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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?