Hike a short distance up Union Creek along the upper Rogue River near Prospect Oregon and you'll witness the striking beauty of the Rogue Gorge.

Initially formed by the regurgitation of Mount Mazama in the Cascade Mountain range and her red hot flow of smoldering lava spewing out of a gigantic caldera, this volcanic eruption also created one of the world’s natural wonders - Crater Lake National Park.

The magnificently sculpted lava tubes – some miniscule, others massive – are a puzzling labyrinth of cavernous intricacy. Some pierce to the surface, others hide underground. Relying on the magnitude of winter’s melting snow, the turgid waters course violently, spinning rocks and pressing small pebbles into the notched walls of the Gorge.
Restless white foam splashes playfully against ferns and mossy rocks, then mysteriously, the frigid waters are swallowed into an underground maze of friction as the river is diverted through bends and chutes, only to waken anew, under the canopy of sugar pines and giant evergreens blanketing the fertile forest floor.

The river makes her mark on the rock.

In much the same way, certain life experiences mark us along our passageways.

The Greek word “Sphragizo” means to set a seal upon, mark with a seal. The dictionary defines “marked” as: set aside, designated, signifying ownership, keep.

Sometimes it is tragedy or sorrow that marks us for a season – perhaps even a lifetime. Sometimes we work to achieve a goal, complete a task, are applauded for an accomplishment, or acquire an inner satisfaction of joy by overcoming an obstacle. These too can mark our path.

In similar ways, love, encouragement, and grace mark our paths in distinctive ways.

Although we cannot make claim to it’s origin, the imprint of a “divine seal” upon our lives proclaims our identity in concert with the immutability and authority of a God who oversees all things, who shapes, builds up, and conforms us to higher purposes – things that lie beyond our present understanding.

The constant assurance of such a loving, intimate investment is both astounding and incomprehensible, except that mysteries do seem to unlock and revelation liltingly cascades upon the elegant ribbons of grace. If we seek discovery for why we are marked thusly – why we are sealed until the day of redemption - we will surely find ourselves (created in/imprinted with His image), to also be called His children. To this understanding and assent, our heavenly Father sets His seal. Forever after, we are hedged-in to the foundation of a love that stands sure; and somewhat serendipitously, we know we are His.

Having given us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge - marked by inheritance and redeemed as God’s own possession, we give glory to the One who created us... loves us with an everlasting love... and has brought us out of the darkness into the light.

Like the mighty rushing waters along the Rogue Gorge, gazing upon it’s inlets and coves, we are sheltered under the wings of His outstretched arms – instruments of love bathed in pools of peace. Here, we receive both the rare and the common… we love the unlovely… we embrace change… we are nurtured and strengthened in faith... we are reinforced, restored, refreshed… . In this place is where we are as much alive to freedom as we are anchored in hope.


Jason said...

Remarkable photos; remarkable prose; remarkable God.

Alan said...

It's been a while since I've viewed your blog pages and once again, I am awestruck. Your prose and photography are incredibly deep. It causes me to think - something, regrettably, I do not do often enough. Being a broker at this point is time-consuming, but your writings and being in touch with God's creation are such joy to me. Thank you for being you.

Bruce said...


Dan said...

Your combination of pictures and prose like poetry is breath taking!! God has truly gifted you. Every word, every sentence is excruciatingly beautiful as it follows along with the magnificent photos! I feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck! Thank you!!!!

Will said...

Your personality and demeanor seem inordinately complex. Your combined insights and wit, coupled with an unusual blend of intense passion, brilliance and fervor make you seem mystical… esoteric. You offer a fascinating look into the goodness of God with a gentleness that resonates to we who embrace His graces, as well as those blinded by lusts of the flesh, and whose lives are steeped in shades of gray.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good words and wonderful photo. Does remind me of the psalms.

A.T. Murdock, Jr. said...

Indeed, Glory to God alone! As I was reading this post, I was reminded by His Holy Spirit of these words:

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Hebrews 6:17-19

Seth RIchardson said...

I am enthralled. Your writings read like biblical Psalms.

Anonymous said...

WOW! The color of blue at Crater Lake is intense. Thanks for sharing your photography.