Saturday, June 29, 2013

Jewel # 141 (June 29, 2013)


To my dear Grandchildren,

The Ungainly Ostrich

"The ostrich . . . leaves her eggs in the earth, and warms them 
in the dust. . . .  She scorns the horse and his rider."
(Job 39:13-14,18)

Although it cannot fly, for size and strength, no bird can match the 300-pound, 8-foot-tall ostrich of Africa.  And a rider on a horse cannot match its 50-miles-per-hour speed across the desert.  The female is called a dun.  She lays half a dozen or more ivory coloured eggs (each one 24 times as large as a hen's egg) in a hole scrapped in the sand.  She sits on them during the day or, as the above verse says, leaves them exposed to the hot sun.  The male takes over incubating them at night.

The ostrich is a very hardy bird; some live for 70 years.  Those in the wild usually live in flocks of a 100 or more and peacefully share the open spaces with zebras, giraffes and other animals.  If necessary, they defend themselves with their strong legs - a well-directed kick either killing or discouraging any attacker.

Its appearance seems strange indeed.  Its long, bare legs with ankles like knees and its manner of walking give an almost mechanical appearance.  Short, heavily feathered wings give it a football-shaped body, and its bulky, feathered tail looks like it was just stuck on for balance.  Then it has a long, naked neck with a flat, hairy head, having bulgy eyes and a wide beak, making it look like a periscope.  In fact, this is one of the Creator's provisions for it, enabling it with its keen vision to see from a lofty height over miles of desert land.  

Visitors to ostrich farms are amused to watch one swallow an unpeeled orange.  Down its long neck goes the orange, spiraling around, the bulge visible through its skin, until its disappears at the bottom.  The birds are also sometimes tamed and ridden by people brave enough to try.  But as no saddle is provided, it takes an experienced person to be able to ride very far without sliding off over its tail.  

Why do you think the Lord God created such an unusual bird?  We might ask the same question about some unusual fish, or the platypus, or an opossum, or strange insects, or other unusual creatures.  Do you suppose that, as the Supreme Designer of the universe, it was His purpose to to make every animal, fish, bird, or even every person a little different?  The same is true of flowers, vegetables. trees, and other plant life.  How thankful we can be that He included such variety in all He has made - another example of His wisdom. 

And remember that He did not leave anything needing improvement, for after every part of creation was brought into being, the Bible tells us, "God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).  No improvements have been necessary.

Love you all

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jewel # 140 (June 12, 2013)

These pictures were taken at Uncle Arnie & Auntie Orpha's cottage at Kenora, Ontario

To my dear grandchildren,  

Baby Eagles and Bible Verses

Did you ever see baby eagles in a nest?  It is not likely, because eagles make their nests high up in tall trees or on power-line towers.

Someone mounted a video camera that took pictures of an eagle's nest.  We could see it on our computer.  The nest is made of sticks and twigs, with moss inside to make it comfortable.  There were two eaglets, as baby eagles are called.  When the little eaglets tried to stand, they fell over.  They were too weak to stand, but they were hungry.

Then as we watched, two big eagles landed on the nest.  Father and mother eagle came to the nest with some meat in their talons - talons are claws on their feet.  Since the eaglets were so small, they could only eat little pieces of the food.  The parent eagles, using their big hooked beaks, carefully pulled pieces off the meat held in their talons.  Pieces small enough for the babies to swallow were offered to them.  The babies quickly took the pieces in their beaks and swallowed them.  The mother and father birds kept pulling off small pieces and giving them to their babies.  The little ones ate all that was given to them.

Now what has this to do with Bible verses?  As I watched the eagles being fed, it made me think of the verses that children in Sunday School learn when they are very young - short verses like "God is light" (1 John 1:5) and "God is love" (1 John 4:8).  Every verse in the Bible is important.

When the eagles grew, the mother gave them bigger pieces to eat.  Later they were able to tear off the meat for themselves.  So older boys and girls in Sunday School are able to learn some longer verses.  Your moms and dads help you to learn these verses.  Later you can lean them for yourselves without your parents' help.

After awhile those eagles will be taught to catch their own food.  What does that mean to you?  It means that you will grow and be able to read God's Word for yourself.  It is a good habit to form.  Read your Bible every day and think about what you have read.

An old man in a nursing home had such poor eyesight that he could no longer read.  He knew many Bible verses.  He told me he had leaned them when he was young.  

What would happen if an eagle quit hunting for food?  It would starve to death, right?  If you want a happy Christian life, keep on reading the Word of God as you grow up.  Then don't stop because you are an adult.  We all need this "food" everyday of our lives!

"The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple."
(Psalm 119:130)

Love you all

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Jewel # 139 (June 2, 2013)


To my dear grandchildren

The Ungainly Hyena

"Neither is there any creature that is not visible in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." 
(Hebrews 4:13)

There are many hyenas throughout Africa.  The largest is the one with the fiendish howl that sounds like a hysterical human laugh.  It is known as the spotted or laughing hyena.  It is about 6 feet long and weighs around 150 pounds.

The hyena is an unattractive animal, having yellowish-brown, coarse hair with black spots.  Its short head with big, erect ears is large in proportion to its body.  Its long, thick neck, muscular shoulders and long, muscular front legs make the front of its body larger and much stronger than the back, which tapers down on shorter hind legs to a stubby tail

Other species of hyenas include the brown and the striped hyenas.  Both are somewhat smaller than the spotted.  Aside from their differences in appearance, they all have much in common.  No other animal on earth has such powerful jaws and strong teeth that can quickly tear flesh and crush bones.  They can crush bones as thick as baseball bats as easily as you would break a stick of peppermint candy.  They are all scavengers, and their food preference is a dead animal that has started to decay.  If they find jackals, cheetahs or other small predators eating an animal they have killed, the hyenas will chase them away and steal the carcass.  However, they will not attempt to chase away lions, because the lions would kill them instead.

In the hottest season, which often reaches 120 degrees in the shade most of the big game migrates elsewhere, so the hyenas have to be satisfied with catching hares, rodents, snakes and birds.  During such dry spells with no water around, the only moisture they usually get is from their freshly killed prey.  Sometimes, however, they find a patch of wild melons to quench their thirst.  Some may question what purpose hyenas serve in God's creation.  Like the vultures that often quarrel with them over a dead animal, they perform an important service in disposing of decaying flesh that spreads disease.  This is part of God's way in having His creation take care of a serious problem.

However, the services of hyenas will not always be needed.  Speaking of a future time, the Bible says, "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind" (Isaiah 65:17).  This refers to the coming time after those who are saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ have been taken to heaven, and judgment later falls on the rest of the world.  Following those events, the world will be made perfect again, and no sin shall exist.  Will you be among those in heaven looking down on this lovely and peaceful scene?

Love you all,