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)

 

Keep on Looking

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, December 10, 2018

This photo is of a painted rock I saw that was on top of a boulder near a beach on Whidbey Island. I didn’t take the rock but from reading on line, there are a group of people called the Whidbey Island Rockers who connect via Facebook. They post pictures of rocks they’ve found or hidden and you can apparently keep the rocks when you find them or hide them again but they ask that you post a picture on Facebook. (I’m not on Facebook.)

After scrolling through pictures on their Facebook page of some of the rocks that have been hidden and found, some of these are true works of art and some are more whimsical.

I think it’s really nice to find something surprising that can brighten up your day. Sometimes we find things quite by accident but sometimes we find things when we are deliberately looking for them.

Jesus said:
And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11:9-10- (NLT)

Knock, Knock

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Children sometimes play the game “Knock, Knock” expecting a reply of “Who’s there.” It ends with a funny joke or pun. Those of you who are fellow travelers, do you like to look at doors in various countries like I do? I enjoy photographing some of the more interesting ones – even making a large poster of photos of doors. The above door is not as fancy as some, but it reminded me of paintings I’ve seen of Jesus knocking at the door. It is one of the smaller doors of the beautiful St. Martin’s Church in Colmar, France.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 Jesus is standing at the closed door, knocking, and seeking us. He’s also speaking behind the closed door, asking if anyone is there. I wonder what He was saying as he knocked. Could He have been calling our names? Asking if we’re home? We have a choice: to open the door or not. He knocks on the door of our hearts, asking if He can come in and dwell within us. Will you allow Him in?

Okay, Which Is It?

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday and Sabbath, December 7 and 8, 2018

This past Saturday night, Shelley and I were in a large nursery/greenhouse, to which was attached a large, multi-room gift shop containing thousands of Christmas items. There was also an occasional book, like the two displayed above.

Neither of these titles has anything directly to do with Christmas, as far as I can tell. My camera didn’t have enough light to focus on them, so I’ll repeat the titles to make sure you get them: My Friend Fear (subtitled Finding Magic in the Unknown), and Think Happy.

Okay, which is it? The books, I’m assuming, were written by two different authors, maybe a glass-half-empty person and a glass-half-full one. But from just the titles (I didn’t peek into either) the first seems excessively gloomy and the second unrealistically Pollyanna-esque. I don’t think I could make a friend of fear under any circumstances, nor could I “think happy” just because a book tells me too.

But for 35 years I’ve been preaching from the Bible almost every week, and it’s that book I turn to most confidently to set my emotional thermostat. Two passages come to mind.

First, about fear: The disciple John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, wrote, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” A sentence later he insisted, “But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 NKJV

Then, about happiness: In the opening statements of His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3 – 12), Jesus mentions happiness nine times (the Greek word makarios is normally translated “blessed”). And a close examination of those verses reveals the startling truth that happiness isn’t always a trouble-free, sunny-day, feel-good sensation.

I’m sure that the authors of the two books in the photo meant well, and there may be some truth in what they write. But I’ve always found it wisest to form my presuppositions from the Bible first.

Got Steam?

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Our neighbor is quite a steam power enthusiast.  Here he is driving his hand-made steam car designed to resemble a 1917 horseless carriage.  This steam car is surprisingly quiet but produces a reasonable amount of power to drive up steep hills. We were lucky enough to see him out driving around.  He also built a steam boat that he has taken to the opening of boating season on Lake Washington.

Steam power might be somewhat like the Holy Spirit working in our lives.  With a steam car, the owner needs to fill it with water and supply fuel to heat the water.  Then the steam that is produced can do work.  With the Holy Spirit, we need to accept the Lord and have a desire to follow Him.  Then the Holy Spirit can work through us to share God’s love with others.  Let’s resolve to make decisions that let the Lord work through us so that we have steam to continue on.

Flowing Water

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

By now you know I like taking pictures of water. This particular image was captured outside of Branson, Missouri. This waterfall, flowing over the limestone (table rocks), collecting in the pool below, really caught my eye.

In John chapter 7 (37-39), Jesus speaks about the “living water” flowing from them.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

The Holy Spirit was given to those believers, once Jesus returned to heaven, to aid in the task at hand – telling others about the plan of Salvation. That same task is true today and we still have the help of the Holy Spirit – allowing us to have living water flow through us.

Insect in Spider Web

Insect in Spider Web
Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The following outline is not only questionable from a scientific standpoint, but undoubtedly not true. That being said, it may still be beneficial.

Insect subject species: Unknown
Spider species: Unknown
Reason for demise of insect: entrapment in web: Probably injection of venom
Current condition of subject: Dead
Reason for being in current condition: Speculative : but here goes possible speculation on the part of the insect:

–web doesn’t look that threatening; does not appear strong
–I’ve never been caught before–no spider in sight
–my superior (and beautiful) wings would be able to free me from any possible entrapment, should such an unlikely event occur
–my friends fly around here all the time and none have ever reported any problems, although I haven’t heard from Judy recently
–I’ve heard about traps before, but you can see right through this thing
–I’ve been working out a lot in the gym lately, even if I should get caught, which is very unlikely, I should be able to fly right through it
–parents warned me about things like this, but times have changed

Conclusion: Dead
Further study needed by subject: None
Recommendations for other future subjects: Disregard speculations of current subject

Where Your Treasure Is

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, December 3, 2018

I think I first became interested in rocks after finding fool’s gold and mica sheets when I was a kid at summer camp. Then, when I was visiting my aunt, she had a whole bowl full of eggs made from different polished stones. She took me to a place where you could buy inexpensive semi-precious polished stones and a fascination was born! Who knew there were so many different kinds of rocks.

I recently went to the Earth Sciences museum at the University of British Columbia where they had a huge geode that had been cut and the inside was lined with amethyst crystals. I only had my cell phone with me so this photo is of a different specimen.

Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz. People use it for jewelry and for decoration and some people believe it has healing properties. While I don’t buy into the healing properties idea (I think it is a really good marketing ploy to improve sales!), I do think it is very beautiful. It is found in many locations throughout the world and occurs in very pale to very dark purples. Because it’s so abundant, it is not as expensive as more rare varieties of gems.

The Bible tells us not to hoard treasure down here on earth and I think this refers to any material goods, not just precious or semi-precious stones.

Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Matthew 6:19-21 (The Message)