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?