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Posts Tagged ‘Lord Jesus Christ’

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

Alleluia!

HE IS RISEN!

1 Corinthians 15:12-22 KJV

(12) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
(13) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
(14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
(15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
(16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
(17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
(18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
(19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
(20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
(21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
(22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Christmas and Easter are the most important times of remembrance for those of us who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. I made that decision 54 years ago and it has changed my life.

At Christmas we are reminded that the Creator of all these birds we write about, gave up His seat beside the Father and came to earth to take on human flesh. Perfect sinless human flesh.

Now Today, Easter, we remember and celebrate. We remember that He gave His life to die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We know the story of Him hanging on the cross, and crying out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
(Matthew 27:46 NKJV)

It is better to call today Resurrection Sunday. The Lord Jesus Christ did not stay dead in the tomb, but He AROSE! If He can create this world and all that is in it, does He not have the power to Come Forth From The Grave.

Do you know Him? Have you ever repented and accepted Him as your Savior?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

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Music by Sean Fielder

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Faith Baptist Orchestra playing at the Easter Service in 2012


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More Sunday Inspiration

Gospel Presentation (narrated by our Pastor Osborne and music by Sean Fielder)

Gideon

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Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) perching from JJSJ

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) perching from JJSJ

Hidden-in-Plain-View Lesson from a Motmot: 

God’s Beauty Outshines Human Ugliness

by James J. S. Johnson

The turquoise-browed motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) is an amazingly beautiful bird that few will see in the wild.  That kingfisher-like bird is a living testimony of God’s beauty and care.  Yet what a contrast that bird is to some of the ugliness sinful mankind has soiled this weary world with.  Consider the following as an illustration of this bittersweet contrast.

Consider the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. At the top of the Temple of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza, human sacrifices took place. A stone knife was used to slice open the victim’s chest cavity, the heart was pulled out, held up as a sacrifice to the sun god while it was still beating, the head was severed, and the body tumbled down the stairs. Once the bloody bodies reached the bottom of the stairs, they were often eaten. Is it any wonder that the Mayas had problems with plagues, dying of diseases by the thousands?  (Providentially, God used Spanish conquistadors, such as Hernando Cortez, to abolish this genocidal holocaust.)

Also, there is a sinkhole located north of the Mayan Temple of Kukulcan, which is called the Sacred Cenote, or “Well of Sacrifice,” where they would toss people in to die by drowning in the murky water, and then the spectators would drink the water.  Some of the walls, not far from the temple and the cenote, exhibit rows upon rows (comparable to courses of bricks laid by bricklayers) of skull carvings (called “tzompantli”). The facial shape and expression of each skull carving is different—not just one generic skull model. Perhaps the sculptors were probably looking at different skulls when they carved them. Hundreds, even thousands of humans were sacrificed by the Mayas of the Yucatan and their neighbors. Similar holocausts were committed by the Aztecs of Central Mexico, where human sacrifices were processed in the Nahuatl language.

Fallen humanity, if unrestrained by the gospel and redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a very ugly and cruel thing to see. Instead of seeing God’s traits of kindness, goodness, intelligence, the exact opposite is seen. In this Chichen Itza is no different than many other cultures, including the humanistic (human-preoccupied) cultures of our modern world. Humans have ignored God’s prior judgments and will continue to do so. God provides a witness; He provides an opportunity of deliverance through His grace, but many reject it.

But there is a brighter side to all of this:  God never leaves Himself without a witness (or a remnant).

Ironically, Chichen Itza displays not only God’s wrath (which is displayed by how God historically gave the bloodthirsty Mayas over to their own sinfulness), but also, if you look carefully, there is an avian exhibit of God’s love of beauty, even there: the turquoise-browed motmot which inhabits this region of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa)-closeup from JJSJ

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa)-closeup from JJSJ

Specifically, if you walk northward from Kukulcan’s temple to the cenote (sacrifice sink-hole), there is a forest edge on the west side of the pathway, just before you arrive at the cenote, and in the large tree there (at that forest edge), creation scientists (Dr. Jan Mercer and this author) have observed turquoise-browed motmots perched in plain sight of those who walk by.  Here you can see two “pipe-cleaner” extensions of the tail, both with a colorful “brush” or “fan” on the end of those long tail feathers. What a beautiful bird!—a witness of God’s beauty in a place that was loaded with cruelty.

Unlike the colorful racquet-tailed turquoise-browed motmot, the Mayan handiwork at Chichen Itza was mostly a glorification of vile death, wretched idolatry, and ugly cruelty.  Tragically, for many generations, there, God’s truth was rejected, and idolatry prevailed.  The result is they “changed the truth of God into a lie” (Romans 1:25). What does God do with those who reject His Creatorship, according to Romans chapter one?  God punishes them with a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28), something like spiritual insanity. The “reprobate mind” judgment does not wait until the next life; it is imposed in this earthly life! One of the severest punishments that God ever imposes, unto those who reject the witness of His Creatorship and His glory, is that He gives people over to their love-of-the-lie wickedness.  (Romans 1:24).

Interestingly, the verb (in Romans 1:24) is an aorist verb, meaning the action is viewed as an event, as if it happened in a moment. It doesn’t mean it literally happened in just a split second, but it means it is being viewed as one action or one unit. There was a specific time when someone had rejected so much God-provided truth, inexcusably, that God said, “That’s it. I’m giving you over.” It’s a scary thing when God pulls back His restraints and mankind is allowed to just live out the selfish ugliness that is in the human heart.

When we reflect upon the season of Christmas, which we should do (suspending our distractions long enough to recall the Reason for this season), we should appreciate that God sent Christ to save a race of helplessly wretched sinners, Adam’s fallen race,   —  us  —  from the ugliness of self-proud and self-deluded ungodliness.  Yes, we all desperately need a Savior, Jesus Christ the righteous.  It is our Lord Jesus Christ – the Reason for the (CHRISTmas) season  –  Who is the author and finisher of everything that is truly beautiful in our lives.  God loves beauty, but our ungodliness is ugly.  So only God can (and does, if we avail ourselves to Him) salvage and remediate us from ugliness, both here and hereafter.  What a generous and gracious Kinsman-Redeemer Jesus is!

So even at Chichen Itza, a monument to human ugliness, we have the turquoise-browed motmot! —a wonderful witness of God’s shining beauty and love of life.   ><> JJSJ

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) ©WikiC

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) ©WikiC

(Adapted from James J. S. Johnson, “Turquoise-browed Motmot at Chichen Itza: Contrasting God’s Beauty with Mayan Ugliness”, Norfolk Heritage Review, June 1999; © AD1999 James J. S. Johnson)

See:

Other articles by James J. S. Johnson

Motmot Family - Momotidae – Motmots

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Yellow-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons) by Dario Sanches

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons) by Dario Sanches

New Testament

And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. (Matthew 15:36 KJV)

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Phil Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Phil Kwong

And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. (John 6:11 KJV)

Great Blue Heron with Catfish at Circle B by Lee - cropped

Great Blue Heron with Catfish at Circle B by Lee – cropped

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. (Romans 14:6 KJV)

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV)

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)

Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii) ©WikiC

Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii) ©WikiC

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17 KJV)

Crested Coua (Coua cristata) by Lee LPZ

Crested Coua (Coua cristata) by Lee LPZ

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) by Margaret Sloan

Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) by Margaret Sloan

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15 KJV)

Crested Berrypecker (Paramythia montium) ©WikiC

Crested Berrypecker (Paramythia montium) ©WikiC

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Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) Anting ©WikiC

Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) Anting ©WikiC

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? (Luk 12:24 NKJV)

“For animals in the wild, the medicine cabinet seems at first glance to be pretty bare, and you might think they’re just left out in the cold when it comes to finding remedies. But even with the fallen nature of our world, the Creator hasn’t left untamed creatures, like the ravens that neither sow nor reap (Luke 12:24), defenseless against all the things that ail them. In fact, He’s stocked their “closets” with a cornucopia of cures.” (From Jungle Doctors)

One of those cures is the birds “Anting” behaviour.

Anting (Excerpts from The Birder’s Handbook, p.487)

“Many different songbird species have been observed picking up single ants or small groups and rubbing them on their feathers. Less commonly, other songbirds “ant” by spreading their wings and lying on an anthill, and squirming or otherwise stimulating the ants to swarm up among their feathers.

Because the seasonal timing of anting and molting (spring and summer) often correspond, some have suggested that anting may soothe the skin during feather replacement. It seems more likely that the seasonal relationship simply reflects the greater activity of ants during those periods.”

Anting (Excerpts from Wikipedia)

In the behavior called anting, birds rub insects on their feathers, usually ants, which secrete liquids containing chemicals such as formic acid, that can act as an insecticide, miticide, fungicide, bactericide, or to make them edible by removing the distasteful acid. It possibly also supplements the bird’s own preen oil. Instead of ants, birds can also use millipedes. Over 250 species of bird have been known to ant. Most of those are Passerines.

Many theories exits as to why the birds “ant.”

It has been suggested that anting acts as way of reducing feather parasites such as mites or in controlling fungi or bacteria, although there has been little convincing support for any of the theories. It is possible that the use of certain kinds of ants indicates the importance of the chemicals they release. Some cases of anting involved the use of millipedes or caterpillars, and these too are known to release powerful defensive chemicals.

Another suggested function, based on observation of Blue Jays, is that the bird makes the insects edible, by discharging the harmful acid onto their feathers. The birds were found to show anting behaviour only if the ants had a full acid sac, and with subjects whose acid sacs had been experimentally removed, the behaviour was absent.

Finally, it has also been suggested that anting is related to feather moulting. However, the correlation may also be attributed to the greater activity of ants in summer.

Dusting with soil from ant-hills has been considered by some as equivalent to anting.

Some birds like Antbirds and Flickers not only ant, but also consume the ants as an important part of their diet. Other opportunist ant-eating birds include Sparrows, Wrens, Grouse and Starlings.

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Anting (Excerpts from Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, pps 19-20)

“John James Audubon published the first known reference to this habit in his Ornithological Biography (1831), in which he wrote of watching wild turkeys roll in ants’ nests ‘to clear their growing feathers of loose scales, and prevent ticks and other vermin from attacking them, these insects being unable to bear the odor of the earth in which ants have been.’ “

Here are some of the birds listed in this section:

The turkeys mentioned, plus “crows; starlings and Indian mynas, magpie lark, gray thrush, Pekin robin, house sparrow, manakin and apostlebird in Australia; a Magpie in Britain; Grackles, Blue Jay, pekin robin, gray catbird, American robin, wood thrush, hermit thrush, veery, cedar waxwing, bobolink, Baltimore oriole, cardinal, rose-breasted grosbeak, black-headed grosbeak, indigo bunting, dark-eyed junco, Harris’ sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, fox sparrow, and song sparrow in America”;

“Others seen in the wild anting are: scarlet tanagers, summer tanagers, towhees…, others.” (Lack off capitalization is from the book)

Lee’s Additon:

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)

It appears that the birds were given instincts or knowledge, by their Creator, to protect themselves from pests and irritation. That would be a possible answer they might give us, if we were to question them. If these birds evolved, then it appears that they had to develop this habit in each country and area where the birds “ant.” Huh? As for me, I opt for a Creator giving them that knowledge rather than a chance behaviour happening in so many places.

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See:

Anting - Wikipedia

Jungle Doctors (Scroll down to “Rubbing It In”) – Answers in Genesis

Birdwatching

Birds of the Bible

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