Posted in theology

Light is the cause of beauty

By Elizabeth Prata

In the beginning…what was the first thing recorded that God ‘saw’?

Light.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the watersAnd God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.(Genesis 1:1-3).

What was the first thing recorded that God said?

Light.

In my Spurgeon morning devotional, Spurgeon wrote that “Light is the cause of beauty.” Isn’t it funny when a seemingly simple phrase sends you off on a direction of deep pondering.

Light and beauty are companions. Beauty might exist, but it cannot be seen and appreciated until there is light.

God didn’t have to make the world beautiful, but He did. But if it was dark, we would never know.

In photography, there is the Golden Hour. It’s when the sun has slid down the sky to an angle where its rays that touch all things turn them gold. It happens the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. The light is special then, bathing the world in a gentle blanket of golden light.

During the Renaissance the artists discovered ways to play with light, shadow, and dark. It’s called chiaroscuro (clear-dark).

Chiaroscuro in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. The underlying principle is that solidity of form is best achieved by the light falling against it. Artists known for developing the technique include Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya. It is a mainstay of black and white and low-key photography. (Wikipedia)

The Renaissance painter Caravaggio is known for his mastery of the play of dark against light. Here is his Annunciation (1608):

We all know we can’t really have beauty if there is no light, but I had not thought about how light is the cause of beauty, as Spurgeon wrote.

The root of all this is of course Jesus. He IS the Light. (John 8:12). We cannot have anything, including beauty, unless it was made by Him, and for Him, and through Him. (1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16).

If we say “Light is the cause of beauty” then we might as well say “Jesus is the cause of beauty”, then we might as well say “Jesus IS beauty”. Since He is the root of all things, the cause of all things, and the sustainer of all things, He is light and beauty itself.

His Light will soon, on that blessed day, be the only Light.

And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5).

Imagine a world where it’s is always the Golden Hour, everything is always beautiful, and we can always gaze upon the root and cause of it all: Jesus.

Light is the cause of beauty.

Posted in encouragement, theology

The Beauty of God Reflected in Spring

By Elizabeth Prata

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wow.

‘He has made everything beautiful in its time’. Babies, like babies. If you ever gazed on a sleeping baby you have seen beauty in its time. ‘He has set eternity in our hearts’, and if you are saved by grace and faith in Jesus, then you will experience eternity with Him, in joy. If you have not accepted Jesus as your savior then respond to that eternity in your heart, you know you’re yearning, asking, seeking.

Here where I live spring is in full swing. I love the orderly change from brownish grass and leafless trees to the sudden burst of energy, color, and beauty all around. Fruit trees blossom into color, bushes, wildflowers, all showing the glory that God gave them. Birds return and sing, swoop, build, nest, and feed their babies.

God controls all of it.

blossomsmockingbird in treestar of bethlehem flower 2

birdhouse new 2.jpg

‘No one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end’. No, I can’t, and that is the beauty of it, the eternity of it. Can we fathom a God who sends His Son to be crushed for our iniquities? Can we fathom the painful anguish of a Son separated from His Father? Can we fathom the love, boundless love of a God who became Man and hung on a cross for us?

A mysterious, omnipotent God who is unfathomable yet places Himself in our hearts and makes our souls beautiful. I am glad I know Him.

Posted in picture mixture, Uncategorized

Thursday Picture Mixture: Baby elephant, Maria, Old postcards, beauty, more

Photographer Finds Locations Of 1960s Postcards To See How They Look Today, And The Difference Is Unbelievable

Not long ago an old matchbook laying on photographer Pablo Iglesias Maurer’s desk caught his eye. Or rather, it was the postcard-like picture on it, of a resort complex built in the 1960s. It got Pablo wondering how the place looked now, and the answer has led him to make an amazing photo series called Abandoned States.

I love how this series is displayed. The old postcard is shown and in that same spot the photo fades to the exact view of the scene today. It is a stark reminder to us that nothing on this earth is permanent, no matter how large, luxe, or solid it looks. The series is wistfully melancholy.

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This baby elephant runs around chasing birds. He slips and falls, and what he does next is so precious. Babies are cute, whether pachyderm or human! 25-second video.
Baby Elephant Chases Birds

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The recent quakes and quake swarms, not to mention hurricanes, remind us that the earth is under a curse. only to be lifted by its Creator, Jesus, in His timing. Below, workers race to find survivors of the 7.1 quake at Mexico City which collapsed a school. Reuters photo.
reuters mexico quake

Scientists say recent quake swarm at Rainier is rare but not unprecedented

rainer

Rescue teams take to Puerto Rico streets in darkness amid warnings that power could be out for months following devastating hit from Hurricane Maria
Below, damage on Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. Our infrastructure, including electrical power, is so tenuous. Only God is power.

 

daily mail maria damage

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And yet, amid the damage and heartache caused by a restless earth, beauty. Jesus created all the beauty we see in creation in under one week. Wow.flower

Posted in potpourri, Uncategorized

Prata Potpourri: Sin of the verbose, the problem of beauty, hermit crab insights, Sinkhole Syndrome, more

meliI’m sensitive to too much noise, especially talking. Which is funny since I make my living talking, being an ex-teacher and now a teacher’s aide teaching students in small groups. But speaking for my work is different than talking too much. I remember one of the first vocabulary words I looked up in a book I was reading in high school, The Great Gatsby. The word was was garrulous. I loved the word and I still do, though not so much the people who embody it. Garrulous means-

excessively talkative, especially on trivial matters.

This essay discusses the sin of talking too much. It is a sin to chatter incessantly. I’d already focused on the sin of gossip last week. Now we learn why just talking too much is also a sin. That old tongue, an enemy of holiness. A fool can be be recognized by his many words (Ecclesiastes 5:3). This essay delves into the sin of the verbose.

The Sin of Talking Too Much

The hard road is the application of wisdom in the restraint of the most powerful muscle in our body. That got me thinking about the dangers of talking too much. There are many and include the following

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Stephen J. Melniszyn muses on the appointment of death for all of us in his essay It Is Appointed.

Two gates. Two roads. One is described as being narrow and the way hard. The other way is wide and easy, and those that enter by it are many. There are no other roads that lead to God, it is through Jesus Christ and Him alone (John 14:6). Man will do all in his sinful nature to avoid such a truth but in the end, it can not be ignored.

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The problem of beauty is one that set me on the narrow road, to salvation. I traveling widely throughout my thirties, I saw the world in its most beautiful. From Everglades spoonbills roosting along the shoreline to Bahamian coral waving in azure sea to moonrise over the desert to towering mountains bouncing the sun of their glittering rough edges to wild waves of the north Atlantic, all slate grey foam and whirling ice…the obvious comes to mind. This didn’t all just happen. It isn’t all just an accident. No ‘Bang’ threw this into existence.

Here, Prof. Stuart Burgess muses on the witness of nature in its design, particularly, beauty. Evolution might be explained to the irrational mind through function. But it didn’t have to be beautiful, too.

Beauty—The Undeniable Witness

How did all this come to be? Understanding creation isn’t just about explaining matter or the complex moving parts of living things, but “added beauty.” Experience tells us that beauty doesn’t come by accident—it offers no obvious survival benefit, and many existing natural laws promote deterioration and decay. So what created and sustains the earth’s beauty?

And here is an example of that beauty, function, delicacy, and mystery. In this exciting 2-minute excerpt from the third season of Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, Jonathan films a hermit crab changing shells and then also transferring its anemones from one shell to the other. This is extremely rare footage of a seldom-seen behavior! It is also fascinating and thrilling to see such handiwork from God!

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Melissa Kruger writes A Back To School Prayer, from a mom, for her kids, … “I pray that their teachers would be wise and gentle.”

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Here from Ligonier, we learn the danger of the mature Christian’s erosion of spiritual disciplines, and the sinkhole that awaits him. A cautionary tale well worth reading. Spiritual Disciplines and the Sinkhole Syndrome

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I love fire and brimstone preaching. I do some fire and brimstone writing here at The End Time. Here is the story of a congregation that called for a fire-and-brimstone preacher again, and again, and again. The first two didn’t work out, like, immediately. The third lasted thirty years. Why? What made the difference?

Without skipping a beat the man said, “You are right in saying that all three were fire and brimstone preachers, but the third was the only one who actually sounded like he didn’t want us to go there.”

Find out more in the story of The Fire and Brimstone Preacher Who Succeeded

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With Labor Day behind us and a shorter week ahead of us, and (hopefully) cooler temperatures on the way, it’s a refreshing time of year. Autumn leaves, school buses on their routes, pumpkins. The Lord is in control of the seasons, and the progression of them is a mark of His hand upholding all. The march of seasons, the migration of the geese, the constellations changing position. He created it for His good pleasure. And it is beautiful.