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Last week, an author I follow on Instagram shared this experience: "When I tried to share about how I felt as a black female in a situation, they didn't want to hear it. It is terrible not to want to listen to a sister's heart, even when it could be hard. If we can't take the first and simple step of talking, there's little hope of racial harmony in the church. If we can't listen, we can't love. But there's hope and I'm always holding onto the hope of Jesus. No one can take that away."

(You can follow Trillia on Instagram @trillianewbell or on her blog here. She's also just written a super cute children's book about God's design in diversity).

I was struck by her words and thankful for her willingness to share. I hope that in this situation, I would have listened.

It's so easy for me to see blindness in others, but harder to see it in myself, harder to let God's light reach my own dark parts. But that's always where God has me start.
"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make m a liar, an&d his word is not in us." (1John 1:8-10 ESV)
"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:4-5 ESV)
I think I'm a pretty good listener . . . until I'm not.

I'll tell you when it's hard for me. It's hard when I feel judged. It's hard when I feel threatened or when someone challenges something I hold tightly. It's hard to listen when I can't solve something or make it better. It's hard when the conversation makes my uncomfortable or shakes my sense of rightness. It's hard when I realize the world can look so different from another point of view. I feel in over my head.

(By the way, that's likely why conversations about race make people of my color so uncomfortable. There's even a term for this kind of emotional breakdown reaction we experience until we develop a healthy resilience.)

So, my believing friends, what kind of listeners would Jesus have us be?

James writes to the church, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20, ESV)

To clarify, I'm not talking about compromising our convictions or playing loose with truth. I'm talking about hearing and listening to other human beings, and thus honoring the image of God in them. Remember, each person we encounter is someone "for whom Christ died" (See 1 Corinthians 8:11. I suppose to be precise, theologically, Christ died for those who would believe in Him, so this refers to believers, but everyone is a potential believer). 

I see so much more enmity than empathy in the church these days. I see such a quickness to speak, but not a quickness to listen and learn (including in myself). Empathy (which in Greek translates "in + feeling"), means "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another" (thanks Google). Antonyms include: coldness, detachment, violence, indifference, antagonism, unfeelingness, passiveness, revulsion, and spite (Thesaurus.com). 

I can almost hear Satan's cackle of delight as he divides wedges between believers who love Jesus, but are incredibly diverse. The Deceiver, the master of "fake news," peddles the lie that we must be either-or and nowhere in the middle. His marketing campaign is booming and he deals in tents for opposing camps. He scoffs at nuance and gentleness.
"Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:5 ESV). 
How can we manage those gut-level reactions we have when listening induces stress, fear, and anxiety? 

Again, our example is Jesus. Jesus took all the anger, all the accusations, all the hate, without protest. And He was sinless. How much more can we, sinful as we are, absorb any measure of discomfort (small compared to His death) in our effort to love others? 
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth." (Isaiah 53:7 ESV)
Because our position in Christ is firm, we have no need to defend or prove ourselves. We have no need to prove that we are in the right in every situation because we already know we are sinful. We already know that Jesus had to die to forgive us. What accusation could anyone bring against us after that? We have no need to defend the high ground, because like Christ, we are to "empty ourselves" so that we can serve others and "win as many as possible" (Philippians 2:7 and 1 Corinthians 9:19).

Because of this, we are free to listen and grow. We have everything to gain by listening, including the hearts of those we hear.

This is where God is growing me, teaching me patiently to push past my own initial reactions and need to prove myself.  

Just listen, Mary. Learn. 


"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" 1 Peter 5:5
"Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." Ephesians 5:21

Like any area of discipleship, growing takes practice. We can build conversational resilience by listening to or following someone who will challenge our point of view. Listen to a believer that looks different than you and thinks differently than you. Read some history of this country from a point of view not commonly represented (I'm just finishing this book). Practice empathetic listening without attempting to solve or fix or advise. 

In this season in my country when racial tension is painful, let's give our brothers and sisters of color hope by our patient listening and willingness to talk and learn from them. Let's floor the outside world with our unwillingness to be angry and defensive. Sadly, that's not what they expect of us.

And maybe as we do this, we'll learn the patience and graciousness of our God with us.
"By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:17).

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from James 1:19. You can download your page by clicking on one of the options below!*

ENGLISH
SPANISH
BLANK (for use with other languages)

PRAYING the Word
Forgive us Lord for the many ways we fall short of your glory. Forgive us for be in quicker to speak than to listen. Make us salt and light in our broken culture. Make us ministers of reconciliation who "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (2 Corinthians 5:18 and Titus 2:10).

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. When do you find it hardest to listen?
2. How might you practice growing as a listener?
3. How does listening reflect the character of our God?
4. Do you think believers in our society known for their listening skills? 



*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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a call for empathy in an age of enmity + James 1:19 Bible Verse Coloring page


Between homeschool school and co-op, a craft fair and travel over the weekend, all manner of issues swirling around our country, and Fall allergy season kicking in, everything feels a bit "fuzzy" for me right now. 

There are things on my heart I'd like to share, but because "fuzziness" of the brain does not a great writer make, I'll share these words from Romans 12 with you today and pray that God speaks truth to where you need it most:


"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. 
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:1-21 ESV)
To get your Romans 12:12 screensaver, just right click on the image below, save, and then set as your device's lock or home screen! This image is available as an 8x10" printable in the "words of life" set in the shop.



*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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Rejoice in hope Romans 12:12 Screensaver

Proverbs 20:24 Bible verse coloring page from Marydean Draws

"A man's steps are from the Lord;how then can man understand his way?" Proverbs 20:24

I used to use this verse sometimes in college to reply when people asked me, “What are you going to do when you graduate?”

I wonder why we assume we should should know what we're doing after college and beyond? We assume we should know the ministry God has for us. We should know how we should school our children.

I'm not against planning or goal-setting; both can be the Lord's leading. But I wonder if God isn't asking us to sit with a lot more "I don't knows" than we're comfortable with?

I think we're big on making plans and having goals, but not on waiting on the LORD. At church we have been talking about how the first instruction to the disciples in the book of Acts was to wait on the coming power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
"And while staying with them he [Jesus] ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5 (ESV)
I wonder if not always knowing where we're going might by a natural by-product of following Jesus and walking in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16)?

People often ask me, "How long do you think you'll homeschool?" I always say that I really don't know, and that I will pray about it each year. I often feel awkward answering this way, the inner critic in my head telling me that I should really be a better planner, more decisive, more on top of my life. And maybe I should, or . . .

Maybe I need to care most about what Jesus would say, and continue to do what He has led me to do until He leads differently. Maybe I need to lean in most on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in my life and not my own abilities or plans.

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Proverbs 20:24. You can download your page by clicking on the images below (one in English, one in Spanish, and one blank for other languages)!*


PRAYING the Word
Jesus, forgive my self-reliance and need to control. Help me know myself well enough to know that I am an unreliable guide. Help me humbly and patiently allow you to lead me today wherever you would. Teach me to wait on you.

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. What are you asking God’s leading for today?
2. Are you content to wait as He leads in His timing?
3. What encouragement do you find in this Scripture today?


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

Willing to wait + Proverbs 20:24 Bible Verse Coloring Page



"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

A whole three years ago when I was a brand-new blogger, I posted my very first printable. It was a lettered print of 1 Peter 4:8, and it's been a popular post on my blog since. I still love it (and have it on my wall), but I wanted to give it a little makeover.

Plus, my husband and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, and God's grace, both received and then passed on to each other, is the only thing that has held our marriage together and allowed us to flourish. 

Each anniversary, I've written a special blog post (here, here, and here) about what God has taught me that year. In some ways, having ten years of experience makes things easier. We are wiser and less likely to throw fuel on a fire, turning a spark into flame (too many singed eyebrows). We understand each other better. We are less likely to see the other as the chief sinner in the house (1 Timothy 1:15).

But ten years also brings new challenges. We parent three active children who sing, dance, and squabble through their days. We are often exhausted. We have our own health challenges. Work is often demanding. We have had unexpected home repairs.

So this year we don't have all our issues sorted out. We exasperate one another. We argue. We disagree about the details of raising our kids and the temperature of the bathtub for the toddler (for real).

But we ask for forgiveness. We forgive. We see our sins in the light of His presence (Psalm 90:8). And we cover it all with love.
"And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:14

God's love is like the super-strong glue that seeps into the cracks between us and binds us together with a power beyond ourselves.

If you are struggling in your marriage today, God bless you. You are not alone. May God lead you, and give you His grace. I pray that today you would hear His voice and know His sustaining love and comfort. 
"Seek the LORD and his strength;seek his presence continually!" Psalm 105:4
To get your 5x7" 1 Peter 4:8 print (in black and white or with color), simply right click on one of the images below, and save! 







*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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Love covers, ten years, and a free Bible verse art print!


With the start of the school year, life has gotten a bit busier for us. My to-do's are all small things, but in total I tend to react in anxiety and find myself sorting through them at 3 am, unable to sleep.

So this month's screensaver is a reminder for me and you to pause and seek the presence of the Lord.

I love this verse:
"Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually
!" Psalm 105:4
 And this one:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." (1Peter 5:6-7 ESV)
Yes, sisters, cast those anxieties down. Humble yourself. They are too big for you to carry and besides, HE CARES for you.

I pray these things:
Show me what I should do today.
Show me what doesn't have to be done right now.
Lord, show me when my fear of disappointing others or doing something poorly is creating an unnecessary burden.
Lord, teach me to rest in your provision and your help. 
Help me remember that your presence will be there tomorrow too.

To get your screensaver, just right click on the image below, save, and then set as your device's lock or home screen!



*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

Pause and pray screensaver


I wrote last month about building our lives on the rock of God's word and my current method of Bible study. Today, I wanted to share a few things that are encouraging my "quiet times." 

As always, I don't aim to be prescriptive in advocating a certain method of study or prayer. In fact, the term "quiet time" for me has so often been associated with my sense of failure and inadequacy, that I'm very hesitant to even use it. Quiet time. Time with God. Devotions. Whatever you call it, I've pretty much struggled to be consistent with them all. You could call me a "quiet time dropout."

And likely I will continue to battle my flesh and my propensity to forget my God and His goodness. I will continue to repent of my distractibility and my lack of fervency in prayer.

Here are a few things that have helped me recently and might encourage you:

1. Reading through a book of the Bible and meditating on a short passage each week, asking God what He would say to me (as described here previously). I underline and take some simple notes, sometimes I just sit there and think about the passage.

2. Reading a Psalm each day. The Psalms teach me to look up and cry out in whatever circumstances I find myself.

3. Letting God lead my praying. For so long, I felt like that if I couldn't pray for everything and everyone in my life (Missionaries! Relatives that don't know Jesus! Future spouses for my kids! Church family! Pastors! Our country's leaders! Ahh!), that I was failing, so more often than not, I would just give up and not pray at all. It felt too overwhelming. But (shocker!), I may be just overcomplicating what should be a conversation with Jesus. Why should I expect to always lead that conversation?

I still write down lists of things to pray for, but I'm attempting to let God lead me to what and who I should pray for each day. Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, introduced me to this idea.

4. Praying the Word. I try to pray what I read when applicable. Last night in my reading in 1 Corinthians 5:8, I read about how believers celebrate Christ, the Passover lamb with the "unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." I prayed that my church family would be people of sincerity and truth as we celebrate Jesus.

5. Praying prayers of other believers. I have been using a collection of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision (on my resources page and mentioned here also) this year. They've helped lead me to deeper confession and faith in Christ's work. I feel like each one tears me down and then builds me back up in Christ.

6. Keeping a simple routine. I try not to fill my quiet time with too many resources. I'm also finding value in the consistency of meeting together, just as I do in the simple weekly meetings of our church family small groups. I don't do my quiet time every night; some nights I'm too tired or sometimes I'm just plain distracted.

6. Doing my quiet times at night. There, I said it (and all the night owls rejoiced). I have finally accepted that I am not a morning person, and my evenings are just much quieter and peaceful.

I want to note, as my friend Katie says, that this time is not the whole of my relationship with God. It deepens it and fills me in a way only Jesus can, but my whole day is an opportunity to "seek His presence continually" (Psalm 105:4). Nor are my "quiet times" the basis of my relationship with God--only faith in the finished work of Christ is that. Guilt-motivated quiet times just don't work friends. Grace-motivated quiet times with your loving Father--yes.

As our pastor has been saying this summer, "Grace is opposed to earning, not effort." Isn't that good news?

What encourages you to spend time in the Word and prayer, friend?


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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Encouragement from a quiet time dropout

Bible coloring page Philippians 4:5

Sometimes a confluence of messages and events press upon me, like trickling mountain streams that together form a rushing river. I'll try to explain these streams I find converging today.

The events in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend weigh heavy on me, not just because the city is only a skip over the mountain from us, but also because I care about racial reconciliation in this country, especially our role as Christians in this work of God's will being done "on earth as it is in heaven." I'm deeply disturbed by the ideology of hate and racial superiority on clear display by the organizers and participants of last weekend's rally.

I told my daughters about Charlottesville and what Neo-Nazis believe, and my oldest responded, "Not that again!" Last year's overview of World War II is still fresh in our minds.

(If you'd like some ideas about how to talk to your kids about race and Charlottesville, JellyTelly shared a great collection of resources HERE. I appreciated this one, and I've also written about the topic here. I also appreciate the writer Trillia Newbell, who speaks wisely and graciously about race. You can read her writing here and here.)

Yes, my daughters, "again." The serpent is old, but not senile. He is a good recycler and repackager of lies. He himself is on the side of no one but his own, the side of destruction and death (John 10:10).

If the serpent is the author of hate-fueled movements of this kind (think the Khmer Rouge, Rwandan genocide, and the Holocaust) then the battle is a spiritual one not to be defeated with insults or shame tactics or matching hate with hate. I feel we may end up like the disciples when they tried to cast a demon out of a boy it had been tormenting since childhood:  
"And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him [Jesus] privately, 'Why could we not cast it out?' And he said to them, 'This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.'" (Mark 9:28-29 ESV)
One stream.

On Sunday, our pastor taught through Philippians 4. We read ""Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:5 ESV). "Reasonableness" (in the Greek the adjective epieik─ôs used as a noun in this verse) is also translated moderation (as in the KJV), forbearance, and gentleness. As an adjective it is translated gentle, patient, suitable, equitable, fair, mild. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of the New Testament, it is "in contrast to contentiousness."

Another stream.

Reading through the book of Matthew with my kids, we came to this passage where Jesus quotes Isaiah's prophecy about the Messiah:
"Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope."" (Matthew 12:18-21 ESV)
Jesus is the King who is "gentle and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29), who, without quarreling or even extinguishing a smoldering wick, brings "justice to victory."

Another stream.

All that brings me back to this: what do believers like homebody, homeschooling, church member me do in the face of this evil? What does it look like to imitate my Jesus who is completely gentle and non-bruised-reed-breaking in this contentious culture of mine?

One more stream:

Eric Metaxas's Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography (listed on my resources page) was one of my summer reads. As I read, I had the eerie feeling that Bonhoeffer's story and the larger story of German Christians was important for us today. Germany was home to Martin Luther, the reformation, and thus Lutheranism. Anyone grow up singing "A Mighty Fortress is our God"? It was written by Luther in German! It seems an unlikely place to have birthed the horror of the Holocaust.

The Nazi party needed the church's support to move ahead politically, but at the same time they hated the gentleness of Jesus and the call to lay day one's life and rights for the sake of Jesus and the good of others and the Gospel. They considered that aspect of Christianity un-German. In the end, they didn't need the church's approval so much as they needed the church to remain divided and inactive in their opposition to Nazi party's political plots and thinly veiled (for a time) violence. Many in the church compromised Gospel truth for political expediency and security. 

If we can learn anything from the German church, it is that the Church must not be afraid or slow to act against oppression and injustice.  Fear of doing the wrong thing kept many German Christians from doing anything, which then left them with only impossible choices once evil had secured power.

I don't pretend to have a prescription for how believers should respond today, but maybe our calling hasn't changed, our calling to:

1. Be the Church united, not just individuals. 

2. Pray and resist anxiety (Philippians 4:6).

3. Stand up for the oppressed and promote justice.
 "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8 ESV)
4. Preach the Gospel in every season. 
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV) 
5. Do everything in the Spirit and power of Jesus, in gentleness and respect because we see ourselves as the chief sinners (saved by grace alone) who have often neglected kindness, justice, and humility.
"But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." (1Peter 3:14-15 ESV)
Please know I'm not trying to pick sides politically; I only want to see the bride of Christ act like her Savior, Jesus. I want Jesus to known and honored with our gentle and respectful lives, not reviled because of our unreasonableness and contentiousness. I want to see the church fearless, because we are the ones who have the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11).

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Philippians 4:5 (in English, Spanish, and a blank version for adding another language). You can download your page by clicking on the images below!*



PRAYING the Word
Jesus, may we your church body be known for our gentleness and respect towards all men. May we honor you as Lord and always be prepared to speak the Gospel. Forgive us for being known for anything else. Forgive us for letting fear keep us from acting in faith. Use us as salt and light in our decaying and dark world. Make us a city on a hill, not a candle snuffed under a basket. 

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. Are you known for your gentleness and respect for others? 
2. How might you better reflect the nearness of your Savior? 
3. How might God be calling you, as a member of the body of Christ, to act as salt and light in our culture?


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

Hate, old lies, and the gentleness of Jesus + Philippians 4:5 coloring page


Hi friends!

On a whim, the kids and I decided to jump right in and start school this week. It's feels good to be back in a familiar rhythm. We're studying the first part of American history this year (starting with the native peoples of the Americas using Sonlight Core D), and I'm excited to see what we'll learn. We've made a few small adjustments in organization and scheduling from last year that seem to be helping.

Having the toddler a whole year older than last year (crazy how that happens) has made a big difference. We were able to buy some used Thomas the Tank Engine tracks and toys for him to play with during school in the morning. Unlike last year, he has been pretty content to play while we do school in the morning. We finish up later while he naps.

Well, enough about the inner-workings of our homeschool! This week, I pulled together some mostly-free resources for you to use as tools to encourage your kiddos and their teachers as you kick off another school year! Here they are:

A. "Be strong and courageous" coloring page. 

B. Six encouraging black and white Scripture cards (free)

C. Three printable teacher appreciation cards (free)

D. 25 Printable lunchbox notes (free)

E. 4 Blank printable notecards (free)

F. Printable love notes and a second set HERE

G. Anxious Heart set from my shop. I love this one for little (and big) worriers to memorize! This one about their identity in Christ would be great as well.

H. 8 hand-drawn lunchbox notes (free)

I. Printable Rainbow thank you card. Why wait until the end of the school year to thank your child's teacher? You know he or she has already poured many hours thinking and planning for your child's year. Drop him a note telling him how you appreciate him and how you're praying for him this year.

If you're interested in any printables from my Etsy shop, make sure to sign up for my newsletter (below) or follow me on social media for news about a big sale next week! 


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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Encouragement for back-to-school printable round-up


It's a new month and time for new screensaver art! This is the truth that I've been pausing on for a while.
"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ." (1Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV)
If we belong to Christ, we are no longer "natural" people. Bickering, resentment, and looking out for numero uno is natural. Selfless love, forgiveness, and humility are the work of the Spirit.

Anxiety, frenzied work, and a lack of self-control are natural. Peace, rest, and self-control are fruits of the Spirit at work.
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
In honest self-evaluation, I still live much like a natural woman, which, despite Aretha Franklin's classic anthem, for a Christian, is not our calling.

When I am in the grips of anxiety, a decision I have to make, or a situation of tension, God has been reminding me that I am not on my own. I am not a natural woman. I have the mind of Christ.

And that in itself, is a witness to God's great grace toward this still-fleshly woman.

To get the image, right click on the image below, save, and then set as your device's lock or home screen.

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

The Mind of Christ Screensaver

 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)

I just finished the Bonhoeffer biography I told you about last time. It was weighty, sobering, heart-breaking, and hope-giving. There are many treasures I took away from reading it, but one simple idea was the way Bonhoeffer taught his seminary students to read the Bible. They were so accustomed to dissecting each verse, theorizing and debating, looking up the Greek and Hebrew, that they were inept at actually knowing how to hear from God through His Word! So he made them meditate on a single passage each week and barred them from doing any formal research. They were to simply ask what God had to say to them in His Word. This proved very difficult and frustrating for some students, but in the end fruitful. It was a practice many of them would carry throughout their lives, and one that sustained Bonhoeffer in dark days.

I find that I am so prone to wander spiritually, so quick to seek joy elsewhere, so easily discouraged, that more than anything else, I need to hear daily from Jesus. Like the little Wemmick in Max Lucado's (You are Special) children's book who cares so much about the kind of dots others stick to Him, I need to come daily to my Maker. I need to hear His will. I need to confess my sin and know His grace. I need Him to lead me to be holy as He is holy. 

I am trying a Bonhoeffer-inspired approach to Scripture these days: reading a passage and then asking the Lord what He wants me to meditate on for the week.

Two weeks ago I came to this passage:
"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." (1Corinthians 2:1-5 ESV)

I prayed over the idea that Paul "decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucifed." Since my main discipleship ministry is in my home to my children, what would it look like for a mom to not come to her children with "lofty speech or wisdom," but with single-minded focus on the cross of Christ? What does it look like for me to demonstrate and show the Spirit's power, so that my children's faith "might not rest on the wisdom of men but in the power of God"? What does this mean for me as a blogger, artist, and sister in Christ?

One thing I do know is that I don't have to be superwoman who has all the answers. That in itself won't convince anyone of God's greatness. Paul, the great missionary himself, came in "weakness and in fear and much trembling." 

Last week, I honed in on the verse, "'For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). This week, I think it's "you are still of the flesh" (1 Corinthians 3:3). God has handed me precious treasures from His Word, worthy of the time to handle and examine and cherish.

My purpose here is not to advocate for any particular method of Scripture study, but only to encourage you to seek Jesus in His Word, to listen, and then to build your life on those words--whatever the particular method you're using at the moment. It doesn't have to be complicated and overwhelming, and can be as simple as reading a few verses each week and asking God what He wants to say to you through them. 

Then, God can make us like this verse below, despite the storms, the pounding rain, the floods (which will surely come):
Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Matthew 7:24. You can download your page HERE in Spanish or HERE in English or by clicking on the images below!*

And for the first time, I'm sharing a version of the coloring page with no words HERE (or click  the image below). I've heard from several readers from around the world who speak languages other than English and Spanish, and are looking for Bible artwork they can use. If you add your own language lettering to this page, will you share it with me at mary@marydeandraws.com or on Instagram or Facebook? I'd love to see! 




*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

A life on the rock + Matthew 7:24 Bible coloring page in English and Spanish