Monday, May 29, 2017

Jewel # 284 (May 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

Geckos and Chuckwallas

"Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who
humbleth Himself to behold the things . . . in the earth!”
(Psalm 113:5-6)

Geckos are small lizards that live in warm climates and are the most interesting member of the lizard family.  They are found on all continents except Antarctica.  Their name comes from the loud call that many kinds of geckos make.  Most are active creatures of the night.

In North American deserts, the pretty banded gecko is plentiful.  It has soft, pliable skin, large eyes, a long tongue for snatching insects and makes its home in the rocks.  The unusual fat-tailed gecko of Pakistan has leopard-like colouring on top and on its extra-fat tail and is plain gray on the underside.

One of the more interesting geckos is found in an African desert.  It is beautifully coloured and has paddle-like, fleshy feet, provided by the Creator to help it travel over sand and probe for insects.  The feet of most other geckos have adhesive toe pads that are covered with thousands of tiny hooks, enabling them to travel on smooth walls and upside down on ceilings.  Their grip is so tight that they need to pull each foot loose before taking the next step.

Geckos eat mainly insects.  Because they devour so many insects, in some countries they are treated as pets in people’s homes, even eating scraps at the table.

The large, rusty-brown chuckwalla is really a lizard that is over a foot long, similar to an iguana.  These creatures live in arid regions in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.  Some are found on coastal islands.

Like the iguana, a chuckwalla prefers to eat the buds, flowers and foliage of creosote plants.  At night sometimes both creatures share a creosote bush.  They both live in lava beds and in the rocks of the southwestern deserts. 

A most interesting feature about chuckwallas is how they escape from their enemies.  They crawl into a narrow rock crevice and then fill their lungs with air, making themselves fit in the  crevice so tightly that they can’t be pulled out.  Where do you think they learned to do this?  They didn’t learn by themselves; they received this life-saving instinct from their Creator.  

Covered with loose, sandpaper-like skin, chuckwallas, look rather fierce.  They aren’t—they are harmless.  Although they are night workers, they often can be spotted in daylight, sunning themselves on a rock.  They are just one more of God’s creatures that is quite satisfied with its life-style.

As we consider these creatures, let us always remember our God of whom it is said, “By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth . . . and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).  The Bible contains God’s account of the truth of creation. 

Love you all - Grandpa           

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Jewel # 283 (May 13, 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

Unwelcome Leeches

Remember His marvellous works that He hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.”
(1 Chronicles 16:12)

A leech, also called a bloodsucker, looks like a worm.  Hundreds of varieties are found, especially in tropical countries.  They range from 3/4 inch to 18 inches long and can stretch or shorten their bodies.  Most are black, brown or gray, with lighter stripes.

The horse leech is dark green.  Suckers on both ends of their bodies enable them to move as some caterpillars do—the front end holding firm while the back end pushes the body forward in a loop.  Then the front end loosens and moves forward as the body stretches out.  This is done over and over until the leech reaches its goal.

The leech’s usual food is the blood of fish, frogs, worms, snails and some animals.  The wound it makes when attaching to its victim is not painful.  When its sharp little teeth puncture the victim's skin, a pain-killing chemical comes out of its mouth.

A thirsty leech sucking blood for a long time may swell up to three times its normal size.  If not removed, six of them all working on a small animal, like a puppy, could take so much blood that in a short time it could die.

How does the leech attach itself to a victim?  In water it slowly swims to a sleeping fish or other creature and attaches itself so gently that the victim is not aware anything is going on.  In wooded or bushy areas, particularly where forests have frequent rain, great numbers of leeches crawl a short way up tree trunks or tall bushes and rest on moist leaves until an animal or even a barebacked person walks below them.  At just the right moment they slide off the leaf and drop so gently that the victim doesn’t even know what has taken place.

How would you like to walk through a place like that?  In times past, before modern medical treatments were available for sick people, doctors kept a number of leeches available.   They thought many illnesses were due to something wrong in the blood.  They used the leeches to remove blood from the sick person.  Most people didn’t know any better either, and probably asked for that kind of treatment.  Medical doctors in most countries no longer use leeches.

Leeches are a part of the Creator’s creation, to which the opening Bible verses refers.  Let us also remember another Bible verse that tells us, “All things were created by Him, and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).   How good of God to give us such a clear explanation of creation.  Man has come up with his own ideas, but God’s Word is the truth.

Love you all - Grandpa