Monday, March 11, 2019

Jewel # 353 (March 11, 2019)

“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

Likeable Sabels

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”  
(Genesis 3:21)

Although a member of the weasel family, sables look very similar to pine martens, both being about the same size.  They have cute, small, pointed faces, with sharp little button noses, dark eyes and large, pointed ears, usually held upright.

A typical full-grown sable will be about 20 inches long, including its 5-inch-long, bushy tail.  They are nimble little beauties.  The colour of most varieties is a rich-looking, glossy dark brown on the upper parts of their bodies and gray on their heads, with a pretty yellowish shade under their throats and bellies.  However, the ones of highest value are those that are almost black on the backs and sides, with an orange or white area under their chins.

Furriers love to receive these beautiful furs from the trappers.  They make warm, snug-fitting hats for both men and women, as well as luxurious, expensive coats and jackets.  A choice fur will sometimes bring the trapper enough money to live on for a year, and a well-made lady’s sable fur coat might sell for $100,000!

Sables are found in many places, including Siberia, Mongolia, China, Korea and some of the north Pacific islands.  But because of the extremely long, very cold winters where they live, the Siberian sables are the most valuable of all, because their fur is thicker, glossier, softer and more durable than all others.  Many refer to them as “soft gold,” and over 100,000 of these are bought yearly by furriers in many parts parts of the world who pay high prices for them.

Actually, since the entire world is plagued with troubles of many kinds, these high-priced pieces of fur clothing are no longer very popular for several reasons—their high cost and the rarity of these animals.  This means that the rare sable may not be in such extreme danger of being wiped out by trappers much longer.  Many will be happy to see that take place.

How about the sables themselves and their way of life?  As long as trappers leave them alone, they do well with a mixed diet of nuts, berries, insects and an occasional small animal, as well as birds’ eggs and fish available in shallow waters.  These nimble little creatures are surprisingly clever at avoiding the many traps that are set out for them by trappers.  Hopefully, as the demand for their fur actually decreases, their numbers will increase.  They are part of God's creation in which He delights.

Love you all - Grandpa

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Jewel # 352 (March 5, 2019)

“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 Changeable Chameleon

“Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves;
we are His people. . . . Be thankful unto Him."
(Psalm 100:3-4)

There are more than 80 species of chameleons, a lizard relative, ranging from 3 to 20 inches long.  They live among the trees of Madagascar, Africa, India and southern Spain, as well as in desert areas.  Sometimes called a ground lion, the name seems appropriate as the males look ferocious, many having from one to four horns protruding from their large heads, as well as crests or loose flaps of skin over their short necks.  However, they only look fierce and are entirely harmless.

With the exception of one called stump-tailed and a few others, all have long tails to grab onto a branch, just like monkeys do.  This is particularly important for theMadagascar giant which lives in treetops.  Along with strong, sharp claws, the tail enables it to move quickly and safely from branch to branch as it hunts its food.  How wisely the Lord God has provided for all their individual needs!

Unlike their cousins—the geckos, which have no eyelids—the chameleon’s protruding eyes are almost completely covered by eyelids, leaving only a narrow opening.  But their eyes, which turn independently of each other, can look forward and backward at the same time—a great help in finding food and escaping from enemies.  Incidentally, if an enemy grabs one by its tail, it just lets its tail drops off and scoots away.  A new tail soon grows!

For the most part, chameleons are slow moving.  However, their long tongues unfold out of their mouths too quickly for flies, beetles and other insects to escape.

All chameleons can change their colour instantly when frightened or wishing to conceal themselves.  No one can really explain just how this is done, but it is a further provision of the Creator in His care over them.  Colour changes are usually in shades of green, yellow, brown, blue or may be mixed.

The many species of this little creature speak of God’s pleasure in making varieties different in appearance from one another and yet all remaining true chameleons.  The Bible says, “For Thy pleasure they are and were created“ (Revelation 4:11).  Lacking strength to either attack their enemies or defend themselves, we can also see how the Creator has wisely provided for their needs in securing food and in protecting themselves by wonderful disguises.

As our opening verse tells us, the Lord God has also created every one of us and wants us to be His special people in ways an animal could never know.  This can be done only when we admit to Him that we are sinners in need of a Saviour and accept Him by faith in our hearts.  

Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour?  

Love you all - Grandpa     

Friday, March 01, 2019

Jewel # 351 (March 1, 2019)

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 Cat or a Fish

“The Creator’s way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters.”
(Psalm 77:19)

The catfish probably got its name from the whiskers around its mouth, since they are similar to a cat’s whiskers.  These whiskers give it a warning signal of dangers and are also an important means of finding food.

There are many species of freshwater and saltwater catfish.  Freshwater catfish are found in the Great Lakes and other lakes, rivers and streams throughout North America.  They aren’t a pretty fish, except that some species have a rainbow of colours on fins, tails and bodies.  The most outstanding is is called the blue catfish.  Fully grown, it may reach 5 feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds.  Others vary in size, all the way down to only a pound or less.

Some that live in ocean waters along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico include the white catfish, the sea catfish, and the gaff-topsail.  Most like waters with muddy bottoms where they prowl for food and where they can quickly wiggle into the mud when escaping an enemy.

Catfish have no scales, but they have very sensitive skin.  This enables any part of their bodies to detect food that may be hidden in the sand or mud, as well as locating bugs on underwater plants, another source of food.  The Creator has provided well for them, both in food and in protection from harm in muddy, dark waters.

After the female lays her eggs in the spring, the male gathers them all into his mouth to incubate them.  He eats no food while carrying them in his mouth, until well after the young hatch, a period of two months.  Then he deposits the little fish in nearby weeds.  The parents sometimes find them to be a tempting bit of food.  But the young ones, soon aware of the danger, swim far away to live on their own.

Catfish are good to eat.  Tremendous quantities are caught in the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes.  The demand for catfish is so great that huge quantities are raised in fish “farms”.  Many of these are kept alive in special tank cars and shipped to restaurants throughout the country.

Isn’t it nice to realize that the Lord God, the Creator, watches over all His creation, including these unusual fish?  But how much greater is His love and care over boys and girls, as well as men and women.  He gives this loving invitation to each one “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”  (Matthew 11:28-29).

Have you responded to His invitation?

Love you all - Grandpa  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Jewel # 350 (Feb. 15, 2019)

The Owl Monkey
The Wanderoo Monkey

“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 

Two Unusual Monkeys

“Behold, God is mighty, and despises not any: He is mighty in strength and wisdom.” 
(Job 36:5) 

All monkeys in South and Central America are active only in daylight hours except for one kind—the owl monkey.  People who have seen them tell us they are cute little fellows with velvety gray and white faces, white eyebrows and tiny beards, along with bright yellow chests and underparts.

Although these monkeys are gentle when young, when older they come up with many annoying tricks to play on those who may be caring for them.  One writer said, “At a year old they are gentle and affectionate, at two years they are playful but can be annoyingly angry, but at maturity they are simply troublesome and full of mean tricks."

When other monkeys are getting ready for a nights sleep at sunset, owl monkeys are just getting started, and usually travelling in pairs.  They’ve had their sleep during the day.  How can they see in the dark?  The Creator has provided them with special, large, orange eyes with black pupils, enabling them to find fruits and insects just as easily as other monkeys do in the daytime.

Our second monkey is known as the wanderoo, or sometimes it is called the black monkey.  This monkey lives in India.  It is very sober looking and acts rather dignified.  It has a big head completely surrounded by a wreath of grayish-white thick fur reaching to its cheek, which, like the rest of its body, is coal black.

An adult is about three feet long from nose to the tip of the tail and weighs as much as 80 pounds.  Its whole appearance has a dignified and grandfatherly look.

Its manner of eating is unusual.  It stuffs its mouth with all it can hold, puffing out its cheeks, before swallowing any of it.  This seems to be just another way of showing its dominance over everything around it.  The other monkeys don’t seem to argue with it ether.  Actually they show it a lot of respect, as some people also do.

These are just two of the amazing varieties of animals and other wild creatures of whom the Bible tells us, “For God’s pleasure they are and were created”  (Revelation 4:11).  As we look at the wonders of God’s creation, we can’t help but be impressed.  

Have you ever agreed with what the psalmist said, 
“I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.  
I will study also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings." 
(Psalm 77:11-12)?

Love you all - Grandpa      

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Jewel # 349 (Feb. 10, 2019)

“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

Animals of Many Stripes

“I [the Creator] know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are Mine”  (Psalm 50:11).

Wild Zebras graze on the grassy plains of Africa.  They group together in either small or large bands, usually on the open plains, but some prefer the rough mountain areas.  When the grass is fresh and tall, they eat only the tops.  However, if food begins to get scarce, they will nibble lower on the grass stems.  Eventually they move to a new location, but each band waits for its strong stallion
leader to give the signal before moving on.

Most adult zebras are 4 to 5 feet high at the shoulders and weigh around 500 pounds.  They may live 25 years or more.  They are members of the horse family and live very peacefully when they are with horses.  However, the different species do not mix in breeding.

Snouts, ears and tips of tails are usually plain black.  On some the tail reaches almost to the ground, but on others it may reach only as low as the knees.  

Zebras have parallel black and white stripes that are arranged in exact designs.  On some species, the colours are more a combination of brown and yellow.  Each animal’s stripes are distinctive, although they all may appear the same.  On some the stripes cover the animal’s complete body, including head, neck, back, stomach and legs, but there are some species with plain white stomachs; also the legs of some have ring-like stripes all the way down to the hooves, while on others these are just half-circles and the inside of the legs have no stripes.

The Creator has provided these animals with special characteristics to help them survive in their often-threatening environment.  Besides their strips that are a camouflage to hide them from their enemies, they have excellent sight, keen hearing and a sensitive sense of smell that quickly detects an approaching enemy.  Their reaction to such a threat is interesting.  When their sense of smell alerts them a lion is dangerously near, they immediately form a tight circle, with their heads facing in and their sharp-hoofed legs facing out, kicking out as the enemy gets near.  The lion, sensing the danger of a hard kick from one one of those hooves, wastes no time in leaving.

A Bible verse warns us that we have an enemy threatening us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  But verse 10 tells those whose faith is in the Saviour to resist that enemy by faith in “the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus.”

Do you know Him as your Saviour?

Love you all - Grandpa            

Monday, February 04, 2019

Jewel # 348 (Feb. 4, 2019)

“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

Ever Meet a Walrus?

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”
(Psalm 145:3)

What a marvellous sight it must be for a person standing on an Alaskan cliff to see a great mass of huge, brown walruses sprawled on the ocean shore below.  There are sometimes hundreds or thousands of them—some lying on their stomachs or sides and others lying on their backs—all pressed tightly together with their long, white tusks pointing in every direction!

None seem to worry that the sharp tusks of others might stab them.  However, a late comer working his way through the mass is always met with angry snorts and grunts and even some jabbing with the tusks, but not enough to really harm it.  Seems like they are saying, “GET OUT OF HERE!”

Walruses live only in the cold Arctic, far from civilization.  They eat about 200 pounds of clams, snails, oysters, fish and other marine life daily from the ocean.  When not busy looking for food, they like to rest on shore, sprawling closely together to share each other’s warmth.  At certain times of the year, these masses break up into smaller groups.

These giants continue to gain weight.  An old male may weigh 2000 to 3000 pounds!  Their entire bodies are covered with a thick, black layer of wrinkly blubber, covered with orange-brown hair, providing wonderful insulation, just like a warm blanket, from the icy-cold waters.

Walruses are anything but pretty.  They have puffy, whiskered muzzles with long tusks that point downward from their upper jaws.  These tusks are actually extra-long teeth, 6 inches or more in diameter and taper to a sharp point at the end.  They are about 36 inches long and weigh about 12 pounds each.

The Creator designed their tusks to handle several jobs: for protection from their enemies (polar bears), for pulling themselves up on the ice, and for digging shellfish from the ocean bottom.  Tusks of the males are much longer and thicker than the females’.

Eskimos are now the only people allowed to hunt walruses, and for many they are a main source of food.  Catching one is a great event, not only for the amount of meat it supplies, but for its valuable ivory tusks and its skins which make good leather.

Animals such as these may seem strange to us, but they have a definite place in God’s creation.  When we think of all He has created, small and great, we can only agree with the Bible verse that says, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

King David said, “Happy is He . . . whose hope is in the Lord His God: which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is” (Psalm 146:5-6).  This is true happiness.

Love you all - Grandpa   

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Jewel # 347 part 2 (Jan. 27, 2019)

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  

Kings and Emperors of the Penguins  (Part 2)

God in whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
(Job 12:10)

In our last issue we looked at the King penguin.  Now lets's explore the one called the Emperor penguin.  Perhaps both names, King and Emperor, were chosen because these birds are the largest of all penguins.  They stand three to four feet  high and weigh from 40 to 50 pounds.

There are similarities between the two, but also definite differences.  For instance, Emperors do not like grassy or muddy places for homes; they chose only snow or ice in cold Antarctic areas.  Colonies may vary from a few hundred to a million or more.

Another difference is in their colouring. The Emperor’s head is black.  Its sharp, strong beak is greyish, with a red mouth and bill plates (lips).  The yellow of its chest extends partway around its neck, with snow white below the yellow.  Thick, waterproof feathers hide its legs from view.  A solid black coat on the back makes a group standing together look like short men dressed in tuxedos.

They mostly stand when not in water.  Very seldom does one stoop over unless feeding a young chick.  Then the parent bends over to deposit previously eaten and digested seafood in the chick’s mouth.  

They seem to enjoy sliding on snow or ice.  When they come to a long, sloping, smooth place, they get down on their stomachs and use their strong, narrow wings like arms to push off.  At the same time they kick their feet and enjoy a good long slide, like a boy or girl on a sled.

Penguins can swim faster than fish and catch them from behind, using their strong, spike-like beaks.  Sometimes they swim at great depths for 10 or 15 minutes.  If you have tried holding your breath for even one or two minutes, you will realize how wonderfully the Creator has designed them for this purpose.

Mother and father Emperors incubate just one egg each year.  They handle this responsibility differently than the Kings do.  The father takes the first turn, holding the egg on his feet in a warm pouch for two weeks (compared with two months for the father King).  Then the mother, who has been feeding in the ocean, returns to take her two-week turn, and then they switch again.  At the end of about two months the chick hatches, and both parents share in its feeding until it is big enough to care for itself.

As the opening Bible verse indicates, every living thing has been created by God, and He watches over all.  When He gave life and form to each creature, He “saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:21).  Although “evolution” tries to leave God out, how much better to believe the truth—what God tells us in the Bible.

Love you all - Grandpa  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Jewel # 346 part 1 (Jan. 18, 2019)

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

Kings and Emperors of the Penguins

“Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that 
the Lord He is God; there is none else beside Him.”
(Deuteronomy 4:35)

There are millions of penguins of many varieties.  Most live in the cold Antarctic regions.  In this and the following issue we will look at two varieties of these birds—the Kings and the Emperors.

Penguins walk with a clumsy waddle.  They stand together in dense crowds, often shrieking noisily at one another.  They cannot fly, but they are excellent swimmers.  Their strong wings act as flippers and, along with their webbed feet, provide power for diving and swimming.  They can dive more than 800 feet deep and stay below as long as 15 minutes.  The Creator who made the salty oceans their homeland, made it possible for them to drink salt water and eat snow since fresh water is hardly ever available.

King penguins avoid ice and snow when possible and prefer small islands in the sub-Arctic with bare or rocky shores.  Great numbers crowd together so tightly that from a distance they look like a pretty carpeted field.

They are brightly coloured.  Their heads are deep brown or black, fringed with red at their necks with a strip of orange and yellow.  Backs and wings are dark blue, contrasted with white bodies.  Orange spots on each side of their head look like brightly coloured earmuffs.

A pair does not make a nest as most birds do.  Instead, when the single egg is laid (on bare ice), the male takes over its care.  He works it into a warm spot between his two feet and covers it with a  soft pouch the Creator has provided for this purpose.  He stands there for nearly two months, without food or water, turning the egg over from time to time.

Amazingly, the female, who has been feeding in the ocean all this time, returns the very day that the baby hatches out.  (How did she know the right time?)  She then takes over feeding the chick with pre-digested food. Meanwhile the male takes to the water, stuffing himself with seafood and returns in two weeks to help out.  From then on the parents follow the two-week, switch-over schedule until the little one can take care of itself.

Here is another example of God’s care over all His creation, far beyond our ability to understand.  The Bible tells us that “known unto God are all His works” (Act 15:18), but nothing compares with the care He shows to every human being.  The Lord Jesus gave His life on the cross to pay for the sins of all who know Him as Saviour. How can we know Him as Saviour?  When a prison keeper asked, “What must I do to be saved?” the answer was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Act 16:30-31).  

Do you believe on Him and have the eternal life He promises?

(To be continued)

Love you all - Grandpa

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Jewel # 345 (Jan. 9, 2019)

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 Cheerful Cardinal

“He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. . . .  By them shall the fowls . . . 
have their habitation, which sing among the branches.”
(Psalm 104:10-12)  

There are so many beautiful birds throughout the world—all part of God’s creation—that it is impossible to select one as being the prettiest.  But somewhere near the top of the list is the lively, cheerful cardinal

The male is particularly showy in his bright red feathers with a black, mask-like face and throat and black tips on his wings and tail.  He has a perky, red, feathery crest on top of his head.  The female is also pretty, but her pale brown with reddish tinges is not quite so showy.

Both male and female are cheerful, swift and busy birds.    They have a variety of lovely songs that can be heard long distances through the forests of the eastern United States and as far west as South Dakota and Texas.  They are also welcome residents of Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia and an attractive addition to any neighbourhood fortunate enough to have a pair.  Farmers are happy when they settle nearby, for they eat great quantities of insects and harmful weed seeds.

Although the female’s song is softer than the male’s, it too is clear and cheerful, and both sing throughout the year.  And that’s another nice feature—they don’t migrate.  How striking is the flash of their bright red feathers as they fly over the snow or perch on a snow-covered tree branch to sing a happy song!

In springtime males and females nest in low shrubbery to raise a family—the male winning his mate by bringing her seeds and cracking the hard shell for her.  She seems content to do most of the nest building as long as he feeds her.  The finished nest is lined with soft material, and then a clutch of three or four bluish-white eggs is laid in it, hatching out in about two weeks.  Two to four clutches are produced each year.

The baby cardinals are fed by both parents.  After about ten days, they are ready to take their first flight.  Soon after they fly, the mother leaves them, and the responsibility of teaching them the ways of bird life is left to the father. But he seems to enjoy doing this.

Do you think God cares about cardinals?  Yes, He surely does, for they are His creation and included in this Bible verse: “These wait all upon Thee; that Thou mayest give them their food in due season” (Psalm 104:27).

And how wonderful God’s care over you!  He includes you in another verse that says, “God our Saviour; who will have all people to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).  

Are you one who has been saved by confessing to Him that you are a sinner and accepting the Lord Jesus as your Saviour?

Love you all - Grandpa     

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Jewel # 344 (Jan. 2, 2019)

“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

Turkeys—Wild and Tame

“Gavest Thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?”  (Job 39:13).

Wild turkeys are are large game birds of North America related to pheasants.  The sight of a big turkey displaying its beautifully feathered body, particularly when out in the wild, is something a person is not likely to forget.

Except for one all-white variety, brownish-red is the prominent colour for many of them, blending with blue, tan, brown and orange—and a little white trimming.  These colours are best seen when a male is trying to win a female companion.  He fans out his massive tail feathers to display his beauty.  Then he adds to this display soft gurgles and an occasional loud gobble, which is so loud it can often be heard a mile away.  Male turkeys are called toms, and females are called hens, and chicks are called poults

The wild turkey of North America lives as far south as Mexico.  At one time many lived as far north as Maine and southern Ontario.  The natives found them an important source of food, and they were a favourite bird of the pioneer hunters.  By the end of the nineteenth century, the wild turkey had been hunted almost to extinction in much of its original range.  Today it has been reestablished in much of its original range.  In every place, they are a favourite fall game bird for many hunters.  However, turkeys have amazing eyesight and are very stealthy.

Over the years, raising domestic turkeys has become a tremendously big business—at times just a few in a farmer’s backyard or hundreds and even thousands are raised on large turkey farms.  This contributes to an immense market for corn and other grains for these always-hungry birds as they are fattened up for year-round markets.

Most of us look forward to the October, November and December holidays and the roast turkey dinners that represents a big part of them, along with other luscious foods.  After a prayer of thanksgiving to the real provider, the Lord Jesus, the delicious dark and white meat is enjoyed, along with stuffing and tasty vegetables and a piece of apple or pumpkin pie for dessert.  Yum, yum!

The beginning Bible verse is one of many in which the Lord was causing Job to realize that his pride was wrong, in spite of his boasting.  When the Lord finished, Job replied, “I have heard of Thee . . . mine eye seeth Thee: Wherefore I am disgusted with myself and repent” (Job 42:5-6).

It is good for each of us also to be humbled when we think not only of the Lord’s wondrous creation, but also of His great love for us.  He invites us to trust in Him and His finished work on Calvary’s cross and to accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.  Nothing is more important!  What about you?  Is He your Lord and Saviour?

Love you all - Grandpa  

Friday, December 21, 2018

Jewel # 343 (Dec. 21, 2018)

African Flying Squirrel

“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

Africa’s Flying Squirrel

"I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings. . . . 
Thou art the God that doest wonders.”
(Psalm 77:12,14)

It is easy to see how the African flying squirrel got its name, even though it is not really a squirrel nor does it actually fly.  It lives high in the trees of Africa and is rarely seen, because it is active mostly at night. 

This flying squirrel is about the size of an American gray squirrel with a bushy tail as long as it body.  The Creator gave this pretty little fellow smooth, soft, mole-like fur.  He also supplied it with several special features for its survival.

One of these features is a fold of skin on each side of the body that connects the front and back legs.  When the squirrel stretches out its legs, the folds of skin also stretch to form gliding “wings.”  It seems to be flying, but it is actually gliding.

Because the folds of skin are attached so securely to its body, this squirrel cannot walk or run.  Most of its traveling is done by gliding from one tree to another.  When ready to glide, it lowers its head and pushes off with its hind legs.  Using its busy tail as a rudder, it glides through the air to a lower point on another tree.  Anyone watching this spectacular glide would think it would crash.  But at the last instant, it turns and lands head up, ready to explore the new tree.  This is the way the Lord God created this flying squirrel, and even the young do not have to practice these moves.

This animal has an unusual method of climbing trees.  Like a measuring worm, it grasps the trunk with its front claws, arches its body, and pulls up both hind feet.  Then, with the claws of the hind feet clinging tightly, the front feet let go and move upward.  In spite of this awkward way of climbing, it moves quickly up the tree.  It is helped in its climb by tough scales covered with sharp, hard spikes which are found near where the tail and body are joined.  These spikes dig into the trunk, not only helping the hind legs to hold tightly, but also helping to push the body upward.

God has made a way of life for each of His creatures.  Man, God’s special creation, has been told in the Bible of two ways.  Man is warned in Proverbs 14:12 that“there is a way which seems right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  But in John 14:6, the Lord Jesus is called “the way, the truth, and the life.”  He is also called the “new and living way” by which we can “draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 10:20,22).

Which way are you following? 

Love you all - Grandpa

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Jewel # 342 (Dec. 11, 2018)

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

To my dear grandchildren

Wolves are Tough

"Beware of false teachers . . . in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
(Matthew 7:15)

It’s often hard to tell one species of wolf from another, because there may be several colours of fur in one pack.  They are rather handsome animals.  Those in Europe are mostly gray in colour, while the North American wolves may be white, gray, brown or black.

Few dogs match them in size.  Some wolves measure as much as six feet from nose to tip of tail and may weigh 150 pounds or more.  They also have longer legs and larger feet than dogs.  Incidentally, the animals called prairie wolves are actually coyotes, but all are part of the dog family.

Large numbers of wolves live in the middle areas of the North American continent and in smaller numbers in almost every other part of the United States and Canada.  There are estimated to be more than six thousand in the state of Alaska, most staying there year-round.  A few are in Glacier National Park, Montana, and some are beginning to show up in other national parks.

All wolves have sharp eyesight along with a keen sense of smell and hearing, so that it is difficult for hunters to get near them.  Wolves can travel for hours at about 20 miles per hour.  They are master hunters and experts at hiding, sometimes pressing against a big rock or the side of a bare hill that matches the colour of their fur.  A person might walk close by and never see a well-hidden wolf.

Wolves have strong family ties and often mate for life.  Pups get lots of attention, not only from both parents but also from others in the pack.  They soon outgrow that time of life and are assigned a place in the pack when hunting or traveling.

Each wolf, regardless of age, is always in its own position in the pack.  The pack leader is never challenged unless seriously injured or getting old, when its time for another leader to take over.  Packs often travel great distances in their search for elk, deer, caribou or occasional bear that is not too big for them to handle.  When on its own, a lone wolf is continually looking for smaller prey, including rabbits, weasels, squirrels, birds and even large insects, frogs and fish.

The Bible often warns about false teachers, as in our opening verse.  They are like vicious wolves, wanting to capture us with their evil ideas.  But the Bible also provides excellent instruction to any who want to turn away from evil:  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and the good and pure things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Another verse tells us that “the Word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter1:25).

Are you trusting in the Bible’s pure and sure promises?             

Love you all - Grandpa