Friday, September 25, 2015

Pushing Boundaries

Tip: Don't always center everything. Play with the rule of thirds and try different positioning to add more interest and depth to your photograph.

I went hiking a couple weeks ago and along the way my friends and I stumbled upon this sign. "So, I wonder if the $300 is a flat rate for as many jumps as you can do in a day or if it is $300 per jump?" one of us asked. We all had a good laugh, then watched as one of the people near the water fall hurled himself into the water. "There goes his $300."

Lets face it: we all want to bend or break the rules from time to time. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to not act like a rebel. Sometimes there are obvious consequences, sometimes we discover the downside of our actions later on. But rest assured, there is always a repercussion to what we do, whether we see it immediately or not.

Take for instance the many times the Bible commands us to honor God (Matt 22:37, Deut. 6:5, Psalm 86:12, to name a few). Sometimes we think we can bend that a little- perhaps just do the motions of worshiping Him, all the while devoting our minds to other concerns. Ananias and Sapphira thought they could make it work- they would give to God; they would do the motions and be good, worshipful people and be just a little concerned about their own affairs at the same time. They could bend the rules of worshiping God a little, right? A little white lie to make it look like they were giving their all couldn't hurt just once, could it?


"For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”),  sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. 

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband."  - Acts 4:34b-5:10

We might be able to get away with pushing the speed limits on our roadways or jumping into a forbidden waterfall from time to time with seemingly little effect upon ourselves or others, but be warned: you can't push boundaries with God. Know what He wants of you and do it wholeheartedly- don't think you can slide by, just looking like you love Him.

Friday, September 11, 2015


Tip: Find an angle where your subject can be naturally framed by the objects around it. This creates a well-balanced images that will be pleasing to the eye.

"There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after." (Ecclesiastes 1:11)

You, like this half-collapsed abandoned house, will someday be forgotten and rotting away. A rather depressing thought, but everyone is due a dose of reality every once in a while. Sure, a few may remember your name, or maybe after your death the work you leave behind may be discovered by someone else, but guess what? They will die too. 

What is my point in saying these things? To make you sad? Nay, to motivate! A bit counter-intuitive though, isn't it, you ask? Not at all. Because while yes, everything on earth will over time fade out and no longer matter, those of us in Christ can take hope, knowing that more permanent things await us.

Matthew 6:19-21 says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Do not pour your heart into the temporary things that you will do or create. While those things are not evil and do have their place in our lives for the time, they are not to be our primary focus. Remember to always be keeping to God's word and doing the kinds of things that will bring yourself and others closer to Him and the heavenly treasures that you and others will someday inherent as God's adoptive children.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Little Things

 Tip: When photographing an animal, zoom the lens as far as it will go, then snap pictures as you slowly inch closer and closer to the critter. Better to weed out a few far-away shots than to try and get too close too quickly and not get a shot at all.

This year, God has taught me to appreciate the little things. The small details of creation are truly amazing to behold. This is not limited to the intricacies of the animal kingdom, either. In the last 9 months, I have experienced at differing points what it is like to live without taste, without hearing (partially), and without normal sunlight and clean air to breathe. You don't realize how much you take stuff like this for granted until you're forced to be without it for a length of time!

We can be encouraged, observing the small beauties and blessings in life. If God cares enough to put so much detail into a tiny butterfly, how much more does He care about carving out the details in our lives? We serve a truly wonderful God! No matter how chaotic your life may feel sometimes, He is taking care of you.

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his span of life?" (Matthew 6:6-7)