Saturday, December 30, 2017

Jewel # 306 (Dec. 29, 2017)

“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

Angelfish Are Beauties

“Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters,
and Thy footsteps are not known."
(Psalm 77:19)

The Creator has made homes in the seas for more varieties of fish than we can count, both small and large.  Some are very unusual looking, and many of them are beautiful creatures.

Several varieties of small, colourful fishes are named angelfish and are very pretty.  They live mainly in the warm waters along the Atlantic Coast from Florida to Brazil.  Some from the Amazon River in South America are highly prized in many North American aquariums.  There are also varieties of large angelfish that are fished commercially and sold to fish markets, since most are good to eat.

Florida's blue angelfish, for instance, is one of the outstanding beauties.  It is deep blue on its entire back, with two blue ribbons surrounding its head, separated by a dark brown ribbon.  The bottom part of its body is as an even more brilliant blue, and a blue and amber snout adds a little more to its beauty, as well as a brilliant, fan-shaped, yellow tail.  Its not difficult to see how it got its name.

One of the more striking ones is the  clown angelfish.  One variety of these has a light-pink head and shoulders, but the rest of its body, all the way to its tail, is a dark orange marked with wide bands and a central, bright-green stripe that turns deep blue towards it tail.  In addition to this, a huge fin on its back is deep blue, but a similar fin below is light orange with narrow blue stripes.  Getting a close look at one of these would convince you that with such a combination of colours, it is well named. 

Another very attractive variety is the queen angelfish.  A typical one is a soft speckled green all over, except for an outstanding yellow tail and fins.  It is also decorated with a thin but bright-red line all along its narrow top and underside.  There are about a dozen varieties in this group, most of them living off the shores of Florida, but with some venturing as far north as the New England coastline.  When fully grown, they are about two feet long and are a good catch for anyone fishing. 

The Bible tells us that on the fifth day of God’s creation He said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. . . .And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters [oceans, lakes and rivers] brought forth abundantly. . . . And God saw that it was good" (Genesis 1:20-21). When we see these and other wonders, how good it is to know the One who created it all and who still watches over them.  He watches over you and me.

Love you all - Grandpa    

Jewel # 305 (Dec. 14, 2017)


“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

Bluffing Its Way Through

“The Lord searches all hearts and understands all imaginations of the thoughts.”
(1 Chronicles 28:9)

We all know what it is to “pretend.”  This goes on with many wild creatures of the world every day—usually when they are frightened and want to scare away a threatening enemy. 

The hognose snake, sometimes called a puff adder, is one of these.  It may play dead when frightened, just like an opossum does.  At other times it inhales more and more air into its body until it is about twice as big around as usual.  Either of these tricks usually works and causes an enemy to give up the idea of attacking it.

The coral snake has white, yellow, black and red bands around it.  It is very poisonous, but there are other snakes that look like the coral snake that are not poisonous.  If one of these is threatened by an animal or another snake, it puts on a show and acts just like the coral snake to frighten its enemy away.

A five-inch-long caterpillar called hickory horned devil has been provided with vicious-looking but soft horns on the top of its head.  It also has bulges around its mouth that look like big sharp teeth.  When frightened, it raises the front of its body straight  up and moves its head around, as though it will either take a bite out of whatever threatens it or stab it with its fierce-looking horns. The bird or small animal that was hoping for dinner “escapes” as quickly as possible.

You may have heard of the frilled lizard of Australia and New Guinea.  It has been provided with four sturdy legs and a large fold of loose skin that normally lies flat agains its body like a collar.  But when threatened, this lizard immediately rises on its strong legs and puffs out its huge collar which makes it look more than twice its usual size.  When its mouth is wide open and a row of sharp little teeth are showing while it makes fearsome sounds, its attacker usually changes its mind and makes a quick getaway.

You may think of other interesting examples of the Creator’s provisions for defenceless animals, fish and birds.

Sadly, some people are also pretenders and claim to be wiser than God.  Some teach that there is no God or that the Bible is not true.  Others say that we will get to heaven just by being good.  Many of them teach that the world and all life were not created by God but just “happened to come about.”

Turn away from such wrong teachings and do as King David did when people told him false things.  He said, “I esteem all God’s precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128).

Love you all - Grandpa   

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Jewel # 304 (Dec. 7, 2017)

“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 Lovers of the Snow

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, 
they shall be as white as snow.”   (Isaiah 1:18)

Most everyone likes the beauty of snow and the way it covers unpleasant spots.  Children like to play in it, and older ones on toboggans or skis also enjoy it.  Snow-capped hills and mountains are beautiful subjects for photographs.  Then, too, deep deposits of snow on the mountain peaks and slopes are a wonderful provision of the Creator to replenish fresh water in rivers, lakes and reservoirs during hot summer months.

Most people prefer not to stay outdoors during the snowstorms, but there are creatures for whom the Lord God has given snow a special importance.  Polar bears in their white coats are well camouflaged on snow and ice and can sneak up on unsuspecting prey without being seen.  The same is true of white foxes in the Arctic areas.

In some places where snow becomes very deep, activities go on beneath the surface of the snow that are never seen from above.  Field mice, ground squirrels, porcupines and even some birds make tunnels along the ground leading to their feeding areas.  They can do this without the threat of being caught by their enemies.  Working in groups several feet below the surface, they sometimes press down the bottom layer of snow, making a cozy place for warmth and safety.

Then there are animals and birds of various sizes for which the Creator has provided white coats in winter.  If they become aware of an enemy nearby, they lie down or curl up in the snow and are never seen.  Weasels and Arctic hares are examples of this.  Even big snowy owls have been given white feathers for winter.  The wide-winged, pure-white snowy petrel, a sea bird of Antarctica, also benefits from its colouring.

Other birds and animals are temporarily provided with special feathers or fur on their feet for winter.  These feathers or fur act as snowshoes so they can easily travel over the snow’s surface.  Fur and feathers of other creatures do not change in colour, but they are given thicker, extra-warm winter coats.  Ruffed grouse, threatened by an enemy, will plunge into a snow bank and, completely hidden, remain there until danger is past.  Other animals benefitting from snow are deer, elk and moose.  Deep, crusty snow enables them to reach higher to eat tree branches that they could not reach in summer.

In the sight of God, our sins stand out as bright as scarlet, but He invites us to become white as snow in His sight, by admitting that we are sinners and accepting the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.  When we do this, we become His children and are assured of a home in heaven.  The Bible tells us to do this now!  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).  

Love you all - Grandpa  

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Jewel # 303 (Nov. 26, 2017)


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

To my dear grandchildren

The Slippery Eel

“Ask now . . . and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.”
(Job 12:7-8)

Although they are so long and thin that they look like snakes, eels are actually fish.  They have tiny scales embedded in a smooth, slimy skin.  They usually grow to about three feet long, but larger ones may grow to five or six feet long.

Male eels spend most of their lives in rivers near the ocean; females go upriver to streams or lakes.  After two or three years in freshwater, both males and females head for the ocean at spawning time in the fall.  Those in landlocked lakes have a difficult time beginning their journey.  They leave the lake in great numbers, wriggling their way for a day or two across fields and ground wet with rain or dew until they find a stream that leads to the ocean.  God has equipped them with special gills that hold enough moisture while out of water on this part of their trip.

When the eels reach a stream, they swim downstream, joining others on the way.  Many of them are caught in wire traps or nets by people who like them for food.  Both European and North American eels that make it to the ocean begin a long migration to the breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda where females deposit thousands of eggs deep below the ocean surface.  Here many miles of seaweed are teeming with food which will provide for the needs of baby eels that will appear the following spring.  After spawning, the parent eels die.

When the eggs hatch, the young eels are about one-quarter-inch long and are thin and transparent.  They rise to the surface where they feed for about a year.  The North American eels begin the long trip back to the home of their parents.  The European eels remain another year to gain the necessary strength for their journey, which will take about three years.  When both species reach the stream of their parent, they are still  long, thin and transparent and are called elvers.  Just like their parents, the males remain in tidal waters, and the females go far inland—the cycle continuing just as God designed it.

How can these little, inexperienced eels reach their destinations with no parents to guide them?  The answer is exactly what the Bible tells us of every creature in the seas: "These wait all upon Thee” (Psalm 104:27).  He gives them the instinct to follow the paths He has marked out.

And the Lord has a pathway for every boy and girl called “the path of life,” which is the way to heaven and everlasting joy.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  If we accept Him as our Saviour, then we are sure of being on the right path where He can teach us His way.

Love you all - Grandpa    

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Jewel # 302 (Nov. 21, 2017)

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 Agouti of Central America

“Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done,
and Thy thoughts which are to usward.”
Psalm 40:5)

Central America is home for many kinds of wildlife, including large and small animals.  One of these small ones is the agouti, also known as the guatuga.  Most of these live in Costa Rica, but some live in South America as well.

The agouti is a harmless rodent about the size of a rabbit.  If it hears strange noises or spots an enemy, such as a jaguar, coati, or vicious monkey, it gives a special alarm call to others nearby.  At the same time it “freezes" as still as a statue or will dash for cover, zigzagging through the trees.  The Creator has provided the agouti with strong, long legs, which it uses to move quickly when threatened.

This rather pretty little animal, with a very short tail or no tail at all, has large, bulging eyes, a pointed head and blunt nose.  Its small rounded ears are always standing upright when it is awake, which accounts for its keen sense of hearing.  Generally it has brown or blackish-brown fur.  These animals have longer legs than rabbits.  

The agouti lives in dense forests and usually makes its home in a sheltered spot under tree roots, between rocks or in a hollow log.  This peaceful creature hunts in daylight for its food consisting mostly of wild avocados or other fruit, nuts, leaves, roots or stems of good-tasting shrubs.  Unlike most animals, its two babies in the litter are already covered with hair when born, and their eyes are fully open.  The young can take care of themselves soon after birth, almost immediately beginning to eat plants, but they usually remain with the parents for several weeks.

Natives consider the agouti a helpful friend, because it aids in starting new trees to grow after a forest fire or damaging wind has raged through their parts of the country.  Since this animal likes acorns and other nuts, it buries large numbers of them in the ground, expecting to return later to dig them up.  However, like squirrel and chipmunks which do the same thing, it often forgets where some are buried.  In a short time these take root, and soon new trees are started.

These rather cute little animals are another example of the wonderful works of the Lord God, the Creator.  We are told in the Bible that He is always looking over all His creation and caring for it.  He has a special place in His caring heart for every boy and girl, man and woman, as it tells us in our opening verse.  Yes, He has loving thoughts of you.  Do you have loving thoughts of Him?  He wants you to know His love and invites you to accept Him as your Saviour.  Have you done this?      

Love you all - Grandpa  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Jewel # 301 (Nov. 12, 2017)

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Honey-guide gird

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Honey Badger

“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

An Amazing Combination

“How sweet are Thy words unto my taste!
Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
(Psalm 119:103)

Many unusual birds and animals live in the country of Kenya in Africa.  An amazing combination that works together is a seagull sized bird, with dark brown wings and a snow-white body, and a four-footed animal with long, dark-gray fur, having a narrow white border and short black legs.  These are the honey-guide bird and the honey badger, also called the ratel.  Both of these creatures like wild honey and work together to get it.

When the honey-guide bird is flying through the forests and hears a loud humming of bees, she knows a nest is nearby in the side of a split rock or perhaps in a decaying tree trunk.  Immediately she flies to where  she knows a honey badger will be found, and she chatters noisily to attract his attention.  Then she flies in the direction of the swarm of bees, making sure the badger  is following.  They may have to go quite a distance, but both know the treat that will be at the end of the trip.

When they get to the swarm of bees, the honey badger starts tearing the honeycomb apart, with his sharp claws and teeth.  The bees begin buzzing angrily about and swarming over him.  But he isn’t afraid of them, because their stingers can’t get through his long, loose fur.

What about the bird?  She waits patiently, for it is not the honey she wants; she’s after the waxy honey comb that stores the honey.  But this will not be available until the badger has first licked out the honey.  Eventually she gets the honeycomb and enjoys her treat after the badger has finished and gone on his way.  Both will be ready to do it again the next time there is an opportunity.

Sometimes when a native hunter sees the bird leading a badger, he knows what’s going on and will frighten the animal away.  Then the bird accepts him as a substitute with the same results.  The man gets the honey, and the bird gets her fill of the wax that she can handle with a digestive system that breaks down and welcomes the sweet food, usually accompanied by a number of bees eaten as the same time.

We know that when the Creator first brought bees, birds and animals into the world, they all lived together peacefully.  It was the disobedience of Adam and Eve that brought sin into the world, with many problems and sorrows for all creatures of the world.

But God has promised a happy life in heaven for those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.  Heaven is His home where no sin or unhappiness of any kind will ever come.
Will you be there too? 

Love you all - Grandpa 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Jewel # 300 (Nov. 5, 2017)

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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

Just How Bad Are Wolverines?

“Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us 
wiser than the fowls of heaven?”
(Job 35:11)

A number of years ago we reviewed the life of a wolverine, and from information available then we said, “The wolverine is a wicked destroyer.”  We also called it “a bad-tempered beast.” But since that time, scientists have studied this animal more thoroughly.  Now many agree that, although it can be vicious and frightening, it does have some good qualities too.  We’ll look at some of these.

A member of the weasel family, it is related to badgers, skunks and others.  This dark brown, lively animal is about three feet long, plus an eight-inch tail.  It looks something like a miniature bear, except for its bushy fur and pointed face.  It is one of the most powerful animals for its size in the world.  Its north American homeland is in many of the wooded areas on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, as well as Alaska.  The wolverine is also found in Europe and Asia.

Until a more compete study was made, it had the reputation of being a vicious killer of small-and medium-sized animals and birds.  But in their interesting research, it was discovered that this is only true when the wolverine is extremely hungry.  It should actually be called a scavenger, which is an animal whose main food is animals or birds already dead or injured.

Following that discovery, it was pointed out by the researchers that it is really a vey helpful animal, by cleaning forests and fields of dead creatures (much like what crows and vultures do).  To really appreciate this, we need to keep in mind that a dead fox, squirrel, coyote, or even small bird soon decays.  These carcasses attract flies and insects that can carry harmful bacteria and diseases to many places, causing sickness and death to other animals, birds and even people.

But there’s no denying that a hungry wolverine, finding a way to break into a trapper’s unoccupied cabin, will gobble up any food it can reach. That, of course, doesn’t make them very popular with the trappers, nor does their making a meal out of animals caught in traps and ruining the valuable furs.  So its easy to see how these lively animals have gotten a bad reputation.

We might ask, “Will the Creator allow this to go on forever?” The Bible provides the answer, telling us, “By one man, Adam, sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12).  There is a time coming when those who accepted the Lord Jesus as their Saviour will find that “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death” (Revelation 21:4).  This promise is only to those who know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.  Can you claim that promise?  

Love you all - Grandpa  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jewel # 299 (Oct. 19, 2017)

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Forest Wild Cat
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Desert Lynx

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

To my dear grandchildren

WILDCATS ARE INTERESTING  

“O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast.
How excellent is Thy loving kindness, O God!”  
(Psalm 36:6-7)

There are many varieties of wildcats in different parts of the world.  The term “wildcat” generally refers to small, wild members of the cat family. It is often applied to an unusual species of lynx, bobcat, or even a domestic cat that has gone off into the wild.

The one known as the FOREST WILDCAT is actually a variety of the lynx, but is smaller than most lynx.  It is only about one-third larger than a house cat, with longer legs, a broader head and shorter tail.

Another variety is called  DESERT LYNX and looks very much like a household pet.  Both kinds are found in various parts of Canada and the United States and are bold and cunning at hunting, which they do mostly at night.

Among wildcats’ favourite foods are ground squirrels, rabbits, wood rats, mice, moles and low-roosting birds, which they capture while the birds are asleep.

Actually these animals are not very good runners, but bound after their prey in bobbing leaps, just like a frightened house cat does.  When other food is not available and they are really hungry, they have been known to eat beetles, grasshoppers and crickets.  Sometimes a wildcat will flatten itself on a branch over a trail and pounce on unsuspecting animals or birds which pass below.

Wild cats are excellent tree climbers and prefer to live in forests or brushy places but sometimes will have a well-hidden den in rocky areas.  Often they will have more than one den for hiding purposes when pursued by an enemy, which might be a fox, wolf or prowling dog.  

When attacked by an owl, hawk or eagle without chance of escape, wildcats roll over on their backs, biting at the bird’s head and neck and using their sharp-clawed feet to pull out feathers.  The birds generally give up and fly away.

Usually three or four kittens are born in the spring, either in a cave or hollow log.  They are just as cute as domestic kittens.  The mother nurses them for several weeks, and then she teaches them to hunt by putting live mice and other small creatures in front of them.  If the victims are about to get away from one of the kittens, she will go after it and bring it back for the kitten to try again.  They soon catch on.

Does the Creator watch over these wildcats?  Yes He does.  They are one of the “beasts” in our opening Bible verse.  Can you say with the psalm writer as he thought about the Lord’s loving ways - 

“O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker.  
For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture.”
(Psalm 95:6-7)   

Love you all - Grandpa

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Jewel # 298 (Oct. 12, 2017)

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Tamandua Anteater

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Spiny Anteater

“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

Unusual Anteaters

“Be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create.”
(Isaiah 65:18)

A very unusual anteater lives in the country of Costa Rica in Central America.  It has the name TAMANDUA or COLLATERAL ANTEATER, and it feeds on tree termites.  It wraps its long tail around the branches so it will not fall out of the tree.  

It is prettier than most anteaters, with shaggy white or tan legs and tail and tan fur on its neck and throat, with the rest of the body covered with black fur. Actually it looks like it is dressed in a black sleeveless sweater.  The only thing unpleasant about this anteater is that it gives off a bad odour when excited. 

One of the most unusual anteaters is known as the SPINY ANTEATER and lives in the Australian deserts and New Guinea.  It has a long, slender beak and a pouch for carrying its young, like a kangaroo.  On occasion it adds to its unusual character by swallowing dirt.  It is really a very strange creature in most every way.

It doesn’t give birth to little ones as most animals do, but, like a bird, hatches them from eggs!  The single egg is carried in the female’s warm pouch outside her body until it hatches.  After the little one hatches, she nurses it with rich milk.  Then, within about ten weeks, the little one develops a shiny, silky fur that covers its entire body.  It has partially webbed feet with four strong curved  toes.  It will soon use these for digging in the ground or tearing apart decaying trunks of trees or other splintered wood to fill its stomach with ants and termites.  Of course, by that time it is on its own and no longer fed by the mother’s milk.

A full-grown spiny anteater’s body is only about a foot long, covered with hollow spines over a coat of black fur.  The broad front feet are equipped with short nails for digging, and each hind foot has an extra-long nail it uses to comb out its hair.  Its face which is actually a long, round snout, is smooth and equipped with a pair of dark nostrils and ends in a tiny mouth.  Its tongue is long and sticky, enabling it to lick out ants and termites from their hidden areas.

These unusually interesting examples of animal life, together with a great variety of related ones in various parts of the world, perform a wonderful service.  They destroy termites and ants that are very destructive of valuable timber and wooden constructions.

The more we consider the wonders of God’s creation, the more we should be glad and rejoice, just as the opening Bible verse says.  We may be sure He is glad when we do.  We can trust the Word of God, the Bible, to tell us the truth about creation: “By Him were all things created” (Colossians 1:16).

Love you all - Grandpa 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Jewel # 297 (Sept. 29, 2017)

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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

Stay Away From Killer Bees

“I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause who
doeth great things . . . marvellous things without number.”
(Job 5:8-9)

Most people are familiar with honeybees. They are very useful in pollinating flowers, fruit tree blossoms and other plant life, as well as being the source of delicious honey.  They, as well as wasps and other insects, are all an important part of God’s creation.  

However, in attempting to develop or improve certain characteristics of particular creatures, breeders sometimes interfere with the plan God has made for these creatures, and that is almost certain to lead to trouble.

Sad to say, that’s how killer bees have become a serious problem in areas of South and Central America.  About 1950, some were brought to Brazil from their natural, God-given African homes. Beekeepers wanted to crossbreed them with honey bees of Brazil so they would produce greater amounts of honey, and then the beekeepers would make larger profits.  But, unknown to breeders at that time, it was a serious mistake.

There are thousands of species of bees in the world, but only honey bees make honey and wax that man can use.  And there are only four kinds of honeybees: the German, the Western, the European and the African.  Each species lives in its own geographical location with a particular nature best suited to its surroundings.  

The bees in Africa, for instance, have different circumstances to cope with in the wild life of that country than the Western bees have.  African bees defend themselves by flying  together in huge, angry swarms and attacking their enemies with hundreds of stings. 

The unwise cross breeding experiments in Brazil resulted in a new type of bee called “killer bees.”

These are actually a cross between African and the Western honeybees, with a few German honeybees also included.  These killer bees attack in large masses when bothered and annoyed, and many animals and even people have been killed by their many stings since these experiments started.

Since 1985, these vicious bees have gradually worked their way northward into Mexico and even into the southern parts of the United States.  It does not appear that they will be a serious problem farther north.  That’s because they prefer the warmer climates of the south, similar to the climates of Africa and South America.

This tragic experiment and resulting trouble should remind all of us that only God’s ways are perfect, and men should be very careful before making changes in them.  How much better it would be for each of us to follow what the beginning Bible verse says and to remember Psalm 25:4-5:  

Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, 
and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation.”   

Love you all - Grandpa

Friday, September 22, 2017

Jewel # 296 (Sept. 19, 2017)

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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 

Two Tropical Iguanas

“I will speak of the glorious honour of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works.”
(Psalm 145:5)

Iguanas belong to the lizard family and are found throughout the deserts, forests and waters of the world.  Most iguanas look like miniature dragons but are actually shy and not a threat to people.  A mature one will weigh as much as ten pounds and may be six feet long or longer, including its tail.

The tropical green iguana makes its home among the trees from Panama to Brazil.  it also looks like a miniature dragon with its sharp claws and spine sticking up all along its back.  This one is also shy and hides when anyone cones near.   Except when hunting food it likes to stretch out on the branch of a tall tree and enjoy the sun.  It looks so much like the bark of the native trees that it is difficult to spot unless it is moving.

The main food of this iguana is wild fruit and tender leaves and shoots found high in tall trees.  Little ones are hatched from eggs laid by the female in a hole she has dug in the sand or ground.  Soon after hatching, she takes her young up into a tall tree where they feel right at home and live up there until nearly full grown.  They eat leaves and buds and drink water from cup-like leaves holding rainwater.  The parents often spend time with their young in the trees, but they gather much of their food down on the ground where they can quickly escape if anything dangerous appears.

Natives in those tropical areas have discovered that iguanas are good to eat.  As a result, it has been necessary to pass laws limiting the amount of hunting that can be done.  However, farmers are allowed to raise them on their own properties and sell them to meat markets, where they receive a good price.  Iguana meat tastes so good it is sometimes nicknamed “chicken of the trees.”

A contrasting species is the Galapagos marine iguana, somewhat larger and heavier than those found in deserts and forests.  Groups of these may vary in colour, but their leather-like bodies are most often brownish-black or gray.  Their skin is coarse and fierce-looking with fleshy upright spikes from the top of their heads to the end of their tails.

Large groups of this species will cling to the steep, rough rocks rising above low tides of the ocean beaches and feast on seaweed and other marine plants that grow there.  They are good swimmers.

Are you one of the happy people who believes and trusts the Lord God who created all things?  A Bible verse says, “Give thanks unto the Lord, and call upon His name” 
(1 Chronicles 16:8).  Is this something you do?

Love you all - Grandpa

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Jewel # 295 (Sept. 2, 2017)

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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

An Alarm Clock in the Ocean?
The Grunion

“The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. . . . The Lord is upon many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.”
(Psalms 29:3-4)

Unusually high tides reach Southern California beaches from March through July each year.  When these extreme tides are due in the third or fourth night of the full moon, schools of grunion, a small, edible fish, swim into the surf and allow themselves to be washed ashore on a sandy beach—but not until the highest wave of the incoming tide has passed.

Ashore on the bare sand, females scoop out shallow holes with their tails where they lay hundreds of eggs.  The males follow quickly and fertilize the eggs, and then the females give a final swish of their tails to cover the eggs with sand.  This all has been accomplished within thirty seconds!  Then they all wiggle down the beach to be swept into the ocean by the next wave.

But how about the eggs?  How can they hatch in such a hastily made and strange nest?  The grunion have been well directed by their Creator in their timing, for no wave will reach the eggs until the next extremely high tide in another two weeks.  This amount of time in warm, moist sand provides ample incubation.  When a high wave finally reaches them, the eggs pop open and the little fish are washed into the sea to begin their lives.

This annual event is so reliable that the hour and minute can be foretold.  People flock to the beaches to witness it, some of them catching the fish in their hands.

Is there an alarm clock that tells the grunion just the precise moment to ride in on the highest wave?  And how do they know where the sandy beaches are?  If any mistakenly went to a rocky one, they would be pounded to pieces.  Their instructions come from their Creator, and there is no possibility that this pattern will change.  How carefully God watches over all His creatures.

After sin came into the world, all things were affected, so that today we do not see anything in perfection, but we do see something of His might and wisdom even in lowly creatures like the grunion.  A time is coming when all will be made right again:  “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17).  But before that takes place, there must be God’s judgment on this sinful world and all in it who have not had their sins forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity” (Titus 2:14).

How important it is to listen to the warning: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).   

Love you all - Grandpa

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jewel # 294 (August 18, 2017)

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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

Fierce Tigers - Part 2

“O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou
made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches.”
(Psalm 104:24)

In the last issue we looked at some similarities between tigers and house cats.  Here is one difference—while our pet cats don’t like getting even a paw in water, tigers love to play in water or even swim in it, sometimes swimming great distances.

Baby tigers are cute and interesting.  Females usually have two to six cubs in a litter, and they are born blind and helpless.  However, the cubs don’t lose any time finding their mother’s milk, just as kittens do.  They nurse until they are large enough to eat meat, which the mother teaches them to catch for themselves.  The male ignore them, so the mother cares for them for about two years, until they have learned how to be on their own.

Except for swimming, tigers will not mix with other tigers and will fight any that come too near.  When one has eaten its fill of a kill and there is some left over, it will not let other tigers have it.  Instead, it covers the carcass with rocks or branches to hide it for later.

We mentioned that the two largest tigers are the Bengal and the Siberian.  Although the Bengal is the strongest, the Siberian is the most beautiful.  Its golden-brown body fur with narrow, black stripes contrasts beautifully with the solid-white fur on its face.  It has black stripes down the inside of its lower jaw and throat, as well as its front legs.

There are some exceptions to the usual orange and black tiger colours.  The Bengals, for example, sometimes have white fur all over, ringed with the usual black stripes.  But they do not live separate from the others that have the orange and black colouring.

Although fierce hunters, tigers live peaceably with hippos, rhinos and elephants.  They seem to know that, in spite of sharp claws and strong teeth, they would be no match for those huge beasts.  They just ignore one another.  Tourists, wishing to get a picture of these beauties, ride on elephants—sometimes arranged in groups—and a native guide leads them.  Strangely, the tigers don’t seem to mind this and at times even seem to be posing to have their pictures taken.

Some might ask, “Why did the Creator make tigers so vicious?”  Actually, God made them tame and gentle, but when sin came into the world, a sad change came to many creatures.  They will remain that way until God will make them peaceful again.  When that time comes, all who now know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour will be in a far more beautiful and happy place—heaven itself.  Will you be there?

Love you all - Grandpa