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 Help, I Fix It

I Help, I Fix It
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I like to fix things that are broken – when I have the skills/abilities to do it. Of course there are plenty of times that I don’t have the expertise or the experience to complete the task. Why is it then, when something happens in my life and I know it’s best to give it to God and let Him deal with it, I instead try to fix it myself? I have to chalk this impulse up to the sinful world we live in – it’s my human brain giving me thoughts to “do it myself.” I can look at the situation, and fully know I cannot make this better, I cannot handle the situation. Yet, I try. I end up worrying about things I have no control over–or worse yet, getting in the way of God’s plans for me and those around me.

In Peter 5, verses 6 & 7, we can read the best advice:

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God,
and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

So, the next time you are in a situation and your first impulse is to work on it yourself (like my dog Taima wanted to work on our car….), remember, we NEED to give our concerns to God and let Him take care of them.

Le Conte’s Sparrow

Le Conte’s Sparrow
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Even though in North America it’s one of the most colorful in the family, relatively little is known about the Le Conte’s Sparrow since it is an extremely secretive bird. One writer who was able to get a good look at it compared this tiny sparrow to a “twenty-dollar gold piece”. It breeds in the moist prairies and grasslands of the central part of the continent. Still, it can be difficult to observe for it spends most of its time near the ground, hidden among the tall grasses. Even when the male sings his buzzy, grasshopper-like song, he does so from a concealed perch. In one study, only eight singing males revealed themselves long enough to provide an identifiable view.

But sing they do! And while they would never win a vocal contest, they do present their wispy song with great gusto, the same kind of enthusiasm David expressed after being protected from Saul’s men intent on destroying him. “As for me, I will sing about your strength; I will praise your loyal love in the morning. For you are my refuge and my place of shelter when I face trouble.” (Psalm 59:16 New English Translation)

All too often we feel our songs aren’t good enough to be offered in public. And maybe we’re right. But that doesn’t mean our praises shouldn’t be given with any less fervor to the One who longs to hear it, even if we do so privately.

Encountering God’s Creatures

Encountering God’s Creatures
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, August 21, 2017

Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”
Genesis 1:20 (NKJV)

I was able to go on a whale watching trip this last week out of Anacortes, WA, and the boat operators took us right into Canadian waters to see this family of agile orcas who were heading mostly west. They were swimming around and changing directions and then you could see a tail come up and then a head come out of the water and then dorsal fins gliding through the water. There was a group of six and we were able to observe them for some time.

The behavior where they have their heads right up out of the water, like in this picture, is called “spy hopping.” Sometimes they just want to look around and see what is going on above them!

Orcas are technically the largest members of the dolphin family although a lot of people know them by the name killer whale. Some of us remember seeing them performing in aquariums in years past. That practice is now out of favor because they are thought to be very intelligent animals and it is known that in the wild, these animals are very sociable and travel in family groups and have a very wide range.

The waters off the west coast of Washington are just teeming with wild creatures and it’s incredible to be able to see some of them in their natural environment.

Planting, Watering, Working

Planting, Watering, Working
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Bev Riter
Sunday, August 20, 2017

My local garden club recently had its biennial garden and quilt tour. Seven gardens decorated with over 100 quilts along with the many plants, flowers and water features was enjoyed by 1100 people. People came from many places in the Pacific Northwest for this, our sixth event, which was a sell-out. As you can imagine, much preparation went into the planning, organizing and marketing of this event as well as the garden owners making sure their garden was in pristine condition. And it couldn’t have been done without many volunteers helping out. The above photo is of a scene in one of the gardens. Those of us who are gardeners know that in order to produce crops, vegetables or flowers, care needs to be taken in the planting. All plants need water to grow and the soil needs worked to keep the weeds under control.

Our Bible Reading Plan included I Corinthians 3 this week. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but minister through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” v 5-8, Andrews Study Bible He goes on to say that we are God’s workers, God’s field and God’s building, meaning church. That’s a responsibility!

The Holdout

The Holdout
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, August 19, 2017

This past Monday morning on our walk, Shelley spotted this leaf on the sidewalk. I don’t know the genus or species of the tree it’s from, but I know that a number of dried leaves have been falling from some of our trees, apparently thinking it’s autumn. This may be due to the record-setting fifty-plus days without rain this summer.

Anyway, you can see that while most of the leaf is red, there’s a green holdout spot (it looks artificial, but I didn’t alter the photo’s coloring at all). It’s like the green spot is grimly saying, “Okay. Even though everything around me is dying, I’m going to hold on desperately to whatever keeps a leaf alive.”

The more time you spend in the Bible’s pages, the more you discover that Scripture’s most famous people—the ones we name our kids after—were faithful to God no matter how complex and terrifying their circumstances. While the faith of others around them was dying, theirs remained green.

How did this happen? Check out the Bible texts at the link below:

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

Modern Blood Banking

Modern Blood Banking
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, August 18, 2017

I’ve mentioned before that thrift stores draw me like a magnet, and part of the attraction is their incredibly cheap used books. I prudently restrain myself, so that rarely do I emerge from the store having bought anything (though sometimes this happens), but I always love to scan the shelves.

Earlier this week I popped in to a Value Village for a few minutes. And though I bought none of the books you see in the photo, the middle one’s title was intriguing. I guess there does need to be an instruction manual for running a blood bank, as well as performing a successful transfusion, but I’d never seen such a book before.

I’ve donated blood many times, but can’t count myself an expert in this topic. But I do know where you can find a manual for an even more important transfusion process—telling how Jesus’ blood provided the possibility for anyone who wants to to live forever.

Check out what this manual—the Bible—says about how this works. Click the link immediately below:

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

Heavy-duty Faith

Heavy-duty Faith
Photo (c)2017 by Caleb Jurgensen
Commentary (c)2017 by Russell Jurgensen
August 17, 2017

These tires must be headed somewhere to go on some very large vehicles.  I imagine the vehicles are some kind of off-road dump trucks or earth movers.  If someone wanted to move a mountain, or perhaps a small hill, these would be the tires they would need for their giant trucks.

If we have a big problem, where can we go to have it moved away?  Maybe the problem feels like a mountain.  Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20  I think the key is that we don’t use our own strength and knowledge.  Instead, we can rely on God’s strength and knowledge.

If you have a problem, try prayer and faith, and see how the Lord will answer.  Just like we can rely on these heavy-duty tires, we can rely on Jesus for our heavy-duty problems.