Sister to Sister: Friends to the End

friends-holding-hands

Friends to the End

We’d walk to the corner together,
Eat M&M’s and wait for the bus.
I remember she’d always stick up for me
When Tad Smith would make fun of us.

We played for the Rascals together.
She knew how to clean up the bases.
She pitched. I was catcher. We had secret signals.
I’d laugh when she made silly faces.

We’d share a shake in the food court
When her mom drove us to the mall.
We’d pretend not to notice the boys when they passed;
By now Tad was not bad at all.

I was better with numbers,
We’d painstakingly work each equation.
She grabbed me and hugged me, then straightened my cap
When we lined up for our graduation.

So many memories of glad times;
So warm was the laughter and fun.
Where did the years go when we left that place?
How could our lives here be done?

We went to the judgment together,
Once more we were standing in line.
I had one more chance to look into the face
Of this wonderful old friend of mine.

It spoke of the bus stop, the ball field, the school;
Of math class, the mall, and the show.
In all of these times I never had told her
Of this one final place we would go.

Just one more day at the bus stop,
Or shopping and sharing a shake;
Just one more test for eleventh grade trig;
One more, that’s all it would take.

I’d be sure this time not to miss them;
Those everyday chances to show
The Christ of the cross, His hope for the lost,
This time I would tell her I know.

But there’s no going back. It’s all over.
A whispered “goodbye,” and it’s severed;
A friendship so strong, yet it ended so wrong.
It’s all over forever and ever.

Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Beds of Ivory

Podcast is Tonight!  http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women

judgementBeds of Ivory

If there’s one truth with which I’ve been impressed during this last month’s Digging Deep study, it is that a big part of God’s discipline involves punishment. If Hebrews 12 teaches anything, it’s that. There’s a big segment of the religious world in America today that rejects any notion, and certainly any practical life application, of God’s judgment. We don’t hear a lot of preaching about hell anymore. Students used to be punished at home when they were punished at school, but now teachers are the ones who are reprimanded by parents for administering the punishment. Criminal justice in our land has become diluted by lengthy appeals, legal loopholes and wresting, and jurors and justices who are sympathetic to the victim mentality. Strict judgment for wrongdoing–swift punishment for sin– is just not a concept around which Americans rally much these days.

I have attached below my version of the assigned chart from the book of Amos about sin and consequences in the delinquent nation of Israel as Amos portrayed the dismal picture given by the Holy Spirit. It was delivered in a day of peace and prosperity…and sin. It was difficult for Israel to believe that she was already teetering on the brink of destruction. She treated lightly the words of Amos. She was lying on a bed of ivory, stretching on a couch and eating lambs of the flock (6:4). Little did she know the lion was already roaring, just waiting for the pounce. Assyria, the sleeping giant, was soon to awaken and Israel would be forced into a mournful captivity. Much sorrow, loss and death would accompany the final days of the kingdom of Israel.

I’m very thankful that in a similarly complacent American society, I am a part of a victorious kingdom belonging to Jesus. Persecution for Christians, gross immorality in the society around me, a government determined to embrace homosexuality and deny religious freedom–none of these circumstances can bring break my spirit. I, like Habakkuk, pray to a God that, in His wrath, remembers mercy (3:2). He looks upon me, through the blood of His Son, Jesus, and sweetly remembers mercy. The lion is roaring today, too (I Pet. 5:8), but when He pounces, I will not be devoured. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1). Does he look at you and remember mercy?

Here’s the chart. Yours may look different. You may have chosen different details to include or thought of other modern-day applications. But I know you did not make the chart without becoming more acutely aware that our God exacts punishment for sin. Amos_chart

I’ve been elected!

Tomorrow, America offers her citizens the most direct influence they have on her government. Voting for legislators is a privilege not enjoyed by all peoples. It’s a right that came at great expense to many men and their families when our independence as a nation was won. It’s an honor defended in several wars since that first revolution against Britain. America is still a young nation and the security of the freedoms we enjoy has not been proved. There are impending threats to the liberty that our Constitution was intended to guard. The rejection of its original intent, the mighty arms of terrorists, those who would usurp intended power from the states, and self-serving interests of elected officials are but some of the foes that daily attack our foundational freedoms in America today.

I love this country. I pray regularly for her. I pray that she can return to principles of morality that are clearly the basis upon which she was founded. I pray for her leaders and for changes in government and culture that can result in an awakening to the truth of God’s Word in her homes and communities. Much has already been lost, and so I pray that my children and grandchildren could be blessed to enjoy at least a vestige of the great nation into which I was born.

But I constantly remind my kids that, no matter what happens in or to America, we will be okay. God has granted us citizenship in His nation (Phil. 3:20). We are a royal priesthood and a holy nation (I Peter 2:9) that is headquartered outside the arena of evil influence or danger. Our sovereign Governor is not vulnerable to terror, the usurpation of His power or the twisting of His laws.

At the conclusion of the contests (which, in some cases, may be several days after November 2nd), we will have some new legislators in the U.S, in most of our states and in many of our communities. The well-worn mantra of “change” will be heralded once more. I hope it will be change for the better. No doubt there will be some mistakes or unfortunate inevitabilities in the process. Some people will mistakenly mark their ballots—that is, they will vote for a person accidentally. Some computer glitches may occur and might even influence an election one way or another. Some person might have an accident or a flat tire or an ER run on the way to the poll and be unable to cast the intended vote. Some politician might be able to convince a constituency that he stands for some proposition for which he has no intention of actually voting and thereby gain votes by dishonesty. (It could happen, you know!) A villainous political opponent could put out a bit of last-minute slander to gain votes, leaving the innocent front-runner no time to prove the slanderous allegations false. Lots of things can occur to upset the political apple cart and cause the electorate to have to suffer through a term of politics that should never have happened. As my mother used to tell us when some inevitable occurrence predicated our disappointment: “Sorry, but circumstances alter cases.”

God has elected some folks, too. There are those living today who’ve been elected to eternal salvation (II Tim. 2:10). It was a very costly election (exacting the blood of Jesus) and there were some very specific qualifications to be met by the candidates for salvation (I Peter 1:2). But, at the end of the day, there will be no recounts, mistakes, mitigating circumstances, or computer errors. The calling and election will be certain, once the day of decision is over. The God of Justice never gets it wrong. Because of the holiness of the Election Official, Christians can, just like those candidates on CNN, say “We are confident of the victory.” But, unlike them, we really ARE confident (I John 2:28).

…with God is terrible majesty.
Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.
Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart (Job 37:22-24)

Woman with an Audience, Part 2

Enter Cozbi

Families were weeping as they witnessed the hanging deaths of loved ones. The method of execution was not left to human discretion. There were no appellate courts to prolong life for the guilty. God was prosecutor, judge and jury. Twenty-four thousand were already dead. Millions were in mourning.

In this setting Cozbi enters the camp. Her appearance was a blatant and blasphemous slap in the face of God. While weeping multitudes were being humbled by the death plague, Zimri, an influential Simeonite, brought his adulteress publicly and pridefully before his brethren. In the somber setting of God’s wrath being dispensed, he displayed this whoredom before the assembly that now wept as a result of the consequences of such whoredom. Furthermore, Cozbi wasn’t just any old Midianite maiden. She was a princess of Midian. Zimri’s alliance was not only with an immoral woman of Midian. His alliance was with the influential and important idolaters (vs.15).

The Final Act

Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron was incensed by the utter defiance of Zimri. He followed Zimri to the pavilion and graphically illustrated for all of Israel, God’s disdain for his arrogance.

And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel (Numbers 25:8).

God was pleased with the zeal of Phinehas. He established with Phinehas his covenant of peace. When blatant sin is in the camp today, God expects his people to address it and purify his congregation (I Cor.5). The plague was stayed and the healing process was begun. God re-ordered the smiting of the Midianites and re-issued his warnings about the beguiling nature of the idolatrous peoples of Canaan. He was preparing their hearts for the challenges that lay ahead for they were about to enter Canaan, a land they were to rid of idolatrous multitudes. How could Israel fail to recognize at this point the oneness of Jehovah and His wrath on those who would divide their allegiance?

When the Curtain Closed….
(Lessons Learned)

Joining the devils forces is a progressive decline rather than a sudden fall.

Sexual sin binds with strong cords.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31).

Blatant and intentional sin must be Biblically confronted by people of God.

*This post and the previous one taken from Women of Deliverance, by Cindy Colley; Publishing Designs, Huntsville, AL