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)

 

Stay Alert

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, November 12, 2018

I was out looking for snow geese earlier this month and found this swan family (two adults and two cygnets) that was not too far from the road. The cygnets, or juveniles, don’t turn white until after their first fall and winter.

Behind them, you can see some corn stalks. That was a bit unusual because the rest of the field had been plowed. After watching for a while, I realized that the corn stalks were a blind and that was confirmed when I saw a hunter leave that area and head towards his car.

Luckily for these swans, the trumpeter and tundra swans that come through the Skagit Valley are protected. The hunters were actually waiting for snow geese, which are not protected, to settle down within range of their guns.

I did find the snow geese eventually and they were in a huge field that was not adjacent to any decoys or blinds. After years of being shot at, I’m sure they’re quite wary of where they settle but safe areas were not too far away from unsafe areas.

The Bible talks about us needing to stay alert:

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.
1 Peter 5:8-11 (The Message)

Smart Choices

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, November 18, 2018

It was a very rainy day and very cold. Yes, we were in Iceland where it is often rainy and cold! We were bundled up in our warmest clothes and rain gear when I saw these young girls pass us. I shivered as I saw their bare legs – I knew they must have been cold – yes, very cold! Since they all had back packs on and were dressed the same, I wondered if they were part of a group of scouts or such. I thought, “It wasn’t a smart choice to dress like that on a day like this!” Smart choices or not-so-smart choices. We’ve all made smart choices in our lives and I’m sure all of us have made some not-so-smart choices, too. Hopefully, most of our choices have been smart!

What about important choices – like eternal life? God has given us the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 Have you made the “smart choice” and accepted Jesus as your friend and Savior?

Throwback

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday and Sabbath, November 16 and 17, 2018

Thursday afternoon of this week I had just finished a bit of work on this week’s sermon outline at a mall. I was walking through the mall’s eating area heading for my car when I spotted this young gentleman typing on an honest-to-goodness portable, manual Royal typewriter!

I snapped this photo from behind (it was a quick shot–sorry for the bad focus but maybe it’ll help preserve his anonymity) and then went up to him to congratulate him. I had assumed that he was at work on the Great American Novel or something like that, but he told me he was writing a business form letter.

Back in the mid 1980s, I bought my first computer, an IBM PC-XT. I debated getting one with a hard drive of 25 megabytes of RAM, but the conventional wisdom back then was that nobody would ever need more than 10 MB, so that’s what I got. (This was before graphics came on the scene. The original version of the photo you see above was 4.6 MB, which meant that my first hard drive would have barely been able to contain two such photos!)

The reason I bring up my first computer was that up to that point I’d been whacking out my sermons on a typewriter. One Sabbath Shelley and I returned home from church to discover that we had been robbed, and our new computer, and monitor, and printer, had vanished.

“Oh well,” I said, grimly setting my jaw, “back to the typewriter.” And I pulled out my portable, rolled in a sheet of paper, and tried.

I couldn’t do it. Just a couple of months’ experience with the joys of typing without carbon paper (such as not having to keep my shoulders tense so I wouldn’t make a mistake and have to uncork the white-out) and I was hooked. I could not force myself to go back. So we bought another computer.

Sometimes what’s old is good. But when it comes to a new spiritual life, there’s no viable substitute. As Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

When’s the last time you got a “salvation checkup”? Take a moment to do one now. Click the link just below.

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

Who is the Artist?

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sunsets come in endless varieties, with each one being a dynamic work of art. If you are a fan of sunset pictures or of any other photo parable picture, you might like to view them in a larger format by right-clicking the image and select “Open image in new tab” or “View image” depending on your browser. Or press Ctrl and scroll the mouse to enlarge.

People are God’s works of art. The Lord created each person to be unique and loves each one. We can learn a lot about God by looking at His love for us. Another interesting thing we can learn about God is that He did not create us to be temporary.

“But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Matthew 22:31-32

Let’s be thankful that the greatest “Artist” has a plan for us for now and for the long term when He returns.

 

The Choice Is Easy

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The light side or the dark side? It feels like the choice should be very easy. Of course I’m not just talking about the image above, where one side is frosted and the other in sunlight. No, I’m talking about life. This is a great example of what we, as believers, face on this planet. One side is dark, cold and lonely. The other is warm, bright and inviting. God knows what He has created, what He has promised us. He also knows what Satan is capable of and what he attempting to do.

In the very beginning (both in history and the bible), God makes a very clear definition – (Gen. 1:4) “God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” In the book of Job, as Job is being tested, going through some really bad stuff, he makes several references to the light and the dark. In John 3:19, we can see that some people prefer the darkness, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” It’s clear, throughout the bible, darkness is associated with the sin we have to endure and light represents the hope we have.

In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus describes what the light is and what He wants us to do with it.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

As the title states – the choice is easy. Notice I didn’t say our lives will be easy. We have to rely on God to keep us on the “light” side, as we are faced with decisions each and every day. Waking up every morning and desiring to live in the light, showing others the light, is the part we have control of (with God’s assistance). Pray that God gives you the strength to make the easy choice.

Is My Name Written There

 

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

It was easy to see how focused they were while looking for a name. It might be the name of a relative, a son or a father; it might be one of a friend as it was in my case. Each had lost someone in the Viet Nam Conflict, and now they had come to acknowledge that sacrifice. Mine was a classmate from grade school years, a football player none of the rest of us could keep up with. But bullets aren’t impressed with yards gained; they just do their job without discriminating. I remember attending his funeral and thinking what a waste. He wasn’t a close friend, but close enough so it made a difference.

The names are arranged chronologically, a long list beginning with those who were the first to die in the war. That meant it was necessary to go to a reference book placed nearby where the names were listed alphabetically. This enabled us to find the panel which contained the name of the person we were searching for. But almost more impressive than the monument itself was the posture of others in attendance. One veteran of the war offered to help us locate the name we were looking for and proffered us a rose to place in remembrance. There was caring there, caring that demanded attention should be given to that name.

It made me wonder. Remember that old hymn whose title was phrased in the form of a question, Is My Name Written There? Let’s broaden that question to include the names of family members and friends who are still living, are their names written there? I wondered if I cared as much as that soldier who helped me find that name carved in granite.

Which Side of the Fence Are You On?

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, November 12, 2018

1 Kings 18 tells the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel where he challenged the prophets of Baal to have their god produce fire to burn up their offering. (At the time, there was a severe drought in Samaria and the king, his wife and his government had turned to Baal worship.)

When the prophets of Baal prayed, nothing happened. It was a whole different story when Elijah prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Read the chapter to find out what happened!

Elijah challenged the people: “How long are you going to sit on the fence? If GOD is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!” 1 Kings 18:21 (The Message)