My New Sulcata Tortoise From CCSB Reptile Rescue

My New Sulcata Tortoise From CCSB Reptile Rescue

sulcata tortoise
sulcata tortoise

Last week I had the privilege to visit Chad Griffin of CCSB Reptile Rescue in order to purchase a rescued Sulcata tortoise from him.  While we were there Chad graciously agreed to let us interview him and film his operation.  I was like a kid in a candy store, around every corner there were amazing creatures happily looking on as I explored the expanse of Chad's basement where they were housed.  Chad's rescue, CCSB, serves as a place or refuge for animals that are often feared and misunderstood.  Many of the animals in his care were from coordinated raids by local and state law enforcement agencies.  Often people will take on animals that they are ill equipped to care for and whether they're injured, seized, or just surrendered to CCSBChad cares for them all.

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We got to witness everything from harmless chameleons and boas to the potentially fatal cobras, vipers and crocodilians.  I just couldn't stop smiling.  As someone who shares a passion for animals I was also encouraged that Chad and I share a faith in Jesus Christ.  Chad considers himself a preacher first and his faith and integrity in this regard are unshakable.  We learned that CCSB offers certification classes to help address local and state laws regarding wildlife, animal first aid and treatment, as well as many other things.  This is definitely something worth checking into and I know I for one will be enrolling in one of his classes in the future.

 

I met Chad several years ago at a reptile show and I was encouraged that I wasn't the only weirdo on the block with a love for Jesus and these creepy crawly friends of mine.  I have been wanting to get a larger Sulcata (aka African Spur Thigh) tortoise for my Catching Creation programs for some time now and when I heard that Chad had a few in need of a new home I jumped at the opportunity.  This amazing creature is going to be a hit with kids and families this year in my programs.  I can't wait to share him with you all!  Did you see our last EPISODE about my Argentine Tegu "Bucky?"  Click HERE to check that out!  Have you seen our "Possum Catching 101" video and article yet?  Click HERE to check that out!

To check out Chad and all CCSB has to offer click HERE

Until Next Time,

Have a great adventure and remember Jesus Loves you!

Do You Live Like A Feral Cat?

Do You Live Like A Feral Cat?

Have you ever driven behind a restaurant only to see massive quantities of feline scavengers? When a cat looses its desire to be captive and domesticated it will revert to a wild, or feral state. In many cases they retain some semblance of their former life in the first generation, but their offspring are often so wild they are untamable. This can lead to all sorts of trouble for both cats and people. Feral cats are a destructive, disease carrying menace that often preys on native wildlife and destroys the ecology of native species.

feralcatThe people of Israel began to act as if they were feral in the land promised to their forefathers after Joshua and the elders of his generation died out. They were the second generation so to speak and began to take on the wild tendencies of a feral animal. Judges 2:10-14 says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.”

The fate of feral cats often includes capture and detainment in shelters, euthanasia, disease, and harmful interactions with traffic. If they would stay close to the hand that feeds them they would enjoy the safety and provision of a loving home, but when they decide to go wild and do things their own way the outcome is much more destructive to them. The same is true of the people of God. When we are in relationship with the Lord we can enjoy the comforts of our loving Father, but if we are not in covenant as believers with Jesus then we can only expect destruction. Do you live like a feral cat?

 

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of “Whispers In The Woods” to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  ClickHERE to order a copy!

Can You Tame Your Tongue?

Can You Tame Your Tongue?

Have you ever had the experience of taming an animal? It could be as simple as training a puppy to do simple commands or habituating a reptile that you have caught in the wild to be accustomed to handling. As someone who works with animals on a regular basis I know that taming animals is all about consistency. You have to do the same things at the same times so that the animal gets used to you and understands that you don’t mean it any harm. It can often be a frustrating process and even be cause for the occasional bite or scratch but the end result is far more rewarding.

teguJames, the half brother of Jesus, talks about the taming of the tongue in the 3rd chapter of his epistle. James 3:7-8 says, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” This doesn’t mean that we have free license to say anything we want but that in our own power we are incapable of taming our tongues. When we become believers in Christ we are made into a new creation and Jesus becomes Lord over our lives.

Jesus is able to tame even the vilest of tongues and use it for his glory. The unrepentant tongue can produce words that are like poison to the hearer. As believers we are called to bring life, not death. Scripture also says that we will be judged for every careless word we speak. We must remember that and be more cognizant of the words we speak. Let us speak life to those around us! Can you tame your tongue?

 

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Can You Defend Your Faith Against A Sasquatch?

Can You Defend Your Faith Against A Sasquatch?

I have been fascinated with the allure of Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch, Yeti, Skunk Ape, etc.) since I was a kid. I mean who hasn’t watched that iconic Patterson film from the 1960’s and wondered if it was in fact not a hoax but a potentially undiscovered large primate. I am the eternal skeptic though and often read stories about Bigfoot only to later see that they have been debunked as a fallacy or just someone’s attempt at their 15 minutes of fame. I do, however, commend the Bigfoot community in their efforts to authenticate their findings and their tireless searching and research on the subject matter.sasquatch

I wish I could say the same thing for the average Christian. Can you defend, or even explain your faith to an unbeliever? This is something Jude, the half-brother of Jesus felt very strongly about in the beginning of his epistle. Jude 1:3 says “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”

Jude addresses fellow believers and it seems almost mid-thought he changes course from encouraging them about their shared salvation and begins pleading with them to contend for their faith. The mental imagery he was painting about defending the faith was something very physical, something reminiscent of a Roman gladiator fighting for his life. We are called to preach the word of God and proclaim His truth so we must know the word in order to defend it. I encourage you to pick up your sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, and start defending your faith. Can you defend your faith against a Sasquatch?

 

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Catching Creation Adventure Playlist

Catching Creation Adventure Playlist

I have decided to make a playlist on YouTube to make it easier to find our adventure episodes since I post a variety of clips and teachings on the site.  This is around 20 videos and approximately 5 hours of creepy crawly good stuff!  Check it out!

 

 

If you'd like any of these adventures on DVD make sure to visit www.CatchingCreation.com/store

 

Do You Sleep Like A Bear?

Do You Sleep Like A Bear? Do you live in a place where bears can be frequently seen on spring and summer days? That must be terrifying! Lock your doors immediately! With all joking aside if you have ever noticed the behavior of bears you notice that their activity starts to slow down once the weather gets cold and pretty soon their sightings stop altogether for several months. During the cold winter month’s bears will often hibernate because of a lack of available food. This process is quite interesting to me as their bodies simply slow down their metabolic processes and this allows them to essentially “sleep” through the harsher months.

How many times as Christians does it seem that when times get tough we will simply shut down and go to sleep? It is quite the easy route to take when we forget the power of Christ that resides in us. Our natural inclination is to just slow down our rate of activity in order to enter into false rest. When scripture talks of sleeping it usually is a metaphor for death, as in the case with Lazarus in the Gospel of John as well as in Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:13-14 says, But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” So even when times are hard and we just want to ball up and go to sleep both physically and spiritually we must remember that the light of Christ has illuminated us. Jesus calls us back to life and requires us to carry our cross even when it gets heavy. Do you sleep like a bear?

Photo Credit:  Jim Bauer

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My Jesus I Love Thee

My Jesus I Love Thee

Stephen LaVine -- My Jesus I Love Thee

I am constantly amazed at how breathing new life into something old can make it take on new life.  Think about your life prior to Jesus, aren't you glad God breathed that breath of redemptive grace in you through the Holy Spirit?  Aren't you glad for that transformation?  Often worship leaders, like my good friend and fellow Catching Creation team member, Stephen LaVine will take something old and make it new.  In this case, Stephen took the 19th century hymn "My Jesus I Love Thee" and put his own original acoustic spin on it.

Stephen's heart for worship and giftedness in both musicianship and vocal ability have constantly left my jaw on the floor.  "That boy can saaaang" as my country brethren from Stephen's neck of the woods would say.  I am honored and blessed to get to work with Stephen on Catching Creation videos as well as the occasional tag team for a ministry event but most of all I'm humbled to have this talented guy as one of my closest friends.  We will be featuring some of his music on the weekly Catching Creation episodes once we roll out the new format later this year.

Check out his amazing rendition of "My Jesus I Love Thee" below, share it with a friend, and subscribe to his youtube channel because you're not going to want to miss all that he has in store this upcoming fall!

Breaking Through

Breaking Through

Check out my wife singing "Breaking Through" Originally by Jeremy Riddle and Performed By Jessica Lake and the WSFirst Worship team.  She is amazing and I'm always blown away at how talented and heartfelt she is both as a worshipper and as a believer.  I aspire to one day have the faith my wife has.

Written by Jeremy Riddle © 2013 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP).

Have You Been Restored?

Have You Been Restored?

For the last few months I have been helping a friend remodel his 1890's era farmhouse to get it ready for sale.  It's been an exhausting and rewarding process restoring the house and updating things as we go to make it more attractive for potential home buyers. The process has reminded me of the work of discipleship in our lives.  Christ uses this process to refine us, discipline us, and make us more attractive to the father.  Sometimes old things have to be ripped out so the newer, better, updated versions can be installed.  Hebrews 12:11 says "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  
Have You Been Restored
What are some areas in your life that may need remodeling?  Are there areas in our live's that can be surrendered to the master carpenter, Jesus?  Although it's not a comfortable prayer, I encourage you to ask the Lord to reveal any areas in your life that may need some rough edges sanded off of and then allow Jesus to refine you so that you can produce that harvest of righteousness.  I know that's been my prayer lately, Jesus refine me, restore me, renew my heart and allow me to serve you better than ever before.  Our world is changing and we need to be as prepared as possible to meet it with the love of Christ!  

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Elon University Radio Interview

Elon University Radio Interview With Alex Rose

Recently I was contacted by Elon University radio host Alex Rose about my ministry, Catching Creation.  He was intrigued with what I do and made the hour or so drive from Burlington, NC to Winston to come record an interview about Catching Creation.  I think he did a great job with the interview and editing.  Check it out.

Are You Like The Tree Planted By Water?

Are You Like The Tree Planted By Water?

One of my favorite trees in the forest happens to be a small obscure tree called the ironwood, sometimes called the blue beech.  This tree lives out its life very close to streams and in areas where the soil stays moist continually.  The ironwood is known for its strength and when you touch its trunk it feels twisted like someone flexing their muscles.  This tree is a very real reminder of what the Psalmist is saying in the first Psalm.

Psalm 1:3 says, He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”  When we are walking in the righteousness of God we are in an environment that is nurturing to our soul and allows us to put down deep roots that are sustained by God.  We will bear fruit in the proper season and are able to reap the rewards of our faith because our God is faithful.  Are you like the tree planted by water?

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Are You LIke The Tree Planted By Water?

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A Lizard Can Be Regenerated, Can You?

A Lizard Can Be Regenerated, Can You?

I had the privilege of growing up in the country and spending most of my time outside catching snakes, frogs, lizards and just about anything else that crawls.  One thing I learned from a very early age was that if you grabbed a lizard by the tail in an attempt to catch it, you would be left with a bloody wiggling appendage.  Lizards have fracture planes in their tails that help them to drop their tails in an effort to entice and distract a predator so it can make a quick escape.  The coolest part of the whole process is that not only does the lizard drop its tail but also the tail regenerates eventually and grows back.

Ezekiel 36:26 says I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  The Lord allows our hearts to be regenerated by accepting Jesus, and the coolest part is that the heart he gives us as we accept him is one that will function much better than the one before.  Ezekiel says that before the Lord gives us a new heart and spirit, it is like we have a heart of stone.  When Jesus enters and regenerates our heart he makes us into a new creation and changes our nature from one that is more like a cold stone to that of a warm heart ready to love.  Next time you see a lizard with a stub tail remember that just as his tail will eventually grow back and regenerate, Jesus is doing that same work in your heart as we learn to follow and obey His commands.  A lizard can be regenerated, can you?

lizardgecko

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Salamanders Of South Carolina

In this Catching Creation episode we travel to the highlands of northern South Carolina in search of Salamanders. This episode is featured on the Catching Creation Volume 3 DVD
 

"suit of lights" by Yosemite Mudflap
©2007 Tragic Hero Records
Used with permission from Artist and Label

Other music By The Eager Seas
TheEagerseas.Bandcamp.Com

Stephen LaVine
noisetrade.com/stephenlavine

All other music created by Stan Lake
CatchingCreation.Bandcamp.com

Have You Been Redeemed Like A Shelter Pet?

Have You Been Redeemed Like A Shelter Pet?

Several years ago I visited a local animal shelter with the intention of finding a dog to take home with me.  I had a very specific dog in mind and scoured the Internet to see if any were available on the shelter’s website.  I found the breed I was looking for and decided to go check it out.  When I got to the shelter the dog I came to see was as disinterested in me as an animal could be.  It wasn’t really the dog I had in mind either, and I was looking for something quite specific.  My intention was to find a boxer that was full blooded and that had a white coat.  After I put the disinterested mix-breed dog back into its kennel a friend of mine came around the corner with the perfect dog.  I immediately fell in love with him and have him to this day.  He was the most energetic and loving white boxer I had ever seen and we hit it off immediately.    This animal knew that he had been bought with a price and paid me back in his love and loyalty to me.

Did you know that Jesus Christ bought you with a price?  Isaiah 44:22 says I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.  I don’t know what caused my furry friend to end up in the shelter, but had I not intervened and redeemed him, his future would have certainly ended in his untimely demise.  The same is true for us as followers of Jesus Christ.  Had Jesus not stepped into history and intervened on our behalf redeeming us from our sins, we would most certainly die in our sins.  Jesus purchases us with a price, redeems us and we are required to pay him back with our loyalty, devotion, love and obedience.  Just like with my dog, this isn’t a hard thing when you know your master loves you and chose you specifically.  Have you been redeemed like a shelter pet?

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If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Burrrr It's Cold In Here!

Have you ever noticed that when everything in your home is working correctly you really don’t think about the little things like say, the heat pump, but when they’re broken you REALLY think about them.  Recently our heat pump decided it no longer wanted to do its job for my house and just quit, can you believe that?  The audacity of that instrument of my comfort, to just quit like that, and it didn’t even give us a 2-week notice!  Times got tough, temps got low and it just quit at the worst possible time. Have you ever felt like quitting on God, or the ministry He has called you to?  If you’re like me you probably have had seasons of doubt, distress and had the overwhelming urge to throw your hands up and just quit, but let me ask you something, who else would be affected if you gave up?

Our heat pump’s decision to stop working and providing the heat that it was designed to provide has not only effect it but everyone that enters this house.  There is a void now that its service has been taken away and the same is true for you.  YOU are the only one God created to be who you are and do what you do.  If you quit it will be felt by many.

Paul says in Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  This verse is a good reminder. If you feel like giving up and want to just stop doing what you were designed to do take a moment to pray, remember the hope Christ has given you, recalibrate and stay patient in the affliction because this too shall pass.

Romans 12:4-5 says For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  We are all one body and each of us has a specific thing to do for the kingdom of God.  My ministry may be drastically different than yours but neither of our specific callings is more important than the other.  We are called to function as a living organism and if you give up your absence will be felt.  Just like the looming cold in my house that is felt stronger now that our heat pump has quit working, your absence will be felt.  So take heart, have hope and let the warmth of your faith heat up a cold world!

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