Thursday, August 25, 2016

Jewel # 258 (Aug. 24, 2016)

640WZ4R5011.jpg

“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

A Fish Family From the South

“Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee;
and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.”
(Job 12:8)

In South America there are many kinds of fish, ranging in size from tiny to huge.  One of these, a three-inch resident of the Amazon River, has a name that is almost as long as it is — Aequidens curviceps.  It is brightly coloured—blue on top, green underneath, yellow fins and tail, and a red band running around its middle.

A pair of these fish spends much time looking for a place on the bottom of the river to produce their young.  Once they have chosen a spot, both clean away the dirt and pebbles.  When their nest is ready, the female swims slowly over it, laying hundreds of eggs in neat orderly rows.  The male follows closely behind her, covering the eggs with a fertilizing substance called “milt”.

Most fish lay their eggs and then forget about them, but not these parents.  One of them always stays close by, constantly fanning the eggs with is fins and occasionally taking an egg in its lips to clean it.

Just four days before the baby fish are going to hatch, the adults scoop saucer-like depressions in another place in the river bottom.  When the babies hatch, the parents divide them into groups and lead them away from their birth place to these new spots.  There they are hidden from the eyes of bigger fish which would find them to be good eating.

The newly born fish are nourished for several days by absorbing their egg sacs.  This soon disappears, and the babies have to find their own food.  The tiny fish begin swimming away from the nest, perhaps not aware their parents have not yet left.  If the babies wander too far away, one of the parents goes after them, picks them up in its mouth and brings them back to home base where it spits them out.  Eventually they are strong enough and experienced enough to take care of themselves.

What a great variety exists among all of God’s creatures!  The Bible tells us that “Thou the Lord hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created“ (Revelation 4:11).  It seems He has taken great delight in bringing so many kinds of fish into the world.  Through the centuries, every fish throughout the world has obeyed God’s command to “bring forth . . . after his kind” (Genesis 1:24), and they will continue to do so in the future.

The Scriptures speak wisely:  “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). 

Rather than accepting man’s ideas, it is wise to trust and believe what God says about creation.     

Love you all - Grandpa

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Jewel # 257 (Aug. 14, 2016)

Manatee-swims-up-to-camera.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smart.jpg

“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 Awkward Manatee

“He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven . . . and unto man He said,
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
(Job 28:24,28)

Few people have ever seen a manatee, mainly because this large water animal lives only in tropical waters off the coast of Florida and along the coasts of the West Indies, South America and Africa.  This mammal spends its life underwater, in both freshwater and saltwater, coming up to breath with only the nostrils at the top of its snout breaking the surface.  The  manatee may weigh as much as 1300 pounds.

The skin on these 8 to 13-foot long creatures is greyish black and without fur.  They are quite gentle and affectionate toward each other, often swimming side by side and sharing any available food supply.  Because they are clumsy and slow moving, they are unable to come out on land to enjoy the sun’s warmth, like a hippopotamus can.  They are actually helpless on land.

A manatee looks somewhat like a seal, all the way from its large, bristly moustached mouth to its huge, flat, rounded tail.  Because of its appetite for underwater grass and plants, it is sometimes call a sea cow.  Heavy and bulky, it is supported by an extremely large muscle along the whole length of its body, as well as by a framework of strong, heavy ribs.  Having no hind legs, movement through water is achieved by its large tail and hind quarters, assisted by paddle shaped front legs.  These front legs are also necessary to maintain balance as well as to dig plants from the ocean bottom.

The Creator has given manatees everything needed for their unusual way of life, including the replacement of teeth so vital to them.  As their front teeth wear away from constant cutting and chewing of sea grasses, they drop out.  Promptly, all those behind move forward and additional new ones soon fill in at the back of the mouth.  Isn’t that a very interesting part of God’s wonderful provision for them?

A female will have just one calf a year, born underwater and immediately taken to the surface for it first breath of air.  The mother will often assist in this until the calf learns to swim up for air without help. She also brings the calf to the surface for nursing, keeping its head above water until finished.

Does God care about manatees?  Yes, He does.  They have been under His watchful care ever since the time of their creation.  You also are always in His care.  The psalmist was thinking of this when he wrote, “Happy is he . . . whose hope is in the Lord his God; which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is” (Psalm 146:5-6).

Are you one of these happy people whose hope and trust are in the Lord?

Love you all, Grandpa  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jewel # 256 (Aug. 2, 2016)

url.jpg

“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 Graceful Springbok

“O Lord . . . Thou hast created all things, and for 
Thy pleasure they are and were created.”
(Revelation 4:11)  

Springboks are one of the most graceful members of the antelope family.  They live on the prairies of Africa where they share the friendly company of zebras, giraffes, wildebeest and many others.  However, they are sometimes victims of hungry lions that capture them by creeping up unseen and then making a sudden leap before there is opportunity to escape.  Wild dogs are also among their enemies, but the dogs usually pick out the sick, old, or very young that has wandered away from the herd.

Springboks are well named, for one of the features that helps identify them is their practice of suddenly springing high in the air.  They appear to do this often just for the fun of it.  They seem to be one of the Creator’s “happy to be alive” animals.  It is a lovely sight to see them leaping this way on their long and thin but strong legs.

Springboks are delicately coloured animals, appearing to wear a tan cape over their backs and down the outsides of their legs.  The remainder of their bodies is pure white.  Crowning their heads is a pair of horns.  These horns extend for about 18 inches from their heads and gently curve forward at the top.  Springboks have appealing white faces with stripes between the eyes and nose, as if skillfully drawn with soft crayons, large deer-like eyes and long, erect ears.

These animals, which do not search out shade while browsing, seem to prefer the open country with its extremely hot sunshine.  Their usual food is the wild grasses of the prairie, but when these are hard to find, they will substitute leaves and tender parts of shrubs and will even eat roots dug out of the ground with their sharp horns.

In times of drought and when food runs low, thousands together make long migrations to greener pastures.

We might ask, “How do they know where to go and how do they know when to return?”  Those who have studied their ways cannot answer these questions, but to us who know of the Creator’s care over all living things, it is not difficult to realize that He is the One who directs them to go and gives them the sense when it is time to return to their native land.

Several Bible verses declare this care so well: “These wait all upon Thee; that Thou mayest give them their food in due season.  That Thou givest them they gather:  Thou openest Thine hand, they are filled with good” (Psalm 104:27-28).

Have you thanked Him that His same loving hand is stretched out for you too?  
He invites every boy and girl to trust in Him and know Him as their loving and very own Saviour. 

Love you all,
Grandpa