Photo Blogging Challenge: Look Up

 

 

 

Here we are again with PJ’s Photo Blogging Challenge. Where do the months go? This month’s prompt was Look Up. Bloggers from all over participate by taking photos with the month’s theme in mind and posting them at the end of the month. I tried to take a little different, less literal approach this time. Enjoy.

#1 Look Up….
Early in the month, our grand-niece was baptized in her Mama’s baptismal gown. You could say we all Looked Up to God for extending his grace to this wee one and sealing her with his covenant.

#2. Look Up….
Our nephew graduated from high school this month and his future is Looking Up.

#3. Look Up….
When you’re a puppy, Looking Up is the norm. This is Cooper, a nephew’s Australian Shepherd pupper looking up from the ground.

#4. Look Up…..
We were told Peanut would receive an award at her end-of-the-year school assembly. As we were sitting through all the awards, listening for her name that was not being called, I began to get a little worried there’d been some sort of mistake. But there was no mistake. Her name was called for the last award, The Glory of Missouri proclamation from the Missouri State House of Representatives. The Glory of Missouri is awarded to 14 students in participating schools, each student representing one of the 14 virtues displayed in the house chamber; Knowledge, Liberty, Equality, Law, Justice, Fraternity, Education, Progress, Honor, Truth, Virtue, Temperance, Enterprise, and Charity. Peanut’s award was for Knowledge. She may be someone to Look Up to in the future!

#5. Look Up….
It was a fun challenge this month and I hope you enjoyed my take on “Look Up.” I’ll leave you with the goldfinches we’ll be Looking Up at in the sky…after they finish emptying the bird feeder.

Be sure to Look Up the other photo challenge entries over at A ‘lil HooHaa.

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Perfectly Imperfect!

perfectly imperfect72
Texture by Kim Klassen; Waterfront 7, 30% soft light

Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely.
Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly.
Though we may feel lost and without compass,
God’s love encompasses us completely.
He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed,
rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.

~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Kim’s prompt this week for Texture Tuesday is Perfectly Imperfect. And my inspiration come from last Sunday when Twix was baptized into God’s covenant grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. ~Ephesians 2:7-9

We are all born into this world in the human default position…sinners. We don’t like to think of adorable children as sinners…and Twix is just about perfect in every way…but with Adam’s fall, being born a sinner is everyone’s fate. But, for Christians who believe in the saving grace of Jesus, baptism is God’s way of confirming we are not condemned to live that life forever. Through water and His word, we are cleansed and forgiven of our sins and, even though we are still very much imperfect, we’re bought and paid for by JC’s perfect, sacrificial death. Baptism is a sacred act in which God Himself forgives and gives new life, bestowing on us the gift of the Holy Spirit and all His promises.

Even though we are imperfect, we are made perfect through God’s saving grace and sealed at His children through the cleansing of water and his Word.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ~Romans 6:4

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Texture Twist and Life Through the Lens.
Texture Tuesday   texture-twist  Life through lens

B is for Baptism

Some people close their eyes and get sprinkled. Others hold their noses and get dunked. Some people receive it as infants while others as adults. But however it’s done, most Christians view baptism as a sign of religious purification and consecration. Specifically, that the act represents the forgiveness of sin that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, God the Son. It’s symbolic of moving from the darkness of our sinful nature into the light of truth.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:18-20

Now this is where everything gets a bit more muddled. While some Christians practice a believers baptism where the rite is received upon a declaration of faith, others view it as an act of receiving God’s gift of grace without any necessary proactive human action, and will baptize infants and underage children of Christian parents.  Depending on in which camp you’re entrenched, chances are you’re not going to agree with the other on the process. But the end result is the same.

Many think baptisms began with that first-century, wild-haired prophet, John the Baptist, who ran around baptizing people in the Jordan River. But that would be a total misunderstanding. The Old Testament has plenty of examples of using water to move  from darkness into the light… a sign of cleansing and regeneration. Take, for example:

Genesis
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. ~Genesis 1:1-3

From darkness to light…with water in-between. Awesome.

The Flood
I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under Heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die.  But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.  ~Genesis 6:17-18

Water cleansed everything wicked but, because Noah was a righteous man, he and his family were granted a do-over.

The Exodus
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. ~Exodus 21-22

So even though the Israelites didn’t get their sandals wet, water is definitely an important part of this story. When Moses let his hand fall, water (literally) washed away the slavish chains of all the men, women and children following God’ guy. Again, water plays a part in cleansing the past of all these families on their journey to freedom.

So, getting back to our current topic…once baptized (as an infant or adult), as Christians, we should remember and practice the significance of our baptism every day by repenting (dying to our old ways) and rising up to walk in new direction.

God’s saving grace is free for those who believe, but let’s also remember we’re all people in progress. Every. Single. Day.

Linking up with ABC Wednesday