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 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Jewel # 226 (Sept. 29, 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 Blue-Footed Booby

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns; yet your heavily Father feeds them.” 
(Matthew 6:26)

Early-day sailors gave this bird the name booby because it will light on ships and allow itself to be caught. There are several varieties of this swimming sea bird, but the one seen most by North Americans is found along the Pacific Coast—the blue-footed booby.  Well named, its broad, webbed feet and legs are a bright blue.  Its beak is also blue, but not the same bright shade.  Its long wings are brown and its breast and underside are pure white—a very pretty bird.

The Creator has well adapted the booby to its kind of life near the coasts and on islands of the Pacific Ocean, off Central and South America and Mexico.  Waterproof plumage allows it to rest on the ocean surface as well as dive for fish.  Long, strong wings take it hundreds of miles over water and, beating rapidly, provide a power dive to catch fish.  At the last second before hitting the water, the wings are pulled tightly against its body, and its strong beak makes the catch.  This bird can also catch flying fish while they are in the air.

Colonies of thousands of these birds make nests only three or four feet apart on bare ground where three or four chicks are hatched and raised in each nest.  The hatchlings are naked, but in two or three weeks they are covered with white feathers, and their feet begin to show the blue colour.  Within three or four months, they are fully developed and can catch their own food.

Another reason for sailors calling these birds boobies was observing their behaviour to attract a mate.  The male first picks out a nesting spot, and then he tries to attract a female by performing a strange hopping dance.  He holds one blue foot up and waves it at the female, making loud whistles while pointing his beak skyward.  If the female approves, she joins in, both stopping occasionally to bow, touch bills, point skyward and finally do a stiff-legged walk together.  After this, the nest is completed and family life begins.

It is understandable how these activities seem humorous and even clumsy, especially when great numbers are engaged in these rituals at the same time.  However, they are full of meaning to the blue-footed boobies and an important part of their courtship.

For thousands of years, these birds, living in remote places, were never seen by man.  But the Creator has always cared for them as the Bible tells us in Psalm 104:27-28:  
“These wait all upon Thee . . . what Thou givest them they gather: Thou openest Thine hand, they are filled with good.”  
The Lord God also provides for all mankind, and we should thank Him often for His care. 

Love you all
Grandpa