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3 years, 2 months ago 6

                                                                                                                                                                                           Photograph by Raymond Jabola

 

I know that God loves us, He gave us the greatest gift of all when He allowed His Son Jesus to die for us.  That was the ultimate sacrifice any father ever made!  He also shows His love for us everyday in thousands of ways, for me it has been friends.  Now before I start I have been blessed with a number of very dear friends, but this morning I want to talk about just three.

 

A few years ago I was teaching a photography class for my church, and evening adult program so to speak.  A man I did not know came up to me and asked if I would look at some of his images.  I took a few moments to look through some prints, my jaw dropped.  It was amazing work!  I asked the man who he was and he told me he was Jim Begley and he lived in my own community.  I had never met him, not surprising when you think I’m gone from Corbin over 200 days a year.  I spent some of the rest of the evening talking with him because he was obviously a very good HDR photographer and I wanted to learn more about that technique myself.  Over the last several years we have become the best of friends.  Jim is a wonderful photographer, quite gifted, but he is an even more impressive man!  A dedicated husband and father, and a deeply committed Christian.  I asked Jim to be my partner in developing the His Light Workshops and we have enjoyed a lot of great time together teaching and shooting in the field.  Thank you Father for a great friend.

 

Once Jim and I started running the His Light Workshops we met a man named Jim Haverstock and his wife Sue.  Jim is the kind of guy that immediately draws you to himself. self effacing, humble to the core, but a very good photographer.  More importantly to Jim and I is that Jim (H) has become a prayer warrior and dedicated brother and friend of our  little Workshop Series.  Jim was the kind of man I wanted to sit on our advisory board to help keep us aimed in the right direction.  Jim and Sue are a joy to be around and I treasure the moments we have stood side by side and enjoyed God’s incredible creation and attempted to capture it!  Jim brings a wealth of life experience and wisdom to our board and he is a great joy to me!   Again, thank you Father for another great friend!

 

Last, but not least, at the event out in Page I met another friend who captured my heart, Raymond Jabola.  Raymond is doctor from California, but you would never know he was a doctor unless you asked him what he did.  Raymond is humble to a fault, he really doesn’t know just how talented he really is.  He has not been a photographer very long, but his skill level has grown exponentially since I met him and he was pretty talented then!  As much as I love looking at his images, by-the-way, the lead image today is one of his,  what I love most about Raymond is his tender heart.  I’m not sure I’ve ever met any man that is more open to the blessings of this life, he feels them deeply and is not ashamed or afraid to show his joy in the midst of everyday wonders.  I’ve always believed that that one quality is what produces the best photographers, and the strongest men.  I know Raymond is good father, I got that right from the source, his daughter!  I also know he has been a good friend to  me.  When ever I see that Raymond is joining,  my heart leaps for joy!  For the third time, thank you Father!

 

In a few days I will turn 66 years of age and I can tell you that with all the treasures I’ve been blessed with, these friends, my family, and many others I have come to love so much, are my most prized gifts from Him.  I am a very wealthy man indeed!

 

Spend a few minutes today thinking about who God has blessed your life with!!

 

the pilgrim

3 years, 2 months ago 0

 

I’ve often wondered if we will really walk through a gate when we enter heaven.  I know it sure would be wonderful to be greeted by family members that have gone on, and then to see Jesus, face to face.  I guess each of us will get to find out for ourselves if we belong to  Him!  A lot of my youth was spent hearing sermons in church and evangelists cast fear on me that if I was not saved, I would go straight to hell.  Unfortunately, that’s how many people see our faith, fire and brimstone!  While it is true that we make a decision about our eternity when we decide “what to do about Jesus”, I think the implications for how we live here on earth are also profound.

 

We all see a lot of terrible things in our world, and every one of them could be erased if we all belonged to Him.  As sad as it is, God himself laid out in His word that not everyone would accept Him and many would be lost.  How does giving your heart fully to Him change you?  Let me share some things that have happened to me and many others I know that are fully vested in Christ.

 

1.  If you follow Him, you will have to deal with unforgiveness.  Since He has been so gracious as to die for you and forgive your sins, you can do no less.  People will hurt you, and they will lie about you, and they will seek to destroy you, but must forgive them, for Christ has done the same for you.  We must always remember that the battles we have her on earth are not with people, but with spiritual beings opposed to God and His people.  Good people can be used by the enemy to bring harm to others, we have all lost our way, and been influenced by the enemy.  That’s why God implored us to follow Jesus example and “pray for those that persecute you, do good to those that harm you!”   Yes, it’s very hard to do, but God never promised this would be an easy path.

 

2.  God will require you to submit to His authority and grow as a believer!  It’s not and easy road to walk, but God requires it.  If we are to be effective for Him we must submit to His authority and learn His ways, which are very different from ours.  Growth is difficult, but it has to come into our lives if we are to be able to show His love to the world.

 

3.  You will have to have courage to stand for Him against all odds.  The great news is that when you stand for Him, you will not be standing alone.  All the powers of heaven are at you call, when you stand for righteousness.  When Jesus said. “I will never leave you or forsake you”, He meant it, and has stood by that promise through the ages!”

 

4.  He will give you a wonderful love for others.  As you grow in Him you will feel a deep and abiding love for all your brothers and sisters, and especially the lost.  The deeper your roots go down into Him the more you will desire to reach those that do not know Him and return them to Him.

 

5.  God will give you peace.  Of all God’s gifts, having peace in your heart has to be one of the greatest.  Life can be challenging, and relationships both in the family of God and outside of it can be  filled with stress, but God and God alone can give you a peace that passes our understanding.

 

Seek Him in all you do, ask Him to always walk by your side, reach out to those that despise you, and love those that God has put under your care.  Until we are standing at the gate, those are our marching orders……

 

the pilgrim

3 years, 2 months ago 3

 

For the past thirty years I’ve been waging a war with the dirt in my yard, trying to get it to yield grass!  I’ve spent a small fortune to get my yard to be lush and green!  From time to time I’ve gotten a great crop of weeds and moss, but no significant grass!   A couple of years ago I broke down and brought in a real expert, he has done wonders.  He had two suggestions, we had to keep the fledgling grass watered, so I had  an automatic irrigation system installed.  His other suggestions was to cut down most of the trees on my lot.  I couldn’t do it, I love the shade, the changing colors of the leaves, and the fact that some of my trees are over a hundred years old.  So I now have more grass than I ever had, but not the golf course fairways I would like.  Grass just will not thrive richly without a constant source of light.

 

Our lives as Christians requires the same.  We must have the Light of the World shining into our spirits if we are to grow and thrive.  For grass to really last, it has to not only grow up, it has to have deep roots that can pull the life giving moisture up from the soil.  If we are to grow stronger and healthier in our Walk with the Lord, we have to have life giving water, and the growth that comes from our Heavenly Father’s “Son” Jesus.  A daily relationship with Him, through the Word, Prayer and waiting for His voice in our spirit will lead to deep roots in Him and long term growth.  We need to grow constantly because anything that is not getting stronger is withering.

 

This is not philosophy or a cute illustration, the very substance of your life is held in this vital relationship.  I’ve often had people say that they are not ready for that kind of commitment to Christ, they can make on their own while they think about it!  That would be fine except for one sticking point, we can’t make it on our own.  Some people may seem to be doing great, everything may “seem” to be o.k. but that illusion never lasts.  Eventually we are asked to have more in our lives than we possess to make it through.  At that point we realize we never were in control.  God loves you so much that He will reluctantly arrange for you to see just how much you need Him in your  life, if that’s what it takes.  Don’t make that necessary!

 

I’m a bottom line kind of guy so here goes;  God loves you.  He loves you so much that He gave His only Son, to die for your sins.  He wants to have a deep and life changing relationship with you.   The offer is on the table, the next step is yours.  As a freind let me assure you, I’ve never met a single person that has given their heart to Him,that hasn’t lamented, “I only wish I hadn’t waited so long!”

 

His Light Scripture :    John 8:12


 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

 

Praying for the ultimate light to come into your life……

 

the pilgrim

 

*Photo Note; No not my yard, I could only wish, this is the beautiful Palouse Region of Washington State, Winter Wheat in June, Nikon F100 film camera, 50-135 Nikkor  f3.5 zoom lens,  Velvia film.

3 years, 2 months ago 1

 

Can we make it?  Can we endure the attacks of the enemy, Can we survive the way our world has turned?  This morning when I read Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Daily Devotional i got the assurance I needed.  I’ve been walking though a difficult time in my home church, I’ve wanted to try and resolve the issues myself, but God had gently, but firmly placed His hand on my chest and said hold still and wait on me.  I want to be obedient, but sometimes I’m a difficult child of God.  In spite of my being rash at times, I know when to say yes Sir and wait on Him.  I did that late yesterday afternoon and found an immediate peace!  That peace was followed last night by a windfall of blessings.  Once again a lesson has been taught, and received.  I want to share from the devotional as I know we all need to be reminded of what it shares.

 

Matthew 28:18-20    New Living Translation (NLT)

 

 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

Today’s Devotional from In Touch

 

If you’re a believer, you are part of the awesome body of Christ, which is called to bring His light to the world both individually and corporately. Though many see the church as a social organization, that’s not what the Bible says it is. Sometimes we forget that our purpose isn’t simply to have fellowship, sing, preach, and worship. Jesus entrusted us with good news of the true life He offers to everyone. This calling isn’t just for foreign “missionaries”—it’s for every believer. Your mission field includes your family, friends, coworkers, and perhaps even a people group God puts on your heart, often right in your community.

 

 

Before returning to heaven, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, in which He promised to be with believers to the end of the age. That pledge still stands. He doesn’t send us out to do His work on our own. Vowing never to leave us, He gave the assurance that all tasks He assigns will be achieved through us by His Holy Spirit.

 

 

What an honor to be included in the Lord’s redemptive plan for the world! He invites you to have a vital part in His kingdom work of transforming what is broken and giving new life. Everything you do in obedience is an opportunity for His Spirit to work powerfully through you!

 

 

He is still speaking His message of assurance to us: You’ll have Me as your companion, your captain, your victory. You’ll have Me as your resource, your energy, your anointing. Everything you need, you’ll find in Me. How does recognizing the greatness of your calling change the way you see your daily life?

 

I used to be an NFL photographer and even served once as the Washington Redskins official photographer!  I love football and played an coached myself.  I have never stopped wanting to be “in the game” !   I still dream of suiting up and going in!  As a follower of Jesus Christ I can be in “the” game!  I can run the plays he calls, and now because of His strength, wisdom, grace, love, and compassion, I can be a part of His wins!  I’ve lived to see many great adventures and done remarkable things, from photographing my favorite game, football, to flying an ultralight airplane over many locations from coast to coast, but nothing has been as thrilling as serving my Lord, no matter how small or large the task, He has never failed me, and I know He never will.

 

 Remember Jesus said,  You’ll have Me as your companion, your captain, your victory. You’ll have Me as your resource, your energy, your anointing. Everything you need, you’ll find in Me.

 

Thank you Father for putting me in the game!  ………………………and Yes, we “can” make it, with Him!

 

the pilgrim

 

 

Photo Note:  Houston Oilers Vs the Cincinnati Bengals.  Number 34 is my Christian Brother, and great running back,  Earl Campbell, shot wiht a Nikon F5 film camera and  Nikkor 400 mm f 3.5 lens, manual focus!