May 5 2010

All Good Gifts

waves 033

“Every good action and every perfect gift is from God.”  James 1:17

To celebrate my birthday last month Bonita and I went to see a local production of Godspell. Godspell is a musical based on the Gospel of Matthew.  I have loved this musical since it first came out in the 70s. There is a lot of good music in Godspell but there’s one song in it that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit the past few days. It’s called “All Good Gifts.” Here’s the first verse and chorus:

We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land..
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand..
He sends us snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain…
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain…

All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above
Then thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all his love…

MNP Kelso Dunes 432The reason I’ve been thinking of this song is that I have been blown away by the awe-inspiring beauty I’ve seen in southern California this week. Rob has shown me some incredible places! We’ve visited the Pacific coast, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Mojave Desert. It’s all so beautiful! It is also all a wonderful gift bestowed upon us by our heavenly Father.

The appropriate response to a gift received is a word of gratitude. If someone gives us a nice gift we say “thank you.”  That being the case, considering the fact that all of Creation is a gift from God, shouldn’t we be saying “thank you” a whole lot more often?  “Thank the Lord, thank the Lord, for all His love…”


(The image above was taken earlier this week on the Pacific Coast.  The bottom image was taken last night at Kelso Dunes in Mojave National Preserve.)

Sep 11 2009


Fall Buckwheat 2Fall can be a wonderful time of year. When my wife and I with our kids moved to California from Minnesota nearly 16 years ago, a lot of people told us we would miss the seasons. Even folks in California said there were no seasons here. That is really not true. While we don’t have the dramatic fall foliage of the Midwest and East, we do get a distinct change in the vegetation, such as the wonderful red-browns of California buckwheat as seen here. I love buckwheat throughout the year — it is a very Western type of flower with hundreds of species throughout the West and none in the East.

I got really excited when I saw this expanse of buckwheat going up the hill along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. I know that not everyone will be. A lot of folks want the extreme color of the East, but I feel we are blessed by God with a unique vegetation and a unique fall color. God did not make the world the same all over. There are cold places and hot places, wet places and dry places. As I have traveled around the country and the world, I have visited all sorts of natural areas and loved them all. I really do feel that God created this world with a wonderful complexity that makes it fascinating and interesting. People often ask me where my favorite place is. I usually answer wherever I am because I truly believe that. I never feel apart from nature and God because there is always an interesting spot of nature everywhere. Even in cities or at least nearby. So right now, my favorite place is Southern California, especially the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, and I thank God for all of it.

As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” or as The Message interprets it, “A right time for everything on the earth.” For me, that right time is fall in Southern California.