I took these about two weeks ago in France.
I was, and am always immediately irritated by scaffolding when I want to take a photograph. This time was no exception. From Viewpoint 1 – everything is beautiful. Viewpoint 2 however, is not quite there yet.
I found myself thinking What is the purpose of this scaffolding?” The answer of course, is obvious. Restoration needs to be done. “What would happen if they didn’t do this?” Sooner or later the whole building will be affected until it ends up an ugly and derelict place.
The scaffolding is essential to complete the process of restoration.
I was reminded of Philippians 1: 4-6:
” In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.“
and I know, God is busy doing some work in me: There is scaffolding around my heart where he is working on my character and attitude, things that will only change if I yield myself to the process.
He will continue as long as I am willing to allow Him to be my author and perfecter.
I took this from my home a couple of days ago.
This photograph actually does the light no real justice, it is a great attempt. I was struck by the barrenness of the tree, the seeming emptiness of it and how it was overshadowed by this amazing glow of light.
I was reminded not to see the obvious but to expect the unexpected. Don’t see a bare tree.
The tree is not unproductive. What is happening is unseen. What is happening is below the surface and through it all I am here, the Father of Lights, the giver of all good gifts.
Do not feel unproductive. I am being productive in you. Wait.
James 1:17: ” Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
At times this week I have felt as though my edges were fraying. My stomach was in a knot. I wasn’t sleeping well. It’s been a tough week to be away and in so many ways I have felt helpless to help.
I was reminded of this photograph (that I didn’t take but love!), and instantly God spoke to me:
“Instead of getting yourself all knotted up, attach yourself to me – I am secure.”
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
This was taken in the Roman Forum in Rome in 2005. Rome is one of my all time favourite places.
I like change. I have never run from it and like to think that I embrace it, and at times even seek it out.
My mind wandered as to how things had changed from when this Roman forum was in its prime up to that day with all the modcons that make 21st Century living.
Looking out from the ancient to the modern, where the change is so obvious, I was overwhelmingly thankful that God does not ever change. This doesn’t mean he is without emotion, situations around him change, and he feels the emotions we feel. Yet the essence of who He is, is unchanging: Always loving, always forgiving, always accepting, always pursuing us.
He is the same. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I took this in Florence in 2005. These street artists are unbelievably talented and watching them work is a treat as much as seeing their finished product.
As I watched her check her photograph and diligently create her art, I felt God say to me, “You are not a reproduction of anyone else. You are unique. I created you from my heart to make a one-of-a-kind you. I am your Artist.”
Psalm 139: 13-16
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
* * * *
This photograph was taken in Italy in 2005 – I loved this sculpture the moment I saw it. I have always wanted to try my hand at sculpting, it’s the only real form of artistic expression that I have really wanted to pursue.
The most dominant features are the mouth and the heart. I was reminded of an Afrikaans saying: “Wat die hart van vol is, loop die mond van oor.” Roughly translated – “What your heart is full of, your mouth runs over with.” I felt challenged – What is my heart full of?
God reminded me using the visual aid of the figure in the “heart place” that my heart is full of WHO and not what. May my mouth run over with thankfulness.
“It’s not what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, it’s what [who] you have in your heart.” – Anon.
I took both of these photographs in Italy in 2007. I have always loved what I call “bits of green”. In the natural these plants, embedded in the walls of ancient ruins, need soil and water at the very least, to survive – let alone blossom. Yet, in spite of their obvious challenges, they have defeated the odds and blossomed in spite of them.
I just felt God saying to me that when a seemingly impossible situation occurs, don’t throw up your hands saying “I give up, this is too hard!” Like these “bits-of-green“, face your situation and say, “If the Creator of all things can allow a plant to blossom in a rock, He will sustain me and use this difficult time to not only help me break through it, but will allow me to bloom and be beautiful in the end.”
Then, just as you admire these bits-of-green, others can see your life and say, “Wow, how awesome is this God who blossoms in the impossible!”