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)

 

Where Your Treasure Is

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

I had stopped off to get some lunch and see Linden Gardens while en route to visit my family in British Columbia. Unfortunately, I got there too late in the day and the gardens and cafe had closed.

I decided to carry on past the turn-off to see if I could reach Skaha Lake that way. At the bottom of the hill, in the small picturesque town of Kaleden, there is the shell of an old hotel. It apparently closed and was gutted of all useful material during WWI.

At one time, someone had great plans for this building and now this is all that’s left.

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust – or – worse! – stolen by burglers. It’s obvious isn’t it?

The place where your treasure is, is the place where you’ll want to end up being.”
Matthew 6:19-21 (The Message)

Choose Your Own Title

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

When you look at the fence in the photo above, what word or words spring to mind to describe the property owner?

The walking trail in our neighborhood borders backyards in several stretches, so we see this fence and tree often. Not far down the trail is another fence that always makes me smile:

The word that comes to mind first when I think of these two property owners is “accommodating.” In the second photo, the owners were “stumped” in one sense, but not in another; they simply adjusted their fence to the situation at hand.

In the first photo, the owners adopted and adapted. They adopted a “live and let live” philosophy and adapted their fence so that it hovers over their tree’s roots.

But maybe “accommodating” wasn’t the word you first thought of when you considered these owners. You might have even thought of “lazy” or “smart”! Adjusting your fence plans probably takes a lot less time and effort than excavating a large stump.

Perhaps you thought of the word “kind” to describe the owners of the first property. It does seem kind to allow a tree to keep flourishing in your yard, while letting its roots spread out beyond your property line.

When Eve and Adam messed up God’s Plan A (A Perfect Paradise), God, the Property Owner and their evening walking companion, immediately moved to Plan R (Redemption). From Genesis to Revelation we watch as He gives amazing grace to sinners, “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV)

But God will not accommodate evil:

For, “Whoever would love life
And see good days
Must keep their tongue from evil
And their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
They must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
And his ears are attentive to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
(1 Peter 3:10-12 NKJV)

I invited you to choose your own title for this photo blog, depending upon how you view these two fences and their owners – or, perhaps, how you view God. I think I’ll simply call it Grace.

As you step out into this brand new week, rejoice and be glad that the One who knows you from the inside out loves you anyway and no matter what and forever. He has patiently walked with you and worked with you and promises He will never leave you. He is with you always and all ways, all the way Home.

 

Blackstone’s Commentaries

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, October 16, 2021

The above venerable tomes, which I recently spotted behind glass in a Half-Price Books store, are actually quite famous. Originally published in England between 1765 and 1770, the Blackstone Commentaries were used by the newly-birthed United States as a resource which brought England’s common-law principles into the country’s regulations. (At the end of this blog post I’ll give you the Wikipedia link. It’s fascinating reading.)

For now, I’d like to talk about the four titles: Rights of Persons, Rights of Things, Private Wrongs, and Public Wrongs. According to Sir William Blackstone’s plan, these four volumes were to provide the basis for pretty much every kind of law needed by the courts. They are often read and cited by modern legal scholars when trying to discover what might have been the presuppositions of the framers of the U.S. Constitution.

During the last three months of this year, our Sabbath School classes are studying the book of Deuteronomy, sort of a Blackstone’s Commentary on God’s will. Fortunately, the Sabbath School study guide is having us read through large sections of the Bible book in order to get the context of its laws. And here’s one of the book’s most clarifying statements about why God’s law is so important.

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12 – 13 NKJV

That’s the point of anything God lovingly commands us to do—our good, our safety, our eternal happiness!

First, here’s the Blackstone link, then I’ll follow it with a Bible compilation about God’s laws:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commentaries_on_the_Laws_of_England

https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/law-god

Employee of the Month

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, October 15, 2021

Earlier this week I noticed that the fan inside my PC tower was sounding funny, so I took the tower in to the computer place I have patronized for more than two decades. As I was hunting for a parking place, I discovered this stack of cement blocks in the spot reserved for the Employee of the Month.

The reason I snapped the photo (aside from its humor value) is that this scene is truer than it first appears. Normally, an Employee of the Month is someone whose steadiness and dependability and loyalty arouse the appreciation of management (or should). And once the above cement blocks get fitted and mortared into their destination, they ain’t goin’ nowhere. They’re going to be a solid support for whatever is above them, for a good long time.

Jesus’ close friend Peter wrote a couple of letters to Christian churches in what is now Turkey. At one point he encouraged his readers to be foundation stones—alive, but serving the same function as these cement blocks. Playing off the idea that Jesus is the “Chief Corner Stone,” Peter continues, talking about how Jesus Himself was rejected by the people He came to save. “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4 – 5)

And this applies directly to our workplaces. Check out the following link for Bible advice about how to bring your faith to your workplace in practical ways:

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

Natural Buddies

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, October 14, 2021

Guinea hens are a fun and interesting barnyard pet. They stick together like glue and get along with chickens. They alert each other if danger arises, and if one is lost and calling, the whole group heads over to help. These Guineas can fly over the fence or into the trees, but they are happy staying close to the chicken house.

They remind me of friends and church members who look out for each other.

A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

This inspires me to look for how I can be a better friend.

Fall Is Here

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, October 13, 2021

I would guess each of you might have a favorite season. One that you like, just slightly, over another. Maybe you like the hot summer sun, or you enjoy the chilly feel of the winter. I very much like the spring and all the lush greens (and other colors) it brings with the changes. I know many that like the crisp air, and reds, yellows and oranges of fall (or autumn). It is fascinating to see the various changes, whether it’s the temperature outside, the various activities we can do, or the differences (at least in the Pacific Northwest) in foliage. You can see the varying degrees of colors in these maple leaves I’ve captured. A couple of these leaves are still fairly green, but you can see the hints of change as well. In the other image the leaf is full of redness. Both have their distinct beauty.

Ironically, these changes to the foliage is a sign of death, as the leaves are dying and falling from the trees. So, why would I want to dwell on an aspect of this sinful world? I’ll tell you why – because our incredibly loving Creator makes something good – even if it’s not. In the case of the falling foliage, as the Chlorophyll (what makes the leaves green) starts to dissipate due less and less sunlight, the other pigments (red, yellow, orange) start to be much more visible. Not to get into a full scientific explanation, but the Chlorophyll is the chemical in the leaves helping the tree make the energy it needs to survive. Again, this process is incredible – yes, it’s part of the sinful world we live in, but even in this death, God shows us life.

Back to the green coloring of the leaves, transitioning into the other colors – once the other pigments start being visible, the energy process is coming to an end and the tree has now stored enough for the winter months. The leaves are beautiful to look at but will eventually fall to the ground. The next time the tree needs more leaves, they grow back in spring and with the help of the sun (and Son) start making that needed energy with new leaves.

Fall is here, and we can learn a lot about our heavenly father and His incredible concern for us, just by these leaves. Go take a walk and thank God for all the amazing colors.

European Garden Spider

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, October 12, 2021

An abundance of spiders in our yard prodded me into taking a closer look at these creatures. With the large number of webs draped between the limbs of different shrubs I confess I was rather disappointed to find so few species. It turned out to be a rather homogenous group. It wasn’t that there wasn’t variety, for there was, but it was variations on a theme, for most turned out to be Araneus diademantus, more commonly known as the European Garden Spider. Even though commonly found in the United States from Canada to Mexico, the name is appropriate, for it originated in Europe and was only later brought to America. This adaptable spider owes much of its success to its ability to prosper in varying conditions.

The species name, diadematus, is a reference to a diadem, or a jeweled crown. For this reason it is also sometimes known as the Crowned Orb Weaver. This is just one of the many common names given to this species. Without a doubt its plethora of names is derived from its varied appearance. It may be that some of these differences are due to age as some believe they get lighter as they get older. The accompanying pictures show just a few of these variations.

This same kind of variety is also found within the church, and then in turn we are allowed through our diversity to reveal to the universe the multi-dimensional facets of God’s grace. The New Revised Standard Version phrases Ephesians 3:10 this way: “so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” And the New English Translation renders it: “The purpose of this enlightenment is that through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms.” It seems even spiders can serve to remind us of our opportunity to reveal God.