Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Jewel # 257 (Aug. 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

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  

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