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)

 

Rivers of Water

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, October 28, 2018

Gullfoss or Golden Waterfall in South Iceland consists of two stages of waterfalls in a rugged canyon with walls over 200 feet in places. It is rated as having the largest volume falls in all of Europe. We not only experienced the spray from the waterfalls, but heavy streams of water coming down from the sky in the form of heavy rain!

Water in the Bible refers to cleansing or washing, eternal life, the Spirit of God or living water. In John 7:37-39, Jesus proclaimed that “rivers of living water” flow from within those who believe in Him. God is called the source of living water. Since we in the Pacific Northwest have many rivers of water and much rain during some of the seasons, we shouldn’t have any excuse for not revealing God’s living water in our lives!

Don’t Forget the Sabbath

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, November 10, 2018

The downtown Bellevue Barnes and Noble bookstore, like many other bookstores, has been stocking more and more toys, like the ones in the display above which I noticed in late October.

I’m a piano-noodler, so whenever I see little electronic toy pianos, I always go over and fiddle with them. So first I tried the left piano. No sound. Then I tried the right piano. No sound.

Then I noticed why. Do you see the $12.98 price tag on each? Look directly below, and you’ll spot a little red on-off toggle switch. On both these pianos, the switches are set to ON. And they’ve probably been ON for several days or even weeks. In other words, neither of these toys has been given a “sabbath,” which in Hebrew means “rest.”

You know where I’m going with this, right? If plastic toys need a “sabbath,” how much more do God’s created children need the weekly rest He promised and commanded them!

Right now, the Christian book marketplace is filling with books on the Sabbath rest. For the most part, their authors aren’t yet ready to move to a seventh-day Saturday Sabbath, but they’re recognizing that we need rest, and we need it according to God’s plan.

It’s Sabbath when I’m writing this. If you’d like to take a few moments to read over some Bible verses which talk about the why and the how of God’s special day, click the link just below.

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

Rambutan

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, November 8, 2018

At first glance I think this fruit looks like it came from outer space or maybe from under the ocean. With a little courage and a tiny effort to crack it open, it reveals a sweet dessert-like fruit that is easy to eat.

The ten commandments from Exodus 20 can be like that. Sometimes we think if we just love God enough we will be able to keep His commandments. But maybe if we are brave and look carefully at the ten commandments, it is quite the opposite. The commandments reveal God’s love for us. They are like sweet desserts that are there for us to enjoy. Take the Sabbath for example. Instead of telling us to work harder, God asks us to take a whole day off to do something more noble. It can be interesting to look at each commandment to see how it is a gift to us.

If you spot Rambutan in the store, give it a try. And, take a look at Exodus 20 to see a little more of God’s love for us.

Warm and Fuzzy

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, November 6, 2018

Well, maybe not exactly. This time of year, in the Pacific Northwest, we see the leaves changing colors, we see an increase of morning fog, we see the sun rising a bit later and we can feel the temperature dropping. These are all signs of summer being way in the distance and Fall is upon us. When it’s Fall, more sweaters and jackets are worn. We remember the days when the sun was out and we wanted to run to the beach. This is the time of year, we want to find a nice spot where the air temperature is warmer (maybe in the 80’s) and sun is shining (more than likely requiring a long car ride, or an airplane flight).

This image was taking during Spring, down in Arizona, specifically at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum – due east of Phoenix. No, the saguaro you see here isn’t the epitome of “fuzzy,” but the day sure was warm. It was a pleasant air temperature, the sun was out and it felt great.

I may or may not have describe a day you would enjoy. I know some would rather be in the colder climate, or maybe prefer being inside cozied up with a book, on a drizzly day. Whatever your “warm and fuzzy” is on this planet, I feel we share common thoughts about “perfection,” when it comes to leaving this planet safely behind us and finding a much better location.

John 14:1-4: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

God, preparing a place for me? Can you imagine the place you and I will find, given God has been doing all the prep work. I would suspect it will be fit for each of us and our personal interests. Regardless of the particulars, it will absolutely be warm and fuzzy!

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Black-tailed Prairie Dog is an herbivorous rodent that inhabits the central part of North America. The term “prairie dog” is based upon the open spaces where it lives and the warning calls or barks they use to inform others in their community of potential danger. Lewis and Clark first discovered this species on their trek westward and Lewis, writing a few years later, referred to them as “barking squirrel”.

Our interest in these animals is undoubted increased by their highly social nature. The family unit is the basic component in the life of a prairie dog. However, multiple family groups may loosely band together and form “towns” which can cover an extensive amount of territory. The largest prairie dog town recorded covered 25,00 square miles and may have contained 400 million prairie dogs!

It is believed these creatures have a highly specific language which allows them to communicate effectively and benefit from multiple guards which warn of potential danger. If, for example, a diving hawk should threaten, a certain call is given which sends those in the flight path of the hawk into their burrows. Others out of the flight path simply stand and watch. When humans enter the colony, another signal is given and all in the community dive into their burrows for safety. In response to the call warning of a coyote, the prairie dogs hurry to the entrance hole and set up vigil there while those inside the burrow come out and join their comrades in observing the predator.

It’s sad to think that rodents are more responsive to warnings than we are. II Kings 17:13,14 speaks of the exasperation God must have felt due to the unresponsiveness of His chosen people. “God had taken a stand against Israel and Judah, speaking clearly through countless holy prophets and seers time and time again, ‘Turn away from your evil way of life. Do what I tell you and have been telling you in The Revelation I gave your ancestors and of which I’ve kept reminding you ever since through my servants the prophets.’ But they wouldn’t listen”… (The Message) Sad for them, so sad for us if we won’t listen.

God’s Point of View

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, November 5, 2018

This is a view from a small plane and the road winding its way up on the left is one of my favorite roads to take in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. It starts out in Winfield and head up to some lakes up in the hills. On the way, there are blue bird boxes and you can see western blue birds, mountain blue birds and tree swallows nesting in them. You can hear meadowlarks before you see them and you can see marmots, turkey vultures, other birds, butterflies and lots of varieties of wild flowers in the spring.

The view is certainly different on the ground and you get a whole new perspective from the air.

In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul is talking to the church in Corinth and is doing some correction on their judgmental attitudes. He was talking particularly about their attitudes towards church leaders at the time but I think that this applies in all circumstances where we make judgments (a very human tendency) about anyone without looking at the whole picture.

So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God.

All I’m doing right now, friends, is showing how these things pertain to Apollos and me so that you will learn restraint and not rush into making judgments without knowing all the facts. It’s important to look at things from God’s point of view. I would rather not see you inflating or deflating reputations based on mere hearsay.

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle. Without bringing either Apollos or me into it, you’re sitting on top of the world—at least God’s world—and we’re right there, sitting alongside you!

1 Corinthians 4:5-8 (The Message)

Warnings

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, October 28, 2018

Have you noticed various warning signs? The warning sign in my above photos indicates that drones and camping are not allowed at that particular place in Iceland. Some warnings might seem strange – like “Warning: contains nuts” on my can of peanuts. Did you cookie-dough-lovers read the new label on flour? “Cook before sneaking a taste – flour is not ready-to-eat and must be thoroughly cooked before eating.” My new microwave (my old one died) has many important warnings, including “You can be killed or seriously injured if you do not follow instructions.” Now that is getting serious! Continuing on the serious side of warnings, “Surgeon General’s Warning: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema and May Complicate Pregnancy.”

Like warning signs and labels we see in our everyday lives, the Bible contains many warnings; some for people in biblical times and some that also apply to us today. They are given by God because he has loved His people throughout the ages. He warned the Israelites to not forget Him; likewise we shouldn’t forget Him today. (Deuteronomy 6:12, 13) What other “warning” or “beware” or “be careful” examples can you think of in the Bible?