Saturday, July 07, 2018

Jewel # 326 (July 6, 2018)

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren 

The White Pelican

“God that made the world and all things therein . . . is Lord of heaven and earth. . . .
In Him we live, and move, and have our being.”
(Acts 17:24-28)

The white pelican is found in many places around the world, including Canada and the United States.  Its huge, broad bill with a pouch on the underside is the most noticeable feature about it, along with its  beautiful wings which spread 8 to 10 feet across.  Although this large water bird walks awkwardly, it is graceful when flying or swimming.

Pelicans thrive on a diet of fish and sometimes work together to catch them.  Large numbers of these birds will swim together in a line, beating the water with their wings.  Frightened fish find themselves trapped as the birds scoop them up in their open bills.  With their stomachs filled, they return to shore to digest the meal and soon fly into the air in great flocks.  They are often seen flying single file.   

These large birds nest in groups of a thousand or more on the shores of an island or inland lake. The females lay just two eggs that take a month to hatch. The chicks have no feathers at first and are quite ugly, but the mother is very attentive, keeping them well fed with fish which she first digests and then brings back up into her pouch.  Opening her upper bill wide, she lets the little ones help themselves, which they are always ready to do, practically crawling into her pouch in their hurry.  The little chicks stay in the nest three months before learning to fly and then are taught how to catch their own fish.

With their 8- to 10-foot wingspan, adults glide on air currents, covering as much as 40 miles or more a day over water in search of fish.  When a fish is spotted near the surface, the bird dives down and scoops up several quarts of water in its pouch along with the fish.  Lifting its head to let the water run out, it then gulps down the fish.

It is easy to understand why fishermen don’t like the competition from pelicans.  Actually, much of pelicans’ catch is made up of sick or injured fish, which the fishermen wouldn’t want anyway.

The Bible verse above causes us to think of God as the Creator of every living thing on earth.  But what is more important is that everything we do depends on His care and loving-kindness.  How important it is to accept His invitation to take the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.  His Word, the Bible, says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).  When we do this, He calls us His sons and daughters and assures us of eternal life with Him.

Are you clean and forgiven?

Love you all - Grandpa       

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Jewel # 325 (June 29, 2018)

"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

Jumping Spiders  

“All that forget God . . . their hope shall be cut off,
and whose trust shall be a spider’s web.”
(Job 8:13-14)

Let’s look at spiders that are specifically called jumping spiders. There are some 4,000 varieties of these.  They are all small, less than 3/4 inch, and are the most colourful of all spiders.  If you should see one, look at it through a magnifying glass and see the beautiful colours of these pretty little creatures.  While frequently found in parts of North America and Europe, the greatest number prefer warm climates, such as Central America, northern South America, New Zealand and Australia.  Many of you have probably seen these little spiders on your windowsills or screens in the summer.  The hair on their legs helps them walk across very smooth surfaces like glass more easily.

They are provided with unusual eyes — some of them having as many as eight, so that they can see motion in just about every direction all at the same time. They can also spot birds or enemies that might be a threat to them.

In contrast to the vast number of other spiders, jumping spiders do not weave webs and then wait for insect to get caught in them.  Instead, they creep up on their prey or lie in wait and pounce on it.  Although their legs are short, they can jump more than 50 times the length of their bodies.

Finding a good spot on big a bare rock or bare limb of a tree, a jumper first anchors a silk thread  (called dragline) so it can climb back up in case it misses its prey.  It seldom has to wait very long before spotting a fly, mosquito or other insect perhaps a distance of 4 to 8 inches away. 

How can it get to that insect that is suddenly visible?  Most of the jumping power is supplied by the fourth pair of legs, and the dragline stretches out to match the jump being made.  Having feasted on its catch, the spider may explore a bit for more food and then it follows the dragline all the way back to its starting point where the line is discarded.

Incidentally, in spite of the trailing dragline, these jumps are so fast and silent that an intended victim seldom gets away.  The spider injects a wee bit of poison, then devours its catch and looks around for other potential victims before climbing back up its dragline.

Read again the Bible verse at the top of the page.   How foolish it is for anyone to just try to forget about God and take up with the temporary pleasures of this world.  This verse tells us it will trap them like a spider’s web.  Another verse tells us: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6).

Which verse applies to you?

Love you all - Grandpa  

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jewel # 324 (June 19, 2018)

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord
of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Adorable Kit Fox

 "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”
(Song of Solomon 2:15)

The kit fox, or desert fox, is the smallest fox in North America.  An adult is only about 20 inches long, and little ones are so tiny and adorable that if you got a peek at one you would want to pick it up and hold it.  Besides being tiny, they are so cute with pretty, light tan fur on their sharp pointed faces, necks and legs and a slightly darker colour over their backs and long, bushy tails.

The pleasant looks on their tiny faces, with their dark eyes and black-button noses, topped off by a pair of large, perky ears, all make an unforgettable picture.  Theses little ones are so tiny you could hold one in your hand.  The parents are equally pretty.

At one time there were large numbers in western North America, but today there are only a few, most of which live near Bakersfield, California, in oil field areas.  There are also some in northern and central Mexico.

Kit foxes do not need to drink water since their prey provides enough liquid for them to survive.  Their choice of food is mostly rats, mice and ground squirrels.  But as these too are becoming scarce, the hungry kit foxes are sometimes spotted at night prowling around market places, no doubt hoping to find some bit of meat or other food.

They use the same den year after year, but their worst enemy, the coyote, is often able to break into their dens and destroy the foxes.  So kindhearted people now provide man-made dens for them, properly buried in the ground.  These are made of steel pipes welded together in suitable shapes with an opening just large enough for the foxes, but not the coyotes.  California officials also have learned of the serious threat of coyotes and hunters as well, and they are trying to keep hunters, settlers and industries from coming into those areas, since this will destroy the small number of kit foxes that are left.

It’s sad enough to think that coyotes and other larger foxes are their enemies, but hawks and eagles also go after them.  No doubt the Creator of these lovely creatures has put protective kindness into the hearts of people and it is hoped the authorities will continue to do what they can to preserve them.

We cannot overlook that the opening Bible verse refers to  some damage little foxes have always done, and it reminds us that this world can never be a perfect place while our chief enemy, Satan, remains in it.  The wonderful hope of those who know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour is His promise to soon call us to heaven, where no sin or sorrow will ever be.  

Will you be part of the great number who will be there?    

Love you all - Grandpa

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jewel # 323 (June 11, 2018)

The Burrowing Owl

The Great Gray Owl

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Owl’s World (Part 3)

“God does great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number”  (Job 5:9).

The small burrowing owls are ground dwellers and have heads as round as a ball and long legs.  They are covered in light-coloured fluffy feathers from neck to feet, but elsewhere they are a soft brown.

These owls live in open country, mainly in the western half of the United States and in Mexico.  They make their homes in underground burrows, sometimes digging out their burrows themselves but preferring to find one abandoned by ground squirrels or badgers.  They come out of their burrows in the cool of the morning and evening to hunt for lizards, mice, gophers and insects but retreat to the burrows during the hot hours.  These owls can see well in daylight and are strictly daytime hunters.

Half dozen baby owls are usually raised each spring, with the parents caring for them a long time.  Eventually the young ones learn to make it on their own.

The 24-inch great gray owl is the largest in the owl family with a wide wingspan.  Part of the year it makes its home in the far north.  In times of snow, it plunges through the snow to catch mice and other rodents active on the ground underneath.  But when the snow becomes frozen hard, finding food becomes difficult, and it usually migrates to southern Canada and some of the western states.

Its pale yellow eyes look small in its large, round face that is heavily ringed.  The rest of of its head is covered with short, light-brown feathers, and it has no ear tufts.  The rest of its body is darker brown mottled with white.

This owl builds a nest made of sticks and moss high in an evergreen tree.  It will use old nests of other large birds when possible.  It hunts chiefly by night but also at dawn and dusk.  Those in the far northern range hunt by day during the summer.

If space allowed, it would be interesting to look at the boreal, long-eared, northern spotted, screech, barred, saw-whet and Arctic owls as well as many other varieties.  But those we have looked at are examples of the ways of most owls.

They are all a reminder to us of the wonderful detail which the Creator provides for all His creatures.  But let us not forget the wonderful detail in His loving care for each of us.

The psalmist expresses this so well in these Bible verses:  “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember Thy wonders of old.  I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings” (Psalm 77:11-12).  Another verse says, “O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in Thee” (Psalm 84:12).

Is your trust in the Lord?

Love you all - Grandpa

Friday, June 08, 2018

Jewel # 322 (June 3, 2018)

Great Horned Owl

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I 
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Owl’s World (Part 2)

"I the Lord know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.”
(Psalm 50:11)

Today we will look at the interesting great horned owl.  Weighing about three pounds and measuring 22 inches long, this is the second largest in the owl family.  It is found in many places throughout North America.  It has the nickname winged tiger, because of its boldness and power.  This is the only owl that destroys chickens, ducks and geese, but it makes up for this destruction by keeping down the rabbit population.

The name “great horned “ comes from the two tufts of feathers on top of its head that look like ears or horns.  Its actual ears are not visible but are hidden under light feathers on the sides of its head.  Its hearing is thought to be the most sensitive hearing in the bird and animal world.  With this hearing it can pinpoint the squeak of a mouse or the faint rustle of a beetle moving through dry leaves up to 300 feet away!

This owl does not have to rely entirely on its ears, for it eyes are as large as a man’s and 35 times more sensitive.  With eyes pointing forward, it watches an object with both eyes.  Its vision is so keen that it can observe prey a long way off that would be impossible for our eyes to see.

Without moving its body, its large swivelling head enables it to locate prey in almost any direction, either by actual sight or by what its sensitive ears pick up.  Taking off from its perch, the owl focuses on an unsuspecting target.  The shape of its wings and its fluffy feathers muffle the swishing sound that most birds make when they fly.  It silently swoops down, landing on the prey with its legs braced forward, and in one quick move it tosses the victim’s head back, breaking the neck and killing it instantly.

The great horned owl is the boldest of all owls in defending its nest of three eggs.  It is not uncommon for a person trying to get close to be suddenly dive-bombed, receiving painful cuts and torn clothes. 

After hatching, the baby owls rely on the parents for food for 9 or 10 weeks, but eventually it is up to them to catch their own.  Learning to fly is difficult.  On their first flight attempts, they sometimes end up on the ground.  Unable to fly back, they grip the bark of the tree with their claws and hooked beaks, climbing up to a branch, resting a while, then continuing to climb to a higher perch, before trying to fly again. 

In our next message we will look at two more of these remarkable birds and the ways the Creator, knowing all about each of them, has designed them for their particular way of life.  The opening Bible verse tells us this.

Love you all - Grandpa

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Jewel # 321 (May 28, 2018)

Elf Owl

Barn Owl

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Owl’s World (Part 1)

“God created . . . every winged fowl after his kind: And God saw that it was good.”
(Genesis 1:21

Although there are many varieties of owls throughout the world, we are not very aware of them, mainly because most of their activities are carried on after dark.  For centuries owls have been a symbol of wisdom.  However, geese, crows and ravens are all smarter than owls.

People can recognize an owl by its large broad head with a ruff of feathers around its large eyes.  This ruff covers enormous ear openings.

Most owls spend much time perched on tree branches at dusk or through the night, but some hunt during the day as well, yet manage to keep well hidden.  In many ways they are useful to man, helping to control rats, mice and other rodents, as well as insects that damage crops.

Their flights are as silent as a shadow, yet amazingly accurate.  In the darkness their sensitive ears pick up the faint sounds of mice or other rodents on the ground below them.  They fly directly to their victims, capture them and then have dinner.

Owls’ extremely sensitive, large eyes see remarkably well in almost total darkness.  Both eyes point forward, unlike the eyes of most birds.  They are not able to move them sideways; instead, they must swivel their heads to follow a moving object.  Their heads turn quickly, and this has resulted in the mistaken idea that the owl can turn its head completely around.

There are a great number of varieties, from the smallest 6-inch elf owl to the largest 24-inch great gray owl.   We will look at a few more of these interesting birds later.

We will begin with the barn owl.  This fairly large owl is sometimes called the monkey-face owl and makes its home in any convenient place—from a hollow tree or up to the top of a church steeple.  However, it usually nests in barns or other farm buildings and lives peacefully with nearby pigeons.  It has long, slender legs and wings that spread 3 feet in flight.

The barn owl is a pretty bird, with a heart-shaped face and dark eyes.  Its body is snow-white  below with spotted back and wing feathers in tones of golden or chocolate browns.  Like all owls, it has a strong sharp beak and pointed, vicious talons on its four-toed feet, with which it catches its prey.

Being an expert mouse catcher, a barn owl also hunts for other rodents, frogs, lizards, sparrows and even blackbirds, never seeming to satisfy its huge appetite.

As we consider these unusual birds, it is good to remember the Bible verse that says, “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9).  This includes you.  

Have you ever thanked Him for His goodness and kindness to you? 

Love you all - Grandpa   

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jewel # 320 (May 20, 2018)

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

Rhinos — Ugly and Mean!

“Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy stable?
. . . Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great?”
(Job 39:9,11)

The unicorn is mentioned several times in the Bible.  While no one knows for sure, some think it refers to the rhino, perhaps because the word “rhinoceros" means “nose-horned.”  All rhinos have horns—some have two while others have just one.  These horns actually are not made of bone but are made of hair-like fibres growing tightly together and are very tough and strong.

The rhinoceros is the third largest land animal.  The white rhino of Africa (the largest) can be 15 feet long, over 6 feet tall and weigh 3.5 tons (7000 pounds).  Its massive head has large, trumpet-like ears and huge nostrils on an ugly, wrinkled snout with two horns.  Its hide is thick, tough and warty.

The Indian rhino (the one we see in most of our zoos) weighs two to three tons.  Its loose skin hangs in folds and is the home of many parasites, which attract birds know as ox-peckers.  These birds may spend all day on a rhino’s back and sides, providing considerable relief as they dig out and eat the troublesome parasites.  The birds also give warning calls when other animals or people approach.  This is another example of the Creator providing benefits between two creatures that are nothing alike.

These beasts are truly vicious and short-tempered.  They will charge anything crossing their path, be it an animal, person or even a car or train.  Although they look clumsy on their short legs, they run as fast as a horse.  It is a terrifying experience to be charged by one galloping at top speed, its feet pounding the ground while it snorts loudly through flared nostrils.

The African black rhino is the fiercest of all.  Its front horn, with which it defends itself, is two to three feet long.  Its eyesight is poor, but a strong sense of smell and extra-sharp hearing make up for that problem.  They are lightening fast when charging and extremely dangerous when wounded.

Rhinos are often hunted for their horns, which sell for high prices on the black market.  Natives who like to cary daggers with handles made from the horns also hunt them.  Although protected by the governments of Africa and Southeast Asia, poachers kill great numbers illegally just to get the horns.  It is feared these animals may someday become extinct unless the poaching can be stopped.

When those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as Saviour are with Hm in heaven, we will learn and understand why such creatures as rhinos have been given a place in His creation.  Meanwhile we can say, 
Thou art worthy . . . for Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

Love you all - Grandpa       

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Jewel # 319 (May 11, 2018)

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Spectacular Humpback Whale (Part 2)

“Behold, God spreadeth His light upon the world, and covereth the bottom of the sea."
(Job 36:30)

On both the Atlantic and Pacific seacoasts, great numbers of people gather each year to watch the migrations of the humpback whales.  They sometimes see whole schools breaching (leaping into the airing and landing with a great splash), as if competing with one another.  At other times, they are seen lob-tailing  (standing on their heads with the rest of their bodies in the air), waving their big flukes (the lobes on their large tails) and making huge splashes when they drop back to the surface.  Frequently, they lift their tails above the water and smack them down, making tremendous waves.  No wonder people gather by the thousands to see these performances!

Playful by nature, like porpoises, some of these giants will play tag with a large boat for an hour or so, coming up on one side, swimming underneath and popping up on the other, to the amusement of all on board.

The 6000 - mile migrations end in warm, shallow bays where the calves are born underwater.  Some of these new calves are as long as 13 feet.  Usually a female “nurse” is on hand and helps the mother push the newborn  up to the surface for its first breath of fresh air.  Isn’t it amazing that the little one has been given an  instinct by the Creator so that it doesn’t inhale  water right after birth and drown?  After breathing in fresh air for the first time, it drops back under its mother, and, again, a God-given instinct tells it to nurse her warm, rich milk.  While nursing, it must return to the surface for air over and over again, but each time continues its nursing until its hunger is satisfied.

The bull whales have a large number of cows and calves for which they are responsible, but when danger comes, they usually swim away, leaving the cows to take care of themselves and their calves.  That’s not very brave of them, is it?

As in the past, humpbacks are still a target for the whaling industry.  However, in 1966 a legal suspension of hunting activity was made to protect them.  Their numbers have recovered to approximately 80,000 worldwide now.

It is interesting that in the Bible where the ocean is spoken of, it says, “There is that leviathan [whale], whom Thou hast made to play therein” (Psalm 104:26).  So we see that the Lord God, the Creator, intended whales to enjoy their playfulness, just as boys and girls do.  And He is pleased for children to be happy and playful, as long as the are also obedient, kind and thoughtful of others.  True happiness is one of His great gifts and comes from faith in Him and His Word which tells us,
Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20).  

Is this true of you?  

Love you all - Grandpa    

Monday, April 30, 2018

Jewel # 318 (April 30, 2018)

pygmy marsupial
glass frog of South America
desert spadefoot toad

“And They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
Make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

Frogs and Toads Beyond Number  

"By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth. . . . 
All things were created by Him, and for Him.”
(Colossians 1:16)

A tiny frog in Central America, the pygmy marsupial, lays a small number of sticky eggs each spring.  Somehow, using her legs, the the mother transfers them into slits on her back where she carries them for many days.  She does this until they are ready to hatch into  tadpoles.  Then she finds a good spot in the water, hops in, releases the eggs into the water and swims away, leaving them to take care of themselves.

The glass frog of South America is well-named, for its entire body, including the legs, is transparent and looks like it was made out of glass.  Its eggs look like little green-coloured beads or marbles.  At hatching time, the father frog guards these eggs and makes sure they are always kept moist.

The last one we will look at is the desertspade foot toad, whose home is in a hot, desert area of Arizona.  This shy brownish-green fellow, with huge bulging green eyes, is only seen when heavy rains fill up otherwise empty stream-beds, making pools along the edges.  Then, amazingly, several of these may come out of the muddy ground.  The females lay a few eggs which they attach to rocks and plants at the edge of the water.  Several days later little ones hatch out and find food of some kind, enabling them to grow full size.  When the water in the stream begins to dry up, they quickly bury themselves in the mud, using their back feet as shovels, and remain there until new rains come—maybe many months later.  No one has been able to figure out how they live and even grow down in the muddy ground.  It is certainly another of the wonders of God’s creation, and we know He is caring for them even in their unusual way of life.

We could go on and on, always being reminded of the wonders of God’s creation and His preserving care over all things.  Just think how much more He cares for men, women, boys and girls.  One way is that He has given us the ability to read His Word, the Bible, and learn how good He is to us.  There we learn how much He loves us and how the Lord Jesus gave His life on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of those who trust Him.  

How thankful we should be that He gave His life for us, so that we could accept Him as Saviour.  
Have you done this?        

Love you all - Grandpa

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Jewel # 317 (April 18, 2018)

Golden Toad

Rhinoderrma darwini

"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I 
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

Frogs and Toads Beyond Number (Part 1)

“God made . . . everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind”  (Genesis 1:25).

Many people don’t like frogs or toads, but these creatures are beneficial because they eat tremendous amounts of insects that would otherwise be pests.  In remarkable varieties, millions of frogs and toads are in just about every warm part of the world.  Here are a few.

The golden toad lives in Costa Rica.  The entire body of the male is a bright golden orange, but the female has areas of mixed colours—most made of spots about the size of a penny.

Another unusual one is the red-eyed Mediterranean tree frog.  It lives in the swamps of Spain.  Its throat and lower mouth are white as snow, but sides are pale yellow with big spots of black.  Its underparts are bright green.  It can change colours to match its surroundings if danger is near.

A tiny one in Chile has the strange name of rhinoderma darwini.  Its back and legs are bright red, but it belly is dark green.  Instead of laying eggs in ponds, this one lays them on moist ground.  When they hatch and begin to develop, the male frog snatches them into his mouth.  He doesn’t eat them, but keeps them there until the frogs finally develop and hop out.

Poison dart frogs have  this name because their poisonous skin is used by some South American hunters on the points of their hunting darts.  This frog’s eggs are laid on damp ground.  When the young hatch, the mother carries them piggyback to a water-filled plant high in a tree.  She brings them food there until they are able to care for themselves.

Still another variety seems to eat the eggs it lays.  The female actually tucks them away in the back of her mouth where they grow into froglets.  Then she spits them out without harm.

In North America all frogs lay eggs in water and leave them entirely on their own.  But in some tropical places, certain species provide additional care for their eggs, as well as the tadpoles hatching from them.

In parts of Europe, an unusually long-legged brown frog, covered with black spots, rises on its long legs and puffs out its round body with a fierce look.  It does this to scare away snakes that come to attack it.

In our opening Bible verse, the truth of God’s way of creation is explained to us with the words “after his kind.”  This makes it plain that nothing would ever be able to change into something else.  All things—including humans were created just as we see them today.  Another Bible verse also plainly explains this:  "All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is but one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds”  (1 Corinthians 15:39).  The Bible gives us the truth.

Love you all  - Grandpa  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Jewel # 316 (April 12, 2018)

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I 
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Spectacular Humpback Whale

“God created great whales, and every living creature . . . which the waters
brought forth abundantly, after their kind.”
(Genesis 1:21)

Some humpback whales are 39-52 feet long and can weigh up to 40 tons.  They may be identified by their characteristic hump-like roll of fat on their backs.  These whales are extremely strong, with large flippers 12-13 feet long, and huge, flat tails controlling their motions.  They can swim 25 miles per hour and at times dive nearly a mile below the surface.  They are also considered playful animals, as they are known for breaching (leaping into the air and landing with a splash) and slapping the water with their tails and flippers.

Although they seem gentle and playful, they can be dangerous too.  Anyone closing in on a mother with her calf will find her quite ready to smash their small boat with a slap of her tail.   

Looking down on one of these whales from above, its black back is not easy to distinguish from he dark water, and looking up from underneath, its white underparts blend with the sky.  These safeguards are provisions of the Creator, helping to protect them from their enemies—mainly whale hunters from above and sharks and killer whales from below.

Of all mammals, whales are most completely at home in water, although they have to come up to the surface for air from time to time.  Rising to the surface, they blow out stale air from their lungs through ”blowholes” on their backs.  These look like water spouts, shooting up to 12 feet or more into the air.  Actually, it is their hot moist breath condensing as it hits the colder air above the water.

Humpbacks are in all oceans, but the greatest numbers are in the Pacific Ocean.  Many of these spend winters in the cold waters of Alaska and the Bering Sea where food is plentiful.  Their thick coat of blubber keeps them warm in these cold waters.  In spring they migrate, some to Mexico and some to Hawaii (distances of about 6000 miles). Both places provide tropical waters where the females give birth to their calves, and shortly thereafter all return north.  In the Atlantic Ocean, similar migrations are made from northern Canadian waters to warm, southern  areas.  These migrations can be seen by people along those shores, just as they can be seen along the West Coast shores.

We may wonder how these large creatures know when it is time to leave for the southern waters and how they find their way over such great distances.  Like all creatures that migrate, they follow God-given instincts that guide and instruct them.

How much more important it is for us to know the way to heaven, for we can never get there by our own efforts.  The only way is by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, 

“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Are you trusting Him?

Love you all - Grandpa     

Friday, March 30, 2018

Jewel # 315 (March 27, 2018)

“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Golden Eagle

“Ye have seen . . . how I bare you on eagles’ wings,
and brought you unto Myself.”
(Exodus 19:4)

The national emblem of the United States is a beautiful bald eagle accompanied by the words, "IN GOD WE TRUST.”  This gives the message that the country is strong and “in good hands.”  It would be wonderful if more people could honestly say, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” wouldn’t it?

The golden  eagle is just as impressive a bird, with its dark brown feathers and a patch of golden brown feathers on the back of its head and neck.  It has a sharp, down-turned beak, as well as contrasting yellow feet on which long, curving toes with sharp claws provide fierce weapons.  It is one of the largest birds of prey in North America, with a wingspread of 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet.  They are generally found in northern  Europe and Asia and in the western United States and Canada.

In contrast to the bald eagle that eats mostly dead animals, the golden eagle prefers live food.  It is an excellent hunter of snakes, mice, squirrels, rabbits and other young animals, as well as fish and eels.  It soars high in the air and with keen eyes spots its victim moving about.  Then it swoops down at terrific speed to capture it, with the victim probably never knowing what caught it. An eagle will also rob ospreys and other birds flying with a fish or other food in their beaks, frightening them into dropping the food. The eagle then catches the falling food and takes it to its nest for its mate or eaglets.

These birds mate for life and are very affectionate to one another.  They return year after year to the same nest, making necessary repairs and adding new sticks and soft grass and leaves for a fresh lining.  A new nest may be only 3 feet across, whereas an old one may be 8, 10 or even 20 feet across.

The 2 or 3 eggs laid each year are creamy coloured, spotted with brown or gray marks and are incubated for more than a month.  Both parents take turns sitting on the nest.  After hatching, the little eaglets first get food popped into their mouths by the parents, but before long they learn how to feed themselves by tearing apart the captured food.  They also get lots of practice flapping their wings and jumping up and down before actually flying.  After learning to fly, they stay with the parents several months before being on their own.

This Bible verse tells us of the Lord’s care over those who are weak: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).  The eagle’s care over its young ones is good, but the Lord’s care over boys and girls, as well as men and women, is far greater.  Do you ever thank Him?

Love you all - Grandpa