Archive for May, 2010

The very idea of knowledge has many fascinating angles. Four examples are the wonder of discovery (Hey, just think, that old person with dementia that you feel so sorry for is really very happy because of their new discoveries each and every day, even if they are just old ones rediscovered), the satisfaction of knowing (This doesn’t have to be arrogance or pride but can be refamiliarization of an old friend, like when I eat a good peach knowing beforehand that it will be good and confirming afterwards that it was as it should be), the humility of not knowing, and the “need” to know (OK, desire to know).  For example, the other day another teacher sent several students to me with a catch they had made behind the school assuming that I was the resident spider expert.  They would only accept a quick answer so I gave one, “Wolf spider.”  I said that I was interested in looking more closely at it and satisfied, they agreed to leave it with me.  Lycosidae is indeed the family of “Wolf Spider” and I thought it would be interesting to key it down to genus or perhaps even species.  So I got out my page-darkened “How to Know the Spiders” by BJ Kaston and began keying from the beginning.  But I couldn’t get to Lycosidae.  Oh well, thought I, I’m abit rusty.  I’ll go straight to the Lycosidae family key and continue.  Try as I might every attempt ran into a dead end.  I Googled terms to get me back up to speed; I worked backwards from supposed possibilities. Perhaps this had been a bit longer ago than I thought.  Then I thought to go back and read the family description. The eyes of Lycosidae are recurved and of two different sizes. Oops, this spider definitely had eight eyes of almost identical size in two straight rows.  Now I was experiencing knowledge-based vertigo, disorientation.  Oh well, the only other similar spider family is Pisauridae, “Nursery web spiders”.  They are fequently hunters as the wolf spiders and therefore do not build webs, but I did not remember any of that family being so big.  The females build a web around the egg sac and keep watch to protect it.  Before this they carry the egg sac in their chelicerae (the projections that hold their fangs) whereas the wolf spiders carry their egg sacs with their spinerets (other end!).  I promptly keyed the spider out to Dolomedes vittatus, Fishing Spider. I definitely had a female and probably pregnant.  The males have a white band down the center of the carapace and around the margins of the same.  This speciment was dark brown with tan spot on its abdomen.  These live near streams and catch insects, spiders, and occaisional minnows!  I enjoyed discovering the true identity of the spider.  The realization of what I did know that enabled me to discover this and the use of a once well-worn key, the humility of having been wrong reminded me of how little I know compared to others and the many things only God knows, while the “need” to know drove me on to discovering the identity and habits of a backyard neighbor.  Enjoy the pictures.

Dolomedes vittatus, Fishing Spider

Some people call it too much time on your hands, but being a good teacher involves a continued love of knowledge and a solid knowledge base.  Modern educational theory rejects knowledge base as no more than a trivial side light, emphasizing the art and practice of teaching.  Without diminishing these I submit that students want teachers that know something.  It takes time and effort.

From the Kaston "Spider" Key, female on the right

The author of knowledge and wisdom must enjoy us obtaining it in whatever respectable form.  To Him be the glory!

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This poem does not feel complete to me, but it is all that I know to do with it now.  We are all saved by grace but I believe that God has and is dealing with us through different adminstrative dispensations.  This poem attempts to touch on that theme but as I say needs much “filling out”.

Set up for praise, honor, and fame
This good promise to Israel came
Nations are not treated the same
For the sake of God’s holy name
Obey His commands was required
Know your God and Him be desired
Never in idol worship mired
Not in doing the good be tired
It was by Him sovereignly planned
Blessing or curse on Israel’s land
And offspring few or like the sand
Obey and trust His gracious hand
We are the people of the Lord
By Christ’s blood salvation afford
Love Him well, keep His word the sword
In trusting Him comes great reward

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After a Long Winter

Yes, it was an exceptionally long winter, using nearly twice as much firewood as I have ever used while in this house or this county, but the length was prolonged for me by serious illness from which I am not fully recovered.  Therefore, I am all the more grateful to my Creator for allowing me sufficient energy to get out into Creation with my 4th son the other day and take these pictures.  I hope that you may enjoy them a fraction of the amount I did.

Solomon's Seal

Yellow Poplar

Dog Hobble and ?


High Shoals Falls
One Oak Tree

I forgot to tell you that we are getting ready for next winter!


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The more I read the Old and New Testaments, the more I think that God is most usually repeating Himself in the New and expanding on the thought.  When He repeats Himself He must have a reason and we had better listen carefully. For instance, we tend to believe Leviticus to be the driest of reading and yet Jesus quotes it several times in the Sermon on the Mount and other places throughout Matthew. Hebrews also frequently uses Leviticus; we should look closer at it.  Among the most repeated Old Testament passages are those of Psalms 110.  I have long been fascinated by the repetition of verse one in the New Testament which reads, “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’”  It is indeed important and the unfolding of its interpretation in the New Testament is quite interesting.

          In order to understand the train of thought it is helpful to have some understanding of the psalm itself.  In just seven verses it packs in amazing insight on three persons and two groups of people.  The first person in sequence and in priority is the LORD (Yahweh in Hebrew), the Great I AM, who is the covenant-keeping God revealing Himself to Abram in Exodus 3:14-15, and who is declared Creator (Exodus 20:11) as He acts as Law-giver in the conveying of the Ten Commandments.  He is speaking to the Lord (Adonai in Hebrew), who Yahweh declares will rule (v.2) and preside as a permanent priest (v.4) and reside at Yahweh’s right hand.  The third person indicated in the psalm by “my” is David, who wrote the psalm, the present king of Israel. Because he refers to “my Lord” he clearly identifies himself as a servant of Adonai.  He is perhaps standing at the foot of the throne as Yahweh makes these declarations to Adonai in verses 1-4 and Adonai responds in verses 5-7.  And Adonai’s response is just as bold as Yahweh’s declarations as He affirms that He will fulfill His position and role.  From this position of strength, at the right hand of Yahweh, Adonai will act as a warrior king, smashing the enemies among whom He rules (v.2,6).  As a picture of the victorious champion He will lift up His head from drinking (v.7) as He pursues His enemies, fully confident of the outcome, which is, His enemies as a footstool (v.1). His people are those who freely volunteered when He came to power, plentiful as dew and sanctified (holy array) from the inception of His rising (dawn) (v.3).  His people are greatly blessed by walking in the victory He is given by Yahweh and secures by His rule, while His enemies, the kings and their nations will be shattered and their corpses spread over a wide country (v.6).  When the enemies are subdued He will continue as a priest among His people even as Melchizedek, king of peace and righteousness (Hebrews 7:2).  Melchizedek, and therefore Adonai by Mechizedekian priesthood, is clearly greater than Abraham, the father of the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:4-7), because Abraham blesses him.  Thus, He will fulfill being “a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices” (Zechariah 6:13).  But who is this “Branch” (Zechariah 6:12), this Lord, this king, this priest, this champion?  The proclamation of who is laid out in careful sequence with abundant evidence in the New Testament.  I want to write about that another day.

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Overflows from the Heart

"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…" Matthew 15:18


Pointing to the One who made, saved, and sustains