Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Looking out over the playground right outside my classroom.
A photo cannot do it justice, but I love the view of the green treeline along the blue sky.

"The earth is the LORD'S, and
everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it,
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters."
--Psalm 24:1-2

This past year, one of the spiritual challenges I took up was trying to live with a constant awareness of God. Let me say first that I have not even come close to excelling in that. However, I am still trying. Let me say it one more time: trying to live with a constant awareness of God. What does that even mean, right? My pastor has brought it up many times and the guys in my men's group have discussed it before. It's hard to do.

Here is the view looking out the window in the back of my classroom.
These trees always draw my mind toward an awareness of God.

For me, I think living with a constant awareness of God means just being open to what God is trying to do around you, inviting Him into every action. I remember my pastor asking us, "What does in mean to brush your teeth or take a shower in Christ?" For me the answer always involves praying. Many times it's just a three word prayer: "Help me God." That was the prayer that first brought me to my knees in 1991 and, He knows that those three words hold all my desires for Him to complete the work he started in me. He knows that prayer means I am sick of my selfish ways and that I deeply want to love better.

I've also discovered that another way I personally become aware of God's presence in my life is through nature. Usually when somebody says that they mean that if they go to the beach, hike in the mountains, or take a trek to Yellowstone, they fell connected to God. While that is certainly true of me, what I've found this past year or so is that I become acutely aware of God by just paying attention to the "normal" everyday nature around me.

So why the treeline? For some reason one of the places I find it easiest to be aware of God's presence is at my workplace. It's an elementary school in Santa Ana and many times God's creation just seems to standout when I'm there. Sometimes it seems almost surreal, a feeling I cannot put into words, but I just know God is good. This picture to the right shows the same trees as the previous two photos. This is the street that actually borders my school. Those big branches, to me, are proof of God's great majesty. I really do like Santa Ana.

I guess what I am trying to say is that being aware of God's presence doesn't just mean that I invite Him into my life. It also means that I have to look for Him. Many times I see Him in the face of a human being, often I hear him in the words of a friend, sometimes I find Him in a song or poem. I also see Him in these trees. It doesn't matter if I am standing at a distance looking at the treeline or walking underneath His canopy, when I choose to see and I choose to listen He whispers: I made this for you and I am as real as these trees.

This is the view looking down McClay Street in Santa Ana.
The school I work at is just to the left out of the focus.

I decided that I am going to dedicate the next several posts to the natural beauty, God's creation, that I always notice when I am at work. I'm curious to know how others try to be aware of God's presence in their lives. What is it for you? Also, is there a particular place you know of that stirs up an awareness of God's goodness or that you simply find beautiful? Finally, if you would like to read what I think is a related and good blog post, you can go here to read Jon Hall's Learning How To See. Oh, yea, does anyone know what kind of trees these are?


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