Master’s Degree WAS Finished in 2017

From February 2016 until October 2017 I was working on a Master’s Degree online from the School of Biblical Apologetics. With my back surgery, a hurricane, and etc., etc., … I failed to post the conclusion of it. It’s about time I express my thankfulness to the Institute for Creation Research for having the online school.

SOBA Degree

I was delighted when I received my tassel and the cords that I would have worn with a cap and gown. When there is no graduation ceremony because of being an online degree, you are at a loss to figure out how to show them off. I solved that problem by hanging my tassel on my walker. Then I showed it off at church. I caused my pastor to double over laughing when I told him the following:

When you graduate when you are young, you hang your tassel on your mirror in the car. When you are 74, you hang it on your walker.

Tassel Hanging plus the Cords on Walker (Posed)

I praise the Lord for the opportunity to take the great courses offered through the School of Biblical Apologetics. Here is a list of the courses that I took for my Master of Christian Education in Biblical Education and Apologetics.

S.O.B.A. Courses Taken

What is the School all about? (Taken from their About page)

The School of Biblical Apologetics (SOBA) is a formal education arm of the Institute for Creation Research. (For more on ICR’s purposes, see Who We Are.)

SOBA provides certificate-level, undergraduate-level, and graduate-level training in biblical education and apologetics. SOBA’s foundation is Scripture, which the school and its faculty hold as inerrant, accurate, and authoritative. Biblical creation, with a special emphasis on Genesis 1-11, is a significant focus of all SOBA degrees, majors, and minors. This focus sets ICR’s program apart from other graduate level apologetic programs.

Fulfilling the purpose of training future leaders in biblical education and apologetics, while maintaining a strict adherence to Scripture (including biblical creationist appreciation of Genesis 1-11), makes ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics the best choice for those desiring to round out their biblical education. SOBA prepares its students with defensible answers for their faith, giving them the tools necessary to “be ready always to give an answer” for the hope within (1 Peter 3:15) and to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3).

Dr. James J. S. Johnson is the Chief Academic Officer of the School. As you may know, he posts articles here on this blog. He loves birdwatching and taught birding courses previous to joining I.C.R. He was a tremendous encouragement for me to begin and continue working on this degree. Also, Mrs Mary Smith, the Registrar and Academic Coordinator, was a great encourager. My thanks to both of them.

My husband, Dan, was my most encouraging supporter. He helped complete my neglected duties because of me “having my head in a book.” :) Thank you, Dan!

At my age, this degree was undertaken for several reasons. It was to help increase my Biblical Knowledge and to help me explain the Creation of God’s fantastic critters better. In other words, for personal enrichment and better witnessing of God’s Love and Salvation. The best decision I ever made in my life was on March 20, 1960, when I personally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Personal Savior.

I desire to use the truth of God’s Word to encourage others to, 1) accept Christ as their personal Savior, 2) to read and study the truths found in Scripture, 3) apply the Word to their lives and grow Spiritually, and 4) use that knowledge to teach others to do the same.

Please check out the School of Biblical Apologetics and see how you could also benefit from their courses.

“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)


Who Supplied The Food For The First Thanksgiving? – Re-post

Our writer here, James J. S. Johnson, has his own blog, over at RockDoveBlog. I thought his Thanksgiving post is so interesting, that I am sharing it with you here:

Who Supplied the Food for the First Thanksgiving?

James J. S. Johnson


And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without [outside], and that ye may have lack of nothing. (1st Thessalonians 4:11-12)

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Ephesians 4:28)

Recently my happy-hearted 5-year-old grandson was taught a little Thanksgiving song, in kindergarten. It was a catchy tune, yet some lyrics contained a PC (i.e., politically corrupt) “gotcha”. The little ditty went something like this:

The Indians brought the food; the Pilgrims set up the table…

Of course, I chose not to admonish my enthusiastic grandson that the little chorus was historically twisted – revisionist “history” in song – giving the impression that the Pilgrims were just invasive “takers”, as if the Indian natives alone provided all the food eaten during the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth. But it bugged me (and it continues to bug me) that trusting kindergartners are misled into believing…… [Read the rest of this blog]


Happy Thanksgiving From All of Us Here At Lee’s Birdwatching!!!


James J. S. Johnson’s Articles Here


Appreciating Baltimore Orioles and My First Bird Book

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”  Matthew 6:26

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) ©USFWS

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) ©USFWS

As beautiful and valuable as the Baltimore Oriole is—especially to Marylanders—God has made us children of Adam, even in our fallen (and redeemable) condition, “much better than they”. God truly cares for us and for our needs, including our need for truth and our need to belong to Him, through the saving merits of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Male by Nature's Hues

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Male by Nature’s Hues

The Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula), a small migratory icterid (i.e., member of the blackbird family) is the state bird of Maryland. Adults grow to about 7 or 8 inches long. Migrating south for the winter, the Baltimore Orioles summer in most of America’s “lower 48” states, except not in the coastal southeast (from Texas’s Gulf coast up to Virginia’s coast). But the only orioles I saw were the pictures on baseball caps (and usually that came from looking at baseball cards)! As a small boy my family often listened to radio broadcasts of Baltimore Oriole baseball games.

597px-Orioles_new Baltimore Orioles Flickr Charlie Lyons-Pardue

Even the coloring of the Baltimore Oriole is appropriate, to represent the state of Maryland, because the state flag of Maryland has a combination of gold (or golden yellow), black, white, and red.

Flag of Maryland

Flag of Maryland

The Baltimore Oriole has three of those four colors—but no red. Although I was physically born outside of Maryland (at a very young age!), all of my boyhood and youth (20 years) were spent somewhere within the “Old Line State”. And, as described below, it was in Maryland where I received my first bird book, as well as where I first believed in the Creator of all birds: the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is both my Creator and my Savior. In the next few paragraphs I will briefly mention my introduction to the “creation controversy”, and how that topic was linked to my first bird book.

Creation can be controversial! Learning to appreciate Genesis, and its foundational truths, has been an ongoing adventure for me. As a pre-school child I was generally taught, by my parents, that the Holy Bible was God’s Word, and that God made everything, including me. Not until kindergarten, however, would I learn that some people disagreed about God being the Creator. There was no public kindergarten (in Waldorf, Maryland) when I was old enough to attend one, so my parents enrolled me in a private kindergarten taught by a Mrs. Wheeler, a local Baptist lady who taught in her home. (Mrs. Wheeler’s faith was “different” from that of my parents, but “not in a bad way … you’ll do fine at her school”.) Mrs. Wheeler always prayed reverently and thankfully when we had snacks. Mrs. Wheeler also taught that the Bible was God’s Word.

Magnet with clips stuck to it

Magnet with clips stuck to it

As a kindergartener I enjoyed learning to match words (specifically, nouns of concrete things) to alphabet letters, finding at least two words for each alphabet letter (when our class was assigned the task of finding one each!), until the letter X stumped me—x-ray was the only words that I know of, that started with an X. One day Mrs. Wheeler taught us to touch a magnet to various physical objects. Some were instantly attracted but others were not. Mrs. Wheeler’s college-attending daughter was there, that day, being home “on break”, so she was helping her mother with us kindergarteners. Probably not noticing that I was listening, the daughter asked (something like), “Why are you trying to teach them about magnets? Science like that is way over their heads. They won’t understand.” Mrs. Wheeler’s reply I will never forget: “Soon these kids will be taught that ‘science’, without God, explains life, and they will wonder if intelligent people should believe in God and the Bible. I want them to have a memory, from kindergarten, that the first person to teach them any ‘science’ was someone who believed in Jesus and the Bible, and who prayed with them.” Wow! That astounded me! When I went to “big school”, like my older brother, I would be taught to learn “science” but no Bible!—nothing about God. Why would “big school” be like that? So Mrs. Wheeler, with her daughter’s help, had just warned me that a godless version of “science” awaited me. In second grade, at Damascus (Maryland), I would learn more about this controversy.

At the end of second grade, while being given my first bird book, I learned more Genesis apologetics, from Mrs. Thelma Bumgardner (see picture of the bird book, BIRDS, A GUIDE TO THE MOST FAMILIAR AMERICAN BIRDS [NY: Golden Press/Golden Nature Guide, 1964; co-authored by Herbert S. Zim & Ira N. Gabrielson; illustrated by James Gordon Irving; 160 pages].

Guide to Most Familiar Birds

Guide to Most Familiar Birds

The bird book I still have, to this day (shown above, next to her obituary notice). How did it happen? Why was it so important that I remember it now, more than a half-century later? It was Mrs. Bumgardner’s custom to give a bird book to one boy and to one girl, at the end of the school year. The privileged girl was Mary Kellogg; the privileged boy was me. When explaining the gift to me Mrs. Bumgardner said that the pictures would help me to learn about many beautiful birds that God made, and that He made them to live in different kinds of places and eat different kinds of foods. Then she turned to pages 12-13, which presented an official-looking Family Tree of Birds”, beginning with this sentence: “Birds developed from reptile ancestors millions of years ago, as internal structures and scaly legs still show.” Mrs. Bumgardner said that the chart was not true, that some people who didn’t like to admit that God made birds (like the Bible said He did) invented the chart to pretend that birds accidentally become what they are by something called “evolution”. “It’s all just a lie, so they won’t have to think about Who God is”, Mrs. Bumgardner warned me, “but don’t worry about the false ideas on those two pages—just enjoy the rest of the book, because the rest of the book teaches a lot of true facts about God’s birds.” Wow! Again I was surprised—who would think that liars would put pictures in a book so they could try to forget Who God is? The bird book is a treasure I never forgot—and I love it to this day.

Perhaps you are wondering if my bird book included mention of the Baltimore Oriole. It did! On page 108, with a picture and range map, it says: “The brilliant male is a showy bird . The female is a dull orange-yellow with two pale wing bars. Bullock’s Oriole (8 in.) of the West is like the Baltimore but has orange on sides of head and over eye. The Orchard Oriole (6½ in.), east of the Rockies, is also similar, but with chestnut, not orange. The female Orchard Oriole resembles the female Baltimore but is greenish-yellow instead of orange-yellow.”

Speaking of orange, providing oranges (i.e., the citrus fruit), halved, is known to attract orioles—they love to eat fruits, such as oranges, berries, or even grape jelly. Leafy deciduous trees or thick shrub foliage might attract them to your backyard, especially if your backyard provides a “total package” of food, water, sheltering foliage, and trees suitable for their deep bag-like hanging nests. They immigrate north during in spring (late March or early April) and emigrate south in autumn.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) on nest by Kent Nickell

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) on nest by Kent Nickell

Mrs. Bumgardner also taught us about John 3:16, which I would rely upon in a very personal away 3½ years later; she also would pray for us, telling us that she knew that the Supreme Court wouldn’t like that, but that the prophet Daniel was told not to pray and he did anyway—and God took care of Daniel, so He would take care of her. Still I remember knowing that Mrs. Bumgardner loved us second-graders, and she cared that we would learn to appreciate God, and it was obvious that she herself loved God and His Word. It was during the first half of my sixth grade year, however, before I would confirm my own personal belief in the Lord Jesus, as my personal Savior and Shepherd, but God foreknew that day was coming—and one day I will thank both Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Bumgardner, face-to-face, for caring enough to creatively teach me the truth about my Creator-God.

Meanwhile, ever since the end of second grade I have been enjoying my bird book (and many more that I have acquired since then), knowing how God cares about those beautiful birds—who have such variety. Yet He cares so much more for me (as John 3:16 proves).

What a wonderful start I was given to a happy habit of birdwatching (decades before I would ever teach ornithology at Dallas Christian College), — and Mrs. Bumgardner’s bird book disclaimer, by God’s providence, foreshadowed my later years as a teacher of Genesis-based creation studies!

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Female by Nature's Hues

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Female by Nature’s Hues