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.

On Bird Kinds, the Bible, and Racism

“And God created every winged fowl after his kind:” – Genesis 1:21

The dove represents peace and the Holy Spirit… two things we should be seeking in this day-and-age. White-winged Dove; Hays County, TX. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

“What kind of bird is that?” my young daughter asked, pointing up into the tree. “It’s a White-winged Dove.” After giving a short species account, I went on to explain, “For many, the dove represents peace. And in the Bible it often represents the Holy Spirit.” When she asked what kind it was, I understood that she was asking what species of bird sat perched before us. But her use of the word “kind” brought another thought to my mind.

The Bible reveals that on Day Five, God created all the winged creatures after their kind. While Baraminologists (scientists that study created kinds) aren’t sure of the specific groupings, perhaps the bird kinds are similar to what you find the index of your favorite Field Guide: long-legged waders, ducks, seabirds and gulls, raptors, passerines, etc. Modern day science labels them by genus and species. The Bible says each were created after their kinds.

But when it comes to the creation account of man, the language of the Bible makes a change. We do not read the phrase “And God created man after his kind”. Instead, we read, “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). From the very beginning, we can see the truth that humans are not broken down into different kinds, but all mankind is one kind!

Grouping people into kinds, or “races” as we call them today, is purely a human invention. And racism is most certainly a human invention! The Bible is quite clear that all humans are related; all are of one blood. “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).

In God’s system, all men and women are of the same kind; all are of the same standing and worth, no matter the differences in appearance. In fact, the value of something is based upon the price someone is willing to pay for it. Jesus Christ paid the price of His life and blood equally for all human beings.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).

Race is purely a discriminatory classification system concocted by humans themselves. In God’s order, there is no such thing as race, and therefore absolutely no grounds for racism! “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:12-13).

(Read the full text of this article at www.williamwisephoto.com)


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.

Previous Post About Precious Stones

Stones – ©Pixaby

“And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones… (Revelation 21:19a KJV)

I was going to write a new Avian and Attributes article for today. If you read the last post, Heaven’s New Jerusalem and Birds – Introduction, then you are aware that a new series is coming.  While studying for the series, might as well produce other articles in the meantime. Right? Might as well do the next Avian and Attributes article.

Wouldn’t you know? The next bird in that series to write about is the STONE bird. I wondered what has already been written about stones and birds before? Wow! After searching the blog, here are some of them. I’ll do the next Avian and Attributes soon. I trust these articles will be a blessing as you review them. I know that I’ll be rereading them myself to assist with the Heaven’s New Jerusalem and Birds series.

Sapphire-throated Hummingbird (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis) ©WikiC

Avian And Attributes – Sapphire

Avian And Attributes – Ruby

Avian And Attributes – Emerald

Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata) by Ian

Avian And Attributes – Diamond

Lee’s Five Word Friday – 5/5/17

Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 3/22/17

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons) by Dario Sanches

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons) by Dario Sanches

Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 12/13/16

Lee’s Five Word Friday – 7/15/16

Birds of the Bible – Lazuli Birds

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) ©WikiC

Sunday Inspiration – Stone Birds

Formed By Him – “Stone” Birds

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Chief Corner Stone’s Keystone

Precious Stones – R. A. Torrey’s Topical Textbook Index

P.S. While working on my genealogy, I discovered that R. A.Torrey and I are distant cousins eighth removed. [After all, he was born WAY before me.}

Three Male Manakins Displaying – From Live Cam of Cornell

The following video, “Three males on the perch, 3/16/2017—Lance-tailed Manakin Cam” was taped yesterday.

“The male Lance-tailed Manakin has an interesting breeding display, unusual in that it is cooperative rather than competitive. Two males perch next to each other on a bare stick and jump up and down alternately, sometimes giving short flights. Groups of birds may perform together, with a different stick for each pair of displaying males. The female builds a cup nest in a tree; two brown-mottled cream eggs are laid, and incubated entirely by the female for about 20 days.

The lance-tailed manakin has a number of calls, including a Toe-LEE-do, a curry-ho, and a frog-like buzzing croak given by displaying males. These manakins eat fruit and some insects. (Wikipedia)

“You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 7:2-3 NKJV)

Lance-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia lanceolata) ©WikiC

From the email:

The Manakin Cam Returns

On the small Panamanian island of Boca Brava, male Lance-tailed Manakins are beginning to compete for mates—which they do by working together. You’ll have a front row seat when you watch our live cam.

The Cornell Lab has partnered with Dr. Emily DuVal to bring this live view of manakins to your screen. She has been studying these cooperative displays since 1999, unraveling the mystery of why males form alliances and work together to woo females—even though only one male typically gets to mate.

Here’s what to look for: The live cam shows a display perch used by one pair of males, within a larger area with up to 30 “alpha” males and their partners. Throughout the day, the males perform coordinated displays featuring leaps and butterfly-like flights on the display perch. Occasionally, a brownish female stops by to watch. If she seems interested and receptive, the beta male typically leaves the area and the alpha male starts displaying on his own.

Through much of the day the perch may appear empty; but you can often hear the sweet calls of the male manakins singing a duet, trying to entice a female to check out one of their meticulously maintained display perches (they also have two other display areas off-cam). When the manakins aren’t around, other species (like this antshrikethis wren, or even this wood-rail!) may wander into the frame, and in the mornings and evenings the roaring of howler monkeys echoes through the forest.

You also might want to watch the other videos listed on the Live Came site. Especially the Great Courtship Display and Dance by Alpha/Beta Male Pair

ENJOY!!

Eagles and Parrots Safe in Tennessee Fires

 Salmon-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) at Parrot Mtn by Lee

Salmon-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) at Parrot Mtn by Lee

As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; (Psalms 83:14 KJV)

As you may recall, Dan and I visited the Parrot Mountain and Garden of Eden in Gatlinburg, Tennessee this summer. There have been devastating fires up in the mountains in that area due to severe drought conditions. Many places have been destroyed in the Gatlingburg surrounding area. Dollywood, who has quite a collection of Eagles and Parrot Mountain with their Parrots were to close for comfort, but the Lord has been good to them and their keepers.

 Salmon-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) at Parrot Mtn by Lee

Salmon-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) at Parrot Mtn by Lee

“I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (Psalms 50:11 KJV)

Salmon-crested (Moluccan) Cockatoo at Parrot Mountain

Parrot Mountain’s Prayer Garden

Plantain-eater at Parrot Mountain

Parrot Mountain’s Origin and Mission

Here are some of the articles you might find interesting:

Dollywood’s eagles ‘safe and sound,’ as are Parrot Mountain birds

This is from their Facebook Account:

Parrot mountain was not affected by the fires! All the birds are safe and secure! God was watching over Parrot mountain. We pray for all those who were affected by the fires. Thank you all for your concerns ! We appreciate you all and love you guys. #PrayForGatlinburg

LIST: What’s damaged, destroyed and intact From 9 News

Tennessee Wildfires

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The Goose That Called The Police

“How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?” (Job 26:2)

A friend sent me this email, and then I was able to find a video about it. Thought you all might enjoy this.

A Goose Quacked And Pecked At A Cop’s Car. When He Followed Her, He Couldn’t Believe What He Saw!

Officer James Givens has served with the Cincinnati Police Department for over 26 years, but has never quite experienced anything like this before. He was sitting in his patrol car in a parking lot when he got an unexpected visitor. A goose came up to his car and started pecking on the side of it. He threw out a bit of food for her, thinking that’s what she wanted, but she didn’t take it.

She continued to peck and quack, then walked away, stopped, and looked back at Officer Givens. Then she came back to his car and pecked at it again. She made it very obvious that she wanted Officer Givens to follow her, so he finally got out of his car and did just that.

The goose led him 100 yard away to a grassy area near a creek. Sitting there was one of her babies, tangled up in a balloon string. He was kicking his feet, desperate for help. He was wary of helping the baby on his own, worried that the goose might attack him, so he called for help from the SPCA, but no wildlife rescuers were available at the moment.

Luckily, Given’s colleague, Officer Cecilia Charron, came to help. She began to untangle the baby, and the mother goose just stood there and watched, quacking. She didn’t become aggressive, and just let Officer Charron do what she had to do to set the baby free. It’s like the mother goose knew they were helping. Once she untangled the baby, she put her down and she ran right to her mom and they went back to swimming in the creek. Charron teared up and said it was the highlight of her 24 years on the force.

“It seems like something made up. It was just incredible,” Givens said. “I honestly don’t know why I decided to follow her, but I did. It makes me wonder – do they know to turn to humans when they need help?

We may never know the answer to this question, but what we do know is that Officer Givens was in the right place at the right time to help this mother and her baby!

“Life is precious because it is vulnerable, like a little bird. To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support.”   — Fr. Henri Nouwen

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke (1729-97)

“They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.” (Isaiah 41:6)
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