Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday's Thought - A Great Need for Christ!

Used by Permission,
For me, this says it all-

I have a GREAT NEED for Christ;
I have a GREAT CHRIST for my need-

- Charles Spurgeon

I began my Christian walk at a very young age since my parents were Christians and active in their church it was almost like I had no other choice.  But, I did.  No matter how much my parents loved me, they cannot save me nor can they make me become a Christian or get saved. All they can do is expose me to Christianity and try to live the example- which is something they did.  

Growing up, I was a church organist where I played for many worship services, revival meetings, weddings and a few funerals.  I loved the music of the church.  I went away to a Christian college where I learned there is more to the Christian life than what I learned in the early years of life. 

While in college, I grew concerned that I wasn't really saved the first time at the age of 6, so I rededicated my life to Christ and began a new journey.

After college, I returned to the area where I grew up as I had a part-time job in my field of study and was going to work until it became a full-time one. To help a friend with the church he recently became the Pastor, I accepted the church organist position.

As I've gone through life, I can't say that I've always known that God was there at particular moments though there are plenty of them where I knew He was. However, I know with no doubt that God has always been there.  As there is no way that I could have ever planned events in my life to turn out as they did.  

My wife and I went through about an 8 year period where we cared for our parents medical care and the like. There were hospital emergencies, serious medical issues, and at least one death a year. For a while, I began thinking "who's next?"   It was the most trying time of my life and, sometimes, my marriage. However, there is no way I would ever want to go through those years without Christ in my life.  He didn't make it go away but allowed me to learn more about Him and how He cares for us.  The peace, love and comfort that passes all understanding is well beyond my comprehension and ability to even explain- but as the song goes, "I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now!"

Throughout my life, I have seen where I have needed Christ.  From just to have Him in my life- to at the controls so He is orchestrating life- not me.  I would mess things up horribly.

I am thankful for parents, family, friends, and church members who took the time to introduce me to God's Plan of Salvation- His Love for me.

Have you met God? No, I mean really met God? Not just said His Name or talked to Him when you needed something.  Have you had a serious prayer with Him about His Plans for you and about Salvation?  If not and you want to learn more, you can visit Peace With God or read through this graphic which explains the steps to Salvation and to get to know God! 

(C) Allen Pearson
I pray that you too will find God!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Timeless Thursday! The Burning Bush

"The Burning Bush!"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Several years ago now, I went to the Meadowland Botanical Gardens for a photography class with one of my favorite photographers.

As I came around the corner of the Visitor's Center to the garden area, I saw these bright colored blooms, which I later determined as berries, coming up from the snow bank.  Intrigued, as it made me think of Moses and the Burning Bush, I took a walk over to the area where this bush was growing.  It still looked like a burning bush though I have no idea what type of bush it was.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson

"Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life."

- Proverbs 4:23

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday's Thought - Valentine's Day

Used by Permission, GraphicStock

With Valentine’s Day this past week it’s a great reminder that I have been blessed with in this life is love. My parents loved me, sometimes my brother did- it depended on whatever was going on at the moment- my grandparents loved me, my aunts and uncles did too. Everyone loved me though I wasn’t always aware of that growing up- not because they didn’t express it many times over.

When I was just a young spat, back when we used stone tablets and chisels to write with, my parents and church family taught me about God’s Love for me. God loves me more than I could ever express in an article. God loves you too. It’s the greatest gift man could ever be given.

As I grew up, I began to understand, somewhat - as I am not a theologian or Bible scholar, God’s Love for me. I became a Christian at any early age and followed Him throughout my life. I am not perfect and this isn’t without many goofs on my part either. Now, some 50 years later or so, I look back and see many blessings that God provided to me over the years without my asking- it was out of His Love for me.

This doesn’t mean that I’ve had a perfect, no problem life. Quite the contrary. But, as I look back through the struggles and rough times, I can see where God directed my life in ways which were the best for me. There’s no way I could have planned my career, marriage, and other life events like God did and is still doing. I am amazed at His Love for me. You can find the same Love.

God gave his Son for us so we can have eternal life in heaven with Him. He made the ultimate sacrifice of love- giving His only Son, as written in:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
- John 3:16, (ESV)

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Christian or God's Gift of Love, please read through this graphic. 

(C) Allen Pearson
For more information, to learn even more, please visit Peace With God.

Used by Permission, GraphicStock

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Native Plants- Do They Sound Foreign?

Quercus Alba White Oak
"White Oak (Quercus Alba)"
(C) Plant NoVa Natives
Do you want to help the local wildlife but are afraid that would mean planting a scruffy garden full of strange-looking plants? Have no fear! You can create habitat using familiar plants in traditional landscaping settings.

"Mountain Laurel (Kalmia Latifolia)"
(C)  PlantNoVa Natives
Shade Trees
Planting a shade tree provides an enormous amount of habitat. The White Oak (Quercus alba) is the hands-down winner in supplying food for the caterpillars that songbirds need to feed their babies.

Covered with clusters of white and pink flowers in May, Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) will satisfy your need for old-fashioned foundation plantings.

Ornamental Trees
What could be more traditional than Virginia’s state tree? The flowering dogwood (Cornus floridus) has berries that feed the birds.

Anyone who has gardened – and anyone who has not – looks forward to the profusion of yellow flowers in late summer provided by Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida). Add garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) for that English cottage garden look. Turk’s cap lily (Lilium superbum) tops it off in this photo
"Do Native Plants Sound Foreign?"
(C) PlantNoVaNatives
Ground cover
A carpet of blue in the spring gives way to a carpet of green the rest of the year with creeping phlox (Phlox subulata).

All these gorgeous Northern Virginia native plants attract wildlife and add sound and lively movement to the visual beauty of your yard.

About The Author:
This guest post is sponsored by PlantNoVaNatives. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson

"The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God,
and I will praise him,
my father's God, 
and I will exalt him."

- Exodus 15:2, ESV

Monday, February 13, 2017

Railroad Photography: Horseshoe Curve and Norfolk Southern

"Horseshoe Curve and Norfolk Southern"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Having an artist eye, loving being outside, and add trains to it all, you've got the foundation or a start for being a Railroad Photographer. At least so I think.

I had an opportunity last October to go

The interesting part for me, is that I have tried several times to capture the huge diesel train engine in an artistic perspective without even attempting or deliberating trying to do so.  I went to Horse Curve in Altoona, Pennsylvania to watch trains, photograph a few and capture a great image of a Norfolk Southern Thoroughbred coming through.

"Horseshoe Curve and Norfolk Southern" is my attempt at capturing an artistic view of the Norfolk Southern Thoroughbred going through the mountains.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday's Thought

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

No greater gift has man ever received than the forgiveness of God.  All we have to do is ask Him, believe and accept.  

If you would like to learn more about God's Gift to you, please visit Peace With God.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Vigalence and Common Sense in Photography

"The Selfie Moment"
(C) Toni Hukkanen, UnSplashed
Did you know that photography can harm you? Maybe even cause your death? I’d not really given much thought to those direct questions until someone lost their life by taking a selfie at the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, India. It seems someone wasn’t paying attention to their surroundings and fell off a cliff. Further, you can get wrapped up in what you are doing and have an accident too.

I was surprised at this since I would think you’d look around and be familiar with your surroundings when photographing. However, I don’t usually take selfie’s and generally do not photograph humans. Whenever I have and left my camera on selfie-mode, I scared myself the next time I used the camera- so only a few selfies here and there- even at that I know what’s around me. Most of the selfies I do are when my dog is in the backseat of the car and we’re heading out.

Also, there are many factors in my life which cause me to pay attention to the surroundings and know where I am walking, where I am going, and where I went. As a nature photographer, you learn to recognize animals and how to “greet” them or not- as is the case with many animals, and you learn to watch for changes in the terrain so you don’t hurt yourself. Should you get into a situation where you need to get away or back off, as with a snake or bear, you don’t want another problem.

As a dog photographer, if I am not photographing in my outdoor studio, and am on location, I scout out any danger points near me. One of my favorite locations to photograph dogs was at the Cabbel’s Mill and Walney Nature Center along the Big Rocky Run. The only real dangers was the stream that could ruin my camera. There were a few places where I could hurt myself by falling off a steep hill but these weren’t accessible.

My point? Don't hurt yourself while photographing. Be aware of your surroundings.  Be careful when you photograph and where you go.  Be alert!


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Timeless Thursday! Icy Reflections

"Icy Reflections"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reerved
I created this image at the Walney Pond, Centreville, VA.  I was walking through the park on a cold winter day and noticed the reflections of the tree hanging over the pond in the ice.   The designs in the ice caught my attention too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson

"And my God will supply 
every need of yours 
according to his riches
in glory in Christ Jesus."

- Philippians 4:19, ESV

Monday, February 6, 2017

Photographing the Seasons! Winters Skies

"Winter's Skies"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
In the winter months, it seems the skies clear out and you can see into the incredible universe of the heavens God created.

On clear days, there's the infinite blue which has no end.   On cloudy days, there seems to be a depth in the universe as different levels of clouds pass over as shown in this photograph.

The winter is an especially great time to see the beauty of clouds and the heavens as there is no humidity which allows the beauty of the heaven's depth.

The same can be true, occasionally, in early Spring and late Fall.

The next time you go out, take your camera with you, and look up into the clouds and heavens, obviously NOT at the sun, and see the beauty of God's Heavens.  Photograph what you see.  

Just as a reminder, never ever look directly at the sun through the lens of your camera or stare at the sun with the naked eye.  Doing so, can cause blindness and other vision problems. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday's Thought

"Billy Graham"
(C) Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Used by Permission

Have You Surrendered Your Will? 
by Billy Graham

From His very birth, something about Christ inspired allegiance, loyalty and homage. Wise men brought Him gifts. Shepherds fell down and worshiped Him. And angels, knowing more than men that He was truly King, became celestial minstrels before His manger throne. Herod, realizing that there is never room for two thrones in one kingdom, sought Jesus’ life.

Does Christ reign in your heart? Is He Lord and King? Thousands of people who have their names on a church roll have never surrendered their will to Him as King. You may believe in God and the church, and even in Christ, but you have not surrendered your will to Him.

As Jesus came to the age of approximately 30 years and began His ministry, His claims upon people’s lives were absolute. He allowed no divided loyalty. He demanded and received complete adoration and devotion. Men and women left their homes, their families and their businesses, and gave themselves in complete obedience to Him. Many gave their lives, pouring out the last full measure of devotion. We cannot understand Christ until we understand that He was—and still is—King.

Dear Lord, I confess that I have sought my own way so often. I surrender to Your way and Your will now and ask You to help me follow You with full devotion. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

To learn more about God's Plan of Salvation, please visit Peace With God!

(Adapted from “The Birth of King Jesus” in the December 2016 issue of Decision magazine)

Used by permission of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Feed The Birds Day

"The Bird Feeder"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Yesterday, February 3 was "Feed The Birds Day!"  I didn't find out about it until this morning but since the idea is really relevant for any day of the winter, I wanted to share it with you.

The day was created to suggest and remind us to help the wild birds which come to your backyard every winter by feeding them. Yes, feeding them. The mid and late winter days become harder for birds to find food as their sources become scarcer and scarcer. Often, heavy snows will cover the food making it even harder.

Why not put bird feeders in your backyard to feed them?  Not only does it help the birds, but it can be a fascinating and interesting hobby.  The feeders will come in handy especially in the harsher winters.

"A Blue Bird Feeder and Blue Birds!
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Around 15 years ago, I began feeding the birds.  I started by hanging a small feeder or two on the back deck where it can be seen from inside my home.  Not long, several species of birds began feeding while I watched!  A new hobby was started.  

A few mistakes I made was buying cheap bird seed and cheap feeders without learning which works best in my area.

The location I had selected for the feeder, which was the best for it, was in a garden.  Since the birds didn't enjoy the cheap seed, much of it fell to the ground causing weeds to grow.  This became annoying as I had to constantly pull weeds. Those weeks when I didn't have time to weed, it became an awful site.

The cheap bird feeders basically broke with little use by the birds.  It wasn't like they destroyed the feeders them while eating.  Maybe an occasional squirrels would attempt to do so.  Whichever, I thought the feeders should have lasted longer. A plastic feeder can be destroyed by weather conditions too.

Slightly discouraged, I went to a local bird store and learned all I could about birds and bird feeding in my area.  I learned to have a few feeders based on the way birds in my area feed and to invest in better seed since I do not want the mess to clean up.  Further, I learned what birds are likely to be found in my area.

Keep in mind, read, learn, and learn some more! Don't go broke feeding the birds the best seed or buying the best bird feeders.  Purchase within a budget and follow it.  Often, you can research online to learn about the birds and feeding. After that, compare prices online too.

Once you start this awesome hobby, you should be sure to keep them full of seeds all of the time. When the birds find your feeder, and they have adopted you, they will become dependent upon the seeds in your feeders.  I have been known to be sure my feeders are full when I travel and to ask my dog-sitter to be sure they are filled.

Winter Bird Feeding Tip: Seeds are the best source of high energy food for wild birds. Other foods, like breads, do not contain as much energy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson
"Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the 
desires of your heart."

- Psalms 37:4, ESV