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)

 

Caretakers of the Earth

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, January 25, 2021

This photo is of moon jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia. Whenever I go to an aquarium, I’m just amazed at the diversity of life found in our oceans. And yet, the creatures in the aquarium represent only a miniscule fraction of the actual variety that is out there.

We have a responsibility, as humans, to help protect their environment as well as our own.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—

what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—
the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Psalm 8:3-9 NLT

Standing For . . . .

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, January 22, 2021

I’ve mentioned in past Daily Photo Parables that I am a frank and outrageous hypocrite when it come to bumper stickers. I recoil in horror from ever applying any stickers to my own car, yet when I see someone else’s car festooned with them—especially from a variety of sources—I muscle right up behind it and try to get the clearest possible photos. (And I try to remember, as I did above, to decently snip out the license plate numbers.)

Okay, get out those Sherlock Holmes hats and let’s see what we can find out. Upper left—a huge, proud Seahawks logo. Below it is a circle which contains the Peace sign, plus designs which seem to be representations of the seasons. Taken with the license frame, which says “US Veteran,” and adding to that the oval “Vietnam Veteran,” we can sense that whoever attached these stickers is old enough to have served in Vietnam, but whose heart was probably with the peace demonstrators.,

Just above is a smaller sticker claiming that the occupant is a “USN (Navy) Veteran,” and still lower, a “Navy Corpsman.”
So here’s someone who has a habit, through his or her stickers, of standing for various things. In the Bible, loyalty is important to apply to worthwhile subjects.

For two crucial texts about loyalty, so we know we’re standing for the right things, click the link just below.

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

Gold

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, January 21, 2021

This photo from yesterday of Mount Rainier looks similar to the many other images of the same mountain I have posted. It is nice to know it is still there after all the clouds and rain we had the first two weeks of January.

I like the golden colors in this photo and I’m thinking of the golden rule in the Bible. It is located in Matthew 7:12.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

When I was a kid my mom broke up a scuffle I was having with my brother. She said we should follow the golden rule. My brother replied to say yeah, but if he (meaning me) did not want to get hit, he would not act that way!

My mom explained more and gave us some time to think on chairs, and that is when I mentally added a note. Do unto others what you would have them do to you if you were in their position.

“For this sums up the Law and the Prophets…” So, following the law means considering other people’s situations as if it were yourself to find truly fair solutions.

I hope you aren’t tired of Mount Rainier, and I hope we can all consider the golden rule regularly.

 

Big Picture

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Today is a historic day, and so is tomorrow. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get into all the politics we’ve heard about for the past several weeks and months. Tomorrow is a historic day as its Inauguration Day–a changing of command in the Whitehouse. This particular year it’s also changing political parties. Faces will change. Policies will change. Lots of change, starting tomorrow.

Do you know God never changes? He stays consistent and constant. We can always count on knowing exactly what He wants from us. He doesn’t NEED anything from us. What He wants is our love of Him. He wants us to seek Him out. He wants us to recognize we need Him. In the book of Daniel, we can read the prophets words describe our unchanging God

Daniel 7:14
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.

Tomorrow is a historic day based on United States standards, and to some degree the world’s perspective. When we think of the BIG picture, and what truly matters to our eternal salvation, tomorrow isn’t that historic. Don’t get me wrong, you can still be interested in the changes and be proud to be part of this country. All I am saying is, don’t take your eyes off the larger goal. God has never taken His eyes off of us, nor will He ever. For that I am very thankful.

The image is of the Washington Monument, located in Washington, D.C. *You may see another image of it on the news at some point today.

Australian Darter

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Four species of darter are found around the world and some have combined them into a single species, but currently there is enough evidence to support division. The Australian Darter is one of these, and like its counterparts, occupies fresh or brackish wetlands which also maintain some aquatic vegetation. It’s there it makes its living foraging for a variety of fish, shrimp, insects, worms, or whatever else it can swallow. Fish are pierced from underneath, then, depending upon size, are either swallowed headfirst while still underwater or flipped onto the surface for repositioning before ingesting. Even larger items may be consumed from a perch. Rather than pursuing its prey, it prefers to wait for unsuspecting victims to wander into striking distance before they are harpooned.

Perhaps you remember learning to swim as a child, part of which involved coordinating the timing between your stroke and your breathing. You were probably concerned about getting enough air in your lungs to maintain your buoyancy before exhaling and repeating the procedure. This, however, is not a problem for the darter. When it enters the water its buoyancy is almost neutral. This means it must increase its density lest all of its energy and air be expended trying to stay submerged. Fortunately for the darter, it has the most control of its buoyancy of any bird. Most birds have bones which are light, since they are hollow. This enables them to fly. But the darter’s are much denser and heavier which allows them to submerge more easily. But it still has the problem of air that is trapped between the feathers which acts like those Water Wings you used to depend upon. But the darter’s feathers are uniquely structured, allowing water to penetrate the spaces inside them which makes them three times more permeable than those of a cormorant’s. Problem solved!

Ever worry if God is really able to meet all the demands that seem to surround you? Well, He has proven faithful in the past, and His promise is still as good as ever: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV)

A Description of God

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, January 18, 2021

This photo was taken at Englishman River falls on Vancouver Island. It was fall so the river was not as full as it would have been in spring but it was still really beautiful.

I like the nature references in this psalm:

Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.
Psalm 36:5-9 NLT

 

Enduring

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, January 17, 2021

When I woke up this morning, I was thinking about my silverware. Or, to be totally accurate, my stainless steel. I’m not sure why it surfaced to the top of my thoughts as I climbed out of bed, but there it was. And I was thinking of it in a specific, admiring way; I was grateful for how “enduring” it was.

As I bustled about stirring the oatmeal, slicing an apple and pear, peeling a banana, and heating our breakfast beans, I stopped to pay more attention than I usually do to my cutlery. Yes, it is certainly sturdy and dependable – no hinges, batteries, or moving parts to wear out or cause kitchen complications.

I called it my silverware when it actually became our silverware almost 43 years ago. It was part of what I brought to our marriage, in addition to a cat named Joseph and a whole lot of books. As I gazed at it a little longer this morning, the name of its pattern eluded me and I assumed it was gone for good. But tonight I suddenly remembered it: “Brahms.”

When I was still single, teaching in a one-room church school on an Alaskan logging camp island, my mother, who lived many miles away in civilization, decided I should have my own silverware pattern instead of my small hodge-podge of hand-me-downs. She announced this in a letter in which she included a slim catalog of cutlery, available to anyone who clipped and saved enough boxtops from Betty Crocker products. She asked me to choose my pattern and said she would start saving, and would also ask my two older sisters and some neighbors and friends to save boxtops for me.

I suspect she saw no immediate marriage prospects for her youngest daughter who loved living in the midst of a small number of loggers and their wives, teaching their children, and this was her way of giving me the equivalent of a bridal shower!

And so my knives and forks and spoons are not only enduring in their composition, they also speak to me daily of the enduring love of my mother, and my sisters, and the friends and neighbors who faithfully saved their Betty Crocker boxtops for me.

Why does this suddenly tickle my eyes with tears? Probably thinking about my mother’s thoughtfulness so many years ago, and wondering if I had thanked her enough. And also that phrase, “enduring love.” Is there anything better than that? Sturdy, dependable, long-lasting, permanent love. When we experience that here on earth it is a taste of heaven, a glimpse of God.

I’m going to search out the word “endure” in my Bible; I think that will be an encouraging exploration. I’ve already looked up Psalm 136 where the phrase “His love endures forever” is repeated 26 times (NIV).

And I think I’ll memorize Hebrews 12:1-2; I’ve read it enough times over the years that I think I’ve absorbed most of it already! Yet even with that familiarity I’d forgotten that it speaks of two kinds of endurance – ours and Jesus’:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

He ran His race, and now cheers us on. He is the One who gives us the endurance to finish our race, and to finish it well.

As you walk into this week, may you sense the presence and joy of the Author and Finisher of your faith.