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)

 

Then the Rains Came

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, August 20, 2018

This time of year in the Pacific Northwest things seem so dry. The grass has turned brown if it is not watered and wild fires are abundant. Their smoke forms a haze over everything!

We did have a refreshing downpour last weekend, however, and it cooled things off and gave us a brief reprieve from the heat.

Raindrops clung to the flowers in the garden.

“But as for me, I would seek God,
And to God I would commit my cause –
Who does great things, and unsearchable,
Marvelous things without number.
He gives rain on the earth,
And sends waters on the field.”

Job 5:8-11

Loosening Your Attachments

Here’s a sermon point I didn’t have time for in Sabbath’s message on Matthew 24:

Loosen your attachment to what you own and where you live.

In verses 15 – 20 Jesus predicts that Jerusalem would eventually be surrounded by those who desecrated the temple. At that point, the faithful need to drop everything and run.

Sure enough, 30 years later forces led by the Roman general Titus surrounded Jerusalem, and put up images of the current emperor, who was worshipped as a god in the temple area. At that point, people who remembered Jesus’ words ran for the hills, and were spared the massacre that followed.

These days the temple doesn’t exist anymore, but Jesus still insists that we need to loosen our attachment to what we own and where we live.

“. . . let us lay aside every weight,” Hebrews 12:1 – 2 says, “and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Is anything holding you back from a closer walk with God? Why not talk to Him about it?

Inviting

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, August 19, 2018

The beautiful 15th c Villa Reale in Marlia, north of Lucca, Italy is an inviting place to visit, to walk around the many gardens and fountains. During the early medieval age, the walled buildings served as a fortress. In the 1800’s, it had Reale, meaning Royal, added to the name because it was bought by Elisa Bonaparte Bachicchi, Napoleon’s sister who was a Princess of Lucca and Queen of Etruria. Today, in the hands of new owners, one can spend a whole day walking and relaxing in its renovated gardens that comprise of 16 hectares or around 40 acres.

Heaven, like the Villa Reale, seems to be an inviting place. It won’t be a place to only visit, but to live! While in vision, John was shown a new heaven and a new earth where there was no sorrow or crying or pain. (Revelation 21:2-4) Jesus is building mansions for those who accept his salvation. (John 14-2-3) People will also build and inhabit houses as well as plant vineyards. While on earth, Jesus said he was going to heaven to prepare a place for us. He said He will return and take us to Heaven with Him. (John 14-1-3) He’s inviting all of us to join Him there! That’s the best invitation ever!

Explore Your Idea

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, August 18, 2018

Last Sunday Shelley and I made a quick stop at the Outlet Collection near Auburn. As with most malls, there are regular stores, and there are kiosks like the one above in the walkways. This one, however, isn’t currently selling anything.

Or maybe it is. Maybe it’s selling Opportunity. An entrepreneur might spot this booth, carefully take notes on the contact info listed beside the sign’s lightbulb, and eventually haul in product and hope for the best.

And the entrepreneur knows very well that the title on the sign only tells part of the story. You can “explore an idea” in the privacy of your own home if you wish. The purpose of the kiosk above is to arouse interest in the passing customer and to cause that customer to relieve you of some of your inventory. The salesman will therefore use demos and whatever else necessary to catch and hold the customer’s attention.

As you probably know, Jesus insists that each of His disciples (and since “disciple” means a learner about Jesus’ agenda, that applies to you and me) should go into the business of exploring and sharing the idea of a loving God who allowed His Son to redeem us and wipe away our sins and give us eternal life.

So, what do you have available that you can share with someone else? A personal conversion story? A book or DVD you’ve found helpful? What if, among the other items in your kiosk, you had a large box labeled “Time to Listen to You”?

And what do you think would happen if, this coming week, at home and at work and anywhere else, you pushed before you an invisible “God is love” kiosk, while wearing an instant smile?

For more information about the “product” Jesus wants you to “sell,” click the link just below.

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

Negative Space

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, August 17, 2018

Last week while Shelley and I were on our brief getaway to Washington’s peninsula, we saw not only many wonderful natural scenes but also vehicles with strange decorations, such as off-the-wall bumper stickers.

When I spotted the car above, the first thing I thought was that they had applied some sort of window-covering decal which (while still providing visibility from inside) depicted a stark scene of a forest which might have served as a backdrop for a horror comic book. See that mysterious and possibly supernatural hood over the center group of trees?

I was about to give the car’s owner an A for creativity, when I took a second look. That’s not a nightmare forest—it seems to be a liberal glop of tan mud which has been splashed onto the window and allowed to remain there. See how it has oozed off the lower edge of the rear window, and there’s a band of it on the car frame to the right?

But what may turn this whole conundrum on its head is that there’s no mud above the upper edge of the window. The car seems to be otherwise clean and polished. So is the tan stuff mud, or paint? Or what?

But back to the image itself. There’s an art instruction concept called “negative space.” It’s supposed to provide the budding artist with an alternate way to look at what he or she might be drawing. Rather than try to draw, for example, a chair, the student is told to ignore the chair draw everything around it and within it which is not the chair. It’s surprising how realistic the chair-drawing then becomes.

So what makes this a Daily Photo Parable? Whether the image on the car’s window is a genuine mud-splash or an artful application of tan paint, we can alternately see a dark forest, and then what could represent a fairly light sky behind it, perhaps a sunset. It depends on what you focus on.

As we gaze toward what will eventually be the death of our planet, we should allow Jesus’ various “Fear not’s” to cause us to focus instead on the bright hope that a loving Savior will descend from a loving Father to take us up, never to face fear again!

Want to review some Bible facts about Jesus’ return? Click the link just below.

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/second-coming-jesus

Prayers

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, August 16, 2018

This is an image from Mount Si on Monday with smoke obscuring the view toward Seattle and the Olympic mountains. The air smelled a little smoky near the top, but the trees filtered the air on lower parts of the trail.

The Bible often uses visual things to represent ideas. For example smoke from incense might represent prayer. “Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” Revelation 5:8. With all of our smoke, we might pray for reduced forest fires and for safety of people in the way of the fires. Looking out over this scene, we might think of all the prayers people have for other problems like health and safety of loved ones.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

The Lord wants to communicate with us. It might be a little hard when we can’t see Him, but He invites us to pray. Prayer gives a chance to be grateful, to ask for help, and to think in a way that is loving toward other people. Let’s get the benefit of prayer, and pray often.

Overpowering the Darkness

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

We don’t have to look very far to see the darkness of this planet. There are times when it can feel overwhelming. We see crime, destruction, disease and all that goes with sin. In fact it’s easy to get bogged down in it all. However, we have so much more to focus in on. It’s not by chance that our one and only Example came down to earth and lived a life where we can find hope, courage and promise. He gave up the power and control He had in heaven, to humble Himself by living on a dying planet – to feel, see and touch the challenges we face.

When Jesus set foot on our planet, He was the Light WE were all looking for. In His sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained that WE are the light – reflecting His love to others,

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14-16)

This image of the contrasting clouds (taken as a storm front was just starting to form), made me think of what we, as believers, are asked to be. We are asked to be the Light in this darkness. It’s not easy, the darkness around us is always closing in, but we can overpower it – through HIM, not on our own. We can also cling to the promise of eternal life where there will be no more darkness. What an image that is.