Come and See Photography: Blog http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog en-us (C) Come and See Photography comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) Thu, 21 Sep 2017 01:08:00 GMT Thu, 21 Sep 2017 01:08:00 GMT http://www.comeandseephotography.com/img/s/v-5/u509681171-o141266289-50.jpg Come and See Photography: Blog http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog 120 96 Yellowstone: God's Creative Hand http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2017/9/yellowstone-gods-creative-hand I did it.  Finally!  It took three months, but I finally did it!  

My husband and I spent three jam-packed days in Yellowstone National Park earlier this summer.  Neither of us had been there before, so we wanted to explore as much as we could in our short visit.  Hundreds of pictures later, I've finally narrowed to my top 50.  And while I've posted the set into a gallery to share with you, I wanted to take just a minute to tell you what I saw within the amazing features.  Or maybe I should say, Who I saw.

Who I saw was God.  Everywhere.  An amazing Creator demonstrating His power, creativity, and gentleness in incredibly diverse ways.  I have never seen any other place where such a myriad of artwork existed in such a small geographic footprint.  From the tiny details of intricate little flowers to the vast expanses of mountain views, the Master of all that is was present.  I saw in His masterpiece that He is: 

Powerful

 

Creative

 

Tender

 

Sustaining

Pure

Yet, He knows us and loves us dearly.  We are not too small nor too insignificant to matter to Him.

 

 

"Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life."  Psalm 54:4

 

"In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also."  Psalm 95:4

 

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, 

from everlasting to everlasting you are God."  Psalm 90:2

 

If you'd like to view the rest of the gallery, click here:  http://www.comeandseephotography.com/yellowstone

 

Where do you see God?

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) artwork creator design geyser god photography yellowstone http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2017/9/yellowstone-gods-creative-hand Thu, 21 Sep 2017 01:08:02 GMT
Leadership, Strength, & Power http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2016/1/leadership-strength-power A quick five minute glance at this morning's news displayed stories of struggles for power and control.  Soldiers crossed invisible territorial lines in the oceans.  Candidates vie for voter support.  Even the commercials depict a myriad of products touting promises of stronger muscles, leaner bodies, faster speeds, and more attractive presence.  It seems at times the whole world is busying itself in pursuit of power.  Millions and millions are poured into election coffers, advertising, and deal-making with hopes of grabbing for the top ring.

 

On a more personal level, each of us faces some of these same challenges in our daily lives.  At work, who will get the next promotion, be chosen to lead the next project, or win the next award?  At school, who will make the best grade, make the team, be selected for a special honor?  This same human struggle can even seep into our homes and our church families.  Who gets the last brownie, gets to pick the television show, or has to change the next dirty diaper?  In our church family, who is selected to lead the ministry, who gets acknowledged publicly for sacrifice and perseverance, or who has the most beautiful singing voice?

 

Just a few short weeks ago, I got a glimpse of strength that transcends this world.  Only days before Christmas, the Atlanta airport was filled with hundreds of military personnel, some headed to fields of service, others eagerly returning home.  All, though, stood as symbols of this nation's finest examples of physical strength and courage.  Dressed in their camouflaged war-ready garments, strong bodied men and women pledged their lives to protect our nation's freedom.

 

Yet of the scores intermingled among civilian passengers flooding the terminals, one young soldier stood out as a giant, not because of physical stature, though clearly he was physically strong.  What caught my attention, instead, was what he was doing.  Surrounded by all the noise and chaos of the human floods around him, this lone soldier sat intently focused on one thing:  the open Bible in his lap.  Here he was, physically young and strong, a member of one of the world's strongest and most accomplished military forces.  Yet he recognized the only Source of true strength.


Jesus calls us to lay down our striving and grappling and stressing over who will be first and greatest and simply come to Him, our Rock and our Strength.  It is only through this surrender that we can be strong, a strength that is not dependent upon money, fame, physique, or fads.  It does not waiver by votes or accomplishments.  Instead this Strength is offered freely to His children who simply surrender to Him.

 

And He said to them,

“If anyone would be first,

he must be last of all and servant of all.” 

Mark 9:35

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) Bible God Leadership Power Strength photography trust http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2016/1/leadership-strength-power Sun, 24 Jan 2016 17:12:26 GMT
52 Weeks: #52 The End and the Beginning http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/12/52-weeks-52-the-end-and-the-beginning Week 52 is here.  A year's worth of reading through the Bible, finding nuggets of God's message to share, pairing them with photography of His creation, and sharing through this blog series comes to an end.  For me, my journey through the Scriptures was made richer through sharing with you.  Thank you for holding me accountable as I read and sought God's wisdom.

 

So, in finishing this series, I want to share what, to me, seems the culminating message of the journey.  God, the Almighty Creator, loves every one of us and earnestly calls us to seek Him, not because He has some ego complex, but because He is the Loving Father that wants nothing more than to have His children at His side.  As a mom of adult married children with their own homes, I get that!  I cherish times when my children are at my table, under my roof, or in my arms.  My heart is bursting with joy when my children are close. 

 

Yet God beckons us to an even greater family reunion.  And this one will be without any sickness, no sorrows allowed, no one will be angry, hurt or tired.  In this sweet welcome home, we will spend all of eternity rejoicing together as family around the feet of our adoring Father and our Big Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ.  How I long for that welcome home!

 

His gift, His message of love, was made clear so many years ago, but stands just as true today for us.

 

 

Weaving our way back to several weeks ago, a simple verse from the book of Joshua brings this series to a close.  His conclusion, having just brought the children of Israel into their Promised Land, mirrors our appropriate response as we wait for our Promised Land. 

 

So as we begin a New Year, a new month or even a new day, let us join hands with the many that have gone before us to choose to serve our Father. 

 

My prayer is that you have been blessed through these profound truths of God's Word as you have read along with me.  May God continue to watch over you and guide you in the coming year and throughout this life, until we reach the joyous family reunion He has prepared. 

 

--

 

Thank you for reading.  Stay tuned for new blogs in 2016.

Rachel

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge God Jesus gift heaven love nature photography http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/12/52-weeks-52-the-end-and-the-beginning Fri, 25 Dec 2015 21:56:49 GMT
52 Weeks: #51 Following http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/12/52-weeks-51-following I don’t know a lot about sheep.  Only once have I been among a flock of sheep in their natural environment.  All other encounters were in the controlled environments of zoos of some sort.  But in talking to their caregivers, their shepherds, I have learned a few key facts about these gentle creatures and the importance of the shepherd’s role.  First, harsh though it may be, sheep are just not very bright.  As long as green grass is under their noses for munching, they will keep their heads to the task of filling their tummies and pay little attention to where they are going.  Aimlessly guided by their appetites, they can easily wander off the edge of a cliff or into a briar patch that would tear and ensnare them. Second, they are relatively defenseless.  By nature, they are typically timid and fearful, plus they lack claws, fangs or other defense mechanisms to protect against predators.  So, a shepherd’s watchful eye is needed as the stealthy carnivorous enemies lurk.

 

Hmmm.  Come to think of it, we humans sound a bit like these critters.  Driven by our own appetites, distracted by the world’s illusions of “the grass is greener over there,” we can easily be lulled into aimless paths of danger or even destruction.  Far too easily we can become ensnared by temptations of this world that tear at our very beings.  And when it comes to defending ourselves against our number one predator, Satan, who seeks to devour our precious souls, we are powerless.  Unaided, we are vulnerable to his treacherous attacks, unable to offer any defense or shield.

 

But we are not without a Shepherd. 

 

 

 

The Lord God, Almighty Shepherd, calls us His own.  He takes charge of His sheep, protecting, seeking, feeding those that are His.

 

 

But He doesn’t stop there.  The Shepherd speaks of a time to come when He will set up a new Shepherd, His only Son, to care for His precious lambs.


 

 

Here is what is absolutely beyond human design.  The Lord God, the Mighty One, sent this new Shepherd.  But incredibly, He sent the Shepherd in the form of a lamb,... pure, innocent, gentle lamb.  He made the Shepherd to BE one of the sheep in order to BE the perfect sacrifice so that He could BE the Shepherd, saving the lambs from the vicious attacks of the Evil One who seeks to devour them.

 

 

If you or I were writing this story, perhaps we would have written it differently.  Perhaps the Savior would have taken on a different form, certainly not the same as the frail humans He was coming to save!  If I were writing the story, I'd have been tempted to write Him as being this "bigger than life" super-being, perhaps standing taller, bigger, with bulging muscles.  Yet God chose to send His Son among us in the form of human beings, God's lambs.  He became one of us to save us.  This is so profound that words fail in attempting to describe the impact.

 

The Lamb of God came, though, by God's design and in fulfillment of His promise.  The Savior came, offered His life as the pure sacrifice we could not fulfill.  He rose again and stands ready to lead, comfort, bind wounds, feed His lambs with a tenderness and compassion that only a Shepherd can know.

 

So how do sheep respond?  Sheep know their master’s voice.  Sheep trust.  And sheep follow the shepherd.

 

Whose voice are you following?

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Bible Christian Ezekiel God Jesus lamb nature photography sacrifice shepherd http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/12/52-weeks-51-following Tue, 22 Dec 2015 13:11:18 GMT
52 Weeks: #50 The Gospel in Psalms http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/12/52-weeks-50-the-gospel-in-psalms Who knew?  I surely didn't!  I've read the book of Psalms many times throughout my life, but I've never noticed this until now.

 

Nestled into just a few short chapters and verses is a summary of the salvation God offers, the Good News or Gospel story.  Here it is.

 

Chapter 1:  God, the King above all, created the earth.

 

 

Chapter 2:  Frail mankind enters the picture. 

 

 

Chapter 3:  We struggle, slip, and need God to save us.  

 

 

Chapter 4:  God brings His salvation to all people.

 

 

Chapter 5:  He sends us into the world to share the Good News.

 

 

And that is the simple story of God's love for His children, His created ones, the ones He loves.

 

Our redemption story authored by a loving God and Father.

 

Are you allowing Him to author your redemption story?  Truly there is no better story ever written.

 

May we all allow the Master Author's pen to write the pages of our stories, filled with His joyous salvation.

 

---

As always, thank you for reading.

Perhaps you know someone that would welcome this message.  Please consider sharing.

Rachel

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge God Psalms creation good news gospel hope photography salvation http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/12/52-weeks-50-the-gospel-in-psalms Sat, 12 Dec 2015 22:52:56 GMT
52 Weeks: #49 The King Is Coming! http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/12/52-weeks-49-the-king-is-coming It is December.  Almost instantly my mind equates the month with Christmas.  The special holiday season seems to envelop the entire month.  Parties, concerts, plays, family gatherings, and gifts fill our calendars and our thoughts.  It is so encompassing that it changes the way we dress, the music that fills our ears, and the way we decorate and share our homes.

 

Yet a quick step back in time about 2535 years, places God’s people in very different circumstances.  Having neglected, at best, and rejected, at worst, their relationship with God, He allows a period of discipline to bring His children back to a remembrance of His supremacy as Lord and Master.

 

During these dark days of captivity under the nation of Persia, the Israelites began to feel the weight of their disobedient choices.

 

Did they deserve their punishment?  Clearly

 

Could God have just given up on them and started over?  Most of us probably would have, given the situation.  This, of course, was not Israel’s first time to run from God in pursuit of the lifeless wooden “gods” of the cultures around them.

 

Yet even in this time, when God has halted their careless lifestyles, He does not leave them without hope.  Instead, He opens a small window into the future, giving them a glimpse of the glorious plans He has in mind.

 

 

As you read these words, perhaps your mind did a quick fast-forward about 550 years from these dark days of captivity to the fulfillment of this promise.  Bible story images depicting Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem as told in Matthew 21:1-11 brought flesh and bones to this promise.  The window forward to this significant event in the last few days of Jesus’ life on this earth depicted hope of the coming of a glorious King.

 

And then, stepping back to the captives’ world, another more sobering scene comes into view as another window to future events opens.

 

 

Solemnly, our thoughts go to that horrible series of events in which one of Jesus’ own twelve closest friends betrays Him for a mere 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32).  And we see Judas, recognizing His heinous guilt, throwing the coins back at the chief priests’ feet, moments before ending his own life.  The potters’ field bought with the blood money completes Zechariah’s prophesy.

 

The Israelites' emotions, perhaps:

                Captivity – Guilt-ridden

                                A Coming King –  Hopeful

                                                A Betrayal –  Sorrowful

 

This is a journey we take alongside those who have gone before.  God, Lord and Master Creator, invites us to Him.  Yet we selfishly chase the meaningless trinkets of our culture, disappointing Him and rejecting Him.  Held captive by our own sinful choices, we feel the weight of our guilt-ridden choices.

 

Yet, in His love, while we were sinners, He sent His Son to die for us, giving us hope for our sinful condition.  As the narrative of Jesus’ life continues, we know this donkey riding King was sold for a slave’s price and killed on the cross.  We, too, feel the weight of sorrow as we read of these last few days of His life, knowing it was our sinful choices that placed Him on the cross.

 

But the story does not end there.  Gloriously, three days later He rose from the grave to offer us redemption, a gift far beyond any we could even imagine!  And certainly far above what we deserve.  Yet our Loving Father reaches out in mercy to deliver His children from Satan’s captivity and places us on the path of redemption leading to a home with Him one day where all of the troubles and trials of this world will melt away leaving us free to enjoy His embrace in a heavenly realm where love and peace reign supreme.

 

What a magnificent celebration that will be!

 

May we center our lives completely and consistently on the One who loves us the most, not just in convenient seasons, but daily as we rejoice over His steadfast love and mercy.

 

 

And may His people together say, "Amen."

 

--

 

As always, thanks for reading.

Rachel

 

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Christian Jesus King Zechariah donkey hope nature photography promise prophecy redemption salvation http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/12/52-weeks-49-the-king-is-coming Sun, 06 Dec 2015 02:49:45 GMT
52 Weeks: #48 Rejected or Desired http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-48-rejected-or-desired Few moments are more precious than the birth of a child into the arms of adoring parents.  The elation, the tenderness, the absolute awe as eyes meet eyes for the first time, connecting hearts.

 

In stark contrast, stories of newborns found abandoned in dark detestable dumps in deserted allies are almost unbearable.

 

Yet, this story has such a beginning.  A tiny baby girl is found tossed into a deserted field out in the country, umbilical cord still attached, blood caked on her tiny naked body. 

 

Rejected!

 

She is found by a young boy who happened to walk near enough to hear her now feeble attempts to cry.  He tenderly scooped up the frail infant, ignoring the grime and blood, and carries her to a nearby home where she is taken in as a daughter.  The boy, though, vows to care for the newborn by working to provide for her needs as his heart was unexplainably attached to the vulnerable little one.

 

Reclaimed!

 

As the years pass, the young boy holds true to his vow, faithfully providing for the little girl as she begins to flourish in her newfound home.  A friendship develops as both boy and girl grow into young adults.  The day comes when this blossoming relationship is sealed in the ultimate human relationship through heartfelt, solemn marriage vows. 

 

Loved!

 

The attentive groom, having worked hard for so very many years is able to lavish on his new bride every gift, every delicacy, every whim her heart could desire.  Beautiful clothes, jewels, trinkets…anything and everything laid at her fingertips.

 

Lavished!

 

But the story takes an unimaginable turn.  Fully aware of all this adoring man has done for her from her birth until the present, the heartless bride rejects his love and instead uses the countless tokens of his affection as trinkets to lure other lovers into her bed.  In brazen unfaithfulness, she doesn’t even attempt to hide her actions from her brokenhearted husband.

 

Dishonored!

 

Yet even in his distress, hurt and anger, he calls to her, reconfirming his desire for a covenant relationship.

 

 

Desired!

 

In this  second heart wrenching story (see Week #38: The Offer), we are given a glimpse into the heart of our God who wants nothing more from us than to share in an everlasting covenant love relationship.  Yet, like the young bride, we, too, can all too often find ourselves using the blessings God has so generously bestowed on us to pursue other loves, distractions from the One who gave them as gifts of love.  How excruciating the pain we inflict upon our Beloved when we so carelessly flaunt His gifts in pursuit of all manner of worthless idols, each drawing us further and further from the One who loves us the most.

 

Though we are worthy of rejection, He has redeemed us, He rejoices over us, and He calls us back when we carelessly stray.  The expanse of His love is completely beyond my comprehension.  How could He love me so much in spite of my pitiful, careless, and even rebellious choices?  I don’t know the answer to that question, but what I do know is this:

 

 

We now have access to the family of God Himself through the Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Though we were

Rejected,

We can now be

Reclaimed.

 

Our Savior has

Loved

and

Lavished

His salvation upon us.

 

Though we have

Dishonored

Him, yet He is faithful to ensure us that we are

Desired.

 

To whom will you offer your heart?

 

 

--

 

As always, thanks for reading.

 

Rachel

 

Rachel Welborn

Come and See Photography

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Bible Ezekiel God Savior desired dishonored lavished loved photography reclaimed rejected http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-48-rejected-or-desired Fri, 27 Nov 2015 14:04:55 GMT
52 Weeks: #47 Seasons of Change http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-47-seasons-of-change Change is everywhere.  Over the past few weeks, we've watched the greens of summertime slip into autumn colors.  We've also watched disastrous events, both natural and man-connived, take precious lives. causing great distress and anxiety.  Perhaps in your own personal life, you've experienced a season of change.  Illnesses, loss, financial challenges, family strife all are distressing changes.  But likewise, events such as the birth of a baby, marriage, or a graduation, while joyful, can lead us to challenging changing seasons as we navigate the new situations.

 

How do we respond to these shifting seasons?  The prophet Daniel records some insightful guidance in his God-inspired writings.  Only a young man, Daniel's country is overrun by a godless people who take him and his companions captive, transporting him into a strange land where everything is unfamiliar:  different food, language, customs and expectations.  Even his name is changed.

 

Yet consider these truths recorded by Daniel during these days as he reflects on his Lord and Master of the universe.

 

 

In short, Daniel acknowledges God's preeminence over all things:  nature, kingdoms, rulers and even day and night.  God is in complete control.  He is watching over the affairs of this world in wisdom that far exceeds that of mere humans.

 

And this watchful guidance is embedded completely within boundless love.  Consider these words from the Psalmist:

 

 

So we can, in full assurance, know that no matter what the situation, our loving God knows our struggles and He is in control.  In the voice of a loving father tenderly comforting a distraught child, He says:

 

 

You and I, then, walking through whatever seasons, changes, situations, uncertainties that surround us, can know that the Master of the universe has all things well in hand.  Therefore, we can echo these words in peaceful confidence:

 

 

Need a quiet place to rest in the midst of change?  Yeah, me too.  Thanks be to God the Father for the rest He offers in His arms.

 

____

 

Thank you for reading.  Please feel free to share with someone else experiencing change.

 

Rachel

 

Rachel Welborn

Come and See Photography

 

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge God change confidence fear nature peace photography seasons uncertainty http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-47-seasons-of-change Mon, 23 Nov 2015 01:45:26 GMT
52 Weeks: #46 Extremes http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-46-extremes In this day of multiple streams of information, stories of extremes seem to rise to the top.  So I did a little research and uncovered a few interesting extremes.  And given the nature of these, likely as soon as I put these words into print, the facts may change.  Even so, these are pretty amazing.

 

First, ascensions to the world's highest peak, Mount Everest, 29,035 feet high.

  • First recorded ascension: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953
  • Estimated number of successful climbs to the peak:  8000 (estimates vary widely; this is the most generous estimate)
  • One out of ten people that successfully reach the summit lose their lives on the way down

 

Then, the descents.

  • Deepest unassisted free dive (no fins, no oxygen tank, no weights):  269 feet
  • Deepest assisted free dive (no oxygen tank but using fins or weights to go deeper):  700 feet

 

These extremes are well beyond the capability of the average person.  Yet we all experience our own levels of extreme highs and lows.  The lows are described in the painful cry of the Psalmist.

 

"Out of the depths, I cry to You, O Lord."  Psalm 130:3

 

We've all been at that point where our distress is so intense that we feel powerless and hopeless.   Our own abilities sapped, we can do nothing but cry out for help.  So we cry.  And He answers.

 

"In my distress, I called to the Lord and He answered me."  Psalm 120:1

 

At our lowest of lows, the Faithful One answers.  He loves us and He shepherds us through the trials.

 

And as we seek to climb our summits, God is there in those moments.

 

 

You see, at our best human abilities, our inhabitable world is only about 700 feet deep and 29,035 feet high.  That's a narrow band of only about five and a half miles deep.  That's a tiny little sliver of this planet.  But then this planet is only a tiny sphere within our solar system, far from the size of the largest planet.  Continuing on, earth diminishes even further in stature as we zoom out to the galaxy and then the entire universe.

 

Yet, we have direct access to the One who created it all and who stands as Master and Lord over all.

 

 

So as we navigate our human highs and lows in our narrow band of existence, God, the Creator of all, watches intently over us all, ready to reach out His loving hand to you and to me.  As a loving father rejoices as his children surround him, so our Father rejoices and cares for us.

 

 

So we can with confidence lift our eyes to the One who holds it all in both our depths and our mountaintops.  He sees.  He knows.  He cares.  He loves.

 

May your focus stay upward as you walk through your valleys and mountaintops.

 

 

-------

Thanks for reading. 

Rachel

 

 

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Extreme God Psalms comfort help nature photography support http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-46-extremes Tue, 17 Nov 2015 02:41:19 GMT
52 Weeks: #45 Hide & Seek http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-45-hide-seek Who among us hasn't played Hide and Seek at some point?  This classic childhood game is a mainstay transcending continents and generations.  A simple concept:  one or more kiddos run and hide while whoever is "It" hides his/her eyes.  Then after the count is up, the It person seeks the hiders.  Of course, the hiders are hoping to find the best hiding places, to be the last ones found while the seeker hopes to discover all secret hideouts quickly.

 

But I wonder, did you ever hide so well that the seeker never found you?  Or maybe they got called home for supper before finding you, leaving you hunched in some cramped space until you finally came out, feeling rather bewildered by everyone's absence.  What were you thinking in that span between tucking into your hiding place until you realized the game was over?

 

At first, perhaps you felt proud. "What a great spot I've found -- they'll never think to look for me here!" 

 

Then, as time progressed, "Wow! I really DID find a great place!  I can't believe it's taking so long!  I bet I'll win!"

 

But as the cramped muscles begin to ache, perhaps the thinking turns a bit.  "It's pretty quiet.  I wonder if they are still looking for me?  I wonder if they are still out there?  What if they forgot about me?"  These thoughts suddenly change the fun and thrill of hiding to loneliness and isolation.

 

You see, hiding is only fun when you're playing a child's game and when you know the hiding will end with being sought and found.

 

Hiding, just for the sake of hiding, is lonely and isolating and painful.

 

 

We have an assurance though.  We can never hide from God so well that we cannot be found by Him.  He sees.  He knows.  Attempting to hide from Him is pointless on the most basic level.  No hiding place is good enough to stump God.  So while that draws us to a realization that we can't hide our sinful acts from His eyes, it also reminds us that He does not want us to be lonely or isolated from Him.

 

In fact, He invites us to seek Him:

 

 

When we cease trying to hide sin in dark corners of our hearts, and instead turn our whole hearts to seeking Him, He promises us that we will find Him.

 

What a blessing!  No games, no hiding.  Simply openly embracing God as our Lord, our Father. 

 

The game is over -- He calls us home for dinner.

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge God Jeremiah comfort hide and seek isolation nature photography http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-45-hide-seek Sun, 08 Nov 2015 20:54:35 GMT
52 Weeks: #44 I Know You! http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-44-i-know-you Who are the five people that know you the best...you know, the real inside you...the way you really think and feel about yourself and the things around you?

 

So, who are those folks?  Family?  Close friends?  Maybe co-workers?  Or maybe you're thinking there aren't five people that really know you well, deep-down-inside-at-the-core-of-you well.

 

What separates those that know us intimately from those that don't?  Why do we choose to share with some while keeping others well outside the edge of intimacy?  Is it about trust?  Or fear?  Am I afraid to let others in because I am unsure I can trust them with the knowledge of who I truly am?  What will they think?  What would they do if they knew the real me?  Would they be repulsed by my sinful weaknesses and failures?  Would they scoff at my doubts and insecurities?  At some point, on some level, we probably all ask the question, "Would they still like me if they knew...(you can fill in the blank for yourself)?"

 

So we cover, hide, smile, fake and in such, keep a "safe" distance from those around us.

 

Yet there is One.  One who knows you better than you know yourself.

 

 

The very One who formed you, knitted you together, knows you intimately -- literally inside and out.

 

This same Creator formed the entire universe from His knowledge.

 

 

Yet He brings His focus back to you and to me.

 

 

And the crowning pinnacle is that it is this very God, this majestic Creator that invites us to know Him, to know the things in which He delights.

 

 

To be known deeply with all your wrinkles, scars, and quirks, yet to be invited into God's intimate circle is a blessing and invitation almost beyond imagination.

 

This God, this God that knew you before He formed you invites you to know Him.

 

What better intimate friendship can you imagine!!?

 

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Bible Creator God Jeremiah friendship intimacy love photography trust http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/11/52-weeks-44-i-know-you Sun, 01 Nov 2015 22:23:01 GMT
52 Weeks: #43 Never! http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/10/52-weeks-43-never My husband and I have been married for over 30 years and have been blessed with the opportunity to participate in a number of marriage enrichment seminars, retreats, and conferences, all aimed at strengthening our relationship.  A significant portion of these has focused on the importance of clear, honest, respectful communication as one of many tools for building a stronger marriage.  As these conversation pointers emerge, one guidepost often suggested is to avoid the use of "absolute" words like "never," "always," and "every" as the claims that follow are seldom 100% true.

 

  • You NEVER call when you are gong to be late.
  • You ALWAYS criticize my family.
  • EVERY time you shop, you ignore our budget limitations.

 

Feel free to mentally add your own contributions from conversations you've experienced.

 

You can almost feel the tension in those absolute accusations.  And while the tone is much more loving, we often fail at even our best attempts at "nevers" and "always."  Our vows to...

  • ALWAYS put you first.
  • Listen EVERY time you speak
  • NEVER let my eyes stray to anyone else

...fall at our human feet in failure with even our best attempts.

 

So all of this may leave us feeling a bit skeptical about a promise that contains two "nevers" and one "every."  That's a lot of opportunities to fail in just a few words.  Yet this one is different.  Look at this promise:

 

 

Contrasted with our own mortal failings, God's faithfulness is constant, secure, and dependable.  He will not fail, so we can safely trust in Him.

 

So, it is no wonder that the very next verse proclaims:

 

 

The idea behind "portion" is sustenance or inheritance.  Te writer is proclaiming the Lord God as the One who will uphold and sustain us.  So the "therefore" or "so what" is a logical step:  "Therefore I will hope in Him."  What better depiction of that inheritance than through our weekly remembrance of the sacrifice He made in sending His Son to die for us?  It is through Jesus that we can have hope of the inheritance to come and through Him, God's love and mercy freely flow down upon His children.  His love and mercies are renewed daily, every day.  He sustains us securely in Him.  We can safely trust in His ability to keep His absolute promises.

 

Can you think of anyone else you can always trust to never fail every day?  Human beings?  No?  Yeah, me either.  The Father and Son form a solid, unmatched foundation on which we can rest.

 

"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,

to the soul who seeks Him." 

Leviticus 3:25

 

Thank you, Lord, for NEVER failing to love us EVERY day.

 

Need a few good absolutes in your life?  Try Him!

 

---

Thanks for reading.

 

Rachel

 

Rachel Welborn

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge God Jesus Never communication nature photography promises trust http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/10/52-weeks-43-never Sun, 25 Oct 2015 01:58:28 GMT
52 Weeks: #42 Treasure Hunting! http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/10/52-weeks-42-treasure-hunting Stop for a minute and think about this:  How many movies can you think of that center their story lines on hunting for a treasure of some kind?  What are the first five that come to mind?  If you're like me, it wasn't all that hard to come up with a list. 

 

The world is fascinated with the notion of finding a source of incredible worth.  Whether the driver is a desire to be immensely rich or whether its the thrill of the hunt that fuels the passion, treasure hunting clearly captures our imaginations.

 

So in the spirit of the hunt, our family set off one weekend to geocache.  Now for those unfamiliar with the concept, here are the basics.  Someone goes out to a remote place and hides an object, often in a sturdy box.  Then the hider posts the GPS coordinates or clues leading would-be treasure hunters to the target spot.  In more elaborate systems, the box may contain dozens of treasures.  And the hunters are free to take one item of their choosing, but are expected to leave something in its place.

 

So off we go in search of our treasures!  After a lengthy drive and a few wrong turns we start the trek through the woods.  Stooping, peering and poking around we finally find the treasure box carefully tucked under a shrub at the base of a  big tree.  Excitedly we pulled it out into the open and flung open the lid. 

 

And the treasure?  Well, if you've ever geocached, you're probably laughing at that thought.  What was inside, typical to most of these boxes, were dozens of the most random set of objects imaginable...coins, stamps, small toys, patches, gadgets of all kinds.  Imagine that everyone in your family gathered up all the random little things laying around in their rooms or stuffed in the back of their junk drawers and threw them all in a box....now you've got the picture.  The most valuable item in the box was a "traveling" dollar bill.  But you couldn't keep it; you could only carry it to another box (aka help it travel).  Sum total value of the entire contents?  I'm guessing about $3.27 and that's probably generous.  Considering the gas, travel time, snacks to sustain us on the hunt, I wouldn't say the monetary value was a very good return on our investment.

 

Now, of course, this was all a game and we had no real expectations of coming home independently wealthy.  However, I wonder if this small treasure hunt doesn't sometime mirror our lives.

 

The Psalmist writes:

 

"Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things

and give me life in Your ways." 

Psalm 119:37

 

Do you ever find yourself trailing after this treasure or that treasure only to find the end goal to be a waste of your time?  We spin our wheels and spend our energy in pursuit of the worthless, the trivial, the fleeting.  We wear ourselves out hunting and pushing toward gains that leave us feeling empty and disappointed.

 

The remedy?  Three simple verses point us to a treasure well worth the hunt.  Appealing to our sense of taste, our desire for clear direction and our love of a good treasure hunt, we read:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ultimate treasure hunt, then, is in seeking God through the precious words He has spoken, guiding us to His salvation.

 

"My soul longs for Your salvation.

I hope in Your word."

Psalm 119:81

 

What treasures are you seeking?

 

---

 

Thanks for reading.

Rachel

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Bible Christian God Psalm disappointment hunt journey photography riches salvation treasure http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/10/52-weeks-42-treasure-hunting Wed, 21 Oct 2015 01:26:48 GMT
52 Weeks: #41 A Choice, a Promise, & a Challenge http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/10/52-weeks-41-a-choice-a-promise-a-challenge The first chapter of Genesis chronicles the events of creation.  However, that is far from the only instance where God places His signature on His masterpiece. 

 

Consider these:

 

 

 

 

From this second verse, God makes two points beyond the declaration of His role as Creator.  First, He states the earth was made to be inhabited, inhabited by us, his created beings.  Secondly, He declares, having authored the world into existence, that He is the only Lord.  Some may wince at this exclusive declaration.  However, simple logic states that either God is Creator, and therefore the only logical Lord.  Or He is lying, making Him unworthy of our devotion.  He leaves no room for other options.


We are at a crossroads of decision then.  We accept Him as the ultimate, Lord and Creator, or we reject Him as neither.

 

For those that accept Him, a promise and a challenge follow.

 

First a promise of strength and help.

 

 

 

And with our strength and help secured through our Lord and Creator, a challenge follows:

 

 

He offers, rains down, righteousness and salvation upon His creation.  But then He call us, the earth, to be open to these blessings and give them a place to sprout in our lives.

 

So:

 

A Choice

 

A Promise

 

A Challenge

 

What do you choose?

 

WHO do you choose?

 

 

Who do you know that needs to embrace the strength of the Creator?  Perhaps these words could offer encouragement.

 

As always, thanks for reading.

 

Rachel

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Choice Creator God Isaiah Lord creation photography promise righteousness http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/10/52-weeks-41-a-choice-a-promise-a-challenge Tue, 13 Oct 2015 00:53:18 GMT
52 Weeks: #40 Sleepless Nights http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/10/52-weeks-40-sleepless-nights How many times could you have said these words:

 

"My soul yearns for You in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks You."  (Isaiah 26:9)

 

How long has it been since you've had one of those nights where the challenges of the day warred for your attention in the night, sending you running for comfort? 

 

When was the last time?  This year?  This month?  Last night?

 

Pain, fear, anxiety, grief, indecision, uncertainty rob the respite a night's sleep offers.  Physical challenges, financial worries, family strife, loss, stress, and the list goes on.  Some of these challenges press in for short times while others seem to loom and threaten for seemingly unending stretches, pulling and straining on our existing internal resources until we feel exhausted, deflated, and dejected, tossing and turning through sleepless nights.

 

My energy, my resources, my strength waste away as I grapple with my frets, anxieties, worries and fears.  I rise in the morning feeling even more weary than when I laid my head down to seek rest.

 

Where do you turn when this world's chaos threatens to rob you of your peace?

 

 

What an amazing promise!  This almost sounds too good, too simple, to be true.  Just keep your mind stayed (or steady) on God.  So simple, yet so profound.  But how do we know we can trust Him that much?  How can we anchor this trust?

 

We can trust Him because He has always been there for His people.  He has a faithful and sure track record.

 

 

He is our rock.  He is solid, secure and steady.  He is not going to leave.

 

 

His paths will guide us.  He will never lead us astray.

 

 

And, when all is said and done in this world, with all its mess and chaos, God has a home ready for His children.  And not just any home, but one where death is swallowed up and tears are wiped forever dry. 

 

 

With these promises in place, we can ease our wakeful restless nights praying these words in full assurance:

 

 

May your nights be peaceful, nestled into the loving arms of our Father, our Creator, our Lord, our Savior.

 

Do you know anyone going through a troubling time?  Perhaps these few words of assurance will help them hang on.  Pass it on.

 

--

 

Thanks for reading.

Leave a comment.  I'd love to hear from you.

 

Rachel

 

Rachel Welborn

 

 

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Bible God Isaiah Jesus chaos peace photography restless sleepless trust worry http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/10/52-weeks-40-sleepless-nights Tue, 06 Oct 2015 02:18:58 GMT
52 Weeks: #39 The 2700 Year Old Promise http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-39-the-2700-year-old-promise A promise was made over 2,700 years ago.

 

But here is what is absolutely amazing about it:  The promise was made to you, and to me.

 

It comes from the gentle Father's voice.  Here is the promise:

 

 

But, Lord, surely You don't know what all I've done!  You must not know all my sin, my filth, the hateful, sinful, selfish choices I've made.  Some stains are just too deep to wash that white.  There's always that little remnant of the stain, the shadow of the filth that just won't release.

 

He answers in yet another promise:

 

 

A son.  But not just any son, God's Son.  Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  That's who is promised.  That's what God is willing to do for you, for me, for all of mankind. 

 

The promise is amazing all by itself!  Yet one aspect of this particular promise makes it even more awe inspiring.  Note that it is spoken in present tense as if the Son is given now at the time of the writing.  However, these words were spoken over 700 years before the incredible Bethlehem night that changed everything.  For God, the promise was made and was so certain, so absolute that it was as if the act was already accomplished.

 

And the response to the promises?  That was foretold, too.

 

 

Two promises, one response.  Predicted over 27 centuries before, yet just as true and available and real for us today as for anyone since the coming of the small baby on that starry night heralded the start of the salvation gift to all of mankind.

 

With joy, we all can draw water from the well of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)

 

Praise be to the God of all, Giver of amazing gifts, Keeper of Promises.

 

----

Do you know someone that needs to hear the joy of these promises?  Consider sharing.

 

And as always, thanks for reading.

 

Rachel

 

Rachel Welborn

 

 

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge God Jesus Promise gift photography prophesy salvation http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-39-the-2700-year-old-promise Fri, 25 Sep 2015 02:22:45 GMT
52 Weeks: #38 The Offer http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-38-the-offer This is a real story, but the names are removed.  Also, a warning that it describes some rather difficult events.  The story begins.

 

She lay there mentally ticking off the minutes.  Waiting.  He will be gone soon.  Just a few more minutes.  Hold it together.

 

Then he was done.  Gone with as little emotion as when he came.  Simply tossing a few dollars in her direction as he left.  No words.  No tenderness.  No promises.  Just gone.

 

She slowly sat up and buried her head in her hands.  She felt dirty, used, abused and empty.  How did she get here?  Where was the innocent little girl’s dreams she once held?  They were barely visible in the distance through the fog that was her ever present chaos.

 

Night after night, hour by hour, they came.  Using, grabbing, taking.  All just for a few meager coins, barely enough to keep the hunger of her growling stomach at bay for another day.  Yet she continues, feeling trapped and trampled in the life into which she has stumbled.  She didn’t plan to be here.  She can’t even remember how it happened.

 

But here she sits.  Raw, bare, and feeling nothing.  Feeling was too painful.  It was better to just be numb. 

 

And then another knock at the door.  She freezes in the dim silence, too tired to perform again.

 

“Open the door.  I know you’re in there.”

 

This one is persistent.

 

Oh well, a few more minutes – a few more dollars.

 

She opens the door and squints at the figure silhouetted against the street lights outside.  He looked vaguely familiar, but she was certain he hadn’t been here before.  But what did it matter?

 

She turned her back and walked a few steps back into the room and waited, steeling herself to what would come.

 

But only stillness and quiet followed as he simply stood at the open door.

 

Annoyed at the delay of the inevitable, she turned to face him, not bothering to hide her irritation.

 

“Marry me,” he said quietly, but clearly.

 

“Ah, so that’s the game tonight,” she thought.  How ironic!  The one thing for which she could never hope again!  Just a game.

 

“Sure,” she retorted, failing miserably to hold back the sarcasm as the piercing pain of the question stabbed deeply into her heart.

 

“Thank you,” came his simple reply.  He stepped back into the night for just a moment, returning with a large box which he gently laid on the bed.

 

Then turning to face her, he simply said, “I will return for you in the morning to bring you home to be my wife."  Pausing at the door, he tapped the lock and said, “Secure this when I leave.  You are mine alone now.”

 

He closed the door and waited until he heard the gentle click of the lock as she slid it into place.

 

Stunned by the past few moment’s encounter, she slowly walked to the box left by the puzzling visitor.  Lifting the lid, she gasped as the dim light in the dingy room contrasted the delicate pure white fabric of the gown, gently tucked inside.  She gingerly lifted the dress and inspected it.  Underneath were fresh, white undergarments and beautiful white shoes – everything she would need for her wedding day, and just her size.  How could this mysterious stranger know her so intimately?  Had he been watching her?  Had they met?

 

There did seem to be something vaguely familiar about him, but what?  As she pondered, her hand touched a small piece of paper tucked under the garments.  Pulling it from its hiding place, she held it up to the dingy light, revealing a delivery address and name.

 

No!  That can’t be right!

 

Holding the paper closer to the light, she read it again.  Yes, she knew the address.  She knew the name.

 

Everyone knew the address of the palace.  And even the lowliest of peasants recognized the name of the King’s only son!

 

In that moment, clarity came.  That vaguely familiar figure she had seen from afar many times.  But how did he know her?  When had he ever given a glance or thought in her direction?  And why?  Why her when any woman would gladly have accepted this offer?

 

Through the remainder of the night she tossed and turned.  Indecision, confusion, unworthiness and hope warred within her as she wrestled with the morning’s promise.  Part of her wanted to just slip away into the night knowing she could never measure up to what he deserved or wanted.  She was so unworthy!  But still, the offer of a life of love in the palace of the king is the kind of offer that makes for little girl’s dreams and lasting fairy tales.  Dare she dream of redemption, an undeserved rescue from the dirty, dismal, hopeless world she had built around herself?

 

As dawn’s light began to softly glow, she resolved.

 

Rising from bed, determined, she…

 

-----

How does the story end?  Good question.  No, this is not a fairy tale.  Yes, it is a true story.

 

Told through the real lives of Hosea and Gomer in #38 of the 52 Week Challenge, God calls His people, stained and soiled by this world to become His beloved bride.

 

But I can’t tell you how the story ends.  You see, the true story is written by you, and by me, in our own individual lives.  Do we accept the incredible offer beyond our wildest dreams and hopes?  Or do we choose to wallow in our past mistakes and failures?

 

What would you do – continue in a dismal existence or accept the offer of the Son of the King?

 

What will you do?

 

 

May we always choose to end our stories with accepting the gift.  Because that ending is just the beginning.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Rachel

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge God Hosea Redeemer betroth marriage photography redemption wedding http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-38-the-offer Sat, 19 Sep 2015 01:41:02 GMT
52 Weeks: #37 Move! http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-37-move Movement, motion.  It’s kind of funny.  It can be really great or very annoying.

 

For instance, a gentle rocking in a mother’s arms can soothe a tearful baby.  Yet a similar rocking of a ship can leave its passengers feeling dizzy and dismal.

 

And the absence of movement is similar.  After a long, busy day, a quiet, still evening is a blessing.  But to the one who feels shut off from companionship or who is battling a long illness, that same quiet stillness can magnify the sense of loneliness and despair.

 

Movement of the wind can cool a stifling day or can mangle trees and demolish buildings.

 

Movement.

 

In the tiny little book of Amos, #37 of the 52 Week Challenge readings, God’s prophet records some interesting paradoxes about movement.  Consider these motions.

 

 

Simple movement

 

The earth’s rotation taking us from day to night,

 

And the cycle of rain that draws up from the sea, waters the earth, then returns to the sea.

 

While complex, both are movements that we learn to predict and appreciate from a fairly young age.  Movements that drive our activities, set our clocks, and nourish our crops and families. 

 

Predictable movement.  Stable motion. 

 

The very predictability of these complex systems point to a Master Creator.  Left to human devises and schemes, motion tends to wind down and stop.  For instance, have you ever tried to keep a simple child’s top spinning?  It’s a simple process, simple design, but I just can’t keep it going on my own.

 

Yet God designed and created movement, motion that, by its very predictability, demonstrates His majesty.

 

Continual motion.  Continual reminder of the Creator.

 

But then Amos records God’s perspective on us when we practice a different sort of continual motion. 

 

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.  Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look up on them. Take away from me the noise of your songs, to the melody of your harps I will not listen." (Amos 5:21-23)

 

Then He adds these words:

 

 

Through these few short verses, God calls us to get out of our human ruts of going through the motions of worship while our hearts sit motionless.  He reminds us that the motions of worship without hearts dedicated to justice and righteousness are meaningless to Him.

 

With straightforward words, God calls His people to movement, a movement of righteousness that is ever flowing, to justice that rolls down.

 

Movement.  Meaningful, purposeful movement.

 

 

A simple summary:

 

Seek the Lord and live. (Amos 5:6)

 

Let’s move!  Let's live!

 

---

 

As always, thanks for reading.

 

Rachel

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Amos Bible God creation motion movement nature photography worship http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-37-move Mon, 14 Sep 2015 17:10:24 GMT
52 Weeks: #36 Doing the Unexpected http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-36-doing-the-unexpected The odds are 3:1 against you.  The threefold enemy is strong and united, aiming toward your defeat.  What do you do?  What are you feeling? 

 

Scared?  Sure!  

 

Uncertain?  You bet!

 

So was Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, when three nearby kings united to seek his nation’s demise.  Three to one.  Not good odds, especially when you’re on the “one” side of the equation.

 

Here’s the story as told in the 20th chapter of II Chronicles.

 

“Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord.”

 

What a blessing when the leader of the battle seeks God!

 

And the people followed his lead.

 

“And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.”

 

United

 

United in fear and in weakness

 

United in seeking God.

 

And united in prayer:

 

“O Lord God of our fathers, are You not the God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  In Your hand are power and might so that none is able to withstand You.”

 

United in humility

 

“We are powerless against the great horde that is coming against us.  We do not know what to do, but…

 

 

United in trust.

 

And God answered.

 

“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

 

“You will not need to fight in this battle.  Stand firm, hold your position and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf…Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.  Tomorrow go out against them and the Lord will be with you.”

 

“And all the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord and worshiped the Lord.”

 

United in worship.

 

Now here’s an interesting detail.

 

On the day of the showdown, Jehoshaphat takes an unexpected action.  He appointed singers, dressed in holy attire, to go before the army.

 

No shields or weapons.  Just a song of praise.  Here is the simple song:

 

 

And here is the result:

 

“And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men who had come against Judah.”

 

The awesome power of God granted salvation to a people, humbled in trust, singing His praises before the battle even begins.  What an incredible example for us today!

 

So how about you?  Ever felt like you were in a battle against the odds?  Anxiety, fear, indecision overwhelming you? 

 

Where do I turn?  What do I do?

 

Perhaps, like Judah, we fall to our knees in humility, admitting our human frailties and dependence on the Almighty One, and earnestly seek Him.

 

Then we sing.  In trusting faith, standing firm, acknowledging His everlasting love and power.

 

We celebrate ahead of the battle, ahead of our own pitiful defenses, His love and His faithfulness, trusting His Plan and His Power and His Love.

 

Let the songs begin!

--

Do you know someone that’s in a battle?  Maybe these few words would help encourage them.  Consider passing this along.

 

As always, thanks for reading. 

Rachel

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Bible God Savior Unexpected dependence faithfulness photography surprise trust http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-36-doing-the-unexpected Wed, 09 Sep 2015 18:28:38 GMT
52 Weeks: #35 Against the Odds http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-35-against-the-odds What would you do? 

 

Here you are, the country’s leadership has abandoned God, and in fact, has gone so far as to form an army of religious leaders that not only oppose God, but actually promote a religion that God adamantly forbade.  You alone are left standing against them all.

 

What do you do?

 

Do you boldly stand up for the Lord?  Quietly sit back to see what happens, maybe waiting for someone else to take a stand?  Or do you just shrug your shoulders and give in to the culture’s norms?

 

What if standing up may mean you lose your life?

 

Here stands Elijah. 

 

The leader of his day, King Ahab, has abandoned God.  In fact, consider this description, “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”(I Kings 16:33).  Given his predecessors’ track records, that was a pretty harsh statement.  One of the wrongs in Ahab’s long list of actions straying from God was to establish the idol Baal as the item to worship, and in such, rejecting God.

 

Within a short time, Ahab had swept through the land cutting off the Lord’s prophets, sending them into hiding in order to preserve their lives.  A troupe of 450 false prophets aligning with Ahab in Baal worship stood in their places.

 

And now Ahab seeks to kill Elijah.

 

What does Elijah do?

 

In complete trust of God, Elijah calls for a showdown.   Who is the true god:  The Lord Jehovah or Baal?

 

The story unfolds with a simple contest. Atop Mouth Carmel for all to see, Baal’s followers and Elijah each place a bull upon an altar.  Here is Elijah’s challenge:  “You call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” (I Kings 18:24)

 

Baal’s prophets step up first.  After hours and hours of calling out to Baal, these simple words are recorded, “No one answered; no one paid attention.”

 

Now Elijah’s turn.  To remove any doubt from onlookers, Elijah digs a trench around his altar and invites them to pour gallons and gallons of water over Elijah’s bull, wood and stone altar, until the whole was drenched and the trench overflowed.  Then, Elijah offers a simple prayer.  “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their hearts back.” (I Kings 18:36-37)

 

And God answers…undeniably.  “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.’” (I Kings 18:38-39)

 

Amazing story!  One man stands on a mountaintop against the crowd, against the culture, against the leadership, at risk of his life.

 

And God answers.

 

So what about you and me?  How different is our world from Elijah’s?  Do we see leaders abandoning God?  Making actions legal or illegal against God’s will?  Maybe, more than we care to admit, our worlds are becoming more and more similar.

 

What will you do?  What will I do?

 

Can we join Elijah on the mountain, standing for the Lord?  Can we join him with these words?

May God’s followers always have the trust to stand, even when the odds seem stacked high.

 

In the end, God prevails.

 

-----

Praying that we all stand,

Rachel

 

Rachel Welborn

 

 

 

 

 

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comeandseephotography@gmail.com (Come and See Photography) 52 Week Challenge Bible Courage Elijah God faith mountain photography trust http://www.comeandseephotography.com/blog/2015/9/52-weeks-35-against-the-odds Wed, 02 Sep 2015 01:09:14 GMT