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)

 

Beauty In A Sinful World

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

God is so good to us! Jesus sacrificed, so we could survive, long after this sinful planet is wiped clean. Think of what Jesus had to endure – becoming human, living a perfect life as an example to us, and ultimately being crucified on a cross in order to bear all of earth’s sin. What a mighty God we serve.

When I look at this image, I see this colorful, beautiful, delicate cactus bloom, growing right up through a bed of thorns. It reminds me of the life of Jesus. He was born (like us) amidst the sharp and dangerous pitfalls of life, yet He rises above it all and shines His light for all to see.

In chapter 10 of Isaiah, we read about the Israelites and their trouble with Assyria. Starting in verse 5, we read of God’s judgment and promise to destroy this nation of sin, protecting the Israelites. Verse 17, in particular, summarizes (for me) the length God is willing to go for us and His constant love and protection for us:

The Light of Israel will become a fire,
their Holy One a flame;
in a single day it will burn and consume
his thorns and his briers.

It’s more than comforting to read that all the “thorns and briers” will be consumed by the fire that God sends. Even more reassuring is the fact that the “the LIGHT” and “the Holy One is, quite literally, God taking care of business, in order for US to be safe and saved.

The next time you come across some cacti and inspect all the thorns – don’t think of the sinful planet we have to endure, instead think of our Creator and how He will take care of the sin, so we can live in peace!

Gutenberg Bible

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

We’ve all heard stories of how much people have valued their Bible. Accounts of Waldensian believers who carried scraps of Scripture in a clandestine manner to keep from being discovered come to mind. This may be hard for us to imagine when we may have multiple copies of the Bible gathering dust on our book shelves. But value is based upon many differing factors and we will look at several of these.

The Gutenberg Bible held in the Library of Congress is especially valuable for a number of reasons. Often cited as being the first book printed in Europe using movable type, this makes it of historical worth for it represents a major change in the learning process. Prior to this time, books were copied by hand, but even with this invention, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible still sold for 30 florins which was about three year’s wages for a clerk and thus out of reach for most.
Another reason it is so highly valued is that it is of high aesthetic and artistic quality. Even a cursory glance at it reveals the beauty of workmanship used to produce it. It has been estimated that it took three years to produce the original copies. These factors contribute to making it among the most valuable books in the world. In 1978, the last complete copy sold went for $2.2 million. It has been estimated it would sell upwards of $35 million at auction today. With such a high monetary value placed upon it, it’s not surprising that several efforts have been made to steal or forge copies of this work.

What we haven’t mentioned is that which gives it its greatest value – the ability to change lives. But that’s also true of more recent editions as well. Yours may be paper bound with added cartoon drawings. Or maybe it’s a red-letter edition bound in Moroccan leather. But even if you’re the only individual to possess aGutenberg Bible, the good news is that the same saving truth is available to all. And that offers us the best definition of value.

Mountain Riches

Photo and Commentary (c)2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, July 16, 2018

It may be summer down here but up in the mountains, it’s barely spring.  I just went up to Artist Point, located at the end of the Mount Baker Highway, this past weekend and the snow has not yet melted off the trails.  The temperature was 77°F though so it is melting fast.

At the slightly lower elevation of Heather Meadows, there are still patches of snow but wildflowers are starting to bloom and I found these avalanche lilies were snow had recently melted.

Lord, you have made many things;
    with your wisdom you made them all.
    The earth is full of your riches.
Psalm 104:24 (NCV)

Recycling

 

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, July 15, 2018

Those of you who have spent time in the UK will recognize this traditional red telephone booth.  With the advent of cell phones, the need for phone booths has greatly diminished.  What can be done with phone booths no longer needed?  How about a free used book booth shown above, located in the village of Barga, north of Lucca, Italy?

Many of us are involved with recycling or repurposing – be it separating our garbage and food waste to recycling clothing, used appliances and technological devices. Finding other uses for things helps preserve our dwindling resources.  Jesus was concerned with not wanting to waste anything by asking the disciples to gather the leftover food so it could be saved. (John 6:12)

Two Lawns

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday and Sabbath, July 13 and 14, 2018

No, neither of the above lawns is mine, but they’re two side-by-side lawns in our neighborhood. And they provide an interesting insight into the psychology of lawn care.

The lawn on the right, as you can see, suffers from lack of water. It has not always been this way. The owner of that house was once an obsessive lawn-maintainer. As you can see, he still cuts his grass very close to the bone—which the sages say isn’t the healthiest for a happy lawn. Still, time was when his grass was an earnest green, and I once even saw him methodically seeding a sparse patch. But now everything’s gone brown.

The lawn on the left used to look spotty, with a liberal supply of dandelions. But someone has taken it vigorously in hand, and has applied generous quantities of water plus something like Miracle-Gro, and has produced a lush lawn.

So what has happened here? Vigilance grown lazy, on the right? Laziness grown vigilant, on the left?

Maybe, but it could also be part of the Great Pacific Northwest Lawn Care Cycle. I’ve gone through this cycle myself. Phase One is the desperate need to keep one’s head up in the neighborhood by keeping one’s lawn at least as green as that of the neighbor with the greenest thumb.

Phase Two is when (Phase One being tougher than you thought it would be) you moan and lament to a long-time Northwesterner about your browning lawn. The long-timer says philosophically, “Oh, it’ll grow back.” And sure enough, when the rains return in early fall, it does—if there’s enough grass to work with.

So our neighbor on the left may be in the middle of Phase One. The neighbor on the right has graduated to Phase Two. If you look closely, you’ll see that his lawn isn’t patchy with bare spots—there’s plenty of grass there waiting to be resurrected. His lawn will never look as lush as the Phase One-er’s, but that’s okay. The Phase Two-er has decided that there are many more important things to do than grow the perfect lawn, and is probably doing them right now, even as we speak.

I believe that the Bible is a down-to-earth practical Phase Two book. (There’s no Bible verse about maintaining perfect lawns, by the way. Yet in Genesis 2:15, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” That’s balance.) Because God lets it firmly be known that He values most not what’s on the outside but what’s on the inside. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God is helping the prophet Samuel select a new king for Israel. Samuel was bedazzled by Farmer Jesse’s stalwart older sons, but God had His eye on David, the youngest. God told Samuel, “. . . For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Balance. Reordering priorities God’s way. A recipe for a happy eternity.

(So what’s my own lawn like? Somewhere on the spectrum between the two above. Balance, remember?)

You’ll find several Bible verses which can help to bring balance to a life of stress, at the link just below:

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/stress

Nothing to See Here

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, July 12, 2018

This is a follow up to my previous Junco bird nest picture. Four baby Juncos hatched 10 days ago, and in this picture taken yesterday, one baby has already left the nest. (The father bird found it near our front door and led it to the safety of nearby bushes.) The remaining three babies are shown hunkered down with their natural camouflage hiding them well. It is almost as if they are saying, “nothing to see here.” If you look carefully at the close side of the nest, a baby bird is peeking out. Its eye is a little black dot, and its beak is hidden behind a twig. Now today, all the babies have left the nest.

As Christians it is good for us to be wise and careful when danger is near. But when we hear our Father’s voice, we can know it is safe. And just like these birds eventually go out and sing from the trees, we can go out and tell other people about our Father’s love.

Distortion

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

In Sabbath School class last week, we discussed what it means to witness. We agreed that part of meaning is giving an accurate account of an event of circumstances. We discussed that it’s the act of being truthful and forthcoming. Which is the exact opposite of the definition for distortion – “the action of giving a misleading account or impression.”

This image, capture on the shores of a beach outside of Port Ludlow, has a very distorting look – not clear. It’s difficult to view the ‘whole’ picture.

As we are asked to be witness for Christ, our goal is to provide a very clear image of His love. Be the witness He wants us to be. Show others what it means to live with Him at the center of our lives. Give them a clear and not distorted account of the story of salvation.