Looking Through the Lens…Photography Contest

 

Have you been bitten by the photography bug?  Do you get a high when you are looking at your latest batch of photos and discovered that you got one really great shot? 

Be it people or nature shots…I love taking photos.  So when Rachel at Hope Journey posted about a photography contest taking place at “Looking Through the Lens”…I was on it.  Had to check it out to see if I would be able to submit an entry or two. 

I can hardly wait to see all the entries.  If you’d like to participate in the contest and post some of your favorite photographs…click on the link and go to “Looking Through the Lens” to learn the details about the contest.  The deadline is November 10th…which is just around the corner…so don’t delay!

Below are my entries for the theme of Seasons.

Spring
Summer
Fall

Winter


This photograph really was taken in the winter…to be more specific…a California winter.  It’s a view from the Oceanside pier in January as the sun was setting. To get the full effect of the colors of the sunset…click on the picture. 

Is Your Email Saved?

I’ve wanted to write about the topic of email for some time now.  Specifically, about the emails that I receive from Christians.  More often than not the emails have been forwarded from someone else.
When I take the time to read the email…all too often I find myself wondering, “Did this come from a Christian?”  Did they actually take the time to read this before they sent it?  If they did read it, why did they think it was remotely fitting or appropriate for a Christian to send?
I receive emails from Christians that have filthy language, sexual innuendo or worse.  There are the emails that mock people for their looks, how they dress and their race.
I’m not surprised when I receive something like that from an unbeliever.  But when it’s from a Christian…not only am I shocked and amazed…I’m deeply saddened.  In fact, I’d say I get less inappropriate emails from non Christians than I do from Christians.  Why?  Because the unbelievers know I’m a Christian and they are respectful of that fact.
If someone were to read the email that you send…would they know that you are a Christian?
Here are some general guidelines that all Christians should apply to our communication…be it emails, conversation, or what we read, watch and listen to.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.  But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.   Colossians 3:7-9

….as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; – Ephesians 4:22

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; – 1 Thessalonians 4:3

The LORD detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. – Proverbs 11:20
 
At first glance some of the emails may seem funny…but when you take a closer look…be it something that mocks people, uses cuss words or laughs at sexual immorality…what’s so funny about that?
I don’t think it any accident that the enemy has deceived Christians to go along with the world and be just like them.  We can even laugh at that which Christ died for.  When we compromise…what does the world see different about Christians?  What do we have to offer the world…when we are living like unbelievers? 
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:1-2

I’m sure that there are many Christians that are shaking their heads…and saying, “Loosen up Susan…there’s no harm in it…we’re just having a good laugh or two.  Who are you to judge?”
I’m not worthy to judge anyone.  But I know that I will give an account to God.  He tells me that I will give an account to Him…for every idle word.  Everything will be laid bare before Him and He knows the motives of my heart.
It’s not about following the rules as much as it is about loving Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  Wanting to live my life in such a manner that what I do is good and pleasing to Him.
Lest you think I’m deluding myself and believe that I actually achieve that all the time…I know that I don’t.  I know that I fall short.  Without the power of the Holy Spirit within me…I’m incapable living a life that is pleasing to God.  But as I yield to God, strive to live in a manner worthy of my high calling…I’m able to do it more.  I won’t be made perfect this side of heaven.  But praise God…He is in the process of sanctifying me.
In light of God’s word…does your email reflect your Christian faith?  Is your email saved?

Sinners & Saints

Today I found myself
Overwhelmed with sorrow
As I witnessed sin and rebellion
Active and alive in both sinners and saints

I was grieved over the one called Christian
Who powerfully wields their tongue
Only to criticize and condemn
In pride, crushes the reputation of others

I wondered do I pray
For the salvation
Of the one who proclaims belief in Christ
But is walking with one foot in the world

What do I say
To the brother or sister
Engaging in filthy language and course jesting
In whom there’s little difference from an unbeliever

Oh Lord,
May my heart be burdened
For their salvation and Christian walk
May I be faithful in prayer for both sinners and saints

Susan Bunts Wachtel
October 19, 2009

Recently God has burdened my heart to pray for other believers.  I’ve tried to very specific.  That their words, the overflow of the heart, would be good and pleasing to God.  That their words would be used to encourage and build up others in the faith.  That their lips would praise and glorify God.  That they would be humble before God, burdened for the lost and faithful in prayer.  That their Christian walk would be blameless. 

That’s why I experienced profound sadness when I found that those prayers have not been answered yet. 

But tonight I experienced some peace when studying Beth Moore’s “Jesus The One & Only”.  In tonight’s lesson she explained that some believers choose to sit by the word of God, rather than sit under the authority of the word of God. 

That insight helped me to understand…that while what I’m praying for people is in God’s will…it’s not something that He will force upon them.  Instead He desires that we willingly choose to obey Him. 

When I love God and choose to walk in a manner that is good and pleasing to Him that is more desirable than having God force me to be good. 

Though momentarily discouraged…I’m reminded that I need to continue to be faithful in praying for we are engaged in a spiritual battle…and I don’t want my fellow saints to fall prey to the enemy.

Fresh Faith

One of the reasons I love to study the Bible is that each time I study a passage, whether it’s for the first time or the tenth…it’s fresh and new and applies to me right where I am.
Just recently I listened to Beth Moore’s “Believing God” study during my drive time.  I think that this was the third time I’ve heard the study.  The last time was back in the summer of 2006…a pivotal and transitional year for me.  Both personally and professionally.  God used that study to help me during a turbulent time. 
But I must say that what I learned back then pales in comparison to what I learned this time.  So much so that I listened to many of the CDs at least twice this go around.  There was so much good material that it was hard to take it all in during one sitting. 
As I was driving home tonight…listening to a different study, I marveled at what I was hearing.  Then I got to thinking…what’s the difference between what I’m hearing now compared to three years ago? 

  • Back then did I have a hard, unbelieving heart?
  • Was there a lack of spiritual maturity?
  • Or do I have a hunger and thirst for God’s word today that was missing a few years ago?
  • If so…how did it develop?
  • More importantly…how do I continue to grow and not grow cold in my love for God and His word?
I see the power in God’s word and the necessity for prayer that I didn’t fully understand back then.  I want to know Him more and I want to dwell in His presence.  I want Jesus Christ to be my All in all.

Wachtel Wedding Pictures

It’s been a long time coming…but we’ve finally uploaded our wedding photos to Slide.com.  If you want to see any of the pictures you can go to the website and view or download any of the pictures. 

Ru Tube – Rudy’s Back Yard Encounter

Rudy was enjoying the view of backyard, when what to his wandering eye should appear, but outdoor kitty. Rudy was not pleased. Not pleased at all. Rudy has a tiny little voice. While his meow sounded sweet and cute…he was not a happy camper and made every attempt to let outdoor kitty know that his presence was not welcome!