Browsing Tag

Providence

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep: Podcast and Pendants


It’s podcast week again and some of us will be working hard to finish the January study by the middle of this week. I’m finished with all the Joseph listing and the part about the Judges, but I’ve still got to get busy on the “David list.” The study has been all about the providence of God and several things have become very obvious as we’ve gone through it. Here are five stand-outs for me. They are simple (like me). 

  1. Providence is, in some ways, every bit as unbelievably amazing as the miraculous. A God Who can orchestrate all the events, good and bad, of my life (and all of those surrounding events that affect my life) to my ultimate spiritual benefit (Romans 8:28), has to be the One Who could speak the universe into existence. 
  2. Providence is much better identified in the past than in the present. It’s much easier to look back, after at least some of the providential orchestration has occurred, and see that God was working His Will, through the events that unfolded, than it is to know what He’s doing right now in my life. 
  3. Sometimes, in the present, providence hurts. We can see this over and over in the chronicles of the life of Joseph. 
  4. Providence is surely an exhibition of Isaiah 55:9: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
  5. Sometimes sin can be a part of the tapestry of providence. Joseph needed to get down to Egypt to accomplish the eventual rise to power that favored Jacob’s family and allowed its prosperity and growth. Thus, the sale of Joseph into slavery and their deception of Jacob was providential. Joseph said as much in Genesis 50:20: “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

I hope you can join Dene’ Canter and me, live, on Tuesday night, January 30th, at 7 CST here:http://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women for this first discussion on the providence of our mighty God. I hope you can contribute via the chatroom. I pray that it will encourage us and bless us as we trust that He is overseeing the paths we travel. 

FInally, don’t forget the little sterling silver pendants are here. We finally have the small boxes we need to ship them out to you. Those were back-ordered. We’re caught up on the orders received thus far. You can order here: http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Sterling-Silver-Digging-Deep-Pendant/p/99264175/category=20688312.  If you order within the next week or so, you should receive them in time for Valentine’s Day gifts. 

It’s always good to hear from you. We love feedback. Here’s the word we’ve gotten so far about the pendants:

I received my Digging Deep pendant today and I love it. I immediately put in on a silver chain and put it around my neck. My daughter-in-law put hers on her charm bracelet. Very good quality.” …Rachel Kelly  

I’m excited to put mine on a little silver chain tomorrow…right beside a tiny little antique diamond pendant that my husband gave to me for our anniversary;  reminders of a couple of life’s priorities right now, side by side.                                               

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: The Ultimate Hot Spot

Talofa! For the past week, Glenn and I have enjoyed extraordinary hospitality and we’ve been blessed to teach on the beautiful island of American Samoa. Glenn has done elder case studies with the men of the Nu’uuli congregation and surrounding areas in hopes of their aspiring to be godly elders for the future of the church here. Unlike most places on the mainland, women were willing to spend two-and-a-half hours in study of the Word with me and then, when that was over, they wanted to stay and ask questions. Our treatment by the family there was far better than we could deserve and we will always be grateful. I ate a few foods that were brand new to me, including mussel and turkey tail (I did not even really know there was a tail!). I have eaten taro root and yams that were white and Glenn loved the octopus. 

We met for our services in a red and white building at the foot of a huge mountain that exhibited beautiful waterfalls when the rains came. (We teased them that they painted the building just for us Bama fans!) The singing was the most beautiful and energetic I have ever heard. I could not understand most of the Samoan words, but I knew, for certain, there was no reservation of praise and thanksgiving. Abraham Soli, who traveled with us from West Huntsville, along with Joseph, occasionally, (who is local) did the interpreting for Glenn. His sisters, Ruth and Pisa, also from West Huntsville, interpreted for me in the women’s classes. This island was their childhood home. Their father, a faithful elder and preacher of the gospel, started the congregation and his body is now buried in a tomb that stands right behind the building. Their mother’s tomb is beside his. To say they are loved here is an understatement. They did an excellent job translating, as well as being very generous and loving to the people of the island. In return, the islanders were very kind and generous to all of us. They did not eat until we were finished. They would not allow us to wash as much as a fork or cook a dish. They truly loved beyond measure. 

The biggest challenge of the week was communication. Though our translators were excellent, there are all kinds of difficulties when you are trying to match two languages to deliver exact meaning. Imagine trying to define Greek words from Titus 2 to the best of your limited ability, and then, when you are done explaining, the explanation is still not in the right language for understanding. You still have to go through one more round of defining. 

Connectivity with the world off the island was almost impossible. We had no cell phone connections, an extremely scant facebook connection every now and then, and our email was turtle slow. There were some important emails and urgent correspondence that we did not feel could comfortably wait till we got home, so we kept trying…trying at the hotel, trying at the church building, trying at McDonald’s. But it was to little avail. We will be spending some time trying to catch up when we reach the mainland on Wednesday morning. The 17.5 hours in the air, between here and Huntsville, Alabama, is a chasm of lost communication, itself. We will wait to hear from loved ones until that communication is restored. 

But there was One that we love dearly with whom we never dropped a call, with whom we never had to wait for connectivity or for whom distance has never been a problem. I am so glad—SO GLAD—that my God is never unavailable. When I could not offer any help to the couple who were experiencing marriage problems, I could still implore in their behalf and beg for His providence in making a way for restoration. I could pray James 1:5. When I could not speak with my children or grandchildren, I could still talk to their most important PARENT and beg for his mercies on them—that they would be constantly in His service and in His care. I could still talk to the ONE who could do so much more for them than I could ever dream of doing. When I could not call my siblings who are so good to me as we work through the settling of matters after our dad’s death, I could talk to that other Father, Who is overseeing the whole process and Who is, even now, caring for the father and mother we miss so much. On Sunday, when we knew that we could not worship with our spiritual family on the mainland, we knew that we were doing the exact same things that they had already finished doing and that the sweet savor had been coming before our Father’s throne all through the hours of the first day of the week from all around the world. We were connected in the most important ways.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Digging Deep’s a Little Piece of the Providence.

Most of us could use a little good news this week, so here it is:

Kerri Epling, a sweet Digging Deep participant from Elizabethton, Tennessee, tells me that, through the Digging Deep Facebook group, Jessi made an eternal connection—one that resulted in her sins being washed away (Acts 22:16) and in her translation from the power of darkness to the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13). That’s good news. 

Jessi grew up with a connection to the church though her grandfather and even was immersed as a young girl, but was not truly converted. Now, grown and married and searching for truth, she came across the DD page, among others, and mustered her courage to inquire there about the church in her area. (Jessi said she was kind of “stalking” us. Well, I like for friends like Jessi to be “stalking”!) Thanks to those of you who responded, and especially to Kerri, she and her husband have engaged in extensive study this week and, on Sunday night, Jessi was baptized for the remission of her sins (Acts 2:38)!

Jessi now has a brand new Digging Deep study guide and a group of ladies who are excited to support her. She has a welcoming family in the Lord and a living relationship with her Father. She has the promise of heaven! Her husband is studying, too, and I know you all will be praying along with me for wisdom for his teachers and a tender heart toward the Word.

I know some of you would love to encourage Jessi by sending a card or a personal note. Here’s how:

Jessi

℅ Kerri Epling

The church @ 137 East C Street 

Elizabethton TN 37643

There are some powerful lessons hidden in Jessi’s story. Here are a half dozen:

  1. The influence of a godly grandparent can outlive him/her. Even when it seems you may be fighting a losing battle for the souls of your grandchildren, keep fighting. They may remember and turn even after you’re gone. 
  2. Social media has done/ can do eternal good. It often makes our world in Him a little smaller and our evangelism more efficient. Use it for His glory.
  3. Thank Him for providence. He can work through unexpected means when someone is looking for truth. (Amazingly, Jessi found that she and her husband had known some of the same people and had some previous connections with Kerri’s family!…just common ground that helped establish camaraderie and confidence.)
  4. Never pass up a chance to study with someone or direct someone toward truth. There are searching souls among us!
  5. Always muster the courage to ask for spiritual help when you need it.  Conversely, always muster the courage to reach out of your comfort zone to spread the Word. (Tonight in our Bible class, we studied Acts 8. How much courage it must have taken for Philip to go into Samaria, a place where those of Judea were generally unwelcome to, for the first time, present the gospel to Samaritans. Was he surprised when many believed and obeyed? )
  6. Learn to be expecting God’s word to convict hearts when we teach it in love. 

Keep Digging. There’s gold at the end of the dig (Revelation 21:18-21).

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Congratulations 5000th Digging Deep Member, Tina Martin!

Digging Deep congratulates 5000th member, Tina Martin, this morning! What started as a Wednesday afternoon lesson at Polishing the Pulpit and then a dozen young girls studying together on Facebook has, with the blessings of our God. become a 5000 member group of women who are into a study of how we gain the victory over the devil in 2017 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/282349391779769/).  It has taken some key elements that He has providentially provided…technology, fellowship, the origination of the study  and the catalyst of Polishing the Pulpit (http://www.polishingthepulpit.com), a great overseeing eldership at West Huntsville (http://www.westhuntsville.org), Jennifer Benavides, and many hearts that are hungry. It’s humbling to get to be a little part of a great movement to study the book that can enable us to live forever with Him. I’m very happy for the fellowship and strength that comes from Digging Deep.

Several new avenues of sharing the study are opening up this fall. We now have a completed Spanish version of the study going up today on The Colley House, thanks to Jacky and Marlon Retana. They are faithful and dear people, who currently live and work in Panama. Jacky plans to educate herself about all-things-podcast and provide a Spanish podcast, as well. So invite your Spanish speaking friends. Esta Bueno!

Next, we’re toying with the idea of having an alternate audio podcast for those who prefer to listen while running or driving or cooking rather than watching and visiting the chatroom. Let us know if you’d be interested in this option and it will help us to know about which equipment we need and how to best record this alternative podcast access.

Finally, there’s a new online study this fall for teen girls, called Finding Him. It’s excellent material designed to mold hearts to want to please our Father–to love Him.  For more details about that visit http://rebekahcolley.com. The first online chatroom opens tomorrow night!

So Tina Martin, it’s your lucky day! Put a decimal right in the middle of 5000 and you get $50.00. (Decimal necessary.) Just go to The Colley House and choose $50.00 worth of merchandise. Facebook me and let me know what you’d like, leave your address, and you’ll receive this gift bundle with our compliments! Congratulations, Tina! I hope your biggest blessing is not the bundle, but the study! So glad you (and 400 other women) have joined the group in recent days. Please pray for every soul in the group, every month’s study, and especially for women who may really need the initial escape from sin and death We’re off to the greatest escapes!

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

From the Archives: Remembering One Back-to-School August

back-to-school_M1eTPK_u_MI’ll never forget this August of 2010, when My daughter Hannah, 23, and fresh out of college, became a high school English teacher. Hannah!…the one who had never attended a day of “real” elementary, middle or high school!  She also had never planned to be a school teacher. In fact, she had purposefully planned NOT to! Here are her thoughts that fall:
So I realize, of course, that it’s been 198264910.7 years since I’ve updated this thing. I would apologize for this, but seeing as how I’ve made no prior commitment to waste your time with my own random musings which are probably only interesting to me and maybe my mother who loves me more than any daughter deserves to be loved (my dad loves me, too, but is much less likely to even know what Tumblr is), an apology really isn’t necessary.
In the event, however, that you, the current reader, are somewhat interested in my quite unexpected post-grad way of life, keep reading. The other 90%, just stop here. This is just another, “Wow-let-me-impart-into-your-soul-some-urgent-life-changing-thoughts-that-are-really-not-that-earth-shattering-but-feel-good-to-get-off-my-chest” post.
The last time I got on here and talked about my life, I was fresh out of college, about to stay in a friend’s apartment all summer in Henderson, TN. I was doing some freelance work for a religious publication and working with some great kids in my youth minister boyfriend’s youth group. I was also speaking at youth rallies and such on some weekends. For then, that was plenty. I was just glad I didn’t have to feel like a major moocher at my parents’ house . I wanted to feel like I was doing something worthwhile. I felt that by the end of the summer, I would have another exciting plan to chase.
I had an amazing summer. I cooked every day. I had slumber parties. I dyed t-shirts. I got to speak to hundreds of girls who were hungry for truth and just someone to relate to them. I made new friends—some of which I think will last forever. I went star-gazing. I wrote a lot. I fell in love.
In the meantime, I sent my resume to as many newspapers as I could find that needed writers. I quickly discovered that not a lot of promising journalism opportunities are made available to newly graduated starry eyed writers with no major reporting experience and no Masters degrees.
By the end of the summer, I was still believing in my heart of hearts that I was going to get a call with an exciting job offer in an exciting new city in which I could spread my wings and become the competent journalist I was meant to be.
It seems God had other plans.
I got a call near the end of the summer. Chester County High School needed an English teacher and I had been recommended. Would I be interested in coming in for an interview? I chuckled. Never in my life did I ever think of myself as a public school teacher—much less HIGH SCHOOL. I was an English major, yes, but had never had a single education class, and definitely no student teaching experience. What a joke! I expressed, however, how honored I felt that I was considered, but for now, “probably not—I’ll get back to you though.”
Long story short—a week later, still no job, and my desperation was at an all-time high. The last thing I wanted to do was to financially depend on others when I was perfectly capable of working for my own paycheck. After a lot of thought and prayer, I decided to call the school back and inquire about the position. After all, it would only be a 1-year contract, it was good money for starting out (especially in this economy), and it would be good experience to have under my belt regardless.
The position was filled.
I knew it would be. Sure I did. My own stupid fault for being too good for a perfectly good job that not a lot of fresh college grads are offered.
I was kicking myself for a few weeks because of that. I kept praying. I asked God to open another door for me since I had shut that one.
Then I got another phone call.
I was sitting in McDonald’s with the boyfriend when the principal at CCHS called me and asked me to come in for an interview. Turns out the guy who was originally offered the job had a family emergency and had to give up the position. I was really sad for him, but this time, I wasn’t so smug about a temporary career path that wasn’t necessarily my first choice.
Two short weeks later, I was thrown in a classroom, responsible for the education of over 150 ninth graders, my heart pounding. What you may or may not know about me is that I’ve never stepped foot into a public school. Home schooled all my life, my expectations of public high school were…well, there weren’t any. I’m not just making funny jokes when I say I didn’t know what a hall pass was, what bus duty was, what in-school suspension was, or even what a grade book looked like. I felt like a turtle trying to run a marathon, but I put on a confident face and, although I looked like a student myself, tried to convince my students that I was aptly authoritative and deserved their respect.
I’ve somehow made it through 3 complete months of teaching. While I know this may not the path for me (and that, more than ever, I want to home school my kids), I don’t regret the decision to teach for this year. God has given me more open doors in these past 3 months than I remember having my whole life. I’m amazed at how many of my students feel comfortable opening up to me about real-life issues: divorce, abuse, sex, break-ups, self-abuse, and most importantly, how to get to heaven. I’ve had Bible studies with students who are searching for something solid and stable in their worlds that are full of everything that’s broken. I’ve had multiple opportunities to share Christ with so many different open and desperate hearts. It happens just about every day—not exaggerating.
Besides that, I’m learning so many life lessons myself that I know will inevitably help me to be a better mother, a better teacher, a better organizer, and a better communicator. God knew I needed these lessons. I complain a lot about how He’s teaching me patience and wisdom, but deep down, I can hear my dad’s voice ringing loud and clear….”This is good, Hannah. It builds character.” Every time you hear a parent say something about “character-building,” you know it’s going to feel lousy sometimes until it’s all over and you can admit it helped you to grow. I’m trying to beat myself to the chase by admitting it now. The truth is, just as a disclaimer, I complain a whole lot because my job requires so much more work and time than I ever dreamed it would (I’ve realized that all teachers are underpaid and underestimated). I am ready to experience something new, but I do not question God’s plan in placing me here. Yes, He’s using me as a mouthpiece for Him in many ways (whether or not I always make the best use of that), but more than that, I think He’s teaching me a few lessons I needed myself.
I still view my life as an adventure, despite the day-in-day-out routine I’m in at the moment. After this year, I’m excited to see what God has in store for me.
As always, I’m so unworthy and I make the dumbest mistakes. On the upside, I believe I’m learning from each one. That makes them almost worth it.
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: For 32 Years I Prayed

Version 2It’s a few minutes past midnight on the morning of my son’s wedding day. In a few more hours he will be a married man. Tonight at the rehearsal dinner I got to hear our daughter, Hannah, reminisce about their childhood in our home and it was the best time a mother can have at supper. Then I got to hear Caleb play and sing a song he’d written for Rebekah.  Magical moments you’d like to extend. But they pass. And prayers answered make new paths and progress toward the goal. Below are two poems…the first, a prayer, written when Caleb was very young. The second is all about the prayer’s answer. It was written yesterday. God always hears us and he always answers. We, as His children, get to simply live out the answers to prayers. How blessed we are to know our lives are under the Romans 8:28 umbrella! Here. For Caleb and for God’s answer for his life, Rebekah.

God Bless my Baby

God, give him strength as he enters our lives.

Give us wisdom as parents as each of us strives

To make for him places in our world to grow.

Teach us Lord. We’re so small.  There’s so much we don’t know.

God bless him as he to your wonders awakes.

Bless him, dear Lord, when his first steps he takes.

He’s so small.  May his scratches and bruises be small.

May my kiss make it better each time he may fall.

Help him to learn, Lord, just what he should know

To take him in life where you want him to go.

But in all of this learning, may he never forget.

The One who has made him and walks with Him yet.

Give him courage when Satan first gets in His way.

May he stay near your word. May he fall down and pray.

May he put on you Lord.  That’s my most fervent prayer;

And for all of his days cast on you every care.

When the time comes, Oh God, that he must go away,

Help us to let go; but still hear us pray.

God, bless our baby.  Look down from your throne.

Watch over him gently, for still he’s our own.

Give him shelter, dear Lord, from this world’s raging storm,

In a place where your love shines; a place that is warm.

Give him people to help him keep you in his life.

Give him one of your daughters, oh God, for his wife.

And one day may they know the joy I now feel,

Of a life yet unborn, but so precious and real.

May something I give him while still he is mine,

Make him know that all life, even unborn, is thine.

So Father, my prayer is for a life you’re now giving;

And, yes, for a soul that will always be living.

My task is so great.  I’m so small.  Help me see

That through Christ I can do it, for He strengthens me.

cc

 

The Answer

God is so good to your parents tonight

He’s  answered the details of prayer.

It wasn’t our wisdom, but Providence

Not our work, but His steady care.

 

He gave you the songs you’ve been singing

He gave you the voice that you raise

He gave you the music that’s deep in your soul

And the skill to lead Christians in praise.

.

You’ve excelled in conviction and conscience.

You’re courageous, yet kind and forbearing.

Confident in truth, introspective,

Consistent, hard-working, and caring.

 

He’s answered our prayer for His daughter, too.

More completely than parents could plead.

Immeasurably more than we ask or think.

She’s everything He knows you need.

 

So we thank our Father each night for her;

For the path that brought her to your life.

For her honor, her humor, her love for our Lord

And that she said, “yes”…she’d be your wife.

 

So you both can go ahead and start praying now

For the sons who will fill up your lives.

For their safety in coming, their bruises and scrapes

For the ones who will raise up their wives.

 

And, Son, pray for daughters, for you know how to teach

A little boy to be the best kind of brother.

She’ll be holy and His and so pretty, to boot…

She’ll grow up to be just like her mother.

 

When the years and the tasks loomed so large, Son,

We prayed for this hour in your life.

We prayed that your heart and your hands would be strong

When they first held the heart of your wife.

 

And all through the years, Son, you’ve taught us.

But the greatest thing you helped us see

Was the extreme sacrifice of the Father

To give His one Son on a tree.

 

We know that He brought you together

That the Father is writing your story.

So glad for this moment when you’ll vow to give

Him a lifetime…as one…for His glory.

cc