Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jewel # 195 (Nov. 15, 2014)

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“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 Magnificent Elk


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

In Europe the animal called an elk belongs to the same species as the American moose. The American elk is smaller and differs in other ways. Because of these differences, those in North America are technically know as wapiti but are usually referred to as elk.

Being part of the deer family, the American elk is second only to the moose in size. A bull elk may stand as high as five feet at the slight hump behind his shoulders and weighs 700 to 1000 pounds. A cow elk is smaller and has no antlers.

There are two varieties of native elk. Most of them live in national parks or protected reservations in the United States and southern Canada. One is the Rocky Mountain elk, living in those high mountains, mainly at Yellowstone Park and nearby, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The other, living at lower levels and staying year-round in grassy meadows, is the Tule elk.

Many of these are found in California, Idaho, Washington and Alaska. One difference between them is their feet - the Rocky Mountain elk has feet almost as wide as they are long, while the Tule’s feet are nearly twice as long as they are wide. This difference is a provision of the Creator giving the Rocky Mountain elk feet that help them in deep snow, while the long and narrow feet of the Tule elk are more suited to meadows and adjacent dry hills where they live.

Considering their size, all elk have small heads with mule-like ears, but their antlers may spread more than five feet and have as many as twelve points. Their legs are slender but strong. An elk can jump eight feet high.

Coarse hair forms a shaggy mane, and they are covered mostly with reddish brown fur. Their tan tail is just a stub, surrounded by a large yellowish patch of fur that helps identify them. In winter months a temporary warm undercoat and heavy outer coat change to greyish brown until they return to lighter fur in spring.

Elk are majestic animals, holding their heads high with eyes and ears alert. All their grazing is done during the day, with one or two of each herd maintaining a lookout while the others eat. If danger threatens, they scatter in every direction.

Elk are sometimes hunted for their meat, which is leaner and higher in protein than beef or chicken.

Their manner of life in harsh surroundings impresses upon us how wisely the Lord God, their Creator, has provided instincts for all living things. As the Bible verse states,

“By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth . . . and
He is before all things, and by Him all things are preserved.”
(Colossians 1:16-17)

Love you all
Grandpa

Friday, November 07, 2014

Jewel # 194 (Nov. 7, 2014)

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“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,

How an Enemy of Trees is Stopped

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
(Ephesians 6:11)

As beautiful, tall and strong as a tree may appear, it has enemies quite capable of killing it. Some of these enemies are very small insects. One persistent little enemy is the bark beetle. It is one of the worst pests of spruce and pine trees in North America.

Usually these beetles come in swarms, boring through cracks in the bark and eventually boring their way into the sapwood. In a healthy tree, these beetles often become submerged in the resin that oozes our of the hole and then they die. But in weakened and drought-affected trees, there is not enough resin to trap them.

Once the beetles reach the vital sapwood, they lay their eggs in their bored tunnels. When the eggs hatch, the larvae continue to feed in the tree.

If there were no way to stop these persistent little insects, there would eventually be no pine or spruce trees left. God has provided protection for these trees by using another insect known as the checkered beetle which can catch the bark beetles in flight and eat them. Not only do checkered beetles kill the bark beetles, but they also go into the tunnels the bark beetles have already made. The checkered beetles lay their eggs alongside those of the bark beetles, and when the larvae hatch, they attack and kill the newly hatched bark beetle larvae.

God has also given another friend to the trees - the braconid wasp. In some unknown way, it locates the bark beetle larvae, even though they might be under an inch of bark. This wasp injects its own eggs into the larvae of the bark beetle. The eggs soon hatch, and these larvae immediately feed on their hosts, which kill the bark beetle larvae.

Recently, an enemy of ash trees has been killing many, many of these large hardwood trees. It is a small bright-green beetle called the emerald ash borer. These can kill an ash tree in just two years. Presently no natural enemy is known.

The killer beetles remind us of the enemy Satan, who “as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). His attacks are often in some small manner that we may even be aware of, but we say, “That doesn’t amount to much; I‘m not concerned about it.” But what prayerful care we need so that Satan does not get the edge on us.

The only way we can apply the armour of Ephesians 6:11 or withstand Satan’s attacks is by turning to the Lord Jesus in every testing. “Finally . . . be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). With Him taking our place before our enemy, we can say, “Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Love you all,
Grandpa