Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jewel # 75 (Dec 21, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren

The World's Largest Snakes

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life."
(John 3:14-15)

Of the world's more than 2,500 kinds of snakes, the largest are anacondas and boa constrictors, living in the swamps and tropical forests of South and Central America, and pythons found in southeastern Asia, Africa and India.

The twelve foot boa constrictor is smaller than the thirty to forty-foot anaconda and python.  All kill their prey by coiling around the animal's body and constricting it to death, and then swallowing it whole.  They do not actually"eat" their food, but draw their hinged mouths over it, and their fangs then pull it into their bodies an inch or two at a time.  After a big meal, the snakes may not eat again for three or four months.

The long, flat head of these snakes has no ears.  Vibrations and a keen sense of smell, received partially through a flicking tongue, make them aware of what is nearby.  They never stop growing, although their skins do.  Twice a year a new skin replaces the tight old one, which is rubbed off - a startling thing to come upon lying on the ground.

Anacondas and boas give birth to live babies, but pythons lay eggs that are incubated by the mother coiling around them.  Either way, as many as six dozen (70+) babies, as long as two feet at birth, immediately know how to squeeze small victims to death.

The boas spend a great deal of time in water, often with only a small part of their heads showing, waiting for animals to come near.  At other times they climb trees to rob birds' nests or stretch out on a low limb to dart down and catch animals passing below.  Pythons have similar habits, sometimes tangling with tigers or other big animals.  Once they get their coils around their prey, they are almost sure to win these battles.  But these victims are too large to eat, and these contests only happen when, for some reason, they attack one another

These reptiles have a place and purpose in God's creation, but most people find them repulsive, especially when remembering that in the Bible Satan is called"that old serpent, which is the Devil" (Revelation 20:2).

When the Israelites spoke against God in the wilderness  (Numbers 21:4-9), He sent fiery serpents among them and many died.  But the Lord did provide a way of escape.  He told Moses to place a brass serpent on a pole, and any who simply looked on it were healed.  This is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who later died for sinners on Calvary's cross, with the wonderful promise that"whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Have you confessed that you are a sinner and looked in faith to Jesus to save you?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Jewel # 74 (Dec 6, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,

A Harbor Seal's Brush With Disaster

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is an inlet of the ocean dividing Canada from the State of Washington.  Passengers on two ships in this inlet were able to view a life-and-death drama between a pod of Orcas, which are killer whales, and a harbor seal.
Earlier in the day, twelve passengers and a boat pilot set out in a large, inflatable boat, called a Zodiac boat, from the Canadian side on a whale watching tour.  They got to see more than they expected when they finally located a pod of the black and white Orcas by their tall dorsal fins.  These killer whales had spotted a lone harbor seal and were chasing it.
In the open water, the seal didn't have much chance of escaping the whales.  Orcas are 30 feet long, and seals are 5 to 6 feet long. Orcas weigh 16,000 pounds, and seals weigh 300 pounds.  Orcas swim at a top speed of 30 miles per hour, and a harbor seal's top speed is 13 miles per hour.  The Orcas certainly had a big advantage over the seal; however, the Orcas were chasing a very resourceful seal!
With the Orcas close behind, the seal realized it needed a refuge or a hiding place, and it needed it fast!  The seal swam towards the inflatable boat at full speed, leaped out of the water and onto the rounded end of the Zodiac boat.  It then squirmed down onto the deck.  The passengers backed away from the seal, giving it plenty of space.  The whales circled the area for a short while, and then their dorsal fins disappeared, as they appeared to swim away.  After twenty minutes, the seal must have felt that it was safe to shimmy over the side of the boat and reenter the water.
But it wasn't.  The Orcas reappeared, and this time they cut off the seal's path back to the Zodiac boat.  Another boat had slowed to a stop to watch the whales.  This boat was the Victoria Clipper, a high-speed ferry boat that carried hundreds of passengers.  The sides of this boat were high and made out of metal.  Even as the seal swam for the ferry boat, with the Orcas close behind, there was no chance the seal could jump over its sides to get away from the whales.
The Victoria Clipper is powered by two turbo jet engines.  As the ship sat still in the water, these engines were only partially under-water.  To the seal, they were perfect little caves of refuge.  The seal jumped out of the water and pulled itself up onto one of the jet engines.
Again, the seal had escaped the whales.  This time they lost interest and swam off in search of easier prey.  After waiting a while, the seal slipped back into the water and swam off.
When the Orcas first began chasing the seal, it knew it was in trouble and had to find a hiding place and find it fast!  It found safety in two unusual places and lived to see another day.  A long time ago, King David wrote about God:  "Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from  trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7).  For all of our troubles, God is a sure refuge or hiding place.  This is especially true for our problem of sin.
Over two thousand years ago, God provided a place of safety for sinners when  His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died on the cross.  "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).  Sin is hateful in the sight of God, and since He is holy and a God of justice, He cannot let it go unpunished.  Those who never repent and come to the Saviour in this life will be lost forever in the darkness and terrors of hell.  To make a way of escape for sinners, the Lord Jesus came to earth and died in our place.  He is the Son of God, and because of the sacrifice  He made at Calvary, all who believe on Him receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.  God hates our sin, but He loves sinners and has done every thing possible so we might be saved.
There is no other way to be saved from the punishment we deserve for our sins but through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.  Those who come to Him find the one hiding place that will keep them safe for time and eternity.   "A man shall be as a hiding place" (Isaiah 32:2), and that man is Christ Jesus.  Will you accept Him as your place of safety - your hiding place?     

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jewel # 73 (Nov 23, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren

At the Count of Three . . .

We were two little girls full of fun and foolishness, that day many years ago when Mother sent us to the spring for a pail of water.  The dirt around the spring had been dug out about four feet deep to make a pond from the spring water, and then it was lined with smooth stones.  The water level was down about two feet, but it was still about two feet deep.
We had been acting silly, as I carelessly stooped to fill the pail.  Oops! . . . Slipped!

After my big splash, I looked up expecting to see my sister's laughing face. Instead, I saw a huge diamondback rattlesnake slithering up on the rocks just a few feet from me.  He had come for a drink, too, and maybe wasn't too pleased that I was there.  I knew that I must stay just as still as possible, and also that I could never get past that snake.  In a quiet voice I told my sister about the rattlesnake and said, "Go get Mother."

It was only a matter of minutes until the two of them came up quietly.  Mother had Dad's double-barreled shotgun.  Speaking softly, my normally timid mother cooly and firmly gave me instructions:  "At the count of three, drop flat into the water and stay down until I pull you up."

I knew that I must obey exactly.  My eyes tightly shut, heart pounding, I heard the clicks as she cocked the old gun.
"One, two, three!" 
Believe me, I dived as flat to the bottom of those two two feet of water as possible.

Even underwater the boom from that shotgun was deafening.  I was sure that the whole pool also had been blown up!  Mother wasted no time grabbing me up in her arms.  There wasn't much left of that snake!

What a mercy God showed to me that day!  A strike in the face from that huge poisonous snake might well have meant death to a small child like me.  I had been so careless - so foolish not to watch for danger when we knew there were poisonous snakes around.

The "old serpent," as the Bible calls the devil, quietly came onto the scene in the very first chapter of Genesis, and he is still in the world today.  He is the smartest, most deadly enemy of all.  Many boys and girls and men and women go along being deceived by him, living only to find and follow fun when suddenly, as as I did, they come face to face with the "king of terrors." Death is that"King of terrors" (Job 18:14).  "The sting of death is sin,"we read in 1 Corinthians 15:56.  God says, "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).  

Here is that terrible "sting" - judgment for all those sins you and I have done.  (Would you dare say, "I have never sinned"?) God, however, loves us and is not willing for us to come to the point of judgment.  There is hope.  "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Hebrews 9:28).  He bore the punishment, so that in Hebrews 8:12 God can say,"Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." You can be one of the "many" whose sins He suffered for if you will receive the message by faith, believing that He suffered for your sins.

As God held back the strike of death for me that day long ago, so also He is still holding back the day of judgment for you, so that you might be rescued from sin and the devil.  Follow God's instructions: "Believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (1 John 5:13).  Don't fool around.  God expects and honours the sincere, urgent cry to Him.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jewel # 72 (Nov 11, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,  

Stop for Red Lights

Mr. Peters lived in New York City.  Usually when he was driving around town, traffic was so heavy that he did not bother to check if the traffic lights were red or green before he crossed an intersection.  He just pushed his way through the crowd of cars and taxis along with everyone else.

One day Mr. Peters was driving in the suburbs with Mr. Grant, a friend.  Mr. Peters was talking excitedly to Mr. Grant, telling him a story.  Mr. Grant suddenly interrupted, "Hey," he shouted, "you just went through a red light!"

Mr. Peters looked in his rear view mirror.  Sure enough, he had just driven right through a red light.  Rather embarrassed, he apologized to Mr. Grant, "I'm so sorry   . . . this is the first time I've ever done that!  I don't ever remember going through a red light before!"

It was true that Mr. Peters did not remember, since he hardly ever noticed what colour the traffic lights were.  Then he went on with his story he had been telling.

Suddenly Mr. Grant broke in again.  "Uh - you just went through another red light!"

Horrified, Mr Peters looked back again.  Yes, he certainly had driven right through another red light!  He shook his head.  "I can hardly believe this," he said seriously.  "The first time I've ever gone through a red light, and now I've done it twice in one day!"

Mr. Peters was mistaken.  He had gone through many red lights, but he did not realize it because he never paid attention to them.  Going through red lights is sin - its illegal.  God says, "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord [carefully examines] the hearts" (Proverbs 21:2).

Sometimes we need someone to point out our mistakes, especially sinful ones.  We like to think that others have made worse mistakes and that they are the ones who need the help.  We need to remember that God looks at each of us differently than how we see each other.  He sees and knows all about you and me and our sins and says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).  He also says, "[How] shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy [God's] Word" (Psalm 119:9).  The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ died and shed His blood to wash away sins.  He is patiently waiting in love for all who will turn to Him in faith and accept Him as their Saviour.

Are your sins washed away?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Jewel # 71 (Nov 4, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren

Don't Argue With a Jaguar

"Every beast of the forest is Mine. . . . And the wild beasts of the field are Mine."  
(Psalm 50:10-11)

A jaguar can easily be mistaken for a leopard since the brownish-yellow fur of each, covered with black spots, is so similar.  But there are some differences.  The adult jaguar is larger, and many of the circular spots covering its body have a darker black spot in the center, while those of the leopard are solid.  Some South American jaguars are almost coal black.

The jaguar, up to 8 feet long including its 2 1/2-foot tail, may weigh up to 290 pounds.  The huge mouth in its large head has strong, sharp teeth and a long tongue covered with tiny rasps that help get the last bite of flesh off the bones of its victims.  Out of that mouth also comes a frightening roar.  This ferocious cat is the most feared animal in Mexico, Central and South America.

Huge, well-padded paws have fearsome claws that, like a house cat's, remain hidden in the toes but are extended as fierce weapons when fighting or catching prey.  However, in spite of this fearful feature, it is a handsome animal with small, erect ears, beautiful eyes and large shoulders.

The jaguar is not afraid of water, jumping into a stream or pond to catch its prey, which might be a fish, turtle or even a small crocodile.  Normally it stalks the animals in high grass or brush - seeing, but not being seen - silently creeping closer and then suddenly pouncing on its victim - a deer, peccary, armadillo, tapir or other animal.  Its muscular legs and large shoulders provide plenty of strength to drag even a heavy victim a mile or so away, where it may hide a part of the kill to eat another day.

A jaguar prefers to live alone except when raising its family of two or three cubs.  It often travels many miles a day hunting for food.  When not on the move, it likes to stretch out on a tree limb or a smooth shaded rock.  Being master of the rain-forest, it has no fear of attack except by hunters.

The Bible does not mention the jaguar, but the Lord, wanting His people to change their bad ways, said, "Their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten Me. . . . As a leopard by the way will I observe them" (Hosea 13:6-7).  This means that while they forgot Him, yet like an unseen leopard (or like our unseen jaguar), He was watching everything they did.  Farther on in the chapter He adds, "In Me is thine help" (vs. 9).

Have you forgotten Him and are you careless in your ways?  Oh, how lovingly He invites you to confess it to Him and accept Him as your Saviour before it is too late!  If you have not done this, won't you do it right now while there is still time?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jewel # 70 (Oct 19, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,

The Wandering Albatross

"Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Thy glory be above all the earth." (Psalm 57:5)

Over the centuries, sailors traveling on the southern oceans have been surprised to find a lone albatross here or there.  Sometimes they are hundreds or even thousands of miles from land.  Many have thought these large birds must have been blown out to sea by storms and couldn't find their way back, but this is not the case.

From the beginning God has given these birds a remarkable sense of direction.  Although they may seem to wander aimlessly, apparently they are never lost.  They just seem to enjoy being out over the wide ocean expanses.   God has given them long, strong, pointed wings with a spread of eleven feet.  This allows them to glide great distances for long periods of time.  They spend many months away from land, coming to land only to breed.  It is assumed they sleep while gliding.  When hungry, they drop down to catch a fish; when thirsty, they drink seawater.

An interesting project during the Pacific War shows their sense of direction and ability to fly great distances.  The U.S military established a huge air base at Midway Island in the Pacific, but immediately found this was a favourite area for hundreds of albatrosses that then interfered with air traffic.  The decision was made to capture and remove them.  In cages, some were taken to the Phillippines, over 4000 miles away, some to Whidbey Island in Washington State, more than 3000 miles away, and some in other directions.  All were banded and released so they could be identified if seen again.

And they were seen again, as all eventually returned!  It was estimated they flew about three hundred miles per day in returning to to Midway.  How did they find their way over such distances?

While flying over remote areas of the ocean, aircraft navigators require sensitive instruments, along with radio signals, to be sure to stay on course and not get hopelessly lost.  How can the albatross cover these many miles soaring so carefree, first in one direction, then in another, and never get lost?  The answer is that God has put all this direction-finding ability into its brain.  How helpless man looks with all his instruments, compared with the instincts and abilities given to these birds by the Creator.

God has given mankind an intelligence far above other created creatures, along with fresh blessings every day.  Yet how many people never give Him a thought, and some intentionally turn away from Him. 

God is so "long-suffering . . . not willing that any should perish, but that al should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).  How deeply He loves us: "He . . . sent His Son to be the propitiation [offering] for out sins" (1 John 4:10). Do you have the joy of being a child of His through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Jewel # 69 (Oct 4, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,

by Man's Best Friend

"Go get some firewood from outside," Austin's mom said to him.  Austin is an eleven-year old boy who lives 150 miles north of Vancouver in Western Canada.  This part of Canada is all mountains and woods.

He stepped into his boots and pulled his jacket around his shoulders.  A light fixture from the garage wall faintly lit up the darkness.  The snow crunched under his feet as he walked to the woodpile.  The boy's dog, a golden retriever named Angel, walked by his side.  Out of the corner of his eye, in the faint light, he saw a shape rushing towards him.  It moved too fast for a dog.

He suddenly realized it was a cougar.  Before he even had time to scream out for help, Angel leaped up to defend the boy against the attacking cat, and a horrible fight broke out.

Austin watched stunned for a second.  The cougar was  bigger than Angel and an expert fighter.  Austin realized he had to get away quickly to the safety of the house.  He ran into the house and tried to tell his mom what was happening.  At first she didn't understand what he was trying to say because he was so frantic.  Then she heard the sounds of Angel whimpering outside.   

She called the police for help.  Police Constable Chad Gravelle was patrolling the neighbourhood.  Within a few minutes he arrived at the home and, holding his flashlight, went into their backyard.  He found the cougar and the dog near the back porch.  The cougar was standing over the dog with the dog's head in its mouth.  The officer drew his pistol and fired two shots at the cougar killing it.

The officer pulled the body of the cougar off the dog.  Angel lay still on the ground; the side of her head was wet with blood where she had been bitten.  At first, the officer thought the dog was dead too.  He was surprised when, after a few seconds, Angel gasped for breath and stood shakily on her feet.

Later, officer Gravelle credited Angel with saving the boy's life.  Angel was taken to a veterinarian to have her wounds treated and is expected to heal and be just fine.

Dogs are sometimes called "man's best friend," and in the case of Angel, risking her life to save Austin, you can easily see why.  Everybody should have a friend so faithful and true.  And as a matter of fact, we do.  This friend is so faithful that even when we didn't deserve it, He stood between our enemy and us and died in the sinner's place. 

 "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

The enemy we face is Satan, who, like a raging lion, seeks to destroy all he can.  We are no match for his power or craft.  Without help from the sinner's Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, each one of us would certainly be lost.

This is how much the Lord Jesus loves you.  He was willing to die in your place so that you might come to Him in faith, accepting Him as your own Saviour, and spend eternity with Him in heaven.  Is there any other friend as faithful and loving?  He truly is a friend who saw your great need and was willing to help you at a great cost to Himself - He died for you!

The Lord Jesus is the sinner's friend.  The word "friend" comes from an ancient word that means "to love."  No one has ever  loved you like He does.  Will you respond to His love?

He is patiently waiting for souls to turn from their sin and to trust Him.  When they trust Him, they receive the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life.

Austin's life was saved by "man's best friend."  Wouldn't you like to be saved for eternity by placing your faith in the sinner's Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ? 

 "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). 

 "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jewel # 68 (Sept 30, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,
She Needed a Quarter 

Many years ago, a lady boarded a bus and a moment or two later the conductor asked for her fare.  Reaching for her wallet, she suddenly discovered she didn't have it!  She looked all through her purse, but the wallet wasn't there. She realized then that she must have left it at home on the table when she took out the quarter for her bus ride that morning.  The bus driver told her she would have to get off if she couldn't pay her fare.

It was a hot day, and she was miles away from home.  What could she do?  Seeing a park across the street, she went over to sit down on a park bench so she could think what to do. 

She was stumped, but then she remembered she had God to turn to for help!  She would tell Him about here problem.  Opening a pocket New Testament she carried, her eyes fell on Philippians 4:19, which was underlined:  "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Her need at that moment was a quarter for bus fare for her ride home.  She closed her eyes and told the Lord Jesus about the problem, and immediately she was sure that her "need" would be supplied.  How?  She did not know, and that did not matter - God knew.

As she sat on the park bench, she began to trace letters in the gravel path with the point of her umbrella.  She traced the words, "God is love."  As she was writing the last letter, her umbrella point turned up a quarter in the gravel, and her heart gave a big thump - there was the quarter she needed!  She closed her eyes again and thanked God for showing her the quarter.  He had supplied what was needed for her bus fare home.

No need is too small and none is too large - the Lord is able to supply them all.  Whether you are a little person or a big person, do you have a problem in your life?  Talk to the Lord Jesus about it, and count on Him to supply your need.  

"This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1 John 5:14).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jewel # 67 (Sept 17, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,  

The Musical Cricket 

"God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good."  (Genesis 1:25)

For its small size the male cricket is a very noisy insect whose chirps can be heard a mile away on a quiet night.  Theses sounds are made in much the way as a musician playing a violin.   The upper surface of each wing is equipped with a scraper.  This is drawn over the lower part of the wing that has a hundred or more rough cross-ridges.  By moving its wings, the chirp sound is made.  This "music" is the way the Creator designed crickets to "talk" with one another.

Toward the end of summer, the female cricket makes a hole in the soil about an inch deep and deposits about three hundred little, banana shaped eggs.  The young crickets hatch the following spring and immediately begin searching for dead insects or tender plants to eat.

As the young cricket grows, its outer skeleton splits open and drops off.  This is called molting, and it is repeated sometimes a dozen times.  When the final molt takes place, the wings and other parts of the body are fully developed.  The common, black or field cricket is about an inch long when it emerges from its final molt.  It has two long antennae at the front of its head that act as feelers.  The cricket is able to fly but seldom does, preferring to move over the ground by jumping, like its cousin the grasshopper.  Mature crickets (which do not live through the winter) live a short but busy life, eating a variety of things.  They prefer tender, juicy plants, often doing great damage to farmers' crops.  However, they also move into houses and other buildings, eating clothing and book-bindings.

In cold weather crickets chirp less, and in hot weather they chirp more.  Do you want to know what the temperature is?  They say that if you count the chirps for 15 seconds and then add 40, you will have the temperature in Fahrenheit degrees.  Try it sometime.

Crickets represent part of God's creation and have their place among all that He has made.  He has not only provided special features for their way of life, but He also watches over them, providing for all their needs.

What does the Bible say about His care over you?  Acts 17:24-25 says, "God that made the world and all things therein . . . [gives] to all [people] life, and breath, and all things."  And in Romans 8:31-32 these wonderful words appear: "If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"  

Have you ever thanked Him for His wonderful gifts to you? 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jewel # 66 (Aug 30, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,

Greg Johnstone yawned and stretched.  The morning sun shining through his window had wakened him after a good night's sleep, and now he was ready to get up and go to work.

Suddenly, he noticed something and jumped out of bed.  Something was wrong!  His clothes were not neatly folded as he had left them.  In fact, some of them weren't even there.  He hurried from room to room, checking to see if anything else was gone.  Yes, his watch was gone, and his wallet and several other small, valuable items also were gone.  Greg knew that he had carefully locked the doors before he went to bed, and he did not see how anyone could have gotten in.  Continuing his search, he found that one of the windows at the back of the house had been broken.  He also noticed that there was blood on the glass.  Looking more closely, he found spots of blood in the different rooms where the thief had been,

Greg called the police who came quickly.  He showed them the broken glass and the blood, and told them about the things that had been stolen.  Then he showed them the  trail of blood on the driveway.

Two of the policemen set off together to follow the trail of blood.  They followed the drops up the steps of a house to a side door.  The policemen knocked loudly on the door, called several times and finally pushed the door open and went in.  Inside they found a man with a bandaged hand.  The policemen questioned the man, but he claimed he knew nothing about any robbery.  Noticing a large bag under a bed, the officers pulled it out and opened it.  There was Greg's watch, his wallet, and all the other things that had been stolen from his home.  The thief had been discovered!

I doubt that you have ever broken a window and stolen from anyone.  But you don't have to be a thief to be a sinner.  God tells us in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  He also says, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).  God can see the stains of sin on your heart which no one else can see.

The thief who stole from Greg Johnstone was put in jail for his crime, but God has good news for you and me.  Although we are sinners, God offers us forgiveness through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us. 

 "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleans us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

You cannot hide from God.  Admit that you are a sinner and need forgiveness for your sins.  Trust His Word, the Bible, which says, "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jewel # 65 (Aug 16, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren

The Comical Puffin 

"Hast thou not heard, that . . . the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?"  (Isaiah 40:28)

The colorful bird called the puffin lives in the Arctic waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  It has a comical look because of its bright-orange, high, flattened bill with blue and red stripes.  Its white, puffy face is topped with a black skullcap.  Add to this a body with a black collar and cape and stubby, orange legs and feet.  Though it seems to be a strange-looking bird, it is well-suited to its environment.

The puffin is an expert swimmer and diver and is skillful at catching seafood to eat.  Its beak can hold several fish crosswise while pursuing and catching others.  How does a puffin manage this?  The answer is spines on its tongue and on the roof of its mouth that spear the fish and hold them firmly.  They usually catch about ten fish during each dive.

Some colonies of puffins contain hundreds of thousands of birds.  Sometimes they make their homes in burrows or they may build nests on cliff ledges where the female lays one white egg.  The eggs are a remarkable example of the Creator's special care.  Instead of being oval like chickens or round like other birds', puffins' eggs are round on only one end and pointed on the other.

Why do you think the Lord God made their eggs such an odd shape?  When He created puffins, He knew that their eggs would be laid on rocky ledges.  A round or oval egg  would easily roll off the ledge if left unattended even for moment.  However, a pointed egg just turns in a small circle and can easily be returned to the nest.

It takes almost a month for the chick to hatch.  While the chick remains in the nest, it is fed a continual diet of fish.  When the tired parents leave the fat chick after about six to eight weeks of care and constant feeding, the young bird eventually goes to the edge of the cliff and flies down to the water.  Soon it is diving for its own food.  It later migrates north with the colony, returning south in the spring to the same rock on which it was born.

These birds live in the northern oceans of the world but are not forgotten by the One who created them.  The Lord God once said, 

"Consider the ravens [and other birds]: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?" 
(Luke 12:24).  

He is making it plain that He thinks more highly of human beings than of the rest of His creatures.  He has shown this by giving us a never-dying soul and a home in heaven for those who trust in Him.       

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jewel # 64 (July 22, 2010)

To My dear grandchildren

Playing with Danger

What a beautiful day, Faye thought as she looked out the window.  Then she saw something that wasn't so beautiful.  It was Tommy, her cat.  That bad cat!" she exclaimed. "He's caught another chipmunk!"

Feeling sorry for the chipmunk, Faye ran out into the front yard and grabbed Tommy by the scruff of the neck, forcing him to drop the chipmunk.

All of us, from the time we are born, are so much like the chipmunk in the cat's mouth.  God tells us that Satan is the god and prince of this world, and we are under his power until the Lord Jesus sets us free.  We know that chipmunk could not have freed itself from Tommy's jaws, and we cannot free ourselves from Satan's power either.  Only the Lord Jesus can free us, because He broke Satan's power when He died on the cross.  

"Through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."  
(Hebrews 2:14-15)

The little chipmunk was still very lively and didn't seem to be hurt.  He ran a few feet and then turned to face the cat.  Sitting on his little haunches, he scolded the cat, almost as if he was daring the cat to catch him.

You can guess what the cat did.  Of course, he soon had the chipmunk in his mouth again.

Faye freed the chipmunk a second time, and then she scolded Tommy.  But still the chipmunk didn't run far away.

Sometimes young people act like that chipmunk - they seem to love dangerous things and to play with sin.  They are like those in Proverbs 2:13 "who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk  in the ways of darkness."  But God gives the warning, 

"Go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."  (Proverbs 4:14-15)

It wasn't until Faye took Tommy indoors that the chipmunk ran away.  But she couldn't help wondering how long that chipmunk would live if it kept on daring its enemies.

God gives more warnings about our enemy:  "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).  It is so dangerous to fool around with Satan.  Trust in the Lord Jesus who loves you and died for you and escape from the enemy and the wrath to come.  

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jewel # 63 (July 12, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,

Big Trouble for Big Birds

Have you ever been in trouble?  Most of us would have to answer "yes," and some of us would have to admit we needed help to get our of that trouble.  Those of us who have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Saviour know that He "is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).  We only need to ask Him for help.

This story is about a large group of bald eagles that got into serious trouble and needed help.  If you have never seen bald eagles, they are large, magnificent birds, and when fully grown they can measure up to three feet long, with wing spans of seven feet.  Their white heads and tails and large, yellow bills easily identify the mature eagles.  One favorite food of these birds is fish.

Almost half of all bald eagles in the world live in Alaska.  God cares for them and gave them homes near an abundance of food.  He sees and cares for all His creation, not just the beautiful creatures, but the plain, little ones too.   In Matthew 10:29 we learn that even when a sparrow falls to the ground [or dies], God sees it and cares.  And if He cares for the little sparrow, He cares much, much more for the people He made and loves.

One winter a large fish-processing plant in Alaska parked a truck outside that was full of fish waste and left it uncovered.  Fifty or more eagles swarmed onto the back of that uncovered truck to feast on the fish remains.  Although the eagles did not know it, they would soon be in serious trouble.

As the feasting eagles tore apart the fish remains, they were soon covered with fish oil.  The poor creatures could not fly or even clean their feathers.  Some were so weak the other feasting birds trampled on top of them, injuring them.  In the very cold temperature, the birds began to freeze and die.  What a sad mess!  These birds needed help fast, but birds can't call out for help.

Have you ever had to call for help, maybe to your dad or mom?  It's always a relief when they answer right away, especially if it's serious trouble.  But each of us has a very serious problem that family or friends cannot help us with.  If we really think about the seriousness of our sins and that God says they will take us to a hopeless, everlasting hell, He wants us to know that not accepting the Lord Jesus as our Saviour is the MOST serious trouble possible.  Jesus is the only One who can help us with our serious sin problem.  God warns us, "The wages of sin is death,"  but then He adds the help we need: "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).  If we realize our danger, the Lord Jesus is listening for our call for help.

Of course, the eagles did not realize their danger, but some of the workers at the processing plant did.  The truck was quickly moved inside the plant, and the contents were dumped on the floor.  The eagles needed to be revived.  They were so soaked in the fish oil that they could barely move, even when they were frightened and tried to scatter.  Wildlife caretakers were called and began to catch the perishing eagles.  What a job they had!  The eagles had to be cleaned with dish soap in tubs of warm water.  Then they were taken to a heated building to dry and recover.  Sadly at least nineteen eagles died, but many survived and were able to be released into the wild again . . . because there were people there to help them in their trouble.

If you haven't taken the Lord Jesus as your own Saviour, NOW is the the time to accept Him and know you have His help now and forever.  The Lord is near for each  one who belongs to Him, not only in times of trouble, but also each day of our lives.  He says, "I will never leave thee, not forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).