Christmas Story to Explain the Meaning of Christmas

This is the 1965 recording of Paul Harvey’s Christmas story classic titled The Man and the Birds. Christmas Day in 2013 I spent the morning putting it all together with a picture slideshow to illustrate the story. I hope you enjoy it. Please share with others.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2 KJV)

Gideon

Wordless Birds

 

Matthew Chapter A Day – 25


Matthew Chapter 25 – Audio [Once started, go back to post to follow verses as he reads.] [You can have it read in other languages also.]

Matthew 25:1-46 KJV

The Parable of the Ten Virgins
(1)  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
(2)  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
(3)  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
(4)  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
(5)  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
(6)  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
(7)  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
(8)  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
(9)  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
(10)  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
(11)  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
(12)  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
(13)  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
The Parable of the Talents
(14)  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
(15)  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
(16)  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
(17)  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
(18)  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
(19)  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
(20)  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
(21)  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
(22)  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
(23)  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
(24)  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
(25)  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
(26)  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
(27)  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
(28)  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
(29)  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
(30)  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matterhorn Sheep©WikiC
The Final Judgment
(31)  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
(32)  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
(33)  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
(34)  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
(35)  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
(36)  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
(37)  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
(38)  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
(39)  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
(40)  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
(41)  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
(42)  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
(43)  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
(44)  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
(45)  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
(46)  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


Beginning of Matthew, in case you missed the first post. Matthew Chapter A Day – 1

Good News
Scripture: e-Sword
Photos:
Parable of 10 Virgins ©WikiC
Matterhorn Sheep©WikiC

Matthew Chapter A Day – 24

Matthew Chapter 24 – Audio [Once started, go back to post to follow verses as he reads.] [You can have it read in other languages also.]

Matthew 24:1-51 KJV

Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple
(1)  And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
(2)  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Signs of the End of the Age
(3)  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
(4)  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
(5)  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
(6)  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
(7)  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
(8)  All these are the beginning of sorrows.
(9)  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
(10)  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
(11)  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
(12)  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
(13)  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(14)  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
The Abomination of Desolation
(15)  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
(16)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
(17)  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
(18)  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
(19)  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
(20)  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
(21)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
(22)  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
(23)  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
(24)  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
(25)  Behold, I have told you before.
(26)  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
(27)  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
(28)  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
The Coming of the Son of Man
(29)  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
(30)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
(31)  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree
(32)  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
(33)  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
(34)  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
(35)  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
No One Knows That Day and Hour
(36)  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
(37)  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
(38)  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
(39)  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
(40)  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
(41)  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
(42)  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
(43)  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
(44)  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
(45)  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
(46)  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
(47)  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
(48)  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
(49)  And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
(50)  The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
(51)  And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Beginning of Matthew, in case you missed the first post. Matthew Chapter A Day – 1

Good News
Scripture: e-Sword
Photos:
Destruction of the Temple by Romans ©Biblical World
Green Figbird (Sphecotheres viridis) ©WikiC

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Grey Falcon

Gray Hawk (falcon hypoleucos) Male by Ian

Bird of the Moment – Grey Falcon by Ian Montgomery

Here is a special bird of the moment for the festive season. If you asked Australian birders to nominate the most sought after diurnal raptor, you’d probably get a choice of two: the Red Goshawk of the Hawk and Eagle family (Accipitridae) and the Grey Falcon of the Falconidae. Rex Whitehead, my birding pal in Mount Isa had told me about a nesting pair of Grey Falcons in the Winton district so I came back to Townsville that way at the end of the camping trip in May.

The Falcons were nesting high up on a very tall communications mast. Rex had told me that they were in its vicinity only from before dusk until shortly after dawn and I took his advice and camped near the base of the mastto maximise my chances of seeing them. Sure enough they arrived in the evening but I got only poor shots of them flying in and perched in shadow on the mast.

 Gray Hawk (falcon hypoleucos) Mating by Ian

I got up early and was rewarded three or four minutes after sunrise by the male flying around calling (first photo) in preparation for mating with the female (second photo) who was perched on the mast near the nest.

This behaviour was repeated two more times over the hour or so. The third photo shows the third mating attempt at a different location just over an hour after sunrise and the fourth photo shows the male flying away four seconds later.

Gray Hawk (falcon hypoleucos) Mating by Ian

The sexes are similar, though the females, as is typical for raptors, are larger. The male has a shorter tail which supposedly makes it look longer winged in flight but I didn’t get any photos of the mainly sedentary female for comparison. The fifth photo shows the female in the same position as during the third mating (third photo) but the male is sitting in the nest.

Gray Hawk (falcon hypoleucos) Male by Ian

Grey Falcons are supposed to use the old nests of other raptors or corvids (ravens and crows) preferably high up. In the arid areas where they occur, tall trees are few so in recent years they’ve taken to nesting in communication masts.

About two hours after sunrise, the birds disappeared as quietly as they’d arrived the previous day and I didn’t see them fly away. This pair had just bred successfully with two young fledging, so it was encouraging to see them preparing to do so again.

Gray Hawk (falcon hypoleucos) Pair by Ian

The Grey Falcon is an Australian endemic sparsely scattered over the drier inland areas of mainland Australia except the southwest, eastern and southern coastal areas and the wetter parts of northern Australia. The breeding range has contracted since the mid 20th century to drier areas north of 26º S. It’s population is estimated at less than 1000 mature individuals and it is classified as vulnerable. Threats include habitat clearing, egg collecting and the taking of young for falconry so I’m sure you’ll understand why I’ve been a bit vague about the actual location of the mast.

Christmas seems to be a time for unrestrained gaudiness, dare I say meretriciousness, in decoration so here is my gaudiest photo from 2018 – taken from my back verandah – to get into the spirit of things. I wish you a joyful, safe and happy festive season and a peaceful and fulfilling 2019.

Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) Male by Ian

Greetings
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46 KJV)

Thanks, Ian, for showing us one of Australia’s endemic birds. When I first saw the rosy colored Falcon, I thought you had made a mistake. Lighting makes a lot of difference.

I especially love your Christmas addition of that lovely Sunbird.

Merry Christmas, Ian, and all of you that are reading this post.

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks and Eagles

Nectariniidae – Sunbirds

Wordless Birds

Matthew Chapter A Day – 23

“even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings” (v37) Gathering Her Chicks Under Her Wings

Matthew Chapter 23 – Audio [Once started, go back to post to follow verses as he reads.] [You can have it read in other languages also.]

Matthew 23:1-39 KJV

Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees
(1)  Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
(2)  Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
(3)  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
(4)  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
(5)  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
(6)  And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
(7)  And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
(8)  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
(9)  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
(10)  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
(11)  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
(12)  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
(13)  But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
(14)  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
(15)  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
(16)  Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
(17)  Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
(18)  And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
(19)  Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
(20)  Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
(21)  And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
(22)  And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
(23)  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
(24)  Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
(25)  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
(26)  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
(27)  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
(28)  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
(29)  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
(30)  And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
(31)  Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
(32)  Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
(33)  Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
(34)  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
(35)  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
(36)  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
Baby Chick Peeping Out From Under His Mom's Wing - CC
Lament over Jerusalem
(37)  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
(38)  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
(39)  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.


Beginning of Matthew, in case you missed the first post. Matthew Chapter A Day – 1

Good News
Scripture: e-Sword
Photos:
“even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings” (v37) Gathering Her Chicks Under Her Wings
Baby Chick Peeping Out From Under His Mom’s Wing – CC

Matthew Chapter A Day – 22

Matthew Chapter 22 – Audio [Once started, go back to post to follow verses as he reads.] [You can have it read in other languages also.]

Matthew 22:1-46 KJV

The Parable of the Wedding Feast
(1)  And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
(2)  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
(3)  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
(4)  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
(5)  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
(6)  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
(7)  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
(8)  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
(9)  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
(10)  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
(11)  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
(12)  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
(13)  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(14)  For many are called, but few are chosen.

Ntl Aviary Blue-fronted Parrot collecting money

Paying Taxes to Caesar
(15)  Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
(16)  And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
(17)  Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
(18)  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
(19)  Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
(20)  And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
(21)  They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
(22)  When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
(23)  The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
(24)  Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
(25)  Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
(26)  Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
(27)  And last of all the woman died also.
(28)  Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
(29)  Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
(30)  For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
(31)  But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
(32)  I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
(33)  And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

The Great Commandment
(34)  But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
(35)  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
(36)  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
(37)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
(38)  This is the first and great commandment.
(39)  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(40)  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Whose Son Is the Christ?
(41)  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
(42)  Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
(43)  He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
(44)  The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
(45)  If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
(46)  And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.


Beginning of Matthew, in case you missed the first post. Matthew Chapter A Day – 1

Good News
Scripture: e-Sword
Photos:
Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld – The Wedding Feast at Cana ©WikiC
National Aviary – Blue-fronted Parrot collecting money by Lee
King Penguins

There the Coot Goes, on Weird Lobed Toes!

THERE THE COOT GOES,  ON WEIRD LOBED TOES!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

AmericanCoot-LobedFeet.Audubon-2018photo-award-KevinMalo

AMERICAN COOT lobed toes (Audubon 2018 photo award: Kevin Malo)

And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot and he also was the son of the giant.   (1st Chronicles 20:6)

Weird toes are not limited to birds.  In the Philistine territory of Gath there once was a giant both of whose feet had 6 toes thereon (as well as 6 fingers on both of his hands).  But, in the case of the American Coot, the “weird toes” are not a genetic birth defect  —  in fact, the American Coot’s toes are designed to be weird, yet wonderful at the same time.

The AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) has been featured on the blog more than once.  [ See, e.g., “Crazy as a Coot!”  at   https://leesbird.com/2018/08/08/crazy-as-a-coot/  —   see also, e.g., “‘C’ is for Coot and Corvids:  ‘C’ Birds, Part 2”  at  https://leesbird.com/2016/05/20/c-is-for-coot-and-corvids-c-birds-part-2/ .]

In particular, Coot feet (which are truly amazing!) have previously been highlighted on this blog.  [See, e.g., Lee Dusing’s post for October 17th of AD2016, captioned “Feet”, citing Psalm 40.:2.]

And more recently, a creation science article elaborates on just how special those feet are.  Specifically, Dr. Glen W. Wolfrom has authored a succinct study titled “Amazing ‘Feats'”, in the column All by Design, CREATION MATTERS, 23(6):12 (November-December 2018), parts of which are quoted hereinbelow.

AmericanCoot-lobedFeet.WikiC

AMERICAN COOT lobe-toed feet (WikiC image credit)

“The American Coot  [referring to Fulica americana]  has feet that are so odd-looking that Shweta Karikehalli  , the author of an online Audubon article [Karikehalli’s “Better Know a Bird:  The American Coot and its Wonderfully Weird Feet”, AUDUBON, August 13, 2018, posted at   https://www.audubon.org/news/better-know-bird-american-coot-and-its-wonderfully-weird-feet ], described the bird’s appearance as ‘wacky’.  Each of its oversized toes has two or three greenish-to-yellowish ‘fleshy lobes’ that are connected to its long legs.  When in water, these [toe] lobes function much like the webbing on ducks’ feet.  But on land, walking is assisted by the lobes’ folding out of the way.  According to Karikehalli, the coot’s uniquely-designed foot thus makes the bird more adept than most other waterfowl at getting around on both land and water.  A few other water birds (some grebes and phalaropes) also have lobed toes, but none have lobes that are as large as those of the coot.

The coot also uses it lobed feet for other purposes.  They assist the bird in becoming airborne — which requires the bird to run across the water’s surface [for surface-to-air ‘takeoff’].”

[Quoting Glen W. Wolfrom, “Amazing ‘Feats'”, CREATION MATTERS, 23(6):12 (November-December 2018).]

AmericanCoot-water-takeoff.AudubonFieldGuide

AMERICAN COOT take-off from water surface (Audubon Field Guide)

So, what can we learn from this clever bioengineering design (of the coot’s lobed toes), and its habitat-friendly performance in the wild?

Dr. Wolfrom provides a clear answer — these coots exhibit God’s super-intelligent design, being fitted for His providential purposes:

“Here is an example of a unique design for birds’ feet that, unlike those of ducks, render coots capable of efficient transportation, whether on land or water.  Unless the lobes appeared suddenly [i.e., invented as an all-or-nothing packaged physiological system], fully formed and retractable, their [imagined] evolution in stages would have offered no [survival] advantage.  We maintain that the ‘sudden appearance’ occurred at creation [i.e., on Day #5 of Creation Week — see Genesis 1:20-22].”

[Quoting Glen W. Wolfrom, “Amazing ‘Feats'”, CREATION MATTERS, 23(6):12 (November-December 2018).]

God’s innovative body plan for the American Coot, with all of  its providentially purposeful details, is irrefutably magnificent.

In a word, quite a feat!  ><> JJSJ                                            profjjsj@aol.com

AmericanCoot-ID-notes-pic.Birdzilla

AMERICAN COOT with field ID notes (Birdzilla)


 

Matthew Chapter A Day – 21

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran
Matthew Chapter 21 – Audio [Once started, go back to post to follow verses as he reads.] [You can have it read in other languages also.]

Matthew 21:1-46 KJV

The Triumphal Entry
(1)  And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
(2)  Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
(3)  And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
(4)  All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
(5)  Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
(6)  And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
(7)  And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
(8)  And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
(9)  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
(10)  And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
(11)  And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
(12)  And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
(13)  And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
(14)  And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
(15)  And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
(16)  And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
(17)  And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
(18)  Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
(19)  And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
(20)  And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
(21)  Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
(22)  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
(23)  And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
(24)  And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
(25)  The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
(26)  But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
(27)  And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
The Parable of the Two Sons
(28)  But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
(29)  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
(30)  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
(31)  Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
(32)  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.


The Parable of the Tenants
(33)  Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
(34)  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
(35)  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
(36)  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
(37)  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
(38)  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
(39)  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
(40)  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
(41)  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
(42)  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
(43)  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
(44)  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
(45)  And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
(46)  But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.


Beginning of Matthew, in case you missed the first post. Matthew Chapter A Day – 1

Good News

Scripture: e-Sword
Photos:
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran
Laborers in the Vineyard ©WikiC

Matthew Chapter A Day – 20

Matthew Chapter 20 – Audio [Once started, go back to post to follow verses as he reads.] [You can have it read in other languages also.]

Matthew 20:1-34 KJV

Laborers in the Vineyard
(1)  For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
(2)  And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
(3)  And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
(4)  And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
(5)  Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
(6)  And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
(7)  They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
(8)  So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
(9)  And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
(10)  But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
(11)  And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
(12)  Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
(13)  But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
(14)  Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
(15)  Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
(16)  So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) by Daves BirdingPix

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) by Daves BirdingPix

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time
(17)  And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,
(18)  Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
(19)  And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
A Mother’s Request
(20)  Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
(21)  And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
(22)  But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
(23)  And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
(24)  And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
(25)  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
(26)  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
(27)  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
(28)  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
(29)  And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
(30)  And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
(31)  And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
(32)  And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
(33)  They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
(34)  So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.


Beginning of Matthew, in case you missed the first post. Matthew Chapter A Day – 1

Good News

Scripture: e-Sword
Photos:
Laborers in the Vineyard ©WikiC
Jesus heals two blind men by Julius Schnorr

Matthew Chapter A Day – 19

Matthew Chapter 19 – Audio [Once started, go back to post to follow verses as he reads.] [You can have it read in other languages also.]

Matthew 19:1-30 KJV

Teaching About Divorce
(1)  And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
(2)  And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
(3)  The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
(4)  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
(5)  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
(6)  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
(7)  They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
(8)  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
(9)  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
(10)  His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
(11)  But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
(12)  For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Let the Children Come to Me
(13)  Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
(14)  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
(15)  And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
The Rich Young Man
(16)  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
(17)  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
(18)  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
(19)  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(20)  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
(21)  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
(22)  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
(23)  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
(24)  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
(25)  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
(26)  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
(27)  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
(28)  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
(29)  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
(30)  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.


Beginning of Matthew, in case you missed the first post. Matthew Chapter A Day – 1

Good News

Scripture: e-Sword
Photos:
Jesus Teaching On The Sea Shore ©WikiC
Walking Chicks ©GettyImages-

Partridges In Pear Tree – Snoopy’s Version

Partridge Snoopy

Woodstock really has his issues with trying to be a bird. Then again, Snoopy’s analysis of the adventures of Woodstock can be rather entertaining. Here is the latest from the two.

Mountain Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola fytchii) by Lee Zoo Miami

As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. (Jeremiah 17:11 KJV)

Partridges are medium-sized non-migratory gamebirds, with a wide native distribution throughout the Old World, including Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. They are sometimes grouped in the Perdicinae subfamily of the Phasianidae (pheasants, quail, etc.). However, molecular research suggests that partridges are not a distinct taxon within the family Phasianidae, but that some species are closer to the pheasants, while others are closer to the junglefowl. Partridges are also one of our Birds of the Bible. See the Partridges.

Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) by Ian

Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) by Ian

These are medium-sized birds, intermediate between the larger pheasants and the smaller quail. Partridges are native to the grassy steppes of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Nowadays they are often found nesting on agricultural land. They nest on the ground and have a diet consisting of seeds, grapes and insects. Species such as the grey partridge and the red-legged partridge are popular as game birds, and are often reared in captivity and released for the purpose of hunting. For the same reason, they have been introduced into large areas of North America.

Stone Partridge (Ptilopachus petrosus) ©WikiC

Stone Partridge (Ptilopachus petrosus) ©WikiC

A famous reference to the partridge is in the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. The first gift listed is “a partridge in a pear tree”, and these words end each verse. Since partridges are unlikely to be seen in pear-trees (they are ground-nesting birds) it has been suggested that the text “a pear tree” is a corruption of the French “une perdrix” [a partridge].

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) WikiC

P.S. Partridges seldom get in trees, there for they don’t fall out. :)

Here are some of the many Partridges from around the world. Our Creator has provided many partridges around the world for us to enjoy.

 

Matthew Chapter A Day – 18

Matthew Chapter 18 – Audio [Once started, go back to post to follow verses as he reads.] [You can have it read in other languages also.]

Matthew 18:1-35 KJV

Who Is the Greatest?
(1)  At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
(2)  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
(3)  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
(4)  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(5)  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
(6)  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Temptations to Sin
(7)  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
(8)  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
(9)  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
(10)  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
(11)  For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
(12)  How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
(13)  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
(14)  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
If Your Brother Sins Against You
(15)  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
(16)  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
(17)  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
(18)  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
(19)  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
(20)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
(21)  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
(22)  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
(23)  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
(24)  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
(25)  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
(26)  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
(27)  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
(28)  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
(29)  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
(30)  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
(31)  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
(32)  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
(33)  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
(34)  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
(35)  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.


Beginning of Matthew, in case you missed the first post. Matthew Chapter A Day – 1

Good News

Scripture: e-Sword
Photos:
Matthew 18 Sign at Parrot Mountain by Lee
Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) at Viera Wetlands by Lee
Bird ready to attack praying mantis from email