Sunday, February 26, 2017

Jewel # 275 (Feb. 24, 2017)

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Garden Eels             Flying Fish


“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

Garden Eels and Flying Fish

“They that go down to the sea in ships . . . see the works of the Lord, 
and His wonders in the deep.”
(Psalm 107:23-24)

GARDEN EELS
If you were to look underwater near some Red Sea beaches, you might come across what looks like a group of three-foot-long pieces of black garden hose standing upright, gently swaying as the water flows around them.  But as you would move closer, they would, one by one, sink out of sight into the ocean bottom.  Then, if you remained perfectly still, they would come back up.  These marine creatures are called garden eels.   

They are nourished by specks of sea life that float into them.  They point their mouths towards the underwater current to catch drifting food.  Occasionally they bend over and fight one another, perhaps over bits of food.  But they usually stay upright all day long, sinking into their anchor burrows at night.  The garden eel will always keep a part of its body inside the burrow even when feeding. 

FLYING FISH

Unlike garden eels that spend most of their time motionless, flying fish spend most of their life in motion.  Many of them make their homes in warm waters near the equator, but some can be found in warm waters as far north as Florida and California, as well as other parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  The smallest species are only about 2 inches long, and the largest are about 18 inches  long.

These fish don’t really fly; they throw themselves out of the water by a strong push with their tails, leaping through the air several hundred yards.  They spread out their fins, which act like the wings of a soaring bird.  This is not done for fun.  Like other small fish, they are often the targets of larger fish.  They escape predators by taking to the air.

Sometimes they look like skipping stones as they skim over the waves, their tails flipping them back up each time they drop down to the surface of the water.  They are seldom very high in the air, but occasionally drop onto the decks of small boats.  Then they are likely to wind up in a frying pan, for they make a very good meal.

Does the Lord God, the Creator pay attention to such things as garden eels and flying fish?  He certainly does, as a Bible verse tells us that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). 

This verse and many more like it cover all living things.  But it is most important to notice that this includes people, for whom He has a special loving care.  He invites us to come to Him in faith and trust His wonderful love.  

Do you know Him as your Saviour?

Love you all - Grandpa

Friday, February 17, 2017

Jewel # 274 (Feb. 15, 2017)


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Murres & Eggs

“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 

Birds of the Cliffs

“Birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”
(Matthew 8:20)

Among the most unusual birds’ nests are those of several species of sea birds in the high, rocky cliffs of the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  One species will choose a section of the cliff, from the top to the bottom, for its nests.  Other species will choose their own section on the same cliff, but the species do not mix.  

So one section might have nests of petrels, next to it seagulls, then puffins, or sometimes gannets, guillemots and murres.  This separation of nests is a wise provision of the Creator, for it keeps the various species from fighting with one another.

However, in daylight hours there is always a terrible racket from such a collection of birds so close together.

Openings between the levels of the cliff may be several inches high and not very deep in some places, but but several feet deep in other places.

Eggs are laid in these openings often on the bare rock, but sometimes in nests made of mud and grass.  The eggs of most of these birds are pear-shaped instead of round or oval.  Can you guess why?   

I’ll tell you: if a pear-shaped egg is knocked out of the “nest,” it will not roll over the edge.  Instead, it will roll in a tight circle and stop.  The mother bird can then fetch it back to where it belongs.  Isn’t that an amazing provision of the Creator?

These birds get almost all their food from salt water.  It is most interesting to watch one make a swift dive through the air and right into the water.  Then it comes up with a fish in its beak.  The fish is often carried back to the baby birds that are crouched in their rocky home.

When there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of nests so close together, how does each bird find its own nest when returning from a fishing trip?  Or how do the young birds dare to jump from those high cliffs and use their wings the very first time?

Answers to these questions can only come from our Master Designer and His ability to provide so wonderfully for all that He has created.

The opening Bible verse refers to the Lord Jesus who left the riches of heaven to become a man on earth.  He showed kindness to needy people, but He was so poor Himself that He did not even have a bed of His own.

At the end of more than 33 years, He allowed wicked men to nail Him to Calvary’s cross where He bore the sins of all who will confess they are sinners in need and will accept Him as their Saviour.

Have you done this?

Love you all - Grandpa

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Jewel # 273 (Feb. 1, 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

The Hedgehog

“I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground,
by My great power and by My outstretched arm.”
(Jeremiah 27:5)

Although the hedgehog is well-known in many parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, it is not native to North America.  This peculiar little animal is less than a foot long and looks somewhat like a porcupine.  Most are nocturnal, but some venture out in daylight.

As it is one of the weaker animals that would be hunted and killed by larger animals, God has given the hedgehog a very effective defence against its enemies.  From its neck to its short, stubby tail, it is covered along its back and sides with sharp stiff spines, sticking out in every direction.  When in danger, the hedgehog tucks its head into its chest and rolls itself into a spiny ball and is safe from its enemies.  If it hadn’t done this right the very first time, it would have been quickly killed.  God gave it that protective knowledge when it was born.

Although this animal sometimes lives in harsh surroundings, it knows how to make a comfortable nest of woven moss, grass and leaves that is waterproof even in heavy rains.  Sometimes it will burrow into a rabbit’s runway and make its home there or burrow under the roots of a tree where it is safe with a good strong roof over it.  It has sharp claws on powerful front feet which enable it to dig quickly, not only in making its home, but also in finding grubs, slugs, worms and insects that make up part of its diet.

The hedgehog is helpful to man in at least one way—it is a natural enemy of snakes, especially poisonous ones.  The hedgehog quickly seizes the snake by its tail and then curls up into its spiny-ball defence, with the snake’s tail still in its mouth.  The angry snake strikes against the prickly spines again and again, until it almost hacks itself to pieces.  The hedgehog them finishes it off and has snake dinner.

Do you think the hedgehog gave itself such a protective armour or taught itself how to catch snakes without being harmed?  No, God, who cares for all His creatures, provided it with its unusual survival features.  “In the hand of God is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).

This verse reminds us that, while God cares for every creature, He considers mankind separate from all others.  He does, indeed, care for such an unusual little animal as the hedgehog, but it is important to realize that He has a special interest in every human being and wants each one, through faith in Christ, to be His child.  He tells us - 

I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).   

Love you all - Grandpa