Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jewel # 234 (December 22, 2015)

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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 friendly Dolphin

“Happy is he . . . whose hope is in the Lord his God:  which made heaven, 
and earth, the sea, and all that therein is.”
(Psalm 146:5-6)

Below the ocean’s surface, a dolphin is giving birth to a baby which will be about three feet long and weigh more that 100 pounds.  Coming up occasionally for air, the mother will require an hour’s time to bring her baby into the world.  If this baby would be born headfirst, like most other creatures, it would drown, for it must breathe air.  So God has provided that it will be born tail first, and it won’t need to breathe until immediately after birth.

With birth completed, the newborn will go to the surface for air with its mother’s help.  Then she will turn on her side to let her baby nurse.  Soon another dolphin will swim close and look the baby over carefully.  The mother will not be concerned, because this is an “auntie” that will help in the baby’s training and protection until it matures.

Dolphins have never been know to purposely hurt a person and are quick to make friends.  They seem to enjoy swimming alongside ships, and, because they swim very fast, they sometimes go great distances, often swimming in large circles around the ships.

Dolphins are friendly with each other and communicate by means of squeaks, clicks and whistles.  When one is injured, others stay with it, guiding or pushing it out of danger.  Should one be unable to rise to the surface for air, others will swim under it to lift it to the surface.

These graceful creatures spend their entire lives in water and have no way of surviving on land; yet they are air-breathing mammals.  Their bodies are remarkably streamlined for fast movement through water so they can easily catch fish, their main food.  Thecommon dolphins grow to 15 feet long and weigh a 1000 pound or more.  The bottle-nosed dophins usually seen performing in water shows, are closer to 6 feet long and weigh about 250 pounds.

How wonderful that God has populated the world with so many interesting creatures.  And a verse from he Bible tells us that all creatures, including humans, are dependent on Him for life:  “The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due season.  Thou openest Thine hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:15-16).        

In the same psalm we are told, “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them” (vss 18-19).  This is His invitation to us to call on Him for the salvation of our eternal souls.

Have you made your call to Him?

Love you all,
Grandpa 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Jewel # 233 (December 16, 2015)


"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 Arabian Horse

“Hast thou given the horse strength? Hast Thou clothed his neck with thunder (flowing mane)?"
(Job 39:19)

Compared to other horses, Arabian horses are small.  They usually don’t grow taller than 15 hands (60 inches).  Paintings and drawings of Arabians have been found in Arabia, dating back to the time of Noah.  This tells us that they have been important in the lives of people for a long time.  No doubt they are important to their Creator, too, because the Bible tells us that all things were created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). 

Arabian horses’ hair is usually gray and freckled brown, but they can also be red, painted (white with brown patches), black and any other solid colour.  No matter what colour hair an Arabian horse has, its skin underneath is always black.  This helps prevent the horse from getting sunburned.

When Arabians gallop, they can reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour.  When they run, they arch their necks with their delicate heads and hold up their tails, which makes them look very elegant.

Many people consider the Arabian horse the most beautiful of all horses.  Their prominent eyes, large nostrils, small muzzles and flowing manes set them apart from other horses.  They have a broad chest, a strong back and sloped shoulders to give them powerful strides.  Did you know that Arabian horses have 17 ribs?  Most other horses have 18.

Right now, the United States has the largest Arabian horse population in the world.  It was not always so, however.  In the early1700s, Arabian stallions were brought to America to begin a breeding program.  This effort came to a halt during the Civil War, and most all of the Arabian horses were wiped out!  But being quite hardy, these animal made a comeback later in the 1800s, and they are likely to stay around.

They adapt well and have favourable dispositions when treated well by their owners.  It is amazing how God created these beautiful and elegant animals, yet so hardy and tough.  He has given this breed all that it needs to survive the desert as well as in colder climates.

Many Arabian people breed and care for purebred Arabian horses.  They sometimes bring their horses inside their tents for protection from theft, because they are so valuable to their owners. Although they are  great friends, they can also have fiery habits, running and kicking wildly.  These horses are eager to please, though, and are quick learners.

God loves and cares for us too.  Just as He has provided for the needs of this beautiful animal, He has provided for our need of salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has given us His Word, the Bible, along with the faith to believe it and the peace to enjoy it.  Being able to pray is another provision God in His love has given us.   

My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19).

Love you all,
Grandpa

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Jewel # 232 (December 6, 2015)


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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,

African Wild Dogs

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

African wild dogs, or African painted dogs, or Cape hunting dogs, live in packs of 5 to 30, which are often made up of family groups.  Almost always on the move, they stay just a few days in one spot, then move on to another place, maybe 25 miles away.  About the size of wolves, some weigh 40 pounds and can outrun just about any other animal.  They are vicious hunters; however, they only kill for food.  They themselves have few natural predators, but lions are their main enemy.  The dogs’ numbers are declining due to loss of habitat, human hunting and disease outbreaks.

For about three months each year, a pack stays near the dens where as many as 16 pups are raised with much care.  Adults and young spend much time together, playfully pushing their muzzles into each other’s mouths.  When they are ready for a pack hunt, one or two adults stay behind to guard the pups.

The pups are really cute with inquisitive faces, bright eyes, and big saucer-like ears pointing forward.  They usually have tan-coloured backs, but their sides and underparts are a blackish-brown with white patches on their throats and legs.

A dozen adults may spot a herd of impalas or other animals and set out to capture one.  Several dogs chase part of the herd while their companions go after any that may have broken away.  When one impala finally gets separated from the others, a single dog continues chasing it.  Apparently knowing that the victim will run in a wide circle, the rest of the dogs leave the impalas they have been chasing and cut across the circle to get in front of the tiring victim.  With dogs all around it, the impala soon gives up; the chase is over and the pack moves in for the kill.

The dogs always eat as much of the food as they can but do not quarrel over it as some wild animals do,  Eating their fill, they return to their dens and bring up portions for the pups and the guards that stayed with them.  Later when the pups are big enough to join these hunts and an animal is caught, the older ones let the young ones eat their fill first.

The care these wild dogs give their young helps us to think kindly of them. Many of you have parent who have not only shown you love and care in every way, but who also knew the importance of telling you of God’s love.  They have explained about the precious Saviour who gave His life to wash away the sins of all who admit to Him that they are sinners and accept Him as their Saviour.  

Have you done this?  
And have you ever thanked your parents for telling you about Him?  

Love you all,
Grandpa
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Monday, November 23, 2015

Jewel # 231 (November 22, 2015)



“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 Cuckoo Bird

The European cuckoo bird has a strange habit.  When the mother bird is ready to lay her eggs, she doesn’t build a nest for them.  Instead she flies to the nest of another bird that is off hunting for food, and she lays one egg in that nest.  Then she finds another nest where the mother bird is gone for a few moments and lays another egg in that nest.  She does this until her whole clutch of cuckoo eggs has been laid so each one is in a different nest.

When the other mother birds return to their nests, they don’t seem to notice that they have a strange egg in their nests.  They treat it just like one of their own, keeping it warm and protecting it.  But when the eggs all finally hatch, the baby cuckoo bird is larger than the other baby birds in the nest.  And this cuckoo baby gobbles up far more than its share of the bugs and worms that the mother bird brings to her nest for the babies.  The baby cuckoo bird grows big and strong, while the other baby birds in the nest become weak and sickly and many times even die.

Now I’m wondering if those of us who are Christians might have a “baby cuckoo bird in our nests”?  Are we allowing anything in our lives to gobble up the time and energy we should be using to read God’s Word, the Bible, and spend time in prayer?  If so, we won’t grow strong and healthy in ways that the Lord Jesus wants for us.

This is a good verse to remember to help us get rid of the “baby cuckoo birds” in our lives: 
Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have power over me" (Psalm 119:133).   

Love you all
Grandpa 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jewel # 230 (November 10, 2015)



“They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make 
up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17) 

The Tough Zebra

To my dear grandchildren,

"A wild donkey used to the wilderness . . . snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure.”
(Jeremiah 2:24)

The Bible does not refer to zebras by name, but they also “snuff up the wind” and are much like the wild donkey referred to in the opening verse.

Among all the animals of Africa, the zebra is truly a beautiful and outstanding creature.  Its prominent stripes, short, thick mane, soft, black muzzle and erect ears make it different from any other animal.  There are three main breeds.  The mountain zebra is the most common, having velvety black and creamy-white stripes, but their underneath body is all white.  The Burchell’s is the tallest.  Its stripes are irregular with none on its legs.  Grevy’s is the third one and has the most stripes, but they are narrower.

The Creator provided these stripes as an excellent means of camouflage.  The zebra’s chief enemy is the lion.  The stripes blend so well with grass, trees and brush that the zebra is not easily seen.  Even in broad daylight, a group standing together presents such a mixed design of black and white that a hunter (their other enemy) is confused and cannot easily pick one out as a potential victim.

These animals have excellent sight, hearing and sense of smell and are seldom caught unawares.

Their bands are always headed by a fierce stallion, and all are savage fighters.  When they are attacked, they all turn their heels to the enemy.  A kick from any of them can break a jaw or other bone, convincing the attacker to give up the fight.

Out on the African prairie, grass is the main food for many animals, and the Creator has provided an excellent way for some to share this resource.  Zebras eat only the tops of certain tall grasses; gnus will follow, since they prefer the middle of the stems; finally, the lovely springboks finish it off down to the ground.  They all leave the area until the grasses grow tall again.  This is more evidence of God’s special care of all His creatures.

Sadly, many zebras are killed by predators when they carelessly separate themselves from the band.  This reminds us of the need of every believer in the Lord Jesus to share his life with others who also love the Saviour, to help protect one another from our “adversary the devil, who as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The Bible says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).  The Lord wants us to help and encourage one another in a happy Christian life.  Do you have this kind of friends?

Love you all,
Grandpa

Monday, November 02, 2015

Jewel # 229 (November 2, 2015)



"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,

Army Ants on the Move

“All things were  made by Him; and without Him was not 
anything made that was made."
(John 1:3)

The large, fierce army ants live in the tropical countries of the world.  They have no permanent home and are always on the move, except when they rest to raise their young.  As they travel, worker ants lead the way with larger soldiers at the sides.  The main colony follows, carrying larvae in their mouths.  Finally, the queen comes last, surrounded by large numbers of workers.  As this colony moves, it may cover an area 50 or 60 feet wide and a quarter mile long.

Every small living creature they come across is killed, mainly insects.  They either eat what they kill or beak it into small pieces and take it back for the queen and her workers.

Interestingly, these ants are blind and are guided only by feelers and a sense of smell.  As they move, they leave an identifying scent.  The messengers and scouts follow this scent back to the main group when they have found food.  Large numbers then return with the scouts to where the food was found.

Usually the only time the colony stops is to let the queen lay more eggs.  Rather than building a nest for the eggs, they cling together in bunches on logs or in hollow trees.  After she has finished laying thousands of eggs, the colony moves on in columns, taking the eggs with them.

When the colony makes an overnight rest stop, the columns break up, and they climb up bushes and vines to form living balls.  They stay there until daylight, then come back down and continue their move. 

The ways of these vicious ants seem cruel and harsh.  And yet they serve a purpose by holding in check many creatures that would otherwise overrun the jungle.  They are part of God’s ways to keep His creation in balance.

In observing the army ants, we can see that their survival over the centuries has been the result of complete obedience to the ways of God in His creation.  To the children of Israel, the promise was given: “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”  But, sadly, “they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and and went backward, and not forward” (Jeremiah 7:23-24). 

How happy you and I would be if each of us had a desire to please the Lord and obey God’s Word.  But we cannot be obedient and happy unless we have a new life — a new nature — given to everyone who accepts the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.

Do you have this new life?  Are you obeying Him?

Love you all
Grandpa  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Jewel # 228 (October 24, 2015)

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“They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day wen I make 
up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17

To my dear Grandchildren

The Wise Old Stork

“The stork in the heaven knows her appointed times . . . but 
My people know not the judgment of the Lord.”
(Jeremiah 8:7)

The European white stork has black wing tips, a red bill and long, reddish-pink legs and feet.  Storks have no real vocal cords, so they “talk” by clapping their bills together.  

Although this stork migrates every fall, a pair will return year after year to the same nest.  The nests are huge, built mostly on chimney tops or roofs.  Each year something is added to each nest, until they become as tall as a man and several feet wide.  

A pair of storks will stay together for life and are devoted to their young, feeding them great quantities of frogs, grasshoppers, mice, eels and reptiles. 

Storks get along very well with humans and are protected wherever they live.  Sometimes when they meet you on a street, you would think they were almost human as they stroll along, for they nod their heads likes wise old men or tuck their beaks in their chests like absentminded professors.

During migration, these large birds rely heavily on energy-efficient soaring flight.  Before winter overtakes the storks, large migrations begin, following two southern routes.  Those nesting in eastern Europe fly through Turkey, Palestine, over the Sea of Galilee, over Mt. Sinai, into East Africa and then down to South Africa.  That is how they are known to the people of Bible lands, because some stop off in those lands to stay until spring.  

Those nesting in Western Europe make their flight to the same destination, but by a different route.  These fly over the Rock of Gibraltar and across the Sahara Desert and the Congo forests of Africa.  They meet the eastern European storks somewhere along the Nile River and fly together to southern Africa.

These storks have an amazing characteristic: When it's time to begin these migratory flights, the young storks begin the 7000-mile journey without waiting for their parents.  Although they have never flown these routes before, they have no difficulty reaching their destinations.

Can anyone deny that they receive this remarkable ability from their Creator?  If they were not guided by Him, certainly they would wander off course and die, but He watches over them with utmost care.

As our opening Bible verse stats, “The stork in the heaven knows her appointed times” and will not change it.  The rest of the verse is sad when the Lord says, “But My people know not the judgment of the Lord.”  The people were not as wise as the birds and failed to follow the counsel of God.

How important for us all to “hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people . . . but let them not turn again to sin” (Psalm 85:8).

Do you know the peace of hearing His voice and applying it to your own heart?

Love you all,
Grandpa

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Jewel # 227 (October 9, 2015)



"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 Long-Lived Orangutan

“All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men,
and another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, 
and another of birds.”
(1 Corinthians 15:39)

The rain forests of Sumatra and Borneo are the primary homelands of the orangutans, part of the ape family.  When fully grown, they may weigh as much as 200 pounds and stand over 4 feet tall.  Some are known to live as long as 50 years.  They are silent and peaceful animals, but powerful and fierce fighters if attacked.  In captivity, young orangutans are easily tamed and taught tricks for performances in zoos and animal shows.

These apes have large, hairy heads but very small ears and bare faces and hands.  The rest of their bodies are covered with reddish-brown hair, and they have long arms that reach to their ankles even when they are standing.  They use their long arms to swing from tree branch to tree branch, often for great distances.   They rarely come down to the ground and are awkward when walking, often swinging along on their arms with their knuckles on the ground.  They are much more at home in trees where they spend most of their time—the style of life for which the Creator designed them.

Unlike some other apes, orangutans are not very friendly, preferring to be left lone.  However, family members are affectionate to one another and particularly to the one baby that is usually borne each year.  Entirely helpless when born, a baby is fondly cradled in its mother’s arms and, for the first two years of its life, clings to her back when traveling.       

While keeping to themselves, they nonetheless maintain groups, spending most of the day gathering fruits and leaves to satisfy their big appetites.  Every evening new nests are made by bending branches together and adding leaves for linings.  The bent limbs are grasped with fingers and toes, which hold on tightly even while sleeping.  Some of these nests are as high as 40 feet above the ground and 4 feet across!  The ability to build nests in this way is the result of God-given instincts.  Additional nests for afternoon naps are often made, and they even pull big leaves over themselves if it is raining.  Instinct has also taught them to hold leafy branches over their heads, like umbrellas, when in a rain-storm while away from their nests.

Even though orangutans look somewhat like humans and perform clever things, there are many differences.  They are strictly of the ape family, and all people are of the human family, just as God created them—separate and apart from each other.  Our opening Bible verse explains this.  The Lord Jesus did not die for apes, but He did in great love die for the sins of all people who put their trust in Him as their Saviour.
Is He your Saviour?

Love you all,
Grandpa