photographingGOD Photography

Tag: God

Under The Sea… Under The Sea…

Genesis 1:9
Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.

In pictures: Stunning images of sea life from the Underwater Photography of the Year 2017 – Yahoo News UK

These amazing images were snapped in extreme conditions by talented photographers with a keen eye. They all feature in the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017 competition, which showcases the best images below the surface. In pictures: Stunning images of sea life from the Underwater Photography of the Year 2017 – Yahoo News UK

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“Dear God. In Know You Are There Because I Am Here.” -Greg Pai

Isaiah 6:3
And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Where is God? – Washington Post

It is one of the common questions of eighth-grade theology (which is generally more insightful and useful than post-doctoral theology): If God really exists, why doesn’t he show himself in some dramatic, undeniable way? Where is God? – Washington Post

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Snow In The Desert? Only God!

Isaiah 48:21
They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts; He made the water flow out of the rock for them; He split the rock and the water gushed forth.

Photos Capture Snow In Sahara Desert For First Time In 37 Years

This is not a mirage. On Dec. 19, snow fell on the red dunes of the Sahara Desert for the first time in nearly 40 years.Karim Bouchetata, an amateur photographer, captured photos of the rare event in his Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria.“Everyone was stunned to see snow falling in the desert; it is such a rare occurrence,” Bouchetata told The Independent.“It looked amazing as the snow settled on the sand and made a great set of photos. Photos Capture Snow In Sahara Desert For First Time In 37 Years

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Love & Honor Each Other…

Romans 12:10
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Loveland family wins awkward photo contest – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Jarrett and Hannah Thollot react during a family photo session in 2014 after the photographer told their parents Gina and Todd Thollot to kiss. The photo recently won the Awkward Colorado Family Portrait Contest from AwakwardFamilyPhotos. Loveland family wins awkward photo contest – Loveland Reporter-Herald

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Fear Not!

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

14 Not-Fake Shark Pictures From a Real Nat Geo Photographer

A phony photograph of a shark is the latest in a year of fake news. But these images are all real. When a man on Twitter claimed to be ‘s chief photographer, several photo editors at the magazine assembled to discuss. 14 Not-Fake Shark Pictures From a Real Nat Geo Photographer – National Geographic

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Buildings And Institutions Will Not Shape Your Child’s True Potential

At What Cost Does Our Current System Of Education Come?

The developed world spends billions of dollars on education and is continuously moving the goal post on what is expected from our children. Absolutely, we should challenge our children’s potential. God created us with expandable capabilities, skills, and talents. So, we need to be all that we can be (As individuals, and not machines of course).

But, have we stopped to think “at what cost” does this investment come? We push our children to become more educated and competitive. Have we given other forms of critical development equal time? For example, the ability to think creatively and globally. What about socialization and coping skills or what about what we older folks use to call “common sense?” Finally, let us not forget possibly the weakest skill among our entire population. The ability to discern the truth from an opinion. Many schools have debate clubs which provide a competitive forum for students to learn to “win their perspective over.” Yet, where is the Truth Club?

Less Is More; Much More

I tool this photo of a schoolhouse in East Africa. Very typical of what you mind find in the rural part of the Continent. In this one building housed the all the children in the community or tribe. All ages shared a single room and a few sets of school supplies. The pencils were little more than a narrow piece of charcoal. Their writing books were crudely attached, curled pieces of paper. The children were all in uniforms (made possible through donations) which barely separated them by physical appearance. Consequently, there was no competition over who had the best outfit or the “hottest” sneakers (which would certainly upset Urban Outfitters and Nike). Yet, they were so intent on wanting to learn with so little to get in the way or distract them. A perfect setting to inspire a true learning experience.

Lesson Learned

We should take a lesson out of this book and realize that money doesn’t buy love and it doesn’t buy brilliance or intellectual superiority either. God embeds the gift of knowledge our DNA. And it is as much, if not more, the process of how we learn over what we learn. Knowledge alone, may get us a good job or make us plenty of money. However, the pursuit of knowledge and truth will make us what God intended us to be as individuals first, and as a race of man.

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Fight Like A 2 Year Old

The first time I read this article, I felt hope leak out of me. Who wouldn’t. And the photos didn’t help since they made this little girl’s short life and its finality very real. But, by the grace of God, I was able to pivot my emotions so I could find light in such total darkness.

This baby didn’t battle cancer and die without leaving us a valuable message. Life is a fight. Different battles at different times. And here we have a 2-year-old girl showing us how to fight with grace and hope. I want to thank this lovely little lady for what she personally inspired in me today… To fight like a 2-year-old.

Life interrupted: A photo essay about one girl’s battle with cancer – Russia Beyond the Headlines

A personal story in photos of a small Russian girl who could not overcome cancer. By Ksenia Isaeva, RBTH. Dasha. Scroll down to see more. Yulia Skorobogatova. Russian photographer Yulia Skorobogatova created a photo series about a small girl … Life interrupted: A photo essay about one girl’s battle with cancer – Russia Beyond the Headlines

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Got God On My Mind AND In My Mind

This article is easily controversial and many people will have different kinds of problems with it. WARNING: It is not dinner table conversation!

Nevertheless, what I find especially resolving is that this mainstream look at how our brains respond when experiencing God seems to suggest that it doesn’t matter what “belief system” we subscribe to; The neural or stimulative effect is the same. This is an excellent validation that organized religion has little to do with how we are wired to experience our Creator. This would also help explain why prayer is a common form of connection across every major religion.

This Is Your Brain on God – Seeker

Religious experiences activate the brain reward circuits triggered by love, sex, gambling, drugs and music. BY TRACY STAEDTER. 0. Jeffrey Anderson / University of Utah. This Is Your Brain on God – Seeker

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The Eyes Have It; But The Homeless Have The Eyes

Not all people who have met the misfortune of homelessness are homogeneous and can be lumped into one group. Homelessness does not define a person. Rather, it is a description of one’s circumstances and not who they are. Let us never forget that these are individuals with their own special stories and the blessing of life from God. Furthermore, the label alone will never define the potential of a single person. Just ask world-renowned author and humanitarian, J.K. Rowling.

However, one thing homelessness seems to bring out in most who are inflicted is a deep expression of soul and “truth” in their eyes. It would be wrong to quickly and categorically dismiss such expression as sadness or depression. I have personally felt an “angelic” or spiritual presence when engaging with people who are living on the street. It always seems like a more meaningful encounter than one I might have with a colleague or friend.

Incidentally, I don’t think this phenomenon is limited to the homeless. Life’s challenges tend to reduce us from what we have pretended to be to who we really are. I believe that when we let go of, or distracted from, what the world tells us is important, our true soul begins to shine through our eyes as well as our actions.

We become “real!”

Their souls are in their eyes, says photographer of the homeless – OCRegister

Pedro Oliveira of San Juan Capistrano holds his photograph of a homeless man named James. The image led to an ongoing series called “Careful: Soul Inside,” to raise awareness of homeless people. Oliveira has taken photographs of the homeless in … Their souls are in their eyes, says photographer of the homeless – OCRegister

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Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Creator. Not The Beholder.

“The color of beauty is light.” -Greg Pai

Without light, there is no way to literally see beauty and there is certainly no need for photographs or photography. Light represents the fullness of all colors, visible and invisible, in the spectrum. So, why is this important? Because the “Voice of the World” wants you to believe that certain colors are more “beautiful” than others. Moreover, advertisers use our natural response to colors to shape the way we think about them so they can promote a product, service, perception, opinion, or bias.

For example, the color red is considered one of the most intense. So if an advertiser wants to assign a feeling of intensity to a statement or product they are promoting, they will likely use the color red in the ad. Seems somewhat innocent, except it isn’t. It is a blatant manipulation of our subconscious. We are not going to stop advertisers from being maliciously creative. However, we can minimize their influence when we are aware of how they are operate.

Such is the case with advertisers who are hard at work convincing beautiful West African women that their natural color is not “good enough” or that they really want to look like someone else. In addition to the health concerns caused by this worrisome movement, culture and individual self-esteem are also at stake. In summary, this is nothing less than an industrial hijacking of people’s God-given identity.

What Is the Color of Beauty?

With some estimates putting the number of women in West Africa using lightening cream at 70 percent in some places, officials say they are worried there could be a sharp uptick in skin cancer because these products attack the skin’s natural protective What Is the Color of Beauty?

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What This Guy’s “Crazy” Family Is Really Like!

We all have our special version of “crazy.” It’s a place most of us dare not go for fear of embarrassment and sometimes even pain. Not the crazy that risks one’s life or jepordizes another. Rather, the kind of crazy that is in all of us and forces us to act outside our typical, predictable, and narrow emotional expression.

God designed each of us with an infinite range of expression. This includes expressions that most people who know us well would never expect from us. And, if they ever witnessed such expression, they might think we were “losing it.”

As the grind and seriousness of life wears us down, we forget that we have deeper potential and need to express ourselves. The pressures of this life tend to harden us to the point where it may be hard to break down in tears. For others, it may seem impossible to laugh hysterically or smile ear-to-ear for an extended period of time. Yet, these are emotional valves that God installed to regulate our inner peace and potential. I pray today you find your version of crazy and go nuts! Maybe capture it in a candid photo and share it over the holidays like Jeff Frandsen and his family.

The Internet Loves This Family’s Real Holiday Photo, It’s ‘What My Family Is Like’ – ABC News

Jeff Frandsen and his family scored the perfect silly holiday card thanks to his 10-month-old daughter, Emerson. 0 Shares. Email. The Internet Loves This Family’s Real Holiday Photo, It’s ‘What My Family Is Like’ – ABC News

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Rare Photos of Tribe Spur Urgent Pleas to Protect It

At most, only a plane flight physically separates us from people who live very different from anything we are familiar with. Interestingly, we are more than earthly neighbors and share quite a bit in common. For starters, we are all human and all created by God!

God has created an amazing spectrum of culture that we must protect and cherish. If we grow up thinking that everyone must look and live like us, we miss the blessing of diversity and the sheer potential of man’s inventive nature.

Rare Photos of Brazilian Tribe Spur Pleas to Protect It – National Geographic

Indigenous leaders and rights groups say illegal gold prospectors pose a mortal threat to a group of uncontacted Yanomami Indians. 0. Picture of the hut of an uncontacted tribe seen from a helicopter. View Images. Rare Photos of Brazilian Tribe Spur Pleas to Protect It – National Geographic

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By The Power Vested In Me… Not So Sure About That.

This announcement by the Vatican serves as just one more reason so many people around the world are turned off to organized religion. The notion that any mortal man could grant power to another man, like that of forgiveness of sin, is frightening to me.

I am a Christian with a serious concern about the Church, what it is teaching outside of the true Gospel, and skeptical about organized religion as a whole. So I don’t know what that really makes me, except very curious and wanting to know the God of creation! As a child, I was raised as a nominal Catholic; Attended supplemental schooling and summer camp at orthodox Jewish institutions; Today, my family and I work among the Muslim population around the world building bridges of love through business and service. One thing I have learned through this diverse experience is that, like so many other systems, man has “hijacked” the authority over his fellow man and dictates the rules – as he goes along.

I do believe that religion does serve a purpose and leads many to God and to the truth. However, I am terribly concerned that it turns many more away. I know there is a voice inside us that can discern what is God from what is man. This is a very personal voice and connection that can not be bottled up and sold with a label. It is that voice (which I call the Voice Of The Heart) that can lead us as individuals as well as a race of humanity.

This is a sensitive subject. But, I share it with an open mind and a committed heart to learn the absolute truth about God and His creation, together.

Pope Francis to grant priests right to forgive abortion – CNN.com

Pope Francis has extended the powers of Catholic priests to forgive abortions, making the announcement in an apostolic letter released Monday. read more at cnn.com

 

Here Is Your Present… Now What? Seize Control!

The Present
by Greg Pai

God blessed your past
For good reason
It came first and not last

God blesses His plan
Your future by His hand
Not the one influenced by man

God is blessing this moment
Whether you feel joy or resent
Because God’s gift that keeps giving
Is not just any gift…
It’s THE present

The Purpose Of The Past

For every ounce of happiness in the past, we can certainly find an equal dose of sadness. Maybe more. So the true value of the past, and the reason it is behind us and not ahead, is to remind us of God’s grace and blessing.

The wake of life, like that which trails a boat, has the potential to hypnotize us away from the conscientiousness of the moment. It can have us drifting into one of those “Wish I could have…,” “What if I did…,” and “Why me…” kind of mental games which bind us from fully living in the day. Similarly, it can overwhelm us with the euphoria of what “once was” and set us sailing on the “those were the good times” and “remember when…” excursions which lead us to believe the best already came and went. This cannot be the purpose of the past. The past should liberate us, and more importantly, unleash the potential of the current moment.

The Purpose Of The Future

The future, as we know it, is at best uncertain. This is how I describe it:

We have what we know; I call this our instinct
We have what we think we know; I call this our righteousness
We have what we don’t know; I call this our ignorance
And finally, we have what we don’t even know we don’t know; I call this our future

The result is endless, pointless, wasteful worry. Worry about our children, our health, our things, our jobs, our retirement, our country, our future… It is a no wonder that developed countries have medicated populations struggling with anxiety and the like. This cannot be the purpose of the future. The future should breathe life into us and more importantly, invigorate hope into the current moment.

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The Present

There are gifts. There are presents. And then there is the ultimate gift which is the present. The moment. In fact, this very moment. It is the present that gives function and form to the past and the future as I illustrated above. Every new moment is a gift from God giving true, practical, and celebratory purpose to its two distant cousins, past and future. It gives us every reason to live, every reason to hope, and every reason to give thanks to God. Every moment of every day. That is my prayer for you.

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Can You Find Beauty In Hardship?

For most of us, the life of those depicted in the images from this NPR article is simply unimaginable. Still, there is an immense beauty about them that is not easily understood. Probably because hardship brings out the absolute best in us. It separates us from our comfort zone that tends to take off the pressure of truly “living life” and pursuing our full potential.

Hardship builds character. It inspires the possiblity of the impossible. It humbles us to the point where our humanity radiates love, forgiveness, and servitude toward our fellow-man and most importantly, God.

I remember flying back from the Middle East in the summer of 2014 and saying to my beloved wife, “I do not feel like I am taking pictures of subjects anymore. I feel like I am photographing the awesome beauty of creation even in the most destitute parts of the world. I feel like I am photographing God.”

And photographingGOD was born. Blessings…

Absolutely Gorgeous Photos Reveal The Beauty In A Hard Life – NPR

Can you find beauty in a life of hardship? If the photos from the Siena International Photo Awards are any indication, the answer is yes. Absolutely Gorgeous Photos Reveal The Beauty In A Hard Life – NPR

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If You Are Feeling A Little Let Down Today…

If you are feeling a little let down today, how do you think this fox feels! Dealing with our fellow man can take its toll these days. So, here is a welcomed distraction. The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards should lift your spirits with photos of animals doing the darndest things. God has filled the animal kingdom with a kaleidoscope of personalities, beauty, and innocence. A perfectly timed breath of fresh air. Maybe, that’s why some animals are called man’s best friend.

These Are The Year’s Funniest Animal Photos – Huffington Post

The animal kingdom can be a pretty hilarious place if you know where to look. That’s the point of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, which honor the best shots of animals doing some seriously funny things. These Are The Year’s Funniest Animal Photos – Huffington Post

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When You Are All Out Of Hope

We should never doubt God’s provision in our lives. As I sit here now, I question areas of my life that I feel particularly challenged with. I actually don’t even remember a time that I didn’t. And I would not be forthcoming if I didn’t confess my vulnerability and frequent sense of losing hope. But I am quickly reminded of my own quote. “When you are all out of hope, the only thing left is hope.” And from there… I march on! -gp

Be sure to visit the post “Hope For The Hopeless”

Stunning Photo Of Moms Holding ‘Rainbow’ Babies Goes Viral

A pregnancy after a miscarriage can be difficult to endure. That’s why this viral image of six moms either pregnant with or holding their rainbow babies is beyond inspiring. Photographer Alex Bolen of Shutter Darling Photography gathered six clients who had either given birth or were currently pregnant with a baby conceived after a loss. Stunning Photo Of Moms Holding ‘Rainbow’ Babies Goes Viral

Photo Credit: Photographer Alex Bolen of Shutter Darling Photography

 

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You Say I Am Orphan; I Say I Am Loved!

By Greg Pai
Inspired By Andrea Mani
Photo Credit: Andrea Mani

This is a time of the year where many feel lonely or empty.  Especially those who have no family to speak of. Our hearts have to place orphans at the top of that list. What we learn from this story inspired by Andrea Mani, is that we are all orphans if we don’t connect with and depend on God.

IMG_7211__© 2015 Andrea ManiOrphans have seemingly perfected that connection and dependence as a means of survival. In fact, they do not see themselves as orphans; They see themselves as God’s blessed children. Experiencing His abundant, unconditional love as no earthly parent could ever offer.

“You say I am an orphan,” the hearts of the unwanted cried out. “But, I say I am loved. Loved by He who made me.” Andrea Mani fell in love just moments after she arrived for what was six months of service. At a little known ministry in Jocotepec, Mexico, orphan children are changing everyone who comes in contact with them – One soul at a time.

IMG_7246__© 2015 Andrea Mani

IMG_7979__© 2015 Andrea ManiThe orphanage cares for twenty-one girls and one boy. “One boy!” you say. Well, eight-year old Chuy (pronounced “chewy”) is one of three siblings and when the orphanage converted over to an all girls institution a few years back, they didn’t have the heart to separate Chuy from his two sisters, one named Milagro (meaning Miracle in English). A victim of physical and emotional abuse, it was only by a miracle that 8-year old Chuy survived those earlier abusive years. Cigarette burns on his body and later, months of being mute, unable to speak. Inevitably, Andrea would take a special interest in Chuy as he faced the journey of healing ahead of him.

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The other children learned not to depend on “man.” God was the provider of everything in their lives and that suited them just fine. It wasn’t long before the children challenged Andrea. “You won’t last two months,” they said. These children were used to people revolving in and out of their lives, often under duress or anxiety.  Andrea not only endured, but also learned why others did not. When a person signs up for this kind of work, they do so assuming they are the “strength” coming to the aid of the “weak.” To the contrary, they quickly learn that the children become inspirational and essential to their own personal journey. Radically changing their heart and perspective. Maybe even feeling inadequate and unnecessary in the ways they expected to make an impact. This is when the process flips on its head and starts to become more of a self-examination of our own lives; a sometimes difficult awakening. However, necessary.

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Most of these children came from situations too difficult to write about. Even called “rats” by those the heartless of the community. Some had mothers who were prostitutes while exploiting their children sexually for favor. Absolutely tragic. However, how would you know any of this by just looking at them? They are beautiful in every way.  Inside and out, their hearts and smiles radiate.  Yet, they have nothing.  Or do they? Andrea expected overwhelming sensations of abandonment on her arrival. She did not expect what God was about to show her.

IMG_7836__© 2015 Andrea ManiThe children had a life about them that projected pure joy. Amazing as it may seem, the children had a ritual of occasionally going into town and donating their clothing to any one of four impoverished villages in the immediate area. Yes – you read that right. Even though their very limited wardrobes were precious to them, they believed that whatever they gave up would be replenished by God’s own hand.  And guess what?  They were never without. Somehow, newly donated clothes always found a way to their personal shelf (that’s a single shelf). Such faith. I suppose when we have nothing to lose and expect no earthly gain, we are capable of giving and doing our most selfless work in this life. These children are living proof. They see their glass not as a quarter full or three-quarters empty, but overflowing.

We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow more equipped or better off than they are. Hence, we neglect to ever seek or find the orphan in us.

What is orphan about these children. The dictionary says the noun form is defined as a child who has lost both parents. That is innocent enough. Interestingly, the adjective form is used to describe one who is abandoned. Quite a difference. Unfortunately, we have adopted the more negative connotation as the global definition. We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow more equipped or better off than they are. Hence, we neglect to ever seek or find the orphan in us. There is that “difficult awakening” thing again!

At some point, Andrea observed a young girl’s mother (a recovering prostitute) visit the orphanage expecting to take her little girl back home. However, with the best of intentions, the woman realized that her daughter was better off staying because she was unable to offer her the same stability and nurturing.

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However, I believe that God speaks to us through His beloved orphans. I now see the love of God when I see an orphan. Not an abandoned soul; But a soul that’s whole!

As I documented this story, I struggled with internal conflict and confusion. I love God and He fills my life, but am I abandoned enough to really feel the fullness of His love? Many of us have family and good friends around us who bring us a great deal of joy and companionship. But what is it like to have no one but God? Please don’t get me wrong. Family is a blessed gift from God. A special treasure from above. However, I believe that God speaks to us through His beloved orphans. I now see the love of God when I see an orphan. Not an abandoned soul; But a soul that’s whole!

One Nation, Under God…

Dear Americans:

Whatever your political persuasion and your feelings about the current environment, the real tragedy is that America is, was, and will likely continue to be a deeply divided people. Unfortunately, hate and prejudice are in the hearts of all men since the beginning of time. These traits do not belong to a particular political persuasion, religion, race, ethnicity, age, etc. However, man can and will use such mechanisms to promote his own divisive agenda. This vulnerability belongs to all of us.

Similar to President Kennedy’s election, President Obama’s was historic (no matter how you looked at it politically) because it had the potential for us as a country to embrace the notion that all men were created equal by God. Instead, it drastically widened an already existing chasm that separates Americans into adversarial groups. But I have the good news of hope for everyone, democrat, republican, apolitical, and those who may not care at all. God still loves ALL of us. No prejudice. No hatred. Just pure LOVE!

So, I say to all of you in pain; turn your hearts to God for peace and the strength to see that God is above all of this. And I say to all of you in celebration, turn your joy to humility and put yourself beneath those in need. So that America may rise up as “One Nation Under God.” Peace be with all of you…

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Visit the Gallery Shop to purchase this fine art piece by photographer Greg Pai to grace your home or office:

Greg Pai On “The Voice of the Heart” and photographingGOD Podcast

Journey with photographer, writer, and photographingGOD Founder Greg Pai as he describes the perils of a destructive noise he calls the “Voice of the World” which seeks to separate us from our God-given purpose, peace, and passion. Greg’s diverse life experiences have led him to the conclusion that the systems of the world, under the design and authority of man including, but not limited to, education, media, healthcare, economics, religion, and government, have failed us and are at the center of the world’s chaos.

Greg shares how photographingGOD promotes man’s potential for purpose, peace, and passion when we learn to disarm the “Voice of the World” and replace it with the “Voice of the Heart” which is rooted in truth and love. The mission of photographingGOD is to bring together a global community of all cultures, ethnicities, faiths, beliefs, races, ages and genders hungry to connect with (1) their own hearts and souls, (2) their fellow man and woman, (3) the enormity of creation, and (4) God; the giver of all life and blessing. This is NOT as story about religion. Quite the contrary. It is a story about Life and Purpose and how one man is seeking it and finding it by going outside the boxes that we are all so bound by.

Figuratively speaking, our goal is to see the world “through the lens of God’s eyes.” Our hope is that we “Never See Life The Same Way Again!”

This Podcast will not only inspire you, but we can nearly promise that “You will Never See Life The Same Way Again!”

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Join “Beyond Your Wildest Genes” host Noah Dekoyer for Greg Pai On photographingGOD.

Click Here To Link To The Podcast

We Are Bound By A Ball And Chain

Power is handed down by God, who is the ultimate power, to politicians, teachers, corporate leaders, parents, etc.  Those who are blessed with power are given gifts and talents to inspire and bring out the best in us as a community. However, if the fever of power overcomes the leadership, humility is overwhelmed by self righteousness and the pursuit of personal gain.

Before long, people question the motives of the powerful and lose faith in the system. When people lose faith in the system, chaos, confusion, and a breakdown in confidence ensues which then jeopardizes the power and authority of the leaders responsible. The entire community, including its leadership, is kept from progressing as a result. It’s as if the entire society is bound by a ball and chain.

When leaders approach power with humility, and recognize that it is on loan from God, they earn the respect of the people they lead. They gain increasingly more influence to inspire and elevate the community, and bring out the best in God’s creation. The system flourishes, and is respected and perfected by the people, for the people.

AdobeStock_23966013_Businessman With Ball And Chain_Vibe Images - Fotolia_V1

When The World Goes Low…

What Is True Joy?

Doing well and doing good not only go together, but are among the secret ingredients of true joy. Not the joy that comes from graduating from college, landing your first job, getting married, having a child, buying your dream car or home, or retirement. Those things are joyful, but they are also fleeting. Their elation will last for a time and will undoubtedly be interrupted by life’s unfortunate circumstances. However, true joy gives us the strength to look way beyond our circumstances. It is found when we take everything we are given, and multiply it for the glory of God and His creation so that every day is met without expectation and only gratitude.

…true joy gives us the strength to look way beyond our circumstances.

Letting Go

“Okay, I’m sold!” you say. “Where can I get some “true joy?” It starts with the difficulty of letting go, or the “jump” as I like to call it. Like a first attempt at skydiving. Once you leave the plane, you have gotten over the hard part because you really don’t have any choice in the matter after that. Letting go is the key. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of things you think you need. And most of all, letting go of everything we have including our talents, gifts, time, energy, money, resources, etc. Oh, and the most coveted of all, our love. We want so desperately to be loved, but we are so possessive and unwilling to give it up without some sort of fair exchange. Unconditional love is costly, but delivers the greatest return.

Free Falling Drives Passion

During the “free fall” stage, we begin to detect true joy because it inspires unbridled passion. Now, our day’s expectations are shaped by what we can do to positively impact someone or something and not by what we can achieve or get for ourselves. The deep emotional expression of PASSION is activated and gives our life its greatest sense of meaning and significance.

We have become so use to doing things for personal gain. Our culture drives this aim which only leads to empty purpose and obsession, not passion. If you don’t believe this, just ask “really successful” people what they think about that which gave them the success and was the driver of their daily purpose. Then reread this article.

Go High!

James Dickson spends nearly his whole day serving and protecting people as a first responder in New York City. When he is not doing that, he is serving and protecting people. He explores ways that he can take his love for skydiving and make it more than a personal 10-minute joy. So, he aligned himself with an organization called Friends of Jaclyn which aims to iwhentheworldgoeslow_gregpaimprove the quality of life for children battling brain tumors and pediatric cancer. Through an event he organized, he made 25 jumps in one day while many others jumped to raise awareness and resources for this cause. Risking life for life. Each and every jump lasting far more than the jump itself, but for the lifetime of a dying child.

In a world that achieves new lows every day in its preoccupation with selfishness and hatred, it is great to see others who choose to go high with passion.

 

When Does An “Ad” Subtract? When It Divides Instead Of Multiplies Of Course…

I cannot remember a time when the culture of advertising was truly inclusive (or the media for that matter). You would think that advertisers selling a product or service would want to appeal to the largest possible audience of potential customers. “Not just the perfect ones.” If I am selling soap, why would I only want to sell it to people who looked or acted like me?

When advertisers choose certain “types” of people to represent their product and intentionally exclude others, they have somehow managed to convince those that are excluded, that they should be more like the ones that are included, and not themselves.

However, advertisers have taken control of this problem with some slight-of-hand psychological magic. When advertisers choose certain “types” of people to represent their product and intentionally exclude others, they have somehow managed to convince those that are excluded, that they should be more like the ones that are included, and not themselves. The “included” are superior and the excluded need to be like them tapping into our deepest, darkest insecurities. The media drives this identity crisis. Advertisers find benefit in homogenizing the globe into a one size, figure, color, type, culture, etc. fits all. This is not how we were created and abandons the richness of our diversity.

I don’t really believe that people should be called “disabled.” My preference is to acknowledge them as people who are able in ways that others are not.

People who have disabilities are among the excluded and have possibly suffered the most because they have to deal with both their affliction as well as trying to fit in. First, I don’t really believe that people should be called “disabled.” My preference is to acknowledge them as people who are able in ways that others are not. This is an important truth because the physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional coping mechanisms of people who may not function exactly like the masses are nothing short of extraordinary. Their resourcefulness to compensate and develop nearly supernatural abilities is evidence that they are God’s special children. To witness their daily perseverance is like watching the entire Star Wars Trilogy wrapped up in one human being. There is little on this earth that can motivate, inspire and give us hope like these individual miracles. I don’t understand why they aren’t dominating the content of all our media!

We should not underestimate the significance of growing up in a media-driven world that pretends you don’t exist. We should be able to grow up in a world where our environment not only accepts us, but promotes all of us as a community of one people without leaving anyone behind.

ADORABLE! Ga. baby changing perceptions of beauty in advertising – 11alive.com

A local mom’s push for more inclusive advertising is going viral after she called out a company so that they would use children with disabilities. Kaitlyn Ross, WXIA 10:49 PM. EDT October 22, 2016. ADORABLE! Ga. baby changing perceptions of beauty in advertising – 11alive.com

thumbnail courtesy of 11alive.com

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Wasting Away In Consumerville

The waste generated by consumer electronics, or e-waste (primarily computers and peripherals, audio and video equipment, telephone and wireless devices, most office machines, and video game consoles), is a serious problem as you may know or will learn from the images and statistics in the Guardian article below. However, the waste is one problem and the cause of the waste is yet another. More specifically, we have allowed ourselves to become a major part of a destructive “throw-away” economy.

The E-waste problem is created by the consumer electronics product cycle. It is the “cycle” part that both creates and amplifies the problem.

Innovation is “dripped” into the hands of consumers to maximize sales and revenues. Similarly, obsolescence is also dripped into the other end of the chain which forces the more conscientious (or frugal) die-hards into the next generation product whether they like it or not.

Manufacturers of consumer electronics have a business growth strategy that requires a continuous cycle of innovation and is strategically timed with driving company value. Innovation is “dripped” into the hands of consumers to maximize sales and revenues. Similarly, obsolescence is dripped into the other end of the chain which forces the more conscientious (or frugal) die-hards into the next generation product whether they like it or not. Companies have intimate knowledge of our buying behaviors and the cycle is fit around those patterns. Worst yet, advertisers (who are paid by the manufacturers) know how to shrink the cycle even further through “must have” incentives and deals, as well as guilt marketing.

Take mobile phones . New versions with new features. New sizes and new colors. Better cameras with higher resolutions. All these new devices will also need new peripherals like chargers, docking stations, etc. More waste without haste. And in the end, the capability of connecting with others and data really doesn’t changed much. One could argue that in some cases the quality of the product, service, and experience has suffered.

We should put pressure on the largest of manufacturers to lengthen the product cycle by (i) building higher quality products made with more durable materials, (ii) improving a product’s upgradeability to adapt to innovations like antennas and storage, (iii) standardize peripherals, like chargers, to be used across multiple products from different manufacturers, and (iv) discourage discounting, trade-up, and other incentive programs which unduly and prematurely tempt buyers.

The e-waste mountains – in pictures – The Guardian

4928Sustainable development goal target 12.5 is to reduce waste. But with a planet increasingly dependent on technology, is that even possible? The e-waste mountains – in pictures – The Guardian

thumbnail courtesy of theguardian.com

A great and informative video from The Story of Stuff Project and Free Range Studios.

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The pGOD App was developed for you. Now you can have convenient access to enhanced content and features including:

WALL OF WISDOM:

Powerful images, quotes, and thought-provoking narrative serve to inspire your search and need for daily purpose, peace, and passion. The ingredients to pursuing true joy in this life. WOW posts muffle the destructive 24/7 “Voice Of The World” which serves to separate us from our divine and natural creation and promote chaos. Chaos in our minds and souls; Chaos in our relationships and families; Chaos in our jobs and interests; Chaos in our world…

VOICES:

Un-spinning the noise of the news by adding editorial commentary to image-rich stories in an attempt to “see the world through the lens of God’s eyes.” Voices is an alternative news source that pursues the truth, hope, and beauty in God’s creation as an alternative to gossip, propaganda, and sensationalism.

FEATURES:

Beautiful imagery and stories that will fire up your heart and bring the world closer together. We endeavor to be the “NEW” LIFE Magazine or National Geographic, but with all the glory to God, the publisher of Creation and Giver of all life!

CREATION STATION:

This is your chance to “see and be seen.” Upload your images directly from your device along with your own or famous quotes and personal inspirations if you choose. Then, watch them stream in a beautifully formatted post to the world on the photographingGOD platform and social networks. Creation Station, and its future versions, will change the way we interact with and share images and our hearts.

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Access to our weekly live show where we dissect the week’s WOW post and discuss the image, subject of the image, and the inspiration. It is a great time to interact and bring together a growing global community of all cultures, faiths, beliefs, races, genders, and ages seeking to embrace the “Voice Of The Heart” which is rooted in purpose, peace, and passion.

The World According To The World. A Frightening Look.

Whatever belief system you subscribe to, I think most of us can agree that civilization is becoming increasingly self-destructive. I suppose we may have been more barbaric in the distant past (and that may be debatable). Yet, has man’s creation of increasingly complex systems including government, finance & economics, health & medicine, organized religion, education, agriculture, commerce, technology, science, communications, media, and transportation, promoted progress for the human race? Is progress leaving anyone behind? Are we eradicating sickness and poverty; improving the quality, beauty, and integrity of life; preserving our environment and resources, or increasing peace, tolerance, respect, love, compassion, service, and faith around the world? These are all very important questions to ask ourselves. Right here and now.

l1020691-editImbalances Often Signal Something Is Not Quite Right

Who has benefited and at what cost? This is the first question. The resource-rich United States is split in half politically with each side believing their respective needs and wants are not being met. The result is that no one seems to be content and the frustration and hate index is going through the roof.

We should ask, “Are the systems to blame? Do they consider the totality of the population or just a chosen few? Are they creating catastrophic imbalances that grow division?” Another example, the US is the greatest consumer of the world’s resources. It represents 18% of the world’s energy consumption* and only 4.5% of the world’s population. How can we think for a moment that such imbalances will not have intentional and unintentional side effects. Just to be clear, the United States is not the only producer of “imbalances.” Imbalances exist throughout the entire developed and underdeveloped world unfortunately. It’s a simple problem of cause and effect.

Manmade Systems Are Just That, Manmade; Not God-Made

We are not advancing as a civilization. Progress has not only stalled. It is going in the opposite direction. We need to look deeply and honestly into the design and consequences of the systems we are designing and managing.

In education, for example, we do not teach our children how to learn. Educational institutions have replaced those more natural abilities with tools and techniques that encourage memorization of facts and accumulation of information; Not knowledge. Furthermore, children are classified instead of individually nurtured due to the demands placed on these institutions to produce “results.” Progress is rewarded at the sacrifice of process. Moreover, test results and grades define potential instead of passion and conviction. Unfortunately, no training to seek or discern the truth. Rather, programming in nearly every course that teach our children to debate and promote a perspective or point. What some of us would call “lawyering.”

The more we learn, the more we may earn, and the less we will grow, because the less we will ever want to know.

The subject of manmade systems is is a fairly complex discussion and will invite much debate. However, it is central to how we live together in this world while seeking purpose, peace and passion. It will be a theme that will certainly present itself often on this platform because it is both a catalyst and disruptor to the different definitions of progress. Progress as humans. But more importantly, progress as a creation. An amazing creation with amazing potential to attain true joy on this earth.

Cynical, But Hopeful

In closing (for now), Please do not see me as cynical. I truly apologize if I disturbed the balance of your day at all. However, I am willing to disturb your day if it has the potential to enhance your life. Man has extraordinary talents, gifts, characteristics, and blessings that have been created for good. But… WARNING: When man relies fully and only on himself to pursue good, without God, it seems he too often ends up with not so good and not at all God.

iamnotacyniciamasinner_gregpai*Source: US Energy Information Administration

Congratulations! You Are Destined To Conquer The Impossible!

Congratulations! By clicking this article, you are on your way to conquering the impossible – Your special impossible. The term “impossible” places such a burden on our lives as we grow up being told that more things are impossible than possible and that those things that are possible by someone are simply not possible by us. The reality is the contrary. Each of us has our own possible impossible. However, it requires a self-confidence and more importantly, a strong faith in God who makes all things possible. But how do you put this to work in your life to take on the impossible?

“Each of us has our own possible impossible.”

Maasai Tribal DanceThere are five principles that one must cultivate to pursue the impossible. First, we must surround ourselves with people who encourage us and at least, ignore those around us who seek to bring us down. The great Imangineer, Walt Disney, was told by a former employer that he lacked imagination and creativity. One of the greatest inventors of all time, Thomas Edison was criticized as being to simple-minded to ever accomplish anything of significance.  Media mega-mogul, Oprah Winfrey was fired as a local newscaster after being told she was unfit for television. Had any of these people listened to those harsh voices, they would have never achieved what everyone else thought was impossible by them.

Second, know that failure is not an option, it is a requirement. Failure is the mother of invention, truly. You have heard, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Well, we must take measured risk to have measurable success. And the more “lean” failures we have, the more we learn and the closer we get to achieving the impossible.

“…failure is not an option, it is a requirement.”

Again, Thomas Edison, who in spite of thousands of significant patents, was most known for his invention of the light bulb. What most people do not know is that it took 1,000 failed attempts at the invention until he got it right. Had he been discouraged at any of the failures between 1 and 1,000, we would not have light, at least not by him.

Third, is the reality of adversity. You might be reading this in the midst of a great loss, an inability to cope, extreme challenges and distress and saying “I can not even see the potential of the day much less do the impossible.” Well, I have great news for you. Adversity can be your friend. The simple fact is that when you have nothing to lose, you have everything to gain.

“Adversity can be your friend.”

JK Rowling, the famed author of the Harry Potter series, was destitute, dependent on welfare while raising a young daughter, and suffering from clinical depression when after five years of perseverance, she became one of the richest women in the world. She credits her trials and troubles as a valuable source for her inspiration. She did fall off the billionaires list because she donates so much of her wealth to people in need. God bless her…

Fourth, when you pursue the impossible, be prepared to experience an emotional juggernaut. Periods as long as weeks and as short as hours will be met with extreme ups and extreme downs. But do not fret. Trust in God. Enjoy and savor the journey. You will overcome and be surprised by your progress as you look back with clarity. Just place your trust in God.

“Trust in God.”

Which brings us to the fifth and most important principle. Believe in yourself… But place all your faith in God. For your impossible is that which God made possible only by you. Blessings…

thedefinitionofimpossibleisthatwhich_gregpai_v2

Minimum Wage? Not!

You can honor God in all you do. Especially in your profession, whatever it may be. Working for God is NOT a religious position. Working for God is the ONLY position. We can seek, serve, and honor God in every aspect of our profession. Often however, it means comprising our selfish ambitions for success and wealth creation for greater and a more impactful purpose. Always, it means performing our jobs at the highest levels and acknowledging God as the giver of all talent, skill, opportunity, and blessing. There is no pot of gold at the end of any rainbow here on earth. Just ask really rich people and they will tell you they are not rich enough. However, heaven holds the ultimate reward. A retirement laced in gold.

Hope For The Hopeless

While in Central Park, I took this photo called “Prayer In the Park.” I could not help but capture the peace of this man in meditation. Maybe he was praying for a greater purpose, the healing of a loved one, or perhaps the world. Regardless, it is an amazing gift that we can connect with God through prayer.

The Thieves Of Hopelessness And Despair

The thieves of hopelessness and despair exist to breakdown gratitude and faith. Hopelessness operates like a well-planned heist. First, it shuts out the lights so we cannot see or find gratitude. All gratitude including gratitude for the moment we are occupying and gratitude for the moments of joy we already experienced, however few or far we may think they are. It wants complete darkness and control. It fills the dark room with obstacles like self-doubt, anxiety, and a preoccupation with everything that has gone wrong in our lives.

The Crown Jewel: Faith

The final stage of the crime is to run off with the crown jewel, Faith. In the confusion and sadness of the darkness, hopelessness convinces us that God doesn’t exist or if He does, He just doesn’t care. Then faith is ripped from the typically guarded protection of our heart and soul and the thief runs off with the goods.

The Real Thing: Hope

Except, the thief was unaware that the faith he stole was counterfeit. Just like the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in France, the real one is often relocated to unknown location. “True” faith cannot be taken from us. God protects and guards it just like His love.

So, when you think your hope has been stolen, remember that hope still remains.

whenyouarealloutof-hope

Sibling Harmony

Too many of us have a lost or strained relationship with one or more of our siblings. These photos should inspire us to rebuild bridges of love with those whom God intentionally enjoined us with to form our family. A sibling is like an arm or a leg. They have a purpose in our lives and we need to have a relationship with them in order to find our what that purpose is. Brothers and sisters are not dispensable. God wastes nothing. There is a reason God blessed you with family. -Greg Pai

In Pictures: Indians Celebrate Brothers and Sisters Day Raksha Bandhan – Wall Street Journal (blog)

In Pictures: Indians Celebrate Brothers and Sisters Day Raksha Bandhan. Indians on Thursday were celebrating Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu festival that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. In Pictures: Indians Celebrate Brothers and Sisters Day Raksha Bandhan – Wall Street Journal (blog)

thumbnail courtesy of wsj.com

If The Shoe (Truly) Fits…

All too often we look to others as an example of who we want to be. This process starts from childhood and works its way through our career. However, God made us special with a special purpose of our own. It was planted into our souls long before we were born. Empty your mind and heart of those expectations and leave a hole just big enough for God to expose your personal grand design. It may feel terribly uncomfortable at first like any brand new pair of shoes. Once worn however, you will be walking on a cloud! You truly have your own shoes to fill!

 

My Public Profession

You know me as a photographer, writer, and Founder of photographingGOD. I also want you to know me as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Yes – that would make me a Christian. However, I want to live like Christ more than any label could offer. Frankly, religion and labels do more to offend me than not. Probably, because man has used them both for his own divisiveness. The current election in the United States is proof positive of that.

All my life, I have loved all people including atheists, non-believers, Jews, Muslims, Christians, other faiths, Black, White, Brown, Yellow, gays, straights, rich, poor, the wrong, the “so-called” righteous, and everyone in-between. Probably because my own background and DNA span many (if not most) of those categories. However, just over four years ago, Jesus saved my life and in doing so, my love for all of God’s people and creation deepened. This is who the true Jesus was. The ultimate Lover with the ultimate Love Story.

photographingGOD was born to share the beauty of creation; Yes – God’s creation with the world. Void of the pitfalls that religion introduces to a conversation between people who may have different faiths and often even different views within a faith. But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that my love for all of you is driven by my love for Jesus and His love for me. My prayer is that you are loved as much as I and if you are not, that I help your journey to it. Blessings…

Amen, amin, آمين, ամեն, амин, amen, 阿門, Aamen, siya nawa, Αμήν, אָמֵן, Ámen, Amin, o’n, アーメン, 아멘, Amém, Аминь, амен, Aamiin, Amina, สาธุ, амінь, Omin

The Problem With Making Plans

When we become too committed to what we think is “right or best” for us, we do not open our hearts to what God may have in store for our lives. I call it the studio apartment syndrome. We do not leave any room for God to live and work in our lives. Letting go of our conviction, for at least a moment, may reveal a better plan to be convicted to. Often, such plans, would never have had an opportunity to enter our imagination or consideration.

If we want God to work in our lives, we have to mentally move into a “McMansion” because God takes up that much room and more!

 

Rainy Day Weddings

We have been so conditioned to have high expectations. Many of them aren’t even our own. Like expectations imposed on us by family or friends. Then God throws a curve ball into our expectations and our first reaction is disappointment. So often however, history writes a story grown out of such disappointments that result in glory beyond anything we could have ever imagined.

I had my first date with my wife in the pouring rain. It was hardly what we would have hoped for. But I will never forget how we shared the handle of an umbrella as we strolled ever so slowly toward the restaurant. The sound of the rain pelting off the umbrella made the moment move in slow motion. God was so good to rain on our parade that day. He gave us a day that we will always remember because it was a day we never thought to imagine.

Wedding Photography Disaster or Weather Blessing: Rainy Day Photos – Fstoppers

Planning a wedding is not a joke: be it small or big, from tiny decorations no one is going to remember to weather forecast. That is one of the most responsible and dear days of our lives and there is no place for drama. Wedding Photography Disaster or Weather Blessing: Rainy Day Photos – Fstoppers

thumbnail courtesy of fstoppers.com

Ever Feel Like Your Life Is Going Nowhere?

Do you feel like your life is going nowhere? I have great news. Nowhere is always somewhere; It just may not feel like anywhere right at the moment. Yet, life is not just a moment, but a continuum of moments strung together to form a glorious story. Your story. How do I know this is true?

God created you for greatness. You are an amazing creation with amazing ability and potential. Be patient and savor the moments. Be intentional, yet regard your current circumstances as part of a bigger plan. There is a bigger plan. Think back to the many times in the past you felt this way and then suddenly your circumstances changed. You may feel like you are in the middle of nowhere right now but rest assure, you are very much in the middle of somewhere. Blessings…