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Part two of Journeys with the Messiah by fashion photographer Michael Belk.
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Journeys with the Messiah by fashion photographer Michael Belk. For more photographs, click here!
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The Sistine Ceiling at The Sistine Chapel (1508-1512, Vatican City, Rome, Italy)
I just wanted to post some of my favorite art pieces; I really don’t want to go into detail about each one as art historian would, so I will try to simplify my writing.
When I think about the Sistine Chapel, my mind automatically goes to the ceiling that is home to “The Creation of Adam”, the infamous portrait of God extending his finger to meet Adam’s. I always imagined the force that would erupt once the two fingers touched. Although that may be the most popular there are many beautiful depictions of the bible that are featured throughout the hundreds of frescoes. Above, I’ve included some photographs that you may like to see.
Like the Pieta, I find the interior of the Sistine chapel to be another gift shared with us. Michelangelo, known as a talented sculptor, single-handedly painted the walls himself without seeking extra hands so that the entire painting looked consistent. It is beyond amazing to me. I don’t know who to thank more, Michelangelo or Pope Julius II for commissioning the work.
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[La] Pieta (pity in Italian) was created by Italian artist Michelangelo in during the High Renaissance (1498-1499, some say 1500). The marble sculpture was commissioned by ST. Peters of the French Cardinal Jean de Billheres for his tomb at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The piece depicts an intimate moment as Mary Magdalene holds her son, Jesus Christ, in her arms after his crucifixion. I remember reading that art critics pointed out that the size of a grown Jesus Christ was not in proportion to his mother’s body (his body looked significantly smaller than hers). I thought, “Who cares?”. It’s a breathtaking piece that truly shows the creativity of one individual. It brings to life a dramatic scene that has been depicted in photos and movies, but somehow this one is the favorite of many. With the obvious attention to detail and the level of skill that Pieta displays, I first fell in love with the sculpture because of the drapery of Mary’s dress. It seemed life-like and difficult to master with marble…and he was only 23 years of age.
Does this seem like a stupid question?
Before you go into bible scriptures, think about it.
The thing that we can agree on is that God sees all. When we as humans judge a person for their actions, He knows every single moment of their lives, how they feel, and why they are the way they are. That’s why He has the outstanding ability to forgive us of our sins.
Now, what about the future of society? What if religion does not exist? Will God condemn those who do not know Him to Hell? It’s not exactly their fault. Although it seems impossible, the government may be forced to prohibit the discussions of testy subjects like religion because it always causes unnecessary tensions and fighting amongst passionate believers. More importantly, would those bold believes be subject to what the Japanese call Izamae, or a collective and powerful disapproval that leads to a solid ignoring of a person’s existence, if they decided to spread God’s word?
God knows what actions to take with his children, but I really do wonder how He will handle the people of future generations who may have no idea who he is because He was never mentioned.
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“You can’t change a person’s actions but you can change how you react.”
We all have that one thing that someone can say or do that sends us over the edge. My biggest pet peeves are spreading gossip out of malice, selfishness, and a lack of self-control. Up until recently, I truly believed that I had built a tolerance these. Before I couldn’t even be around anyone who gossips, acts selfish, or cannot control his or herself without becoming agitated, but now I can without a hint of a negative reaction.
I usually ignore the conversations that steer towards gossip and walk away from situations that could easily turn into altercations. I don’t even mean altercations that I could become involved in, but just witnessing it bothers me. As I child, I knew a person who embodies my annoyances, and as an adult no one ever confronted her for her behavior. Now, she is even older and still carrying herself in that manner. I can’t even be around her for long periods of time.
Knowing this, my mother told me to write letters to her to release the pent up frustration. It worked for me for a while and I even thought that my pet peeves were no longer pet peeves. That was until evil reared its ugly head once again (I had to be around her again).
Are you thinking that I should have just pulled her aside and talked about it? Yeah, you must have missed the lack of self-control part. If you try to talk to her, she will react negatively and interrupt you every time you open your mouth. After that, it will quickly escalate to cuss words and a lack of personal space. It doesn’t matter if it is an adult or child, she will talk to you in that manner. I’ve witnessed it and been on the receiving end myself as a child. The most frustrating part is she brings it up years later and reminisces and laughs about it. Of course, this is because she has never been told that she was wrong. Imagine that, an adult bragging about verbally abusing a child or carrying herself in a classless manner in public.
I was always left wondering how I can forgive someone for their imperfections when they continue to do the same things that bother me -but I have not failed to make them aware of my feelings. Some people do not realize how destructive their words and actions can be towards other people’s live, or maybe they simply do not care at all. Sad, I know. In this particular situation, she does not care.
Feeling frustrated, I talked to my grandmother about it and her words weighed heavily on my mind: “Forgive them without an apology, and then go to God. He will handle it.” I have never thought to go to God because I had such negative feelings towards the person that I believed that may be I was the one wrong for feelings this way, that I may have been nitpicking. You know that saying, “Once you start to dislike someone, everything they do begins to annoy you.” Then I talked to other people who knew her and they felt the same exact way. The only reason that someone has never said anything to her is because she is so verbally abusive.
I always envisioned moving far away to not be around her anymore. I would send her my letter upon my departure and no longer care about her actions, or whether she read the entire letter or threw it away after the first sentence. As of right now, I want her to read it so that she knows the effects of her actions. She’s never cared about it then questions why she experiences Hell in her life right now.
I firmly believe that someone shouldn’t have to build a tolerance around someone whom he or she dislikes just to keep the peace, especially when you feel like it’s eating inside of you. Sometimes, we just have to go to God and ask for some sort of change. The hurt should never feel guilty about their feelings when those who hurt them could care less about their actions.
Write a letter. Send an e-mail. Schedule a meeting. Move away.
No matter how you choose to handle the situation, remember to forgive and then let God handle the rest. You will feel much better no matter the outcome.
The Lord will provide not for all our wants but for the things he believes we need.
I have definitely fell victim to the ‘woe is me’ pity party. I had thoughts that God was directly punishing me for other people’s mistakes. It felt like no matter how hard I tried there was a hurdle waiting around the corner to destroy everything that I had worked hard for.
I grew bitter. There was no way that struggle was supposed to last this long. I would sit around thinking “You know I could go out and sin, but instead I come to you.” It was disheartening. All He had to do was let things work in my favor and I could the rest. I liked working hard so I asked very little of him.
Well, God doesn’t work that way. He wants you to depend on him. All I had to do was pray and listen more.
My issue was that it seemed like the more I prayed, the more lost I became. I didn’t know when an opportunity came whether it was a blessing, a test, or a warning. That’s the hardest part about prayer, you have no idea what opportunities to avoid and which ones to take advantage of.
When I was younger it was difficult to believe that there was a loving God when he dragged me through Hell sometimes. I hated the fact that there was always a response to my complaints: “It may be a test”; “Give him time”; “the struggle will make you stronger”; “It may not be meant to be”. It was hard to hear. All I wanted was a definite answer. I wasn’t learning anything, but to do things on my own without needing to ask God.
It’s frustrating because we really don’t know which door God wants us to open for each situation. We just have to assume that the struggle in pursuing something mean either “yes, try harder” or “no, there’s something better for you”; a hurdle signifies a test or the lesson of patience, and excellence means yes it’s meant to be for now at least.
We are strategically built by God to be able to acquire the knowledge, experience, and strength to succeed in all that we are intended to do. Sometimes the struggle foreshadows an even greater reward. We just have to remember that something is in store for us all.
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God continued to be faithful in the midst of our messes.