Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inspiration Thursday

Recently I attended a mens event at our church that challenged us to be more disciplined in our relationship with Christ.  That may seem a like a strange topic, but there is great truth in the concept.  I must admit that I am one of God's children that is in great need of more discipline when it comes to my relationship with my Savior.  Exactly what does this spiritual discipline look like?
Look around you and identify people of great faith that you admire.  Someone like Dr. Billy Graham may come to mind.  A parent or grand parent may be the most spirit filled person that you know.  How did they become so filled with faith and trust in the Lord and so knowledgeable about the things of God?  The answer is discipline.  Just like an athlete spends hours and hours training to be the best, or a musician spends a lifetime practicing to become a concert artist, growing spiritually takes practice.
We have to discipline ourselves to read God's Word.  Many Christians attempt to read the Bible in one year, yet they get bogged down in the chapters that trace the genealogy of Biblical personalities.  It takes discipline to forge ahead.  We have to discipline ourselves to spend time in prayer and deepen our relationship with the Lord.  He cannot speak to us unless we are willing to take the time to listen.  We have to discipline ourselves to hear what God is trying to tell us.
Even spending time with God's people in corporate worship takes a certain amount of discipline.  Church is a place where God's people gather and give Him our praise and worship.  It is also a place where He meets us and speaks to us through those that He has called to preach.  Church gives us an opportunity to minister to a hurting world and share the love of God.  No church is perfect.  No Christian is perfect, just forgiven.  All of us are running the race and are in need of God's mercy and grace every day.
The only way to experience God's mercy and grace on a daily basis is to spend time building our relationship with Him.  Bible reading, Bible study, scripture memorization, prayer, and corporate worship with God's people are all pieces of our relationship with the Lord.  It takes discipline to become proficient in any of these areas of our life.  I need to become more disciplined in my walk with the Lord.  Precious Lord, lead me home.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

One is The Loneliest Number

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too

Love Is All You Need
There is a walking art trail around Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.  This sculpture is a favorite location for portrait photographers, especially wedding and family portrait photographers.  I'm drawn to the simple graphics of the piece.  Happy Ruby Tuesday all.

 There is a creek that runs through the site of the museum.  In this image the LOVE sculpture is to the right of those redbud trees and just out of the frame.  Anytime you are in Northwest Arkansas, a visit to Crystal Bridges needs to be on your "to do" list.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Prom 2014

Our oldest grand daughter attended her Senior Prom last night.  We met a couple of places for photos and then sent her and her date on their way.  In three weeks she will graduate and in a couple of months whe will be headed to college.  We are thrilled for her success and a little saddened that she will not be as active in our lives.  Wow, where did the time go.

First, we met at our daughter's house for a few family photos.  Nana and Papa get to share in the fun.

Her date arrives and a few more photos are in order.  Then, they meet their friends at the high school and they all board a "limo/bus" and head to another location for a few more pics.

By the time this photo session is over, the kids have posed for all of the pictures they want and are now having a "selfie" party.  It is a special time in the lives of some very wonderful young people.  Do you remember your prom?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Inspiration Thursday

I spotted a sign in a local store the other day that said, "The will of God will not take you where the grace of God will not protect you."  While there is great truth and inspiration in these words, they can be difficult to apply when we are taken into a very difficult situation.  These words are easy to share with some one who is living through a tough situation, in an effort to comfort and strengthen them, but they are difficult to understand when we are the one going through the trial.  I think part of the reason behind our difficulty with these words is that we often ask for the wrong thing when faced with a personal trial.  When faced with a difficult life experience, most of us cry out to God for deliverance.  There is nothing wrong with that plea, but it is not always what God has in mind, therefore He does not deliver us.  The apostle Paul was arrested numerous times.  He spent many nights in a prison cell that we would consider horrible circumstances.  Yet Paul never asked his fellow Christians to pray for his deliverance from these life threatening situations.  Instead, he asked that people pray that God would give him the boldness to be a witness to the saving grace of Christ when he was scheduled to appear before rulers that had the authority to condemn to death.  Paul knew that his appearance before these rulers was probably going to be the only time that they would ever hear the truth that is in the Gospel  and he did not want to be the one to shrink from the opportunity to confront them with the truth of salvation through Christ alone. 
Every difficult situation that we find ourselves in is an opportunity to be a witness to the presence of Christ in our lives.  If we find ourselves confronted with an illness, we are a witness to those around us that to live is Christ and to die is gain.  This world is but a temporary home and our final reward is to spend an eternity with our Savior.  When we lose a loved one, we are a witness to those around us that death has no victory over the believer.  While we may mourn the loss of the departed, we can celebrate their victory over death and rejoice in the knowledge that their race is over and they can rest in that place that God has prepared for His children.  Regardless of our circumstances, our relationship with our Savior is a testimony to those around us, and is the only time some of them will ever be confronted with the truth of salvation through Christ alone.  The next time I find myself in one of life's difficult trials, I have to remind myself that deliverance may not be God's plan for me.  God may want to walk with me through the tribulation in order that my faith and trust in Him will grow stronger, and my love for Him will grow deeper.  All the while, my relationship with Christ will be a witness to those around me and hopefully point them to a knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  Regardless of what I am asked to endure may I always, "Parise You in This Storm."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ruby Tuesday

Easter 2014
Like many families, Easter photos are a tradition.  As soon as we get home from church and before everyone changes into something more comfortable, we take a few minutes to grab a few images of the family.  Something very similar happens at Christmas.  There is just enough red in my wife's jacket and the oldest grand daughter's shawl to qualify for Ruby Tuesday...I think.

  Not much red here, but the parents are included in this photo.  Our daugher, our son-in-law, and the grand crew.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Resurrection Sunday

As much as I like Easter and bunnies and eggs and all of that, Resurrection Sunday is about a risen Savior. The promise of a Savior that God gave us at Christmas was realized on the Cross. Three days later Christ rose from the dead to take His seat at the right hand of God the Father. Friday was about an Old Rugged Cross. Sunday is all about a Risen Lord. Hallelujah!!
God has promised that those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will never die, but spend an eternity with Him. One day We Shall Rise!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Skywatch Friday - Good Friday Edition

Many Christians begin their Easter Celebration on Good Friday.  Most churches have some sort of service on Good Friday.  Christ was crucified on Friday.  But that was Friday...Sunday is coming.  Those who opposed Christ and His ministry thought that they had won the victory and that they would not be bothered with this itinerant preacher any longer.  Since He did not save Himself by coming down from the cross, He could not possibly be the Son of God.  Christ did not come to this earth to save Himself.  He came that the world, through Him, might be saved.  God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to pay the price for sin and provide a way that all of us can spend an eternity in the presence of our Savior.  Good Friday is all about an Old Rugged Cross.

There are those who want a relationship with Christ but they believe that they need to clean a few things up before accepting Him as their Savior.  They don't believe that they are good enough to ask God for forgiveness.  None of us are.  And there is nothing that we can do to make ourselves good enough to be acceptable to Him.  We have to swallow our pride, acknowledge our situation and come to Him, just as we are.  That's all that He asks.  He has done everything else.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inspiration Thursday

This week needs very little help to inspire us to greater things.  This is Passover week.  This coming Sunday is Easter Sunday (some prefer Resurrection Sunday).  It is a day that Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Still, we live in a world in which many either don't believe in the deity of Christ or they don't know for sure who Christ was or what was His purpose in coming to this world.  Time and space don't really permit me to answer those two questions completely.  The Bible says it best when it says, "Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him might be saved." (John 3:17)  We live in a lost world, condemned by our sin to spend an eternity separated from God.  The only way to avoid that situation is to acknowledge our sin, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, repent of our sinful life ask Christ to forgive us and save us from our condemnation.   Anyone willing to do this will be saved.  Christ has promised that all who call on His name will be saved.  So if anyone asks me who's my King.  I just tell them...

Christ was crucified on Friday. Those who opposed Him and His ministry thought that they had put this preacher in His place, in a borrowed tomb, but they were wrong. It was Friday, but Sunday's coming...

Jesus Saves!

Worship the Savior at the Church of your choice this Sunday. He died for you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Time Flies -Oldest Grand Daughter
 1997 - 1 year old

 1999 - Nana's Buddy

 2014 - High School Senior

Where did the time go?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too

I used to post this photo for my Ruby Tuesday badge.  Anyone with a passing interest in American automobiles can visualize the rest of this car with no more information than is presented in this image.

Last week I posted this image of the same car.  Again, there are two clues that tells any gear head the year that this automotive icon rolled off of the assembly line.  For those of you who need a little more information, read on.

This was the last year of what was probably the high point of automotive styling at Chevrolet.  Between 1955 and 1957 Chevrolet produced three body styles that have become classic street rod material.  I do think that the 1956 Ford was a worthy competitor for the 1956 Chevy, but the '57 Ford was no match for the '57 Bel-Aire with a fuel injected 283.
Go to any car show, automobile auction, or cruise night and the tri-fecta of  '55-'56-'57 Chevy's outnumber the Fords by a considerable margin.  Many of the '55-'56 Ford street rods are running Chevy power plants. Personally, I think they should stay true to their brand.  I think that a '55-'56 Ford Fairlane with a 302 crate motor would make a perfectly fine daily driver.  This red '57 Chevrolet does not sport the Bel-Aire trim, but it is still an eye-catching, heart throbbing ride.

Okay, okay, so this isn't red, but it does give you an idea what the Bel-Aire trim package looks like.  Sweet!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Neglected
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There was a time when milk and dairy products would be delivered directly to your door, just like the mail.
Most deliveries stopped by the early '60's as more and more families bought second automobiles and made the housewife much more mobile.  Now, this milk truck is just a neglected artifact of days gone bye.

  Signs of Spring
Flowers in bloom are always a sign of spring.  While roses are late bloomers when it comes to spring, they are some of the most beautiful blossoms and there are varieties that provide color throughout the summer and into early fall.

  Last Thing You Bought
If you were expecting a new Easter outfit, or some new toy, sorry to disappoint.  The last thing I bought was this White Flowering Crabapple tree for the new planter that I built in our front yard.  It will be going in the ground shortly after I finish this post.

The linesman casts a long shadow at my youngest grand daughter's early morning soccer match.
4 Things
Actually it's four things times two.  There are four flags flying over this concession stand at the soccer tournament and you can buy four things, Corn Dogs, Funnel Cakes, Soft Pretzels and Lemonade.  I managed to pass on all of them.  It wasn't easy.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Skywatch Friday

On the Waterfront
There are some beautiful homes on one of the private lakes in our area.  However, this is a guest quarters/boat house.  It's not even the main house!  I could seriously live in this.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Inspiration Thursday

We've all heard the phrase, "Life is a journey".  Most people believe that the journey of life has a destination and most of those people believe that destination is heaven, regardless of the direction that their journey has taken them.  They believe that there are many ways to heaven and virtually all of us will wind up in paradise when we leave this world.  Even those who say that they believe in the Bible, believe that we are all going to the same place.  They believe that only those most vile and evil personalities will spend eternity in that place known as hell.  The Bible tells a different story.
First of all, Jesus himself said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)  What does that mean?  It means that being good is not a free pass into heaven.  It means that being honest is not a free pass into heaven.  "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are lite filthy rags;" (Isaiah 64:6).  It means that acknowledging our sinful nature, repenting of that sin, asking Christ to forgive us, and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior is the ONLY WAY that we will spend eternity in a heavenly place prepared for us by Christ himself.  There is a path to righteousness, and it begins by inviting Christ into your heart as your Savior.  We are all, "A Soul Going Somewhere."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too

It Was a Very Good Year
One of the most iconic cars in all of American automobile history is the '57 Chevy.  It has so many easily identifiable cues that one only needs to get a glimpse of the hood to be able to visualize the rest of the car.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Shiny Wheels Etc.

 This image of Tigger is on a coffee cup that I use on a regular basis.  I was messing with the macro setting on a point and shoot camera that I own and captured this in the process.

If you're looking for wheels, especially fancy ones, look no further than Bikes, Blues, and BBQ.  It is an annual event held in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Over 100,000 bikers descend on our part of the world for a week of activities.  It gives me some wonderful photo opportunities.

I don't think I've ever seen a Jeep as shiny as this one.  It was on display in Branson, Missouri last spring.

Heaven knows that the winter of 2013 will go down in history as one of the coldest on record here in Arkansas.  It did provide some great photo opportunities.  I love the contrast between the moving water and the frozen water in this image.

  Favorite Sport
I do enjoy photographing the grand kids sports, but I have always loved football. Last fall I was able to get down close to the field at the local high school game and capture a few images.  I'm going to try to do it again this year.  One problem with this is that you sometimes lose track of the game, because you're too busy trying to get a good photograph.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Skywatch Friday
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I Got Your Back, Jack
While there may not be a great deal of sky visible in this image, these two Red Shouldered Hawks spend a great deal of time in the air looking for their next meal.  I happened to be in the right place at the right time to capture this image, because you just don't sneak up on a pair of hawks.  They are always looking our for one another.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Inspiration Thursday - Retirement One Year Later

Yesterday, April 1, marked my first anniversary of retirement.  After forty years in construction and architecture, including twenty-five with the same company, I walked out of my office for the last time and entered the world of retirement.  It's been good so far.  That's not to say that I don't miss some of the activities at the office.  I do miss the creative process and the interaction with creative people.  I don't miss the deadlines.  I don't miss the travel, a component that has become much more tedious over the years, and I don't miss the never ending schedule of meetings that required my attendance.
My interest in digital photography has served to fill the need to be involved in a creative process.  Looking for interesting subjects, composing the image and post-processing the image in PhotoShop Elements has given me endless hours of joy.
Deadlines!  What deadlines? For the most part, I set my own deadlines for projects around the house and if I don't meet them, they're still there tomorrow.  I LOVE that part.
I spent a lot of time in airports and in airplanes, traveling all over this country.  I just haven't seen much of this country.  My travels usually consisted of airport to airport, rent a car, go to a meeting or job site, go to a hotel, spend the night, go back to the airport and repeat.  This year will be different.  My wife and I are celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary and we are going to take a cruise to Alaska!
Life has been good and I owe that entirely to my Creator.  The God of all creation has provided me with a wonderful life.  I had great parents.  I have an incredible wife.  We have a great daughter/son-in-law, and four marvelous grandchildren. Our health is good and retirement looks to only get better.
Still, there is one thing that I long to hear.  There will come a day when this life is complete and I will enter into eternity.  I will stand before my Creator and my life will be judged.  I would like to be able to stand before my Savior and repeat the words of the apostle Paul..."I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)  Nothing will thrill my soul more than to hear my Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant;..." (Matthew 25:21)  Like most Christians, I have probably spent too much time running my race to please those who live in this world and not enough time spent in pleasing the one who love me enough to die on a cross for my sins and provide a way for me to spend eternity in His presence.  I hope to change that in retirement.  Have a blessed day.