Journeys With the Messiah is a compelling and controversial collection of fine art photographs depicting 1st-century Jesus in 20th/21st-century dilemmas and scenarios.
Belk’s photos use Nazis and prostitutes, Ferraris and motorcycles, and high rollers and Wall Street executives to connect timeless—often politically incorrect—messages from the life of Jesus to current dilemmas including financial stress, addiction, materialism, poverty, hypocrisy, genocide and infertility. Accompanying each image—in written and video format—is the artist’s journal, a 21st-century interpretation of the 1st-century story.
After experiencing both success and burnout in the fashion photography industry, Belk’s faith prompted him to begin to dream about using his craft to share the 21st-century relevance he found in the timeless stories from the best-selling book of all time—the Bible. (From the introduction)
AS FOR OTHERS Our beliefs are best illustrated through actions. Matthew 25:35-40
There is a world of difference between saying “I believe” something and living those beliefs with actions.
While teaching His disciples, Jesus confused them when He said, “Just as you gave Me food when I was hungry and visited Me when I was in prison, so you have done the same for others.”
The disciples knew they had not done such things, so they asked, “When did we do this?”
Jesus’ reply sets the example of how we are to live for others. “Just as you did these things for others, it is as if you have done them for Me.”
Just saying, “I believe in human rights” or “justice for all” or “I am a Christian,” is altogether different from actually living by those beliefs. It requires me to ask, “Am I really walking the talk?”
HOLY ABUNDANCE God’s provision gone awry. Matthew 6:19-21
The World Health Organization reports that of the 6 billion people in the world, two-thirds of them are under-fed or starving. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That’s one child every five seconds or about nine children in the time it will take you to read this message.
When I read statistics like this, I immediately think of far away places like India and Africa. Then I learn that, in the United States, one out of every eight children under age 12 goes to bed hungry every night.
There’s a story about a man who stands on a hill overlooking a refugee camp in Darfur. Seeing the starvation and death, he turns his face skyward and screams, “God, how could you let this happen?” God responds with, “How could you?”
We have the means to fix this. The world’s poorest could have their health and nutritional needs met for less than 25% of what Americans spend on clothing each year. So, this issue is not a lack of abundance. It is simply a lack of distribution. How many children will die today while I sit on my savings account? It is a painful question to ponder.
REST FOR THE WEARY Time out from the burdens of life. Matthew 11:28
We’re living in a time when the world is in serious economic upheaval. Fortunes have been lost, retirement incomes are gone, and affording the basic necessities has become a struggle for many.
During times like these I recall the simplicity of childhood and the safety of my mom and dad’s arms.
In truth, we place too much importance on issues that, in the end, will be of no consequence. Have you ever heard of a dying man asking to see his stock portfolio one more time? Could the time we spend worrying be better spent in quiet, calming fellowship with the One who created it all and promises us even more?
Jesus said that we are not to worry, but to “seek His Kingdom first.” When we do, His Father will generously take care of our needs. He invites “all who are burdened and weary” to come and find sweet rest in Him.
Maybe we should give it a try.
DAILY BREAD Living today while being secure in tomorrow. Matthew 6:11
As the stock markets crashed in the fall of 2008, I panicked. I saw my life savings evaporate before my eyes. Almost half of everything I had counted on for the future was gone.
Several days before this financial collapse, I read about Jesus teaching his disciples a “form of prayer” that we have come to know as The Lord’s Prayer. There are six sections to the prayer—the first three to the honor of God and the second three for the needs of man. One of the parts in “the needs of man” is: “Give us day by day the bread we need.”
It dawned on me that, despite all the promises Jesus made about God taking care of my needs, I do not trust Him for those needs on a day-by-day basis. Not only do I want today’s’ bread, but I also want to feel secure that I have tomorrow’s bread, today. I want to know that I have “retirement bread” and lots of it. Can you begin to imagine how peaceful life would be if we could live with no worry about meting our needs for tomorrow? He will meet our needs if we will only trust him. That is His promise.
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