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)

 

A Bird Goes to Church

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, May 18, 2018

This past Monday evening (it was getting to be twilight, which probably explains why my little camera’s auto-focus didn’t work that well) I was at the church getting ready for a committee meeting when I saw a charming sight. A little bird was perched on the frame of the door.

It turns out that this wasn’t an avian tourist stop on a Prominent Local Churches tour. This bird had other reasons for staying close.

See the nest at the upper right? Most of the week this is a perfect place to ensure hassle-free seclusion. (This just in: I emailed Robert Howson, our church’s resident birder and the compiler of a staggeringly long “life list” of birds he’s spotted, asking him what kind of bird he thought it was. Here’s his response: “It looks like a young Dark-eyed Junco. I saw it nesting Sabbath but without the bird being present. They like to use structures like this for their nests so it’s a pretty good guess.”

Consdering where this bird decided to build its nest, I immediately thought of one of the most tender-hearted of the Psalms. Here are the first few verses:

How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah Psalm 84:1 – 4 NKVJ

I’ve known human beings who long for their weekly experience at church with a similar fervor. These are folks who almost never miss a Sabbath unless they’re ill or traveling, because they’ve found friends who care about them, and whose words and actions reflect those of the Heavenly Carer.

Would you like to read Bible verses which tell how important the church is, and the benefits it can give those who attend? Click the link below.

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/church-attendance

Depending

Photo ©2018 by Amber Jurgensen
Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, May 17, 2018

This may be a less than pretty specimen, but it is interesting how these sea anemones are exposed out of the water and still keep on living. When the tide goes down, the anemones close up, holding water inside. Then, they depend on the tide to come back to provide water where they can live normally. Fortunately, the sea is reliable and they are able to keep going this way.

People depend on others in a similar way. We might be able to live totally by ourselves for a little while. But, eventually we need to rely on other people to get things we need. Hopefully we do things that others find helpful.

Living without God might be more difficult to analyze. If we had superb bodies that lived a thousand years, it might be pretty hard to feel a need for God. Maybe that is why no one except Noah’s family joined him on the ark. Now, we find that we need God a lot. Perhaps that is good because we can develop a relationship with the Lord who wants to be part of our lives.

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12. Jesus set an example of have a very close relationship with our Father. Maybe like the sea anemone depends on water for life, we should also always depend on Jesus.

Looking Past the Ugly

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When you view a lawn with these little guys, you don’t normally think of a beautiful bouquet of dandelions. In fact, I look and see a whole lot of ugliness and dream of pouring weed killer or start plucking them out of the ground to ensure they never come back. They are, an eyesore and I don’t like them growing amongst the grass.

I am so glad God looks past our ugliness. He looks at the beauty from within. God looks deep down into our hearts and turns a blind eye to the sin that surrounds us. Just like this close-up (below) of the same flowers that plagues our lawns, we now see the bright color, the lacy details of the petals and see the true beauty of this creation.

Am I suggesting we start buying dandelions from the florist? No. I am suggesting that the God we serve is incredible to see us for the amazing creations He has designed. Thank you, God!

American Redstart

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

One can learn a lot simply from a name. Take the American Redstart for instance. The name “redstart” is derived from the Old German “stert” which is a reference to tail. This in turn refers to the bird’s habit of fanning its tail and flashing its orange or yellow patches to startle prey out of hiding. This colorful wood warbler has been called the “butterfly of the bird world” which undoubtedly calls to mind its brilliant plumage and habit of being constantly on the move. One of its names in Spanish is “mariposa” which is another allusion to butterfly. Its name in French is Paruline flamboyante, and one doesn’t need an English/French dictionary to understand what they had in mind in giving it this moniker.

Some of its most descriptive titles come from its nicknames. In the tropics it is sometimes called the “latrine bird” from its predisposition to hang around outhouses and garbage dumps while looking for flies. On a more positive note, it is also known as the “Christmas bird” since it tends to arrive in that region around that time of year. But my favorite name comes from the West Indies where its Spanish name is “candelita” or “little torch”.

And it could be a delightful title for Christians as well, for it certainly seems to fit what Paul had in mind for us: “Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, ‘Light up the darkness!’ and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6 The Message)

Sweet Fragrance

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, May 14, 2018

Lilacs are in full bloom now but I took this picture a couple of weeks ago as the flowers were just starting to open. These flowers have a wonderful unique scent in addition to the beauty of the blossoms.

I have a bottle of lilac fragrance to use when making soap. It’s quite close to the real thing and is nice to have around when these spring flowers are long gone. It’s not quite the same as smelling the actual flowers, however.

It’s amazing that so many of our senses are involved in experiencing God’s creation.

The sweet smell of perfume and oils is pleasant, and so is good advice from a friend.
Proverbs 27:9 (NCV)

The Announcement

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, May 13, 2018

Buckingham Palace would have the Royal Announcement of the birth of their new prince on view for only 24 hours. Word was that the lines were long during the evening after he was born. In order to beat the lines, I got up early the next morning and walked from our Airbnb lodging to Buckingham Palace to get these photos for you. And, there were no lines!

The announcement, printed on the official Buckingham letterhead,reads: “Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 11:01 am today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.” It was signed by four officials and dated 23 April 2018. Even though the tabloids had made the announcement earlier, this announcement was “official”.

The birth of Jesus was not announced in a royal palace but to shepherds in a field as they were watching over their flocks. They were shocked as an angel of the Lord appeared to them and told them to not be afraid. “I have good news for you; there is great joy coming to the whole people. Today in the city of David a deliverer has been born to you – the Messiah, the Lord. And this is your sign: you will find a baby lying wrapped in his swaddling clothes, in a manger.” And so they went and found Him lying in the manger. Luke 2:8-18 NEB Yes, our King and Prince of Peace, was born in a manger among animals (because there was no room in an inn) rather than in a specially prepared birth unit with the most qualified physicians and midwives in attendance as was the case for this newly born prince.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mothers!

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, May 12, 2018

Shelley’s and my wedding anniversary happens in May, and earlier this week—following my usual practice of “buying local” whenever I can—I stopped in at a little flower shop I’ve often patronized, located about a mile from where we live.

I was thunderstruck to see that it was gone! And I have never seen a store more “gone” than this one. The large professional sign at the top of the store had disappeared, and it even looks as though someone with a blue-tinted paintbrush has daubed it through “Flowers” and the other words above to try to disguise them.

“Well,” I said to myself, “I’ll go around the corner to the entrance and study the sign from the owner that will direct me to the new location. Hopefully it’s nearby.”

But there was no posted notice, not even a “Thanks for your patronage all these years.” I peered through the windows and saw no flower cases, no counter, nothing whatever to indicate that this was a flower shop.

It’s always sad to see a business disappear. But as I stare at the photo above, song lyrics come to my mind about a time when all earthly ventures will come to a close:

The marketplace is empty
No more traffic in the streets
All the builders’ tools are silent
No more time to harvest wheat
Busy housewives cease their labors
In the courtroom no debate
Work on earth is all suspended
As the King comes through the gate

O the King is coming
The King is coming
I just heard the trumpets sounding
And now His face I see
O the King is coming
The King is coming
Praise God, He’s coming for me
–Charles Millhuff, Gloria Gaither, Willam J. Gaither

To read what the Bible has to say about Jesus’ return, click the link below:

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