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FLEX THE COURAGE MUSCLE

 

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A gecko  lizard.  This little critter was far out of his comfort zone, he was ready to run and hide. But he froze hoping danger would pass and he could escape with his life.  This little lizard lives ‘within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods’ Psalm 91: 1. LB

When travelling through the Australian outback, our convoy stopped at an abandoned Afghan campsite.  After decades of non-use there was still evidence of habitation such as a broken-down goat yard, the lid off a can, glass bottle stoppers.

Curiosity prompted me to lift the lid of a milk can lying amongst the salt bushes. A tiny lizard reared its head in defiance at me.  Several others came to look at this tiny, courageous critter.  I could have snuffed out its life with my fingers, yet it stared into my face, it’s mouth open wide, daring me to attack.  I lowered the lid and left the little creature alone to live another day.  It was the personification of courage.

DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH

Very few people would think of themselves as a David pitted against a Goliath, yet when their back is to the wall, they turn into a David, rescuing people from certain death, sometimes at the expense of their own. Speaking-up boldly for a cause they believe in when everyone else is silent.

Several years ago, my husband Bruce was called to visit a home at 2 am to deal with a drunken man.  The guy was brandishing a gun and threatening to shoot anyone, including himself, who dared to try to take it from him.

Did Bruce feel like a David?  No!  Inside, fear made him feel like a jelly bag.  But someone had to face the man and try to save him and his loved one’s lives.

ACTION – REACTION

Wondering how the man would react, Bruce took slow steps, one at a time, toward the man seated on a bed in a bedroom.  Finally sitting down beside him, putting his arm around his shoulders, he took possession of the gun.  What Bruce was doing, was it madness? an emotion that pushes him into acting without thinking? An adrenalin rush? Is courage an inbuilt trait … a response of self-preservation?

Some people are trained to face danger as in warfare, firefighting and ambulance attendants.  We expect these people to be brave.  Yet when questioned they deny being courageous.  They claim to have saved their mate because he was just that – their mate, and that they were scared stiff.

Training certainly holds a person steady in a time of crisis but even ordinary, untrained people become courageous in a time of emergency.

WHAT MOTIVATES

What about Bruce, what was his motivation?  Firstly, his response was governed by his acceptance of his call by God to serve his fellow man, and secondly, by his desire to prevent tragedy.  Bruce went fuelled by the hope in Christ that this unhappy man could be delivered from his bondage.

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‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the humn mind can understand.’Philippians 4: 6-7.  LB

Having met Christ in his teens, Bruce was now, after years of experiencing God’s faithfulness in all walks of life, completely sure that God was well able to do anything he promised. Even though he was scared stiff, he responded to the 2 am call because he believed that God was able to keep him.  The roots of courage are sown in our past experiences and the history we have with God.

When Bruce arrived at the home of the drunk, he couldn’t just barge in and demand the gun be dropped.  No, it was soothing words, then a slow step by a step march across the room to sit beside the man

Courage is like a muscle, the more we dare to use it by taking risks not just in the ‘big’ moments to save lives, but also in the ‘small’ ones like speaking to the neighbour, inviting someone to church or home to a meal – it can be doing something that we have never done before.

TAKE A RISK

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His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Jesus Christ. Philippians 4: 7. LB

If we dare to take a risk, we are flexing the muscle of courage.  By so doing, we grow as a Believer and as a person.  If our fear is not challenged then we remain weeping violets.  Should we continue to be afraid to say boo to a goose, we will not achieve very much.  Without daring we are not living.

Take one step at a time and flex your muscle of gallantry, move forward as people who have faced their fears and overcome them.

Through the Biblical writings of Joshua, God urges us to, ‘Be strong!  Be courageous!  Do not be afraid … For the Lord your God will be with you.  He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”  (Joshua 1: 6 – 9. LB)

 

 

 

 

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SEVEN STEPS TO BETTER PORTRAITS

 

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A portrait preserves the person forever whether it is a photograph or a painting.  Each photographer or artist will see the subject differently and seek to underscore each trait and interpret the model.

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THE USE OF LIGHT

LIGHT AND SHADOW

1.       The photographer will highlight the lines and contours of the face by placing lights at strategic points to reveal character, beauty or emotion.
2.       Background plays a huge role in the portrait. It is an addition to light in revealing the person, their character and physical attributes, even telling a story about them.  Backgrounds need to compliment the portrait.
3.       Professional photographer, David Lazar believes it is important to connect with the subject.  Making a friend of the subject relaxes them, and they will co-operate gladly. A beautiful portrait is the result, and everyone is happy.
4.       Most photographers agree that the eyes have it. It is recognised that the eyes are the window to the soul. They reveal so much about the person and their moods. The eyes then, need to be accentuated, either by light or by accessories in some way.

5.       Emotion plays a large role in portraiture. The need to make a friend of the subject is even more important.  When the photographer displays friendship, acceptance, tells a joke, anything to bring calm and peace to the situation rather than tension the results are a successful photoshoot and portrait.

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EMOTION – JOY

 

 

FOUR STEPS TO A FULL LIFE.

Of course, when we consider Jesus Christ, there are comparisons in knowing him to the photographer taking portraits.  Although there is no physical image of Jesus, we can draw an image from the words that describe him.   We have the universe that showcases his power, genius, love and provision for all that is in the universe. The mission Jesus Christ undertook was to portray God and so Jesus became ‘the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all, he was before all else began, and it is his power that holds everything together.’(Colossians 1: 15 – 17. LB)
To see and follow the rightful God, there are four steps to take similar to that of the photographer in shooting a portrait. In following these steps, a portrait of God and his son Jesus emerges and not only tthem but a portrait of our real selves evolves.

1.       The first step is connection.  We need to connect with God through Jesus.  That calls for faith to believe he is. ‘Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God, and that he rewards those who sincerely look for him.’(Hebrews 11: 6. LB) Believing God is important.
2.       The photographer needs to consider the background.  For us, our background becomes a problem when dealing with God.  We consider we aren’t good enough and have a myriad excuses why we can’t connect with God. We feel that God is mad at us for failing to keep his standard, that he is condemning us. Our background then, is our stumbling block. When Jesus was crucified he took care of our background.  He wiped it out completely and left us new people. ‘When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand-new person inside. They are not the same any more. A new life has begun.’(2Corinthians 5: 17.)
3.       The photographer must become emotionally involved with his subject and for us to connect successfully with God, we must be passionately and intimately involved. It is a relationship that calls for commitment as in any relationship. The depth and growth of the new intimacy will bring purpose, meaning and joy of life. This is God’s plan for the human race. We must want to be one with God.

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THE EYES ARE COMPELLING

4.       Artists and photographers know that the eyes must be emphasised. We must look for Jesus and see him with other eyes, the eyes of our understanding. We  see his love for us through his death and return from the dead.  We see he chose us before we were ever a twinkle in our mother’s eye. Faith, trust, confidence in God that he will put his actions where his mouth is and not let us down adds to our insights of him. The eyes of our understanding clear when we accept Jesus and commited to him. A true portrait of God and his Son Jesus fills our vision.

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IN THE FAMILY
Jesus Christ is the true portrait of God, the Father.  God has given all he has to make us his beloved children. Jesus gave his life and all he is and had, to make us acceptable in his Father’s eyes.  The only thing left to do: we accept Jesus and transfer to him our life. We need to be able to say, ‘The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God.’ (Galatians 2: 20 LB). When we have given ourselves, we are included in the portrait, and the family picture is complete.