Friday, October 30, 2009

Jewel # 46 (Oct 30, 2009)

"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,

Buried in an Avalanche

Jason Kostner is a young man who enjoys skiing on Mt. Shasta in California.  He is somewhat unusual in that he often takes his dog along.  His dog is an Australian Shepherd named PJ who loves to run.  PJ sometimes even rides the chairlift with Jason up to the top of the mountain.

One day in April when there was still plenty of snow on the mountain, Jason started skiing down the part of the mountain called the "Powder Bowl" with PJ running along behind him.  The Powder Bowl is just south of what is called "Avalanche Gully."

While he was skiing down the slopes, he suddenly felt the snow shifting under his skis.  He looked around and saw that the entire snow-covered mountainside was sliding down in an avalanche!  Just for a moment he was able to see PJ, and the avalanche of snow was curling over the dog . . . then PJ was out of sight.

The next thing Jason knew was that the bank of snow racing down the slope hit him and sent him flying through the air in a cartwheel.  He was able to land in a kneeling position on his skies.  He quickly raised himself and was able to ski out of the path of the avalanche, but he knew PJ was trapped somewhere in the snow.

As fast as he could, Jason made his way to the bottom of the slope where the avalanche had finally come to a halt.  He anxiously scanned the huge pile of snow, but there was no sign of the dog.  He called loudly, "PJ! . . . PJ!"  But no PJ came bounding towards him.   

Have you ever been buried in snow or somewhere else where you couldn't escape?  What a hopeless feeling that is.  The Bible tells us that we are all sinners, and we are buried in our sins:  "There is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:22-23).  The good news is that there is saving help for sinners: "The Son of Man (Jesus) is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).  And He is searching for sinners buried in their sins right now.  He is the help and hope for sinners.

But how could Jason help PJ?  He knew that if PJ was buried in the avalanche, there was only a slim chance of finding him alive. Avalanche victims have only a fifty percent chance of surviving if they are found within twenty minutes after they are buried in the snow.  But Jason was not willing to give up hope.  He called for help on his cell phone.

An Avalanche Search and Rescue team made up of a golden retriever dog named Cider and his trainer happened to be nearby.  They raced to the avalanche area, knowing that minutes might make the difference between life and death for PJ.  Cider was a little older than a puppy and had been trained in search and rescue procedures.  The dog searched for an hour without picking up any scent.

Then another trainer and his dog arrived.  Kenai was also a golden retriever and had more experience than Cider.  The trainer widened the search area and led the dogs in a crisscross pattern over the snow.

Jason really loved his dog and did everything he could to find him.  He didn't give up hope even when finding the dog alive seemed impossible.  And do you know that God really loves you and is searching for you, and He has not given up hope.  In order to find you, he sent His very own Son Christ Jesus from heaven to this world of sin where, on Calvary's cross, He paid the penalty for sins of every person who would believe on Him as his or her Saviour.

Suddenly Cider picked up a scent and started digging just the way he was trained to do.  Soon the men were helping him dig.  Four feet down into the snow they found the body of PJ.  Carefully they lifted him out of the hole.  His body was limp, and there didn't seem to be any body heat as they laid him on top of the snow.  Then to their astonishment, PJ opened his eyes and looked at them!  He was still alive!

A sense of relief washed over Jason.  They wrapped the dog in blankets and rushed him to a veterinarian who assured Jason that with rest PJ would recover.

You don't have to remain buried in your sins.  If you will truly admit to God from your heart that you are a sinner who needs to be saved and accept Christ Jesus as your Saviour, He will forgive every one of your sins, removing them forever!  Will you let Him save you from your sins?  He is your only hope.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jewel # 45 (Oct 23, 2009)

"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,

Max Finds a New Friend

The big polar bear just sat and looked at his food and wouldn't eat.  He was so lonely.  You see, Max the polar bear had traveled for many years with a circus, and now they had moved him to the Bronx Zoo.  The zookeepers gave him a nice, new home with a pool in the center where he could swim - everything a bear could wish for - but he was a very lonely bear.  He was used to having other animals and circus people around, but in his new cage he was all alone and sad.  After exploring his new home, he just howled.  Max needed a friend.
Have you ever been lonely?  Even when there are people around, sometimes we feel lonely, because not one of those people is a friend.  But I have a friend who is always with me.  His name is Jesus, and He never leaves me alone, no matter where I go.  He has promised me, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).  Is He your friend too?
Even though there were grizzly bears and brown bears in cages nearby, their noises only seemed to frighten Max.  And there was the other problem too - because he was so lonely, the big polar bear hadn't eaten since he had moved into the zoo.  The zookeepers were worried and didn't know what to do.

Early one morning before the zoo visitors began to arrive, a zookeeper had tried to tempt the bear to eat by giving him fresh meat for breakfast.  But Max would have none of it.  He sat with his snout held straight up in the air and just moaned.  The keeper felt sorry for him and said to him, "Too bad they took you away from the circus, old fellow."

Just then the keeper heard a scraping sound on the walkway behind him.  When he turned, he saw a small, half-starved dog trying to get into the cage.  The keeper clapped his hands and yelled to scare the dog, but it didn't run away.  The dog had smelled the meat the keeper had placed in the bear cage, and he wanted it.

Suddenly the dog sprang forward and squeezed between the bars and was inside the cage.  The big polar bear had been watching them after hearing the keeper talk to the dog.  The keeper expected to see the bear quickly crush the life out of the dog.  Max walked over to where the dog was sitting and chewing on the meat.  The dog was watching the bear out of the corners of his eyes, but he didn't run away.  He either wasn't afraid or he was too hungry.  Max looked down at the dog, and then he lifted one paw and gently put it on the dog's back.  Then he began to lick the dog's head.  The dog kept right on eating.  Then Max lay down and began to play with the dog, and his play was very gentle.  The polar bear's sharp claws never showed as he gently played with the dog.

Once the dog had eaten his fill, he scrambled to his feet and looked around.  The keeper, who had been watching through the bars, thought the dog would run off, but instead, the dog began to play with the bear as though he had known him all his life.  Soon the two animals were romping around the cage, and the dog was yelping with happiness and excitement.  He not only had eaten a good meal for the first time in a long time, but now he had found a play fellow that did not snarl and bite him. This great big polar bear was now his friend, and the dog was now Max's friend!

Jesus would like to be your friend, and He wants you to be His friend.  He says, "Come unto Me" (Matthew 11:28), and He also says, "Suffer [let] the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:14).  But most of all He would like to be your Saviour, because He loves you and died for you on the cross.  He wants to wash away all your sins so that you can live with Him in His happy home in heaven someday.  There won't be any loneliness or unhappiness in His wonderful home that He has all ready for those who love Him and are washed clean from their sins.  Have you let Him wash your sins away?  "The blood of Jesus Christ [God's] Son cleans us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

After a while the dog was tired of playing and sat down by the pool.  Max was tired too, and the two very different animals lay down together.  The keeper  left them there to go find another breakfast for the polar bear.  When he came back the dog was still there.  The keeper tossed the meat inside the cage, and for the first time since his arrival, Max began to eat and ate every scrap of food, while the dog sat and watched.  Then the two animal friends curled up and went to sleep, side by side.

Later in the day when the zoo visitors began to arrive, the dog woke up and left the cage.  But he stayed around all day, going into Max's cage every now then to play with him.  The keeper called the dog over to him and made friends with him.  He plans to adopt the dog so Max will have a friend to play with and won't be lonely anymore.

"There is a friend that [sticks] closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24).  Do you know who that friend is?  It is Jesus, and He loves you.  Will you let Him be your friend and Saviour?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jewel # 44 (Oct 12, 2009)

"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,

Beautiful Autumn Leaves

"Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord."
(1 Chronicles 16:33)

King David spoke these words as he encouraged God's people to praise the Lord for all His wonderful works.  Trees are a good example for they are an important part of God's creation, and in their autumn beauty, they seem to "sing out" to their Creator.

Although many trees keep their leaves or needles year-round, many species drop their leaves in autumn.  But before they fall, there is usually a brilliant and varied display of colour in these leaves.  Red maples and sugar maples, along with oaks, blaze with fiery red, orange and gold; dogwoods turn a shade of purple; sassafras take on scarlet and orange; poplars and aspens become golden yellow.  Other species add their various beautiful colours and make the forest almost appear to be on fire.

Leaves are to a tree what lungs are to humans, controlling the passage of air and moisture to and from the tree.  Chlorophyll in the leaves is like blood to humans, converting the water and air into living tissue.  Sunlight provides the energy for this process.

Under the guidance of the Creator, every leaf is a miniature chemical factory, performing simply and efficiently in supplying sugar as part of the tree's food.  (The remainder comes from the roots.)  Leaves continually give off moisture, which, along with their shade, provide coolness on a hot day.  The leaf's chemical activity absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in exchange gives off oxygen, so vital to air-breathing man, animals, birds and insects.  Without the forests and other plants of the world, there would not be sufficient oxygen to sustain all this life.

As fall approaches, a small ring of tissue begins to dry where the leaf stem is attached to the tree.  It is at this point, called the abscission layer, that the leaf will separate from the tree.  little by little this layer interferes with the leaf's processes, and soon the green colour fades away as its chlorophyll is cut off.  Then the spectacular colours appear - red, orange, purple, gold and yellow.  These colours have been in the leaf all along, but the green chlorophyll has hidden them.  Finally, the leaves are forced off by wind and rain, and a corky seal closes off where the stem was attached.

What a treat it is to be present when this wonderful colour change takes place.  The Bible tells us, "The Lord hath made all things for Himself" (Proverbs 16:4), and He surely has great pleasure in seeing this lovely display.  However, this beauty is only temporary, but we are assured that "the glory of the Lord shall endure forever" (Psalm 104:31).  All who know Him as their Saviour will be in the presence of His glory (heaven) and beauty for all eternity. 

Will you be there?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Jewel # 43 (Oct 6, 2009)

"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 TWINKLING FIREFLY

"Know unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." (Acts 15:18)

The firefly is a beetle that is fascinating to all of us.  Seeing their little lights flashing on for a second or two on warm summer evenings is an interesting experience.  They are also sometimes called lightning bugs.  Many children who see them like to catch some in a jar so they can watch them up close as they turn their lights on and off.  In some tropical areas there are large firefly species, and people keep them in bottles to use for light.

Scientists would like to duplicate this kind of heatless light, because it is much more efficient than electricity.  They know how the light is produced, but the chemical reactions, one set to turn on the light and another to turn off the light, are so complex that man has not been able to use them.  We should not be surprised at this, because it is a very special reaction created for these insects by God their Creator.

The firefly begins life in the ground; even its eggs have a glow to them.  Before it is ready to fly, it develops into a glowworm.  You may have seen these shining as they crawl around looking for food.

There is another illuminated insect found in some caves in New Zealand.  This little fly, while still in the worm stage, gathers in groups of several thousand on the ceilings of caves and glows in the darkness.  After attaching itself to the roof of the cave, a two-foot long string drops from its mouth with small, sticky balls on it.  It waits in the darkness with its taillight glowing, until it feels a victim struggling to get loose from one of the sticky balls.  Pulling it up, it eats the victim along with the string.  Then it lets down a new string.

There are over 500,000 species of insects throughout the world, and God has made each one different.  This variety speaks of His handiwork and never-tiring care over them.  All these little creatures, as we see them today, are the same as they were the day they were created thousands of years ago.  God designed each one to reproduce after its kind.  Furthermore, they always obey His laws without question, and by doing so every need is provided for.

These lighted creatures remind us that the Lord Jesus was announced as the true light of the world.  God has given His people a special kind of light that He also wants displayed.  His Word, the Bible, says, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). 

It is only when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour by faith that He brings us "out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).  Then we can please Him in our activities and shine out for Him.