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)

 

Curiosity

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Curiosity is a trait that can get people into trouble, or it can help them discover something wonderful and new that they would not have known otherwise. What is over the next hill, or what is just beyond the horizon? What will happen if I try something out of the ordinary?

Jesus said, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9,10

It takes a little effort to develop healthy curiosity. If people think they already have the answers, they may not be curious to explore for more accurate knowledge. Having a regular idea floating in your mind that there is more to learn is healthy. Curiosity needs to have a good motive. It would not be healthy to only be curious only for one’s own gain. Instead, it is better to curiously search for opportunities that benefit others around.

Let’s develop curiosity to look for the Lord’s will in our lives. The result is bound to be more fun and beneficial than staying in our normal ruts.

Rocky Mountain Cottontail Rabbit

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NOTE from Pastor Maylan: If you’re a systematically devoted follower of these Daily Photo Parable blogs, you might have noticed that this week I inadvertently put Darren Milam’s blog in the Tuesday slot, which normally is Robert Howson’s. I am going to blame this glitch on being so delighted and bedazzled by both blogs that I went into some sort of daze (chuckle). Anyway, I have now uploaded the blog you’re currently reading, which is Robert’s. Next week everything will be back in its proper order–unless these talented guys bedazzle me again!!! — Maylan

ROBERT WRITES: Beatrix Potter has given us a memorable picture of the genus Sylvilagus in her portrayal of Peter Rabbit. This genus contains 13 North American species, most of which have the familiar stubby, white tail we associate with their namesake. The Rocky Mountain Cottontail Rabbit is just one of that group. Found in the intermountain West, this species also thrives in the high desert where food is available. Their fondness of fresh grasses and herbs has put them in disfavor of local gardeners, but in winter their diet is made up mostly of bark, twigs, and buds.

Rabbits in general and cottontails specifically, live vulnerable lives as many predators consider them prime targets. Probably only 15 percent of young survive their first year, but they reach sexual maturity in two or three months and breed three or four times a year, thus producing a huge number of offspring to offset the high mortality rate. Their sensitive noses and large ears keep them alerted of possible threats. In fact, they will seldom be found out of their burrows during windy conditions since the wind places serious limitations on their hearing.

Unfortunately, we humans seem to not be as attune to God’s warnings. Listen to the words of the prophet Zephaniah: “I thought, ‘Surely they will listen to me now – surely they will heed my warnings, so that I’ll not need to strike again.’ But no; however much I punish them, they continue all their evil ways from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn.” (Zephaniah 3:7 Living Bible) It’s really quite simple when you think about it: our survival, our well-being is dependent upon us listening to God’s forewarnings.

Sleeping Soundly

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Outside my office window, last week, I saw an interesting sight. Here was a squirrel, fast asleep (it moved later, so I know it was just asleep and not expired) on the branch, in the sunshine. Now, I know squirrels live in trees, but I had never been witness to their sleeping patterns. It was early morning, he/she climbed out onto this branch and found a spot where it could find the warmth of the sunrise and caught a few z’s. Down below the tree, various yardwork was being done. Right beside the tree, the road was a blur of cars zipping by. Through all this, the squirrel slept contently and oblivious to the noises and happenings around them.

In Matthew 8, we can see the disciples in their boat with Jesus. Above deck the winds pick up, the waves grow with intensity – a storm is brewing. Below deck, Jesus finds a place to rest His head for a while. Back on the deck, the storm has grown furious, tossing the boat around – waves slapping the sides and sloshing onto the boat. Still, Jesus sleeps through the noise and commotion. The disciples rush to awake Jesus, (v. 25) “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”. Jesus wakes up and says, (v. 26), “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” He raised His hands, told the winds and waves to calm, and they did.

How do we get to that place, the place where we can calmly move through life? Where we can rest our eyes and find peace, amidst chaos. I know it’s easier said than done, but I know where we HAVE to start. It all starts with our faith in God. The faith that God is there for us, whatever we are going through. God is the one that gives us that calmness – so we can be more like the squirrel in the tree – sleeping peacefully, while all around it’s not calm at all. Take that first step and reach out to God, asking for the peace you need, the peace we all need.

Pray

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, October 16, 2017

This photo of the praying hands is part of a stained glass window in the little prayer chapel on the campgrounds of the British Columbia Conference.

I think that, as humans, we have a tendency to worry first and pray later. We all have personal concerns and if you are keeping up with the news at all, you will find plenty of other things to worry about!

It’s easy to forget, in the hustle and bustle of modern life, that we have Someone to talk to about all of our worries and concerns. I like this verse in Philippians:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)

Martin Luther – His Beliefs and Actions

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Bev Riter
Sunday, October 15, 2017

This continues my series on Martin Luther, 500 years since he took his stand for his religious beliefs. If you missed last week’s reading, you might want to check it out now. Because of his studies of the Bible, Luther began to have many issues with the Roman Church and its teachings. His main argument was about the role of authority. He disagreed with the Church’s definition of righteousness by faith and with the selling of indulgences. This consisted of documents prepared by the Church and purchased by individuals for themselves or the dead thinking that God would not punish them for their sins and that could obtain salvation by this means. (The selling of indulgences helped finance the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.)

The Luther Memorial (Luther alone shown at top of page and the whole monument next) in Worms, Germany is the world’s largest Reformation memorial. It shows Martin Luther with his Bible in his hand. He is surrounded by the forerunners of the Reformation: John Wycliffe, Peter Waldo, Girolamo Savonarola and Jan Hus. Other friends and supporters are included in the Memorial. Three ladies, Speyer, Augsburg and Magdeburg symbolize the key points of the Reformation.

In all, Luther wrote 95 statements or Theses and nailed them on the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door, wanting a public debate on these issues. I photographed the above poster at a display in the Nonnenweier (Germany) Protestant Church. He had no intention of starting a revolution but to bring reform to the Catholic Church. His two central beliefs were that the Bible is the central religious authority and that people reach salvation only by their faith in God and not by their deeds or works. He questioned if the pope had the right to sell indulgences. He claimed that a simple layman armed with the Scriptures was superior to the pope’s interpretation. He argued that all Christians should be free from the church laws, but bound in love to their neighbors. With aid from the recent development of the printing press, Luther’s Theses spread throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. Martin Luther urged rulers to take up the cause of church reform.

By the authority of the pope, he was told to stop these acts of defiance and recant his 95 Theses. Luther replied that he would not recant unless scripture proved him wrong. Saying he didn’t think the papacy had the authority to interpret scripture, he was threatened with excommunication from the church.

Scripture alone was the focus of the Reformation. Is it our focus today? Check in next week to learn about the result of Luther’s actions that led to the formation of the Protestant movement.

Bandaid

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, October 14, 2017

A week ago this past Thursday, I caught sight of this sidewalk crack on which a band-aid had fallen. I’m assuming this happened by accident—otherwise the person who applied it would probably have centered it more carefully over the crack—but it’s certainly a mournful metaphor of a broken planet which well-meaning people have been hoping to heal for thousands of years.

And just as pasting a literal band-aid over a literal sidewalk crack is futile, healing Earth’s inhabitants might seem to be futile as well. But Jesus didn’t think so. Once He’d returned from His wilderness sojourn following His baptism, He became a traveling medical clinic, channeling Heaven’s creator-power into the eyes and limbs and tongue of the afflicted. There’s every likelihood that He healed far more than He taught.

But when He did teach, He added the truth that this wounded planet is no longer God’s ideal home for His children. So Jesus inspired His disciple Peter to talk about God’s plans for renovations. And don’t miss Peter’s advice about how we should live as we await that moment.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:10 – 13 NKJV

The Post is Concerned

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, October 13, 2017

About a week ago, this startling news-alert window popped up on the screen of my computer tablet. The first three sentence fragments plus the question sounded like attention-getters on the front cover of a prophecy lecture brochure.

But then the Post confidently suggests that “we can predict when humans will go extinct.” I pulled up the article a few days later and discovered that—in the view of the writer of the piece—we can relax, because we won’t be snuffed out for at least another 3,000 years (based on a complicated formula whose mathematical underpinnings I do not understand).

Well, I’ve got news for the Post and its industrious writer: you can’t figure out the end of the world by mathematics. You need input from this world’s Creator. Which means, of course, that you first need to discover that God’s written words are credible. So if Bible credibility is an issue for you, click the first link below. Then click the second link, which tells what Jesus and others said about how the world will end. As any disaster expert—and any Boy Scout—will tell you, Be prepared!

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/is-bible-true

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