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

 

Good Reign

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A play on words (obviously) given the image I’ve chosen. First, God reigns over all of us – thank you! The verse I chose marks the end of Moses’ reign over the Israelites, and Joshua would take the lead. Moses wants the best for his people and he wants what’s best for Joshua, as Moses knows it’s not going to be an easy job.

“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;
And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As raindrops on the tender herb,
And as showers on the grass.
For I proclaim the name of the LORD:
Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.”

As you can guess, this is only the first 4 verses of the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32). If you care to read on, you’ll be reminded of the challenges the Children of Israel faced, as well as all the problems they brought on themselves. It may sound strange, but I am VERY glad they had issues. The reason I say that is, I/WE have a chance. I’ll speak for myself, but I’m not perfect. Not even close. Neither were the Israelites and God didn’t give up on them. So, that means I have a chance, and He won’t give up on me. His REIGN will continue and I am so very thankful for that.

Yellow Warbler II

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

One of the dangers of increased scientific knowledge is that we run the risk of equating life with a lifeless equation. Let me illustrate. The Yellow Warbler is the most widespread of all of the North American warblers, breeding from Alaska to the Florida Keys. But it is also the most frequently parasitized by cowbirds which lay their eggs in the nest of the warbler then depend upon the smaller bird to feed and raise their young. In some areas 40% or more of the Yellow Warbler nests have been so affected. Females may desert the nest after cowbird eggs are deposited if, before that happens, she has laid less than three of her own eggs. But if more than three eggs have been laid, she will frequently accept the foreign egg, incubate it, and raise the young as her own. It all sounds rather sterile, predetermined, and lacking of any emotion. If the warblers should have access to this information, it might be tempting to think they might give up even trying to raise a family of their own.

But anyone who has raised their own children knows while there is advantage of having sound counsel from those who have gone before them, there may be a great difference between that and the emotion-filled tugs at the heart when the child is their own.

And Jesus apparently understood this difference as well, for He experienced it in a firsthand way. Jairus was the father in question. His young daughter had just died, and although both Mark and Luke tell the same story, the way Matthew puts it gives a slightly different perspective. It’s Jairus who is speaking: “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” (Matthew 9:18 NIV) As an educated leader of the synagogue he knew the odds. He had read the actuarial tables and knew that dead people didn’t come back to life. He had studied the most current AMA releases and understood the finality of death. He wasn’t naïve. He knew, but he chose to believe the impossible. And we know how that story ends.

I’m grateful for research for it does much to expand our understanding. But I never want to become blind to the possibility offered by faith. A new generation of warblers and a guy named Jairus will back me on that.

Consider the Lilies

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, July 8, 2019

I was driving over the Cascades last week, when I spotted a couple of tiger lily plants. I couldn’t stop at that point on the highway but I took a little side detour that followed the old highway for about five miles. When I took that detour last month, I saw columbines with their bright red and yellow colors standing out. This time, I saw a whole lot of tiger lilies (I can’t find out why they are called tiger lilies when they have spots and not stripes!). Most of the plants had multiple flowers and they seemed to glow against the green background.

You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.

And why do you worry about clothes? Look at how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire. So you can be even more sure that God will clothe you. Don’t have so little faith! Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.

Matthew 6:27-33 (NCV)

His Cross, His Kingdom

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, July 7, 2019

Our neighborhood celebrated the 4th of July loud and long, into the wee hours of the 5th of July, with an absent-minded boom sounding now and then the next night, well after the legal limit for such fiery festivities.

Most of the debris has been cleaned up, but last night as we ventured out on a walk we came across the leftovers shown above in my photo. The words, “Roman Candle,” stared up at us. Maybe it’s because we were walking near sundown on Sabbath, after hearing about Jesus’ footprints in our morning sermon, that in these crisscrossed candles I saw a Roman cross—not any Roman cross, but Christ’s cross.

We think of our 4th of July as a time to celebrate our independence and freedom, and to honor those who fought to keep our country free and independent of all who would rule over us. Each year on this holiday many people choose to become United States citizens, swearing their allegiance to their new country.

I’m so grateful that each day of the year Jesus invites us to choose to be citizens of His kingdom, pledging our allegiance to His word and His ways. In John 8: 31-32 He “said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”

Every day can be our Dependence Day, as we more clearly see our need to abide in Him, trust in Him, choose Him once again to be our Saviour and Sovereign. As we read His word, we hear Him patiently telling His audiences, all longing for freedom from their Roman oppressors, that He came to set up a different kind of kingdom, and offer a different kind of freedom. The truth dawned slowly for them, catching fire after His death and after the Holy Spirit moved upon hearts and minds in a powerful way.

I think the truth has dawned on me slowly, too, through the years, with God patiently teaching and encouraging me day by day. I celebrate His goodness and His grace, and once again declare my dependence on Him, rejoicing in His freedom and love.

You Matter

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, July 6, 2019

Our church is located near a major high school, and a few months ago one of the spaces in its parking lot became a humble, mournful memorial to a student who died by suicide.

I have a feeling that the memorial was created by the student’s friends, after getting permission from the administration to use the space. But someone else—whether it was the school or an individual—had several large signs erected along the sidewalk where the highschoolers wait for their metro buses. (The signs have been removed now, probably because school is out for the summer, but the little memorial is still there.)




The messages can be summarized Someone cares—don’t lose hope. And the “Don’t Give Up” sign was repeated several times.

Along the winding trails of the Bible’s story stand many such signs, and at the following link you’ll find a number of them. Read them. And Don’t give up.

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

New Driver

Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, July 5, 20190

A couple of days ago at a stoplight, I came up behind the above Chevy Tahoe, and immediately grinned and fumbled for the camera which I always keep in a case on my belt.

Instinctively I sensed the work of a father who—though feeling both proud and apprehensive of his teen’s attempts to pilot the family Tahoe—decided to post a couple of warnings.

Upside down. Because this dad also must possess the kind of humor which seizes every chance to tease and embarrass his progeny The idea, of course, is that if the kid manages to upend the Tahoe, those who rush to the rescue will still be able to read the bumper stickers.

The real message, of course, is that Dad cares. The humor masks the utter love he feels, and the devastation his heart would experience if anything bad ever really happened.

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Of course you do.

Check out the link below, which provides Bible evidence for how our Divine Dad feels about us.

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

Picnic

Photo ©2019 by Amber Jurgensen
Commentary ©2019 by Russell Jurgensen

For this Fourth-of-July entry, here is a peaceful picture of our chickens enjoying a watermelon treat.

Today’s life seems to be more complicated and frantic than it did years ago. Life is not always a picnic. But we can take time out to celebrate our country and freedom.

Likewise we can find peace in the Lord.

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

As we go forward, let’s remember the presence of the Lord is with us.