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Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Israel– Stop #6: Jericho

The next stop on our tour was Jericho. I will always remember this stop as the place where I rode the camel and permanently lost my i-phone while riding; but there are some very faith-building events in history that should make Jericho a favorite stop for any Bible student traveling in Israel. So, today, a short synopsis.

We know Jericho as the first great city of Canaan conquered by the Israelites. You remember it was the home of the harlot Rahab (She likely lived between the thick double-walls of the city) who hid the spies, sent by Israel to search out the land. She had heard great things about Jehovah. She feared Him and, because of this faith and her willingness to help the enemy of her own people of Jericho, was spared in the great destruction that followed the marching around the city for seven days by the people of God. You can read about the covenant the spies made with Rahab in the latter part of Joshua 2 and about the destruction of Jericho in Joshua 6. 

It’s very interesting to read from archaeologists who’ve studied ancient Jericho. In the mid- 1950s, Kathleen Kenyon did extensive work in Jericho and published her findings, largely debunking the Biblical account, premising that the archeological evidence discredits the Biblical account. Published during an era when much of the world was all about discrediting the Word of God and throwing off its authority, her study was widely read and accepted. 

But in 1990, an article in Biblical Archaeology Review (a journal that definitely does not adhere to any literal interpretation of Scripture)  published quite the opposite view. When perusing the findings that are the basis of this article, one is stricken with the amount and weight of the evidence that the invasion and destruction of Jericho happened at the time and in the manner that the first few chapters of Judges relates. I would advise the reading of this article in Christian Courier. It will build your faith and make you glad that you serve Jehovah! It’s here: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/56-saga-of-ancient-jericho-the

In the Jericho area today, there’s a modern city. Just outside this city, now in the political West bank (thus under Muslim rule), over 20 civilizations have been unearthed; so Jericho is a tel in the expansive sense of the word, for sure. It’s a stacked succession of ruins of conquering civilizations. (The fact that we can unearth layers of stacked civilizations should remind us of the temporary nature of our current way of life.) The demise of our “way of life” is certain and, thus, always pending.

As God foresaw the layers of a tel, He made a judgment promise in Judges 6:26:

Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.

“At the cost of his firstborn shall he

lay its foundation,

and at the cost of his youngest son

shall he set up its gates.”

In I Kings 16:34, some 700 years after the prophecy that whoever rebuilt the city would pay for it with the loss of both his oldest and youngest sons, Hiel, the Bethelite did just that, and his sons were the bulk of the purchase price for this real estate tycoon, who failed to do the spiritual research (or failed to believe it) regarding the investment required for this first  renovation of Jericho. 

Ten quick and obvious lessons from Jericho for your September day:

  1. Always, like Rahab, examine the evidence for yourself. Don’t let the culture around you sweep you up in it’s ever-changing philosophies.
  2. Obey the details of Scripture for your eternal escape. Rahab could have deviated from precision in many ways, but she did not. 
  3. Like Rahab, do your best to save your household. 
  4. God can do anything He wants to do, using whatever implementation he chooses. Marching and trumpets for defeat of a large civilization?!! Bring it on!
  5. No matter the taunting of today, the great pending eternal salvation will be worth the ridicule!
  6. Harlots are worth saving. Redeemed people are honored beyond  belief in God’s economy (Matthew 1:5).
  7. The passage of large amounts of time is no object in the keeping of God’s promises. Don’t be lulled, like Hiel, while you wait for judgment.
  8. Be like Rahab, who saved her household for righteousness; not like Hiel who sacrificed his for economic profit. 
  9. Our God’s glory is dependent on His promise-keeping. His promise, through the spies, to Rahab; His promise to the marching Israelites; His promise to the re-builder of Jericho…all of these came down toward a glorious moment of redemption that was in the preparing. 
  10. Like Rahab, befriend the people of God, even if it means threat to your safety or well-being. God has a way of making our righteous, but dangerous paths His opportunity to mightily prevail. 
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: You never know what you might find at WalMart.

This weekend, speaking for the ladies at the Arnold church in metropolitan Saint Louis, I looked down the hill and saw that the adjoining property was a busy WalMart. I commented “What a great landmark to tell folks where you’re located.” 

Later in the day, a sweet sister came to greet me. Talking about their Family Bible Time, she asked for tips about keeping a seven-year-old and a nine-year-old interested in Scripture. In this context, she explained that she’s a relatively new member of the church. 

Well, I love hearing sisters’ stories of finding the church of my Lord, so I asked the question: “How, then, did you find the church?” She said, simply, “I was shopping at WalMart.” 

“It was a Sunday and, walking in that parking lot (pointing out of the fellowship hall window to a packed parking lot at a WalMart, which shared a shopping venue with Ross and lots of other stores)—my  husband just pointed up here and said  ‘I wonder what kind of church that is up there.’”  

“I have no idea,” I responded. “But, at the time, we were very disillusioned. We knew we needed to be somewhere serving God, but we could see no connection, in any way, between the catechisms we’d memorized, the infant baptisms we’d experienced, the worship we’d been taught to give–we could see no connection between those things and the Scriptures we knew were from God. That day at WalMart, we knew we were searching, but we didn’t know what we were looking for.”

She then related that her husband said “I think I’ll just google that church.”  When he did he found this expanded mission statement: 

“The Arnold church of Christ is an un-denominational autonomous congregation of the Church one reads about in the New Testament.  We are overseen by a group of elders and strive to be Christ centered and Bible based.”  To this end we call Bible things by Bible names, and do Bible things in Bible ways. Below the mission statement was this little list:

Worship:

  • We worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) every first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
  • Each service contains Biblical teaching and preaching (Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7).
  • When we gather together the congregation unites in singing a’capella to the Father (Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:19).
  • Every first day of the week we give as we’ve been prospered and as we’ve set by in store (I Corinthians 16:2, II Corinthians 9:7).
  • Each service we pray to the Father through the Son (I Thessalonians 5:17, Acts 2:42).
  • During worship every Sunday we partake of the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of His sacrifice (Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 11:23-29).

Life:

  • We strive to walk in the light (I John 1:7).
  • We strife to do good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).
  • We endeavor to share the Gospel of Christ with others (Matthew 28:18-20).
  • We strive to combat sin and fight Satan daily (Ephesians 6:13-17).
  • We strive in word and deed to do all by the authority of Jesus (Colossians 3:17).

Hoping that they would find a church that really does strive to be just that church we read about in the Bible, this little family decided to make a visit to that church on the hill. So the next time they went “shopping” it was one door over from WalMart. Thrilled by the warm reception, they were interested in knowing more.  It was a couple of brothers who, upon meeting them that day, asked this couple to further study the Word of God. 

My sister continued: “At the end of the study, we just looked at each other and said ‘Well, this is what we’ve been looking for. This is what the Bible teaches. Why should we wait? Let’s do this.’” 

You never know what you  might find at WalMart! 

And you never know who’s “shopping” near your “city on the hill”.

“You are the light of the World; a city set on a hill” …Jesus Christ.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Lessons from the One that Got Away

The gospel is simply profound. Seeing the kingdom as a pearl with great value or imagining the soul in danger as a sheep that’s wandered from the flock or viewing immersion in water as the cleansing of the conscience is uncomplicated, yet ironically complex in consequence. The precepts of the gospel are elementary, yet infinitely weighty. 

So it is with the simple words Jesus said to the Galilean fishermen, as they walked away from their nets to answer the invitation that would forever change their worlds. He said to them “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

Every Christian who has ever cast a hook into the lake at sunrise has surely pondered this “fisherman” analogy while sitting quietly, patiently under a tree watching the “bobber” rhythmically move with the placid waves. I got to spend an early morning last week on the bank of Lake Guntersville.  I’d been thinking about how you don’t catch a fish every time you cast. In fact, it usually takes a lot of casting, waiting, winding, re-baiting and re-casting before you ever get a fish on the line. I considered how many contacts we have to make before we get an interested, seeking soul. I thought about how those nearby boatmen were making so much noise that, surely, the fish in this part of the lake would be driven to deeper, quieter waters. So it is with the gospel. Distractions and disturbances cause many to go the other way.

I saw about ten big turtles for every fish I saw. (Really, that lake must be a Chelonian reptile sanctuary.)  Sometimes, in evangelism, the reptiles (particularly the old snake of the garden) are so busy that the fish can’t even find the bait that is the gospel. There are just many very simple, but profound, comparisons one thinks about on the fishing bank. 

But then there was this big one (analogy and fish) that was the highlight of that morning at the lake. My husband, who wasn’t fishing, and I were quietly talking about a marriage problem in a faraway place that was on both our minds as we  texted counsel from that fishing bank. I’d been praying about it for several days and, well, I had just became absorbed in the conversation, when a very strong pull on my rod (which was in my lap) bolted me from that bench as I threw my phone at my husband, shouting  “Take this!” 

“What’s wrong?” he shouted. 

“I’m fishing! I have a fish…a big one!”  

I got to the business of giving that rod a big yank and reeling in that line for dear life. I could already see myself telling the grandchildren, my fishing buddies, about this…well… at least four pound…bass. I t was a long and energetic “reeling in” to the cheers of my supportive photographer. 

But alas, just as that fish surfaced—just above the water, giving a massive jerk, he broke my line. That line must have had a worn or weak place just above the bobber because, that’s where it broke. I wished, if that big fish was going to break my line, he could have broken it near the hook, swam away, and I could have forgotten about him. But, as it was, my bobber, floated and bobbed (with flair) all around that little peninsula on which I was sitting, for the next hour. The most disheartening thing was not even that he broke my line and got away. It was watching that bobber’s lively movements, taunting me, looking forevermore like I should be jerking and reeling, when, in reality I had no connection at all, anymore to that bobber or that big fish. I looked for a boat. Someone could put a net under that fish, still. I considered the nearby pool net. It had a long pole attached to it; but, sadly, not long enough. So I just watched my bobber, my fish, as he taunted, teased and jeered at me, still looking, for all the world, like I should be jerking and reeling and having him for supper. 

So today… Six lessons (about evangelism) from the one that got away:

  1. Even if your fish may “get away” in the end, reel with all your might. The practice will be good for you.
  2. Enlist the help of those people around you. Even if others aren’t “fishing” there’s something they can do. (Holding the phone and taking pictures was not as useful as getting a net would have been.) Help other people become fishers of men, too. (Of course, my husband is a great fisher of men. He just wasn’t a great help that morning on the bank.)
  3. Be prepared. Don’t go fishing with a line that’s inadequate for the job ahead. (Study the book, pray as if souls depended on it. They do.)
  4. Try to ignore the lively jig of the bobber after the fish has been lost. (Even the Lord said there are those who will not be “caught”; so we have to cut the losses and rebait (Mark 6:11). Don’t get discouraged by a loss. Make improvements in your “line” and try again.
  5. Don’t get enamored, involved, engrossed in the lake. My biggest temptation was to jump in there the moment the line broke and  try and grab that fish. The result, of course, would have been that I’d have gotten that lake all over me (moss, mud and all) and that fish would still be lost in the deep. That’s the way it is with the world. We can’t jump into the filth of the world in an attempt to get the “big one”. He will still get away and if we’ve jumped into sin, in the process of trying to “influence”, we will still lose the catch. But we will be dirty and full of regret.  
  6. There will always be the taunters. Tie on another hook and “cast your (line) on the other side” (John 21:6).                                                                                  
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep: “Glory” fits us to a T!

We’re off and running. The first Dig-a-Bit is coming soon, the first typos in the study have  already been discovered, and the t-shirts have sold out in several sizes. But those things are unimportant, of course. The main thing is that hundreds (maybe thousands) of women are in the Word (translations of His Will in two languages) and that we are already taking baby steps toward reflecting His glory in larger aways than we’ve been able in the past.  This is making me happy…

…And crazy! Glenn and I left home for a few days of R&R. We had caught up on shipping books, but we carried a couple of cases with us, along with packing materials, just in case there were more orders to fill. Suffice it to say, we turned right back around and headed home within a few hours because the orders were still pouring in. This is VERY encouraging and we are hard at work once more. We are going to try this road trip again in a few hours and take three more cases with us this time! 

About the T-shirts…that was a quick sell-out, so we are going back to the t-shirt company and run another batch. Since it’s hard to tell just how many to buy, this time we are only going to print those that you pre-order. You can pre-order here:   https://thecolleyhouse.org/store, but do so by September 12th, This will be the last batch we print of the GLORY shirts. I might get another one, because mine is in the laundry all the time…wearing that shirt several times a week! 

None of these little details are “kabad”, but the study is. This month, we are learning that the word, that will later most often be translated “glory”, was often in the early Old Testament translated as “heavy” or “rich” or “ grievous” or “sore”. We are learning that the Holy Spirit wants us to know that the combined attributes of Diety are very weighty. They are, in fact, infinite. 

The Holy Spirit described this in chapter 55 of the book of Isaiah, the prophet: 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways,

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

So why? Why are we studying His glory, when we know, before we begin, that the full understanding of his attributes is unattainable for us, as mere human beings? The answer is in the same passage in Isaiah: 

For as the rain cometh down,

and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither,

but watereth the earth,

and maketh it bring forth and bud,

that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:

it shall not return unto me void,

but it shall accomplish that which I please,

and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

We have this amazing promise. His Word will not return to Him without accomplishing its purpose. What is its purpose for Cindy Colley? I praise Him that the purpose is to give me saving faith (Romans 10:17). I praise Him that the purpose for my having His Word is that I might be saved from sin, from hell, from darkness. I praise Him that the purpose for me is that I might have a share in His GLORY!??? Would that even be possible, that I could share in an entity so majestic as his GLORY? Romans 8:17 tells me, in no uncertain terms, that, as his child, I can!

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Praise Him! Glorify Him!

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep: Here’s the Weekly Breakdown!

Some of you have requested a weekly breakdown of the GLORY study for classes that might be meeting each week. So, thanks to Kerri Epling, a nine-year veteran digger, here’s what her group is using this time around! I hope this is helpful for those who are meeting during Sunday or Wednesday Bible class hours. It may even make the challenge seem a little less formidable for those who are new to these ropes! 

As an aside, watch tomorrow’s blog post for info about a new t-shirt pre-order. We ran out of GLORY shirts quickly, so we are doing one more run. Stay tuned if you missed the first shirt blitz.

Month 1 (Sept 2019)

Sept 1- 7 #1 – #3
Sept 8-14 #4 & #5
Sept 15-21 #6 – #8
Sept 22-28 #9
Sept 23 & 30
use for catching up and practically speaking

Month 2 (Oct 2019)

Oct 1-7 #1 & #2
Oct8-14 #3-#5
Oct 15-21 # 6 & #7
Oct 22-28 #8 – #10
October 29 -31
finish up and practically speaking

Month 3 (Nov 2019)

**Look for rainbows all month and post a picture and verse for a chance to win a book!** Nov 1-7 #1
Nov8-14 #2-#5
Nov 15-21 # 6 – #10

Nov 22-28 #11 – #13
Nov 29 -30
finish up and practically speaking

Month 4 (Dec 2019)

*This practically speaking is a month-long assignment* Dec 1-7 #1 + start practically speaking
Dec 8-14 #2
Dec 15-21 #3 & #4

Dec 22-28 #5 & # 6 Dec 29 31 finish up

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Month 5 (Jan 2020)

Jan 1-7 #1
Jan8-14 #2&#3
Jan 15-21 #4 & #5 2 Sam 21
Jan 22-28 #5
listen to audio in #5
January 30 -31
finish and practically speaking

Month 6 (Feb 2020)

Feb 1-7 #1 – #5
Feb 8-14 #6 – #10
Feb 15-21 #11 – #13
Feb 22-29 #14 & #15 + practically speaking

Month 7 (March 2020)

March 1-7 Read Isaiah 48 54 in #1 March 8-14 Finish #1 and do #2 March 15-21 #3 – #6
March 22-28 #7 – #9

March 29 31 Practically speaking

Month 8 (April 2020)

April 1-7 Luke 1 6 in #1 and also questions #2 & #3
April 8-14 Luke 7
13 in #1 and also questions #4 – #6
April 15-21 Luke 14
19 in #1 & also questions #7 & #8
April 22-28 Luke 20
24 in question #1 & also questions #9 – #11 April 28 & 30 practically speak

Month 9 (May 2020)

May 1-3 Start practically speaking
May 4-10 John 1 & 2 for #1 and also #2 – #5 May 11-17 John 3 & 4 for #1 and also #6 – #10 May 18-24 John 5 & 6 for #1 and also #11 – #13 May 25-31 John 7 & 8 for #1 and also #14 – #16

Month 10 (June 2020)

June 1-7 John 9 11 & #1 – #4
June 8-14 John 12
14 & #5 – #8
June 15-21 John 15
17 & #9 – #12
June 22-28 John 18
21 and #13 – #16
June 29 & 30
finish up and practically speaking

Month 11 (July 2020)

July 1-7 #1 – #6

July 8-14 #7 – #11

July15-21 #12-#18

July22-28 #19-#21

July 29 31 finish up and practically speaking (involves praying for lost for 1 month so may want to start at beginning of July)

Month 12 (Aug 2020)

Aug 1-13 Do 1 question per day and practically speaking during that time!

(if you aren’t going to PTP and/or don’t want to be part of the “awards ceremony” for finishers, you can use the whole month to finish; the new study will come out the week of PTP and will start on September 1st)

Photo credit: Wendi Adams

 

Print your PDF version here:

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Good Morning…and Welcome to “Glory”!

 

Glory starts now! I feel like we are, once again, after intensive labor, giving birth to a baby. It’s exciting to see how she will grow and where she will go. It’s surely not too late to invite a friend to do the study with you. Whose life would not be enriched by taking a few hours, at her own pace, each month for a year, concentrating on the glory of our Creator and Sustainer? And which of us should not want to give a little time, for the next year, in the quest of fulfilling the purpose for which we were made—to glorify the Source of our lives? I don’t know about you, but when I think, this morning, about the good man beside whom I awoke, about the children and grandchildren that are the tentacles through which I get to influence more broadly, about the relative physical safety and plenty with which I’m able to do my work and live out my days; but most of all, when I think about the place to which I’m going when they are all “lived out,” I conclude that no amount of time invested in His glory even approaches enough time. I know our list of great blessings varies from sister to sister, but surely we all have an inexhaustible one!

I want to welcome scores of new women to the study. It makes me smile each time I notice that someone’s been added or that someone new has dowloaded or ordered the study. Welcome to every woman who’s new and welcome back to every one who’s a veteran digger.  A special shout-out today to those who have been along for the entire nine year ride. I’d love to see you all (nine-year veterans) comment on this thread over on my personal facebook page. It would be interesting to know the names of those who began the initial study with us back in the year 2011.  A big shout-out to Pam Christopher and Cathy Swanson who have COMPLETED every single portion of every single year’s study. There may be others, but I am aware of only these two.  

Next and most important today: All veterans need to be extremely aware that newcomers have not studied along and grown in every area as you have done during past studies. There are women, from all stations in life who may not have not been exposed to the same good teachings to which you have been exposed. There are women who are joining us from many different religious backgrounds, as well. All of us must remember that the eternal souls of those who study along may very well be impacted by this study of His glory. Therefore, it’s key that we proceed though the study with extreme courtesy, kindness, gentleness, patience and love (Wow…I think these are fruits of the Spirit!); especially now,  as we launch into this year’s study. We will never compromise truth from His Word, but we will use wisdom as to when and how we deal with controversial subjects. We are not afraid of them, because we have the final Word of the Holy Spirit as the foundation of our study. He has given us clarity in all matters of salvation and has given us liberty in all matter of opinion. But let’s all be very careful in responding to those who may be joining us for the first time. Let’s not discourage their continued study by assuming they should know everything we’ve studied over the past nine years. Truth will emanate from the Word as we go along. But it will not do any good in the lives of women who have become frustrated at the very beginning of the study by those who might have been sharp or impatient with ladies who are digging for the first time. Let’s remember that we want them to hear the Lord say the words of this article’s title one glorious day: “Good morning!…and welcome to glory!” 

Once again,  here’s the link you need to get started: https://thecolleyhouse.org/digging-deep-introduction-video?fbcl

I’m in daily  prayer that our direction and focus will be just where He would have it to be. (any woman who joins the study before October 15th will have plenty of time to catch up and be with the group, but get as many as you can to jump in now!)

Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Philippians 4:20).

 If you have further questions, post them on the “Digging Deep in God’s Word” FB page. No question is silly. (Tech people would have given up on disseminating this DD material long ago if they were not extremely gracious to people like me who are way behind the curve!) Most of the time, someone else will be helped by the answer to your question.

And for any new person who’s wondering “How do you even know if you are getting the answers right?”…the ladies in the group are so good to help each other and I try to be watchful, also, to help clarify when it might be unclear exactly what’s  the “right” answer. Sometimes, there’s no right answer  and all of our answers will be different. The podcast, at month’s end, is also useful in helping us all be on the same page. That podcast is always archived, so you can watch later, if you can’t join us live. It’s also always posted on the DD facebook page for ease in finding.   I’m in daily prayer that our direction and focus will be just where He would have it to be.

(Any woman who joins the study before October 15th will have plenty of time to catch up and be with the group, but get as many as you can to jump in now!)

Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Philippians 4:20).

(photo credit: Rebecca Jenkins Richardson)