Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jewel # 203 (Jan. 31, 2015)

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"And they shall be Mine, saith the the Lord 
of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.” 
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

The Playful Seal

“Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.
Remember His marvellous works that he hath done.”
(1 Chronicles 16:11-12)

Seals are excellent swimmers and divers and spend most of their time in the water.  They are not as fast as dolphins in water but are more flexible and agile.  They live in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, mostly in cold northern waters, but many migrate thousands of miles south in winter.  Others never go north, but are quite content to remain year-round in warm southern climates.  A few kinds of seals are found in fresh water.

A mother seal usually has just one pup a year, born on land, because it cannot swim until she teaches it.  She nurses the pup for about four months, and during this time she frequently leaves it for several days while she goes after her own food - shrimp, clams, fish and other sea creatures.  At these times, her pup joins hundreds like itself, all temporarily left alone.  When she returns, she barks loudly and several pups may come to her.  But the Creator has given her the ability to single out her own pup by its individual odour and its tiny bark which she recognizes.  Its hunger is soon satisfied.

The Creator has provided seals with nostrils and ear openings which close automatically when they dive or swim underwater.  They also have been given special eyelids to protect there eyes underwater.  Seals can dive over 1,000 feet deep. 

In ice-covered waters, they use their sharp teeth to make air vents in the ice where they poke their heads through for fresh air about every 15 minutes.  They also crawl out of the same hole to rest occasionally.  Sometimes this is dangerous since a hunter or a polar bear may be waiting to catch them.  All seals have a layer of blubber to help keep them warm.  The blubber, which may be an inch to six inches thick, is also a source of energy when they can find no food.  

A seal is graceful in the water, but its travel on land is another story.  It has to lift itself up on its webbed flippers, arch its back and push with hind flippers to move forward in mighty jerks.  This looks awkward, but they can move fast when necessary. 

Seals are quite intelligent and are quick to learn tricks.  They can learn to balance balls on the tips of their noses, leap out of the water on command, jump through fiery hoops and other tricks.  They are always rewarded with a fish treat.

These creatures with such interesting habits are another example of the wonders of God’s creation.  The Bible gives good counsel when it tells us, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).  Be like King David who did not hesitate to say, “I will show forth all Thy marvellous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in Thee” (Psalm 9:1-2)

I love you all,
Grandpa  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jewel # 202 (Jan. 21, 2015)

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Carson holding a Hermit Crab in the Bahamas a few days ago.

“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 

“Thou art worthy , O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power:
for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they
are and were created.”
(Revelation 4:11)

Millions of Crabs

There are about 4,500 different kinds of saltwater, fresh water and land crabs.  All have flat bodies covered by hard shells, eyestalks, and five pairs of legs covered with pointed shells.  The two front legs are usually equipped with toothed pincers.  Crabs that swim have flattened hind legs that work like paddles.  If a crab losses its claw, the claw grows back. 

Hermit crabs use all kinds of empty shells for their homes.  They sometimes carry poisonous sea anemones on their backs as protection from enemies.  The anemone shares the crab’s food by reaching its tentacles into the crab’s mouth when it is feeding.  Its poison normally would kill the crab, but when they live together it does not harm the crab.  Only God could make this possible!

In somewhat the same way the cowboy crab of Hawaii carries an anemone in each of its two front claws to frighten its enemies.  It often joins the anemones in eating the food killed by their poison.

One called the sponge crab cuts out a piece of sponge just the right size and places it over its back as a disguise.  It uses a special pair of legs God gave it for this clever trick.

Mole crabs bury themselves in the sand, leaving only their mouth parts and eyestalks exposed.  Large numbers of them live together catching food this way from outgoing waves.

Ghost crabs, the colour of sand, blend with the seashore and live in burrows on the beach.  They leave their burrows at night to explore for food and scurry back at dawn.  Hiding in their burrows for the day, they close the openings behind them so cleverly that no one would guess they were there.  During summer they store food for use when going underground in the fall.  They do not appear again until spring and come out dressed in new shells.

Land crabs in the Samoan Islands live among rocks in the hills.  Every October and November, exactly four days before the last quarter of the new moon, they travel down to the ocean in great numbers.  Instead of going around rocks, tree stumps, and even houses, they march in a straight line, crawling right over them.

Do you think the Lord their Creator, cares about crabs?  We know He does for the Bible tells us “all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before  all things, and by Him all things are provided for” (Colossians 1:16-17).

He also has created you and me, and His care and love are over us at all times.  He invites us to learn about Himself through His holy Word, the Bible, and accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Saviour.  Have you obeyed the Bible verse that says, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)?  

Love you all,
Grandpa

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Jewel # 201 (Jan. 7, 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 Gentle Eider Duck

“He shall cover thee with His feathers, and 
under His wings shalt thou trust.”
(Psalm 91:4)

People who live in Iceland, and many other northern islands, are well acquainted with the eider duck, a sea duck.  These birds are seen each May and June when large numbers migrate there to nest and raise their young.  These pretty, marbled-brown birds, which weigh about five pounds, have gentle dispositions.  They live entirely on seafood while in the breeding grounds.  Their large webbed feet propel these excellent divers through the water to the bottom where they find crabs, mussels and oysters to eat.

On these far-northern islands, there are no trees, swamps or brush in which to build nests - only level ground.  But in May and June, great areas are covered with short, green grasses, in which these ducks are able to hide their nests.  Because there are so many ducks present at one time, they nest close together.  During the four weeks of incubating her eggs, the mother duck never eats and only leaves her nest for a short time each morning to take a bath.

The Creator has provided the eider duck with warm feathers and down to preserve it from the intense cold of the northern climate.  After laying her eggs, often in the same nest year after year, the female plucks a large quantity of this warm, feathery down from her body to make a blanket to cover the eggs.  This down blanket keeps the eggs warm when she leaves for her morning bath.  Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord God, the Creator, has given the mother duck the instinct for this?

There is always a market for this duck’s soft down, for it has better insulating quality than any man-made fibers.  It is called “eiderdown” and is used to fill pillows and make warm comforters.  It is also used in linings of jackets and other outdoor clothing.

The mother duck is very gentle and allows men to lift her off the nest and remove the down.  After she is replaced on the nest, she plucks more down from her breast to make a new covering for her eggs.  During the nesting season, she allows this to happen twice but will desert her nest and its eggs if it’s done a third time.  The down is so light that it takes three dozen nests to produce a pound of down!

The opening Bible verse likens the Lord’s care over His own to that of birds such as the eider duck.  But His love and care are far greater than that of the most loving bird.  He says,“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee”(Jeremiah 31:3).  He has fully shown this love by giving His life on Calvary’s cross to wash away the sins of all who will accept Him as Saviour.

Are you sheltered“under His wings"

Love you all,
Grandpa