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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Maggie, the Bible Cwass Teacher

For today, I need some of the assurance that God always gets it right in the end, that “Old Satan” is ultimately and always the loser to the Victor over the tomb, and that children are our most valuable commodity for the future of the Victor’s kingdom. I hope this gives your morning (or evening) the same kind of joy, pure and holy, that it gave to me.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“I didn’t really plan on saying that…”

Maggie is three. But she’s an old soul and a very young fresh-from-God soul at the same time. This was her prayer one night last week: 

“Thank you that Adam and Eve repented and got to go up to heaven.” Then, when she finished praying, she said “Yeah, I just didn’t really plan on saying that. I just thought of it.” 

She’s learning every day and it doesn’t get past me that some of us old people need to be engaging in a lot more unplanned prayer. Sometimes we forget that prayer is not merely a habit we form of communication with the Father, but it is also a living expression of our evolving thoughts, petitions and praise to the One who has the infinite power to listen to all of His children, all over the world, at all times; to hear us as if there were only one of us (I wish I could have had that power when mine were small!) and to answer us in keeping with the very best eternal interests of each one of us.  This is not like the rote recitation of the pledge to the flag. It’s not reminiscent of the early twentieth century morning quotation of the “Lord’s Prayer” in schoolhouses all over America, although that’s an idea that was not a bad one. It’s more like Hannah at the temple crying out for a son (1 Samuel 1). It’s like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—firm in their resolution that God was able to deliver and yet firm in their own resolution to be true to Him even if he didn’t (Daniel 3). It’s more like Jesus on the cross commending His spirit into the hands of God (Luke 23:46). It’s you and me, asking for whatever it is that means the most to our hearts, expressing the trust that He is Sovereign no matter what assails us, and giving our all into His hands. That’s the kind of communication that flows freely, unencumbered by memorization or strict ritualistic form.  It’s the praise of a grandmother when a child puts on the Lord in baptism. It’s the prayer of a mother over the specific ills that have befallen a sick child. It’s the cry of a parent who is watching an adult child walk through a dark valley of betrayal and/or abuse. It’s the silent heavenward whisperings of a care-taking child watching a faithful parent deteriorate and die a thousand deaths on the way to glory.  It’s the wailing cry he hears from His child when the dearest on earth has left for the arms of the One who is interceding. It’s the petition for help from the Infinite One when navigating a path that seems busier and more overwhelming than a single person can even record on a calendar or spreadsheet. And all of this, of course, is far more raw than rote. 

It’s “Yeah, I didn’t plan on saying that, but I just thought of it.” This is being still and knowing (Psalm 46). 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley Dig-a-Bit Podcast

Isaiah 6 in the New Testament (THHCM02E01)


Dig-A-Bit is a weekly mini Bible study with Cindy Colley. It supplements the Digging Deep Bible study for women. In this episode, Cindy discusses Isaiah 6.

For more information about the Digging Deep Bible Study for Women, visit TheColleyHouse.org.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

  • Isaiah 6
  • John 12:37-40
  • Isaiah 53:1
  • Isaiah 28
  • Acts 28

LINKS:

RESOURCES:

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“There’ll be days like this…”

“There’ll be days like this,” my mama said. There have been a few times in my life when things that are pretty routine have become infrequent. Things like putting on make-up or cleaning the trash out of my car or making a path through my living room or actually calculating whether there are too many carbs in this meal I’ve prepared. Some of the days of care-taking for my parents were like that. Some of the days when I was finishing a degree and some of the days when my children were very young. These kinds of days and weeks don’t always text ahead and ask if I’m ready for their visitation. Often it’s just a series of unexpected events that together make life suddenly and abruptly frantic and chaotic. 

Such are the days of this autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year, in any normal year. But this year, there are family members with Covid, large projects for which I am responsible, and lots of extra people in my house due to circumstances that I did not plan or execute. I still love the colors outside, the chill in the air, the football games I’m not watching, the fall trip to see the leaves that we’re not taking this year,  the pumpkin spice, and the autumn decorations in the bins downstairs that I’ve not had time to open. In fact, I praise Him everyday for the beauty and provision all around me. But I just prioritize and pray He will help me get the things done that really matter—eternal things—and not worry about the rest. 

Last night Glenn prayed that God would not interpret the despair that sometimes overtakes us, in seasons of distress or busy-ness, as ingratitude, because “…you have blessed us immeasurably and we don’t want to ever appear as if we don’t know that.” I’ve been thinking about how we make sure that we are not viewed, by God or man, as ungrateful. I think there are two or three obvious ways. 

  1. We keep sharing the good news. We cannot ever get so busy or burdened that we are not evangelistic. We have to keep passing out those cards inviting people to study. We have to keep taking time to meet up with the new converts and trying to nurture infant faiths. We have to take children with whom we have influence, in our laps and look straight into their eyes and talk about how great God is every day. We can’t forget, even when we are needing to hurry and get home, to find the visitors at our services and welcome them and make ourselves available to answer their questions. I think, in these ways, we show our Father that we understand that our greatest blessing has remained untouched by any adversity this life may throw our way. 
  1. We verbalize to God. Sometimes it helps me, in the busiest times of life, to pray on my knees, or to pray out loud while driving. In the times when there’s little sleep and lots of bustle, prayer sitting in a recliner or lying in bed, can quickly digress into unintelligible sentences. Speaking our gratitude to Him every day with clarity, is one way we magnify Him (Psalm 69: 30).
  1. We look around for encouragement. Now, I know that, when you’re feeding a crowd for every meal around your own table, you may not be taking as many meals to the grieving or the sick of your congregation. When you are struggling financially, your service has to be on the skinny. When you’re sick, spreading love may also be spreading germs. But Ola Mae is a nonagenarian with Covid and she continues to make and send cards of encouragement to many people in many places. Carol is in the fourth stage of cancer and she is the number one encourager, to the Colleys and many others, through the written word. Mark is suffering from Crohn’s disease and his heartfelt teaching and admonishing through song in every worship service brings tears to my eyes when I sit near him. Glenn was pretty sick earlier this fall, but I have watched him just keep on faithfully administering that role of being the meat in the sandwich generation while getting back on his feet and back in his pulpit. Lin has had some serious health complications this fall…some major medical tests being done—but she keeps right on heading up more than one ministry in her congregation and homeschooling her children and she even spoke at a recent ladies event. Teresa has seriously struggled with multiple health issues, but spoke from home via zoom at a great ladies day last weekend. Betty and Bill both had Covid this fall, but they are right back in their pew now and serving as the leaders of our group of active seniors. Paul is dealing daily with parents who are not long for this earth and he, too, is balancing parents and kids in stressful times, but he calls every day to encourage my husband. I’m just saying, look around. You will find many examples of extreme gratitude and you will find many reasons to get on your knees and thank the good Lord. 
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Three Doors…Oh, for a Morning Like This Again!

I have some difficult things to do today. Really hard things. As I’m getting ready to go and do them, I’ve come across my notes from another weekday morning five years ago. I pray that I will see open doors today–  doors d. This was worth remembering….

SISTER TO SISTER: THREE DOORS

14481964_10153793830326384_7614171791050123724_oThese days, my siblings and I are spending more time than ever at my Dad’s house in Jacksonville, Alabama. I love being there, though the stretches away from hearth and home and husband make me wish I could be in two places at once. And there’s Waffle House. I love the way the servers (Dad calls them “nurses”….He has always called waitresses “nurses”.) are so very attentive to him. They start cooking his meal and setting his steaming coffee on the table when they see our car drive up. They open every little plastic container of creamer or jelly for him when they bring them to the table, knowing that his arthritic hands have difficulty pulling the tiny tabs to open them. Like I said, there’s lots to love about that kind of service. And the food is good…once…or twice…or even three times a week. But that many times a day is a bit much for my palate, not to mention my calorie count. 

Still, it’s not really about me at this stage. It’s about taking him where he would go all by himself, if he could, since we are really trying hard to get him not to be going places all by himself. It’s about a lot more than food these days. Sitting by the window in Waffle House watching the JSU world revolve outside the window with my sweet 94-year-old father is capital fun for me. We watch kids walking dogs and policemen pulling over cars and reflections of what all’s happening at the Grub Mart in the back glass. I show him pictures of his great grandchildren on my phone and he marvels at all the game scores, driving distances and names of famous athletes that I can call to his memory by a simple search on such a small device. The man who waited for the automobile to become a common mode of transportation marvels as I explain to him what exactly is a podcast and how women can interact during a podcast discussion—women from all over the world. 

So last Wednesday morning as he laboriously climbed the stairs at the entrance of Waffle House, I noticed a middle-aged lady holding the door open for my father. I smiled at her and thanked her for waiting patiently as he approached the door. She looked at my dad and said “Well, today I’ve already eaten, so I won’t get to eat my breakfast with you. But I hope you have a good one!”

I said, “:”Sounds like you’ve met Dad before…”

She responded “Sure did. I ate breakfast with him the other day and I told him ‘Your money’s no good with me!”

I thanked her for being so kind—to share a meal with him and then buy his breakfast. As he ambled on in, she said “Well, I enjoyed it. But really, on that day, I just thought about “what would Jesus do?…What would he want me to do?…and I decided He’s want me to do something good for a sweet elderly man.”

At that moment, I knew that there was more than one open door at the Waffle House. so I took the conversation to the next level: “That’s just so kind of you. I love my Jesus and I love to study the Bible. In fact…” At that point I went on to tell her about Digging Deep, and our study this year about types and shadows. I told her that I would love for her to join us and that my favorite thing to do is to study the Bible with people. I asked her if she would think about joining our group and even studying with me personally. “I’m all about Bible Study…”

“I sure will!” she said. “Stuff like this doesn’t happen by accident,” she went on, as I gave her my card with contact information. “I’ll be looking you up!”

Two doors were open. She thought she’d hold open a glass door for my father to walk through. She really was holding a golden door of opportunity open for me. I’m glad I could walk through it. I’m glad I had my wallet with that card to hand her. I’m thankful for His Providence at this moment and so many others. 

I’m not sure I believe that nothing happens by accident. But I do believe He is constantly orchestrating events to work for the good of His people (Romans 8:28). I hope she’ll pursue her opportunity now. I hope she’ll knock, so her door, too, can be opened (Matthew 7:7).

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley Dig-a-Bit Podcast

Redemption’s Scheme in Psalms (THHCM01E04)


Dig-A-Bit is a weekly mini Bible study with Cindy Colley. It supplements the Digging Deep Bible study for women. In this episode, Cindy discusses Psalm 130.

For more information about the Digging Deep Bible Study for Women, visit TheColleyHouse.org.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

  • Psalm 130
  • Acts 2:48

LINKS:

RESOURCES: