Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jewel # 269 (Dec. 17, 2016)

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"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 Pika—A Mountain Farmer

"The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest 
them their meat in due season.” 
(Psalm 145:15)

The cute, furry pika measures about seven inches long and weighs about eight ounces.  This energetic little animal is a relative of hares and rabbits and is sometimes called a coney.  In North America it is found only among the rocks high in the mountains of Western Canada and United States.

The pika’s outstanding feature is its busy activity in the summer months.  It wisely prepares food for use in winter, when the snow will lie deep and it must stay in its den with its family.  Unlike many mountain animals, it does not hibernate but does remain quite active during the cold season.

While cutting and gathering plants, flowers, berries, aspen leaves and other vegetation in summer and fall, the pika is constantly in motion. God has provided this rodent with four incisor teeth to do all this work.  The rock-dwelling pika has small litters of fewer than five young.  A lot of food is necessary, because one little pika family will need about 50 pounds of dried food during the cold winter days while confined inside the den.

Everything it cuts or gathers is brought to the entrance of the pika’s den, and, like a farmer preparing hay, it is piled in separate mounds in the sunshine to dry in the clear mountain air.  When rain threatens, it carefully picks up these piles and carries them inside, bringing them back out for further drying when the sun is shining again.

Where did this little animal get such wisdom?  And how does it know how to store its food underground so it will not become mouldy or rot?  This wisdom is given to it by God who, in creating everything “after his kind,” has provided for its unique way of life.  This is passed down from generation to generation, without the need of lessons or experiments.  If it didn’t know how to do this, it would die the very first winter of its life.  The Creator watches over everything He has made and provides for the needs of each one in His own wise way.

Living so far from civilization the pika is much like the coney spoken of in Proverbs 30:26:  “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make their houses in the rocks.”  Eagles, hawks and many animals are enemies of this quiet little fellow, but when sheltered by the rocks into which he hurries when they fly or come close, he is perfectly safe.

When David was delivered form his enemies, he said, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in Him will I trust” (2 Samuel 22:2-3).  He is the only refuge from Satan, our dreaded enemy.  

Do you know the Lord as the rock of your salvation? 

Love your all,
Grandpa

Jewel # 268 (Dec. 4, 2016)

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“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,

Preparing for Winter

“God saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth. . . .
Then the beasts go into dens, 
and remain in their places.”
(Job 37:6-8)

Many of God’s creatures live in areas that have cold winters, and He has provided them with special ways to survive.  Some migrate to warmer places, but an amazing number live year-round in the areas which the Creator has provided for them.  It is, of course, His provision for their special needs in the freezing temperatures that enables them to survive through the winter months.  These creatures include a great variety of birds, animals, insects, fish, seals, whales, dolphins and others.

Often a rocky cave in a hillside, soon to be buried in deep snow, is used by bears year after year, and other creatures know well enough not to try to occupy it.  In fact, in many areas all bears go into hibernation on the same day, with their spots selected well in advance.

How do they know to prepare for winter?  It is all through God-given instincts, including not only preparing a place beforehand, but also, of even more importance, by eating extra quantities of food in the fall.  The increase in weight is mostly fat and helps to keep them warm as well as nourishing their bodies while they are hibernating.

Surprisingly, it is during hibernation in the darkness of a cave that a mother bear usually gives birth to two little cubs.  In spite of the darkness, they promptly find a ready milk supply from their sleepy mother who goes right back to sleep after she nurses them.  These cubs are no bigger than small kittens.  It is one of the marvels of God’s creation that they can survive in the darkness.  They know just where to feed when they are hungry and then snuggle up to their mother’s warm body until the next feeding time.

Deer, elk and caribou do not hibernate, even in extremely cold places.  In the fall months they build themselves up with heavy eating, which not only provides fat for warmth but also causes their specially insulated hair to grow thick to provide a heavy overcoat for cold weather.  They search daily for grass, leaves and other vegetation, even in snow storms.  They have to paw through the snow with their sharp, strong hooves to uncover much of what they eat.

These are typical examples of the Creator’s care.  Psalm 36:6-7 tells us:  “O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast.  How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.”  

Have you thanked Him for His loving-kindness to you, and have you placed your trust in Him?  Always remember that it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).   

Love you all.
Grandpa

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jewel # 267 (Nov. 23, 2016)

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“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 Oilbird or Guacharo

“He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven.”
(Job 28:24)

The oilbird is unusually interesting and lives in Central and South America.  A fairly large bird, it measures about 18 inches from its beak to the tip of its tail.  Its wings, when outstretched, measures close to 3 feet across and it has very short legs.  It has a powerful beak that has long whisker-like feathers at each side.  This reddish-brown bird has white spots on its head and outside wing feathers and black bars across its tail.  

Oilbirds make permanent homes inside  pitch-black caves where a person would need a light to see.  Whole colonies share many of these caves, building their nests and raising their young in the darkness.  You may wonder how they live under such dark conditions.  Their Creator has given them a navigational system similar to bats.  Like bats, the birds make sharp, quick sounds while flying in the caves. These sounds echo back to their sensitive ears, telling them when something is in the way and a safe way around it.

These birds also hunt in the darkness for the fruit of certain palms and other fragrant kinds of fruits.  Good night vision and a keen sense of smell help them find these fruits, which they gulp down whole while flying.  Fruit of this kind is very nourishing and is all the food they need for themselves and their growing chicks.  They are the only nocturnal, flying fruit-eating birds in the world.

The guacharo was given the more common name of oilbird because of their chicks.  When they first hatch, chicks are quite large and have enormous appetites, gulping down all the fruit their parents bring.  These fruits are full of fat and oily juice, and in a short time the chicks, while still in the nest, grow larger than their parents.

Once their plumage begins to fill out, they gradually thin down.  By the time they are three or four months old when they leave the nests, they are nearly a normal size.  This is further helped by the exercise of searching for their own food.  In times past, natives of the area discovered that the fat of these young, oversized birds produced a rich oil when they were caught, killed and the oil boiled out of the body.  They used the oil to make an excellent butter and as fuel for their lamps.  Killing these birds is no longer permitted, but that is how the  oilbird got its unusual name.

Does the Lord God, their Creator, see these birds in the dark caves or when they are flying about at night?  Yes, He both sees and cares for them, for His eye is always on every living thing, just as the opening Bible verse tells us.

Love you all
Grandpa 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Jewel # 266 (Nov. 15, 2016)



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“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 Pronghorn

“Turn not from God’s Word to the right hand or to the left, 
that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”   
(Joshua 1:7)

The pronghorn, with its graceful horns, is found only in the interior western and central parts of North America with a few in northern Mexico.  It is the size of a small deer, with light tan colouring except for white fur on its face, underparts and hind quarters.  This colouring allows it to blend in with the prairie where it feeds on grasses, the tender twigs of sagebrush and other shrubs.

A doe will use her sharp hoofs to beat off a coyote threatening her young, but otherwise the pronghorn has no real means of defence.  However, being one of the fastest large mammals of North America, a mature pronghorn can sprint 55 miles an hour for a half mile, 42 miles an hour for one mile and 35 miles an hour for 4 miles to escape from an enemy.  It is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, with the cheetah being the fastest.

The pronghorn has remarkably keen sight.  Its large eyes are placed far back on the side of its head, giving it a great circle of sharp vision.  When it sees something threatening, it raises the white patch of fur around its tail—a warning signal to its companions, and they all run away.  The Creator gave them the instinct to have one of their herd always stand watch.  Even when they lie down, they face in different directions so an enemy cannot take them by surprise.

A doe usually bears twins in the spring.  Their eyes are already open, and they are able to stand right away.  Prowling animals cannot easily find them because they give off no scent for some months.  At ten months they are fully grown, and by the end of a year they can run as fast as their parents.

What leads the pronghorn into trouble is its curiosity.  Hunters will tie a piece of cloth to a stick and wave it in the air while remaining hidden.  The pronghorn comes toward it to investigate, and the hunter shoots it.  This is just like the person who knows that the Bible teaches the way “which leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:14), but who is tempted to investigate the things that Satan and the world offer.  Satan is always ready to deceive all who will be attracted by these temptations, leading them into tragedy and sorrow.

The Bible says, "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).  As our opening verse advises, do not be like the curious pronghorn and leave the right path.  The Lord will give you the strength to stand firm and show you the right way.  His instruction is:  

Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee” (Psalm 50:15).      

Love you all - Grandpa

Friday, November 04, 2016

Jewel # 265 (Nov. 3, 2016)

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“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

Scorpions of the Sea

“If a son shall ask . . . for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?”
(Luke 11:11-12)


The scorpion of desert areas should definitely be avoided.  When the Lord Jesus mentioned a scorpion in the above verse, He was telling us that loving parents do not give harmful things to their children. 

Several types of vicious fish called scorpionfish are found in the Red Sea off the coast of Africa and nearby Jordan.  These are avoided by those who know about them.

One is named turkeyfish, probably because of the way it spreads its fins when swimming.  It is one of the more active in the scorpionfish family and a fearful enemy of small fish as well as shrimp.  It will gobble them up quickly.  Hunting in small groups, a few of them circle a school of small fish, driving them toward other turkeyfish, which quickly eat quantities of them and then change places with their companions.  They do not attack people unless stepped on.  Then, like a scorpion, they sting the swimmer’s foot or bare leg with a poisonous fin.  This is usually not fatal but very, very painful. 

Another variety, equipped with small fins that help it crawl along the sea bottom, is the devil scorpionfish.  This one usually lies on the bottom and is so well camouflaged that it looks like a piece of coral.  It’s a short life for a shellfish crawling nearby or a small fish swimming too close—they are quickly eaten.  When swimming it is quite colourful, and other fish stay far away from it.

A close relation to this one is the shortfin lionfish which, motionless on the sea bottom, also looks like a piece of coral until it leaps into action.

The most fearful of all is the stonefish, which doesn’t really look like a fish but more like a piece of coloured rock.  With no visible fins or mouth its brightly coloured eyes look like  pieces of gravel  resting on top.  Swimmers are also fearful of this one as its sting is extremely painful and sometimes fatal!  Even its skin is poisonous.  Like a cannibal, it doesn’t hesitate to eat a smaller stonefish.

These poisonous and crafty creatures remind us of Satan’s ways, the one whom the Bible warms us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  Satan, of course, does not want to eat our bodies, but to “devour” our lives by leading us into sin and closing our ears to the story of God’s love and care toward us.

There is excellent counsel in the Bible, telling us how to avoid Satan and his evil ways: “The Lord shall help them, and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked one, and save them, because they trust in Him” (Psalm 37:40).

Have you taken that counsel for yourself?

Love you all - Grandpa

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Jewel # 264 (Oct. 26, 2016)

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“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 Lively Kinkajou

“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)

If you like pets, you would find a tamed kinkajou (also called honey bear) a playful one, but in the wild it is tough and fierce.  This six-to seven-pound member of the raccoon family lives in the forests of southern Mexico, Central America and parts of South America.

When fully grown, it is two feet long, or slightly smaller, plus a slender tail of the same length.  It is sometimes mistaken for a monkey or a ferret, but it is not closely related to either one.

Like some monkeys, kinkajous use their tails to grasp  onto branches as they travel through the trees.  Sometimes they hang head-downward with their tails grasping a branch.  This tail also helps in keeping their balance when jumping from one branch to another.

They have yellow-brown dense fur with some faint darker colours and a white stomach.  Heads are round with pointed noses, cup shaped ears and large, innocent looking eyes adding to their beauty.  

The Creator has also provided them with sharp claws on their front feet to help in climbing.  They also will hold a piece of fruit or other food in one hand while breaking off pieces with the other for eating, just like we do.

Being nocturnal, during the day they hide in tree holes or nap in crotches of trees with their tails wrapped snugly around them.  They become lively at night and feed mostly on fruit and insects.  Long tongues are a help in probing crevices for insects.  At times they will use their long tails to reach into insects nests, then pull them out and lick off any insects stuck to them.

Usually just one baby is born to the parents each year.  It looks like a cute little kitten with its soft tan fur and tightly shut eyes, which will open in about four weeks.  Even before its eyes open, its tail can get a tight grip on things it encounters.  

When only three months old, it might be found playfully hanging head-downward with its tail securely wrapped about a small limb.  In a year’s time it is fully grown.  Many have long lives for so little an animal—some in captivity living nearly 20 years.

These cuddly animals are examples of the Creator’s care for all living things, even in the wild, tropical forests.  But His thoughts toward every boy and girl are far better, for He invites you to live with Him in heaven when your life on earth is over.

In great love, the Lord Jesus made this possible by bearing on Calvary’s cross the sins of all who admit they are sinners and  believe that He died for them.

Will you be among the happy ones in heaven who will be with Him for all eternity?

Love you all,
Grandpa

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Jewel # 263 (Oct. 14, 2016)


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“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,

Big-Billed Pelicans

“The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. 
 . . . He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered.”
(Psalm 111:2,4)

Pelicans are the world’s largest web-footed birds.  Both white and brown pelicans live in North America, with other species in other parts of the world.  Large colonies nest on ocean islands; others prefer ocean bays and beaches or inland lakes.  Four white-plumaged species tend to nest on the ground, and four brown or gray-plumaged species nest mainly in trees.

The white pelican can be as large as 5 feet long with a10-foot wingspan and weight 16 pounds; the brown pelican is somewhat smaller.  A pelican’s heavy body is supported by strong, short legs and large, webbed feet.  It has a long neck and a big head with a long, flat bill.  The upper part of the bill has a sharp hook at the tip; the lower part has an elastic pouch which stretches out to form a big scoop.  After scooping up a fish, water and all, the pouch is contracted, squeezing out the water before the fish is swallowed.

Spotting a fish from the air, this big bird plunges into the water, scoops the fish into its pouch, and then swallows it whole.  At other times, a dozen or more pelicans work together.  Swimming together in a line on the deep-water side of a school of fish, the pelicans beat the water with their strong wings, driving the fish to the shallow shoreline where they are easily caught.  

Who taught them this clever trick?  No one but God, their Creator, who also provided them with air pockets under their skin and hollow bones so they are never in danger of sinking.  How wonderfully He adapts every creature to its manner of life!

These almost voiceless birds aren’t too particular about their nests.  Ground nesters, they build them from mud, gravel and sand, with twigs placed loosely on top.  The female lays 1 to 4 dull-white eggs.  The hatchlings have bare, pink skin but are soon covered with down.  The parents carefully protect them from the hot sun when they are first hatched, always standing over them to keep them in the shade of their large bodies.

Once in the air, this otherwise awkward bird becomes a graceful flier and can fly for hours, covering long distances.  When several fly together, they fly in V-formation and flap their wings in unison.  The Creator has given them this instinct because flying in this manner produces air currents which make flying easier.

Pelicans may seem like strange birds, but they are part of the works of the Lord” stated in our opening verse.  When we see these birds, as well as every other creature, we should consider how God, their Creator, not only made them, but watches over them with loving care, just as He watches over you and me.

Love you all, 
Grandpa  

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Jewel # 262 (Oct. 5, 2016)

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“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,

Four-Legged Battering Rams

“The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.”
(Psalm 104:18)

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are majestic, sharp-sighted animals that are often seen standing atop a boulder or at the edge of a steep precipice in the mountains.  Their beautiful horns curve backward from their foreheads, down and then forward and sometimes measure four feet along the front curves and spread 31 inches apart.  Both rams and ewes have thick, brown wool, white muzzles and a patch of white around their stubby tails.  Rams often weigh up to 400 pounds.

Living above the timberline throughout the year, bighorns only head down to lower grassy slopes when food is scarce.  The Creator designed them to live where other animals cannot survive (except the little coney). An advantage of the high, subzero climate is that strong winds sweep the snow away from the high meadows, leaving grass and shrubs exposed.  The bighorns’ God-given digestive systems were designed to handle this frozen, but nourishing, food.

Familiar with every foot of the highest parts of the mountains and rocky slopes and cliffs, these surefooted animals can jumps and climb easily in the most dangerous places.   They escape from wolves, coyotes and mountain lions by racing to the heights far above them.  They are just as sure-footed when they plunge at great speed down steep slopes.

Lambs two or three weeks old can go wherever their mothers go.  For this exciting life, the Lord God provided them with insulated coats, shockproof legs and hooves that hold firmly to the rocky ledges.

The rams live peacefully except when seeking mates among the ewes.  At that time, they batter each other without mercy.  Two rams, standing several feet apart, will suddenly rise on their hind legs, then dropping down, dash forward at a terrific speed and ram their horns and heads together in crashes that can be heard a mile away!  This stuns them for a few moments, but soon they go at it again, until one finally leaves.  Serious injury seldom results, for the Creator has provided them with an inch-thick, honeycomb “sandwich” in their two-layered skulls, plus an inch of tough outer sin—all of which helps to absorb these shocks.

These animals give the appearance of pride in their majestic beauty.  However the Bible warns that it is not right for boys and girls, or grown-ups either, to have pride.  It says, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23).  Instead of of pride, Colossians 3:12 tells us to have "kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness.”  However, this attitude, so pleasing to the Lord, can only fully show itself when we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our very own Saviour and are depending on His strength to walk in ways pleasing to Him. 

Love you all - Grandpa  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Jewel # 261 (Sept. 25, 2016)

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“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,

Beware of the Piranha!

“Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He . . . in earth, 
in the seas, and all deep places.” 
(Psalm 135:6)

There is a particular kind of fish in some of the freshwater lakes and streams of South America that has perhaps frightened more people than the fiercest sharks; it is the piranha.  The fear of this fish is easy to understand, because so many true stories have been told about large animals and people being attacked  and eaten by a large school  of these bloodthirsty fish.  Although they are only 4 to 18 inches long, some scientists consider these fierce little fish to be more dangerous that sharks, due to their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. 

Piranhas have one of the strongest bites in bony fishes.  It’s not unusual for a school of of a thousand or more to attack as a group, using their razor-sharp  teeth to strip all flesh from an animal or a human being in minutes.  Sometimes one will sneak up on another fish, nipping off a fin or scale without otherwise attacking it.  The fin soon grows back, and no serious damage has been done.

There are about 30 species of piranhas, but one thing they all have is razor sharp teeth.  These teeth are quickly replaced when the old ones become dull or damaged.  Piranhas can open and close their toothy jaws faster than the blink of an eye.  Some closely related species eat plants, nuts, fruits, lizards, frogs and snakes.

One species, the red-bellied piranha, is only about 7 inches  long but is well equipped for its size with razor-sharp teeth in a thick skull.  It is actually brownish purple on its back, but it has a bright red stomach.  While all are fierce looking, some are noted for their beauty, and the red-bellied is among these.  Another is covered with scales that are olive flecked with gold; others are deep purple.

Their young hatch from eggs laid in nests prepared by both the male and the female.  Once the female has deposited her eggs, the male quickly takes over, guarding them and not letting his mate or any other creature even approach until they have hatched.

Some natives catch and eat piranhas as part of their daily food supply, in addition to selling quantities in fish markets.  They apparently make a tasty meal.

These unusual fish are just another example of the millions of creatures living in water which the Creator took a delight in placing there.  When we consider His power, wisdom and love to boys and girls all over the earth, we all should respond to the Bible verse which tells us to “remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Ecclesiastes12:1).   

No one is ever too old to remember our Creator, and no one is ever too young or too old to accept Him as his or her Lord and Saviour.

Love you all  - Grandpa

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jewel # 260 (Sept. 17, 2016)

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“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 Open-Billed Stork

“The stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtle dove 
and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their  coming.”
(Jeremiah 8:7)

Except for people living in Florida and Central and South America, few Americans have seen a stork living in the wild.  However, many live in Europe, Africa, India and some other lands.  They are large birds with long beaks and legs and partially webbed feet.  It is a pretty sight to see them soaring  through the air, big wings spread out, long necks extended and legs stretched out behind them.

The open-billed stork is different from other storks in several ways.  One difference is that it makes its rough nest of sticks near marshes, whereas most storks prefer dry, hotter places.  But the main difference is that this one lives almost entirely on snails, and other storks don’t eat them at all.

Here’s how the open billed got its name.  The Creator has given it a special bill because of the way it gets its food.  Other storks have smooth bills, but this bill is grooved all along the edges.  Also, the upper part of the bill curves down and the lower part curves up, so that when the tips are together there is a spot left open in the middle—open-billed.  This along with the grooves helps it to hold the slippery snail shells securely until it has a chance to insert the pointed tip of its bill into the shell, cutting the snail loose and eating it.  Certainly, this specially designed bill is a provision of the Creator, enabling this stork to capture the great number of snails it eats daily.

Open-bills will ride on the backs of hippos wading in the same marshy feeding area.  The hippo pulls up its own grassy food and exposes snails, which are quickly snatched by the stork.

When stork eggs hatch, the little ones are naked, but before long they grow a soft coat of down followed a little later by feathers.  Both parents take care of them, shading them from the hot sun by stretching out their wings over them and also regurgitating food which they have brought for them.  The greedy youngsters eat more than their stomachs can hold, but the Creator has provided for this too.  Instead of making them sick, the extra food goes into a pouch in their throats until their stomachs are ready for it.

These interesting birds provide another example of the way God cares for every creature, large or small, as a Bible verse tells us: “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing” (Job 12:10).  We are told in other Bible verses how much more He loves and cares for every boy and girl in the the world.

Have you ever thanked Him for His loving care over you?

Love you all, 
Grandpa  

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Jewel # 259 (Aug. 31, 2016)

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“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 Always-Hungry Shrew

“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field.” 
(Genesis 2:19

There are more than 200 kinds of shrews throughout the world, with 30 kinds in North America.   They are among the smallest known mammals—the tiniest is so small it could be hidden in a man’s closed fist and weights less than a dime.  The largest American shrew is about six inches long, including its tail.  But in spite of their small size, they will attack and with their very sharp teeth they will kill animals more than twice their size.

The reason for such fierceness is that they are always hungry and must eat almost continually during the day, eating about three times their weight daily in order to stay alive.  A boy or girl weighing 50 pounds would have to eat about 600 hamburgers a day to keep up with a shrew!  Do you think you could do that?

Most shrews look like a mouse with a pointed nose.  Because much of their food consists of worms, grubs and insects in the soil, the Creator has given shrews long, slender snouts to explore small holes and crevices for food.

Actually, a shrew will eat almost any living creature it can handle, including small birds and snakes, mice, frogs and chipmunks.  Because their tremendous appetites cause them to eat so many mice and insects, farmers are usually glad to have them around.

Most shrews are good swimmers, but one known as the water shrew outdoes them all.  It can stay underwater a long time, devouring fish, frogs and crabs.  If its food gives out, it will die of hunger in less than a day’s time, so it also eats some land creatures.

Most shrews make grassy nests in the side of a bank or in short burrows, where half a dozen or more babies are born in the spring.  The mother takes care of them, nursing them for a short time and then training them to search for solid food.  In just a few weeks, she leaves them entirely on their own.

Do you think God cares about shrews?  Yes He does, for the Bible tells us, “In His hand is the soul of every living thing” (Job 12:10).  He watches over all His creation, even though sin has spoiled so much of it.

We admire these little creatures but cannot help but think how they remind us of Satan who “walks about, seeking whom he may devour”  (1 Peter 5:8).  Satan is very real, and we can only be kept from his tempting us into evil things if we know the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.  Then we can come to Him in earnest prayer for help, since He “is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).   

Is He your Saviour?
Is He a refuge and strength to you?

Love you all - Grandpa