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Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

New Date for Digging Deep–Israel: May, 2019

I am over-the-Israeli-moon excited about the Digging Deep Israel trip planned for 2019. Fueling my own personal lifelong yearning to walk where the Master walked has been the initial response of some of you. This trip, Lord willing, is going to happen! Glenn will be speaking several times while we are worshipping together there. We are scheduling some ladies devotional periods and we are trying hard to facilitate a podcast from a spot that will be pretty amazing. John Moore (https://www.biblelandpassagetours.com) will be sharing insights from his knowledge of the geography and Biblical history of the region. It’s all a happening dream-come-true for this little girl from Birmingham who never imagined she could look out on the sea that he calmed with His voice and that gave up the droughts of fishes to Him. It is happening.

But it                                    is not happening in March of 2019. It is going to happen in May of 2019. Wires got crossed by a silly little typo and the initial announced date was a big Colley conflict of speaking  dates. The trip IS being planned, as we speak, for the month of May 2019 and the approximate dates are the 13th-25th. I hope you can make it. As one friend put it, “Even better. The further out, the more money I can save up.”

Speaking of money, I’ll try to have estimated costs to you very soon. For now, just start saving. The trip will be open only to present or past Digging Deep participants and their families for the first few weeks of registration. Following that deadline, we will, pending available space, open it up to other Christians.

So watch for details and the initial registration period.  Pray about this trip. Pray for wisdom for those who are contemplating making the trip. Pray for efficient planning. Most of all, pray that this trip can facilitate deeper study and stronger faith.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Broward County…Unthinkable Evil


Seventeen moms in Florida have walked into the bedrooms of their children tonight and wept. They have looked at half-open dresser drawers, unmade beds, socks hanging out of hampers, running shoes on the floor, and sticky-note reminders on the mirrors. They have smelled the pillows on the beds and cried. They have looked at trophies on shelves and scattered cosmetics on bathroom counters. They’ve noticed the half-eaten bag of chips on the nightstand or the valentine candy wrappers in the trash. They have listened to yesterday’s phone messages (those messages they will never erase), just so they could hear their children’s voices one more time. They have opened the refrigerator and found half-eaten take-out boxes or looked in the purses given them by the authorities to find the latest selfies on their children’s phones.  They don’t want to clean up any of the messes or erase any of the texts, because they know it will be the last time those messes are ever made and there will be no more voicemails or texted answers with emojis. 

The excruciating pain of losing a child to senseless violence in a school shooting is more than we can even contemplate for very long. If any of those moms is able to drift off to sleep tonight, she will awaken tomorrow to have about 1.5 seconds of normalcy before she remembers and everything in her world turns to cold, gray grief again. 

Of course, the information has not been completely collected. The details as to why Nikolas Cruz  killed seventeen people at a Parkland High school in Broward County, Florida may be slowly forthcoming. But the testimony of witnesses and findings on his social media accounts seem to point to premeditated, multiple murders. They seem to point to evil of the worst imaginable sort.

Authorities keep repeating the phrase “Speak up.” Policemen admonish “If you see suspicious behavior, observe statements or pictures on social media that just don’t feel right, or if you overhear conversation that sounds threatening, report this to the police.”  I understand that there is merit in a community of “watchers”—in all of us being responsible for the safety of one another. I get that, while a person cannot be incarcerated prior to the commission of a crime, this reporting of suspicious behavior might, in some cases, facilitate some protective measures. Of course, any protective measures would be worth the saving of one life. 

But “Speak-up”, in the sense that we are hearing it this morning, is not the answer that will stop the destruction of mass shootings. Until we, as a citizenry, decide that we have had enough of the blatant disrespect for life that has grown in our culture to alarming proportions, we will continue to hear the disheartening news of self destruction. When we reject the idea that God exists and that he created human life in His image, we open the door for an automatic eventual disrespect for life.  When we reject the idea that human life is infinitely more valuable than animal life because it is the habitation of the immortal soul, it is no wonder that there are those among us who are capable of taking that life. When we are capable, because of this rejection, of routinely and dismissively killing 1.3 million…MILLION…annually in our clinics, it is no wonder that our children get the message that there are many acceptable reasons for murder. When our Senators last month voted down a ban on twenty-week abortions (while they can actually see, in real time, those babies sucking thumbs, responding to music, stretching tiny toes, etc…) —I say, when the most respected men in our land can shout from Capitol Hill that murder of the most innocent is acceptable, why should we not expect our kids to “get” that message? 

Thanks to Vid-Angel, I watched Schindler’s List for the first time ever this week. It was a movie that disturbed me beyond what I can even express. But the most disturbing aspect was the unavoidable truth that kept haunting me: In the 1940’s, six million innocent people were slaughtered in German concentration camps. Americans, including many of your fathers and grandfathers, gave their service and even their lives to stop the slaughter. Since 1973, 58 million innocents have been slaughtered within our own borders. Rather than giving our respect to those who rescue the endangered, we have, as a nation, given it to those who kill the innocents. Our respect has so shifted that we lead the world in this inhumane form of killing, second only to China. Many of our state legislatures have voted to allow our high school (and even middle school) children to kill babies without their parents even knowing about it. Tell me how such children can covertly commit such a heinous act in the darkness of their own consciences (and often with the aid of school counselors) and then continue to have any semblance of a healthy respect for the breath of life. It cannot happen. Tell me how a society can purposefully place men and women in the highest offices in our land, knowing that they plan to do all they can to be sure the killing continues, while talking about the stock market.

As I watched the movie, I wondered, “Why did it take so long to stop this insanity? How is it that a huge army of men could yield their wills to a bloody dictator, knowing full-well that they were part of a murderous regime? Where were those who were willing to give their lives to stop this regime?” The answer was, they were in America and other countries in the alliance against Hitler’s Nazi regime. 

Where are they today? 

The answer is still God. When we routinely and nonchalantly kill a million-plus annually, why are we shocked when people lose respect for life? It IS unimaginable evil; just not MORE evil than killing that is legal. My prayers are with seventeen families and a host of friends tonight… and a nation that has lost its way.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep–Israel…Let’s Try Again!


Here we go again! Actually it’ll be the first time for me to EVER go to Israel, but the second time to plan the trip. Some of you will remember (because some of you committed to go) last year, when we were planning this trip for June, 2018. Because of my father’s illness and responsibilities appertaining, we decided to cancel that trip. Sad for me and so blessed for my dad have been the events of late 2017 in his going on to the REAL holy land around the throne.

SO now, it’s time to plan again. This trip will not be open to others until we give the immediate families of Digging Deep women the chance to register. (You have to be a current digger or have completed a past year’s study to qualify for the early-bird registration.) If there are spaces after the Digging Deep deadline, we will open up the trip to others on a first-come/first served basis. The trip will be approximately twelve days and is being scheduled for sometime in mid-March of 2019. (I’m told that’s  a wonderful time, weather-wise, to go.) SO be watching for details. Cost, exact dates, deadline for diggers to sign up and pay deposit, etc…will be coming soon. All the “tentatives” will soon be “set in stone” within His Will.

We will be traveling with John Moore of Bible Land Passages. (https://www.biblelandpassagetours.com.) He will make sure we get the most from our visit and we will have the benefit of a New Testament Christian showing us the places where our Lord walked when He humbled Himself as a man. We will have times of worship and  women will enjoy devotionals together, too. Once again, we’d like to plan a podcast, if possible, from one of the sites of the Galilean region. 

I have heard all of my life that, should I ever have the opportunity and take the chance to go, I will never be the same. I hope that’s true. I want to be better. I know it’s the Word that makes me better, but I believe I’ll study more, even in the process of planning the trip and as I see the places where He lived and worked. I believe I’ll appreciate certain aspects of my study more in the future. That added depth of study is what I’ve been looking forward to as I dreamed about one day going to Israel.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I have said to Glenn “I’d really love to go the Bible lands.” If I did, I’d have a good deposit for this trip!

Let’s start saving and let’s go…together.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where Is Your Sting?–Part 6

The Sting of Death is Absence.

There are four large oak trees growing on the property of the Jacksonville Church of Christ that were planted some seventy-five years ago by my father. The trees are a reminder to me that there was a day when a very young version of my Dad went with my Uncle Clifford Smith to bargain for some land on which to build a new meeting house for the Jacksonville church. One day, just a few months later, Dad went to get some oak saplings from his brother to plant on the newly-purchased land. The trunks of the oaks are places where children play hide and seek today and the branches provide ample shade around the building and the accompanying fellowship hall. They are a reminder that the plants have outlived the planter. 

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then it’s no wonder that children remember all the good times so readily when a parent leaves them behind, because suddenly life is saturated with the absence of that beloved mentor. That’s just one more aspect of death’s sting. This week I’ve been wading through lots of pots and pans, piles of old photos, heavy pieces of furniture, books, bedding, blue Mason jars and other various piles and containers from house, barn and workshop. Of course, the obvious truth that the work and collection outlives the worker  and collector shouts from every box, basket, pile, and parcel.

The words my sister said earlier in the week, as we were struggling (we all want to defer to the other) to divide up the old quilts, knives, pocket watches, rings, Bibles , etc…keep resounding: “We all know we can’t have what we really want, so this is really hard.” 

Absence is hard. Ezra, who is three, looked at the big laundry basket of toys that I brought home from Dad’s. “But,” he objected. “Doze are Piedaddy’s toys and we need to take dem back to his house, because he needs dem.”

Absence is hard. But the best truth is…absence in our little sphere, of course, means presence in God’s big and eternal one. That reality reminds me of three  important and reassuring things, today.

  1. Reminders of a good life are plentiful and, though they signal absence, they keep on providing good things for those who are still on the journey. A mother’s marked Bible, a good climbing tree, an iron swing set that’s so strong that only the trumpet’s blow will signal it’s end…all of these  keep telling us about a good provider who still, in may ways, does. 
  2. What we “want” is not always really what we want, at all. God is infinitely good and completely cares for his people. Ezra will learn soon enough that Piedaddy does not need anything!
  3. The giver of these left-behind treasures—the humble sharecropper’s son—knew the Giver. He knew the real sense in which all of us are sharecroppers. We are all just “farming Someone else’s land” as we sojourn here.
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where Is Your Sting–Part 5

 

The Sting of Death is Humiliation.

While it should be often said that the sting of death is sin (I Corinthians 15:56), that sting hurts in various places in the human heart.  Sometimes a big part of the sting of death is the feeling of humiliation. It should not be this way, of course, but while I am so very thankful for those healthcare professionals upon whom we depend so heavily in times of illness, there are a relatively few  people in the healthcare industry that have yet to prioritize the good of the patient as the number one concern. Again, the majority of those who are caring for a loved one at the hospital are kind, compassionate and truly seeking the optimal good of the sick person, but not all are. Even those who are fully compassionate are often hampered by regulations of the insurance industry or of the hospital or rehab institution.

Like the primary care doctor, who after we’d made several visits to her clinic, could not recall that my father was a patient of hers when she made hospital rounds, and had not had the time, I assume, to check the records. Or the ER doctor we’d never met, who spent a good little while in the hallway of the ER attempting to talk us into stopping any aggressive treatment long before any Christian could conscientiously comply. I felt sorry for nurses who could not bring very necessary medicines to our father when he was at rehab, because they were not stocked in the pharmacy there. We had those medicines from home, right there in the drawer beside his bed, but the staff was bound, by regulation, to forbid us to administer them, even though we’d been administering them for many years. (Yes. Of course we did.) And there were therapists, who because of patient overload and restrictions by health insurance companies, were forced to be more driven by the clock than by the needs of patients.

Then in the final moments of life, it became obvious that the nursing staff had only two protocol choices: a ventilator OR medication to slow and eventually stop the heart. When we opted for neither of those, the nurse whose job it was to come in at the end of life and facilitate the peaceful passage even stated that, in her 14 years at doing “this”, she’d never seen a family who didn’t choose one or the other.  

Of course, it was not very long until our prayers were answered that night and all suffering ceased forever. I will say that I do not believe the “final-moments-nurse” had seen a family singing “Be With Me Lord” as the heart line on the monitor went flat. But that flat line was so much more than a monitor alerting us. It was the coming of angels and the eternal relief of a redeemed soul.  I believe she finally saw that it was so much more, as she looked at us in total wonder when we started that sweet chorus. 

Now, perhaps this is too much information on too difficult a topic. There are times, though, in life when I’m so affected by the words and actions of those around me who are not in the Lord, that I need to remember and reflect. Here are lessons that I learned as some (a very small percentage in the grand scheme) medical “experts” looked at me as if I had no clue about life or death or ethics or even common sense. Somehow, they made it appear humiliating to fight for the life of an aged man. It seemed when he died, on the face of it, humiliating that we had fought so hard for the life we loved and, in the end, lost that battle. But what the experts did not know, is that we won! We were able to walk away from that scenario, knowing that we had done our best every step of the way. We had maintained the standards of ethical integrity all along the journey and then, when the end came, we put His hand in the hand of Jesus without regret. We could pillow our heads and know that the real Expert was in charge now and that we could freely talk to the One who was lovingly overseeing the care of the perfectly mended one; the one we will miss for a short time and the one we will see again where there are no more tough decisions.

Lessons:

  • Sometimes it’s the people who are less clinically qualified who are the best caregivers. Those Physician”s Assistants have sometimes compensated for any letters they may lack on the ends of their names by exhibiting care and compassion. 
  • Those who study the Bible are far more qualified to define and assess ethics about medicine as it relates to life and death than are people of the world, even though the clinically qualified often do not recognize their deficiencies in these areas. Many doctors and nurses are both well-read in scripture and qualified by their secular educations. This situation is optimal. 
  • Medical professionals, apparently, rarely see families who are intimately involved in the decision-making processes of the aged. They surely seemed surprised that we would chart any sort of course on our own. I’m wondering if this typical relative lack of involvement speaks poorly of our nation’s care for its elderly, in general. 
  • It is extremely comforting to know you’ve prayed Romans 8:28 hundreds of times and what is happening in moments of crisis is a part of the “all things” of that passage. 
  • The sanctity of life can be compromised most easily in the pre-born season of life and in hospital rooms of the aged. Sometimes, those who are vocal for life at one end of the spectrum are careless with it on the other end.  
  • A clear conscience, molded by the Word and protected by His wisdom (James 1:5), is a very valuable commodity for His people at the moment of a loved one’s passage. 
  • The doctors are needed and most are compassionate. But the Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. 
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Purity Day: 350 Saturdays

If you live an average lifetime, you will have about 3500 Saturdays–the days we usually consider off-days. If you are raising a child, about 900 of those Saturdays will fall during the years that your child is growing up in your home. About 350 of those Saturdays will fall during what we call the “teen years.” Three hundred-fifty  may seem like a lot of off-days, but when you think about science fairs, sick Saturdays, athletic or arts commitments, and homework, the bank of days that you might be using for something that pertains to the soul–the immortal person you are raising– may diminish significantly and without much consideration of the loss. While you might argue that all these activities are good and  pertain to character development, and thus to the soul (and you would be largely correct), there are some Saturday activities that are so practically connected to the choices that determine destiny that their significance just takes my breath away.

Here’s one. May I encourage you to consider this opportunity for your daughters? The topics covered will be of great value. I know you cannot attend every single purity day with your daughter, but I challenge you to choose at least one this year. Here’s a great one. There will be another one later in the year at West Huntsville. Choosing both (different speakers/different approaches to the same important topic) is even better! I’m grateful for those who have taken the large amounts of time (several Saturday’s worth) and effort to coordinate something so powerful in scope for our girls.

https://www.facebook.com/Purity-Day-for-Girls-at-Fairview-church-of-Christ-855279184537314/