Taking and Making Opportunities

2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season…”

Bright yellow female American Goldfinch perched on pine sapling. Spinus tristis is a North American songbird. Photographed June 17, 2020 in Walton County, Georgia USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

People have asked me, “How are you able to photograph so many different animals?” A big part of the equation is taking and making opportunities. This success principle holds true in many areas: financial investors watch the markets to take advantage of opportune seasons to invest, while ingenious entrepreneurs create a market where none existed before. Taking an opportunity, or making one, can bring success.

There are times that wildlife photography opportunities present themselves; say, a Red-tailed Hawk swooping down on a roadside squirrel, or a Gray Fox cutting through your backyard. You have to be always ready to take those opportunities when presented. But most of the time, birds don’t swoop in and pose when we set up a tripod and camera. We must make opportunities by travelling to areas that maximize our chances of wildlife viewing, such as birding hotspots, parks and wildlife refuges.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul passes along this same strategy for success to the young pastor Timothy. William Barclay’s translation of 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Urge it upon people whether you can take an opportunity or have to make an opportunity.” Paul isn’t speaking about wildlife photography or financial investments, but about eternal investments: souls! There are times that opportunities to witness present themselves, such as in a long line at Walmart. Other strategies include making evangelistic opportunities such as outdoor concerts and testimony services, or mini neighborhood healing crusades.

So, a greater question than “how do I photograph more birds?”, is “how do I win more souls?”!  Hobbies and recreation are fine – and I’d say they are even essential to mental health – but do I spend as much time seeking to bring people for Christ as I do on photography? Or do I squander my evangelistic opportunities on other pursuits?

Just some food for thought. As for me, I will pursue and enjoy both!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Raptor Rapture

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Hawk catching prey at Panola Mountain State Park, Georgia. November 3, 2014 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Who isn’t enraptured by raptors?  With their first-rate flight, outstanding optics and on-target talons, they grab our attention and seize our fascination. The ability to swiftly and silently swoop down and snatch up prey unawares – like a thief in the night – is where this group of Birds of Prey receives their name.

A raptor is defined as a carnivorous bird that has large, sharp talons used to seize prey. It comes from the Latin word rapio, meaning to snatch, grab, carry off or abduct. The speed at which these hawks, eagles, kites, owls and falcons can clutch an unsuspecting victim is what makes them so impressive.

Red-tailed Hawk talon characteristic of Raptors. Walton County, Georgia. August 2017 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

This same word is also used in the 4th century Latin Vulgate translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In this scripture, the Apostle Paul describes the Lord as “catching up” the saints from off the earth to meet with Him in the air. It is from here that we receive the doctrine of The Rapture.

As the age of man upon earth nears midnight, Jesus Christ Himself will snatch His people away from impeding Tribulation, as swiftly and unexpectedly as a raptor descending upon its prey. But we won’t be carried off for lunch like a fish in an Osprey’s claws, we’ll be carried away to supper… the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! Revelation 19 describes a heavenly wedding reception where we, the church, are clothed in beautiful, clean bridal garments to worship the Bridegroom for eternity.

Seats on this Last Days flight called the Rapture are booking now. You can’t purchase this ticket online through Travelpediocity, but it is available for free through the blood and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Wherefore comfort one another with these words!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Just Passing Through

“We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” 1 Chronicles 29:15

Migrating Cape May Warbler photographed October 12, 2020 in Clarke County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Like a golden beam of sunshine that briefly pierces an autumn cloud cover, a Cape May Warbler made a brief but dazzling appearance in my backyard this month. Just as quickly as I was able to fire off three shots, she was off, not to be seen again. She didn’t stop to feed. She didn’t gather any nesting material. She didn’t have a bath or a drink. She was just passing through.

Just as these migrating birds only briefly stop during their long travels to and from their breeding grounds, I am reminded of the Christian’s journey here in this world. Although we may be busy putting down roots and making ourselves comfortable, the Bible describes the Christian as a pilgrim, as a sojourner just passing through. We are not permanent residents of this world, but headed for another.

Our destination is not a seasonal wintering ground in South America, but a permanent, eternal home in heaven. Like the warblers that quickly pass through our yards each spring and fall, the Christian is to have a mind of temporary residency as we pass through this life oriented towards eternity. Let us enjoy the wonders of this world, but also keep a mind on eternity!

Colossians 3:1-3  “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Back On Course

James 1:16-18 The Message “So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course.”

Normally along the coast, this Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) was a bit off course when spotted in Walton County, Georgia. June 11, 2020. Photo by William Wise.

As the fall migrations progress, there are often birds that go off course and show up in odd areas where they are not normally observed. Even  though they may be a common bird elsewhere, birders often delight in seeing these vagrants and will travel miles and miles to add them to their checklists. These birds may have drifted off course from storms or strong weather patterns, or by following the wrong flock (“abmigration”).

Earlier this summer I was delighted when I found a Least Tern flapping in graceful circles over the retention pond behind my office in Walton County, Georgia…  about 260 miles from the coast! What a delight to have the first and only eBird sighting for my county! Yes, I could have simply driven four hours east and seen as many Least Terns as I wanted. But this drifter was a delight to be seen so far off course.

In our Christian walk, we too can become spiritual “vagrants”. We might neglect Bible reading or prayer, or prolonged absence from in-person church attendance might leave us a tad off course. But when a Christian strays, there is no joy… except with Satan! He’s just waiting to add another drifting Christian to his list.

Hebrews 3:12-14  The Message  So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God.

But thank God we have a Divine Navigator that can direct our feet and put us back on course. His Word casts a beam of light and makes it simple to find the correct course. The Holy Spirit’s guidance is a gift that keeps us from becoming a checkmark on the devil’s eBird list!

John 12:46 I have come as a Light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in the darkness.


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Almighty is His Name

Great Blue Heron in flight; Walton County, Georgia. June 8, 2020 birding photography ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

He who appoints the sun to shine by day,

who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night,

who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar

— the Lord Almighty is his name:

Jeremiah 31:35


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Fighting the Reflection

Like a bird fighting its reflection in a window, we too can fight our true reflection as revealed by the Word of God…

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” James 1:23-24

Tufted Titmouse; Walton County, Georgia. September 2, 2020. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Legally download this image here.

As I sit listening to the Sunday morning sermon, I’m distracted by a feisty little Tufted Titmouse flying up to the window attacking his reflection. He believes the image in the glass to be a rival interloper invading his territory. Because the bird doesn’t like what he sees, he decides to fight the reflection.

While I watched this aggravated avian, my pastor continued to preach from the book of James. In the letter, James describes the Word of God as a mirror that reflects what manner of men we are. We have our own self-image, but our image of ourselves is always quite different than how God sees us. And the Bible has a way of revealing who we really are; a true reflection, as in a mirror.

Tufted Titmouse fighting its reflection; Athens, Georgia. www.williamwisephoto.com.

Often, as the mirror’s image comes into clear focus, we don’t like the image that we see, and like the Titmouse, we fight against that reflection.

  • When the mirror of the Word reflects our true, impatient self (James 1:4), we fight against the reflection and declare ourselves to have “the patience of Job.”
  • When the mirror reflects our poor decisions and “lack of wisdom” (James 1:5), we fight the reflection and declare the Bible outdated.
  • When the mirror of the Word reflects our true, double-minded nature (James 1:8), we fight the reflection and posit our focused faithfulness to God alone.
  • When the mirror of the Word reflects our own sinful nature as the fault of our falling to temptation (James 1:13), we fight the reflection declaring “this is how God created me.”
  • When the mirror of the Word of God reflects our hot temper (James 1:19), we fight the reflection, take up a rock and smash the mirror!

When we see our true reflection in the mirror of the Word of God, let us not fight against it as the church Titmouse. Let us not walk away and “forget what manner of men we are.” But let us be doers of the Word, and as Today’s English Version translates, let us “submit to God and accept the Word that He plants in our hearts” (James 1:21 TEV). Another lesson learned if we will listen to what creation speaks!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Parental Care

I gazed in awe all spring long as I watched avian parents make run after run to their nests with beaks’ full of bugs for their babies. At times, there were only a few minutes between visits. I marveled how they had the endurance for such toil and labor and still cared for themselves. At least the entire bird parental process only lasts a few weeks, while for us humans it lasts eighteen or more years!

Baby Chipping Sparrows awaiting parental care. Clarke County, Georgia. July 24, 2018. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

But “parental care” took a new definition for me as I answered a call back home these last few weeks. My aging father, who so diligently cared for me as an often ungrateful youngster, could no longer live on his own. I regret that being over 800 miles away and involved in the ministry, we couldn’t provide that care personally, but found a wonderful, brand new assisted living complex for him. At least my wife and I know he is being cared for.

While the phenomenon of children caring for parents isn’t seen in the bird species, it is a Biblical concept and obligation. In a time of trouble and distress, we read of King David providing for the care of his parents.

And David said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me. And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold. I Samuel 22:3-4

Chipping Sparrow feeding three nestlings. Clarke County, GA. July 24, 2018. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Even so, isn’t it just natural to care for those who raised us with such tender love and care until they go into everlasting care with our eternal Father?


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Test Yourself!

Whether it be for school, employment, or medical treatment, testing is a fact of life. But the Bible tells us of a more important test…

Psalm 26:2 “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;”

With such a wide variety of “flavors”, shorebirds like peeps and gulls can be a test of a birder’s identification skills. Sanderling and Ring-billed Gull; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. December, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

For months now we’ve heard about coronavirus testing, testing, testing. So when I came home from work last month and saw my 15-year-old daughter laid out on the couch with a runny nose, headache and sore throat, I knew what had to be done. And when her COVID-19 test came back positive, we knew what we had to do: re-enter that dismal bunker of self-isolation. (Thankfully all her symptoms were fairly minor and she had a quick recovery, other than loss of taste and smell.)

Two weeks of Quarantine. What now? While my older daughter lamented about the devastating impact upon her social life, I decided to test myself! No, I’m not speaking of a homemade COVID-19 test, but brushing up my skills on some of those hard to identify shorebirds. I found my old stack of 3 x 5 index cards that I made long before I had a smartphone, each with a bird photo taped to front, and began to test myself.

Semipalmated Sandpipers and Sanderlings on Port Royal Sound, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. May, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

But I wasn’t halfway through the first day of isolation when God began to challenge me. What about your prayer life? How is your Bible reading lately? Like Job’s inquisition from the Almighty, my only answer could be, “Touché, God!”

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24

Following God‘s cue, I continued to test myself. Where did I put that prayer list of friends, family, and coworkers? How long has it been since I’ve written a full-length sermon? How about getting the Greek New Testament off the shelf to read a chapter a day? Instead of binge-watching internet videos, I challenged myself to pray morning, noon, night (which proved harder than I thought!).

God tests us to prove us and bring us closer to Him; not to frustrate us, see us fail, or wallow in a puddle of self-condemnation. We may not always enjoy testing, but if we will self-test ourselves now, we will be spared that “Final Examination” coming to those that miss the Rapture!

“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” Revelation 3:10


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

No Fear!

As creationists, the pressure from the “scientific community” might make us feel ashamed of our beliefs. But instead of running and hiding, let us hear what Creation Speaks:

“In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?” Psalms 11:1

Have you been frustrated in your attempts to photograph a reclusive bird? Have you chased a “nemesis bird” only to come up empty handed every time? Birders and photographers know all too well the wariness of some species. This caution is something that has been programed in them by their Creator.

The somewhat elusive Yellow-billed Cuckoo managed to stay hidden from my camera for quite some time! . Walton County, Georgia. August 7, 2018. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

After the Fall, no doubt the cruelty of man toward beast began to rise. And after the Flood, God allowed animals to be food for man. But in His grace toward His animal creation, God put a flight instinct within animals to keep them from being exterminated. Genesis 9:2 says, “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air.”

So fear of man is a God-given instinct within animals, but let it not be so with the Christian, especially when it comes to making a stand for the Word of God. I am sometimes criticized and mocked on other nature-related platforms for my belief in a young earth and literal, six-day creation. The instinct to “flee as a bird” might rise up within me when challenged by the “scientific community,” but I take an example – and courage – from a few bold birds that don’t flee because of the fear of man.

A bold Northern Mockingbird perched on a tree top; Georgia. July 17, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

It seems when all other critters keep themselves hidden, the Mockingbirds are ever visible. Although though the “dread of man” may affect their feathered friends, they are always bold and out front, letting their voices be heard. So when the fear of man comes upon me; when I want to hide my creationist views, or flee from an evolutionist’s mockery, I remember those intrepid avians and make my stand. Why should I flee like a bird to the mountains? My trust is in the Lord!

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” 1 Timothy 6:20


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Wild Glory

What a gift the Creator has given us! The world and all its psychologists wring their hands looking for relief from distress and anxiety. They drown their fears in medications. But the child of God need not do so. For a simple walk out the door to behold the “Wild Glory” of the Lord brings comfort and peace.

“They looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared.” Exodus 16:10

Great Egret; birding photography in Walton County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

In his autobiography, W. Phillip Keller, author of the popular A Shepherd Looks at Psalms 23, describes a troublesome period in his youth when he is separated from his family, his home, and even his God. Yet it was brief escapes into the wild that renewed his faith. He writes, “In the outdoor world my heavenly Father had supplied a sweet solace for a struggling soul like mine. There was healing for my inner hurts in the quietness of the woods and fields. There was a consolation for my spirit in the wild glory of grass and birds.”

Great Egret fishing behind my office in Walton County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

When the phone rings off the hook and workplace stress builds, I too need some “wild glory.” And thankfully, the Creator sends it! Each year in late July, a Great Egret returns to the pond behind my office in Georgia. And right on schedule, I saw him out there fishing this week. Standing still and erect, his head cocked to peer into the shimmering water under his long legs, he slowly coils his long neck to finally unleash a quick thrust for a small minnow or larger bream. His appearance isn’t just on schedule with the calendar, but on schedule with my need for some calming from this hectic life.

What soothing; what peace; what intimacy with the Savior can be achieved just by beholding the creation of God! The psychologists can keep their prescriptions. I’ll dose myself with Wild Glory!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Hope Kindled by God’s Creation

“The land is as the garden of Eden before them,  and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.”  Joel 2:3

As we look about, it can seem all is being laid waste in our society. A virus cancelling church services, political rivalries, racial unrest, lawlessness… all so troubling. But while paddling through the swamp during the coronavirus quarantine, suddenly the Holy Spirit caused hope to spring up in my heart as I watched an Anhinga perched upon a young cypress tree. God’s creation – and God’s Word – restored hope in my heart!

Anhinga bird perched atop a cypress tree with Spanish Moss; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

The naturalists of old write of towering cypress – some as high as 120 feet – standing guard for centuries in the Okefenokee Swamp. But all that changed in the early 20th century. All were laid low. It began in 1909: the pristine Okefenokee began to bustle with cacophony of industry as logging skidders, sawmills and railroad tracks invaded the Swamp. The trees – and the birds! – were gone.

C.T. Trowell wrote, “Systematically, the Hebards extended their logging operations across the Okefenokee. Extending south from Hopkins to Cravens Island in 1912, they reached Pine Island and Mixons Hammock by 1915. Within a year they were cutting the timber between Mixons Hammock and Minnies Island and the railroad was extended across Jones Island to Billys Island. Between 1922 and 1926, they logged the cypress around Floyds Island.”

A young Cypress Tree reaches toward the sky in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Would the Okefenokee ever recover? Cypress trees grow very slowly. At a reported growth rate of only about a foot per year in their early stages, it could take 300 to 500 years for the Cypresses of the Okefenokee to once again tower over the habitat as they did prior to 1909. But with the establishment of the Okefenokee as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1937, the healing has begun.Today, there are already some scenic waterways through the Okefenokee – tall cypresses mirrored in the tanin-darkened waters – that hint at these former days.

“But fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm.”  Joel 2:21-25

The birds have returned! Swallow-tailed Kite; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. May, 2020. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

So if there is hope of restoration kindled in the heart upon looking at a young Cypress tree, how much more for our society upon looking at God’s Word! There is a hope that things laid bare can one day live again and be renewed to their former glory. If not in this lifetime, certainly in the next.

As Christians, we cease not to pray for our nations, nor forget the restoration that awaits in the New Earth for those who trust and hope in Jesus Christ!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Serpents and Doves

Author’s note: if you’re terrified of snakes, don’t scroll past the first four paragraphs!

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Mourning Dove. Walton County, Georgia. March 24, 2017. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Jesus threw an interesting paradox before us when he preached, “Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” The outcome of combining these two critters can be quite perilous… primarily for the dove! Snakes are often found raiding birds’ nests, seeking to devour eggs and chicks. So why this conflicting counsel from our Lord?

A.B. Bruce writes, “The serpent is the emblem of cunning, the dove of simplicity. No creatures can be more unlike; yet Jesus requires of His disciples to be at once serpents in cautiousness, and doves in simplicity of aim and purity of heart. These qualities are not easy to combine; yet the combination is not impossible.”

Christians must have serpent-like wisdom and shrewdness in order to make a stand for righteousness in the arena of worldly politics and social unrest; yet have dove-like care and compassion to peacefully present the gospel and welcome the sin-suffering into the flock of God.

The apostle Paul was wise-as-a-serpent when utilizing his status as a Roman citizen to escape being mauled by a crowd and unlawfully flogged by the local police. Yet, his dove nature remained on top as he stood for Christ while on trial, even though it may not have been advantageous to his personal outcome. And it may have been a prudent idea for Peter to distance himself from a leader that was arrested for insurrection, but the serpent devoured the dove as he publicly declared thrice, “I know not the man.”

Eastern Ratsnake coiled in a kitchen sink. Pantherophis alleghaniensis is a common snake found in the eastern United States. Walton County, Georgia. June 30, 2020. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Losing the Balance…

I was a bit saddened this past week to watch events unfold in our small town. Citizens from our city, as well as agitators from out-of-town, gathered to condemn our public safety officers and demand the defunding of the police department. But that is not what saddened me, for peaceful protests are the American way.

Another group of citizens – many from the local churches – also gathered to show support for our people in uniform. Here was the perfect Christian balance: the “dove nature” desired peace and unity in our community; and the “wise-as-serpents nature” was making a stand for righteousness in the political arena. But as passions rose, the serpent began to swallow the dove…

One gentleman who identified himself as local Christian minister, had his microphone snatched away by a protester. In frustration, the minister shoved the protester to the ground. Of course, the media was there to photograph the incident and title it, “Preacher Assaults Protester.” Sadly, the serpent had swallowed the dove when the Christian man lost his temper.

SORRY FOR THE GRAPHIC CONTENT, BUT IT EXEMPLIFIES THE DAMAGE DONE WHEN THE SERPENT OUTWITS THE DOVE IN OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. Eastern Ratsnake devouring a Mockingbird; Walton County, Georgia. August 13, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Let us at least be doves…

A.B. Bruce continues, “Happy are they who can be both serpent and dove; but if we cannot, let us at least be doves. The dove must come before the serpent in our esteem, and in the development of our character. If we invert the order, the dove will be devoured by the serpent: the cause of truth and righteousness will be betrayed out of a base regard to self-preservation and worldly advantage.”

The recent social and political issues are causing a rise among many. Passions are brewing and blood is even boiling. Yet as Christians, we must remember to balance our serpent-like shrewdness while engaged in this arena, with our dove-like nature to win the lost to Christ. For what does it profit if we win the worldly battles, but lose many souls? If we can’t balance the serpent/dove natures, let us at least be doves.


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.