Friday, April 29, 2011

Jewel # 84 (April 29, 2011)

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"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 Lovely Pintails

"These wait all upon Thee; that Thou mayest give them their food 
in due season.  That Thou givest them they gather."
(Psalm 104:27-28)

In the large family of ducks, pintails have a prominent place, noted for their speed and handsome appearance.  The females (hens) are rather noisy with their loud quacking, but the males (drakes) use double-toned whistles that are much more melodious.

Drakes' heads are usually reddish brown, with solid-white feathers covering their underparts and reaching partway up their necks.  Holding those pretty heads gracefully, they look like statues on the water.  The hens, like their mates, have slender necks but dull-coloured feathers.  The tail feathers of both extend to sharp points, accounting for their "Pintail" name.  This is particularly noticeable when flying.

Their melodious whistling is on of the first signs of spring when they are preparing to migrate to spots along the border of Canada and the United States and on into the Yukon and Alaska.  In the fall they reverse the flights, traveling far and wide.  Some from Canada fly to England, some from Alaska to far-off Hawaii, and others show up in India, Russia, Africa and Europe, while a large number make shorter flights to California, Louisiana, Mexico and South America.

In the fall months, pintails are among the first to leave the north, and the following spring they are the first to fly  back.  On these travels, great flocks nest in prairie country in Canada near the U.S. border, north and west of North Dakota, where there is an ample supply of wheat and other grains left on the ground after harvesting.  Some also make California their choice, enjoying the barley and rice grown there.  Hunting clubs, government groups and others are working together, planting separate fields of grain in places easy for the birds to reach, thus providing them with their own private farms in order to spare farmers' crops.

Pintails, along with numerous other ducks feeding in marshy areas, all mix happily together, their many calls blending in a tremendous chatter.  As evening comes, pintails, teals, mallards and other ducks all rise from the ponds or fields in large flocks to find roosting places for the night.

With so many millions of birds in the world, do you think the Creator, the Lord God, can tell them apart?  And does He really know about each one?  Yes, He certainly does, just as the opening Bible verse tells us.  Another verse states it this way: "I know all the fowls [birds] of the mountains" (Psalm 50:11).

He also has His eye upon you and wants you to follow His guidance every moment of your life.  The Bible says, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:6).  This is the only true and happy way of life.

Love

Grandpa     

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jewel # 83 (April 12, 2011)

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"But 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 Barbary Ape

"The eyes of all wait upon Thee. . . .  Thou openest Thine hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing."  (Psalm 145:15-16)

Its fun to watch monkeys in the zoo, especially when they do tricks their trainers have taught them.  Even King Solomon found them interesting and brought some to Jerusalem, probably as part of his zoo.

There are many species of monkeys and apes in God's creation, and He has supplied everything they need.  Since they do look a little like humans, some people think that humans and monkeys are related, but the Bible assures us this is not so.  There are many differences, both in body structure and intelligence.  Apes and monkeys are part of the animal creation.  Man was formed separately and is distinct and superior to all other created things.   The Bible says, "God created man in His [God's] own image" (Genesis 1:27). 

The Barbary ape is actually a monkey rather than an ape.  It is a native of Africa but is also a famous resident of the Rock of Gibraltar where it was found when the British came there in 1704.  These apes live in large colonies of several dozen, with a powerful male as their leader.  He is responsible for the behaviour of those in his colony, although the young ones being full of play and mischief are given lots of freedom.  Babies are lovingly nursed by their mothers and cling to their mothers' fur for the first few weeks of life.  They eventually grow to be about three feet tall.  They have excellent memories and are always curious about anything new or strange.

Like most monkeys, the Barbary ape is a great climber and very acrobatic even though it has no tail.  Most of its time is spent searching for food, which includes fruit, leaves, roots, seeds, locusts and lizards.  Its sense of smell is poor, but its sight and hearing are excellent.

Barbary apes live where there are many dangerous scorpions that have deadly, poisonous stingers in their tales.  But this ape has no fear of them.  When a scorpion is spotted the ape quickly pounces on it in just the right way.  Then the tail with its poisonous stingers is twisted off, and the ape has a scorpion dinner.  How long do you think it took these apes to learn this trick?  Actually, they did not need to learn it, because God gave them that ability when He created them.

We are impressed with God's watchful care over these interesting apes.  But the psalmist was thinking of something even more impressive when He exclaimed, "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:17).  Have you thought of God's loving care in providing a Saviour for you?  He invites you to come to Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that you might have your sins forgiven and have everlasting life. 

Love
Grandpa