Daily Photo Parable

Time

Photo ©2024 by Amber Jurgensen
Commentary ©2024 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, June 13, 2024

This sundial at the Griffith Observatory in California uses a circle with a wire passing through the center of the ring. The shadow of the wire lands somewhere on the circle to indicate the time. When this picture was taken, it was about 5:55pm. It is too fuzzy to see in the image, but the circle has hour and minute marks so the time can be read to the minute.

Time is a mystery that science continues to ponder. But time also has an emotional aspect that draws people in. What is it about the limited time in our lives that makes people yearn to revisit certain periods of time? Or what makes them reach for the future and the promise it holds?

No one seems to really understand time or what produces it. However, Jesus speaks authoritatively about time.

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.
John 6:58

Jesus understands the very nature of time and promises that we will live with him forever.

There may also be an element of time travel built into the Bible.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51,52

Loved ones who have died will be raised and people will be changed. It is like a time reset, almost like traveling back in time. Except it will be the future that God promises. Let’s put our faith in the God who created time and fully understands time.

Second Best

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Recently we had our daughter’s family visiting from out of town. That meant we had the opportunity to hang out with our grandkids, which is always a highlight. On Sabbath, we loaded both cars and were headed to church, when our daughter had a seizure. Fortunately, it was minor and only lasted a couple of minutes. We returned home, as we weren’t far away when it happened. The decision was made that most of us would stay home, so she could rest and recover. My wife, however, had the duty of leading the praise team and needed to head to church on her own.

With the power of technology, we were able to view the service from home (thanks Patrick and A/V crew). This image is of my grandson staring at the television. Prior to the image being captured, I asked him, “Where is grandma?” He looked around the room and didn’t see her. I then pointed to the TV, and he ran over and said, “Grandma!” and then he said, “Come home.” He eventually came to grips with the fact that grandma was going to be on the TV for a little longer and enjoyed seeing her on the big screen. It was second best to having her in the room, live.

That moment reminded me of how we currently don’t have the opportunity to see our God in-person. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is we have the promise of experiencing that in-person time, soon. For now, the second best is our daily interaction and the relationship we have with Him. Thankfully, we have a direct line to Him through prayer. In addition to that direct, 24/7, connection, Jesus’ selfless act of sacrifice provides us with the chance to live in our Creator’s presence one day. Just like my grandson asking grandma to come home, we too can look forward to being at HOME with our loving Father. We will no longer need to settle for second best, as we will be with Him, live, in-person. I cannot wait for that day, how about you?

Orioles: Bullock’s and Baltimore


Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, June 11, 2024

When one thinks of the color orange, the citrus fruit which bears the name probably comes to mind. But certainly the orioles in the bird arena come in a close second. Even the team colors of the ball club from Baltimore reflect their vibrant colors. But should I feel compelled to break out into poetic verse on the subject, I might find myself somewhat limited. This would be particularly true should I debase myself to the level of a limerick since no word in the English language rhymes with “orange.”

As bold and decisive as the Bullock’s and Baltimore Orioles are, it wasn’t that long ago the biologists felt compelled to combine them into one species since there was a good deal of interbreeding where the Western and Eastern species’ range overlapped. Since that time, this has been reversed and the two are still recognized as distinct, deserving their own name.

Let’s give some credit to those biologists who wanted to make sure things were right and proper. But did their alterations change the nesting habits of those birds? Perhaps they changed their migratory habits to coincide with their new classification? The truth is, mankind did it for their own sense of propriety. We might do well to remember what John Muir had to say about this years ago: “It is a great comfort…that vast multitudes of creatures, great and small and infinite in number, lived and had a good time in God’s love before man was created.”

20/20 Vision

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, June 10, 2024

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. American Optometric Association (AOA)

I saw this clock in an optometrist’s office while I was waiting for my dad to finish with his eye exam last week. I thought it was very fitting for the location!

As we get older, we start to notice issues with our vision. It doesn’t seem as sharp as it did when we were younger. It gets harder to read a map. Why do they make the print so small?! (Yes, I know some of the younger generation only look at their phones where they can zoom in and out but, somehow, I think they are missing the bigger picture! My nephew and I had this discussion the other day. Sounds like a topic for another blog!) Sometimes, cataracts can affect clarity.

I like these verses from Proverbs:

My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
Hang on to them,
for they will refresh your soul.
They are like jewels on a necklace.
They keep you safe on your way,
and your feet will not stumble.
You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly.
You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
for the LORD is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
Proverbs 3:21-26 (NLT)

Forget About the Rooster

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, June 9, 2024

I don’t collect roosters. We only own one, this one. And the reason we own him is that years ago a distant relative we’ve never met tracked us down to both collect and share family information about my husband’s side of the family.

It was fun hearing from him, and the piece of family lore that has lingered with me from his stories is that the family crest for our last name, Schurch, is a rooster, and the motto is “he who likes to get up early in the morning.”

I laugh. It’s clear that this is a motto I married into, rather than one that describes me personally, because I tend to be more of a night owl than a rooster. Nevertheless, in honor of this family legend, I acquired our rooster many years ago, maybe from a yard sale.

I thought of him when I wrote last week’s blog, and began by talking about weather vanes. I did more research than I intended on these wind indicators, because one fascinating fact or photo led to another. And very few of them found a place in last week’s blog!

Roosters are the most common weather vane toppers, and there are a couple of different theories as to why that is so. But over and over I read that Pope Gregory I (in office 590–604) declared the rooster “was the most suitable emblem of Christianity,” since it was the emblem of St. Peter.

In the 9th century Pope Nicholas I decreed that a rooster weather vane be placed at the top of every church.

And why was a rooster deemed a suitable emblem of St. Peter?

I was directed over and over again to Luke 22:34:

Then He [Jesus] said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

True story. Yet I became indignant on Peter’s behalf that the rooster became his symbol. How would we like it if an emblem of our darkest hour, our most grievous sin, became firmly, officially attached to our name and thus defined us?

Because hours after Jesus spoke to Peter, His words came true, and as Peter realized what he had done to his Best Friend, he broke down in remorse and repentance.

But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62 NKJV)

His repentance leads to redemption, and it’s not a long trip. It’s the path each of us is promised. God’s words are plentiful on this score; here are a few choice examples:

He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19 NKJV)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9 NKJV)

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12 NKJV)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV)

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:5b NKJV)

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV)

God doesn’t have accidental amnesia; He deliberately chooses this forgetfulness. It is supplied immediately upon request, free and full.

So could we replace the rooster with a better symbol for Peter? I thought of one that I really like, although it would be difficult to portray as a weather vane topper: Water.

Peter knew water well as a fisherman; Peter walked on water, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus; Peter wept those bitter tears; Peter knew that his sins had been cast into the depths of the sea; and at Pentecost Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, preached a Risen Saviour and called his listeners to repentance and into the waters of baptism.

I am so thankful that when God looked at repentant Peter, He didn’t see a rooster, and He doesn’t see our roosters, either. Now if we can only do the same, by the grace of God, for ourselves and others!

As we step out into this brand-new week, we can live loved, and live forgiven!

 

 

Squirrel in Disguise?

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, June 8, 2024

Friday morning of this week I was hustling along on my usual post-breakfast walk, when I caught sight of this squirrel out of the corner of my eye. He was running along the horizontal bar which braced a woven-wire fence.

But when I got a better look at him, I discovered that his mouth was full of what looked like brown tree-needles. Thankfully, he paused at the fence-corner, giving me a chance for a hasty distant smartphone shot, before he turned the corner and scurried along the fence away from me.

I was intensely puzzled. Shelley and I see several squirrels in our neighborhood, often running briskly along backyard fences. It always amazes me how they can balance casually as they skitter along on the half-inch-wide edges of fence boards. But all I’ve ever seen in their mouths is nothing, or sometimes a nut which has been provided by the generous fence-owner.

So this bushily-bearded squirrel was a surprise. Aside from his acrobatic ability to run along the top of a round slippery iron rail with a mouthful, I asked myself, Do squirrels build nests?

It turns out that they do. Google Images provided me with photos of actual squirrel-nests, in trees! They don’t look as gracefully-shaped as birds-nests, but they must be serviceable, otherwise the squirrels wouldn’t build them.

Know where I’m going with this? Of course you do. Several times a week I hear breathtaking and often frightening stories about AI (artificial intelligence) and its eerie potentials. And all this time, squirrels have been quietly and systematically building their nests, showing how massively more advanced they are than even the most recent computers.

All of which leads us back, of course, to the following grand truth:

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. Psalm 33:6 NKJV

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them . . . .Exodus 20:11

. . . and then to this logical conclusion, crisply stated in the Book of Revelation:

. . .“Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:7

. . . and the squirrels and their mouthfuls and everything else.

A Patch of Green

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, June 7, 2024

Almost every day I do at least a mile-long loop around our neighborhood, and I always pass this lawn. As you can see, most of the lawn is a combination of green and bare spots, but there’s this lush rectangle (probably a trial sod installation) which contains nothing but healthy grass.

A couple of days ago as I paused to take this photo, I suddenly thought of how this healthy patch could represent the Sabbath. Whoever walks across this lawn—bunny, bird, or human—meets with a combination of healthy and unhealthy places. But when they reach the unbroken patch of grass, their feet enjoy a good stretch of supple natural carpet.

Isn’t this a bit like God’s seventh-day Sabbath, with which He concluded Creation week? Back in Eden, of course, all seven days were perfectly free from the ravages which sin would later cause. But even after the Fall, the Sabbath remained to soothe and heal those who saw its value, and to remind them of God’s promise of a new heaven and a new earth.

Want to learn—or review—the news about God’s weekly “patch of Eden”? Click the link just below:
https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/sabbath

Blog Archives

Time

Photo ©2024 by Amber Jurgensen Commentary ©2024 by Russell Jurgensen Thursday, June 13, 2024 This sundial at the Griffith Observatory in California uses a circle with a wire passing through the center of the ring. The shadow of the wire lands somewhere on the circle...

Second Best

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Darren Milam Wednesday, June 12, 2024 Recently we had our daughter’s family visiting from out of town. That meant we had the opportunity to hang out with our grandkids, which is always a highlight. On Sabbath, we loaded both cars and were...

Orioles: Bullock’s and Baltimore

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Robert Howson Tuesday, June 11, 2024 When one thinks of the color orange, the citrus fruit which bears the name probably comes to mind. But certainly the orioles in the bird arena come in a close second. Even the team colors of the ball...

20/20 Vision

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Cheryl Boardman Monday, June 10, 2024 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should...

Forget About the Rooster

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Shelley Schurch Sunday, June 9, 2024 I don’t collect roosters. We only own one, this one. And the reason we own him is that years ago a distant relative we’ve never met tracked us down to both collect and share family information about my...

Squirrel in Disguise?

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Maylan Schurch Sabbath, June 8, 2024 Friday morning of this week I was hustling along on my usual post-breakfast walk, when I caught sight of this squirrel out of the corner of my eye. He was running along the horizontal bar which braced...

A Patch of Green

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Maylan Schurch Friday, June 7, 2024 Almost every day I do at least a mile-long loop around our neighborhood, and I always pass this lawn. As you can see, most of the lawn is a combination of green and bare spots, but there’s this lush...

More Energy

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Russell Jurgensen Wednesday, June 5, 2024 We were fortunate to see this Tesla coil in operation at the Griffeth Observatory in California. It was interesting that the letters at the bottom of the image were powered through the air by the...

Colorful Creations

Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Darren Milam Wednesday, June 5, 2024 This past week, we had the chance to have our grandkids stay at our house for a few days. On one of the days, we ventured out to Flower World – a local garden center, only about a mile away from our...

Great Horned Owl (Juvenile)

Photo ©2024 by Carolyn Howson Commentary ©2024 by Robert Howson Tuesday, June 4, 2024 We were driving through an old cemetery in Montana, our heads out the window, and pointed towards the top of the trees when the command to “Stop!” was issued. I had seen nothing, but...