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Feathers and Fathers

I need to type more carefully.  Not only do I have trouble reading accurately when I skim, I also type carelessly when I hurry.

I was searching for a particular verse on and entered “feathers” in the search box.  I was amazed at the number of entries until I realized that I had mistakenly typed “fathers” instead.

Still, there are several avian metaphors in the Bible that help us understand God’s love.  Our heavenly father is compared to a bird who protects his offspring under his feathers and a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings.

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When we, like frantically cheeping chicks, scramble to hide from danger, we can let God protect us and keep us safe.

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge

Psalm 91:4   NIV

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When we feel afraid, we can run to the Lord.  We can trust in his love and believe that he will provide generously for all our needs.

How exquisite your love, O God!
    How eager we are to run under your wings,
To eat our fill at the banquet you spread

Psalm 36:7,8   MSG

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When life is difficult, and we’re just waiting, trying to figure out what to do next, we can still rejoice.  We can sing!

Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.   Psalm 63:7   NIV

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When gut-twisting events and unanswered prayers steal our sleep,  we can remember how God has been faithful in the past.  We can rest in the soft, dark shadow of his presence and allow him to be El Roi–the God who sees.

I lie awake at night thinking of you—of how much you have helped me—and how I rejoice through the night beneath the protecting shadow of your wings.  

Psalm 63:6,7   TLB

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When we don’t deserve your forgiveness–again, when we’re old enough to know better, and when it seems the only good thing about us is you, Lord,  You still take us in.  You hold us close and warm, a mere breath away.

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.

Psalm 57:1   NIV

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When the blackness that’s rooted in our the hearts pushes away your embrace, when we reject your gospel-good-news, you still love us–all the way to the cross.

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me.

Matthew 23:37   MSG

Here is the story of Liza (a silky Bantam chicken), the chicks collected beneath her wings, and her sacrificial encounter with a hawk.  Here is the gospel written in feathers.

Keep your eye on me;
    hide me under your cool wing feathers
From the wicked who are out to get me,
    from mortal enemies closing in.

Psalm 17:8   MSG

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all photos by Barb Briggs

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linking with Holley Gerth

linking with Laura Boggess

linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Essential Fridays Linkup linking with Essential Thing Devotions


Worms and Wings


tobacco hornworm gobbling tomato leaves in my garden

If you’re a gardener, you may recognize this bane of the tomato world — the tomato  hornworm and its cousin, the tobacco hornworm.  They can devour a plant’s leaves, tiny stems, and, occasionally, green tomatoes in their ravenous march toward metamorphosis.  When the larva is fully grown, nearly four inches long, it will drop off the plant, burrow in the soil, and emerge in about two weeks as a sphinx moth.

These large moths are often mistaken for hummingbirds as they hover over flowers, feeding on nectar.  It’s an amazing transformation!

God is the author of metamorphoses of all kinds, and he is in the business of transforming us.

We are being changed to become more like him . . .

2 Corinthians 3:18 NIRV

We are asked to put off our old selves and put on the new. (Ephesians 4:22-24 and Colossians 3:9,10) There may not be an immediate transition to a life of

compassion , kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience  Colossians 3:12 NIV

but I see progress.

I’m looking forward to the final metamorphosis, too, when we trade in our old bodies for heavenly ones and are completely changed from the worm to the moth.

By his power he will change our earthly bodies. They will become like his glorious body.  Philippians 3:21 NIV

But until then I’m hoping to be a little less tomato-leaf-devouring worm and a little more nectar-drinking moth each day.  I know the metamorphosis itself is God’s work.  Taking off the old self and putting on the new imply some action, as does this verse:

. . . take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.  Ephesians 4:24 The Message

What is my part?

The light is fading as the sun sets, and my back is aching.  It’s time to quit writing for the day, leave the computer desk, and find a more comfortable seat.  I find myself drawn to my cozy chair in the living room with its bright reading lamp, and I’m thirsting/hungering for something cool and sweet.  I turn off the TV and hover over my Bible, finding these verses:

The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.  Exodus 16:31 NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is good;  Psalm 34:8

For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.  John 6:33  NIV

I am the bread of life.  John 6:48  NIV

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.  John 6:51 NIV

Jesus is the nectar, the sweet manna/bread.

photo by W.S. Crenshaw/Colorado State University

photo by W.S. Crenshaw/Colorado State University

I read and pray.  I taste and know that the Lord is good.

And that odd ache in my back?  I think I’m growing wings.

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