Friday, February 26, 2016

Oh, where do we begin? The rubble or our sins?

Tip: When photographing abandoned buildings, try to position yourself near a window to take advantage of ambient lighting; it is much more enchanting than harsh bulb light.

This abandoned room reminds me of the lyrics of one of my favorite popular songs:

I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You've been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

The bridge of the song states this:

Oh where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?
Oh oh where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?

The song is titled Pompeii, and it depicts a vibrant culture that was bent on vanity and living large. Enamored with their entertainment, beauty, and success, these ancient people never would have imagined that their gorgeous city would be ground to a halt within a few hours. I imagine whoever once lived in the room pictured above never would have imagined it standing there the way it is today, either.

What about us? Do we, in our fast paced societies, ever stop to contemplate the fact that our lives and accomplishments are not everlasting? Do we take time out from our day to day lives to seek out the knowledge of the One who is everlasting and apply His counsel to our lives?

Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.
-Proverbs 1:29-33

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Peek At Heavenly Worship

Tip: Pay attention to your point of focus. What is there about your photo that will draw in the viewer's eye?

Christians have an amazing connection to one another. Have you experienced it? Have you seen it?

I may never have met you in my life, but if you are one of God's followers, there is always bound to be that spark of excitement upon getting to know you. I've seen people open their wallets, their homes, and their lives to welcome and help their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. 

It is amazing. I have particular people in my life who are from all around my country and the world who I have grown close with and would go out of my way to see and do things for- all because of our common ground in the Lord. These people, despite having seen me in person merely a handful of times (if at all), are always ready to help, pray, and have great conversations- and I am always glad to return the favor. 

The book of Romans says a lot about how we ought to relate to our fellow Christians. The verse below sums up all of the Bible's teachings on friendship rather well:

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:10-11)

Continue on, my friends. Show brotherly love, honor each other above yourself, and be fervent and  zealous servants of God above all else. Knowing people who uphold these principles is like having just the tiniest glimpse into the fellowship and worship we will one day experience in Heaven.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Why Do You Believe?

Tip: Consider the background. Is it relevant to your image? Or does it distract?

Have you ever thought about why you believe what you do? It's easy to jump out and say "Well of course! It's in the Bible." While this is a perfectly legitimate reply and reason, one must stop and think before they blurt it out. Have I actually read this? It is easy to fall into second-hand belief, especially if you were raised being taught certain things. Hearing someone you trust talk about scriptural truths can easily take the place of searching the Bible for yourself, and this should not be.

Romans 12:2 tells us, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." [emphasis mine]

We are called to test and discern what is the perfect, good, and acceptable will of God. How do we do this? By reading the Bible. If we do not take the time and responsibility of searching the scripture thoroughly for ourselves, yet claim to know God's word, it is like someone who receives a post card or watches the Travel Channel and acts like they have been to the location spoken of. You can learn a good amount of information second-hand, and it may well even be true information, but until you go there yourself, you can't really know the place. 

The above is true with the Bible also. You can read many good, theologically sound books, hear sermons, and talk with well educated friends. These are all fine and good resources for broadening our understanding of scripture, but until you open your Bible and read it for yourself, you cannot fully know exactly what God has said.

What doctrines and beliefs of God and His workings do you cling to in your mind? Have you read the scriptures that back these up (in full context)? If not, I challenge you to do so. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Biblical Joy #2

Tip: Use sun-spots/lens flare carefully and sparingly. It can either add a great mood or a big distraction to your image.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

If you've ever heard the popular worship chorus, the above verse may seem almost cliche as it repeats over and over again in your head. Starting a new day might seem just as repetitive. Wake up, go to work or school (or both?), eat, sleep, repeat. Maybe have time to see a few friends or family members here or there. Maybe have time to read a short paragraph or two about God alongside part of a Bible verse, if you can squeeze it in.

If the above sounds at all like how you live your life, it's no wonder joy is a rare thing to come by!

Just slow down and think about it for a second: God made today. He made it, and the fact that you are alive to see it is a gift from Him. We've lived so many days that we do not realize what miracles are continually happening around us: our body parts all work together to keep us functional, the sun comes up, the earth and planets properly rotate to make the days and nights and seasons happen. This stuff could not be without God upholding it all and allowing it to keep working.

Be in awe. Worship God with amazement. Know that He has let you come this far for a good reason, and pray that you may seek Him more each day that He lets you wake up. Never let yourself complain about the miracle of another day, whatever happens to become of it.