Photo Journal: Flowers


Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. Song of Songs 2:12

… See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Matthew 6:29

Summer to me, besides the beautiful weather is together with the spring the season of explosions of color and fragrance, of amazing flowers that never cease to amaze me, new ones that I had never seen before or golden oldies that look even more beautiful than before.  Hard to beat beauty, truly royal indeed, whether it is a magnificent big flower or the tiniest small one, they all have something of a very special beauty to be enjoyed while it lasts. The good news, next season WILL come, there WILL be a new summer again and again and again in which very often the flowers come out even more beautiful, in which the plant has grown to produce even more flowers.

And so it seems with my Christian journey, one day a blossoming flower the other day withered, just as Peter explained referring to Isaiah:

 “All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
1 Peter 1:24

But like I said there WILL be a new summer, in which like the flowers we come out even more beautiful than last season. Maybe that is what Paul meant when he said:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Photo Journal: Love Your Neighbor


“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. James 2:8 NIV

14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

 

 

Photo Journal: A Radical Change of Perspective is Sometimes Needed


We learn to focus on the things that are in front of us and this common human wisdom makes an awful lot of sense. Yet only when we are actually looking and going in the right direction. When our perspective looks beautiful, when what lies ahead of us looks beautiful, it does (as I learnt) that we are looking , walking, in the right direction. Sometimes we need to stand still and reevaluate our focus, our perspective. Are we indeed looking in the right direction, are we going the right way. I was carefully reminded of just that the other day. 

This weekend we spent some time in Le Bons Bay, a small settlement of holiday homes on Banks Peninsula. On the Friday evening walking along the beach there with my oldest son, we looked out over the sea while the sun was going down. As human logic almost naturally indicates our eyes were fixed on the water from the beach to the horizon. And there was plenty of reason to do just that.


However the real visual spectacle was there not in front of us but behind us. It took this 180 degree turn to understand that we were looking in the wrong direction. Looking back from the water to where the sun was going down behind the hilltops, were were treated with this view.

 

 

The whole experience reminded me of the New Testament stories of Jesus and the apostles, how they changed radically the perspective on religion, on what the Law meant, on faith, on what it means to be a believer, to live as a disciple.
On many occasions, that requires a radical change in perspective so that His Glory may be revealed through us.

That brought me back to mind the fantastic weekend at Harmony Church the weekend before with a conference lead by Chris Gore and Chuck Parry who were in essence teaching us something similar: a radical change in our perspective of what our identity in Christ means.

Curious now? I suggest you watch this part one and following parts of “Living Unbalanced” and see what it would mean for your perspective.

I guess for all of us it is good to stand still and reevaluate our perspective every now and then.

Photo Journal: Thoughts on Luke 2:19 head or heart?


Last Sunday after a few very busy weeks I did not go to church and instead I drove out with a Bible, journal and camera and spend some time alone while picking up my son in Cheviot. The route:  Christchurch-Kaiapoi-Amberley-WaiparaWaikariHurunuiCulverden-Rotterham via Mouse Point- Rotterham-Waiau-via Leader Road to Parnassus-Cheviot. Cheviot- Greta Valley -detour up and down to Motunau Beach-Amberley-Kaiapoi-Christchurch.

Amazing scenery that day.

In Balmoral  Forest I stopped for some lunch that I had picked up earlier. Sitting in the back of the truck eating and enjoying my coffee I opened my Bible and Journal. Luke 2: 18, 19 seemed to stick out particularly.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 NIV

Now that stuck out to me because as I understood it pondering was something more of a head matter. In the Merriam-Webster it says:

ponder implies a careful weighing of a problem or, often, prolonged inconclusive thinking about a matter <pondered the course of action>.

It seemed to indicate a head matter. Yet, Mary pondered with her heart? It reminded me of something Santana said before one of the songs during a concert.

If we take the time to see with the heart and not with the mind, we shall see that we are surrounded completely by angels.

Again the heart prevails over the normal sensory course. Maybe there is something there? Could it maybe be that the eyes, the ears, the mind provide order to our sensations whereas it is the heart that gives it meaning, truth.
Is it not coincidental that the heart is as the one place in our body that is associated with love. We speak of knuckle heads the Bible of hardened hearts.

The heart as the place where connect knowledge and meaning, purpose, God‘s purpose by the guidance of the Spirit, the place from where the Spirit speaks, the heart as the pathway to wisdom, the truth about everything and anything, ourselves included.

Lunch turned out to be satisfactory in more than one sense and with a smile on my face I proceeded. Further down the road I was sure God was smiling back to me. Something to further explore and try on my journey of life.

Photo Journal: Being in the right place at the right time


This week, going up and down to and from Governors Bay we were treated with amazing sunsets as a result of the ash in the sky. The view from the Sign of the Kiwi parking over the Canterbury Plains was amazing on both the Monday and Tuesday afternoon, also the sort of magical landscapes earlier in the morning around the bays, with sun slowly showing made for some awesome views.

Earlier that morning the combination of mist, low sun and cold made for some almost magical views and I guess it reminded me that to a large extent making a special picture is all about being there in the right place at the right time.

Most spectacular however were the ash filled skies over the mountains during sunset. Christchurch, although hit by another severe aftershock looked beautiful, impressive and alive.

Now one does not need much talent to shoot a picture like this, and I bet that with a mobile phone the result would have been equally beautiful. It had nothing to do with me and all with being in the right place at the right time.

The next day I was prepared and decided to go and be there at the same time. The sky was not as impressive, but patience and seeing how the light was changing rapidly made a difference. And seeing the light change from

to

On the way back later that evening I stopped one more time at the same place and saw the city below like this.

A strange sense of peace came over me. Christchurch may be shaken, stirred, hit hard, damaged, ravaged and whatever negative qualifications one could think of, at the same time the sea of lights below me indicated that Christchurch is also very much alive, and a city with a bright future. If a city can shine like this after a massive aftershock than imagine what it’ll be like after restoration. Enough reason for me in any event to stick around.

Photo Journal: Amazing Insects


Insects, butterflies and so on always seem to be making for great subjects to photograph. I remember well how pleased I was to manage to shoot a pic of this little fly before it left of again when making a walk in Rapaki.

Fly Rapaki

And of course you have seen other pics like this pass by here of bees and butterflies or perhaps some time ago the dragonfly, the chase of which almost had me trample my own veggie patch because the animal just would not sit still.

Dragon Fly

For me this is probably as close up as it gets with a point and shoot. But I was truly amazed, admittedly even a bit jealous, by the pictures of insects I found in this post on the photography mojo blog/ site. Talk about taking it to the next level.

What an amazing bunch of photos, making me wish for options to get even closer, zoom in perhaps I will need to find out.

I suggest you go and read the post here >>>  and be amazed by the beauty of these pictures and many more but then again, they became so beautiful because these little creatures are so amazing.

Photo Journal: Ngarua Caves


On our little break in Golden Bay (north west of the South Island of New Zealand) we took some time to go for a tour of the Ngarua Caves in Takaka Hill.

Takaka Hill is for  marble quarry and for many caves, including Ngarua Caves which are open to the public and feature deposits of moa bones. Takaka Hill, as many other areas in and around the Golden Bay, has also been the location for many scenes filmed for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

The caves are located at 2000 feet an d before you enter you can stand back in awe about the views over the bay.

Once in the caves the guide takes you into this amazing world of stalactites and stalagmites: an amazing almost off world experience.

It is not clear who discovered the cave but the signature of H.B. Everett, a 17 year old surveyor’s assistant was carved in the limestone formations.  It was dated 1876 and is the earliest dated signature found according to the guide.

Somewhere during the tour the guide turned off the light and you could literally not see a hand before your eyes. Complete darkness is quite something else.

Absolutely stunning was the view of the “Cathedral”. What no man can design came to mind.

But, enough said have a look below for some more scenes of this marvelous underground world.