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)

 

Replenishing

Photo and Commentary (c)2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, September 14, 2018

Earlier this month at a large craft store, I was sitting on a bench inside the front door while Shelley was doing some exploring. Suddenly I realized that facing me—and anybody else entering from the outside—was this delightful sign.

Its purpose was to let customers know that the store was hiring, and to list the kinds of work available. “Cashiering” and “Sales Floor” I could understand, but I’d never seen the word “replenishment” before. A second and a half of thought, and I said to myself, “Aha. The replenishers fill the shelves up with items that replace those which were bought.”

Isn’t “replenisher” a nice word? And don’t you just love people—inside a store or outside—who are replenishers? They’re the ones who, during a time of discouragement or even crisis, step into your life and fill you full of hope and courage.

Are you a replenisher? Or the opposite? Just this week Shelley told me something she’d recently read about in a book. The author suggested that for 14 days we not say even one thing negative about anything or anyone. And if you slip up, you have to start the 14 days over again! (If you make it through the 14 days, you can carefully add “constructive criticism” to your life.

Jesus was a replenisher. He entered towns, and not only did He heal their inhabitants, but lifted their hearts with stories about a God who really loved them.

Go ahead! Take the “replenisher” challenge!

 

 

Sunrise

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, September 13, 2018

In this image, the sunrise over Mount Adams casts a shadow across the smoky sky. It seems the smoke has been a theme during outdoor activities this summer. Something else that has been a theme is the wonderful creation that still shows God’s love. We talk a lot about God’s love, and I think it is good to regularly ponder what love means and what it means that God is all about love.

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light. (Psalm 36:5-9)

At some point rain will clean out all the smoke, and likewise Jesus will return and we will see clearly. Let’s put the knowledge we have now about God’s love to the best use possible.

Woodland Skipper

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Robert Howson
Tuesday and Wednesday, September 11 & 12, 2018

Let’s focus on predictability for a moment. We might delight in the spontaneous laughter of a child while at the same time appreciate the reliability with which our newspaper arrives each day. We’re a mixed bag, but so too is the Woodland Skipper. A smallish butterfly with a wingspan of just about an inch, this common species can be difficult to find until early August rolls around. And then, just as predictably as the yellow light turning red, they are everywhere. But they also demonstrate unpredictable qualities. Their compact, hairy bodies resemble that of a moth while their “knobbed” antennae are like those of a butterfly. This dichotomy continues while they are at rest, for they hold their hind wings flat in the same way as moths, yet the fore-wings are held partially erect over the body after the fashion of butterflies. The visual effect at first glance is reminiscent of a Lockheed F-117 Stealth Fighter or an F-35.

Impressive as that may be, we find ourselves longing for more consistency in our own lives for we know we fall far short of what even we hope for. And that’s just the problem, we’re consistent in our inconsistency. Listen to how Paul puts it: “It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.” (Romans 7:21-23 The Message)

But there’s really good news. Skippers have no problem flying, and you and I have been promised that through Jesus Christ, He gives us the victory. Praise God!

Guaranteed to Last

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, September 10, 2018

My parents took me to a spot where we could view their local heron rookery and we passed by this old building. I don’t know what it was originally used for but, as you can see, it is long past being useful.

We look around and see all sorts of things that have not lasted; they are worn out or not maintained or new technology has made them obsolete. I like this verse about how God’s products are guaranteed to last!

Hallelujah! I give thanks to GOD with everything I’ve got— Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation. GOD’s works are so great, worth A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment! Splendor and beauty mark his craft; His generosity never gives out. His miracles are his memorial— This GOD of Grace, this GOD of Love. He gave food to those who fear him, He remembered to keep his ancient promise. He proved to his people that he could do what he said: Hand them the nations on a platter—a gift! He manufactures truth and justice; All his products are guaranteed to last— Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof. All that he makes and does is honest and true: He paid the ransom for his people, He ordered his Covenant kept forever. He’s so personal and holy, worthy of our respect. The good life begins in the fear of GOD— Do that and you’ll know the blessing of GOD. His Hallelujah lasts forever!
Psalm 111: 1-10 (The Message)

Washing It Clean

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Bev Riter
Sunday, September 9, 2018

Last week, I shared photos of the outside of the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland from the front. The above image is the view of the back by the tiny harbor with boats bobbing up and down in the water. If you look closely, you might be able to see something on the glass wall – about in the middle of the building. This and other buildings of glass need to be washed periodically. Yes, you’ve probably guessed it – a window washer (or glass building washer) is cleaning the glass wall. With a building this large, this might be his full-time job! This next picture is a close-up showing the man cleaning the glass – making it clean again.

One of God’s jobs is something like a window-washer. He doesn’t necessarily wash windows, but cleans our lives, washing our sins away. When on the earth, Jesus often used physical illustrations or parables to help us understand spiritual messages. The Bible has many examples of sins being washed away. Actually, it’s the blood of Jesus that washes our sins away (1 John 1:7 and 1 Peter 1:19). Thank you Jesus, for washing our sins away!

To Write the Love of God Above

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, September 8, 2018

Shelley and I took a walk in our neighborhood Monday about sunset, and saw this dramatic scene—part of a jet contrail beneath some wispy clouds. The contrail reminded me of a quill pen made from a white feather. That, in turn, brought to mind the Bible truth that every part of the natural world speaks volumes about its Creator. It’s written not only in the sky, but in earth and sea.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Psalm 19:1 – 6, ESV

For more of what the Bible says about God’s creativity, click the link just below:

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/creationwhere-did-i-come

Heaven is Touching Earth With Rest

Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, September 7, 2018

A few weeks back, Shelley and I spent some getaway time at Rialto Beach, on the Pacific Ocean a dozen miles west of the town of Forks. At least two of those days, we managed to remain on the shore watching the sunset.

Though I didn’t take this photo on a Friday evening, it reminds me of how at the end of a staggeringly magnificent display of six days’ worth of creativity, God ushered in His Sabbath day with a sunset. The message? When God gives you a rest day, the first thing you do is rest. Then when the sun swings around in all its Sabbath glory and rises in the morning, you’re invited to make it a day in which you turn your back on work and other weekday matters, and spend that time–in the company of your loved ones–with Him.

Those of us who’ve decided to keep God’s Sabbath in God’s way and on God’s day have discovered that it’s a dependable anchor of sanity in a dissolving culture. The Sabbath reminds us of God’s creation—and His re-creation. Jesus, having died for our sins, rested on the Sabbath in the tomb. And on the morning of the first day of the week, He rose again, heralding a new creation, sinners who’ve accepted His sacrifice, and seek His forgiveness and His Spirit’s heart-changing presence.

For several but intriguing but little-known Bible texts about God’s Sabbath gift, click the link just below.

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