Friday, January 31, 2014

Professional Photography Is A Lot Like Christianity


I work at a professional architectural photography company, and on my commute to work one morning, I realized something: professional photography is a lot like Christianity.

Sounds weird.
Sounds like it doesn't make sense.
Sounds like an impossible correlation.

........But I'm about to show you how it relates.

Since I manage the social media for this company, one of the posts I created was a "comparison" shot of a smartphone image vs. our professional image of the same room.

This was what it looked like:


I blurred out my company's logo because I am not trying to promote our company and it is irrelevant in this blog.

It's obvious which one looks better. 

At first glance, it looks like the professional image at the bottom was shot further back to make the room look larger. But in reality, the smartphone image was taken right on top of where the camera tripod was standing. We also do not edit the photos in a way that alters the space. The room looks brighter and airy because the professional camera takes multiple exposures of the room, and our processing team goes into Lightroom to enhance the colors.

Our professional cameras have wide focal lenses that capture the WHOLE space, unlike smartphones and digital cameras -- which have very limited focal capabilities. Our professional cameras also bring out the details of the space. 

If you own a smartphone, even you know (or have experienced) that when you take a picture of something, the picture never does it any justice. You can never get a picture that shows exactly what you were seeing (even the newest and most updated versions). 

Okay, so how does this tie into Christianity again?

God is the professional camera, and we are the smartphone.

Like a professional camera, God sees the WHOLE picture. His perspective is deeper, wider, and more detailed than we could ever imagine. We're like the smartphone. We think we're "smarter" than God and think our picture/life/plan is best... but we don't see what God sees. We don't even know what "best" really is because all we know is what WE see.... a limited view and perspective on the quality of life. 
  • Proverbs 16:9 -- The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
  • Isaiah 55: 8-9 -- For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  • James 4:13-15 -- Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that," but you do not even know what your life will be like tomorrow. Your life is like the morning fog - it's here a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

We tend to view God so small, and ourselves as larger than life. But just as obvious as it is that a professional camera is almost always much larger than a smartphone or digital camera, God is much larger than we are. 
  • Isaiah 40:2 -- He who has measured the earth's water in the palm of his hand.
  • Psalms 33:8-9 -- Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. 


God pays attention to the details. He is the source in which our life becomes "enhanced." And He helps us to view life as He sees it. 
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 -- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path straight. 
  • Psalms 32:8 -- God will instruct me and teach me the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. 
  • Psalms 119:105 -- Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 


His "exposure" to us comes in many different lights/ways. He can take the negatives to develop positives. He knows what is BEST for us.
    • Romans 8:28 -- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
    • 2 Timothy 2:12 -- If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, he also will deny us.
    • 1 Peter 5:10 -- And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
    • James 1:12 -- Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:13 -- No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
    • John 16:33 -- I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
    • Romans 5:3-5 -- Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.


    He may appear to be far away (as it looks in the comparison image above), but He's been right there with you all along.
    • Joshua 1:9 -- Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

    Concluding words:

    Put your hope, trust, and life in God's hands. He knows what He's doing and even when you think you know what's best for your life, God works in mysterious ways. You may write all of your plans out on paper, but God has the eraser. He can transform any heart to experience the fullness of life in the way that God designed for us (i.e. read about Paul in the Bible - an early Christian hater and killer, who became saved by grace and transformed, and one of the greatest apostles of Jesus in the New Testament). Devote your life to the one who gave it to you. 





















    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    100+ Prayer List - Things To Pray About


    Do you sometimes have a difficult time trying to think of things to pray about?

    Especially when we're not in a crisis or going through a difficult time, coming up with things to pray about can seem harder to do than it actually is. 



    For example (true story): One of my friends went on a mission trip to Europe and every Saturday, each member of the group had to be alone for 5 hours...praying the WHOLE time. They also had to write down the topics they prayed about. At first, everyone was thinking "5 hours?! I'm going to run out of things to pray about! There's no way..." But they came to realize that not only were they ABLE to think of enough things to pray about within the 5 hour time frame, but also there was SO much more to pray about after that 5 hours. My friend said it was an amazing experience to be "forced" to pray for that long. She said you could probably even pray for 24 hours non-stop if you really tried.

          




    REMEMBER: 
    Prayer isn't just when you, or someone you know, needs something. Prayer consists of repentance, asking for guidance, asking for help, praying for others, PRAISING God for who He is, and even THANKING Him for all He has done/given to you and others. Never forget to thank God for all His blessings (big or small) throughout your life.

    1 Thessalonians  5:16-18 
    Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; 
    for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


    Philippians 4:6-7
     Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


    When praying, you can either:
    1. Look at the list of things I provided below, or
    2. Do this exercise to help you come up with ideas on your own:
      • Carry a mini journal with you in your pocket or purse. 
      • Every time you hear about an issue or concern that someone has, jot it down.
      • Every time you think about an issue, concern, stress, question, or difficult decision, jot it down.
      • Every time you have a praise or hear something good that is happening, jot it down.
      • Every time you see something good or bad on the news, on a Facebook status, or other source, jot it down and pray for that person and that situation.
      • Every time someone you don't like does something to irritate or stress you out, jot it down and pray for that person. You never know what personal things they are going through that are making them that way towards you and others. 
      • Every time someone wrongs you or betrays you, pray for that person and forgive them. God can not forgive those who are not forgiving to others.
      • Every time you think of something to pray about for you, your coworkers, family, friends, classmates, or other loved ones, jot it down. 

    100+ Things To Pray About:

    Politics
    • Our president: safety, health, wise decisions, leadership, loyalty and faithfulness to our country, succeeding in doing the things he said he would do, fulfilling God's purpose for him and our country
    • Our government: morality, funds, leadership, wise decisions, protection, bill and law decisions

    World

    • Third world countries: unlcean water, poverty, shelter, AIDS, illness and disease, death rates, crime, Christian influence
    • War: between countries, states, civil groups, race, religion, economic status, government/authorities, corruption, money, etc.

    Religion

    • Missionaries around the world: safety, health, fulfilling God's Will, martyrs 
    • Sharing the gospel in our communities to the lost: sharing our faith with coworkers, friends, classmates, family, neighbors, homeless, needy, etc.
    • Living out faith in our communities: involvement and contribution to charity or organization that helps people, using gifts to share faith and make a difference
    • Involvement with our church: close relationships with other members, accountability partners, counsel, commitment, serving in needed area, using gifts to serve in an area
    • Other religions around the world: missionaries that reach out to these groups
    • Other religions in our community: build relationships and be a good example of Christ's love/make a difference in their lives in some way, their mind and heart to be opened or effected in a positive way that may lead them to Christ, not trying to convert them directly which may push them further away
    • Personal life: sins, be a good example of Christ, live your life in a way that pleases and glorifies God, watch what you say and do as those who are unbelievers will be watching you with an eagle eye and your actions/words can effect the way they see Christ or being a Christian, profess the gospel of Jesus Christ to coworkers/friends/family/etc.

    Education

    • Teachers/staff: guidance to teach students effectively, patience with difficult children, fairness, respect to students, respect from students, genuine care for students, ability to teach in different methods according to student's learning capabilities
    • Students: learning efforts, to see the value and privilege of education, effective studies, work ethic, friends, bullying, drama, fears, influences, discrimination, prejudice, low-income school environments, expectations, goals 

    Financial

    • America: debt, economy, inflation, recession, gas prices, poverty, low-income households, job economy, jobless parents, homelessness, government spending, stock market
    • Personal: debt, wise spending habits, saving, retirement, tithing, generous giving, value of money, ethical decisions, frugal/simple living, idolatry over money, investments, children's future, education, bills, needs vs. wants
    • Church: sending programs, tithing, missionaries, plant churches, mission work/trips, ministries, outreach events, donations, volunteer work, helping those in need, members would be generous in giving time and monetary efforts

    Crime

    • America: cities with high crime rates, crime in your hometown, safety of home, safety of family and friends, Safety of self, safety while commuting on roads, safety at work

    Personal

    • Safety, health and wellness: self, while commuting on roads, home, family and friends
    • Work: job security, co-workers, boss, performance, impact, struggles, stress, fears
    • Relationships and friendships
    • Sins, insecurities, sins, weaknesses, struggles, fears, anger or bitterness towards a person or thing, 
    • Past events, upcoming events, future plans