Wordless Birds – Hummingbirds

Tawny-bellied Hermit (Phaethornis syrmatophorus)  by Michael Woodruff

Tawny-bellied Hermit (Phaethornis syrmatophorus) by Michael Woodruff

This GOLD bird reminds us of Heaven. The Bible tells us Heaven has a street of gold! But the best part about Heaven is that God, who created you and me, lives there. The Bible, God’s Word, says: “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 Jesus, God the Son, is in Heaven preparing a place for all who put their trust in Him. (John 14:2-3) God is holy and perfect. He cannot allow anything in Heaven that is less than perfect, so there’s one thing that can never be in Heaven. Can you think of what that might be?

Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy) ©WikiC  09 May 2012, taken at the restaurant at the entry to Catarata del Toro, Costa Rica.  (Waterfall of the Bull) a 330 foot high waterfall 30 minutes from our lodge Bosque de Paz) Costa Rica Eco-Lodge, Hotel, Rain Forest, Cloud Forest, Costa Rica ...  www.bosquedepaz.com/  near the villages of Palmira and Pueblo Nuevo, near Bajos del Toro, and the Volcan Poas National Park, and the Juan Castro Blanco National Park. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Hermit says “The Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy) is a large hummingbird that is a resident breeder from southern Central America (Costa Rica and Panama) south to northwestern South America (northeastern Venezuela and Trinidad and the northern Andes to eastern Peru)... It is 5.3 in (13.5 cm) long and weighs 0.22 oz (6.3 g). The male Green Hermit is mainly dark green with a blue-green rump. It has a dark mask through the eye, with buff stripes above and below this, and down the centre of the throat. The central feathers of the tapered tail are long and white-tipped, and are wiggled in display at the communal leks. The reddish bill is long and decurved. The female is duller and sootier grey below, with an even longer bill and tail. The call of this species is a loud zurk, and the males' lekking "song" is a repeated swark.” Photo © 2012 “Mike” Michael L. Baird, mike {at] mikebaird d o t com, flickr.bairdphotos.com, Canon 5D Mark III, with Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens, with no circular polarizer, medium ball-head on a lightweight Gitzo travel tripod, IS off on, RAW.  Proprietary muiti-flash setup by Greg Basco.  See EXIF for more settings.

To use this photo, see access, attribution, and commenting recommendations at www.flickr.com/people/mikebaird/#credit - Please add comments/notes/tags/names to add to or correct information, identification, etc. Please, no comments or invites with badges, unrelated images, flash

Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy) ©WikiC

It is sin! That is what this DARK bird reminds us of. Sin is anything you think, say, or do that does not please God, like lying, cheating, being selfish, or hurting others. The Bible says: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” — Romans 3:23 That means everyone, big or little, young or old! No matter where you live or who you are, you have sinned. Everyone is born with a “want to” to do wrong. God says that sin must be punished (Romans 6:23), and the punishment for sin is to be separated from God forever in a place of suffering….a place called Hell. But God has a wonderful plan so that you will not have to be punished for your sin!

Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) in Flight by Raymond Barlow

Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) in Flight by Raymond Barlow

God sent Jesus Christ, His perfect Son, to be born as a little baby. Jesus lived a perfect life….He never sinned. When He was grown, wicked men nailed Him to a cross. This bird is RED reminding us of Jesus’ blood. The Bible says that without the giving of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). So Jesus Christ willingly died to take your sin punishment. “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.“— 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Now, because of what Jesus has done for you, you can have your sins forgiven. Read on to see how!

Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) ©WikiC

Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) ©WikiC

The Bible says: “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on His name.” — John 1:12 The WHITE bird reminds us of a CLEAN heart. How can you have a clean heart? A = Admit to God you are a sinner and want to turn away from those sins. B = Believe in Jesus Christ, that He is God’s perfect Son who died for your sin, was buried, and rose again. C = Call on Him to save you from your sin. Would you like to do that right now? He has promised to hear, and once you are His child, He will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5). Take a moment and talk to God right now. It will change your life forever. Only one more color! What can it mean?

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)©WikiC

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)©WikiC

The GREEN bird stands for things that grow. When you ask God to forgive you and save you, you become His child. God wants you to get to know Him better and to grow to become more like Him. These four things will help you grow:

1. PRAY (talk to God every day)
2. READ & OBEY THE BIBLE (to know what He says, then do it)
3. TELL OTHERS ABOUT JESUS
4. GO TO A BIBLE-BELIEVING CHURCH (where you can learn more about pleasing Him)

As a child of God, if you should sin again, stop and tell Him about it. He promises in His Word… “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1 John 1:9 Ask God to help you live a life to please Him! Share the Good News of this story with someone else.


The Wordless Book has been used for many years by CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship). These words are from CEF.


The Gospel Message

The Wordless Book
Story of the Wordless Book

Once you receive Jesus as your Savior, then you have joy and peace in your heart.

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9 KJV)

This bird’s singing reminds us of the joy a Christian has in their heart after salvation and it spills out in a song and hopeful in telling others of what Christ did in their hearts.

A Restful Song

He sends the springs into the valleys; They flow among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst. By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches. He waters the hills from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works. (Psalms 104:10-13 NKJV)

Thought you just might enjoy a little song and restfulness from Our Creator.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

*

Wordless Birds

*

Are You Entangled?

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) ©Jullan Iondono

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) ©Jullan Iondono

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

I came across this photo again yesterday and it reminded me of a recent devotional, blog or sermon I heard. It had to do with how Christians become entangled with the world. This Common Potoo is so blended into its surroundings that it is hard to spot.

Do we as Christians so entangle ourselves with the world that we act no different from the unsaved?

The Lord warns us through His Word to not become re-entangled with the yoke of bondage.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1 NKJV)

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) ©Jullan Iondono

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) ©Jullan Iondono

For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. (2 Peter 2:20 NKJV)

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) by Daves BirdingPix

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) by Daves BirdingPix

For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:14-17 NASB)

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) by Dario Sanches

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) by Dario Sanches

*
Nyctibiidae – Potoos

Orni-theology

Falling Plates

*

 

Pastor Jerry Smith – Testimony

This is an excerpt from a Sacred Music Evening celebrating Pastor Jerry Smith’s 31 years of Music Ministry at Faith Baptist Church on 1/11/2015 (Sunday). This was at the end of an hour and a half of his favorite songs.

Pastor Jerry sings “Five Rows Back”, “Amazing Grace” and then the final Choir and Orchestra play “The Power of the Cross.”

Please listen to the words from him and the songs.

*

*

(Pastor Jerry can be contacted through Faith Baptist Church.)

See:

Sharing the Gospel and Pointing Someone to Christ in the Scripture

ABC’s of the Gospel

Christmas Gospel Presentation

I’m Thankful for Pastor Jerry (by Stephen Simpson)

 

This will be posted with other articles used as links at the end of articles. Those are intended to help readers realize that:

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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17 KJV)

*

Busy Hummingbirds, Oblivious to Spectators

Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) by Michael Woodruff

Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) by Michael Woodruff

Busy Hummingbirds, Oblivious to Spectators

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

As the cooling days of September fall from the calendar, like the abscission of colorful autumn leaves, the shelf-life of flower nectar nears its expiry date.  For just a few more days, the nectar pantries of bright-hued flowers are “open for business”, ready to feed the voracious appetites of neighborhood hummingbirds  —  those petite, iridescence-sparkled, blurry-winged wonders with super-sized metabolic fuel needs.  Floral nectar is a sweet resource!  Yet, as winter approaches, such fly-by “fast-food” opportunities cannot be taken for granted, especially if one is an energy-craving hummingbird.

 

Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei) by Reinier Munguia

Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei) by Reinier Munguia

Hummingbirds are famous for their (males’) jewel-like throats, their hovering and multi-directional flying, and their ability to change directions   —  stop, go, up, down, left, right, backward, forward, — using high-speed wings that whip figure-eight patterns faster than human eyes can follow, producing a humming sound (that explains their name) that almost sounds like a contented cat purring.   Hummingbirds, due to their speedy, darting movements, and their iridescent green colors, attract the eye.  So you see them  –  zip!  –  then you don’t.  Zip!  –  then you see them again.   The summer range of hummingbirds (such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris) is broad enough that most of us have seen hummingbirds, though it is unlikely that we ever see one relaxing!  No time to relax  —  their needle-like bills must sip up nectar where and when it is available!

Volcano Hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula) by Ian

Volcano Hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula) by Ian

The business of a hummingbird’s life is so intense, so metabolically demanding, that slurping up available nectar is a lifestyle priority, requiring dietary focus and persistence:  “Get nectar, get more nectar, get even more nectar!  Hurry, hurry, hurry!”  Sugar substitutes are unacceptable for hummingbirds – they must have real sugar to thrive.  See Elizabeth Mitchell, Our Creator’s Sweet Design for Hummingbird Taste, with a link (in its Footnote #1) to video footage of hummingbird sugar consumption.  (Obviously hummingbirds are a living exhibit that refutes “natural selection” mythology  —  see Frank Sherwin, Hummingbirds at ICR”, Acts & Facts, 35(9), September 2006 issue.

What an enormous appetite for such a miniature bird!  The calories consumed and burned by hummingbirds, on a boy weight ratio, are comparable to a human eating more than a 1000 hamburgers every day, as body fuel needed for a day’s normal activities!  (See Denis Dreves, The Hummingbird:  God’s Tiny Miracle, subtitled “If you operated at this bird’s energy level, you would burst into flames!”.

It is no surprise, therefore, that a hungry hummingbird hovered by brilliant vermillion flowers, in a garden spot I casually visited, as he (or she) slurped up nectar from one flower, then another flower, then another, — without any (apparent) concern for my physical presence or proximity, only a few steps from him (or her).  Why was the buzzing hummer oblivious of me, the birdwatcher so close by?

The hungry hummer was too preoccupied with the pressing business of life, to notice me, a quiet spectator.  What a privilege it was, to watch – for a long time, actually – this sparkling-in-the-sunlight hummingbird, darting among the bright flowers.

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

Yet are not our own lives, at least somewhat, like that busy hummingbird?  Are we not – day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, moment by moment – preoccupied with the ever-pressing business of life, darting here-and-there, from this task to the next one, such that we often ignore the spectators, those watching eyes who observe and appreciate our lives – those who (hopefully) see God’s beauty and wisdom imaged in our own attitudes and actions?

Yes, we have audiences we should not be oblivious of.  As we live the moments of our fast-paced lives we should not forget three audiences, who watch us much more than we consciously realize.

First, there are many curious humans who watch our busy lives, especially those who are younger than us.  What kind of role-models are we?  Hopefully our Christian lives are like the Thessalonian believers whom Paul commended as examples to all of the believers in Macedonia and Greece (1st Thessalonians 1:7).  Who is watching us? Who is listening?  Who is evaluating the message(s) of our lives, comparing our “walk” to our “talk”?  Do our lives “shine” as God’s testifying “lights” (Matthew 5:16), such that our good deeds prompt spectators to glorify God our Heavenly Father?

Black-chinnedHummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) by S Slayton

Black-chinnedHummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) by S Slayton

Second, there are non-human spectators watching our lives:  angels!   Angels learn from watching the “spectacle” of human lives (1st Corinthians 4:9 & 11:10).  Indeed, the effect of God’s gospel of grace, in the earthly lives of redeemed humans, is something that angels can only learn about as spectators (1st Peter 1:12, since redemption is never experienced by angels.

Yet the most important audience we have, always, is the Lord Himself  (Jehovah-jireh, the God Who is and sees).  Our primary audience, always, is our omniscient and omnipresent Creator-God.  It is our wonderful Maker Who watches every sparrow’s avian lifespan, and we are of much greater value to God than the lives of many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31; Luke 12:7).  As the Lord Jesus Christ’s vicarious death and resurrection has peremptorily proved, for all time and eternity, we are God’s favorite creatures.  God is caringly concerned with every detail of our busy lives (from creation to ultimate redemption), so let us not be oblivious to our most important Audience.  Do we live our earthly lives as ingrates, ignoring Him and His Word?  Or do we live life appreciative of Him and His Word, grateful that He created us and provided us with redemption in Christ?

Accordingly, with these three audiences in mind, as spectators of our busy lives, let us consider the prophet Ezekiel’s serious question (Ezekiel 33:10):  “how should we then live?”

By James J. S. Johnson

*

More Orni-Theology

Changed From the Inside Out

*

 

Sunday Inspiration – Crown Birds

White-crowned Sparrow ©WikiC

White-crowned Sparrow ©WikiC

but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31 NKJV)

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV)

And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. (1 John 3:23 NKJV)

Trust you will enjoy many of the Lord’s Birds that have crowns. Many more could have been added, but this is a fair sampling.

*

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*

“All Hail The Power of Jesus Name” – Faith Baptist Orchestra

*

More Sunday Inspirations

Faith Baptist Church

Gospel Presentation

*

Sunday Inspiration – “King” Birds

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zechariah 9:9 NKJV)

‘TELL THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, LOWLY, AND SITTING ON A DONKEY, A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY.’ ” (Matthew 21:5 NKJV)

Since writing about the Grey Kingbird last week, I have been thinking about birds that have “King” in their name. Here are some of the ones, plus many of the “King”fishers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*

Both our Choir with the Orchestra and the Hyssongs did great and I couldn’t decide so here are both of them.

“The King is Coming” – Faith Baptist Choir and Orchestra. Intro by Pastor Osborne

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (John 18:36-37 KJV)

“The King is Coming” – ©Hyssongs

*

The Gospel Message

More Sunday Inspirations

Faith Baptist Church

*

Birds of the Bible – Mighty Hand of God

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by Dan at Zoo Miami

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by Dan at Zoo Miami

O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? (Deuteronomy 3:24 NKJV)

What a beautiful duck. When we look around us, the Lord’s Hand is at work everywhere. Be thankful today for the Lord’s Blessing.

Brown-headed Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica) by Nikhil Devasar

Hang in there, today!

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalms 34:8 KJV)

*

Birds of the Bible

*

Sunday Inspiration – Easter

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)

*

Music by Sean Fielder

*

Faith Baptist Orchestra playing at the Easter Service in 2012

*

More Sunday Inspiration

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

Gideon

*

Golden Eagle – Eagle’s Eyesight

Bald Eagle (close up) LP Zoo by Dan

Bald Eagle (close up) LP Zoo by Dan

Hello boys and girls again! This is the Golden Eagle!

Did you know that eagles have very keen (excellent) eyesight ? We can see prey at great distances! I would say that we are one of the TOP birds!

Listen to this Bible verse:

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. (Revelation 4:7)

Golden Eagle ©PD

Golden Eagle ©PD

The word “beast” comes from a Greek word, zoon, and it means living creatures.

You are familiar with the word zoo, zoology-the study of animals.

  • The lion is the king of the beast! Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah! The lion represents the beasts of the earth.
  • The calf or ox represents the cattle!
  • The eagle represents the fowl or birds of the air!
  • And man is God’s greatest creation created on day number six of creation week!

The Bible is full of amazing truths! These living creatures are part of the angelic creation! They live in the very presence of God and they are full of life!

In fact, God through His Son Jesus Christ has given us everything necessary for life. Life does not end at death. Even science teaches us today that matter and energy go through changes, but they do not disappear!

Well, your soul and spirit are eternal, you will live forever somewhere! The very best place to go is God’s Heaven! Make sure that you are saved! If you do not understand what salvation is all about, begin to read the Gospel of John in the New Testament! It was written so that you would believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and in so doing that you would trust Jesus to save your soul!

God created this vast, material Universe and He has a plan for ALL of it, even the material stuff! One day we will fly higher than any eagle has ever flown! I hope that you enjoy being alive! If you are having a difficult time with life contact us and we will try to help and encourage you by sharing God’s Word with you and pointing you to the Lord Jesus Christ!

By for now!

The Golden Eagle

*

Golden Eagle

Wordless Book

*

Hidden-in-Plain-View Lesson from a Motmot: by James J. S. Johnson

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

*

New Testament Thanksgiving – 2013

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

*