Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Aperture -By Abraham

What’s up? How are things? This might sound cliché but I really am interested in your story. As different as you and I may be, we share a common human nature out of which we struggle with similar issues. Even though you don’t know me, I can sincerely say I care about you. That’s why I’m writing this. I do not have a secret agenda or ulterior motives.

I have had the privilege of traveling extensively throughout these 50 states and also to over 55 countries. In my 32 years on this earth, I have touched and been touched by the great suffering of this world.

As a photographer, the magnificent beauty of nature has always been there for me. It has been like a close friend in my travels.

I have climbed the highest mountains in the Rockies, Andes, and Alps. I saw in Chile, a night sky so full of stars, I was speechless. Rushing rivers in Montana and fall colored leaves in Japan fill the library of my mind with breathtaking images. This may come across as a bit ‘loopy’ to some, but trust me, I am not a weird tree huggin’ hippie.

To sit quietly is an artful skill that I have had to learn for photography. Yet more importantly, for life. It might sound easy, but as you may also know, it is not.

There are many fears, thoughts, pressures, and feelings that consume our consciousness and run on and on in our minds. Try, just for a minute, to let it all go. Where does your mind take you? Can you be completely still?

We are like lost orphans, searching for our unique identity. We long for a purpose.
Most invest their money, time and energy into chasing a career. They hope to find the happiness that supposedly awaits them at “the top”. I myself have actually been there.

I worked extremely hard to attain a position of great wealth and prestige. Without a diploma, degree or any experience, I reached the height of what this world has to offer. I had a career that paid over $100K a year. I had full union health benefits, open schedule and the sky as the limit. I had perfect credit and could have bought a house, sports car or whatever my heart desired. I was surrounded by high-class men and women whom I had ‘in my pocket’. The truth is, that beneath it all, is NOTHING! Absolutely nothing. External things cannot touch the deep and painful void within. Beyond outward appearances, the lingering vexation of an unsatisfied soul remains. It is a vicious cycle of wanting and getting but never being content.

I came to realize that I would far rather have Someone Who offers everything than “everything” that offers nothing (Mk. 8:34) 

God says that His creation “speaks” loudly of His intricate ways and unseen glory (Rm.10:18). They display the very attributes of His character, understanding, and love (Ps. 19: 1/ Rm. 1:19). Some may only see the outward beauty of creation, but to the trained eye, who would look a little deeper, there awaits a special reward; a divine mystery, if you will.

Long ago, there was a man who found something that changed history (Rom. 4:1). He looked upon the same things that you and I see, but he saw the unseen; something beyond. One night, Abraham walked out of his tent and beheld the stars. He looked with such a heart that he knew and believed there was a God and that this God was good (Heb.11:6).

Abraham stilled himself to hear God speak directly to him, not with a booming voice, but through the pure simplicity of his faith(Rm.10:17). Men have made God to be complicated. But it is this simple faith that later becomes the bedrock of the New Testament plan for redemption (Gen. 15/ Gal. 3:6ff/Rom.4).

God is not what men say or think. He is Who He has revealed Himself to be. He is not a system but a Father. He knows your secrets and still loves you. No matter what you’ve done or how many times you’ve done them, He forgives you and yearns to help you (Jer. 31:20).

To be skeptical when considering God is natural. But to be cynical is to do yourself great harm.
We live in a culture that is plagued with endless religions and “churches”. After seeing the hypocrisy, many rightly become critical but never end up seeking the truth of Jesus on their own. They instead develop their “own beliefs”. This inadvertently puts them in the same place of hypocrisy and emptiness (Mk.7:6/Mt.23). God does not want you to go to a building, pay a tithe or repeat a prayer. But neither does He want you to live in a wishy-washy “blind faith” of guessing (Jn. 4:24/ Acts 17:24). He will give you clear and logical understanding in His Word.

When Jesus came to earth, He revealed that to receive Eternal Life is not about what you have to do, but Who you must come to know (Jn.17:3). He fulfilled all the legal requirements of His Father. So now a “contrite heart” of faith, in the Person of the living Jesus, is what God requires (Ps.51:17).
This is not a passive “accept Christ into your life” prayer formula. It is the complete and absolute surrender of your will into the hands of a loving Father (Mk. 8:34 / Jn. 12:24 / Gal.2:20).  I have personally come to discover that faith is neither lazy acquiescence nor continually striving to try to be “right”. Rather, it is an active choice to know and love Jesus through the Scriptures, not based on what I think or feel.

God is not waiting for you to become a “better person”. He will make you NEW. Ask Jesus to be born again and to save you from the justice of hell. Salvation is all that matters  (Jn 3:3).
Jesus promises to teach you through His Holy Spirit (Mt. 11:28/Jn. 14:26/1 Jn. 2:27).  Begin to study the New Testament. Choose to get alone to think and contemplate the Word of God (Lam.3:28 /Lk.14:26).

At the age of seven, I was baptized in a lake in Prague, Czech. When I was 18, I sat by myself and solidified that commitment to Jesus. Not based on emotions or feelings, but faith. I made a calculated choice. I did not yet understand many things, but I knew I did not want to face this world on my own.

Today, I am so grateful for years of profound joy and purpose that have since followed (Lk. 14:26).
We’ve all heard the verse “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:17). But how do we really grasp and access such strength? More often than not, we feel weak and incapable, like we were set up to fail. I’ve learned the hard way that ego is a false strength. Although it causes your flesh to thrive; it will cause your spirit to die (Rm. 8:6).

Being created in the image of God, you a have phenomenal potential to do amazing things. But this ability has been corrupted by pride and self. It can now only be accessed in being broken. It is in dying to self that we begin to live (Jn. 12:24/Rm. 6:8).

True strength is in the relinquishing of our will, not to the world, but to the living Jesus. Only then can we discover who we were made to be.

Being the oldest boy in a large family, there has always been much need for finances as we travel. But as a young man who had no formal education and no skills whatsoever, I saw myself as extremely inadequate and often quite worthless.

With a first job in a mouse costume at Chuck E. Cheese, little could I have imagined how the ways of His Spirit could equip and teach me; to become a professional welder at $80 an hour, to build out three semi-trucks for us to use as we travel, to learn the mechanics of cars, motorcycles, RV’s, and electronic equipment, to become a 2nd degree black belt, to lift weights with a bench press of 385 lbs, to teach my siblings music, dance and rhythm, to enter the culinary world at the highest level of celebrity fine dining in Las Vegas, to maneuver through countless airports, times-zones, languages, currencies, and cultures, as well as driving tens of thousands of miles on precarious third-world roads.

I could name many more areas, but all of them are merely a means to the end of preaching the gospel of Jesus to prisoners, orphans, homeless and the lost. I don’t say these things to brag, because riddled amongst them are countless, humongous failures. I only share this to show His help is not only spiritual but totally practical. I am a witness that you can learn from an unseen God and that His strength will meet you right where you’re at ( Matt. 11:28 / 2 Cor. 12:9).
Humility is the greatest tool to learn all things. To say “I don’t know” instead of “I already know” will change your entire life (Ps.51:17/Is. 66:2/ Jam. 4:8).

My friend, don’t look to this world to find your place. God wants to give you a purpose and use your life powerfully. I tell you that my life in Jesus is far more than I could have dreamed or am worthy to be given. There is no greater happiness than to lay down your life and love others with His life (Jn.15:13). I beckon you to come and discover the joy of falling under the sovereignty of a kind Father.

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Accurate, first hand information pertaining to the message and ministry of the international evangelist and musician Michael Peter Woroniecki, his wife Rachel Woroniecki and their six children.

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