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. 


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.