Bio:Georgia-based photographer. Shooting nature, wildlife, landscapes, flowers, barns, beaches, sunsets, stars and more for God's glory.
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FENCES OF PROTECTION The fence in this picture looks almost like a corral. If this had been present in the day this church was active then it might have made a good place for the small children to play and be safely protected from dirt-slingin', wild-hoofin' horse-drawn wagons. :-) Most probably it was put there to keep vehicles from parking on the grass though. With pullover space a premium as times, people get very creative in their parking and too often it damages the environment. The Bible gives us fences in the way of laws or commandments that are not meant to infringe upon our fun or freedom but to protect us from this fast-paced, dirt-slingin' secular society whose ethics and morals are quite contrary to God's desire for His children. These teachings also keep us from doing harm to ourselves and others. Fences are good for most of us who have a tendency for pushing boundaries. Observe how the Psalmist felt about God's precepts (rules, directions, commandments)... The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. ~Psalm 19:8 The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. ~Psalm 111:7 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. ~Psalm 119:93 Observing God's rules or precepts results in joy, enlightenment, trust and life in the believer. Those are some pretty good reasons to stay behind the fence! Missionary Baptist Church Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains (c) Bryan Nowak
Hyatt Lane in Cades Cove Great Smoky Mountains (c) Bryan Nowak
CHRISTMAS LANE If you've traveled the gravel roads in Cades Cove you know too well that these lanes are better suited for 1-way traffic than for two. They are very narrow. But those of us who love the Cove would not want it any other way. Jesus said, "Broad is the road that leads to destruction." ~Matthew 7:13 Most people believe that the wide road with many lanes and higher speed limits is the way to go. Interstate highways were constructed for this purpose... to move the masses. Surely, if everyone else is choosing that route or the GPS sends you that way then it must be right! Or is it? There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. ~Proverbs 14:12 Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean it's right. Just because most people accept that there are many lanes to heaven does not make it so. Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ~John 14:6 Biblical teaching and thinking does not bode well with today's all-inclusive, anything-goes culture. God certainly desires that all people would be saved, but most are not willing to get off the broad, convenient, fast moving, yet deadly interstate in order to take the exclusive, narrow road to life everlasting. Which road are you on and where exactly is it leading? I hope you are certain about your eternal destination. If not, look again at the path you've chosen to travel. Christmas celebrates the paving of THE WAY. Jesus is Christmas Lane. Hyatt Lane in Cades Cove Great Smoky Mountains National Park (c) Bryan Nowak
I don't say thank you nearly enough. Clicking "Like" or "Love" for your kind and uplifting words just doesn't express very well how much your daily support and encouragement means to me. I hope at times the messages that first penetrate my heart will also speak to yours. I hardly ever sit down with a foreknowledge of what I will write -- God just starts filling my head with words and I type them out. If you would ever like to go back and see the many devotional pics and posts I've shared, then you can find most of them at either https://thrugodslenz.blogspot.com/ or http://onmissionphotography.com (and you can also subscribe here for daily emails of my ScripturePic Posts). Thank you for the daily support and encouragement! ~Bryan
IF IT'S NOT ONE THING THEN IT'S ANOTHER... Have you ever said that referring to one challenge after another? This couple emerges out of the fog to find a tree down in their path. Now, in reality neither of these are true problems but they represent what we often deal with day in and day out. Do you ever get tired of it? I know I do. One positive to this scenario is that these two individuals have someone with whom they can walk through their "challenges." When you face difficult times, do not retreat and become a hermit. Seek out caring friends and family. The second positive is that while things may be unclear right now, you can rest assured that in hindsight you'll see why God took you through the fog, and you will recognize His wisdom and purpose in it. He is often times building your character to become more Christ-like. Thirdly, the tree is only blocking the path -- there is a very clear route to take around it, even if it is inconvenient and indirect. God will certainly make a way through, under, around or over anything that comes your way. It might seem overwhelming but He's got your back, but most importantly He's got your heart. Trust God in the journey... regardless of its speed bumps, slowdowns, potholes and detours. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. ~Psalm 9:10 (c) Bryan Nowak
LOG JAM OR FOOT BRIDGE? Be careful when assessing challenges or obstacles in your life. This fallen tree could easily be perceived as a potential log jam but it could also be utilized as a foot bridge over the river. The very thing we might see as a problem could actually be the solution or answer to another of life's trials. Think on that for a moment! Look for the Lord in every situation regardless of whether you "feel" good or bad about it. God has a plan and it's our task to join Him in it. The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster. ~Proverbs 16:4 What? You just don't see that God's hand is present and at work? In that case, do not follow what you see or understand to be true, but trust what you know about our loving and sovereign God. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6 He is faithful, and those log jams can most certainly be a foot bridge to the next leg of your journey with Jesus through this whirlwind of an existence on planet earth. (c) Bryan Nowak
MOUNTAINS TO MISSIONS In front of the treeline at the base of the mountains sits an old log cabin. It was built in the early 1820's by the first permanent white settlers to Cades Cove, John and Lucretia Oliver. The dusty path takes you to the cabin where you can try to imagine living off the land and natural resources available almost 200 years ago. To be honest, most of us are too spoiled with today's conveniences to even come close to envisioning the reality of it. If you didn't kill it, plant it, or pick it then you didn't eat that day. If you didn't cut it, stack it and seal it then you didn't sleep inside protective walls. The first ones in depended on their wits and strengths. The Olivers were also faithful believers in God. They were instrumental in starting the Cades Cove Baptist Church which later became the Primitive Baptist Church. Yes, even back then there were disagreements and a "split" concerning the funding of missions. Hence, the Missionary Baptist Church was organized just down the road. As a Georgia Baptist missionary I am fully committed to the belief that we should be involved in missions work -- locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. I feel it's important to give financially and go intentionally while praying earnestly. Jesus told His disciples... “All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have told you. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:18-20) I count myself among Christ's disciples/followers and I rest confidently in the fact that He is with me always. The message to GO was not a suggestion as many would want to think. There is a world of people who still have not heard the Good News of salvation. It is still our job to go and tell as well as equip others to do likewise. That's why I write these words and post these pictures.
FINAL MOMENTS A Christmas Story... sort of. I remember leaving the Smokies on November 6th to head back to Georgia... it was bitter sweet. I thought the colors would be just plain blah this year but our nation's most popular National Park showed off spectacularly in a short span of time between late October and early November. This photo was taken along Hwy 441 at the Chimney Tops pullouts. What is it about final moments that stick with us? Well, I guess it's because we know that we can never go back and experience things in just the same way, with the same person, or with the same emotion. Things change, people change, the environment changes. So we hold on to those departing moments. As Christmas approaches, I can't help but think what it was like for our Heavenly Father and Jesus as their relationship was about to change dramatically. The Son of God was going to become the Son of Man. The Spirit Jesus would take on earthly flesh. The Prince of Peace would be born in an animal stable and laid in a feeding trough as a tiny, innocent, helpless baby. How do you say goodbye to One who 33 years later would be sacrificed on a cruel cross of death taking the punishment of the people He poured His life into? This would be no surprise at all but instead part of God's intentional and eternal plan for mankind's redemption and salvation. Well, maybe it wasn't so much a goodbye then as it was a "see you later" because Jesus would rise from the dead and ascend back to the Father in heaven. I have dear friends who have been saying, or are in the process of saying, goodbye to loved ones recently, but because they are Christians they are really saying "see you later" but that does little to ease the pain deep inside right now. Our Heavenly Father knows your pain if you're going through separation struggles right now. Let Him minister to your heart. It most often takes someone who has walked in your shoes to give you the greatest comfort. It's the Christmas story. Take heart.
It's All About the Light Ask a photographer... it's all about the light. The word "photography" was created from the Greek roots φωτός (phōtos), meaning "light" and γραφή (graphé) or "representation by means of lines or drawing." Together the word is interpreted "drawing with light". There is no visual perception of shape, form, depth or color without light. Consider this -- there is no source of darkness in the universe... there is only light or the absence of it. Imagine this picture with no light. If you're imagining only a black screen, then you'd be right. We ought to be thankful to God everyday that the very first thing He created was light. He spoke it into being, saying, "Let there be light,” and there was light." (Genesis 1:3) Darkness, as a state of mind, only exists in the absence of light, knowledge or understanding. For our minds to be illuminated to truth then it must be exposed to light that reveals all things. The Bible refers to darkness and light in many passages. Jesus said, "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." (John 12:46) However, darkness holds a great attraction to mankind. Jesus said, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19) And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14) We have God's Word, the Holy Bible, and we also have all of nature that declares His glory. In Romans 1:20 we read, "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." And this is why I photograph and proclaim truth, so that by what you see and read you may believe. That is my heart's desire. It's all about The Light -- Jesus. https://thrugodslenz.blogspot.com/2018/12/its-all-about-light.html (c) Bryan Nowak
Don't trip over the rock in your path! John Oliver Cabin Cades Cove, GSMNP (c) Bryan Nowak
ONE SMALL SPARK One tossed cigarette, one floating ember from a fire pit, one dropped candle... it doesn't take much to burn down a home, a forest, or a city. One careless or intentional spark is all that is required. Similarly, one small off-hand remark, one unjust criticism, one uncalled-for remark about someone's appearance or intelligence... that's all it takes to lead another person down a path of ruin. The old children's rhyme that says, "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me" is totally false. I would venture to say that there are more people hurt and devastated by thoughtless words than all the hurled sticks and stones combined. People recklessly trash others on social media -- people of all ages, not just teenagers. Parents leave children feeling worthless and unloved because of words. Business men and women, and politicians use words to demean and belittle others in order to get ahead. Our words are an encouragement and blessing or a source of discouragement and cursing. James 3:5-6 The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire... Such a small part of the body. Such an untamed source of destruction... unless you allow it to be controlled by the power of God. Take some Holy Ghost TUMS. Extinguish that fire before it comes forth from your lips. Don't be the flamer thrower... be the fire hose delivering Living Water. (c) Bryan Nowak
STARR'S MILL Senoia, GA (c) Bryan Nowak During the mid 19th century, thousands of mills across Starr's Mill Entrance - Starrs Mill, Georgia eastern United States took advantage of an endless supply of water power. And Georgia was no exception, with hundreds of grist, cotton, lumber and textile mills spread across the state. Here in today's Fayette County, Hananiah Gilcoat (Jill-cote) built the first grist mill along Whitewater Creek in 1825. The Gilcoat land bordered on a new frontier in America, less than a mile from Creek Indian territory. The mill property continued to change owners over a short period of time until Hilliard Starr took over the property in 1866. Working the mill for 13 years, the Starr name has endured at both the mill and the community. Today the mill is recognized as a significant Atlanta Metro Area historic site. The current mill, just over 100 years old, was the third mill constructed Starr's Mill Interior - Senoia, Georgia on the mill foundation. Dating back to 1907, the present mill was rebuilt by William T. Glower when the previous mill was destroy by fire. More than a grist mill, the Georgia mill site went on to power a cotton gin and supply electrical power to the nearby town of Senoia. Still a popular place to fish and take photographs, this charming mill and day use park can be found about 25 miles south of Atlanta, between Fayetteville and Senoia on GA Hwy 85.
TREE DOWN Great Smoky Mountains National Park (c) Bryan Nowak