Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jewel # 121 (Sept 23, 2012)

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"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
Grandpa

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 
MY JEWELS."
(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,
Grandpa