Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jewel # 178 (June 22, 2014)

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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 Seldom-Seen Lynx

“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world."
(Acts 15:18)

The pretty lynx, a medium-sized wildcat, that slinks silently through trees, brush and snow for its prey, likes the cold climate of the Yukon, Sweden and Russia.  However, many are also in warmer areas of Canada, northern United States and a few Asian countries.  They all prefer homes in thickets of trees or brush and usually have two tiny kittens each year.

A full-grown lynx is about three feet long, with a small two-inch tail, and will weigh from 30 to 60 pounds.  Its fur is finest in the winter when it is a thick, luxurious light brown that is sometimes marked with dark brown spots.  They have white on their chests and underparts.  A stubby fur-covered tail and upright ears, having long tufts of black hair on the  tips of them, are it most outstanding features.

Their main food in the north is the snow shoe rabbit, but if these are scarce, they will catch small deer or caribou or large birds.

The Creator has provided them with large, padded paws, wider in diameter than the palm of a man’s hand, and in winter extra fur grows around the edges to help them walk in snow.  They are good climbers and swimmers.

Those farther south also like rabbit meat but include in their diet squirrels, gophers and other small animals and birds.  They have keen sight and hearing, and stalk their prey silently, until close enough to make a springing leapt to catch it.  At times they lie on tree branches, waiting to pounce on prey passing below.  A lynx can spot a mouse from 250 feet away.

While the lynx is an enemy to small animals and birds, it is actually quite shy and no threat to people.  If possible, it will always vanish before a person can get close.

Do you think the Lord God is aware of these animals as they live out their lives in such remote places?  We know He is, for we read in the Bible, “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9).  Verse 10 tells us more: “All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee.”

This looks on to a coming time when God’s punishment of sinful people will be over and He will restore the earth to peace and freedom.  During that special time, when Christ reigns for 1000 years, all created things will “praise Him” in their peaceful way, and the tiger, bear, lynx and any other carnivorous animals will no longer kill, but but all will live peacefully together.  

People who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour will bless Him more fully than is possible today.  If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you should be happily praising Him right now, and it will be your privilege to praise Him even more in that future time.  

Love you all,
Grandpa

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jewel # 177 (June 15, 2014)


“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 Purple Martin

“The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come.”
(Song of Solomon 2:11-12)

After having migrated to Central and South America for the winter, martins return each spring to North America.  Some have been seen in summer as far north as the Saskatchewan Valley in Canada.

Their forked tails, wide wings and the way they catch their food while flying identify these eight-inch birds as part of the swallow family.  There are several species, including the house martin, the sand martin and the purple martin, which is the one we will focus on. 

The males of the purple martin species are a beautiful, dark purplish-blue colour all over.  The females are much the same, but the undersides of their bodies are light coloured.  These birds nest in colonies with each pair raising three to eight young birds.

Because they are great inset eaters, catching insects from the air while in flight (including mosquitoes), purple martins have earned the friendship of farmers and people who live in the suburbs.  Some place martin houses on tall supports near their homes or barns to keep these welcome insect-eating “neighbours” nearby.  Some of these martin houses allow space for 50 nests or more.  There is an interesting trait about the martins living in these “apartment” houses.  

Most houses have adjoining balconies where the parent birds like to alight and perch before entering their own apartment.  The baby birds, not yet able to fly, sometimes hop about on these balconies.  After exploring, they forget which hole they came from and often enter a neighbour’s apartment by mistake.  Strangely enough, parent martins do not seem to be able to recognize their own chicks, and these “neighbourhood chicks” are accepted, fed and cared for as part of the family.

Although martins do not like other birds as close neighbours, house sparrows and European starlings do not share this trait.  If there is an opportunity a sparrow or starling will move into a martin pair’s apartment and chase the true owners away.  If this happened in most bird species, they would work together to keep the intruder out.  But the martin is not a fighter, so it meekly accepts the loss of its home to the thief.

Our opening verse tells us of the happy season of the year when winter’s cold, dark days are over, flowers are showing their pretty colours, and birds are returning from their migrations.  It is similar to the happy time when a boy or girl or grown-up places their trust in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.  The dark times are left behind, and the reality of belonging to the Lord Jesus brings a joy many times happier than even the yearly return of spring.  

Have you had this experience by accepting the Lord Jesus as your Saviour?

Love you all,
Grandpa