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       

Thursday, May 03, 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

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Jewel # 313 (March 7, 2018)

To my dear grandchildren

Amazing Migrators

“Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done. . . .
They are more than can be numbered.”
(Psalm 40:5)

The more we learn about migrating birds and other creatures, the more amazing it is to think how they find their way from one place to another.  Scientists can only guess, and if the migrators could talk, they couldn’t tell us either.  But those who believe in God as the Creator of all things plainly see that He has given them that ability.

Birds such as geese and storks make flights of more that 1000 miles over land and water, traveling north in the spring and south in the fall.  Arctic terns make the longest migrations of all—about 12,000 miles twice a year, between Antarctica and nearby islands to the Aleutian Islands, Greenland and the northernmost islands of the Arctic Ocean, where little ones are hatched and raised.  Leaving the little ones behind, they return late in August by way of Hawaii—a long, long trip over water. The young ones, never having made that flight, nonetheless follow them later on the same route.  How can they do this with no guide to help them?  O, but they do have a Guide—the Creator who directs them the whole way!

Many more birds, such as robins and geese, make long flights in the spring and again in the fall.  They stay on the right course through rain, fog, storms and dark nights to reach their destinations.  Sometimes their numbers are so great they become spread out for many miles, and none gets lost.

The migration of animals is also amazing.  In a past article we told of thousand’s of caribou that travel in the spring and fall between the United States and Alaska.  In Africa there are also great migrations of wildebeests, gazelles, elephants and other animals that migrate back and forth many miles.

Fish of all sizes, from tiny sardines to huge salmon and tuna, are among others that migrate, as do a great number of insects that find their way over great distances every year.  Their true Guide is the One who created them and who is always watching over them.  These long—distance travelers need no maps or signals to tell them where or when to go, but the journeys and food supply along the way are all scheduled by their kind Creator.

Do you know the very same One has prepared a way for those who know Him as their Lord and Saviour when it is time for them to leave this world?  His Word, the Bible, tells us: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

 How important it is to accept the Lord Jesus now as your Saviour.
Then when that important moment comes, He will take you to His wonderful home in heaven!

Love you all -  Grandpa

Friday, February 23, 2018

Jewel # 312 (Feb. 21, 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

Amazing Sled Dogs

“In the Creator’s hand is the soul of every living thing,
and the breath of all mankind.”
(Job 12:10)

Every March one of the world’s most interesting races takes place.  It covers 1000 miles of snow- and ice-covered land, rivers and lakes between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska.  This is perhaps the toughest of all races ever run and takes the competing teams two weeks or more to finish.  The people involved run most of the way at the rear of their heavily loaded sleds.

These sleds are pulled by a dozen or more strong dogs, usually including Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies, all of which have been trained for months by their owners.  The dogs are selected for strength, endurance and ability to work together in teams.  All have thick fur, enabling them to withstand the extremely cold conditions.  This thick fur has coarse outer hair and another coat of fine hair next to the skin so that they never get “soaked to the skin.”  When resting or sleeping their heavily furred tails wrap around their bodies, helping to keep them warm.

But it is not only in this amazing race that sled dogs are needed; they are needed for more practical purposes in the freezing climates of Greenland, Europe and Asia as well.

Trappers and prospectors, for instance, could not get along without them in places where no other transportation is available.  Natives of those areas also find them a real help in getting around in cold winter months.

Many of these sled dogs look fierce and untamed and occasionally fight between themselves, but they are usually friendly with their master.  Some owners take special care of them when on trails of harsh snow and ice, putting special boots on their feet and ankles, but leaving the toes uncovered.  This is because they have very thick fur on their toes, and their strong claws give them a good grip on slippery surfaces.

But it is not only in the frozen north that sled dogs are popular.  In parts of Europe and other countries, dogs of various varieties pull carts loaded with cans of milk, firewood and other items, as well as children enjoying a ride.  At times just one dog will pull these wheeled carts.

As we consider different animals, it’s not difficult to see how the Creator has designed each one in a special way for its own life pattern.  More importantly, we should consider how He has provided for each of us in a special way.  The Bible tells us in many places how He cares for us.  Here is one: “Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works . . . and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward. . . .  They are more than can be numbered” (Psalm 40:5).  

Have you ever thanked Him for His loving care over you?  

Love you all - Grandpa 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Jewel # 311 (Feb. 13, 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

Fooling the Enemy

“Hide me under the shadow of Thy wings, 
from the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly  enemies.”
(Psalm 17:8-9)

If the Creator hadn’t provided a means of protection, many creatures wouldn’t have a chance of fighting back or escaping from their enemies.  Many of their enemies would devour them with one bite, if the opportunity presented itself.  Here are some examples of the Creator’s protection.

Several small beetles are coloured bright red, orange, or yellow, others are plain-coloured, and still others are a combination of the two.  Each of these beetles is either poisonous, has a terrible taste or has a bad smell.  As a result, many creatures have learned to avoid them, as well as those with similar colour combinations, as they are not able to distinguish one from the other.

A wide variety of caterpillars, wasps, bees, flies and even small birds have been given distinctive markings of various kinds.  These creatures are protected from harm because they don’t look like something edible.  Some resemble stones, sticks, blades of grass or other none-edible objects. 

 Some caterpillars cover their backs every day with flower buds, leaves or grass.  An unusual variety of beetle plasters its back with mud each day.  Another one, which lives on chalk-white cliffs, powders its entire body with fresh, white  dust, making it practically invisible to its enemies.

One of the most amazing insects is an orange and black fly by the name of zonose. Its wings, which are spread out while resting, are transparent but have black, matched markings on each wing that look exactly like a jumping spider’s legs, including other black spots on its body—all contributing  to its disguise.

In the oceans in many parts of the world, large fish will gobble down smaller fish.  However, one called the cuttelfish can change its colour in less that a second to blend perfectly with it surroundings.  In fact, there are a great many fish that can do this very same thing.  When they see an enemy approaching, they seem to sense that their colouring hides them.   They remain perfectly still while the enemy swims by without even being aware of their presence.

These are just a few examples of helpless creatures being protected from cruel enemies by means of fooling them or being invisible, using the remarkable and interesting camouflages the Creator has provided for them.  Of course, they are not aware of His care, but He kindly looks after them just the same.

Those who know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour are often aware of our enemy, Satan, who never tires of trying to discourage or harm us by evil suggestions and teachings.  Our opening Bible verse should be our constant prayer, guide and encouragement.  

Do you know the Lord jesus Christ as your Saviour?
If so, you can ask Him to hide you under the shadow of His wings.

Love you all - Grandpa  

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Jewel # 310 (Feb. 5, 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

A Great Imitator 

“The heart is deceitful above all things . . . who can know it? I the Lord search the heart.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

Known as walking stick, or stick insects, these relatives of katydids, crickets, grasshoppers and earwigs come in many varieties throughout North, Central and South America, as well as Asia.  North America alone has about a dozen different kinds.  Some measure only two to three inches long, but in Asian countries some may be twelve inches long when stretched out on a branch. The larger ones, when roasted, are considered a very tasty food by the natives.

Walking sticks usually remain perfectly still on twigs or even flat blades of grass or leaves.  Their long, slender bodies look so much like a part of the tree or plant that insects coming from behind innocently climb up and walk along their backs.

Unlike most insects, these strange brown or green creatures have no wings but have six long, flexible, thin legs, all about the same length, that seem awkward in climbing over twigs and branches.  When folded under their bodies, their legs look like a part of a branch itself.

Walking sticks remain motionless on the twigs, branches or leaves, blending so perfectly they are nearly invisible.  Their strange appearance hides them from their enemies.  Even people searching for these unusual creatures may walk right by one lying on a bare branch and not discover it until, by chance, the person thinks he is grabbing a branch for support and discovers it trying to wriggle away from his hand.  

These insects are greedy leaf-eaters, sometimes damaging walnut, oak, locust, hickory, cherry and other trees.  The female usually drops one hundred or more eggs to the ground, one at a time, which will hatch the following spring.  They are neglected, and few survive.  As the young grow, they shed their skin five or six times.  

In many ways these walking sticks represent an illustration of the deceitful ways of Satan and his efforts to spoil our personal lives.  How much better to have our trust in the Lord Jesus, our Creator, and ask Him to help us do what these Bible verses tell us: “He that will love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no dishonesty. . . . For the eyes of the Lord are over the honest and true, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Peter 3:10-12).          

Love you all - Grandpa

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Jewel # 309 (Jan. 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

The Silky Anteater 

“Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.
Remember His marvellous works."
(1 Chronicles 16:11-12)

The silky anteater lives in the forests of southern Mexico and down through Central and South America.  It is very small—only about the size of a squirrel—but has a long, furry tail that makes it look somewhat larger.  Its little body has honey-coloured fur, and it has a rather pretty face, with round, black eyes and a pointed snout ending in a pinkish nose.

In securing its food, composed of termites and ants, teeth would be of no value.  Instead, the Creator has provided it with a pointed nose and a long sticky, tongue which it pokes into the nests of these insects and pulls them out in great quantities.

Besides being smaller than its relatives, the silky anteater is also a tree-climber, whereas the larger anteaters spend their lives on the ground.  To aid in tree climbing, it has been given an extra joint on both hind feet, enabling its toes to bend around a tree branch for a good, strong grip—another provision of the Creator to help its food-searching activities.  It also has a prehensile tail (a grasping tail similar to a monkey’s) which it uses to suspend itself head downward.  Then it can use its strong front claws to tear bark off a tree, where it usually finds food.  This special tail also may work like an extra hand, helping it to hold tightly to a tree.

Silky is a night worker and spends daylight hours curled up in a nest of dry leaves in a hollow tree trunk.  She’ll leave her one tiny baby in this nest while she forages for food.  She nurses the baby for a shot period but then feeds it on digested insects which she regurgitates, until soon the little one is able to scramble around and find its own food.

Because these animals hunt only at night and hide in the daytime, they rarely encounter enemies.  But when they do, they defend themselves by rearing up on hind legs and slashing their opponent with the long, sharp claws of their front feet.

Do you think God takes note of this obscure little creature?  The exceptional provisions for its way of life tell us that He certainly does!  We are further assured by the Bible verse that says, “In whose hand is the life of every living thing” (Job 12:10).  Another verse states, “The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their food in due season" (Psalm 145:15).

How much greater is His love for you and me!  He not only takes care of our daily needs, 
but also He has prepared a home in heaven for all who will accept His Son, 
the Lord Jesus Christ, as their Saviour.

Have you done this?

Love you all - Grandpa       

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Jewel # 308 (Jan. 15, 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 Nile Catfish - Camouflage in the Sea

“God does great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.”
(Job 9:10)

Around coral reefs and other areas of the oceans where sunlight penetrates, many fish would be easy targets for larger fish, mammals and birds unless protected in some was. So God has given them camouflage for protection.

An example of this is the ten-inch bright-red sea dragon, living in the red seaweed along Australian shores.  it looks quite similar to the sea horse.  The sea dragon is a poor swimmer and would be devoured quickly by larger fish except that the Creator has given it an interesting disguise.  Not only is it helped by its red colour, but also it has been given wedlock growths all over its oddly shaped body including its head, chin, back and stoic.  This makes it look like a seaplane with new leaves sprouting on it

In South America and the Philippines there are also several small fish that both look and act like leaves of the mangrove tree that grows there.  One fish, almost as thin as a leaf, swims on its side near the surface and moves about as slowly as a drifting leaf while it fins morsels of food here and there.

The Nile Catfish is the only known fish that swims upside down, just the opposite of other fish.  Their backs are light-coloured and bodies are dark—thus they are safely camouflaged.

Flounders, that are common around North American and European shores, can change colour match the bottom the bay as they slowly swing along the bottom.  The same is true of several fish which live around Bermuda.  They can change colour almost instantly when swimming over different coloured parts of the ocean floor.

Sponge crabs look ordinary enough but cover themselves with sea sponge, which, which they cut with their claws to make a oat over their backs.  As the crab grows, the sponge does the same.  Or if the sponge dies, the crab just gets rid of it and cuts another one to fit.

Another variety, the decorator crab, will often cover itself with bits of coral or limestone or certain sea plants.  To other secreters it just looks like seaweed drifting by.

None of these amazing creature arranged for its unusual camouflage not did it happen gradually over a long time.  The Bible, which always tells the truth, says, “God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life” (Genesis 1:20).  Another verse speaking of God, says, “He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength. . . . He does great things past finding out” (Job 9:4,10)

It is good to read the Bible every day, and when you do, ask the Lord Jesus to make it all plain and helpful to you.  He will be pleased to have you do this.

Love you all - Grandpa  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jewel # 307 (Jan. 8th, 2018)

“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 Slippery Eels   (Part 2)

“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.”
(Psalm 107:23-24)

Besides the eels that can be eaten, which we looked at previously, there are many other kinds, some of which are large and vicious.  Lets consider three of these marine eels.

Conger eels and moray eels do not migrate.  Both are found in warm waters off the coast of California, Mexico and parts of Europe.  Even though some are as long as eight feet, they live their entire lives in crevices of rocks or coral deep in the ocean.  They hide there until a victim comes within reach of their jaws, which which have strong, sharp teeth.  These creatures will attack almost anything that is small enough for them to eat.  Underwater divers are often startled by suddenly coming across one one of these eels, but they do not bother humans unless irritated.

In spring, the three-foot-long lamprey eels travel from saltwater to freshwater to lay their eggs.  A pair swims many miles up mountain streams until shallow water is reached.  The male leaves the female and explores the stream bottom.  When he finds a suitable spot, he removes stones from the bottom with his sucking mouth and takes them to the shoreline.  Soon he has exposed a smooth, sandy bottom where the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them.  Then they both swim upstream, busily picking up and moving stones around, deliberately stirring up the sand which drifts downstream and covers the eggs.

After hatching, the young eels remain in the stream for four or five years, and then they swim out to the ocean or large lake.  In their new surroundings, each one seeks out a victim—usually a large fish.

The young eel does not have jaws but has a large sucker mouth, armed with sharp teeth and a rough, cutting tongue.  Attaching to the fish’s side with its suction mouth, it uses its sharp teeth and rough tongue to make a wound deep enough for blood to flow.  It will remain attached to the fish sometimes for days, sucking out the blood until the fish dies.  Then it finds another victim.

These repulsive creatures remind us of Satan.  The Bible warns us to beware, lest “through his subtlety. . .your minds should be corrupted” (2 Corinthians 11:3).  It is our sins that make us an easy victim of that evil one, but a gracious God warns us to “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7) and turn to the Saviour who "is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him”  (Hebrews 7:25). 

Do you realize that you are a sinner under Satan’s power, and have you accepted the loving invitation to find a shelter in the Saviour?

Love you all - Grandpa 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Jewel # 306 (Dec. 29, 2017)

“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

Angelfish Are Beauties

“Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters,
and Thy footsteps are not known."
(Psalm 77:19)

The Creator has made homes in the seas for more varieties of fish than we can count, both small and large.  Some are very unusual looking, and many of them are beautiful creatures.

Several varieties of small, colourful fishes are named angelfish and are very pretty.  They live mainly in the warm waters along the Atlantic Coast from Florida to Brazil.  Some from the Amazon River in South America are highly prized in many North American aquariums.  There are also varieties of large angelfish that are fished commercially and sold to fish markets, since most are good to eat.

Florida's blue angelfish, for instance, is one of the outstanding beauties.  It is deep blue on its entire back, with two blue ribbons surrounding its head, separated by a dark brown ribbon.  The bottom part of its body is as an even more brilliant blue, and a blue and amber snout adds a little more to its beauty, as well as a brilliant, fan-shaped, yellow tail.  Its not difficult to see how it got its name.

One of the more striking ones is the  clown angelfish.  One variety of these has a light-pink head and shoulders, but the rest of its body, all the way to its tail, is a dark orange marked with wide bands and a central, bright-green stripe that turns deep blue towards it tail.  In addition to this, a huge fin on its back is deep blue, but a similar fin below is light orange with narrow blue stripes.  Getting a close look at one of these would convince you that with such a combination of colours, it is well named. 

Another very attractive variety is the queen angelfish.  A typical one is a soft speckled green all over, except for an outstanding yellow tail and fins.  It is also decorated with a thin but bright-red line all along its narrow top and underside.  There are about a dozen varieties in this group, most of them living off the shores of Florida, but with some venturing as far north as the New England coastline.  When fully grown, they are about two feet long and are a good catch for anyone fishing. 

The Bible tells us that on the fifth day of God’s creation He said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. . . .And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters [oceans, lakes and rivers] brought forth abundantly. . . . And God saw that it was good" (Genesis 1:20-21). When we see these and other wonders, how good it is to know the One who created it all and who still watches over them.  He watches over you and me.

Love you all - Grandpa