Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jewel # 279 (March 26, 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 Deadly Cobra 

“Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil men. . . . They have sharpened their 
tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips."
(Psalms 140:1,3)

A wide variety of cobras live in lands such as Africa, southern Asia and the East Indies, including the Philippine Islands.  The one we will look at is the king cobra, the largest and longest poisonous snake known, reaching a length of 18 feet!

Cobras are nervous, and it is scary to watch one when excited raise its head 2 or 3 feet and then flatten its neck, expose its poisonous fangs with its greenish tongue flicking in and out, and stare at you with its beady eyes.

Actually, it is more likely to retreat than to attack, because it is more interested in finding a frog, bird, small snake or small mammal to eat.

Some varieties of king cobras have brownish-olive backs; others are gray or black with light bands over the back, with underparts ranging from white to yellow or black.  Scales on the back of the larger variety are mostly deep black with some brown areas and the underpart a tannish-yellow.  Their red eyes with coal-black pupils are always open since they have no eyelids, and they only see an object when it moves.

Snake charmers of India train small cobras to stay coiled in an open basket until the charmer plays a flute while swaying his body back and forth.  Soon the snake rises up and also sways, to the delight of spectators who give the charmer a few coins for the show.  Most of these people are unaware that the snake is deaf and can’t hear the music, but it is actually sensing danger and holding itself on guard.  It would do the same thing without the music.

Many people in those Asian lands worship cobras.  Tragically, they are taught by their heathen priests that that these serpents are gods, controlling not only every person’s life and health, but also their crops, sunshine, rain and storms.  Expensive temples are built to worship these snakes, including idols often shaped like a coiled cobra or groups of them with raised bodies at various heights from the floor, having human heads crowned with gold or jewels.  People bring flowers, food and expensive gifts, bowing down to these idols and worshipping them.

We are thankful for Christians people who try to turn these poor, deceived people to the Lord Jesus as the only true, loving Saviour and away from the power of Satan.  In Revelation 12:9, Satan is referred to as “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world.”  

Do not let that evil one deceive you.  The Lord Jesus loves you and wants you to put your trust in Him.  His Word, the Bible, invites each person to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). 

Love you all - Grandpa     

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jewel # 278 (March 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:
Garibaldis Are Tough

“Let the heaven and earth praise Him, the seas, 
and everything that moveth therein.”
(Psalm 69:34)

The garibaldi is a fish less than a foot long, bright orange in colour, and very protective of its home territory in the offshore ocean waters of California.  They are usually found in tide pools reaching 90 feet below the surface. This fish was named after the italian warrior Giuseppe Garibaldi of the 1800s, who is remembered for his bold and tough style of fighting.

When mature, this fish develops a bump on its head that adds to the fierce looks of its mouth and the spinal fin running all the way along its back.  Extra-large scales on its bright body add to its fierce look, along wit its green eyes.

The males choose rocky, fortresslike areas for their homes. With few exceptions, they challenge all intruders no matter how large they might be. However, they seem to make sure that there are crevices in the rocks for escape if invaders are too tough for them.  One exception they make in challenging other fish is the little seƱorita.  This little fish is allowed to safely come to them to clean and eat parasites off the garibaldis’ bodies.

When about five years old, a male garibaldi cleans off a rocky space for a nest and guards it carefully.  But strangely, when a mate shows up he dashes threateningly toward her.  However, she avoids him and heads for the nest, even though he may nip her a few times on the way.  

When she reaches the nest, she swims slowly back and forth, dropping thousands of eggs which stick to the algae he has allowed to grow there.  When she has finished, the excited male fertilizes them with a fluid from his body, and from then on, he intensely  guards them from intruders.  Meanwhile, the female has disappeared, quite content to leave all problems to him.             

Eggs hatch in about three weeks, and the baby garibaldis are half an inch long.  They begin life with a blue colour, but as they get older, this is replaced with a permanent bright orange.  When about four inches long, the males of the group take on the aggressive ways of their father, while the females are chased off and have to make their own way in their watery world.

This is one more instance where mankind has been allowed to discover one of the amazing varieties of creatures God has place on the earth primarily for Hs own pleasure, but which He often allows us to enjoy as well.

The psalmist expressed his appreciation of these works for the Creator when he wrote: “Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to usward. . . . They are more than can be numbered” (Psalm 40:5).

Do you ever think about your Creator? 

Love you all - Grandpa

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jewel # 277 (March 10, 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

Water-Loving Ibis

“God created . . . every winged fowl after His kind:
and God saw that it was good.”
(Genesis 1:21)

Ibis are among the world’s largest birds, some measuring  as much as four feet from the tip of their beaks to the end of their tail feathers.  All have long necks and legs with partly webbed feet.  They eat mostly fish, frogs and snails captured by probing in shallow, muddy water with their long beaks.  They also eat large insects, mice, moles and small snakes.  Farmers welcome them because of their huge appetites for these pests.

Some ibis species live by the thousands in colonies, grouping in trees or bushes, making large, bowl-shaped nests built of twigs and interwoven sticks with a thin, inner layer of grass.  Others prefer to nest in single families in marshes or open forest areas.  Many varieties of ibis are scattered from the southern United States through Mexico and South America, and also Africa and Australia.  With changes in seasons, some make flights of thousands of miles, while others remain in one place throughout the year.

Two varieties in North America prefer to make their homes in areas cleared of forest or in open, dry country.  The American white is a large, pretty bird, almost solid white with black wing tips, red face and legs, and a yellow beak.  The wood ibis is darker in colour.  Both kinds usually nest close to the Gulf of Mexico.  

The Australian white looks much like the American white.  It is noted for its practice of breaking a shellfish open by holding it firmly against a flat stone or hard surface with a foot and then using its tough beak as a hammer to break it open.

The bald ibis, found only in the mountains of Africa and the Middle East, has quite a colour contrast to the others.  It is mostly greenish black except for a dash of deep pink or brown where its wings are attached to its body.  The male has a deep red top to his head.  The head itself is pinkish, but the long down-curved beak, long legs and feet are light orange.

One that is worshipped by natives around the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Australia is the sacred ibis.  The worship habit probably came about centuries ago when natives first noticed that these birds got rid of troublesome pests.

It pleased the Lord God, the Creator of all things, to place these and thousands of other bird varieties throughout the world, both for their usefulness and also as objects of great interest.  Each has its particular place in the creaction in which He delighted.

For those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, there is a wonderful time coming in heaven when He will show us His wisdom and love in all He has done.

Will you be there to hear that wonderful account?      

Love you all - Grandpa        

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Jewel # 276 (March 3, 2017)

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

To my dear grandchildren

Caymans Have No Friends

"The cows and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together:
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
(Isaiah 11:7)

Most people in Florida and the lower Mississippi areas are  familiar with the crocodiles and alligators and their vicious ways.  But there is a close relative of these, the cayman that lives only in Central and South America where they thrive in great numbers in rivers and swamps.  A large one will measure up to 20 feet long!  To grasp just how long that is, if it were stretched out on your garage floor, you would probably be barely able to close the door completely!

There are certain ways they hold their mouths that it almost seems as if they are smiling or grinning, but there is nothing pleasant about them.  Long, curved jaws filled with big, sharp teethe are under a bulb-like snout.  When those huge jaws are open, one hoe quick snap o them can immediately end the life of a victim.  It’s no wonder they don’t have any friends.

Caymans’ bodies are covered o top with a dark fought skin with a pattern of pointed wedge-shaped bumps.  The underpart of their bodies is much lighter in colour and has protective plates covering it.

South American hunters find their flesh good eating when roasted.  But they are more interested in catching these creatures for their skins, which are in grew demand and are made into high-quality leather goods.. Men’s shoes as well as jackets, gloves, belts another items all array high prices.  Of course, the hunter doesn’t get much of that money but can often make more than he would in an ordinary job.

Baby caymans, i.e. baby alligators and baby crocodiles, are hatched from eggs.  Usually a dozen or more are laid in a nest but the female.  She makes her nest on a spot of high ground near a pond or stream and covers it with a few branches or rubbish.  She lets the sun incubate the eggs, but stays near by to protect them.  When hatched, the young caymans  are about ten inches long and already can fight!  The mother immediately carries them in her big mouth tho heavy water where she leaves them on their own.  They live on insets, frogs, fish, mice another small creatures.

We might wonder why such vicious creatures were included in God’s creation.  Actually they were not that way until sin came into the world, and its effects were passed on to all forms of life.  But the time is coming when God is going to bring back peace, and the peaceful natures of al creatures will return.  Our Bible verse at the beginning refers to that time.

We learn form the Bible that that time of peace will not come until after the Lord Jesus has come to take to heaven all who know Him as their Saviour.

Will you be included with those who will be in heaven?

Love you all - Grandpa