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)

 

Intervention

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, July 3, 2020

On a major street a half-mile from our neighborhood is a fire station with three “bays” (garages). Shelley and I drive that street often, and have fallen into the habit of glancing through the glass-windowed doors of those bays as we pass, to see how many of the trucks are out. (Normally there are two large fire trucks plus one aid car connected with the station.) When one or more is gone, Shelley sometimes prays aloud, right then, for whatever situation called them out.

Back in early March, as Shelley and I turned out of our cul-de-sac on a walk, we saw what you see above—all three of those fire units, including the aid car, parked along the street, ministering to a situation, probably in  the blue house.

We paused for a few minutes and watched the scene, but saw no scurrying firefighters wrestling with hoses, and no evidence that the blue house or any other dwelling had suffered fire. We finally concluded that someone must have suffered a medical emergency such as a heart attack, and that one phone call had caused those bay garage doors to roll up and disgorge this trinity of helpers.

Speaking of the Trinity, the better acquainted you become with your Bible, the more you realize that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have been powerfully united in coming to our aid throughout human history.

I believe that during this pandemic crisis, it is helpful to review just how much Heaven cares for us, and how powerfully it can intervene when we call. For several Bible passages which describe Their work, click the link just below.

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

A Soft Spot

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Our cat seems to constantly be in search of a soft comfortable spot. Not every seemingly good place is acceptable and he is kind of picky. However, when he finds a truly soft spot he takes advantage like he took the opportunity to crash on this blanket.

The Bible is kind of like that where it provides some soft landing spots we can keep coming back to. One of them is Philippians 4:6.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Continue reading at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+4&version=NIV

Over All

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

We recently took a road trip that covered 3,400 miles, 8 days and the trip took us to 9 different states. When you drive that many miles in a short amount of time, it gives you a “glance” of how large our country is. The different states allowed us to see all the variances in topography, trees, birds, roads, flowers, but the one thing that stayed consistent was the sky. The clouds and the blue sky were always over us. No matter which state we were in, which road we were on, we could always look up and see a very similar scene.

Zechariah 14:9 “God will be king over all the earth, one God and only one. What a Day that will be!”

In this verse, the context is specifically about God bringing victory for Jerusalem, from their enemies. I feel that same hope and faith still applies to us today. We need victory from our enemy – this sinful world we live in. We need our God to be the one king that rules over all the earth. We need one God and ONLY one God. The second coming can’t possibly come fast enough. In the meanwhile, no matter where you are, the state or the country – all you have to do is look up. The view will be similar (some places may have more clouds). We all can look up and envision OUR God returning for His people. What a day that will be!

Western Chokecherry

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

If you’ve been on this earth more than a few years you undoubtedly have come to recognize that things are often not what they appear to be. For example, you might reasonably conclude the subject of this blog is the Black-headed Grosbeak pictured perching among the leafy foliage of a Western Chokecherry. Reasonable, yes, but this commentary centers on the tree, not the bird. While photographing the grosbeak, I’d noticed the attractive shrub but wasn’t certain of its identity until I returned home and had time to study my pictures.

This confirmed that it was indeed a Prunus virginiana, or Western Chokecherry. It is a member of the rose family and of the genus Prunus, as are a number of other fruits commonly consumed by humans. However, as its name implies, the small red to black fruits produced have a very astringent taste, and being both sour and bitter may cause the consumer to “choke.” That being said, chokecherries were the most important fruit in the diet of many of the North American Native American tribes.

While humans may be able to consume the berries, the wilted leaves can be fatal to horses, cattle, deer, and other animals with segmented stomachs if they eat more than ten pounds of foliage. Apparently the wilting of the leaves, following a frost or after branches have been damaged, causes cyanide to be released as well as making the plant taste sweet, something almost too good to pass up by grazing animals.

Cows aren’t the only ones who find themselves drawn to that which is deadly. James 1:14-16 puts it this way: “No, a man’s temptation is due to the pull of his own inward desires, which can be enormously attractive. His own desire takes hold of him, and that produces sin. And sin in the long run means death—make no mistake about that, brothers of mine!” (J.B. Phillips)

Green Pastures

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, June 29, 2020

A few years ago, I went hiking with some friends on the Chain Lakes Trail in the Mount Baker Wilderness. We started at Artist Point at the end of the Mt Baker Highway and this picture was taken on the descent to the Bagley Lakes and Heather Meadows.

I thought this little wetland was very pretty and peaceful (after a long slog) and it reminds me of the 23rd Psalm.

The LORD is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green pastures.
He leads me to calm water.
He gives me new strength.
He leads me on paths that are right
for the good of his name.
Even if I walk through a very dark valley,
I will not be afraid,
because you are with me.
Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.
Psalm 23:1-4 (NCV)

Blue Beads

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Maylan Schurch
Sunday, June 28, 2020

Shelley and I have lived in our current home for 15 years. ‘Way back when we moved in, we discovered to our delight that the neighborhood was great for walking, so we explored it thoroughly.

Early on, we would walk through a grassy area near a water retention pond. And we noticed a lot of blue plastic beads lying at one spot on the path, maybe from a kid’s necklace which had broken. I never bothered to examine them—and the kid never stopped to gather them up–but I remember thinking These beads aren’t biodegradable—they won’t just melt away.

Fast forward a decade and a half to a couple of weeks ago. Shelley and I were on the same path, and a blink of blue caught my eye. Sure enough, those same blue beads were still there. Grass and other foliage had died and been reborn again and again, snow had covered the ground and then melted, rainstorms had pounded them, but they’re just as round and blue as the day they were made.

I guess you could add these beads to the long list of other examples of how permanent our thoughtless words and deeds can be to a sensitive heart.

Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to ask someone to forgive you? Think of it as humbly collecting beads, gathering them back to yourself by heartfelt apology. Want to hear Bible advice about how forgiveness works and why it’s so eternally important? Click the link just below.

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

Protection

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Maylan Schurch
Friday and Sabbath, June 26 and 27, 2020

The times, they are a-changin’, right? When I was a college student, what you hung from your car’s rearview mirror were a couple of three-inch-square fuzzy dice. Or if you were the more mystical type, you might opt for a Native American “dream catcher.” The dice were, presumably, for luck, and the dream catcher was to serve to enable you to perceive and realize your life’s ambitions.

Nowadays, in many, many parked cars, I see what you see in the photo above—a mask. (And Friday of this week, masks are mandatory in many situations throughout Washington State.) Since COVID-19 is what I’ve heard described as a “droplet-spread” virus, the main thing is to neither emit nor inhale droplets.

So here we have a very practical device. Wear it faithfully when near people, and wash your hands vigorously several times a day, and you’ve got a far better chance of safety than with the dice or the little woven net.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a little Bible hanging from a mirror, but there’s lots of evidence that it too will take you safely and sensibly through any number of spiritual and moral crises. Here are a couple of examples, and you’ll find more in the link below:

Does the world seem dark? Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Do you feel hopeless? For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

Here’s the link to a more complete listing of what the Bible says about itself.

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