Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One Thing To Do As You Prepare For Christmas.

Your Christmas card list of contacts may have gotten longer over time, still including those who you haven't talked to in years. Don't miss this opportunity to express Christ through your cards, letters, family pictures or gifts. You have a perfect opportunity to share Christ, so why not use it for the furtherance of the Kingdom?

Do you desire to speak the Gospel in a setting where most people will be friendly to what you say? Christmas is the time of the year when you can do just that. While you may offended some, most people are not only undisturbed by Christ during the Christmas season, but expect you to present the subject.

That method is with Christmas cards.

If you're not a creative card maker, seek out cards that contain the essences of Christ's coming. If you enjoy making and designing cards, make something special with the Kingdom message. Knowing were to start can be a problem for some. The main principle for your text and graphics is that it should be deep and meaningful in content to help others think about Christ. However, it also needs to be persuasive while not preachy. Bible verses, parts of Christmas Carols and creative, but meaningful, thoughts can jump start your card captions. You can also gather ideas from past Christmas cards you have received. Lastly, to help start your “mind juices”, feel free to use or get ideas from any of the following card captions.

O God our loving Father, help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. May Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake, amen.
—Robert LouisStevenson
Jesus is God’s promise fulfilled.
May you take great joy in Him and the celebration of His birth.
From the cradle to the cross:
What the Child has done for those who receive His pardon…
Nailed to the top of the cross of Jesus’ was a “certificate of debt” to Caesar, a public display of Jesus’ crime: “King of the Jews.” When punishment is complete, Caesar’s court will cancel the debt with a single Greek word stamped upon the parchment’s face: “tetelestai.” Finished. Paid in full.
Being king of the Jews is not the crime Jesus pays for, however. Another certificate as nailed to to his cross that day: ours. In the darkness that shrouds Calvary from the sixth to the ninth hour, Jesus gave his life as a ransom so we can be free from the shackles of sin and Satan.
At the last, it is not the cross that takes Jesus’ life. When the full payment is made, when the sin debt melts away, when the ransom has been paid, freeing us from our own wrong doing and slavery to sin, Jesus simply dismisses His spirit with a single Greek word that falls from His lips: “Tetelestai.” It is finished. 
Colossians 2:13-14
John 19:30
John 8:34
Romans 6
Christmas Blessings…
…with a prayer that you come to a quiet place of reflection on the simplicity of Jesus’ birth and the magnitude of His purpose.
Christmas is not about giving, it's about a gift. May the gift of forgiveness and freedom through Jesus, our Lord, fill your heart this year.
Merry Christmas
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name “Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23
The God of all creation humbled Himself to become a human being—our Savior, Christ the Lord.  Because Jesus was born He could die, bringing the abundance of life we enjoy through Him.  May each of you rest in the Babe whose birth we celebrate this day.

What creative cards have you seen or made over the years? Do you have any more ideas you could add below for others to use?

These captions either came from or were based off of the following source: Koukl, G. (Mar 12, 2013)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Amazing Cell!

A couple of years ago, I came across a presentation given at one of the TED conferences by a Drew Berry. If I would have a guess, many non-biologists would be really bored with a talk on cell division, right? But no, not this one, it was most interesting, using computer animation, he exposed the cell division process in great detail - and made it breath taking for everyone!

You see, attached to sister chromosomes is something called the "kinetochore" which contains around 200 types of proteins but thousands in all. This little structure acts as an anchoring site for microtubules, part of the cell scaffolding. Microtubules help pull the two daughter chromosomes apart.

But the interesting part is this, the kenetochores are sending out little chemical and motor signals to indicate when the cell will divide! In fact, Drew called the kenetochore a "signal broadcasting system."

The implications of this structure alone are astounding. Along with many other types of epigenetic information within the cell, these attachment sites hold one of the most illustrious keys to the mysterious dividing cell. One can see a designer's creative abilities at play with structures like this. It's mind boggling that such an elegant structure, such as this, doesn't kindle more awe responses from people towards an amazing creator!

I would encourage you to take a look at it for yourself!

Image credit: Flicker/Mehmet Pinarci

Friday, November 14, 2014

What Is The Difference Between Shannon Information and Specified Complex Information? And why it's important.

Information is interesting, here I want to specifically discuss Shannon Information verses Specified Complex Information. I know, you may be saying "so what, it sounds boring to me." Maybe so, it may even zip over your head, in that case duck so it will hit the person behind you! While being of an esoteric philosophical nature, I think it's significant because of its implications.

The Difference Between Shannon Information and Specified Complex Information
The Difference Between Shannon Information and 
Specified Complex Information
There's a view that information in DNA and biological systems contain just Shannon Information - this is not true. Yes, biological systems do contains Shannon Information, but it is more specific than that - it contains Specified Complex Information. Let me first define the two and then tell you why biological systems have Specified Complex Information and why this discussion is so important.

Shannon Information verses Specified Complex Information

Shannon Information is only concerned with the improbability or complexity of character strings. In other words, it's just mere complexity or it has information-carrying capacity. Specified Complex Information on the other hand, is complex, but also has patterning significance. This is functional information that carries meaning

Let me put it this way, all Specified Complex Information is Shannon Information, but not all Shannon Information is Specified Complex Information (see bottom half of the meme). For example, Shannon Information just means that a string of characters are complex and improbable in their arrangement, but it does not define if this string carries significant meaning. Again, Specified Complex Information is specified and always carries meaning.

For example, this is Shannon Information:
“dfsad sdaf oije .zvsdlkfjas sdlfj” and also can be “Learning about information is fun!” 
However, Specified Complex Information always carries meaning: 
Learning about information is fun!”
“dfsad sdaf oije .zvsdlkfjas sdlfj” is not specified functional information - at least as far as I know, it holds no meaning to an English speaker!

In case you did not get that, let me put it this way. Consider a key and lock. You can take a key blank and file down any pattern on the key blade - that is Shannon Information. However, if you want the key to fit the lock, you have to cut the key blade to specified sequences, shapes and depths for proper key-lock fit. Now that is Specified Complex Information.

Biological Systems and Text on the Page

Now both the text you are reading and DNA are improbable and complex. However, both carry meaning. The text you are reading is telling you something in English. DNA contains information that transcribes to RNA that gets translated to protein. In fact those sequences must be in a specific order else the organism will not produce the correct protein, a protein that does not function well or maybe none at all! The organism's enzymes must be able to transcribe it, if there is no correct sequence, there is no transcription.

Why Know the Difference?

Oh, by the way, just so you know why this distinction is so important, Specified Complex Information is only generated from a mind. In fact, that is the only source we know of that produces this type of information! Think of the text you are reading now, it has come from my mind. Thus this leads to the conclusion that life's specified informational core is grounded in intelligence - an intelligent mind!

Have you heard materialists say the "DNA is just Shannon Information" so it can arise by chance? What do you think, have you gained a new level of respect for "Information theory?"

Friday, November 7, 2014

FALSE: Adam Did Not have One Less Rib Than Eve

Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology, professor lecturing - I can still picture it even though it was back in the first year of the new millennium. “Men and women on average have 24 ribs” he said. And then he said: “no, men don’t have one less rib”, he want on “that was only Adam.”

First I was kind of surprised he would even bring up a biblical account, many have gotten in trouble talking about anything biblical in a science class, not counting more or less the part of the creation account. However, something else hit me, raising my hand I said “Maybe Adam did have a complete set of ribs, I understand that the rib is the only human bone that can regenerate sections after removal.” “No” he said, “bones don’t grow back, they can heal, but not grow back.”

As the years slid forward, that interaction never left me. A few years later I set out to track down the truth, was I correct? That’s when I ran across an article by Dr. Carl Wieland who told of a previous accident that caused the loss of some of his bone. To replace the missing bones, his surgeon used sections from his ribs - because they regenerate (1)!

As a born and raised thinker and researcher, I went deeper. After searching online, I came across and contacted a few surgeons around the world who seemed to have some knowledge in this area. Over and over I heard the same, yes they use bone from the rib and it regenerates back (2). Even recently researchers also confirmed this same action with rib cartilage (3).

You see, when a surgeon removes the a section of the rib bone they leave a surrounding tissue, called the periosteum, in place. Stem-cells are abundant in this tissue and they regenerate new rib bone.

So, did Adam have one less bone than Eve? Did God know what he was doing when he picked the bone he did to make Eve? Maybe the same God who made him really did know what he was doing, surprise, surprise!

What are your thoughts? Has an experience like this ever happened to you? Have you been told that men are less a rib compared to women? 



(2) Personal email correspondence with a number of surgeons, one was Dr. David Pennington whose name was mentioned in the article that I came across. Also, see this site:

(3) Healing power of 'rib-tickling' found by researchers.

Srour, M., Fogel, J., Yamaguchi, K., Montgomery, A., Izuhara, A., Misakian, A., Lam, S., Lakeland, D., Urata, M., Lee, J. and Mariani, F. (2014). Natural large-scale regeneration of rib cartilage in a mouse model. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, p.n/a-n/a.

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