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Sheep (2)

What sports team is named the Lambs? We have Lions, Tigers, Bears, Eagles, even the Rams, but not the Lambs. We like to be identified with the aggressive, invulnerable, macho types of animals.
Several years ago Candid Camera hid their camera in a high school counselor’s office. Students had taken an aptitude test and were brought in one at a time to learn what the test revealed. Each one was told, “The test shows you would excel as a shepherd.” The camera focused on their shocked looks! Who would want to spend their life taking care of these homely things! Yet God says we are like sheep and He likens Himself to a loving Shepherd (Psalm 23). In part one (#74) we saw that sheep are and always have been dependent creatures. Abel, the second generation, was a keeper of the sheep.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” (Psalm 23:2) Sheep will not lie down in green pastures until dangers and annoyances are past and until their stomachs are full. They take in large quantities of grass, then lie down in the pasture to ruminate. This is the process of bringing up from the rumen (first part of the stomach) that which was swallowed, and chewing it more thoroughly. Once it is chewed, the food passes through the other parts of the stomach to be digested. This is  beautiful picture of what God wants us to do with His Word. We are to read and memorize it, then mull it over in our minds throughout the day. This is Biblical meditation and God promises special blessings for those who meditate on His Word and heed what it says. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:97; 1 Timothy 4:15, etc.)
Being fearful creatures, sheep can easily be frightened by swirling water. Yet, they don’t like stagnant water either. Interestingly, in some areas sheep don’t need to drink for weeks at a time because they get sufficient water through the still, morning dew on the grass. “He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
Because sheep tend to eat until they damage a pasture, the shepherd must move them regularly. In mountainous areas, the lowlands have the early grass. As summer arrives, shepherds move their flock up into the cooler higher pastures. Of course, where there are hills, there are valleys and valleys can be dangerous. The shepherd is aware of this and keeps each sheep on the safe path. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
Animals have a variety of ways to protect themselves. Some dig, some run, some stink, some poke, some claw, some fly, some are strong and fight, etc. But sheep have no means of protection. They are totally dependent on the shepherd to keep them away from predators. He will use a rod and a staff to protect them. The staff is long and the rod short. They are used both to ward off enemies, and to discipline stubborn sheep. The same instrument can be both welcome and feared, depending on the sheep’s situation. “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
It is humbling to be likened to sheep by our Creator. But it is comforting to know we have a strong and loving Shepherd. (John 10:11, 14).

Mutualism

Symbiosis, or mutualism, is a common phenomenon in nature. Simply stated, it means that two living creatures help each other to the benefit of both. A parasite benefits to the detriment of its prey. But in mutualism, both the giver and receiver are helped.
Here is an example: when ticks bore into the hide of zebras in Africa, they welcome the oxpecker bird that lands on their backs and digs the parasites out. The oxpecker gets a free meal, and the zebra gets relief.
Another example is found in the sea. “The yellow tailed goat fish is a mostly white fish that swims in small schools. They often cruise around reefs where the yellow French angelfish live. The angelfish hide from the goat fish who might eat them. However, the goat fish are often bothered by parasites that lodge in their scales and gills. When this happens, the goatfish swim to the reef in which the angelfish live and blush a bright rust red color. When this happens, the angelfish knows that the goatfish has not come for lunch but to be cleaned. So the angelfish swims out and cleans the goatfish of his uncomfortable and unhealthy parasites! When the goat fish is clean, he stops blushing and swims off to leave the angelfish in peace.” Again, the goatfish gets relief, and the angelfish gets a free personally delivered meal. (quote from CreationMoments.com)
It is difficult to explain this beneficial relationship between a predator and its prey. How did the goatfish learn to turn red and to use it as a signal? How does the angelfish know the red color is plea for help? One misunderstanding would mean the angelfish is lunch. Evolutionists somehow must explain this through adaptation without extinction. Creationists, on the other hand, find no difficulty explaining how the Creator could pack this knowledge and ability into the brain of the goatfish and the French angelfish.
By way of application, Christians are mutualistic creatures as well. God made us to need each other. By giving selected gifts to each believer, He makes us dependent on each other to fill in what is missing in our own lives. When we exercise these gifts, we have the joy of serving the Lord, those we serve reap the benefit of our expertise, and God gets the glory!

The Beaver

Several years ago I worked at a wilderness camp for the summer. Some beavers kept flooding one area of land, toppling nearby trees, and I voted myself a committee of one to get rid of the problem. With mattocks in hand, I marched to their dam, and, with great effort, hack a hole in it. The next day the dam was fixed. I repeated my destruction. Each day it was the same story. By the end of a week of this, I realized they weren’t giving up but we were losing many small trees in the area. The beavers had earned their reputation for hard work and the proverb, ‘busy as a beaver.’
Beavers are more than just hard working. They are perfectly designed for the hard work they do. Their oil-coated double layer fur is so dense, water rarely gets to their skin. This fur has been for centuries the main reason this slow moving rodent was hunted, almost to extinction. People wore the fur, but also made perfumes and medicines from the musk glands, and ate the tail. But for the beaver, the fur and a layer of fat kept him warm all winter long.
A beaver might live for 19 years (though 8 is more common), and weigh 60 pounds, growing to a length of four feet. It is second only to South America’s capybara as the world’s largest rodent. Beavers mate for life and are very social animals, living and working together with other beavers. Beavers eat fresh bark, water plants, berries, and fruit. Their large front teeth help them chew through the bark of trees, both to build their lodge and dam, and to eat the bark and wood.
A normal litter is 2 to 4 kits but they stay around for two years before setting off on their own. That means Mom has at home both older offspring and newborns at one time, quite a bit of work for her. When he finally leaves home, the first task of the mature beaver is to find a mate, then move to a new area and build a hut. If the new home is on a stream, he will build his famous dam to slow the water and guarantee the depth.
Since beavers spend most of their time in the water, God has given them special features for this. Transparent eyelids allows them to see under water. Their back feet are webbed to aid in swimming, but their front paws are more suited for holding and carrying sticks and mud. The two inner claws of the beaver have a split toenail, used to groom himself and spread the oil on his fur. He also has a flap of skin that covers his throat while eating under water. The large lungs and liver of the beaver allow him to store more oxygen in his blood, and his heart beats more slowly when he dives. The paddle tail is perfectly designed for swimming and carrying mud to the dam or hut.
Since the beaver is a rodent, his front teeth continue to grow and need to be worn down. This he does by his insatiable appetite for trees, usually one to two inches in diameter, making beavers a nuisance in some areas. The sticks, especially aspen, are stored and eaten in the winter, used for dam building, and used for hut building.
The hut has more than one entrance but is entered only from under water. This way the beaver is safe from predators and can leave the hut in the winter to get more sticks, even when the pond is frozen. A hole in the middle of the hut allows for ventilation for himself and his family.
Everything about the beaver is perfectly designed for what he does. When you have design, you must have a designer. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:3).

The Population Problem

Let’s be honest; the number of people presently on earth means simply that evolution can’t be true. No, we’re not talking about the crowds. We’re talking about how few people we have as neighbors!
Everyone agrees that evolution demands vast amounts of time, the more the better. If life developed from simple to complex by a series of random accidents, then lots of time was needed for these accidents to occur. Evolutionists themselves concede that the chance of just a medium sized protein molecule (300 amino acids in order) coming together by accident is one in 10^600! And that is far from being life. Further, since these processes haven’t yet been duplicated in a laboratory under ideal conditions, how much more time do they need for them to take place randomly under less than ideal conditions!
The present estimate for the age of the earth is about 4.6 billion years (or more), but, evolutionists say, man has only been around for 4-6 million years, or .1% of the total time. Let’s be generous and say that 46 chromosome people like us have only been here for a million years in various forms of development starting with the first couple. Fortunately, the two evolved at the same time and were able to reproduce at least a male and female offspring who did the same. Under these conditions, how many people would be on planet earth today at predictable population growth rates? The answer is astounding!
The average family world-wide today has 3.6 children. (An average 2.1 children per couple is needed for zero growth.) This is a growth rate world-wide of 2%. If we extrapolate the present population backwards, starting with one couple, we can account for the present population in just 4000 years, using only a .5% population growth, or 2.46 children per family, much less than the present rate. That is far short of the 4 to 6 million years demanded for man’s existence by evolution. Further, if man has been around for a mere million years, that would be 28,600 generations as we know them today. Even with this tiny population growth rate average of .5%, in that amount of time we would have 10^2100 people on the earth! (That’s 1 with 2100 zeros after it.) Well, not only on the earth because this is more people than could be crammed into the known universe!
If evolutionists protest, explaining plagues, and wars that have kept the population from growing, they must answer this: Even if the growth rate for a million years was so small that it accounts for the present world population, that would mean that at least 3000 billion people have lived on earth so far. What happened to all the fossils and skeletons?
The day I wrote this the world population was estimated at 6,860,757,000 (Nov. 2008). Exactly thirty years before today (less than a generation), it was estimated to be 4,436,782,000, or 2,423,975,000 less. That is a 35% increase in thirty years! That is reality, not guesswork.
The simple fact is, the present population is best explained by the young earth theory, yet the theory that man has only been around a few thousand years obliterates a basic requirement for evolution, lots of time. Again, we are forced by the facts to acknowledge that the creation story as outlined in the Bible is the most reasonable. And since only one Person was there to see it all, and He is very reliable, we can trust His account of what happened to be true.

Scientific Creationism, (ICR) pp. 167-169

Knobcone Pine

Nature not only declares the creative genius of God, but it also teaches us lessons He may well have had in mind at their creation. Take, for example, the Knobcone Pine.
Scientifically, it is known as Pinus attenuata. This conifer grows at elevations from 1000 to 4000 feet, in dry, rocky soils along the coast of California and into Oregon. The pale yellow-green stiff needles come in bundles of three and measure four to five inches long. The tree grows to about thirty feet tall, though some reach a hundred feet.
Though the tree does not break any records in height, the cones are a different story. The Knobcone Pine’s three to six inch cones grow both all over the limbs, and also along the trunk. They hold the record as the world’s hardest cones.
Unlike most conifers, the cones do not open each year to disperse the seeds growing inside. Indeed, almost nothing can get them to open! Birds or forest animals that thrive on seeds cannot get to the Knobcone seeds inside. Even a hammer blow cannot cannot break the cone. Nor does time weaken the cones. Some will not open for decades! New cones are green, yellow, or brown. Older cones are grayish. Inside are the precious seeds that will reproduce the tree. Yet, year after year, the cones remain closed.
Only one thing will get this cone to open. That is fire! In the midst of a forest fire, the cones will open partially, enough to emit a gaseous vapor that protects the seeds from the scorching flames. Then, when the fire is gone, and the tree charred, the cone will finally open and dispense its winged seeds to the forest floor to grow new Knobcone Pine trees.
The apostle Peter reminds us of something else that can bring new life from fire. It is the faith of a believer. “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ whom having not seen we love. . .” (1 Peter 1:6-7) God designs firey trials to test our faith, purify our faith, and increase our love for Him. The Knobcone Pine reminds us that God also desires to use trials to spread the seed of His Word to others watching us during the trial. They will be attracted to the life offered in Christ as they see us demonstrate its truth by our godly response.

Moody Publishers  Journey of Life DVD, 1985, 1998.