King of the Jungle

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When I was a child, and before I really knew much about God, my mother taught me to appreciate and care for the natural world. We were never allowed to throw garbage such as candy wrappers, gum, popsicle or lollipop sticks, Kleenex etc. on to the ground.

My love and care for the natural world came from my Mom. It is a lesson that I tried to pass on to my sons and one which I hope they are passing on to their daughters.

It was in the wonder, beauty and majesty of creation that first really spoke me about a glorious Creator. I think that when we are outside enjoying the beauty of creation, my Mom, my husband and myself feel closest to God. Nature is our cathedral.

My husband taught his children to appreciate nature too. His daughter went on to take Environmental studies in college. The three of us love to watch nature programs, go for nature hikes, take nature photos, and talk about nature. These conversations can get quite interesting as my step-daughter is not a Christian and ardently believes in the theory of evolution. My husband is a Christian but he also believes that some aspects of evolution, such as the earth being millions or billions of years old, may be true. I believe what God tells us about creation in His Word.

Another point, about which the three of us have different ideas, is the role of mankind in creation/nature. My step-daughter believes that we are just another species of animal – no better than any other creature. In fact, she often professes to like animals more than people. She gets very upset and angry when she sees the damage that mankind has done to the environment. My husband believes that humans are supposed to be caretakers of nature, not really “users” of nature. (This is ironic as he is a self-proclaimed carnivore! LOL)

The three of us all agree that creation/nature has suffered, and continues to suffer, at the hands of humankind. Where we disagree is what the role of mankind was/is meant to be in regards to nature and the environment. My husband often says that we were made to take care of nature, not to be lord over it. He hates it when someone mentions the term “dominion”; he doesn’t believe that we were created to be “Kings of the Jungle”.

So I decided to look into God’s Word to find out what He has to say about the relationship between two aspects of His Creation – Man and the earth.

The first 25 verses of the Book of Genesis tell the story of God creating the heavens and the earth and all the living things on the earth – and then He created Man.

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them [man] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creepers creeping on the earth.

Gen 1:27 And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the heavens, and all animals that move upon the earth. 

It is very clear to see that God created Man to have “dominion” over the earth and all living things.

The term “dominion” used in these verses comes from the Hebrew word “râdâh” and it means to: subjugate;  (come to, make to) have dominion, prevail against, reign, (bear, make to) rule, (-r, over), take.

At the time of creation, God gave Man the right to reign and rule over nature. We were indeed made to be “Kings of the Jungle”.

Heb 2:6 But a certain writer has given his witness, saying, What is man, that you keep him in mind? what is the son of man, that you take him into account?
Heb 2:7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you gave him a crown of glory and honour, and made him ruler over all the works of your hands:
Heb 2:8 You put all things under his feet. 

God created the earth to be inhabited by humans.

Isa 45:18 For so says Jehovah the Creator of the heavens, He is God, forming the earth and making it; He makes it stand, not creating it empty, but forming it to be inhabited. (the context here is human habitation)

God created the earth for the purposes of mankind –  to live, work, and play. Man was created to be at the top of the creation pyramid – to rule over the rest of creation on earth.

Now I firmly believe that with the right to rule comes great responsibility. Mankind was meant to rule over the earth with Godly wisdom, counsel discernment and love. God expected Man to cherish and look after the wonderland that had been given to him.

Unfortunately, when Adam and Eve sinned, not only Man became cursed, but the curse was spread to creation as well. Instead of being able to easily enjoy the abundance of creation, Many had to struggle to provide food, clothing and shelter for themselves.

Gen 3:17,18 And to Adam He [God] said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it! The ground is cursed for your sake. In pain shall you eat of it all the days of your life. It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.

Man is still trying to live as though he has “dominion over all the earth”, but he is no longer ruling with Godly wisdom, knowledge, counsel or love. Man uses and abuses creation for his own selfish purposes, with little to no thought to the care needed to sustain creation.

As Christians, I believe that we are responsible for looking after the blessings that God has given us in creation.

Luk 12:48  For to whomever much is given, of him much shall be required.

We are supposed to be “faithful and wise servants” of all that God has blessed us with, and that includes nature.

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads” Henry David Thoreau Walden

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“Ma Ee”

When I was a young nurse working in a nursing home, I had an elderly Scottish gentleman for a patient. One shift he became somewhat agitated and when I asked him what was wrong he said, “It’s ‘ma ee’; there is something wrong with ‘ma ee'”. I was not used to a thick Scottish accent and so I thought that he was telling me that there was something wrong with his ear. He got frustrated with me and finally pointed to his eye while loudly explaining “ma ee – ma ee!” Bing – my light bulb went on and I realized that he was saying, “there is something wrong with my eye”! LOL

Well, there has been something wrong with “ma ees” too, ever since I was young.

When I was a toddler, my father, who suffered from frequent bouts of cold sores, ended up passing the virus, herpes simplex, on to me while he was cuddling me. The virus took up residence in my eyes and I ended up with ulcerated corneas.

I remember being very young and going in for surgery to cauterize (burn off) the ulcers. I can still remember the smell of the rubber mask they put on me for the gas to put me to sleep. I had a patch on my eye and I wasn’t supposed to let any light in. I ended up with a nasty, itchy reaction on my face due to the surgical tape.

Another time, I woke up from a nap with pools of blood in my eyes from blood vessels that had burst for some reason. I remember a horrible episode in the emergency room while nurses held down my arms and legs while they cauterized the blood vessels – without anesthetic!

I continued to have bouts of herpes simplex infections in my eyes requiring lots of eye drops – ooh sting! And there were a few visits to the opthalmologist where my eye would be “frozen” and then a liquid would be used to remove the ulcers.

The subsequent result was that I developed scar tissue on my cornea, over the lens, which caused some vision loss.

I remember the opthalmologist commenting that if I had continued to have frequent infections, I may have become blind in that eye by the time I turned 18. That was NOT good news.

When I was 16, I suddenly developed a different type of infection called iritis, which is an inflammation in iris muscles of the eye. My vision in that eye turned milky white and my pupil took on a figure 8 shape. A subsequent bout of iritis has caused permanent damage to the iris so it does not allow the pupil to respond to light properly.

I tell you all this so that you will understand why I value my eyesight so much!

I love being outdoors. I love the beauty of God’s creation. I love to paint and do handicrafts. I love photography. I love to read. I love to go for country drives. And I love to look at the faces of my loved ones. All of these things depend on vision and that is why I am so glad that I can still see.

I often thank God for my eyesight. I feel closest to God when I am looking at His creation. I have been mightily blessed by the beauty I have seen. Sometimes, it has taken my breath away in amazement; other times, it has made me weep with joy.

This morning, as I was driving my hubby to work, the sun was rising and glowing through the low-lying mist. Shafts of golden light burst through. The trees were in silhouette against a misty golden backdrop. The green winter wheat was covered with a carpet of glistening diamonds. It was both awe inspiring and peaceful at the same time.

And I once again thanked my Heavenly Father for my eyesight.

Take some time to look at the beauty around you and then remember to thank God that you can see it.

Blessings

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Spring Fever

Rev 4:11  O Lord, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You created all things, and for Your will they are and were created.

The sun is shining: the air is fresh, warm and sweet; flowers are blooming; trees are “leafing”; and there are no biting bugs! What’s not to love about May?!

Yes, after a grey and damp winter, I am suffering from a HUGE case of spring fever. Some people get spring cleaning fever, but I say, “Never mind the laundry, dishes and house-cleaning – I want to be outside!” (without having to wear a snowsuit!) So for the past few days, I and my trusty side-kick, my digital camera, have been puttering along country roads, exploring nature trails and strolling along town streets, happily “snapping” away at all the various glories of spring.

I love being outdoors enjoying nature, and I love capturing the beautiful things I see with my camera. I love “framing” the artwork that God has created. For me, the outdoors has always been a very spiritual place. It is my church – the place where I feel closest to God. Give me a cathedral of soaring trees over a man-made building any day.

Gen 1:1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I honestly don’t understand how people can admire nature and yet not believe in an amazing Creator. Nature is filled with such an incredible variety of shape, colour, and function. The incredible beauty of nature can only come from a being of incredible imagination and creativity. Each organism, with it’s individual characteristics and specialized functions within the whole of creation, can only have been designed by a superior intelligence.

Psa 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the expanse proclaims His handiwork.

While I observe and enjoy the beauty, I don’t just have a brain filled with “fluff and fairy tales”, I also have a very analytical and scientific mind. I have loved sciences such as geology, biology, physiology, and chemistry since I was young. I have a very curious mind, I love to learn and I actively and continually seek knowledge. The more that I learn about the earth and it’s living organisms, the more I am convicted that true science does not disprove God, but rather, true science must lead one to acknowledge the existence of a superior, intelligent, powerful Creator.

Rom 1:20  For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that is, his eternal power and existence, are fully made clear, he having given the knowledge of them through the things which he has made, so that men have no reason for wrongdoing:
Rom 1:21  Because, having the knowledge of God, they did not give glory to God as God, and did not give praise, but their minds were full of foolish things, and their hearts, being without sense, were made dark

For me, there can be no other explanation for the incredible diversity, complexity, design, function and inestimable beauty that abounds in creation.

Psa 148:1  Praise Jehovah! Praise Jehovah from the heavens; praise Him in the heights.
Psa 148:2  Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts.
Psa 148:3  Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all stars of light.
Psa 148:4  Praise Him, heavens of heavens, and waters that are above the heavens.
Psa 148:5  Let them praise the name of Jehovah; for He commanded, and they were created.

Amen!IMG_2609 (2)