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)

 

No More Hurting

No More Hurting
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One of the best promises of God creating a new home (Heaven) for us, is the fact that when we get there, there won’t be death. Since we currently live on such a sinful planet, it’s difficult to think of the concept: no death, no hurt, no pain, no sickness, nor sin. In Isaiah, we read but can scarcely imagine this concept – the wild lying beside the peaceful – coexisting due to the removal of sin.

This particular image is of the California Condor (picture taken in Arizona). Given the fact that much of the diet of the California Condor is based on death, it will be interesting to see their interaction with the rest of the animal kingdom in the new earth. I am certainly looking forward to the day when we can interact with the animals, and observe how they interact with each other.

Here is the passage we can dwell on, holding onto one of many of God’s promises:

Isaiah 66:17-25
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying.

“No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD, And their offspring with them.

“It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the LORD.”

Red-footed Booby

Red-footed Booby
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Etymology, the study of words and their historical development, can be an interesting as well as frustrating endeavor. In many cases it seems like a “chicken or eggs” pursuit with no lasting conclusions. Take the word “booby” for instance. Should I show this picture to a class of fourth graders, the boys would likely snicker self-consciously and the girls would do their best to ignore the boys. The reason for this mirth is this Red-footed Booby carries an entirely differently connotation to the fourth grade mind. It’s true; words do change their meaning over time. But somewhere during the early 1600s, these birds began being referred to as “boobies,” likely because of their apparent stupidity, since they showed little fear of man and were easily captured. The “booby hatch” grew out of the relationship between sailor and bird to become a sliding cover over a small opening on a ship where captured birds could be easily deposited for fresh provisions. By the time John Steinbeck employed the phrase in “Of Mice and Men,” the booby hatch had become slang for a psychiatric hospital, a place Lennie was teased he would be sent if he didn’t wise up.

This tropical seabird, found in the waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans seldom comes to land except to nest. Far from being stupid, this smallest of the booby and gannet family is ideally suited for such an environment. But as is often the case, man rushes to judgment based upon his own limited information and experience. A quote often attributed to Mark Twain but ironically probably didn’t originate with him, still carries a bit of good advice: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” It would be a wise sailor, or church member, who could follow that counsel.

Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, August 14, 2017

This is a view of some boats in a marina on Lopez Island, WA.  (It was a beautiful day shortly before the wildfire smoke started pouring into our area!)  These boats have tied up in a place that is safe from the storms and currents and debris out on the still somewhat sheltered but more open water of the Salish Sea.

I like the way God is described as a safe harbor in The Message (Psalm 62:7-8):

My help and glory are in God
—granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—
So trust him absolutely, people;
lay your lives on the line for him.
God is a safe place to be.

 

Creating

Creating
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Bev Riter
Sunday, August 13, 2017

Have you watched a master potter create a work of art? They start with a chunk of clay, and then start molding it into what they envision, as shown in my above photo I took in Goreme, in the Cappadocia area of Turkey. He kept turning the wheel and molding the clay with his hands until he had created what he had in mind. After firing, painting and firing again, this next image shows some of the detailed work of art that was created.

Have you wondered how God created the plants, animals and man? Wouldn’t it be something to watch this process! Unlike pottery, they became living things! The Bible mentions God and his creating several times. In Romans 9, included in this week’s Bible Reading Plan, Paul said that like the potter creates what he wants; God had the power to create what He wanted. Thank you God for being our Master Creator!

Find Your Way

Find Your Way
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, August 12, 2017

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that I was recently in the lobby of a medical clinic. While there, I also saw this sign: “Find Your Way.” It was positioned above a helpful listing of which clinic specialty was on which floor.

Jesus considered the path we walk as very important. In fact, He gives only two choices: “Enter by the narrow gate,” He insisted, “for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13 – 14 NKJV)

And how do we navigate through that narrow gate and walk the narrow way? The Bible’s longest chapter gives the answer: “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

For a good review of what the Bible says about the Bible, click the link just below:

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/bible

 

Would We Want to Know?

Would We Want to Know?
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, August 11, 2017

Recently I was in the lobby of a medical clinic and saw a white metal bulletin board on which was listed in large letters the names of the doctors for that floor. Beside one of the doctor’s names was a magnetic strip which said “On Time.”

At the lower right corner of the whiteboard was this little basket with time-delay strips. I could imagine the sigh of weariness a patient might emit if he or she saw that their doctor wouldn’t be able to see them for an hour and a half.

This system was of course set up to give helpful information to the patient. So, why couldn’t Heaven let us know the time of Jesus’ return?

There are at least a couple of good reasons why Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) In the next chapter He repeated this fact, adding a warning: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13)

One reason for concealing the year or day of His return might be the discouragement factor. If He’d told His disciples, “It will be at least 2,000 years before I actually come back,” that might have disconsolately shriveled the Christian church right there.

Another reason for concealing the time could be that it really doesn’t make that much difference. The Bible clearly teaches that death is a sleep, so if I die before Jesus returns, it will be just a blink of an eye (to my perception) before I see the blaze of heavenly light above my gravestone.

And a third reason is the most obvious one. If I knew that Jesus was returning on May 5, I would wait until May 4 and then stay up all night and get really religious, or try to. So maybe it’s best we don’t know. Because whenever He does arrive, He will be exactly on time.

More than a century ago, an Adventist hymn-writer put Jesus’ comments (along with some encouragement and some advice for what to do while we’re waiting) into a gospel song:

We know not the hour of the Master’s appearing,
Yet signs all foretell that the moment is nearing
When He shall return—’tis a promise most cheering—
But we know not the hour.

(Chorus): He will come, let us watch and be ready;
He will come, hallelujah! hallelujah!
He will come in the clouds of His Father’s bright glory—
But we know not the hour.

There’s light for the wise who are seeking salvation,
There’s truth in the Book of divine revelation—
Each prophecy points to the great consummation—
But we know not the hour.

We’ll watch and we’ll pray, with our lamps trimmed and burning,
We’ll work and we’ll wait till the Master’s returning,
We’ll sing and rejoice, every omen discerning—
But we know not the hour.
–Franklin E. Belden, 1886

In case you want to see more Bible evidence that death is a sleep until the resurrection, click the link immediately below (remember to check out other Bible verses in the sub-links).

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/death

 

When It Is Smoky

When It Is Smoky
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fires in British Columbia have made the air smoky this last week. It makes visibility poor, and sometimes it is possible to smell the smoke. If I had not seen this view before, I would not know there were mountains and bits of lakes and cities in the distance.

The Bible describes our condition as having something like a smoggy view. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 12:12,13

I’m glad that God provides enough information in the Bible that we can know what the important things are. The above verse seems to indicate that love is the greatest thing. Let’s resolve to love each other more by listening more and trying to understand each other. By understanding maybe we can see more clearly around us.