Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jewel # 152 (Oct 29, 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,
Never Tease a Moose

"Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring" (Joel 2:22). 
One of the largest animals of North America is the moose.  It is found mainly in Alaska and in many areas of Canada and the northern parts of the United States and also in Scandinavia and Russia.  It is a solitary animal and does not form herds.  The moose prefers areas with lakes, rivers and pastures with ample food, as the Creator has promised in the Bible verse above.  

It finds some food in chest-deep water, dunking its head under to pull plants out by the roots.  Moose don't have any upper front teeth.

The bull moose of Alaska is the largest and boldest, weighing almost 2000 pounds and having shoulders as high as 8 feet.  Its huge size, plus big antlers, make an impressive sight, and it is very bold.  It will not hesitate to charge a truck or slow-moving train that annoys it - sometimes knocking the annoyance off the highway or railroad track.  

It is easy to see why a moose is seldom attacked, although a calf or a sick or old one might become the victim of a bear or a wolf pack.  However, if an enemy makes the mistake of attacking an adult moose, it may pay for the mistake with its life.  One kick from a moose's sharp hooves can crush a skull or break or cripple a leg.  The big antlers are equally dangerous.

The dark -brown moose is not a pretty animal.  It has a hump on its back, and a baggy muzzle with another loose fold of skin at its throat, called a dewlap, marks its long face.  Add its massive crown of antlers, and it presents a mighty awesome appearance.

While it may seem cumbersome to us, the moose is one of God's creatures:  "Every beast of the forest is Mine. . . . And the wild beasts of the field are Mine" (Psalm 50:10-11).  It is the divine Creator who has given it such strength and ability to survive in harsh, cold winters and who also provided it with large split hooves and broad feet for easy walking on marshy ground and through snowdrifts.  He knew what their needs would be when He created them and included four-foot-long legs and strong muscles, so they can run at a speed of 35 miles an hour.  The Creator  has also given them colouring that blends with their surroundings, making them usually well hidden from enemies.  Of course, no animal is aware of the One who created and preserves it, but how about us humans?  There is a real difference, for we have the ability to know the Lord God and all He has done and is still doing for us.

The psalmist wrote, "Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107:8).  Have you ever thanked or praised Him?          

Love you all,
Grandpa

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jewel # 151 (Oct 24, 2013)

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To my dear grandchildren

The Unlovely Crow

"God giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry" (Psalm 147:9).

The Bible does not mention crows by name, but it mentions "every raven after his kind" (Leviticus 11:15).  Both ravens and crows are in the same bird family - they are like cousins.  So our opening verse assures us that the Creator cares for crows and even hears the cries of their young.

When fully grown, these glossy, black birds are big.  They weigh about 3 pounds and are 18 or 19 inches long.  Always hungry, they eat just about anything they can swallow, including mice, grubs, eggs, even small birds and small dead animals.  Farmers dislike them because they pull up sprouting corn and other grains and eat them.

It is no secret to those living near crows that they do not hesitate to announce their presence with loud, annoying "caws," especially just after sunrise.  In spite of this unpleasant habit, they are very intelligent birds and can easily be tamed as pets.  Captive crows quickly learn tricks and can even be taught to talk as clearly as parrots do.  Crows are the only birds that can use tools.  They are clever in imitating other bird sounds too.

Spotting a lone owl trying to hide in a tree, a group of crows will come together with loud raucous cawing and gang up to chase the owl out of the area.  However, they know better than to get close to its sharp beak and talons.  Crows have another annoying trick, which is to snatch a hooked fish off the end of a fisherman's line  before he can reel it in.

Crows' nests are easy to see, as they are large, bulky nests high in treetops.  The female lays four to six blue-green eggs with blotches of brown or gray.

No bird is disliked more than the crow.  Yet in spite of efforts to reduce their numbers, they continually increase.  They are now protected by law in many places, because of the tremendous quantity of harmful insects and small rodents they eat.     

It is understandable that crows may not appeal to many people, but they are part of God's creation.  He has provided their unusual instincts and cleverness so they can perform their part of HIs purposes in the bird world.

The Bible tells us that every living creature is in the hands of the Lord.  It is good to learn of His care over all things, even crows, but it is especially important to know that He sees and cares for every boy and girl and every grown-up:  "His eyes are upon the ways of man, and He sees all his goings" (Job 34:21).  He tells us that He also thinks kindly about us: "I know the thoughts that I think toward you . . . thoughts of peace, and not of evil" (Jeremiah 29:11).

Do you know this kind and loving Saviour personally?

Love you all
Grandpa

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jewel # 150 (Oct 18, 2013)

           
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To my dear grandchildren, 
The Hardy Musk-Ox

"I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by My great power."
(Jeremiah 27:5)

The 4- to 5-foot high, 900-pound musk-ox is not really an ox.  It looks more like a water buffalo or a big ram.  The Eskimos have their own name for it "oomingmak," which means "the bearded one."

Not many creatures could survive in the musk-oxen's harsh North American Arctic homeland, but when it pleased the Creator to place them there He gave them special features to survive.  One feature is their long, shaggy dark-brown coat that covers their entire bodies, right down to their  hooves.  During winter months an additional covering of soft, downy wool grows under the heavy outer coat, but when warmer weather returns, this drops off, leaving just the coarse outer covering to keep them comfortable.

An important feature to protect them from wolves and polar bears is a pair of massive horns that curve down the side of their heads and then turn upward with sharp points.  As they follow their God-given instinct to stay together in herds of a dozen or more, they can make a united resistance when attacked.  They do this by forming a circle, faces turned outward and horns lowered in warning.  It would be a foolish enemy that would tackle such a determined group.

The Creator also gave them sharp, curved hooves with soft pads for traveling across the tundra and over rocky mountain slopes.  With these hooves and the help of their strong horns, they dig in the tundra for hidden plants and in winter paw and toss the snow away to expose this food.  Musk-oxen swallow their food without chewing.

Many of the herds prefer to spend the winter among the high peaks of the cold Arctic area (where temperatures often reach more than 50 degrees below zero), because the strong winds of the mountains expose the lichens and moss they eat.  In warmer weather they return to lower areas where grass, willows, flowers and water are again plentiful.

Incidentally, calves stand on their feet immediately after birth and can keep up with the herd just a few hours later.  They grow quickly and reach full size in five or six years.

As we notice the special features the musk-ox has been given, we remember the Bible verse that says, "God that made the world and all things therein . . . giveth to all life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:24-25).  May each of us respond to the care and love our Creator shows us in even greater measure than He does to animals and trust in Him as the prophet Isaiah did when he wrote, "O Lord, Thou art  my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name; for Thou hast done wonderful things" (Isaiah 25:1)  The Lord God loves to hear the praise and thanks of those who trust Him.  Do you thank Him daily?  

Love you all, 
Grandpa  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jewel # 149 (Oct 10, 2013)

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To my dear grandchildren,

The Swift Cheetah

"Every beast of the forest is Mine . . . and 
the wild beasts of the field are Mine."
(Psalm 50:10-11)

The cheetah, a member of the cat family, lives on the plains of Africa and Asia and is the fastest animal known for running short distances.  When hunting, it takes advantage of all available cover and crawls on the ground to get as close as possible to its prey.  Then, with tail twitching, it suddenly springs up and runs with lighting speed, 70 to 75 miles per hour (112 to 120 km/h, scarcely touching the ground between its 10-foot leaps.  It can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in three seconds, enabling it to catch its prey almost immediately.

The Creator has provided the cheetah with large nostrils and lungs to draw in great quantities of air while running so fast.  However, it cannot run at top speed for very long, and if it fails to capture its prey promptly, it must give up and rest.  Even if it succeeds, it needs to rest for a while, breathing deeply before eating.

This beautiful animal has a small head with large, yellow-green eyes and dark tear markings running from the inner corners of its eyes.  Its fur is yellowish with black spots over all its body except the throat.  Its long, lean body measures about 3 feet high at the shoulders and about 5 feet long.  Its long, striped tail adds another 2 1/2 feet.  Did you know that cheetah's use their tails to steer while running

The cheetah's natural home is in open grasslands.  Given excellent eyesight, it spots antelopes, elands and other animals from a tree branch, bare hilltops or even a termite mound.  Another special, God-given feature enables the cheetah to go several days without water.

Female cheetahs may have three or more cubs a year.  The little ones are playful, stalking and pawing each other.  In the hot sun they huddle close to their mother for protection from the heat and for safety from enemies.  They are nursed for several months and then trained to hunt.   Cubs leave their mother when they are between 13 and 20 months old.  A cheetah's life span is up to 12 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.

Again we are reminded, as in our opening Bible verse, that the One who can rightfully claim every beast of the forest and field as His does not neglect these creatures.  Through their whole lifetime they are under His watchful care, and He can see them just as He can see each of us even on the darkest night.

Sin that came into the world is responsible for animals such as the cheetah killing others.  But the time is coming when there will be peace again among all the beasts.  At that time those who accept the Lord Jesus Christ now as their Saviour will be with Him in heaven, looking down on that peaceful scene.  Will you be there?

Love you all,
Grandpa