I Saw God in a Green Binder

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***I wrote this post last fall, and never published it. I am not sure why I never published it, maybe it was because it was too personal. It was an impactful moment for me. A green binder may seem insignificant, but it is awesome that we have a God that cares so much about us, that His love pours out even in the smallest of details. We all have our own “green binder” stories, and they are all wonderful expressions of His love for us.***

Over the past few months, Cal has been going through the process to become licensed as a lawyer. He sat for the Bar Exam at the end of July and we are waiting on the results. As a result, his employment (and our source of income) has been a little bit on the irregular side.

We have been cutting out everything “non-essential” and that includes all school supplies. Ask any homeschool family, and having $0 budgeted for school expenses for August-November is difficult. Thankfully, we already had our entire curriculum and I am a supply hoarder, so we really have not needed anything.

One thing I did really want was a binder for the Ethan’s portfolio. I have several white ones, but I really wanted a green binder so that I could eventually have each child’s set of portfolios color coded and green is his favorite color.

I searched high and low for green binders while school supplies were on sale at the start of the school year. The only one I could find was $10, which doesn’t seem like much until you are pulling it out of a bare-bones grocery budget. I decided to settle on a white one that I already owned.

Fast forward almost two months. We are going through our office to prepare for the Cal’s new job and to turn it into a school room/nursery. I pull down my white binders from the shelf to move them into the closet and a green one fell down and hit me square in the face.

I laughed in astonishment. It was an Avery, D-ring, 1.5”, 3 ring binder. Not only was it green, but it was a very close match to Ethan’s expandable file folder that houses all of his preschool work and artwork from the past three years.

There have been so many other moments that we saw God’s provision while we were going through that tight time: a chicken lasting four meals instead of the planned two, a vet bill being half of what I expected, side jobs turning up unexpectedly, and many more. But, for some reason, my green binder has been the moment where I have felt His presence the most.

Share your “Green Binder” Moment in the comments below!

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Read This BEFORE You Boycott Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast will be released in theaters March 17, 2017. Photo credit: Screen Rant

 

I am a huge lover of Walt Disney. The Coach and I went to the “Happiest Place on Earth” for our honeymoon, I own no fewer than 50 animated Disney films, and we have gone to see several Disney Broadway tours (and one Broadway show).

One of my favorite Disney movies (and Broadway productions) was Beauty and the Beast. That is why I was so excited to see that it was being made into a live action film.

However, it seems that it has caused quite the uproar among my Christian friends on Facebook after the announcement that there will be a gay character in the film.  I have seen several comments about boycotting Disney, indoctrination of children, and Disney is no longer family friendly. All of which, I have found to be rather confusing.

WHY THIS FILM? WHY THIS SIN?

Beauty and the Beast is not indoctrinating children to sin any more than most films do.

Galatians 5:19 tells us “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar.

Would anyone have boycotted Beauty in the Beast for showing Gaston’s jealousy of the Beast? Why isn’t there an outcry against LeFou’s idolatry of Gaston? Or the Beast’s outbursts of anger? There is an entire bar scene where the town decides to go off and kill the beast after a lot of drunkenness and carousing.

Oh, and let’s not forget that the ENTIRE MOVIE is about sorcery! I mean, there is an enchanted rose that turned an entire castle’s wait staff into inanimate objects.

Why, then did everyone decide to boycott the film when homosexuality was included?

I believe that one major reason Christians are upset about this particular sin because it is not one they themselves suffer from. It is very easy to point out the speck in your neighbor’s eye without removing the plank in your own.

Will I be allowing my kids to see this film? Absolutely not! But I would not allow them to see it even without a trace of homosexuality.

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The Walmart Challenge

Ask anyone which store they frequent that they dislike going to the most. It seems like the most popular answer will be “Walmart!” or whichever grocery store they happen to use.

So, I decided to create a challenge for myself this morning to get through the mundane task of grocery shopping.

This challenge can be done anywhere: Walmart, the dentist, the DMV, church…

The Rules:

Be Positively Positive! Go in with the right attitude. There is no reason we cannot find JOY in shopping for our families. We are “like the ships of the merchant; [we bring our] food from afar” (Proverbs 31:14).

Go in with the knowledge that a lot of people in the store do not want to be there and want to get out as soon as possible.

Smile at everyone (or at least most people)!

Find small ways to brighten the day of the people around you!

Bonus points if you do this while shopping with your kids (I didn’t)!

The Results:

As I drove to the store, I realized that I was driving with a little less impatience. I didn’t mind letting someone cut in front of me. I drove the speed limit and took time to notice the world around me.

The first person I came to in the parking lot, I felt really awkward smiling at. But as soon as I smiled, a funny thing happened: she smiled back! Each time I smiled at someone and got a return smile, I noticed that my facial expressions were no longer forced. I was actually giving people a moment of happiness.

At the checkout counter, I let the man behind me check out first. He looked completely confused but gratefully accepted. And, it turns out he was in the store buying a slow cooker on his lunch break and was trying to rush home to start supper for his family after theirs would not turn on. I am sure those 10 extra minutes that I saved him really blessed him.

Then, I took the time to talk to the cashier. She was bored with her morning and seemed to enjoy having someone to laugh with for a few minutes.

In the span of ten minutes, I was able to talk to two complete strangers and had the opportunity to serve them in the smallest of ways.

Was anything I did difficult: Absolutely not.

Was anything I did life changing: For others, probably not. For me, maybe. It helped me to see the difference that a positive attitude can have on the people around me. I also think having a willing and open heart allows me to see where God wants me to move. Perhaps having more of these “Positivity Challenges” will allow others to see the light in me and seek Him.

The Blessing Calendar

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It is so AMAZING to see where God is working! However, we are a forgetful people and tend to forget God’s miracles! This has been a problem for men since “the Israelites did not remember the LORD their God who had delivered them from the power of the enemies around them.” Judges 8:34

However we have been told to always remember God and to tell our children and grandchildren about His goodness and faithfulness.

“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.” Deuteronomy 4:9

Our family started a Blessing Calendar this year. We simply got a calendar and write things on it AFTER they happen.

Our calendar includes mundane things that normally go on the calendar, such as doctors appointments and birthdays. But it also includes things that happened to us, such as days we were sick, births, and family game night.

At the top of the calendar we write out longer messages that demonstrate God moving in our lives and speaking to us.

Our hope is that in the future we can pull out old calendars and be able to remember how God has worked in our lives in the past!

*Please note that for the privacy of our family members and friends we pray for, all names and events listed on this calendar are completely fictional! Any resemblance to real world people and events is completely coincidental.

Scripture Cards

Scripture Cards

I love 3×5 index cards because they have so many uses!

One of their best uses is making Scripture Flash Cards.

Simply write a verse on one side and the reference for that verse on the opposite side. When you are writing out the verse, take a moment to determine what the key words are and color code them in a way that makes sense to you.

For example, I on one side I write “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” On the other side I write “Genesis 1:27.”

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My color coding on this card is blue for the word “male,” pink for the word “female,” and purple for the five references to God.

I can then punch a hole in the top right corner of my cards and attach them to a binder ring to keep them together.

This little “book” of cards will fit perfectly in my purse, diaper bag, or car console for scripture on the go.

Listen, Hear, Do

I was sitting in the waiting room at the health department and there was only one other lady in the room with me. She started off by talking to me about my little boy who was dancing and singing while we waited. She told me to relish those days because they pass by so quickly. As a young mother, people tell me this a lot. I looked down at my cell phone and pretended to be busy so that I did not have to talk to this woman. However, she was chatty and I assumed on drugs. I never looked up as she continued to talk about the job interview she just came from, her children that had been living with her husband and his wife for the past year, and how difficult life seemed to be.

When she was called back I realized I had completely missed out on an opportunity to speak life into this woman when she clearly needed me to. I was too busy judging her and trying to keep to myself. I quickly prayed that God would send me another opportunity.

A few minutes later, a lady sat down across from me. She looked tired and after a few minutes of talking I discovered that she was pregnant with her second child. She told me her first son was premature and that he had spent 100 days in the NICU. She was worried that this baby would come too early. Here was my second opportunity. I could easily ask this lady if I could pray over her and her unborn baby. But, I was crippled by the fear of what she would think about me. My name was called over the intercom before I ever got the courage to speak.

God is constantly speaking to us. Most of the time, we simply tune Him out. But, when we listen to Him, God is faithful to speak directly to us. We must follow through with the task He assigns to us.

I will never know the rest of that lady’s story. I will never know if her son was delivered safely. I will never know if she will come to know my Jesus. But I do know that on that day, I did not do my best to glorify God and listen to his commands. I allowed distraction, fear, and doubt to get in the way of obedience. A simple prayer could have made a huge impact in the lives of two women that day but I allowed the enemy to have victory.

5 Clichés Christians Should Stop Using

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A cliché is a stereotyped expression that expresses a popular concept and has lost its impact due to overuse. Clichés can become a stumbling block for many Christians because they make us believe certain lies of the enemy in a seemingly innocent manner. I myself have uttered these five phrases several times in my life without even thinking about the Biblical truths that they contradict.

1. “If it makes you happy.”

This is a phrase that is uttered frequently to us. However, what “makes you happy” is often in conflict with what is pleasing to God.

“For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.” Galatians 5:17

2. “Of course! You would do it for me.”

This is a common response when someone thanks  us for helping them out. This phrase implies that we are merely serving with the expectation that others will serve us when we are in need. Our only motivation for serving should be to glorify our magnificent God.

“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” Isaiah 58:10

3. “Believe in yourself!”

We commonly say this to people to build up their self-esteem. However, we should not believe in ourselves because our ways are foolish. As Christians, we do not believe in our own ability to do good.  We believe in God’s ability to do good through us, in spite of ourselves.

“We have this kind of confidence toward God through Christ:  not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-5.

4. “Be yourself.”

Every one of us was born with a sin nature.The good news is we can become new creations in Christ.  There is a reason this is called being “born again.”  It should completely change who we are.  Our goal should no longer be to be ourselves, it should be to be like Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

5. “You can do anything you set your mind to.”

This phrase implies that if we want to do something, we can (with a little hard work).  However, we cannot do anything without Christ because without him we are nothing!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

 

When considering theses clichés, one thing I noticed about them was that they all focus on us and not on Christ! We need to be mindful in choosing our words. “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

Are there any other phrases you hear Christians say that do not reflect Biblical truths?