your mountain.  Ask Him to help you and He will.  Please don’t hesitate.  If you don’t know Him in a tangible and real way, then that is the first step.  Ask the Lord to make Himself known to you and then open your heart to Him.  Just speak to Him and God will hear and He will meet you at your point of need.

Also, I would consider it an honor to join you in prayer.  Just drop me a comment and I will respond.

 

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