Recent Posts
2 years, 5 months ago 6

 

 

Yesterday we dealt with most important cards to put on the table.  Now let’s talk about something a lot less serious!  I love being a photographer and aside from being a husband, father, and grandfather, and friend, there is nothing I would rather do than go out and look for things that are visually exciting!  God has so richly blessed me with this wonderful passion and I love every minute of it, well except for all the Nikon reports, but then that’s not photography!  After I got my spiritual priorities in order I wanted to look into my photography.  Before I start, let me make one thing clear about  the spiritual side of your life, a wonderful quote was sent to me by a friend from the ex CEO of Coca Cola, Bryan Dyson, it speaks directly to priorities in life.

 

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. Name them – Work, Family, Health, Friends & Spirit. You are keeping all of them in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.”

 

A great lesson in a simple, easy to understand, form.!  So My first priorities, in order, are;   1. My God,  2. my family,  3. my friends.  4. my health, and finally, 5. my work.  Photography is not my work though, it’s my passion!  Photography has meant so much to my life and I have set some new goals of what I want my photography to be life, just as yesterday we thought about what our lives should be like!

 

Number One:  I want my photography to speak peace, joy, and excitement to those that view it, in other words I want people to sense God in my work!

 

Number Two:  I want to see more clearly, and perceptively the things around me.  I want to find the greatest beauty in all I see.

 

Number Three:  I want to discipline myself to continue to grow as a craftsman in my art.  I want to learn more and more that will help me more and more able to translate my vision into the final product, the image.

 

Number Four:  I want to share this great passion with all those I teach, and work with!

 

Lastly I pray that God will use my profession as an opportunity to reach out to to others, and share the great blessings He has bestowed on me, with them!

 

In Him,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

2 years, 5 months ago 2

 

If you’ve ever played many card games you’ve heard that phrase.  It means It’s time to show what you’ve got.  Let me take it a step further, maybe it’s time to tell God what you’ve got.  If God asked you what you want more than anything in life, what would you tell Him, would you lay your cards on the table?  Before you answer do some real soul searching.  I have done a lot of that over the last couple of years and more recently while engaged in the spiritual battle I’ve mention here.  So what is the central, paramount goal you have set for your life?

 

So after much prayer, and soul searching I’m ready to lay my cards on the table

 

1.  I want to Know God intimately.  I want to be immersed in His word.  I want to be seeking Him constantly in prayer. and I want to strengthen my spirit with fellowship with Him and other children of God.

 

2.  I want to serve Him faithfully.  I want to know His will and work diligently at living out His will for my life.  I want my life to be about Him.

 

3.  I want the result of those two things to make someone’s life better.  I want the fact that I was here to make a difference.  I hope others see Christ in me, and it leads them to wanting to know Him.

 

That’s it.  Nothing could be more important to me than to fulfill those three things.  All else would pale in comparison.

 

Now it’s your turn.  Spend a good deal of time and then write down what you want your life to result in.  Then make a copy and fold it up and put it in your wallet or purse, and look at it often.

 

When faced with difficult decisions, take out your “Mission Statement” and see how youy’re doing!

In Him,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

 

 

2 years, 5 months ago 4

 

witness |ˈwitnis|noun

2 [ intrans. ] ( witness to) give or serve as evidence of; testify to : his writings witness to an inner toughness.• (of a person) openly profess one’s religious faith in : one of the purposes of his coming was to nerve the disciples to witness to Jesus.

 

Yesterday I shared about a monumental spiritual battle I’ve been watching, and been involved in my self.  I’ve had several close friends call and ask if I was o.k. and if I wanted to talk about the situation. First and more on this later, yes I’m o.k., actually much better than just o.k.  Secondly I can’t talk about it because to describe what the situation is about would expose a lot of other people who are party to the conflicts.  My purpose is not to bring hardship on anyone, even if they are acting in the wrong way, but to pray for them, and pray that they wake up and see the destruction they have caused.  As I shared yesterday, my first reaction was to attack back at the perpetrators.  After a lot of thought, prayer, and talking to a trusted brother, it became obvious that as much as I would have enjoyed, (temporarily), the satisfaction of “getting even” that is simply not God’s way.  I’m so thankful for that, I can’t imagine how terrible my life would be if God chose to “get even” with me!

 

Today I want to spend a moment on the results of following His way.  First a scripture to base our conversation on;

 

Matthew 5      New Living Translation (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount

1 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes
 3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

 11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Teaching about Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.   * (one of the scriptural basis for His Light)

 

I’m going to share something deeply personal in the hope that it will speak to your heart.  The battle that I have been waging (spiritual) had robbed me of my peace.  Peace comes from being fully in God’s will.  I wasn’t.  I was angry, I knew terrible wrongs were being committed against people I loved. and I wanted to put a stop to it.  The problem was I was inventing ways to solve the issue in my own mind and strength.  Once again, that is not God’s way.  If you think about it, If we can’t trust God to solve the problems we face, would would be the reason to follow Him?  If in the end, we had to do all it ourselves, He wouldn’t be God!  But He is!  In all of this God has never changed, but I did, I was counting on myself.

 

The other night after writing the blog entry and spending some quiet time with Him, I told my wife I was going to the bed to pray.  When I was a little child my mother and father taught me to kneel at my bed to pray, to this day it is my favorite place to bow down and seek Him.  Kneeling for me in an acknowledgement of His majesty and authority.  I would bow to no man, but find it comforting, and proper to bow before Him.  So I bowed at my bed and started to pray.  The prayer went something like this;

 

 

“Father I know I have been wrong to try and resolve these conflicts myself, I can see I couldn’t change the people involved, including myself, even if I tried with all my might.  I know that only you can change our hearts.  I don’t want to win or be right, I want to be yours, ands serve you.  I want to love my enemies as Jesus loved those that crucified Him.  I release these people (I named them) to you.  I trust you to deal with the circumstance and I know you love them and I want them to be on their knees before you as well seeking your will in their lives.  I want to handle this myself, but I know  I’m wrong to feel that way, and I am letting go of this through your strength and in order to be obedient to you.  I’m so glad I can turn to you when I know I’m powerless to change the world I live in.  I love you Father, thank you for loving me, and forgiving me.  In Your Son’s Precious name I pray.   Amen”

 

Most of that prayer was prayed with fits of uncontrollable sobbing.  God broke my will, and touched my heart deeply as I let go of the situation and gave it to Him.

 

This is my witness.  I slept better than I have in months, I awoke feeling free and knew God had control of the situation!  I’ve had a peace that passes all understanding since that prayer.  I know He is working out the solution to this issue as I write this.  Is life easy?  No, we are faced with constant conflicts, sorrows, and pain, but we have our Heavenly Father to turn to and seek His love, forgiveness and the wonderful peace that comes with a relationship with Him.  Best of all I do not constantly rehash all the awful details and think about what to do.  I know God is at work, and He will prompt me to act, in His way, when the time is right.

 

Have a wonderful weekend, spend some of your time seeking Him, I can promise you the results will be peace and great joy!

 

the pilgrim

2 years, 5 months ago 5

 

I’ve been going through a very difficult spiritual battle, the details are not important, except to God.  Let’s just say I’ve been observing people doing terrible things, and injustices to others.  I’ve struggled and struggled with what my response should be.  Not too surprising my first response was my almost always first response, go into John Wayne mode.  I am a child of the fifties growing up on Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger and Hop Along Cassidy.  In the old western movies when trouble came up the hero always loaded his carbine, and his Colt .45 and rode into town ready to vanquish the bad guys!  In real life it’s not so simple, especially for a Christian.  We live in a world where people can do some really bad things, things that can make us wild with anger, but that is not how God has asked us to respond.  The ultimate answer is to ask what would Jesus do?  The answer is usually very counter to our nature, or even what we would like to do!  But God’s way is always the better way!

 

I was feeling sorry for myself, feeling I had been mistreated and unfairly treated.  I was asking God if I could settle the matter my way.  God’s answer was NO!   I reminded Him of just how much I had been wronged, big mistake!  He lovingly reminded me of what His Son Jesus, had done to Him.

 

Here was this man, Jesus, He was the Son of God, He was the most powerful being in all creation.  He was accused of things He didn’t do.  He was mocked, spat on, and beaten severely, finally he was nailed to a cross to hang there until He took His last breath.  He never spoke, He never condemned His tormentors, Some of His last words were when He looked down and those that nailed Him on that cross and said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  He didn’t get even, He didn’t exact even more pain on them than they had put Him through.  In spite of the fact that He was falsely accused, and sentenced to death, He never rose a finger against His accusers.  Were it not for one fact I would reject His example.   He was on that cross because of me.  He had to be crucified to pay for my sins.  He could have called it all off, and refused to die for me, but He didn’t.

 

Today I drove up to Lexington, Kentucky and visited a wonderful little church, the Vinyard Community Church.  This church is a mission church reaching out to the needs of their community, with help for all kinds of people facing all kinds of  problems, from hunger to poverty, addictions to hopelessness.  I was very impressed with how well they have heard the teachings of Jesus.  They are not concerned about a lot of things many churches are concerned about today, they are concerned about God’s children, and being obedient to Him!  When we were leaving a friend of mine, a brother in Christ, turned back to Mark Lewis, the young man overseeing the church for the afternoon, and said to him, “Keep telling them how much God loves them!”  Mark said, “we don’t have to tell them, we’re showing them.”  What a powerful message, what a wonderful answer to my searching. I need to stop telling and start showing

 

I’ve come to a decision, the one I know God wants me to make.  I am letting go of my anger and my hurt and releasing the people that have hurt me and others.  Tonight I will bow by my bed, like a little child,  and ask God to forgive  me for judging those that have wronged me.  I will further release them into God’s care and let Him deal with the circumstances I’ve faced.  I will go a step further and commit to pray for the people that have wronged me and others.  I’m not doing this because of some inner greatness, but because that is what Jesus did  for me, and the example He set on the cross.  I will not do this in my own strength, but in His.

 

The path we walk here is a spiritual battle.  The enemy will use others to try and bring you down, out of His loving arms.  Don’t take the bait, stay in the safety of His love.  Judgement and retribution are not ours to dispense.  Those that refuse to face God, confess their sins, and continue in their walk further away from God, will face His judgement, not ours.

 

I was once walking though a very difficult time like this and was very angry at the way I felt God was treating me, I was being foolish, but I told a Godly friend that I felt it was not fair.  In his wisdom offered a solution.  He said, “I have a prayer that will solve your problem.”  I said what is it?  He responded, “Get on your knees and tell God you want what you deserve.”  I’m unwilling to pray that prayer, I don’t want what I deserve, because, in all honesty, I don’t deserve anything.  I’d much rather have the gift of His grace and love.  Tonight I’m turning it loose, and putting it into God’s hands.

 

Be well, and at peace, in Him,

 

the pilgrim