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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Woodpecker on Noah's ark

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"Sing Praise To God!"

"The birds of the air … sing among the branches" (Psalm 104:12).

After an extended cold spurt in early April we are now getting warm, summer-like weather. We enjoy leaving our windows open at night and the melodious birds have voluntarily become our alarm clock.  There are two differences we note:  their singing is much more pleasant to still sleepy ears than the unnatural sounds of an alarm clock and their wake-up call is 4:30-5:00 AM instead of our usual 6:00 AM alarm clock.  We gradually awakened this morning to the loud, cheerful songs of the birds who congregated in the branches of a tree line about 200 feet behind our bedroom windows. We not only hear the combined sound of many birds, but with intentional focus we clearly hear individual birds as well.

My favorite bird sound is a woodpecker at work. I haven't heard one yet this morning but when I do I stop and listen carefully to discern which direction the pecking is coming from.   Occasionally I spot the woodpecker and its temporary habitat in the distance.   This unique bird is an example of persistent diligence and has unusual design features.

Downy woodpeckerIn my study I found it very interesting that the woodpecker's strong, pointed beak acts as both a chisel and a crowbar to remove bark and find hiding insects. It has a very long tongue, up to four inches in some species - with a glue-like substance on the tip for catching insects. While most birds have one toe pointing back and three pointing forward on each foot, woodpeckers have two sharply clawed toes pointing in each direction to help them grasp the sides of trees and balance themselves while they hammer. Many woodpecker species also have stiffened tail feathers, which they press against a tree surface to help support their weight as seen in the photo.

Let's consider an amazing aspect of birds today. A robin only weighs about 3 ounces. Of course some of the birds I see are larger and others are smaller such as the beautiful bluebird. I (Stephen) weigh over 800 times what a typical small bird weighs. As noted above I can clearly hear an individual bird from that tree line 200 feet away. If my math is correct that is the equivalent of a human having the vocal ability of being heard from some 160,000 feet away or about 30 miles! Can you imagine how annoying life would be if we all had the same vocal capability as a bird! *

Our daily text notes that the birds of the air "sing among the branches."  Psalm 104 is a majestic expression of praise, beginning with the exclamation, "Praise the Lord, O my soul!"  Throughout the Psalm the Father's greatness is exhibited in nature.

As we look out from our home office window we observe and proclaim with the Psalmist, "How many are your works, O Lord in wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures" (104:24).  We make a renewed commitment this day using the words of the Psalmist, "I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD" (Psalm 104:3, 34). Will you join us?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, in Psalm 5 the Psalmist directs His prayer to You:  "O Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayers to You and I will look to You with expectation."  Though You neither slumber nor sleep and certainly have no need for an alarm clock, we know it brings delight to Your ears to hear Your children vocalizing their praises first thing upon awakening to a new day.  Your steadfast love never ceases and Your mercies are unending.  We declare our praises to You, Faithful Father, as You lead us in paths of righteousness.  For You bless the godly, O Lord, and surround them with Your shield of love and protection. Amen.

* Although we live out in the country we have over 1,000,000 people that live within 30 miles of us. I have a louder than normal voice so I suppose people would hear me for some 45 miles!

Brooksyne's Note:  Stephen's analogy of the volume of the bird's vocal skills as it compares to the human volume is quite interesting. He volunteered to use me as an example and being the sensitive woman I am I figured any readers who are excellent in their math skills just might come up with my current weight.  The truth of the matter is I'm not sure that Stephen's math is correct; I think it just might underestimate his current poundage in his analogy!

Brooksyne suggests this classic hymn as musical reinforcement to today's message.
"All Creature of Our God and King" (instrumental)

For many years we have enjoyed a group called "Phillips, Craig and Dean." They have a song that I felt would go well with today's message titled, "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord." I couldn't find this song but in searching I found an online video from their site with another song I enjoy called "Friend of God".

Here's an informative page about woodpeckers, along with some outstanding photos. Here's the woodpecker sound I enjoy!

Yesterday I shared a challenge concerning sexual purity. Steven Cornell, a local pastor here in the Lancaster area, also wrote an interesting perspective on this very topic on his website yesterday.

The woodpecker cartoon shown above comes from an email someone sent us and I don't know how to properly attribute.  We both thought it was rather cute!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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