Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jewel # 127 (Dec 18, 2012)


"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 Ducklings' Rescue

Do you know any songs about ducks?  I can think of two that children like to sing.  One starts like this: "Five little ducks went swimming one day."  Another one is, "Five little ducks that I once knew."  Our story is about six little ducks, and unlike the songs, it is not all happy.

Aaron arrived at work one morning in the spring, and when he got out of his car, he noticed a mother duck acting very strange near the drain in the parking lot.  He went to investigate, but the closer he got to the drain, the more excited the mother duck became, even hissing at him.  He could hear tiny quacks coming from down inside the drain, and then he knew what was making the mother duck so upset.  Her babies had fallen into the drain hole!

Two of Aaron's coworkers arrived, and they pulled off the grate that was covering the drain hole.  Aaron took off his shoes and socks and climbed down into the drain.  He was able to grab the first duckling and hand it out to a coworker who set it on the ground.  But the duckling quickly jumped back into the drain and this time landed on Aaron's back.  That little duckling did not know he was in trouble!

There are boys and girls who have never heard that they are sinners and need a Saviour to save them from their sins.  Just like that little duckling, they are in trouble and don't know it.  They need to hear that the Lord Jesus Christ loves them so much He died for them and that He is offering to wash their sins away in the blood He shed on Calvary's cross.

Here's what happened to that duckling.  Aaron quickly scooped up the duckling again and handed it out to a coworker.  That little duckling was given a second chance.

Now what about you boys and girls who have heard many times that you are a sinner and need to come to the Lord Jesus to have your sins washed away?  Some of you are just like "second chance duckling."  You have heard many times that the Bible says, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).  What are you waiting for?  It's dangerous to wait, because time is running out!  Accept the Lord Jesus as your own Saviour right now and be safe!

While the mother duck paced nearby, Aaron was able to rescue five ducklings from inside the drain.  He heard a sixth one's tiny quacking, but as he listened, the quacking became more and more faint.  He waited for about fifteen minutes, hoping the duckling would swim back to him, but his feet became numb from the cold, and he had to get out of the drain.  Time had run out for that last duckling.  How sad to leave one behind.

What do you think the mother duck did next?  She could not say "thank you" to Aaron, but she stopped pacing and waddled away with the five saved ducklings following.  She headed towards a creek that was not too far away, but far enough away from the danger of that drain where one little duckling was left behind.

Boys and girls, many of you know that the Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus is going to come again to take to His happy home in heaven everyone who has accepted the Lord Jesus as his or her Saviour.  The Bible doesn't tell us when that will happen, but it does tell us to be ready:  "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man [Jesus] cometh" (Matthew 24:44).

Just as that one little duckling was left behind, will you be left behind?  

Love you all,

Monday, December 03, 2012

Jewel # 126 (Dec 3, 2012)

"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,
Rhinos - Ugly and Mean!
"Will the unicorn be willing to serve Thee, or abide by thy crib [stable]? . . .
wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great?"
(Job 39:9,11)

The unicorn is mentioned several times in the Bible.  While no on knows for sure, some think it refers to the rhino, perhaps because the word "rhinoceros" means "nose-horned."  All rhinos have horns - some have two while others have just one.  These horns actually are not made of bone but are made of hair-like fibers growing tightly together and are very tough and strong.

The white rhino of Africa (the largest) can be 15 feet long, over 6 feet tall and weigh 7000 pounds.  Its massive head has large, trumpet-like ears and huge nostrils on an ugly, wrinkled snout with two horns.  Its hide is thick, tough and warty.

Its loose skin hangs in folds and is the home of many parasites, which attract birds known as oxpeckers.  These birds may spend all day on a rhino's back and sides, providing considerable relief as they dig our and eat the troublesome parasites.  The birds also give warning calls when other animals or people approach.  This is another example of the Creator providing benefits between two creatures that are nothing alike.

These beasts are truly vicious and short-tempered.  They will charge anything crossing their path, be it an animal, person or even a car or train. Although they look clumsy on their short legs, they run as fast as a horse.  It is a terrifying experience to be charged by one galloping at top speed, its feet pounding the ground while it snorts loudly through flared nostrils.

Its front horn, with which it defends itself, is two to three feet long.  Its eyesight is poor, but a strong sense of smell and extra-sharp hearing make up for that problem.  They are lightening fast when charging and extremely dangerous when wounded.  Rhinos are often hunted for their horns, which sell for hight prices on the black market.  Natives who like to carry daggers with handles made from the horns also hunt them.  Although protected by the governments of Africa and Southeast Asia, poachers kill great numbers illegally just to get the horns.  It is feared these animals may someday become extinct unless the poaching can be stopped.

When those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as Saviour are with Him in heaven, we will learn and understand why such creatures as rhinos have been given a place in His creation.  Meanwhile we can say, 

"Thou art worthy . . . for Thou hast created all things,
 and for Thy pleasure they are and were created."
(Revelation 4:11)

Love you all

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jewel # 125 (Nov 16, 2012)


"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 Bear Causes a Big Problem

George drove his old station wagon down the unpaved forest road towards his favorite fishing hole. Fishing was one of the things he loved most.  The winding road led through thick forests, until at last he saw the deep, blue lake ahead of him.  What a happy sight!

The road sloped down right to the water's edge.  He stepped on the brakes twenty feet away from the water, shifted into park and turned the engine off.  Reaching over the seat, he grabbed his fishing pole and tackle box and left his bag of sandwiches and donuts on the passenger seat.

George walked to the water's edge and down a shoreline trail a short way to to his favorite spot.  Then he baited his hook with a fat nightcrawler.  The worm wiggled on the hook - nothing like a wiggly worm to attract the fish.  Soon George was busy reeling in panfish, and by midday his stringer was full.  Not a bad morning's catch. He decided to call it quits, and, picking up his things, he began hiking back to his station wagon.

On the way back he heard a commotion - groans and grunts - coming from what sounded like a large animal.  What's making those noises? he wondered as he neared the car.  Then he saw it!  A black bear had stuck its head and upper body into  his car window and was struggling to pull its fat lower body through the window.
George knew immediately: It's after my lunch!  he also wisely decided that it was to late to do anything about it.  He set his stuff down and sat down on a tree stump a safe distance away to watch what the bear would do next.

The bear gave up trying to pull its whole body thorough the window and decided to eat the lunch with half his body squeezed into the car.  He grabbed the bag with his paw and scattered the contents all over the car.  Bit by bit, the bear gobbled up what it could reach.  Then, not seeing any more food, the the still-hungry animal began rummaging, through all the nooks and crannies of the car with his paws, looking for more to eat.  While rummaging, the bear bumped the gearshift lever and knocked it from "P" for park into "N" for neutral.  The car began to slowly roll down hill, gathering speed as it went and heading straight for the lake.

The front bumper of the car hit the water first, then the grill, then the front tires and then water started to fill the inside of the car, rising to the height of the front seat. When it came to stop, the entire car, except for the brown top, was under water.  The bear made a furious tug and pulled himself free and ran off, splashing through the shallow water.

What a commotion the bear had made, and what a problem George had now! It all could have been avoided if only he had closed the car window.   He had a long way to walk to find help.  Then he had to hire a tow truck to pull his station wagon out of the water and tow it back to a car repair shop in town.  Then a mechanic charged him a lot of money to get his engine running again.

How George wished he hadn't been so careless in keeping his car safe.  All he needed to have done was just close the window.  He would have saved himself a huge amount of trouble and money.

Are you being careless with your soul?  God wants you to let the Lord Jesus save your soul so you don't suffer loss - a loss far greater than George's.  The only way your soul can be saved is to come to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.  "If thou shalt confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Romans 10:9).

What is the result of believing on the Lord Jesus?  Those who believe in their hearts receive the forgiveness of their sins and a wonderful new life that makes them ready for heaven.  "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).  He doesn't want you to wait until you think you can become a better person.  That won't help - you'll still be in your sins.  He wants you to come right now just as you are.  He is the only Saviour because of the mighty work He did on the cross, bearing the punishment for sin and shedding His blood that has the power to wash away your sins.  "The blood of Jesus Christ HIs Son cleans us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

Once you are saved, God wants you to keep you heart fresh in His love by staying close to Him.  Of course, someone who loves God will love His word and keep His commandments.  To keep God's love fresh in our hearts, we should be careful to keep sin out.  Sin makes the love of God grow cold in our hearts.  It has the ability to sneak into our lives if we are careless, just as the bear sneaked into the open window of the car.  That is why we need to store Bible verses in our hearts.  "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11).  Only by hiding God's Word in our hearts can we have victory over sin.

Poor George was careless.  As a result his lunch was stolen and his car got a dunking in the lake.  Don't be careless with your soul.  Won't you be sure that your soul is safe by admitting to the Lord Jesus that you are a sinner and accepting Him as your very own Saviour?  Then if you will hold tightly to His precious Word, you will enjoy God's rich blessings and avoid much unhappiness.

Love you all,

Friday, November 02, 2012

Jewel # 124 (Nov 2, 2012)

Did you know?  Bee-eaters bathe in dust to protect themselves from parasites.

"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

Birds That Eat Bees

"The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works."
(Psalm 145:9)

There are many varieties of bee-eater birds, ranging in size from six to fourteen inches.  All have pretty feathers in various colour combinations of bright red, yellow, blue, brown and purple.  All of them have a black mask over their eyes.  These unusual birds live in Mediterranean countries, Africa, Australia, India and other tropical areas.  The European bee-eaters migrate south in the winter.

Bees, wasps and hornets make up 80% of the bee-eater's diet, along with a few other insects.  These are captured in the air.  Even the young birds can do this without any lessons from their parents.  Their food being caught this way explains why the Creator gave them long pointed wings and swallow-like tails.  These features enable them to fly swiftly and make quick turns in their flights, so that they rarely fail to capture their prey.

Another special feature about these birds is their long, pointed beaks.  What purpose do these serve?  If they only ate flying ants and and termites, a short, wide beak like a swallow's would do very well.  But catching bees and wasps is another matter, since a sting in the mouth or throat would not only be painful with swelling, but would probably mean death to the bird.  So God gave it a specially designed beak.

Overtaking a bee in mid-air, this bird skillfully catches the bee across its middle, holding it just tightly enough until the bird returns to its perch where it beats its captive against something solid to kill it.  Then the pointed beak is carefully used to remove and discard the stinger and to squeeze out any remaining poison from the stinger end of the bee.  Not until all this has been taken care of does it eat the bee or give it to its babies.  Isn't that an amazing feature of this bird!

We can easily believe that when God Himself created these pretty birds, He gave them their knowledge of how to capture and eat these poisonous insects safely.  This instinct and skill has been inherited by each generation ever since.  If they had had to learn on their own how to safely catch the bees, carefully kill them, skillfully remove the stingers and remaining poison, their mistakes would have caused their deaths, and the species would have died out.

The Bible tells us, "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18).  It also tells us, 
"The LORD searcheth all hearts. . . . If you seek Him, He will be found of you" (1 Chronicles 28:9).

What does He see when He searches your heart?  

Love you all

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jewel # 123 (Oct 21, 2012)


"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 Desert Tortoise

"God made the beast of the earth . . . and everything 
that creeps upon the earth after his kind.
(Genesis 1:25)

The desert tortoise, with its twelve-inch- diameter arched shell, stumpy hind legs, flat feet and short tail, lives in the deserts of Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona and Mexico.  It is an expert digger, sometimes digging a burrow up to thirty feet long where it will hibernate for six months during the winter.

Some of these tortoises have been known to live well over fifty years.  How do they find enough food to stay alive in such a harsh climate?  They feed on the plants that grow there - grass, flowers, wild fruit, certain shrubs and even prickly desert cactus.  Sometimes they eat snails and insects too.  But if food is scarce, they can go without eating for a month.  They hunt for food only in the cool hours of the morning and evening, crawling into their burrows when it is hot.

The tortoise, though wonderfully designed by the Creator to withstand fierce desert heat, does need water, which is scarce in the desert.  God has given their bodies the ability to get all the water they need from the vegetation they eat.  They do drink water when they find it, usually from pools in a rainstorm, but that does not happen very often.

Early in June the females digs a dirt nest several inches deep, making a cavern under the hard surface soil.  Her eggs (about ten) look like ping-pong balls.  As each one drops into the nest, she packs dirt around it.  Then she fills the whole nest with dirt, tamping it down and smoothing it over so it is cleverly concealed.  From then on the eggs are on their own, as are the young tortoises that hatch about three months later.  It is amazing how they can hatch underground and stay alive as they dig their way to the surface.  The Creator, who watches every living thing, takes care of them.

The newly hatched tortoises are exact miniatures of their parents and are about the size of a half-dollar.  They have soft shells and need to hide or run quickly to avoid being eaten by vultures, coyotes and snakes.  As their shells harden, they become like pieces of armour.  The young tortoises soon learn that they have no need to fear harm from their enemies, and so they just go about the desert slowly and peacefully.

The world in which we live is often compared to a desert, in spite of all its glamour and attractions.  God's enemies, encouraged by Satan, seem to be increasing daily.  Yet for those who love God and know His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as their own Saviour, He has provided an armour to protect from all evil. (See Ephesians 6:10-17)  The important thing is not just to know that the armour is provided, but to "put on the whole armour of God."

Love you all,

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Jewel # 122 (Oct 9, 2012)

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

To do my dear grandchildren,
A Mother's Rescue

One hot summer day, my two youngest children and I were walking along a busy city street.  Just as we got to a large oak tree, a squirrel's nest fell at our feet.  It was about the size of a large beach ball and made out of sticks and leaves.  Part of it split open when it hit the sidewalk so that we were able to see what was inside.  There lay four, tiny squirrels, squirming and squeaking.  Like all newborn baby squirrels, they were naked with just a trace of fur, and their eyes were still closed.

"What shall we do?" asked one of the children, and the answer arrived just at that moment.  Down the tree came the mother squirrel.  She sniffed her babies all over to see if they were all right.  Then without a moment's hesitation, she picked up one in her mouth, ran with it as fast as she could across that busy street, and went directly to a tree with a hole in it.  She climbed the tree and placed her baby inside the hole.

As we stood and watched, one by one the mother rescued each tiny squirrel until all were safe.  She must have been very smart to make those seven trips safely across that busy street!  It is wonderful that God gives His creatures a mother's tender care and an instinct to know just what to do in a time of danger.  The mother squirrel already knew about the hole in that tree across the street, and her little ones were safe.

As we think about those helpless baby squirrels, we see a picture of helpless, lost sinners.

Sinners are blind.  "The god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Sinners are naked.  God sees all our sins; we can't cover them up.  "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him [God] with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13).

Sinners have fallen and are at the mercy of destroyers. "The devil,  as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

Those little squirrels were in real trouble.  Death was ahead for them, until their caring mother rescued them and provided a place of safety.  Death and hell are ahead for lost sinners, but a loving God has provided a rescuer in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).  The death and resurrection of of the Lord Jesus has provided that place of safety for you and me.  By faith, we can be washed clean of every sin through the blood He shed on Calvary's cross.

Will you accept the Lord Jesus as your rescuer from everlasting death and hell and receive His promise of everlasting life in heaven?  "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36).  "Whoso puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25).     

Love you all,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jewel # 121 (Sept 23, 2012)


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

My dear grandchildren,

Magpies are Thieves

Magpies are rather pretty birds, with black and white feathers and long tapering tails.  They are related to crows and jays and are about the same size and just as noisy, often quarreling and fighting among themselves. 

Besides being noisy, there's something else about magpies that make us not like them very much.   They have a nasty habit of stealing eggs and baby birds from other birds' nests.  And you can guess what they do with the eggs and baby birds - they eat them!  Magpies are thieves!

Boys and girls, have you ever taken something that doesn't belong to you?  Sometimes those of you in school need a certain colour marker or an eraser or something else that you don't have.  If you ask to borrow it and then return it, that's okay.  But if you just take what you need from your neighbours desk and keep it, that's stealing.  The Bible says in Exodus 20:15, "Thou shalt not steal."  Stealing is sin, and God writes it down against your name. And He also gives you a warning: "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).  Sometimes those sins can have very serious results.  I'm going to tell you about a magpie thief and the serious results for that bird.

As we were hiking through the hills, we saw something strange.  It looked like a bird hovering beside a ledge on the side of a hill.  As we came closer, we saw that it was a magpie hanging upside down from a string that was wrapped around one of it wings.

There was a bird's nest on the ledge.  The bird that had built the nest must have found some tangled fishing line, thrown away by an unhappy fisherman who wasn't able to untangle it enough to use it for his fishing.  The mother bird had used the tangled fishing line as the base of her nest and filled in the empty places with dried leaves and twigs.  She was satisfied with her nest and laid her eggs in it.  Along came a hungry magpie and spotted the eggs in the nest.  We can only guess that the magpie was pecking at the eggs and must have gotten entangled in some of the fishing line.  When the magpie tried to get free of the line, it only became more and more entangled.  The result - it was hanging below the nest - dead!

Boys and girls, stealing even something small is a sin.  There is no way you or I can erase God's list of sins against our names.  There is only one way to have our sins blotted out of God's record, and that is with the blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that was shed on Calvary's cross for sinners.  Because the Lord Jesus loves you and me so much, He willingly came to earth and lived a perfect life.  Then He let those who hated Him nail Him to the cross where He suffered for the sins of each person who would believe on Him.  One of the soldiers pierced the side of the Lord Jesus with a spear, and His blood flowed out - the blood that blots our sins out of God's record.  When you have accepted Him as your Saviour, He says, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed you" (Isaiah 44:22) 

God has blotted them out; I'm happy and glad and free;
God has blotted them out; I'll turn to Isaiah and see;
Chapter forty-four, Twenty-two and three;
He's blotted them out and now I can shout,
For that means me.

Love you all

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Jewel # 120 (Sept 8, 2012)


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

To my dear grandchildren

The Musical Katydid

"Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone;  Thou hast made heaven . . .  the earth . . . the seas,
and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all. "
(Nehemiah 9:6) 

Katydids live mostly in the tropics, but 100 species also live in southern and eastern parts of the United States.  These large, green insects are about two inches long and are relatives of crickets and grasshoppers.  The loud, shrill mating call of the male sounds like "katy did katy didn't," which undoubtedly is where their name came from.  But often they make a strong, penetrating screech or some consider it a loud, chirping call.

Their colorful two-inch bodies are attractive.  The Creator has given them the ability to change colour.  Most often they are a pretty shade of green, but the color automatically changes to match the plant on which they are climbing or resting.  Birds, which would like them for dinner, can be right next to them and not even be aware of them.  Many of the katydids look so much like lichens (a kind of fungus) that when they climb up a plant or tree trunk covered with these rootless plants, it is almost impossible to tell where they are as long as they remain still. 

These insects are active in summer but are heard most often during late summer and autumn when the weather is very hot.   The males make their shrill, rasping call by rubbing together rough areas of their wings.  These sounds are made especially loud by paper-thin, tiny amplifiers under their wings.  Their calls, along with those of crickets, locusts, cicadas and many other insects, create an amazing chorus when uninterrupted on an otherwise quiet afternoon.  Some katydids begin their song at twilight and continue all night.

The Creator has provided this insect with remarkable hearing.  It has been determined that they can distinguish many sounds that our ears are not capable of hearing.  In some species, their long, thin, V-shaped antennae are longer than their bodies.

Most katydids live in trees and bushes and eat young twigs and leaves.  Their long hind legs enable them to travel quickly over the tree branches.  They can also fly short distances.  Starting in early fall until frost appears, the females lay their flat, oval, slate-gray eggs in the ground or in plant tissue.  The eggs hatch in spring.

Whether it is a whale, an elephant or other huge animal, an ostrich, a hummingbird or a tiny insect, let us never forget that all creatures are part of the Lord God's wonderful creation.  This also includes you, and if you trust in Him as your Saviour, He has a home in heaven waiting for you when your life here on earth is ended.  Will you be there?   

Love you all,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jewel # 119 (Aug 24, 2012)

"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 Paper Wasp

"How unsearchable are His judgments,
and His ways past finding out."
(Romans 11:33)

In the sunny days of early spring, the queen paper wasp comes out of hibernation to build a paper nest.  She usually attaches it under the eaves of a house or other building.  The wasp is equipped with strong jaws that she uses to chew old wood into a soft pulp.  This pulp, mixed with the juices in her mouth, produces a product much like the paper used to make newspaper.  She constructs the nest with this material.

Before making the living part of the nest, the queen cements a stem of the same material onto the underside of the eaves.  Then she begins building the nest, starting from the underside of the stem. She forms cells into rings that grow wider and wider, until the nest is completed.  Some nests are up to six inches wide.  As each six-sided cell is added, an egg is laid inside and cemented in place. The queen also deposits a little ball of nectar inside each cell.  It is attached next to the egg to provide food for the larva after it hatches. 

The wasp continues her work day after day, making paper for the cells and laying her eggs in the cells.  After the larva hatches from the egg, it remains attached to the side of the cell by its tail because it is not ready to fly.  By the time the larva finishes the ball of nectar, it is ready for bigger things to eat.  The queen and her workers then chew up cabbage worms and insects and feed this to the larva.  Thus these helpful wasps destroy large numbers of harmful insects.  In addition to food, water is brought to the larva by the worker wasps.  In hot weather the workers also cool the nest by fanning it with their wings and sometimes spraying it with water from their mouths.

Soon the larva is big enough to fill the cell.  It then spins a cap over the opening of its cell, forming a cocoon.  Later it breaks through this and comes out as a fully developed wasp.

We may wonder at the abilities of these little creatures.  Who taught then to manufacture "paper" and form it into nests?  How does the queen know how to cement the eggs and and nectar into place?  And how does she know when to put aside her nest building and find food for the larvae?  How do the larvae know how to spin their cocoons and cover the cells while going through the final process of becoming mature wasps?

Their ability to do these things did not come from experiments or a gradual development.  It came from God, the Creator of all things.  How wonderful to know Him not only as the Creator, but, more importantly, to know Him as your very own Lord and Saviour.

Love to you all,


Friday, August 10, 2012

Jewel # 118 (Aug 10, 2012)

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

To my dear grandchildren,

Snails Can Be Beautiful

"He hath made everything beautiful in His time."
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Most of us do not think of snails as being beautiful but only as pests in our gardens.  It is true that many things in God's creation are outwardly unattractive to us, but God sees an inward beauty in them, sometimes visible to us only under a microscope.

Even the common garden snail has a rather pretty spiral house on its back.  The outside of its shell is skin-like, the middle is much thicker, and the inside is coated with a thin, smooth, shiny surface.  This shell has been designed by the Creator to provide a safe, comfortable home.

Among the thousands of kinds of snails in the world, some live on land, some in water, and many spend their lives in trees.  A number have very beautiful, valuable shells.  These include shells from some marine species with beautiful knobs, ridges and spirals.  Among these beauties are the cowrie and olive varieties, which are common in southern waters.  Hawaii and other Pacific islands have many tree snails with very pretty markings.

When the common garden snail hatches from its underground egg, it is fully formed, complete with a tiny shell.  It must immediately find food.  Although it it has poor eyesight, the Creator gave it a keen sense of smell by which it finds what it needs.  Its tiny tongue, which is covered with thousands of little hooks and sharp teeth, makes quick work of destroying tender plants and flowers - one reason why gardeners find them to be a real pest.

Another objection to snails is that they leave sticky trails behind them.  This trail, made by mucus from glands in a snail's body, makes a soft, elastic cushion that is moist and so tough that it can crawl over the sharp edge of a razor blade and not be cut!  This cushion has been supplied by the Creator to protect the soft underside of the snail from the dry, rough surfaces it crawls over.

But not everything about snails is objectionable.  Some people consider certain kinds to be very good food.  The shells of brightly coloured snails are made into jewelry, buttons and other decorative objects.  Also, there is one snail called the decollete that, instead of eating plants, kills and eats garden snails.  This one is a real friend to gardeners.

Can it be that the Lord God cares about little creatures like snails?  Yes He does, for the Bible tells us that "the Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works" (Psalm 145:9).

But more than this, He has a special care for each person who has accepted the Lord Jesus as his very own Lord and Saviour and has trusted in His work on Calvary's cross to take away his sins.  Jesus says, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish" (John 10:27-28).  Is He your Good Shepherd?             


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jewel # 117 (July 29, 2012)

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

To my dear grandchildren,

Crafty Ginger

The family had enjoyed a delicious dinner of fried chicken.  The children wiggled and shifted on their chairs as they waited.  They, as well as their dog Ginger, knew the routine - a chapter read from the Bible and prayer after the meal.  Petted and spoiled as she was, Ginger had some manners.  She sat during the dinner fairly patiently, only now and then licking her chops and whining softly to let them know she was there.  After dinner the table was cleared, the chicken bones collected in a paper bag and everything taken into the kitchen.

At last the family kneeled down for prayer.  In an instant, Ginger was heard padding across the kitchen floor right to the bag of bones.  Rattle, rattle, crunch, crunch!  Ginger paused and scampered back into the dining room for a peek.  Yes, still on their knees!  She hurried back to the bones before prayer time, her "safe time," was over.  Naughty Ginger!

"She thinks she's a person" laugher one of the children.  "She acts like a bad girl!"

We smile at Ginger's crafty trick which got her a good scolding.  But are not our own ways just as foolish?  Can we hide a lie or naughty deed from God?  "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Proverbs 15:3).     

Ginger's family chuckled at her tricks, but does God think our sinful ways are funny?  "Fools make a mock at sin" (Proverbs14:9).  There are no "cute little sins."  Our loving Saviour had to bleed an die for every single sin.  When this lesson was realized by one little girl we know, she exclaimed, "Oh, Mommy!  Did He do that for ME?"  Have you understood this wonderful truth that He died for you?  Have you come to the Lord Jesus to have your sins washed away?

Love you all,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jewel # 116 (July 15, 2012)

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

To my dear grandchildren,

A Spring Calamity

When we were visiting with some of our family in early spring, we were fascinated by a robin's nest very close to their kitchen window.  The mother and  father robin took turns sitting on the nest.  Soon the eggs hatched and the parents started bringing food to the hatched babies.  All day long they were very carefully feeding their tiny babies that only had a little fuzz on them.  In time, real feathers would develop and grow, as the babies grew bigger.

Before we left for home a week later, we could see that the babies had grown quite a bit.  They had their little beaks up in the air, wide open and waiting to receive food.

About a week after we had been home, I was talking to our daughter on the phone and asked her about the baby birds.  "Did the little robins learn to fly yet?"

"Oh," she said, "the most terrible thing happened this morning when I was watching them.  A big, black crow landed on the robins' nest and picked up all three baby robins in its beak and flew away with them!  I'm so glad the children were in school, as they would have been terribly upset!"

This was a terrible calamity, especially when the mother and father robin had taken such good care of their babies.  It makes us sad to think about it.  But those of us who read the Bible know that when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, the results of their sin affected not only all people born into the world ever after, but it also affected all of God's beautiful creation, including the plants and all creatures.  As a result, many creatures in the wild now kill to eat, including crows, and God sees it all.  But He also sees the little sparrow  that might be in trouble.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your 
Father . . . Fear ye not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows."
(Matthew 10:29,31) 

There was not much that could be done to help the poor mother and father robins.  But you and I have a loving Father in heaven who sees and knows everything that happens to you, and me too, and He cares.  He loves us so much that He is willing to help us,  no matter what the problem might be.  He wants us to call to Him when we need His help, even though He has already seen our problem.  He says, "Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24).  And how good it is for us to thank Him right away too, because we know He is going to help us.      

I love you all,

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Jewel # 115 (July 8, 2012)

"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 Giant Panda

"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world."
(Acts 15:18)

There are two varieties of pandas, but they are very different from each other.  The lesser panda is small and raccoon-like with long, reddish-brown fur and a long, ringed tail.  Its home is in the Himalayan Mountains near India.  The more interesting panda looks like a big stuffed toy and seems like a cross between a bear and a raccoon.  This one is the giant or great panda.  It also lives in the high Himalayas along the border of China and Tibet.

The giant panda has a round, white head with jet-black ears and nose and black circles around its eyes that look like they've been painted on.  It looks cuddly and is loved by people everywhere.  When fully grown, it is almost five feet long and almost two feet high at the shoulder - about the size of a small bear with just a stump of a tail.  The cubs are especially cute and lovable, and their mothers carefully watch them.

There are five kinds of bamboo that they will eat.  They seem to know which parts of these plants have the most food value.  At certain seasons they eat just the leaves and stalks and at other seasons only the plant stems.  Having big appetities, they munch on about a hundred pounds of bamboo every day.

Living in such a small area in this remote part of the world, pandas usually hide when people approach, so they are not seen on the wild very often.  The Chinese people love them and are concerned because they may become extinct.

In 1972 the Chinese wanted to send a complimentary git to the President of the United States.  They selected a pair of these animals and shipped them to the Washington, D.C. zoo.  To help preserve these lovable animals, arrangements were made to place more of them in zoos in other cities as well, and this has helped to multiply their numbers.

Although most people did not know about the great Panda for many years, it has always been under the watchful care of its Creator, as the opening verse of this article tells us.  Another Bible verse says: "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest [displayed] in His sight" (Hebrews 4:13)

If God thinks about and cares for animals in far-off remote mountains, just think how much more He must care for you.  This care is shown by His great love to all people in sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world to "give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).  If you will come to Him as a sinner and tell Him you are sorry for your sins and accept Him as your Saviour, you will become His very own forever.  If you have not done this as yet, He invites you to come to Him today.  

Did you know a newborn panda is 900 times smaller than its mother. 

Love you all

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jewel # 114 (June 24, 2012)

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

To my dear grandchildren,

Tommy's Rescue

Tommy had spent a week at a day camp and had heard how God loved him and had sent His Son Jesus to die for him.  Even though he was just nine years old, Tommy decided to trust Jesus as his Saviour.  He believed that on the cross Jesus had taken the punishment he deserved for his sins.

Some weeks later, Tommy was at a lake with his family and was so happy to discover he could go out alone in a canoe.  He had learned how to paddle it and get back to the dock by himself.  So one afternoon while his dad sat on the dock reading, Tommy headed off in the canoe.  A wind suddenly came up, and the water became rough with waves.  Hard as he tried, the canoe refused to turn in the direction he wanted it to go.  Instead, he found himself being blown farther and farther away from the shore.

Now Tommy was really scared and started to cry.  But his dad, not realizing what was happening, never looked up from his reading, and Tommy was out too far for his calls to be heard.  

But all was not lost.  Tommy thought about what he had learned at the day camp.  He remembered that God loved him and would hear his prayer.  So he stopped crying and prayed that God would make someone see him before the waves took the canoe out of sight.

Did God answer his prayer?

His sister was in the cottage and suddenly decided to go see where Tommy was.  Searching the water, she finally saw him far away on the other side of the lake.  She quickly told the family where he was.  They got a boat and followed him across the choppy lake and rescued Tommy from his scary adventure.

Tommy was happy to tell his family that after he had prayed he was not scared any more.  He knew God would send someone for him.  Isn't it great that God hears the prayers of children, as well as older ones, who call upon Him?  In the Bible we have a wonderful promise from God:  "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15).  Tommy probably will never forget his lesson of how God answered his prayer.

I love you all,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jewel # 113 (June 10, 2012)

Stradivarius Violin                                   Antonio Stradivari
Carved Model
"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,

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
 not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
(2 Timothy 2:15)

The story is told of a young Italian boy who lived some centuries ago.  His name was Antonio and he loved music.  Sadly, whenever he tried to sing the music that was in his heart, it sounded so bad that all his friends laughed at him.  Next to singing, even though Antonio could not play the violin, he dearly loved to hear violin music played by a master.

Antonio always carried a pocket knife with him and though he couldn't do his two favorite things - sing or play the violin - at a young age he began to whittle wood objects.  Before long he became quite an artist.

One day Antonio learned that the greatest master violin maker in all Italy, the great Nicolo Amati, had moved to his village and set up his work shop there!  An excited Antonio began to whittle a small wooden violin.  He worked for many painstaking hours and created a beautiful model of a violin.  Though shy, Antonio greatly desired to present his carved wooden violin to the great violin maker as a sign of his respect and awe of the master who had moved to his village.

It took quite a bit of time for Antonio to work up the courage to go to the Master's house.  Finally one day, Antonio, with trembling hands and pounding heart walked down the street to the great man's home and workshop.  He tremblingly tapped on the door expecting a servant to answer his hesitant knock.

Antonio was very surprised when the master violin maker, Amati himself, opened he door.  Antonio hesitatingly offered the beautiful little carved violin he had made.  He told the master, "Sir, I love music, but I cannot sing.  I specially love to hear violin music, though I cannot play a violin well.  But I do wish with all my heart that I might learn to make violins."

The great master violin maker Amati smiled as he carefully studied the small gift.  Then he said, "This is beautifully done!  So you want to make violins?  Well you shall!  In time your violins will be the equal of mine and they will make beautiful music!"

And so it was that young Antonio Stradivari became the pupil of Nicole Amati and in time did indeed create the highly treasured Stradivarius Viloins

I love you all,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jewel # 111 (May 15, 2012)

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

To My dear grandchildren

The Clever Roadrunner

"I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are Mine."
(Psalm 50:11)

The roadrunner is a strange North American bird full of comical manners and mischief.  Belonging to the cuckoo family, it is nearly two feet long and has long legs with two toes in front and two in back.  It blends into the desert countryside with its black and white feathers.  Year after year, it lives in the same nest made of sticks and often lined with snake-skins.

When chased, the male allows its pursuer almost to catch it, and then it leaps into the brush and disappears.  If an intruder approaches the nest, the female remains quietly on her nest until the intruder is almost upon her before flying away.  If she has chicks, she hops away from the nest and pretends to have a broken leg, limping along just beyond the reach of her enemy.   This leads the intruder away from her chicks a safe distance where finally she flies off.  How did she learn to do this?  The Creator gave her this instinct when He placed the first roadrunner on the earth.

This swift-footed bird prefers to walk, but will fly occasionally.  It is interesting to watch one strutting through the desert with its neck and head stretched out, stopping often with its tail feathers and bristly crest bobbing up and down.  Its black eyes are always alert for its next meal - insect, mouse, lizard, snail or rattlesnake - that it catches in its long beak.

This bird's life seems to be full of fun.  If a horse and rider appear, it is quiet ready to run in front of them, challenging them to a race.  After tiring of the game, it disappears off the side of the road.

It frightens cats by rushing toward them with its wings spread, head stretched out and beak open, making strange noises.  Most cats will make a quick getaway, but some cats will hold their ground and even swipe at the bird with their paws.

The roadrunner is not afraid of rattlesnakes.  It will circle the snake and tease it to strike. When the snake strikes, the roadrunner jumps into the air or hops aside where the snake cannot reach it.  The moment the snake's body is straightened out, the bird quickly pecks it with is sharp beak.  The angry snake coils and strikes again and again, but always with the same result.  Finally, tired out, the snake cannot continue the fight, and the bird finishes it off.

God has given special abilities to each of His creatures, and He takes pleasure in caring for them.  He cares for you too, but more than that, He loves you and invites you to be His child.  The Bible explains how: 

"Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." 
(Galatians 3:26)
Are you part of His happy family?

I love you all,

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Jewel # 110 (May 3, 2012)

Alligator Snapping Turtle                                                Gopher Tortoise

"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,

Turtles and Tortoises

"The Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment" (Job 37:23).

The alligator snapping turtle lives in the rivers of the Mississippi Valley.  It measures about four feet from its snout to the end of its tail and weighs about 150 pounds.  It is considered the most dangerous of all turtles.  Three rows of rough, bony ridges run from front to back on its yellowish top shell.  It finds frogs, fish, worms and even small turtles in the water to eat and is swift as a rattlesnake in capturing them.    It does not attack humans unless annoyed, but its immense, strong jaws could bite a person's arm or foot off.

It has an interesting way of catching fish.  Lying in a quiet spot at the bottom of a stream or pond, its wide-open mouth exposes a tongue on which a piece of pink flesh that looks like an angle-worm wriggles back and forth.  This makes an effective bait, attracting small fish, which intend to make a meal of the "worm."  So right into the turtle's mouth one swims, and - you guessed it - instead of getting a meal, it becomes a meal.

Another interesting one is the gopher tortoise, named for the extra-long tunnel it digs with a roomy den at the end.  It sometimes shares this den with a gopher, frog, owl, snake or raccoon.  They get along peacefully together in the den.  This 
tortoise's black shell looks like lumps of coal stuck together.

One unusual turtle is the Matamata of South America.  Its rather flat shell has hard spikes on the top to discourage predators.  It has a long neck and pointed head and paralyzes its prey by dousing it with a mouthful of poisonous spray.

A book could be written about these strange amphibians, including the eastern box turtle.  Its high brown shell is decorated with tan figures, some of which look like letters of the alphabet.  This shell provides unusually good security, for the turtle can completely withdraw its head, tail and leg underneath it.  It has further protection from a flexible seal all around where the top shell meets the under shell.  The underside hinges in the middle so it can box itself in tightly.

The Creator has given each turtle and tortoise just the right equipment for the conditions under which it lives.  Our opening Bible verse declares that this wisdom and power, beyond our ability to fully understand, come from Him.  Each of us should often thank Him for His love and goodness to us in so many ways.  But we should particularly thank Him for the death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on Calvary's cross.  His death provides salvation to all who put their trust in Him and know Him as their Lord and Saviour.

I love you,