God and Groceries (Angel in the Kitchen)


We always keep a shopping list in the kitchen. It’s a long notepad with a nifty little magnet on the back, which allows us to post it on Fridgey’s door. You remember Fridgey, don’t you? He’s our refrigerator. No, we’re not loony, just sentimental; and we’re telling you about our shopping list to illustrate an important characteristic of our Lord.

We keep our list handy, posted where we can easily see it, and we frequently update it. Whenever we’re cooking and notice we’re getting low on sugar or milk or what have you, we immediately add it to our evergrowing list. We learned a long time ago that if we don’t write it down while we’re thinking about it, we may forget it altogether. When we shop for groceries we want to make it count. We don’t want to come home without everything we needed. So before we go to the market, we grab our list containing all the stuff we jotted down during the week. Because nothing is more aggravating than coming home, putting away the groceries, and then starting dinner only to realize we FORGOT the oregano for the spaghetti sauce! When something like that happens, because sometimes we do forget to write down an item on our list, we either have to make an extra trip to the market, wasting time and gas, or change our menu plans.

“Let’s see, I need treats, toys and, uh, treats. Oh yeah, and I also need some treats.”

We’ve gotten pretty good at updating our list, though. So we don’t usually forget what we need. But we gotta have our list! And guess what? God keeps a list, too! What’s God need a list for? So He will remember what He needs. What could God possibly need? He needs us! He created us to have fellowship with Him, and that’s exactly what He wants. In a manner of speaking, we’re on God’s shopping list. In Luke 10:20, the “Great Physician” proclaims to anyone who puts his or her faith in Christ, “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (KJB)

God has His own list, and He will never forget us. God keeps close track of His list, jotting down our names, constantly remembering us: “…I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16 NLT) Think about it for a moment: when someone really wants to remember something, like an important phone number, they often write it on their hand. It’s safer than a piece of paper, which can get misplaced. And when something’s written on your hand, you’re definitely going to see it … repeatedly!

Bottom line: God has not forgotten you and He never will! He’s got a list. Ask Him to put your name on it.

“…This is what the Lord says, the One who created you … ‘Do not be afraid, because I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called you by name; you are Mine.'” (Isaiah 43:1 ISV)


A Fabulous Furry Fable! (Encouragement for Creators)


Here’s the tale of a talented natural scientist, conservationist and wildlife artist, who wrote and illustrated a whimsical little book which no publisher wanted.

Helen Potter was born in 1866, into a prosperous Unitarian family. As a child, Helen and her younger brother Walter played with a menagerie of small animals that included rabbits, squirrels and other wildlife. The two frequently studied the shapes and habits of their furry friends, and soon began to sketch them. This marked the beginning of Helen’s love of nature and the countryside, and it later shaped both her education and her avocation.

Helen privately studied languages, literature, and history with her governess, but natural science became her passion. She spent hours illustrating insects, mushrooms, and fossils she found. She eventually graduated to painting a variety of animals, both real and imagined, in watercolors. During her early twenties, Helen realized she could earn money by printing and selling greeting cards featuring her artwork, so she produced a series of color Christmas cards adorned with her illustrations of mice and rabbits. A year or two later, she realized she could illustrate children’s books.

In September 1893, while vacationing in Scotland, Helen wrote a letter to one of the children of her former governess, a young boy named Noel, who’d been ill. When she ran out of things to tell Noel, she started telling him a story about four little rabbits and their adventures. Helen liked her impromptu story, and in 1900, she decided to revise the tale and try to place it with a publisher. She had definite ideas regarding the size of the book, as well as how the text and illustrations should be laid out; so she created a little homemade booklet of the story, complete with her watercolors of cute rabbits, to promote her ideas to potential publishers.

Helen approached every book company she could think of — including the firm of Frederick Warne. They all said NO! Warne and Company was more eloquent, though: we don’t want your “bunny book”! Following a year of rejections, Helen decided to publish her little book herself, in a very limited black and white edition which she distributed among her friends and family, who in turn shared the book with a few of their own friends. Eventually, an old friend of Helen’s family saw the book, and asked if he might try to find a publisher.

He made the rounds of all the major publishing houses, encountered the same disinterest, and ended up back at Frederick Warne & Company, where L. Leslie Brooke, a prominent children’s book artist who worked for Warne, saw Helen’s self-published book and recommended it to his employers. After months of stalling, Warne finally, and perhaps even grudgingly, agreed to publish the book — in color and according to Helen’s specifications — but only in a small print run. So, on October 2, 1902, nearly a decade after she’d conceived an entirely new type of fable, one featuring anthropomorphic animals who still retained the appearance and characteristics of real animals, Helen’s children’s book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was finally published.

Helen Beatrix Potter’s little book was an immediate success, and quickly went through five additional printings to meet the demand for what ultimately became the first in a series of 23 fabulous furry fables. Our personal favorites are The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tailor of Gloucester.

More than a century later, the entire series is still in print, still popular, and Frederick Warne is still the publisher of these very profitable books. And The Tale of Peter Rabbit recently provided the inspiration for a hit movie. Not bad for a “bunny book” and it’s sequels!

“Behold, I am doing a new thing…. I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19 ESV)