Sister to Sister: Water, Bread and Meat

This week at the Colley house, we have been without internet. My husband started digging on Sunday afternoon to repair an underground water pipe that was leaking and he dug right through our internet cable. At our house, there is no television cable or dish, so the sole source of information/ entertainment/communication this week has been our two little iPhones. That means there’s been no printing at all and all of this in a week when we have Ezra, our grandson who is a bit of an avid  Sesame Street and Peppa the Pig fan. Add to that it was scheduled to ne  a week of some pretty intense problem-solving meetings via Skype and Facebook and messaging. Worst of all, it’s PODCAST WEEK! The most interesting caveat is that the podcast this week is all about the consequences of  murmuring. Yes, the study is about some people who got in some pretty big trouble for complaining about that manna in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20. I keep thinking, “You know, if those Israelites who were smitten with death by poison because they murmured could have enjoyed one percent of the luxuries I’ve enjoyed this week, they would have been wide-eyed with wonder in the wilderness!” Add to that the practical challenge of this month’s study, which is to make it through one day without verbalizing a single negative thought and I am a pretty delinquent Digger, for sure!

I love the passages of the study this month. They are rich with practical lessons. As I write, we are three hours till live podcast. There’s a make-shift tent in my living room covering a toy-strewn floor. A chubby-faced two-year-old sits beside me eating dry cereal in my bed. Tiny  crumbs are sprinkled on the brown sheet. I was already having trouble sleeping this week because I accidentally left my pillow…MY personal only-one-that’s-comfortable pillow. There’s been a mountain of laundry on the guest bed all week. There’s a huge pile of mending waiting for any day with a few extra minutes. There a dress that was supposed to be for Colleyanna’s Christmas that remains unfinished and she is quickly outgrowing it. I’m supposed to have a gallon of chili made by tomorrow for a benefit for Freed Hardeman University and I have not even purchased the ingredients yet. There are people in the cabin who have also lost their water and their internet in the all of the digging. Ezra ran in the study and interrupted a very serious counseling session Glenn was doing this morning. He poured two gallons of water out of the bathtub this afternoon and stuffed something unidentifiable up the spout of the tub.  A long list of correspondence and thank-you notes await me and there is no current means to catch up. There are still some Christmas decorations up in some of the rooms in my house and tomorrow it’s February. There is a large pile of unpacked luggage in my bedroom floor from two trips by two different people. And there is a little boy who is inviting me earnestly into his tent to “play cars” this very minute. Did my husband ask me this week if I wanted to travel to Chattanooga with him yesterday and pick up a purchase he made at an antique auction and stop on the way home for ice cream? I thought I heard that.

You know where this is going. You know because you live like this, too. Oh, you may not be living quite this frenzied this week, but you’ve had a week or two like this. And some of you are currently living crazier. But you’ve had meat to eat this week IF you wanted it. The Israelites were homeless people in the wilderness with very little variety in diet and a lot of enemies ahead to defeat. Their children did not have cribs and nurseries and their elderly did not have eldercare. They were tired from slavery and intimidated by strong nations. But still, they had a God who was providing their every need and did not take kindly to their disbelief and strife. He loathed their grumbling and punished them mightily for it. 

So here’s the list you knew I was getting to:

  1. There are 4500, more-or-less, women who are interested in the study that drives me bonkers as I try to keep up every month and it’s a study about the ransom that’s been paid for all of us. How encouraging! A bunch of those women have recently sent heartfelt notes of encouragement. I’m blessed way beyond what I could ask or imagine.
  2. We have the technology to study together thanks to wonderful elders at West Huntsville and we have Jennifer Benavides and Mike Deasy who know how to make it work for us.
  3. I have a living room for a tent instead of a tent for a living room.
  4. I have a bed with linens on it and a sweet two-year-old who loves to be there with me. 
  5. He’s chubby. His ribs have lots of flesh on them.
  6. I have a pillow and I can sleep in peace and His assurance when it’s under my head.
  7. I have a guest bed and I have clothes (even enough to make a mountain and even enough to be clothed while there’s another pile waiting to be mended and two more piles simultaneously in pieces of luggage.)
  8. I have a sewing machine (and lots of other machines).
  9. I have a granddaughter who is healthy and growing, even faster than I can sew.
  10. I have enough money to purchase food to share.
  11. I have the room for company and sweet company for the room.
  12. I have a husband who helps people with serious sinful addictions instead of the other way around.
  13. All I had to do to get the running water was unclog the spout; not strike the rock or walk to the outskirts of a city as was the case in our studies this month.
  14. We have a little cable that brings the world to our fingertips.
  15. I have lots of generous family in Him to whom I owe multiple notes of gratitude.
  16. I have reminders of a wonderful time of holiday joy with family.
  17. I have a husband who likes to buy me ice cream.

I am on my way to the promised land. He is fighting my battles and providing for all of my needs. He is my rock in the desert (I Cor. 10:2-4). How dare I murmur! He is my water (John 4) and my bread and my meat (John 6). He is my all in all. 

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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Sister to Sister: Digging Deep Digger’s Dozen Discoveries

unnamed-8Here’s a riveting sneak peek into the Adam-Christ comparison for Thursday night’s podcast. I hope you can join us. It’s here: http://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women. It’s at 7 Central. It’s live. It’s interactive. (That means you should sign in and participate!) It’s Ellen Anderson and me. But mostly, it’s a great time very much devoted to time in the Word. Here you go. I’m sure you thought of things I do not have listed. Let’s compare notes!

Comparisons of Adam and Christ. 

  • Both had miraculous beginnings.
  • Through the one, Adam, sin entered. Through the One, Christ, sin was overcome (Romans 5:12).
  • Adam secured death. Christ secured life (Romans 5:17; I Cor. 15:21,22).
  • Judgement came through Adam. The free gift came through Jesus (Romans 5:18).
  • Through Adam, in a sense, men were made sinners. Through Christ men were made righteous (Romans 5:19).
  • Adam was made a living soul. Christ was made a life-giving Spirit (I Cor. 15:45).
  • Adam was “earthy”. Christ was heavenly (I Cor. 15:47).
  • Christians bear the image of both Adam and Christ (I Corinthians 15:49).
  • Both had side opened while obtaining bride (Genesis 2; John 19:33,34).
  • Both of their brides had miraculous beginnings (Gen. 2; Acts 2).
  • Both became heads of brides (Gen 3:16; Eph. 5:23).
  • Both brides wore their names (Gen. 5:1,2; Acts 11:26).

Let’s talk, on the podcast, about which are types and which are antitypes. We’ll be sure we’re “good” on those definitions for future use.  Let’s also talk about the personal-from-Satan temptation that both Adam and Jesus encountered…the scope of each of those temptations and the response of each man.

I’m also excited to hear about people you influenced for good, whose response to your influence was not immediate. This is not bragging. This is encouraging. I need this. Can’t wait for your input this month. 

Finally, some Digging Deep sightings from around the country…at work, at home, at college, at the laundromat, at the hotel, in the stroller. Fun times!


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14207621_10210983276762580_3752320509305895901_o14231358_10103559472181395_7007005937851523112_oSome references and adaptations for the list from “Types and Shadows”, Revised Edition,  W. Gaddis Roy, Southern Christian University, 2004.

 

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:

 

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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!

 

 

What Paul Suffered so I Can Read the Last Will…(an Incomplete, but Compelling List)

  • Saint_Paul,_Rembrandt_van_Rijn_(and_Workshop?),_c._1657Tonight is the Digging Deep Podcast. Join us at 7 CST here: http://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women . It’ll be a discussion of the persecutor-turned-persecuted hero, Paul—the apostle, the missionary, the servant, the writer, the prisoner, the teacher, the mentor, the one with the thorn in the flesh. Surely you find yourself somewhere in those characterizations of this great man. He is relevant to me in so many ways. Of course, the chief relevance is that He was the great mind   and pen through which the Holy Spirit revealed a large portion of the last will and testament of Jesus Christ. That testament is the key to my inheritance in heaven. The study tonight is relevant!

So here is the list from Acts of the persecutions he faced. I’ve added his immediate reaction or response where applicable. Take a look at these days in the life of the spiritually rich and famous. Realize with me that you and I can be elite in the palace of the King of Kings, if we are willing to suffer for His name. He that is the greatest is servant of all. I read that in a Book somewhere. So here is the Acts account of Paul’s persecutions:

  1. Elymas, the sorcerer, withstood Paul and tried to “undo” his work (13:8).  Paul, full of the Spirit, rebuked him and blinded him,
  2. The Jews stirred up the people to persecute Paul and they expelled him and his companions from their coasts (13:50). They “shook the dust from their feet” and traveled on.
  3. The unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles to think evil things about Paul and his companions (14:2). They just kept speaking boldly and performing signs in the name of Jesus.
  4. Both Jews and Gentiles assaulted and attempted to stone them (14:5). They became aware of it and fled.
  5. Took time for and endured dissension and disputing about circumcision (15:2). Went to the elders in Jerusalem to seek counsel and a solution to the dispute. 
  6. Because Paul healed a girl who had a spirit of divination, those who were making money off of her affliction were angered. They took Paul and Silas to the magistrates where, as a multitude rose up against them, they were beaten with many stripes and placed in stocks in the inner prison (16:19-24). Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God in this jail. 
  7. Lewd fellows in Thessalonica assaulted the house where Paul was staying and demanded that Paul surrender to them (17:5). The brethren, protecting Paul and company, sent them away secretly.
  8. Thessalonians followed them and stirred up the people in Berea, the town to which they had escaped (17:13). The brethren sent Paul away again. 
  9. Philosophers in Athens mocked him and took him to authorities (17:18). Paul preached the great sermon on Mars Hill.
  10. That sermon resulted in more mocking (17:32). Paul left Athens.
  11. The Jews rejected his teaching in Corinth, blaspheming (18:6). Paul shook his clothes and told them that their blood would be on their heads. He said “I am clean” and determined to go to the Gentiles with the gospel.
  12. The Jews made insurrection against Paul in Achaia and brought him before the deputy, Gallio (18:12). Paul was ready to answer, but Gallio, frustrated with the Jews, would not hear the case.
  13. The Jews in the synagogue at Ephesus spoke evil of His teachings and “the Way” in front of the crowd (19:9). Paul separated the disciples and reasoned with them in the school of Tyrannus for two years.
  14. Demetrius, a silversmith in Ephesus, angry that Paul was hurting the Diana silver-image business, called together a craftsmen’s union and incited them to anger against Paul. Paul was ready to enter the chaotic arena and speak, but the Ephesian Christians, as well as some chief officers, persuaded him to stay out of that theatre. 
  15. The people of Ephesus cried out for two hours “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” to directly oppose and endanger Paul (19:34). When the rioting was over, Paul embraced the Christians and left for Macedonia.
  16. The Jews in Greece “laid wait” for Paul, obviously purposing his harm (20:3). Paul changed plans, avoiding their trap.
  17. Tears, temptations, and trials were involved in all of this service (20:19). Paul did not shrink from speaking the whole truth.
  18. Paul was told by the prophet that he would be bound and delivered to the Gentiles in Jerusalem (21:11). Paul responded that he was ready to be bound and die for the name of Jesus.
  19. Jews of Asia stirred up the people in the temple of Jerusalem who were listening to Paul to rioting so that the people were beating him. The chief captain took him and bound him with two chains (fulfilling the prophecy in #18). The soldiers carried him into the Roman castle for questioning because the crowd was violent against him (21:27-38). Paul gave a lengthy defense in which he told of his Jewish heritage and his conversion to Christianity. 
  20. At the close of this defense, the Jews cried out for him to be put to death. The chief captain commanded his scourging (23:22-25). Paul responded, by revealing to the centurion, who was about to beat him, that he, himself, was a Roman.
  21. Paul was brought to give his defense before Jews and Romans in Jerusalem (22:30). 
  22. Ananias, the high priest commanded that they hit him on the mouth (23:2). Paul, not aware that Ananias was the hight priest,  called Ananias a “whited wall”, accusing him of breaking the very law he was commissioned to uphold. 
  23. There was a great dissension and the chief captain was afraid the crowd would tear Paul in pieces, so he brought him, again, into the castle (23:10). The Lord stood by Paul, telling him that he would survive to teach in Rome.
  24. A group of Jews took a hunger vow, saying they would not eat till Paul was killed (23:12). Paul’s sister’s son revealed this plot to him and Paul got this word to the chief captain, who sent 200 soldiers with Paul to deliver him to Felix, the Roman governor in Caesarea.
  25. Paul stood before Felix and Tertullias, an orator, who painted Paul to be a leader of revolt among the Jews (24:1-9). Paul answered with the gospel and was committed to the keeping of a centurion.
  26. Felix left Paul in bonds till his term as governor was over and the Jews besought the new governor, Festus, to send Paul to Jerusalem, so that they could kill him on the way (24:27-25:3).
  27. Festus brought Paul before him for questioning as the Jews from Jerusalem accused  him (25:6,7). Paul appealed to Caesar.
  28. Festus mocked Paul, calling him a mad man (26:24). Paul defended the gospel saying “These things were not done in a corner.”
  29. Paul was sent in chains to Rome where he remained bound (28:20). Paul, from his Roman lodging (imprisonment in a house), taught many people the gospel (28:24-31). 

By Request: 10-day Devotional Readings from Jeremiah

11896250_10152977036441384_3876974688294082380_nWhen you immerse yourself in a book of the Bible, you have separation anxiety when it’s time to move on to another. Here’s one more Jeremiah list from the Digging Deep study. But, truly, this list is good for God’s women whether you are in the book of Jeremiah or not. This is for your morning coffee break, the day you  realize you’ve broken God’s commands, the darkest night when you’ve just lost a loved one, and for the struggle in your marriage. This is gold from Jeremiah for your life. In fact, this list would be a great 10-day morning starter devotional series for busy women. (The original list, without scripture references, is taken from the article “The Marvelous Book of Jeremiah, by Wayne Jackson at https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/747-marvelous-book-of-jeremiah-) For your study, I’ve added some passages from the Jeremiah text and elsewhere. It will make you want to be better!

Practical Lessons from Jeremiah

  1. God’s omniscience–Jeremiah 1:5; Job 31:33; Job 39:31; Psalm 139:1-6
  2. God empowers the servant.–Jeremiah 1:7-10; II Kings 5; Exodus 2; Judges 6:15
  3. Remember your vows.–Jeremiah 2:20-37; Jeremiah 22: 8,9; Matthew 15:9
  4. God hates the superficial. –Jeremiah 5:2,3; Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6
  5.  True repentance is costly.–Jeremiah 7:1-7; II Corinthians 7:10
  6. The price of sin is high.–Jeremiah 8:1-3; Jeremiah 9; Luke 15: 11-21; Romans 6:23; I Peter 1:18,19
  7. Jehovah will be victorious.–Jeremiah 23:1-8; I Peter 1:5-7
  8. Jesus is the only hope.–Jeremiah 33:9-16; John 14:6; I Peter 1:3; I Corinthians 15:13-19.
  9. Expect persecution.–Jeremiah 38:3-6; II Timothy 3:12
  10. Judgment day will come.–Jeremiah 46-51; Matthew 25:31-46; II Peter 2:9; II Peter 3:7; Hebrews 9:27