Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jewel # 130 (Jan 29, 2013)

"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,

Freedom for a Gray Whale

Every year thousands of gray whales make the long journey from the coast of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico to the rich feeding areas in the waters around Alaska.  A gray whale was making this migration when it swam into lines that were attached to crab pots and buoys.  These lines were both long and strong.  The whale tried to escape the lines by rolling in the water, but its rolling only made the tangled mess of lines around its body tighter.  The tangled lines made it impossible for the whale to find food, because when it tried to swim, it had to drag the buoys and crab pots along with it.  The continual dragging of buoys and crab pots sapped the whale's strength, and the chaffing of the lines cut deep gashes into the whale's body.  Every year some of these wonderful animals get caught in crab pot lines or nets of fishermen.  Sadly, they usually end up dying.

Would this whale be one of them?

The whale tried the only thing it knew to do to free itself by rolling in the water, but that did not free it.  It only made matters worse.  Sinners who try to free themselves from their sins are just as unsuccessful.  It is impossible for a sinner to cut away those tangles and knots of sin.  "By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16).  No amount of obeying laws, good works or self-improvement could ever set a sinner free.  A sinner needs the freedom only the Lord Jesus can provide.  "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).  By the grace of God, the Lord Jesus Himself offers to set you free from your sins - if you are willing.
A fishing boat was cruising several miles off the souther coast of California when they spotted the distressed whale.  As the boat moved closer, the crew could see that the magnificent creature was tangled and trapped in the lines.  They felt sorry for it and decided to show kindness to the helpless creature by cutting it free.

The crew lashed sharp knives onto strong bamboo poles, which they had onboard.  Slowly and carefully they positioned their boat alongside the huge animal.  The whale stopped its slow swimming and let the boat pull alongside.  Even though it was an untamed creature, it seemed to sense the fishermen were trying to help it.  Several of the crew leaned over the side of the boat and, very carefully, began cutting away the lines.  About an hour later when the last line was cut, the now free gray whale slowly swam in a circle around the boat, as if to say," thank you," before swimming out into the freedom of the ocean.

What a sense of relief this giant, intelligent animal must have felt when it was set free!  Have you felt the great relief that comes from being set free by the Lord Jesus?  John 8:36 offers this wonderful relief for any sinner still trapped in their sins:  "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."  You see, sinners need to be set free, because all of us have become entangled in the lines of our sins.  There are no exceptions: "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  When we sin, it's as if a rope connected to the weights of guilt and shame gets wrapped around our hearts and acts as a drag on our lives.  It blights our joys, wrecks our peace, and wounds us in the depths of our souls. "His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be trapped with the cords of his sins" (Proverbs 5:22).  And what cruel wounds those cords cause!  Sin is nobody's friend and causes shame and misery in this life and everlasting sorrow and agony in the life to come. 

The Lord Jesus is able to cut away the cords of sin from the human heart, because He went to the cross and bore the punishment for sin's awful shame.  How wonderful it was that the Lord Jesus, the very Creator of the universe, would come and die in the sinner's place!  On the cross, He finished what was necessary that all who trust in Him might be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.  "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

The fishermen cut the gray whale free from the lines that held it and gave back its freedom of the ocean.  Boys and girls, too, need to be set free from the cords of their sins by the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved for a future, happy life in heaven.  If you will take the Lord Jesus as your very own Saviour today, you will thank and praise Him for the rest of your days.  And you will also have the promise of a home with Him in heaven.

Love to you all,

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jewel # 129 (Jan 21, 2013)

"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 Dignified Penguin

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

No other bird goes so far into  the harsh Antarctic area as the penguin, and God has provided everything it needs.  To insulate its body against the fierce cold, it has a complete covering of short feathers that extend down to its webbed feet.  It gets all its food from the ocean and can also drink the salt water. 

The emperor penguin is the largest of the penguin family - about three to four feet tall.  All penguins have wings, but they cannot fly.  Instead, their wings are used as flippers to swim extremely fast underwater.  
Special muscles give these wings great strength.

The emperor penguin does not build a nest.  About a month after arriving on the ice barrier, a pair has a family of just one chick.  Before the female lays the single egg, she goes several weeks without eating.  Then about the middle of May the egg is laid.  She turns its care over to the male and then dives into the ocean to feed, and she is gone for some weeks.  As this is really the beginning of winter in the Antarctic, the male has a difficult problem since there is no nest for the egg.

The Creator has provided a way to keep the egg warm.  The male stands with his feet close together and rolls the egg on top of them.  With the egg securely in place, "papa" pulls a soft pouch of skin down over it making it snug and warm.  He stands in this position - never moving or going for food or water - for two months!

Here is something else amazing.  Although "mama" has been away all this time, on the exact day the chick hatches she comes out of the ocean, her belly big and round from gorging on seafood.  There are thousands of penguins that look just like her mate, but she goes right to him.  Then she takes over, putting her beak in the newly hatched chick's mouth and feeding it from her full belly.  She does this until it can take care of itself.  Meanwhile, the skinny male takes to the water to find the food he needs.

Shortly after the chick is fully grown, it joins others on the ice floes, and the currents carry them north several hundred miles to the New Zealand area or to the tip of South America.  The next May they repeat the cycle all over again.

We know that when the Lord God created the penguin, He made it exactly as it is now, so it could thrive in that part of the earth.  "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth  and in the seas" (Psalm 135:6).

Do you know the One who is your Creator and wants to be your Saviour as well?  That is the most important question.

Love you all

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Jewel # 128 (Jan 9, 2013)

"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

Snatched From the Jaws of Death

"YELP!" Steve Gustafson heard a high-pitched cry for help.

The sixty-six-year-old man turned from his yard work and looked toward the pond at the edge of his back yard where the sound had come from.  Stunned, he saw that a seven-foot-long alligator had slithered out of the pond and had snatched Mickey, his small terrier, in its jaws!  He loved his pet and, without a second thought, ran to help.

Steve was willing to risk his life because he loved Mickey.  Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ loves us so much that He was willing to give up His own life to save us from our sins that would land us in that awful place called hell?  He died on Calvary's cross, because He knew that unless He gave up His life, we could never be set free from the awful power of sin and its results.  He was the only hope to save sinners.  And Steve was the only hope to save his dog.

When Steve got to the edge of the pond, the alligator  had already gone back into the water, and all he could see was its tail.  He guessed where the body of the gator would be and jumped like he was doing a giant belly flop off a diving board.  He crashed onto the back of the alligator.  Later he said it felt like landing on a pile of rocks.

Steve knew he had to get Mickey to the surface of the water so the dog could breathe.  He grabbed the hind leg of the gator with one hand, and with his other fist he hit it as hard as he could on the back of its head.  The dangerous creature let go of the dog, spun its head around and bit Steve on the hand.  When the alligator released his bite on Steve's hand, Steve saw his chance and pinned the mouth of the alligator closed against the bottom of the pond.

He held the gator like this for a few moments, until Mickey had a chance to escape.  Then he shoved the alligator away from himself, picked up Mickey, and slogged out of the pond.  The alligator swam off in the opposite direction into the murky water.

Both Mickey and Steve required a few stitches to close up bite wounds.  Steve thought it was a small price to pay to save his pet.  Later a news reporter asked him, "Why were you willing to risk so much for your dog?"

Steve replied, "I had to do it . . . I love my dog.  He is my best friend.  What else could I do?"

The large alligator had completely overpowered the little dog.  There was no way Mickey was going to escape those jaws of death without help.  And Steve was the only one who could help Mickey escape the alligator's deadly hold.  Satan, the great enemy of our souls, has his deadly hold on sinners like you and me.  "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).  Through sin he has sunk his "jaws of death" into us and is attempting to drag us to an eternity of suffering in hell.  He will not let go, and we are no match for him.  There is only one Person who has the power to save us. 

God in love and grace sent His own Son to be that one to save us.  The Son of God became a man with flesh and blood to destroy Satan's power.  "As we are partakers  of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).  Only through faith in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, can we escape the jaws of eternal death.

God loves us so much He doesn't want anyone to spend eternity in hell with the devil and his demons.  "The Lord is  . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).  Won't you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have your sins forgiven?  Then heaven, a place of wonderful light, love and joy, will be your home forever. 

Love you all