Crockpot Christmas CONTEST!

 

unknownEvery December The Colley House has a fun contest and give-away. This year’s contest is unabashedly self-serving for me.  Perhaps it will be helpful to someone else who’s got a lot going on this Christmas, as well. Since I’ve got at least four Christmas dinners for which I’m preparing all or a significant amount of the food, I’m asking for your best and most SIMPLE holiday recipes.  Who’s in? Just send me your favorite holiday crock-pot recipe OR a simple tried and true recipe that your family loves around the Christmas table. It can be anything from appetizers to desserts or any dish in between. It can be for your football game gatherings during the holidays or even the cookies you leave for Santa. The key is simplicity! I want recipes that I can make quickly AND that will be popular with the family. (Popular food makes the cook popular, too!)  You can enter as many times as you like and the top three winners will get to choose any two Colley House products at no cost! (There are four new Colley House books published in 2016, so you might want to check those out.) I’ll publish the best of the recipes and I’ll think of you all while I’m cooking those holiday meals. (I know I could go to Pinterest, but I love sister recipes because they’re sort of a like a long distance potluck!) Deadline is December 16th at noon. You can email the recipes to byhcontest@gmail.com. So hurry and send me a taste of your holiday! Blessings and much holiday happiness to you and yours!

P.S. I’ll share first. Here’s the recipe for Caramel Popcorn Balls, the traditional tree-trimming snack at the Colley house:

1 box brown sugar–1/2 cup butter–1/2 cup light corn syrup–1 T water–1 t. salt
Mix all that up (you don’t have to melt the butter. Just throw it in there) Microwave all that for 10 minutes. But after five of those ten minutes, take it out and stir it and add 2 tsp. of baking soda.) Then finish microwaving. Then pour over or mix in 3 quarts of popped corn and 1 cup of peanuts. (We leave out the nuts and just add a little more corn, because Hannah doesn’t like nuts) Spread on foil or waxed paper to cool or form balls. (We like the balls and to do this I spread butter on a piece of wax paper and hold this in my hand while I “squish” the ball together. You need something in your hand, because it is very hot when you mold them.) We love these! (The original recipe says microwave 12 minutes, but my microwave burns the caramel at 12 minutes, so I guess you kind of have to play with that!) They are so yum. Ezra left little sticky “Ock-corns” all over the house! He went crazy over them!15250781_961064418549_1488882612686999350_o

 

For the Diggers: Get the Leaven Out!

 

rectangular cheese crackers isolated on white background

As we finish the study of the Passover, it’s obvious that the original Passover’s significance  in foreshadowing our salvation is multidimensional. The Lamb is Jesus. The leaven is sin. The bondage is sin’s enslavement. The haste of the exodus is the urgency of escaping sin. The deliverance is redemption and all of this is remembered in our weekly memorial, the supper of the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine instituted by Christ in Matthew 26. As we eat the bread which contains no leaven, we examine our lives to be sure there is no leaven of sin present in them (I Corinthians 11:28).

First, let me share the requested list of scriptures containing the word leaven. Those with a positive connotation are only four. They are Leviticus 23:17; Amos 4:5; Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:31. The verses with a negative connotation are as follows:

 

 

Exodus 12:15,19

Exodus 13:7

Exodus34:25

Leviticus 2:11

Leviticus 6:17

Leviticus 10,12

Matthew 16:6,11,12

Mark 8:15

Luke 12:11

I Corinthians 5:6-8

Galatians 5:9

In our study, we’ve come  to the realization that the absence of leaven in the bread of the Passover symbolizes both the absence of sin in the Bread of Life (John 6:33) and, also, the sin we acknowledge and cast from our spiritual houses as we examine ourselves each Lord’s Day. This  is both sobering and motivating. I hope it will make the supper even more precious and useful to your spiritual well-being. After all, if we do not take this self-examination seriously, we eat and drink damnation to ourselves and we leave the feast sicker, spiritually, than we were when we arrived to eat the supper (I Corinthians 11:27-30).

As we leave November’s study and begin a new one, I hope you can take the time to listen to this lesson about the Passover lamb. It will make you thankful for the precious unspotted Lamb that rescues the souls of men. Here’s the link:

http://www.westhuntsville.org/Audio/Uploaded/Sunday_am_032110.mp3

Thanksgiving: My Sin Is Not in the Deal

thanksgiving_110006174-012814-intIt’s Thanksgiving Day as you read. I hope it is the beginning of a holiday season that will bless your heart with warm memories for many years. For some, though, the holidays will bring painful memories of abuse or loss of a loved one or long days of mental torture or longer nights of physical pain. Even with the challenges that come to all people in a fallen world, the church of God, the redeemed, have constant cause for joy and thanksgiving. We are gathered around his banquet table every day of every year as we walk in His light.

Psalm 103 is a great place to go on this Thanksgiving week to be reminded of the depth of the Lord’s mercies on His spiritual Israel. Here is David’s list of the blessings, from that chapter, showered by the Father on the Old Testament nation. How many of these are just as real to the church, the people of God, today? I challenge you to go down this list and check off the ones that are applicable to you, personally. How many of these are very real and tangible in your own life in 2016? As I made this list, I realized, at once, the inconceivable nature of His blessings and my own worthlessness. There is some realm or area of my life and of His mercies in which I can check off each one! Here’s the list:

  • Forgiveness of iniquities
  • Healing of diseases
  • Redemption from destruction
  • A crown of lovingkindness and mercy
  • A mouth satisfied with good things
  • Renewed youth
  • Execution of judgement for oppressed
  • Ways made know to Moses
  • Acts made known to Israel
  • Mercy
  • Grace
  • Slowness to anger
  • Dealing NOT according to sins
  • Removal far from transgressions
  • Pity like a Father
  • Remembrance that we are dust
  • Everlasting mercy
  • Righteousness to grandchildren
  • A prepared throne
  • A kingdom that rules
  • Angels that excel in strength

I love to contemplate every one of these. But the one I love the most is that He deals not with people (me) according to their sins. There are no words for the gratitude that swells in me when I understand that he will not treat me as I deserve to be treated. He will look on me and not see sin in its blackness. He will reach to me and not touch the filth of sin. He will listen to me and never hear the wretched voice of sin that anguishes in my pleas. He will savor the sweet smell of my worship and not smell the stench of guilt. Surely if David could extol His mercies and claim his deliverance in the days of animal sacrifices, how much more can I bask in the blessings of forgiveness; living, as His child in the shadow of the cross! “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psalm 103:1)

Sister to Sister: Q&A–About the Order of Creation…?

QuestionMarkQuestion: It appears to me that the first contradiction in the Bible comes early on in Genesis one and two. In Genesis one, trees came before  Adam. In Genesis two, they are after Adam. It is the same with birds. In Genesis one, Adam and Eve were created at the same time. In Genesis two, Eve was created some time after Adam’s creation. How do Bible-believers reconcile these contradictions? 

Response:

Well, the purposes of Genesis one and two are different. I do not believe there are contradictions in the chronology. Chapter one is a chronological accounting of the creation without intense attention to detail. Chapter two is a retelling, but is done topically, rather than emphasizing the order in which the creation occurred. Chapter two adds much detail. But I cannot see at all that chapter two indicates that the plants were made after man…perhaps the plants of the garden of Eden were planted after the man was made, but many gardens have been planted since the making of man. Similarly, chapter one tells us that God made man and woman on the sixth day. Chapter two adds to that account the details of what occurred in between the creation of man and the creation of woman on that day. The details of day six are omitted in chapter one and given in chapter two. 

Scholars also tell us that the Hebrew word for “formed” in Genesis 2:19 really could just as well have been translated “had formed” so that it could have been translated “Out of the ground, the Lord God had formed every beast of the field.”  The Hebrew word is “yatsar” and it means “molded” or “had molded”. This is a second explanation for this alleged contradiction. It is important to remember that there must be only one possible way to reconcile two seemingly contradictory passages, in order to validate the veracity of the text in question. 

Chapter one is an overview. Chapter two is a “rewind” with details added. Add to that the Hebrew meaning of the word “yatsar” and you have dissipated any contradiction between the first two chapters of Genesis. It’s often laborious to examine each passage the skeptics bring in their attacks on the veracity of the Word of God. But it is faith-building and it is the only way to answer the critics: one passage, one possible explanation at the time.

(Excellent articles more fully detailing these issues are found here: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/749-do-the-first-two-chapters-of-genesis-contradict-one-another—–and here: http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=643&b=Genesis)

 

Net Fishing

PrintIt’s Sunday night as I write and a young preacher with whom I just spoke told me that two people were baptized into the family of God in his congregation in a neighboring state today. They began looking for the church of the New Testament. These two adults, a mother and her son, began studying materials that they found online. They ultimately learned about and wanted to attend the church of Christ. Ending up at a denomination with a similar name but a very dissimilar doctrine and practice they began to explain what it was they were looking for. The folks in this church apparently then directed them to the website of the church of Jesus in their area. They began to listen to the online sermons and teachings of this congregation. Today they showed up for worship and requested baptism. I asked this young preacher if he studied with them. “A little,” he said… “but they really already knew what they needed to know from studying themselves.” 

These people got their information about how to be saved from the Bible. Then they used the internet to search for the body of the saved—the church; those people who were teaching what they found in their Bibles. There are many great methods of evangelism, but I believe in our cyber-connected world, the net has an inestimable amount of potential for teaching the lost.   Have I invited you recently to watch our services, both live-streamed and archived at www.westhuntsville.org? You can also watch the services that these folks watched at http://www.maclandroadchurchofchrist.org

Next, I want to tell you about our annual Colley House Holiday special. Each year, we try to bring you a Christmas bundle, at a great reduction in price. We think items that help people grow spiritually make the best kind of gifts. This year we want to offer a package designed for the ultimate spiritual growth of families. It includes two of our Hannah’s Hundred CDs of your choice (Each CD has 100 Bible verses set to music for a fun way for children to learn the Word), a copy of my children’s book, Picking Melons and Mates (That’s the one with the three week jump-starter Family Bible Time guide in the back) and, for the family on your list who’s considering homeschooling, the book Cindy Colley on Homeschooling. Additionally, we’ve thrown in the “Building Great Kids” DVD by Glenn Colley, a tool for godly parenting, so it’s  a five-item bundle. All five items, bought at full price, sell for a total of $58.50. The special price this holiday season is $29.99, a savings of $28.51. We hope this helps with your list.

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And, lastly, I hope you are continuing in prayer for our country. Pray that the best outcomes of the election may still be forthcoming. Pray that, in our leadership, the resolve to do the right thing about conservative  and pro-life Supreme Court justices will not weaken. Pray for intimidation from our culture to be focused more toward the devil and his advocates and less toward Christians. And pray that the people of God may always value their identity as that—the family of God—more than their identity in any country or ethnic group. Pray for the greatest Cause on earth…the spread of His gospel, come what may.

Post-Election Elation?!

Image of two ecstatic colleagues showing their gladness and looking at camera

 

It is true. We must be loving. We must be kind. In all circumstances. But passion about electing someone who promises to do something that legitimately can save millions of babies’ lives and can very possibly prolong our freedom to speak the gospel in its entirety–excitement about that is not wrong, especially when one looks at the incredible unrighteousness that just spewed forth from the other platform. In fact, for my conscience, it was/is difficult to be passionate and public (as public as my little world lets me be) about the election, but it was/is necessary. Post-election excitement because you think you now may have a chance (even though the president-elect is immoral in many areas) to preserve this freedom is not wrong. Excitement when you believe the gospel will have an easier route being taught and lived is a good thing.

But passion without practicality is useless. If Christians do not now use every opportunity to try and reach the lost, stand for truth and righteousness, and train our children to be sanctified in a dark world, we have won an empty battle. The real victory is in souls saved for heaven, of course. Today, I feel the debt I owe more keenly than ever. Today, I found a soul in my little realm of influence and asked her to study the Word with me. In the past weeks and months, I prayed a lot for the best interests of the gospel in the election. I have a chance now to show the world and the Lord and the devil that my heart really was/is in the furtherance of truth in a culture of relativism. So, go ahead and say we must be kind and loving, but please do not say we should not be passionate about the process or elated about the results. Most importantly, let’s get busy using the freedoms that have been prolonged, for now, to teach and practice Christianity…the love, the kindness and the passion for truth.

I really do believe that there is a good chance that millions of future lives will be saved as a result of this week’s voting. I have reason to be very hopeful that the tenor of the Supreme Court will change. I believe Planned Parenthood believes this to be a very real possibility, too. (http://www.mrctv.org/blog/planned-parenthood-devastated-shattered-over-unthinkable-trump-victory) It’s okay to rejoice over this. It is okay to be happy when Planned Parenthood is devastated.  It’s okay to be happy about this huge victory for innocent life; a victory over one who vowed to keep abortion legal and accessible…who said babies, all the way up to birth, have no rights. IT IS OK to be excited. It is just not okay to be ugly or unkind or unbecoming of the gospel we hope to share with people who are lost. 

In the book of Esther, someone in authority had to be hanged in order for thousands of  innocent lives to be saved. Truth had to come to light and, when it did, there was a change of power. It is important to notice that the Jews had light, gladness, joy and honor when the Persian authority, Haman, was hanged. There was a feast, the people rejoiced and “it was a good day” (Esther 8:16,17). They still had a heathen king in power, but God’s people had been handed a reprieve. We may be just about right there today.

I know that last Tuesday in America did not parallel the Persian account in every way. But, still, if God’s people are prayerful and in mourning because of a holocaust of innocent people and then, through an election surprise, we perceive a  light at the end of that tunnel, it’s okay to rejoice. It’s okay to have gladness and light in our hearts and homes.

One of my friends commented earlier this week that she couldn’t care less about who is the president of the United States. She’s just about spreading the gospel and living for Him. I think, in times where the two major party platforms are so very opposite in their stances on abortion and gay marriage, we need to care. I think, though God is sovereign and though He will ultimately protect his remnant, He cares about sin. He cared enough about sin that He watched His Son die on Calvary. I believe He cares about–is heartbroken about–the national sin of America, today. So I am going to do all I can to promote morality and righteousness in our land. Most of all, I am going to try and do all I can to bring people to the real remedy for sin, one soul at the time.

There’s a lot of talk about healing a divided nation this week. Healing is what I long for. But I must remember: It is not tolerance that ultimately heals. Ignoring or accepting cancer does not heal it. He is the Great Physician and He can truly heal our land. But not unless and until we fill His prescription.