Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jewel # 144 (July 31, 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,

The Mockingbird

Have you ever heard a mockingbird sing?  This bird got its name because of its ability to "mock" or imitate the sounds of other birds it hears.  The mockingbird often changes from one song to another as it imitates different birds.  One was reported to have imitated as many as 32 different songs in ten minutes!  It seems there is almost no limit to the number of songs a mockingbird can imitate.  Many are able to learn at least 180 songs in a few months - some learn many more.  There are "mockers" who have been heard singing for an hour without repeating songs.  God has given His creatures amazing abilities!

The meaning of the word imitate is to copy something or someone.  Sometimes we are able to learn kind and helpful things by copying the good examples of others - imitating what they do.  But sadly, sometimes we copy things that aren't good.  The mockingbird is so good at copying sounds that it can imitate the not-so-pleasant sounds of scolding squirrels, croaking frogs, insects and even screeching, rusty gates.  And like the mockingbird, sometimes we copy things that are unpleasant.  Have you ever done something mean or hurtful because you saw somebody else doing it?  Maybe you have said a naughty word after you heard one of your friends say the word.  Those are not good things to copy.

It is always right to imitate good manners that we hear and see others using.  How pleasant it is to hear "please" and "thank you" being used and to see those who show care and kindness to their own family members, as well as to others.

If you love the Lord Jesus and have accepted Him as your very own Saviour, who do you imitate?  And do you try to be a good example for other boys and girls who might imitate you?  The Lord Jesus is the perfect example to copy - He never sinned, never spoke a wrong or unkind word and never fought back.  God's Word tells us how we can be good examples even when we are young:  "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12)

The Lord Jesus gives us examples to copy in other Christians.  We are to follow those who are living a life pleasing to Him in all ways.  The Apostle Paul wrote, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).  But the very best example to imitate is the Lord Jesus Himself.  "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us" (Ephesians 5:1-2).    

Love you all,
Grandpa

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jewel # 143 (July 18, 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,

The Scarce Snow Leopard

"Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone; Thou has made . . .
the earth, and all things that are therein."
(Nehemiah 9:6)

The snow leopard is a member of the leopard family and is one of the world's most beautiful animals.  When fully grown, this animal will be 30 inches tall at shoulder height and 6 to 6 1/2 and feet long, including its two-foot-long tail.  Its weight will be from 100 to 150 pounds.  

Since it often lives two miles or more high on the cold mountain ranges of central Asia, the Creator has given it a coat much heavier than that of the leopards of warmer climates.  Snow leopards' tails are furry, long and flexible.  This helps them to maintain their balance, which is very important in the rocky terrain where they live.

Its white fur is overlaid with pale gray and leopard like brown spots over most of its body, but the fur remains plain white on the chin, chest and  belly.  Each of its yellow eyes is circled with a ribbon of dark brown fur.  With its small ears and a face like that of a house cat, it is a very beautiful creature.  Just like when your pet cat is calm and relaxed, the snow leopard's sharp claws are not visible, but when its paw reaches out to strike, the claws become fierce weapons, ready for action.  

Snow leopards cannot roar, but they can make hisses, chuffing, mews, growls, and wailing sounds.

Since the snow leopard blends in so well with its surroundings, mountain climbers might pass near one sitting on its haunches and quietly watching them, and be entirely unaware of its presence.  This leopard's food is made up of antelope, deer, mountain goats, smaller animals, pheasants and other birds.  When these are not available, the snow leopard may raid a farmyard for sheep and calves, but it has never been known to attack people.

A mother trains her kittens to catch prey by lying on the ground and gently switching her tail from side to side.  The kittens try to pounce on it, but just as they pounce she gives it a quick flick and they are left empty-handed.  Eventually their reflexes become sharper, and they are able to use this needed skill when hunting for food. 

These lovely animals instinctively hide among the rocks and snow where the colouring of their fur conceals them so well.  But they are not hidden from their Creator; He is well aware of them at all times, as the Bible verse tells us: "He looks to the end of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven" (Job 28:24).  In other parts of the Bible, we also read that He is the provider and protector of all His creatures.

Perhaps you are familiar with another verse that tells us, "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Proverbs 15:3).  What do His eyes see in you?   

Love you all,
Grandpa

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Jewel # 142 (July 9, 2013)

             

To my dear grandchildren,

The Deadly Scorpion

"Light is come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light,
 because their deeds were evil."
(John 3:19)

Those who live in tropical climates or in the deserts of the southern part of the U.S.A. avoid the scorpion as much as possible.  They know a scorpion sting is very painful and sometimes can be fatal.  This creature, which will strike anything threatening it, fits the description in the opening Bible verse.  Although sometimes seen in daylight, it prefers the dark and will scurry to a dark hiding place if light reaches it.

A scorpion looks rather scary.  Its body can be five to eight inches long and is covered with a dark shell that protects it from heat and injury.  The scary parts are the two sharp pincers extending from its head and the poisonous stinger at the end of its tail, which is usually curled over its back, ready for action.  When a large insect or spider comes close, the sharp pincers catch it, and the tail arches over the scorpion's back and plunges the poisonous stinger into its victim. 

Some scorpions have as many as twelve eyes, but most have only six or eight.  When a scorpion molts (sheds its shell), some of these eyes drop off, but they grow back in when the new outer shell is formed.  This happens four to eight times in its short life.  Its brain is very simple, but it has been given a keen sense of touch through the hairs that cover its body.  In addition, comb-like parts on its abdomen pick up ground vibrations.

Female scorpions produce their young alive. The little ones are exact miniatures of the parents and stay with their mother several days.  She lets them cling to her body with their tiny pincers.

We cannot help but wonder at the way God has equipped scorpions with features that allow them to fit so well into their harsh way of life.  He has even made them helpful to mankind in one way - they destroy many harmful insects and spiders.

Scorpions remind us of those people who are without God in their lives, of whom the Bible says that "denying the Lord that bought them . . . bring upon themselves swift destruction."  We are also told that these same people "speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption" (2 Peter 2:1,12).  What a sad contrast they are to those who through faith claim the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.  A promise is given to these believers to know "the peace of God, which passes all understanding, and shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus " (Philippians 4:7).

This is what God desires for every one, because He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).  Have you come to repentance?

Love you all,
Grandpa