"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" Spiritual Sacrifices Acceptable To God (2:5)


Spiritual Sacrifices Acceptable To God (2:5)


1. An important principle taught in the New Testament is that of "The
   Priesthood Of All Believers."
   a. It is true that under the Law of Moses there was a distinction 
      made between priests the common people
   b. Even today, many religions professing to be "Christian" have 
      developed a clergy-laity distinction
   c. But the New Testament teaches otherwise - Re 1:5-6; 1Pe 2:9

2. The fact is, in Christ we are ALL "clergy"
   a. I used to say that we had no clergy in the church, but in reality
      we have no "laity"
   b. Does this mean we are all free to use "clergy-parking"?  I'll let
      you discuss that with the security guards at the hospitals! 

3. As "a royal priesthood", our responsibilities are described in 1 Pe 2:5
   a. "to offer up spiritual sacrifices"
   b. "sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ"

4. My goal in this lesson...
   a. Is to make sure that we understand our duties as "a holy priesthood"
   b. And to encourage us to carry them out faithfully

[Let's take a closer look at the idea of "spiritual sacrifices"...]


      1. Our bodies, as "living sacrifices" - Ro 12:1-2
      2. A lifestyle characterized by sacrificial love - Ep 5:1-2
      3. Praise and thanksgiving, which we do in prayer and song 
         - He 13:15
      4. Doing good and sharing with others - He 13:16; Php 4:15-18
      5. Even in the way we die for the Lord! - Php 1:20; 2:17; 2Ti 4:6

      1. In the Old Testament, sacrifices were offered for one of two 
         a. For those OUT of fellowship with God, to restore them back
            to the Lord
         b. For those IN fellowship with God, to express thanksgiving, 
            praise, love and devotion
      2. But in the New Testament...
         a. Only Jesus can provide the sacrifice needed to restore us 
            back to God - He 10:11-18
         b. Therefore, it should be clearly understood that our 
            sacrifices are not to "remove sin" or in any other way to 
            try to "earn our way" into heaven!
      3. Rather, to express thanksgiving and praise, love and devotion,
         for the goodness and mercy God has shown to us!

[Such is the nature of the "spiritual sacrifices" we offer to God.  But
as our text says, they must be "acceptable to God".

We can learn some valuable lessons from the Book of Malachi about what
constitutes "acceptable sacrifices"...]


      1. Otherwise we despise the Name of God by offering "defiled food"
      2. Would we render the same kind of service to our employers,etc.?
      3. If not, God would rather someone "shut the doors" or let 
         someone else serve Him - cf. Mal 1:9-11
      1. Lack of zeal is evidence of lack of sincerity!
      2. Lack of both results in offering "blemished sacrifices", which
         brings a curse from Him who deserves proper reverence 
         - Mal 1:14-2:9
      3. How does this apply to our spiritual sacrifices?
         a. Like singing praises?
         b. Like doing good to others?

      1. The priests of Malachi's day had been quick to divorce their
      2. Even Peter taught that our treatment of wives would have a
         bearing on the effectiveness of our prayers - 1Pe 3:7
      3. This can be applied to many other things as well - cf. Ps 41:1-3


1. Some in Malachi's day did not think it of any value to serve the
   Lord faithfully - Mal 3:13-15

2. But others heeded his words, and it is touching to read what was
   said about them - Mal 3:16-18

3. Shall we be among those who serve God?  May we never forget that in
   the sight of God we are to be "a royal priesthood", called to offer
   "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ"!

May God help us to truly be one of His "jewels"!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Natural Attenuation: Proof of Divine Design by James Spencer, M.S., P.G.


Natural Attenuation: Proof of Divine Design

by James Spencer, M.S., P.G.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by one of A.P.’s auxiliary staff scientists. James Spencer holds a B.S. degree in Environmental Geology and an M.S. degree in Geology from the University of Mississippi. He has 24 years of technical services in the geosciences, including six years with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, as well as 18 years with private environmental consulting firms. Accredited as a Professional Geologist in three states (Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas), Mr. Spencer holds membership in the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists. He presently serves as Senior Hydrogeologist with EcoScience Resource Group.]
As a working hydrogeologist, I am constantly reminded of God’s handiwork. From the stratigraphic layers examined during drilling operations, to the calculation of groundwater velocities and contaminant transport based on complex governing equations, it is evident that a pre-planned, intentional system is in place. Evolutionists would have us believe that these natural processes have occurred by chance. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that these systems are the work of God. I am reminded of Deuteronomy 3:24—“O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?”


In 1984, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named a hazardous waste site in the state of Louisiana to the National Priority List (NPL). It was estimated at the time that the site held approximately eight million cubic feet of contaminated materials. A computer model was constructed for the site that would simulate the contaminant movement in the subsurface. Modeling efforts resulted in a successful negotiation with the EPA for monitored natural attenuation as the accepted remediation alternative. (“Natural attenuation” refers to the reduction, weakening, and eventual elimination of toxic substances in the soil and groundwater by nature’s own processes.) This EPA determination was a milestone for the site. Previously a pump-and-treat system, which was based on an initial groundwater model developed to simulate hydraulic containment, had cost millions of dollars to install, operate, and maintain. A carbon absorption system was used to treat the contaminated water recovered. By July 1998, over 170 wells were operational.
During this time of recovery well installation in the mid-1990s, field investigations continued in the direction the contaminants were anticipated to flow. Laboratory analysis of water samples discovered the presence of vinyl chloride (VC)—a compound not present in the parent (original waste) material. At the time, the presence of vinyl chloride confused investigators. After consultation with other governmental agencies, it was assumed that degradation (chemical breakdown) of the parent material was producing vinyl chloride as a daughter product. However, the driving agent of this degradation process, known as reductive dechlorination, was not fully understood. Natural attenuation was discussed, but was not yet an accepted environmental remedial alternative (i.e., clean-up solution) with the regulatory agencies. Change came with the release of a 1999 directive by the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER), titled “Use of Monitored Natural Attenuation at Superfund, RCRA Corrective Action, and Underground Storage Tank Sites.”
As research continued at this site (and others throughout the United States), the degradation process became better understood. Reductive dechlorination is a biological process that is used to describe certain types of biodegradation of chlorinated solvents in groundwater. For example, tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), and other chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons in groundwater, can be biodegraded by naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria (i.e., bacteria that are able to live without oxygen), most commonly of the genera dehalococcoides through a sequential degradation process. PCE degrades to TCE, TCE to dichloroethene (DCE), DCE to vinyl chloride (VC), and VCto ethene. This biodegradation occurs when anaerobic bacteria present in the contaminated site take electrons from organic compounds (called “electron donors”) and produce H2. The dechlorinating bacteria use the electron in the H2 to replace a chlorine atom.
Scientists wanted to substantiate these degradation processes, as well as develop rate constants for the reactive transport model (a computer model to simulate the transport of chemical compounds in groundwater, including the degradation of parent compounds and generation of daughter compounds). With the goal of observing the potential for natural attenuation of the chlorinated ethanes and ethenes present at the site, hydrogeologists conducted microcosm experiments to determine both the pathways and rates of contaminant transformation under natural conditions. The results indicated that the microbial population necessary to dechlorinate contaminants was naturally present in the site sediments. With this fact in hand, researchers could now define the degradation pathway.
Researches then developed a three-dimensional reactive transport model (RT3D—a multi-species reactive flow and transport simulation computer software) for the site, utilizing the results of the microcosm experiments to develop a site-specific reaction package to simulate the degradation processes. The model was calibrated to current conditions in order to make future predictions. Results indicated that the contaminant plume would stabilize over time and no sensitive receptors (i.e., drinking water aquifer, surface water body, etc.) would be impacted. Consequently, the EPAapproved monitored natural attenuation as the selected remedial alternative.

Microbial Population

Researchers conducted laboratory experiments in an attempt to identify, define, and quantify the microbial population present within the site subsurface (see Bae, et al., 2006; Bowman, et al., 2006). These efforts resulted in the identification of several unique microscopic bacteria, known as 16S rRNA gene sequences, that are closely related to Dehalococcoides ethenogenes. In addition, two new anaerobic bacterial strains were isolated and identified for the first time, and subsequently named after the site. The data demonstrated that a large number of novel bacteria were present in groundwater within the source zone, and the population appeared to contain bacterial components necessary to carry out reductive dechlorination.

Evolution of Thought

As noted in the above discussion, the “expert” thought has evolved from a pump-and-treat-solution to monitored natural attenuation as the accepted remedial alternative at this site. A computer model to simulate the degradation processes was developed for the site to simulate groundwater flow and contaminant transport with a site-specific reaction package. With a better understanding of the degradation processes and bacteria populations providing the driving force, natural attenuation has become an accepted remedial alternative at this site and many contaminated sites throughout the country. Despite increased understanding, scientists have yet to provide a complete and adequate definition of the microbial populations naturally present at all remedial sites.


To recap, in order to develop a computer model to simulate groundwater flow and contaminant transport, scientists must come to a proper understanding of the geologic, hydrologic, and biological processes occurring at the site. This understanding is fundamental when the goal is to develop a defensible strategy for monitored natural attenuation for presentation to regulatory agencies. Most importantly, the biologic processes at the Louisiana NPL site have been shown to be active and sufficient for reductive dechlorination of contaminants. But where did these microbial populations come from? Did they evolve to serve this purpose? Impossible, since, in direct contradiction to the evolutionary hypothesis, they would have had to evolve over a short period of time. After all, the contaminants present were not in existence millions of years ago. For example, PCE is a manufactured chemical compound widely used to dry clean fabrics and degrease metals. Michael Faraday first synthesized it in 1821 by heating hexachloroethane until it decomposed into PCE and chlorine. Since evolution cannot account for their presence, where did these microbes come from?
For creationists, the answer is simple and obvious. God created these bacteria. Humans did not create this built-in method of breaking down and neutralizing the artificial/synthetic toxic chemicals introduced by humans into the environment. All the efforts of feeble man to decontaminate the hazardous waste site were secondary, perhaps even superfluous, to the naturally occurring attenuation processes already present in the environment. The only logical explanation is that the Creator of the Earth deliberately embedded restorative properties in the environment in order for it to sustain itself for the Creator’s purpose. Essentially, all we “educated” humans can do is observe, monitor, document, and assign sophisticated jargon to what nature does automatically. God created His earthly creation to be self-sustaining, restorative, and resilient.


In the beginning, God created the Earth to be inhabited by man, and for man to rule the Earth and its resources (Genesis 1:26-30; Psalm 8:6-8). In addition, God placed within the dynamics of the Earth the processes by which He sustains it. The microbial populations that we scientists are just now identifying, and whose purpose we are just now beginning to understand, were created by God to sustain His creation. It is certainly true that man has made mistakes that have been detrimental to God’s Earth. However, it is also true that God is in control, and no matter what humans do—accidentally or purposefully—that may be harmful to the environment, God will sustain this Earth until it has served His purpose! “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).


Bae, H.S., Moe, W.M., Yan, J., Tiago, I., da Dosta, M.S., and Rainey, F.A. (2006), “Brooklawnia Cerclae Gen. Nov., Sp. Nov., A Propionate-Forming Bacterium Isolated From Chlorosolvent-Contaminated Groundwater,” International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 56:1977-1983.
Bowman, K.S., Moe, W.M, Rash, B.A., Bae, H.S., and Rainey, R.A. (2006), “Bacterial Diversity of an Acidic Louisiana Groundwater Contaminated by Dense Nonaqueous-Phase Liquid Containing Chloroethanes and Other Solvents,” FEMS Microbiology and Ecology, 58:120-133, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
U.S. EPA (1999), “Use of Monitored Natural Attenuation at Superfund, RCRA Corrective Action, and Underground Storage Tank Sites.” United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Directive Number 9200 (Washington, D.C.: OSWER).

Motivation: Chimpanzees and Humans by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Motivation: Chimpanzees and Humans

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

In late April 1996, I had the privilege of hearing a speech by Dr. Jane Goodall, the famed animal behaviorist. As you may know, she was a protégée of Louis Leakey who blazed trails for women scientists in the 1960s and achieved considerable recognition for her work on chimpanzees in East Africa. For all that, she has an innocent, soft-spoken charm about her. Most of all, she has a passionate concern for all animals, and for chimpanzees in particular. Although her research continues, she devotes much of her time to the preservation of wild chimp populations. Hunting, diminishing habitat, and the largely illegal live-animal trade have earned these creatures an unenviable place on the Endangered Species list.
Throughout most of her fascinating presentation, Goodall portrayed chimpanzees as intelligent beings, having complex social relations, showing a range of deep emotional states, and making rudimentary tools. In other words, audience members were supposed to get the message that these creatures differed from us only by degree (see Major, 1995, “Do Humans and Apes Differ Only by Degree?”). And, indeed, the audience made the right noises at the sight of an adorable baby chimp playing with its older sibling, and at the less pleasant sight of a grief-stricken juvenile who had lost its aged mother.
Goodall’s plea was quite simple: our sympathy for these animals should motivate us to come to their aid. She barely mentioned the “e” word (evolution, that is), but her approach resembled the appeals of others who would have us respect all individuals within our own species, and other species (especially those closest to us on the putative evolutionary tree), for no other reason than our shared ancestry. Richard Leakey has suggested that our common heritage “is a powerful motivation for reconsidering the blatant inequities in the world” (1981, p. 245).
But is it? Can a belief in the preeminence of chance and natural selection sustain us in our altruism toward chimps? Where, in a naturalistic ethic, is the incentive to avoid apathy? Without the sort of personal involvement enjoyed by Jane Goodall, many people are driven to put their own needs first. Ideally, Christians are motivated by love for God and, yes, fear also of transgressing His commands (1 John 2:3-5). This may not impress the atheist, but it encourages believers to make Christ-centered, rather than purely self-centered, decisions regarding their stewardship of God’s creation (Colossians 3:23; Psalm 8:3-8).


Leakey, Richard (1981), The Making of Mankind (London: Michael Joseph).
Major, Trevor (1995), “Do Humans and Apes Differ Only by Degree?,” Reason & Revelation, 15:87-88, November.

Morphing Flight: Beyond Irreducible Complexity by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.


Morphing Flight: Beyond Irreducible Complexity

by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A.P. auxillary staff scientist Dr. Fausz holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.]
Researchers and observers have long recognized that birds and various other flying creatures change the positioning of their body structures in flight in order to perform specific maneuvers or adjust their aerodynamic profile to accommodate changing flight conditions. This adaptive orientation of body shape has been dubbed “morphing” in the popular literature. The words “morph” and “morphing” are actually digressive forms of the word “metamorphosis,” which derives from the Greek “meta” (to change) and “morfe” (form). This is an apt description of the ability that birds possess to change the form or geometry of their bodies for increased maneuverability, as well as for stable flight in a wide variety of ambient conditions.
This eagle is pulling its feet against its body to reduce aerodynamic drag. Note also the craning of the wings (normally used to slow descent speed) and the spreading of the wing feathers to break up wing tips vortices that increase drag.
This capability has always been respected and often mimicked by aircraft engineers to the extent that it has been technologically possible to do so. Furthermore, bird observations have often inspired technological advancement in aircraft design and development. The Wright brothers incorporated morphing into their first successfully powered aircraft design. In a letter, Wilbur Wright described the biological observation that was the basis for this morphing design:
My observation of the flight of buzzards leads one to believe that they regain their lateral stability when partly overturned by a gust of wind, by a torsion of the tips of the wings (Wright, 1900, Image 4).
Consequently, the Wright brothers designed their first aircraft to be able to “twist” its wings for lateral stability and control, mimicking bird capability. Another well-known example of morphing in aircraft design is retractable landing gear which serves the same purpose for aircraft as when a bird pulls its feet up to its body in flight. That is, this type of morphing dramatically decreases aerodynamic drag which, in turn, increases energy efficiency for the bird of prey—which translates to fuel efficiency in aircraft. Additional “low-tech” examples of morphing include movable control surfaces used to impart forces and torques on the aircraft for maneuvering and stability, wing “slats,” “slots,” and “flaps” that extend to change the shape of the wing, providing higher lift at lower speeds for takeoff and landing, and variable “sweep” wings that allow aircraft to fly efficiently at dramatically differing flight speeds, such as in transitioning from subsonic to supersonic flight. In contrast with these examples of “low tech” morphing designs of the past, a morphing aircraft has been defined as “one that utilizes innovative actuators, effectors, or mechanisms to adapt its state substantially in order to enhance behavior and performance in addressing multiple environments” (Love, et al., 2007, emp. added). These past examples of morphing technologies were certainly innovative in their time, but are now fairly commonplace—not even considered “morphing” by some.
Nonetheless, research in new innovation for morphing aircraft is once again looking to birds for inspiration and guidance. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin stated:
NASA will open the door to a bold and revolutionary era by using technology to mimic nature. The seemingly effortless flight of birds provides the inspiration for new aircraft utilizing wings that reconfigure in flight. The vehicle changes—or morphs—from a low-speed configuration to one more suited for high speed (as quoted in Levine, 2001).
NASA is not the only organization actively pursuing aircraft morphing technology, however. A recent article described an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) currently under development, called “Roboswift” as “a small, remote-controlled aircraft that changes shape to mimic the aerodynamic profile of a swift” (Simonite, 2008). A researcher at the University of Florida, also studying morphing technology for UAVs, commented:
Despite the past century of innovation in aircraft technology, the versatility of modern aircraft remains far worse than airborne biological counterparts. The shape changing accomplished by birds and bats in flight stands as one of the few examples of true morphing. As such, the aircraft community is devoting considerable attention to the study of biological systems and how they might be implemented on a flight vehicle (Abdulrahim, 2005, emp. added).
Clearly, research in aircraft technology and design continues to draw ideas and inspiration from nature’s flyers. It is also clear that our technical capabilities seriously lag behind their naturalabilities.
In spite of the fact that aerospace researchers have birds and other flying creatures to show them “how it’s done,” morphing aircraft design poses some very daunting technical challenges. This fact was discussed in an article describing the Morphing Aircraft Structures (MAS) project being carried out by the Lockheed Martin company with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA):
Morphing technology development requires integrated research in materials, smart structures, multi-functional airframe, and adaptive control. It is necessary to evaluate these constitutive technologies in a morphing vehicle to establish requirements and assure readiness for technology implementation (Love, et al., 2007).
Another research team, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Northrup Grumman, further stated: “Significant design challenges require advances in smart structures and materials (skins), actuation and power distribution, and feedback control of the morphing structure” (Ghandi, et al., 2007). The implication here is that morphing design is highly multi-disciplinary (structures, aerodynamics, control, etc.) and that all of these areas require additional research before the technology readiness level will be sufficient to actually build a true morphing aircraft. These examples only scratch the surface of the extreme levels of government funding and human resources that have gone into morphing aircraft research, yet there is still much work that must be done before a viable design can be realized, mainly due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the problem.
Given the substantial resources that have been poured into morphing aircraft research without yet achieving the final objective, it seems inconceivable that researchers would look at their biological inspiration and assume that the capabilities they are striving to emulate were derived from an unprompted, undirected natural process. That is, however, what often occurs. Consider what one evolutionist insisted:
This provides a cautionary note for those pursuing biomimicry, direct replication of biological features: essential aspects of those biological features may be driven by secondary characteristics or functions unrelated to the features’ primary functions. The bat wing, with all of its elegant modifications for flight, is an obvious example. It is derived from a typical vertebrate forelimb with all of the associated musculature, skeletal, and neuronal architectural characteristics that were originally developed for terrestrial or aboreal locomotion. That is, it was not designed for propulsive flight a priori as an engineered device might be, but was modified from other structures that originated for other functions (Evers, 2007, p. 10).
Dr. Evers issued a warning here to all those engaged in morphing aircraft research that are proceeding from the perspective of biomimicry (copying nature)—that they may be in fact designing structures that are not optimally suited to their purpose because they are copying from organic structures that, presumably, were not designed for the purpose they serve. Note, however, that Dr. Evers states that the bat wing was “modified from other structures that originated for other functions” (p. 10, emp. added). One might wonder how the bat wing “was not designed for propulsive flight a priori,” but the “typical vertebrate forelimb,” from which it supposedly derived, “originated for other functions.” This type of “doublespeak” is not uncommon, however, in Darwinist writings, and it belies an underlying difficulty with Darwinian thought. Nature’s machines are so good at what they do that it is difficult for even die-hard Darwinists to accept that they all arose as a result of an undirected process even while arguing that they did.
Dr. Evers’ comments also illustrate how Darwinists will often focus on the structural aspects of animal functionality when comparing characteristics of different animals. As we have already noted here, however, morphing flight is an example of a capability that involves so much more than just the structural configurations that give animals such as bats, birds and butterflies the ability to fly. Indeed, morphing flight is a highly multi-disciplinary skill. The different disciplinary facets of morphing may be broken down as follows:


Flying creatures and machines must be able to detect or sense the condition of the atmosphere around them, as well as their own position and structural configuration, in order to be able to carry out the activity of flying in a given environment. Examples of the types of data that must be gathered include air speed, altitude, air pressure, position relative to other objects, and the position and shape of their wings at each moment (especially true if morphing is being employed). This capability can involve highly specialized sensors in aircraft such as angular rate gyros for measuring orientation, and ports along the wing for measuring air pressure. Flying animals are able to make use of typical animal sensing capabilities such as vision, hearing, and smell, but must also rely on some very special sensor systems. Examples of these special sensors in animals include echo-location in bats (Colley, 2004), a bird’s ability to sense linear and angular acceleration with its ears (Pennycuick, 2008, p. 307), and highly sensitive hair-like mechanoreceptors that allow insects to sense the approach of potential predators (Vaidyanathan, et.al., 2001). It has even been suggested, in recent research, that birds can sense the magnetic field of the Earth, providing valuable information for navigation (Brahic, 2008).


The sensor inputs from eyes, ears, etc., as well as specialized sensor systems, must be integrated and processed in the brain for biological flyers, or alternatively, the flight computer if one is considering the sensor systems of flying machines. The processing that must be carried out includes specialized algorithms for flight stability, guidance, navigation, and control. Flight stability is arguably the most important of these functions, since without stability it is impossible to remain in flight, and lack of stability in flying can easily lead to tragic results. In aircraft, flight stability algorithms are executed at the highest possible processing speeds and given top priority for processor usage. Guidance is the function that determines, to the highest possible accuracy, where the flyer is currently located, particularly with respect to where it needs to go. On the other hand, navigation compares guidance information with known geographical waypoints to compute the “best” course for the flyer to follow to end up where the guidance function wants it to go. The control function takes guidance and navigation information and generates commands for the actuation system to steer the flyer along the computed course. In biological flyers, these commands are electrical impulses from the brain that stimulate specific muscles and organs. In aircraft, the commands are also electrical signals that activate electric motors or trigger hydraulic actuation. Given the computational requirements of flight locomotion, it may not be surprising that the size of a bird’s brain with respect to its body size is, on average, 10 times that of the reptiles with whom they are assumed to share common ancestry (Jerison, 2004).


Morphing flight requires highly specialized structures, but it also requires equally specialized actuators to move and position those structures. The very definition of morphing aircraft, given previously, describes an aircraft that “utilizes innovative actuators, effectors, or mechanisms” (Love, et al., 2004). Natural flyers, as well, require a specialized skeletal structure and attached musculature to perform their amazing feats of aerial acrobatics. Mujahid Abdulrahim discussed the wing craning actuator on his morphing aircraft design and the specialized bird structure that it was modeled after:
The wing craning (gull-wing) mechanism is loosely modeled after a set of parallel bones connecting the shoulder and elbow joints of a bird wing. A rotation of the shoulder joint in the vertical plane results in an extension or contraction of the entire wing. The skeletal mechanism provides a geometric ratio between the extension of the inner and outer bones. Such a mechanism allows the bird to morph into a variety of positions using a single movement. Each of the positions is largely stable and affords a unique capability within the flight envelope (2005).
The specialization of this “skeletal mechanism” for morphing flight is clearly illustrated in this narrative, and the muscles that actuate these motions would be expected also to be specialized for the task in their attachments to the skeletal structure, as well as their configuration.
So, each of these “subsystems” require specialized components to fulfill their part in enabling the wonders of morphing flight. The manner in which these subsystems interact, however, is equally critical to the success of morphing in providing a positive contribution to flight capability. The sensory outputs have to provide specific information to be useful for stability, guidance and navigation, and the computational capability has to have sufficient processing capacity and be “wired” in such a way as to operate effectively on that information. Similarly, the computation function has to possess information about actuator configuration and dynamics in order to output appropriate command signals to achieve the objective of flight stability and to successfully execute the desired motion in flight. Finally, the actuators have to possess the dynamic range, as well as force and torque magnitudes, to achieve the necessary changes in body shape and position in a timely fashion.
Multiple components of bird anatomy have been studied in the literature with respect to the irreducible complexity they possess regarding the bird’s ability to fly. For example, Matthew Vanhorn discussed the amazing complexity of bird feathers (Vanhorn, 2004), Caleb Colley pointed out how bats use their ears (hearing) for echolocation (2004), and irreducible complexity has been examined in general terms with regard to various components of bird physiology (Fausz, 2008). These discussions of the various elements of bird physiology are compelling irreducible complexity arguments when one considers the specialized requirements of flight systems (cf. Miller, 2006, 5[2]:5-R).
This block diagram illustrates the interconnection and interdependence of the major subsystems involved in achieving advanced flight capability.
When these physical components are considered in a system context, however, the arguments of irreducible complexity are taken to a whole new level. As discussed, the bird’s brain must have sufficient capacity to carry out the required computations, but this capacity is useless for flight without the required sensor information or the appropriate actuation systems for carrying out the computed commands. Likewise, without the necessary brain capacity the specialized sensing and actuation components would serve no purpose, and would likely be detrimental to survival. Useful flight capability is not possible without flight stability, at a minimum, and this is only possible if the necessary sensor, computer, and actuator components are all in place. Indeed, attempting flight without stability will, with high probability, result in the death of the flyer.
The multi-disciplinary nature of morphing flight has already been discussed, but is further reflected in the following:
To lay the foundation for a truly multi-role aircraft, multidisciplinary research efforts are currently focusing on technologies that enable substantial changes to the wing configuration.... Aerodynamics analysis [sic] (including unsteady and transient aerodynamics) are also important to accurately characterize the vehicle for control surface sizing, engine compatibility, and flight-control design. Despite significant strides to develop wing structure and actuation systems, much work remains to effectively control both the morphing planform as well as the entire morphing aircraft (Ghandi, et al., 2007).
This discussion illustrates that, even in focused research, it is difficult to make sure that all aspects of a significant multi-disciplinary problem are given adequate attention. This is no less true when it comes to biological creatures capable of morphing flight.
The irreducible complexity associated with bird feathers and other components of bird physiology are enough of a challenge to the Darwinian notion of natural selection to render it impractical. However, when one considers the system level implications of morphing flight, and the necessity of simultaneous development of multiple combinations of these physical components, natural selection as an explanation for morphing flight capability is seen to be absolutely irrational. Furthermore, the difficulty of achieving this capability in flying machines, even with substantial resources focused within a significant research effort, illustrates that birds are the product of, not just design, but of an incredibly capable Designer with an unparalleled understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of the problem. That Designer, of course, is God, who spoke to Job on this subject:
Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
and spread its wings toward the south?
Does the eagle mount up at your
command, and make its nest on high?
On the rocks it dwells and resides,
on the crag of the rock and the stronghold.
From there it spies out the prey; its
eyes observe from afar (Job 39:26-29).
Here God describes the computational capability inherent in a hawk flying by “wisdom” and an eagle by “command.” He also indicates the tremendous acuity of the eagle’s eyes for sensing prey, as well as several other facts about the behavior of these birds. Truly, only an omniscient, omnipotent God would possess this knowledge and the ability to apply it in such wondrous works of design and creation. Few birds have more impressive morphing flight capability than birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, making them perfect examples of the amazing design ability of the Creator.


Abdulrahim, Mujahid (2005), “Flight Performance Characteristics of a Biologically-Inspired Morphing Aircraft,” 43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, January 10-13, Reno, NV.
Brahic, Catherine (2008), “Birds Can ‘See’ the Earth’s Magnetic Field,” New Scientist, [On-line], URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13811-birds-can-see-the-earths-magnetic-field.html.
Colley, Caleb (2004), “Bat ‘Vision’,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2633.
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Jerison, Harry J. (2004), “Dinosaur Brains,” Encyclopedia of Neuroscience (CDROM: Elsevier), third edition.
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God’s Attributes (Part 5) He is Merciful by Ben Fronczek


God’s Attributes (Part 5) He is Merciful

Here is a hard question for you. In your life thus far, how many times do you think you’ve broken God’s laws, any of His commandments, how many times do you think you have sinned against Him?
– How many times have you lied,
– or used His Holy name in vain,
– or taken something that didn’t belong to you,
– or coveted something someone had.
– Or how many times have you been greedy.
– How many times have you lusted,
– or envied, or plotted evil, or let you anger get out of control,
– or gossiped about another,
– or didn’t help someone in need when you should have,
– or even grumbled or selfishly complained.
– How many times have you gotten downright drunk or stoned.
– How many times have you become impatient,
– or said something nasty about or to another?
How many time have you sinned, intentionally or even unintentionally? Probably more than you can ever remember. And if just one sin was not taken care of it would keep you out of heaven.
If Jesus had not beaten, and nailed to that cross to die for you and the sins you committed, and you stood in judgment before God this day what would His verdict be?    Scary thought isn’t it!
Today I will be talking about an attribute of God that is very important to us, and that is His Mercy.
And what is mercy? Where God’s grace refers to Him pouring out unmerited and unearned gifts to us; His mercy refers to Him withholding from us what we really deserve.
How important is Mercy in scripture. Someone once wrote; “God’s mercy is actually a monumental theme in Scripture, the English word appearing some 341 times in the Bible. The four Hebrew and three Greek words associated with this term appear a total of 454 times and are also translated as “kindness,” “loving kindness,” “goodness,” “favor,” “compassion,” and “pity.” Of the 66 books of the Bible, only sixteen do not use one of these words for mercy.” (Henry Morris III)
Ps. 145:9 indicate God mercy is abundant
Ps 136:1 Say “His Mercies edureth for ever:” (NKJ)
Ps 103:17 “from everlasting to everlasting.” (NKJV)
Since we are all sinners (as Romans 3:23 states) we all deserve death or an eternal separation from God. But God choosing not to cast us away and not destroy us is an act of mercy. He chose to withhold what you deserve.
Tomas Watson said that “Mercy is the result and effect of God’s goodness”
This scholar also goes on to mention some other things concerning God’s mercy: His said,
#1. It is the great design of the Scripture to represent God as merciful. This is a loadstone to draw sinners to Him. We are drawn to His merciful, gracious, long-suffering, and abundance of goodness.
#2. God is more inclinable to mercy than wrath. Mercy is his darling attribute, Micah 7:18 says that “He delights in mercy.
#3. Mercy sweetens all God’s other attributes. God’s holiness without mercy, and his justice without mercy would be terrible. His mercy holds back the speedy execution of His Justice.
#4. God’s mercy is one of the most beautiful pearls in His crown; it makes the Godhead appear amiable and lovely. God’s mercy is His glory. His holiness makes Him illustrious; His mercy makes Him attractive.
#5. All experience God’s mercy to some degree.
#6. One act of mercy engages God to another. A parent’s love to his child makes him always giving.
#7. As God’s mercy makes the saints happy, so it should make them humble. Mercy is not the fruit of our goodness, but the fruit of God’s goodness.
So far we have seen that God is all powerful – that most powerful being, period; omnipotent, and sovereign and the creator for all. He is also an eternal being. Time does not past for Him. And because HE is outside the dimension of time He can see all at once and is ever present. In other words He is omniscient and omnipresent.
He is also totally and perfectly HOLY and He transcends all others because of His perfect morality and total uniqueness. And in the last lesson in this series I touched on how His holiness affects all of His other attributes.
And Because He is absolutely holy we would never have the hope we have as Christians if He did not remove our sin. We need to be cleansed.
The salvation God provides is an illustration of both His mercy and His grace. We are sinners we deserve judgment and to be cast from from His Holy presence forever. But because chose to show us mercy, and because we believe in and accept His wonderful gift of Jesus’ saving sacrifice, and accept Him as our Lord and Savior… which cleanses us of sin, He gives us the hope of eternal life with Him… that’s grace, or the unearned, unmerited favor of God.
Romans 5:8 ESV “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Eph 2:3-5 (NIV) “…Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”
1 Peter 1:3 ESV “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Really that’s what the Christian story is all about. God showing us His love mercy for us His children despite the fact we have messed up more times than we can even count.
So how should we respond to God’s mercy?
Closing:   In Joel 2:12-14 the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. 14 Who knows? Perhaps He will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse.”
He asks you to turn back to Him. If you’ve messed up again, then turn back to Him again. For in Lamentations 3:22-23  we are told The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
 What will you choose to do this day? I pray that you will return to Him this day not matter what you did yesterday or the day before. Like the Father of the Profigal son He waiting with open arms for your return.

For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

Rejoice in God and cast your care on Him. by Roy Davison


Rejoice in God and cast your care on Him.
Around 1990 Rita and I were walking through the narrow streets of a village in Germany after dark when two teenage boys sauntered past singing, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”
This refrain from Bobby McFerrin’s song expresses two teachings of Christ. “Do not worry about your life” (Matthew 6:25) and “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad” (Matthew 5:12).
This does not mean that we have no troubles. As Bobby McFerrin sings: “In every life we have some trouble. When you worry you make it double.”
Christians rejoice in God and cast their cares on Him.

Don’t worry!
Worry is excessive concern.
“Do not worry about your life” (Matthew 6:25). “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25).
Christians need not worry because God has promised: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6, 7).
A distinction must be made between healthy concern and worry. Emotional involvement in problems is not wrong. It can lead to constructive action. Paul spoke of his “deep concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28).
There is a big difference, however, between thinking about a problem and worrying about a problem. Worry involves a feeling of dread and anxiety that is negative, depressing, exhausting and paralyzing.
Materialism causes much worry. We worry when we are overly concerned about material and temporal things. Jesus explained: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. [Mammon is the god of money.] Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:24-26).
When we see how richly God provides for life on earth, we know that He will care for us as well. “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:32-34).1 Worry pulls tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.
Trusting in the providence of God, we can take life as it comes. Jesus does not deny that we have troubles. He just tells us to deal with them one day at a time. Each day, God will give us what we need for that day. Jesus tells us to pray, “Give us day by day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3).
Paul also tells us to pray rather than worry: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Praying and thankfully counting our blessings puts our troubles into perspective.
I once saw an amusing wall plaque: “Why pray when you can worry?”
Worry is futile. If you can do something about a problem, ask God for help and get to work. If you can do nothing about a problem, turn it over to God in prayer.

Be happy!
God wants us to be happy. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad” (Matthew 5:12). “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). 
In Christ we have the joy of salvation. After the Philippian jailer was baptized “he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household” (Acts 16:34). The Ethiopian eunuch went on his way rejoicing after he was baptized by Philip (Acts 8:39).
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1, 2). We rejoice “in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:11).
The joy that dwells in the heart of a Christian does not preclude grief. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). “Jesus wept” even when He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead. But we are never defeated by grief.
Even in the darkest hour we can have inner happiness because we have hope. The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our hope of eternal life.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9).
We can rejoice even in the midst of persecution: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11, 12).
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! for indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets” (Luke 6:22, 23).
Peter explains: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12, 13).
Jesus tells His followers: “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). We rejoice because Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven (John 14:1-3, 27, 28). 
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1). “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
Don’t worry. Be happy. Rejoice in God and cast your care on Him.

Roy Davison

1 See also Luke 12:22-31.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise. Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive