Bending, But Not Breaking!

A recent blast of really cold air, complete with a snow, brought home to me a great principle . . . learning to “Bend” and not “Break”!
As I was photographing some Short-eared Owls, some nearby grasses caught my eye. With the cold wind humming and snow beginning to cling, these grasses were bending, but not breaking, and I thought, what a great lesson for my life.

Circumstances are often not exactly what we’d prefer yet holding to your roots and giving some with the circumstances allows us to stand firm, even in that storm.

I was reminded of a young man named Daniel. His country was overrun by a savage enemy and he ended up being taken captive and hauled off to a very different set of circumstances. Yet, Daniel held to his roots, which for Daniel was his faith in the Great God of our Bible.

If you need a good read, check out “Daniel” in your Bible and pay particular attention to this young man who “bends, but doesn’t break”! He is one of my inspirations in the Word of God. I can guess he might become one of your inspirations too.

Back to this chase to photograph some Short-eared Owls, well, they too were bending with the storm but not breaking as they kept to their roots of hunting and then finding a buffer from this wintery blast.

Let me encourage you to be firm in those roots which will sustain you in the storms which come. It’s the truth of the God’s Word which grounds our lives. Here’s the place to start . . . John 3.16,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Here’s some of God’s Truth to take hold of when the storms do blow . . . 1Cor 10.13,

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

2Cor 4.16-18,

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Just A Little Rest

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

The Hunt – Short-eared Owl

 

The Missing Year!

Gate to a New Tomorrow

So what happened that a year has passed? One of the most glaring things in this “void” is a global pandemic that massively altered all our lives! To this we can all add “our stories” of life in the void. My family has confronted health issues, relocation issues, and some new directions for life issues. What a year!

Not only have photography trips fallen away, friends and family have been distanced, activities curtailed, and the list just goes on and on. There were weeks our church didn’t come together, something I’d have never expected, but . . .

This is not to say there have not been opportunities nor lessons in this “void.” The opportunity to enjoy some limited relationships with a few friends have been invaluable. Opportunities came to come alongside others who are struggling with jobs that seemingly disappeared. And many learned that you can see faces, keep up with loved ones, even do some teaching through online video.

Some lessons have certainly come from this time. One is to do a better job of staying in touch with people! Isolation is not a good direction! Along this line, I’ve begun a Monday morning ZOOM time with a couple of longtime friends where we catch up, encourage one another, and pray together for those things going on in our lives. In fact, this has been so positive I’ve added another Monday evening ZOOM time with another friend, again, premium for both of us.

Another opportunity of the “void” is to learn some new skills and do some more reading. Both of these have proved very helpful, not only for filling the void, but for preventing stagnation!

This time has also provided a stimulus to give some serious consideration to what’s really, meaning “really,” important in life. This has taken me to spend some great time reading and thinking about God’s Word. Recently I’ve been reading and rereading Psalm 121.1-2. (This post and following ones from Ps 121 can be found @ https://www.facebook.com/Research-Center-377234732358058Research Center — Help That’s More Than A Hand — Our Helper is the LORD-Maker — Ps 121.1-2)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

What a great encouragement looking at the “mountains” ahead! I’d encourage you to spend some time growing in your relationship with the Lord. And, if you’ve not begun this spiritual journey, John 3.16 gives us the doorway to begin in the love of God and a new life . . .

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

And, this time has not prevented photography although where you go has probably been changed. Local photography has far more to offer than most have imagined. This attention to local opportunities for capturing images has become my new focus and will be the direction ahead, and hopefully, slipping in a few outings along the way.

So, with all this said, Lord willing, fresh images and insights will again be flowing on the Dasya’s Photography website . . .

The Flight Has Begun – New Things Ahead!

King of the Hill

Bighorn sheep are some amazing creatures! They navigate the edges of the hills like few other animals, especially animals of their size. These hillside ledges, which would leave us trembling, are places of safety and security.

Some recent time spent with the sheep refreshed my respect of their command of the cliffs and how they use them for a refuge. This time also brought some reflection about where we turn for a place of safety and security.

Psalm 46.1-3 lays out for us that safe and secure place that even the sheep have never experienced.

When life begins crumbling and trouble comes we too seek a strong mountain! Psalm 46.1-3 points us to faith in our God.

Psalm 46.1-3,

1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Two wonderful figures of speech point us to our strong place. “Refuge” is where we find protection when trouble comes. “Strength” is God’s enablement, which we have by faith in him, when things are crumbling!

In those times of trouble we all face, “help” is God providing for us his security, his peace, his faithfulness! What a blessing!

The Psalm, “therefore,” continues that even though it seems the whole world is crashing down “we will not fear”!

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

Whatever is rising up against us is met with divine protection and divine provision! It’s our portion for, by faith, we are cared for by the eternal “King of the Hill”!

What a wonderful truth that God protects those whose faith rests in him! If you’re not sure you have a relationship with this eternal God, you can do so by placing your faith in his great provision for us, the Lord Jesus. John 3.16 makes this so clear . . .

John 3.16,

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

When our faith is in Jesus, we know that there is safety and security for our lives, regardless of our world’s turmoil.

The King of the Hill

The Hunter

Watching these “hunters” is a lesson for your patience! There’s typically lots of time “looking” for these beautiful birds and a few moments of madness trying to get some images as they sweep past.

On this particular day it was freezing rain so the wait seemed even longer, which is in itself another lesson. You need to be equipped.

Seems much of life is very similar, i.e., lots of steadfastness needed amidst a few moments of madness. And, you need some good equipment for the things you’re doing.

Having just celebrated 55 years of marriage, I can affirm both that steadfastness and being equipped are keys to life. For “steadfastness” and being “equipped” I commend what Scripture says both in 1Cor 15:58,

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

and in 2Thess 3:5,

May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

Both of these truths of the Lord will bring you to where you want to be in life, as well as supply all you need in those few moments of madness!

Prints available at www.dasyas.com

Some Clearer Vision!

Some Clearer Vision . . . or . . .Your View Depends On The Glasses You’re Looking Through

Recently I went through one of those procedures that often comes with aging eyes, cataract surgery. I’ve worn glasses for a number of years and each eye exam, with the glasses correction, came out pretty good, often 20/20. What’s to complain about?

Well, some years and a particularly active cataract on my left eye (the right eye only had a “little” activity!) finally called for the surgery. In an amazing 10 minute surgery, I went from what I thought was “some dullness” to brilliant clarity! Amazing! (They gave me a video of it all if you want to borrow it!)

Suddenly, the eye with surgery was amazing, I did say that again, and other eye I thought was pretty acute was left in the dust! Glasses didn’t cut it anymore, it was a mess (the short version of the story).

My “view” is off! Punk! Yet, it brought to my attention a potent truth — “your view depends on the glasses or eyes you’re looking through”! My glasses / eyes were distorting things!

This insight really transfers to how we see life, the things of the past, the things of the present, and the things ahead of us. I think this need for some clear vision is touched upon by the Word of God in many places for our Lord knows we can easily have a “view” that’s off, even distorted, from what he is doing.

Are there some “past acts” that are coloring your view of life? Are there some “present realities” that are coloring your view of life? Are there some “things ahead” that are coloring your view of life? If you’re like me, there are things in all these areas of my life! Some “clearer vision” would be great!

Recently I was preparing some thoughts about the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, or the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Table, or the Breaking of Bread . . . several names but all drawing us, I’d suggest, toward seeing life through some clear glasses.

Three things happen as we come to this time of Communion.

First Thing, this is a time to look to a past act, we are reminded of the Amazing Grace of God who gave Jesus as the all-sufficient sacrifice for all sin for all time. We remember the Cross of Jesus.

but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Heb 10:12–18

We remember Jesus died for All sin, yours and mine! The Apostle Paul writes,

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; . . . ” 1 Co 11:23–24

The First Thing we remember which clears our vision, removes the distortion of what’s really important in life, is Jesus died for sinners, and we say, “Thank you for grace”!

Second Thing, this is a time of present reality, not simply a history lesson. That past act is present here today as we remember Jesus’ death on the Cross opens for us who believe his New Life and eternal fellowship with God! We live today through faith in Jesus, as the Apostle John writes, Jn 1:12–13,

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

We remember that when our faith is in Jesus our present reality is living God’s New Life as his child, even when the “view” may seem clouded or dulled or even darkened!

As we heard from the Apostle Paul, we read again, 1 Co 11:23–24,

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

The Second Thing we remember is that because Jesus died for our sin we live today in fellowship with God, as his beloved children!

There is a Third Thing, this is a time of looking ahead from our foundation of forgiveness through faith in Jesus —

We, by grace, through faith in Jesus, not only remember Jesus’ death for all our sin in the past, we also remember we live today as God’s own children, — and the Third Thing is we live in a New Covenant, looking for, living for, longing for the Imminent return of Jesus, the Lord of lords, and King of kings!

The Apostle Paul writes, 1 Co 11:25–26,

In the same way { i.e., after giving thanks } He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

We are reminded that we’re forgiven through faith in Jesus and every day is living and looking for the glorious coming of Jesus and his New Life in its fullness, where the Apostle John says,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” Re 21:1–7

The Third Thing we remember is that Jesus is coming again and he has more for us than we’ve ever imagined, again, even when the current “view” is clouded! We “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes”!

Three Things:

  1. Jesus died for all our sin! Thank you, Jesus!
  2. Jesus gives us New Life in fellowship with God, with Jesus as our Lord, Advocate, and High Priest! Thank you, Jesus!
  3. Jesus is coming again and our hope is eternal and glorious! Thank you, Jesus!
It’s amazing how much clearer we can now see!

“The Other Side”

Sometimes “the other side” looks so far away, so intimidating, so difficult to cross what lies in your path!

This image of a cow elk and calf looking so intently across the river brought this thought to me. I’m guessing we all identify with those places where “the other side” only produced anxiety and even fear.

Several friends are crossing that river of chemotherapy! It’s daunting for sure! My wife is crossing the “many examinations” to find out why a persistent pain holds on! And example after example are part of our lives.

I find much in the Word of God for such places in life where “the other side” seems overwhelming, where more than once we’ve thought about turning back, or denying what’s ahead, or even running away. Let me point you to some of God’s Word which has lessened the anxiety and set a perspective toward “the other side.”

To start with, these words in Philippians 4.6-7 are strength beyond measure facing what is intimidating.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in the Messiah Jesus.”

Knowing that somewhere in this “crossing” we’re going to be standing in the midst of this river, the truth of these words in 1 Corinthians 10.13 certainly guard our crossing!

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

Sometimes we’re tempted to deny, ignore, or even turn back in fear rather than press on to “the other side.” When the Apostle Paul looked back at what was behind him, things he could have turned to as strengths, he wrote this . . . Philippians 3.8-14,

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing the Messiah Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain the Messiah, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from Law, but that which is through faith in the Messiah, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by the Messiah Jesus.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in the Messiah Jesus.”

What joy is ours knowing our Lord has more for us than we’ve ever imagined as we walk with him, even when it’s intimidating as we look to “the other side.”