Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jewel # 282 (April 21, 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

Decoy Birds

“Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived. . . .
Lay up these My words in your heart.”
(Deuteronomy 11:16,18)

Horned puffins are very pretty birds which usually find nesting places on cliffs of islands off the North American coasts.  They have orange-red, sharp beaks, with wide, flat webbed feet of the same colour.  The Tufted puffins are very similar, but the back of their necks is bright yellow, overlapping the fronts of their round heads, which are white on both sides.  The backs of both kinds are black.

Some time ago people were concerned because fewer and fewer puffins were coming to an island off the coast of Maine that had once been a nesting place for great numbers of them.  The people concluded that if something weren’t done about it, soon there would be none left.

Since puffins are social birds and only nest where there are others of their kind, the people decided to set out decoys to attract the puffins.  They arranged for a number of imitation wooden puffins (decoys), skillfully painted to look like live ones, to be set in several places on the island.

It wasn’t long before several pairs of puffins spotted the decoys from the air and landed near a group of them.  They must have been puzzled when the decoys didn’t respond to their cooing, but they didn’t leave.  Soon others also flew in, and before long many were making nests.   And so their numbers grew.

The decoys were kept in place for several years, resulting in increasing numbers making this island their home, to the satisfaction of those who worked so hard to make it possible.  Now more than one hundred pairs of puffins return to the island every year, and the decoys have been moved to other areas.

This experience was so successful that before long a similar program was used to bring lovely terns  and other birds to suitable spots.  It was also a good way to get newcomers into areas where they had never been before.  The decoy idea has also been used successfully along California shores to attract the lovely little birds called the “least tern.”

However, as we think of the happy results of the decoy system, we are reminded that there are other “decoys” that are not good ones.  Satan is the one who uses these.  He tries to lure us into places or tempt us to do things that we should stay away from.  So the Bible faithfully warns us:  “Neither give an opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27), and, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. . . . In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If we follow the guidance the Lord Jesus gives us in the Bible and ask Him to help us, this is the way to a happy life.

Love you all - Grandpa     

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jewel # 281 (April 11, 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 Brown Bear

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

There are many bears in North America, including black, brown, grizzly and polar bears.  The brown bear we are considering today is the second largest bear in the world, next to the polar bear, which is the largest.  

The brown bear lives mostly in Alaska, but there still may be a few left in Canada and the northern United States, also in Europe and Asia.  It is often mistaken for a grizzly to which it is closely related, but the brown bear is larger and stronger.  A large one may weigh nearly 2000 pounds, and when standing on its hind feet it will be about 10 feet high.  It can run 35 miles per hour.

This bear is usually thought of as a flesh eater, but actually its favourite foods are grass, weeds, flowers, berries, seeds, acorns and other nuts.  Honey is also a favourite food.  The bear’s heavy coat of hair protects it from getting stung by angry bees when ripping apart a nest.

There is an exception to the brown bear’s vegetarian diet—when salmon are returning from the ocean to spawn far upstream.  At that time, large numbers of these bears wade into the shallow streams, scooping out one fish after another with their front paws onto the shore for a good meal!  They never share these fish with each other. 

It is most interesting to watch a bear wade out in the strong river current to the very edge of a waterfall.  It waits there until a salmon makes a giant leap from below and comes through the air in range to be grabbed in the bear’s jaws and taken to shore for an anticipated meal.  Full-grown bears can handle the strong current, but smaller ones don’t venture out.  They seem to sense that they could possibly be washed over the edge.

In winter, brown bears do not actually hibernate as most varieties do.  They have prepared dens in advance, lined with soft grass and moss, where they remain sleeping much of the time.  It is during this period that usually two cubs are born, about the size of kittens.  The mother nurses them until she takes them out of the den in early spring.

The Bible speaks in several places of bears.  In one place, David told King Saul how he had killed a bear with his bare hands (1 Samuel 17:34-35).  However, the bears that live in that region of the world are not as large as as these brown bears, but they are more fierce.

As part of God’s creation, these creatures are always under His watchful eye.  The animals do not know this, but we who do know of His watchful care over us should thank Him often.  A Bible verse says,
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving . . . for the Lord is a great God.”
(Psalm 95:2-3)     

Love you all - Grandpa

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Jewel # 280 (April 4, 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 Restless Caribou

“God Himself . . . formed the earth and made it; 
He hath established it.”
(Isaiah 45:18)

With temperatures dropping to 80 degrees below zero, the frozen regions of North America are usually considered wastelands where nothing can survive.  In reality, many creatures, including the caribou, live in these regions.

A full-grown caribou weighs from 300 to 700 pounds, stands 4 feet tall, and is 6 to 8 feet long.  The Creator has provided them with all they need to survive in the extremely cold temperatures, including soft, thick, insulated fur.  

They require much food, yet they live where grass and leaves are not plentiful.  The Lord God has created a special food for them called reindeer moss or lichen.  This grows rapidly in the summer months, covering the ground and clinging to trunks and branches of trees.  It is a rich food and can be eaten year round.  

In deep snow where there are no trees supporting lichen growth, a God-given instinct tells the caribou to search for it on the ground.  Caribou have sharp hooves that dig through snow and ice to reach this food.  Most of their wakeful time in winter is spent digging and eating.

Caribou are about the most restless of all animals.  They roam in large herds, numbering in the thousands.  These large herds devour all food wherever they stop, and they must move on each day to find more.

During their migrations, they travel at east 600 miles northward in sumer, where calves are born in late May or June, and then they return in winter.  Nothing stops these migrations.  If mountains are too high to cross, the caribou go around them.  If lakes and rivers are not frozen, they swim across them.

Both male and female caribou have antlers, but the male’s antlers grow much larger than the female’s.  These can be used as dangerous weapons along with their strong legs and sharp hooves.  Many a wolf, attempting to overcome a caribou, has learned too late that it is no match against a strong, healthy caribou.  Yet wolves do follow herds, and if they discover a calf separated from the others or a crippled adult, they will successfully attack and kill it.

This reminds us of Satan, the evil one who, we are warned, “walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  Boys and girls need the protection of their parents.  A godly family will ask the Lord each day to help guide and preserve them from Satan’s attacks. 

All the family members, both young and old, need to feed continually on the Bible, God’s living Word, so they do not become weak and vulnerable to the enemy.  Let us thank God for His wonderful promise:

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. . . . They shall
run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 
(Isaiah 40:31)    

Love 280