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Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Living Influence of a Great-Great Grandmother (and of some in-between)

Last weekend, we celebrated Colleyanna’s birthday. It was a fun time at Serenity and, although there were just a half-dozen of us gathered in the dining room, Colleyanna could not have loved it more if we’d been in the presence of royalty at Buckingham. She and her siblings were excited from the moment they woke up in the morning till the moment the last game was played before bedtime. 

The last game before bedtime was a game of “house”.  Max (Ezra) was my husband and I was Lilly.  Our “house” was the master bedroom.  I worked at a restaurant (my kitchen…that work was real) and Max raced a motorcycle. Our next-door neighbor, Snowdrop (Colleyanna..she’s always picking a name with flair), was always dropping by, uninvited, and bringing her cat, Oreo. (It’s funny how there was more than one  new board game and more than one toy received at the birthday party, but their favorite game, by far, was still the one that just involved people and pretending (and not those toys). 

As I was thinking about the half dozen years that Colleyanna has been on the planet, it was not lost on me that last weekend also marked the birth of someone else who, not so long ago in the grand scheme of things, was left alone with three children between ages one and seven. She was left to have to find childcare for her children while she worked hard to make ends meet in a tiny little house. She was, though under great duress, a woman of great faith and prayer. She was resourceful. And her children were blessed.  

That woman was my grandmother (Colleyanna’s great, great grandmother) and her birthday was last weekend, too. Born on September 10th, 1898, she was, when she left this life in 1980, Mattie Lee Louise Abernathy Smith Duncan. That’s a lot of name for such a humble and meek woman of God.  She taught me how to play house, and rock school and hop-scotch and she could make a doll out of a handkerchief and a chalice out of gum wrapper.  She took me to beautiful springs that bubbled out of a rocky hillside near the graves of some of our ancestors.  She was the one in that lineage who came to know and obey the gospel first. Converting her second husband to the Lord, all told, she (they) raised two faithful gospel preachers, an elder in the Lord’s church, another son and my mother, who was one of the greatest examples of Christianity I’ve ever known. All of those five children, to my knowledge, died as faithful Christians. 

Two of those children were profound influences on my spiritual development. How does one ever overestimate the power of motherhood in the molding of a soul for heaven? My mother’s power in my life is, even now, strong and vast. But one of the preachers my grandmother raised, Bobby Duncan, was the local preacher in the church in which I grew up. He baptized me and I am quite sure I do not even fully know the extent to which he shaped my love of the Word and my desire to serve God. That shaping is palpable every time I take out the Word to study. 

I often remember specific things Bobby Duncan said when I am studying a particular topic or text. I love the fact that my husband was blessed to “inherit” the preaching files of my uncle Bob. In my basement there is a file cabinet that is more valuable to both of us than any material treasure he could have ever left behind. He wrote almost every sermon in very complete outline form, though he never read his sermons. He had them so very well-learned by the time of delivery that  no one would have known that much of what he said rested on the pulpit in front of him. Here are a few samples of quotations I’ve recently read from his files in that cabinet: 

On the faith: “The faith is constantly under attack. It is under attack by the forces of atheism, agnosticism, existentialism, liberalism, anti-ism, radicalism, and every other “ism”. The gospel cannot defend itself against these attacks. It has no voice of its own. It must utilize our voices for its defense. I have about as much respect for one who would stand idly by and watch a defenseless old lady get mugged, and not lift a hand to defend her, as I have for a gospel preacher who will stand idly by while the faith is being attacked , and not say a word in its defense (Phil. 1:17). We must contend for the faith.”

On marriage, divorce and remarriage: “Brethren, let’s not be stricter than the Lord was in these areas. When a man puts away his wife for fornication, and marries another woman, he only has one wife. We ought not to penalize that man for doing what the Lord said he could do (Matthew 19: 9; 5:31-32)  When a man puts away his wife for a reason other than fornication, then he is living in adultery and should not be utilized in the services of the church, but should be forewarned and disciplined.’

On adultery:  “Well, what is to be done about the sin of fornication? What is to be done to obtain forgiveness? If one is guilty of the sin of fornication, then what is he supposed to do? Of course, if a person is not a Christian, in order to be forgiven of any sin, he has to obey the gospel of Christ. He has to hear the gospel and believe it, repent, confess, and be baptized. But now notice, repentance means getting out of sin. It means giving up the sinning business. If a man is a thief, he has to quit thieving. If he is a bootlegger, he has to quit bootlegging. That is what repentance involves. If he is committing fornication, then he has to quit committing fornication. And that would involve that adultery that Jesus mentioned in Matthew 19:9 where it says ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication and shall marry another committeth adultery.’ If a man is in an adulterous relationship, when he repents, that means he has to get out of that relationship. He can’t just keep on committing sin and get God’s forgiveness.”

On taking the name of God in vain: “Technically, what does it mean to take the Lord’s name in Vain? 

  1. It means to use God’s name to back up a lie.
  2. In Isaiah 59:4 “They trust in vanity and speak lies….”
  3. The word “lies” is the same Hebrew word “shav” translated “vain” in Exodus 20:7.
  4. (Hosea 10:4  “They speak vain words, swearing falsely in making covenants…”
  5. (Exodus 23:1) “Thou shalt not take up a false report; put not thy hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.” 
  6. To take the Lord’s name in vain means, therefore, to use the Lord’s name to back up a falsehood or a lie.”

What I love about studying these files is that there’s no mincing of words. I love that he was bold and compassionate, powerful and plain, rich and relevant. (What he wrote 40 years ago still helps me make practical decisions.)

What I also love is that I know it was the power of the gospel that touched the heart of a young woman, married at 15 in 1913 and deserted by an adulterous husband by the time she was in her early twenties—It was the power of the gospel in a broken heart that indirectly gave me sound teaching through this great man of God. Taking in washing and ironing, working at the cotton mill just to survive with three small children, my grandmother put something in three  hearts that led them all to respond favorably to the gospel when presented with it. She then met and married my grandfather and she (and others who helped her), led him to the Lord eventually, too, along with the two children they had together. They led some of my grandfather’s family members to the Lord. In the end, there have been about 20 faithful ministers (in various capacities) and elders, who are descendants of or who married descendants of this praying woman.  I could have quoted from several of them, who have written various works. I chose the one who has impacted my life most deeply (except for Glenn, of course.)

Just marvel with me at this simple woman’s legacy. She’s still speaking through her children’s children. If you find yourself in a place of challenge—even brokenness; if you find yourself feeling hopeless or alone, remember 20 elders and preachers/ministers in the kingdom from a destitute mother of three. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel. Be empowered by it, for it is the “power of God to salvation”(Romans 1:16).  It’s the power of God to salvation to the single mother who is doing all she can to put heaven in the hearts of her children. It’s the power of God to salvation to the child who is growing up in a world in which the devil is fighting hard for his soul. It’s the power of God to eventual salvation for the little girl who is turning six and pretending to be “Snowdrop” just as it was for her great-great grandmother who was “pretending” with three young children in a shotgun house in the mill village in Jacksonville, Alabama in the early twentieth century. 

If you are doing hard things for Him, you may be doing more for His glory than you can imagine! Pray for the little souls in your charge and keep your eye on the goal! I’m keeping the faith!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Tiny Little Things

It could have been anybody. This is not about the fact that I was the person who handed Charles a card asking him to study. I did nothing brave at all. We just got stuck in a line with a long wait and started talking about how this particular WalMart is our favorite Walmart, despite the long wait that day. When I handed the real person who was checking me out (That’s why I sometimes still like to actually go through a check-out line) a card inviting her to study the Bible, I just turned around and said “Here’s one for you, too.” It was nothing hard or heroic at all about me. (And I certainly did not intend for Glenn to mention my name as he talked from the baptistry.)

But Charles is just about the most excited new Christian I’ve ever seen. At the lunch table at Nothing but Noodles yesterday, I watched him nearly glowing with the joy that is evident when someone knows he is now part of a family headed for heaven. 

I just want to list a few reasons why we hesitate to do tiny little things that might lead to a knowledge of salvation in someone who crosses our path. (I know these things because I am so very guilty. I am certainly, in no sense, enough. I am, in every sense, inadequate and struggling as I try to tell the good news.) 

  1. I am not good at keeping those cards in my purse. They are always in the car. 
  2. It’s just easier on a bad day when I have so much on my mind, to stay in my shell and speak only when spoken to. 
  3. I am in a big hurry. There’s a filthy house at home waiting. There’s company coming this weekend. My cabin needs cleaning. I have to speak this weekend. There’s Digging Deep. 
  4. I am embarrassed to be viewed as one of those fanatics. 
  5. This is a man. He might be dangerous. He could stalk me. 
  6. This person looks like he is going to ask me for money instead of a Bible study. (Profiling the prospects—PTP!)
  7. I am serving in other ways that are more suited to me. (Digging Deep can be my excuse for not doing personal evangelism.) 
  8. Someone once was rude to me when I tried to hand her an invitation to worship.
  9. Most of the time people are just not interested, anyway. This is just not the best way to evangelize. 
  10. Even if the person responds and even if she is baptized, the majority of the people with whom I have studied have eventually fallen away. 

Now, one reason I have to keep telling myself that those little invitations need to keep happening. 

  1. There may be at least one soul around the throne who, because of the blood—the blood introduced through a little paper square (or other rectangle) with some personal contact info on it—received forgiveness of sin. 

That eternal difference, if even for one soul, is the magic eraser that just goes up and erases points one through ten in the above list. They matter none, if just one. They matter none, if just one. They are voided if one soul makes it to the throne through the outreach. I don’t know, for sure, that any soul with whom I have studied will be around the throne. But, I do know for sure that, without the study on my part or on someone’s part, they will NOT be there. That’s enough. 

But what’s really enough, is the grace that He has shown for my soul. How can I be oblivious to those around me who need it just as much as I do?

You can watch here: IMG_2910

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

This! Girl’s Day.

If you just have one mother-daughter trip left for 2022, make it this one! I can’t say enough good things about what our teen girls do to make this available every third year. I can’t say enough about the importance of sharing times like these in a world in which the devil is seeking to devour. But only you can put your girls in this place on this important day. Here’s the info you need. Also read to the bottom and click the “f” for facebook sharing. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where’s my Order? 

First. let me offer apologies for being unable to field every question right now. They are many and we are working to get those shirts and mugs and books to you. The good news is, we have the mugs in hand. The “hitch” news is that the shirts will take a few more days. (We just had to wait till you had time to collect your group orders.) 

If you are waiting on your books and you also had shirts in your order, the hold-up is your shirts. We just can’t always ship the books separately, so your order will take a few more days. We hope you can be patient with us. We did, I think, have on hand as many shirts as we sold last year. We just had a really big year for shirt orders this year…MUCH bigger than last! That’s a great thing, but it just takes a little time to know what you want and get them back for shipping. I will try to keep you posted as soon as we know a target date from our shirt company. It should be very soon. They have a quick turn-around. Even trying to get that order in, I still had several of you who wanted more time to get your group shirt orders together. Sometimes, it’s just tricky to get everyone happy about the time it takes to process. 

Still. let me say this: Thank-you! Thank-you a million times for being fruit-of-the-Spirit women when you order and wait. I am amazed every year that not one person EVER gets angry when we mess up an order. NO-ONE ever raises a voice or lashes out…EVER…when the wait is extensive. Not one person in any year! This, in an instant-gratification world, is nothing short of the work of God in your lives. I am so thankful to Him and you. 

So, it’s Sunday night at nine. Glenn’s down there packaging. I can hear the package tape screeching off the roll. I’m getting back to it. Thank you again. (Amy Clevenger—coming with your answer. Nancy Pennington—getting your books in a separate box.  Melissa Davidson, getting your mom’s request accomplished. Melissia Dasher, yours is a short-shirt-wait.) Carry on! Remember, if you are waiting to get those books, you can print the download or just read 1 Corinthians, making a list of the problems/conflicts in that church. I know you want the books, though. We are hurrying! 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

It’s September 1st!

It is September 1st! Go find the comfort His Word gives us and transform it into more love for Him, more faith in His Word and more opportunities to affect eternity. I promise, I’ll stop posting so many housekeeping t-shirt, study guide posts and we will get down to the Word! Did I mention I am needing this study?

1. For fun, if you get a chance, post a pic. Let us know where you’re studying. Hashtag: #whereintheworldisdiggingdeep. 

Especially, if there are digger sitings as you travel, be sure to take a pic of fellow diggers and digger reunions in fun places. (Like this weekend, I know some sisters who are having a mini-reunion kick-off for the year’s study. I wanted to go so badly, BUT I do think I am getting over COVID. Glenn is all over this house trying to figure out what rubber is burning and I can’t smell a thing!) 

2. Also, We found a few more odd sizes of the more generic t-shirts in the basement. It’s this graphic on a light blue Comfort Colors shirt.  Does anyone want either of these for 9 dollars plus shipping? (The one Kaitlyn’s wearing…) Just claim here, in the comments, if you do. I’ll send and, when you receive, you can paypal or send a check. I have 3 Smalls, 6 XXLs, and 4 XXXXLs. Remember, if you want the current black shirt or hoodie, deadline is Saturday night.

3. Keep inviting. It’s not too late. Someone you know could be a Christian by this time next year and it COULD just be a simple invitation to join you or your little group to get comfort from the Word! This would not be the first conversion from the DD study! The Word is the power and our little voices are just the prompt that exposes that powerhouse. Don’t let your timidity or silence get in the way of the power that saves (Romans 1:16). 

“For I am not ashamed of (I do not feel shame about) the gospel (glad tidings), for it’s the power (dynamis—the inherent mighty work) of God to salvation (deliverance, safety). “ Romans 1:16.  I want to give the “dynamis” full sway in lives that need deliverance around me!

4. So…1…2…3…GO!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

T-shirts and Podcasts!

We’re shipping and shipping and shipping some more. We need ALL t-shirt/hoodie orders to be made in the store at www.thecolleyhouse.org by this Saturday night (9/3) at midnight. We have a quick turn-around on those, so we will order the last batch then and have them shipped out within a few days.  (Good news about shirts and hoodies, for those hard-to-fit sizes. You can now order all the way up to a 5X in either. )

Podcast dates are as follows. Can’t wait!

September podcast will be September 27th at 7 pm. CST.

October podcast will be live from Israel on November 7th at 8:15 a.m. (But you can watch it later if you are scheduling group times. That’s a Monday morning, if you plan to watch live!)

November podcast will be on December 6th at 7 CST.

December podcast will be on January 3rd at 7 CST.

****First big mistake in the book/download is on #8 in lesson one. 1 John 1:2 should read “1 John 2:1”, which is, by the way, one of the most comforting verses in all of the epistles!  Spread the sad news. (I’m sure it’s the first of more mistakes we will find!)

Please invite and please pray. If one soul is moved toward heaven in any way, our time is well spent. Every study in the Book is rewarding now and later. And COMFORT is so enticing right now for many of us. I’m just getting started, but I’m already loving the encompassing encouragement from all of you.