On one of our trips out West, we drove up the Oregon coast and found that there is much to see and do in Tillamook County.  For example, you can take a tour and taste incredibly delicious cheese at the Tillamook Cheese factory. 

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Tillamook Cheese factory – tour and taste testing of marvelous cheeses awaits.  Be sure you are hungry — enjoy!

A marvelous sampling of their cheeses prompts purchases of the goodies, as well as investigation into the stores at home where we can acquire the cheese without traveling across the country!  In fact, I would love to enjoy God’s creation right now by having some Tillamook cheese! 

A real treat awaits the traveler because the Oregon coastline itself provides beautiful images of the ocean with the waves breaking upon rocky shoreline.

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Oregon coastline shows waves pummeling the shore.

Another place to visit in Tillamook County is the Cape Meares State Park which boasts the Cape Meares Lighthouse.  A wide asphalt trail goes from the parking area, through the forest, into the clearing with the lighthouse directly ahead.

USED Oregon 2009 417 Cape Meares Lighthouse Ore
A stroll through the woods, down the paved trail, heads straight to the lighthouse at the coast. 

The lighthouse is 38 feet tall, not exactly stellar height for a lighthouse.  In fact, it is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon.  But, it sits at the coastline on the top of a cliff making its effective height 223 feet above sea level.  So despite its own short stature, when the light was operating, it could be seen for 21 miles.

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The lighthouse exhibits all her 38 feet in stature!

Beside from being an interesting place to visit, what does Tillamook County, Oregon have to do with me?  Or with you?

I think it provides us with an illustration and/or lesson for our life and our Christian walk, especially when we focus on Ephesians 2:8-10.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:10 ESV

The lighthouse was built for a purpose – it was to warn mariners that they were approaching the shoreline and it was dangerous to come too close.  It was to provide navigational assistance, and it saved lives as a result of its light shining far out over the water.  

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Its purpose was to provide light to the mariner in a time when GPS did not exist.

Notably, it did all this while being only 38 feet tall.   Its effective height did not come from itself, rather it came from the terrain on which it was placed – the cliff was high and from that vantage point, the little lighthouse could be seen for 21 miles. 

Paul says that we have been saved through grace by faith alone.  We had nothing to do with securing our salvation from sin; Jesus Christ did that atoning work on the cross for us.  And, we did nothing to deserve the atonement that He provided.  It was a gift of grace – not based on our work, our reputation, our finances, our stature in the community, our anything. 

The reason for this gift is stated in verse 10 – we were created by God in Christ for good works that God had prepared for us to do long before we were born.  

God is sovereign.  He is in control of our world and all that is in it.  His will, His purpose, will be accomplished and mankind cannot thwart it.  In Concise Theology, J. I. Packer says:

“The assertion of God’s absolute sovereignty in creation, providence, and grace is basic to biblical belief and biblical praise.”  [Sovereignty, God Reigns at page 33.]

One of the best descriptions of God’s sovereignty came from a pagan king after a lesson God provided to him. 

“At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;  all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?“”

Daniel 4:34-35 ESV

The little lighthouse had a job to do and it was able to do it because of strength that was not its own – it was based upon the strength of the mountain on which it was built.  We were created by God and saved from our sin by Jesus Christ so that we could do the work that God preordained for us to do all for His glory and His purposes through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5 ESV 

We have no strength in our own self to do anything of eternal, lasting value for God.  We need the power of the Holy Spirit to do God’s work in the world. 

Am I serving His purpose, the good work that God had preordained for me to do?  Am I working for the Lord through my own power and for my own reputation or am I relying on Him and the Holy Spirit to work through me for the glory of God? Am I refusing to shine because I am only of modest stature, or am I willing to shine my brightest for my Lord and let the Holy Spirit magnify the light so that it shines where He wants it to go?

Father, I give You honor and glory for Your sovereign love and mercy, grace and power that was shown by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  I pray that You would give power to these words and that they would accomplish that which You desire, through Christ Jesus I pray. 


It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of trees. All different kinds of trees. I love them.

When I was a little girl, we had a lone tree in the parkway between the street and sidewalk in the front yard of our house. Because it was a new subdivision, my father was taller than the tree!  However, I had a taste of big trees in the Forest Preserves that are sprinkled around the Chicago area. There you can rest in the shade of old trees, have picnics and play in the cool provided by the tall trees.

There have been quite a number of trees that we have seen in our travels, many of them blending into the picture of one vast canvass of green.

Woods along stream in Tennessee
Woods along a stream in Tennessee.

However, there have been some trees that are unique and which have made a mark on my memory.

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The Octopus Tree, near Cape Meares Lighthouse, Oregon

The Octopus Tree is a Sitka spruce. According to information about the tree provided by the Friends of the Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge, the tree measures more than 46 feet in circumference and has no central trunk. Instead, limbs extend horizontally from the base as much as 16 feet before turning upward. It is 105 feet tall and is estimated to be 250 to 300 years old.

This is the base of the Octopus Tree.

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Base of Octopus Tree showing no central trunk.


Another beautiful tree we encountered was far from the Oregon Octopus Tree. It was in Mississippi at Beauvoir, the home of Jefferson Davis in Biloxi, Mississippi.


Friendship tree entire
The Friendship Tree in Biloxi, Mississippi

It is a live oak, several hundreds of years old, and it branches out over the sidewalk so that you can walk beneath it with limbs extending on both sides of you.

The lady at the gift shop said that there was a legend associated with this tree, specifically that it was called a Friendship Tree and the legend was as follows: “I am called the Friendship Oak. Those who enter my shadow will remain friends through all their lifetime.” Of course, we had to stand beneath its limbs with that legend upon our minds!

Friendshp tree
Standing under the Friendship Tree, Biloxi, Mississippi


Another tree we found exceedingly beautiful is the ancient tree at the Mission San Jose in San Antonio, Texas.


Mission san jose
Mission San Jose in San Antonio, Texas


The ancient tree is on the mission grounds and it is another beautiful example of our Lord’s creation.


San Antonio mission tree
Ancient tree in San Antonio at the Mission San Jose.


Standing beneath the branches of these magnificent trees reminds me of Scripture:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3.


Father, May I be found to be wise, one who delights in the law of my God. May I be found to be as a tree planted by streams of water, so that I can yield much fruit for my Savior and so that my leaf, my witness, will not fade as time goes by. I pray that I will prosper, not for myself, but to the glory and honor of my God and Father, and for the glory of my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.



Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon

Lighthouses are fascinating. Their locations are most often isolated from the rest of society, remote and alone. Solitude and quiet prevail as they are often shrouded in fog. The Heceta Head Lighthouse with its supporting building is beautiful in clear skies.

The purpose of a lighthouse is to be a signal of location, safe port and/or dangerous shoals. That purpose is illustrated by the Heceta Head Lighthouse when, after the storm rolled in, its lamp became illuminated – the lighthouse is doing its work.

Heceta Head Lighthouse with lamp burning
Heceta Head Lighthouse with lamp burning

The romantics will picture the lighthouse as very tall, overlooking the ocean, with a residence for the keeper inside the lighthouse itself or as a separate dwelling a short distance away. Indeed, this is the quintessential description of a lighthouse.

But, the lighthouse comes in many shapes and sizes. A lighthouse on a mountain, bluff or terrain that is high above the ocean has no need to be raised to the heavens – it just needs to be higher than the vegetation that separates it from the ocean.

Cape Meares Lighthouse, Oregon
Cape Meares Lighthouse, Oregon

The Cape Meares Lighthouse at the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint in Oregon is one such lighthouse that did not need to be tall to do its work.

When on the trail to the lighthouse, there is no reason to believe that a lighthouse is nearby. The path is through a forest, and it is a cool, comfortable route, not uphill, not rocky, not difficult; rather carefree. Then, magically, you see the light itself, seemingly at eye level.

Path to Cape Meares Lighthouse, Oregon
Path to Cape Meares Lighthouse, Oregon

Scripture has much to say about lamps and lights. Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus is speaking to the crowds and is giving what we know as the Sermon on the Mount. Immediately after giving the Beatitudes, He says:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Cape Meares Lighthouse Lamp
Cape Meares Lighthouse Lamp

In Philippians 2:14-16, Paul says:

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

Solitary lighthouse in the fog.
Solitary lighthouse in the fog.

Just as all lighthouses are not identical, believers in the Lord Jesus do not all look the same. However, our purpose is identical — to shine in the dark, pointing others to Jesus and giving glory to God. We may be the light of the world in many different manners and in diverse places; but the Light is the same. It lightens the darkness of the world through Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Maine lighthouse
Maine lighthouse

The world is dark and it seems that it is getting darker by the minute. But, as Christians, we are the light of the world. Don’t let your circumstances dim your light or let the darkness overwhelm you. Don’t let your focus be lost. We have a job to do and we have access to the Power to do it.

Therefore the question becomes: What is the condition of our lamp?

Do we have power because we are in close fellowship with the Lord, the Source and Provider of the power to do His work?

Has our light gone out because we have ignored the study of Scripture, prayer for the work ahead, confession and repentance of our sins?  Or, perhaps we have been so self-centered that we forgot there is a dark and hurting world out there.  A darkened lamp just melds and meshes into the rest of the darkness. Its purpose is defeated.

So, check your lamp. Is it lit? If not, pray as you need and seek Power from our Lord — then go out and be the light in your world!