Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jewel # 133 (March 19, 2013)

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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)

To my dear grandchildren,

A Hungry Cougar

The family had just pulled into a camping spot, and Lisa, Anne and Jon ran off to explore the new campground.  It was their favorite kind of camping spot, among tall evergreens and near a rushing, ice-cold stream.  They discovered trails through the underbrush as they made their way toward the inviting water.

For their vacation this summer, Dad had borrowed a camper, much to the children's dismay.  They preferred their old tent, camping out like real pioneers.  However, the week so far had been fun exploring Vancouver Island's wild, beautiful parks.

Anne and Jon had just arrived at the edge of the clear, rocky stream when their father called them back up to the campsite.  They really didn't want to go back yet. but they obeyed, after first finding their sister.  Dad had learned from the ranger that there was a cougar in the campground!  It had killed a small dog that morning, and the ranger feared that it might grab a young child next.

A cougar, also known as a mountain lion, is usually 5 to 6 feet long and weighs 100 to 150 pounds when fully grown.  People rarely see it because it usually hides in the deep wild forests during the day and hunts at night.  This powerful animal silently stalks it prey, much as a house cat sneaks up on a bird or a mouse.  It pounces on its unfortunate victim, digging in with sharp claws and fangs, and dragging it down to the ground.

The cougar usually hunts deer, elk and mountain goats, and in the north it will hunt moose and caribou.  But if it is very hungry, it will stalk smaller animals - even skunks and porcupines.  Because the previous winter had been unusually cold and snowy, deer were scarce.  This starving mountain lion had come down from the mountains  to a populated area to hunt for smaller animals.

This frightening news of a cougar right in the campground caused the three children to scramble into the camper, glad for its sturdy walls to protect them.

Before long a shot rang out in the forest nearby.  Soon Anne, Jon and Lisa could see a small crowd gathering down the road.  Hurrying over with Dad, they saw a young cougar, like a giant kitty cat, lying dead in the back of the ranger's pickup truck.  The thin, soft-furred mountain lion looked harmless.  Its ribs were visible through its tawny skin.  For a moment the children were sorry that it had been shot.  But then they remembered the danger while it was alive and were very happy that the forest was safe again for campers and their pets.

This reminds us of the Bible verse, "Be vigilant [watchful]; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).  The devil is our enemy, although he would like us to think he is not dangerous.  We can only find safety and protection from him by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, just as Lisa, Anne and Jon were protected from the cougar by going into the camper.

Have you run to the loving arms of the Lord Jesus?  The Lord Jesus loves you dearly and died on Calvary's cross for your sins, if you will trust Him.  He is waiting for you to run to Him for safety and protection right now.

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust" (Psalm 91:2).

Love you all,
Grandpa  

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Jewel # 132 (March 3, 2013)


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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)
To my dear grandchildren 
Sturgeons Grow Big
"O Lord, how manifold are Thy works!  In wisdom hast Thou made them all: 
the earth is full of Thy riches." 
(Psalm 104:24)

Unlike the huge fish in South America's warm waters, sturgeons prefer the colder northern waters.  The best known common sturgeon is found mostly in European waters and along the North American coast from Labrador to the Gulf of Mexico.

Olive-green or bluish-gray in their top covering, they are not very attractive, but they are certainly unusual.  They range from 7 to 12 feet in length, and some species grow to 18 feet.  Twelve rows of bony knobs, looking like the teeth of a big saw, cover their bodies.  They also have armour of bony plates protecting their heads, which taper down to pointed snouts.  Beneath the long snouts they have small, toothless mouths with thick, sucking lips.  When feeding, they push their snouts into the mush of the ocean floor and suck fish, crabs and other shellfish into their mouths.

Only a few varieties become greater than 100 pounds, and some of these are the giants of the fish world.  The white sturgeon of the American Pacific Coast is usually found in freshwater rivers, such as the Fraser, the Columbia and the Sacramento.  The all-time-record catch weighed almost 2000 pounds and was 18 feet long!  However, that was some years ago.  Because of overfishing and pollution, it is unusual to find one weighing more than 1000 pounds now, but even that is twice as heavy as a large gorilla!  How would you like to have one of these huge fish on your fishing line?

In springtime the adults migrate  from the ocean into rivers.  The females, heavy with thousands of eggs, swim upstream until they find a place to deposit them.  These masses of eggs stick to rocks and plants until they hatch in about two weeks.  At the end of summer when the young fish have grown almost a foot long, they migrate downstream and out into the ocean.  Only a small number actually make it, since other fish eat many of the eggs as well as all the little fish they can catch.

There is always a good market for sturgeon meat, but even more so for the tasty eggs which are called caviar - a pound of which sells for as much as $800.  At that price most people cannot afford them, so they are served mostly in fancy restaurants or on the tables of the wealthy.

It was on the fifth day of creation that God formed the creatures of the sea - from the tiniest to the largest - and the sea creatures of today are just like those He placed in the waters thousands of years ago.

We can be confident that the world's interesting creatures didn't just happen to form themselves.  God created these creatures for our use and enjoyment.  He says, 

"Be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create" (Isaiah 65:18).

Love you all,
Grandpa