Sister to Sister: Orphans Among Us

soccer-mom-1The following is an excerpt from a letter I received from a young Christian sister this week. Small editions have been made for clarity and anonymity. I want to thank this sister for giving me a bit of a picture of the struggles and needs of young mothers raised outside the body. Can you help? I know, if you are an older woman in Christ, you can. But WILL you? Here’s the excerpt:
In Bible Class this morning I was shaken up.
One of our congregations ministers  filled in for our class today and talked about Titus 2. The class was mostly older retired men and women.
He was brave enough to ask questions that made it clear God EXPECTS the older to teach the younger which is not only teens but for those in their 50s to mentor those in their 20s and 30s. He called many in that audience to step up to the plate. 
His wife commented and talked about how an older Christian man impacted her and she cried thinking of how he was more to her life than her physical grandfather.
I was especially moved by the wisdom of God because I, personally, have sought older Christian women and, although it’s only two or three women, I have made them the mothers in Christ that I need in order to raise my children in God’s ways and love my husband as God expects; to keep going when I feel defeated and to be my  hope when I do not know if I can persevere. 
I don’t know if you realize that it is hard for those of us who are NOT from Christian families to fit into God’s family because we feel lost many times. We even feel like we are intruding because the ones we look up to have kids (physical families) of their own. We need what older women are to us and are thankful when we get to be in their lives. We are orphans of a sort with emotional baggage but we “cry out” to the people of God and are blessed when people respond.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #44: Stop Eating Out for a Month

unknownAs you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 43 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

Today, I want to suggest an idea that’s memorable and works on the practical implementation of sacrifice for the cause of Christ. Sometimes, because of our American affluence, we do give to the church, but while we, as parents, may understand some of the luxuries or amenities we may be putting on hold or doing without due to our dedication to the church, our kids never get the benefit of “feeling” the sacrifice. We may be missing the opportunity to put in their hearts the connection between living “less largely” and our commitment to Jesus. Here’s a practical way to connect those dots.

Decide together as a family that you are going to skip going out to eat at one of the weekly or monthly times when you have regularly been eating at a restaurant (even if it’s only fast food). (Our regular time as a family when the kids were growing up was on Sundays after morning worship.) Purpose that you’re going to take the money that you’re saving by eating at home and put it in a jar until you have enough to do something for the kingdom. Make that “something” very specific and enlist the help of your elders if you need ideas. Perhaps your project is to purchase  song books for the nursing home worship services. Maybe it is to purchase food for a youth activity. Maybe it is to purchase high chairs for infants for your fellowship hall. Maybe it is to buy cushions for the pews for several elderly people. Maybe it is to stock the benevolence pantry or purchase a new tract rack for some area of the building. Maybe it is to send money to a foreign missionary for the purchase of a bicycle. Just decide on a project and make sure your children are watching each time as Mom or Dad drops the savings into the jar and calculates how far along you are toward the goal. You may want to have some sort of goal measurement or chart on the outside of the jar. Talk about the value of this goal each time you are eating that meal at home rather than at the restaurant. Be sure you connect the fact that you are sacrificing with the good that will be done when the goal is reached.  Use the context of II Samuel 24:24 in your Family Bible Time, about refusing to merely give God things which cost us nothing,  When you complete the project, be sure you show your kids the fruits of their sacrifice…in the nursing home or the fellowship hall or in a photo from the mission field. Your kids won’t forget this and it’s preparatory for some great rewards of sacrifices they will make as faithful adults. It’s preparatory for heaven!

Sister to Sister: “Baby Down!”

14305233_937682760579_6131246353948726920_oWhen my Hannah was about four years old, her younger cousin, Abel, was born. Amidst all of her grandmothers’ ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the new baby, Hannah shouted across the room to her grandmother “Pumpie!” (That’s what she called her.) “I’m over here!” 

This week, I’ve had a few vivid recollections of that sort of sibling or cousin jealousy as I’ve held my brand new Colleyanna. Ezra, her big brother, looked at me and repeated a phrase over and over as I was walking around with Colleyanna in my arms today. He kept saying “Baby down.” 

I said “Do you  mean you want me to put the baby down?” 

“Uh-huh,” Ezra said. (Like mother, like son).

Sibling jealousy was a thing…a real thing in the Corinthian church of the first century; so much so that Paul used a good portion of the book of First Corinthians to address it. The climax of the discussion is in chapter 13, where he describes love. As I think about that chapter, I see that several of the characteristics or anti-characteristics of love were a bit lacking in Ezra’s behavior today. For instance, love envies not. I’m pretty sure envy was at the root of “Baby down”. I think maybe Ezra was being pretty focused on himself and behaving a bit unseemly. But Ezra is a little child. (And this kind of attention seeking toward a grandmother is not unpleasant to this Mammy, by any means!)

It’s interesting that I Corinthians 13 concludes by pointing out that children talk like children. They think and understand like children. But when they grow up, they put away childish things. There will come a day very soon, if things are right in Ezra’s home, when he will no longer be jealous of his sister, but rather protective and encouraging. Maturity compels us to protect and encourage each other in the body of Christ—to seek the well-being of one another (I Cor. 10:24). That’s what Christians do when they grow up.

Practically speaking, this means you rejoice when someone else excels in some area of service even if it’s an area in which you also work. You are glad when another receives honor for the good things in her life. You are willing to step aside and let another person have the chance to do something that perhaps you have “always” done. You forbear with someone who does something in a a manner less preferable to you, albeit scriptural. You absolutely refuse to berate a brother or sister to his or her  face or behind his or her back, but you will go to all lengths to save his or her soul. In short, you get out of the way for the cause of Christ. You serve rather than seeking service (i.e “How come no one visited me in the hospital?”). Your path in Him is one of conviction and consecration, rather than convenience. It is always self-instructive, rather than self-indulgent. You are never eager to say “Hey, look! I’m over here!” When a new Christian’s needs take precedence, you never say “Baby down,” because it is your purpose to put childish things away.

And when you use the phrase “Oh, grow up!” you’re talking to yourself and you are wanting to do it the I Corinthians 13 way!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Digging Deep: Include the Antitypes

 

14040157_10153701053211384_3537453542881798692_nIt’s not too late to start the 2016-2017 Digging Deep study with us. It’s  a great time to invite friends. I’ve seen lots of women post a blurb about the study on their Facebook walls. Women who need the Word desperately have begun studying as a result. You can look here to see a bit about how the study goes: http://thecolleyhouse.org/digging-deep-2016-17-youre-right-on-time.This is where you would refer a new friend for the information she needs to study along.

For those who are already digging in the Word, the comparison of Adam and Christ is a rich study. Sometimes, when we look at the shadows of the Old Testament, we find that the New Testament comparison is an antitype rather than a type. What is an antitype?

An antitype occurs in scripture when the New Testament comparison of the shadow in the Old Testament is the opposite of the original shadow rather than being like the original.

Here’s a simple example: Adam, having never sinned, encountered the temptation of the devil. He fell to the devil’s temptation in Genesis 3:6. When our Lord, having never sinned, met the devil face to face in Matthew 4, he withstood him. He did the opposite of what the first Adam did.

Notice also the motives of the two when they encountered temptation. The devil tempted Eve (and, indirectly, Adam) by telling her she could be wise like God. Adam and Eve thought equality with God was a thing to be grasped, so they sinned.  Christ, as the antitype, actually was God. He did not think equality with God was a thing “to be grasped,” so he, in every temptation, but particularly when it was the Calvary climax of His life, took on the form of a servant (the opposite of grabbing for the power of diety). He was God becoming a servant, whereas Adam was a human servant grasping to be God. (See Phil. 2:6,7.) Christ’s response to temptation was the opposite of Adam’s in more than one way.

So be sure and include the antitypes in your lists in the “Shadows” study. I plan to mark my list with a T for type and an A for antitype.

 

 

 

 

 

Sister to Sister: Guest Writer/Resource for Teachers

It’s the melon time of year in the deep south. It’s also the beginning flurry for many a homeschooling mom and it’s the start of a new quarter for most of our Bible classes in our congregations. Today I want to share a resource that was so patiently forwarded to me by Renee Hunter. It’s an adaptation of the book “Picking Melons and Mates” and I think it’s creation was too time intensive and creative NOT to share. She’s graciously agreed to make it yours and so…here it is. Teachers like Renee just keep on investing time for eternity. This is a four week curriculum, designed for girls ages 8-12. It would take about a month if you did it at home in short increments of Family Bible Time. If you do it in 30 minute Bible class increments, you could easily spend a whole quarter.  When you look at the four topics below, you will be taken aback by the importance of the material she was putting in their hearts.  She did it with sweet girls who loved getting together. Good stuff. All you need is the Picking Melons book (http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Picking-Melons-and-Mates/p/14051571/category=3290196), the following, and a few supplies that are obvious as you go…. Oh, and a few tender hearts. (Be sure and get the lap book and homework links at the very bottom!) Thanks very much, Renee, for this great resource for teachers. What a blessing!)

LESSON1: PICK OR PICK
Decorate front of lapbook with verse and title “Choosing in Christ” Read:
“Picking Melons and Mates” by Cindy Colley, through p.11. Activity 1 (Day 1 #2 and #3)
Use concordance and dictionary as needed.

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Complete wisdom scripture lapbook activity: Put glue on three sides of the Bible picture to make a pocket. You will slide the “Wisdom Scripture” paper into the pocket. Have the children write down their favorite wisdom verses.

Complete character lapbook activity: Look again at the wisdom verses and
write down characteristics of wise people on the paper with an owl. Glue in lapbook.

Activity 2 (Day 3 #1 and 2) Discuss
Banana split break Activity 3 (Day 18 #1) Discuss

Activity 4 (Day 18 #2)
Complete Fruit of the Spirit lapbook activity: Use dictionary to look up the words. Glue the pear in the lap-

book. Have the children glue or write the words around their pear. Activity 5 (Day 19 #1)
Discuss

Put title of lesson 1 on page 1 of the lapbook “Pick or Pick”

Homework

Memorize the fruit of the spirit

LESSON 2: APPEARANCES
Recite Fruit of the Spirit homework
(love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol)
Read: “Picking Melons and Mates” by Cindy Colley, through p.1217
Activity 1 (Day 5 #3)
Activity 2 (Day 6 #3)
Discuss
Activity 3 (Day 6 #4)
Break into groups and discuss
Complete lapbook verse 7 activity: Glue scroll in lapbook. Have the children write the verse on the scroll.
Activity 4 (Day 10 #1 and 2)
Discuss. Use concordance as needed.

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Complete “darkness” lapbook activity: Glue three sides of the “darkness” paper to make a pocket. Have the children write down the verses that talk about darkness on the lined paper. They will slide this into the pocket.

 

Activity 5 (Day 12 #1) Discuss
Activity 6 (Day 13 #1) Discuss

Activity 7 (Day 13 #3)

Complete lapbook activity: Cut out the hearts and staple on one side to make a book. Glue the last page down on the lapbook. On the pages of the book have the children write down ways they can follow Jesus.

Put title of lesson 2 on page 2 of the lapbook “Appearances” Homework: memorize 1 Samuel 16:7

LESSON 3: CONSEQUENCES OF CHOICES

Recite memory verse homework

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Read: “Picking Melons and Mates” by Cindy Colley, through p.1823 Activity 1 (Day 6 #2)
Discuss
Activity 2 (Day 5 #4)

Discuss
Activity 3 (Day 19 #2)
Break into three groups and discuss
Activity 4 (Day 9 #1)
Discuss
Activity 5 (Day 16 #1)
Discuss
Activity 6 (Day 20 #2)
Discuss
Activity 7
Read Ephesians 1:314

 

Complete lapbook activity “Being in Christ”: Glue the “in Christ” and “out of Christ” papers on the lapbook. Have the children make a path using yarn leading to each paper. One will be wide and one will be narrow. Have the children glue or write the words around the correct path.

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Put title of lesson 3 on page 3 of the lapbook “Consequences”

Homework: memorize “Matthew 7:1314”

LESSON 4: WISE PICKER
Recite memory verse homework
Matthew 7:1314

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Read: “Picking Melons and Mates” by Cindy Colley, p.24 to end Activity 1 (Day 4 #1)
Discuss
Activity 2 (Day 4 #2)

Discuss
Activity 3 (Day 5 #1 and 2) Discuss
Activity 4 (Day 8 #1, 2, and 3) Discuss
Activity 5 (Day 9 #3)

Discuss and complete “prayer” lapbook activity: Staple the hands together on one side. Glue the back one onto the lapbook. Have the children write a reminder to pray for wisdom on the inside of the hands.

Activity 6 (Day 11 #1 and 2) Discuss
Activity 7 (Day 14 #1) Discuss

Activity 8 (Day 14 #2)

Discuss and complete “wise man/foolish man” lapbook activity: Staple the booklet together. Glue the last page on the lapbook.

Activity 9 (Day 17 #1, 2, and 4)

Discuss and complete “vine connected” lapbook activity: Glue the Bible and the pic- ture of Jesus on the lapbook. Connect the two together using a vine. Staple the vine to the lapbook.

Put title of lesson 4 on page 4 of the lapbook “Wise Picker” Make watermelon charm bracelets.

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Young Diggers!

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I was excited to meet a few teen homeschoolers at Polishing the Pulpit who are going to do the “Shadows” study as part of their curriculum for the 2016-17 school year. But last night I was blessed to worship with the Lightwood church near Montgomery, Alabama and I had a photo-op with the youngest Digger I’ve met to date. She is Sara Beth Tucker and she’s 10 years old. I’d already noticed how she was popping out those answers to the Bible knoDwledge questions during the Lightwood version of Kidsing (http://thecolleyhouse.org/sermons/kidsing). But I was really encouraged when one of the elders’ wives told me she is always extremely faithful and participatory in their Sunday afternoon ladies class.  Way to go, Sara  Beth! I just know that one day, I’ll get to go and hear you teaching women about the Word of God. Most of all, I can’t wait to see the kind of mother you will be. Children who have godly mothers are the richest children in the world!

Of course, it’s you, the Titus 2 older  in a congregation that mold the next generation of faithful woman. Here’s Sara Beth’s mentor group at Lightwood. So proud of this Digging Deep group! (I’d love photos of your group…or even of individuals who are studying along.)

 

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I know it’s not about me, but this old digger is off to a slow start. I’m in that wonderful grandmother vortex that keeps my mind young but reminds me that my body is 57. The hours are long and the naps are short. As I type, I have a two-year-old beside me watching a little video about an owl cuckoo clock. Those are his favorite at the moment, and “cuckoo” is an appropriate soundtrack for our lives right now! Colleyanna has her days and nights a bit mixed up. She’s five days out of the womb now, so we’re hoping she’ll coordinate with daylight and dark soon. She’s precious even when she’s wide awake and very vocal at 2 am! 

If you have an outstanding order with the Colley House, it’s because we’re waiting on your t-shirt. I’m turning those orders around as fast as I can, with the help of one more patient husband, and you should have your order in a few days. The holiday weekend was one more small delay, but I’m hoping to get the final order processed today. Hopefully, in a few days, I’ll be keeping up a little better with the study and we can use this blog frequently to comment about the “shadows”. I’m thankful for your patience and especially for those of you who are in the Word.