Helping another Person, an Animal or a Worthy “Cause” Lifts us in the Process

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For the most part human beings are a compassionate lot. We hate to see suffering of any kind, especially that of our four-footed friends.

When wildfires began to tear through the states of Victoria and South Australia, koala bears were the first victims. Arboreal by nature (tree living), these marsupials were literally “up a tree” when the blaze trapped them; a eucalyptus tree, specifically, where they breed and feed. Koalas spend most of their time high above the ground clinging to the trees with their claws. On the ground they are slow moving and cumbersome.

According to news sources, the “first fire victim was Jeremy the koala taken in by the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organization. Jeremy has become the poster bear for the koalas’ plight.”

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Now four other organizations have teamed up to treat him and the other koalas they know are out there. Special mittens sewn from clean 100% cotton material have been made for Jeremy. They work like burn dressings and must be changed often.

“The International Fund for Animal Welfare is requesting koala mitten donations from around the world. If you’d like to help, here is a link for the Koala mitten pattern  which should be made from clean 100 percent cotton material, like old sheets or tea towels. Follow the directions carefully.

According to Josey Sharrad, “Just like any burn victim, koalas’ dressings need changing daily, meaning a constant supply of mittens is needed by wildlife care takers.  Some burned koalas can take up to a year to fully recover. It also doesn’t hurt that they look damn cute in their mittens!”

Donations can be sent to IFAW, 6 Belmore Street, Surry Hills 2010. From there, the IFAW will allocate the mittens wherever they’re needed most.

I was so touched by this tragedy and the sweet photos of these adorable marsupials that I had to do my part by spreading the word!  There is nothing in the world more satisfying than helping others and that includes these helpless animals.

As I was raising my children, I nursed baby birds, turtles, dogs and kittens back to health. Sometimes I succeeded, and sometimes not. We lost a wonderful black dog named Buttons because he ran into the street chasing after my son. When he was hit by a car it broke all of our hearts. We buried him in our back yard.

Wild creatures have special needs and sometimes do not respond to our efforts to heal them. Gladly, professional teams of experts have the required knowledge to know and understand the specific needs of each species.

In Florida, professional teams have rescued and healed pelicans, sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and whales. Even with expert knowledge, a few fail to thrive. It is encouraging to see the interested people who crowd the beaches when a healed survivor is released. The earth belongs to all of us, and we should do our part to protect these defenseless creatures.

Cruelty in any shape or form should never be accepted. Intentionally starving, neglecting, or torturing an animal in anyway should not be tolerated. How we treat the innocent and unprotected says a lot about us as individuals. All life should be respected and cherished.

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“Bella Bellissimo” 16×20 acrylic on canvas (SOLD) Commission a dog portrait in oil, acrylic, pastel

Yes. Billl Mahr, there is sa God

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“Raccoons at Sunrise” 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

From my bedroom window, I watched three raccoons shimmy head first down a live oak tree. Since it was barely dusk, I figured they were foraging early. At first glance, I thought they were large house cats; but three together? When their ringed tails and bandit eyes appeared in the ebbing twilight, I was blown away!

I often walk or sit under that tree. The squirrels amuse me as they chase each other’s tails. Blue jays screech from time to time, and playful goldfinches proffer a twinkling counterpoint in the bright sunlight. I’ve seen brown thrashers, loggerhead shrikes, and pileated woodpeckers in those gnarled branches. I’ve watched red-tailed hawks perch and search for prey within a hairs breadth from where I’m standing. But I never imagined there were wild raccoons sleeping in furry balls right over my head. How could I have missed them?

The world is full of hidden treasures all around us, and miracles and wonders from God. Just because we can’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Bill Maher, a comedian and avowed atheist doesn’t believe in either religion or God. He holds tightly to his beliefs. Perhaps he’s afraid that if he lets go of his skepticism, he might find out he’s wrong?

For believers, God is real. He has answered their prayers and spoken to their hearts. To deny this reality would be to disavow their personal and private experience. This personal witness becomes a sure foundation of knowledge that cannot be denied.

Maher is like a child who sits before a plate of Brussels sprouts and declares he doesn’t like them, even though he’s never tasted them. Then he hides the evidence of their existence under his plate or under a nearby lettuce leaf and tells his mother (and everyone else) that the Brussels sprouts don’t exist because he (and you) can’t see them.

To a Christian, Maher’s position is both immature and foolish; like my story of the raccoons: “Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not up there.” This is where that invisible component called “faith” comes in. Why is it so hard to believe that God exists when evidence of his creations are all around us?  Is Evolution really a substantial explanation for our existence or is it still, after many decades, only a theory, an excuse, a crutch, for non-believers?

Technology has advanced in quantum leaps over the past 30 years. Today transmitters communicate around the globe and into outer space, yet they are so small you can hold them in the palm of your hand or on a fingertip; some are even microscopic. These electronic devices may look naive and primitive fifty years from now as newer, smaller, faster, and smarter gadgets replace them. It’s simply a matter of time, degree and intelligence.

During the day, you can’t see the stars, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Conversely, on a stormy day the sun’s light is blotted out, but its radiance still exists and glows continually in spite of the weather. God’s radiance and reality are constant and eternal, in spite of our darkened imperfect minds and man-made barriers.

How foolish we are as humans to deny the existence of God because we cannot see him, because we don’t understand his ways, or because we can’t find physical evidence or proof that he is real; even though countless miracles happen every day in the realms of nature, science, medicine and personal encounter.

“But there’s a logical, scientific explanation for everything,” some may counter. And when there isn’t, science is all too eager to supply one, or at least a theory of rhetorical possibilities. We’ve lost that childlike quality of trusting divine truth and promise. The young child who leaps off a ledge into the waiting arms of its father exercises this trust through love, knowledge, and personal experience. He has learned that his earthly father can be trusted.

We need this kind of faith again in our world to bring back God into our hearts. It’s a “letting go” of pride, bitterness, and stubbornness; character attributes that harden our hearts and close our minds to truth.

In “Our Daily Bread,” a Christian pamphlet produced monthly by RBC Ministries, the following story was included in the October 9 reading:

“If we’re not careful, we may become like the man who prided himself on being an expert archer. The secret to his success was that after he shot his arrow at the side of a barn, he painted a bull’s-eye around the arrow.”

Many people are so eager to be right, or so hungry for success and notoriety that they paint a ring around their own favorite causes, special interests or personal agendas and then proclaim that they’ve hit the bull’s-eye of truth.

Proverbs 14:12 tells us: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

God doesn’t need to prove his existence to us; it is we who need to conform to his will. He is the bull’s-eye we should aim for, not some delusional man-made target created by people who think they are smarter than God.