3.26.2008

The Bible

Thank you, Anonymous, for your reply! I'd be more than happy to answer any other questions you have. I've been enjoying our conversation and hope it continues.

I believe in the Bible more than I believe in any other thing on this earth (Excluding God, of course, because He wrote it!). His Word is perfect, and I know this to be true. I go to it when I am hurting, when I am rejoicing, when I am confused. It truly does have all of the answers. I love it so dearly.

I am not perfect. I make so many mistakes. I do wrong things every day and make bad choices. But by the grace and strength of God, I get up again and fight harder to be more like Him. To imitate Him and do what He says is right. It's hard. It truly is. But knowing that I'm pleasing Him, and even moreso, knowing that I get to spend eternity with Him is so worth it! Christ and His Word-- they are worth it all. I would live my life and give my life for them. And I do try to live my life for Him. And like I said, I make numerous mistakes. We all do. It's apart of the fall (Check out the book of Genesis to see exactly what I mean! Here's a link that explains the fall of man and it's effects, but reading the beginning of Genesis really helps one to understand.)

You know, I've had the same questions you've been asking me. I've asked myself if God really exists, if the Bible really is true, and countless others. But then I go back to His Word, and I see once again, that He is real! And the Bible is true! There is no way it couldn't be.

I don't know if you've read any other parts of my blog. If you have, then you know what an incredibly hard time I'm going through. I was ripped away from my all of my friends and being in the place I love more than so many other things. If I didn't have God or His Word, I'd be in a terrible state. I'd feel hopeless because I had nothing to hope for. I'd be depressed because in my eyes, Id have no reason to have joy. I'd have no reason to live, because my reason to do so before was taken away. But because of God, I have hope!

Anonymous, do you know where you'll go when you die? Heaven? Or Hell? Are you good enough to get into Heaven? To be in the presence of a perfect and righteous God?

Before you misunderstand me, I'm not saying I am. No, I am most certainly not deserving of God or being with Him! But for some reason, He loved me and died for me. I cannot know exactly why! But He did. He payed the price, the cost that I should have payed. I shouldn't even be here today. I deserve to be suffering in Hell. But for whatever reason, He loved me. And because I believe in Him (not only in the sense of merely acknowledging Him, but truly desiring to be like Him and live for Him, etc.) I have hope that I'm going to be with Him! I have joy and peace in knowing Him.

Even when I don't understand why God does what He does, I can know that He's doing it for a reason that is perfect. I can know that in the end, He will be glorified. I live for Him because He died for me.

3.25.2008

God

I got a very interesting comment just now:

Anonymous said...
" 'I'm not very good, but I have confidence that I can learn more with the grace of God. '

I have to disappoint you in this.. If you wait for God to make your pictures better, you'll have to wait for ever..Face the truth and live for yourself, not for a non-existing thing."

Oh Anonymous, how I wish I could talk to you in real life! What I'm about to say I don't mean harshly.

1 Corinthians 15:3-7- For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

I know God exists. I see Him all around me-- in the way the sun shines, in how He works through my life every day. I'm not merely waiting for Him to suddenly make me a pro-photographer. I'm working at it, but by His strength. This is the truth. His is as real as you and I and even though we can't physically see Him, we both know that He exists. I believe in love, even if I can't see if or feel it. I know it's there. I believe that the sun exists, even if it's hidden by clouds. And I believe in God, even if I can't see His face. I know I will someday.

God is creator of all.
Genesis 1:1- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God is holy.
1 Peter 1:16- For it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

God is the one and only God.
1 Timothy 1:17- Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Man is sinful.
Romans 3:23- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Man is not holy.
1 John 1:8- If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Man is without excuse.
Romans 1:20- For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Man is doomed to an eternity in hell.
Romans 6:23a- For the wages of sin is death.

Jesus is God.
Colossians 1:15- He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Jesus is perfectly sinless.
Hebrews 4:15- For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Jesus died for our sins.
John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jeus rose from the dead.
Luke 24:5-7- In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' "

Man needs to repent.
1 John 1:9- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

If man repents, has faith, and believes, he (or she!) will be with God for eternity!
Romans 6:23b- The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Oh Anonymous, I am praying for you!


Do Hard Things - Amazon Book Bomb



Go pre-order your copy of Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations!

Written by Alex and Brett Harris, this book carries a message the teenagers of this generation desperately need to hear. I ordered my copy today. The goal is to spread the message further by getting it as high as we can on Amazon's Top 100. It's currently #25!

Soli Deo Gloria!

~~Bethany

3.22.2008

Pre-Easter Thoughts


Ageless Beauty
Originally uploaded by Bethany Mae Photography
Tomorrow is Easter. I won't be at PBC. The thought makes me sick to the stomach, really. My first Sunday away from it. The Lord knows best.

I've heard mixed things about the church we're visiting tomorrow. They have a youth group. I'm so thankful that He is strong when I am weak and frail. I mean, tomorrow I will meet a whole new group of people. I'll have to try and make a good yet sincere impression upon them. Somehow, I'll have to try and rejoice.

I am so thankful for my dear sisters--and brothers--in Christ.

Today I went to a party. I was afraid things might be different; awkaward. At first, they were slightly so. But as the afternoon wore on, things went back to what the used be before I left. It was a sweet time for me. Seeing friends felt so normal to me. Like the way things used to be, and that was sooooo nice. Aftwerward, Abi and I hung out for a bit. I loved that. She is so wise and so sweet.

I was reminded today that what we struggle with pales in comparison to what Christ suffered on the cross. The things that hurt me cannot possibly be as painful and crushing as what hurt Him.

I'll admit, I haven't taken time to truly contemplate the Cross since the summer. Not once have I sat down and thought about it deeply. No, my mind has been quite clouded. Perhaps I will now.

Jesus was perfect. He never made a mistake. He is God. The Creator of the universe. He spoke it all into existence. He created Pilate, Peter, Judas, and all those who betrayed Him on that night. He watched, knowing their hearts and minds. Many of those who shouted, "Crucify Him!" on that night had heard Him teach before. And as Romans 1 says, all men are born with some knowledge of God. They knew. And still they crucified Him. They beat Him with a whip on which shards of bone, clay, and rock were strung. His back was covered in blood. And all the while, He knew. 3 nails were shoved into His body-- one through each hand and one through His feet. We think paper cuts are painful. Multiply a paper cut a million times and that still pales in comparison to what He felt physically, and likely emotionally too. He was humiliated as His garments were sold to mockers. He was humiliated as a crown of thorns was pierced into His head and blood streamed down His face. (Is this how I treat Him?) He was humiliated as a sign mockingly proclaimed Him as the King of the Jews. He was humiliated as mockers served Him sour wine on a sponge. (Is this what I do with my life?) Then He said, "It is finished." And it was.

I put Him on that cross. It was for my sin, and for my justification. i deserve to be there. I deserve to feel the pain and rejection and hurt He felt. I put my own Savior on that tree. I put Him there.

His bones were not broken, as would have happened to any other. Instead, His side was pierced. And out of it poured water. Then, Joeseph of Arimathea came to take Jesus' body away. He was placed in a borrowed tomb--not even His own--and laid there for three days.

To be continued.

3.07.2008

Wyoming

http://www.hslda.org/docs/link.asp?URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Esfgate%2Ecom%2Fcgi%2Dbin%2Farticle%2Ecgi%3Ff%3D%2Fc%2Fa%2F2008%2F03%2F07%2FMNJDVF0F1%2EDTL

Wyoming is looking better and better every day! California's legislature stinks. I'm really disappointed, but I'm trusting that God is sovereign, even over this state. He can still great, incredible things!

Besides-- if I just *happen* to not show up to the public high school every day, what will they do? Use a taizer on me? Force me ot listen to polka in a dark room?

3.06.2008

Ramblings

I stared at her picture. What did I see? Sincerity. A genuine love for God and love for others. A beautiful smile. Trustworthiness. Gentleness. Joy. Contentment. Kindness. A good friend. An amazing rolemodel. Wisdom. A desire to be there for others, and the ability to do so. An understanding heart. Purity.

And as I stared at this picture, I prayed, "God, please make me like her!" But then I realized that no, I should be wanting to be like Him. So often to I become consumed with myself and the things of the world. Then I come to face with someone so wonderful as this girl. I compare myself to her and see very, very little in common. Then I compare myself to Christ. And I cannot even be compared. I am not like Him. No one is. In the words of my dear friend LooLoo, "DOUBLE WHAMMY!"

Hm. Suppose I were like this girl. Would I say that? Would I be the epitomy of proud and say, "Yes, I am most like her! In fact, I top her in this, this, oh, and this too." I hope not.

Perhaps, I study people too much. Perhaps I study their behavior, how they speak, what they do. Perhaps, instead, I should be studying Christ-- His behavior, how He spoke (and still speaks through His Word), and what He did. We are all sinners. He is the one worth imitating. Then again, it isn't wrong to imitate a human. If I choose to do so, it should be because they are imitataing Christ.

So, yeah.

3.05.2008

Sweet Words

Last Valentine's Day, Alex and Brett Harris opened up the Modesty Survey. Here are some of my favorite replies to the question, "If you could say one thing to your sisters in Christ about modesty, what would it be?" and, "What is the primary difference between something that is attractive and something that is immodest?"

Age 18
Sisters in Christ, we men in society have miserably failed at appreciating true womanhood. On behalf of every man out there who has painted a distorted picture in your life of what a real woman is, especially along the lines of modesty, I apologize deeply. There are many Godly men out there, as I'm sure this survey will prove, that are dying to give you their utmost respect when you choose to follow God's leading in this area of modesty in your life. We back you up all the way and want to do anything we can to help you. And we ask that you do all you can to help us as we struggle through this world of sin together.


Age 20
If I could only persuade you of one thing, it would be that God's ways are best. Our heavenly Father has our welfare in mind, and His commandments are not burdensome. Obedience is rarely easy (we men have our own battles to fight), but it is always blessed. I am convinced that a young woman who submits her heart to God in this area will experience blessing as a result. After reading this survey, some may decide to pursue modesty quite grudgingly, in order to avoid causing their brothers to stumble, but viewing it as a great personal sacrifice nonetheless. I can only hope that this is not how it is perceived by most of you. I hope you understand the value and significance of true modesty. And I hope you will not trade that blessing for a mess of pottage.


Age 16
Please don’t take modesty lightly. As your brother in Christ I value the relationship that I will have with my wife someday. When I am tempted because of you I lose a part of myself that I am trying to save for her. When I’m tempted because of you I become that much more accepting of the perversions in the world. When you remain pure and modest, my life is made so much easier. Instead of watching to ensure that I don’t sin I can focus on you as a person and fellow follower of Christ. I appreciate modesty more than you’ll ever know. Please, show respect of yourself and of me and be modest.


Age 17
Dearest sister: God made you a thing of beauty. A thing to be admired and respected. When you dress or act in a way that draws attention to your body, you make it easy for the guys around you to reduce you to the level of a disgusting toy - using you to mentally satisfy their fantasies. They stop thinking about your Godly qualities and immerse themselves in sinful thought. By dressing and acting modestly, you draw attention to your face instead of your body. Your body may be alluring, but your face - those deep, mysterious eyes and smiling mouth - is infinitely more beautiful than any amount of revealing dress. Would you rather be the tool by which guys satisfy themselves or the beautiful thing God created you to be, pure for your husband? My flesh prefers the former, but my heart pleads for the latter.


Age 16
As a Christian guy, modesty is SO attractive. I don't mean attractive in a lustful way, but that to see a girl living out God's standards in her life really is beautiful. And you have no idea just how much you would be helping your Christian brothers by being modest. We're not trying to blame you for our impurity, that's between us and God, but you can do so much to encourage and help us in our battle by being modest.


Age 26
Modesty is extremely attractive in a pure and holy way. Beauty is fleeting. Inner purity is gorgeous! Guard your intimacy with God. If you can't do something in the Holy of holies, don't do it at all. Eternity is a long time. Spend it with Jesus. Start now, if you haven't already. If you're intimate with God it shows. Intimacy with God is the most attractive thing in a woman. Purity and holiness is beautiful. Impurity taints a womans outer beauty. Purposefully or willingly sinning is not forgivable. Don't play with that. Eternity is a long time. Get plugged in to a local healthy growing church, if you're not yet. Fall deeply and madly in love with your Maker. Love God. Love people. Devour the Word of God. Hunger and thirst for righteousness, and you will be filled. (Matthew 5) Those who do righteousness are righteous.(1 John 3:7) Those who do righteousness are born of God. (1 John 2:29) Prayer is for intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is the very essence and breath of life.


Age 24
An attractive lady is one who has a pure heart toward God. She seeks God with all her heart and does not worry about attracting guys. She has an attitude of contentment with a gentle and quiet spirit. That attitude leads to dressing modestly. One's dress is just an outward manifestation of one's heart. An immodest lady is loud, proud, and dresses in a way that communicates such an attitude. She may be hurting or unsure of herself, but by dressing immodestly, she communicates that she is unsure of who she in in Christ.

Age 18
Girls, put modesty above "attractiveness" and you will find that guys will truly be attracted to YOU instead of your short skirt. Also, the type of guys that will be attracted to you will be different; they will tend to be the type of guys who notice that you are making an effort to care for them. They will tend to be the guys that put striving for godliness above personal lusts. One last encouragement, find like-minded friends! That has been the greatest encouragement as I have made changes, striving for godliness. Many a time is has been said that you can judge a person by their friends. That is completely true. Pick your friends wisely!


Age 19
Inward beauty, and your love for God is attractive. God designed guys to be attracted to outward beauty. The question is, how can we be attracted in a non-lustful way? I think this happens when your love for God is so clearly evident that His radiance shines through you. This is very attractive, and by all means not immodest. Wearing nice or stylish clothing is fine too, but you must be careful to not let your heart slip from honoring God to trying to honor yourself.


When I read the words these young men have written about beauty and purity and modesty, and the kind of woman that represents them, all I can think is, "That is who I want to be!" I want Him to radiate through me. When people meet me, I want them to see God. I want them to see His character and truth and a picture of what Biblical womanhood is.

I think of two young women I know. They are so outwardly beautiful! Their dress is modest and feminine. But what is even more beautiful, is their devotion to Christ. It is their love for Him and for being like Him. My prayer is that I would be like them, and more importantly, that I would be like Christ.

Bethany

3.03.2008

Changes

This blog is now called Bethany Mae Photography.

I have finally decided to name my collection. I call it "collection" because it is not actually a business yet. Someday, perhaps. If you ever want anything photographed, email me and I'd love to discuss it with you.

Check out my Flickr to see more shots I've taken. I'm working on watermarking and re-editing the best ones. I'd love any feedback.

The reason I haven't posted any photos recently is because we have no batteries for the camera I prefer to use. Sorry about that!

Bethany