Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jewel # 294 (August 18, 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

Fierce Tigers - Part 2

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

In the last issue we looked at some similarities between tigers and house cats.  Here is one difference—while our pet cats don’t like getting even a paw in water, tigers love to play in water or even swim in it, sometimes swimming great distances.

Baby tigers are cute and interesting.  Females usually have two to six cubs in a litter, and they are born blind and helpless.  However, the cubs don’t lose any time finding their mother’s milk, just as kittens do.  They nurse until they are large enough to eat meat, which the mother teaches them to catch for themselves.  The male ignore them, so the mother cares for them for about two years, until they have learned how to be on their own.

Except for swimming, tigers will not mix with other tigers and will fight any that come too near.  When one has eaten its fill of a kill and there is some left over, it will not let other tigers have it.  Instead, it covers the carcass with rocks or branches to hide it for later.

We mentioned that the two largest tigers are the Bengal and the Siberian.  Although the Bengal is the strongest, the Siberian is the most beautiful.  Its golden-brown body fur with narrow, black stripes contrasts beautifully with the solid-white fur on its face.  It has black stripes down the inside of its lower jaw and throat, as well as its front legs.

There are some exceptions to the usual orange and black tiger colours.  The Bengals, for example, sometimes have white fur all over, ringed with the usual black stripes.  But they do not live separate from the others that have the orange and black colouring.

Although fierce hunters, tigers live peaceably with hippos, rhinos and elephants.  They seem to know that, in spite of sharp claws and strong teeth, they would be no match for those huge beasts.  They just ignore one another.  Tourists, wishing to get a picture of these beauties, ride on elephants—sometimes arranged in groups—and a native guide leads them.  Strangely, the tigers don’t seem to mind this and at times even seem to be posing to have their pictures taken.

Some might ask, “Why did the Creator make tigers so vicious?”  Actually, God made them tame and gentle, but when sin came into the world, a sad change came to many creatures.  They will remain that way until God will make them peaceful again.  When that time comes, all who now know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour will be in a far more beautiful and happy place—heaven itself.  Will you be there?

Love you all - Grandpa    

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Jewel # 293 (August 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 

Fierce Tigers - Part 1

“God made the beast of the earth after his kind . . . and God saw that it was good.”
(Genesis1:25)

There are eight varieties of tigers.  Although all look much alike, there are differences in their strip markings.  The Bengal and heavily furred Siberian tigers (the two kinds most often seen in zoos) are the largest.  Some measure 10 feet or more from their noses to the tips of their tails and weigh as much as 550 pounds.  There are smaller tigers in India, Turkey, Iran, China, Japan, Java and Sumatra.

The coats of tigers, give them their beauty, with black and orange stripes circling their bodies and long white-tipped tails.  But a close-up look at their faces, with glaring eyes and open mouths with  sharp fangs, makes them rather scary, especially if a rasping snarl comes out!  They are not friendly with other tigers, unless it’s a member of their own family.

It is easy to see that they are related to the domestic cat you may have in your home.  Both of them have loose fur, small ears, long whiskers and sharp claws that are hidden when walking or resting but are extended as sharp weapons when fighting or capturing an animal.

Tigers are well camouflaged by the stripes on their coats when in a forest, swampy area or desert that has tall, dry grass. By instinct they take advantage of this when hunting.  For example, when a tiger is in an area where it is camouflaged and spots a zebra or other animal nearby, the tiger will immediately stop.  It may lie perfectly still for an hour or more, until, carefully and soundlessly, it creeps  closer.

If nothing betrays the tiger’s presence, it will continue its silent approach until close enough to attack.  Then suddenly, darting out of its hiding place, it leaps on the victim and, with a bite of its powerful jaws, quickly ends its victim’s life.  Then it might call its mate to join in the feast.  They may take two or three days to eat a large animal.  Their stomachs will then be so full that they won’t be interested in hunting for another three or four days.

Do you think the Lord God, the Creator, knows what these beasts are doing?  Yes, He surely does, and it seems He often directs them to a weak or sickly animal that would only suffer in continuing to live with its handicap.  Its sudden death is really a merciful way of ending its life, since tigers never torture their prey—they kill it quickly.  We will consider this more in the next issue. (Part 2).

Meanwhile, think about the Bible verse that tells us: “God looks to the ends of the earth and sees under the whole sky” (Job 28:24).  He looks on you with love and kindness.
(To be continued)

Love you all - grandpa

Friday, July 28, 2017

Jewel # 292 (July 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

Some Unusual Frogs

“The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein."
(Psalm 111:2)

There are thousands of kinds of frogs.  The tiniest one, a tree-dweller, is less than half an inch long.  The largest frog in the world is the giant frog of Queensland, Australia, which is almost 12 inches long.  It is so huge that it can swallow a rat!  The largest frog in North America is the bull frog, which is more than 6 inches long.  It can stay underwater a long time by absorbing oxygen from the water through its skin.

Tree frogs have suction cups on their toes which are moistened with a sticky substance.  One kind of tree frog in the tropics is so well camouflaged that it is almost impossible to distinguish it from the leaves.  It lives in the tops of tall trees and never comes to the ground.  These frogs are clever builders!  They cement leaves together to collect pools of rainwater in which they lay their eggs.

The four-inch, green Bornean flying frog has skin between its toes that stretches out, enabling it to make long, parachute-like leaps.

Most frogs dig with their front feet, but the European spadefoot digs with specially designed back feet.  If in danger, it will quickly disappear backwards into a hole it has dug.

The female pouched tree frog has pouches on her back.  She lays about a dozen eggs at a time.  The male picks up these eggs with his hind feet and places them in these pouches, where they remain until they hatch as tadpoles.

In another species, the male takes on the responsibility of hatching the eggs.  As the eggs are laid by the female, he swallows them.  The eggs pass into a special pouch in his throat.  They incubate there until they hatch and swim out of the father’s mouth.

The male midwife frog takes care of eggs in another way.  He takes the eggs from the female, wraps them around his hind legs, then scoops a hole in the mud where he waits while they incubate.  After a few weeks, he jumps into the water with the eggs still wrapped around his legs.  The force of the water breaks open the eggs, and the tadpoles swim out.

The Lord was pleased to create such an interesting variety of frogs, and we know He takes care of them day by day.  But for men, women, boys and girls who know Him as their Saviour, His care is even greater.  It was shown in the great love that led Him to die on Calvary to save them from their sins.  He tells them, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye” (Psalm 32:8).

Have you put your trust in Him? and do you now ask Him
to be your guide through life?

Love you all -Grandpa    

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jewel # 291 (July 18, 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

Robins are Popular

“Ask now . . . the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee about God’s creation.”
(Job 12:7)

To nearly everyone in North America the robin is a favourite bird.  It has become well - known for its cheery songs, one of which seems to say “cheer up, cheer up.”  And most of us have watched a robin, with its grayish-black head, back and tail, and its brick-red breast, hopping across a lawn.  It will stop frequently, cock its head sideways as if listening, and then quickly tug a nice fat worm out of the ground and swallow it.  

During summer months robins are found from Alaska and the Canadian Rockies, all the way across lower Canada and the United states, and down to the Gulf of Mexico.  In winter many migrate to the southern United States, and then in early spring they return to the exact spots they temporarily left behind—often to the very same nests.  The same male and female are usually paired together from year to year.

Building a nest requires lots of mud.  The female does most of the work, but her mate helps gather some of the material.  She starts by mixing mud and grass.  As the sides get higher and before the mud hardens, she squats down and squirms around to make a bowl-shaped bottom.  Then, after building the sides higher and before it fully hardens, she lines it with soft grasses, leaves and a few feathers.  Sometimes it takes two weeks to build a nest.  Then she lays from three to six pretty blue eggs.  

The eggs take about two weeks to hatch.  The chicks, naked and blind at birth, open their eyes in five days and feathers begin to show.  In only a few weeks, they are ready to fly.  Robins may have two or three broods during the spring and summer.  

Although most people admire these lively birds, they are at time a problem to fruit and berry growers.  Robins love to eat cherries and berries, along with their worm and insect diet.  But over all they are a great benefit to farmers and to all of us in eating a tremendous amount of harmful insects every day.  

These pretty birds were first called robins in colonial days.  People from England found their colours similar to the British robin.  Both are part of the thrush family.  

In looking at all kinds of birds, we are reminded that they are an important part of God’s creation.  We cannot help but marvel at the wide variety He placed on the earth, from the cold Arctic and Antarctic areas to the heat of the equator.  The Bible tells us He had real pleasure in creating them.

It is important to remember that the Bible also tells us, “Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone; Thou has made . . . the earth, and all things that are therein . . . and Thou preservest them all” (Nehemiah 9:6).  All creation belongs to Him.


Love you all - Grandpa      

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Jewel # 290 (June 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 Plump Wombat

“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)

The wombat, sometimes called the Australian badger, is another of the interesting animals found in Australia.  It is a marsupial, which means the mother carries her baby in a pouch until the baby is able to fend for itself.  With most marsupials, this pouch is on the front of the mother’s body, like the kangaroo’s, but the wombat’s pouch is on her back.  It would seem the Creator did this so that in digging her burrows she does not throw dirt into the pouch or on the little one inside.

Wombats are chubby and waddle when they walk, resembling bear cubs in many ways.  Adults are 2 to 3 feet long and may weigh 80 pounds.  Their long coarse fur is most often brown, but some have fur that is gray, yellowish or black.  They have broad heads with snouts like pigs, very small tails and strong legs and claws used for digging their burrows.   They also have sharp teeth for gathering roots, leaves and bark for food, which is done at night.  They curl up and sleep in their burrows during the day.  These animals can be affectionate pets.

Babies are as tiny as mice at birth and immediately crawl into the mother’s pouch, where they nurse and develop for about six months.  When the mother walks about, her baby may be seen poking its head out, watching where they are going.

One species, which lives in the southern forests and grasslands of Australia and nearby islands, has the name hairy-nosed and likes living together in large colonies.  Their hair is silky, and with their long ears and furry muzzles the are rather cute.

A more common wombat has the name naked-nose.  This one is larger and has much coarser hair, short ears and a leathery nose free of fur.   These prefer living in smaller groups.

All wombats, like badgers are powerful and tough for their size.  They live in burrows, many of which interlock with several openings.  They will frequently move from one burrow to another, perhaps doing this to keep their enemies from knowing exactly here they nest.

Wombats are a good example of an interesting animal which God created and still cares for.  The pouches of marsupials are an excellent illustration of how all animals have been created for their individual way of live.  This way of life has continued “after their kind” ever since ‘God said “Let the earth bring forth the . . . beast of the earth after his kind” (Genesis 1:24).  This includes the fact that a dirt-digging  marsupial like the wombats was always to have its pouch on its back, in contrast to the others having theirs on the front.  The wise Creator has made them this way.

Love you all - Grandpa

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Jewel # 289 (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