Hobby Lobby Joy

Elly, Julia, and I walked into Hobby Lobby. We were exhausted. We had one hour before the store closed, and we wanted to be refreshed. These past two weeks of hard work with training and child care had left us a little bedraggled and weary. a god-print 4

As we moved into the fabric section, I said,”Hey, keep an eye open for green material and for something that might have a phrase from Psalm 23.”  I make a new quilt for each of my grandchildren when they turn 12. Our second grandson is next in line for a 12-year-old’s quilt.  I seek to incorporate the 12 year old’s favorite color and Bible-verse in creating a twin size quilt. Austin had chosen green and Psalm 23.

Elly had some great ideas of using fleece-like material to represent the sheep. Julia showed a material that illustrated the valley of the shadow of death. I was getting inspired. 🙂

a God-print 2As we perused the variety of fabrics, my eyes caught this green fabric with something written on it. Could it be?? Was it really?? Yes, it was a green fabric with Psalm 23 printed on it. The whole Psalm!!! So cool. Julia and Elly both were amazed. What a God-print!

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 9.13.15 PMDeveloping God-Prints

Have you ever noticed God’s fingerprints? Many people stare right at them but don’t see them. They may see “luck” or “coincidence” because they’re not searching for the print of the person behind a sweet turn of events.

Latent fingerprints are placed wherever our fingers touch another smooth surface. Since the 1930’s, criminal investigators have used the practice of rendering hidden fingerprints visible by using a powder or a chemical agent to make a visual contrast between the ridge patterns and the surface where a fingerprint has been deposited.

a god-print 7If an investigator sees a woman across the way leave her glass at a table, he will not see her fingerprints on the glass from where he is sitting. He will believe they are there, and then investigate so that he can see what he already believes. Jesus said in John 20:29, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet still believe.” Augustine and Anselm echoed this same idea – believe to see, not see to believe.

Believe so that you may see; not see so that you may believe.

If you actively begin searching for the God-prints in your life, it won’t take long. They are all over the place. I love discovering them. Sometimes it is not too obvious, and you have to search intently. Like what investigators do, th(i)nkfulness “dusts” and then lifts the prints of our benevolent God.

I have a special journal in which I record things that are just a little out of the normal, something that has God’s fingerprints all over it. How encouraging it has been to my faith over the years to re-read those entries.  God desires for us to walk in intimacy with Him, trusting Him like a child would a beloved parent. As we nurture that relationship, He reveals Himself in precious ways.

The Print Lab

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 8.41.58 PMOnce an investigator has lifted a fingerprint, he or she returns to the lab to compare the prints with the database. The most potent database of God’s fingerprints is in His Word.  God’s Word is alive (Hebrews 4:12). You can read descriptions of His prints and see the circumstances in which they were detected and undetected by people and nations over a period of 1600 years!

Memorizing and meditating frequently on scripture moves His fingerprint data to your mind so that you can compare it with your circumstances at a moment’s notice. You start to see that His hands have touched, well, everything.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. But God’s gifts are still “good and perfect” even if they are not our favorites. When we choose to trust that God has all things in control and loves us beyond measure, we are in a position to be th(i)nkful. We choose to think thanks for every fingerprint, and as we express that thankfulness, it breeds more gratitude.

Even if the God-Prints Hurt?

It is fine and jolly if all is going well, like finding perfect quilting material at Hobby Lobby. But what about when God allows pain and hurtful things in your life, when the dark things also have His fingerprints? How can I think thanks with tears streaming down my face?

  • God knows when things hurt.
  • He is fully aware of all the nuances of every detail of your pain.
  • He knows how many days you have been given.
  • He even knows what you are going to say next (Psalm 139:4).
  • He has promised to never forsake us. His fingerprints in the darkest valley of sorrow are even more precious.
  • Soon this life will be over. Jesus is coming back for us. How do I know that? Because He promised and He doesn’t lie. He can be trusted completely.
  • He is working on me to better work through me; I need to trust in His “greater good.”

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 8.53.58 PMChoose to trust the Lord’s character even when you cannot understand His ways. His fingers have shaped your path, so His fingerprints are there when you commit to searching for them. Think thanks in every God-print, joyful or difficult or frustrating.

Th(i)nkful for Birds

A Command To Think About Birds

Did you know that God has told us to study the birds?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26

Birds in South Africa

Our teammates, Alan and Deanna Heathcote, take really good pictures of birds. 🙂 They have built up quite a collection of detailed photos of different unique birds found in South Africa and they post them on Facebook. I love to look at them. I asked if I could share a few of my favorites, and they gladly said it was ok.

This is my personal favorite, the Lilac Breasted Roller. They say you can find 23 colors on this bird that is about the size of a Robin. It is called a “roller” because during mating season the males fly up high, pull in their wings and tumble down through the air as though facing certain death, and then spread their wings and pull out at the last minute! And all the girls go, “Whoah! What a guy!”a bird blog 2

This the Pied Kingfisher. It has the uncanny ability to hover over the water and then dive down and get a fish.a-bird-blog-1.jpg

Deanna even shared some spiritual lessons that we can learn from birds. I added the pictures of the Southern Double-Collared Sunbirds.

1. God’s Care:
  • Not one of them falls to the ground without His knowledge/will (Matthew 10:29, Luke 12:6)
  • They have their food provided by Him (Matthew 6:26).
  • I like the mention of sparrows because there are sparrows in the township, and they build nests in the wall next to the church. I often think how lovely it is that even the poor folks there can see a sparrow and be reminded of the truths of these verses.
2. God’s Creativity/Infinity:
  • As you seek to identify a bird, you have to notice things which may distinguish it from another: color of the eyes, legs, or bill; or placement of certain colors on feathers.
  • There is also variety in whether the male and female have the same or different plumage. In some cases, the difference is quite subtle (e.g. the Pied Kingfisher, the male has an extra line of black on the feathers across his chest).
  • Also there can be drastic or subtle changes between juvenile and adult. These are Southern Double-Collared Sunbirds, in which case the youth looks like he lost in a game of paintball.


  • In the Speckled Mousebird, the juvenile has a bill with a light-colored upper mandible and a black lower mandible. Once an adult, the color is reversed.
  • Why did God create such variety? It certainly doesn’t seem necessary. I often think that it is because He created the world knowing the mental abilities He would give to mankind and the ability to study and seek out His wonders. (Psalm 111:2)
3. God’s Purposes:
  • He gave each bird its own diet, habitat, call, breeding pattern, social habits, “personality” (shy/hiding vs. easily spotted; quiet vs. chatty), nest style/placement, etc.
  • He constructed each one with a bill, feet, feathers, bone structure, etc. to suit the “lifestyle” He chose for them.

This a male Malachite Sunbird. The fluorescent green is certainly eye catching especially if seen in the sunlight.

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Joshua, our son, gave me a video once of different South African birds and their individual calls. I found it so relaxing to watch the birds and hear the sounds they made. We sure have an incredible Creator.

a bird 3I once saw a Hoopoe like this one pick up a worm that it found and promptly give it to another bird beside it. Fancy head plumage and a willingness to share – surely a winning combination! 🙂

So What’s The Connection?

How can studying birds make us thankful? The Lord said that we could receive hope from looking at the birds because we are worth so much more to the Lord than birds.  If He cares so tenderly for even the smallest sparrow, just imagine the concern He has for us.a bird blog 5

You, my friend, are being cared for by the same Lord God that provides for the birds. That is something to be very th(i)nkful for.

He says that He has numbered all the hairs on our head (Matthew 12:30). He knows everything about us, even what we are going to say next (Psalm 139:4)!!

His eye is on the sparrow and I know He cares for me.

I am th(i)nkful for birds and the lessons they teach us on how to trust in our Creator God.


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