Friday, February 28, 2014

Jewel # 167 (Feb 28, 2014)

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To my dear grandchildren,

The Strong-Jawed Wolf

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd . . . seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth.
(John 10:11-12)

Wolves live in forests, tundra and prairies of North America, Europe and Asia.  They look much like a German shepherd dog.  A large wolf can be more than six feet long and weigh up to one hundred pounds.  The Creator has given them broad heads, powerful jaws and strong legs.

Gray wolves and timber wolves are the most common, often with gray, brown or black fur, but in the far north, their thick fur is usually white.  The red wolf, smaller than the others, is not always red but sometimes tan or black.  All live in groups of six to twenty and are loyal to each other, fiercely protecting their territory.  One among them wins the place of leader by defeating the others.  They sometimes show their leader respect by rolling over or crouching on the ground when he or she comes near.  When a kill is made, all wait for the leader to eat first.

Wolves show much skill in hunting, with two or three families often banding together.  Finding a herd of caribou, they seem to pick out one, usually a very old or very young one or one that is injured or sick.  When the caribou herd panics, this weaker one drops behind and becomes an easy prey while the strong, healthy ones escape.  This may seem cruel, but such sudden death is more merciful to the weaker ones than leading a sick and painful life and slowly dying.  Wolves can smell other animals from up to a mile away.

Sometimes mountain sheep try to escape a pack of wolves by climbing a steep rocky cliff, only to find some of the pack have circled around and are waiting at the top.  Moose are tougher to fight, kicking the wolves with their hind feet and slashing with their sharp front hooves.  Musk oxen are the most successful in resisting wolves.  These defend themselves by forming a tight circle, with lowered heads and horns facing out.  The wolves can’t break this defence and will only attack a musk ox when it is alone.

It is very unusual for wolves to stalk and attack people.  However, they do go after farm animals, with the result that they are hunted and killed by ranchers and others.

While we can see how these animals are given their skills and provisions by the Creator, we also see in them a picture of that which is evil, as the opening Bible verses say.  The Lord also said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).  We need to remember the truth of God’s Word and not pay attention to “false prophets” who do not speak the truth.

Love you all,
Grandpa

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jewel # 166 (Feb 19, 2014)

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To my dear grandchildren,

The Ant Lion

“Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about,
seeking whom he may devour.”
(1 Peter 5:8)

The ant lion looks like a large dragonfly when fully grown.  The name “ant lion” comes from its activity in its larval stage.  As a larva, it eats mostly ants.  An ant caught in its jaws will not be able to escape, because the ant lion has strong jaws, which are the largest part of its body.

The ant lion has an interesting way of catching ants.  It digs a cone shaped pit about two inches deep in sand or loose soil.  It buries itself at the bottom of the pit, leaving only its jaws and part of its head exposed.

An ant coming to this pit is curious and goes to the edge to look inside.  On the rim it loses its footing in the loose sand and falls down the steep side.  It tries to climb back up the sides many times, but the surface is too loose and it finally slides to the bottom.  The ant lion quickly grabs it in its sickle-shaped jaws and eats it.  The ant lion sometimes attracts ants to the pit by throwing sand or little pieces of gravel into the air.  Ant lions are covered in stiff bristles that help them stay in the sand.

We might wonder how this little creature knows how to build its trap and how to attract its victims.  The larva knows how to do this just as soon as it hatches, without having had a lesson.  This is another example of an instinct given by the Creator to enable His creatures to survive through immature periods of their lives.

The ant lion’s methods remind us of our great enemy, Satan, who has many traps set to catch us.  One of these is a natural curiosity on our part to want to explore things of the world that only lead to sin and unhappiness.  The Bible tells us that Satan is the god of this world, and we can never stand up against him in our own power.

However, there is One who is mightier than Satan, the Saviour of all who trust in Him.  “Greater is He that is in you, that he that is in the world:" (1 John 4:4).  He has provided an armour that allows us to stand against this wicked enemy.  Those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour are urged to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”  This armour includes the “shield of faith,“ the “helmet of salvation,” and the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (See Ephesians 6:11-17.) 

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you are a servant to sin and Satan.  You can escape from his trap only by turning to Christ, confessing that you are a sinner, and accepting Him as your Lord and Saviour.  You will find Him ready and able to release you from Satan’s grasp.

Love you all,
Grandpa  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jewel # 165 (Feb 10, 2014)

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To my dear grandchildren,

The Spider’s Web

“The spider takes hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.” 
(Proverbs 30:28)

To most people spiders are pests, but they do serve a very good purpose - insects are their food supply.  Most kinds of spiders eat great numbers of flies, mosquitoes and other insects.  This is the purpose of their webs - to trap insects in the sticky silk.  But some birds are the spider’s enemy.  They not only eat spiders but steal their webs to weave into their nests for added strength or to make smooth inner linings.  Spider web silk is five times stronger than steel.

There are about 40,000 different kinds of spiders in the world.  Most spin webs, and their webs come in a wide variety of shapes.  Outdoor spiders make the most beautiful webs, which can be seen best in early morning while silvery dew clings to them.  The garden spider stretches its beautiful web between branches of tall plants.  Another, the orb spider’s creation, when covered with dewdrops looks like a splendid display of lovely pearls hanging on drooping strings.

Spider webs are creations no human being could ever duplicate.  Though they vary in size and shape, most have twenty-four or more strands forming circles around a tiny centre (the spider’s home).  These are held at proper distance from each other and strengthened by a numb of “ribs” that look like the spokes of a wheel coming out from the center.  This is all so cleverly done that it looks like a  blueprint had been followed.  But spiders don’t need blueprints, for the Creator has given each one the instinct and ability to make its own web in a God-given pattern and design.

Threads of liquid silk, finer than human hair, flow from several “spinnerets" at the rear of the spider’s abdomen.  The reason for more than one spinneret is so a spider can produce different types of silk for a particular purpose.  The different spinnerets can produce liquid silk in a very thin thread or a thick, wide band, or silk that dries quickly or remains sticky.  Some can even produce a thread that looks like a beaded necklace.

Webs are amazingly strong.  Most can withstand the force of a bumblebee or other large insect flying straight into them, as well as the insect’s frantic struggles to break loose.  Even snakes that get entangled in webs sometimes can’t get away.

The Lord God, the Creator of all things, has given each kind of spider these wonderful capabilities for its special kind of web, and His watchful eye cares for them just as He cares for every living thing.  That includes every boy, girl, man and woman.  A verse from the Bible tells us, “Neither is there any creature that is not seen in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).  Besides knowing Him as your Creator, do you know Him as your Saviour too?

Love you all,
Grandpa