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
(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

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jewel # 230 (November 10, 2015)

“They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make 
(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,

Monday, November 02, 2015

Jewel # 229 (November 2, 2015)

"They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make
(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