Word and Water

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The light shines on the water.

The Spirit of God hovered over the waters at both creations: in the beginning (Genesis 1:2) and at Jesus’s baptism (Matthew 3:16).  God cleanses and recreates through the washing of baptism.  Simple water does not do this, but rather God’s word added to the water.  Jesus is the Word of God, and He went into the water to be baptized.

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“Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water included in God’s command and connected with God’s Word.”  Baptism “works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.”  “Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Mark, ‘Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”  (Mark 16:16).

— Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.

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At the Holy Family Shrine in Nebraska a channel of water leads to the sanctuary.  This water symbolizes baptism which saves us.  In baptism, God puts his name on us, adopts us, and makes us part of his family.  We become his, and come under his protection, he brings us into his sanctuary.  Through baptism God works faith in our hearts.

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For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.  Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ

— 1 Peter 3:18-22, ESV.
Emphasis added.

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Test Shots New Camera G7X Mark II

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Recently, God blessed me with a new camera, a Canon G7X Mark II, so I took it out to High Cliff State Park for a few test shots.

In the above shot, most of the trees are bare, but it still has nice color because of the leaves on the ground and the golden light of the sun setting over Lake Winnebago.  I appreciate the detail and sharpness of the bare trees.

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Here, I like the subtlety of color on the horizon and the wide dynamic range on the trees and leaves.

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This picture seems like it could have been better.  Maybe I got there too late to see the leaves lit up by sun rays.  At full size, it doesn’t look too bad though.

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The G7X has a relatively large sensor and a lens with a relatively wide aperture, so it captures low light scenes fairly well for a small compact camera.  All the pictures in this post were taken with the camera hand held (no tripod) and the jpeg files are straight out of the camera (no post processing).

It is rare for any of my pictures to see Photoshop or any editing program.  Although, maybe I should do more cropping and leveling of my horizons.

I took a hand-held sample video down by the lake shore, and uploaded it to YouTube.  Unfortunately, every video I upload looks crummy: the images are not sharp and the colors are washed out.  (I assume it has something to do with YouTube’s compression algorithms).  Even though the colors are washed out, the static noise in the video sounds accurate.

I thought it would be nice to record the gently lapping water and the occasional distant call of a bird of prey.  But in the video one has to strain to hear anything over the static.

Audible static noise in every video is an unfortunate and disappointing problem with the G7X Mark II.  The audio quality in its videos is poor.  My old G12 which cost less than the G7X Mark II had much better audio and much cleaner audio.

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The sun sets over Lake Winnebago.  I try hard to keep my camera level when taking pictures of flat horizons.  It’s not easy when standing on wet rocks.

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The G7X Mark II has a view screen that can flip back 180° so you can take a picture of yourself, if you wish.  So I did.  The sun was right below the horizon, and its light was rosy.

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The flip screen also helps to take pictures from lower angles.  Without the tilt screen, I would have had to lay in the water to get this photograph.

After that shot, I hiked up to the top of the first cliff.

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This last picture is of the half moon rising over the sunset.  The moon (in the upper left corner) is very far away, and therefore a little out of focus.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Only God Can Heal

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“‘If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’  (Matthew 7:7-11)…

“For this reason have we who are evil a good Father, so that we may not always continue evil.  No evil person can make another person good.  If no evil person can make another good, how can an evil person make himself good?  Only our Father, who is good eternally, can make of an evil person a good person.

“‘Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved.’  (Jeremiah 17:14).”

— St. Augustine,
Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament, 11.2,
as quoted in A Year with the Church Fathers, CPH 2011, page 313.

The End of My Canon G12

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Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Boyd Lake State Park in Colorado.

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I got up at about 6 am to see the sunrise.  It looked like it might be a beautiful sunrise, so I walked down to the water with my trusted and beloved Canon G12 camera.

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A crane and some ducks foraged for breakfast.

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As I approached the water, the fowl moved off to the side in the bluer areas of the scene.

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The sky toward the sun started out very red with a hint of purple in the clouds.

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Down by the water’s edge, the whole scene was filled with light and color.  Little by little the light shifted from red to orange.

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The blues away from the sun made a beautiful contrast.

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The colors constantly turned and changed as the sky brightened into brilliant orange.  (Some of these photos are best viewed by clicking on them, and viewing a larger size).

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Some of the best sunrises and sunsets are when the sun shines underneath cloud cover causing the clouds to reflect back the light from the sun.  In this case, the clouds reflected the sun, and the water reflected the clouds.  This effect doubled the light.

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This wide angle shot pulled back from the lake to show the full pallet of color.  The sun is just starting to appear, and the colors are retreating.  Please notice the magenta just to the right of the main sunrise.  I tried to capture that color, but failed because my camera malfunctioned on those pictures.

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At this point, most of the pictures were horribly overexposed due to what I think may have been a malfunctioning computer or shutter.  This one turned out okay.

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The light receded off the water even further.

After the above photo, it was clear that something was terribly wrong, and it wasn’t going to fix itself.  I kept snapping photos, but they were all white and covered in lines.  That magenta color would never get its own shot.  Eventually, I would get one last photo:

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The very last photo.

Then the sun rose above the clouds, and the colors faded to gray.  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21, ESV).

And now a moment of photographic silence in honor of my departed G12.

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A Slice of Heaven

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Hartman Creek near Waupaca, Wisconsin

There is something quite beautiful about the way the pine needles shimmer in the late afternoon summer sun (that I’ve never been able to capture with a camera).  This place seems to me like a slice of heaven.

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Mist from campfire smoke and water vapor.

Even tainted by sin, God’s creation remains wondrous.  But the greatest beauty of all is God’s mercy in Christ.  In him all things will be made new.

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Mist on the creek.

Christ is much more than just a slice of heaven.  He is life itself.  (John 14:6).

God’s blessings to you.

Dreamy Hartman Creek

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These pictures are from a hike in Hartman Creek State Park near Waupaca, WI.

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Fishing is popular in this area.  Two canines helped in this photo.

Is the word “canine” related to “Canaanite”?  A Canaanite woman came to Jesus, and cried, “Lord, help me.”  And Jesus answered,

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith!  Be it done for you as you desire.”  And her daughter was healed instantly.

— Matthew 15:25-28, ESV.

Just wondering about the etymology and God’s grace.

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The sun came out after after a rain shower.  Back-light illumination is one of my favorite ways to photograph vegetation.

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Rain fell as mist floated across the water.

Hartman Creek is one of my favorite places to go mountain biking.  It has an extensive single-track and double-track trail system.  However, I generally do not take pictures while mountain biking, opting instead to enjoy the sights and scents without electronics.

God’s blessings to you.

Epiphany: Jesus’ Baptism

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Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water …”

— John 4:13-15, ESV.

The water that wells up to eternal life is baptism.  Baptism is living water made alive by the word of God.  And through this water Christ grants his eternal life and righteousness to all who believe.

One of the first celebrations of Epiphany is of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

In order to fulfill all righteousness, he took our place.  He submitted to John’s baptism in the Jordan river.  John’s baptism was for repentance, and in this way Jesus took our sin, and identified completely with us sinners.  He began his ministry by taking our place, and becoming our substitute.  He became the Lamb of God.  (Genesis 2:8).

When we were baptized, the water washed our sins away.  When Jesus was baptized, he accepted our sins from the water as his own.  John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1:29, ESV).

To Jordan’s river came our Lord,
The Christ, whom heavenly hosts adored,
The God from God, The Light from Light,
The Lord of glory, power, and might.

The Savior came to be baptized
The Son of God in flesh disguised
To stand beneath the Father’s will
And all His righteousness fulfill.

Then from God’s throne with thunderous sound
Came God’s own voice with words profound:
“This is My Son,” was His decree,
“The one I love, who pleases Me.”

The Father’s word, the Spirit’s flight
Anointed Christ in glorious sight
As God’s own choice, from Adam’s fall
To save the world and free us all.

— “To Jordan’s River Came Our Lord,” LSB 405:1-2, 4-5.

Blessed Epiphany.

The Kingdoms of the World

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The kingdoms of the world have their day.  Like the flowers of the field they have their Summer of splendor.

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But compared to the eternal kingdom of heaven, they are little more than sand castles.

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And like all the treasures of this world, they too shall pass away.

Kingdoms come and go, and most are not even remembered.

There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.

— Ecclesiastes 1:11, ESV.

Time marches on.

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Only one kingdom will endure forever, and that kingdom will not be built by human hands.  (Daniel 2:34, 44-45).  Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matthew 6:19-21, ESV).

Build on the Rock.  (Matthew 7:24-27).  Trust what will last.  Hope in the Eternal.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare to make no other claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

— “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less,” CW 382:1.

Blessed Labor Day

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True rest comes from the Lord.

On the seventh day, God rested from all his works.  (Genesis 2:2).  This is the Sabbath day of rest.

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”  (Hebrews 4:9-10, ESV).

May we rest from our works, and enter God’s rest.  “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works …  For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:8-10, HCSB).

Blessed Labor Day!

A Hike in the Mountains

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“From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work…”

All the quotes are from Psalm 104, ESV.

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“The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted…”

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“The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers…”

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“O Lord, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom have you made them all…”

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!”

The pictures in this post were taken on the Ypsilon Lawn Lake Trail in the Rocky Mountains, at an elevation of about 9,200 feet.

The Scriptures are from Psalm 104 verses: 13, 16, 18, 24, & 35, ESV.