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