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 (Various)
  • Monday (Cheryl Boardman)
  • Tuesday (Robert Howson)
  • Wednesday (Darren Milam)
  • Thursday (Russell Jurgensen & family)
  • Friday and Sabbath (Pastor Maylan Schurch)

 

Hope

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, February 23, 2019

A little over a week ago our neighborhood was still blanketed by at least nine inches of snow. But after the flurries had stopped, the bright sunshine appeared. Sure, it was low in the sky and didn’t have the same power as it would have had if it were higher, but it cheered people up.

One day Shelley drew my attention to an absolutely gorgeous sight we could see from our backyard-facing windows. I grabbed my camera and stood on our deck. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but I’ll see if I can describe it.

That level white substance across bottom is snow on our neighbors’ garage roof. Behind it towers a tree, and what caught Shelley’s attention was the sun illuminating the little tufts of snow on the branches. In this photo those little tufts appear simply white, but to the real human eye they were blazing sparks of ice through which the sun was shining.

And gazing at them, I felt hope—hope that the snow would eventually melt, and spring would eventually come.

Need a bit of hope right now? Click the following link for several encouraging Bible verses about this topic.

https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/hope

Supercomputer!

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, February 22, 2019

Wednesday morning of this week I was sitting at the table in the church office. I opened my laptop and was about to get to work when I spotted this tiny brown ant crawling between the keys and the screen.

I was about to brush it off and keep working when a thought suddenly caused me to grab for the camera case on my belt. This little ant, I mused, is thousands of times—and maybe it’s silly to try to quantify this—more complex than the relatively late-model computer it’s walking on. This ant is a supercomputer!

Yeah, I know this is nothing more than a common “sugar ant.” When I mentioned it at Wednesday night’s prayer meeting a woman told me, “When you see one of them, there are always more nearby!” I know this ant is a pest and not sanitary to have near the sugar-bowl.

But think about it. My laptop had to be created in a factory, while this ant’s parents produced it without human intervention. My laptop can’t do things without being told to by a human, yet this ant can make little microdecisions as it goes along. I can’t frighten my laptop, yet this ant can sense the approach of my fingers and does its best to flee.

My laptop cannot seek its own nourishment, but has to wait for me to plug it into the wall and charge its battery. But this ant can wander around at will, using its sensory organs to discover food.

If I were more knowledgeable about ants, I could keep going with comparisons, most of which would put the laptop in an inferior light. Even the Bible uses the ant as an example to lazy people:

Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
So shall your poverty come . . . .
Poverbs 6:6 – 11 NKJV

So here’s to the little supercomputer—and to the God who created it!

Wisdom

Photo ©2019 by Chelsea Jurgensen
Commentary©2019 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, February 21, 2019

I always enjoy a nice holly and snow picture. To me it represents a chance to think about higher things than just cold weather. The colorful holly berries might represent warmth of family, neighbors, and friends. In this case, I’d like to think about God’s wisdom.

It is truly hard for us to understand how to apply God’s love and wisdom in different situations. So the Bible gives many examples. Here are a couple from Proverbs.

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9

“A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

When we feel like things are down, let’s think about how God wants us to use those opportunities to share His love with people we interact with.

In His Hands

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Not sure what the weather has been like the last couple weeks for you, but here in the Seattle area we’ve had lots of snow (for our area) and fairly cold temperatures. Even though we are just coming out of all the snowfall and bitter temperatures, it’s still not warm and sunny. With that in mind, I thought I would provide you with a nice shot to warm you up with. This particular image was captured in Cancun, Mexico. I hope you can feel the warmth, from the sunshine and gentle breeze rustling the palm fronds.

When I think of the weather on this planet, I can’t help but think of how amazing our God is.

Psalm 95:3-5

For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Whether you are experiencing the snow the Seattle area (and other areas) had last week, or the sunshine and palm trees Mexico is currently – God has you. He is watching over you and caring for you. Praise Him and be encouraged.

The US Supreme Court

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Perhaps you recognize the imposing building from its massive pillars, its multi-tiered steps, or the statuary that grace the setting. Then again, maybe not. But perhaps you recognize the peacock symbol that informs us one of the major TV networks has set up camp to cover any important rulings that come down from the highest court in our land.

The irony of the situation struck me as we walked past the scene, ironic because I saw a parallel between it and the condition of our own church and Christianity at large. Just like Christians, the reporters understood the import of the court’s decision. They were there to report it to the public when the decision was rendered. As Christians we also understand the importance of the case, important because it directly involves each one of us and our eternal destiny.

But did you notice the condition of those reporters? Equipment was in place, they were on duty, but as Shakespeare would say, “There’s the rub.” On duty should mean more to us than just being aware there is a story to tell, there’s good news to be shared. While the reporters were waiting for the verdict to be issued, we already know, at least in part, the all-encompassing significance of “the” story. While the details still have to be filled in, we know who wins this case. What has taken more than the history of mankind will at last be finalized; and the Good Guy Wins! Christ is the victor, and those of us that believe it enough to tell it to others will be awake and broadcasting the Good News so together we may share in the celebration.

Survivor

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, February 18, 2019

This little bunch of crocuses came up in my garden just before we got our winter storms of the last couple of weeks. The record setting weather produced snow and ice and rain and basically caused things to shut down over a wide area.

Transportation was a nightmare and some of us couldn’t get to work and schools were closed over a big swathe of western Washington. Public transportation was no better as flights were delayed or cancelled altogether and buses were unable to negotiate parts of their routes.

The buds had come up but I hadn’t seen them open before the snow fell. After the snow fell, the yellow buds were a little bright spot just barely sticking up above the snow. After the snow melted, they seemed a little worse for wear and the stems were lying on their sides but I was pleasantly surprised to see the blossoms open despite all that they had been through.

Jerusalem, worship GOD!
Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
he blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
he puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward—
how swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
he scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!
Psalm 147:12-18

Lift

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, February 17, 2019

Snowstorm #2 was not yet 24 hours old when I snapped the photo above, of Maylan poised to briskly tap on a branch, releasing it from its load of snow so that it would bounce back to its former elevation and not be in the way of people walking the trail and crossing the bridge behind him.

I stood in our warm kitchen to take this second photo, pointing my camera out the window to capture our dogwood tree, heavily laden, in need of release.

As the snow continued falling, day after day and night after night, tree-tapping became one of my favorite activities. I loved to watch the branches shake off their burden of snow, and lift up their heads once again. I imagined them sighing with relief.

I wish I could just as easily lift the burdens of those who share their prayer requests with me. It’s good to know that we can, as Lamentations 3:41 invites us, “lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven,” assured that He listens and responds from His huge heart of love, lifting our burdens.

As I liberated branch after branch this week I thought of another “lift” verse. In Luke 21, shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus describes what will happen in the last days of this earth’s history. It’s a long, sobering list with a glorious ending: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28)

Be of good courage this week!