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)

 

I Wish . . . .

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, September 21, 2018

As I paw through the notebooks and journals donated to thrift stores, I notice that most of them are blank, and often it’s clear that the first three or four pages were written on and then torn out.

I am shamelessly nosy when I discover that someone has neglected to remove his or her introspections. Since the above specimen (which I found earlier this week) contains nothing that could identify the writer, I offer a few lines for your inspection. Though I’m not totally sure, it seems to me that this is a guy’s handwriting rather than a girl’s, because the latter gender seem to take better care with their penmanship.

As I remember, this was the last entry in the notebook (I didn’t buy it but left it there), so I’m hoping the person cheered up enough to not need to pour out his or her heart.

As I read through it, two words stand out: “I” and “wish.” And to me, the most mournful sentence is the last one: “I wish something I did surprised someone.”

Several years ago, a friend of mine named Chris Blake wrote a book called Searching for a God to Love. It’s a marvelous title and a marvelous book as well. In it the author opened his heart about his own search, and his vast and delighted relief when he found such a God.

One of the books which introduced my friend to a loving God was The Desire of Ages, a life of Christ written by Ellen White. You can read this book online by clicking the link below:

http://www.whiteestate.org/books/da/da.asp

 

Reminders

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, September 20, 2018

We have reminders of God’s power and love around us on a regular basis. There are some things, however, that remind us more vividly of God’s power. At Mount St. Helens, there must have been some staggering power to lift away the entire top of the mountain. This image is looking down from the rim to the new dome inside the crater. Mount Rainier is in the background.

From a scientific perspective, these things are natural occurrences. But it is a valid perspective to trust that God’s words are true and that He created our world and the universe it is in. Considering the whole universe, God’s power is unimaginable. Likewise, God’s love is bigger than we can imagine.

Sometimes we might wonder why God does not intervene to stop personal and national tragedies from happening. In a limited sense, we know that life on earth has a purpose to demonstrate the results of sin. Fortunately, God does work in our lives and does not leave us alone. Also, when tragedy strikes we can surround each other with God’s love. One day we will see fully what it all means. Until then, let’s use God’s reminders of His power and love to encourage us.

Palace or Prison

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

This last week in our Sabbath School lessons we were studying Paul’s “situation” with his fellow Jews and their dislike of his work with the gentiles. In fact they got to a point where the only safe place Paul could be, was a prison. A mob was ready to kill Paul, but luckily Paul was a Roman Citizen and that bought him a safe place to hide – prison. God works in mysterious ways. Watching and caring for Paul – keeping Paul safe behind bars. We don’t always know how we’ll be cared for by our Creator, but we will.

The story of Paul made me think of the Tower of London, which I had the chance to tour earlier this year. Around 1080, William the Conqueror, built the first portion of the fortress – the White Tower. It was seen as a symbol of oppression by the people of London, given that William was the new ruler of the land. At that time it was a royal palace and residence for the king. Yet, in 1100 and for the next 800 years, it was used as a prison. Now it serves as a historical site and tourist attraction. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and worth exploring if you have a chance.

Paul may have not thought of the prison he was in, as a palace, but given the circumstances it was a lot better than the alternative – facing his accusers, attempting to kill him.

God is always watching out for us. He knows this earth can seem like a prison at times, but we know we have a palace waiting for us after He returns.

Cliff Swallows Gathering Mud

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

John James Audubon referred to them as “Republican Swallows”. Now, rather than getting too political, we must remember that Audubon died in 1851 and the Republican Party was not formed until three years later in 1854. His choice of name was based upon his observation of the Cliff Swallow’s highly social nature. Seldom do you see them singly, but rather, in large numbers whether feeding, nesting, or gathering nesting material as shown here. Each nest may contain between 1,000 to 4,000 mud pellets and generally takes between one and two weeks for both parents to construct. They build slowly, allowing time for the mud to dry and harden for if they don’t, or the weather is too humid, the nest may fail. This is countered to a degree by repairing and reusing old nests.

In the last 150 years its range has expanded from the West into the Great Plains and eastern part of North America as man erected suitable nest sites in the form of bridges and barns. There is a more recent occurrence which may illustrate the concern some have over the creeping secularization of society. Of course, this is just coincidental and really has no connection to the reality Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 7:35: “I tell you these things to help you; I am not putting difficulties in your path but setting before you an ideal, so that your service of God may be as far as possible free from worldly distractions.” (J.B. Phillips New Testament)

Cliff Swallows are the swallows that traditionally return to San Juan Capistrano in California each March 19. In reality, they usually show up towards the end of February. But in recent years they have abandoned the old Spanish mission site in favor of the Vellano Country Club buildings along a golf course in the Chino Hills! Secularization indeed! Unfortunately, I’m afraid our tendency to slip in that direction carries with it more serious consequences.

A New Season

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, September 17, 2018

As I write this, it’s pretty bleak outside; the sky is gray and it’s raining pretty hard. Raindrops are on my office window distorting my view. The weather forecast doesn’t look too great for the next few days either.

We are almost at the end of summer in this hemisphere and there are signs of fall everywhere. Leaves are changing, it’s getting cooler outside and it’s time to turn up the thermostat or build a fire in the wood stove or fireplace to dispel the chill of cold evenings when the sun starts setting earlier and earlier.

We go through seasons in our lives as well:
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

I was reading Joshua 1 this week and what I found very encouraging were God’s words to Joshua as he was about to lead the Israelites into the promised land:

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

May God be with us all as we go through life’s changing seasons.

Making Choices

Photo and Commentary (c)2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, September 16, 2018

One afternoon during our recent stay in Reykjavik, Iceland, we took the local bus to the countryside to visit the Arbaejarsafn Open-Air Museum. It features a collection of turf-roofed buildings on the site of an ancient farm first written about in the 1400’s.  The museum’s purpose is to give people a look into the lives of people and their living and work conditions in earlier times.  I enjoyed photographing the workers, dressed in period costumes, going about their duties as done in previous years.  As you can see, the photo I’m sharing with you today, shows two girls (also visitors) trying to decide what candy they want to buy.  They were having a hard time making this very important decision!

Making choices – all of us make choices every day – some important choices and some not-so-important.  Over the years, some of these choices become habits and we don’t really think about making a choice.  But, when you do have several choices in front of you, how do you determine which is the best choice?  Is God a part of your decision-making process?  If not, you might want to give Him a try next time you have an important decision to make!  That might be a good choice!

Faded Warning

Photo and Commentary (c)2018 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, September 15, 2018

Not long ago, walking on a sidewalk, I caught sight of this at-first-confusing sign on a door’s glass pane. At first I thought, “Interesting. Here’s a place where they at least allow smoking, and maybe even encourage it.”

But then I looked closer and saw a totally different, though totally obscured, message. This sign faced west, directly in the path of the hot afternoon sun. Year after year the sun had shone upon the red warning circle with the slash through it, and finally it had faded to white, and totally lost its power.

But if someone had kept an eye on this sign, and refreshed or replaced it regularly, it would continue to sound the alarm about smoking.

God’s Ten Commandments are like red warning circles with slashes through them. Blaspheming God? Warning! Murder? Adultery? Stealing? Lying? Coveting? Warning!

But if these commandments’ importance isn’t continually refreshed in our consciences, they’ll lose the sense of danger they should inspire.

To read God’s Ten Commandments, and to review and refresh them in your heart, click the link just below:

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/ten-commandments