The real beauty of photography
As a photographer, I love the satisfaction of capturing beautiful beaches, cities, and natural areas, with the click of a button. The intrinsic beauty of the world around us is often taken for granted and overlooked during the daily busyness of life. That everyday beauty intrigues me and draws me behind the camera. Satisfying and fun as photography can be though, it is important that I keep it in the proper perspective. Being a photographer should never be a source of unchecked pride. Rather, it is a blessing for which I am thankful, as it allows me to be a messenger for the One truly responsible for all the beauty that we see. Being a photographer is an opportunity to humbly serve Christ. As I go on photo walks in and around my hometown of Jacksonville and travel to places around my corner of the world (Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas), I try to capture metaphors for God’s Word. That is why many of the photos used in my destination blogs are accompanied by Scripture verses. I want these photos to be a reminder of what is really important, and to be a source of glory for God.
Not Lost: Why is a relationship with Jesus different from “religion”?
(You know you should read this.)
This world is full of natural wonders, diverse creatures, and reliable scientific forces that all reflect the glory and splendor of Almighty God. From the brilliant reefs to the high-altitude peaks, God’s handiwork has inspired generations of travelers to see the far corners of this magnificent planet He created. That said, man is the most special of all God’s creations, as it is mankind with whom He seeks a personal relationship. One need not look far, whether in the big cities or remote rural outposts, to see that regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, economic status, or even religious background, all people need a Savior. Though some people strive for perfection, all will always fall short. Fortunately, our Father has seen to it that we don’t need to be perfect; we need Jesus. While religion is about man trying to reach God, Christ is God reaching man. Christ died on a cross with all the weight of the past, present, and future sins of humanity on His sinless shoulders. Then, He rose from the dead, conquering death for all eternity. All men and women are broken, but if anyone confesses this brokenness, repents of all that makes him unworthy, and sincerely accepts Christ as Lord and Savior, then the gifts of salvation and eternal life will be his. Too often people find themselves playing games, hiding their true selves, or going through the motions of performing ritualistic “religious” behaviors with apathetic hearts. That said, Jesus already knows everything about every one of us. He created us. He already knows our weaknesses, our failures, our temptations, our histories, and our insecurities. He sees us for who we really are, regardless of the masks we wear. No amount of money, no respectable status, no fancy clothing, and not even any kind of good works can fool Him. Don’t try on your own merits to be a better version of yourself than you really are. Jesus loves you and will meet you exactly where you are. Just be sincere, and if you truly submit yourself to Him, He will help you change whatever needs to be changed from the inside out. He really does want this relationship with you. The fact that you have read this far means that He is knocking on your heart. So what will you do about this? Surrender yourself and accept Christ into your heart, and you will experience freedom from the chains of sin and the guilt associated with it. It all starts by a simple prayer said with the utmost sincerity. The exact wording is not important, but the attitude and intentions of your heart are. Here is a guide:
I recognize that I need you in my life.
Thank you for accepting me just as I am.
I seek You and want to receive You as my personal Lord and Savior.
Please come into my heart, and forgive me for all my sins.
I am Yours.
Thank you, Jesus!
As for my own walk, the notion of humbly serving Christ is something that the Lord has placed on my heart over the past few years. Since accepting Christ into my heart over a decade ago, I have found great freedom in being able to humble myself before my loving Creator. Being humble doesn’t mean being a weak, lacking self-esteem, or any of the other misinterpretations that often come to mind. Being humble involves knowing who you are in your relationship with Christ, and having the freedom to be open, honest, and vulnerable before the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe. So, please, enjoy my photography and personal musings about some of my favorite destinations, but do so with an open heart and an open mind about what you have just read here.