Sister to Sister: Dig till You Die!

As I write, I am at a convention where 4700 Christians have gathered to study and grow and enjoy fellowship that’s just rarely paralleled in this lifetime. If I were to travel home today, the blessings would be far greater than I could ever deserve. But I will, Lord willing, get to bask in them for four more days! So many unforgettable conversations…so many lessons I’ve been needing…so many hugs I’ve been missing all year…so many longings for heaven here in its foyer in Sevierville, Tennessee this week!

A gentleman walked up to me today and opened a painful page of his life with me. His marriage of four years ended tragically last March when his wife passed away unexpectedly in a hospital after a short and undiagnosed illness. “We really do not know what happened, “ he said. “She just experienced some symptoms that did not seem to  be life-threatening and, before we knew it, she was gone.” 

“But I wanted to tell you because of this,” he said. “My wife came to Polishing the Pulpit last year for the very first time. She left here and we went from bookstore to bookstore trying to buy a book that she had heard about at PTP.  It was called ‘Digging Deep.’ We finally found it and she worked through that study until she died.” 

You know, I understand that we don’t have to do Digging Deep in order to go to heaven. I get it that we are very busy and it’s sometimes challenging to consistently keep up with any organized study. Just the same, though, I think it’s a wonderful legacy to a life taken on to glory early that she was using her last days to grow toward heaven. I like to believe she went to glory with a greater capacity to appreciate His majesty and the fellowship of His people because of the study. I believe people who die with greater faith have larger cups to fill in heaven (Luke 19:11-27; Matthew 25:14-30).

Today we will unveil a whole new year of study. On September 1st, we will begin that study in earnest. The topic will be a surprise on the podcast, but let me just assure you that it will directly help you overcome the devil in this life and it will enable you toward hearing those words “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  The study will be free for downloading. A study book that has just a bit more commentary and some lines for answering the questions will be available for purchase here at PTP and online after 1:15 pm EST today. There will be t-shirts for fun, podcasts for encouragement and optional Facebook group participation. (I highly recommend this!) 

You may not be convinced yet. That’s okay, as long as you are in the book in some serious way during the next year. Digging Deep is just one way. But it’s a way that keeps us encouraged and accountable and prayerful for one another. I hope you’ll join us. There are no daily or weekly deadlines. Just do as much as you can and try to complete each month’s study as we go along. But whether you complete or not, you’ll be the richer for whatever you can accomplish. Get the details here on Tuesday afternoon: http://thecolleyhouse.org/category/digging-deep-bible-study.  Podcast is at 12:45 EST on Tuesday here: https://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women.

P.S. Melanie Pinedo, in the picture above is one of our youngest diggers this year. Her parents are rich people! She’s rich, too! And I  am blessed to know this young soul in the Word.

 

Sister to Sister: Sometimes Sanctification Means…

Sometimes Sanctification Means…

Refusing popularity…
Choosing persecution…like Elijah.
Refusing peace…
Choosing confrontation…like Joshua.
Refusing riches…
Choosing less…like Moses.
Refusing rest…
Choosing struggle…like Caleb.
Refusing acclimation…
Choosing anonymity…like the woman of Shunem.
Refusing anonymity…
Choosing leadership…like the three Hebrews.
Refusing leadership…
Choosing submission…like Sarah.
Refusing exaltation…
Choosing humility…like Paul.
Refusing the best…
Choosing what’s left…like Abraham.
Refusing to fight…
Choosing to lie down…like Isaac.
Refusing to break…
Choosing to build…like Jochebed.
Refusing to obey…
Choosing to pray…like Daniel.
Refusing to remain…
Choosing to change…like Zaccheus.
Refusing the devil…
Choosing the Lord..like Job.
Refusing ruin…
Choosing restoration…like Ezra.
Refusing security…
Choosing risk…like Esther.
Refusing discouragement…
Choosing perseverance…like Nehemiah.
Refusing to stay silent
Choosing to speak…like Peter.
Refusing the easy way out…
Choosing the cross…like Jesus.
C. Colley

Sister to Sister: You’ve Got Something New!

Providence always seems to make our Bible studies very applicable to our lives. Here we are in the initial days of 2017, trying to make our lives better this year for His glory and our study coincides with a new journey made by His people of old from a life of bondage to a life of freedom and, ultimately, rest. God is good! Their passover was in their first calendar month and, from there, life changed in some very good ways for Israel. Today, let’s notice some of those new  experiences for Israel and how they correspond to the new lives that we have in Christ. Here’s the list from last night’s podcast. It will make you appreciate the cross and the deliverance from your bondage of sin even more. These are taken from Exodus 14-24.

  1. A new camp (14:2). Christians are moved to a new place, too. Colossians 1:13, I Peter 2:9.
  2. A new champion (14:4). Don’t miss these great passages: Romans 8:31-39, Hebrews 13:6.
  3. A new guide (14:19). We follow the Lamb (Rev. 14:4)
  4. A new song of praise (chapter 15). This was the song of Moses. But we get to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev. 14:3).
  5. A new promised inheritance (15:17). Heaven is our inheritance. Are you an heir (I Peter 1:3,4, Revelation 21:7)?
  6. A new voice (15:26). Matthew 17:5. Are you listening (Hebrews 1:1,2)?
  7. A new source of sustenance (16:1-10). He always provides for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
  8. A new urgency about bread (16:16-18). We should seek the Bread of Life every day, too (John 6:35; Luke 4:4)
  9. A new priority (16:26). Their sabbath took precedence over gathering bread. Matthew 6:33 says our priority is seeking the kingdom and He will provide the bread!
  10. New battles within the camp (17:4). Do Christians have discouragements within the church? (Take a cursory look at the book of James and the book of I Corinthians. The devil doubles his forces when people become Christians!)
  11. New battles from without the camp (17:16). Ephesians 6:12-13. Living for him is spiritual warfare.
  12. A new evangelistic thrust. (18:11). If we live for Him, the great commission (Mark 16:15, 16) becomes second nature to us. There are those, like Jethro, who will naturally be impacted by our faith. 
  13. A new clean (19:14). We are washed (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
  14. A new priesthood (19:22). Praise God for our high priest and for the fact that he made us holy for the priesthood (Hebrews 4:14-16)!
  15. A new freedom ((20:2). We are no more servants of sin (Galatians 5:1)!
  16. A new purity (20:20). We are done with intentional sin (I John 2:1).
  17. A new law (21:1; 24:12). The law of the Spirit in Christ has made us free from the Mosaic law of sin and death (Romans 8:1,2). We, too, have a new law!
  18. A new standard of morality (chapter 22). The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is replete with “You have heard…but I say unto you.”. Jesus’ way is a path to a new morality.
  19. A new rule of giving (22:29-30).  Leaving the tithe behind, we give as we have been prospered (I Corinthians 16:1,2). 
  20. A new passover feast (23:14-19). Christ is our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7) and we memorialize our Lamb in the Lord’s Supper as instituted in Matthew 26:26-29.
  21. A new covenant (24:4-7). Have you signed on to the covenant that required His blood (Hebrews 8:6)?

Catch-up on Recipes! Here are three more from the December contest: 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

(This recipe, from Lindsey Cella, sounds good for Alabamians today! Brrr!)

Ingredients:
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed (We use 1 (48 ounce) bag of Tyson’s boneless skinless chicken thigh strips, it works out the same)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 onion, chopped
3 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (10 ounce) cans tomatoes and green chilies
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
(Tortilla chips and shredded cheese added by bowl, if you want it. We always want it.)😝
Directions:
•Combine chicken, corn, onion, broth, tomato paste, tomatoes and green chilies, cumin, chili powder, 1 tsp of salt, and garlic in large crockpot.
•Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 7 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours to 3 hours and 30 minutes(essentially just cook it until the chicken isn’t pink that’s what we do😂)
•serve with Tortilla chips and shredder cheese serves about 6 to 8 (that’s what our recipe says, it’s a lie, this makes tons😂)

Easy and Delicious Peanut Butter Fudge

Ginny Vines

1 package of white almond bark
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 16 Oz jar of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

DIRECTIONS:
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
Melt the almond bark according to directions on package.
Stir in peanut better until smooth.
Stir in condensed milk. You must do this quickly because it will start to harden.
Put in refrigerator until cool and hard, cut and enjoy!

Pineapple Casserole 

Janice Knight

This goes great with ham.
2 tall cans pineapple chunks with juice
6 Tbs. flour, mixed with 1 cup white sugar
1 sleeve town house or ritz crackers
1 cup shredded cheese
1 stick butter or margarine, melted

Using a 9×13 inch dish, pour in the pineapple.  Then stir in the flour/sugar mixture till combined.  Put half the cheese in next, and stir. Crush the sleeve of crackers and distribute crumbs evenly on top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on that, then drizzle the melted butter all over.  This makes it shiny and crunchy.  Bake till brown (about 25-30minutes at 375 degrees F.  This is good hot or cold.  Greg at church eats it for his dessert.

(from cc: Shout-out to Greg, I guess! This is a favorite at the Colley house, too!)

 

Sister to Sister: Free Download for Debt-free Living in 2017

Debt text on paper

Sin’s put us all in deep debt–the kind that brings death (Romans 6:23). But His gift is eternal life in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8). It’s likely that every reader of BYH knows this basic fact of redemption. It’s the theme of the Bible. But it’s very unlikely that every reader is enjoying debt-free living in Jesus. The devil is crafty and he makes sin alluring. For the woman who has lived in his clutches for a significant part of her life, he makes getting out of debt seem like a very lofty and labor intensive effort. Are you someone who’s been intending to “do better” about sin for a long time now? Perhaps it’s disrespect of your husband. Maybe it is pornography.  Perhaps it is laziness when it comes to Bible study. Maybe your prayer life is almost non-existent. Maybe you have a temper problem. Perhaps you are living in an extramarital adulterous relationship. Maybe you are having sex with a boyfriend. Maybe your pet sin is immodest dress or unclean language. Maybe you’ve become a lot less serious about being present for worship every time the saints assemble. Is it that you’re there, in worship, but never mentally engaged? Are you abusive, physically or verbally, to your spouse? Are you failing to restrain your children? Are you lazy about parenting, allowing your children to participate in activities that compromise their spirituality? Are you too connected to sin via television, music and the internet? Are you entertained by worldliness? Maybe it is that alcohol is ultimately destroying something that is precious to you.

Whatever it is that’s intentional, continual sin is keeping you in debt. It’s what killed your 2016. It’s what kept you from real and sustainable happiness in 2016. My husband is on the phone right this moment with a couple whose marriage is in very real jeopardy. 2016 has been a very bad year for this couple. There has been little happiness. There has been a lot of betrayal and distrust. The marriage has come very close to self-destructing. I have already counseled this morning with a woman whose marriage is going to continue, barring any changes, in perpetual unhappiness because of selfishness on the parts of both partners. I’ve also spoken with a woman this morning whose life is forever altered because of a man who made a conscious decision to walk away from God and join forces with the devil….And it’s only 8:30 a.m!  The devil wants your unhappiness to just re-emerge over and over again. He want to take next year, too…and the next, and the next…until you find yourself bound to him for eternity. He is keeping you in debt.

Somewhere nestled in the middle of the incomplete list of sins above is a foundational sin that’s making happiness elusive for many of us. It’s a failure to fill our lives with His Word. It’s laziness with regard to Bible study. Over and over, in counseling and life-repair situations, I am painfully reminded that when people get out of the Word, problems quickly and powerfully pursue. Contentment is sucked into the vacuum of ignorance to the Will of God. You cannot be happy if you are not in the Word. Failing to study is the sin that keeps on sinning.

Here’s the download. You don’t have to have this download to be happy. (There are lots of methods, teachers, workbooks, commentaries, websites and study guides to help you get into THE book. Digging Deep is certainly a personal favorite.) But you DO have to be in the Word to be happy. I wish I could convince all of the women who come to me with broken lives that this is the basic bedrock upon which all other healing steps are taken. I can, without reservation, recommend this beginning to you:

http://www.maclandroadchurchofchrist.org/bible-basics-bull…/.

Do you really want to continue along with the status-quo of your life? Do you want 2017 to be just like 2016? If you have lived this year as a faithful Christian, of course you do! But if you are not happy, stop self destructing. Make a firm choice to get into the Word in your schedule and in your decision-making in 2017. Help yourself to happiness.

 

Recipe for the day:

I tried this pot roast with my family this week and it could have been a winner in the contest! It was a winner at my house. And easy. I love easy. It was from Lynne, but she did not give her last name. Who are you, Lynne? My family loves you!

3 pound chuck or other flat roast (no need to brown)
McCormick Savory Pot Roast packet
Au Jus packet …also McCormick brand
12 oz Coke ( I used Coke Zero)
Place roast in crock Pot. Mix packets with 1 cup warm water. Pour over roast. Pour Coke over this. Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Before serving stir gravy from bottom edges of Crock Pot.

 

Sister to Sister: No Immunity…Yet.

14520353_10153783334741384_2383284245102356019_n 14040157_10153701053211384_3537453542881798692_n-768x576This week I’ve talked with Christian women facing all sorts of challenges…a woman whose marriage is quickly deteriorating, another who is addicted to pornography, one who is having great difficulty controlling anger and one who is just struggling with the pressures of an impossible schedule. A sweet sister asked for advice about helping another couple who’s dealing with possible adultery. Another is helping her husband recuperate from a mental and emotional illness. Another is struggling with her unfaithful husband. Still another, is striving to keep an addicted son and husband accountable. 

The bottom line is this: We, as God’s women are simply not immune to the challenges that the devil’s temptations bring into our worlds. We can escape all sin, temptation and the sorrow they bring. But not yet. For now, ours is to take the trials that being born into a fallen world brings, and learn from them. So many times, the control in overcoming the sin that brings us sorrow is not in our hands. Often, the sin that devastates us is someone else’s sin. We have to get into the Word to know the secrets of using the spiritual challenges to develop strong spiritual muscles capable of enduring to the end. 

This weekend, it’s my blessing to speak in Saint Charles, Missouri, from Psalm 46 about our “very present help in time of trouble.” The study is tailor-made for my present set of circumstances. The amazing thing about the Word, though, is that it’s tailor-made for your life, too. 

Before this weekend, the Digging Deep podcast will be live. You can join us tonight at 7 CST here: http://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women. The podcasts are all archived here, as well. The discussion tonight is about how sin entered the world and it’s about the ultimate Overcomer of that sin. It’s about the beginning of sorrow in a perfect garden and about the triumph over sin in another garden where a stone was rolled away. I hope you can join us. 

I want to stress that it’s not too late to begin the study if you have not already. The September study can be completed in just a few hours and you’re good to go with our October study. You can download the study at www.thecolleyhouse.org. We still have some study books available if you’d rather have the bound copy. Just go to the store for either. 

You don’t have to do the Digging Deep study to go to heaven, but you do have to study the Word. God cannot be your “very present help in time of trouble” if He is not “present” in your life. His presence today only comes through His Word…what the Holy Spirit freely gives us between the first Adam in Genesis 1 and the “second Adam” (Romans 5 and I Corinthians 15) who is at the right hand of the throne of God even as you are reading (Hebrews 12:2). Whatever your method or venue, get into that message. You’ll be forever (literally) glad that you did!

PS. Post pictures of your group, if you think of it. We love the encouragement of seeing sisters in the Word!

 

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Digging Deep 2016-17: You’re Right on Time!

Thumbnail DDIGWSeveral first-timers are asking for details about exactly how to do the 2016-2017 Digging Deep study. Some have invited others (yay!) and these very significant “others”are needing the format for the study so they can begin with confidence. Lots of new groups and individuals are popping up all over the country and even internationally. It’s so easy that it’s hardly worth a post, but, just in case you are overwhelmed with back-to-school, home-schooling, PTP exhaustion, or, better yet, congregational involvement overload, here it is: the study in a nutshell.

  1. Every first day of every month beginning now, a new portion of the study will appear on the Digging Deep in God’s Word facebook page. That’s the place to find a concise copy of the current month’s study and the place to discuss the dig with others all over the world. Go there and see the discussion already happening! This year’s study has also been made available in a couple of forms in it’s entirety. One is, of course, the new study book that you can find here. But, as is true in every year, the whole study can be downloaded for free. Both formats are here: http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Digging-Deep/c/20688312/offset=0&sort=normal
  2. Be sure and join the Digging Deep for Encouragement facebook group as well. That’s the place for any prayer requests that are unrelated to the study.  We will  try to put all of our news and prayer requests on this page for encouraging each other.
  3. Try your best to pace yourself throughout the month so that you can finish each month’s study by month’s end.
  4. Keep your notes digitally or on paper or in your official Digging Deep notebook. Either works fine. You just need someplace for notes!
  5. Near the end of each month, there will be a live podcast discussing the month’s study. You will be able to type in your comments and questions in this chatroom and we will discuss them together: http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women   All podcasts will be archived on this site, as well, so if you can’t listen live, you can listen later. It generally will occur on the last Tuesday of each month, but we will let you know the exact schedule well in advance on the podcast and on both of  the facebook pages. The September and October dates are already posted on the DD Facebook page…September 29th and October 18th, so we’re already a bit off. All of our DD women are pushing big wagonloads of life right now, so the schedule may vary but, again,  we will try and let you know in advance. Thanks for being patient. (If you want to go and listen to podcasts from other years, you may do that, too.) Our goal is to have more interaction on the podcasts this year than ever before, so we hope you will help us reach that potential of encouragement.
  6. You may optionally subscribe to this blog which will often, but not always, be an addendum to the study. It generally posts twice a week, usually on Mondays and Thursdays: http://thecolleyhouse.org/
  7. The last podcast of the year will come to you live from ‘Polishing the Pulpit”during that annual conference that occurs each August. Those present who have completed the entire study will be recognized there.
  8. I’m also excited to tell you that you can order a 4 CD set produced by way of introduction at PTP during the very first year of Digging Deep. The CDs contain tips and tools for getting the most out of this study, as well as an exegesis of the Hebrews writer’s admonition to be carnivorous (meat-eaters) in our study. Just call House to House/Heart to Heart at 1-877-338-3397 (toll free) and ask for the Digging Deeper CDs by Cindy Colley. The PTP team has put together this set, especially for the Digging Deeper Group, for only ten dollars. Several have already ordered and I understand the sets will ship immediately. Be sure to say that you would like the Digging Deep 4 CD set from 2011. This might be helpful but it is totally optional. The study does not depend on this set in any way.
  9. Anyone who wants an “In the Shadows”  Digging Deep t-shirt, be sure and order by next Thursday, September 1st at noon at: http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Digging-Deep/c/20688312/offset=0&sort=normal

It’s a Comfort Colors shirt and this is the shirt graphic:

 

unnamed-8

We are always indebted to the elders at the West Huntsville church for their support and oversight. We are thankful for Jennifer Benavides for tech support and for every woman who co-hosts on our monthly podcast. But we are especially thankful for those of you who are committing to, persevering in and inviting to this year’s study. It’s not too late to invite friends. Most of all, we thank the Father through the Son for this great study from the Holy Spirit!

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P.S. This is almost positively the week that I am going to meet my first granddaughter! So thanks in advance for the prayers…and patience as your newsfeeds flood with photos! (You can have a turn when you have your first granddaughter and I will ooh and ahh for you!) I love you, sisters! He is so good to us!