Saturday, June 24, 2017

Jewel # 288 (June 20, 2017)

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

To my dear grand children

The Melodious Frog

“He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven.”
(Job 28:24)

Most people who live in the city have never had the pleasure of listening to frogs sing.  During warm spring and sumer nights, their chorus is delightful to hear.

Most frogs spend their lives in or near water, but some are land residents.  These must seek out damp places to live, because their skin requires constant moisture.  They have special glands which help keep their skin moist by supplying a coating which slows moisture evaporation.  This makes their skin seem cold and wet to the touch.

Frogs have no ears, and their protruding eyes are only attracted to moving objects.  However they have sensitive organs that transmit sound, and they also have a good sense of smell.  All frogs are excellent swimmers.

In parts of Africa, frogs disappear when their ponds dry up; they bury themselves in the bottom of the pond.  They can exist like this for months.  Then when torrential rains come and the ponds fill again, they come out of hiding.  Seeing frogs after a rainstorm, superstitious people mistakenly think they have come from the sky.

The females lay thousands of eggs in the spring, floating them in water in large jelly-like masses.  Warmed by the sun, the eggs soon hatch into tadpoles.  The fish-like tadpoles do not look like frogs.  Their fat, little bodies have long tails but no legs.  Nor do they have eyelids or lungs.  They remain this way for many weeks, breathing like fish through  their four pairs of gills.  Eventually hind legs grow—just little “buds” in front of the tail at first, but soon the front legs grow in the same way.

Then eyelids and jaws develop, and the tail gets shorter and shorter as it is absorbed into the body.  Finally, when the four legs have developed, the tail is absorbed completely.  The gills also disappear and lungs develop, changing it into an air-breathing frog.  It announces the change by croaking, a habit it continues for the rest of its life.

Now think about this:  Where frogs live in moist vegetation and cannot get to water, the eggs are laid in damp leaves or rotten wood.  These do not hatch out as tadpoles but as tiny frogs, with the frog parts fully formed!  It is easy to see that the Lord God, the Creator, made this special provision for these particular frogs.

As the opening verse says, the Lord God sees each part of His creation at all times and supplies even frogs and tadpoles with everything they need.  King Solomon knew that God is watching over people as well and wrote, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

Love you all - Grandpa  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jewel # 287 (June 14, 2017)

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“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 Water Strider

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, 
that bringeth out their host by number.”
(Isaiah 40:26)

Springtime has come: the snow and ice over the pond have melted and their are new signs of life. An amazing variety of creatures rise to the surface, having come from the muddy bottom or from stems of plants, as well as from under rocks, roots and water-soaked logs.  Along with frogs, snails and salamanders, there are a number of small insects such as sow bugs, beetles and nymphs stirring about on the bottom.

Included in this awakening in freshwater lakes and ponds of Canada and the United States are numbers of water striders, also known as water skippers or skaters, which live on the surface of the pond.  If placed on your open palm, a full-grown strider with its thin, wire-like legs extended would just about cover it.

These are interesting insects to watch as they “skate” on the surface of the pond.  And they are beneficial insects because they eat other insects, including mosquito larvae.  They also eat spiders.

They are usually found in large groups, quickly scattering in all directions when threatened and coming together again when the danger is past.  When one of these is seen skimming over the water, it appears to be mostly legs, since each leg is about twice as long as its body.

But it is these long, thin, spindly legs that enable it to “skate” over the quiet surface of a pond with its body lifted slightly above the water, never resting on it.  Both the front and back pairs of legs extend from the center of the strider’s body—the back legs do the steering, as well as some of the pushing, while the front legs provide most of the power that gives it such speedy movements.

Actually striders do not swim; they glide smoothly and quickly over the surface. Taking advantage of the surface tension on water, they can stay on the surface without breaking through and can skate along with remarkable speed.  No splashing takes place—the legs just touch the surface lightly and leave little dimples behind them.

Water striders feed on dead insects as well as tiny live ones they are able to capture as they skate and sometimes hop about in their search for food.  It is plain to see the Creator designed them only for swampy areas, for they cannot travel on dry ground.

You might think these little creatures, skimming about in such a lively manner, are hardly worth a person’s attention.  But they do serve a purpose in God’s creation and are one more example of His wisdom and pleasure in making them an important part of the area of the world where they live.

How often do you take time to “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14)? 

Love you all - Grandpa

Monday, June 05, 2017

Jewel # 286 (June 4, 2017)

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“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 Pretty Ocelot

“The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies
are over all His works.”
(Psalm 145:9)

Ocelots, which are about twice the size of house cats, are considered by many to be the most beautiful of the four-footed animals.  They have pretty cat faces with long, white whiskers and small, upright ears pointing forward.  Most are whitish or a tawny yellow, but the fur may also be reddish or smoky gray.

Whatever their colour, they are always spotted with beautiful black dots, varying in size, on their legs and feet and larger shell-shaped spots on the rest of their bodies.  No two ocelots are ever marked the same way.  If caught when young, an ocelot can be tamed and makes an excellent pet.

These are tropical animals and are at home in the marshy areas or riverbeds of the humid jungles of Central America and south to Paraguay in South America.  They can also be found in the thick brush of southeastern Arizona and southern Texas.

Ocelots spend most of their lives on the ground but are excellent climbers.  Active at night, they prowl about the underbrush, hunting for food.  To avoid bright sun light, most ocelots curl up inside a hollow tree, in dark caves or in the shade of heavy thickets during daylight hours.  Wherever possible, they make their homes in trees and walk silently along the branches surrounding them.

In some jungle areas, their favourite food is monkey meat.  They will sometimes playa dead to attract a monkey, then suddenly pounce on it.  If monkeys are not available, they annoy farmers by going after lambs, young pigs or rabbits, but their diet also includes rats, mice, birds, snakes and lizards.  Rather than chase their victims, they will drop on them from a tree branch or silently stalk them through the woods or brush.

In past years, the beautiful furs of these animals have been their downfall, as hunters have trapped and killed them in great numbers.  This is now against the law, although there are poachers who disregard this fact and kill them anyway.

The spotted coats of ocelots are an indication of the Creator’s care over them, providing effective camouflage in the light and shadows of their home areas.  They, of course, know nothing of the Creator’s care, but as the Bible verse at the beginning of this article indicates, there is no creature, no matter how small or how large, how beautiful or how plain, that is not an object of His mercies and kindness.

But there is another Bible verse that every boy and girl, as well as every grown-up, may claim: “How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17).  Have you thanked Him for those precious thoughts?

Love you all - Grandpa     

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Jewel # 285 (May 29, 2017)

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“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 Beautiful Grebes

“I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember Thy 
wonders of old. . . .Thou art the God that doest wonders.”
(Psalm 77:11-14)

These very interesting birds with strange habits are found throughout the world.  Large numbers of grebes in many varieties live in Canada, the northwestern United States, Alaska and Iceland.  Most of the 20 species fly quite well, though they have difficulty getting off the ground.  

Once they are airborne they can fly long distances, and some of them migrate to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts for the winter months and then return north in the spring.  However, three species do not fly at all, and the others fly only when necessary, preferring to remain near their nests in the marshy areas of ponds and lakes.

These birds are excellent swimmers and divers.  The legs of these birds are placed far back on their bodies, and they have long feet. This makes them clumsy and almost helpless on land.  They can run for a short distance but are prone to falling over.

In water, however, they are extremely graceful and wonderful swimmers, both on the surface and underwater.  Although they are a rather large bird, they can dive from the surface without leaving even a ripple to show where they have been.  The baby grebes can swim as soon as they hatch.

The nest, which floats on the water is usually built by both parents in shallow water, using weeds, sticks and reeds.  It is tied to something solid or anchored underwater to keep it from drifting away.  Isn’t it remarkable that the Creator has taught them to do this?

Much time is spent “oiling” their feathers, much like ducks do.  This “waterproofing treatment” is done by rubbing their beaks against special glands on their bodies, then working the waxy deposit into all parts of their dense feathers.

Although they do not have webbed feet, the Creator has given them special flap-like membranes on their long toes to aid in swimming.  Their legs are not round like most birds but pointed in front and back, helping them to move swiftly through water and helping them to catch fish, which they spear with their long, sharp, pointed beaks.

An unusual habit of all grebes is that they eat great quantities of feathers, even feeding them to their young.  No one is quite sure why they do this, but some wonder if the feathers act as  strainers or cushions to keep fish bones from piercing the inside of their bodies.  Whatever the reason may be, it is part of God’s wonderful design.

The ways of these birds show again the care of God in giving them remarkable instincts.  But He gave more than this to mankind.  In the Bible the question is asked, “Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” (Job 38:36).  The answer is that the Lord God, the Creator, has done this.

Love you all - Grandpa

Monday, May 29, 2017

Jewel # 284 (May 21, 2017)

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“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

Geckos and Chuckwallas

"Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who
humbleth Himself to behold the things . . . in the earth!”
(Psalm 113:5-6)

Geckos are small lizards that live in warm climates and are the most interesting member of the lizard family.  They are found on all continents except Antarctica.  Their name comes from the loud call that many kinds of geckos make.  Most are active creatures of the night.

In North American deserts, the pretty banded gecko is plentiful.  It has soft, pliable skin, large eyes, a long tongue for snatching insects and makes its home in the rocks.  The unusual fat-tailed gecko of Pakistan has leopard-like colouring on top and on its extra-fat tail and is plain gray on the underside.

One of the more interesting geckos is found in an African desert.  It is beautifully coloured and has paddle-like, fleshy feet, provided by the Creator to help it travel over sand and probe for insects.  The feet of most other geckos have adhesive toe pads that are covered with thousands of tiny hooks, enabling them to travel on smooth walls and upside down on ceilings.  Their grip is so tight that they need to pull each foot loose before taking the next step.

Geckos eat mainly insects.  Because they devour so many insects, in some countries they are treated as pets in people’s homes, even eating scraps at the table.

The large, rusty-brown chuckwalla is really a lizard that is over a foot long, similar to an iguana.  These creatures live in arid regions in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.  Some are found on coastal islands.

Like the iguana, a chuckwalla prefers to eat the buds, flowers and foliage of creosote plants.  At night sometimes both creatures share a creosote bush.  They both live in lava beds and in the rocks of the southwestern deserts. 

A most interesting feature about chuckwallas is how they escape from their enemies.  They crawl into a narrow rock crevice and then fill their lungs with air, making themselves fit in the  crevice so tightly that they can’t be pulled out.  Where do you think they learned to do this?  They didn’t learn by themselves; they received this life-saving instinct from their Creator.  

Covered with loose, sandpaper-like skin, chuckwallas, look rather fierce.  They aren’t—they are harmless.  Although they are night workers, they often can be spotted in daylight, sunning themselves on a rock.  They are just one more of God’s creatures that is quite satisfied with its life-style.

As we consider these creatures, let us always remember our God of whom it is said, “By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth . . . and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).  The Bible contains God’s account of the truth of creation. 

Love you all - Grandpa           

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Jewel # 283 (May 13, 2017)

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“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

Unwelcome Leeches

Remember His marvellous works that He hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.”
(1 Chronicles 16:12)

A leech, also called a bloodsucker, looks like a worm.  Hundreds of varieties are found, especially in tropical countries.  They range from 3/4 inch to 18 inches long and can stretch or shorten their bodies.  Most are black, brown or gray, with lighter stripes.

The horse leech is dark green.  Suckers on both ends of their bodies enable them to move as some caterpillars do—the front end holding firm while the back end pushes the body forward in a loop.  Then the front end loosens and moves forward as the body stretches out.  This is done over and over until the leech reaches its goal.

The leech’s usual food is the blood of fish, frogs, worms, snails and some animals.  The wound it makes when attaching to its victim is not painful.  When its sharp little teeth puncture the victim's skin, a pain-killing chemical comes out of its mouth.

A thirsty leech sucking blood for a long time may swell up to three times its normal size.  If not removed, six of them all working on a small animal, like a puppy, could take so much blood that in a short time it could die.

How does the leech attach itself to a victim?  In water it slowly swims to a sleeping fish or other creature and attaches itself so gently that the victim is not aware anything is going on.  In wooded or bushy areas, particularly where forests have frequent rain, great numbers of leeches crawl a short way up tree trunks or tall bushes and rest on moist leaves until an animal or even a barebacked person walks below them.  At just the right moment they slide off the leaf and drop so gently that the victim doesn’t even know what has taken place.

How would you like to walk through a place like that?  In times past, before modern medical treatments were available for sick people, doctors kept a number of leeches available.   They thought many illnesses were due to something wrong in the blood.  They used the leeches to remove blood from the sick person.  Most people didn’t know any better either, and probably asked for that kind of treatment.  Medical doctors in most countries no longer use leeches.

Leeches are a part of the Creator’s creation, to which the opening Bible verses refers.  Let us also remember another Bible verse that tells us, “All things were created by Him, and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).   How good of God to give us such a clear explanation of creation.  Man has come up with his own ideas, but God’s Word is the truth.

Love you all - Grandpa       

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jewel # 282 (April 21, 2017)

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“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

Decoy Birds

“Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived. . . .
Lay up these My words in your heart.”
(Deuteronomy 11:16,18)

Horned puffins are very pretty birds which usually find nesting places on cliffs of islands off the North American coasts.  They have orange-red, sharp beaks, with wide, flat webbed feet of the same colour.  The Tufted puffins are very similar, but the back of their necks is bright yellow, overlapping the fronts of their round heads, which are white on both sides.  The backs of both kinds are black.

Some time ago people were concerned because fewer and fewer puffins were coming to an island off the coast of Maine that had once been a nesting place for great numbers of them.  The people concluded that if something weren’t done about it, soon there would be none left.

Since puffins are social birds and only nest where there are others of their kind, the people decided to set out decoys to attract the puffins.  They arranged for a number of imitation wooden puffins (decoys), skillfully painted to look like live ones, to be set in several places on the island.

It wasn’t long before several pairs of puffins spotted the decoys from the air and landed near a group of them.  They must have been puzzled when the decoys didn’t respond to their cooing, but they didn’t leave.  Soon others also flew in, and before long many were making nests.   And so their numbers grew.

The decoys were kept in place for several years, resulting in increasing numbers making this island their home, to the satisfaction of those who worked so hard to make it possible.  Now more than one hundred pairs of puffins return to the island every year, and the decoys have been moved to other areas.

This experience was so successful that before long a similar program was used to bring lovely terns  and other birds to suitable spots.  It was also a good way to get newcomers into areas where they had never been before.  The decoy idea has also been used successfully along California shores to attract the lovely little birds called the “least tern.”

However, as we think of the happy results of the decoy system, we are reminded that there are other “decoys” that are not good ones.  Satan is the one who uses these.  He tries to lure us into places or tempt us to do things that we should stay away from.  So the Bible faithfully warns us:  “Neither give an opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27), and, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. . . . In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If we follow the guidance the Lord Jesus gives us in the Bible and ask Him to help us, this is the way to a happy life.

Love you all - Grandpa     

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jewel # 281 (April 11, 2017)

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“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 Brown Bear

“O Lord, how many are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou 
made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches.” 
(Psalm 104:24)

There are many bears in North America, including black, brown, grizzly and polar bears.  The brown bear we are considering today is the second largest bear in the world, next to the polar bear, which is the largest.  

The brown bear lives mostly in Alaska, but there still may be a few left in Canada and the northern United States, also in Europe and Asia.  It is often mistaken for a grizzly to which it is closely related, but the brown bear is larger and stronger.  A large one may weigh nearly 2000 pounds, and when standing on its hind feet it will be about 10 feet high.  It can run 35 miles per hour.

This bear is usually thought of as a flesh eater, but actually its favourite foods are grass, weeds, flowers, berries, seeds, acorns and other nuts.  Honey is also a favourite food.  The bear’s heavy coat of hair protects it from getting stung by angry bees when ripping apart a nest.

There is an exception to the brown bear’s vegetarian diet—when salmon are returning from the ocean to spawn far upstream.  At that time, large numbers of these bears wade into the shallow streams, scooping out one fish after another with their front paws onto the shore for a good meal!  They never share these fish with each other. 

It is most interesting to watch a bear wade out in the strong river current to the very edge of a waterfall.  It waits there until a salmon makes a giant leap from below and comes through the air in range to be grabbed in the bear’s jaws and taken to shore for an anticipated meal.  Full-grown bears can handle the strong current, but smaller ones don’t venture out.  They seem to sense that they could possibly be washed over the edge.

In winter, brown bears do not actually hibernate as most varieties do.  They have prepared dens in advance, lined with soft grass and moss, where they remain sleeping much of the time.  It is during this period that usually two cubs are born, about the size of kittens.  The mother nurses them until she takes them out of the den in early spring.

The Bible speaks in several places of bears.  In one place, David told King Saul how he had killed a bear with his bare hands (1 Samuel 17:34-35).  However, the bears that live in that region of the world are not as large as as these brown bears, but they are more fierce.

As part of God’s creation, these creatures are always under His watchful eye.  The animals do not know this, but we who do know of His watchful care over us should thank Him often.  A Bible verse says,
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving . . . for the Lord is a great God.”
(Psalm 95:2-3)     

Love you all - Grandpa

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Jewel # 280 (April 4, 2017)

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“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 Restless Caribou

“God Himself . . . formed the earth and made it; 
He hath established it.”
(Isaiah 45:18)

With temperatures dropping to 80 degrees below zero, the frozen regions of North America are usually considered wastelands where nothing can survive.  In reality, many creatures, including the caribou, live in these regions.

A full-grown caribou weighs from 300 to 700 pounds, stands 4 feet tall, and is 6 to 8 feet long.  The Creator has provided them with all they need to survive in the extremely cold temperatures, including soft, thick, insulated fur.  

They require much food, yet they live where grass and leaves are not plentiful.  The Lord God has created a special food for them called reindeer moss or lichen.  This grows rapidly in the summer months, covering the ground and clinging to trunks and branches of trees.  It is a rich food and can be eaten year round.  

In deep snow where there are no trees supporting lichen growth, a God-given instinct tells the caribou to search for it on the ground.  Caribou have sharp hooves that dig through snow and ice to reach this food.  Most of their wakeful time in winter is spent digging and eating.

Caribou are about the most restless of all animals.  They roam in large herds, numbering in the thousands.  These large herds devour all food wherever they stop, and they must move on each day to find more.

During their migrations, they travel at east 600 miles northward in sumer, where calves are born in late May or June, and then they return in winter.  Nothing stops these migrations.  If mountains are too high to cross, the caribou go around them.  If lakes and rivers are not frozen, they swim across them.

Both male and female caribou have antlers, but the male’s antlers grow much larger than the female’s.  These can be used as dangerous weapons along with their strong legs and sharp hooves.  Many a wolf, attempting to overcome a caribou, has learned too late that it is no match against a strong, healthy caribou.  Yet wolves do follow herds, and if they discover a calf separated from the others or a crippled adult, they will successfully attack and kill it.

This reminds us of Satan, the evil one who, we are warned, “walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  Boys and girls need the protection of their parents.  A godly family will ask the Lord each day to help guide and preserve them from Satan’s attacks. 

All the family members, both young and old, need to feed continually on the Bible, God’s living Word, so they do not become weak and vulnerable to the enemy.  Let us thank God for His wonderful promise:

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. . . . They shall
run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 
(Isaiah 40:31)    

Love 280

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jewel # 279 (March 26, 2017)

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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 Deadly Cobra 

“Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil men. . . . They have sharpened their 
tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips."
(Psalms 140:1,3)

A wide variety of cobras live in lands such as Africa, southern Asia and the East Indies, including the Philippine Islands.  The one we will look at is the king cobra, the largest and longest poisonous snake known, reaching a length of 18 feet!

Cobras are nervous, and it is scary to watch one when excited raise its head 2 or 3 feet and then flatten its neck, expose its poisonous fangs with its greenish tongue flicking in and out, and stare at you with its beady eyes.

Actually, it is more likely to retreat than to attack, because it is more interested in finding a frog, bird, small snake or small mammal to eat.

Some varieties of king cobras have brownish-olive backs; others are gray or black with light bands over the back, with underparts ranging from white to yellow or black.  Scales on the back of the larger variety are mostly deep black with some brown areas and the underpart a tannish-yellow.  Their red eyes with coal-black pupils are always open since they have no eyelids, and they only see an object when it moves.

Snake charmers of India train small cobras to stay coiled in an open basket until the charmer plays a flute while swaying his body back and forth.  Soon the snake rises up and also sways, to the delight of spectators who give the charmer a few coins for the show.  Most of these people are unaware that the snake is deaf and can’t hear the music, but it is actually sensing danger and holding itself on guard.  It would do the same thing without the music.

Many people in those Asian lands worship cobras.  Tragically, they are taught by their heathen priests that that these serpents are gods, controlling not only every person’s life and health, but also their crops, sunshine, rain and storms.  Expensive temples are built to worship these snakes, including idols often shaped like a coiled cobra or groups of them with raised bodies at various heights from the floor, having human heads crowned with gold or jewels.  People bring flowers, food and expensive gifts, bowing down to these idols and worshipping them.

We are thankful for Christians people who try to turn these poor, deceived people to the Lord Jesus as the only true, loving Saviour and away from the power of Satan.  In Revelation 12:9, Satan is referred to as “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world.”  

Do not let that evil one deceive you.  The Lord Jesus loves you and wants you to put your trust in Him.  His Word, the Bible, invites each person to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). 

Love you all - Grandpa     

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jewel # 278 (March 19, 2017)

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“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:
Garibaldis Are Tough

“Let the heaven and earth praise Him, the seas, 
and everything that moveth therein.”
(Psalm 69:34)

The garibaldi is a fish less than a foot long, bright orange in colour, and very protective of its home territory in the offshore ocean waters of California.  They are usually found in tide pools reaching 90 feet below the surface. This fish was named after the italian warrior Giuseppe Garibaldi of the 1800s, who is remembered for his bold and tough style of fighting.

When mature, this fish develops a bump on its head that adds to the fierce looks of its mouth and the spinal fin running all the way along its back.  Extra-large scales on its bright body add to its fierce look, along wit its green eyes.

The males choose rocky, fortresslike areas for their homes. With few exceptions, they challenge all intruders no matter how large they might be. However, they seem to make sure that there are crevices in the rocks for escape if invaders are too tough for them.  One exception they make in challenging other fish is the little seƱorita.  This little fish is allowed to safely come to them to clean and eat parasites off the garibaldis’ bodies.

When about five years old, a male garibaldi cleans off a rocky space for a nest and guards it carefully.  But strangely, when a mate shows up he dashes threateningly toward her.  However, she avoids him and heads for the nest, even though he may nip her a few times on the way.  

When she reaches the nest, she swims slowly back and forth, dropping thousands of eggs which stick to the algae he has allowed to grow there.  When she has finished, the excited male fertilizes them with a fluid from his body, and from then on, he intensely  guards them from intruders.  Meanwhile, the female has disappeared, quite content to leave all problems to him.             

Eggs hatch in about three weeks, and the baby garibaldis are half an inch long.  They begin life with a blue colour, but as they get older, this is replaced with a permanent bright orange.  When about four inches long, the males of the group take on the aggressive ways of their father, while the females are chased off and have to make their own way in their watery world.

This is one more instance where mankind has been allowed to discover one of the amazing varieties of creatures God has place on the earth primarily for Hs own pleasure, but which He often allows us to enjoy as well.

The psalmist expressed his appreciation of these works for the Creator when he wrote: “Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to usward. . . . They are more than can be numbered” (Psalm 40:5).

Do you ever think about your Creator? 

Love you all - Grandpa

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jewel # 277 (March 10, 2017)

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“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

Water-Loving Ibis

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

Ibis are among the world’s largest birds, some measuring  as much as four feet from the tip of their beaks to the end of their tail feathers.  All have long necks and legs with partly webbed feet.  They eat mostly fish, frogs and snails captured by probing in shallow, muddy water with their long beaks.  They also eat large insects, mice, moles and small snakes.  Farmers welcome them because of their huge appetites for these pests.

Some ibis species live by the thousands in colonies, grouping in trees or bushes, making large, bowl-shaped nests built of twigs and interwoven sticks with a thin, inner layer of grass.  Others prefer to nest in single families in marshes or open forest areas.  Many varieties of ibis are scattered from the southern United States through Mexico and South America, and also Africa and Australia.  With changes in seasons, some make flights of thousands of miles, while others remain in one place throughout the year.

Two varieties in North America prefer to make their homes in areas cleared of forest or in open, dry country.  The American white is a large, pretty bird, almost solid white with black wing tips, red face and legs, and a yellow beak.  The wood ibis is darker in colour.  Both kinds usually nest close to the Gulf of Mexico.  

The Australian white looks much like the American white.  It is noted for its practice of breaking a shellfish open by holding it firmly against a flat stone or hard surface with a foot and then using its tough beak as a hammer to break it open.

The bald ibis, found only in the mountains of Africa and the Middle East, has quite a colour contrast to the others.  It is mostly greenish black except for a dash of deep pink or brown where its wings are attached to its body.  The male has a deep red top to his head.  The head itself is pinkish, but the long down-curved beak, long legs and feet are light orange.

One that is worshipped by natives around the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Australia is the sacred ibis.  The worship habit probably came about centuries ago when natives first noticed that these birds got rid of troublesome pests.

It pleased the Lord God, the Creator of all things, to place these and thousands of other bird varieties throughout the world, both for their usefulness and also as objects of great interest.  Each has its particular place in the creaction in which He delighted.

For those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, there is a wonderful time coming in heaven when He will show us His wisdom and love in all He has done.

Will you be there to hear that wonderful account?      

Love you all - Grandpa