Monday, December 19, 2011

Jewel # 100 (Dec 19, 2011)


"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make up
MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear children & grandchildren,

Tiny Weather Forecasters

Where I live in Australia we are in a rainforest region.  Our summer is our wet season in the "underneath part of the world."

The official weather forecast for today was "continuing fair."  Now that is interesting since in the past nineteen hours we have had over six inches of rain!  Our weather people got it wrong.

We are watching something very interesting.  For the past few days ants have invaded our houses, which is not uncommon for this time of year.  In fact, there are so many we find them crawling everywhere.  They are looking for higher ground.  The little black ants scurry up and down the walls in long, busy lines, carrying their small eggs up higher to protect them from the water that will soon come.  They tuck their eggs in the cracks of the wall and even as high as the ceilings.  They know a time of trouble is coming, so wisely they take steps to be prepared.

We have also noticed over the past few days that the ant nests on the ground have had large lips built around them.  This is common too. These lips around the nests on the ground are built up like volcanoes around the entrances to keep water from running in.  Some lips are three to four inches high.  It all means rain is coming.

Sometimes I don't pay attention to what the weather bureau reports.  I watch the ants instead, for they know.  By watching the ants, I knew rain was on the way last night, but the people at the weather bureau with their highly specialized instruments got it wrong.  I don't ignore the weather people; it is just interesting to see that in the simplest of God's creatures there is an accuracy that man can't match.  Thinking of the amazing ways God's creation speaks to man, it is hard to understand how man can reject the God who is the Creator of it all.

I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs 6:6 that says, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise."  God has sent lessons for us in His creation, if we are willing to see them.  He has given these little ants some kind of an advance warning when the heavy rains are coming, and they obey these warnings.  God gives other creatures advance warning of winter coming with its fierce winds, cold temperatures, and shortness of food.  And they obey these warnings by migrating to warmer climates or storing food or hibernating. 

God has also given you advance warning of coming punishment for your sins.  But He has made a way for your sins to be forgiven.  Because He loves you and cares so much for you, He provided a substitute to take that punishment in your place.  That substitute is His beloved Son, Christ Jesus, Who died on Calvary's cross for you so your sins could be forgiven.  All that's left for you to do is to confess to God that you are a sinner and accept Christ Jesus as your very own Saviour - Jesus Christ "in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7).

God has given you advance warning about the coming punishment for your sins.  Have you obeyed His warnings?  "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous [runs] into it, and is safe" (Proverbs 18:10). 

I love you all,
Grandpa

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Jewel # 99 (Dec 8, 2011)



"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up "My Jewels." 
(Malachi 3:17)
To My Dear Grandchildren

Unpredictable Lemmings of the North

"In the Lord's hand is the soul of every living thing, 
and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10).

In the cold, snowy, northern parts of the world, a small, furry animal called a lemming makes its home.  This plump little rodent is related to the mouse.  It is only about four or five inches long, including its stubby tail.  Most kinds have grayish or brownish fur.

Living in such cold climates, the Creator has wisely supplied lemmings with warm coats and furry feet with padded soles.  Underneath deep winter snows they live active lives, eating grass or other plants.

Early in June they come to the surface of the snow, often so many in number that they look like moving blankets.  During spring and summer, two or three litters of young are born and raised, greatly increasing their numbers.  When food becomes scarce, they become restless and begin great migrations.  At times they are so abundant that they spread out a mile or more wide, all moving, always west, as they eat.  They are good swimmers, crossing lakes and rivers as they migrate.

Hungry animals and birds, such as foxes, weasels, owls and hawks, feed on them.  The lemmings are in such great numbers that those caught are hardly missed.  However, when being chased some lemmings panic, and on reaching the ocean they plunge in and swim on westward and eventually drown.  Some remain behind, raise new families, and in a few years their numbers have greatly increased  once again.

In Canada, the lemmings live north of the Arctic circle on the mainland and on polar islands where there is vegetation underneath the snow and ice.  Although their fur is brown in summer, it changes to pure white in winter.  Eskimos use their fur to make warm clothes.

It seems sad that such pretty little animals should become the food of birds of prey and hungry animals or, in desperation, drown in ocean waters.  It was not like this in the day of their creation before sin entered the world.  Happily, God has promised a future time when this will be corrected.  The Bible says, "The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption" even though "the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now" (Romans 8:21-22).  When that takes place, their peaceful way of life will proclaim, "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord" (Psalm 150:6).

That time will come after God's judgment takes place on this sinful world.  The animals will be delivered from the suffering they experience in this creation that is spoiled by man's sin.
  
People who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour will be taken to heaven befoe that judgment takes place and will look down with delight on the change when God makes it hapen.

Will you be among those in heaven?
You can be. 

Love you all,
Grandpa

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jewel # 98 (Nov 21, 2011)


"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord 
of hosts, in that day when I make up 
MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

The Black-Footed Ferret

"Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways."  (Revelation 15:3)  

When western prairies of the United States were being settle many years ago, millions of prairie dog homes dotted the plains.  Because these animals were considered pests, they were hunted and poisoned, so that today hardly any are left.

That poisoning also meant the death of a smaller animal - the black-footed ferret.  Not only were they also poisoned, but their main food supply was also gone - the prairie dogs.  Now there are also only a few of these ferrets left, mostly in the state of Wyoming where efforts are being made to protect them.

The pretty black-footed ferret is closely related to the weasel, as shown by its slim body, short legs, alert expression and sharp eyes.  About two feet long from nose to tip of tail, it weighs only a pound and a half.  Its fur is mostly brown, but its raccoon-like face is white with a black streak across its eyes like a bandit's mask.  It has a black streak all along its back, and the tip of its tail and its feet are also black, the reason for its name.  Being close to the ground, its agile body is well hidden in the grass as it skims along at high speed.

The ferret is a fierce nighttime hunter, often attacking animals larger that itself.  An example is prairie dogs.  They often weigh more than twice as much, but although the ferret may get badly wounded, it is rare for them to lose the battle.  When it is over, the ferret drags the heavier creature to its burrow for eating.  Ground squirrels, mice, rabbits and other small animals are also their victims.

Ferrets sometimes use prairie dog burrows as nests where their kits are born in early summer and raised by the mother.  Sometime before fall, each young ferret moves to a solitary burrow where it makes its home and carries back whatever it captures for its own consumption.

In the Lord God's original creation all things lived peacefully together, but when Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, that perfection was ruined, affecting all living things.  And today, lions, tigers, ferrets, hawks, falcons, sharks and many other creatures still attack and kill one another.

But the Bible gives us cheerful news about a coming day when "the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. . . . They shall not hurt nor destroy . . . for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:7-9).

Before that takes place, all who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their own Saviour will have been called to heaven and will look down on this peaceful scene with thankful praise to God for restoring His creation so wonderfully.
  
Will you be in heaven with those people?

Love you all,
Grandpa  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jewel # 97 (Oct 18, 2011)



To my dear grandchildren,


Cherokee Legend

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youths' rite of Passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.
 He is required to sit on a stump the whole night 
and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it.  
He cannot cry out for help to anyone.
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Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.
The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him . Maybe even some human might do him harm.
The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!
Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.
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It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.  


He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.
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We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us.  


When trouble comes, all we have to do
is reach out to Him.
 
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Moral of the story:
Just because you can't see God,
Doesn't mean He is not there.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Love.
Grandpa

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jewel # 95 (Oct 10, 2011)




"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts,
in that day when I make up MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

To My dear grandchildren,

A Daring Niagara Falls Rescue

What were the two policeman doing just sitting in their boat?  Didn't they know that just ahead was the edge of the great Niagara Falls?

You would have seen a strange sight if you had watched from the shore of the Niagara River that Saturday morning in June.  Soon a helicopter was seen coming and then hovering over the boat.  It looked like those two policemen needed to be rescued.

And this was just what was happening.  The police boat had been accidentally caught in the fast flowing water.  The two policemen had put out their anchor, and their boat was now stopped just nine hundred feet above the falls.  The boat engines were not strong enough to move the boat against the strong current.  They needed to be rescued and soon!  How long would the anchor hold in those swirling, rushing waters?  No one knew, and they didn't want to find out.

The helicopter overhead brought a rescuer to the two policemen.  While the helicopter hovered, Shawn Black of the Niagara Parks Police dangled from a long line and dropped two rescue harnesses into the boat for the men.  All they had to do was put a harness on, and the helicopter would lift them up and out of danger and place them safely on the shore.

The men would have been foolish to ignore the rescue harness.  It was all they needed.  They didn't need any special lessons or books about safety.  They only needed to do what they were told and to put on the harnesses.  It was simple.

Do you know that God also has a rescue harness for you and me?  The Bible tells us, "The Son of Man [Jesus] is come to save that which was lost" (Matthew 18:11).  He wants to rescue us and has done everything possible to save us.  It really is simple.  He is God's "rescue harness" for boys and girls. 

Maybe you are asking, "Well, just what did Jesus do?"  The Bible says it this way: "The Son of God [Jesus] . . . loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).  God punished Him on the cross for my sins.  He said, "It is finished" (John 19:30).  He paid the full price for my debt of sin.  So now He is the only one who can be the Rescuer from heaven.

Any sinner would be very foolish to ignore God's rescue harness.  But, of course, some boys and girls don't think they need it.  Can you rescue yourself from your sins?  Can you wash your own sins away?  NO, of course not!

I am glad to say that the two policemen quickly put on the harnesses, and soon the helicopter lifted them up, one at a time, away from the boat that was filling with water.  I'm sure they will never forget the morning they were rescued from going over Niagara Falls!

I know I will never forget the evening when the Bible showed me how the Lord Jesus wanted to rescue me from all my sins.  That evening I thanked Him for taking all the punishment for my sins and for rescuing me and putting me on the happy road to heaven.

Maybe there is a boy or girl reading this who who has a few foolish ideas about how you can save yourself.  Just throw away those ideas, and come to the Lord Jesus in God's way - the only way.  Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).

Lots of love,
Grandpa

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jewel # 94 (Sept 25, 2011)


"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make up My Jewels."
(Malachi 3:17)

To My Dear Grandchildren,

The Barn Swallow

One of the most amazing creatures God has created is the Barn Swallow.  Perhaps you have seen Barn Swallows around your yard.  They are found throughout most of the world.  And they are most easily identified by their deeply forked tail.

Barn Swallows are especially created for flying and they are some of the most graceful birds in the sky.  The Holy Spirit mentions this in Proverbs 26:2.  "As the bird by wandering, as the swallows by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come."

One of the reasons God has given the Barn Swallow the ability to fly so well is so it can catch insects.  This bird has a wide, gaping mouth that stretches from ear to ear.  And it has been estimated that one Swallow will eat up to 2000 insects a day.  If you don't like getting bitten by mosquitoes, Barn Swallows are good birds to have around.

As you can guess by their name, Barn Swallows like to nest in barns.  They build their nests out of mud, mixed with saliva.  The nests are plastered along the rafters inside the barn.  They can hold as many as five little chicks.  

The Holy Spirit mentions another place where a Swallow can build a nest, which is even better than a barn.  "Yea, the sparrow has found an house and THE SWALLOW a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even THINE ALTARS, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God."  Psalm 84:3.

So years ago swallows were permitted to nest in the temple of God.  What a nice place to raise little ones - on the altar of the Lord.  This is what your parents are doing for you.  They are raising you to know your Saviour as you study Scripture.

In August, the Barn Swallows get ready to migrate South.  By early September, they have left our barn and are headed South, many of them to Brazil.  And now we have an amazing thing.  Some of these birds have been banded before they left to migrate South.  And even though the winter home of the Barn Swallow is some 6,00 miles away from where they nested, many of them will come back to that same barn the following Spring.  This power of navigation, which God has given to the Barn Swallow, is beyond human comprehension.  What a marvelous compass these Barn Swallows have, so accurately set that they can pinpoint a barn 6,000 miles away!

But there is more!  There is also the matter of timing.  I have kept records of when the first Barn Swallow returns to our barn here at Meadow Grass Memories Farm.  And it is amazing how often they come back within a few days of when they had come back in previous years.  Often they come back on the very same day of the year.

Not surprising, the Holy Spirit also makes mention of this amazing happening in Scripture:  "Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the dove and the crane and the SWALLOW observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the judgment of the Lord," Jeremiah 8:7.  By following God's appointed times, these little birds usher in the pleasant spring season.  Winter's back has been broken.  

Barn Swallows are a real blessing from the Lord.  They show the glory of God in the way they live.

We should strive to do likewise. 

Love,
Grandpa  

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Jewel # 93 (Sept 4, 2011)


"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts,
in that day when I make up My jewels."
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

The Sea Horse

"Sing unto the Lord, all the earth. . . . Declare His glory among the heathen; His marvelous works among all nations.  
For great is the Lord, greatly to be praised."
(1 Chronicles 16:23-25)

The oceans contain strange creatures, many of them frightening and unusual.  The sea horse is one of these.  It is a bony fish that doesn't look or act like a fish.  It is quite common along the coasts of North and South America, as well as in Hawaii, Tahiti and others of the South Sea Islands.  Among the fifty species, there are some as long as two feet, but the more common are only about three inches long.  Most are dark gray or black,  but some are a pretty pink, red, yellow, blue or white.  All are able to change their colour to match their surroundings.

The sea horse is well named since its head and the top of its body look surprisingly like a miniature horse.  Instead of scales, it is covered with rough, bony plates.  Its curved tail enables it to anchor onto sea grass or, hooked to another sea horse, to have a playful tug-of-war contest.  Each eye pivots separately, and it can look toward the surface with one eye while while searching underwater with the other.

The seahorse swims upright - head up and tail down.  In this position it keeps itself balanced and moves by means of a fan-like fin on its back.  This fin looks similar to the small propeller that whirls on the tail of a helicopter and enables it to swim forward, backward, up or down.

Another unusual feature of this ocean resident is the manner in which its babies are born.  When the female is about to lay her eggs, she swims to her male companion and transfers about three hundred eggs into a pouch on his body.  He incubates these for a month or more, until they hatch.  Then, held in bubbles containing fifty to a hundred eggs each, he releases them out into the water.  As the bubbles burst, the tiny, transparent, comma-size-babies separate, and each one begins a life on its own.

God has been pleased to make the sea horse very different from its neighbours, not only in appearance, but also in its peaceful habits.  It has no enemies because its hard, bony plates make it unappetizing no matter how hungry they are.  Its own diet is limited to small shrimp, tiny fish, crustaceans and plankton.

The wonderful works of the Lord surely deserve the highest praise, as quoted in our 
opening verse, and should encourage every boy and girl to seek Him. 
 "The Lord is near unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth." 
(Psalm 145:18) 
If you have not done this yet, call on Him today.  
He will hear and answer you.

Love 
Grandpa               

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jewel # 92 (August 21, 2011)



  
      

"And they shall be mine, saith the 
Lord of Hosts, in that day when 
 I make MY JEWELS." 
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,
Cheerful Ovenbirds

"The glory of the Lord shall endure forever: the Lord shall rejoice in His works"(Psalm 104:31).

Ovenbirds were not named because they are baked in ovens, but because their nests look like an old-fashioned baker's oven.  There are many varieties of ovenbirds throughout North and South America.  In North America they are found only east of the Rocky Mountains.  They are all noted for their lovely songs, especially when a bright moon lit night brings them out to sing in groups. 
Bird watchers admire their unusual oven-like nests.  However, it takes much searching to find one since they are well hidden.  The nests look like ovens or igloos and are constructed with twig-supported mud or clay, with a small opening on the side.  Usually they are built right on the ground, up against a fallen tree and near a pile of brush or leaves.  They are so well hidden that a person may walk right past one and never see it.
When a male ovenbird wants to attract  a mate, he puts on quite a display.   With wings and tail spread out, he hops around with his head bobbing up and down excitedly.  If a female is impressed, they are soon busy building a nest.  This is done very carefully.  As it progresses, if they are not pleased with any part, they will remove that section and do it over.
After the eggs are hatched, the mother carefully protects her chicks.  When she leaves them for any reason, she stays close to the ground to avoid letting the nest be discovered, running like a mouse for a good distance before taking to the air.  When she returns, she does the same.
South American ovenbirds are found in the northern part of the continent, some in deserts, some on ocean shores and others in mountains as high as 16,000 feet above sea level.  These usually make their nests somewhat differently from their North American relatives, although following an oven-like pattern.  One variety seems to prefer being near people and even makes its nests in plain sight.  They are often build snugly on top of a fence post or tree stump.
Who taught these unusual birds to build such elaborate nests and how to raise and protect their young?  Who gave them such sweet songs?  Of course it was the Lord God, their Creator, of whom the Bible says, "O Lord, how manifold [what varieties] are Thy works!  In wisdom hast Thou made them all" (Psalm 104:24).  None of the birds or animals is aware that they are always watched over by their Creator, but we who experience His daily love and care to us should always thank Him.  The psalmist declared, "Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men" (Psalm 107:8)! 
Have you ever thanked Him for His love and care?

Love
Grandpa  

Monday, August 08, 2011

Jewel # 91 (August 8, 2011)



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"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make up My Jewels."
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

Two Big Rabbits

"I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.  The beast of the field shall honour Me" (Isaiah 43:19-20)

In desert country, you may not have to travel far before seeing a jackrabbit.  It may be sitting up on its hind legs watching you, or it may be leaping away in a zig-zag course to get out of sight.

The jackrabbit has big ears, yet all species do not have the same size ears.  Those in Australia have enormous ears.  They provide a keen sense of hearing and also act as "coolers" by giving off body heat in the intense heat of that land.  The ears of jackrabbits in Canada and the United States are much shorter, since they live in colder areas and need to conserve heat in the cooler seasons.  How wise our Creator was to help these active animals to be comfortable no matter where they live.

The jackrabbit has a keen sense of sight.  Its eyes see forward, sideways and even behind.  This, along with its keen sense of hearing, helps keep it alert to the threats of enemies.  Its great hind legs enable it to make leaps and bounds at speeds up to forty-five miles an hour.  It can also jump five feet in the air while leaping five or ten feet in distance.

The snowshoe rabbit is a cousin of the desert jackrabbit.  This species can live comfortably in a cold climate.  It has long, strong hind legs like its relatives of the south, but its ears are much shorter, since it needs to conserve its body heat in that climate.

A very special feature the Creator gave this rabbit is the "snow shoes" it wears in winter.   Its feet, about twice the size of a jackrabbit's, have toes spread wide apart.  As winter approaches, long hairs grow between the toes, forming a pad.  This permits it to walk on top of the snow and easily leap through it in ten-foot jumps.

In addition, God gives it a white winter coat in exchange for the brown one of summer.  When sitting still on the snow, it is almost invisible.  Towards spring as the snow melts and rocks and brown soil begin to appear among patches of white snow, this rabbit's white coat changes to a mottled one, helping it to blend with the ground.  When all the snow is gone, its coat returns to brown again for the summer.

These animals do not stop to think about God's care over them or the special features He gave them when they were created.  God's care over us is very real too, and we should think about not only His care, but His great love for us.  For those who know that love and have found salvation through faith in His Son Jesus Christ and His death on Calvary, He encourages each one to "Cast all your care upon Him; for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

Love
Grandpa  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jewel # 90 (July 27, 2011)

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"And thy shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make up MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

Three Willful Cows

It had been a difficult day for three cows named Bessy, Daisy and June. They had been purchased by the Browns at an auction that had been a very confusing and noisy place.  Then they were taken by truck to a strange, new pasture where they were unloaded and left alone.  The Browns had supplied food and water for the three cows in safety of the new pasture , but because the cows were still scared and edgy, they jumped over the fence.

Were they looking for their old pasture?  If so, they didn't find it.  Instead, they were now in a wooded area where wild animals roamed and where there was no easy source of food and water.  There was something else in the woods that would be frightening to any animal - HUNTERS.  Gunshots would terrify any animal!

It didn't take the Browns long to discover that their cows were gone, and they began to look for then.  The family wore bright orange vests so the hunters would know they weren't deer moving through the woods.  Every now and then the Browns spotted the three cows, but they would run when anyone moved close to them.  They were lost in a dangerous area and didn't know it.

This world is a dangerous place in which to live, and you may not know it.  It has all kinds of dangerous attractions that lure sinners like you and me deeper into sin.  Like the three cows lost in the woods, we sinners are lost in this evil world and away from our loving God who wants to save us.  He gave His own Son, the Lord Jesus, to die on the cross for sinners so we could be saved from our sins and have a happy home in heaven when life here on earth is over.  Are you willing to let the Lord Jesus save you?  He says, "Come unto Me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

After some time of wandering the three cows found another fenced-in  pasture where there were other cows grazing peacefully.  The three lost cows broke through the fence and began grazing with the other cows in the new pasture.  It was a peaceful and safe place, and they were finished running away.

When the farmer came to feed his cattle, he found the three cows that he had never seen before.  Soon the Browns learned that Bessy, Daisy and June were in this farmer's pasture.  With the farmer's permission, they left the three in the pasture in the company of the other cows for several weeks before they took them home to their own peaceful pasture.  This time they were calm and home to stay.

God has wonderful things prepared for you in His happy, peaceful home in heaven, if you are willing to stop running away and receive His Son Jesus as your very own Saviour.  Jesus paid the awful price for the sins of each person who will come to Him, admitting that he is a sinner and needs his his sins forgiven.  He will joyfully make you one of His very own children and will lovingly provide all that you need down here on earth.  When it is time, He will take you home to heaven where all danger and sadness will be over forever.  There is absolutely nothing that can be better than that!

"As many as received Him, to then gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
(John 1:12)

Love,
 Grandpa    


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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jewel # 89 (July 12, 2011)


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"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

The Ways of Woodpeckers

Thou hast made . . . the earth, and all things that are 
therein . . . and Thou preservest them all."
(Nehemiah 9:6)

Woodpeckers are pretty birds with barred or spotted black and white or brown and black feathers.  Males may have red or yellow markings on their heads.  Some, like the pileated and ivory-billed varieties, have beautiful tufts of feathers forming crowns on their heads.

Most of their hole drilling is to reach beetles, grubs and other insects inside tree trunks.  They have an amazing ability to hear these insects chewing the wood, and a hole is drilled at that spot.  The bird's tongue darts in to spear the insect.

Their tongues are one of the features setting these birds apart from other birds.  While most have tongues attached in their mouths, woodpeckers have tongues attached to thin, flexible bones passing over the skull and coiling up behind it.  God made them this way because a woodpecker needs to reach far back in the hole to catch the insect.  If its tongue were attached to its mouth, it would not be long enough, so one that stretches out far was provided by a wise Creator.  The tongues of woodpeckers are also specially designed in other ways.  The flicker has a long, sticky tongue.  Any ant, beetle or grub touched by it cannot escape.  Other varieties have barbs on the end to pierce the insect and pull it out.   The sapsucker drills most of its holes in just the outer layers of live trees.  These holes form little wells where sweet sap collects.  The end of its tongue has a brush, helping it to lap up the syrup.

The acorn woodpecker drills holes in trees, fence posts or utility poles and then stuffs one acorn in each hole.  Often hundreds and even thousands of these storage "cupboards" are made to assure it has plenty to eat in winter.

Woodpeckers are very beneficial to mankind, eating millions of harmful insects.  Without their help, many trees would die from the attacks of insects.  Thus they are another example of God's ways of keeping a necessary balance among all things in His creation.

Where do you think these remarkable birds learned how to capture insects hidden inside tree trunks?  Where did they receive the specially designed features of their bodies?  The Creator gave these abilities and features to them when He placed them on the earth.  The Bible reminds us, "in whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10).

This also reminds us that we share in His blessings too.  We are responsible not only to enjoy them, but also to acknowledge that He is "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).  He invites us to believe on Him, the only Saviour of sinners, for everlasting life.  "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life life" (John 5:24)

 Do you have everlasting life? 

Love,
Grandpa

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jewel # 88 (June 27, 2011)



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"And they shall be Mine saith the Lord 
of hosts, in that day when I 
make up MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

Hachiko and the Shibuya Station

The Shibuya Train Station, outside Tokyo, Japan, is one of the busiest train stations in the world.  Daily hundreds of thousands of people pass through the station doors on their way to and from work.  Outside the main door, on a raised flower bed is a life-size bronze statue of an Akita dog - a sturdy type of large, long-haired Japanese dog.  The statue of the dog is situated so that his eyes are looking directly at the doors.  The bronze on the top of the statue has been polished to a bright sheen by passersby running their hands over the metal.  

If you had visited the station about 90 years ago, in the 1920s, instead of the statue you might have seen a dog of real flesh and blood sitting in the exact same spot.  He would have been patiently waiting for his master to step out of the station.  The dog's name was Hachiko, and here is the remarkable story of the dog and his master.

Dr. Ueno was the Professor of Agriculture at the University of Tokyo in Japan.  In the morning, when Dr. Ueno would leave for work, Hachiko, his dog, would walk with him to the station and watch him go through the doors to board the train.  After the train pulled out of the station, the dog would turn around and walk home.  there were far fewer people back in the 1920s, and the roads were not as congested with cars.  Then in the evening, a little bit before the train was due to return to the station, Hachiko, who had an uncanny sense of time, would leave home and walk back to the train station to await his master's arrival.  The dog would position himself near the flower bed in order to keep a vigilant eye on the double doors of the station.  When the dog saw his master, he would jump for joy, prance up to Dr. Ueno, and give him a hearty welcome.  Then the two, happy to be together, would stroll home.

One morning, Dr. Ueno said good bye to the dog at the station, never suspecting it would be for the last time.  Later in the day, while teaching at the University, he suffered a major stroke and suddenly died.  Hachiko had no way of understanding his master had passed away, and he went to meet him at the train station.  When his owner didn't show up, the dog continued to wait for him at the train station through the long night.  Relatives of Dr. Ueno found the dog at the station the next morning and brought him home with them to care for him.  They lived several miles away  in a different neighbourhood.  They meant well; however, Hachiko was not happy with his new home and soon ran away.  He made his way back to the station where he felt it was his duty to wait for his master's return on the train.  Day after day, he waited at Shibuya Station, searching the faces of people coming out of the doors, hoping to see the one he loved.  It was a routine the dog would invariably follow every day for remainder of his life.   

For the next nine years, Hachiko took up his post near the flower bed to await his master's return.  The dog's heavy fur protected him in the rain, sleet, snow, and every type of weather.  Friendly shopkeepers, knowing the loyalty and faithfulness of the dog, were happy to provide him with food and water.  Hachiko was a young dog when Dr. Ueno died, and he lived to an old age for a dog, yet he never missed a day watching for his master's return.

Commuters who saw the dog every day watching the doors of the station could not help but admire his loyalty.  When Hachiko grew old, these people took up a collection of money to have a statue made to commemorate the dog that they had come to admire.  The bronze statue that stands outside the station doors today honours Hachiko for his steadfast faithfulness.

Loyalty is a character trait that is highly admired wherever it is found.  We desire friends and family to show loyalty, and we find bitter disappointment when it is lacking.  Perhaps the worst disappointment is when we find it lacking in ourselves.

Would you like a friend who is faithful and true, who loves you and would never let you down?  Of course you would, and I know One for you.  His loyalty far exceeds all others.  In undying loyalty to the human race, He came to earth and gave His life at Calvary's cross.  His name is the Lord Jesus Christ, and although you may be a stranger to Him, He is no stranger to you.  He knows all about you, from the inner workings of your heart to the number of hairs on your head.  He knows your every need and is willing to help in every situation.

The greatest need we have is due to the fact we have sinned and earned the wages of death.  Sin has left a crimson stain on each one of us.  The Lord Jesus shed His precious blood to wash away the stain of sin for all those who believe."The blood of Jesus Christ His [God's] Son cleans us us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).  "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

When a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus, the stain of sin on his soul is totally cleansed away, and their debt of punishment is completely paid.  All who believe in Him receive the gift of eternal life."The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Dr. Ueno didn't know he was going to die that last day he boarded the train.  And none of us can say for certain when our last day will be either.  Once this life is over, it will forever be too late to trust in the Saviour.  This is why it is so urgent for souls to hear the gospel message and believe while they can.  We re not guaranteed a long life or even another day.  Right now is the time to believe in Christ, and be saved, because tomorrow may never come .
"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Won't you consider the great truth of the gospel and put your faith in Jesus Christ today that you might be saved?  No one can compare to the Lord Jesus Christ in love, loyalty and faithfulness - no one.  Men may disappoint, but the blessed Saviour never!

Love
Grandpa


                     Picture of Dr. Ueno          Statute of Hachko


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