Daily Photo Parable

Jesus Cap

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, January 21, 2023

This past Wednesday, while strolling through our church sanctuary on some errand or other, I noticed this bright blue baseball cap lying on a pew.

I snapped this photo before carrying the headgear to our Lost and Found box, and it’s hard to get it out of my mind. There it was, having at one point been perched on top of someone’s head. That person seems to have worn it proudly to church, and simply have forgotten to put it back on at the end of the service.

But who was wearing it? A kid? (I forgot to try it on so I could gauge its size compared to my large, grownup head.) And did the wearer just use it as a going-to-church cap? Or a school playground cap?

And inevitably, I find myself wondering, “As I move among the people I come in contact, is my joy in my Savior just as brightly noticeable? Is it even more clear than a Seahawks jersey would be about whose side I am on?” And even more joltingly: “Do I wear my ‘Jesus cap’ only at church, and forget to take it with me through my week?”

The more we get to know about Jesus, the more amazing and worship-able He is, and the more eagerly we would acquire and wear an actual “fan merchandise cap” if He authorized one.

This link gives His Bible bio. Are you “all in”?

https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/jesus-christ

One Life

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, January 20, 2023

A little over a week ago, idling at a traffic light, I snapped this shot of a heavily-stickered wheel-cover on what was probably a Jeep. The cover’s main message, as you see, is “One Life. Live it.”

A few minutes ago, in the comfort of my home office, I zoomed up the photo and studied the smaller stickers surrounding that four-word manifesto. I don’t see any specifically Christian ones (though I do see the words “I believe.” However, just above that phrase is a silhouette of Sasquatch).

So I’m thinking the manifesto means, “Each of has one life. After that, we die. Therefore let’s live this one as fully as possible.” I’ve met people who firmly believe that, and maybe you have too.

To our Creator, that manifesto is actually true, but not in the way the Jeep owner might think. In Eden, when God created our first parents, He gave them one life. And for them and any of their descendants who accept His Son’s death for their sins, their life will not end. True, there’ll be the sleep of death, but to their perception it will be merely merciful anasthetic lasting just an eye-blink. Their resurrection will restore all the original life-voltage of Eden, unfiltered and undampened by the rot of sin—but they will finally be able to truly experience that one life, for all eternity.

Want to learn more Bible truth about life, death and resurrection? Check out the verses at these three links:

https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/life
https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/death
https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/resurrection

Sharing

Photo ©2023 by Amber Jurgensen
Commentary ©2023 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, January 19, 2023

I have heard of neighborhood libraries before, and here is an example of one. It is great that neighbors can find ways to share with each other. I’m sure that very few people complain when they put a book in the library. They know that someone else will find it useful. They also don’t feel guilty borrowing a book to read.

Some verses that caught my attention talk about grumbling.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:14-16

This blog post might have been titled “Grumbling and Arguing”, but I wanted to emphasize the opposite. When we emphasize a positive attitude, it actually makes things more positive. Sharing good things and good news with neighbors and friends goes a long way toward making things better.

Are Your Lights On?

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, January 18, 2023

This past weekend I finally got around to taking down our exterior lights (this image is from a few weeks back). I figured it was time to take them down and put them in storage. As I was up on the roof, carefully unclipping the lights off the gutter, I thought about the next time I would be back up, reversing the process. I’m not one to keep them up all year, but I do understand the concept.

We all have a chance to shine our lights all year long. Wait, am I suggesting keeping them dangling from the gutters all year? No, I am thinking of a very different string of lights. I am talking about the light God has given us. The light we need to show to others. Can you imagine, similar to me taking down the holiday lights off my house, if we chose to reflect the character of God to others only a few days out for the year? What would this world look like? I presume we all can agree that this type of world would look worse then what we see now.

In Matthew 5, we have a chance to read the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus describes us as the salt of the earth – as long as we continue to keep our saltiness. He points out if we lose our saltiness, we aren’t what we were intended to be. Let’s pick up in verse 14-16 (NIV) to see what we are called to do:

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

As Christians we are asked to have our lights on (in full view), all the time. Not just around a specific event or a date on the calendar. No, He wants us to shine and reflect His love and compassion “365.” This allows all to see what God has done for us and what He can do for anyone that believes in Him. So, whether or not you still have colorful exterior lights attached to your home, make sure your True Light is on for all to see – every day.

Icicles

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, January 17, 2023

One of the qualities of God which we often undervalue, or at least ignore, is His constancy. Put this in contrast to the pagan gods who were as capricious as the ones who created them. One never knew when they might randomly seem to require appeasement for some unknown offence. Within this arbitrary form of justice no consistent form of morality could be developed. Along this same line of thought we can see that God established laws within His own creation that provided His subjects a basis for reasoned action, a cause and effect relationship which helps makes sense out of the world we live in.

Consider the question posed by the ancient book of Job. “From whose womb comes the ice? Who give birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?” (Job 38:29-30 NIV) The implied answer of course is that God is the one responsible. Yet today we can supply a descriptive answer to that question that, for the willing, shows the dependability, the reliability of God’s plan.

The warmth of the sun melts snow which then drips downward. Only near the surface is the rock cold enough to freeze it once again. Even then a slow trickle can move this water toward the air. A pendent drop is formed as it trickles over the edge of a rock. If the air is colder than the rock, these hanging droplets will cool faster than the moving water and the beginning of an icicle is formed. As later droplets move farther from the rock they form a slippery layer. When this liquid layer freezes, it releases heat which is then transferred to the colder air. This flow of air in turn warms the icicle which causes it to elongate. For it to grow there must be a liquid drop at the tip. Should these conditions exist, the process is continuous.

We often refer to that which we don’t understand as miraculous. Yet, as our understanding grows, so should our appreciation of the laws that govern the little bit we do understand. Aren’t we fortunate to live in a world which provides us with both the predictable and the miraculous?

Variety

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, January 16, 2023

Although this picture was taken in British Columbia, this dabbling duck is a male American Wigeon. You can find them in all kinds of bodies of fresh water from lakes to ponds to marshes and you sometimes see them in harvested fields.

There are some really beautiful ducks in North America and this is one of them. If you’ve never really paid attention before, go down to your nearest pond or lake and see how many different kinds of ducks you can find.

One of the things I enjoy about God’s creation is that there is so much variety in everything from ecosystems, rocks. animals, birds, flowers, fish, trees, insects, grasses, sea creatures and even people. There are so many kinds of patterns and colors and even striking usage of black and white combinations (think of a zebra or an orca or a magpie or a giant panda or a skunk). Wouldn’t it be boring without this rich diversity?

Just think of the variety of things we have to eat in North America. Aside from what is grown here, there is a huge assortment of imported food from all over the world.

O LORD, what a variety of things you have made!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
teeming with life of every kind,
both large and small.
See the ships sailing along,
and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.
They all depend on you
to give them food as they need it.
When you supply it, they gather it.
You open your hand to feed them,
and they are richly satisfied.
But if you turn away from them, they panic.
When you take away their breath,
they die and turn again to dust.
When you give them your breath, life is created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the LORD continue forever!
The LORD takes pleasure in all he has made!
The earth trembles at his glance;
the mountains smoke at his touch.
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live.
I will praise my God to my last breath!
May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD.
Psalm 104:24-34 (NLT)

Throwing the Towel

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, January 15, 2023

Have you ever received a Happy New Year box in the mail, and discovered it brimful with gifts that have the sweet fragrance of friendship and springtime?

I enjoyed that experience an hour ago as I unpacked and unwrapped gifts from my dear friend Jan in too-far-away Michigan. You see three of those gifts in my photo above.

It didn’t hit me when I unwrapped the first kitchen towel, nor the second – but when I unwrapped the third towel (the colorful one with birds, butterflies, and daisies) I could feel tears tickle my eyes.

All because of the fourth towel, the one in the foreground with the little Dutch girl tending to her laundry, the one that’s worse for wear.

My beloved mother-in-law stitched me a set of kitchen towels over 30 years ago, one for each day of the week. I have used them week in and week out, but this week as I held this Monday towel in my hands, I had to admit that it was time to throw in the towel – or throw it out!

As usual, my mind tried to wriggle out of this parting of the ways with something I’ve treasured by trying to imagine how I could repurpose it – but what you don’t see in this photo are the five or six holes that punctuate the worn fabric. It’s time.

But it’s still a bit of a heart wrench for a sentimental soul like me to throw away something someone I loved made for me, tattered though it be.

And then in today’s mail comes heart balm – not one, not two, but three towels to grace my kitchen, given by someone else I love.

I remember now that I have, tucked away in a drawer, a dresser scarf (now there’s an old-fashioned phrase that takes me way back to childhood . . .) that my mother-in-law also embroidered for me.

She told me more than once how she was sitting in a car with a sleeping grandbaby on her lap, and gave some money to a relative to run into a store and buy a dresser scarf and embroidery floss for her.

The pattern printed in light blue ink on the scarf turned out to be an intricate one. Her embroidery skills were up to the challenge, but it took longer than she’d hoped so she was apologetic as she told me the story. And then, lest I think she was complaining, she always hastily added, “But you are worth every stitch!”

Her love for me, and all her family, was a pure reflection of Jesus’ love. I can hear Him saying:

“That stumbling, falling journey up the hill to Calvary, carrying that heavy cross? You were worth every step!”

“That blood that poured out when the soldier speared my side? You were worth every drop!”

As we walk through this brand-new week, if you are ever tempted to sink down in discouragement, to throw in the towel, remember Jesus calls you His beloved child, and counts you worthy, supremely worthy.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrew 12:1-3 NIV)

Blog Archives

Are Your Lights On?

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Darren Milam Wednesday, January 18, 2023 This past weekend I finally got around to taking down our exterior lights (this image is from a few weeks back). I figured it was time to take them down and put them in storage. As I was up on the...

Icicles

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Robert Howson Tuesday, January 17, 2023 One of the qualities of God which we often undervalue, or at least ignore, is His constancy. Put this in contrast to the pagan gods who were as capricious as the ones who created them. One never...

Variety

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Cheryl Boardman Monday, January 16, 2023 Although this picture was taken in British Columbia, this dabbling duck is a male American Wigeon. You can find them in all kinds of bodies of fresh water from lakes to ponds to marshes and you...

Throwing the Towel

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Shelley Schurch Sunday, January 15, 2023 Have you ever received a Happy New Year box in the mail, and discovered it brimful with gifts that have the sweet fragrance of friendship and springtime? I enjoyed that experience an hour ago as I...

Question and Answer

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Maylan Schurch Sabbath, January 14, 2023 Wednesday on errands I popped into a thrift store and discovered these printing-instruction example cards. They were bundled in a plastic-wrapped packet, and the top card asked “when . . .” I...

Interference

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Maylan Schurch Friday, January 13, 2023 Earlier this week I bought a small rechargeable flashlight. Even though it had a bit of a charge in it already, I hooked it up to power with the accompanying cord, and waited. A tiny light on the...

Daily Bread

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Russell Jurgensen Thursday, January 12, 2023 I had heard it is possible to cook tortillas directly on an electric stove, so I decided to give it a try. Under low to medium heat, it worked great. However, I was a little concerned while...

Starting Point

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Red-naped Sapsucker

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Robert Howson Tuesday, January 10, 2023 Christianity has within it a segment that considers anything new to be viewed with at least a degree of skepticism if not outright disdain. But change is inevitable, and at times can even be...

Accident Ahead

Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Cheryl Boardman Monday, January 9, 2023 I took this picture several years ago while traffic was stopped and we were waiting for the road to clear. I don't know what caused this particular accident but this is why I try to avoid driving...