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Creation Devotional December 10 - Botany

Daily Devotional – December 10



It’s a lazy summer day in the cornfields of Iowa; yet, an all-out war is taking place.


Into the cornfield comes a caterpillar with a voracious appetite for corn leaves. As the caterpillar munches on corn leaf after corn leaf, what’s a corn plant to do? The damaged corn plant releases volatile chemical compounds, that send a message warning the other corn plants to activate their own defense genes. A different volatile chemical attracts parasitoid wasps to the corn plant, where the caterpillar is eating. The parasitoid wasp lays its eggs under the caterpillar’s skin. The eggs hatch and the larvae eat the caterpillar from the inside out. If the corn leaf is damaged by wind or hail, does the plant still release these signals? No. The corn plant only cries for help when the caterpillar’s saliva is recognized; false alarms do not happen!


It is the caterpillar’s saliva plus the wounding of the plant that starts what scientists call a signal transduction pathway in the corn. This complex process results in the making and releasing of volatile chemicals crying for help. Was this battle in the cornfield taking place before man sinned? Is this what God calls “very good” at the end of Creation week? No. It was not always like this. Like so many predator/prey relationships, it reveals the tragic consequences of man’s sin. God the Creator equipped each organism with the necessary ability to adapt to sin’s consequences - which affected everything in the universe.


According to Scripture, plants are not “alive” in the same way as people and animals. In the beginning, plants were created as food. Creation scientists speculate that originally wasps may have laid their eggs in protein-rich plants and not in the caterpillars. After the Fall, everything deteriorated. Wasps needed more protein-rich sources (like caterpillars) and alternative defense mechanisms arose. Sin’s consequences affects EVERYTHING!


Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.

~ Genesis 3:17-18


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett


Creation Devotional November 20 - Botany

Daily Devotional – November 20



High in the Himalayas, there is a mystery. In the permafrost lives a parasitic fungus called the yartsa gunbu. This fungus attacks a live host (such as a worm or ant), invading and replacing tissues in the worm or ant’s body. In some species, the parasitic fungus can even force its host, such an ant, to climb a tree and attach itself to a leaf before it dies - such that the spores from the fungus spread under optimal conditions. How could a “primitive” fungus learn to control its host? How the worm that hosts the yartsa gunbu fungus is even able to survive high in the Himalayan Mountains and reproduce in such a cold climate is as strange as the medicinal herb the worm’s body becomes. Once the worm bores underground, the fungus kills it, and out of its dead body grows a plant-like shoot, that pierces the frosty ground - enabling courageous Nepali explorers to find this strange medicinal herb.


In Eastern medicinal practices, the fungus grown from the dead worm is marketed as a powerful healing herb that sells like gold. The price of this parasite has risen almost 1000% from the 1980s to today (from 1000 Yuan/kg to 100,000 Yuan/kg). Its value has drawn the strongest Nepalese to risk their lives and trek three to four days from their remote villages into the thin, bitterly cold atmosphere. There are many stories of men who never return.1


Use of yartsa gunbu has been recorded as far back as the 15th century in a Tibetan text translated An Ocean of Aphrodisiacal Qualities. Related species have shown interesting biological and pharmacological properties, such as an immunosuppressive drug helpful in human organ transplants and as a drug used to treat multiple mclerosis. There are many wonders in nature that God has prepared for our benefit!


I have made the earth, and created man upon it...

~ Isaiah 45:12


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett

References for this devotional.


Creation Devotional October 9 - Botany

Daily Devotional – October 9



Have you noticed that the gooey inside of a fig bar is also crunchy? That crunch is the little seeds of the fruit. Inside the bulb of a fig are hundreds of flowers that develop into tiny fruits. In 1882, the Smyrna female fig tree was brought from Turkey to California. But many years after the fig trees were planted, no one understood why no fruit was growing on the trees until botanist George Roeding discovered that the trees were all female and needed to be pollinated by wild fig wasps.


So back to Turkey the California farmers went to find the wild fig trees and the wild fig wasps. The wild fig wasp is so tiny it can fit through the eye of a sewing needle. Success! Each summer, the Smyrna fig orchards of California are covered with large paper bags. Inside are the wild fig wasps dusted with pollen from the male wild fig trees. Only the wild fig wasp can pollinate the female Smryna fig tree. All these three are needed for success; the female Smryna fig tree, the male wild fig tree and the fig wasp. The fig trees need the wasp, and the wasp needs the fig trees. Any missing pieces would cause the demise of all. Here’s the problem for those who leave God out of the process. The fig wasp appears in the evolutionary timeline tens of millions of years before figs. If this were true, we would not have Smyrna figs. The biblical view tells us that God created figs on day 3 and fig wasps on day 5. So as you munch on that crunchy fig bar, thank God for the fig wasp.


For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;…

~ Deuteronomy 8:7-8


Creation Devotional September 19 - Botany

Daily Devotional – September 19



When we think of plants, we think of photosynthesis and sunlight. But what if they receive too much UV-B light? UV-B is ultraviolet light that burns biological tissues. It is the reason we put on sunscreen to protect our skin from the Sun’s damaging wavelengths.


When UV-B reaches damaging levels the leaves, plants make their own sunscreen chemicals! Plants have special photoreceptors that detect high levels of UV-B light. These switch on genes to make the plant’s sunscreen. These chemicals are then deposited in the leaf tissues, ready to absorb the high levels of UV-B. This protects the cells below. At the same time, if any of the cells are found to be damaged, enzymes go into action repairing the damaged DNA. This keeps the photosynthetic machinery humming along.


How did this incredible system of detection, protection and repair come about? By accident and chance? How could plants exist before sunscreen? We have man-made sunscreen to protect ourselves while plants have God-made sunscreen.


For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth:

~ James 1:11


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett

References for this devotional.


Creation Devotional August 19 - Botany

Daily Devotional – August 19



Have you considered how seeds get moved around the Earth? Land plants are stuck in one spot by their roots. They can’t move, so God designed their seeds to be moved around. God’s creativity and imagination in this area is astounding. Seeds are dispersed by wind, water, ingestion, hitchhiking, and exploding into the air. They are designed with parachutes, barbs, airfoils, draglines, airbags, wings, hooks, and rocket shapes. If wind is being used to disperse the seed, how would that seed be designed? Lightweight and maybe with a wing or parachute to give it more lift to float it afar. If water is being used to disperse a seed, the seed is designed waterproof and floatable. If animals are used to disperse seeds, they need to eat the fruit first.


The seeds within the fruit must remain undigested as they pass through digestive systems before being deposited in another place. If hitchhiking, then the seed needs hooks and barbs to attach itself to the animals’ skin, feathers, or fur. If the seed is thrown from the plant, it would involve lots of physics. For instance, once the seeds are ripe, a squirting cucumber literally shoots its seeds as much as 40 feet away!


When you go for a walk in the meadows or woods, look to see God’s creativity in how He designed a stationary plant to move around the world.


Then the earth shall yield her increase.

~ Psalm 67:6


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett

References for this devotional.


Creation Devotional July 20 - Botany

Daily Devotional – July 20



Water does not flow uphill. So, how does water get to the leaves high up in a tree? Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) trees tower some 35 stories or 379 feet above the ground.1 Some of these redwoods move as much as 160 gallons of water a day up out of the ground. As you stand near the base of these trees, listen closely for the sound of their mechanical machinery pumping the water to the top. You won’t hear a sound. So, how do they move all that water?


God has set up a wonderful design in trees – osmosis, capillary action and transpiration. Even though wood seems to be solid, it has thousands of microscopic interior tubes stretching from the roots to the top of the tree. Water enters the roots because of osmosis; higher pressure moves water molecules into the lower pressure area in the roots. Then, capillary action takes place, moving the water upwards. Dip a corner of a paper towel in water and notice the water creeping up the fibers. Working with osmosis and capillary action is transpiration. As sunlight strikes the leaves, the water molecules evaporate, transforming liquid water to a gas. This vapor “flies” into the air while the next water molecule in line starts heating up. The long chain of water molecules is pulled to the very top of the tree as each one at the top evaporates. On a hot summer day, water molecules can travel up the tree at 25 mph. All this goes on silently, year after year. There are no mechanical parts, and when something breaks down, the tree has mechanisms to repair itself. We cannot say the same when we pipe water to the top of a tall building. When we see such an advanced plumbing system, we know there must be a plumbing engineer!


As poet Joyce Kilmer famously stated, “… only God can make a tree.”


...stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

~ Job 37:14b


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett

References for this devotional.


Creation Devotional June 24 - Botany

Daily Devotional – June 24



How can a major oil spill on the ocean be cleaned up? We use floating booms to contain the spill and absorbants/pumps to remove the oil from the surface, but what about the submerged oil droplets?


Believe it or not, technology that copies cactus spines will clean this submerged mess. The tapered spines of the cactus Opuntia microdasys efficiently collect water droplets from fog in the harsh ecosystems of central and northern Mexico. When micron-sized, spherically-shaped fog droplets land on the cactus spines, the spine’s shape distorts the water droplet into a clam-like shape. The water droplet wants to stay spherical, so a battle between these two forces pushes the droplet to the base of the spine. The base of the spine is larger than the water droplet, and so the water droplet is immediately absorbed. Copying the cactus spine, researchers made a copper-silicon array with a cactus spine shape and submerged it into a mixture of oil and water. They blasted the mixture with ultrasonic sound waves to create micron-sized oil droplets. The underwater oil droplets collected on the man-made cactus spines in the same way fog droplets collected on real cactus spines. God has designed everything in nature for our wonder and benefit. It is our privilege to search out the Creator’s secrets and apply them to our daily lives. In Scripture, God calls us to “have dominion” over creation; searching out the Creator‘s secrets and applying them to our daily life.


O God, thou hast taught me from my youth:  and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.

~ Psalm 7 1:17


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett

References for this devotional.


Creation Devotional June 19 - Botany

Daily Devotional – June 19



Why are trees round and not square? If we had a square tree, think of all the time and effort we would save when sawing them into lumber! Let’s pause and think, why our Creator made trees round and not square?

  1. Wood layers grow outward from the center in all directions.
  2. Cylinders provide maximum strength against stresses in all directions.
  3. Round trees can bend more easily than square-sided trees when a wind is blowing.
  4. Round trees can bend in all directions; square trees would be more vulnerable to breaking at the corners.


The best design for trees is round; if that were not true, telephone poles and light posts would be square and not round. Sometimes, we overlook what is so common in nature, like why a tree is round. But when we stop and consider it, we see a wonderful design that gives glory to our Creator.


All the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord

~ Numbers 14:21


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett

References for this devotional.


Creation Devotional May 17 - Botany

Daily Devotional – May 17



Did you know vanilla comes from an orchid, the vanilla planifolia plant? This orchid grows up trees as a vine. Unlike most orchids, this one blooms only one morning each year and only for a few hours and then it wilts. While it is blooming, it needs to be pollinated, otherwise no vanilla bean will develop. God has created this plant to be pollinated by a small flea-sized bee called the Mexican Melipona bee. It is the only insect capable of pollinating this orchid.


After landing on the flower, the bee lifts up the hood, collects the pollen and flies to another vanilla orchid. Once pollinated, a vanilla bean will be produced. Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conquistador who caused the fall of the Aztecs in Mexico, loved vanilla and brought back the vanilla orchid to Europe. For 300 years, Europeans grew the plant from cuttings, but no vanilla beans were produced! Then in 1836, a Frenchman went to Mexico and sat and watched the vanilla orchid. He heard the buzzing sound of the Mexican Melipona bee as it pollinated the orchid. The secret to vanilla beans was discovered! This bee knew how to lift the hood and go in; no other insect can do this! This bee is made for this orchid, and this orchid is made for this bee. They were made for each other. How do evolutionists explain this? If it did not work the first time, the first generation of the vanilla plants would have become extinct. So as you enjoy that delicious vanilla ice cream, thank God for a little bee and a vanilla orchid.


Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things:  this is known in all the earth.

~ Isaiah 12:5


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett

References for this devotional.


Creation Devotional April 30 - Botany

Daily Devotional – April 30



In the jungles of Borneo, a bat looks for a daytime place to roost. He sends out his sonar throughout the crowded jungle and finds the perfect place echoing back, a pitcher plant. Amazingly, sonic reflectors grow right above the pitcher plants opening, bouncing back the bat’s own sonar. These sonic reflectors have tiny ridges, correctly spaced for just the right reflection. So the bat quickly finds a cool, parasite-free place in the hot rainforest to roost. But what benefit is there for the pitcher plant? It gets the bat’s droppings.


Bat droppings are extremely high in nitrogen, which the plant needs. As a matter of fact, dried bat guano (droppings) is collected from caves around the world for use as fertilizer. Many pitcher plants eat insects, but not this one; it dines on the nutrients in bat waste. This mutualistic, beneficial behavior is in the category of “wacky but wonderful.” Evolutionists believe that this pitcher plant (Nepenthes hemsleyana) was not good at attracting insects, so, it evolved a sonic reflector over millions of years in order to attract a different source of nitrogen (bat droppings). Does this make any sense at all? If a pitcher plant does not get enough nitrogen in the beginning, which is why it eats insects, wouldn’t it just die? How could it change its DNA to make the exact reflector it needed? How did a plant know that a bat sent out sonar? How did a plant know that bat droppings had the nitrogen it needed? This unusual partnership was set up by God; it did not happen by accident and chance.

the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. Consider the work of God…

~ Ecclesiastes 7:12b, 13


“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

~ Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865), 16th President of the United States


“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

~ Matthew 6:28-29, 33


Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett

References for this devotional.

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