Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jewel # 238 (January 27, 2016)


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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 Lovely Avocet

“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, 
and every fowl of the air.”
(Genesis 2:19)

There are four species of the pretty bird called the avocet, and all are quite similar except for colouring.  One of these is the American avocet.  It migrates north in spring to the Arctic and returns south to Canada and the United States in fall.  This long-legged, web-footed, 18 inch resident of marshes and ponds is called a “wader,” because much of its time is spent wading as it hunts for food.

Beautiful colour combinations mark the American species.  They are black and white above with white below.  Smooth feathers of its neck, head and breast are set off with a small, white circle around each dark eye.  It has a larger circle at the base of its long, up-curved, slender, black bill.  Below the breast the body is pure white, partly covered with black wings.  Long, slender, strong legs and extra large, partially webbed feet complete the picture.  In flight, it trails its legs behind like a rudder.

When choosing a mate, the male, while wading in water, entertains a female sitting on the ground.  She may encourage him with motions of her head and wings.  He struts gracefully through shallow water, stopping now and then to bow to her.  The he spreads his wings wide and shows her how gracefully he can dance.  If she responds to all this, they soon begin to build a crude nest on the ground.

The female lays three or four spotted eggs which will hatch in three or four weeks.  The male incubates them for a week or more and then turns the rest of the job over to the female.  If an enemy threatens her, he is close by and immediately comes to her assistance.

The baby chicks can run around soon after hatching.  If the parents warn them to be still, they freeze immediately and stay that way, even permitting a person to pick them up.

The Creator has provided these birds with long, flat, up-curved bills to enable them to find food from the marshy areas.  They use their bills to scrap along the bottom for shellfish and worms.  They also swing their open bills back and forth just above the surface of the water to catch hovering insects.

The opening verse tells of the Creator’s bringing all birds and beasts into the world, and we know He took great pleasure in all He created.  More importantly, we are also told of His special love for each one of us.  He wants each of us to accept the Lord Jesus as Saviour—the One who died on the cross, providing the only way to heaven.

If you have not yet come to Him, why not come right now?  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).  

I love you all
Grandpa  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Jewel # 237 (January 18, 2016)

“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,

Bufo Relatives

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”
(Ecclesiastes 12:1)

No clown ever looked funnier than this little toad, sitting upright with its four legs ready to jump, eyes bright and a big grin across its face as if saying “Hi there.  My name is Bufo Boreas.  Want to be friends?”

The bufos hatch from eggs in ponds beside the Los Angeles River in Southern California.  But after changing from a tadpole into a toad, they leave their birthplace, climb the bank and go in search of a new home.  A golf course or park area will do very nicely for a year or two, but eventually they will return to their original home to join others in producing millions of eggs that will soon hatch into tadpoles.

In these trips across land, many hazards await these toads.  Although large numbers are killed each year crossing busy roads or die on sun-baked parking lots, their numbers never seem to decrease.

Nearly 500 miles farther north in high meadows near Yosemite Park, an equally restless cousin to bufo boreas also leaves its home to seek adventure in life.  This one is bufo canorus, but because of a rugged lifestyle, it is not as cheerful as its relative.

To escape the killing cold of the high mountains, these little creatures hibernate from October until May or June, when they come out into the warm sunshine to sit and soak up the sun, while at the same time gaining strength and energy for the journey that is before them.

Soon, like those in the south, they start out to find a suitable pond for a summer home and to raise new batches of tadpoles.  But they face quite a trip ahead with many snowdrifts to be crossed, and that is not easy for toads that cannot let their bodies get too chilled or they will freeze to death.

However, their Creator has given them remarkable instincts.  Coming to a patch of snow too large to go around, they stand up on their hind feet to look it over, and then, with only occasional rests, they tiptoe on their four feet across the patch, keeping their bodies high and dry.  They are surprisingly sure-footed on those slippery surfaces.  After crossing several such areas, the sought-after pond will be found and provide a summer home.  What amazing toads these are!

The opening verse tells us to “remember” the Lord Jesus, and that means not only as Creator but also as the Saviour of sinners.  He invites us to live in His home in heaven when our lives here on earth are ended.  He has paid the full price for every sinner who comes to Him confessing that he is a sinner and accepting Him as his Saviour.  When this is done from the heart, heaven will be his eternal home.

Will heaven be your eternal home?

Love you all,
Grandpa      


            

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jewel # 236 (January 8, 2016)

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

To my dear Grandchildren

Caterpillars for Dinner

"Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused,
if it be received with thanksgiving.”
(1 Timothy 4:4)

How would you like a bowl of fried caterpillars for lunch?  Or would you enjoy taking few along for for snacks on your next picnic?  “Yuck!” you might announce loudly.  Don’t even suggest such a thing!”  But there are people in southern Africa who would tell you that you don’t know what you are missing until you have tasted this very special food.

These African people don’t mean that every kind of caterpillar should be eaten—just those known as Mopane worms (because they are found mostly on Mopane trees) or a few others like them.  These are large caterpillars—about four inches long with fat bodies circled with green and black bands, and some have yellow or red bands.  Many Africans eat them either raw or cooked, as a snack or added to other foods in stews.

Children, as well as grown-ups, collect them.  When one is removed from a leaf, it is pressed flat to remove the inside part and then either eaten right away or added to others in a basket to take home.  Sometimes they are canned for eating later.  It is not just the natives in the forests who enjoy them, but many wealthy people buy them in sealed cans or in plastic bags in grocery stores and meat markets.  

Housewives, fixing lunch bags for workers or for children in school, often include a package to be eaten for dessert—just as most of us would eat a piece of cake or a candy bar.  While all this may seem like a bad dream, this food is actually full of vitamins and minerals and helpful for good health.

Visitors who have tried them report they taste like nuts; others compare them with roast beef, while some think they taste more like a breakfast cereal.  But all visitors agree that it would take quite a while to really want them included their meals!

The opening bible verse tells of the bounties of God’s provision for all He has created.  Of course, the verse does not mean that everything can be eaten without first knowing if it is harmless or needs special preparation.  It may have been God’s purpose to have it changed into medicines or even as a poison to dispose of dangerous pests or for some other use than eating.  But it does remind us that the Creator had a definite purpose for everything He brought into being, and all can be accepted with thanksgiving.

Have you thanked Him for His goodness to you, not only for daily food, but in providing His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be your Saviour?  Have you admitted your need of having your sins washed away and accepted Him as your very own Saviour?  If not, don’t wait another day.

Love you all,
Grandpa

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Jewel # 235 (December 31, 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 Likeable Desert Fox

“The glory of the Lord shall endure forever: the Lord shall rejoice in His works.”
(Psalm 104:31) 

All foxes are pretty, but the little desert kit fox is the most likeable.  It is only the size of a large house cat and so gentle and full of curiosity that it sometimes follows people.  If seen, it does not run off unless threatened.  It makes a lovely picture with its large, furry, triangular ears standing alert, button nose sniffing the air, and its round eyes watching everything that’s going on.

The fur of the desert kit fox is usually gray with patterns of yellow and black.  It has a typical fox’s bushy tail, which is about half the length of its 20 inch long body.  Its short legs are muscular, and although it cannot run fast for long distances, it can make quick turns to disappear into the brush or behind rocks.

When Jesus was on earth, He said, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20).  How sad to think that the very Creator of the world was the One who had no place to lay His head at  night!  But He has provided a safe home for foxes where they can rest and sleep.

Dens of the kit fox are usually made by digging a burrow in firm sand or dirt or under tree roots.  Sometimes the fox may move into a den abandoned by another animal.  The burrows are usually six or seven feet long with more than one opening for emergencies.

Normally four or five kits are born soon after the den is completed.  The father fox brings food to the mother while she stays with the kits.  Gradually she acquaints them with the outdoors, teaching them to catch rodents, lizards, insects and even birds and how to protect themselves from enemies.

The Creator has well adapted these desert citizens to their surroundings with coats blending in with the desert.  The soles of their feet are covered with fur, but the toes remain bare so they can dig in the ground.  Scorpions abound in such places, and their bite is deadly to most foxes, but God has given the desert fox immunity to the poison so it does not affect them.  He has also given them keen hearing, vision and sense of smell, all to help them find food and to protect them from their enemies.

The Bible expresses this well: “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9).  But there is more than this in His love for every person who will respond to Him.  “O how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee!” (Psalm 31:19). 

Have you found this happiness of truly trusting in Him?

Love you all,
Grandpa