Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Word Wednesday #65

"And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing." Isaiah 23:18

Though I know this was a prophecy, it did evoke thoughts that seemed to apply to me:
Can our treasure be holiness to the Lord when we lay it up and do not use it? This thought seems to go beyond mere money, though that is definitely applicable. But what about hoarding our time...our testimony...our talents? Keeping it to ourselves, we will miss the blessing that we may get when we give it to the Lord to use.

"Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us." Isaiah 26:12

How vital to keep the latter part of the verse before us: it is God Who has wrought all our works in us. Any goodness, righteousness, talent, etc. is entirely God's Work in our lives.

Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Psalm 119:46-48

Psalm 119:46-48
(46)  I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

The verse that immediately comes to mind is Luke 12:11-12, "And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." Am I committed to God's truth so that, even if I'm brought before higher (human) powers, I will speak of God's Word and be steadfast?

What if I'm not being tested or persecuted? What if opportunity ever arose for me to hold a conversation with "great" men or women? Would I be ashamed of my belief in God and His Word so that I will smooth talk over it? or will I stay firm in the truth that my heart is grounded upon?

(47)  And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
(48)  My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

Just a simple search of "love-delight" shows:
"How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?" (Proverbs 1:22)

"As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him." (Psalms 109:17)

That which we love, we delight in. If we love simplicity, we will delight in scorning. If we love cursing, we will not delight in blessing. But! If we love God's Word, we will delight in His commandments (coupled with "delighting in" is the idea of meditating upon). Oh for more love for the Word of God!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Life of Late

The past few weeks have been crazy busy! It has been fun and wonderful--but busy all the same (Hence, a quieter blog). I am going to have to sit down one day (week? two weeks?) and share more but for today, just a quick update.

June and July have been filled with VBS, camps, revivals, weddings, and trying to stay on top of everything those moments when I am home. It'd be too crazy to try to fill in on all the small details of everything so I'll just hit those major weeks of activities.

Jr. and Sr. Camps
This is my fourth year to go to Mt. Pisgah's camps and I love it. Growing up, I had always heard about "camp experiences" and it was just something we didn't desire. However, from all of the camps we have heard about, there is just something special about these camps (I'm not saying anything against your camps if you happen to like yours). Such a sweet spirit, leaders who are sensitive to the Lord's leading, and precious fellowship, all by the grace of God. This year was different than past years in that my brother, Daniel, and I were in charge of activities. Which meant less time to sit in on classes, unfortunately. What we did manage to get in was amazing, though.

A friend of our pastor, Bro. Roger, came to do our revival services. Our church does both morning and evening services all week long--it's like a week of Sundays! I was able to go to all but the very last service and every message was great. Some were great in a painful sort of way, but I really needed it (I might try to gather together some of my notes to share on here later). And I love how the Lord worked out the timing--we left from a week of revival services to go minister at Camp Christa.

Camp Christa
This is also my fourth time to help at Camp Christa, a camp for the Navajo Indians (with a few Ute and possibly others). It is a very different mission field and sometimes can be very tough. The devil has a stronghold on the rez so those who are believers have a strong battle to rage against. I can't express what a blessing it is to be a part of these kids' lives though! So many precious children, many of which I will probably only see once in my life. How we pray that we can point them to Christ!

And I shall conclude this cacophony of events with a few images. :) The Lord allowed me to photograph my first wedding (practically dropped it in my lap!)! I plan on posting more about that later, but in short, I had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity. Danielle and Deven are not just an adorable couple, they are sweet and you can sense their love for the Lord.

Being in Colorado for several days provides many opportunities to shoot! I practically wear my camera because the scenery is so beautiful up here! It doesn't matter that I've been up here seven times, I love it! There is just something about seeing for miles that helps me appreciate God's handiwork in a different way than at home. Just being at the camp you can find a lot of beauty. But then, we have also gone out of the way to have a little extra fun and experience--like visiting the San Juan mountains and waterfall (insert: I love water!). By the time our trip is over, I'm hoping to have a few more pics in my gallery and that, too will have to wait for later (I hope no one is counting on how many "later's" I have in here because no guarantee I'll have time to put them up soon...).

Now, I've shared some of my summer. What has your summer been like?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Word Wednesday #64

"If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct." Ecclesiastes 10:10

As long as a man goes about in his own wisdom, trying to fight spiritual battles, he will give much effort and strength only to fail. But, if he sharpens his wisdom with God's Word, he will find wisdom to direct each step.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Psalm 119:43-45

Psalm 119:43-45
(43)  And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

Is the Word of truth in our mouths? It must be in our hearts before it is on our lips. As verse 27 says, "Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works." When God's Word is our hope, we will speak of it.

(44)  So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

Daily we must make the commitment to keep God's law. Today, tomorrow, the next day, the next day . . . every day of our life. It is not enough to simply keep it one day. It must be our lifestyle.

(45)  And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Liberty - OT:7342 rachab (raw-khawb'); from OT:7337; roomy, in any (or every) direction, literally or figuratively:

As Romans 6 says, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." (Romans 6:16-18) Whether or not we want to accept it, the truth is that a person is either enslaved to sin or enslaved to righteousness. We like to think there is freedom in sin and following our own ways and slavery to righteousness and following God's way, but it's the opposite: only in following God is there liberty.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Word Wednesday #63

This verse is from a month ago, but I need to review it more often:

"He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction. " Proverbs 17:19

To continually be in these "wit battles" to "one up" a person is only walking to destruction. Even in jest one can love strife and in teasing it is still sin to "exalt my gate."

"He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit." 
Proverbs 17:27

Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Psalm 119:41-42

Psalm 119:41-42
(41) Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

According to God's Word, He has promised salvation. According to God's Word, He has promised mercy. It is not arrogant or prideful to ask the Lord for what He has promised ("Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Matthew 7:7-8 - "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." John 15:7). How many of God's blessings are we missing out because we're not asking? because we're not asking for Him to send them to us?

(42)  So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

God's Word gives the answer for those who test us (as Ephesians 6:17 indicates this weapon, "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:") - but it is only useful if we trust in God's Word. If we doubt His Word, then this weapon is then in vain. The question is not "Has God given us adequate answers?" but "Do I trust in the answers God has given?"

Friday, July 10, 2015

Simple Things

It was in a run to the van during VBS -- a tiny break between playing piano and photographing the event -- that a little butterfly caught my attention. I got distracted for a few minutes to snap some pictures, just because it made me smile.

What is one of God's creations (that we often view as "simple things") that brought a smile to your face today?

"He hath made every thing beautiful in His time:" Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Word Wednesday #62

"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;" Romans 15:30

Those praying are no less in the battle than those preaching. We should never underestimate the power of praying for those in duty.

Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Walking in the Way

I am slowly studying words like "way" and "walk" in the Bible. The other day, I came across the first example of a man who was so careful in the way he went. Being familiar with the story, it was so neat how the Lord showed me the specific steps this man took.

Servant of Abraham (Genesis 24)
It is very interesting that the first mention of one faithfully seeking and following the way of God is about marriage.

He was Commissioned
Abraham commissioned his servant to go in his stead, to find a wife for Isaac.

He Continued with Prayer
When the servant got to the place he knew he needed to be, he stopped and prayed. He prayed specifics:
1) That God would give him good speed (Genesis 24:12)
2) That the damsel of whom he'd ask water would also draw for the camels (Genesis 24:14)
3) That that damsel would be the one for Isaac (Genesis 24:14)

He took Action
After he prayed, the servant took the next step and talked to the damsel (Genesis 24:17).

He Watched
In patience, the servant watched and waited to see if this was indeed an answer to prayer (Genesis 24:21).

He Gave Gifts
In essence, he took another step forward and, according to the custom, gave gifts to Rebekah, and followed her to her house.

He Stopped to Worship
After realizing that God has thus far prospered his journey and answered his prayer, the servant "bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord." (Genesis 24:26)
He acknowledged that God had led his way and had led him (Genesis 24:27).

He Spoke with those in Authority
Before taking the final action, the servant communicated with those in authority, openly sharing how he had previously sought the Lord and was thus far answered (Genesis 24:33-48).

He Yielded to those in Authority
After sharing how he believed the Lord had led him, the servant asked permission of those in authority before he took the next step. He would not have taken action had they said no (Genesis 24:49-51)

Given Permission, he again Worshipped
"And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth." (Genesis 24:52)

He Took the Final Steps Forward
After seeking the Lord and going to his authority, the servant did not delay to complete his duty. "Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way;" (Genesis 24:56)

What had God led you to study recently?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Psalm 119:38-40

Psalm 119:38-40
(38)  Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

As God's servant, am I eager and ready for every word He might give me? am I looking and waiting for when He might show me more of His word so that I can abide in it? Am I willing to be stablished - settled - in God's Word? Devoted to Him?

(39)  Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

God is a just judge, and yet He is merciful. But, will He turn away our reproach just because we ask Him? I think this verse is connected to the verse before: if we are stablished in God's Word and devoted to His fear, God will extend greater mercy than if we are stiffnecked towards God's Word and resistant towards Him.

In a way, it makes me think of Psalm 19:9, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

 (40)  Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Not only does God's Word quicken (Psalm 119:25), but His righteousness quickens us as well.

In these few verses, we see that God is able to:
- Stablish His Word
- Turn away my reproach
- Quicken me in righteousness

However, we must also acknowledge our part:
- Devoted to God's fear

- Longing for God's precepts

Friday, July 3, 2015

Playing with Fire (Shutter Speed)

I know, I know... "Don't play with fire." But...I've gotta admit, I had a ton of fun playing with fire the other night. Don't worry, I kept my distance!

For those of you who aren't interested in all the technical details of shutter speed, ISO, and f-stop (aperture), I'll start you off with one of my favorite pictures of the night (it really was hard to choose!).

ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/4000 | f-stop 2.8 (IMG_3383)
There are three important elements in shooting with DSLR cameras: ISO, shutter speed, and aperture (f-stop). I don't have these mastered, but I have fun playing with them.

One night, we had a fire going and I decided to play around with shutter speed (aka Mom called me outside to take some pictures because something in the fire looked neat and I got distracted -- like 137-pictures-later-distracted).

The best teacher, for me, is example. So I will just post some of the pictures that I took and give you the details at which settings they were taken. A quick observation: the slower the shutter speed (as in 1/30), the more "blurred" the flames were. The faster the shutter speed (as in 1/4000), the more translucent and "separated" the flames were.

(ALL IMAGES ARE COMPLETELY UNEDITED - I just changed them from RAW format to JPEG and added my watermark)

ISO 800 | f-stop 2.8
800 is the highest ISO I chose (the general rule for ISO is "the darker the lighting, the higher the ISO" - but here I was dealing with bright fire in dark night). I swapped between using f-stop 2.8 and 5.0 but will keep those pictures separated.

ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/160 | f-stop 2.8 (IMG_3379)
ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/800 | f-stop 2.8 (IMG_3382)

ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/1000 | f-stop 2.8 (IMG_3381)

ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/4000 | f-stop 2.8 (IMG_3383)

ISO 800 | f-stop 5.0

ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/2000 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3415)

I'll admit, I got hung up a how cool (ha!) the flames looked with the super fast shutter speed of 1/4000...

ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/4000 | f-stop 2.8 (IMG_3416)

ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/4000 | f-stop 2.8 (IMG_341)

ISO 800 | Shutter Speed 1/4000 | f-stop 2.8 (IMG_3420)

ISO 100 | f-stop 5.0
And the lowest ISO I played with: 100.
These are listed in order from slowest shutter speed to fastest.

ISO 100 | Shutter Speed 1/10 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3399)

ISO 100 | Shutter Speed 1/25 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3390)

ISO 100 | Shutter Speed 1/25 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3403)

ISO 100 | Shutter Speed 1/60| f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3404)

ISO 100 | Shutter Speed 1/400 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3405)

ISO 100 | Shutter Speed 1/800 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3385)

ISO 100 | Shutter Speed 1/1000 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3406)

ISO 100 | Shutter Speed 1/4000 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3408)

ISO 200 | f-stop 5.0
And here is where I had to really work through my pictures. ISO 200 is where I settled and took the most shots. Hence, I had to narrow down which ones I was going to post. :) As in, my first "narrowing down" left 31 pictures.

I'll start with one angle and the different shutter speeds I used (slowest to fastest).

ISO 200 | Shutter Speed 1/10 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3457)

ISO 200 | Shutter Speed 1/15| f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3458)

ISO 200 | Shutter Speed 1/40 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3459)

ISO 200 | Shutter Speed 1/80 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3461)

ISO 200 | Shutter Speed 1/200 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3462)

ISO 200 | Shutter Speed 1/500 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3450)

ISO 200 | Shutter Speed 1/1000 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3449)

Now for other random ISO 200 pics:

ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/30 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3425
ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/60 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3477)

ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/125 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3422)
ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/250 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3441)
ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/400 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3478)

ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/640 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3431)
ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/1250 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3485)
ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/2000 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3410)
ISO 200 | Shutter speed 1/4000 | f-stop 5.0 (IMG_3421)

What have you been playing around with on your camera recently?

"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:" Ephesians 5:8
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