Editing my Photos

Some of you might be curious about how much or if I edit my photos. I like to edit my photos with Photoshop, and how much depends on the how bad the photos was. Here I’d like to quickly show a few examples of before and after.

Last night I was able to catch a few low-lit photos of fall scenery to the backdrop of the hidden, setting sun. I framed most of them so that almost all the screen was filled with sky. However, there were a few that looked rather dismal. For instance, this picture of fall leaves with a giant cherry tree in the far background:

IMG_4711

It’s really dark, and feels kind of blurry. However, I decided to touch it up a bit to show what Photoshop can do.

When I am going through my photos, first I copy all the one I want to edit, out of my memory card file and into a file I have named “Unedited photos”. Then I open them in RAW and begin to tweak them. This is what it looked like after some tweaking:

phtoshopfall leaves

The biggest thing I brought up was the exposure. I tweaked the contrast and the highlights a little bit, but mostly I pulled up the whites, to make it look like there was bright light in the photo. Because of the blurry backdrop, I brought down the blacks a bit so it didn’t stand out. Notice I did not touch the clarity even though it was blurry in the back. One reason for this it that pulling up the clarity does not actually fix a genuinely blurry element and I didn’t want to bring it our much. Also, when I tried adjusting the clarity it brought our the edges of the leaves in way that didn’t look good, so I just left it out.

When I’m done tweaking, I hit “Open Object” and unless I want to patch up spots with the clone stamp tool, I go straight to “File” > “Save for Web”. I use save for web because it reduces file size and enables me to upload it to WordPress. This is what it looks like in “Save for Web”

phtosho fall leaves 2

Typically, I have the quality set to 60 and the larger side of the image set to 2000 px.

Then I hit save and that’s about all.

Here is the final image contrasting with the original image:

And large version of the final image:

IMG_4711-as-Smart-Object-1
After

Not too bad for how little light it was shot with, but not my greatest photo by far.

Now for some more Before and After shots from last night. Keep in mind that most of them I do not consider great shots.

Black-eyed Susans:

 

Leaves against sky:

Sunset:

Flowers:

 

If you want to see more photos, you can always check out my photos page.

I have a ton of my favorite photos over there.

The cool part about the photos page is you can actually see what settings I took a particular photo on.

To find out what settings I took things on, click on a particular photo you are curious about. It should show up in a sort of slideshow, and then you can scroll down to see the aperture, camera type, shutter speed, and focal length.

Here is a picture of what that looks like:

picture-info-1picture-info-2picture-info-3

Thanks for reading!


I have to admit, blogging has not been number one on my priorities. And that’s fine, just keep in mind that my blog posts might be a little bit on the short side for a while. I appreciate y’all taggin’ along anyhow.

Thanks again!

Have a blessed day!

A Lesson That Never Ends

If there was one lesson I had to choose that I think the Lord has been teaching me the most in this past year, it is this:

God is good, and people are imperfect.

It seems this lesson never ends. If you asked me God had been teaching me last year, I probably would have said the same thing! God is good. God is good. He really is good!

But more and more this particular year, I’ve been realizing how much mankind fails in comparison. I’ve been learning that God is trustworthy even farther than I can imagine, and mankind is more flawed than I can yet grasp.

And yet… it seems I have not learned my lesson yet, for here I am, trusting people and refusing to fully trust in God.

Why is it that the flawed people around us can be so much easier to put our identity, worth, and trust in? Why is it that even after we see God’s love proved over and over, we just can’t bring ourselves to fully trust Him?

I don’t have all the answers, I guess. It seems that His goodness and our imperfection is the lesson that never ends. The lesson we are always learning.

What has God been teaching you?


“They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one.”

-Psalm 14:3

“I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You.””

-Psalm 16:2

“O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

-Psalm 34:8


Have a blessed day! The LORD is truly good.

 


*All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted

Photographing Baby Calves

My favorite ever subject for photography is baby calves. Why? They are so adorable! You might think baby kids (goats) would be my favorite since they are so mini and cute.

Although photographing baby goats is awesome, I think I actually prefer photographing newborn calves even better.

There is something about cows that makes it more worthwhile to capture pictures of them. Maybe it’s the challenge of snapping an up close picture of a skittish calf under heavy guard by a momma cow. Maybe it’s how miniature and huge they can seem at the same time. Goats are obviously cute, even when they are grown, but when massive cows come in teeny form… it’s something special.

So how do you get adorable pictures of calves? It can actually be difficult at times. Goats are friendly and outgoing (at least ours are) and it’s easy to just pick up one of those babies and carry it off somewhere to snap some up close pictures as they try to run off and find their momma. For one thing, unless you are my dad, you can’t pick up a calf. For another thing, good luck getting close enough to even touch it unless the momma and the baby are asleep on opposite sides of the fence.

But thankfully, there is at least one thing going for you with calves. They are amazingly curious about cameras, something I have not found in particular with goats. The momma cows don’t care much for cameras, but the calves are full of curiosity about what you are, what the black thing making clicking noises that you keep looking through is, and whether you are fun to play with.

I thought I’d come up with a few tips to successfully get adorable pictures of baby calves, so here they are!

Tips for getting adorable photos of newborn calves:

  1. Take it slow. DO NOT LOSE YOUR PATIENCE! Often this will involve scooting forward at a rate of 1 cm per minute. Do whatever you can to make the momma cow think you are not moving towards their calf in any way, while still getting progressively closer.
  2. Tying on to the last point: make them think you are heading the opposite direction. This is kinda hard to explain, but basically if you are moving towards as calf and the momma and or the calf starts to get nervous, start easing into a different direction preferably one that will help get you around to a better, perhaps closer angle. Not sure if that one made any sense whatsoever, but oh well.
  3. Also, sometimes just sticking around in a field for a little while doing nothing will help a momma cow get comfortable with you. But do watch, because super protective momma cows might just get super nervous with you just standing there doing nothing, so if you test it out first while standing by a fence you can just slip under, that’s best.
  4. To get a really nice shot, get low to the ground. One of the big things that makes a picture of a super cute newborn calf even more cute is the angle. If you get a picture from standing or from a distance, you just really can’t see how cute and tiny and precious they look. Point is, get low to the ground, and focus on the angle.
  5. If a momma cow is heading for you, often just one or two steps backwards will console them. Usually you don’t have to run completely away if a momma cow is moodily heading for you because she thinks you are too close to her calf. Also, don’t run. That’s never a good idea. Back up as slowly as is safe.
  6. Snap ’em as you go. So many times I’ve been waiting for a momma cow and her calf to to move a little bit and get just the perfect shot when… they moved. Completely. And I missed getting a picture altogether. Instead, while you are waiting or trying to get closer, keep snapping pictures. Still, be careful, because occasionally the continual shutter noise can startle the calves or momma’s. Or just any shutter noise.
  7. Watch it. Keep your eyes looking around. Sometimes even if you are not trying to get closer to a calf, the calf can be curiously moving towards you when you’re not paying attention. I’ve had a momma cow come barging at me before because her own calf was coming over to investigate me. Just keep your eyes open.
  8. And lastly, enjoy it! Enjoy the chance you have to watch precious newborn calves up close, even if you don’t catch any good pictures.

I’m not sure how many of you will ever end up trying to snap pictures of baby calves, but these tips may also be helpful for capturing photos of wildlife or other baby animals.

Hope you found these tips interesting, even if you don’t do photography yourself.

And of course, this post would not be complete without…

The Adorable Photos of Baby Calves!

This one I feel, turned out really well, although the momma cow was not so thrilled.

IMG_4662-as-Smart-Object-1

IMG_4664-as-Smart-Object-1

And finally, what might have been my favorite if it had been in focus. Alas. I was hoping for an adorable shot of the baby calf licking milk off of her nose. (The pink tags in the calves are girls, in case you were wondering 🙂 ) It kinda happened. Except it was sadly deficient in focus.

IMG_4653-as-Smart-Object-1

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I took me a few weeks to work on this one by bits. I’ve been very busy with a lot of other things. Hopefully, I will be more on top of things, and get another post around to you in a week or two.

I hope (and kinda know) that you enjoyed every second of the baby calf pictures! Perhaps you agree: they may just be your favorite photography subject… at least to look at. 🙂

I also hope you are blessed by the beautiful display God has created all around us. I don’t know about you, but fall weather is beautiful (even if it feels cold early in the morning). What could be more beautiful than baby calves frisking about on a stiff breeze with golden beams lighting the background?


“The Lord bless you, and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”

-Numbers 6:24-26


 

** All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted.

Help Undying Joy reach 100 followers! (Giveaway involved!)

With a September filled with busy Saturdays, I’ve been gone longer than I thought I would be. And, with another busy Saturday ahead of me, and not enough time to craft an actual full post of my own, I thought I’d reblog this post from Erin @ Undying Joy. She’s one of my favorite bloggers to follow, and even if she wasn’t hosting a giveaway of a book by one of my top favorite authors (C. S. Lewis), you should seriously consider following her. Please go support her if you can, and if you want, check out her awesome giveaway as well.

Have a wonderful and fruitful week!


“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

-John 15:5 (NASB)


 

Undying Joy

GUYS!!! I have 78 followers on my blog! My goal is 100 and that’s why I’m running a giveaway!!! 🙂 The more friends you share my giveaway with, the more entries you get. So click the photo or link below to enter the giveaway and then…share away! (Please note: family members are not allowed to enter at this time. Thank you!)

The giveaway will start on September 20th and ends October 1st.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

~Erin H.

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Answering Questions from Tags and Nominations

Today I will not be doing any of the tags or things I’ve been nominated for.

Instead, I will be answering some of the questions from them.

Thanks to these blogs for nominating me for various things!

Questions will be in bold and my answers will be in normal text.

When was the last time you ate McDonalds?

Like at least 5 months ago if not longer. I don’t really eat McDonalds. It doesn’t make me feel that great…..

Would you prefer oatmeal or grits for breakfast?

No idea. Grits sounds good, and I love oatmeal, but I’ve never had grits and I can’t eat oats.

What is your least favorite vegetable and why?

Don’t have one. Why? Cause I live on a farm and every veggie grown on a farm tastes awesome. Also pretty much every veggie if you cook it right can be made to taste good. I love vegetables. I literally can’t think of one I don’t like. Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, they are all so good!!!!!

When you go camping, do you like sleeping in a tent or a cabin?

Probably in a tent. I like roughin’ it a bit. Sometimes a cabin is nice for a change, though.

How long does it take you to read a 20 chapter book?

I’ve read a twenty chapter book in one day before. I don’t really have time for that anymore. I don’t really read a lot of twenty chapter books. Most of the books I’ve been reading lately are like either spiritual books to be read and studied through carefully, or super long meaty fiction. Also, chapter lengths vary a LOT.

Predestination or Free Will?

Not a question that can be answered in a few sentence. It also depends what you are obtaining by predestination vs. free will. Salvation? Acceptance of salvation? God gives us free will. He is also King of kings. Those who accept the salvation God has provided are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. We are not robots, and God will not “force” us or “irresistibly” drag us into heaven. We have free will, and God gets all the glory. That’s about the shortest answer I can come up with.

How long have you been a Christian?

Since I was young.

What is your favorite type of smoothie?

No idea. I love smoothies but I just kind of mix about everything that tastes good into it. I don’t really know of any particular types of smoothies. I love using strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, peaches, and bananas in smoothies.

McDonald’s or Wendy’s?

Uhhh. Hmmm. Wendy’s salads are better for being fastfood. If I had a choice between a Frosty or an ice cream cone (without the cone) from McDonalds I think I’d probably choose the Frosty. That’s pretty much all I’d get from either places.

What is your favorite thing about your way of schooling (homeschooling or real schooling)?

Wait a second….”real schooling”? Since when was public or private school “real schooling”? Independent learning is the best, because you yourself are the one seeking to learn and grow. You are accountable to God and the people in authority like your parents, and you are free to grow in knowledge as God would have you without the standards of all the worldly things being pushed on schools nowadays. Moving on.

What is your favorite chapter of the Bible?

Isaiah 40.

What is your favorite book?

Philippians. Or Psalms. If you mean a book other than the Bible than I am completely at a loss to give an answer.

If you could live in one country for a week, what would it be?

Either in China or Africa. I’d love to go on a missions trip to either place.

What is an animal you would dream to own?

A Jersey cow.

What is an animal you are intensely scared of?

Hmm. I’m not really intensely scared of anything in particular, but I’d be a bit scared of a Mountain Lion (aka Cougar). I really hope I don’t ever encounter one or have an animal taken out by one.

Do you have a pet? If so, describe it!

A million!! Not quite 🙂 The chickens and the goats are all pretty much pets, as well as our cats, but our real pet is my dog. Mabel who you have all probably heard of is a sweet, needy, active, Bluetick Coonhound, who loves to chase cats, coons, rabbits, moles, and shrews, to name a few. She also loves eating snakes. Ughh. That’s one thing I really wish she would stop doing. Dead snakes really stink.

If you could spend one day hanging out with one character in a book you’re writing or wrote (or for those of you who aren’t writers, a book you’ve read), who would it be and why?

Maybe Malcolm from Malcolm by George MacDonald. Or an older lady in Katelyn Ford who is as a mother to Katelyn and whose name I have not yet figured out.

Out of all the superpowers out there, which one would you want to have? And why?

The power to heal others. I just wish I could simply reach out and heal the brokenness all around. All I can do is point others to the true healer. God is the only one who has the power to heal, whether it is broken limbs or broken hearts.

What is a book or book series that you would recommend to anyone?

The Bible is probably the only book I can truly say that I would recommend to anyone. Other than that there are a lot of books I would recommend to different people. Stepping Heavenward is a book that I would wholeheartedly recommend to pretty much every girl I can think of. NarniaDo Hard ThingsHeather and Snow, and The Bronze Bow, would probably be some other books that I would recommend to pretty much anyone.

If you could go into your own world that you wrote or are writing (or for non-writers, a world you read), where would you go to first and why?

I might like to go to Narnia. Sometimes I wish I could.

What food do you absolutely LOVE the most, and what food do you loathe to the ends of the earth?

What food do I absolutely love the most? What an awful question! How about a list of my favorite foods?

  • Homemade Lasagna
  • Homemade spicy chili Red Robin style
  • Banana bread
  • Bananas in general
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Homemade Alfredo
  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Extreme dark chocolate
  • Cheesecake

To name a few. I love food in general, and I make a lot of really good food. I have learned not to loathe a food to the very ends of the earth. However I really don’t admire cream of rice. And I have to force myself to drink coffee that tastes like coffee. Eggplant doesn’t taste that great either.

Which of the four seasons (summer, spring, fall, winter) is your favorite and why?

I love spring! Spring isn’t too cold and it isn’t too hot. It’s the season of new life and beauty, and I love it so much!!!!!

What is the biggest goal you have in life right now?

To serve in love and be fervent in prayer. In essence, to abide in Christ.

What is the one thing you love doing most in life?

Worshiping God. There is nothing I could love better. Only in worship of my true King can I truly be satisfied, as good as food is, as pleasant as a sunrise is to watch, it came from Him, and I can do nothing better than praise Him for all of His gifts.

I really enjoyed answering these questions! I know I skipped a few, but thanks for asking, I hope you enjoy reading my answers!

Have a wonderful rest of your August!


“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”

-Psalm 95:6 

 

*All scripture quotations are form the NASB translation

Some Thoughts on The Word of God

Many a time when I’m reading through scripture I am just overwhelmed with the beauty and perfection of God’s Word.

Are you ever swept away by just the glory and refreshing truth of God’s Word? Some days it is a struggle to set aside time to read and study the Bible and then other days…… I can’t imagine what kept me away.

Some days like a gift from God I feel some of my blindness swept away and I can see it! I can see the glory, the beauty, the satisfaction here right here in God. And I can see that I’ve been looking at it all wrong.

Sometimes I’m trying to understand to comprehend it all through this puzzle of life, trying just to grasp a glimpse of God’s will, of His truth, and then all through the fog I find myself simply swept away by the wonder and magnificence of the Word of God.

Some people would argue that we can’t really understand the Scripture anyway, that it is better to give people an explanation of the Bible than the Bible itself. After all, we have such slow finite minds and we can understand nothing of God without the Holy Spirit, right?

If you believe that it is pointless to read and study scripture or that the studying and seeking to comprehend scripture should be left to the “spiritual people” like pastors or priests, I think you are missing three vastly important points. We are all guilty of forgetting of underestimating these three things and they are so important in our understanding of God.

1. We underestimate the power of the Word of God.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

-Hebrews 1:1-3a (ESV)

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, that is, God himself among us, is THE WORD. The same power that raised Christ from the dead, the same power with which He upholds the universe, this is the same power that spoke every word of our Bible. Whether through prophets or the fulfillment of all prophecy, the Bible is indeed inspired by God.

You cannot compare the Bible to the “sacred” writings of other religions. You simply cannot. The words of these so called “sacred” writings, like the Koran or Book of Mormon to name a few, are not from God. They are the words of man, words from the heart of man which is, in the words of Jeremiah 17:9, deceitful above all things and desperately sick.

The Christian Bible is completely different, for it is from the One and True God and King.

There truly is power in the Word of God. It really is living and active to all people.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17

2. We forget that the Holy Spirit is indeed inside of us all.

As children of God we have indeed been given the Spirit of God inside of us. Yes, we need the Spirit of God to teach us and instruct us, to give us understanding concerning what God has said. And isn’t that why Christ died? To cleanse us so that we might have the very presence of God inside us? His body was broken so that a way past the veil would be made. His blood was shed so that are able to come past that veil, with boldness and without fear into the very presence of God.

Indeed, we cannot understand the unfathomable depths of God’s Word, and yet with the Spirit of God inside us we can grasp at a glimpse of His beauty, glory, and perfection. Because we do have the Holy Spirit. And He is at work even now in us all.

“What about unbelievers?”, you may ask. Are they able to understand scripture? Does the Holy Spirit work in those who have or will reject Christ?

Sometimes it feels like many people want to have an exact system for the whole “process” of “getting saved” and when you “have” the Holy Spirit and the different “levels” of the Holy Spirit, and really……I don’t really think it is all biblical. They are well meaning and are trying to simplify things or systematize things, but it really doesn’t work that way.

I grew up in a Christian home. Some people say they don’t understand how someone can’t “know” when they were saved. Well, I don’t. There wasn’t “a moment” that I once and for all repented at. There wasn’t some sort of prayer I said. I just slowly grew. Ever since I was little, my parents taught me to ask for God’s forgiveness. And to forgive one another just as we have been forgiven by God. Sure, there was a point in my life where it all really sunk in, where I truly started living my faith out myself……..but it didn’t start any particular day. Or month. Or year even.

So when did I have the Holy Spirit? When did the Spirit of God live in me? I don’t know when exactly. For as long as I can possibly imagine, I’ve had a conscience. I’ve felt convicted over sin probably ever since I was able to consciously think. I think everyone kind of has.

Ever since I remember, I talked to God. I loved God in a manner or fashion, though, still now, I do not truly love Him as I ought to. I would pray to God and tell Him all sorts of things. I would ask Him for help in my childish way. I have repeatedly throughout my life repented anew and redevoted myself to Christ. But isn’t that every day?

God has been with me, every step of my life. God is with us, not just once we accept His love, but before and even despite our rejection. There is only one sin that will not be forgiven, and that is blaspheme of the Holy Spirit. Often this is called a seared conscience, where someone has ignored or pushed away the whispers of their conscience to the point where they cannot be convicted of anything

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” -Mathew 12:31-32

I would say that God is quite able to speak to unbelievers. He does move in those who have rejected Him. He continues to show grace and mercy to those refuse His gracious gift. He gives them another chance. And another. He is patient. And yet…..for those who ignore His voice time and time again, it seems that eventually God will no longer honor them with His voice or call out with grace any longer.

Please understand that the seared conscience is a point of great confusion and fear, and only God really understands what it is. I only hope to bring a little clarity with what I have found God to be showing me. And let me comfort you with this: if you hear His voice calling out to you, convicting you: that is a sign that you do not have a seared conscience in any way. A person with a seared conscience is not a person who would be convicted about it.

But I also plead with you: if do indeed hear His voice calling out, do not ignore. Do not turn away. You cannot afford to. He wants you to be His not because you are perfect, (far from it), but for the very reason that He loves you. Our gracious God longs for you to answer His call, to submit to His voice. Please do not ignore that voice.

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,

Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

-Hebrews 3:12-15 (ESV)

3. We Do Not Fully Grasp That “God Is With Us”

God Is With Us. What is that supposed to mean? My sister asked me the other day if I knew just how small Jesus made Himself when He came to earth.

Thinking of His humility and unable to grasp it, I answered, “Probably not.”

To which my sister answered, “He became two cells”.

My first thought was “Wait what?” and then all I could think was simply “Wow.”

The Lord of all heaven and earth, the Creator of the universe, the great I AM inhabited two cells.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I picture the incarnation, I picture the virgin birth, the baby in a manger. But that’s not where it began. That’s not how the Christmas story starts.

“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” -Luke 1:30-31

“Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” -Luke 1:34-35

The incarnation happened when the virgin Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit. Two cells. Wow.

This was truly “God with us”.

I’ve often heard people comment on how much easier it would be if “You know… God were actually with us.” Many of us, including me are tempted to think “If Jesus could just come right here and talk with me, if I could see Him right before my eyes and know it was Him, I’m sure everything would be all right.”

Would it help? I mean Jesus himself…..right before our eyes! How incredible would that be? How lucky (or rather blessed) were the disciples to see Him face to face!

Let us think about this for a little bit. Why did Jesus ascend to the Father? Why didn’t He “stay” here with us? Why did He have to leave? The disciples wanted to know the same thing.

Here are some excerpts from John chapter 14-16. I would highly encourage you to read through the entire chapters, as well as through the book of John, but obviously it is a bit too long to be included here. 🙂

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” -John 14:1-3

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” -John 14:15-20

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” -John 14:25-29

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” -John 15:26-27

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” -John 16:4b-7

“In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” -John 16:26-28

Jesus says that it is to our advantage that He go to the Father. We must trust that He truly does know best.

We have a tendency to think that because Jesus has ascended to the Father, that God is somehow not with us anymore. This could not be farther from the truth. Jesus ascended to the Father so that we could know God in a greater way than before, so that we could really know what it was like to have God WITH US.

Jesus was once WITH US physically. God is now WITH US in a greater way, He is with us in spirit. And some day, His dwelling place shall be WITH US, and we shall be His people and He shall be our God.

In  Old Testament Israel, God went with Israel, or rather before them, but they could not see or experience His presence. Even Moses could not stand before God in all His glory, lest He die. When the voice of God called out Israel was afraid.

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”” -Hebrews 12:18-21 (ESV)

This was the Old Covenant. In the temple a massive curtain separated the Holy Place from the MOST HOLY PLACE. There was fear associated with that curtain. Behind that curtain was the Mercy Seat, the Golden Altar, the Ark of the Covenant. If any man or animal went in there without blood, they would die.

Until the day when Jesus died. On that day, because His body was broken for us, that curtain was torn top to bottom. On that day, because He shed His blood for us we are covered by His blood and can enter with confidence into the Holy of Holies, The Most High Place, the PRESENCE OF GOD. He is with us. Here. Now. WITH US. 

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” -Hebrews 12:28-29 (ESV)

How incredible is that? But what does it mean? How does it matter? How does it apply to the Word of God?

Here’s how.

Scripture is not just some outdated thing. It is Holy. It is from God, yes. Jesus is greater than we can imagine, yes, but He came down to be WITH US, He became two cells for us. He is the Word.

To think that we have the very Word of God at our fingertips is rather intimidating. What do we, sinful humans, perhaps at the lowest point in our lives, have to do with the Holy Word of God? And yet, it is for us. It is not beyond us.

Not because of our power, but because of His. Not because we are able to understand His Word, but because He has graciously gifted us with the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us what His Word means.

Yes, often it will be only a glimpse of the beauty and perfection of His Word that we will get. We will only ever, on this side of Heaven be able to grasp at a wisp of God’s full meaning and purpose, but thank God, He has given us that glimpse into Himself.

He is WITH US. And He is the Word.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it………

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

-John 1: 1-4, 9-14

The true Light has come into the world, and this light enlightens every man.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 

They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

-Jeremiah 31:31-34


I can only pray that my thoughts on what God has been teaching me about His Word will encourage you to treasure His Word in your heart and lift you up towards Him so that you may see glimpse of His majesty.

This post has taken me almost two months (perhaps more by the time I post it) to finish, but it has been worth it. Studying about God’s Word through His Word has helped in more ways through these past months than I probably even know. If no one ever reads this post it will have been worth it to write, even to go back to myself in times of struggle and doubt.

If you are reading this right now and you took your time to read this whole thing, thank you very much, and I hope I did not waste your time. May you understand just how much God is with us!


“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

-Ephesians 3:20-21

 

*All scripture quotations are taken from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted

 

 

Bye! (But not really..)

Hello everyone! As you may have heard me mention (don’t remember if I have), I am planning to take a complete break from WordPress (and most computer stuff in general) for the month of August.

The purpose of this hiatus is not because I feel like I am addicted to WordPress. I have not been on WordPress that much this last month. And since the computer I usually use hasn’t been working, I haven’t even been on the computer that much. 

This is actually something I’ve been planning since before May. At that point, in fact, I was hoping that fiction writing would take a primary place before my blog. But it hasn’t and at this point I don’t want it to yet.

During this time I really just want to give my undivided attention to whatever it is that God wants me to do. I want to focus more on prayer, spending time with and serving my family, and treasuring up God’s Word inside of me.

Looking into the near future I know there are a lot of hard things facing me. If you would like to pray for me, I would ask prayer for courage now and strength later. Even if my heart is heavy looking into the near future, I have a lot of peace. I know God knows what He’s doing, and I know that He’s using this to bring me closer to Him and do give me strength for yet greater things.

I’ve decided that I want to memorize my favorite passage, the one I have given in entirety many times here on this blog: Isaiah 40:21-31

Isaiah_40_28-31


I thought I would share a book and a song that I have been encouraged (or convicted) by lately.

I’ve been reading “Speak Truth in Your Heart” by Sarah Mally and wow, it has been so convicting and helpful in the little bit of it I have read so far. It is aimed towards girls and is primarily about how our wrong thinking about things always leads back to a root lie about God. It was when reading this book that I really fully realized how scripture is our sword against sin. We are to speak truth in our hearts so that we may identify and cut off the lies from the evil one. How else to do that than memorize scripture that refutes the lie you are tempted to believe? I am so thankful for this book right now.

Image result for speak truth in your heart by sarah mally

A song that I’ve been listening to over and over is called Joy by Jonny Diaz. A few songs out there currently talk about joy, but the songs themselves are not really that joyful. For instance Joy by King and Country. I kind of find that song a bit depressing. This song however, really is about Joy, that precious gift from God. I love this song!!!!!

Here are the lyrics:

I might be halfway through this valley
And my eyes just can’t see a quick way out
And it might seem life’s got it out for me
Like I’m in way too deep, but I have found
Every single circumstance
I can place in greater hands
I won’t let my trouble bring me down

I’ve got joy down in my soul
I’m gonna take it everywhere I go
Not gonna worry ’bout what I don’t know
I’ll be alright as long as I’ve got
Joy here in my heart
Wavin’ like a torch fightin’ off the dark
In the jet black night I’m gonna see the stars
I’ll be alright as long as I’ve got joy
Joy, joy

So I’ll just cast my cares
Won’t sink into despair
I won’t find answers there, only doubt
Every single circumstance
I can place in greater hands
God I know you’ll never let me down

I’ve got joy down in my soul
I’m gonna take it everywhere I go
Not gonna worry ’bout what I don’t know
I’ll be alright as long as I’ve got
Joy here in my heart
Wavin’ like a torch fightin’ off the dark
In the jet black night I’m gonna see the stars
I’ll be alright as long as I’ve got joy
Joy, joy

Gonna be my strength, be my truth
Gonna light the way and see me through
Gonna be my hope, be my shield
Gonna lift me up no matter how I feel


As you may have seen in the title, I won’t really be gone. During the month of August I’m planning to schedule 2-3 posts. In fact, this post is also scheduled, having been written sometime in July.

One of the posts I will be for sure posting (Lord willing) in August, is “Some Thoughts on the Word of God” a post I have been in the process of writing for about two months. It is a post that helped me grow a lot writing and I hope you are encouraged by it.

Enjoy your August! I can’t wait to see you in September!

“The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.” 

-Psalm 23:1-3

*All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted