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Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Imagine this: Propagandizing and Book Burning

If some very powerful people in government and society have their way, we are going to be making radical changes across the board in rapid fashion. One of the saddest that came across my desk this week is the eradication (a very real present-day book burning) of six Dr. Seuss books from library shelves and coincidentally, the big push through children’s books,  to educate preschoolers in the acceptance and  approval (Romans 1: 32 in vogue) of the LGBTQ movement. I cannot adequately express the eternal inequity to children when we teach them to approve homosexuality, transgenderism, etc…PRIOR to their ability to even comprehend sexuality at all. It is damage beyond our ability to repair. We have to keep saying truth about God’s plan for one man and and one woman for life and about divinely assigned gender. Christian parents and grandparents must see that this is no time to throw in the towel due to our own exasperation and exhaustion with the fight against what is so very vile as to infect pure minds prior to their ability to discern; to strip tender imaginations of their sweet scope and place in them what eventually defiles and damns. It is child abuse of the most severe kind.

Here’s the instagram post by LGBT in which a little boy is being taught the GayBCs.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLuxwNHl23I/

and here is what’s being removed:

https://apnews.com/article/dr-seuss-books-racist-images-d8ed18335c03319d72f443594c174513

This needs no commentary from me. But it needs exposure. Christian parents must be vigilant.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Opposite Directions

 

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

Today I’m traveling south and east to get my arms around some pretty sweet grandchildren, one of which is just under two weeks old. Since tomorrow night’s the podcast and I’ll be doing it live and remotely from a distant location I feel like I’m almost moving mountains to make this trip. 

We are the sandwich generation, so my husband is traveling west and north to do some much needed tasks for elderly parents. He’s moving mountains, too (or at least trying to) after a very long time of their inaccessibility to groceries (and almost everything else) because of extreme cold and ice coverage in their area. 

So last night after worship, we parted, Glenn and I, and began making miles in the exact opposite directions from one another to give hugs to people we love who are at the exact opposites of the spectrum of life. For a good bit of this week, we will be about 12 hours apart from one another. 

When God says he removes my sins and casts them from me as far as the east is from the west, that’s profound. I move, in human increments, as best I can, TOWARD God and my sins are moved in divinely amazing proportions BY God to a far away and irretrievable place in the opposite direction of the one in which I am moving. 

Earlier in the day yesterday, I had a chance to study with a young woman I’m growing to love very much. She asked me about her sins. “When God forgives me, is it impossible for me to ever be lost again? Am I permanently saved?” We went through passages that teach us what to do about sin after the original east-west casting done by God. We talked about Bible characters who did sin impenitently and rebelliously after baptism and what was required for their restoration and subsequent salvation. But we also talked about the continual comfort of 1 John 1:7 for those baptized believers who are walking in the light (doing diligence to be followers of Christ: 

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

I explained to her how that the word for “cleansing” here is a verb of continuation. It means “keeps on cleansing.” She got that and she loved it. 

I asked her if she had other questions about the gospel she’s learned in recent days. She said 

“Yes, I have one more….Like, how can I be baptized…because I know I need to.” 

I asked her to explain to me her reasons for wanting to be baptized. She had a little list in her heart. 

“To be born again, to be dead to sin, to be washed from sin, to be saved.” 

I spent the night (or part of it anyway) in a hotel room near Atlanta, Georgia. And I slept soundly with a very grateful heart for the waters of baptism that washed away my friend’s sins yesterday…that removed them from her, as far as the east is from the west. I spoke with three sisters at West Huntsville who are going to check on her while I’m in Florida this week. One of them already invited her to our local Digging Deep study which happens tonight. On this, her first full day of being a Christian, I am praying very hard for her. Yesterday was the best day of her life. But the devil loves to give big challenges to those who are babies in the Lord. 

I’m so glad we serve a God who can put sin wherever he wants it to be; and, barring my choice to be close to sin again, He can keep its guilt far, far away from me…as far as the east is from the west. 

I’m going to spend a few miles today praising Him for this game-changing reality!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Always Pray for the Bad Ones, Too…

Recently, during Bible time, our son, Caleb asked Maggie, who’s two “Who should we pray for tonight?” Maggie named some people whom she thought needed prayer. Caleb, listing all those she had suggested, said “Great. Let’s pray for them. Those are some good ones.” 

Bekah, Maggie’s mom, said, under her breath to Caleb, “Well, don’t pray for the bad ones.” Well, obviously, Bekah was poking fun at Caleb’s choice of words about praying for the “good ones.”

They had their prayer and moved on with the bedtime ritual. A bit later, Maggie looked at her dad, while he was brushing her teeth, and asked “Why did Mama say not to pray for the bad people?”

Rebekah got busy explaining how she was just joking and how we really should always pray for bad people to obey Jesus.

So then they prayed again and Maggie said “Please help the bad people to get repenting.” 

I hope she can internalize, remember and practically translate from thought to action all these little, but very BIG, truths she’s learning at the hands of Deuteronomy 6 parents. If she can, she’ll be ready for a great go at the Christian life…the abundant life (John 10:10). She will be effective in prayer, compassionate, and a winner of souls. 

Don’t forget:

  1. The podcast is next Tuesday night. It’s going to be a pretty special edition, so try to join us!
  2. The 2022 trip to Israel is being logistically planned as I write this. Details and registration available by mid-March. Stay tuned for that. Registration will be open to diggers (current or past) and their spouses only through the end of 2021. In January of 2022, if there is space left, we will open it up to others in the body. 
  3. Please keep praying for so many diggers, over on the Digging Deep for Encouragement page, who are going through some of the hardest things in life.
  4. …And, perhaps as never before in our country, pray for good to be victorious over evil, and for “all the bad people to get repenting.”
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Dear Ellis,


Dear Ellis,

I’d do anything within reason for most people who had a real need. But YOU. You needed nothing that wasn’t being given you already and, just to see you, your Papa and I drove 17 hours, part of which was driven in the wee small hours of the morning. Your papa doesn’t do that for anyone but you (…ok, perhaps for four other little people we love)! It was worth the drive. You, the only Colley name-carrier in all of our extended family, have wonderful dark eyes, brown hair, and you have a sister who’s two and dotes on you. That look in her eyes is pretty fun to watch, too. 

I’ll make your letter short and sweet. We don’t want too much. We only want you to move closer to your mammy and papa. We want to get to witness some of your first laughs, bites, crawls and steps. We want to get to play games with you and swing you in the big tree swing in our yard. We want to take romps in the woods behind our house and take you to the lake and watch you catch your first fish and then to the adjoining playground and slide and climb and play in the sand with you. We want to be able to come to your ball games and take you to the putt-putt course and the bowling alley.

We can’t be geographically close to you right now, so we’ll just take advantage of every little chance we get. But more than we want you to grow up close to us, we want you to grow up close to God. This very biggest wish of ours is something we already know (assuming you get to grow into a man) is a happening thing. This wish eclipses all others in our hearts. We watched your sister Maggie say almost all of the books of the Bible last week. We listened to her quote her “Bible words.” She explained to us what it means to repent and that most of all “we want to be just like Jesus.” Most of all, we want that for you. MOST. OF. ALL!

Your great-grandfather used to say “God’s best people are children.” We agree. you are completely and humbly dependent. You are pure and innocent. You are eager to learn and free of worry. You are so much of what we want to be. “Except (we) become as little children, (we) cannot inherit the kingdom.” 

Your mother and daddy are determined. As I watched you in your very first Bible time when you were just over 24 hours old, I thought about the big job your mama and dad are taking on. You will hear His word every night for the next 18 years or so. That’s about 6570 family Bible times.  You will have a couple of pairs of grandparents say your name to God, along with your praying parents, every single night. That’s about 20,000 times (at least) that the Father will hear your name before you leave home.

Ellis, if you preach the gospel, you will be a fifth generation gospel preacher. But, whether or not you do, you will be a fifth generation child of God. That’s all we want, because every Christian, by definition, is a follower of Christ. That’s all we want because, if you’re a follower, then you will follow Him one day all the way to a place where your papa and mammy will be waiting for you. It will be a place where we really can live close to you, forever and always. 

We love you. 

Mammy and Papa

P.S. Your grandfather put your sweet face up on the big screen before he preached today. I thought his buttons would pop off right there on that pulpit stage!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Ellis Glenn Colley: Seven Pounds of Perfect!

…And the winners are…Nancy Johnson Koester and Tonja McRady, both of whom exactly nailed the length, weight and hair color of Ellis Glenn Colley! Born at 12:36 pm on Tuesday of this week, this now three-and-a half-day-old bundle has already brought three-and-a-half lifetimes of contentment and gratitude to this mammy heart of mine. His big sister Maggie, is perfectly proud of him— gentle and sweet—so far. 

We got the word that Ellis was on his way very shortly before Glenn’s plane landed in Huntsville, Alabama on Monday afternoon. He had been preaching in Houston for a few days, so we hurried home from the airport, threw a few bags of dirty laundry out of his suitcase, replaced the dirty with clean, and started the nine-hour drive to Orange Park, Florida. In only a scant 48 hours, we were making the trek again in the opposite direction. We drove 17 hours for 17 minutes of baby-hugging, and it was worth every mile! (We’ll be returning again soon for another dose of Ellis and Maggie….So thankful they have another set of grandparents who came even further than we did!) We praise God, from whom all blessings flow, for this healthy and blessed child. In advance, we praise God for every opportunity he will have to convey His gospel to those who did not have the blessing of being born to faithful parents. We pray that our little troupe could grow into a channel of His blessings for those whose hearts are open to the will of the Father.  As two-year-old Maggie said in her prayer recently, may we all “help the bad people to get repenting.”

When Ellis got home from the hospital, his Papa read to him—two letters that we wrote to Caleb, Ellis’ dad, back in 1983. (Ellis was not so attentive, however.) The letters were dated (one from me and one from Glenn) two days before Caleb was born. It was sweet to finally open up that envelope that had been sealed for 37 years and be reminded of how very little we knew (I mean next nothing!) about raising kids prior to the birth of our first son. 

But our Father does have all the answers to all the problems before the challenges surface. May every mama and grandmama who’s reading do the James 1:5 prayer every single morning. And may He give His people wisdom for day-to-day parenting challenges like never before. The “roaring 20s”, this time around, are full of the roar of 1 Peter 5:8. May we be ever vigilant, ever protective of the most innocent and most vulnerable among us.

P.S. Nancy Johnson Koester, I need your home address!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Providence in Birth Order: The Hanna Family

In the last century, a popular theory emerged about personality and birth order. Developed by Alfred Adler, it just posited that birth order directly impacts personality. More recently, child and family therapist, Meri Wallace, authored a book called Birth Order Blues, in which she agreed with Adler and elaborated on his findings. 

There are other researchers who do not agree, but it seems to me that, at the very least, we’d have to all agree that parents change and mature between births of their babies, and so the parents of the youngest child in a family are different from the people they were five, ten or even fifteen years ago when the first child was born. They know more about what’s really important as more children come along. They know more about effective discipline. (Experience is a great teacher.) They have less and less time and propensity for selfish pursuits (and for the previously-born children). They should be more mature, introspective and wise. My daughter, who recently gave birth to her third child, says to me, whenever a doctor tells her something that’s elementary, or when a grandmother at the supermarket is critical of her discipline, “This is not my first rodeo.”  I firmly believe that the best-prepared parent is the one who’s riding in a repeat “rodeo”. 

It stands to reason that, environmentally, kids in the same families will not always be affected in the same ways by their common parents. I write about Providence a lot and I believe that God’s providing for His own families, His obedient parenting sons and daughters, even in the birth order of their children. 

Take my brand new friend, Honour Able Hanna, who was born last week in Grand Bahama. His dad and mother, Tavaro and Shameika, who work with the church there are among our dearest family members in the Lord. When we first knew them, about ten years ago, they were on a very different trajectory through life than the one they’ve purposefully mapped out during those intervening years. I love talking to Shameika about the conscious decisions that took her from being an all-in career mom (having been brought up to be just that) with aspirations of power in the business world to where she is today: having the full realization of the relative unimportance of money and prestige when compared with the blessings that come with being all-in for Christ. I’ve never personally seen anyone make the transitions so swiftly and completely as Shameika has done. In the meantime, her husband Tavaro has completed preaching school in the U.S. and they have together returned to their native island to reach as many as they can for the cause that directs them heavenward. Genesis was their firstborn. Her name was purposeful and prophetic. She was the Genesis of a spiritual parenting journey through which they were vowing to leave a legacy for the Lord through their children. Thus, Legacy, their second daughter, was soon born and it was not too long after her birth that the little family set their sights on coming to preaching school. This is Genesis:Genesis At the time they came over, the mantra or family purpose statement  using their children’s names was “ The Genesis of a godly Legacy.”

While they were in preaching school, baby #3 was born. Her name is Providence, and we watched God provide a path for the family to leave secular work and be full-time in evangelism, starting a congregation and bringing multiple souls to Him. The purpose statement was then “The Genesis of a godly Legacy by God’s Providence”.

Faithful Leigh was next and the family sub-title grew: “The Genesis of a Faithful godly Legacy.”

Finally these four perfect little girls welcomed a brother,  Honour Able to the family last week. Honour is beautiful! Fresh from heaven, he fills what Shameika says, for now, is the last empty spot in her heart—a heart that’s full of a desire to glorify Him. She says the final family word is “An Honour Able Genesis of a Faithful godly Legacy, by God’s Providence.”

Now, back to birth order. God is amazing sometimes in what He is working through parents who are set on honoring Him. In this particular family, four sweet daughters have been learning to be meek and quiet spirits (I Peter 3:1-6), little women of wisdom (Proverbs 31), and little girls who are constantly looking to faithful older women as examples of familial love and service. I remember it was at the birth of Genesis that the genesis really happened. Two parents made a firm decision to do everything within their power to get that little soul to heaven. They made big financial and time sacrifices to get on a path from which they have never looked back. Four little girls followed the Genesis and each came into a stronger and more focused home.  It was the little future elder and preacher, though, that God saved for last. He’s putting Him in a home that is already fully committed, trained and back in the field. He will get to see some things in his early, most formative years, that Genesis, the oldest,  for instance, did not get to see in hers—a preacher’s family in full-force evangelism, a mom and dad who have learned by experience to be amazing one-on-one evangelists, a father who has ten years of nurturing and discipline experience under his belt, a mother who has been forced to drop some things that she thought were priorities before the births of her girls and move some important things to the top of the list, a family who has been having Family Bible Time for ten years….In short, while they were all born into a home of faith and dedication, he has been born into a home that’s been through one of the greatest apprenticeships: the tutor has been experience. So Honour, by His great mercy, has the same parents as the four beautiful girls. But Honour has different parents, too. Honour’s parents are in their thirties; not their twenties. Honour’s Daddy is a preacher; not a businessman. Honour’s mother is a keeper at home extraordinaire and she already has ten years of home-schooling behind her. It’s the same family, but it’s not the same family. God has given this little boy six in-house nurturers, while Genesis had only two. He has six diaper-changers. But, more importantly, he has six people who are going to pray for him every day; four sisters who will be helping him learn his memory verses and remember to take His Bible to class. He will have a smaller portion of one-on-one time with parents, but the huge benefit of close quarters and constant conversation. (I mean really constant.)   He will have six storybook readers! God has given this future preacher a father (a tutor) who is a preacher. He has given him a mission field at the door of the little house. He has given him a  time and place when He will be watching parents react with prowess and protectiveness to a sin-saturated culture. It will not be the same culture at all into which Providence, the middle child, was born. 

Adler posited that birth order molds personality. I posit that, for His people, God providentially and strategically blesses through birth order. I think Romans 8:28 applies as mothers deliver babies. Surely a part of “all things” are those pregnancies, chromosomes, laborings, deliveries, nights up with babies, preacher school choices, people with whom parents interact and from whom they learn and grow. His providence is amazing and, when we view the eventualities of our lives through the lens of His glory, we find constant wonder and awe at the way He works through our families. 

Lastly, I love that Providence is the middle child in this family. Half-way through the birthing order—between the Genesis and the Honour was a full recognition of the wonderful way God was executing His plan though the Hanna family. That’s the way it works. If we have a beginning—a desire to build, through our homes, a legacy for our Father—He, brings us to a place in which much glory and honor (Kabad) can be returned to Him. 

It won’t be too many years before a different birthing order will be happening in the Hanna family. I pray that each child will be born into Christ and in due time, each arrow will fly with precision and providence toward eternity around the throne of the great and providential heavenly Father we serve. 

He’s great in the “working-together” of birth and birth order. But He’s greater in the “working-together” of the new birth that’s by water and blood (John 3). He’s great in family providence. But he’s greater in His provision for us all in the family that will assemble when we cross over to that great family reunion! 

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28). 

I’m glad our Father is a purposeful Provider!