Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

My King

Today is Good Friday. Hard to imagine good in so much suffering. However, in His death, He crushes our sin. That’s Good News.

Isaiah 531 Who has believed our messageand to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,and like a root out of dry ground.He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.3 He was despised and rejected by men,a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.Like one from whom men hide their faceshe was despised, and we esteemed him not.4 Surely he took up our infirmitiesand carried our sorrows,yet we considered him stricken by God,smitten by him, and afflicted.5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,and by his wounds we are healed.6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,each of us has turned to his own way;and the LORD has laid on himthe iniquity of us all.7 He was oppressed and afflicted,yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,so he did not open his mouth.8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.And who can speak of his descendants?For he was cut off from the land of the living;for the transgression of my people he was stricken.[b]9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,and with the rich in his death,though he had done no violence,nor was any deceit in his mouth.10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,and though the LORD makes[c] his life a guilt offering,he will see his offspring and prolong his days,and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.11 After the suffering of his soul,he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,and he will bear their iniquities.12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]because he poured out his life unto death,and was numbered with the transgressors.For he bore the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.

Peace.johno~the above image is an original painting I made for the Renovatus church. Combined in this painting are images from Jerusalem, Dominican Republic, and Arizonia and an image of my faceif you would like to see a full resolution, CLICK HERE.

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I’m illegitimate.

Just the other day I received an email from a single mother who thanked me for sharing about my life as a child who grew up with no father. Yes, I am illegitimate. A child of the 70’s which seems to be better than a child from the 60’s… or not. I was born and grew up in a time when women’s rights were coming to their peak. Women burned their bra’s in the streets and held up high, black and white signs for N.O.W. and equal rights… No wonder it could be easily overlooked that an unwed woman could give birth to a child and it not turn a conservative head. The time of “Leave it to Beaver” was gone and family dynamics were changing fast. There would now be sons and daughters who would grow up with no father in the home.My heart goes out to all the single parents I know. It is and never will be easy for a single parent fulfill rolls that God intended for both male and female. My mother had to be “all things” to my sisters and me growing up. Not only did she have to provide for us financially, she disciplined, cooked, nurtured, kissed our scrapes and bruises… She fulfilled more than was ever asked of her and she did the best she could.I learned a lot from my mother and I learned nothing from my father. Well, other than, “how not to be a father,” since he was never in the picture… but, there were other men who were. I’m not talking about the small handful of men my mother dated early on in my life. Yes, my mother dated and brought home a few candidates for us kids to meet and approve. None of them survived the premeditated assaults by my sisters and myself. These candidates never made it past the “black smoke” and our plans of destruction were as plotted and planned as D Day itself. It was bloody, literally sometimes and in the end, every name was crossed off as not good enough.No, the men I’m talking about are the men that I saw when my mother took me to church. Most of them were married and had families but they took the time to notice a little boy who had no father. I cannot list the countless men who exampled right “manly” or rather, Godly behavior to me. What I saw and heard in them was a life that was meant to be so much more. They took their time and pointed me in a direction and gave me a push. I imagine that some didn’t even know I was watching… but I was… I was watching and it shaped my life of what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do. It lead me into a relationship with Jesus. Now, that’s life.What about you? Have you been shaped by people around you? Have you watched or been thankful for someone who shared their story, pointed you in a direction and gave you a push? If there was ever a time for good examples and encouragement now is the time. Think about it for a moment… Do you know you are being watched? How are you living your life? What’s important to you right now?How you answer could change the world. It might of already happened. You might not know it was something you said or did, but it could make a difference in the life of one person and that’s powerful.The picture above was taken in a small village near the boarder Congo. In a culture where women take charge of children care, nurturing and such, I saw this man holding a sleeping child. I’m not sure if this man was ever held by his father, I never was, but what I saw shaped my life. I want to be a father who has the time to hold a sleeping child. To me there was so much peace in the father pictured above. I want to be that kind of father and I know his children and the children of that church will too. I don’t know if he even knew I was watching, but he made a difference in the life of a 38 year old fatherless child.Peace.Johno~

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What about all those people who didn’t know God?


Sitting over coffee, which is how I prefer to sit, I was listening to her say to me, “What about all those people long ago who didn’t know about God or Jesus? You know, the Aztecs, Incas? What about the little aboriginal boy in the outback? Are you telling me God is sending them to hell because they worship other gods?”Have you ever been in my seat? How’d you answer? How would you answer? Like a sizzling piece of bacon… might not be the best response.I’ve heard this same question from many my agnostics and atheists friends. It’s as if that question is carved into their thought like every public bathroom wall has carvings of phone numbers begging you to “dial for a good time.” I have to admit it’s a frustrating question for me because it involves people from long ago, that I don’t know and most of them, I’m pretty sure all of them, have been dead for quite a while. I often find it unfair to be placed in a judgment seat that has been reserved for the Creator of everything I know and don’t know.After a sip of coffee, (more like several gulps of coffee, two refills, 53 cries out to the Lord in prayer for help), I said to her, “why are you being so judgmental?” I think I caught her off guard. I believe her questions had been intended that I was the judgmental one.“I’m not Jesus. He is merciful and gracious in ways I can never understand and I find it uncomfortable that you would want me to tell you if these people, that I’ve never met, are in hell. So let’s not talk about them… let’s talk about you and me. Right here. Right now.”This is what we have to work with. Right here… Right now.There’s a story in the bible about Paul, the apostle, who spoke to a group of people that had worshipped lots of idols for a long time. They were from Athens, home of the Clash of the Titans, and among all their idols to their gods, they even had an idol noted to, “an Unknown god.”The following is a portion from the book of Acts chapter 17:22-31 CEV. Paul, starts right there by saying, “I see that you are very religious…” He doesn’t blast them by telling them who’s in and who’s out. He starts by calling them religious and he finishes by saying,

“Since we are God’s children, we must not think that he is like an idol made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn’t like anything that humans have thought up and made. In the past, God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing. But now he says that everyone everywhere must turn to him. He has set a day when he will judge the world’s people with fairness. And he has chosen the man Jesus to do the judging for him. God has given proof of this to all of us by raising Jesus from death.”

I love how Paul doesn’t get all caught up in the “what about all those people who worshipped our idols?’ fiasco… (interestingly enough, he says God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing). Rather, he says, “But now…”Since we are God’s children… Right here, right now… you and I are asked to turn to Him.I believe Jesus will judge the world with fairness according to His word… but in all fairness when it comes to judging, let’s not spend our time judging people we’ve never met.Peace.Johno~special thanks to Evolnosaj68 for getting me out of the candy bin and reminding me to blog from the heart. This was not easy to write about. I’m sure there are a lot of opinions on this subject. Let’s just remember that Jesus commanded us to, “Love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.”

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Winter Wonder Time

It’s cold, there’s snow and ice and most of the color has gone. Color has slipped away for a few moments of rest before celebration of spring. However, winter offers a unique time of the year for photographers to focus on their black and white photography… whether they want to or not and I’m ok with that… I enjoy black and white photography but, not all color is dormant during winter. Winter offers some colors to shine unlike most other times of the year. You just have to find it. So goes my journey. Until the blooming flowers of spring birth from the ground, I will do my best to find the hidden during this winter wonder time.

Interestingly enough, many believe Jesus and His work is only black and white. True, Jesus has some beautiful black and white images that I love. It’s just that there’s color the masters work too. We just need to look for it. It’s not hard, it’s all around us and we’re really without excuse if we don’t see it. If someone has shown you only the black and white art of Jesus, I invite you to see the colors that he offers in every season. Go ahead and look… you might discover you are one of His many beautiful colors and so is the person next to you.

Take a look around this winter… it’s not just black and white.



Peace.
johno~

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