Tag Archives: Photography

Life’s Greatest Miracle

Life is a miracle.

It doesn’t matter what your worldview is—nothing changes the fact that life is miraculous.  The picture above is of a baby avocado tree.  I’ve been watching this tree grow the last couple weeks.  It’s quite amazing, but you know what is far more amazing than this little tree?  You!  You are a beautiful work of God’s creation.

Did you know that God loves you so much that He can’t stop thinking about you?  It’s true.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! –Psalm 139:17

God created you to be exactly you.  Look at yourself through God’s perspective today and see how beautiful you truly are.  You are life’s greatest miracle.

A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. –Proverbs 14:30

Loving Your Enemies

Sadly many in our nation are falling to the path of godless men.  Most likely you all know at least one person who has publicly spoken hatred towards God.  They will tell you Christianity corrupts society and be quick to point out every mistake that has ever been made by Christians.  They will say that Christians are ignorant bigots who deny equal rights and that we do away with all reason and logic.  They will say that we are deceived fools.

They will discredit the miracles and healings done in the church.  They will discredit the marriages restored and the addictions broken.  Some will even discredit the fact that Jesus ever existed.  They will feed you one conspiracy theory after the next.  They will discredit any greater purpose or meaning of life other than to reproduce.  They will say life is all an accident with no cause behind it and we are simply evolved animals.

They will in fact try to steal your hope.

Their exact reasons and motives tend to vary but I think one thing is clear—we as Christians have been misunderstood too many times because we have failed to show love.  We ourselves have often pushed Christ aside and acted in hatred showing judgmental condemning attitudes to others who do not agree with us.  It is time to stand for the true love of Christ.

I have seen one argument after the next online and it really saddens me.  I would encourage you the next time a God hating person comments on your social network page instead of hastily getting into an argument, first stop and pray hard.  Ask God to overcome you with His love for this person.  Ask Him to overcome them with His love.  Then simply reply back and tell them you love them.  Tell them that nothing they have ever said about Jesus changes His amazing unconditional love for them, and say you are praying for them.  Leave it at that!  They may probe you and say hateful things about the God you love.  They may persecute you and call you hurtful names.  They will try to fuel your anger.  They will want you to reply with the same hopeless attitude that they show.  But do not.  Stand for the love of Christ by showing love not hatred.

Did they do any less to our Lord Jesus?

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. –Matthew 5:10

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. –Matthew 5:44

Resting in the Lord

God is calling His people to rest in Him today.
He invites you to the secret place of the Most High.
He longs for you to say, “My Lord, you are my refuge and my fortress; in You alone I will trust.”

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

The LORD says:
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
Come, ask for a drink and I shall give you living water.

Bless the Lord today and meet Him in the secret place.

He invites you to rest.

(See Exodus 33:14, Psalm 91:1-4, Psalm 46:10, John 4:10)

Six Steps to Overcoming Sin

A relationship with Christ is not about doing the best you can to avoid the sinful things you want to do, it’s about being so overwhelmed by the love of Christ that your desires supernaturally change and sin is no longer desirable.

If you find yourself constantly desiring to sin then please take this advice:

First – Trust the Lord

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. –Proverbs 3:5.

Believe God’s word which says you are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) and sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Romans 5:14).

Second – Stop condemning yourself

For where sin abounds grace abounds much more! (read Romans 5:20).
There is a reason God sent His only Son to the cross—a final sacrifice for your sin!  Yes, you personally.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

So believe it brethren.  God has already paid your debt and you are redeemed!

Third – Spend more time with Jesus

We are called to be conformed to the image of Jesus! (read Romans 8:29).  Have you ever noticed that the more you hang out with someone the more their ways rub off on you.  It works the same with the Lord.

Now the Lord is Spirit so to hang out with Jesus just sit quietly in His presence.  Pray or put on worship music.  Go sit outside in the middle of His creation at a field, beach, forest or even your backyard and meditate on God’s presence all around you.

Fourth – Ask God to change your heart

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. –Psalm 139:23-24

This is probably the most important because this is humbly admitting our need for Jesus.  It is admitting we need His help and cannot do this thing called life alone.  It’s saying, “I can’t fix myself Lord.  You must do this.”  Often it can take time to honestly reach this point.  We can be very carnal, prideful humans and naturally want to “do a good job” and “fix ourselves.”  Ask God to expose your motives.  Have you been trying to beat sin on your own to earn grace?

Fifth – Memorize scripture

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You. –Psalm 119:11

The best defense against the enemy is God’s word.  The enemy knows God’s word and will try to twist it and lie to you saying that it is not true.  The first question in the Bible is Satan questioning God’s word. “Has God said?” (read Gen 3:1).   God never lies, He is always faithful and His word is always true.  Knowing scripture will help you defend yourself against sin.

Sixth – Delight yourself in the Lord

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart. –Psalm 37:4

If you follow the first five steps this one will happen naturally.  You cannot force yourself to fall in love with God but by growing in a relationship with Him I would say that you cannot stop yourself from falling in love with God.  As you delight yourself in the Lord He will change you and your desires will supernaturally change so that you start to want what He wants.

Disclaimer: We are all at different stages in our walk with Christ and I believe sanctification to be a life long process.  Some find breakthrough in certain areas very fast and others it can take years.  So regardless of what stage you are at, whether you have been fighting for a few days or for ten years, I want to encourage you to remain in faith and have confidence in Jesus who by His own shed blood has purchased your freedom!  He will take you there.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.

-Jude 1:24-25

Perfect Strength (Overcoming Addiction)

My name is Justin and I’m an alcoholic.

Wow, that is humiliating to say. I didn’t want to write it. Pride kicks in and says put “recovered alcoholic” or “recovering.” Well I am recovering, but I would be lying to ever say I am recovered. I relapsed badly about a month ago. I lied to myself and said that I was recovered. I wasn’t. I told myself, “I have it under control now.” I didn’t. The problem with alcohol is that it is my weakness. A weakness is an area that we do not have control of. It’s something that has power over us. Where we are weak we are powerless.

It saddens me that there are so many out there with this same weakness. Being an alcoholic for years I naturally surrounded myself with friends who liked to drink. Now that I don’t drink it’s near impossible to hang out with any of them. I wish it weren’t the case because I miss them. I miss the laughs and the conversations. I pray for them that they will one day decide to try a life without alcohol. It’s not that they all have as bad a problem as I do. Some have carefully crafted a skill of “social drinking” that doesn’t seem to affect their work life or relationships. I remember when I was there. Wading in the water about waist high, but somehow without even noticing I ended up in the deep end. Some are deeper than I ever was and I cry out to God for them. “Someone throw them a life preserver!” And at times people have, but they hastily push it away insisting they are staying afloat just fine.

I thank God for my sobriety today and my sister’s as well! Born into a family line of alcoholism the enemy knew exactly where to attack. Thankfully we had our mom—whom Jesus loves—behind the front line praying boldly to the Father night after night for years. Her prayers did not go unheard. At the right moment, predestined before the earth was made, God stepped in and said,

“Enough is enough! Come with me my child. My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

Strength made perfect in my weakness! Do you realize what that means? It means I no longer have to fight alone. I don’t have to do this on my own. Where I alone am powerless God gives me His power to have perfect strength. Perfect strength means not too much or too little, but exactly the right amount of strength to overcome.

Lord I pray that you will fill many with your perfect strength! May we be a generation and a nation known as those who overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

The first step is admitting that we ourselves are powerless.

The Christian Natural Habitat

The Christian Natural Habitat:

To soar with wings like eagles;
To run and not grow weary,
To walk and not be faint.

The Christian natural habitat is peace that surpasses understanding and freedom from the oppression of darkness.  Rejoice because the Son is setting you free, and if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed!

Feel the chains fall away and let freedom reign! Hallelujah!


You Are Reconciled!

You are reconciled to God!

1. Restore friendly relations between: “she wanted to be reconciled with her father”.
2. Cause to coexist in harmony; make or show to be compatible.

God is not angry with you.  He loves you unconditionally!  He’s in a good mood and He wants you to know that through your faith you are forgiven of any past and future debts.  You cannot mess up God’s love for you.  Sit in His presence today and feel His love overtake you. Let the love of Christ compel you to live righteously for you have been reconciled!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ… -2 Corinthians 5:17-18