Each day, a number of our church members, who are also photographers, post photos and spiritual commentary, following this schedule: NOTE: To see previous blog entries, access blog archives on the right sidebar.
- Sunday (Bev Riter)
- Monday (Cheryl Boardman)
- Tuesday (Robert Howson)
- Wednesday (Darren Milam)
- Thursday (Russell Jurgensen & family)
- Friday and Sabbath (Pastor Maylan Schurch)
Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, March 18, 2018
As you can see, the sculpture in the above photo shows a donkey and a boy. The boy wants the donkey to go, but it shows its stubborn streak and balks, resisting going with him. We’ve all heard the idiom “stubborn as a mule” (rather than a donkey). Did you know that the Bible mentions mules and their stubbornness, encouraging people to not be stubborn like them? (Psalm 32:9) The Bible records several instances when people were stubborn. The Jews stubbornly turned their backs against God and followed idols. God was so angry with them that He considered destroying them. (Deuteronomy 9:13, 14) When in Corinth, the people stubbornly rejected Paul’s preaching of salvation through Jesus Christ and he left them. (Acts 19:9)
There are times when each one of us has probably been stubborn, wanted things our own way or use stubbornness as a defense mechanism. Have you thought of why you might be stubborn? It might be a good idea to listen to the other side of the story, reminding you that you might not always be right! Let’s try to not be like these examples in Bible when people rejected the word of God. Jesus told his disciples that they would experience trouble in the world, but to have courage. Through God, His Father, He conquered the world. (John 16:33) And with Him, we can conquer stubbornness or other traits it’s best to not have.
Sabbath morning I discovered an interesting article in Christianity Today Online by a pastor of another denomination. It was excerpted from a book he has written, called Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World.
I don’t have the book, but the excerpt which I’ve linked below could have been written by a Seventh-day Adventist. I’m sure that the author and his family are celebrating their Sabbath on a day other than Saturday (though I might be wrong on this), and since he’s a busy pastor, it’s probably not Sunday.
But as I read through it, I found many excellent Sabbath-keeping principles and perspectives. Check out the link below. As I say, I don’t have the book, and therefore can’t vouch for everything it might contain. But I believe this is yet another example of honest Christians turning to their Bibles and discovering God’s original plan for us.
Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, March 17, 2018
Not long ago I spotted this defibrillator on the wall of a clinic. As you may know, this is a self-contained device for use when someone has a heart attack. In such a case, another person would grab this off the wall, open it, and—at least in the case of the one we have at our church—recordings within the machine would tell the operator what to do. In theory, anybody can operate it if they follow the directions.
But. Only if the machine is maintained, and the battery kept fresh, and so on. That’s evidently what the clipboard and chart are for—to record when this maintenance is done.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a defibrillator? A life saver? Since sin began, that is exactly the role God has prescribed for anyone who follows Him. The Bible people whom we name our kids after are mostly people who allowed God to use them to change the future for many. Abraham . . . Samuel . . . David . . . Isaiah and the rest of the prophets . . . the disciples and their followers.
Why are you a Christian? Maybe your parents guided you that way. Maybe one of your friends influenced you. Whatever your spiritual background, if you attend a church for the first time, what is going to determine whether you remain? Probably people who befriend you.
And just like the defibrillator in the photo, you need maintenance—regular prayerful Bible reading, regularly gathering with others who believe as you do for mutual encouragement.
Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, March 16, 2018
Like you, I get lots of junk mail, all of which I immediately pitch in my home office wastebasket. But once in a while I glean a bit of humor from the lengths to which advertisers go as they try to intimidate me into opening their mail.
The above package was a particular delight. I don’t remember what it was urging me to buy—probably yet another suggestion that I refinance our mortgage. The fun, however, was on the outside of the envelope.
My, how official it looks! See part the word “IMPORTANT” at the left? Notice the white sticker in the center, with its “Act Now” command followed by a whole lot of numbers, hoping to get me to believe that this was personally addressed and mailed at great expense to Maylan Schurch, who desperately needs to open this envelope immediately?
My favorite line, and which still gives me giggles as I stare at this photo, is to the right. It’s just below the “IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS ENCLOSED” line, and says, “Do Not Ignore: This has been validated.”
Whoa. Validated? That sounds portentous. Validated by who? (Or “whom” if we wish to remain grammatical.) The envelope remains mysteriously silent on who the Entity was who validated it, but it was probably the same printer who stamped the equivalent of “bulk rate” where the postage stamp should go. Translation: Deliver this packet of important, individually-validated information to as many mailboxes as you can, so that they can all “Act Now!”
Well, I didn’t “Act Now,” and no, the sky has not fallen. My mortgage interest rate remains the same. The sun still shines, and the early spring birds—and now those raucous peeper frogs—are singing as merrily as ever.
Getting serious, now, there is something else you and I need to act on right away. Paul insists on this, and while he doesn’t dress the invitation up in an alarm-generating envelope, he does include it in his second letter to the Christians at Corinth. “Behold,” he writes, “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV
Because all we really have, all we can be certain of, is right now. Not five minutes from now. That little blood clot you know nothing about may already be coursing through your lower veins, bound to where it will cause a blockage. Or, out in the city, a “buzzed” driver miles away may already be hurtling toward the intersection through which you will move when the light turns green.
How does salvation work? The Bible verses at the link below will tell you what, why and how:
Image ©2018 by Chelsea Jurgensen
Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, March 15, 2018
This image is near the Columbia river overlooking a wind farm. At first glance, this image seems to be relatively brown and boring with a river obscured by a wing strut. I didn’t notice the wind turbines. But, upon zooming in, there are many wind turbines, and they extend for miles.
It reminds me about people who trust in the Lord. They may not be glamorous or incredibly rich, but they have knowledge and energy that may not be readily apparent at first. I think about teachers, pastors, parents, and yes even youth who stand by the word of the Lord. The story of Desmond Doss in the movie Hacksaw Ridge might be an extreme example of drawing strength beyond normal human strength. Other people can draw on the Lord for more normal problems, but ones that are often not easy. So take courage that God is there for you.
Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
God has created some pretty amazing sites. I was just reading about a glacier bridge in the Los Glaciares National Park, Patagonia (that’s not what this photo is of—I’ll tell you about this one in the next paragraph). The name of that specific glacier (and its bridge form) is Perito Moreno. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and attracts thousands of tourists that attempt to get a glimpse of some of the glacier breaking off and collapsing into the water. I’ve been to a couple different glaciers in Alaska and have seen some large pieces of ice, splash into the water, so I do understand the attraction.
The image above is not of a glacier, and there were no pieces falling, so no splashes were made. Even with nothing falling and no splashes, it’s still pretty amazing in its frozen state. This particular spot was about 200 feet from a cabin we stayed in at a resort in Dunton, Colorado. What I appreciate about this view is that it’s a frozen waterfall, surrounded by snow covered red rock cliffs and trees all around. The image doesn’t do it justice, as the sun is setting behind the hillside, the sunbeams still piercing one side of the canyon, lighting up the rich color of the rocks.
Images like these will be VERY dull and pale in comparison to entering heaven and seeing what God has created for us. He tells us He has made a home for us – I for one, cannot wait to see what mine looks like.
Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
We’d all like more it seems, money that is. We also recognize a $100 bill is worth much more than a $1 bill, not because it is inherently more valuable, or the person’s portrait is more attractive, but simply because we collectively agree to its assigned value. That understanding seems to work when dealing with our own currency, but imagine basing worth on the stone pictured above located in the Smithsonian. It’s sometimes referred to as Rai, or Fei, the stone money of Yap. Yap is part of the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific.
Some of these stones are quite large, up to 12 feet in diameter and requiring 20 adult men to carry them. As a result, when ownership transfers from one person to another, the stone may not actually move at all. Everyone just knows this transfer of ownership has taken place. In fact, the stone doesn’t even need to be on the island. One of these giant stones was being brought to the island when a storm broke out and just before making landfall, the stone broke loose and sank to the bottom of the ocean. The crew informed everyone what had happened, so collectively they agreed its value was still intact. As a result, someone owns this money, even though no one has seen it for over 100 years.
The assigned value of a given stone is based not only upon its size and craftsmanship, but also upon the difficulty involved in obtaining it. To transport one of these large stones on a raft which was towed behind canoes for 225 miles obviously contributed to the value of the stone.
Peter reminds us of this same concept of worth when referring to Christ’s redemptive work. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV)