Sister to Sister: Another Chance–(Conclusion)…and His Women Getting Together!

tumblr_lyddxauOqc1r1o6z3o1_500She did not care that her family was not there. She did not care that her hair would be wet. She did not care that there had been a glitch in the temperature timer and the water was cold. She did not care that she was hungry and it was past lunch time. Maria just wanted to be immersed for the forgiveness of her sins. And so she was. She confessed that she does believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God and she was immediately baptized, buried with Him into His blood that, at that moment, cleansed of all her past sins and she began to be a grateful recipient  of the continual cleansing that will keep her ready for His coming for all of her faithful days. Praise God for “Another Chance”!

It was only a few hours before I received a message from a faithful sister who had read about the baptism on our congregation’s Facebook page. This sister had done mission work in Mexico and she knew a preacher who might be able to help locate a church for Maria. So I messaged this faithful man and he, amazingly, lives on the Texas/Mexico border, only thirty minutes from Maria’s home city. God is so good! And Facebook can be a great tool for His people.

A few days later, I was standing in line at the counter in a large hotel as the Polishing the Pulpit conference was beginning. Trying to get my room keys upon our arrival there—a convention, mind you, where 3800-plus people were converging—I overheard the man in the adjacent line giving the clerk his name. It was the same name as that preacher who lives in Texas! I turned to him and said, “You are looking for a church for my friend, Maria!”

“Yes!” he said. “I am!”

3800 people, who would go through scores of different processes and lines to get their accommodations at various times in the process of about four days…and I ended up next to this man, who was working on the same precious project for Maria as was I! God is good!

Later in that same weekend, the secretary from this church in Texas, a sweet-spirited sister, came up to me after one of my lessons and assured me that she has friends who live in the same community as Maria…people who will help her be faithful.  “We will not let her fall through the cracks.” I just have to say it again: God is SO good!

Additionally, due to circumstances which occurred following Maria’s return to Mexico, her family in Huntsville has experienced a transition. This has afforded Christians here an opportunity to help them find needed items and to begin a relationship with Maria’s daughter and her family. God is so good!

Will you keep praying to our God of goodness and providence for Maria and her family?  Will you pray diligently that God will help you identify and reach the Marias of your life? I know there are others in my life and Emily’s life and Bonny’s life, too. I know many of you have found more Marias than I have and I know lots of you have not needed a second chance to tell them. I’m not proud of the fact that I did need a second chance…another year and another mindset.

But I am so thankful for second chances!

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Now, don’t forget this weekend is the ladies seminar at West Huntsville. If you have something for which we should be praying on this Friday night, and you can’t join us in person, feel free to send me that request at ddprayers2015@gmail.com. We will be praying on that evening and distributing that prayer list to women for use in their own private prayer times. Some have already submitted requests. God will hear us all the time and individually, of course, but it is strengthening to pray together. I look forward to that time. Saturday will be a powerful day for our women at West Huntsville and all who can attend. I hope you’re in that number. It’s not too late to sign up and come at www.seminar.westhuntsville.org. In addition to the spiritual feast, there will be a physical feast, book tables, t-shirts and Digging Deep paraphernalia. There will be singing and praying and a Bible marking class. There will be encouragement and strength. And there will be men serving our lunch. That’s a first, I think, for our WH seminars, and we are liking it! Our husbands are great men who know how to lead and serve!

One more thing, Digging Deep podcast is on Tuesday night, September 29th. Be with us then and invite friends. They still have time to catch up with us as we are beginning this year’s Persecution study! Go live for Him! Go teach for Him!

Sounds of God

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SOUNDS OF GOD

A basketball bouncing on my drive;

A soft little song from a girl of five;

The buzz of bees, a whistling breeze:

The splash of the shower, the crash of a tower.

Disposal trashing, compactor smashing;

Clocks dinging, doorbell ringing;

Rain falling, children calling;

Vacuum roaring, someone snoring.

CNN bringing the voice of our nation

While Mama is chatting in phone conversation;

A guitar strumming, a dryer humming;

A microwave zapping, a little pup yapping.

Piano scales practiced on old worn out keys;

Fireside conversations of old memories;

The sqeaking of rockers on tired rocking chairs;

The patter of feet going up and down stairs.

The laughter at dinner, the jokes of a child;

The living room wrestling when everyone’s wild;

The squibbles and squabbles of small girls and boys;

My! How God blessed us with all of this noise!

A Father is telling the story of old;

A hymn in the night when the story is told;

The children petition their Father in prayer.

Sweet sounds of our home , for He lives with us there.

Do you ever take time at your house to be still

And listen with ears that are tuned to His will?

To sounds of His blessings…to voices that pray?

Does God live at your house?  Have you heard him today?

Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Dear Rebekah

Dear Rebekah,

Caleb and BekahI hope you don’t mind that lots of people are reading your mail. It’s just that lots of moms need to know that it’s possible in the 21st century to raise girls with pure hearts and lofty eternal goals. And lots of sons and daughters in our world need to know that finding someone who has this heart and these goals is worth the wait.

I want you to know that Glenn and I have prayed many times for Jim and Debbie Meinsen. Oh, we did not say their names, but we were praying for them. We prayed before Caleb was even born that there were some parents somewhere raising up a little girl with heaven in her heart. We prayed that they were having family Bible times and that they were diligently putting Him in all of their decisions. We prayed and prayed. Little did we know that, when we started praying, Jim and Debbie Meinsen were probably not even married yet. But all of those details—the timing, the circumstances, the places and the decisions being made way back in the 1980’s and before, were the wonderful Romans 8:28 answers to our prayers.

Then later we started praying more specifically for you. Glenn Colley began several years ago praying for Caleb to find a wife…”soon”. I prayed for him to find a wife when the time was right. But we were  praying for not just any wife. We were praying for someone who would be willing to submit to a godly man…someone who would love the Lord more than she loved that man…someone who could appreciate righteousness more than riches…someone whose hope was stayed in the Lord. We were praying for you.

Little did we know that there was a period of years in which he, a college graduate was occasionally, visiting in your home. You were a middle schooler on those occasions when he traveled to Springfield as an Apologetics Press representative to set up an AP table at the homeschooling conferences your father organized. There you were, right before his eyes—his wife. That’s right. Who knew that one day, when you were all grown up, you would be THE one who would have all of the characteristics of a wife for which he was searching, even then? Certainly not the guy behind the AP table at the homeschooling conference!

So he just went right on though grad school…in fact, a couple of grad schools…and the next time he saw you, you were “all grown up.” And the rest is history and…chemistry. =)

Glenn and I are still praying; now in praise and thanksgiving for His great grace given our family through you. My favorite question on Saturday was not the big one…just because I was pretty sure I already knew the answer to the big one. My favorite question came later while we were celebrating your birthday and playing that game where you have to answer Bible questions to open gifts and the people who are not going to get any gifts (like my husband) get ridiculously hard questions like “Quote Revelation 14:6,” and the people who are going to get presents get questions like “Without _______it is impossible to please him…” (And, by the way, you are  tough competition in any Bible game.)

So your question, at one point, when we veered a bit from the Bible theme was “What are your three favorite things about your new fiancé? I will treasure your answer in my heart forever. You said it without hesitating:

“What I like most about Caleb is how much He loves and obeys God. Next, I love the way that he treats everybody…EVERYbody. And then, I love the way he laughs.”

Can I just tell you once more that I prayed for many years, diligently and frequently for somebody who knew how to answer that question; somebody who could appreciate the best things about Caleb? I know you love these characteristics because you have Bible studies with non-Christians every time you can get the chance. You have Bible studies in your dorm room with other Christian women. You, as one of the elder’s wives at Macland Road told me, “are comfortable in conversation with everyone around you all the time. It doesn’t matter how old or young, rich or poor.” I’ve entered the dining room and found you all alone  at our breakfast table on Sunday mornings (the day of the week when breakfast is definitely piecemeal and “come-grab-a-bite-when-you-can”) with your head bowed in morning prayer. I’ve watched you study the Bible, poring over a Greek word or writing a paper about a complicated passage. You are beautiful on the outside. But these spiritual traits are the prettiest thing about you. They’re the beauty that time enhances rather than fades.  “Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fear the Lord shall be praised.”

See,  I believe you could, without even thinking about it, list the three things you love most about Caleb because you’ve worked so hard to be sure they are in you.

I’ve heard about some mothers who resent the women who come along and take their place in the hearts of their sons. I want you to know that we tried very hard, as Caleb grew up, to keep that heart clean and pure, heaven focused and holy, for you. We’re glad you’ve moved into it and we know you will help Him keep it fit for heaven.

We’re glad you like to hear him laugh, because he laughs a lot. We pray there will always be lots of laughter and few tears. We pray there will be children and songs and homeschooling and lots of visits to grandparents. We pray there will be heaven at the end for all of us. We love you.

The Healing Leaf

images-4She was eagerly interacting with her third-graders as I passed by the classroom last Sunday morning. With her arms around one of them, she listened intently to the trivia that was so important to the little girl. The next time I noticed her she was on the second pew on the left side of the auditorium, sitting erectly and drinking in every word the preacher said. Then I noticed that she never missed a word as we sang praises.

When I finally got over to talk with her, she told me about her third graders, how much she loved them and how encouraging they were. She particularly talked about a little girl who, the daughter of a single mom, is extremely plugged-in and smart as a whip! The zeal was unharnessed and the optimism for the future glowed unabashedly.

I should add here that she currently has no hair. Legally blind before the cancer, the nineteen months of chemotherapy “finished off” her eyesight. As I first approached her and gently patted her on the shoulder, she asked the lady sitting beside her…”Who is it?” Her friend identified me for her and she, in turn, just glowed all over and began to tell me how much she’s enjoying the gospel meeting. There are “chemo” bruises around her eyes and on her face. But her completely bright spirit belies any of the chemo sickness or fatigue.

After conversing with her a bit, I asked about the prognosis. Her reply, “We cannot cure it, but we can keep it at bay.”

I am inspired by so many souls who, rather than giving in to disease and discouragement, seem to find in the throes of trials, the springboard to greater faith and they, like the skilled alchemist, just mix up a little fear of the unknown with twice that much pain and a smidgen of humor when needed and combine with that great faith and, when this mixture gels, it produces in them a contentment like Paul had in Philippians 4: 11-13:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I remember my mother making several statements when she was suffering with the same disease as this friend I met today. They were statements that evidenced that she had the recipe right, too. Statements like:

“Oh, you know, everybody has to leave this life in one way or another. I don’t know that it matters all that much how.” …Or…

“Well,  why should I think that I would not be one of the people who has this disease. I am surely not better than many of the people I know who have had cancer.”…Or…

“We need to just be sure we’re living so that we can spend forever together in heaven. That’s where the permanence is.” …Or…

“You know, I do not mind going at all. It’s only about the people I’m leaving behind that I worry. It’s because of them that I’d like to stay, because I know they will hurt when I leave, and they want me to stay.” (She knew this because she had lost her own mother in this same way.)

Medical professionals and technology today can do so much more about cancer than they could in the eighties when my mother suffered with it. There’s just so much more hope now than when she was diagnosed. And yet, how? How could there be more hope than any generation can find in I Thessalonians 4:16, 17?

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

Every child of God, healthy or disease-ridden, whole or maimed, free or bound, at the mountaintop or in the darkest valley has hope that can only be described as infinite. We will always be with the Lord. In the eternal scheme of things, it makes little difference how this old body proceeds from the earthly realm. Infinity is the length of time we have to be with the Lord. Infinity is the word that describes our time of wholeness and perfection. Infinity is the equalizer for those of us who have called on His name.

After the service, my new friend said to me, “I’m so glad brother Colley came down here last night to preach right here on the floor right in front of me. I could almost see him.” I’ve got a feeling brother Colley will be finishing this meeting from the floor. And I’m happy that we will have that wonderful eternal gospel meeting in a place where there will be no loss of eyesight, no bruises, no feeble frames and no cancer. I’m glad God “has a healing leaf” for each one of those!

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:1,2).

Sister to Sister: “Meredith” Making Waves

images-2Last week I told you about “Meredith”, a sweet sister I met at a retreat on the previous weekend. You can read about her here. She happened to read the words I had written about her and I wanted to share with you her response. I want to share it because I know it will brighten your day and make you thankful. The thing I am most excited about sharing with you is that the young man who was resistant to the gospel has now obeyed our Savior in baptism! Each one of us touches lives through others for eternity. It’s cliche, but it IS like ripples in the water; only, in the case of these ripples, the water is the water of life.  It eternally sustains, washes and quenches. Sometimes we know we’re making ripples or even waves. Sometimes we don’t. God is so good! So this, from Meredith and let’s all soldier on!

Cindy – I read your latest blog and just cried! It was just what I needed. Honestly I don’t see myself in that light so it was incredibly encouraging to read that my life and service still matter and no matter how dark and hard it may get He can still shine through my life. The enemy has been whispering and even shouting at times that it’s just too hard and it won’t matter if I slow down and back off in the service to my King. The enemy loves for me to remember the brownies I baked and then dropped, the cards I have written and had to throw away because of the errors and sloppy hand writing and the cookies I baked, but cried when I was done, because it hurt. But, I will fight to remember the blessings and what I can do (and there are TONS of things I can still do for the kingdom) and not focus on the dark piece of this puzzle in my life right now. I will not listen to the father of lies, but cling to the One who already solved my biggest problem ever and made a way to make it possible for me to spend eternity with Him where there will be no pain or tears FOREVER. Thank you again. It meant more than you’ll ever know!

So let me just say again…I want to be more like Meredith. The part of her that matters most is perfectly whole. So, with the apostle John, I would say to her ” Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”(III John 1:2)

I Was Lying on the Side of the Road

woman-crying-1This weekend I am speaking from Luke 10 about the parable of the Good Samaritan. I hope, if you are in the Florence, Alabama area, you will come and focus with me on this great parable of our Lord. (It’s at the Shiloh church and it starts on Saturday at nine a.m.) Typical of all of these stories of the Master storyteller, I can think of about ten complete ladies day lessons right off the bat that could be drawn from these verses about the battered man on the side of the road and the one who rescued him. There’s the lesson about what loving God and Man really means, the one about identifying your neighbor, the one about piety without pity, or faith without fruits.

But the inescapable place I always land when I start down the Jericho Road in my mind is that I am there. On some days I am the lawyer who is “willing to justify” myself….”I am too busy,” or “Someone else can do it better,” or “I already am doing more than most people,” or a thousand other lines that are overused and less than authentic. On bad days, I emulate characteristics of those who robbed and hurt the traveler. It’s usually not a stranger that I rob, but still, there have been days when I rob my husband of the respect he deserves or my children of the time or guidance they need. On other days I am the priest or Levite who is made aware of needs all about, but, looking the other way, chooses to be uninvolved in problems with which others are struggling. On a good day, I emulate at least some of the characteristics of the Good Samaritan. I want to be more like him every day. I want to be inconvenienced for the good of my fellowman. I want to take time that’s precious for someone I know who is suffering. I want to spend money for the rescue of a friend or even a stranger.

But it’s every day that I am in one more place on the road to Jericho. I am the bruised and bleeding traveler. I am lying on the side of that road, wounded and left for dead by the devil and sin. I am, without the rescue of the GREAT Samaritan, completely without hope. But He has the oil and wine. He has the balm. He has the beast of burden to carry me to the place of safety and healing. I am so thankful he stopped for me…at Calvary.