Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

See https://leesbird.com/2017/04/16/happy-easter-he-is-alive/ .

This confirms that the Lord Jesus is the Scripture-prophesied Messiah (1st Corinthians 15, especially 15:3-4), Who was promised since the prophecy of “the Seed of Woman” (Genesis 3:15).  Hallelujah!

AW, SHUCKS! OYSTER FESTIVALS ARE SOMETHING TO REALLY SHUCK AND JIVE ABOUT

AW,  SHUCKS!   OYSTER  FESTIVALS  ARE  SOMETHING  TO  REALLY  SHUCK  AND  JIVE  ABOUT

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words [of Scripture] that were declared unto them.  (Nehemiah 8:12)

oyster-shucking-contestants-st-marys-festival

“Aw, shucks!” Some people actually celebrate shucks – shucking oysters, to be specific. Oyster shucking competitions are a time-honored tradition in the coastal areas surrounding the Chesapeake Bay.  [For youtube video, illustrating an oyster-shucking competition, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9u9JYA3yVs . To learn how to shuck oysters, see “Oyster 101 with Rickey Lee, the World’s Fastest Shucker”, posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qQsjyjEG2g .]

As the quote from Nehemiah (above) shows, there is a time to celebrate with food and drink — and enjoying the privilege of having God’s Word is certainly a proper occasion for celebrating.  And, if it’s available, the feasting aspect of such celebration could include the delectable mollusk we call OYSTERS!

Of course, shucking oysters (without hurting yourself) is an art that requires tactile skill, but the real fun, for most oyster enthusiasts, is in the eating, as Lara Lutz reported in September of AD2016.

The first time that George Hastings entered the U.S. National Oyster Shucking Contest in St. Mary’s County [Maryland], he didn’t win. But his bright blue eyes were set on the prize. I knew right then I’d be clearing my schedule every third weekend in October and going to St. Mary’s County”, Hastings said. “I told myself, ‘I’m coming here till I win this thing.’”

That was in 1994, and Hastings has lined up at the shucking table every year since. He won twice, first in 1999 and again in 2003, and represented the United States at the world “oyster opening” championship in Ireland. He’s become an enthusiastic ambassador for the homegrown festival that hosts the St. Mary’s contest and part of the regular crowd that travels from across the region and across the nation to enjoy comradery, competition and good food.

“It’s a family-oriented fair atmosphere, with something for everybody, young and old”, Hastings said. “And oysters, any way you like them – you’ll find them there.”

Quoting from Lara Lutz, “Keep on Shuckin’ – St. Mary’s Oyster Festival Draws Fans from Across United States”, Chesapeake Bay Journal, 26(6), September 2016 issue (BAY JOURNEYS insert), page 4.

oyster-shucking-contestant-st-marys-festival

Thankfully, the rising industry (and art) of oyster aquaculture has been replenishing the supply of oysters for America’s East Coast, especially the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica), so that oyster festivals need not worry that oyster-craving festival visitors will go away hungry and disappointed.  (Ibid.)The wild oyster populations have been seriously challenged, however, for generations now, by a vicious combination of over-harvesting (especially by dredging) and habitat pollution (especially due to untreated sewer wastes that poison estuarial waters used by filter-feeders such as oysters).

Regarding the sometimes extreme controversies involving oyster-harvesting watermen, see John R. Wennerstein’s THE OYSTER WARS OF CHESAPEAKE BAY (Washington, DC: Eastern Branch Press, 2007), which chronicles the “surf wars” (which have sometimes involved bullets and even howitzers!) over Chesapeake Bay oysterbeds.

Regarding the tragic demise of wild oysters that succumbed to inundating sewerage waste pollutants (including industrial/chemical wastes) from New York City, see Mark Kurlansky’s THE BIG OYSTER: HISTORY ON THE HALF SHELL (New York, NY: Random House, 2006).

The efforts and politics of oyster aquaculture, striving to protect the Chesapeake bay’s “white gold” populations and industry, are described in Kate Livie’s CHESAPEAKE OYSTERS: THE BAY’S FOUNDATION AND FUTURE (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2015).

st-marys-fairgrounds-map-oysterfestival-venue

Back to the National Oyster Festival in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, where they don’t intend to run out of oysters – at least not anytime soon. Lara Lutz summarizes the oyster-shucking, oyster-snacking celebrations as follows: “The National Oyster Festival in St. Mary’s County [Maryland] is an annual celebration of the Chesapeake [Bay] oyster harvest.” (Ibid.) But how did this annual tradition originate?

The 50th National Oyster Festival takes place this year [i.e., in AD2016, when Lara Lutz wrote the article being here quoted] Oct. 15-16, at the county fairground in Leonardtown [Maryland]. The annual gathering is one of the oldest [festivals] in the Chesapeake region, created and still sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lexington Park.

It was a one day event back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s [i.e., AD1960s and AD1970s]”, said David Taylor, Rotary member and former festival administrator. “At the first festival, they claimed they had 1,000 people, and it was $2 for all you can eat[!].” The festival now draws approximately 15,000 people, with more than 75 artists and nonprofit organizations showcasing displays and items for sale, including oyster prepared in just about any way possible.

There are activities for children, including small carnival rides, and a nonstop variety of live music on two stages. “It’s grown from a little festival that attracted a lot of locals to a prominent regional if not national festival”, Taylor said. Visitors and participants have come from as far as Washington state, Oregon, Colorado, Louisiana and Florida. In the ‘90s [i.e., AD1990s], an RV group from Buffalo [New York] stopped by on their way south every year.” “There’s a loyalty to it”, Taylor said. “It’s grown in size but the purpose remains the same – to celebrate the opening of oyster season in the Chesapeake Bay.”

Oysters, of course, are the main event. The festival serves up approximately 150,000 oysters each year, and the shells are used to regenerate oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay. Raw and cooked oysters abound, although seafood and other Southern Maryland specialties are on the menu too. You can purchase oysters from vendors or sample top-notch recipes during cooking contests and demonstrations. Fried oysters served by the St. Mary’s County Watermen’s Association are always popular. In the Tasting Room, which was introduced in 2015, you can sample the difference between the various farm-raised [i.e., aquaculture-produced] and wild-caught oysters that are available in St. Mary’s County. . . .

The festival is also home to the National Oyster Cook-Off, which began in 1980. Hundreds of recipes are submitted every year, but only nine are selected to compete. Professional chefs judge the results, and the crowd selects a “People’s Choice”. Submitted recipes are compiled in an annual cookbook, and this year’s festival will include a commemorative collection of grand champion recipes from each year of the cook-off.

The shucking contest includes divisions for men and women. Contestants come from across the country, and the two winners [i.e., the victorious man and the victorious woman] face off to [see who will] become the U.S. Oyster Shucking Champion. Louisiana shuckers have won five times. There’s an amateur round for those with lesser skills, and all ages get in on the action. [A lot more details about the festival follow.]

Quoting from Lara Lutz, “Keep on Shuckin’ – St. Mary’s Oyster Festival Draws Fans from Across United States”, Chesapeake Bay Journal, 26(6), September 2016 issue (BAY JOURNEYS insert), pages 4 & 12.

oysters-cooking-st-marys-festival-cookoff-contest

Ironically, the U.S. Oyster Festival in Southern Maryland is not the oldest oyster festival in the Chesapeake Bay region – because the Urbanna Oyster Festival, in Virginia, is 9 years older than the Southern Maryland oyster festival in Leonardtown. (Ibid.)

For current information on the Urbanna Oyster Festival , check out http://www.urbannaoysterfestival.com/index.php  —  a very informative website.  (In AD2017 the 60th Annual Urbanna Oyster Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, November 3rd & 4th.)

For similar information on the one in Leonardtown, Maryland, see https://www.visitstmarysmd.com/events/st-marys-county-oyster-festival  and  http://usoysterfest.com/ .    The latter website summarizes the shucking contest as follows:

All oyster shucking contestants are timed. The speed of shucking 24 oysters is a key component of the contest. Presentation of the shucked oysters, however, is also very important. Seconds are deducted from the shucking time for improperly shucked oysters or those showing less than perfect presentation. Thus, the winners need to be fast, but also must pay attention to the appearance of the oysters they shuck. After judging is complete each contestant shares his or her oysters with the spectators in the stands.

(In AD2017 this event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 21st and 22nd.)

Because the Urbanna Oyster Festival (in Urbanna, Virginia) is held in early November, about a half-month after the one in Leonardtown (Maryland), there is no calendar competition between the two oyster festivals. If you missed both of them – well, shucks! Maybe you can attend one in the near future. Music at these events is a mix – folk guitar, reggae, whatever – so you can shuck and jive.   ><>  JJSJ

oysters-roasted-on-dish-leonardtownoysterfestival-website-photo

PHOTO CREDITS:  oyster shucking, oysters cooking, & St. Mary’s County fairgrounds map (with event labels) adapted from https://www.visitstmarysmd.com/events/st-marys-county-oyster-festival  .


Who Supplied the Food for the First Thanksgiving?

Who Supplied the Food for the First Thanksgiving?

James J. S. Johnson

1st-thanksgiving-accurate-painting

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without [outside], and that ye may have lack of nothing. (1st Thessalonians 4:11-12)

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Ephesians 4:28)

Recently my happy-hearted 5-year-old grandson was taught a little Thanksgiving song, in kindergarten. It was a catchy tune, yet some lyrics contained a PC (i.e., politically corrupt) “gotcha”. The little ditty went something like this:

The Indians brought the food; the Pilgrims set up the table…

Of course, I chose not to admonish my enthusiastic grandson that the little chorus was historically twisted – revisionist “history” in song – giving the impression that the Pilgrims were just invasive “takers”, as if the Indian natives alone provided all the food eaten during the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth. But it bugged me (and it continues to bug me) that trusting kindergartners are misled into believing that it was (only) the Indian natives who provided food for that feast – with the (supposedly) generosity-challenged Pilgrim Christians providing only the banquet table!

But what is the real history of how that feast happened? Who supplied the food that was eaten, then? Was the food supply one-sided, or did both Indians and Pilgrims bring food to the “groaning-board” tables? As shown below, it was a shared meal, supplied by both Pilgrims and Indians. In fact, sharing took place in other ways, as well, such as in agriculture techniques. Indians taught Pilgrims to plant corn with fish offal; the Pilgrims taught Indians to increase their crop yields by using planting furrows. (“Win-win” mutual aid was frequent, then.)

1st-thanksgiving-pic-mikewhite

The First Thanksgiving   (Mike White)

One of the original Pilgrims, William Bradford, kept a careful chronicle of the important events at Plymouth, and he reported the context of the Pilgrim’s harvest-time during the fall of AD1621:

[During the autumn of AD1621 the Plymouth Pilgrims, with the help of Indian friends, such as Squanto and Hobbamock] found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity.

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion.

All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees).

And besides waterfowl there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.

[Quoting William Bradford, Of Plimouth Plantation 1620-1647 (Alfred A. Knopf, 1989; edited by Samuel Eliot Morison), page 90.]  Other sources provide information about the many crops that were grown, and fruits that were gathered, by the Pilgrims.   [See, e.g., Barbara Rainey, THANKSGIVING: A TIME TO REMEMBER (Crossway, 2002), pages 43-44 (“In just a day enough wild turkeys, eels, grouse, lobster, partridge, and [other] shellfish were gathered to guarantee a great feast … When it was time to eat, the menu was impressive: venison, goose, lobster, eel, oysters, clam chowder, parsnips, turnips, cucumbers, onions, carrots, cabbage, beets, radishes, and dried fruit that included gooseberries, strawberries, cherries, and plums  — [some of which] fruit was cooked inside dough to make a [fruit] pie”).]  Of course, THANKSGIVING meant thanking God for all of the physical and spiritual blessings He had given, so “before they began to eat, their spiritual leader offered a prayer to God who had so clearly and miraculously led them to this place.”  {Quoting Barbara Rainey, THANKSGIVING: A TIME TO REMEMBER, page 44.]

1st-thanksgiving-meal-pic

Yet it was another Pilgrim, Edward Winslow, who reported (within a letter dated December 11th of AD1621) on the specific activities at the Pilgrim’s historic Thanksgiving feast that season:

Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling (i.e., hunting wild birds, such as turkeys, quail, etc.), so that we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms [i.e., used their firearms for target practice], many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their [i.e., the Wampanoag tribe’s] greatest king, Massasoit with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted. And they went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our Governor and upon the Captain [Miles Standish] and others.

[Quoting Edward Winslow, in Mourt’s Relation, pages 60 et seq., as quoted by Samuel Eliot Morison in Footnote 8 on page 90 of Governor Bradford’s trusty chronicle, Of Plimouth Plantation 1620-1647 (noted above). For more about the Pilgrims’ original Thanksgiving in Plymouth, see “Strangers and Pilgrims (and the American Turkey)”, posted at https://leesbird.com/2014/11/25/strangers-and-pilgrims/ .]

Sharing is a Christian virtue – and it was the Christian Pilgrims who reached out to their Indian neighbors, and invited them to share in the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving feast. The Pilgrims knew well that the best life is not a life of selfishness. Rather, the opposite is true: it is more blessed to give than to receive. In fact, that life principle was given by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, to the apostle Paul.

Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:34-35)

Of course, it’s silly to forget – when celebrating Thanksgiving – the role of God Himself! In fact, God is the ultimate source of all of our food, regardless of which human creatures are involved (as agents) in preparing and/or delivering good food to eat.

Nevertheless He left not himself without witness, in that He did good, and He gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:17)

There you have the answer:  it was God, more than anyone else, Who supplied the food for the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth!  So, as we appreciate and enjoy the Thanksgiving season, let us keep our priorities in mind – thanking God (for Who He is and for how He has blessed us) and sharing our blessing with others.  ><>  JJSJ

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Celebrating the Life-Saving Heroism of Alaskan Dog Mushers (and their Sled Dogs)

 Celebrating the Life-Saving Heroism of Alaskan Dog Mushers (and their Sled Dogs)

James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD, CNHG

sleddogs-alaska-iditarod

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  Galatians 6:10

Imagine a celebration of Siberian husky sled dogs, harnessed together as a racing team, guided by their human driver (called a “musher”), zooming across frigid snow trails in rural Alaska:  this is what happens in a commemorative festival/event called the IDITAROD TRAIL RACE.  (See the YouTube video footage below.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI3bliK7R94

The Iditarod is an outdoors reenactment-like celebration of dogsled mushing, to remember the heroic relay race – through day and night, blizzard winds, snow, and ice – to save human lives, during a life-or-death crisis in January-February AD1925, when a highly contagious diphtheria plague struck like a serial killer, menacing the almost-unreachable population of Nome, Alaska.

The crisis was a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, a town on the Bering Sea coast of Alaska, during the winter of 1925. The diphtheria antitoxin in Anchorage needed to be delivered to Nome immediately because townspeople were dying of the disease, but the community was unreachable by air, boat, train, or motor vehicle.

A group of 20 mushers (dogsled drivers) and about 150 sled dogs rushed marathon-style in relay teams across blizzard-blown trails—and even over a dangerous shortcut across a frozen part of a Pacific Ocean inlet called Norton Sound—spanning the 674 miles in five and a half days to deliver the precious vials of life-saving serum to a waiting physician in Nome. For dogsledding, this was the most heroic achievement in history [674 miles in 127½ hours!], with speed and distance records set (and still unbroken) and helpless hundreds of quarantined Nome residents saved from the lethal diphtheria epidemic.

One surviving Nome resident was eight-year-old Sigrid Seppala, the only daughter of a Norwegian immigrant, Leonhard Seppala, a well-known musher. His nonstop leg of the cross-country relay covered the worst stretch of terrain, plus the frozen Norton Sound sea-ice that broke up only hours after his dog team traversed it with the serum! Guiding lead dog Togo, Seppala confronted gale-force winds and subfreezing temperatures (30OF with a windchill of -85OF) day and night, covering 91 miles—more than twice the distance of any of the other mushers.

Sigrid and many others sick in Nome were saved by the antitoxin serum. Fulfilling the dominion mandate surely includes such safeguarding of human lives, many of whom later were fruitful and multiplied, advancing human progress toward filling the earth to God’s glory. God’s dominion mandate was advanced as humans literally “harnessed” the service of well-trained animals.

[Quoting James J. S. Johnson, “Siberian Huskies and the Dominion Mandate”, Acts & Facts, 42(6):18-19 (June 2013), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/siberian-huskies-dominion-mandate   —  citing Gay Salisbury & Laney Salisbury, THE CRUELEST MILES: THE HEROIC STORY OF DOGS AND MEN IN A RACE AGAINST AN EPIDEMIC (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2005), pages 46-245,  and  the interview of Jirdes Winther Baxter, in ALASKA: BIG AMERICA (The History Channel documentary, 2000).]

iditarod-trail-map-usgovt

Thanks to God – and to His servants, both human and canine – for providing the diphtheria plague’s remedy!  Many are alive today — thanks to God and His servants — who are direct descendants of Nome residents who survived the diphtheria epidemic, due to the heroism of the diphtheria serum relay race during January-February of AD1925.

No one has since equaled the dog-mushing distance/speed record set by those heroes, in AD1925. But we can remember their valor, including that of the sled-dogs (some of whom died of exhaustion), every time we see (or think of) another Iditarod dogsled race being run in Alaska.

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Sled dogs in snow, Winterlake Lodge (Finger Lake, Alaska)

And one lodge resort (Winterlake Lodge), located at the Iditarod’s Finger Lake checkpoint (Mile 198), has provided us with another way to celebrate that historic (and providential) event – a special protein-and-vitamins-rich recipe – demonstrating Mexican cuisine with an Alaskan accent – by Kirsten Dixon, as published in ALASKA MAGAZINE, 81(1):22 (February 2015).

ALASKA MUSHER’S MEAL

This hearty recipe comes from chef Kirsten Dixon of the Winterlake Lodge at the Finger Lake checkpoint of the Iditarod race. Dixon says, “We make our own adobo sauce and homemade tortillas and serve this dish with freshly diced salsa. For a decidedly Alaskan twist, we add smoked salmon.”

¼ pound Mexican soft-style chorizo, casings removed
2 packages (4 ounces) Mexican dried chiles [a/k/a “chilies”, below, or “chilis” or “chili peppers”]
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground [black] pepper
¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
8 4-inch flour tortillas
½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup cooked and heated pinto beans
1 cup fresh simple salsa
½ pound Alaska hot-smoked (kippered) salmon, skinned and flaked
1 small bunch cilantro
½ cup shredded Manchego cheese
1 small bunch green onion, green part minced
1 lime quartered

Preheat the oven to 350 [degrees] F.

Line a 13-by-18-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Crumble the chorizo into a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Cook thoroughly for about five minutes. Drain any grease from the pan. Set the pan aside.

Split the chilies in half, removing any stem and seeds. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat and toast the chilies two or three at a time, turning them while they are heating. They’ll change color slightly in the process.

Soak the chilies in enough water to cover until they’re soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the chilies and pat them dry.

Put a half-cup of water into a blender with the soaked chilies along with the garlic, vinegar, one teaspoon salt, the sugar, and ground cumin. Blend until smooth, adding in a bit more water if necessary to purée. Add the chili mixture into the cooked chorizo.

Heat the tortillas in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Place them onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tortillas with the Cheddar cheese. Place the baking sheet into the oven just [enough] to melt the cheese. Remove the pan from the oven and place each tortilla onto a warmed plate.

In a small nonstick sauté pan, melt one teaspoon of butter over medium-high heat until it is frothy. Crack one egg into the skillet and fry until the egg is set, about one minute. Slide the egg onto one fo the tortillas. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

Add some of the chorizo-chili sauce onto each tortilla. Spoon on some of the beans, some salsa, some flaked hot-smoked salmon, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Sprinkle each dish with some Manchego cheese and a little green onion. Season with salt and [black] pepper. Serve immediately with a wedge of lime.

Makes 4 servings.

[Quoting Kirsten Dixon, as published in ALASKA MAGAZINE, 81(1):22 (February 2015).]

alaska-sleddogs-sleeping-winterlakelodge

Sled dogs sleeping, Winterlake Lodge (Finger Lake, Alaska)

After eating a feast-dish like that, accented with Alaska salmon, one is reminded that good food is itself a proof positive of God’s kind and caring providence.

Food provides strong evidence of God’s wisdom and power as our Creator, as well as His goodness in providing for fallen mankind’s physical needs. In fact, the Bible teaches that the providentially programmed production of all food, anywhere and everywhere on earth, is itself a continuing proof that God is a caring Creator. The apostle Paul taught this:

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, Who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein, Who in times past allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and He gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:15-17, emphasis added)

Think about God’s providence and how it is displayed on earth.

God has demonstrated His immeasurable glory by His many acts of providential care for His creatures, especially humans and animals. Yet some of what God provides is so commonplace that it is routinely ignored, although that ignorance cannot negate the overwhelming proof of God’s providence. . . . .

Likewise, God’s provision of an amazing diversity of foods—around the world, in every age, in every culture, to every people group—is proof positive that God is Creator. Food is absolutely necessary to prolong our physical life.

Why? As a result of Adam’s sin, death entered the human race (Romans 5:12). God’s warning to Adam indicated a double-death penalty: “To die thou shalt die” (Genesis 2:17, which includes an infinitive-imperfect “double verb” in the Hebrew text).

Sin immediately triggered a relational break between Creator and creature, because God is holy. That relational break was a spiritual death, a separation from God that Paul called being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

Also, sin triggered an ongoing process of dying physically—what some scientists call “chemistry eventually wins out over biology”—so our human bodies die. Before birth, even from the time of conception, our physical bodies are dying, yet the metabolic profit we gain from eating food postpones and prolongs that dying process. (If you doubt food’s necessity, try abstaining from eating for two months!

In some humans, physical life is prolonged by food for more than a century.

But, in time, the condition of mortality takes its toll and we all anticipate death, even if we eat every day. Food only postpones the inevitable. But while it does, it is a life-sustaining fuel, an amazing and precious gift from our Creator, as well as a testimony to the amazingly complex and efficient world He designed . . . . .

No random “chance” could provide a satisfactory explanation for the results of God’s providential care,  — and the proof is everywhere, for those with eyes to see, even in every bite we eat. No wonder we are obligated to give thanks to God for our food.

[Quoting James J. S. Johnson, “Our Daily Bread:  How Food Proves God’s Providence”, Acts & Facts, 40(4):8-9 (April 2011),  posted at http://www.icr.org/article/our-daily-bread-how-food-proves-gods   —  quoting Acts 14:17.]

So, next time you hear — or read — about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska, remember what it commemorates — the amazing and historic life-saving heroism of the “Great Race of Mercy”  — accomplished by the diphtheria serum relay racers, a providentially blessed team of brave humans and resilient sled-dogs, who dared and braved the worst of winter weather, during January-February of AD1925, to defeat a serial-killer plague named Corynebacterium diphtheriae.

diphtheria-vaccination-poster-britain

PHOTOGRAPHS & OTHER IMAGE CREDITS:

Iditarod Sled Dogs:   http://helpsleddogs.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/4412510551_94c80e1f51_b.jpg

Iditarod National Historic Trail (U.S. government map / public domain)

Sled dogs in snow, Winterlake Lodge (Finger Lake, Alaska)
Fair Use photo credit: http://d3r6t1k4mqz5i.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_0086.jpg?f9f931

Sled dogs sleeping, Winterlake Lodge (Finger Lake, Alaska)
Fair Use photo credit: http://www.tordrillonorth.com/images/lodge-05.jpg

Diphtheria vaccination poster   (Great Britain: public domain), available at Wikipedia


 

OCTOBER 24th SHOULD BE A HOLIDAY!

jjsj-thames-with-billcooper-ad2006

Britain is graced by a laird, Bill Cooper,
Whose scholarship is quite super!
From stock of Scotch lochs,
Bill’s a true “paradox”!
Happy birthday, m’laird Bill Cooper!

COMMENTARY:  William R. (“Bill”) Cooper (shown left, by JJSJ, at the Thames, in AD2006) is a true “paradox”, because he earned a “pair of docs”: Ph.D. and Th.D., as well as other academic degrees. As a true Englishman, however, he has experienced the irony of learning about Scottish lineage within his own ancestry, including family history that verifies his status as a Scottish laird (according to applicable peerage laws). More importantly, of course, Dr. Dr. Bill is a Scripture-revering member of God’s forever family, being grafted thereunto by His Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ (by application of John 3:16), Whom Bill routinely glorifies in His prolific publications of Biblical apologetics/research (and his other milestones in God-honoring scholarship, including his educational contributions, as part of the Master Faculty team of ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics).  In his godly life, and in his many scholarly works, Bill exemplifies Ezra 7:10-based living.

Regarding Laird Bill’s notable (and noble) ancestry, see pages 16-18 of “DNA says Manx King, Somerled, the Celebrated Founding Father of Scottish Clans, had a ‘Norse’ Patrilinear Ancestry!”, posted by the Norwegian Society of Texas, at https://www.norwegiansocietyoftexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Somerled-family-history.JJSJ-pdf.pdf .  For a list of some leading publications by Dr. Cooper, see his Amazon author page, at: https://www.amazon.com/Bill-Cooper/e/B0034O27IC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1 .


 

DR. LUTHER’S HAMMER PIERCED THE DARKNESS

luther-statute-with-bible

While Spaniards the New World were chartin’
Dark-veiled was God’s truth of free pardon;
But one, knowing Greek grammar,
Unleashed Scripture’s hammer!
Thus God’s truth was unveiled, by Martin!

COMMENTARY: See Revelation 3:8 & Romans 1:17. Next year, on Reformation Day (i.e., October 31st), will occasion the 500th anniversary of Dr. Luther’s Scripture-advocating hammer at Wittenberg!  Thanks be to God, for Dr. Luther’s life, faith, and service!

LUTEFISK FOR CHRISTMAS: COD AT ITS BEST!

lutefisk-supper-road-sign-photo-by-jjsj

Lutefisk  Supper  Road-sign       (Cranfills  Gap,  Texas)

When it’s time, in Norway, for Jule
One dish “stands” alone, the crown jewel;
‘Tis cod, soaked in lye
Washed, boiled — don’t be shy!
Lutefisk! (How it makes my mouth drool!)

COMMENTARY:  Lutefisk is one of the more exotic illustrations of Acts 14:17. Regarding the Scandinavian (and Scandinavian-American) tradition of eating lutefisk at Christmastime, see “Bluebirds of Happiness, Plus Enjoying a Lutefisk Banquet”, posted at https://leesbird.com/2015/12/11/bluebirds-of-happiness-plus-enjoying-a-lutefisk-banquet/ .  Also, for an illustration of how lutefisk is appreciated in the northern parts of America (especially by Lutherans), see “For the Love of Lutefisk!” — posted at https://bibleworldadventures.com/2016/09/22/for-the-love-of-lutefisk/ .