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)

 

Bumps in the Road

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, March 30, 2020

I was doing some exploring in Central Washington a little while ago and stopped to take a picture of the road ahead! Although I had a destination in mind (Grand Coulee Dam), I had to follow my map to make sure I was headed in the right direction.

As you can see, even though I was headed in the right direction, the road ahead was not smooth sailing. Life can be like that too.

The whole COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted all of our plans for the foreseeable future. We don’t know what is going to happen to us or those around us. Here are some things to think about:

“We have nothing to fear for the future except as we forget how God has led us in our past.”
E.G White

I remember what the LORD did;
I remember the miracles you did long ago.
I think about all the things you did
and consider your deeds.
Psalm 77:11-12 (NCV)

Don’t Break Down, Please

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, Sabbath, Sunday, March 27 – 29, 2020

Right around a week ago, just when everybody was getting really serious about not going out-and-about, I hurried cautiously into a bookstore (I think, the Barnes and Noble in Bellevue).

On the way to my favorite sections, I was brought to a stop by the sign on the box in the photo above. I thought, How appropriate for what we’re all going through. A bookstore—even a big one like B&N, in a big city like Bellevue, entertains a modest number of customers at best, and now that everybody’s backing away from human contact, it’s troubling.

The sign’s obvious main meaning seems to be, “In this box is a product which is packaged together. Normally we would break apart these packages and put the products individually on display. But this time, don’t do this.” Or maybe it’s talking about the box itself–don’t collapse this box for recycling.

But the meaning which hit me first—and to which the sign-printers were probably oblivious—was, “What’s happening to us all is really sad. Who knows whether some of us will lose our jobs? Who knows whether this bookstore itself will survive? It’s enough to make you break down and weep. But don’t. Please. It’ll just make the rest of us feel bad too.”

Jesus understood our response to crisis, and He did His best to soothe us—as did the rest of the Bible—with encouragement found in Bible verses you’ll discover at the following link:

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

Security

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, March 26, 2020

This gate lock box on an access road seems like maybe someone thought that the more locks the better. I can imagine the poor owner coming home late at night and needing to unlock twelve different locks with twelve different keys. Although it turns out that each lock must belong to a different person. Each person can have their own key and open just one lock to open the gate. It must be easier than having one lock and passing out many keys.

We might treat religion like a series of locks that will ensure our salvation. It would not be right to think that if we precisely follow a list of twelve regulations we will be saved. Instead Jesus provides us with just one key to salvation.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:7

When we choose Jesus and His salvation, the more we will want to follow His principles and we will want to do good and right things for others. Stay safe and may you have the peace that the Lord provides.

Are You Anxious? Should You Be?

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Nope.

I know – easier said than done, right? As we face all that the world has to push toward us right now. Of course, that’s exactly the point isn’t it? That’s WHY we shouldn’t be anxious. That’s WHY we should let go and let Him.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We don’t know exactly what the Philippian church was going through when Paul wrote this letter to them. After reading these versus, we certainly know Paul wanted to make sure they focused on what mattered the most – God is in control. We can learn a lot from this letter from Paul – a message from our God hundreds and hundreds years later, all the way to this date in 2020. What’s the message? Don’t be anxious. Use prayer to present your concerns to your Father. Let Him deal with the issues. Lay our burdens at His feet. Let Him give you peace and comfort. Rejoice – and again I say rejoice!

As you pray and meditate on God’s loving arms around you, enjoy the cool water and warm sand of Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

The Pruning

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A walk around the neighborhood revealed an example of a truth Christ spoke of in John 15:2. You remember His story there of the vine and the branches; of how we must be connected to Him in order to have life. In this story He used an illustration that was clear to all who labored in the vineyards of that time. “Every branch in Me that bears no fruit, He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (MEV) While relatively few of us today make our living as did the farmers of Christ’s time, we can still understand, at least to a degree, the import of His words concerning the need and importance of pruning.

Apparently my neighbor did. Sometime earlier in the season after the hydrangea blossoms had come and gone, he, or she, had done some serious work on the shrub along the side of their property. With clippers in hand they had seriously limited the size of their flowering shrub leaving only a limited version of its former glory. Through the winter months there was no evidence of the benefit of this action, only the barren limbs of a now miniaturized plant.

But walking past their place the other day revealed these home gardeners must have understood what He was talking about. New growth had begun to appear. What looked like dead sticks now showed evidence of promised life. While I may not like being pruned, even I can understand why it is beneficial. Still, it’s much easier to understand when I’m the one with the clippers in hand rather than when the process is being done to me. To appreciate this means I must have confidence that the Heavenly Gardener has my best interests at heart and that He has been gardening longer than I have.

Under His Wings

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, March 23, 2020

I discovered this Canada Goose one spring day several years ago at Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in British Columbia. In fact, I think I did a blog back then that was probably similar to this one.

I’m using this photo again because this picture, along with the Bible verse below, seems to speak to our current climate of fear during all the unknowns surrounding COVID-19.

Just before I took this picture there were actually a whole lot of goslings out and about but when it started to rain they all (except for the one) ran under the mother’s wing for protection. (I could probably do a whole different blog about the one that didn’t!)

Those who go to God Most High for safety
will be protected by the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “You are my place of safety and protection.
You are my God and I trust you.”
God will save you from hidden traps
and from deadly diseases.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you can hide.
His truth will be your shield and protection.
You will not fear any danger by night
or an arrow during the day.
You will not be afraid of diseases that come in the dark
or sickness that strikes at noon.
Psalm 91:1-6 (NCV)

Law, Liberty, and My List

Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, March 22, 2020

I admit it; these photos are not prize-winners. They were taken Friday afternoon on such a beautiful blue sky sunny day that it was tempting to think that a pandemic must only be the stuff of nightmares, not nightly news.

After overdosing on crisis coverage I decided last week to limit my exposure to that type of news. I would still keep in touch with current happenings, but only a teaspoon at a time, on a need-to-know basis. Instead, I would take in good stuff by the gallon!

Maybe my good stuff list resembles yours: Getting outdoors often, especially near trees and other growing green; letting the outdoors in by opening windows wide to fresh air and sunlight; exercising more, especially outdoors; drinking hot water first thing in the morning, and lots more water throughout the day; trying new recipes with first-class healthy ingredients; connecting often with far-away family and friends; keeping connected with local but not visible friends; checking in with those who might need something I can provide, if only a mutually-encouraging conversation; learning something new; working on one jigsaw puzzle after another; putting library books on hold for some future day; listening to music that makes my heart happy; being a helper however I can; accepting help from thoughtful friends; reading God’s Word slowly and committing more of it to memory; talking to Him honestly and often; continuing to record at least three Thank You Lord’s each night; and giving Him full possession every morning.

I love a list. Especially a list of good stuff that I can live out, by God’s grace. I could easily assemble a list of fears and a list of problems, but what’s the use of that?

Instead, I take you by the hand, back to the two photos above. In the first, if you peer closely, you will see in the distance a couple of deer serenely grazing. I swiveled around and took the second photo, of fenced yards that back on to our neighborhood trail. If you peer closely you will see a trampoline in one of those yards, with the top of its safety net edged in yellow. What you don’t see are the children who were enthusiastically jumping on that trampoline as we walked by, laughing as they bounced.

I enjoyed the peaceful scene of the deer grazing on one side of the trail, and the joyful sounds of children playing on the other side. Peace and joy, both protected. The deer were behind a fence that protects our area’s water reservoir, and the children were enclosed in a tall net that prevented them from falling off the edge.

Hundreds of government and health officials around the world are desperately trying to hedge us in, hunker us down to protect us all from the pandemic’s spread, to “flatten the curve.” Law versus liberty is on full display.

And so we pray. We petition the God we cannot see, who holds us firmly in hands that we cannot feel. How I love the truth of the invisible, including this:

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 46:10)

Be of good courage as you walk into this week, upheld by your Mighty God.