Halting the Plague

And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” Numbers 16:46-50

Turkey Vulture; Clarke County, Georgia. June 2015. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

What was that created for?

God created all things, and He created all things with a purpose.  One critter with a disgusting duty is the vulture. Our roads are often littered with the poor critters that didn’t make it across alive. Standing around these piles are a macabre host of ominous black Vultures.

It is no doubt for this disgusting habit that God pronounced, “These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard”. (Leviticus 11:13)  I’m sure none would argue with God and substitute a Turkey Vulture for a Thanksgiving Turkey!

Although vultures carry the reputation of being nasty, disease and death spreading creatures, the opposite is true. Vultures help decrease the spread of disease. Without vultures, animal corpses would litter the landscape, contaminate the water supplies and disease could spread without check. Vultures are known as “dead-end hosts” and do not further spread diseases.

Halting the Plague

From this practical disease-reducing design, the vulture speaks a valuable lesson. We are seeing a virus affect the entire planet. But there is a plague far worse than Coronavirus; a plague that has killed, and will kill, every living person. The plague is called sin! With the entrance of sin, Satan has hijacked God’s perfect creation and not only mutated viruses to cause things like Coronavirus, but leads our lives, spiritually and physically, down a road of decay and death.

In the book of Numbers, because of the sin of rebellion, a plague began to spread among the people (please, I am not saying Coronavirus is God-unleashed plague). To end the plague, God told Aaron to light a censor and bring the smoking incense (representing prayer) between the diseased and the living. Aaron’s quick, unquestioning acceptance of his job stopped the spread from the corpses to the people. “And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.”

Black Vulture. Clarke County, Georgia. January, 2018. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

A Pandemic of Revival

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose…

We Christians are called to halt the plague of sin. Like Aaron with his flaming censer, we are to place ourselves in front of the tide of advancing sin and decay; to “stand between the living and the dead” and preach the cleansing Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Coronavirus outbreak is an opportunity to share with those in fear about the comfort through salvation. Let this virus pandemic become a pandemic of Revival! Be wise and take precautions, but let us serve those in need during this time and evangelize as we never have before! And even if confined at home, continue to pray in earnest.

We can halt the plague of sin by simple obedience to the will of God. But will God find us, like the vultures, ready and willing to “do the dirty work” which He has assigned us? If a vulture can stick his face in a putrid carcass without complaint, can we not be willing to do the will of God? If Jesus can silently accept the cross shouldn’t we accept any job which always works to the good in our lives? We can halt the plague of sin and death when we accept and carry out our God-assigned job descriptions.


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

Why Red?

My backyard bird feeder is always alive with flashes of red. The Northern Cardinals are daily visitors for free helpings of sunflower seeds. As one catches my eye, I ponder, why red?

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Red Northern Cardinal Bird

Northern Cardinal; Clarke County, GA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Most animals blend into their surroundings. But not the Cardinal. He flashes about in a scarlet garment heralding his presence for all to see. Why would a small bird, an easy prey, want to wear such colors? As I meditate what creation would speak, red conjures two images: the stain of sin and the source of salvation.

THE STAIN OF SIN…

Red catches our attention, and normally for something of which we must take heed. We use it on our warning signs and labels; red hangs at every intersection to prevent disorderly collisions.

In Isaiah 1:18, red is used as a bold simile illustrating the blatant sins of the people. All that they do and say is stained with the crimson of sin. Although sin may blend in as the “norm of society”, it stands out to God’s eyes. Isaiah the preacher points out this scarlet warning sign, and begs the people to heed the warning and repent.

THE SOURCE OF SALVATION…

But another profound Biblical use of the color red is that of blood. From the blood of Abel, through the atoning sacrifices of the Israelites; of the thread in the window which saved Rahab and her entire family, to the saving Blood shed upon Calvary’s cross, the entire Bible is stained red with blood.

Though normally a gruesome sight for most, the red blood of the Bible is hope; it is cleansing. The sins of the people of Isaiah’s day stand out like red stained clothing. But it is the red colored blood of the new covenant which is able to remove that stain.

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”
Revelation 1:5

Though I may be pushing things by stretching the color of a bird into a mini-sermon, I’d rather have the red Northern Cardinal remind of the warning of sin and of the hope of salvation, than to stand for a red-robed religious official for whom it is said the Cardinal is named!


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

Save The Parrots

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) by Lee

“Ten years ago I traveled to the Amazon Rainforest in Peru. That experience changed my life forever. Never will I forget the first time seeing a family of macaws flying high up in the sky above the canopy. It never dawned on me what people have done to destroy the rainforest and its wildlife until I got back. One day while passing by a pet store, I recognized a sound I had heard in Peru. It was the macaw, like the beautiful parrot I saw in Peru. It was confined to a cage with barely enough space to spread its wings fully open. Upon closer examination, I saw that its wings were clipped. This macaw was born in captivity, truly in bondage, because it would never have the freedom of the birds I saw in Peru.

One might say “Ignorance is bliss” and I would agree that the macaw has no clue what it is missing, but because it was meant to be free, and not captive, I believe there is a void and a longing to fly as birds are supposed to. Occasionally, the macaw in the store would try to pry open the cage, attempting to free itself, but it could not.

Dear Reader, we all are born in captivity like the macaw at the pet store. That captivity is sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23). How are we captive by sin? Sin separates us from the freedom that God offers to all of us. There is only one way to be set free, and that is through Jesus Christ, God’s Son. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 KJV)

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Dear Friend, if you don’t have Jesus in your life, you are like that macaw, captive to sin, whether you realize it or not. Jesus Christ died on the cross to purchase you and set you free. “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) He’ll set you free if you let Him, but just like caged birds are afraid to leave their cage, we are fooled that life is better in the cage. If you stay in sin, you’ll find out that sin only brings death, eternal destruction. “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:5). That is the truth for those who refuse to let Jesus become their righteousness.

Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved and go to Heaven. “God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God. He made us pure and holy, and He gave Himself to purchase our freedom” (1 Corinthians 1:30 NLT). God doesn’t want you to die in your sin, because He wants you to go to Heaven and not Hell. “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:14 KJV) God is holy and sin cannot dwell in His presence, that is why we all will be judged one day. Those who trust Jesus will be saved; those who refuse Him are still captive, and will go to eternal destruction. So how can you receive this forgiveness and have a relationship with Jesus Christ? You must realize you are captive to sin and confess and repent. “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9). “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,… (Acts 3:19a KJV). Finally, believe, “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). I know from experience this to be absolute truth. I know that if you make this decision, it will change your life forever, and it will be something you never regret. Please make this decision now, without delay. “Indeed, God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT).”

Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189, and Moments With The Book

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More Good News Messages

Wordless Toucan

Gold - Heaven

Gold – Heaven

This GOLD reminds us of Heaven. The Bible tells us Heaven has a street of gold! But the best part about Heaven is that God, who created you and me, lives there. The Bible, God’s Word, says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” — John 3:16 Jesus, God the Son, is in Heaven preparing a place for all who put their trust in Him. (John 14:2-3) God is holy and perfect. He cannot allow anything in Heaven that is less than perfect, so there’s one thing that can never be in Heaven. Can you think of what that might be?

Black/Dark - Sin

Black/Dark – Sin

It is sin! That is what this DARK reminds us of. Sin is anything you think, say, or do that does not please God, like lying, cheating, being selfish, or hurting others. The Bible says: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” — Romans 3:23 That means everyone, big or little, young or old! No matter where you live or who you are, you have sinned. Everyone is born with a “want to” to do wrong. God says that sin must be punished (Romans 6:23), and the punishment for sin is to be separated from God forever in a place of suffering….a place called Hell. But God has a wonderful plan so that you will not have to be punished for your sin!

Red - Jesus' Blood

Red – Jesus’ Blood

God sent Jesus Christ, His perfect Son, to be born as a little baby. Jesus lived a perfect life….He never sinned. When He was grown, wicked men nailed Him to a cross. The bird’s RED reminds us of Jesus’ blood. The Bible says that without the giving of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). So Jesus Christ willingly died to take your sin punishment. “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.“— 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Now, because of what Jesus has done for you, you can have your sins forgiven. Read on to see how!

White – Heaven

The Bible says: “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on His name.” — John 1:12 The WHITE reminds us of a CLEAN heart. How can you have a clean heart? A = Admit to God you are a sinner and want to turn away from those sins. B = Believe in Jesus Christ, that He is God’s perfect Son who died for your sin, was buried, and rose again. C = Call on Him to save you from your sin. Would you like to do that right now? He has promised to hear, and once you are His child, He will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5). Take a moment and talk to God right now. It will change your life forever. Only one more color! What can it mean?

Green - Grow

Green – Grow

The GREEN stands for things that grow. When you ask God to forgive you and save you, you become His child. God wants you to get to know Him better and to grow to become more like Him. These four things will help you grow:

1. PRAY (talk to God every day)
2. READ & OBEY THE BIBLE (to know what He says, then do it)
3. TELL OTHERS ABOUT JESUS
4. GO TO A BIBLE-BELIEVING CHURCH (where you can learn more about pleasing Him)

As a child of God, if you should sin again, stop and tell Him about it. He promises in His Word… “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1 John 1:9 Ask God to help you live a life to please Him! Share the Good News of this story with someone else.

The Wordless Book has been used for many years by CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship). These words are from CEF.

Green-billed Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus) ©WikiC

Our Wordless Toucan

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Green-billed Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus) by Dario Sanches

Green-billed Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus) by Dario Sanches

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A friend shared with me about someone who uses the Toucan to teach the “Wordless Book.”

Other Wordless Birds:

Wordless Birds

Wordless Birds – With Hummingbirds

The Wordless Book

Story of the Wordless Book

 

Lord Help Us!

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male and Female ©Crooks Bridge

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male and Female ©Crooks Bridge

Supreme Court rules 5-4 that same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states

Our Country has just decided to leave God totally out of our country. When a nation turns from God’s Truth, the Lord will no longer bless us like in the past. Shame on our country.

“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 NKJV)

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Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV)

Swan Family ©USFWS

Swan Family ©USFWS

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
(Romans 1:17-32 NKJV)

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if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)