Monday, June 28, 2010

Jewel # 62 (June 28, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,

A Mom's Disappointment

Beth took a long time preparing the vegetables to add to the meat she had ready for a large pot of stew.  Then she began to cook it slowly.  As it cooked, the wonderful smell of the vegetables and meat made her hungry.  Her family would be able to enjoy at least two delicious meals from the pot of stew.

Beth carefully set the large pot of cooked stew outside to cool overnight.  The lid on the pot fit tightly, but to make it even more secure, she set some heavy items on top of it to make sure it couldn't be opened.  She went to bed that night contented that her dinner for the next day was fully prepared and safely cooling outside.

In the morning she remembered her pot of stew outside the back door and knew that it was probably quite cold.  She opened the door to bring it inside, but what met her eyes was an unbelievable sight!  The heavy items were scattered around, the lid was somewhere else, and not a scrap of the dinner was left!  Then she realized what likely had happened.  Raccoons had found her pot of stew and had eaten every bit of it.  They probably were off somewhere with tummies full of stew, still licking their paws and whiskers!

Raccoons are clever little animals, and there isn't much they can't get into if they really want to.  The smell of that stew would keep their nimble fingers busy, pulling off the heavy items on the lid and then working the lid off.  What a feast they must have had!  But what a big disappointment for Beth and a very sad lesson.  Never again would she set food of any kind outside to cool . . . not even for a few minutes!

Beth couldn't expect those raccoons to know that stew wasn't set outside for them.  But boys and girls who know what is right and wrong are sometimes the cause of a disappointment much like this.  Your mom may have spent a lot of time baking a luscious dessert for a special dinner.  When you came home from school, there it sat on the kitchen counter.  You were probably hungry and it was one of your favorites.  Mom had said, "Don't touch that dessert . . . its for our company dinner  tonight."  But when Mom wasn't anywhere around, you thought to yourself, It won't hurt if I take just one little piece . . . Mom won't even notice . . . Oh yum, that was good . . . maybe one more little piece.  And it didn't take long before it was quite noticeable that someone had disobeyed Mom.  First one sin . . . then another . . . then a cover-up lie, and finally someone is in big trouble.  Two disappointments for Mom - a child who disobeyed her and a special dessert ruined.

The Bible plainly says, "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord" (Colossians 3:20).  Disobedience is sin, and the Bible also says, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).  God is telling us there is a price to pay for sin - every single one.

There are only two people who can pay for your sins - you or a substitute provided by God.  Because God loves you so much, He sent His own beloved Son Jesus down here to go to the cross to pay the full price for the sins of any who would accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.  He is willing to be your substitute.  Those who will not accept Him as their substitute will have to pay the price for their own sins in hell for all eternity.  "These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteousness into life eternal" (Matthew 25:46).

Who will pay for your sins?  Have you made that very important decision?  "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jewel # 61 (June 12, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,

The Tough Seagull

"God . . . [teaches] us more than the beasts of the earth, and [makes] us wiser than the fowls of heaven."
(Job 35:10-11)

Part of the fun of being at the sea shore is watching the seagulls.  They can be seen soaring high in the sky, walking on the sand, or just resting on the water.  Their high-pitched "meews" are loud enough to be heard above the noise of the waves.  Occasionally they will give harsh squawks when they fight over a scrap of food.  There are many varieties of seagulls, but, the herring gull is the most common.  Its head, back and underside are white with partly black wings, and its beak and web-footed legs are orange.

Although they are pretty and fun to watch, they often fight among themselves.  Most are bullies and get into fights with each other by rough pushes with stiff, half-open wings or nasty pecks with their sharp beaks.  But they are part of God's creation in spite of this, and He has made them strong, swift and wise in many ways.  He has also given them great skill in using air currents to glide along tirelessly with their wings outstretched.  Frequently they will stay with a ship for many miles, watching for food scraps.  Although mostly scavengers, they like fresh fish, clams and oysters too.  Unable to break the shell of a clam or oyster, a gull will carry it high in the air and drop it onto a rock to break it open

These birds live in large groups, making nests on the ground where their eggs and chicks attract many enemies.  When a gull discovers an enemy, it gives a loud shriek.  This brings the whole colony rushing at the thief with hooked beaks and club-like wings.  It takes a bold intruder to risk these attacks.  When very small, a hungry baby taps on a red spot on the underside of its parent's beak.  The parent then brings up food for the baby to eat.  They are given more solid food later.

In some ways seagulls remind us of Satan, by seeming to be so attractive when they are actually fierce and aggressive to one another.  Satan makes himself attractive in the things that he offers us, but he is a deceiver and tries to bring evil into the life of every boy and girl.  The Bible says this about him:

"Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). 

Another important warning is given:

"Be sober, be vigilant [watchful]; because your adversary [enemy] the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour [destroy]"
(1 Peter 5:8).

As our opening verse states, God has made us wiser than the fowls.  This God-given wisdom tells us that there is a place of safety from the devil:
  "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is safe" (Proverbs 18:10).

Have you made Him your place of safety?