A lot of jibber jabber about the problem of refugees on social media. Images however, for those who care to see, start to bring the problem home and make it real. I pray this article and these images perform an angioplasty on the hearts of those who have turned their head away from this tragedy. This is not their problem. This is everyone’s problem.
Photographer Captures Life In A Refugee Camp During Trump’s Travel Ban – Konbini US
With Iran in the news seemingly everyday, I think it is important for us to pursue a deeper level of understanding about who Iranians are beyond the 24/7 news cycle portrayal. In fact, we ALL benefit as a global community when we open up our hearts and minds to learning more about one another. No single person, much less a group of people, are defined by sound bites. There is a wealth of depth, diversity, and commonality which serves to bring us closer together in so many ways that are more powerful than a “news story” that seeks to separate us.
These stunningly beautiful photos show what ordinary life in Iran is like – Washington Post
The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.
Photographs of Mermaids Trapped in Plastic Depict the Plight of Marine Animals – One Green Planet
Certain opportunities for self-expression seem to reveal more about who we really are than others. For example, a fad or social phenomenon like bell bottom jeans in the 60’s or selfies (or selfishees as I call them) in the new millennium, are distortions of our true identity. Fads have power over us because they make us feel accepted by a group; Which always seems so important to us. However, the tradeoff is a costly displacement of our true preferences, personality, and individuality.
Interestingly, the customization of one’s own bedroom, particularly when we are young, is typically a place where we will allow our individuality to blossom. Maybe because it is a “safe” place that only few will ever see.
When we select a preference because others have selected it or we have a dire need to fit in, we should recognize that there is a very “personal and individual” preference that is likely being overridden, neglected, or avoided. Hence, we give up a piece of the most valuable real estate we own – our true identity.
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
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.
Orphans 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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!
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…
Visit the Gallery Shop to purchase this fine art piece by photographer Greg Pai to grace your home or office:
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!”
Join “Beyond Your Wildest Genes” host Noah Dekoyer for Greg Pai On photographingGOD.
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.
“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.
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 improve 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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
WALL OF WISDOM LIVE!:
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.
I grew up believing I was allergic to cats and dogs. I later learned this was nothing more than a fable fabricated by others to discourage me from wanting a pet. So the TIME story, “Here Are Some Adorable Photos Of Kittens Pouncing” grabbed my tongue and inspired me to write a personal memoir, not about cats per se, but about life.
Fast forward many years later, I found myself wandering into a pet store and buying my first dog. It was love at first sight and every sight thereafter. I could not help but remorse over the years I missed out on this joy as a child. A few dogs later, I married a die-hard cat lover. She was (and is) quite the package and the package included two cats. “But Honey!” I exclaimed. “We can’t take the cats because I am allergic. Just not to dogs.” This was clearly a convenient modification of the childhood fib I grew up with to accommodate my selfish preferences at the time. Dogs over cats. Unfortunately, ignorance won and my wife lost. Relatives got the cats.
How often we let our ignorance, anxieties, and stubbornness get in the way of experiencing so many things this life has to offer. Moreover, these personal shortcomings have a way of occasionally interfering with the joy of others in ways that are rarely measurable. Today, my heart has softened for cats and my wife’s love for them. The photos of these little kittens featured in the TIME article make them so irresistible to me. These little cutie kittens definitely got my heart and my tongue. But, it is my heart and my tongue that makes this story about more than cats. How many of life’s blessings do we simply exclude from consideration for nothing more than a naïve pass? How often are we at a complete loss to truly justify, explain or understand our sometimes baseless feelings, attitudes, and actions?
How many of life’s blessings do we simply exclude from consideration for nothing more than a naïve pass? How often are we at a complete loss to truly justify, explain or understand our sometimes baseless feelings, attitudes, and actions?
The action of avoidance comes at great cost. Many things we avoid, without good and sound reason, will remain an unsolved mystery for the rest of our lives. You may say, “Well, if I don’t care about the mystery, why would I care if it is solved?” Great question and best answered with a question. How many times have you enjoyed something or someone only because you overcame an obstacle of some sort and gave it or them a chance? Perhaps, that date you repeatedly rejected until you caved in and ended up falling in love. Or maybe a food you said you would never try and finally did and became a favorite. A place you said you would never live. A country you said you would never visit. Children you said you would never have and did and they became the pinnacle of your life!
Speaking of children… These little creations need to be the focus of our reconditioning. We need to teach them to be open-minded as often as possible. To have a basis for their thoughts that is rooted in truth. I get bunched up when I ask one of my children “Why?” and they just say “Because! Just because…!” “Just because” is such a weak and lame answer… To ANY question. I suspect we just get tired of adding an untruth to the end any question we simply don’t have a good and substantive answer for.
I wonder how many things I failed to attempt, pursue, or enjoy because I let my attitude get in the way. Unfounded behavior that has no place in a world that screams, “I am remarkably made!”
Oh, how much we miss. Why? Well, I guess because… Just because…
Here Are Some Adorable Photos of Kittens Pouncing – TIME
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.
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.
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!
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!
Folks… This is not a political issue that can be solved by political solutions. This is a human issue that needs to be solved by getting in closer touch with our humanity and the value of our life. I am reminded of the time (I may be giving away my age here) that we were trained to launch under our desks in the event of a nuclear attack by the enemy; Whoever that really was. Anyhow, we have raised generations of frightened children for some time now and are probably not even really sure how this manifests in our behavior as we enter into adulthood. I am certain it is not good or healthy. It likely adds to our various phobias (e.g., xenophobia, etc.) and causes us to live a less natural existence.
Imagine this… We, as humans, are not really comfortable walking on a tightrope between two buildings or similar. However, it is very natural for a squirrel and many other four-legged creatures because that is simply what they do. I feel like instilling these fears at such an early age has us walking on a tightrope for the rest of our lives; Never really allowing us to experience true peace even when and if it should exist. Nearly our every moment wrapped up in some form of anxiety.
I do understand the importance of equipping our children for survival. However, we are not living in dangerous times – We have ALWAYS lived in dangerous times and I believe that we are mistakenly instilling so much fear in our children thinking that we, or they, actually have much control over our fate – day in and day out. I prefer to use this same time to teach our children the value of life and how to use and treasure every moment of it and not live it in fear and a false sense of control. -Greg Pai
Mum takes ‘funny’ photo of her daughter – breaks down when she realises chilling truth behind it
An entrepreneur risks the gifts and talents God gave him (or her) so they can be multiplied and used to bless others. An entre-manure only dreams of being an entrepreneur, but is burdened by the fear of losing or loss. God blesses us to be a blessing. Don’t store up wheat for a rainy day. Share it and grow an even bigger harvest next season.
“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” -Ansel Adams
All of us are photographers of some sort. We run about with our phones or tablets and many of us with our more advanced digital equipment. All of us attempting to catch that special moment, or not. Sometimes just to catch any moment, deeming it special just because every moment is. Even when we are sans-technology, we are capturing such moments with the most amazing camera of them all, our eyes.
This documentary takes us modestly into the mind of one of our most gifted photographers, Ansel Adams. While this brief film could easily be construed as a technical documentary, I prefer to enjoy it as a glimpse into the glory and talent of a marvelously convicted mind. Intentional and driven for excellence. Yes – he strived for perfection and was even under the impression that he could control much of what he was creating. And I believe that God may have even given such freedom because of his loyalty to his gifts. Nevertheless, he knew his limitations and never confused who was the picture taker, and who was the Picture Maker!
1958 Documentary About the Single Most Infuentual Landscape Photographer – Fstoppers
Maya is a 14-year-old, somewhat typical, high school student. What possibly makes her less typical is her willingness to disconnect from the digital madness that has consumed our world. Well – at least long enough to understand what she might have been missing. It didn’t happen voluntarily at first. However, she quickly learned to cooperate with her unfortunate circumstances. Here is Maya’s story in her own words…
Maya Barnes Phone Home… Not!
A week ago, the thought of just putting my phone down for a day made me extremely anxious. But now that I broke my phone, I have no choice but to go without it. It honestly hasn’t been as bad as I expected. I am still able to contact my friends and family when I am at home through my computer, but when I am out… I am completely phone free.
As much as not having a phone has been a little inconvenient, in the way that I can’t contact my parents or friends when I’m outside of home, it has actually helped me focus more on things other than social media and texting. I focus more on school and actually talking to people…actual people and not a screen!
Technology seems to get in the way of people actually interacting and actually seeing the world around them. It may seem as though you are communicating with other people, but you are actually isolating yourself in a way many people don’t realize.
The absence of technology inspired Maya to “blow the dust off” her camera and put her creative potential to work. Check it out. The results are impressive!
This photo is called “Gimme A Kiss” and it depicts man’s fascination with art. So – Not all of us are a natural-born Picasso. However, God did give all of us an amazing gift to create and be creative. Let your creative juices flow in all that you do. Don’t be satisfied leading just a “left brain” life. Even if that is your strength. God gave you a right side too. And for a reason. To support your creativity, imagination, intuition, artistic motor function, rhythm, non-verbal communication, emotional feelings, visualization, and the best of all, daydreaming! Don’t let the world convince you that you only have one half a brain. God gave you a “whole” in your head!
It takes only one filled with the love of God. We have been given a limitless ability to light up a room (or the world) and love one another. And love is best expressed when we overcome the voice of the world and what the world teaches us, for the voice of the heart which is true and pure.
Bigger is better. Much bigger is much better. And too big is even better yet. More is never enough. Much more is barely enough. And too much is only enough for now. —NOT!
This is truly the BIG LIE! How did we ever get caught in this endless cycle of madness where we spend our entire lives perpetually seeking a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow that simply does not exist.
Rich and poor alike are chasing this absurd dream. What’s worst is all the maligned sacrifice and misappropriated energy that goes into this chase. Those of us who never “had” and suddenly “get” realize that “getting” was overrated when we learn that amassing worldly possessions do not create joy. Those of us who “had” and suddenly “lose” what we had find ourselves with a hole in our soul filled with both emptiness and darkness because we were defined by our “things” and those around us were with us for our “things.”
And then there are the most fortunate of us who realize that our riches are in heaven. That wealth in this life is multiplied when we plant seeds that lift the spirits and lives of others. Where any blessings we have are meant to be shared as a blessing to others. Then the biggest bank in the world, which resides in our hearts, gets filled with gold!