Stop, Look and Listen

April 3, 2015

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Stop, Look and Listen

Take just a moment to stop, close your eyes and listen to your life. Do you know how desensitized we become to the noises that are all around us? We can do the same thing with the people around us. We become so focused on life, routines and demands that we don’t take the time to stop and really listen to life and the people around us. We hear and respond on a superficial level, but what we need is to step back and watch our life for a moment as an outside observer or as that proverbial fly on the wall? What do we observe and hear there that we don’t really process in every day life? What are the kids really saying, what are their attitudes, their hearts and their greatest needs? What about our spouse, so much of our responses to one another have become cliché and the same way we continue to deal with the same old issues? What we need is a fresh perspective, a new and different point of view. I often wondered if we just video taped our lives for a day or two and watched them if we would see things in ourselves that we are totally oblivious too. We would probably be able to see how we really are to live with. Being immersed in our family and daily life it is often hard for us to really be objective of ourselves and our relationship with others. Sometimes it takes a traumatic event in our lives to really shock us into taking a long hard look at who we are, what we are and how our lives impact others in either a positive or negative sense. Usually one of the best mirrors that we have is our spouse, because they see us as we really are, they live with us and they can often see things in us much better than we can see them ourselves. Of course what happens when they talk to us about these things? We get defensive, we start trying to divert the responsibility, accountability and our shortcomings by identifying there’s or finding excuses for ourselves.
In order for God to change who I am I first have to acknowledge who I am, where I am weak and where I fail. This is our sensitive and vulnerable side and it is an area that we are not willing to easily open up. When we do open ourselves up to scrutiny and examination we want to be able to trust those that we share our true heart and selves with. We all have our darker sides, our ugly sides and weak sides. We generally try and hide these from public view and we tend to want to ignore them ourselves, but they are there none the less. We need a loving spouse or those that really love us and care about us to be able to put our heart in their hands to tenderly show us who we are. Often we live in denial of who we really are in areas of our life. Darkness, ignorance, denial are only areas where corruption grows. It is in the light that things are brought into the open, acknowledged for what they are and dealt with in the light of God’s word and truth. The thing we must be so careful of is that we are not the ones to set in judgement of another. Luke 6: 37 tells us, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” We are all sinners, capable of every vile thing outside of the grace and righteousness of Christ that indwells us.
Close your eyes, take time to really listen and reflect on your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you those areas where He wants you to yield to Him. He does it a little at a time. I am convinced if the Holy Spirit ever really showed us all that was in us in the light of His holiness we would be so devastated and hopeless we might never recover. God often has to take us through hard things to really show what is in our hearts, how much easier if we can come to Him with the willingness to be corrected, transformed and changed. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” As we draw near to God, we will come to Him not in our goodness or righteousness, but with humility, brokenness and repentance. In this heart attitude is where He will meet with us to lovingly correct us, deal with us and heal us. When we comprehend His compassion and love for us even in our state of ugliness and sin, it should work in us a true heart of compassion and caring for others and mercy should triumph over judgement. Take time listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to open up you spiritual eyes and ears to really hear and observe by the Spirit how He see the these things pertaining to your life. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Love Your self

October 27, 2014

Galatians 5:14
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love Your self

It is interesting sometimes as a photographer to see how people view themselves. Often, when viewing family or individual photographs people can be very critical of themselves. Most often it is the women. They can see and magnify weaknesses or faults that most everyone else considers normal and a part of them. It is not uncommon that great family portraits will fail because mom doesn’t like the way she looks.
In today’s age of technology we have the skills and abilities to actually go in and alter the way someone looks. We can lift and tuck some of the sagging parts, hide the blemishes and soften the wrinkles, but the real issue may not be how we look to ourselves outwardly, but how we perceive ourselves inwardly.
On the other hand I have photographed attractive ladies who may have had a scar that could have easily been removed. I find it is often best to ask people what they do and do not want taken away, because assumptions can get you into trouble. These women that I refer too wanted their scars to remain, because to them they were a reminder of what they had been through and the gift of life that they still had. In today’s world many of us feel the pressure to live this façade of a perfect life, have a perfect body, beautiful looks, a perfect home, children and husband or wife. The truth is that that is not the real world. We all have scars, wrinkles, handicaps and weaknesses whether they are outwardly evident or not. Brushing or photoshoping over them isn’t going to take the reality of them away, nor should it. These blemishes upon our lives are the evidence that we have lived and experienced what life had to offer and that it wasn’t always nice or kind.
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but some of us don’t really love ourselves, so how can we love our neighbor properly? Understand that all real people have weaknesses, faults and frailties. That is a trait of our humanity. Don’t be ashamed of yourself and don’t boast in yourself, but rather see the completeness of yourself in Christ. Christ is not a crutch; He is the fulfillment and the completion of our humanity. The scars, the wrinkles and experiences that we share all testify that by the grace of God we survived them and we are still taking hold of life. The wonderful thing about our relationship with Christ is that where we end, He begins and where we are weak, He is strong.
Don’t be so harsh and judgmental of yourself. I know that sometimes I think, “God, why am I stuck with being me?” It is because in my weakness He is made strong and His grace is sufficient for all of my needs, my infirmities and my weaknesses. If you are down on yourself today it is because you don’t have your eyes on Jesus. Take courage, take heart and know that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Love yourself as Christ loves you.

Blessings,
#kent

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