Bellevue Seventh-day Adventist Church
Bellevue Seventh-day Adventist Church

Daily Photo Parable - December 2011

Thanks to all the photographers who have kindly accepted my invitation to provide their photos and commentary. Here's the schedule of those whose excellent, thought-provoking and encouraging work you'll be seeing, and when: SUNDAY--Bev Riter; MONDAY--Cheryl Boardman; TUESDAY--Robert Howson; WEDNESDAY--Darren Milam. I handle Thursday, Friday and Sabbath, generally using photos from the point-and-shoot camera I keep on my belt.-- Pastor Maylan Schurch

NOTE: To see previous photos from this current month, simply scroll down. To see previous months' blogs, click the month you want on the menu at the left.

Peace Sign
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, December 31, 2011

In a recent Daily Photo Parable, I mentioned how much my wife Shelley enjoys our neighborhood Christmas decorations. One that she especially appreciates is in the photo above, a "peace" symbol.

In the past few weeks, Shelley has kept an anxious eye on this home. Because even though other decorations began to show up in bushes and on the garage-frame, the peace symbol didn't. We wondered if the house had new owners.

But suddenly, there it was, fastened beside one of the upstairs bedroom windows, glowing with all the hopeful fervor  of a ‘60’s anti-war activist’s heart.

One of the royal titles of the Baby whose birth we've just been celebrating is “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). But as a recent news story pointed out, peace is shattered even in the church built closest to where tradition says He was born. Click on this link:

The truest peace is not only a supernatural gift from its Prince, but leaves the world in envious bewilderment. Here’s the prescription: “Be anxious for nothing,” Paul tells us, “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. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV)

And this new year, don't horde it. "Blessed are the peacemakers," Jesus said in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5.

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Scratch Ticket Counter
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, December 30, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, under the chill fluorescent light of a grocery store lobby, I spotted this stark scene. The sign on the counter encourages shoppers who have just bought scratch lottery tickets to scratch them here. And right close by is a large hole with a blue trashbag underneath.

I don't know if I've ever seen a more dramatic example of the sad results of gambling. What happens, of course, is that the majority of ticket-scratchers won't be screaming in delight and rushing to the nearest store clerk asking what to do next. Instead, it's scratch, sigh, and toss the now-valueless card into the abyss to join the hundreds of other failures.

In Deuteronomy 8:18, Moses reminded the Israelites that the Lord is the one from whom any wealth comes. And the rest of the Bible tells us how He most often grants it – through our hard, intelligent work and good stewardship. God's part, as He mentions in Malachi 3, is most often protecting our resources if we honor Him first.

Gambling has always existed (remember the soldiers who gambled for Jesus' garments as He hung dying above them?), but God never condones, and certainly never commands, gambling for money.
Instead, He urges us to invest – in tithes and offerings, in helping those in need, in working to make life better on this Earth. Each of us has been given three “T’s,” time, talent, and treasure. God did not make us hoarders but investors.

As the New Year turns, this might be a great time to think about all that our Heavenly Investor has entrusted us with, and find some Heaven-approved ways to pass along the blessings. For starters, check out the link below:

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Whom Do You Trust?
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday is trash pickup day in our South Renton cul-de-sac. Regular garbage gets collected every week, while the recycling (in a large blue bin) is picked up every other week.

So a couple of days ago, as I assembled our discardables, I asked myself, "Is today recycle day?"

There are a couple of ways I normally employ to estimate the answer to this. One is to see how full or empty our own blue recycle bin is. If it's pretty empty, that probably means the recycling was picked up last week. The other method I sometimes use is to see whether Mark, across the street, puts out his blue bin. Mark has been right pretty much every time.

However, this Wednesday morning I decided to actually look at the Waste Management company's calendar, which Shelley has thumb-tacked to a corkboard on the inside of a kitchen cupboard door, and which I have always assumed Mark watches like a hawk. Gazing at the calendar I saw that there was no recycle pickup this week.

So I went outside and rolled out only our regular garbage bin. Firm in the knowledge of the truth, I glanced around at the neighbors' trash bins and noticed something interesting. The normally reliable Mark (his are the two bins you see at the left edge of the photo above) had decided that it was recycle day, and rolled out his

I'll confess that my faith wavered for a moment. I had always looked to Mark as my garbage guru, and it was incredible to think that he evidently hadn't consulted Waste Management. Paul, in the house just beyond, had read his calendar, as had Dave (across the street to the right--Dave's bin looks bluish, but it's green). A glance behind me, out of camera range, showed an equal diversity of opinion amongst our other neighbors. Mike's blue bin was out – his faith in Mark must've been even stronger than mine. Brent, who lives to the left of Mark, had his recycle bin out also.

But I had read the word from On High. And I knew what would happen that day. Mark would come home, see his blue bin, smite his brow in annoyance, and resolve to study his calendar more faithfully. Mike and Brent, sincere though they were, had been led astray by Mark, and would have to to sheepishly roll their own loaded blue bins back behind their backyard fences. But Paul and Dave, though friends with Mark, had not trusted his garbage-guru-osity, choosing instead to study the Waste Management calendar.

You're way ahead of me, right? Of course you are. Remember that this is New Year’s Resolution time—time to make reading God’s Word a daily habit. And to always trust its teachings over any human wisdom.

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Home Office
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Thursday, December 29, 2011

I couldn’t resist a grin—and a click of my point-and-shoot camera—in a store last May. The “Home Office” sign prepares you to see  dreary displays of pens and pencils and staplers and file folders. But instead, this rack features products which mostly bear the Crayola brand, ranging from exotic coloring instruments to the left and center, to real crayons at the right. Must be fun to “work” in this home office, right?

If you’re a believer, as I am, in the Genesis account of how humanity began and into what kind of setting they were first placed, you know that Adam’s and Eve’s first “home office” was a whole lot more creative than paper clips and wastebaskets. Remember the naming of the animals? God didn’t put a completed list of names in Adam’s in-basket with instructions to memorize them by Monday morning. Instead, Adam got to do the naming!

Knowing that those who’ve surrendered their lives and hearts and agendas to the Maker of Monkeys and Pandas will eventually be turned loose in a sin- and ennui-free universe to experience deathless joys makes returning to the 9-to-5 routine a bit easier, right? Have you surrendered yourself to Him?

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Christmas Decorations
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We Christians love to lament “long and loud” about the secularization of Christmas, and perhaps rightly so, for it does seems the Christ Child is sometimes forgotten in the telling of the story.  But for those of us seeking to remember, maybe the voicing is still there.  I found it in the most unlikely of places, in a rather tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Santa and his sleigh.  Before continuing any further, I must prompt the reader that the above portrayal of the account is not a picture of our house.  Like an attorney covering his client’s best interests, I repeat, this is not our house, in spite of the incorporation of avian personages. 

With a desire to add some holiday cheer to the season, the owner of the house resurrected eight pink lawn flamingoes from who knows where and placed them at the front of the sleigh.  There, complete with wire legs they proceeded to pull the sleigh through all sorts of weather and terrain, even over neighboring fences.  However, the real point of the illustration doesn’t come to light until you see who is riding in the sleigh.  It is none other than Santa Flamingo himself. 

Though very likely not intended, this cheerful depiction reminded me of how out of place the central character of the real Christmas story really was.  God becoming man, Immanuel, God with Us, could anything be less fitting than that way to tell the story?  But that is the story, the true story, God becoming one of us so He could reach us. And the route He had to follow to reach the hearts of mankind?  One far more difficult than any trip from the North Pole.  It was a journey that started in heaven and wound from the manger to the cross; and from the cross to our hearts and in doing so, brought joy to the world like no other possibly could.

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New Creature
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, December 26, 2011

This photo is of a Gulf Fritillary.  I saw it when I was on a walk around a pond in the Everglades.  I had gone there with a friend and we had just seen a crocodile down the one path we took close to the water's edge.  We had taken pictures of the croc from quite a distance and with our longest telephoto lenses as the people who told us about it had warned that crocodiles could be more aggressive than alligators.  People didn't even seem concerned when walking close to the alligators we had seen earlier in the day!  Anyway, taking photos of butterflies was more difficult but much less conducive to losing a limb!

I just recently watched the documentary Metamorphosis and was amazed at the transformation that occurs inside a chrysalis.  I always thought that the chrysalis phase was kind of the boring part of a butterfly's life cycle but that is the part where the caterpillar becomes a totally new creature.  It is essentially the end of the caterpillar and the start of a whole new entity.  The changes that take place are incredible - and they don't happen over millions of years!

The Bible tells us that, in Christ, we are new creations as well:  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17.  God can do the same thing for us that he does for the butterfly.

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Time Together
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Bev Riter
Sunday, December 25, 2011

Granddaughters Hope and Faith were with us last week. We spent time together – a lot of cooking and sewing, which is what they wanted to do. In this photo we're making pizzelle, then rolling them into rounds for cannoli which we stuffed with sweetened ricotta flavored with vanilla and lemon zest. We make these most every year at Christmas time. Spending time together is special for our granddaughters and us!

Today, as we celebrate Christmas let's remember the reason for our celebration – the birth of Jesus. Have you thought about why He came to earth as a baby? He didn't just appear to be human – He was fully human and didn't depend on His divine abilities. He experienced the realities of life as a person on earth.

He wants us to spend time with Him today and every day. Most of us don't find time to spend with God, we have to make time. If we really want to get to know someone, we have to spend time with them. To get to know God, we have to spend time with Him. This can be studying His Word, praying, meditation or quiet time with Him and time in nature. Jesus is wanting to spend time with you. Don't you want to know Him better and grow closer to Him? Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

May the miracle of Christmas fill your heart with warmth and love!

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The Goodwill Child
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, December 24, 2011

This past Wednesday morning, on the way back from a trip to the Adventist Book Center, I made my usual used-book-hunting swoop through the big Auburn Goodwill store. I spotted this little kid, evidently pawing among some artificial flowers.

Something seemed unusual about this child (I took all these photographs afterward, and you’ll see why in a moment).

I glanced back, and then realized what had made me wonder about this youngster—he (or she) wasn’t moving! A man who seemed to be a Goodwill staffer strolled past. “Is that a kid?” I asked him in a low voice. He chuckled. “No, it’s a doll!”

Cautiously I reached out and took it by the shoulder and turned it around.

Sure enough, it was a doll, stuffed and padded to give an amazingly realistic impression of a child with its hands to its eyes, perhaps crying. Sensing a Daily Photo Parable unfolding before my very eyes, I promptly re-posed the doll in its original position, retraced my steps, and snapped the earlier photos you see above.

I don’t have kids, but something in that forlorn little figure had nevertheless reached out to me as I strolled by. If this child had been real--and truly in distress--I would have gone hunting for mom

Maybe it’s this same “protect the child” instinct that warms our hearts at Christmas. After all, the plot centers around a Baby born into difficult and dangerous times. But what is even more wonderful is that the Baby chose this way to enter the world—not as a brilliant being in a fiery chariot like the one which translated Elijah, but in the intimate, supremely vulnerable way which would endear Him to billions. The “goodwill Child” would indeed bring peace to those of good will.

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

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Express Lane—10 Items or . . .?
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, December 23, 2011

On a recent visit to a Whole Foods store I was charmed to see this sign and its scrupulously correct grammar. "Less" isn't supposed to be used with items which can be numbered, and the sign-letterer (perhaps an English major working at Whole Foods to keep the wolf from the door while hunting for a teaching job) persuaded management to let him or her use "fewer" to strike a valiant blow for appropriate English. As someone who taught English for a few years, I grinned approvingly.

(By the way, an error I see almost every day is the word "it's" used incorrectly. With the apostrophe, "it's" means "it is." Without the apostrophe, it's what's called a possessive pronoun. But you don't have to remember "possessive pronoun." Instead, as you're about to use "it's" or "its," ask yourself, "In this sentence I am about to write, do I mean 'it is'?" If so, use the apostrophe. If not, don't. Wrong: I returned the book to it's owner. Right: I returned the book to its owner. If you use "it's" in that sentence, you're really saying  I returned the book to it is owner, which of course you don't mean. Another example, this time using "it's" (meaning "it is"): Wrong: Its my book, not yours! Right: It's my book, not yours! This time you DO mean "it is," so use the apostrophe.  -- Incidentally, there'll be a quiz on this at the end of class today.)

Alas, English grammar is butchered every day in print and broadcasts. Most of the time it’s not that big of a deal—I’m also a firm believer in being deliberately colloquial on most occasions—but as I used to tell the college freshmen in my classes, “You may be smart, but if you use bad grammar on your resumé, you’ll look dumb!” 

One area where I’m remorseless when it comes to verbal accuracy is in Bible translations. I want to know which ones are as close to word-for-word renderings as possible. There’s nothing wrong with the looser translations—that is, if you know they’re designed to be colloquial and not literal. Use the literal translations for careful study, and the looser ones for devotional reading. The most literal are the King James and New King James, New American Standard, English Standard Version, and New Revised. Others are looser, and if you’re doing serious study, you should carefully compare them with the ones I’ve mentioned.

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Glasses in the Grass
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm glad I take my camera with me on Shelley's and my morning walks through our neighborhood, because it's surprising what you sometimes see. A couple of weeks ago I spotted this folded pair of glasses resting in a patch of dewey morning lawn.
These glasses--and that grass--reminded me of when I was 15 years old. For as long as I could, I had successfully hidden my growing nearsightedness from my teachers and family, but finally I gave up the battle, let my eyes be checked, and received my first pair of glasses (which looked surprisingly like these, except mine were brown).

For some reason I kept them in their case until I got back to our farmyard. I got out of the car and put them on. I happened to be looking at a patch of grass, and I will never, ever forget how wonderful it was to see the individual spears of grass, sharp and clear. Instantly I realized all I had been missing throughout my childhood.

And just as the above glasses remind me of my my teenage pair, my teenage glasses remind me of Jesus' advice to the spiritually lukewarm church of Laodicea in Revelation 3. It would be more than a thousand years before spectacles would be invented, but the Savior still insisted that the First Church of Laodicea needed their eyesight improved.

“I know your works, [He told them flatly]“that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

As a pastor for nearly three decades, it's been my privilege to see spiritual eyesight-improvement many times, and a lot of times it's my own. And once people see God and His plan with clearer perspective, there's often a "Why couldn't this have happened to me earlier?" and many times a "Why can't other people see what I can now see so clearly?" Bottom line: let’s beg the Lord for clearer eyes, and pray for—and be patient with—those who still don’t get it.

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A Savior’s Birth
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Darren Milam
Tuesday, December 21, 2011

I know we all have heard the story several times and we have viewed more nativities scenes then we can count. That said it shouldn't get old, it should be just as exciting and just as uplifting each and every time. In a recent trip to Nashville, outside of the hotel we were staying at, there was a beautiful nativity scene.  As I took this image, my mind attempted to imagine that cold, dark night, where the King of Kings was born.  At that moment, we had been saved, as we now had our Savior.

You can read the story in Luke 2:1 (NKJV):

 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

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Christmas Holly
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It’s a valid question even if it does threaten those traditions which have become almost sacred to us; Isn’t the celebration of Christmas rooted in pagan customs and beliefs?  The answer appears to be a definite yes and no.  How’s that for a decisive response?  Certainly there are parallels between the way we celebrate this day and earlier practices observed by the Romans and others, but these similarities do not, in and of themselves, necessarily mean they are rooted in that which is abhorrent to a Christian mindset. 


Let’s look at one of the typical symbols we see displayed around holiday time, the familiar Christmas holly.  There are over 400 species in this genus with the English Holly and its prickly leaves being the most common.  There are others, like the one shown above, which lack the spiny protection most commonly seen.  In all cases, only the female plants produce berries, so one may safely conclude this one is female.  It is true the ancient people held holly in high esteem.  The Celts used it in their celebration of the winter solstice with the Druid priests wearing sprigs of the plant in their hair. Part of their mythology included the idea of placing holly on their door to ward off evil spirits and prevent lightning strikes, but they also brought the plant indoors as it was thought to provide shelter for fairies.  Even earlier the Romans used holly to pay honor to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and would give holly wreaths to each other which they carried in processions. 


But somewhere along the way, it was adopted by Christians as part of their way of celebrating Christ’s birth.  Some of the church fathers, such as Tertullian, objected to this as a compromise with Rome.  Early Christians would sometimes place holly on their doors in the belief it would serve as a deterrent to persecution during the holy days.  The prickly leaves came to symbolize Jesus’ crown of thorns and the berries became associated with drops of His blood.   Some have gone as far as to suggest the word holly is a corrupted form of the word holy. In Germany it is known as “Christdorn” which literally means “Christ thorn” so this symbolism runs deep. 


One last thought may suffice.  Should we have lived before the time of Christ, animal sacrifices would have been commonly seen, not only those offered by faithful Jews who were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, but also by pagans who hoped their offerings would appease the gods: similar actions, totally different motives.  Is it possible that the same might be said today about the way we look at Christmas and all its trimmings?  May our celebration be one that truly centers upon Christ and reflects our love for our Lord.

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The Gift
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, December 19, 2011

Sandi Patty sings a Christmas song by Ron Harris and Claire Cloninger called The Gift Goes On.  Here are part of the lyrics: 

The Father gave the Son
The Son gave the Spirit
The Spirit gives us life
So we can give the Gift of love
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes o

Don't you love to get a present wrapped up in a Christmas bow
God gave each of us a present on that night so long ago
It's a Gift that keeps on giving if our spirits can receive
It's the secret joy of living if our hearts can just believe

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11 (NKJV)

Don't forget the most important Present of all when you celebrate this holiday season.

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Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Bev Riter
Sunday, December 18, 2011

For the last 15 years we've watched the USS Abraham Lincoln come and go from its homeport here in Everett. Recently, it left for the final time, heading to the Middle East. In the enlarged photo you can see some of the approximately 400 sailors who lined the flight deck as they pulled away from the dock in the misty fog. The ship had become a local “friend” that was sad to see leave forever. It left and will not return.

Before Jesus left earth, He appeared to some of his friends, then to the eleven. Even though He left, He said He would return again. You can read about it in Luke 16:9-20 and John 14:3. He left, but will return!

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You've Been Warned
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch

Sabbath, December 17, 2011

I couldn’t help grinning as I descended the stairs to the lower floor of a bookstore a couple of weeks back. This wasn’t the first time I’d been here, and it was interesting to see how the management had ramped up the “please don’t fall down and sue us” cautions. 

First it had been the wide red stripe you see toward the bottom. You can’t see it from this angle—and maybe a recent “fall-er and sue-er” had missed it too—but the red is actually the edge of a step, and just beyond is a six-inch drop.

That evidently didn’t do the trick, so up went the sign. And what’s so humorous are all the warnings. There’s the black and yellow “Caution—Watch Your Step,” and just below it someone has taken a blue marker and actually drawn a step, and labeled it  “step.” And I’m sure that the artist, as he or she capped that marker, must have stepped back and (mentally at least) must have murmured, “There. You’ve been warned.”

A lot more heat than light has been expended about the topic of God’s law. What was its purpose? Is it still in force today, and if so, how much of it? Are we totally under grace, and does that mean we an now break the law with no consequences? 

In a minute I’ll give you a link with lots of Bible text to help you sort this out. But to me, the law is like the concrete barriers between busy traffic lanes. They’re there for my protection. As long as I drive safely and straight, I don’t have to worry. But if I stray, I’ll feel this bumping and scraping—unpleasant, but designed to deflect me back to the straight and narrow.

Whatever your current opinion about God’s law, you owe it to yourself to look at the Bible evidence. You’ll find a good deal of it at this link.  

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Keeping Tabs
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, December 16, 2011

On a desk in an office adjacent to where my wife Shelley works, I saw the above calculator. Above the keyboard was a little plastic container of what look like Post-it bookmark tabs.

I’m sure that the owner of that calculator saw it as the perfect bookmark-tab holder, but may not have realized how apt an illustration it is of the Bible principle of stewardship. As anybody who works in an office knows, accountability is vital. The “I don’t care” worker—especially in today’s economy—is in grave danger of rapidly becoming not-cared-about by those who authorize the paychecks. “Keeping tabs,” staying alert and aware, keeping your mind on your business, is important.

Jesus, speaking to hardworking businesspersons and farmer, often told “accountability” stories. Merchants gave trusted servants one, two or five “talents” and expected a return on their investments. Bridesmaids were advised to stock up on lamp-oil in case the bridegroom was delayed. Vineyard owners who launched building projects without counting the cost were ridiculed, as were homebuilders who chose sandy foundations.

Paul puts it succinctly:

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.  (1 Corinthians 4:1 – 2 NKJV)

You and I have been given stewardship responsibilities by God—among them, time, talent, and treasure. As in the parables—and as any good parent does—you and I are being entrusted with greater and greater responsibilities as we’re able to bear them. But take courage! Our Heavenly Father is delighted as we learn His own servantly ways!

Under the rather unusual title of “Business,” has some great Bible stewardship material. Click the link below.

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No Excuses!
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Thursday, December 15, 2011

A couple of nights ago Shelley and I went to the loading dock of an area mall to pick up a large order for her workplace. I glanced up and saw this “Caution—Low Headroom” sign, evidently a warning to truckdrivers to remember that there was a height limit.

Notice that the sign is printed both forward and backward, so that even if a driver is backing in, he or she—if alert—will get the message, and avoid damage to the truck or the building. No excuses! Unless a backing driver refuses to look into the rearview mirror at all—in which case we have problems that a sign cannot fix!—he or she is accountable for what might happen. The warning has been clearly given.

“No excuses!” cries the apostle Paul in Romans 1. Talking about people who are deliberately evil, he urges us not to try to excuse such people. “For since the creation of the world His [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen,” Paul insists, “being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, Romans 1:20 NKJV

In other words, let’s keep our eyes open. One of my hobbies is noticing how intricately nature and its laws behave, and how this points inexorably to an intelligent Master Designer. Don’t get me on my soapbox about this. Let’s be grateful for a Creator who is also our Savior.

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Frost Shadow
Photo and Commentary ©2011 by Maylan Schurch
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

 Tuesday I glanced at our front lawn and immediately noticed the two-tone look. The night had been nippy, but at some point prior to the above camera-click, the sun had beamed valiantly from low in the southern sky, and the d

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