One More Day!

home+page+collage+2Deadline for registration extended!

It’s not often that I advertise for any organization other than the church of our Lord, but Lads to Leaders, an organized tool to help our young people grow into leaders for that church is where I make an exception for the exceptional.

I do not know whether or not my own kids would be teaching and preaching and working in the kingdom had it not been for Lads to Leaders. I believe they would. I would like to hope that the years of home training and of just doing the Lord’s work in our family as they were growing up would have impacted their decisions to work as adults in a positive way, even without the tool that LADS is. But I do know this: There are some things that they are NOT nervous today about doing that would be very difficult without the regimented training we did in preparation for LADS conventions. There are some areas of leadership that come naturally for them today as a result of “learning the ropes” in LADS that did not come as naturally for their parents who grew up without the LADS benefit. There are about 5000 Bible verses that we collectively learned that we would likely have not been organized enough to master without the program that kept us on track. I know we would have done whatever we knew to keep our kids faithful, but we are glad that Lads was a part of “what we knew” at the time Caleb and Hannah were growing up. The program just helped us set goals and achieve them.

Let me clearly say that I know we were not perfect parents. I also know that, even now, to our deepest sorrow, our children could leave the faith. But, if they do, I believe it will be in spite of the “edge” that our family’s participation in Lads gave them. We “tripped” upon Lads when Caleb was eight years old and we moved to Jasper, Alabama where they were beginning a Lads program at the Sixth Avenue church. From that point on, no matter where we were living, we were very intentional about being sure we started a program or joined in an already existing one. It was always worth the effort.

If you think your congregation might be able to send a delegation this year to check out the benefits, call the Lads office today. If you want to go as an individual family, there’s still time if you call today. In fact, your children can still participate in events this year, if you call today. The best part about going this year, even if you just observe, is this: Your kids will leave the convention THIS year ALL excited about the events they plan to do throughout the NEXT year for His glory in the kingdom. That’s worth the effort of a last minute plan! Go here for the information you need: www.lads2leaders.com. You could be glad about this last minute decision for a very long time.

Sister to Sister: Mama’s K.I.S.S. #34–Ladies’ Day Participation

10930887_10152530654641384_8560838046804738628_nAs you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 34  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids (today our girls, particularly) to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

Perhaps this service suggestion is more to the women-at-large in our congregations than to individual moms. I want to implore you to keep having ladies’ days, women’s conferences, sisters’ seminars, ladies retreats and women’s sessions at lectureships and I want to tell you that I have personally seen the lasting benefits of involving our young girls in the execution of these events. I have traveled to speak at both kinds of events—those events in which there were no young women on the program and those where fresh young faces were before us leading us in songs and prayers and reading scripture. After having participated in these programs for over thirty years now, I can tell you that typically the congregations whose teen members (and even younger girls) were included in the ladies events are the ones which are, still today, enjoying a more vibrant, working local sisterhood. I have watched teen girls who gave short devotionals at women’s events or ladies’-nights-out develop into excellent ladies day speakers, who are now holding the line in sound teaching for women and faithful women’s service areas—the ones we read about in Titus 2.

I’m very excited that, this past weekend, I sang with a large group of women led by two teen girls. Young women lead the prayers and introduced me to the audience. I’m even more excited that, in a couple of weeks, I’ll attend our own West Huntsville ladies retreat where about a fifth of the women in attendance will be high school and college girls. I’ve watched them grow up. I love them, in some ways like they are my own. I’m thankful they are plugged into the work of the West Huntsville family. But that kind of zeal and that sense of inclusion doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of offered opportunities and encouragement following successful participation. But you want it in your congregation. It makes for great mothers and wives and zealous workers in the kingdom. It makes for great people raising our future elders and preachers! So use those girls in your ladies’ activities and when they finish the job, give them big hugs, write them notes of encouragement and then look for ways to use them again.

Just yesterday I planned a fall ladies’ weekend with ladies in the coastal area of Virginia. They have elderly ladies who are comfortable driving to activities in the daytime only, so they entitled the Friday night session  “Planning your Happy Home,” a “prevent-disaster” type of lesson for women who are not yet married or are young wives and mothers. This kind of planning is wise on the part of the older ladies who are “teachers of good things” as Titus 2 instructs. The younger women who are able to come will not only benefit from leading women in worship, but they will get a full dose of practical home-making tips from the Scriptures. And when I say home-making tips, I mean the wisdom from the Father that makes homes strong enough to get to the golden shore intact, with all family members in the spiritual boat.  I know there are no guarantees, sisters, but there are spiritual life preservers and inflatable life boats if we plan ahead and know how to use them.

Getting to heaven is a family affair… in your little unit and in the family of God. We need each other. I’m glad God bought the church. It was expensive to purchase the worldwide family unit I needed so much (Acts 20:28). I’m glad for the security of that large purchase.

I Was Lying on the Side of the Road

woman-crying-1This weekend I am speaking from Luke 10 about the parable of the Good Samaritan. I hope, if you are in the Florence, Alabama area, you will come and focus with me on this great parable of our Lord. (It’s at the Shiloh church and it starts on Saturday at nine a.m.) Typical of all of these stories of the Master storyteller, I can think of about ten complete ladies day lessons right off the bat that could be drawn from these verses about the battered man on the side of the road and the one who rescued him. There’s the lesson about what loving God and Man really means, the one about identifying your neighbor, the one about piety without pity, or faith without fruits.

But the inescapable place I always land when I start down the Jericho Road in my mind is that I am there. On some days I am the lawyer who is “willing to justify” myself….”I am too busy,” or “Someone else can do it better,” or “I already am doing more than most people,” or a thousand other lines that are overused and less than authentic. On bad days, I emulate characteristics of those who robbed and hurt the traveler. It’s usually not a stranger that I rob, but still, there have been days when I rob my husband of the respect he deserves or my children of the time or guidance they need. On other days I am the priest or Levite who is made aware of needs all about, but, looking the other way, chooses to be uninvolved in problems with which others are struggling. On a good day, I emulate at least some of the characteristics of the Good Samaritan. I want to be more like him every day. I want to be inconvenienced for the good of my fellowman. I want to take time that’s precious for someone I know who is suffering. I want to spend money for the rescue of a friend or even a stranger.

But it’s every day that I am in one more place on the road to Jericho. I am the bruised and bleeding traveler. I am lying on the side of that road, wounded and left for dead by the devil and sin. I am, without the rescue of the GREAT Samaritan, completely without hope. But He has the oil and wine. He has the balm. He has the beast of burden to carry me to the place of safety and healing. I am so thankful he stopped for me…at Calvary.

Sister to Sister: Forgive Me

SI ExifNo time today. I mean, seriously, no time. I’m going to savor the time with my Dad today while we make the rounds to two doctors and while I set a trap for that pesky mouse. Then, while my good husband loads firewood, I am going to clean and do laundry and make cornbread for Dad’s refrigerator. I’m going to look at that sore toe and talk with him about things you need to talk to a ninety-two-year old about. Then I am going to head home and get the cabin ready for some favorite people who are headed our way.

So, today, here’s a poem from the archives. It was written when our daughter, Hannah, left for college, about 8 years ago. It was written in the planner we left on her desk in her new dorm room.

Sad day. But we are glad she left us. If she had never gone, she could not have brought back our Ben and EZRA! We love you more than ever, Boo!

Forgive Me

(or  “Goodbye to Hannah”)

Forgive me if I’m just a little bit sad.

I really shouldn’t be.

This is what we raised you for.

Today we set you free.

Forgive me when I shed a tear

As I walk out that door.

Tearful prayers have brought you here,

So I may cry once more.

Forgive me if I worry

When I crawl in bed at night.

Forgive the calls and emails

Just to make sure you’re alright.

If you ever want to phone me

Even if it’s late at night;

Or if you need a place to come

Where we’ve left on the light…

If you need my arms, a home-cooked meal,

Or a weekend shopping buddy,

A proofreader, dress mender, washer or maid

Or just a quiet place to study…

Home is open…even on Sundays.

We do laundry, ironing and meals.

We still change oil and gas up your car.

We’ll wash it and balance your wheels.

It’s amazing how we spent the past 7000 nights

Trying to get you quiet and in bed.

And now that your bedroom is silent and dark.

We wish it was noisy instead.

Funny how we tired of that telephone ringing.

You constantly tied up our line.

But, honey, if you need to tie it up now.

I think it will probably be fine

So don’t hesitate if you need us.

We’re available 24/7.

And telling our story and your bedtime prayer

Is still closest in this life to heaven.

Mom

Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Pornography Use = Fornication? (Recommended Reading from Christian Courier)

Woman-cryingSeveral times in the past few months, I’ve been asked to state my thinking on the popular (and really pretty recently contrived) idea that if my spouse has used pornography, then I am biblically free to divorce and remarry since Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 that a man who looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already in his heart. So if my husband has been involved in the sin of lust, he is thus an adulterer, and I may, with God’s approval or sanction, divorce him and marry another.

I was answering this question yesterday with what I consider to be three valid objections to the idea that pornography use frees people from marriage vows and, as usual, I was struggling through the meticulous process of writing succinct sentences in a  logical  form.  I came upon this article by my brother, Wayne Jackson. He does not struggle with succinct sentences or logic. I want to recommend this for your reading today: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1371-is-lust-the-equivalent-of-fornication

When you are finished reading, gather your children or grandchildren close around you and, once again, put into their hearts the importance of finding faithful Christians–people whose hearts are ever tender toward the Word–for their husbands or wives. So many problems that Glenn and I encounter as we speak with couples could have been avoided if His people had been more serious about spiritual things and more selective in the dating and marriage process. It is specifically important that our girls make sure they are not making marriage vows to men who are involved in pornography. (I know that sometimes the problem begins after marriage, but very often it is a hidden problem through the teen years.  I also know that sometimes it is the wife who is the pornography user; but still, the problem is far more common among men.) It’s enslaving and tormenting. It regularly wrecks homes. It is adultery of the heart. But it is not the act of fornication of Matthew 19:9.

Sister to Sister: Spanking in Public?

114091192Today I’m going to try and make it short and sweet…if talking about corporal punishment can be sweet.

Lately I’ve noticed a growing number of Christians who are encouraging young parents to refrain from spanking children in public places. While I understand that our culture is producing larger numbers of people who equate spanking with “hitting”, who believe that spanking doesn’t work, and who would even outlaw the practice, given the legal opportunity and public support for the ban, I want to go on record in behalf of the children I love. Spanking is a Biblically sanctioned and effective form of punishment. It is expected, even commanded, of godly parents (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; Hebrews 12: 9-11) I think those who discourage spanking in public would agree to this point.

But then the argument goes something like this: “When we spank our children in public places, we draw attention to ourselves and we do not know when someone may call authorities and someone may just show up on our doorsteps and remove our children from our homes. Then we would, for the sake of public spanking, be relinquishing all of our influence on our children. We cannot take that risk.”

I disagree for the following reasons.

 

  1. The chance of that happening (someone calling authorities) if we, as mothers, are administering loving discipline to children who are accustomed to consistent discipline, is very small. Children who are expecting to be spanked immediately if they disobey are far less likely to be clashing with mom in the grocery aisle, in the first place. If they do, and the spanking ensues, it can generally be completed in a relatively calm scenario. People who want to call the law on a parent are not going to choose parents who are speaking in loving tones to children even as they swat their bottoms and then let them try again to obey. A situation of loving training is not likely the scenario that one would choose to take to authorities, especially when so much yelling and horrible name-calling and subsequent child-screaming is going on all around us in public places. There are bigger fish to fry than to “turn in” a godly mother who is gently, but forcefully calling her child to obedience through a swat on the bottom.
  2. Even if authorities should be called, those of who are truly exhibiting consistent godly training at home have multiple resources at the ready to defend our actions. I know legal battles are a hassle, but I would wage one for the sake of consistent discipline in my home. It might even be a way to gain some ground for righteous parenting in the lives of those who are looking.
  3. If all Christian parents simply stopped all spanking of children in front of the world, the world would be watching a skewed picture of Christianity. Would the behavior of our young children in public digress to the point that our young children would not be modeling the peaceable fruits of righteousness in the eyes of unbelievers (Hebrews 12:11)? I believe it likely.

But the most important reasons we should not change our discipline procedures in public places, I have saved for last:

4. If our children know there are certain times and places when they can, at least temporarily,   “get away” with behavior that otherwise would necessitate a spanking, they will perceive the inconsistency, their young minds will be confused by this dissonance and their training will be inhibited by it. A twelve month-old cannot easily discern why you have swatted his hand for saying “no” to your requests over and over, but, today, in the store, he can say “no” to you and your response is different. If you wait until you get to the car or the bathroom or wherever it may be, it is extremely difficult for him to associate the behavior with the discipline. While he cannot, at this age, likely process your reason for spanking him when that spanking comes later, this age is the prime age for putting in him a respect for your authority. You do not want to be inconsistent at any time, but especially not during these younger months. The price will be high later on.

5.  We need to stop letting the culture dictate our parenting decisions. Daniel could have reasoned through his decision to pray before his window when the price was so high. “God can hear me pray whether my window is open or not…I’ll just pray in private.”…”Why would I take this unnecessary risk?  Why, if I go the lion’s den, then I will not be able to do any more good at all in front of these heathen people. My influence will be completely eradicated.”  You get the point. If I believe my discipline is measured, loving and appropriate when I am at home with my children and, if I believe that consistency is certainly important in the long-term process, why would I compromise my procedures to bow to a culture gone awry?  I would not. I would trust God to care for our little family as we do our best to please Him in this very important part of our daily lives.

I believe there will be teens in a few years who are paying premium spiritual prices for the notion that well-meaning parents are buying into…the idea that we can alter established, loving discipline practices for public consumption. Perhaps when we do, we show them that we really have no firmly established discipline practices. I’ll take the small risk of having to answer the door to criticism, even interrogation, even prosecution (though I believe that risk is minuscule), rather than the larger risk of rebellion on the part of a child who became confused because my discipline practices, as her mother, were inconsistent during the formative years.

Okay, It was neither short NOR sweet. But it’s off my chest.

(And, one more thing…If we HAD determined never to spank our children in the grocery store, I’d have always made sure to go grocery shopping during hours when Glenn could have stayed home with them. Even the thought, years later, of any scenario in which my kids were surrounded by candy bars, cereals with prizes and cookies, but knew I wouldn’t immediately spank them for disobedience or disrespect is not a pleasant one.)