Archive for the ‘Seeing’ Category

The eyes are the window to the soul. Most of us have heard this commonly used phrase at least once in our lives, maybe even twice.

But, do we ever really stop to think about what it means? I’m sure none of us would give the exact same answer to the question of ‘what does this statement mean?’. Yet, we would hit pretty close to the same mark that the eyes of a being reveal a lot about what goes on in the soul.

When we look into the eyes of another person, what do we see?

Those with kind, gentle eyes are few and far between, while those with eyes filled with sadness, anger, bitterness and even deadness are far more common.

No matter what your observational skills are, whether you notice a lot about another or just a little, chances are you have taken note of the times that you looked into another persons eyes and saw kindness, gentleness and love because the experience is so uncommon.

Yet, this is what I think of whenever I picture Jesus/Yeshua Himself.

When He walked among us, I imagine from the biblical accounts of Him, that He had with eyes full of love, kindness, gentleness and compassion, even in the face of the great pain, fear, hatred and confusion in the eyes and hearts of those who were around Him.

His eyes were so full of His great love for people that some of those same people couldn’t help but stop, take notice and respond. And, eventually after spending time with Him, it seems their eyes were changed, becoming more like His, seeing things He saw in the way He saw them.

Scripture tell us that God made us in His image, it also tells us that God breathed His own spirit of life into Adam and Eve. This is the same spirit He breaths into us when we come into relationship with Him through the redemptive sacrifice He made for us. The same life and love that He gives us that should be visible to others through our eyes.

Yet, what do you see when you look into another person’s eyes? Or, even your own in an unguarded moment? Do your eyes show others that you are a child of God who has spent time with Him in the light and love of His gaze?

“My son, give me your heart; And let your eyes keep in my ways.” Proverbs 23:26


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Butterfly effect

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I’m always struck by just how many times people do things and the downstream results of their actions are never at all what they think they will be, if they think about them at all.

It doesn’t matter if our actions are really big and have an immediate effect, or very small and seemingly inconsequential, there always seem to be consequences that we wholly don’t anticipate.

It sort of reminds me of the whole Butterfly Effect where a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world and sets of a chain reaction that ends up being a storm on the other side of the world.

I was reminded of this just recently on of all places, Facebook.

Being a collector of various bits of information, most of it coming from a cornucopia of sources – that because of my background, I deem either reliable or unreliable – I end up with quite a bit of information that I pass on to others who may interested. Usually I do this through a phone call, an email, or if I happen to run into them, I’ll just tell them about it.

Very rarely do I post something on someone else’s wall on Facebook, but, that’s just what I did with an interesting video about the actual effects of fiscal inequality, which according to the data collected are very different in tenor and tone than one might automatically assume.

If you’re interested in taking a look, you can view it here: richard_wilkinson.html

But, it wasn’t the video itself that led me to think about unintended consequences, it was what happen after I posted it on my friend’s page. First another friend saw the post, viewed it and reposted it to her 259 friends. Then a friend of hers saw her post and reposted it to her 193 friends, and I don’t know where it went from there, but you get the picture.

When I posted it I thought one person would view it, but instead 452 other people that I know of saw the posting, and I assume a fraction of those actually took the time to watch it, which was a far greater number of people seeing it than I ever intended. It really gave me a very small-scale view of how something could indeed go viral on the internet and end up affecting millions of people before a day is out.

All this got me thinking about how we live our lives as everyday believers in Christ. How our behavior has unintended, far-reaching and unseen consequences for either good or ill than we will ever know, which is why it’s so important to stay as close to the LORD as possible and live our lives in Him and for Him instead of for ourselves.

“…you should live in a way that proves you belong to the God who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

1 Thessalonians: 2:12

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Bionicle figures

Being content in all things.

 Worshipping the LORD no matter what’s going on around us.

 Or, taking it one step further, enjoying the life we’ve been given no matter what it looks like.

 These are kind of foreign concepts to most of us. Our natural inclination is to complain, or ask the LORD to change things, or to give us more, or ______, you fill in the blank.

 My son is an avid collector. He’s been this way ever since he was small. If he got one toy in a set of six, he had to have the other five to be happy because unless the set was complete, it just wasn’t right.

 I remember this in particular with the LEGO Bionicle toys. Now, LEGO is a mastermind of marketing, and, they just seem to know what appeals to young minds. But, in this arena they really outdid themselves.  

 They created a whole world on the island of Mata Nui. This island was populated by the Toa’s, the Bohrak, the Toa Nuva, the Bohrak Kal, and the list goes on. All of them had different sets of six LEGO figures, which added up to a lot. And, that didn’t even include the special sets and the movies, books, etc.

 It seemed like every time he got a new one, there were five others we had to get to satisfy him. Now, he didn’t always get those other five, but because he likes sets of things, and is a collector, he wasn’t truly satisfied with what he had until he thought it was complete. And, the only way for it to be complete was to have all six.

 We’re a little bit like that in our own lives, aren’t we? We think, if only this were finished; if only we had this; if only we were here, there or had done this or that. If only somehow we would achieve that elusive completion that will make us feel content for even five seconds.

 But, the reality is that no matter what we achieve, what we get, how many sets of life experiences we complete, that sense of authentic, lasting completeness will only be truly found in Him. In relationship to Him who is the essence of completeness.

 Sure, we can achieve things. When we do, we can quiet that sense of the need for completion for just a little bit. Then, before we know it, we sense it again and go on another quest for completion that will just end in the same way.

No matter where we are in our lives, we can all focus on the more that we don’t have instead of the enough that we do. Realizing, also, that He is the only enough we will ever encounter. It’s when we live in that enough, knowing that somehow the LORD is enough for us no matter what our circumstances look like, that true contentment comes.

 Living in Him is the only way that we can be content in all circumstances, and, not only that, but it’s only in that space that we can take that extra step of making the enjoyment of the life He’s given us into an actual way of saying “Thank You” to Him.

 “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:12-13

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Ripe Arkansas Black apples.

Image via Wikipedia

Compare and contrast, we all do this don’t we? And, whether we’d like to admit it or not, we do it a lot.

 It doesn’t matter if we’re believers or not, we look around at other people’s lives, then look at our own and automatically what do we do? We compare and contrast ours to theirs, and theirs to ours, to see what the differences are and who seems to be doing better in our eyes.

 Whether we’re actually born with a little gene with compare and contrast on it, or we’re taught it, it sort of reminds me of the game that some of us played while we were planted in front of the television watching Sesame Street.

The game was played on the television screen when someone held an apple in one hand and another apple in the other hand. You saw the two apples were exactly the same, then a deep, booming voice off camera would say, “same”. Another shot would show one hand holding an apple and the other holding an orange ( or some other fruit) and the booming voice would say “different”. It showed very clearly that some things were the same and other things were different.

 Of course, when we’re children we need to know what is the same, and what is different because we need to know how to differentiate between things. But, as we get older, seeing the differences between things becomes seeing the differences between ourselves, then making value judgments and decisions about another person or ourselves based on those differences.

 Think about it, very rarely do we automatically see the similarities we have with another person. Usually we see the differences first, then the similarities, if we even get that far.

 Unfortunately, we do this in all arenas of life, with our jobs, our houses, our spouses, our children, and our relationships with the LORD. We look at someone and assume that they are so much more spiritual than we are, so much closer to the LORD than we are, or so much less so depending on our perception of them, which drives division between us instead of unity.

 Or, worse yet, we look at what we perceive as blessings ( usually defined as wealth and achievement in the Western World) coming one person’s way and wonder why someone else doesn’t recieve the same blessings from the LORD, then take it one step further and use that as the plumb line to determine how close each of us is to the LORD.

 Think about that. Very often we use physical wealth and success to determine the strength of someone’s spiritual connection with the LORD.

 When I see others do this, and yes, do it myself, I am reminded of Job, who had every physical blessing only to have it all taken away from him. His friends assumed it was because there was something very wrong in his relationship with the LORD that caused it, when in actual fact it was the complete opposite. It was his righteousness and his reverence of the LORD that allowed it.

 The experience reaffirmed to Job, and to us in looking at his story, that no matter what we have, or don’t have, the most important thing is having reverence for, and rightness with the LORD, because He doesn’t view things the way we do.

 “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

 1 Samuel 16:7

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Fotografía nocturna tomada en un vehiculo en m...

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It’s amazing to me how certain things will strike me  in the strangest of places.

This week I was at the hairdressers with my hair full of color sitting in a pile on top of my hair as my hairdresser and friend was working on another client, and I picked up a magazine to read.

To be honest there really wasn’t much of selection, and I wasn’t really inclined to read anything. But, I decided while I was sitting there that to keep my over busy brain from going into overload, a quick flip through a magazine would help to keep me occupied.

I had three choices of reading material and settled on Architectural Digest on the basis that the photography is always gorgeous and the aesthetics of the magazine are soothing. Not only that, it doesn’t have a lot of words, mostly pictures, and being a writer even though I really do love words, sometimes I just need to get away from them for a while.

So there I was, flipping through a magazine that was mostly beautiful pictures when a small collection of words caught my eye. A small quote to be exact from a world-renowned architect that I had never heard of – no surprise there. When he was asked what was the most important element he considers when he is designing a building is, he said light.

“Light has its own rhythm and timing,” he said.

I stopped short when I read those few words, immediately rereading them to make sure what I read was correct. As I did so I pictured the flow and ebb of light into a place, whether it’s coming through a window and filling up a room; or making its way through the trees into a forest meadow; or flowing across a sandy beach before it hits the ocean waters making that water sparkle and dance as it comes to life with the flow of the light on its surface.

The LORD is light in all its perfection and I couldn’t help thinking as I sat there that the quote was so like Him. That like light, we don’t really think of Him as having a life, a way of being that is all His own, independent from us, which couldn’t be further than the truth. He has His own rhythm and His own timing, which is all together different from ours, yet is all together perfect just the same.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

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Rock Concert

Image by motumboe via Flickr

Today I read a blog that really got me thinking. It was a blog titled  Loaves and Fishes and really focused on what an individual person would think if they were actually around when Jesus made those few loaves and couple of fish  stretch so far that they fed thousands.

Think about it, you’re there to listen to a really good teacher who seems to be speaking the truth, but you’re thinking he’s just another really good teacher from a tradition of many. Sure, he performed miracles and healings which were probably just as rare then as they are today. Yet,  it’s worth thinking about what you would think if you were in the crowd and why you were there in the first place.

Would you be there just to see this teacher who you’d heard a lot about?

Would you be there because there was an outside chance that he was the much prophesied about Messiah who would deliver the Jewish people?

Would you be there because your friends were there?

Would you be there because you wanted to see a miracle?

If you were there to see a miracle – and let’s face it we’d all like to see a miracle until we actually see one – would you accept it for what it was?

Jesus fed huge crowds each time He did this, five thousand primarily Jewish men the first time and four thousand primarily gentile men the second. And, that’s not even including the women and children who were undoubtedly fed too, which means you could easily double the numbers and the crowd you’d get would look like one at a decent size rock concert  today.

And, like a concert crowd, it’s the ones that are the closest to the stage that get to see the band and what they’re doing on that stage. The further out you get from the stage the less you can see, until at the edge of the crowd you basically can see nothing at all. So, I imagine the ones closest to Jesus could see the real miracle taking place, while those at the edges of the crowd just saw the loaves and the fish and didn’t really see what had happened which gave them a larger opportunity to either believe that a miracle had taken place or disbelieve it.

Many people today are in that place,  they wonder about who He really is because they’re too far back in the crowd to make any sort of real decision to believe Him or not.

To really see Him today, just like all those years ago, you have to decide you want to see this Jesus enough to show up in the first place, then make your way through the crowd to get up as close to Him as you can. This takes effort and a decision to find out what the truth about Him is, but it’s also the only way that you can be in the position where He can show you the miracle that He is, a miracle that includes seeing you at the edge of the crowd.

“Nathanael said to him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.'”

John 1:48

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Lightning strikes during the eruption of the G...

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Every once in a while you see photographs that really make you sit up and take notice of the enormity of the natural forces in this world we live in.

We’ve seen a lot of these images in recent months, tsunamis, tornados, floods, you name a natural disaster, and chances are we’ve all seen some sort of photograph of it somewhere.

But, the images, usually awash in a mixture of multi-layered grays, blacks and whites, don’t convey the out-of-control intensity of the moment when these things hit. It’s like looking at a black and white photograph then comparing it to a color photograph of the same event. The color one is going to stand out far and above the black and white, if only because it catches our eye more, is less flat, looks more like real life, and, maybe, we can relate to these because they do look more like we see the world in all its colorful intensity.

The photographs from the volcanic eruption of Chili’s Puyehue Volcano, and the ash plume it spewed run through and perforated with lightning bolts like something out of a Sci-Fi movie are just those types of photographs. Unlike the muted grays of recent natural disaster photographs, they show vibrant colorful image’s that accurately portray the intensity of the event.

National Geographic’s cut line on their photographs of the event hits the nail on the head, “In a scene no human could have witnessed, an apocalyptic agglommeration of lightning bolts illuminates an ash cloud above Chile’s Puyehue volcano (map) on Sunday.”

You can view the photographs here:


It struck me as I looked in amazement at the photographs, thinking how similar they were to many of the photo’s of deep space, that many times we view the Lord in the flat black, white and gray that we see many of these photo’s in. And, because of this, although we get a sense of His intensity and enormity, our view of Him lacks the vibrancy and intensity and impact of the reality of seeing Him in color.

“Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”

Ezekiel 1:26-28

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