Thursday, March 08, 2018

Jewel # 313 (March 7, 2018)

To my dear grandchildren

Amazing Migrators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all -  Grandpa

Friday, February 23, 2018

Jewel # 312 (Feb. 21, 2018)

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

To my dear grandchildren

Amazing Sled Dogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all - Grandpa 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Jewel # 311 (Feb. 13, 2018)

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

To my dear grandchildren

Fooling the Enemy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all - Grandpa  

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Jewel # 310 (Feb. 5, 2018)

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

To my dear grandchildren

A Great Imitator 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all - Grandpa

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Jewel # 309 (Jan. 20, 2018)

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

To my dear grandchildren

The Silky Anteater 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you done this?

Love you all - Grandpa       

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Jewel # 308 (Jan. 15, 2018)

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

To my dear grandchildren

The Nile Catfish - Camouflage in the Sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all - Grandpa  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jewel # 307 (Jan. 8th, 2018)

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

To my dear Grandchildren

The Slippery Eels   (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all - Grandpa 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Jewel # 306 (Dec. 29, 2017)

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

To my dear grandchildren

Angelfish Are Beauties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you all - Grandpa    

Jewel # 305 (Dec. 14, 2017)

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

To my dear grandchildren

Bluffing Its Way Through

“The Lord searches all hearts and understands all imaginations of the thoughts.”
(1 Chronicles 28:9)

We all know what it is to “pretend.”  This goes on with many wild creatures of the world every day—usually when they are frightened and want to scare away a threatening enemy. 

The hognose snake, sometimes called a puff adder, is one of these.  It may play dead when frightened, just like an opossum does.  At other times it inhales more and more air into its body until it is about twice as big around as usual.  Either of these tricks usually works and causes an enemy to give up the idea of attacking it.

The coral snake has white, yellow, black and red bands around it.  It is very poisonous, but there are other snakes that look like the coral snake that are not poisonous.  If one of these is threatened by an animal or another snake, it puts on a show and acts just like the coral snake to frighten its enemy away.

A five-inch-long caterpillar called hickory horned devil has been provided with vicious-looking but soft horns on the top of its head.  It also has bulges around its mouth that look like big sharp teeth.  When frightened, it raises the front of its body straight  up and moves its head around, as though it will either take a bite out of whatever threatens it or stab it with its fierce-looking horns. The bird or small animal that was hoping for dinner “escapes” as quickly as possible.

You may have heard of the frilled lizard of Australia and New Guinea.  It has been provided with four sturdy legs and a large fold of loose skin that normally lies flat agains its body like a collar.  But when threatened, this lizard immediately rises on its strong legs and puffs out its huge collar which makes it look more than twice its usual size.  When its mouth is wide open and a row of sharp little teeth are showing while it makes fearsome sounds, its attacker usually changes its mind and makes a quick getaway.

You may think of other interesting examples of the Creator’s provisions for defenceless animals, fish and birds.

Sadly, some people are also pretenders and claim to be wiser than God.  Some teach that there is no God or that the Bible is not true.  Others say that we will get to heaven just by being good.  Many of them teach that the world and all life were not created by God but just “happened to come about.”

Turn away from such wrong teachings and do as King David did when people told him false things.  He said, “I esteem all God’s precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128).

Love you all - Grandpa   

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Jewel # 304 (Dec. 7, 2017)

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

To my dear grandchildren

The Lovers of the Snow

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, 
they shall be as white as snow.”   (Isaiah 1:18)

Most everyone likes the beauty of snow and the way it covers unpleasant spots.  Children like to play in it, and older ones on toboggans or skis also enjoy it.  Snow-capped hills and mountains are beautiful subjects for photographs.  Then, too, deep deposits of snow on the mountain peaks and slopes are a wonderful provision of the Creator to replenish fresh water in rivers, lakes and reservoirs during hot summer months.

Most people prefer not to stay outdoors during the snowstorms, but there are creatures for whom the Lord God has given snow a special importance.  Polar bears in their white coats are well camouflaged on snow and ice and can sneak up on unsuspecting prey without being seen.  The same is true of white foxes in the Arctic areas.

In some places where snow becomes very deep, activities go on beneath the surface of the snow that are never seen from above.  Field mice, ground squirrels, porcupines and even some birds make tunnels along the ground leading to their feeding areas.  They can do this without the threat of being caught by their enemies.  Working in groups several feet below the surface, they sometimes press down the bottom layer of snow, making a cozy place for warmth and safety.

Then there are animals and birds of various sizes for which the Creator has provided white coats in winter.  If they become aware of an enemy nearby, they lie down or curl up in the snow and are never seen.  Weasels and Arctic hares are examples of this.  Even big snowy owls have been given white feathers for winter.  The wide-winged, pure-white snowy petrel, a sea bird of Antarctica, also benefits from its colouring.

Other birds and animals are temporarily provided with special feathers or fur on their feet for winter.  These feathers or fur act as snowshoes so they can easily travel over the snow’s surface.  Fur and feathers of other creatures do not change in colour, but they are given thicker, extra-warm winter coats.  Ruffed grouse, threatened by an enemy, will plunge into a snow bank and, completely hidden, remain there until danger is past.  Other animals benefitting from snow are deer, elk and moose.  Deep, crusty snow enables them to reach higher to eat tree branches that they could not reach in summer.

In the sight of God, our sins stand out as bright as scarlet, but He invites us to become white as snow in His sight, by admitting that we are sinners and accepting the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.  When we do this, we become His children and are assured of a home in heaven.  The Bible tells us to do this now!  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).  

Love you all - Grandpa  

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Jewel # 303 (Nov. 26, 2017)

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

To my dear grandchildren

The Slippery Eel

“Ask now . . . and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.”
(Job 12:7-8)

Although they are so long and thin that they look like snakes, eels are actually fish.  They have tiny scales embedded in a smooth, slimy skin.  They usually grow to about three feet long, but larger ones may grow to five or six feet long.

Male eels spend most of their lives in rivers near the ocean; females go upriver to streams or lakes.  After two or three years in freshwater, both males and females head for the ocean at spawning time in the fall.  Those in landlocked lakes have a difficult time beginning their journey.  They leave the lake in great numbers, wriggling their way for a day or two across fields and ground wet with rain or dew until they find a stream that leads to the ocean.  God has equipped them with special gills that hold enough moisture while out of water on this part of their trip.

When the eels reach a stream, they swim downstream, joining others on the way.  Many of them are caught in wire traps or nets by people who like them for food.  Both European and North American eels that make it to the ocean begin a long migration to the breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda where females deposit thousands of eggs deep below the ocean surface.  Here many miles of seaweed are teeming with food which will provide for the needs of baby eels that will appear the following spring.  After spawning, the parent eels die.

When the eggs hatch, the young eels are about one-quarter-inch long and are thin and transparent.  They rise to the surface where they feed for about a year.  The North American eels begin the long trip back to the home of their parents.  The European eels remain another year to gain the necessary strength for their journey, which will take about three years.  When both species reach the stream of their parent, they are still  long, thin and transparent and are called elvers.  Just like their parents, the males remain in tidal waters, and the females go far inland—the cycle continuing just as God designed it.

How can these little, inexperienced eels reach their destinations with no parents to guide them?  The answer is exactly what the Bible tells us of every creature in the seas: "These wait all upon Thee” (Psalm 104:27).  He gives them the instinct to follow the paths He has marked out.

And the Lord has a pathway for every boy and girl called “the path of life,” which is the way to heaven and everlasting joy.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  If we accept Him as our Saviour, then we are sure of being on the right path where He can teach us His way.

Love you all - Grandpa    

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Jewel # 302 (Nov. 21, 2017)

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

To my dear grandchildren

The Agouti of Central America

“Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done,
and Thy thoughts which are to usward.”
Psalm 40:5)

Central America is home for many kinds of wildlife, including large and small animals.  One of these small ones is the agouti, also known as the guatuga.  Most of these live in Costa Rica, but some live in South America as well.

The agouti is a harmless rodent about the size of a rabbit.  If it hears strange noises or spots an enemy, such as a jaguar, coati, or vicious monkey, it gives a special alarm call to others nearby.  At the same time it “freezes" as still as a statue or will dash for cover, zigzagging through the trees.  The Creator has provided the agouti with strong, long legs, which it uses to move quickly when threatened.

This rather pretty little animal, with a very short tail or no tail at all, has large, bulging eyes, a pointed head and blunt nose.  Its small rounded ears are always standing upright when it is awake, which accounts for its keen sense of hearing.  Generally it has brown or blackish-brown fur.  These animals have longer legs than rabbits.  

The agouti lives in dense forests and usually makes its home in a sheltered spot under tree roots, between rocks or in a hollow log.  This peaceful creature hunts in daylight for its food consisting mostly of wild avocados or other fruit, nuts, leaves, roots or stems of good-tasting shrubs.  Unlike most animals, its two babies in the litter are already covered with hair when born, and their eyes are fully open.  The young can take care of themselves soon after birth, almost immediately beginning to eat plants, but they usually remain with the parents for several weeks.

Natives consider the agouti a helpful friend, because it aids in starting new trees to grow after a forest fire or damaging wind has raged through their parts of the country.  Since this animal likes acorns and other nuts, it buries large numbers of them in the ground, expecting to return later to dig them up.  However, like squirrel and chipmunks which do the same thing, it often forgets where some are buried.  In a short time these take root, and soon new trees are started.

These rather cute little animals are another example of the wonderful works of the Lord God, the Creator.  We are told in the Bible that He is always looking over all His creation and caring for it.  He has a special place in His caring heart for every boy and girl, man and woman, as it tells us in our opening verse.  Yes, He has loving thoughts of you.  Do you have loving thoughts of Him?  He wants you to know His love and invites you to accept Him as your Saviour.  Have you done this?      

Love you all - Grandpa  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Jewel # 301 (Nov. 12, 2017)

Honey-guide gird

Honey Badger

“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

An Amazing Combination

“How sweet are Thy words unto my taste!
Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
(Psalm 119:103)

Many unusual birds and animals live in the country of Kenya in Africa.  An amazing combination that works together is a seagull sized bird, with dark brown wings and a snow-white body, and a four-footed animal with long, dark-gray fur, having a narrow white border and short black legs.  These are the honey-guide bird and the honey badger, also called the ratel.  Both of these creatures like wild honey and work together to get it.

When the honey-guide bird is flying through the forests and hears a loud humming of bees, she knows a nest is nearby in the side of a split rock or perhaps in a decaying tree trunk.  Immediately she flies to where  she knows a honey badger will be found, and she chatters noisily to attract his attention.  Then she flies in the direction of the swarm of bees, making sure the badger  is following.  They may have to go quite a distance, but both know the treat that will be at the end of the trip.

When they get to the swarm of bees, the honey badger starts tearing the honeycomb apart, with his sharp claws and teeth.  The bees begin buzzing angrily about and swarming over him.  But he isn’t afraid of them, because their stingers can’t get through his long, loose fur.

What about the bird?  She waits patiently, for it is not the honey she wants; she’s after the waxy honey comb that stores the honey.  But this will not be available until the badger has first licked out the honey.  Eventually she gets the honeycomb and enjoys her treat after the badger has finished and gone on his way.  Both will be ready to do it again the next time there is an opportunity.

Sometimes when a native hunter sees the bird leading a badger, he knows what’s going on and will frighten the animal away.  Then the bird accepts him as a substitute with the same results.  The man gets the honey, and the bird gets her fill of the wax that she can handle with a digestive system that breaks down and welcomes the sweet food, usually accompanied by a number of bees eaten as the same time.

We know that when the Creator first brought bees, birds and animals into the world, they all lived together peacefully.  It was the disobedience of Adam and Eve that brought sin into the world, with many problems and sorrows for all creatures of the world.

But God has promised a happy life in heaven for those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.  Heaven is His home where no sin or unhappiness of any kind will ever come.
Will you be there too? 

Love you all - Grandpa