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.

Satisfying Shallows and Delightful Depths

“He led me through water to the ankles…, he led me through water to the knees…, he led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass over.” Ezekiel 47:1-5

Bonaparte`s Gulls frolicking in ocean surf, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. March 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Birdwatching. Birding. Ornithology. In most minds, those three terms conjure differing depths of avian appreciation. Bird enthusiasm ranges from the simple enjoyment of backyard birds, to submerging in state lists and big years, and even deeper into the intellectual fathoms of anatomy and natural history. The books upon the shelf range from Your Backyard Feeder to Latin Terms for Taxonomists.

In the same manner, the Bible is book of unending fathomage. From inspiring daily devotionals, to word studies and commentaries, and into the depths of theology, the Sacred Writ can be enjoyed and experienced on so many different levels.

Stack of Antique New Testament Bibles. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

But is one level of devotee better than another? Is the ornithologist more serious or dedicated than a birder? Is the theologian more important than the lay congregant? Are we only dipping in our toes when we should be swimming deeper? Are we drowning in the depths and neglecting the satisfaction of the shallows?

In reality, one can be all things, or be what one desires! In his chapter of Good Birders Still Don’t Wear White, David A. La Puma writes, “Find out what you love about birds and dive in; the pool of knowledge is deep and rich and full of others happy to help you along the way.” An ornithologist can still enjoy birdwatching just as a theologian should still delight in daily devotionals.

Our Christian life and experience, just like birding, should enjoy the shallows, wade into the depths, dive the deep ocean trenches, and swim back again. Just as you would enjoy cardinals and chickadees at your backyard feeder, or decide to tackle identifying the gulls, sparrows and peeps, enjoy your yearly reading plan through the New Testament and Psalms, and simultaneously sound the depths of Biblical wisdom and application. Find out what you love about the Word of God in this season of life and dive in. The only wrong thing to do is to completely dry up!


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.

We Watch Birds, Yet We Too Are Being Watched!

We watch birds,  yet we too are being watched!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

BAW-1stCorinthians4.9

This is a blog-site about birdwatching.  Yet don’t forget that we ourselves are being watched, so be on your best behavior!  (Consider 1st Corinthians 4:9, quoted above.)

Once I watched a hummingbird, displaying its marvelous metabolism, that busily slurped nectar from trumpet vines that grow upon my backyard’s fence.  The hovering, buzzing, flitting, iridescent-sparkling hummingbird was too busy to notice me!

Yet, come to think of it, there are times when I am so busy that I don’t notice others watching me — and sometimes (according to 1st Corinthians 4:9) even angels are watching.   All the more reason to be on my best behavior.

However, even if only God is watching, that’s the best reason for doing what is right, to honor Him  (1st Corinthians 10:31).

BAW-hummingbirds-are-watched

Meanwhile, enjoy watching the birds!  May God bless your new year:  the year of our Lord 2020.  This year is God’s gift  —  let’s walk through it reverently and appreciatively.

BAW-birds-are-fun-to-watch


 

Where Are You From? Part II

Replica of Mayflower in Plymouth, Massachusetts ©WikiC

In Where Are You From? [Part I], the birds and my ancestry were both mentioned. Since we have not done much birdwatching lately other than through my window, my time has been spent looking for my ancestors.

Of course, since Creation is how God created the birds and humans, there are no birds in my Ancestorial Tree!! That is a given. I do have a Buzzard [Catherine] listed in Dan’s tree. A Hawk [Susannah] in my tree, and that is about it. The rest are normal human names.

Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus) chicks ©USFWS

What is so amazing is how many people [my ancestors] that it took for me to come into existence. If anyone of them had died before they had the child that would be my ancestor was born, I wouldn’t be writing this article. That thought is awesome. God is so merciful and sovereign in His dealings with us. What Grace!

Today I found another ancestor who was on the Mayflower. This one really came close to not making it. This article explains how he fell overboard on the voyage to America: Meet John Howland, a lucky Pilgrim who populated America with 2 million descendants. Here is another interesting article about him on Wikipedia.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4 NKJV)

The birds we watch today also come from their ancestors. Had one group died out, as they have, then that branch of birds is extinct. As beautiful as the birds are today, what would they be like had those not become extinct? Interesting thought.

Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) Extinct by Wikipedia

Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) Extinct by Wikipedia

The children today who are prevented from being born would have had many descendants in the future. A quote from the article above:

“Howland and his eventual wife, fellow Mayflower passenger Elizabeth Tilley, had 10 children and more than 80 grandchildren. Now, an estimated 2 million Americans can trace their roots to him.

Howland’s direct descendants include three presidents — Franklin Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — as well as former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin; poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; actors Alec Baldwin, Humphrey Bogart, and Christopher Lloyd; Mormon church founder Joseph Smith; and child care guru Dr Benjamin Spock.

“The idea that the existence of all these people hinged on that one guy grabbing a rope in the ocean and holding on tight totally caught my imagination,”

The rope with the

The rope with the “Chatterbox” aboard. [Great nephew]

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,” (1 Corinthians 1:4 NKJV)

**Updated**

See Where Are You From? II – Corrected

Teaching God’s Creatorship to Kids

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

SnowGeese-in-field.Trent

SNOW GEESE at Hagerman N.W.R.   (photo by Trent)

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.   (Deuteronomy 6:7)

USING  RECREATION  TO  TEACH  GOD’S  CREATIONSHIP  TO  KIDS

Kids grow with imagination,

Kids learn, too, with recreation;

Moth to watch, ducks to feed,

Songs to sing, books to read

So teach kids about creation!

And, in the process of teaching kids about creation, teach them about God’s Creatorship.

Unless the process is “boring”, most kids like to learn.  Furthermore, most young children love to learn about animals — especially mammals and birds.

Child-feeding-ducks.DailyExpress

child feeding ducks (Daily Express photo)

Introducing a young child to birdwatching, therefore, can be one of the most wonderful favors one can do for such a child.  In fact, teaching a child about God’s Creatorship is one of the best “inheritances” that a parent — or a grandparent (or a family friend) — can bestow to a child (Proverbs 13:22).

Birds-Zim.Golden-Guides-series-1956

For an example of a child being introduced to birdwatching, see “Attracted to Genesis by Magnets and a Bird Book“, posted at  http://www.icr.org/article/attracted-genesis-by-magnets-bird-book — and its uncondensed version at “Appreciating Baltimore Orioles and my First Bird Book“, posted at  https://leesbird.com/2015/06/02/appreciating-baltimore-orioles-and-my-first-bird-book/ .    (See alsoSnow Goose, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, and More“.)


 

Woods, Water, and Winged Wonders

Woods, Water, and Winged Wonders

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Dan's Wood Stork Tree up close

WOOD STORKS in evergreen tree   (photo by Dan Dusing)

He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.

They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.

By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches. …

The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,

Where the birds make their nests;
The stork has her home in the fir trees.

(Psalm 104:10-12 & 104:16-17)

Psalm104.17-SlidePlayer.com-storks

WOOD STORKS in tree   ( image credit:  SlidePlayer.com )

Springs and rain fall water the hills.  Wooded hills provide myriads of branches useful for avian nests, providing a hospitable habitat for birds of many kinds.  (Of course, the ecological fact that thriving trees facilitate homes for thriving birds is nothing new — see Daniel 4:11-12).  So, if rainfall is adequate, trees thrive – and where you find trees you also find birds, many birds of many different kinds. Forests are homes for owls, corvids, cardinals, hawks, wood ducks, doves, storks, and miscellaneous passerines galore!


BIRDWATCHING  IN  FOREST  HABITATS

Watch birds as they fly or they walk;

See their plumage and hear them talk!

Look for bird neighborhoods

In green, well-watered woods:

Homes for woodpecker, jay, owl and hawk!

So, take a trek through the woods  –  you should like the hike!   Walk and gawk.  (Is there a fowl on a bough?  Do birds perch on a birch?)  Wherever woods and water abound, look for winged wonders!

StellersJay-evergreen.iStock-Getty

STELLER’S JAY on evergreen tree branch   (iStock / Getty image)