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GOD’S WORD FOR FEBRUARY 26 ~ ~ Ps 145:21 ~ ~ “My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.”

Are pandas related to bears? Are they related to raccoons? Or neither? Evolutionary scientists have been debating this for more than a century. They were sure the giant and lesser pandas should be grouped together because of similarities in their teeth. And even though the giant panda looks like a bear, it doesn’t hibernate. Nor does it roar – it has a very unbear-like bleat, like a lamb.

Modern molecular biology has now investigated the panda question. DNA and proteins from greater and lesser pandas were examined and compared. Researchers arrived at a startling conclusion, based on what they knew about raccoon and bear DNA and proteins. The greater panda is a bear. The lesser panda is not a bear, but is related to the raccoon.
Large male giant pandas may attain 6 feet in length and weigh more than 220 pounds; females are usually smaller. We’re familiar with pictures of the round black ears and black eye patches standing out against a white face and neck. Black limbs, tail, legs, and shoulders contrast with the white torso.

But what we maybe didn’t notice is that the rear paws point inward, which gives pandas a waddling gait. Pandas can easily stand on their hind legs and are commonly observed somersaulting, rolling, and dust-bathing. Although somewhat awkward as climbers, pandas readily ascend trees and, on the basis of their resemblance to bears, are probably capable of swimming. An unusual characteristic is an enlarged wrist bone that functions somewhat like a thumb, enabling pandas to handle food with considerable dexterity.

Strangely, even though 90-98 percent of their diet is of leaves, shoots and stems of the bamboo plant, they are not well equipped to digest plants. Their forepaws, teeth, and jaws are good for bamboo harvesting, but they are unable to efficiently digest the plant fibers, so they have to eat great quantities in order to survive on the one plant. They can spend 16 out of 24 hours eating.

Although they eat almost all their diet in bamboo, they will eat meat if given them, and that is what is used for bait to attach location collars on individuals.

They have a solitary nature and mark their territories, much like other animals.

Giant pandas produce the smallest offspring, relative to the mother’s size, of any mammal. They are only 1/800th of the mother’s weight. This small birthweight is similar to bears, but the panda does not hibernate like bears. The mother will use her forepaws and the moveable wrist bones to cuddle her babies, and position them against her. Although, like others in the bear group, they occasionally have twins, they can only care for one baby.

The newborn panda is blind, and has a thin, all-white coat. Tiny, and very helpless, he can’t even move or find the milk for feeding. The mother must do everything for him for the first 3-4 weeks. Shortly after that, his eyes begin to open, but he can’t walk until he begins, very weakly at 80 days, and both he and his mother stay in the den for about 3 months.

He can’t eat bamboo until at least 14 months, while he is still nursing, then at about 1 ½ to 2 years he’ll be weaned, and just eat bamboo.

Although their early development is slow, they generally live about 20 years in the wild, and 30 in captivity.

It is amazing to see how varied the characteristics of animals, even in the same scientific categories, are. Just like they try to put God in a box, concerning nature, but He always shows Himself to be unique, and brilliant in His dealings with His creation.

He is that way with His True Church, too. Man separates and boxes people up. My generation will remember the by-gone song, popular in 1962 called “little boxes”. The little boxes were “made out of ticky-tacky, and they all looked just the same.” That’s how the world thinks, and the church wants to imitate the world many times. So, if someone’s box isn’t made out of ticky tacky, or it doesn’t look just like the others, that person many times will be judged.

But Our Lord doesn’t do it that way. He deals with every believer individually. When we believe He died and was raised for us, and cling to Him, knowing we can do nothing good on our own, repenting, and walking in the Spirit, we have our own individual, unique, relationship with Him, just as each child has with his parents, that is unlike any of his siblings.

He shows us where we go wrong. We have His Word to correct us, shown to us through the Holy Spirit. We have fellowship in unique ways, not all boxes alike,…… and unique times, and many times they are set up by the Lord Himself.

2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”

That is the way the Personal God works….with His creation and His Church.

Jeremiah 13:3 ~ ~ “The Lord has appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you.”

Isaiah 49:16 ~ ~ “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;”

Isaiah 57;15 ~ ~ “For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
‘I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”

Psalm 96:11 ~ ~ “Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, let the sea roar and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord; (for He comes to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with His Truth;)”

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