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Not just green scraps of paper - HOMEWORD



The green slips of paper cover my desk. Each one contains two or three, sometimes four if they are shorter, verses of scripture. The daily green paper tucks under my midmorning protein bar next to my thermos of coffee. All of these items come from Kathy, and I discover them at the beginning of the day just after she leaves for school.


When the green sheets first appeared, they were surprises, encouragements to start my day. After a while, I came to expect them.


I began stashing the notes around my work space. As days turned into weeks, the stacks piled up, almost untidily, and one memorable day a wind rushed in through an open door and the green slips sailed on the breeze only to float to the ground, finding their way to nooks and corners of the room. I scrambled and set about collecting the pages in my trash can, and as I did I noticed words and phrases written in that so-familiar handwriting. I knew then they would never be tossed out; although the large pile littered my desk, I knew they were too important to discard.


In ancient times, God’s people took His commands in Deuteronomy 6:8 to heart, wearing the words on their bodies: “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as front-lets between your eyes” (ESV). In today’s world, many of us have bookmarks in our bibles with favorite scriptures printed on them, treasures to find as we thumb through the pages, reminders of God’s commands—His watchcare and His love. My own green slips are not formal, bound in a leather cover, and yet they stop me as I go about my tasks and remind me of God’s living word that sustains me if I pause and remember.


I try to figure out the rhyme and reason of Kathy’s selections—to see a theme or understand her train of thought. There are times when the words highlight struggles she or I or we are going through. There are days when she finds words that coincide with the holiday or a remembrance day important to us. Sometimes the day’s collection seems random.


Almost always, she gathers the verses from different sections of the bible: old and new, prophets and poetry, laws and revelation. I wonder if she thinks of me specifically as she peruses scriptures so early in the morning, choosing verses to undergird me and help me as I face the problems of the day, making sure I am equipped. Psalm 119:11 says it this way: “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”


Kathy, ever the teacher, has flashcards and sticky notes attached to all of her reading materials—books and magazines. They protrude from her journals and notebooks. She fashions impromptu page markers with quotes that help her through her days. I thought of her and these habits as I read one of the entries

on today’s green sheet from the third chapter of Colossians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (16).


I wonder if she knows the value I place on her daily jottings on those ever-present green slips of paper? Recently, I showed her my impressive stash of sheets, spilling from their piles on my desk, shifting across the surface at all angles. Her eyes widened as she understood that I kept all of her notes. “Jim, they aren’t even written in good penmanship,” she remarked, looking at them with their uneven lines and cramped letters fitting on the small pages.


“You certainly do not have to keep these.” But I do, you know. I must keep them. They are there when I need a study break or a fresh reminder of God’s providence or a refreshment of the Father’s love for me given through the love of my partner. My eyes fall upon the uppermost green page, and I read the last verse near the bottom, just before the three hearts she draws sometimes at the end.


These are life-giving, copied in the poetic King James Version, and I must remember to read the words several times today: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever

things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).


Simple green scraps of paper, a true gift from one heart to another, from the very living word of our God! Think on these things, my friends, and may your day be filled with the Father’s blessing.


Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children

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