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Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Month Nine: Wrapping up!

I just got back to my hotel room from a day that I’ll not soon forget. I walked in the dry bed of the brook of Elah where David killed Goliath (I Samuel 17)  and I walked in the very wet tunnel that Hezekiah constructed underneath the city of Jerusalem (2 Kings 20:20). I cannot wait to write about the blockbuster lessons that just naturally come to mind when viewing some of the amazing sights we’re seeing. I’m forever changed already. I can’t wait to get to heaven, because seeing what you’ve loved reading about is a powerful faith phenomena! 

I know, however, that first I should complete the study for May. On the podcast (…Did I mention this transmitted from the shore of the Sea of Galilee?), I promised this list of verses  from the epistles which use the word “doctrine” and, in context, show that doctrinal matters have already been settled or decided. Here’s my list, though yours may vary a bit. 

Romans 6:17

Romans 16:17

I Cor. 14:6

I Cor. 14:26

Eph. 4:14

1 Tim. 1:3

1 Tim. 1:10

1 Tim. 4:6

1 Tim. 4:13

1 Tim. 4:16

1 Tim. 5:17

1 Tim. 6:1

1 Tim. 6:3

2 Tim. 3:10

2 Tim. 3:16

2 Tim. 4:2

2 Tim. 4:3

Tit. 1:9

Tit. 2:1

Tit. 2:7

2 Jn 1:9

2 Jn. 1:10

The point, of course, is that, since all doctrinal matters have been settled by the Holy Spirit, the ONLY authority of elders is in areas of judgment. Therefore, it is only natural that all of us will not agree with the judgment of our elders on every matter. That’s the nature of opinions. Authority for action in realms of judgment, biblically then, belongs to the elders. May we strive to hold up the hands of godly elders who are unafraid to lead God’s people in righteous choices. May we raise our sons to be qualified to do take on this daunting and honorable vocation in the body. 

Also, we will be choosing winners of the prize package from Month 9 at the close of this month’s study, so don’t forget to enter your paragraph. Directions are in the study. 

Diggers are some of the best people in the world! The Word makes good-hearted women great! 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Israel: PODCAST!

Tomorrow (Thursday) at 10:30 a.m. CST, join us for the Digging Deep podcast for the month of May. It’s about the authority of our elders over our individual congregations and lives. Truth be told, we may veer just a little bit from the specific study of our shepherds and discuss both primary and delegated authority from the perspectives that come sharply into focus for a Christian visitor to the country of Israel. But we hope to cover things that will be practical for all of us. Kate Hudgens, from Hot Springs, Arkansas, will be joining me and we may have a small live “studio” audience right here on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. 

The Sea of Galilee! I’m spending the night tonight in a room that overlooks those shores where Jesus, the Christ, displayed the fact that “all authority (had) been given to (him).” I’ve seen Beersheba, the home country of Abraham, from which he followed wherever God led.  I’ve looked at the mountains of Moab and Edom and I have even seen Mount Nebo, where Moses died in faith, “not having received the promise.” I went to Jericho and came face to face, once again with God’s authority. (It’s ultimate authority when someone can make a promise in the past tense!) He is omnipotent!

As I looked today at the massive ruins of the palace of Herod the Great that sits atop the Masada and as I  contemplated those battering rams of the Romans penetrating the fortress,  I became acutely aware that, though the physical instruments of destruction were in the hands of The Romans, there was a sovereign God who was powerfully orchestrating the destruction of the last Jewish stronghold and replacing it with the spiritual stronghold that is Christ. He is almighty!

I went to Qumran and saw one of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. In His perfect timing, God allowed this major verification of the truth of His Word an entrance into the world via a shepherd boy who threw a rock into a cave. The sound of the shattering glass of those jars that held complete manuscripts of so much of your Old Testament also signaled the shattering of doubts of many skeptics about the veracity of those Scriptures. He is truth!

And when we, as His church, acknowledge  His plan for worship, church organization, the  purity of our congregations and our evangelistic plea, we can count on His making His people victorious. The battering rams are already aligned for the eternal destruction of those who reject His authority. I hope you will join us as we talk about authority in the church. Here’s the link;

https://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women.

Spoiler alert!…We do have a plan in place for you to type your comments to us and we are hoping that will happen! We’ll tell you how when we air tomorrow! Can’t wait!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Israel: No Ruins in Heaven

It occurs to me, as I travel on this plane from Nashville to Newark en route to Tel-Aviv, that this Bible Lands tour will be full of ruins. Ironically, the sights I’ve been reading about, spending lots of money to see, and envisioning in my imagination, for these months, can aptly be described by the miserably unfortunate word ruins, the root of which word is what we hope does not happen: to our party or the weather or a good day. We’re always sad when something gets ruined. 

But that’s just what happened to the civilization called Beersheba that we’ll be visiting in a few hours. Once it was the well-watered plain where Abraham planted a Tamarisk tree (Genesis 21), and offered Abimelech seven ewe lambs with an oath or covenant (Genesis 21). It was the place where Jacob offered sacrifices on his way to Egypt (Genesis 46) and the site of the judgment of the wicked sons of Samuel (I Samuel 8). It held peace, security and promise to the patriarchs and justice and judgment to last of the judges. Whatever it was, it was teeming with life and vegetation and war and reckoning. It was the southernmost border of Judah and the general nomenclature for the south of Israel itself in those texts where Scripture reads “from Dan to Beersheba.” 

I’m bursting with excitement to get to see this plain on Tuesday. The fact that anything of the Old Testament Beersheba has long decayed into a state beyond recognition does not make me less interested in seeing it. I think I’ll love it when I get to sit down under the same species of tree that Abraham planted and beside a well that’s in the same vicinity as the well contested by Abimelech.  This is true because, in my imagination, I can paint a picture of those patriarchs—nomads in that same plain under the same sun that will shine down on me. 

Imagination is what we will rely on, in many instances, as we travel the Bible lands, because what’s real today is just a reminder—a ruin of what once was. 

Have you ever thought about the fact that imagination is what we use to view heaven? We can’t see it, as it is, but we can listen to the words of the Bible—mostly about what’s not there (Revelation 21)—and we can imagine how it will be. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing for the past months about the Bible lands. I’ve read passages and I’ve thought about what it must look like. Now I will see. 

One day I will see what I’ve only imagined in this lifetime. I will see heaven; the place where the patriarchs are living right now. Only this time, there will be no ruins. Everything will be pristine and new and current—forever and ever. In fact, I will sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in this place where nothing is ever old or ruined or obsolete. There are no ruins in heaven. It’s the sphere of the incorruptible (I Peter1:3,4). 

I know I’m going to love Beersheba. But this land—literally “well of the sevenfold oath”—will not hold a candle to that other well-watered plain to which I journey…the plain in which I’ll never visit a single ruin. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Keep Praying for the Blackwells

Stop and pray again today for the Blackwells. Their faith is a great example for us all. I think the family of God in the U.S. has been holding its collective breath for some good news. I know we have at the Colley house. We love them dearly and now there’s much for which to be thankful, but much for which to pray. This family is deeply good and deeply devoted to the Cause. They’ve done lots of good vicariously through your donations of encouragement and funding to GBN. Now, we have a chance to do something more personal for Don and Sheri. First pray and pray, for any possible developing improvements on Don’s prognosis, for the most effective rehabilitation possible, for encouragement as the new physical normal begins, for his ability to soon resume his work at GBN and Southaven, as is his full intent, and for Sheri as she recovers and stands and works and ministers by Don’s side. Then, if you’d like to contribute financially to the large expenditures coming their way, here’s how: https://fundrazr.com/a1V5q6?ref=ab_4w911e33gOq4w911e33gOq

 

If you read this, Sheri, I know Glenn’s been in touch with family. But I want you to know that, although fully understanding and honoring every reason behind your needing some privacy and respite with God and Don and family alone (besides you’d surely be overwhelmed with the number of people who love you!), you’ve not been far from my heart’s center since Monday. Your sisters in several states, and even countries, have contacted me to say “We’re praying and praying.” I know I don’t need to tell you this, but we love you. I love you and am thankful for the many times you have encouraged me…even as recently as last week. I would love to be able to repay your encouragement if there’s anything a helpless mortal can do. A helpless mortal can pray to the infinite and resourceful ONE and a band of women are doing that for your sweet meek and quiet, but courageous self! He is able to do abundantly, exceedingly above all the we think or imagine. I love those three words abundantly, exceedingly and above. Don’t respond, Sheri….Just know!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Calling Her Blessed Again…

As I am writing it’s Mother’s Day week. This year marks the 27th year since my mother won the battle over cancer and went home. She’s victorious and happy–even blissful, and I would never will her back to the struggling lifestyle that I try to tackle every day. But, still, I miss her like crazy–even now, twenty years hence. The children of the Proverbs 31 woman rose up and called their mother blessed. I know my mother is blessed, especially now–with the Lord, but I don’t know how to call her blessed. As I look back over the chapter, though, I see some things that made the children of Proverbs 31 call their mom blessed. I wonder how, exactly, they called her blessed. Did they tell their friends about the way God worked through the good deeds of their mom? Did other people look at her children and say that those kids were a blessing to the Proverbs 31 woman? Did her children write posts about how blessed their childhoods were because of the mom that made sure they were getting the maternal care they needed both physically and spiritually? If so, where did they post these notes? I do not know exactly how her children called her blessed, but today is my attempt to call my Proverbs 31 mother “blessed”. One thing’s for sure. The ultimate blessings are in the place in which I fully believe my mother is cognizant, rejoicing and awaiting my coming. She is blessed, now, for sure.

The heart of my father trusted my mother, that she would do him good and not evil. I do not remember ever having the first inkling of an idea that my dad ever thought Mother was lying to him, that she might be having an affair or that she was tricking him into getting things her way. In fact, the whole idea of any of those things seems preposterous. My mother never asked me to lie to my father. In fact, she would have spanked me in the “spanking place” if she thought I had lied to him. Not only did he never doubt her honesty, but he trusted her judgment. He trusted my mother to clothe us, to buy Christmas gifts for all of us and the extended family, to buy the groceries and to stock the freezer. He did not have to be a micro-manager. He trusted her.

My mother sought wool and flax and worked willingly with her hands. Her candle did not go out by night. If I close my eyes, I can see her hands. They had a couple of little age spots on them. Her fingers were long and thin and she never had a manicure. They were hard working hands. She had a sign in the little bedroom that doubled as her sewing room that said, “Whoever dies with the most fabric wins.” She won. See, she really did seek wool and flax and polyester and cotton and rayon. She could make anything on that Singer and so she did. I remember coming home from school one day for several weeks in November to a lot of white fur all over the carpets and bedspreads. I wondered if she was having bunnies over to play every day while I was at school. That year on Christmas morning, there were three precious little white fake fur coats for my sisters and me.

I remember many summer mornings when I would awaken to find that she was already out in the hot sun. I would look out the back kitchen door and down the hill I would see her bent over in the butter pea patch. I would try and be quiet, because I knew if she saw me, I would either be picking with her or washing breakfast dishes in the kitchen. If I was ever bored, I did not say so. I knew better. No one in that house ate the bread of idleness.

We did eat well, though. My mother gave meat to her household and a portion to her maidens. I cannot remember ever going hungry. My mother knew what day the meat would be in the marked-down bin at the market and she was willing to get up very early to be there. We did not go out to eat often because that was expensive. Our favorite Sunday night place was called “Traveler’s Rest” and it averaged a full six dollars for our family of six to eat burgers there. But there was always plenty of food on the table at home and it was always delicious. My brother was allergic to chicken, so when we had chicken, we had a small dish of some other kind of meat for him. Everyone was considered and everyone counted. My mother did not carry a couple of dishes to the fellowship meal, either. She carried a huge meat casserole or a couple of fried chickens, several side dishes, some cornbread and a big cake or banana pudding. If my mother ever had a maiden, she would have had plenty to eat, too. And I can never remember one meal around that table when we did not bow our heads and thank the Lord for the food.

My mother considered her purchases and used them well. She was frugal. I actually remember her sending us through multiple lanes at the store, so we could each be a customer and take advantage of “one-per-customer” savings. I remember buying fabric from the remnant bins and canned goods from the dented bin. I remember making our own popsicles and culottes. (Does anybody remember those?) She saved and redeemed green stamps. She sold encyclopedias and she taught school in our little Christian school for our tuition and we all went to school together. She saved the remnants of bars of soap and Daddy melted them down and made big new multi-colored bars. Free outings included the library and window shopping trips. Our shoes came from a little hole-in-the-wall place called “Salvage Shoes,” but we loved going there! She made everything fun and there was no place the kids in her Sunday School class had rather be than in our yard. One of them said one day, “I love going to Johnnia’s. She’s got a gallon of kids!”

She stretched out her hand to the poor and reached out her hands to the needy. My mother sent shoes to the prison where a neighbor boy ended up after his mother left home and he turned to drugs. I remember frequent walks up the street to Mrs. Brackin’s house, when she was feeble, to carry food from our kitchen or garden. I remember how Mother cared for Kathleen and Chris and Patrick when their mother went a little crazy and left them. I remember a little girl we picked up for worship services. She lived in the basement of an old upholstery shop on the Pratt Highway. I remember she didn’t smell good, but she loved coming with us. I remember another man who often rode with our family to worship and two older women, too. I remember Mother finding a place in a Christian orphanage for some children up the street when their parents left them destitute. Most of all, I remember the years and tears and fears of her caring for my grandparents. I remember when that small sewing room was converted to a sick room for them. I remember Mother’s sacrifices of travel and time with my dad. I remember the crowded conditions and the worry about their health. I remember my mother’s attendance at their hospital beds and their death beds. I remember the agony she suffered when they left empty spaces after her years of care.

My mother made tapestries and coverings. She used quilting frames suspended from the ceiling. They made walking through the small living room next to impossible. She made at least four quilts and coverings for my babies’ nurseries. As I write, I have company up in my guest room and she is sleeping under one of those quilts. My mother was keenly interested in making all kinds of things. She embroidered and smocked and made dolls and aprons. She made sweatsuits and curtains, stuffed bears and potholders, purses and pajamas. We wore handmade dresses and coats and bonnets. We had the best halloween costumes and great parts in school plays because the teacher knew she could count on our costume designer. Christmas spilled out everywhere in our little house. We, in short, had it made. We had it all made by our mother.

She opened her mouth with wisdom and kindness. Time and space constrain me, but let me just say that profundity is when an adult can think back and still remember phrases and their intonations—phrases that were spoken forty-plus years ago. Things like:

“Cindy, if you read your Bible and find out that I have taught you something that’s not right, you do what the Bible says. Know that doing that is what will make me happy.”

“Cindy, people who make fun of you for doing the right thing are the same people who, really, deep down in their hearts, respect you for it. One day you will learn that.”

“Cindy, you had better be very careful about everything you do, because there are two little sisters who are watching every move you make and they want to be just like you.”

“Cindy, don’t ever let your boyfriend give you money. that’s just not respectable.”

My mother feared the Lord. I really believe this was the trump card that made all of the above so evident in her life. She had this amazing way of boiling all of the decisions of daily life down to the question, “What is most pleasing to God?” The question was pervasive and invasive, and we visited it and revisited it on a daily basis. Conviction took us to every service and to run the children’s bus program an hour before each service of the church. Conviction had her sew a gym uniform for me that met all the class standards but had extra length for modesty. Conviction had a class full of middle school girls learning about fearing the Lord. Conviction had her spending time with them outside the classroom in cook-outs in our yard and in flower-picking trips to make bouquets for girls who were leaving for college. Conviction had her opening up that worn-out Bible and showing us passages relevant to some raunchy attitude she was seeing in us or some discourteous remark made. If we weren’t careful, she was assigning us long passages to learn; passages that she deemed appropriate to help adjust our attitudes or demeanor (and we weren’t even home schoolers). The Bible was just like a giant magnet in the middle of the metal of our lives. It was the control, the draw, the reference point.

I cannot remember anyone ever commenting that my mother was charming. But many people of all ages filed by her casket in October of 1992 and commented that she was the best Bible teacher they had ever had. They cited that she had made the Bible come alive or that she had made even the outcast among them feel worthy. That night I was glad for the fulfillment of the prophetic proverb: Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

This has been long. If you only could know how selective I have been, you would appreciate the post for its brevity. My mother was not perfect. She was often weakened by sin, but then strengthened by the power of His might. She struggled with evil, but overcame with prayer. She sometimes fainted, but was renewed by the Spirit. See, though she was larger than life to this little girl, she was only human. I had to grow up to know she wasn’t really perfect. And, just about the time I began to see her human-ness, the possibility that she had flaws, her mortal limitations, she went and put on immortality. My mother really is sinless now. She is perfect, flawless, completely invincible. I can truly call her blessed.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

May 16th: Digging Deep Podcast from the Sea of Galilee!

The live podcast from Israel will occur on Thursday, May 16th, from the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. I hope you can plan to join us, as Kate Hudgens and I discuss Authority from this beautiful seashore where eminent authority was so often demonstrated during the ministry of our Lord. He calmed this sea (Mark 4). He directed a huge draught of fish into the nets of doubting disciples in this place (Luke 5).  He placed a coin in the mouth of a fish, so he could pay his tribute (Matthew 17). He put unclean spirits in a herd of pigs and that herd of swine ran violently into this sea (Matthew 8). This paragraph could be a book! I’m extremely excited about discussing His authority from this place and about our blessing of technology that allows our sisterhood to do this from several corners of the earth—together! 

So, Lord willing, the podcast will be May 16th, at 10:30 am CST. (Our time in Israel will be 6:30 pm). I know that some of you will be working and unable to watch at that time, so it will be quickly uploaded and available on the Digging Deep in God’s Word page for viewing at any time. The live podcast will be here: https://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women.

I’m thankful to Jennifer Benavides, Louis Benavides, Glenn Colley, John Moore, and Kate Hudgens for making this possible. The family of God is wonderful. 

And about that family, please keep the prayer vigil fervently before the throne for the Don Blackwells. A good and faithful family has been hurt. We have all benefitted immensely from the materials, broadcasts and lectures that Don has delivered around this country. He is very dear to my husband and I consider Sheri to be a close friend to me. She has encouraged me countless times. This sister has lost her parents in recent days, now her mobility for a time, and her  husband now faces long and arduous challenges. She’s a faithful digger and encourager. Let’s lift them up! You may send cards ℅ Southaven church of Christ, 1483 Brookhaven Dr, Southaven, MS 38671. 

And, finally, please pray for calm along the Gaza strip as our Digging Deep group travels to Israel. Our guides tell us that we are not at any safety risk. However, it would be comforting to know that the unrest along that border is at a low point rather than an escalated one as we enter the country. 

May he bless all of his pilgrims through this land of uncertainty till we cross over Jordan and assemble at the throne.