Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Candle light in the dark

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)

Light is kind of the theme of my blog, so this is a great challenge for me!

As a follower of Christ, Jesus is the light of my life.  He is the source of light that breaks through the darkness of the world.  The words below from Jesus tell how we, as Christians, should act to demonstrate this light to others.

14You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

Well, better late than never, right? I hope so anyway!  Here’s my entry:

These photos were taken from just off the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park, Canada, in the fall of 2009.  I liked the flowers and was just playing around with the focus, as you can see.  Then a bee happened to land on one of the flowers and I thought it made for a good photo!

Photo of Yellow and Red Flowers

Photo of Yellow and Red Flowers

Photo of Daisy

Photo of Daisy out of focus

Photo of Daisy with Bee

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Here are some cool signs I found in Iceland.  I think they’re cool because of the Icelandic language.  Icelandic is a Scandinavian language, related to Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish.  Icelandic has preserved some features no longer found in those languages.   I honestly have no idea what these signs mean…I will try to find out!  If you know, please let me know with a comment :-)

This first one was on a hiking trail near the guesthouse where we stayed.

Sign on a post

My husband took these, I think just because he liked the long words in Icelandic :-)

Kringlumýrarbraut

Bókhlöðustígur

Takk fyrir (Thank you very much) for visiting!

Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap Iceland is beautiful and definitely not a tourist trap!

Jukolsarlon Glacier

What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us VACATION.

Glaciers at Jökulsárlón

Jukolsarlon Glacier

Jukolsarlon

First, I’m sorry I haven’t been posting or even giving much attention to this blog lately.   Everything is going fine, but I just haven’t felt led or been inspired to post.  That changed this weekend, though, when we got back from our trip to Iceland.   I’m inspired by some of the photos we took and will be working on a couple of future posts.  But when I saw this Daily Prompt it seemed like perfect timing!

Although it is the title of the Daily Prompt, Iceland is definitely not a tourist trap.  It was a beautiful and great place for vacation!  I really admire and respect the Icelanders because it looks like a difficult place to live.  Everyone was kind and we had a very enjoyable visit and saw some amazing places.  I’ve always been intrigued by Iceland, and also have always dreamed of seeing glaciers up close in person, the kind with that beautiful blue color floating in the water.   I don’t have a ‘bucket list’ per se, but if I did, seeing glaciers like that would have been on it.   And now that would be checked off as even better than I thought.

The day we went there it was cold, windy and raining.   Now you’re probably thinking, helloooo… it’s Iceland, of course it was cold!  True… but I was afraid they wouldn’t be giving tours out on the lake because of the weather.  But, thankfully, that wasn’t a problem.  Our guide soon explained that even though it was raining and we couldn’t see as far in the distance, the rain actually made the glaciers more colorful than on a dry day.  What I feared would hinder us actually made them actually more beautiful.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes what seems like an obstacle ends up being a blessing?  My challenge is to remember that, even when I can’t see what lies ahead on the path.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

Cross with flowers

The Lord is near to all who call on him, 

to all who call on him in truth. 

Psalm 145:18 ESV

I haven’t posted in quite a while! Hope all is well with you.  I took a picture of this cross I sent to a friend as a gift, and when I saw the topic of the Photo Challenge this week was color, this idea for a post came to mind.

It’s a reminder that no matter how alone we seem, God is always near to those who seek Him.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

Arc de Triomphe at night

When I saw this Weekly Photo Challenge about Illumination, I really wanted to participate because Light is one of the themes of my blog.  But finding what I wanted to show turned out to be a big challenge.  There’s a part of a Monty Python movie where they show the credits (at the beginning of course?) and it says that the credits have been completed with much expense at the last minute.  Or something like that!  So that’s how I feel about this post…

This is a picture of the Arc de Triomphe from a visit to Paris last year.  The visit was in many ways a personal triumph for me.  I give God all the credit for making it happen.  The light on the arch kind of highlights the idea trimuph…here we were looking at the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees at night….very beautiful.  And a personal victory for me.

So, what triumphs in your life have you celebrated lately?  How did you see God making it happen?

Daily Prompt: Quote Me

Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Nelson Mandela

Courage is not a lack of fear.  It is doing something even though you are afraid.   Sometimes we think those who are brave don’t feel fear.  More often, being brave means doing something in spite of the fear.

In other words, do it anyway!

Prayer for today:  Lord, please give us discernment to know those things that are in Your will for us to do.  Please calm our anxious thoughts and give us the courage to do those things You’ve called us to.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

This was a great idea for a challenge.  I had been thinking of writing a post about thankfulness since we just celebrated Thanksgiving here in the US.  Last Thursday after Thanksgiving dinner with friends, we were sitting around the table with their kids and one of the kids actually suggested we each write down what we were thankful for.  Pretty impressive coming from an 8-year-old don’t you think?  I realized I have so many things to be thankful for.

Above all, I’m thankful for Jesus and for the cross.  If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be here!  I wanted to take a picture of a big cross somewhere…but that will have to wait.   However, I like this photo because it brings to mind other things I’m thankful for; God’s word, the freedom we have to own a Bible and speak freely (including blogging of course:-)) and this amazing time in which we live, when we can read the Bible online, in many different versions and languages.

I’m thankful for my wonderful and patient husband, growing up in a loving family, good friends, a comfortable home.  Clean fresh water, food and medicine, the opportunity to interact with people from many places and cultures, the city in which we live.  My husband’s work which allows us the opportunity to travel more than we otherwise could.  I could go on and on…

This photo was taken near my home.  The trees don’t always change colors so well here, but this year has been beautiful.   I love the change of seasons and am always thankful when summer is over in Texas and the cooler weather has arrived, so this photo seems to sum that up!

Photo of trees along street

Now it’s your turn to write your list.  What are you thankful for?

Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots

Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots

Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

I liked the randomness of this writing prompt, so I thought why not give it a try!  So I looked around, and the book closest to me was The Bedford Handbook, a writing and grammar reference.  And then I thought, ‘Oh no, that’s boring!  I have lots of other interesting books around, like cookbooks, a guidebook on Maui, a little Christian devotional book, etc.  Does it really have to be the closest book?’

I decided to give it a try.  Well, I should have known, God’s plan is better than anything I could come up with.  So on page 82 there is a section explaining the difference between comparison and contrast.  The third sentence says, “To contrast is to focus only on differences.”

Then, I immediately knew what I wanted to write!  Since this blog is mainly a Christian devotional, I’ll apply it to the Christian church for this post.

Sometimes it seems we, as Christians, focus so much on our differences, like differences in doctrine, different denominations, stands on certain issues, etc. that we forget what we have in common.  As followers of Jesus Christ, the main thing is that He died and rose again for us.  We belong to Him.  Each one of us was bought with a price, the price of Jesus’ blood. We may have differences of opinion, and I’m not at all saying that we shouldn’t stand up for what we believe.  In fact, we must stand up for what we believe when what’s being questioned is the center of our faith, our belief in Jesus.  But sometimes we need to realize other Christians have other perspectives, and when the issues are not central to our faith, remember what’s really important.

One reason we need to be unified is our witness to the world, to reflect God’s love through our lives.  Jesus himself prayed for our unity on the night before he was crucified.  I can’t think of a better reason than that.

And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

John 17:19-23 (ESV) (underlining my own)

In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes,

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)

The Bedford Handbook, 6th Edition, Diana Hacker, 2002, Bedford/St. Martin’s