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?