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 
MY JEWELS."
(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,
Grandpa       

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,
Grandpa
  
Matamata