Thursday, October 28, 2010
It's official. I've started my new photography blog. So exciting!
When you visit, you will enter a world of beautiful images of God's glorious creation. I invite you on my newfound journey to marvel at interesting and, sometimes not so interesting, photographs I'll be taking with my camera. Please visit me often and enjoy the view! The URL is http://www.judysphotogallery.blogspot.com.
Friday, October 22, 2010
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
“Good-bye, Michele,” I said in my heart as I looked upon her casket.
She didn’t look anything like I had remembered. The multiple surgeries and the chemotherapy took a huge toll.
Tears poured down my face as I quickly turned away and rushed toward the pews to find a seat. I rifled through my handbag to find some tissues. I wanted to bolt out of the sanctuary and stand outside in the church’s foyer or parking lot to relieve my pain.
Fighting for her Life
My friend had been fighting cancer for about four years. She lost the battle last week, and the Lord called her home. The news of her passing hit me like a brick. I didn’t want to believe it. I regretted that we hadn't been in touch with one another, and I didn't know how sick she was. I prayed for God to strengthen her husband, children, extended family members and her friends (myself included) who loved her. I didn’t know how I or anyone else was going to get through today, but the Lord was with us.
When I got up at 5 am this morning to pray, the Lord reminded me that I didn’t have to grieve like those who have no hope. Michele was saved and now at home with Him, and I’d see her again. The Lord also reminded me that she was actually alive even though she had passed away (John 11:25-26). Suddenly, I had some peace, and I felt confident that I’d be able to face the day.
Good ol' Times
Michele was a wonderful person. She loved to cook, entertain, laugh, dance and hang out with the girls. We had some good times together.
Her funeral was bittersweet. The officiating pastor comforted everyone with the Word of God, and, boy, did she preach the gospel. And even though my husband and I mourned the loss of our friend, we were reunited with old friends of ours we hadn’t seen in 10 years. We were so happy to see everyone. We hugged, kissed, cried, laughed and reminisced about the good times we used to have. After the repast, we took pictures, promised to share them through email, and keep in touch. I can’t wait for all of us to see each other again.
Today, I learned the importance of celebrating my friend’s life, remembering the good times, and not forgetting that she is with the Lord in glory. I also learned that God can turn your sorrow into joy in an instant — even at a funeral. Only our God can do that. May we praise His Holy Name!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
“And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye” (Genesis 2:9).
“Where did the summer go?” I sighed, as August ended and the month of September began. Now it’s October, soon to be November. Every year, I feel so sad when the hot weather gives way to the cooler, colder windy days and nights of autumn. Summer is my favorite season. I can wear shorts, tank tops, sandals, visit the beach, swim, enjoy the sunshine, go for early evening walks and watch the sunset at 9 pm instead of 7 pm. For me, autumn has always been a bleak sign that the freezing cold winter is fast approaching. The shorter days. Bare trees. The snow. Cabin fever. Ugh!
But this fall season my perspective changed.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt a strong desire to focus on the vibrant colors of the leaves and photograph them in all their splendor. For the most part, I’ve always sort of admired the fall foliage. But for some strange reason, this year the leaves really wooed me.
The fiery reds and oranges, deep burgundies, vibrant yellows, golds, and browns came alive — especially through the lens of my camera.
The multicolored leaves speak volumes of the Lord’s creative handiwork. The deep green leaves of summer miraculously transform into a veritable rainbow, a painter’s palette of vivid hues and tones. It’s so characteristic of our Lord to give us such a beautiful, transitional season to enjoy right before winter.
As I marveled at the brilliant foliage, I wondered, “How do the deep green leaves change into such a beautiful array of colors?” (I learned about this in science class years ago, but I forgot the details.)
According to http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/leaves.html, leaves are nature’s food factories. Plants take water from the ground through their roots and carbon dioxide from the air. They use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Plants use this glucose as food for energy and as a building block for growth. The manner in which plants turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis, which somehow involves the chemical chlorophyll that’s responsible for giving plants their green color.
As the days get shorter and shorter, the trees instinctively know it’s time to prepare for winter (Genesis 1:14). No longer is there enough light or water for photosynthesis, so the trees turn off their food-making machines, the chlorophyll disappears from their leaves, and the glorious yellows, reds and oranges emerge. Interestingly, small amounts of these colors are already in the leaves. We just can’t see them in the summer, because the chlorophyll dominates.
So even if you’re a lover of the hot weather like me, don’t let this autumn season pass you by without stopping and enjoying the colorful landscape the Lord has painted. You’ll gain a new appreciation for the fall season and wonder why you didn’t take much notice before.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
“Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider’s web. He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.” (Job 8:13-15)
Recently, my husband discovered a large spider hanging in a web that was blocking the entrance to our deck in the back of our home. Amazed at the size of this creature, I ran to get my camera to see if I could get a good macro shot. After analyzing the photos I took, I wondered what scripture said about these eight-legged arachnids.
Surprisingly, the passage I found was a warning for all of us: We are not to leave the Lord Jesus out of our lives. Without Him we have no hope. We are to rely on Him and Him only, because if we don’t, whatever we choose to lean on will fall apart.
I always believed spider webs were pretty sturdy. According to dandydesigns.org, spider web material is about one-tenth the diameter of a human hair, but it has incredible strength. It is 10 times stronger than a strand of steel of the same weight. Sounds pretty strong, huh? But the truth is webs don’t remain that way. A freshly spun web is silk-like, extremely elastic and sticky, so it can trap all sorts of prey. But after a short while, the web loses its stickiness and elasticity, breaks apart and can no longer capture prey.
Just as the spider’s web eventually loses it strength and gives way, so will anything we lean on other than the Lord. Many people rely solely on their jobs, bank accounts, material possessions, friends, family members, good reputations, academic titles and college degrees for security. But all of these things are fragile and will not provide a firm foundation — or any hope. Only our Lord can give us these things. So the next time you see a spider in its web, let it be a reminder to lean on the Lord, for He is our strength and our ultimate hope who will never give way.