Printable Coupons

Grab your printable Donation Shopping List and print your favorite coupons to go with it!   Print your coupons now so that when the items are on sale you can get an even better deal.

Here are some of my favorites:

$2.00 off Colgate Twin-pack  (currently on sale at Kroger)
$1.00 off Charmin 12-pack   (rare coupon!)
$.75 off Charmin Basic 12-pack  
$1.00 off 2 Rice Krispies cereal   (great for donating or making treats to give :) )

Think church nursery, pregnancy centers, domestic violence shelters & new moms:

$.75 off Johnson’s Baby product
$1.50 off Pampers Diapers  

$1.50 off Pampers Swaddlers Diapers
$.75 off Desitin

(Note the links in this post are my affiliate links.  See disclosure here.)

Beautiful Redemption

Maybe you have lived life in such a way that you wonder if God will ever be able to redeem all the broken years, the ‘normal’ dysfunction of the past,  and the mistakes – oh the many mistakes.   Is it possible for God to take your mess and turn into something unspeakably beautiful?  Yes.   The answer is a definite YES!

Let me testify directly to you about the goodness of God and power of Jesus Christ to restore and bless in this present day.

For many years what I thought was ‘normal’ was a dysfunctional mess.     We all have different testimonies.  I grew up in the church and walked away during my teen years.   Every time I thought about going back as an adult, well . . . I didn’t.   I continued to live out of my own selfishness, insecurities and messed up normal.

While I was living out my selfish ways, I was also raising two children.  Children that my husband and I  sent to church with their grandparents for a good portion of their little lives.    I actually took them for awhile, but then took offense at not feeling like I belonged or fit in at the church we attended.    Satan loves to work that one on us every chance he can.

Fast forward many years.  My husband came to know the Lord as his Savior.  Our family started attending church together.  God radically transformed our lives.

Fast forward a few more years.  Our daughter marries the most wonderful godly man and we have two beautiful grandchildren.   Only the grace of God can do these things.

And then another beautiful redeeming moment happens.    Those little feet in the picture above walk over to Nana with their Jesus Storybook Bible in hand.  My 4 year old grandson climbs into my lap and wants me to read stories from his Bible to him.  Not one, but many.  More.  ”Can you read me another one Nana?”

We read about Moses and the Red Sea.  We read about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and about Mary pouring her perfume on the feet of Jesus.  We read about Jesus dying for our sins.

This is the business of God.  Taking what is ugly and broken and turning it into something beautiful and priceless.     Beautiful redemption.

Maybe you are or have been in that place where you wonder if you have messed up your kids lives or if you can ever be forgiven for your sins?  Maybe you think that your mess is too big or that you need to get it together so that you can seek Jesus?    Your mess isn’t too big and Jesus is all about you bringing your broken mess to Him so that He can restore and redeem.

May you seek Jesus with your whole heart and let Him transform your life as only He can.

Blessings to you this Holy Week.

 

No Other gods

005Earlier this week I wrote about guarding your heart.    Those words were not just for you, they were for me too.  If I am not careful, one of the quickest ways my heart becomes unguarded is by letting someone or something take the place of God in my life.   Idols.

My idols often come with names of people I care about.  They never asked to be in this position, but I have placed them there without realizing it.

Recently I recognized that my mood and attitude were a direct reflection of what was going on in someone else’s life.  I had absolutely NO CONTROL over the things that were happening in their life and yet I was happy, sad, anxious, etc. all based upon how their life was going.    Ridiculous as it sounds, I don’t think I am alone in this.

No Other gods by Kelly Minter was one of  the Bible studies I committed to do this year.  Clearly, it was time to dig in!   The back of the book by the same title, reads:

No Other gods offers a a revealing look at the heart of a woman.
Author Kelly Minter explores what happens
when good desires become false gods,
robbing us of an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father.

When good desires become false gods.   This is the place I eventually found myself while at the same time praying to God, earnestly seeking Jesus and trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit in a situation.  But somewhere along the way, my trust turned to worry and my prayers turned to words of doubt.

My desires were good, but suddenly as Kelly Minter says  “natural needs slowly consume our hearts and minds, competing with God’s rightful place in our lives.”   This is not what I want.   I want God to have His rightful place in my life in every situation and every season and every relationship.

Our idols are not always other people or relational.   They can come in many shapes and sizes with all sorts of different titles. But at the end of the day, an idol is an idol no matter what you call it.     I will leave you with one last quote from the workbook.

 “If you could have witnessed what controlled me,
you would see that in many cases it was my idols.
Not carved images, but people, career paths,
materialism, acceptance and more.
God (on some level) was getting my worship,
but my gods were getting my service.” 

If this study sounds like something you need, I encourage you to dig in and let God set things back in order.    I can’t wait!   If you have already done the study, let us know.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
 1 Thessalonians 5:11  

 

 

Pennies with a Purpose Update

003She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 31:20

Out of sight, out of mind.   Dirty laundry (literally).  Past due bills.   Piles of mending.  Messy closets.  Moldy food in the fridge. Poor children in other countries.  Ministry commitments.

Somehow it seems wrong to list all of those things together.  How can my messy closet truly compare to poor children in another country?   Or how does dirty laundry have anything to do with a ministry commitment or opportunity?    Maybe I am making it too simple, but it seems like they have a lot in common.

If I just shut the door on my messy closet, I don’t have to look at it or do anything about it.   If I shut my eyes and heart to children in need, I don’t have to do anything about  it.    If I ignore the dirty laundry because it is in another room, I may forget about it until I need a clean pair of jeans.   If I put my jar of pennies that is collecting money for Protection from Parasites  on the back of the shelf, I may forget about it too and find it empty at the end of the year.

Sometimes we need to keep our commitments to help the poor right in front of our eyes.  I have been adding pennies (and some larger coins :) ) to my jar regularly.  But I also can forget about the jar, because it is tucked back in behind the trim on the shelf.

If my child was battling diseases caused by parasites, I wouldn’t forget.     And I wouldn’t let my friends forget either.  I would be seeking their prayers and support.  My penny jar is getting moved to someplace where I will see it every day.

Scriptures tell us that the Proverbs 31 woman opened her arms to the poor and cared for the needy.   This will look different for all us.  God calls some of us to band together toward one cause and another group to focus their efforts and finances somewhere else.    But no matter where He has turned the attention of your heart, He has called each of us care for the poor in some way.

Local food pantries, foreign mission needs, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and Protection from Parasites all need people doing what they can to help ease the burden.    A few pennies is all it takes.

He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.   Proverbs 19:17

Please join me in saving Pennies with a Purpose.

Guard Your Heart

                                                                                                 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

I have prayed those words countless times for someone close to me.   I prayed that they would guard their heart against the lies of this world, against materialism, spiritual indifference and the pollution of a very sinful world.

When appropriate I would even send them a text message with those words.  Guard your heart!   I’m not talking about guarding your heart from the grade school crush.  I’m talking about guarding it from all the lies and traps of satan and the things of this world that seek to destroy us if we get too close.

As I have prayed for and ministered to this person for a long time, I realized this morning that my own heart was not being guarded properly.  I was letting the care and concerns for a loved one override my own need to guard my heart and not let anxiety and worry enter in.

As followers of Christ we are called to care for one other, to pray for each other, to encourage others and to bear one another’s burdens from time-to-time.

It was a good time for me to reflect on how I was guarding my own heart while still caring for and loving others in the body of Christ.   Like the well-used example from the airlines, we need to put our own oxygen mask on before we start caring for someone else on the plane.

One of the things that immediately came to mind was that I need to memorize more scripture that pertains specifically to my walk with Christ.   When I am thoroughly and intentionally taking time to memorize scripture,  I can feel a difference almost immediately.

All year I have struggled with memorizing Colossians.   So today – I am putting Colossians down.  Maybe another time.  Instead, I have really been drawn to memorize 1 Thessalonians.    I am also going back to the index card method that works best for me.  One verse on each card in a spiral binder like the one in the picture above.

 No matter what season of life you are in or the situations and people that currently fill your days, we all need to guard our hearts.  When we read the scripture and let is soak in to the depths of our hearts and minds, it will strengthen us and remind us of what is true and just and pure and praiseworthy.   It will guard our heart which is the wellspring of life.

What ways do you intentionally guard your heart?