Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jewel # 82 (March 31, 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 Proud Lyrebird

"Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off."  (Psalm 138:6)

The musical instrument called the lyre has two curved arms reaching up from the base and a series of string stretched between them.  When explorers in Australia first caught sight of a pheasant-sized bird with feathers spread out U-shaped just like a lyre, they promptly named it the lyrebird.

Actually, only the male bird has the beautiful feathers, and he displays them in winter and spring.  He moves around in the forest busily scratching for worms and snails.  He is not much of a flier, but he can run fast.  When he runs, he holds his long tail straight out behind him so the brush will not damage it.

The lyrebird is a great imitator, not only of other birds, but it will quickly imitate the bark of a dog, the noise of a gasoline engine, the meow of a cat or most any other sound.  It is more talented than a parrot in this way. 

During winter, the lyrebird looks for a mate. He loudly sings some of the tunes he has copied from other birds.  Finding a clear spot in the forest, he scratches up a mound of dirt and climbs up to display his sixteen beautiful tail feathers.  He raises them in a lyre-like shape, waving and bending them forward over his head.  They look like a delicate beautiful fan.

He does a lively dance on the mound that may last an hour or more.  If a female lyrebird does not show up, he moves on to another mound already prepared some distance away, and he repeats the whole act.  This may go on for several days, until finally a female appears.  He helps her build an oval-domed nest in the fork of a tree or in the undergrowth where she lays just one egg.  Then he deserts her while she hatches out the lone chick and goes back to his mound to look for another female.  This continues well into spring. 

The male lyrebird is really a proud creature, isn't he?  The way he deserts his companions spoils our admiration of him.  His actions remind us of Satan and even of some persons who make themselves attractive on the outside but are not attractive on the inside.  But God is never deceived.  The Bible tells us that "man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).  How solemn to realize that the Lord "searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts" (1 Chronicles 28:9).  We cannot hide from God; He knows all about us every moment of our lives.

How good it is to confess that we need him to guide and direct our lives and to know "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).  

Have you done this?


Friday, March 18, 2011

Jewel # 81 (March 18, 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,

Man's Friend - the Horse

Isn't it amazing that some large animals like horses, which can weigh 2000 pounds or more, can be taught to obey a boy or girl weighing less that 100 pounds?  God arranged this in creation and declared in Genesis 1:26 that men should dominate all living creatures.

Centuries ago men discovered that a horse's mouth could be used to control it.  Between its front and back teeth is an open space.  A metal bar, called a bit, is placed there and a bridle is attached to it.  This is then used to direct the horse wherever the rider wants it to go.

King David in the Bible  wrote about horses: "Be ye not as the horse . . . whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle" (Psalm 32:9).  This advice warns us not to resist God or He may have to turn us in the right direction by some stronger action.

A horse keeps its "baby teeth" until it is five years old, and then new, strong teeth replace them.  But over the years these wear down, so an experienced horseman can tell a horse's age by counting its teeth and looking at their condition.

Have you noticed that a horse's eyes are situated more on each side of its head than in front like yours?  The Creator gave it this extra safety precaution so it can see to each side.  They have larger eyes than any other land animal.

A horse's entire body helps it to receive sounds.  Besides its ears, its hooves sense sound and pass it on through its bones and nerves.  A horse has sharp hearing and can move its ears to catch sounds from almost any direction.  Its ears are also a clue to its disposition.  Straight forward - it is interested and usually friendly.  Laid back - look out!  It may be angry or annoyed.

God gave the legs and feet of a horse a special design.  As a horse runs, its foot hits the ground with a powerful force.  An elastic ligament above the hoof stretches out so the full force of the animal's great weight does not hurt the lower part of the leg.  This feature prevents the leg bones from breaking and becoming useless and allows it to gallop and jump without harm.  Yet a horse can sleep standing upright.  Its legs are provided with "lock-joints" which remain firm and straight even though the horse is sound asleep.

These wonderful animals did not develop their unusual abilities by themselves.  Everything about them shows the wisdom of the Creator when He placed them among earth's animals.

The psalmist said, "Some trust in chariots, and some trust in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God" (Psalm 20:7), and "Blessed is the man that [trusts] in Him" (Psalm 34:8).  

Are you trusting in earthly things or are you trusting in God?


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Jewel # 80 (March 2, 2011)

To my dear grandchildren,

The Lost Money

A few summers ago we spent a weekend at a cottage on a lake with all our children and grandchildren.  They all had a happy time jumping off a large inflatable dock into fifteen feet of water.

William, one of the dads, had stuffed a carefully folded fifty dollar bill into his bathing suit pocket.  In the fun of pushing and shoving each other off the dock the pocket with the money in it became torn.  At the end of the afternoon, William noticed that the money was missing from his torn pocket.

William called his two boys aside and told them about the lost money.  They decided to pray about it, with faith believing what God has promised in Luke 11:9-10, "ASK, and it shall be give you: SEEK, and ye shall find; KNOCK, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asks, RECEIVES; and he that seeks finds and to him that knocks it shall be OPENED." 

After they finished praying about the matter, William swam out to the floating dock and dove into the clear water.  When he came back up to the surface, he had the lost money in his hand.

After returning to the shore, he said to his sons, "Let's kneel down and thank the Lord for helping us find the money."

For the whole family - children, parents and grandparents - that answered prayer was a wonderful lesson on the readiness of the Lord Jesus to answer quickly when we need help right now.  If you were to ask any of the children who were there that day, "Does God answer prayer?" they would probably answer,  "Yes He does, and sometimes very fast!"