New Blog! You might want to check out Caleb Colley’s new internet journal. Called “Restore” its address is www.calebcolley.com. I’ve taken a look already and it’s not your everyday “things-to-think-about” or “what’s-going-on-in-my-world” blog. It’s a well organized multi-dimensional site that includes more than may pop into your mind when you think of a blog. Categories include the faith page, which features articles about the pillars of Christianity, and the family page, tackling issues about church and family. There’s also a page about the Restoration Movement, an ethics section and even pages that will teach lessons from sports and film. I’m personally excited to see what practical lessons pop up in those categories. I just wanted to invite you to take a look as this site launches today. When you do, you may think it’s your husband who will enjoy it more. That’s okay. Invite him, too!
August…the Month of Reaching
It’s a marvel to me that 24 months have elapsed since the beginning of the first Digging Deep study and the morphing of that small PTP session into an international women’s Bible study group. You’re invited to the brand new study that will begin on September 1st. Details will follow both here and in a session on Tuesday, August 27th at Polishing the Pulpit in Sevierville, Tn. That session will be streamed live for those of you who are unable to be in the room with us. (It will be available Tuesday, August 27th at 2:30 pm EST at http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women.) These are exciting times. Who would have thought we (ladies all over the world) would be able to virtually assemble for His glory, spend time in discussing His will for our lives, pray together and motivate each other to love and good works (Heb. 10:24) as we are now doing! This study most certainly exponentially builds faith. That’s what He has promised (Romans 10:17). And Faith IS the victory that overcomes the world.
Faith is only alive when it is working, though. That’s why our assignments in August each year are reaching assignments. August is the month in which we use our spiritual nerves. I mean we put what’s in our spiritual brains (the faith we have acquired from study) into our hands, arms. legs and feet. We write notes, cook meals, wash dishes, have heart-to-hearts and we WORK. This year we are working to restore, in the spirit of meekness, those around us who may be struggling to be the sanctified people of God (Gal. 6:1). In case you are not a part of the study, here’s what August looks like. (Of course, we all are working year round. If we weren’t, we would be pretty backward believers! But August is our month of study application. It’s the most hands-on part of our Digging Deep year.) Here’s this month’s assignment and one final note:
Read the book of I Peter this month, memorizing chapter 2, verses 9-11. Make a note of each time suffering or trials or pain is mentioned. See if you can also make a list of promised benefits of suffering. Does suffering sanctify us? Give scriptures to prove your answer. How does suffering allow us to be partakers with Christ? When we are partakers with Him, we are sanctified!
The challenge for August is to reach out to someone who may be struggling in their attempts to leave the world and be holy. Perhaps it is a teen girl in your congregation who is peer dependent. Perhaps it is a young mother who thinks an awful lot about the acquisition of this world’s goods. Perhaps it is a brother who is tempted by alcohol. Perhaps it is a business person who is constantly away from his family. Choose one or more of the following ways to encourage holiness in the body where you are. If this is hard for you, remember that it’s the hard things that help us to be partakers with the Christ!
1. Write a letter to a younger woman and tell her that you are praying for her daily as she faces the rough decisions of her school or workplace. Tell her you are “here for her” when she needs encouragement.
2. Ask a weaker member of the body to have a weekly study with you about sanctification. You should be ready for this.
3. Make a phone call to someone who is haphazard in attendance to let her know she is missed and ask if she’s okay.
4. Purchase a Christian parenting book written by one of our faithful brothers or sisters for parents who are struggling to bring their young children up in the ways of the Lord. Write a sweet note in the cover and tell them you are appreciative of the way they are trying to be godly parents in this tough world.
5. Purchase a book about teen purity for a struggling teen in your congregation. Ask her to read it and then get together with you at the coffee shop or at your house to talk about how she liked it.
6. Sit beside someone at services who is struggling with a sin problem. Let him or her know that you are keeping him/her in prayer.
7. Have a ladies prayer group meeting in your home and just pray, pray, for the sanctification of the body.
8. If your congregation is one which does not practice the withdrawal of I Corinthians 5, go to your elders, or humbly ask your husband if he would be willing to go to them and meekly ask them to help you win back those who are in sin by faithfully practicing this command. Godly elders will respond well to a kind spirit of obedience.
9. Purchase a book about future church leadership to give to one or more boys in your congregation to help insure faithful leadership for the sanctified body in the year 2035. This could be a gift that keeps on giving!
10. Read Galatians 6:1 and decide another approach you will take this month to try and restore the one who is overtaken. Remember to wear the spirit of meekness.
One final note. I began this month by having a serious discussion with Sister A in Congregation X, who just cannot bring herself to be friendly with Sister B. Due to some real or imagined injustices of the past, Sister A will actually move away from me if Sister B walks up to converse with me. As I think about our study of I Peter this month and the suffering of sanctification, I am saddened that anyone, having been cleansed by the sacrifice of the cross can be so brazen as to reject the relationship offered to us in Jesus without being willing to even sit down and discuss the breach of fellowship between sisters. I challenged Sister A to go home and read the bottom of Romans 12 and just see if she could fit her behavior into that chapter in any way. Even if Sister B is her enemy, there is certainly a prescription in Romans 12 for how to respond to ill-treatment and that prescription is NOT to stop speaking to an enemy. I told Sister A that I would be praying for her as she re-evaluates this conscious decision to avoid a sister.
“You just do not understand,” Sister A said. “I am not going to be mean to her, but I am just not going to put myself out there for her to start being friends with me again and then try to take advantage of me.”
I just had to think about Christ…the one who “put Himself out there”. He put Himself out there in the garden…I mean out there all alone sweating drops as blood. He put Himself out there in that mock trial as Peter was denying Him by that warm fire. He put Himself out there at Golgotha–out there where all the sin of all the ages of all the world was on His bleeding back. He put Himself out there for this body–for this family–in which Sister A can’t put herself out there for Sister B, because she is afraid her “feelings will get hurt again.” Really?
Let’s be about making a step in August to try to restore relationships. Decide you can don the spirit of meekness this month and reach out to restore. Restore your own will to be all about His glory every day. Encourage restoration in a weak sister. Bolster one in your local congregation who is struggling every day to be what God wants her to be. Go to the “Digging Deep for Encouragement” page on Facebook and pray for the sweet souls there who have asked for prayers for strength, for studies being conducted, for healing and for wisdom. If you are willing to share with us your strategies for restoration this month, send me an email or a Facebook message, so that we can encourage each other and share good ideas for helping each other be holy women for Him. Let’s pray that our reach this August will be a reach all the way into eternity. It’s possible though Him!