********** A Christian Journal **********

Growing in the Spirit of Jesus Christ

Sunday, December 21, 2014

very nice...

nice guys

In my high school yearbook, and throughout my life, the comments most often associated with me, were nice, friendly, and smart (this last because I was in the high/accelerated section).

Now those are always very "nice" comments... can think of some I would not wanted attached to my profile. But, a part of me, always wanted to be thought of as exciting, very fun to be with, or makes me laugh.

 Now you have heard the expression... "Nice guys finish last". Well, I am an example of a "nice" guy that finished a winner... with a wonderful family. Still we nice guys have had more than our fair share of rejection... it appeared that most of the cute intelligent girls as an example, were looking for excitement... you know from the "bad boys" who paid them lots of attention, made them laugh, and were really fun to be with.

 Oh, the girls were almost always friendly with the nice guy and may even spend some time with them.. at least until something or someone more exciting turned up. What is important however, is not your sex appeal, or even your friend appeal, but your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

 He loves and wants to spend time with all of us. Spend time with Him... and not just a hello (how are doing?) either... real quality time and a lot of it. "Any" relationship requires a degree of trust and commitment. And this relationship is not based on who we are, but on who God is.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

We all carry excess baggage.  The longer we live, the heavier that baggage becomes.  Soon we become ships at anchor, staying in safe waters, never to sail far from where we are comfortable, nursing the few things that bring us temporary escape and some form of happiness.  Restricting us from experiencing new adventures, we deprive ourselves of any possible new found joy.  I understand but still find it terribly sad.  Friendships are like that.  We hold on to a few and hope not to lose any of those.  Possible new friends are kept under constant scrutiny as the baggage of the past throw up new barriers for future growth and weigh us down with imaginary storms. Eventually, if we are not careful, we can no longer move forward, even if we want to.  We become like the turtle with his shell, slowly testing each new step forward, and retreating back to safety with each and every new possible threat.  In time we never leave our shell.  

"It was a day in the life
Full of sadness and of strife
You never thought you'd make it through
Feeling people think the worst of you
Although it isn't always said
The nightmares follow you to bed
And when you dream it haunts you still
It holds you down against your will
So many tears have drowned your past
But the suffocating wouldn't last
One day you woke and saw the truth
Of the pain and suffering that stole your youth
Something special made you well
It broke that sad and awful spell
You new at once it wouldn't end
The happiness given by a true friend."
- Author Unknown

Monday, July 7, 2014

Photographic vision... interpretation of a photograph...


Images have different meaning to the photographer and to those that view it. Saying that, it is ultimately what was seen by the photographer that gives us a glimpse into the person (and unique vision) behind the camera. I first saw these shed doors while I was photographing church doors across the street. I was not overly impressed by the church doors but I kept thinking I should find, within those doors, a meaning, a spirit that would beckon me. Seeing I was a bit frustrated, my wife asked me if I saw the interesting shed doors behind me. I had not originally noticed them, as I was so intent on capturing the image of the church doors. When I turned, and gave them my attention, I was amazed at how they affected me... drawing me to take their picture.

Later in Lightroom and Photoshop, the image was processed. I struggled for several days with a title for the image. As is my habit, I searched for an appropriate quote to go with the image. Searching quotes for the words abandoned and forgotten, I finally choose a quote and a title, that just didn't thrill me.

I didn't give the image much thought after that until I decided to enter it in a juried art exhibit several years later. My daughter happened to be visiting at the time, so I presented her with my dilemma, and asked for her thoughts. It was around Easter and when she looked at the image, she thought of its resemblance to the crucified Jesus Christ and said it should be named forsaken. I immediately agreed with her, as did my wife... that was what I was meant to see all along. As we are to seek the encouragement and support of other believers, it took the combined "sight" of the three of us to finally put it altogether.

The shed, with its blood red spattered paint, the vines encompassing the top of the doors, its obviously battered, broken, and forsaken appearance has the semblance of Jesus on the cross. It was then that I remembered it was Jesus who said, " I am the door..." Although attending a "Bible believing" church is important... ultimately it is only through Christ that we are saved. The door of the church building... entering into a structure of formal religion (and becoming a member thereof) is not what is required for your salvation and spiritual growth... it is a personal relationship with Him, the Son of God, who suffered and died for our sins.

If you look closely and deeply into the image, you may find even more symbolism and meaning.

The framed photograph is now on display at The Whitaker Center in downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania until August 22nd, 2014.