Monday, June 15, 2015

Jewel # 218 (June 12, 2015)

Alyssa with a star fish in the Bahamas
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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,

Star of the Sea

"The Lord is a great God. . . .  The sea is His, and He made it."
(Psalm 95:3,5)

Most people who live near the ocean have seen starfish dead on the beach.  Sometimes they are called sea stars.  These are sea animals in the same family as the sea cucumbers, sea lilies and sea urchins.  Most starfish have five arms that make them look like five-pointed stars.  However, there are many varieties.  One looks more like a pentagon because it has such short arms, and there are some that have as many as fifty arms.  The colours of starfish are usually red, brown or bright orange.

A very colourful one is the brittle star which moves rapidly through the water by thrashing its arms vigorously.  This variety got its name because its brittle arms are easily shattered by crabs and large fish that eat the broken pieces.

With few other exceptions, starfish appear to be stationary or just moving gently with the current.  But the Creator did not leave them without a means of travel.  The underside of each arm has many tube feet with a tiny suction disk on each foot.  The starfish uses its tube feet and suction disks to crawl over the ocean bottom or onto a rock or other firm surface.

It is with these sensitive arms and suction disks that starfish capture food.  When a shellfish is found, such as an oyster, mussel or clam, the suction disks of one arm attach firmly to one side of the shell, and those on another arm attach on the other side of the shell.  Then the contest begins.  The shellfish clamps its two shell halves tightly together while the starfish�s firmly attached suction disks apply continuous pressure as it pulls the shell halves apart.  The contest may last an hour or more before the shellfish usually loses the battle.  When the two sides of the shell finally open, the shellfish�s stomach slides over the shellfish�s soft body and slowly digests it.

Starfish can regenerate new arms when the old ones are broken off.  Even if a starfish is cut in two, each piece will grow into a new starfish.

These sea animals are among the lower forms of life, without the benefit of an intellect.  Starfish do not have brains. We do not expect them to be aware that a divine Creator rules over the sea and its inhabitants.  Our opening verse reminds us that this is so, and another Bible verse says,  �The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works� (Psalm 145:90.

We who have been given the ability to know of Him, His wonderful works and His great love to us are responsible to act on God�s Word which says, �O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!� (Psalm 107:8).
Have you ever done this?

Love you all,
Grandpa

Monday, June 08, 2015

Jewel # 217 (June 5, 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 Amazing Honeybee

“How sweet are Thy words unto my taste!
Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
(Psalm 119:103) 

Without the work of the honeybee, the world would soon starve.  Its work in pollinating flowers is essential to the development of many kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains and other plant foods and also the reproduction of many other flowering plants.                                                                    

The hive of the honeybee is a marvellous example of community living.  As many as 50,000 bees will work together in unity, building a hive of honeycombs made up of hexagonal cells.  In one square inch, there are exactly 4.83 cells.  How do they make such an exact measurement?  No one knows other than God who has created them and given them their unusual skills.

Whether building honeycombs in a hive provided by a beekeeper or in a hollow tree or in any other location, the work always follows the same pattern.  Young worker bees produce beeswax in special glands in their bodies.  This wax is attached to the ceiling; then, working down, the cells are built one by one all the way to the base.  Several groups of bees begin building from different parts of the ceiling, gradually all coming together to make a complete comb.  Where the sections join together, the result is still the same — all adjoining cells measure exactly 4.83 to the square inch!

Thousands of bees are busy right now, each adding its tiny bit to what others have started.  The walls of the waxen cells, only two or three thousandths of an inch thick, are so fragile that you could easily crush them in your fingers, yet strong enough to support the weight of the comb as well as the weight of the bees working on it.

Once the comb is completed, the workers then turn their attention to making honey, which they use as food.  The bee fills a special pouch inside its body with nectar from several flowers.  In the pouch, the sugar and nectar are broken down into two simple sugars.  After the nectar is deposited in the hive, most of the water in the nectar evaporates and the liquid becomes thick.

Surely we need not ask where these busy workers get the wisdom needed to build these complex homes nor how they work together in such unity.   God, “Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number” (Job 5:9), is the One who has set their ways and kept them in the same pattern since the day He first created them.

As King David thought on God’s ways that provide so many benefits to man, he said, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8).  But His greatest work of all was on the cross where He became the Saviour of sinners.  

Since we are all sinners, is He your Saviour? 

Love you all,
Grandpa