Photo Devotional Thoughts

Treasures of the Snow

  • November 29, 2017

My first snowflake macros have given me much joy! I love the beauty in these tiny flakes–they point to an awesome Creator’s infinite creativity down to the smallest detail! Here’s a composite of images and thoughts. There are a lot of great photographers who do wonderful snowflake images. Perhaps I can get some better ones at some point. For now, I’m thankful to have these! Stars Snowflakes xga

Mysteries revealed

  • January 21, 2017
Today I made a discovery! Some of the “unknown” critters I have in my photo collection are the same thing! Look carefully at the composite of images below, and you’ll see stages in the development of a ladybug. I took the photos of the first two several years ago, and discovered awhile back that the first is the larval stage of the ladybug. Only today did I discover that the odd looking orange “thing” is the next stage, and then the mature bug emerges, not dissimilar to the way a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Metamorphosis in nature is truly, truly amazing.
Here is another incredible mystery, found in Scripture:
“This mystery . . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  (see Colossians 1:26,27).  The Word tells us the mystery was hidden, but has been revealed to those who know Jesus! It’s an unfathomable concept . . . that humans can know Christ personally, and have this “hope of glory.”  A future with Him awaits. That keeps us going, does it not?
 ladybug mystery small

New day, week, month, year . . . mercies!

  • January 4, 2017

How interesting it is to be right here at this moment: 2017, Day one, Week one, Month One of this new year. Looking back at 2016, I rejoice over huge milestones (the restart of camp here in Togo with 84 children coming to the Lord, and seeing my colleague and friend, Magguie, walk again on her new prosthetic foot), and I feel again the sadness over distressing times (deaths of our brother & colleague Todd and others, including three Togolese that were dear to many). It is a joy and comfort to look ahead and remember this:

The Lord does not change. (Malachi 3:6). Nothing is too hard for Him. (Jeremiah 32:27.) He is faithful, and His mercy never ends! (Lamentations 3:22,23.)
2017 is a year I used to view as being a REALLY long ways off, especially when I first arrived in Togo as a new missionary, fresh out of language school in 1992! I wondered what it would be like to be in my 25th year of service here. It’s a milestone year, and here I am! I can certainly say the Lord is faithful! Because of His faithfulness,  I can look forward to the year ahead, and as many more years as the Lord will allow me to be part of His work here in Togo.
I’m including a photo of one of my favorite places. Victoria Falls is a mile wide, and never stops flowing, no matter how dry the seasons become. The waterfall reminds me of our faithful Lord. May He fill you with His peace and quiet you with His love as you meditate on His faithfulness, and as you move into this new year!
vic-falls-love-composite-xga

The Order of Things

  • September 6, 2016
          As a photographer living on a hospital compound in Africa, I have many opportunities to photograph a variety of subjects. I have a preference for nature photography because it constantly reminds me of the nearness of the Lord God, who has made creatures with such incredible beauty and detail. Last week while I was up in Mango at our new hospital, I had a few days to wander around and think and pray and take pictures. I concentrated mainly on birds, because there was a great variety there, given the rainy season and lush, green foliage. One morning, the thought came to me about “the order” of things. As we all know, of first importance is people, because they need to be saved. At the hospital, they need physical healing so they can come to know the Creator and THEN they are free to enjoy all He has made. I enjoy nature so much because I know the Creator. I’m immeasurably grateful for salvation in Jesus—not only because I have eternal life because of Him, but also because knowing Him gives me clear understanding that nature provides a connection to Him as the Creator of all things. The beauty around me can be fully enjoyed because I know Him personally.
          Knowing Jesus leads my heart to praise and thanksgiving, because He alone is worthy to be praised. Today I am grateful to Him for two specific things. One is that He protected my sister as she was in quite a serious car accident last Sunday. The car is totaled and she is quite sore, but she is doing well. The Lord sent some dear eye witnesses to help her and pray with her at the scene. Secondly, I’m praising Him that Magguie has had a good consultation about a prosthetic foot. I don’t have all the details yet, but I am praying this will work well for her!
          Photo composites can be a bit busy, but I’m including this one to show the sheer variety of the birdlife I saw in Mango, Togo last week! 
Mango Birds xga

Infinite God and a pair of glasses

  • August 8, 2016
We’ve had a visiting team of college students and graduates here in Togo for a week—all photographers! It’s been really great working with them as they participated in a workshop to learn to make photo & video presentations that missionaries can use on furlough—projects that tell actual stories of people we work with out here. It was a successful week, and it was very good to see the potential for full time missionary work in that group of students, which was a major goal of the workshop—to expose them to missions and show them that there is indeed a place for media arts on the mission field.
So last night I was out taking pictures of this amazingly clear night sky—unusual during the rainy season, and some of the students joined me as I was photographing the Milky Way. I’ve wanted to try to get images like this for some time. It was literally amazing! I was outside until midnight and pretty wound up for some time after, thinking of the import of all of those billions and billions of stars out there, and the fact that God knows every one of them by name! To think there are only  few billion people on earth—it’s not a big thing for our infinite God to know our names, our needs, how many hairs are on our heads . . . .
This morning I got up and could not find my glasses—my good ones that I use for both distance and reading. I looked everywhere I had been last evening and was asking the Lord to remind me where I had left them. He prompted me to check the grassy area where I had been taking pictures, where I had walked all around in the dark, and where the students had walked around with their cameras and tripods . . . and sure enough, there lay my glasses on the grass, dew-covered but undamaged. My heart is so thankful that the God of those billions of stars cares about the details of our lives, and that He protected my glasses from being crushed under someone’s foot!
I’m hoping you will be encouraged as you are reminded that His infiniteness not only extends beyond the very reaches of a limitless universe, but also down to the very smallest detail of our lives.  What is man, that He thinks of us?? (See Psalm 8:3 & 4.)
Stars composite xga

Flambouyant Trees Command Attention

  • April 28, 2016

Last night’s rain made for some great macro & water drop images, one of which is seen here as a detail of a Flambouyant blossom.

showers xga

Here in West Africa, these trees are currently the outstanding landscape feature. Even the most hardened “non- flower-noticer” stops in his tracks when he sees these explosive red-covered trees. The FTD Florists use the slogan “Say it with Flowers.” I believe our Creator is “saying it” loud and clear with these trees . . . He gave us color and beauty, even after The Fall in the Garden of Eden . . . because He loves us. One of these lovely trees graces the yard where I live, pictured here. I’m thankful to be able to enjoy such beauty so close by!

flame tree houseflame tree

Incredible . . . New Year’s Eve!

  • January 26, 2016

New Year’s Eve in Togo . . . For those of you following Magguie’s story, here’s a bit more.

I cannot begin to describe the joy of being in the Lord’s House last night, celebrating with Togolese brothers and sisters the end of the old year with its blessings and challenges, and the beginning of the New Year! The highlight was Magguie’s testimony in the front of the church. She and her daughter sang a song together, and Magguie requested the congregation sing Xle Wo Yayra (Count your Blessings), which they belted out with great gusto! Magguie stood up at the front of the church, leaning on her crutches and waving her arm in praise to the Lord as she sang for Him. I have some video clips . . . I’d love to include one here but our internet is a bit slow for that (understatement of 2016). But I’ll include a picture.

How can I help but be super-challenged, watching and listening to Magguie praise the Lord, counting her blessings, reading Lamentations 2:22-25 to us at church, when her foot is gone?? My heart still does a funny flip thing every time I see her and it registers in my mind that there is this blank space where her foot used to be. The Lord is awesome. He’s the only One who is truly awesome. Magguie has her ups and downs. This path is extremely difficult, to put it mildly. But she continues to refocus, bringing her thoughts back to God’s goodness in sparing her life. She knows there are multiple purposes for suffering and the Lord is already using her to encourage others around her.

Thank you so much—those who have asked about how to help us get Magguie’s house built so she can move out of her rental situation. I don’t yet know how much the Lord has provided through you, but I’ll keep you posted. Please keep praying for the Lord’s provision in a timely manner. (read: Please hurry, Heavenly Father, if it is Your will to do so!) Please pray for His will and timing regarding a prosthesis, and also for healing of an infection in her upper arm (insulin injection related).

On another subject, I’ll be in touch soon about the literature that just arrived on the container, as some of you were involved in giving and praying for this. For the moment, though, I’m thanking the Lord for this New Year, and am praying for Him to be consistently lifted up as you and I navigate our lives for His glory where we are.

magguie church

Grief and Gladness

  • June 30, 2015
On the way to Northern Maine on Saturday, I was listening to the song Jesus Paid it All . . .  and I was overcome to the point of tears with amazement and gratitude that He saves lost souls and forgives His children when they are in need of His mercy. Then I got to considering His incomprehensible love for all of mankind, and I was grief-stricken by our nation’s official vote to turn her back on Him. This has been long coming, I know . . . but somehow making it “legal” to permit that which God despises feels like a literal slamming of a door in His holy face.  So I drove the car and cried. It’s safe to cry and drive on the way to Northern Maine; there’s not much traffic and the road is pretty straight. I listened to sacred music and prayed for our country and for many other needs. After a while I began to notice wildflowers by the thousands along the sides of the road (it’s still spring up here!), and finally I came to a familiar overlook. I pulled the car off and was treated to a gorgeous view of Mt. Katahdin, a lake, trees, wildflowers . . . and the Lord sweetly reminded me that He has not changed! This is at once disconcerting and comforting. He is still holy; sin is still sin; judgement still awaits. At the same time, He is still mighty to save; He can still move mountains; His presence is still real; He is still Immanuel, God with us; He is still the Creator; He is still my Shepherd.
May His steadfast immutability both challenge and comfort you today.
change not web

The Lord is Mighty!

  • June 23, 2015

Coastal regions of our world are absolutely awe-inspiring! I love it that I get to spend part of my furlough in the beautiful state of Maine, whose rock-bound coast attracts visitors from all over. My mom and sister and I enjoyed a picnic last week at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth,  and the best part was walking on the rocks, watching the ocean and the sky and admiring our great Creator’s handiwork. Even when the waves are small at low tide, the rocks add to the drama with the lovely sound of waves crashing and the sight of beautiful plumes of water. Whenever I am at the oceanside, I sense the bigness of God, and my smallness . . . and I am awestruck by His presence and power.  I think of His might, and I know He is able to do anything (Ephesians 3:20,21).

mighty wave xga

Beauty in the Mundane

  • May 31, 2015
It is a truly beautiful day in Maine today! The temperature is in the 70s, the sun is shining brightly, and there is a lovely breeze blowing. My dad’s barbecuing some chicken out on the grill, and the scent is wafting through the window as I am typing upstairs. I’m thanking the Lord for my dad’s health and that he’s outside grilling! His surgery went without incident and he is recovering, though it’s going to take some extra time. Thank you for praying for him, and please continue to pray for patience, since doctors orders leave him very limited in activity for the duration of the summer. That’s pretty hard for a man that loves to be outside planting a garden and doing yard work.
I’m grateful to the Lord for safe travels over the past few weeks, and for good visits to my supporting churches. It is good to be able to share what is going on in Togo and to thank churches and individuals in person for their faithfulness to support the work in Togo through prayer and giving. Please pray for good opportunities to express the personnel needs for Togo. Maybe the Lord has specific individuals in mind in some of the churches I am visiting.
I’m glad the Lord uses ordinary people for His work! This came to mind as I have been enjoying the oft maligned weed—the ordinary dandelion—over the past couple of weeks. I think there’s a parallel!
May the Lord bless you richly as you anticipate worshipping Him on His day tomorrow.
Dandelion composite email