Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bird, Faithful Unto Death. Black Skimmers. Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Update.


For "Scripture Sunday":

Faithful Unto Death

An Amazing Fact: "After a forest fire in Yellowstone Park, a National Geographic photographer joined some forest rangers on their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage. As they hiked through the burnt forest, the photographer found a scorched bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat curious of the eerie sight, he gently struck at the bird with his boot. When he did, three tiny chicks scurried out from under their dead mother’s wings.

The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had led her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but refused to abandon her chicks. When the blaze arrived and the heat scorched her small body, the mother remained steadfast. Because she was willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.

The mother bird’s instinct to protect her young at the cost of her own life describes a quality infrequently found among humans. During the shootings in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater this last year, some people ran for their lives, leaving their own children behind. But others threw themselves over their family at the cost of their own lives.

It reminds me of the Bible verse: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).
Jesus did not hesitate to give His life for a world soon to be enveloped in an unquenchable forest fire. Christ wept out the words, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). Our Savior stretched out His arms over us, to shield us from the penalty of sin. Christ died in order that we might live.

The picture of a mother hen quietly sitting over her cute brood of little peeping chicks makes us smile. But the picture of Calvary is like the bird that died in the fire at Yellowstone, with outstretched wings, faithful unto death."
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
- Psalms 91:4


Black Skimmers

An Amazing Fact: "Black skimmers are graceful black and white gull-like birds. They get the name “skimmer” because the birds love to fly just above the surface of the water, with their lower bill skimming through the water for fish. Skimmers have elliptical-shaped eye pupils that allow them to tolerate the bright sun on the sand or shell surfaces where they love to rest and nest.

In 1968 a flock of 38 black skimmers decided to set up housekeeping on a large Dow Chemical parking lot made of oyster shells. The Texas chemical company was pleased to host the birds, hoping it would improve their environmental public image. Then one day someone removed the shells from the parking lot and the colony of black skimmers moved elsewhere. Removing the bird’s habitat caused a great deal of negative publicity for the chemical company, so Dow immediately ordered that the oyster shell parking lot be restored.

But the skimmers didn’t return. Dow consulted a wildlife expert who recommended placing a pair of plastic decoys on the shell surface. It worked! Soon, a few live skimmers noticed what appeared to be two of their own kind enjoying this new real estate, so they joined them. Eventually the lot was again covered with nesting skimmers. When left to
themselves skimmers will always face away from the wind. But when the decoys were placed with their head facing into the wind, the real skimmers copied them. And when the decoys were placed very close together and off by themselves, the real skimmers began their nesting rituals.

The Bible teaches that in the last days many will be led astray by false christs and false prophets. How can we tell the difference? We will not be deceived if we know the real from the fake. That comes from studying the Bible very carefully. When we are daily in the Word of God looking at Jesus, we will know the true from the false. Paul’s advice to Timothy sums it up well:   “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them” (2 Timothy 3:13, 14).
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.
- Matthew 24:24


Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at W.G. Jones State Forest, Conroe, TX.

"This video is an introduction to the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis). These birds live in mature pine forests in southeastern United States. You will learn about habitat requirements, see inside a nest cavity and see the banding of nestlings."

and more:

Vacuum Cleaner Improves Endangered Woodpecker Habitat


If Dolly Parton had my money, she'd be flat busted!



I am feeling a lot better and even had a yard sale on Friday.  There wasn't a lot of traffic, but at least it was shady, as we had installed a 10' x 20' canopy in front of my carport.   There were 3 seven foot long tables crossways under it.  Then three more tables were in my carport.  There were a few more tables behind the carport, in the sun, so nobody hardly looked at those items.  Mostly this yard sale was to sort out a bunch of stuff and gradually we will get it packed up to go to different places. SAM_2129

My son, Kevin came to visit Friday evening. He had just had some pins and a rod taken out of his leg from a tree-felling accident a few years ago.

Yesterday morning, Saturday, Ray, Jay and I went to the service at the church on FM 1097, and we enjoyed a great service and potluck. Not many there this Sabbath due to the holiday and sickness, but those who were present had a wonderful time together.

Today, Sunday, Ray pressure washed the side of the 2-sided carport where the yard sale items have been stored, before we pack what is left back up on the shelves there. Then we got items on the three tables under the canopy packed back up.  These things are the items that would sell better at the flea market. 

Even though we still have several tables to empty, we already have a few boxes of stuff for donating to different charities when we go to Conroe for shopping day.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Worldwide Decrease In Crop Diversity. 3 Myths in the Noah Movie. Simon Bolivar. Update.


For Scripture Sunday:

Vertical News: Worldwide Decrease In Crop Diversity

"What do global agricultural trends really mean to us on a daily basis?

hands holding wheat stalks


"United Nations data finds that diversity in varieties of global mainstay crops has and is decreasing, by 75% during the 20 th century, and will decrease by another third by 2050. This “globalized diet” consists mostly of wheat, rice, potatoes and sugar, as well as soybean, which was not a staple crop just fifty years ago. Crops in decline include millet, rye, yam, sweet potato, and cassava.

Experts feel that this opens up the world to two dangers; the danger of increased non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease (the result of increased reliance on starchy crops and processed foods as dietary mainstays) and the very real crisis of major, worldwide crop failures. The concern is that plant breeding is controlled by a small number of multinational companies, which focus on a limited number of plant varieties, this further limiting genetic resilience to disease (Mark Kinver, “Crop Diversity Decline ‘Threatens Food Security,’” BBC News at, March 3, 2014).

Most of us don’t actively participate in agriculture as a career choice and from the perspective of going to the grocery store, the scale of global food production can seem so immense as to be impossible to comprehend. However, it all comes down to basic facts: humans have to eat and our food has to come from somewhere. If that chain breaks down, many people will suffer.

The book of Revelation outlines events that will occur before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and among those events are worldwide famines. It’s important as a young person to keep an eye on agricultural as well as moral trends in the world because that knowledge will help us to be watchful and alert and actively obedient to God when Jesus Christ does return.

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man,” (Luke:21:36, NKJV).

In the mean time, our prayers are very valuable when we pray for God’s mercy on our individual nations and all the nations of the world that food will be accessible to those who need it, which is all of us, every day!" article by Amanda Stiver. From:  See comments, too.


3 Myths in the Noah Movie

"The controversial Noah movie has been called biblically inaccurate, but visually stunning. Read this review to learn about the major problems with this movie.

Noah, starring Russell Crowe, has hit theaters.

Life, Hope & Truth published a blog post analyzing the film based on early reviews by individuals who had prescreened it: “Read This Before Seeing the Noah Movie.” The author of that blog, Arnold C. Mendez Sr., is one of our experts on scientific issues and has studied and taught the Noah story for many years. On March 30 I was able to view Noah on behalf of Life, Hope & Truth. After viewing the film, I would like to offer our readers further analysis of this controversial movie.

The bottom line

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah can be summarized very simply: manipulation and mockery. The film very blatantly manipulates the story of Noah by adding many fictional elements that go far beyond reasonable dramatic license.

Don’t let Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Noah form your mental image of this important man. Read about the real Noah in Genesis 6-9.  Rob Moore, the vice chairman of Paramount Pictures, was very candid about the film: “The single most important piece of information was that this was not attempting to be a 100% retelling of the story from Genesis. … A 100% literal retelling would not make a great film” (“Films Are His Flock,” Time, March 31, 2014, p. 55). In other words, this was an attempt to make money and entertain people—not to educate them about the Bible.

Unlike the movie, our mission is to help our audience accurately understand the Bible and its message. So, when something like this comes along that could lead to a distorted view of the Bible, we feel responsible to speak out."  Complete article at:


Simon Bolivar

An Amazing Fact: "Simon Bolivar was South America’s greatest general. He is known as “the great liberator” because his victories against Spain won independence for Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and a country that bears his name, Bolivia.

In 1824, after Bolivar helped Peru win its freedom from Spain, the great general called for a convention to draft a constitution for the new country. After the convention, a delegation approached Simon Bolivar and asked him to become their first president. He gracefully declined, saying that he felt someone else deserved the honor more than he. But the people still wanted to do something special for Bolivar to show their appreciation for all he had done to free them from the oppression of Spain. So they offered him a gift of a million pesos, a fabulous fortune in those days.

Bolivar thoughtfully accepted the gift and then asked how many slaves there were in Peru. He was told that there were about 3,000. “And how much does a slave sell for?” he wanted to know. “About 350 pesos for an able-bodied man,” was the answer. “Then,” said Bolivar, “I will add whatever is necessary to this million pesos you have given me, and I will buy all the slaves in Peru and set them free.” He added, “It makes no sense to free a nation unless all its citizens enjoy freedom as well.”

The Bible teaches that Jesus came into the world to set captives free. Near the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus attended the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath day and read from Isaiah’s prophecy about Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18, 19).

On another occasion, when the Jewish leaders claimed that they were in bondage to no one, Jesus explained that “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). But He assured the people, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (verse 36). There is true freedom in Christ alone.   Are you truly free?

KEY BIBLE TEXTS: Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. -Romans 6:18



The second batch of antibiotics have made me feel a bit more like my old self, so we have been getting a few jobs done around here.

Nala's new playmate, Chelsea the tortoiseshell cat, is now out of hiding, and has the run of the house.  But she and Nala don't have anything to do with each other. Although, Nala has settled down immensely now, and isn't bugging me for attention all the time.  So that's a good thing.

We are still gradually rebuilding the fence that goes between the properties, but then we had to fix a water leak in a water line that goes to the guest house.  Unfortunately it was on this side of the meter, so we have an enormous water bill!!  That leak caused another problem which we haven't fixed yet.  It washed away a drain support that hadn't been installed properly.

It is very depressing that the known burglars who broke into my house when I was in the hospital, still have not been arrested.   Golly, what takes so long?

Ray's back was hurting, so Jay and I went to church without him.  It was a pleasant service even though many were absent, and a great potluck afterwards.  Jay took an angel food cake and strawberry pudding that he had made. (In England we call that a "trifle".)  My contribution was an organic beef Shepherd's Pie for the day.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Imposters. The Holy City. Update.


For Scripture Sunday:

The Imposters

An Amazing Fact: "The common cuckoo bird is known as a “brood parasite.” A brood parasite is a bird that will trick another bird into raising its young. For example, the female cuckoo will spy on the nest of a small bird, such as a reed warbler. At the appropriate moment, the cuckoo hen flies down to the reed warbler’s nest, pushes one of the eggs out of the nest, lays an egg, and flies off. The whole process is achieved in only about 10 seconds.

Amazingly, the cuckoo egg very closely resembles the eggs of their chosen host. The dedicated reed warblers unwittingly incubate, feed, and raise the young imposter, usually at the expense of their own genuine young. A cuckoo may visit as many as 50 different nests in a breeding season, each time leaving one of its own eggs for others to hatch and care for.

The cuckoo chick typically hatches before the natural ones and then commences to push the other eggs out of the little nest. One of the tragedies of nature is when you see a pair of reed warblers working themselves to death to satisfy the voracious hunger of a fat cuckoo chick that might be three times their size. Meanwhile, if the other eggs have managed to hatch, the starving little warbler chicks are usually pushed out of the nest by the cuckoo chick!

Many people do not realize that the devil, like the cuckoo bird, has laid an egg in the Christian church that has been hatched, adopted, and fed until it has grown bigger than life. The Bible says Satan’s ministers can “transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15). And Jesus warned about “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
That’s one reason it’s so important that we avoid trusting in other humans, no matter how “good” they seem. Even a person of good intentions may lead you in the wrong direction. Prominent leaders can err, and have often failed to live up to what is right. In the words of the old hymn—“I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” Only God is worthy of our complete and total trust."

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
- 2 Corinthians 11:14-15


The Holy City

"“The Holy City” is my favorite hymn. It was written by Frederic Weatherly in 1892 with music by Michael Maybrick.

This hymn is so popular and well-known that everyone knows, without even hearing the hymn, that the “Holy City” itself is a reference to Jerusalem.

Today Jerusalem is the capital city for the nation of Israel and at the center of the Arab/Israeli conflict. It is a city divided into quarters, each with its own unique culture. There is a Jewish quarter, an Arab quarter, a Muslim quarter and an Armenian quarter. The modern city of Jerusalem has a population of close to 1 million people, but the old city occupies a very small section with a total area of only one-third of a square mile.

It is amazing that this small city has so captured the world’s attention. When asked why, one author made the bold statement that it was because of the prominent role Jerusalem plays in the Bible. In fact, the Bible has much to say about this tiny city.

Jerusalem as a city has been around for more than 3,000 years, having been established as the first capital of the Israelite kingdom by King David back in 1004 B.C. Twice the city was completely destroyed—in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians and again in 70 A.D. by the Romans. Sadly, the temple built by Solomon was destroyed on the ninth day of Ab on the Jewish calendar in 586 B.C., and the second temple was also destroyed on the same day, the ninth day of Ab in 70 A.D. by the Romans.

On May 14, 1948, Israel became a sovereign state. This set off a series of wars with their Arab neighbors that resulted in Jerusalem being annexed from Jordan in the Six-Day War of 1967.

In 1980 Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital city. This set off outrage in the Arab community.

Why would the world be so concerned with such a small and ancient city like Jerusalem? It is located approximately 27 miles inland from the coast. It has no natural resources and, from a geographical perspective, has no strategic value to anyone. Most of it is built upon the ruins of previous structures. Yet Jerusalem is the only city that has ever been set up with its own special covenant by the United Nations.

In the Bible, we read in Zechariah 12:2, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples.”

Zechariah 14 tells us that Jesus Christ will return to the Mount of Olives, which is just across the Kidron Valley from the Old City. Christ Himself promised that He would return to this area with His saints at the time of the resurrection.

The hymn “The Holy City” begins with these words: “Last night I lay a sleeping. There came a dream so fair, I stood in Old Jerusalem beside the Temple there.” And the hymn ends by quoting from Revelation and the future world of peace. It seems that Jerusalem, which means city of peace, will finally live up to its name.

If you are at all interested in the fulfillment of prophecy, then you will take note of the city of Jerusalem. As goes this city so will go the world.

Jerusalem is a type of barometer for future world events, according to the Bible. Christ told His disciples to “watch” world events. Jerusalem will be one of those areas that bear watching.

For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Jim Franks." Video at:


Jerusalem in Prophecy

With tensions between Christians, Jews and Arabs, what lies ahead for Jerusalem? Will peace come? What does the Bible say about Jerusalem in prophecy?

Article at:



The results of the sinus CT-scan showed that I still had an infection, even though I had already been on steroids for it.  So another round of antibiotics was prescribed.  I think that I am starting to feel better.

We have been working on the fences and doing some other repairs around the place, but it is a long way from being ready to put up for sale.

Yesterday, a playmate for Nala my foster cat arrived, but so far, she hasn't come out of her hiding place. Sometimes it takes a while.  She is a tortie named Chelsea who has just spent a month in our SPCA Cat Habitat at Petco, but didn't get adopted.  I don't know why, as she is a gentle, loving cat like Nala.  I am hoping that Chelsea will be a good playmate for Nala, who won't leave me alone and wants to be played with or petted all the time.  She misses her former playmates.

Ray and I enjoyed the church service and potluck yesterday.