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Tag: Scripture

Divided States, Divided Children

Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!” But the other said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.” So the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother.”
1 Kings 3:26 -27 NKJV

On January 10, state Senator Linthicum of Oregon introduced the Greater Idaho bill, which would move 65% of Oregon’s eastern landmass into Idaho. A month later, two Idaho senators sponsored a non-binding petition to discuss the relocation of the Oregon / Idaho borders.

A citizen writing an op-ed piece in 2015 from the La Grande Observer noted that “They had switched their role in democracy from servant to lord.”

Moving from Missouri in 2013, I knew I was moving from a deeply red state to a deeply blue state, no middle purple ground here. However, I was surprised to find a red sea in a bastion of blue. Despite this fact, the slippery slope existed before I moved to Oregon.

Oregon is deeply divided – I have read three places where civil war could break out: Upstate New York, Michigan, and Eastern Oregon.

Other states are attempting to secede – Colorado and California, and maybe others. In the last decade or so, Colorado flipped from red to blue.

I believe the citizens of Eastern Oregon love her.

However, this is not just a states’ problem. This is a national problem. This is a problem kicked down the road for another day. This issue does not address the foundational issues that assaults every state.

The woman who stole the child, standing in front of King Solomon, did not want a righteous judgment. King Solomon had the God-given wisdom and creativity to discover it.

Just as the two women came before the King, so do we all need to come before the King of kings for answers beyond our capacity.

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Big and Little Election Day

Photo by stefan moertl on Unsplash

But how can I carry, all by myself, your troubles and burdens and quarrels? So select some wise, understanding, and seasoned men from your tribes, and I will commission them as your leaders.”…So I went ahead and took the top men of your tribes, wise and seasoned, and made them your leaders – leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens, officials adequate for each of your tribes….Don’t play favorites; treat the little and the big alike; listen carefully to each. Don’t be impressed by big names. This is God’s judgment you’re dealing with. Hard cases you can bring to me; I’ll deal with them.”
Deuteronomy 1:12-13,15,17 MSG

For as long as I can remember, every election cycle sounds the alarm, “This is the most important one!” And at the time, it was. It has been progressing, with some dips of downtime.

Though we don’t have tribes (they translate to localities, counties, and states today), the lessons from Moses apply. The smaller local elections matter just as much as the larger ones and deserve to be treated with equal respect. We must not cave to hopelessness, for we are each accountable to God for whom we choose or not choose. If we ask for and wait for God’s wisdom after doing our due diligence and proceed in faith, He will be pleased with us. Prayer and fasting, or lack thereof, as you are able, speak more than a physical vote (though of course I don’t eschew not voting).

And if the results are not as we wish, we must not even then despair. Moses, the leader in their wilderness, knew ultimately that it was God’s will that would prevail, in whatever form it took.

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Refreshing Fires

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

My first several years of Oregon life was relatively fire quiet. One fire a few miles away quickly contained.

Then 2020 lit the skies.

I scrolled Twitter under hashtags for the Oregon fires. Any account asking for prayer received a like from me.

Then 2021 lit the skies.

That year, it came nearer to my home. The smoke was thick in the air. I package taped my front door with garbage bags. My Twitter account gone, I opened the #firemappers website every day and prayed over Oregon. Rainy season started early, on Sept. 1, and I rejoiced at the clear blue skies.

Then 2022 lit the skies.

Oregon has a few conflagration fires this fire season. Prayers again supplicated the skies.

Accumulated weariness and stress seeps into our homes like the thick smoke the fires produce. Three years of devastating fire seasons is hard to bear, especially for those that have lost much.

The disciples had lost Jesus, and they were hiding from the Jewish leaders.

There is another fire blazing above the heads of the apostles. This visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit would equip them to spread the gospel. During times of calamity, it is a chance to get right with God. Or as C. S. Lewis writes in The Problem of Pain: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

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Reclaiming God in a Drought Season

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought;
Hosea 13:4-5 ESV

Farming in an arid climate? Congress said yes in 1902.

The Klamath Reclamation Project started shortly after Congress passed the federal Reclamation Act. When completed, water traveled through 185 miles from reservoirs, dams, and canals from the Upper Klamath Lake to the farmland.

Veterans from both World Wars received homesteads. Drained lakes and marshes carved out the 200,000 acres of new farmland. Wildlife’s homes were preserved using water from reservoirs and recycled irrigation water.

Currently, a few groups rely on water for their cows and crops. Klamath Basin crops include potatoes, alfalfa, horseradish, and mint. Cattle ranchers need water for meat production. The Klamath Tribes believe sucker fish are sacred.

As well as sucker fish, salmon need adequate water levels. Flows of rushing water keep salmon from bacterial infections.

As huge as the Upper Klamath Lake is, at twenty-six miles long and six miles wide, the lake is only six feet deep. The geology and hydrology, or the study of the earth’s components and the movement of water over that earth, does not allow for any carryover water or soil storage of rainwater. And what water does accumulate is subject to toxic algae blooms. Draining the marshes left phosphorus and nitrogen levels high. This mineralization allows algae to grow and deplete oxygen.

According to a state water department, the groundwater levels have dropped about forty feet in the last couple of decades.

Klamath Falls felled a giant sequoia tree in Kit Carson Park this year. The news story reported new life through new projects from the dead and dying tree.

An article from Klamath Falls newspaper, the Herald and News, published a couple of short stories describing a dystopian answer to the conflict between all the parties needing water.

The farmers and ranchers have voted to access water, despite the possibility of putting their federal drought funding in jeopardy.

These are desperate times for those living in the Klamath Basin, and it affects all of us due to the loss of ranching and agricultural products they provide.

When times are desperate, the best answer are desperate prayers of heartfelt repentance to the Creator who made the beautiful Klamath Basin. Just as the people of Klamath Falls found ways to reclaim a dead and dying tree from arid soil, so can we reclaim water through our prayers before God. Only He has the wisdom and ability to bring the rain and how to bring life to all.

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but God

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.

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