Heavenly Vision

Heavenly Vision

Phil Yancey in his book on prayer, mentions that Jesus prayed in difficult circumstances as a reminder of His true home.

“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 21:41-42)

When I take a photo of a beautiful scene it reminds me that I am longing for a better place. A home where there is no evil, no death, and no destruction. A place where life is all it was created to be. The photograph becomes a prayer: a reminder of my true home.

Grief, in some sense, is also a longing for a place where death does not touch those we love, where suffering ceases and life can be truly enjoyed. Our grief then becomes a prayer: a reminder of our true home.

Lord, Have Mercy

I like life, but what I really mean is I like life in Christ for in Him all past failures and tragedies will end in His triumph, and my future hope — assured.

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:19-20)

Music from Moody Church, Independence Day Celebration

Alone?

The Barn

I felt so alone.

Then I noticed the wheat fields below,

The pattern of Your touch,

You hold me in your hand.

Then I noticed the beautiful clouds above,

Floating in blue.

You lift me up to draw me near.

____________

You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.  Psalm 139:5-6

Deep calls to deep

Mountain Heights

Psalm 42 captures the essence of what I feel when I gaze at this photo. When I am feeling low, struggling to take another step, I remember the heights of God’s glory He has shown me. It is then that depth of His love calls to my deepest place and reassures me of my hope in God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep…  (Psalm 42:6)

Storm Moving In

The storms of life produce fury up close but by the grace of God and distance are beautiful to behold

The storms of life produce fury up close, but by the grace of God and distance are beautiful to behold.

 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.             Psalm 27:13-14

The Eyes of God

On a medical mission to Mariupol, Ukraine our host church took us to the Sea of Azov for a relaxing picnic. A little ways up the coast stood the towering smoke stacks of a steel mill. The small public picnic area had no caretaker so litter covered the grounds. Our hosts apologized for the mess but in this industrial city it was all they had. We then stood in a large circle holding hands seeking God’s blessing on the food. After the prayer, I opened my eyes, the sun filtered through the trees giving a golden glow to everything and I took this picture. Some of the people by me asked why I wasted time taking a picture of a trash strewn scene. But that is not what I saw, for a moment it sparkled with light. An epiphany of how God saw the people of Mariupol, how He saw me. Not with all the trash we have carelessly littered throughout our lives, but with the light of Jesus transforming us into beauty beyond our wildest dreams.

1 Corinthians 13:12-27

Mariupol, Ukraine

Mariupol currently is caught in conflict. Pray for the church in Eastern Ukraine.

Winter Vision

Looking out over the Upper Valley

From the end of earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2)

Down below I could not see, being covered in the shroud of fog, but when I climbed to a higher place … My Lord what a view.

Quiet Snow

Quiet Falls on the Woods

Quiet Falls on the Woods

“It lacks focus” –I got the news my photo did not win in a photo contest. Simply put it was rejected in favor of “better” photos. I do not deal well with rejection. Often I tumble into the “blues” with the smallest rebuff, carrying the hurt for days. I try telling myself I am being overly sensitive but that does nothing but make me feel guilty about my mental weakness. Even as I reread this paragraph I feel foolish for letting something so small upset me. It does not even come close to life’s major rejections like divorce, or getting fired. Yet there it sits a lump of hurt in the middle of my life.

I am tempted to deal with it by thinking ugly thoughts about those who won: “They knew the judges…It was all rigged against me… People are dumb and cannot recognize how wonderful my pictures are…I’ll teach them, I won’t enter their stupid contest next year.” Such angry thoughts only end up leaving me more isolated and hurt, and do nothing but make me bitter.

The Psalms speak about rejection:

Though my father and mother forsake me, God will receive me. Ps.27:10

Now that is a major rejection — amazingly, God will receive me even when my family can’t stand me.

 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,

a stronghold in times of trouble.

10 Those who know your name will trust in you,

for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalms 9:9-10

…hmm, God will never forsake me when I seek him. Through these verses Holy Spirit leads me away from bitterness and self-pity to a place where  I can breathe in God’s love and let go of the hurt. The hard part for me is to receive God’s love as the true measure of me … I have to keep rereading these verses until they stick.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul., “therefore I will hope in Him.”  Lamentations  3: 22-24

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11: 28-30

I am so thankful life is not about people liking my photos, or even liking me. To my relief, life is about God: His love, His faithfulness and learning to abide in Him.