THE ULTIMATE LIGHT



     For several years now I have been producing a feature for a local newspaper called "Religious Photo Essays" that combine my photos with Bible scripture and commentary.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some of these:





     Discarded, abandoned, lonely, and forlorn, this once beautiful and desirable sofa sits by the roadside, waiting to be dumped atop some trash heap to molder into oblivion.  Sometimgs we humans feel this way when life gets us down and we feel like no one wants us anymore.  Everything in the world is going wrong and we wish this whole life thing would just go away.


     Well, take heart and remember that you were made in the image of God and He will never leave you or forsake you:  "For the Lord your God is merciful--he will not abandon you nor destroy you..."  Deuteronomy 4:31 (The Living Bible)



     Notice the light.  Okay, so there's a fan there, too.  Pull the light's chain and you see nothing.  Even in the deepest, darkest cave, totally devoid of light; still something is there.  Can you really imagine nothing?  What is nothing...the absence of anything?


     When you can prove to me that absolutely everything came out of absolutely nothing, then will I believe there is no God.


     There is no truer passage in the Bible than Psalm 14:  "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God."  (Modern Language Bible)



     This face of anger burned itself into my soul.  "Just an artist's rendition," you might counter.  What's the big deal?"  Perhaps it was the setting...a carnival, where joy and happiness abound.  Beneath our world's facade lies a deep-seated rage that continually rises to the surface wreaking untold destruction.


     "Why are you angry?"  God asked Cain.  "Why is your face so dark with rage?"  Genesis 4:6 (The Living Bible)


     Cain's rage resulted in the world's first murder...of his brother Abel.  Mankind is still raging, and the killing is accelerating.



     See the pretty water flowers.  How tempting to reach out and pluck one to better see its' beauty.  However, beware what lurks just beneath beauty's surface, for dangerous enemies await the chance to spring up and snare the unwary.  The Bible teaches that decepton comes to us in many forms.  "All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee:  they hiss and gnash the teeth"...."they lie in wait to deceive."  Lamentations 2:16, Ephesians 4:14 (KJV)


     "You made all the delicate inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother's womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  It is amazing to think about.  Your workanship is marvelous...and how well I know it.  You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion!  You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your book!"  King David to God in Psalms 139:13-16 (The Living Bible)



     Remember the movie "Duel" where the hero is chased by a rampaging truck bent on total destruction?  Kind of makes you cringe a little when a fanged 18 wheeler moves up on your rear bumper.  Scary things weave in and out of all our lives and we are hounded by the demons of fear around every corner.


     In Isaiah 35:4 God reassures His fear-ridden people with these words:  "Encourage those who are afraid.  Tell them, 'Be strong, fear not, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.  He is coming to save you.'"  (The living Bible)


     Remember, most scary things are in your mind...know the difference.



     No one knows how long Miss Gladys Nicholson had this Bible, but it was much preferred over the new one she was given by her daughter.  At the age of 94, Miss Gladys (with a little help) still preferred to pray on her knees.  Now with the Lord, Miss Gladys has left a family legacy that will endure for generations.  Her only marked passage in the Bible:  "Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."  Romans 12:12 (Revised Standard Bible)



     Well, it's that time of year again.  Nothing to look forward to but school.  Young Logan seems to think that his life has least for the moment.  He will soon find that life's disappointments come and go...even for us older folk.  We can sit and pout about misfortune or put on a smile and meet it head on.


     Proverbs 15:15 says:  "When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong:  when he is cheerful, everything seems right!"  (The Living Bible)


     It really is your choice.



     The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made.  So the serpent came to the woman.  "Really?" he asked.  "None of the fruit in the Garden?  God says you mustn't eat any of it?"


     "Of course we may eat it."  The woman told him.  "It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not to eat.  God says we musn't eat of it or even touch it, or we will die."


"That's a lie!" the serpent hissed.  "You'll not die!  God knows very well that the instant you eat it you will become like him, for your eyes will be will be able to distinguish good from evil!"  Genesis 3:1-5 (The Living Bible)



     Young Allen Friar wants to know what happened to the man he had just seen on the cross.  It was all a mystery to him, upsetting and unsettling.  The whole world joins Allen in wondering about that mysterious event that happened so long ago.  What did it really mean?


     Jesus' followers also were perplexed to find his body missing.  "Why do you look for the living among the dead?"...two men in dazzling clothing told them..."He is not here, but He has risen!"  Luke 24: 5,6 (Modern Language Bible)


     The mystery of the ages continues.



     Old Glory, the symbol of our country.  She flies tattered and torn in the winds of our times...but she is still flying.  Who knows what lies ahead for our country.  All I can say is perhaps we all need to heed these words of warning from the Bible:  "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)



     This is one happy little kid!  It takes so little, really, to give a child pleasure.  Action plus imagination equals high adventure.  Kids are born believers.  They believe what they experience.  Treat a kid badly and he reflects it to his dying day.


     Sitting a little child in his lap, Jesus said in Mark 9:42:  "But if someone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to lose would be better for that man if a huge millstone were tied around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."  (The Living Bible)



     Slow down and think about it.  Really, really, think about it.  "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me."... Jesus in John 14:6 (Modern Language Bible)



     The joke has always been that some people see demons behind every tree, especially those Christians who actually believe that what the Bible says could be true.  Do you ever wonder though?  Could there actually be things going on that we can't see...unexplained phenomena?


     Consider what the Bible says about such matters:  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."  Ephesians 6:12  (New American Standard Bible)



     What better place to fall asleep than in the house of God, cradled in the knowledge and loving care of the One who is father to all.  Happy is the child who is secure in his surroundings and dreams the sweet dreams of a peaceful childhood.


     ""The children of Thy servants shall dwell safely, their offspring is established in Thy presence."  Psalms 102:28 (Modern Language Bible)



     We come upon many pathways in our lives leading in many different directions.  As the road that is life twists and turns through the years, our decisions can lead to pleasures or to painful distractions.


     But beware, says our Lord Jesus in Matthew 7:14, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."  (KJV)



     "Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us."  Hebrews 12:1 (The Living Bible)



     One of the hardest things for us humans to do is wait.  We want answers and actions now.  When sickness overtakes our loved ones, we pray and then we wait.  Sometimes the answer we get is not what we want.  So...we wait.

     "Wait for the Lord; take courage, and He will give strength to your heart; yes, wait for the Lord."  Psalms 27:14 (Modern Language Bible)



     What is time?  If we leave the camera's shutter open long enough, time and space are dragged along in a blur.  Space is three dimensional, time is one dimensional...yet both exist together in a continuum.  Even Einstein was mystified by this phenomenon.


     Our lives seem a blur at times, racing along at breakneck speed.  How much time do we have left?  Can we do everything we want to do?  A man's days are determined it says in Ezekiel 14:5.  How can God know everything...could He exist apart from time?  "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."  2 Peter 3:8 (New American Standard Bible)



     Her image has haunted me for decades.  Nameless, she perpetually remains old and mindless...cradling her "child" in unknowing happiness.  I wonder now, if she was a Christian.  By the time of this photograph, she was beyond reach, her eternal fate sealed.


     As our lives rocket through their timelines, we hope and pray for clear minds connected to today's reality.  We don't always get what we want.  A stroke.  An accident.  The ranks of the mindless grow continually.


     "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry."  But God said to him, "You fool!  This very night your soul is required of you..."  Luke 12:20 (New American Standard Bible)



    With unseeing eyes most people walk through life, oblivious to the notion of God.  They think they are alive, but are they?  Even those who profess to know Him cannot begin to perceive the magnitude and totality of this awesome being with which we are dealing.


     The prophet Jeremiah aptly described the plight of most of humanity:  "You have tried to get them to be honest; for you have punished them, but they won't change!  You have destroyed them but they refuse to turn from their sins.  They are determined, with faces hard as a rock, not to repent."  Jeremiah 5:3 (The Living Bible)



     Footprints in the dirt.  Someone's been here, but where are they now?  Soon, even this evidence of their presence will be gone with the next rain or wind storm, or even overwritten by someone else's footprints.


     Life is like that.  We can't know what's around the next corner, or even if we'll make the next corner.  Nothing is guaranteed.  " have no idea about tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a vapor that appears for a little while and disappears."  James 4:14 (Modern Language Bible)


     God upholds your earthly existence, only He knows what comes next.



     Most people have heard of the one called Jesus, and in moments of curiosity wonder about him.  Who is he and why did he come...was he for real?


     God has given man choices to make about many things.  In our busy world it is easy to dismiss the concept of a saviour of mankind.  Jesus says in the Book of the Revelation:  "Behold, I stand at the door and knock:  if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him..."  Revelation 3:20 (KJV)


     He is still standing there and waiting.  Most people choose to keep walking on by.


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Pat Canova

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