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Isaiah 55:3 screensaver image

One practice that has been helpful in my spiritual life in the past few years is to increasingly pause in the multitude of my thoughts and anxieties, and ask, "God, what do you want to say to me right now?"
"Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David." (Isa 55:3 ESV)
It's a discipline that I'm growing in. It is not independent of God's Word, but flows out of it, as God applies it to my specific situation and thoughts. That's why consistent study and growth in God's Word bears so much fruit, even if it doesn't seem to be relevant at the moment of study or learning.

Richard Foster, in his book, Celebration of Discipline, talks about the practice of meditating on Scripture. He writes, "Whereas the study of Scripture centers on exegesis [interpreting the text], the meditation of Scripture centers on internalizing and personalizing the passage. The written Word becomes a living word addressed to you."

I think of this Scripture:
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." (Colossians 3:16 ESV)
As I talk to my girls about situations they are experiencing, I'm trying to teach them to listen for God's voice too. 

"God speaks to you? What does He sounds like?" they ask.

"He speaks to me through His Word and through the Holy Spirit that lives in me and you, but you have to practice listening to Him. I'll pray that He speaks to you too."

After encouraging one of my daughters to pray about a situation recently, she excitedly recounted later that God had given her a picture of a particularly truth that comforted her. 

I can think of no greater comfort I could offer anyone. 

❤️

Today's screensaver from Isaiah 55:3. I didn't have time to get the Spanish version, but I'll try to add one soon (drop me a line if you're interested)! You can click on the image below and save it to your phone. 




*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, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 

**affiliate link. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


               

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Hear, that your soul may live + Isaiah 55:3 Screensaver


I hope you were able to watch the video of my introduction to this new series on anti-racism in my last post.  I've been doing a lot of reading and writing to prepare for these next few posts on the things I never understood about racism. 

At the end of today's post, I'm sharing a coloring page from Acts 17:26 (in English and Spanish), along with some talking points you can use with your kids when starting the conversation about race and racism. I know starting these conversations can feel awkward and produce anxiety, so I hope to help you by providing these resources. Also at the end of this post is a collection of resources for further study and learning. I'll be collecting all these resources together on an anti-racism page soon!



I never understood that our ideas about racial difference were never biological or natural, but were formed and fostered from the very birth of our nation for the purpose of consolidating privilege and power and oppressing people of color.

For most of life I have had an understanding of race that goes something like this: racism was practiced by people who were evil, hateful, and ignorant. But now that we are more progressive, more informed, and don't hate each other anymore, our racism problem is limited to those individuals who are still evil, hateful, or ignorant. 

Isn't that neat and tidy?

The racial hierarchy--whites on top and black on bottom (and everyone else somewhere in the middle)--and where it came from wasn't something I really considered. It seems like something that just developed naturally. At the same I didn't believe any skin color was naturally inferior or superior. These two opposing beliefs existed comfortably in my mind.

Biology, especially modern DNA research, has confirmed what the Bible has always told us about our origins from one family of men. Modern science continues to confirm that skin color means just skin color and that biologically, we are all the same species. In fact, a person of one color can have more DNA in common with a person of a different color than that of a person with the same skin color. There are no set of physical characteristics that are defined and limited to one race of people.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27 ESV)
Yet the hierarchy seems so inevitable. We say things like, "That's just how things were back then." Or, "He/she was just a person of his/her times." 

But the inevitability of racism is far from historically accurate. I just finished reading Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram Kendi.* Kendi painstakingly reconstructs the ideas that shaped our nation and our narrative of racial difference. He writes:
I was taught the popular folktale of racism: that ignorant and hateful people had produced racist ideas, and that these racist people had instituted racist policies. But when I learned the motives behind the production of many of America's most influentially racist ideas, it became quite obvious that this folktale, though sensible, was not based on a firm footing of historical evidence. Ignorance/hate > racist ideas > discrimination; this causal relationship is largely ahistorical. It has actually been the inverse relationship--racial discrimination led to racist ideas which led to ignorance and hate. Racial discrimination > racist ideas > ignorance/hate: this is the causal relationship driving America's history of racial relations. 
Some of our brightest minds--scientists, sociologists, lawmakers, judges, economists, educators, journalists, and even our pastors and theologians, fostered and formulated America's narrative of racial difference (to borrow Bryan Stevenson's term*) until it became simply common sense to many of us.

Motivated by our favorite idols of self-interest: power, money, influence, control, and reputation, white Americans found a way to justify discrimination and quiet their own consciences, and the conscience of the nation. Sadly, much of the church met the evils of racism with either silence or complicity. You can read a survey of the church's complicity with racism in Jamar Tisby's The Color of Compromise.*

The stratification of the races has its roots in the Enlightenment (see this article), but further developed in colonial America as the need to rely on and justify slavery increased. (The episode of Race: The Power of an Illusion called "The Story We Tell"* chronicles this history.)

Race wasn't always such a factor in American life. For example, take this entry from this timeline of the development of race in America:
In early colonial America, social identities are fluid and class distinctions trump physical ones. On Virginia plantations, European indentured servants and African slaves mix freely - they work, play, and make love together. In 1676, Bacon's Rebellion unites poor Africans and Europeans against Indians and wealthy planters. Although the rebellion is short lived, the alliance alarms the colonial elite, who realize the labor system based on indentured servitude is unstable. Coincidentally, captured Africans, perceived as stronger workers by Europeans, become more available at this time. Planters turn increasingly to African slavery for labor, while granting increased freedoms to Europeans.
The planters' bottom line needed cheaper labor, so a stricter racial narrative was developed. The first slave codes were passed in 1705: 
As wealthy planters turn from indentured servitude towards slavery, they begin to write laws making slavery permanent for Africans, and dividing Blacks from whites and slaves from free men. African Americans are punished more harshly for crimes and their rights are increasingly curtailed. Poor whites are given new entitlements and opportunities, including as overseers who police the slave population. Over time, poor whites identify more with wealthy whites and the degradation of slavery is identified with Blackness. (found here)
And so race-based chattel slavery for life took shape at the same time our pursuit of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" was taking shape. (For more information and research into these ideas, check out the documentary Race: the Power of an Illusion and its companion website.* )

The honing of the racial narrative didn't end there, of course. It continued and continues to take shape, changing to suit the needs of the moment.

This leads me to some concluding thoughts and questions:

1. This understanding of the roots of racism seems important for understanding how to reverse or undo it. 

If I assume that racism is based on ignorance, then education and changed hearts should eradicate it. But if I understand that racism is rooted in deeper idols of entitlement, greed, privilege, and power, then education alone won't change the underlying dynamics at work.

If I assume that racism stems from hate, then love will solve it. If I understand that racism is more deeply entrenched in our society than the level of our feelings towards one another, then I understand that something greater than just "good will" must counteract the underlying entrenchment.

Sociologists call race a "social construct" meaning that race took on the meaning that we gave it in our society. It's the house that we built, solid and firm, and it stands until we tear it down. Ignoring it in an attempt at colorblindness doesn't change it.

2. If the church was complicit in justifying the racial narrative, how might we be complicit in allowing it to continue? How might our consciences be numbed still to injustice around us? How might our interpretations of the Bible be influenced by the racist ideas of our times?

Those are the things I'm thinking about as I learn this history and contemplate its consequences.


I created this Acts 17:26a Bible verse coloring page (with talking points below) for you to share with your own kids or the children you teach. You can download the page in Spanish HERE or in English HERE of by clicking on the images below.**

 

TALKING POINTS for KIDS
  1. What does this verse say about where all people came from? 
  2. What does the rest of Acts 17:26-27 say about the people God made and the places he determined they would live?
  3. Racism is the idea that one race of people (a group that looks mostly the same) is either better or worse than other races of people. How does this idea go against what the Bible tells us about humans?
  4. Science tells us that we are actually all the same race--the human race, and that scientists can't tell what race we are by looking at our DNA. In fact, a person of one race can have more DNA in common with a person of another race than a person of the same race. 
  5. It's important for us to talk about race (and what the Bible says about it) because in America, at the same time our country was being formed, people began to tell the story that one race was better than another, that white people were better than people of color. I know that seems like a silly story, but it became really important. Why would they do such a thing? They thought more about what they wanted than what was good for others. They wanted land. They wanted people to work for them cheaply. They wanted to keep their power and control others. They needed a reason to feel like they were doing the right thing, so they created the story that the races are different. As a result, people of color didn't have the same opportunities as white people. Racism was completely legal! Life became very, very difficult for people of color in our country. I wish I could tell you that it's better today, but there are still many ways that races are not treated equally and don't have the same opportunities. It takes a long time to change these things, so that's why we're talking about this--so we can pray and work to make things better for all of us.


*FOR FURTHER READING/LEARNING


WEBSITE | Race: The Power of an Illusion. Companion website to the three-part documentary with excerpts of the series with articles, interviews, classroom guides, and videos.
PDF | Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Race (From Race: The Power of an Illusion)

I'd be happy to engage with you on this topic. If this post spurs questions or thoughts, you can email me or leave a comment below.


**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, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 



               

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Let's talk about anti-racism: things I never understood (Part 1) + Acts 17:26 Bible Verse Coloring Page



Today on the blog, things are a little different! I'm jumping into a new series that I've long wanted to write about, but instead of just writing it out in the safety of my thoughts, I felt God urging me to make this one a little more personal. So to do that, I recorded a video introducing this new blog series on racism. The video is below (or HERE if you don't see it below), but I'll include the transcript too. Make sure to check out resources I mention in the video at the end of this post.



transcript from the video:

Hey friends! Thanks for clicking on the video. I'm Mary, the artist behind Marydean Draws. I'm doing something a little bit different today. I'm recording this video, an introduction to this series about racism. I felt convicted to do a video, because on a topic that can be so fraught with a lot of feelings--it can be scary, it can feel shameful, [we can feel] angry, intimidated, fragile. I wanted it to feel more intimate. For me, it's more comfortable to be behind the screen, behind the art, but for this, I wanted you to hear my heart and to put myself out there so you can see me talking about this if I'm asking you to talk about it with me.

So, it may be awkward, but that's just me. So thank you for being here and being willing to listen.

Dr. Beverly Tatum wrote a book called "Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" It's kind of a classic on race. She talks about education. If you're a teacher, I definitely recommend that book. Look her up, watch her videos. She's amazing. I'll put some links below.

Dr. Tatum often gives talks to big groups of people and one of the first things she asks is, "What is your first memory of race?" So I was thinking and I remember I was probably eight, and we were living in California. That's how I remember how old I was based on where we were living at the time. We were at a grocery store with a Black family. It was a mother and her daughter. The daughter was a little younger than me and she reached out to hold my hand and I pulled it back. I don't remember the reason being the color of her skin, at least consciously, but my mom was horrified that I didn't want to hold this little Black girl's hand and she kind of scolded me. I remembered it feeling confusing. I didn't know exactly what was happening. I felt shame. And that memory has stuck with me. 

I think we all have memories like that, experiences like that, and they probably all felt differently depending on your skin color and what that experience was.

The next question she [Dr. Tatum] asks after this first question is: "Did a caring adult come alongside you and talk with you about this experience and explain things clearly and comfort you and give you clarity about this experience." She says that most of the time people say "no."

For me, I don't remember having a conversation with my mom. I grew up like most white families. We were not actively racist. We didn't want to cause any harm, but we kind of had a colorblind approach. We don't see, race is not important. And I think that the continues to be the case for many of us.

Wendell Berry wrote a book called "The Hidden Wound" and he talks about his experience of race growing up. He says that the issues of race were wrapped up in silence and that silence spoke volumes of what was underneath. And that silence became a source of great tension and anxiety.

And that's what I feel has happened in our culture. Because we don't talk about it we are not able to heal and move forward. That silence speaks volumes about what's broken.

I would argue that if there's something in our life that causes so much fear, so much shame, anger, confusion--that's an indicator that something is broken. It's a cry for something to be restored--in us and in the world.

The Gospel speaks to that. We need to let the Gospel speak to this issue. We already know that what the Gospel says about us is that we're sinful. So we don't have to cover it up. Let's start with that. We spend so much energy trying to convince ourselves that we're not racist, that we're not part of the problem, that we can't slow down and ask ourselves, "Hey, do I have any racist ideas?" "Is there any way that I have been affected by my sinful culture?"

Just to put it in context, my husband's great-great grandfather was born a slave in Virginia. We recently found the plantation where he was a slave. That is not that far away when we think of it like that. I have slave-owning relatives. They were Alabama planters, the same generation (as my husband's great-great-grandfather). That is not that far away. We cannot believe that we have escaped that heritage without some destructive and sinful consequences on us.

We have to start looking at this issue. So that's why I want us to have freedom. I want us to get to the point where we can be empathetic, we can be informed, we can be courageous, we can be humble, and we can be active in the pursuit of both righteousness AND justice.

That, to me, proclaims the Gospel. We can do it in word and in deed. There is no Biblical justification for a split between faith and action. We're reading [the book of] James in our Bible study and that point has come to me. That is an unnatural and unbiblical distinction.

So you may be wondering how it all started. Actually it all started, funny story, with Instagram. So about three years ago I was looking at my Instagram feed and I realized I wanted to diversify who I was following. Probably most of the people I was following were white like me. So I was going to find some African American women, so I found a few women to follow who were Christians.

Soon after that in July 2016, two black men were shot by police in one week. I tear up because I'm looking at their names. Their names were Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. I think Alton Sterling was a father of five. 

These weren't the first police shootings, but for the first time I saw these men's lives through their eyes [the women I was following]. Sorry, that made me more emotional that I thought. For the first time I saw these incidents through the eyes of these women I was following. And they were grieved and they were angry. They were fearful for their husbands and their brothers and their sons. They knew that their sons, their beautiful sons, would always be perceived as more dangerous than young white boys. as more suspicious. They had to have conversations with them about being so careful about how they responded to police.

I don't know why it hit me finally, but I realized I didn't feel the same as they did. And it grieved me and perplexed me and caused me to question the way that I saw the world. And I wondered, "What do they see that I don't see? What world do they live in that I don't understand? Why did I not grieve over these lives the way that they did?

That was three years ago and that led me on a really long journey that I'm still on. I began to read a lot. I joined the Be the Bridge for Racial Unity Facebook group and that was really transformational. They provide a continuous source of resources and articles and videos. I'm still going through a lot of things they shared. I started to read our history. I read "Lies My Teacher Told Me." The first couple chapters talk about Columbus and then slavery and reconstruction. It really set the context. The other book I read was "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson about the Great Migration and that just changed the way I saw everything. It explains the way a lot of our cities were formed. It has so much history. It's just jam-packed. It's biographical. It's just an amazing book.

So it began to change everything for me as I began to learn and as I listened to people whose experiences were different from my own. 

And so I began to be convinced that this was more than I realized, way more, as a problem. 

I feel compelled to write these blog posts and start this series. I don't know how long this will be. I have several things I want to write. So I'm just asking you to come on this journey with me. I'm not finished. The more I learn, the more I realize there's more sin in me. I think that's the case with sin and pursuing holiness--is that there's always more.

I am in no way setting myself up as an expert on this. In no way am I saying I understand what it's like to be a minority. I'm definitely coming at this from White privilege. And what I mean by that is that I could walk away from this and not have to think about it as a White woman. That's a good definition of White privilege. You can walk away if you want to. It's not daily in your face. It's not life or death for me.

Racism does affect me as a White person--what I mean is that the ideas of White supremacy affect me negatively. Those are things I have to sort through, but I am not experiencing oppression. I never have. So I come at this with certain blind spots. I do want to acknowledge that. 

My hope is to always direct you to people who can talk about that, who are authorities on that, who have studied that history. I want to facilitate that for you. That's kind of how I see my role.

To me, this is a family issue. This is a family of God issue. We all belong to each other. We may not go to the same churches. Our churches may be segregated, but that doesn't mean that we're not one body. 

1 Corinthians 12: 25 says that we should have "no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another."

So I think the issue of race is a family issue. 

Galatians 6:10 says, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."

Obviously, we should care about those outside of the church. Yes, that's our mission field. but especially for the body of Christ, for our brothers and sisters of color.

Secondly, I think this is a Gospel issue. It's an issue of bringing glory to God. I think so much harm is done to the name of Jesus through racism. So much harm is done through our inability to really love people and see their needs and see the way racism has affected them.

Thirdly, I think racism becomes an identity issue, a matter of how we see ourselves. We absorb the message and traditions and culture around us in ways that we don't even understand. That message is going to be different depending on the color of your skin, so we all have to look and say, "What are we believing about ourselves that is not true?"

I hope that my intentions behind this series are clear. My intentions are not to shame anyone. A really good book I'm reading is called "White Awake" by Daniel Hill. He says it's really helpful to distinguish between shame and guilt. Guilt is an appropriate response to sin, and guilt leads us to repentance. Guilt is actually so healthy. Shame is not healthy. Shame gets us stuck. Shame says we're bad, not that something about us is sinful, but that we are ourselves is bad. So that's not what I'm saying. I'm not saying any race is inherently bad--that's just shame. We are sinful people, yes. So let's take a look at that courageously and ask God to give us the eyes to see it, the humility to repent, and let's go out and change the world with the Gospel.

I'm excited. I'm terrified. Feeling lots of things here, but I'm excited and I hope that you'll join me. And you may not agree with me. That's okay. I just hope we can all grow and see the room for growth.

If you have question about this, you can email me or leave a comment on the blog. Again, I'm not an expert, but I hope that I can walk through this with you. 

Thank guys, bye!

RESOURCES MENTIONED:
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum (book)
Interview with Dr. Beverly Tatum (video)

The Hidden Wound by Wendell Berry (book)

Be the Bridge to Racial Unity Facebook Group (this is a private FB group, but you can apply to join)
Be the Bridge (organization website)

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Loewen

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
The Great Migration and the power of a single decision | Isabel Wilkerson TED Talk (video)

White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White by Daniel Hill
Interview with Daniel Hill (video)


I'm excited to walk through this series with you! I'm thinking about artwork to supplement what we'll be talking about that you can use as a resource as you teach and encourage others in these truths!




               

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Let's talk about anti-racism: an introduction and an invitation


As some of us celebrate Lent and as Easter Sunday approaches, I want to meditate on a few verses and share a screensaver image for your phone.


"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." (1Corinthians 11:23-26 ESV)

"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-39 ESV)

Today's screensaver from 1 Corinthians 11:24 (KJV version) is available in Spanish and English. You can click on the images below and save to your phone. 

 


PRAYING the Word
Can it be? Make it a reality to my heart, 
That no one can be against me when you are already for me. 
That you have already given me everything precious and good. 
That nothing has been withheld from me, your dear child. 
That no one can condemn me, because the judge has already justified me. 
That nothing I could imagine, no pain or distress or trouble, present or future, could ever separate me from your love.
That, in you, victory is assured. And not just a close victory--a decisive, overwhelming one.


*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, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 



               

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Broken for you 1 Corinthians 11:24 phone screensaver in Spanish and English

I have these gaps . . . 

between what I know and what I, in fact, believe
Does God even like me? . . .  Am I not justified in judging this person?

between what I know and what I do
Why do I let anger get the better of me? . . . Why is talking to God such a struggle for me?

between what I know of Jesus and how much I am like him.
How can I have thought that way about another person mad in God's image?. . . Why is it so hard to put another person's needs ahead of my own?

Dallas Willard, in The Divine Conspiracy,** writes, "a great deal of what goes into 'training [us] to do everything [Jesus] said' [referencing Matthew 28:20] consists simply in bringing people to believe with their whole being the information they already have as a result of their initial confidence in Jesus--even if that initial confidence was only the confidence of desperation."

He writes, "To enter his kingdom, we believe in him. To be at home in his kingdom, learning to reign with him there,
we must share his beliefs."

The whole of our being testifies to what we truly believe--our actions, our words, our emotions, our thoughts, our desires, our will. There is no segmentation in the life of a disciple. It's ALL for Him. It's all fodder for surrender and growth and "taking up our cross."

If an honest look at these areas reveals your own gaps, be encouraged. Being a poor disciple doesn't make you not a disciple; it just means you have a lot of growing to do and need more training under the Teacher, and under other fellow disciples.

John writes about what it looks like to both know and believe: 
"By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." (1Jo 4:13-20 ESV)
Verse 16 is what stood out to me in this passage (and is this month's coloring page). It reminds me that faith is both knowing and believing. We can know any multitude of things without putting trust in any of them. The word "know" in this verse is ginōskō in Greek and is used for coming to the knowledge or understanding of something. The word for "believe" is pisteuō and is used for putting your confidence and trust in something. 

John is clear in this passage that there's evidence if we know and believe God's love:
  • Are we like Jesus in the world? Then we know and believe God's love.
  • Do we fear God's condemnation and punishment? Then we don't fully know and believe God's love yet.
  • Do we hate our brothers and sisters? Then we don't fully know and believe God's love yet.

So many of my own "gaps," from my relationship with God to my relationships with others, stem from my not really believing God's love--for me and for others. 

But the news for all of us is GOOD: we can know God's love. God is knowable. He sent his Son as a person who lived a life that's beautifully recorded. And if you're reading this email, the book is even in your language (or one you can read). Know the Son; know the Father.

Additionally, we live in the power of the Holy Spirit, who makes God's love known to us on the most intimate level--our hearts.

In my experience, this is simple, but very complicated stuff. There are a lifetime of habits, based on our real beliefs, to rewrite. Some beliefs were written by our own corrupt hearts; some were written by others. But God is a patient, enduring author. Maybe before we're even aware of it, God writes another chapter, heals another gap between knowing and believing, and we are never the same. 

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from 1 John 4:16. Click on the images below to download in English or Spanish.

 


PRAYING the Word
Thank you, Lord, that in your mercy, you've taken me on as a student despite my small faith and slow growth! Thank you, Father, that you don't boot your slow-learning kiddos from the family. Your table is wide and bountiful and gracious. Help me to both know you and believe you and so be transformed to be like you in the world, living like you would the very life in front of me.

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. What are some of the "gaps" between what you and know and what you actually believe and live?
2. Why would truly knowing and believing God's love for you change everything?
3. What's one thing that knowing and believing God's love for you could change 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, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 

**affiliate link. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


               

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The gaps between knowing and believing + 1 John 4:16 Coloring Page in English and Spanish


"I led them with cords of kindness, 
with the bands of love, 
and I became to them as one 
who eases the yoke on their jaws, 
and I bent down to them and fed them.
(Hosea 11:4 ESV)

sometimes I feel
I'm coming loose
barely clinging to You
a little too much
distraction
immaturity
or plain exhaustion
poor in spirit
small of faith
in courage, a mewling kitten
beset by fears
vulnerable to snake whispers

are the ties that bind us only as tight
as the limp amateur knots I tie?
irresistible grace
now de-magnetized?

no, these bands of love
strong as your will
cords of kindness
strong as death
and raised up life
keep me in grateful bondage
my will to yours
my mustard seed faith
enough

"For I am sure that 
neither death nor life, 
nor angels nor rulers, 
nor things present nor things to come, 
nor powers, 
nor height nor depth, 
nor anything else in all creation, 
will be able to separate us from the love of God 
in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
Romans 8:38-39 ESV


You can get your screensaver (inspired by the above verses and poem) by clicking on the image below and saving to your device.

But before you go . . .

Let's play a little Q & A this month
For this month's "From the Mind of Mary" newsletter (a fun little letter for my subscribers where I share things I'm reading or learning), I'd like to do a little "Q & A with the Artist." Send me your questions (serious or fun, silly or deep, artsy or not) and I'll do my best to answer them! You can comment here or reply to mary@marydeandraws.com. Sign up HERE if you're not on the mailing list!




*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, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 



               

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Bands of love Screensaver + a poem



Do you celebrate Lent with your church family? Our church is Protestant but loosely adopts some of the church calendar, so we celebrate Advent in anticipation of Christmas and Lent in anticipation of, and preparation for, Easter. This year Lent begins on March 6 and ends on April 18.

I thought I'd share a few resources that you might find helpful:

These coloring pages are all found free here on the blog.

I've collected more coloring pages and printables on this Pinterest page.

This printable Lent art journal with readings and space to draw would work for both kids and adults. I like the idea.

My "Good News Story" card set comes with full color cards and black and white coloring pages and walks you through the Gospel story with selected verses from the beginning to Revelation. I think it would work well for Lent. You can get printed cards HERE or the printable file HERE (and just printable coloring pages HERE or the  printed coloring book HERE). The printable version comes in Spanish too. Everything in the shop is 20% off through Friday this week.

How do you celebrate Lent with your family?  Any resources I should add to my list?

*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, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 


               

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


Lent & Easter Resources for your family


Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

I don't know about you, but my heart easily gets out of tune. We've been in a long season of God doing something, but we're not sure what. I don't know when or how it will all end. Sometimes discouragement sets in. Self-pity. Hopelessness. Distraction. Sometimes I want to talk to God; sometimes I blame him for where we're at. Sometimes I'm okay; sometimes I'm not.

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Yesterday, I was reading Lysa Terkeurst's It's Not Supposed to be This Way,** and I was encouraged. 

She writes, "And while I know in my head that God will somehow, someday turn all this around for good in my life, too, my heart isn't so sure some moments. The intensity of the pain gives me a propensity to doubt."

She suggests in these times when we're wrestling with unbelief that "we just have to make the choice to see Him and rightly attribute to Him the good that does exist. I truly believe what keeps us on the path of longsuffering instead of veering off in the dangerous direction of wallowing is to wake up with great expectation of these little reminders of God's goodness."

Remembering God's goodness is like regularly stopping to drink from a stream as you journey through the desert (Isaiah 43:19). It doesn't take away the desert's hardships, but it sustains you enough to keep going.

So yesterday I chose to count the goodness I could see:
the beautiful faces of my sweet girls
a little four-year-old hug around my thigh
the angled profile of my man
the original oil painting I splurged on last year 
the warm spaghetti dinner the kids helped me make last night
the prayers and encouragement of my dear friend

Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it

Mount of Thy redeeming love

Not much changed externally, but God again tuned my heart to sing his praise and fixed me firmly on his love. 

I'll need to be re-tuned again soon, I'm sure, but today I can keep going.



p.s. If you like this hymn, there's some original art and prints in the shop painted on this beautiful hymn and others as well.

**affiliate link. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


               

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Tuning my heart