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).