Sister to Sister: Prayer List and Podcast

The very first Great Escapes Podcast is here tonight at 7 CST: https://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women

I do not know how people make it through life without prayer. The realization that the Creator of the universe listens to me, Cindy Colley, and that He can actually be influenced by my petitions and pleadings is simply unbelievable. But it is true and that reality, along with the promise that I can come through trials without allowing them to jeopardize my faith and, thus, my eternal home (I Cor. 10:13) is THE way I deal with pain and sorrow. It is not a mechanism, though. It is a relationship that guards my heart and gives me the peace that really does surpass my ability to understand. 

Here’s the prayer list from our “Sweet Hour of Prayer” last Friday night. I hope there are some faithful prayer warriors who will add these to your lists. Even if you can just pray for one of them each day, your pleas to Him are very much appreciated by the ones who made these requests. We had about 70 precious praying women in attendance, but technology makes it easy for us to lay these petitions at the throne en masse. Our God is “so big, so strong and so mighty…” that He can hear and answer us all without diminishing from His infinite abilities that transcend time and schedules. 

Some have asked about the name of the prayer app that I mentioned on Friday night. It’s ECHO. There are several good ones, but that is the one I use. It keeps up with my list and reminds me to pray, individually, for each need on my list. Surely those of us who are using technology to keep up with the number of steps we make each day might also be using it to keep up with the regularity of remembering one another in prayer. You don’t have to have an app, though. You do have to be apt to pray. 

Here are 45 requests to add. Each one means a great deal to one or more of your sisters.

  1. Deena Sadler’s family, Deena passed away over the weekend, cancer, friend of Cindy Colley.
  2. Rhonda—son in spiritual trouble. marriage trouble
  3. Tammy —following her divorce, her husband has led children from the church.
  4. Norma, an evacuee is studying the book of Acts with a Christian.
  5. Amanda—Marsha York has requested prayers for her as she will soon be the mother of twins. Lots of challenges going on here,
  6. Paul—the Prodigal son of Ann M.
  7. Ann —very hard preaching work for her family
  8. Lucy’s parents—for reconciliation if it can be according to God’s plan, for wisdom for those who are giving counsel, for Lucy’s future.
  9. Lorrie Centeno—3rd recurrence of cancer, daughter soon to be married, Fresno, CA (Woodward Park church)
  10. Lee Holder, dad of Cindy Colley and Celine Sparks.
  11. Those struggling after loss and damage in TX and FL 
  12. Tugbeh Brown—that her daughters, Mosneh and Ruben, may come to the Lord (request from Liberia)
  13. Gracie—Donna Seale’s friend. She is 14 years old and very sick.
  14. Tammy Turner—seeing kidney specialist, stones, seizures, mild dementia, migraines
  15. Cindy Colley—an anonymous friend locally who is in the midst of a divorce and fears custody battle after marriage of abuse.  Abusive older step sibling is a threat to young child.
  16. Jennifer Russell—for a 2 year old (her cousin’s child) who is living with Jennifer because of parental instability and sin. This little girl needs Jennifer. The cousin needs God.
  17. Missy Lanning’s mother—Multiple health issues of aging.
  18. Missy Lanning’s daughters—for eventual mate selection within the Will of God, for financial peace and solutions for family as they go to college.
  19. Rhoda —as she begins DD, that it will be a beginning for her to come back to God after divorce and falling away (Husband was a very bad example of Christianity.)
  20. Steve Bolton’s family—He fell from a deer stand and was killed (age 52) Louisville, KY
  21. Alyssa and Ryan—awaiting marriage, separated by distance, prayer for strength and walking in God’s ways till the time comes.
  22. Vilma Preza—colon cancer recurrence, treatments, Honolulu
  23. Robert Taylor—faithful preacher, elderly, very sick, for daughter Rebecca, as she cares for him.
  24. Digging Deep—strength for those studying along, salvation’s light for those lost, wisdom for those working, boldness in the Gospel. permeation of Truth.
  25. Mrs. Emily—Cared for because of cancer by Carol Laney and that she will be able to restore her to faith.
  26. Tammy—That she is able to establish a routine prayer life
  27. That women in general will stop wanting to be like the world
  28. Melissa Davidson’s father—He is struggling with Parkinson’s disease (not a Christian) and for her mother who is caring for him
  29. Lori Morris—Pray that the delivery of her baby in a few weeks goes well with no complications
  30. Shameika Hanna—Family’s mission work in the Bahamas in January
  31. Rachel Smith—Continued good results for cancer treatment
  32. Nancy Price—Has a brain tumor and has very little time to live
  33. Sharon —Health issues, both physical and emotional.  Also, her two adult children have sin in their lives, need to be reconciled with God
  34. Sarah—Teenager who is struggling with depression and self-harm and has given up spiritually
  35. Edgewood church in SC—That they will overcome our challenges, grow stronger and shine the light of the gospel into the community
  36. Alfred Rowe—Feeble, losing weight, Grandfather of Stephanie Vick
  37. Patricia Rowe—feeble, possible mini-strokes and their caregivers. Grandmother of Stephanie Vick
  38. Nuris Reyes—Her brother Pablo Reyes is in jail in Virginia —pray all goes well with his release 
  39. An Anonymous Prayer of Thankfulness—“Years of difficult times, health struggles, financial struggles, struggles with difficult works in the Lord’s church.  Beautiful, encouraging things have left new hope and thankfulness.  I never doubted the Lord’s faithfulness but am so thankful for blessings…
  40. TeNea—That she will find a job that can support herself and 2 daughters
  41. Jeffrey—As he makes decisions about his life, career and pending marriage and to always walk with God through it all
  42. Steve Hall—Recently had a brain tumor removed…that he will continue to recover.  He is not a Christian.  Please pray that the family will have the opportunity to teach him the truth.
  43. Anonymous Prayer—For her two adult children that they will turn their lives back to God.  They both are married to non-Christians and both have children that they need to be an example to
  44. John—He left the church years ago and needs to get back to the Lord
  45. Jessie—She is mourning the life of her dad.  She needs comfort and to know the Lord is with her.

Sister to Sister: God Can Find Lost Opportunities

Song then…

 

Yesterday I sat beside my sweet niece, Song, during Bible class and morning worship.  The lesson we had just heard was largely about opportunities, so in the intermission, she shared something that had been in her heart for the last few months.

Song had a close childhood friend. We’ll call her Anna Beth. They had been in lots of the same activities as young children, but Song’s family moved several hundred miles away before they entered the teen years. They exchanged a letter or two, but drifted apart and lost contact for the next ten or twelve years. Song, from a strong Christian family, became a Christian shortly after moving away. Anna Beth’s family, however, was not part of the body of Christ.

Song now…

Song grew and grew as a Christian and so did her sense of responsibility to the lost. She thought about Anna Beth and how that she had lost contact with her before she, herself, had ever really had the maturity to know the full importance of even speaking with others about their souls. But Song had loved Anna Beth and she wanted to make a connection with her again and tell her about the way to heaven. She wanted to share eternity with this sweet “old” friend.

She looked on Facebook, but she could not find her, so Song just began to pray for Anna Beth. She prayed that, even if she was never able to reconnect with Anna Beth, that someone would connect with her—someone who could share the gospel with her. 

After several months of praying about Anna, Song was looking through her Facebook birthday wishes from friends on the evening of her birthday. She noticed a friend request from someone listed simply as  Anna Elizabeth. Her heart skipped a beat as she wondered “Could this be Anna Beth?” Clicking on the friend request, Song recognized the profile picture immediately and excitedly accepted the request. Then she noticed that Anna Beth’s profile said “In a relationship with” and named her boyfriend. We’ll call him David Price.

“I know him!” Song exclaimed. “He’s a Christian and he goes to Bible camp with me every summer!” Song and David had grown up in Bible camp together and now they are both counselors in the camp.

Song called her Dad, who directs the camp,  to tell him the good news. He, of course, remembered the dear little friendship of so many years ago and took great joy in the news that Anna Beth was once again connected to Christianity. And then he remembered.

“Wait!” Song’s Dad said. You know one of the camp counselors told me that David Price’s girlfriend was recently baptized and that she will be coming to help at camp this year!” 

So that was that. As I spoke with Song, the two girls had just enjoyed an amazing week reconnecting, not just as friends, but this time as sisters.  Song’s words as she finished the story were these: “It wasn’t anything I did, of course, but it sure shows what the One Who is hearing our prayers can do!”

I know you are praying for new opportunities. I hope we all remember to pray for old and lost opportunities, too. Because we never know what the One Who is hearing our prayers may be doing!

 

Sister to Sister: Prayers for Pago Pago

Monday 5:45 am.

I have finally found my seat on this little jet that will taxi us over to Houston on our first leg of a trip to Pago Pago, American Samoa. They told us to go to the restroom before boarding because the lavatory is inoperable. I mean they told us that just after I purchased and drank half of that large coffee. I was sure I needed that coffee, after having started my day at 3 am. Now, I’m pretty sure I paid five dollars for a cup of misery in the air. After three extra expedition fees, my passport did not arrive. Here’s hoping the copy of my birth certificate works when I try to exit the states in Honolulu. If not, I guess there are worse things than waiting there in Waikiki for my husband to come back from the mission trip in Samoa. 

But really, I am very prayerful that lots of good can be done by the One who is hearing my petitions through the clay vessels that we are. He is good. This church (the Nu’uuli church) has recently experienced a loss of valuable leadership along with facing all of the other obstacles that the devil loves to put in the paths of congregations. I’ve been asked to speak about the role of women in the family. I hope you will pray for Glenn and me, and Abraham and Ruth Soli, our translators and fellow teachers, as we try our best to help immunize this church against false teachings with the powerful spiritual booster that is the Word. We love the Soli family and their patriarch, who passed away last year, is sorely missed by God’s family in Pago Pago. We are so blessed to have a large constituency from this good family at West Huntsville.

By the time we get home from Pago Pago, it will be the tenth flight since last Friday for Glenn and me. We’ve learned to sleep sitting up, to hurry up and wait, to unpack and repack to beat the business pros and that sharing a toothbrush every now and then is the only practical thing to do.  Most of all, we’re extremely blessed to have learned that God’s people, wherever they are, are a welcoming, nurturing family. 

I hope you’ll pray for His blessings on our travel and His work in American Samoa. We’re so thankful for all of those who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to be sure there’s a group of God’s people on this island. They built the fire. We just get to fan the flames a little.

You keep fanning them, too…wherever you are!

Monday 10:45 am… And the post script to the above is…

We all got off the plane so they could fix that lavatory. Somebody had stuffed a large quantity of paper towels into that toilet. Regulations would not allow us to make the flight with an inoperable toilet after all, although the pilot really wanted to take to the skies. The toilet repair delay caused us to miss the Houston connection to Honolulu, which caused us to miss the only flight to Samoa for the next four-and-a-half days. Our mission was aborted, the gospel meeting postponed, all of the people in Pago Pago who had taken off work were displaced. And, now, five hours later, we are back home. All because of a large wad of paper towels in the wrong place. This mission trip, for now at least, literally went right down the drain …with that wad.

Still there’s the Romans 8:28 clause.I believe in that clause today.

“…all things”… (that’s all the ramifications around the wad in the toilet, too)…”work together for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose.” Maybe the reschedule will work a greater weight to His glory than would the work of the present week. Whatever the reason, the result is a repurpose for this week. And there are so many purposes competing for the bonus time.

Sister to Sister: Can We Go to the Playground?

 

I smiled at  a recent conversation between my two-and-a-half-year-old grandson and his mother:

Ezra: “Can we go to the playground today?”

Ezra’s mom: “No…not today, baby.”

Ezra: “Can we go to the playground?” 

Ezra’s mom: “I said ‘Not today,’ Ezra.”

Ezra: “I’m going to give you oooone more chance, Mama. I said ‘Can we go to the playground?’”

Ezra’s mom: “Ezra, Mama and Daddy are the only ones who can say  ‘one more chance’”.

Ezra: “Oh…Well…Can we go to the playground?”

We do this sometimes with God. We wish for things and sometimes we even ask for things that we know are against His expressed will. He has already told us we cannot go to that playground, but we keep insisting that going there is what we desire, as if we are not listening to him at all. Sometimes we ask for material things, knowing all along that we already are much too obsessed with riches. We ask for promotions to other cities, not minding the fact that there are no faithful churches or Christian encouragers there. We ask for success on the corporate ladder without ever giving a thought to the stairway to heaven. This can also be described as the Balaam syndrome. (Read Numbers 22-24). 

Then we give God “another chance” sometimes. We act as if we are in control. We build our own little towers of Babel (Genesis 11) and begin to actually think we can make our own rules of philosophy and morality. We discount His absolute truth in favor of our relativism. We dismiss His power and talk about how we can save the planet. We even decide we can define things like life’s beginning point and marriage and even gender. We just kind of tell God that we’ll give Him another chance to get it right. 

James said it this way: 

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4).

All of our misguided ambitions and repeated pleas for things outside His will make  us His enemies and, ultimately separate us from Him eternally.

James also gives us the direct route to true success. It’s friendship with God. It’s spelled out in verses six through ten of the same chapter:

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.


 

 

 

Congratulations Mintie!…and…There Arose such a Clatter!

PrintMintie Reagan Welchance, You are the winner! If you put “The Colley House” in your status at any point in the last week and left it up for twenty-four hours, and tagged me in the status, you were in the drawing for a free Colley House Christmas bundle. I hope you enjoy it, Mintie. Valued at $58.50, it’s coming your way on a pretty fast sleigh!

I think we’re about to embark on year eight of the “Bless Your Heart” blog. This year, during the holidays, I’ve received more cards of encouragement from blog readers and Digging Deep ladies than ever before. I don’t know how you would have coordinated, but I’m starting to think you all are in cahoots and have a plan to fill my box with holiday cheer. If so, it’s working!…and I thank you.  And speaking of holiday cheer, I’m up for a lot of it this week. Glenn and I have had our grandson Ezra, for the past five days. Now that’s a lot of cheer…and cuddles… and drives looking for “Pippas yights” (Christmas lights), and choruses of “Dee-dee Bells” (Jingle Bells).”

A couple of nights ago, during our Bible “story time”, I gave Ezra the fill-in-the -blank statement: “When I grow up, I’m going to marry a _______________.” Because he didn’t respond quickly, I added the initial sound of the answer…”Chr…”

Then he shouted with glee “a Pippas tree!!”

We’re enjoying him immensely and are looking forward to enjoying his parents and baby Colleyanna later this week. Next week, we hope to have Caleb and Bekah here, too, at some point. We know we are blessed beyond our imagination’s scope and we praise Him for rich blessings of friends and family.

It will be after Santa’s delivery run that you next get a notification from the “Bless Your Heart” blog page. I hope you are in a place in life in which you can be enjoying family this week, as well. Most of all, I hope you feel the security of the Father’s arms and bask in His salvation. In that vein, here’s a post from the archives about the “clatter” that arose on my roof early one Christmas morning:

It was a shocker, alright. It was in the very early hours of Christmas morning, 2010, when the huge, noise that shook the house abruptly woke up the neighborhood. Glenn looked at me with terror in his eyes and then ran into the room where Hannah was sleeping. He “sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.” I heard him mutter something about a bomb as he ran out of the room. The last time I had heard a noise like that had been many years ago when a big trash truck had bolted over a curb and into our house (but that’s another story for another post). The kids were both okay and, on investigation, we found that, this time, a huge part of a tree had fallen on the house. There was damage, but safety for all. 

Later in the day, the kids and I were talking about how their dad reacts to unknown perceived threats.  He inhales hugely! (BIG gasp that’s a little funny on reflection). Then he runs (dressed or not) to wherever his kids are. The amazing thing was that his reaction was just the same when they are twenty-something as it was when they were 2 and 6. He instinctively runs to his children. Their safety and protection are his only immediate concern. While we were talking about this, Hannah said she could remember one occasion, as a child, when a bumblebee woke her up buzzing around her head. She said, “I was scared of that noise in the dark, I cried out and immediately heard Dad’s footsteps–loud running footsteps– as he ran into my room and took me in His arms. Then he killed that bee. Anytime I yelled in the night, he was right there, right then.”

I think every child who has a good father remembers what it felt like to be in his arms. I remember pretending I was asleep in the back of our station wagon when I was a child just so my daddy would carry me in the house. Ultimate protection, strength and safety were wrapped all around me.

That’s what God does. The Bible describes our God as “a very present help in time of trouble” (Psa.46:1). He’s right there, right then.  He is the Father who pities His children (Psa.103:13), and hears their cries (Psa 34:17). He is the one who offers His help to His people “right early” (Psa.46:5). Deuteronomy thirty-three, verse twenty-seven says he puts his everlasting arms beneath us.

Let me assure you, even if you’ve never felt the need to cry out to your Father or to feel his arms beneath you, there will come a time when a huge clatter will arise in your life. You will look in horror at the prospects before you and you will desperately want to cry out to Him.  Are you secure in the house of the Father? Will he hasten to your side when you cry? If not, will you contact me and let me help you find that security? I wish this safety for every reader.

7 Pounds of His Grace

13912431_928723135739_3489667227565621351_nDear Father, 

I already knew that You are God, Yahweh, the Great I AM. I am the one who speaks and writes and cries about life in the womb because of the holocaust against it in America today. I should say that I am ONE of the ones, for there are still many and we are unwilling to give up the battle for life to those who routinely burn with saline, rip apart, vacuum out and discard those viable body parts, suffocating those screams before  tiny mouths can open to the air that allows them to cry out for themselves. I am not about quietness when I can be a voice for those whose beating hearts are stopped in brutal and painful ways. 

But, today, Lord, I knew more than ever that Your throne of grace and majesty extends into the darkness of the womb. Help me never to forget what I saw today. I know that You have pushed the pause button on the miraculous, but this morning in that doctor’s office in Montgomery was just about as close to a miracle as I will get before Your mighty trumpet blows. 

My little girl’s little girl was there, as big as life, on that screen. In fact, it was the tiny epitome of life. They told us that she weighs seven pounds and four ounces already and her chubby cheeks evidenced that she’s big and healthy.  Lord, I cannot believe that I saw so clearly that right cheek turn to the side. I’m remembering now that you told us to have cheeks that turn. I pray that she will. It will be painful for me if I ever have to witness her cheek being smitten; yet I know she will experience hurt and people will mistreat her. Help her to turn the other cheek—to show mercy in exchange for cruelty. Help her never to be self-centered or to seek for glory. Help her to defer to the preferences of others. Help me to show her the beauty that comes from a meek spirit.

I saw her little hands in her mouth. It’s tight in there now and she’s just all balled up with her hands against her cheeks and against those tiny lips. Lord, they are Your hands. Those fingers will play instruments or hold a baseball bat or a needle and thread. They will turn pages in all kinds of books. They will turn pages in Your book, Lord. One day some handsome boy will put a ring on that chubby finger that I saw today and her daddy will give that hand in marriage to him. Those sweet hands will roll out dough and pat curly tresses and pick up cheerios and mend socks and fold clothes.  I pray that those little fingers will minister for You, Lord; that they will feel burning foreheads and administer Tylenol…that they will hold other hands beside hospital beds and nursing home rockers…that they will change diapers…that they will change lives by opening up Your Word in Bible studies. May those hands hold Yours. May they be daily folded in prayer and reaching to fill needs. 

I saw that tiny heel that Hannah has been feeling—-that even I can feel— as she kicks against the taut skin on Hannah’s right side. I could count the toes and see that little foot so very clearly. Lord, You made that little extremity so perfectly! May her spiritual feet be just as beautiful. May her feet carry the gospel of peace to the souls around her for all of her days. Help us, as her family, to train her to walk—to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. May we never take it for granted that she will, but help us Lord to be purposeful for the footsteps of her and her brother, Ezra. The devil is purposeful. He is seeking to devour. On some days it seems like he is making it next to impossible for parents to direct the footsteps of little ones in Your ways. But we can do all things through Your Son. May even we, as grandparents, profoundly impact her footsteps to stay in Your narrow way that leads to life. 

She heard me, Father! That little girl responded to my voice. I knew because when I spoke she turned her head toward me and she opened her eyes wide in response! This is the part I could not believe. I said, “She’s hearing me!” The technician responded “Of course, she is!”  So I told her right there that I loved her. I called her “Sweetness” since I do not know her name, and I told her about You, Lord. I just could not help myself. I made her promises. I made them out loud and  I will keep them. I told her I will teach her about Jesus, Your Son, and that I will teach her Your Word. I told her that we love her so much and that we cannot wait to tell her about You! I sang a bit of “Baby Mine” to her and I was overwhelmed at that moment with Your goodness to me. I am just dust, Lord! How can I thank You for a moment like that?! When I was driving those four hours to arrive in time for that ultra-sound after getting those three hours of sleep last night, I have to admit it. My faith was weak. I thought I would see an unrecognizable bit of blur. I saw YOU there, Father, and I will never forget Your grace in letting me see, in her, Your amazing creative power and unrivaled attention to detail. I stand amazed in Your holy presence!

And then, as she turned to look toward us, searching for the sounds, she opened that huge eye as wide as she could, as if to say, “Where ARE you?” And, in that moment, I fell helplessly in love with that little girl…just hopelessly and forever devoted to her well-being. Father, help me, to show her the goodness in this world; the hope that’s still left in this place. Help those beautiful eyes to sparkle and shine and to shed few tears of sorrow.  But most of all, help us to show her the hope and peace that comes from living for You. Help those gentle eyes to witness, with wonder and awe, the pictures and characters in little Bible story books. Help them to record the righteous examples of service around her. Guard her tender eyes from those things that can trap her at an early age. Give her maturity and resolve before the toughest tactics of Satan catch her eyes. As she grows, give her eyes to search for those who may be willing to listen to the gospel, the message of Your salvation. Open her eyes that  they may see those whose needs may really be doors to evangelism. Lord keep her eyes focused heavenward. 

Reflecting back on this day, I can hardly believe You let me do this. Your Words are true: She IS fearfully and wonderfully made! My only sadness is that her grandfather is preaching Your gospel in Kentucky this week and there is no way I can adequately describe this heart-swell to someone who was not in that room!  Help us Lord, her parents and grandparents. If all is as it seems, You are giving her to us in perfect condition. May we work as a team, Father, to give her back to You, through the gift of Your Son, in that same perfect condition. Father, thank-You for today. I cannot wait  to hold her, fresh from Your hands. I cannot wait for her to see my face and to start learning just how much I love her. But, most of all, I can’t wait to show her You and just how much YOU love her. I want her to see Your face!