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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Meridianville Girls’ Day!

It’s set for May 20th. It’s for girls– junior high and up. This day will include fellowship, service, and singing. But, most importantly, it will remind and convict your daughters of their worth; the “why” of their resolve to be set apart from this world. Even the terms “holiness” and “righteousness” have an archaic and awkward ring in the ears of teen girls today. They live in a world that’s largely antagonistic to their commitment to Christ. This reminder of how much they are loved by the One who assigns ultimate worth will be valuable in decision-making to your daughters over and over again. There will be practical sessions for moms and mentors while the girls’ sessions are happening. The Bible will be at the heart of every part of this day.

Our girls will not learn their true value at school or from the media or peer groups. They will not grasp it in a day. But this day will be a tangible moment of building. It will be a day that could be hugely important in your daughter’s path heavenward (…your’s, too!). Here are the details. When you click you will see three tracks including schedules– for junior high and senior high and ladies. If you can make this trip, it will help you on your life’s most important trip!

https://www.meridianvillechurchofchrist.com/girlsdayregistration

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Lazy Cow

I’m loving being with the Pippin church in Cookeville, Tennessee this week. They are friendly and that building is jam-packed for every single service. The singing is out of this world and the acoustics are amazing. It’s been a long while since I have seen a building packed that full for any event and this event is all about the gospel. It has done this weary heart a lot of good!

After services last night, I got to greet my friend Mel Draper, with whom I traveled to Israel, and a dear old friend, Floyd Farris, whom Glenn and I had not seen for thirty-five years.  I got to see some Moriah campers, who are excited about this year’s reunion and some dear Blackwell friends. Every crevice has been pretty full and it feels pretty good to be at an event like this after so many times in recent months when I’ve needed to stay home and Glenn has traveled alone. This time they asked me to speak, too, to the ladies, and I’m glad I had this incentive to follow a day or two behind Glenn, even though I could not come with him.  I’ve met many new people and other people whom I loved already from Facebook friendships.

Then, after the meeting, we went,  just at closing time, to the Lazy Cow Creamery in Cookeville, Tennessee to get some of what Kendra Harless said was “the best ice cream in the world.” Being the ice cream connoisseur that I am, I could not wait! This Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses that had been renovated and repurposed as an ice cream parlor appeared to still be using the classroom tables from the JW’s in the old classrooms for the parlor tables. It appeared the “sanctuary” was the place where they made 50 gallons of ice cream daily to serve in various flavors that extended beyond the 31 regulars, both in ingredients and in goodness. I was so stoked about this little outing, even though I really didn’t know our hosts, Kendra and Parker Harless, very well at all. (I have a way, though, of becoming pretty tight with people, pretty fast. Wait for it.) 

I like Kendra and Parker. Who cannot like the girl who brings you to ice cream (the best in the world) at a picnic table at the Lazy Cow and proceeds to somehow organically get on the topic of new shoes…and tells a story about the new shoes she got when she was a teenager (canvas sneakers with rhinestones) and she wore them outside to get her mama’s tiller in, right before time to go to Bible Bowl, and their mean ole’ rooster came out from under the house and attacked her, talons out, and got blood on her new shoes?  You have to love her! “That ole rooster thought I was my brother. Now, my brother was mean to that rooster. He’d let him have it with the baseball bat. That rooster heard me comin’ and out he came for blood. I was so mad at that rooster for gettin’ that blood on my brand new shoes! By the time he got fried up that night, he had 47 BBs in him, that my best friend, Becca, picked out of him.” (You have just got to love that girl!) 

Glenn said  “Oh, you shot him with a shotgun?” 

“Oh no! We shot him 47 times with a BB gun. That’s all we had to shoot him with!”

I could not stop laughing. But what really got her on the subject of bloody dress shoes was what happened right before we sat down at the picnic table. I had picked, after long deliberation, one scoop of caramel toffee crunch on a waffle cone. And she was right. It was the best ice cream in the world. I almost never get a waffle cone and I was, as Colleyanna says, “in love with this ice cream” in my hand. I stepped out onto the porch of this old church building and then off the little step that puts one onto an old gravel path that leads over to the picnic table. The trouble was, I splattered down on that gravel path face-first! I was trying to lead the fall with the ice cream. I was trying to save that big scoop. But I sprawled all over that path and my waffle cone crunched to cold, sad, caramel covered pieces between my leopard-print shirt and those sharp gravel stones. I saw my husband’s saddle shoes run by me and then back as he shouted, “Oh Cindy, Are you okay??!!” (“Why did he run by me and then back?” you ask. ) Of course, he had to safely deposit his bowl of ice cream on the picnic table, before he could get back over there to help me up. Of course he did. He’s amazing like that. 

“I’m okay.” I said as I looked up with my chin still in the gravelly dirt. Just please go get me some more ice cream. It’s 8:58 and this place cannot close before I get my ice cream!” 

“What flavor was it?” Parker yelled, halfway back in the foyer of that creamery. 

“Caramel toffee crunch!” I yelled as I was getting up, slowly, with heavy huffing …like senior citizens do, wiping scraped knees and examining those three big spots of quartz-white, now mangled fabric on my black skirt and picking up big blobs of cone and cream and taking them to the milk-pail trash can on the porch. (Then, in case the place has closed and this is all you’re getting, you just have to lick your fingers.) 

I laugh when people fall down. I cannot help myself. I probably laugh most when I fall down.  Our new friends were, later, explaining a sad story about someone’s bad circumstance, and I thought about the fall, while they were describing this sadness, and I could not keep from laughing even at that inopportune moment. I had to say “I am so sorry. I cannot stop thinking about that epic face-plant! I always laugh when people fall. It’s disgraceful, I know. But I cannot help it.” Then I had to think about funerals or surgeries or lost puppies, so that I would not think about falling again. I shook in the bed at our hotel later that night just thinking about that sprawl. It was one for the books. I had to call my daughter and tell her about the magnificence of it. She is the only one who laughed harder than I did. 

For the record, it had been a pretty long day. Following a weekend in which I had traveled back and forth from Alabama to middle and east Tennessee more times than I care to think about; after I had delivered three lessons to ladies and attended eight sessions on topics from internet safety to hospitality to Acts 2, hosted five extra people in our home through that weekend, and talked, pretty extensively with four different women, who needed help or encouragement, I needed some levity. God always gives us what we need. I only wish my levitation off that porch had ended in a gentler landing! 

Sometimes, I think about how I might pass from this life to the next. Will it be a disease? Will I have dementia? (Sometimes I really am starting to suspect that.) Will I be in an auto-accident? Will I just die in my sleep? Then I think  “Nah, I’m pretty sure I’ll just fall at the wrong time from the wrong place, and have a fatal landing.” Pretty sure my track record points to that end. But I guess, then,  I’ll die laughing. 

I do recommend the Lazy Cow in Cookeville, Tennessee. But I recommend watching that first step off the porch. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #63–Plan a Girl’s Day

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 57  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

 

It’s a rich and busy time of life when you’re raising teens. Girls can be more challenging than boys. If you’re doing girls right now, that assessment is not a news flash. Hormones, emotions, temptations of today and peer dependence/comparisons are all a part of the day-to-day challenges of parenting teen girls. One of the most rewarding projects for our daughter was her participation in planning a girls’ day hosted by our congregation, but opened up to community teen girls. Moms in our community loved this opportunity to have somebody else tell their girls what they had been trying to tell them at home—about respect, purity, hard work and perseverance. 

Here are some quick guidelines you plan: 

  1. Get permission from your elders and a budget, so you can pay your speaker and buy supplies. 
  2. Find a speaker who is sound, wise and relatable and engage her for your planned date. 
  3. Come up with about three themes that the girls will like and let them pick. Try to think of whimsical lines from the culture that could have deep spiritual applications. Some popular ones have been “Whatever” (from Phil. 4:8 —we used flower-power 70’s decor), “Don’t Kiss Toads” (We used cute frogs), F.R.O.G. (Fully Respecting our God), and “Someday My Prince Will Come” (princess decor). You get the idea.
  4. Plan a schedule for the day. Include time for a group game (preferably related to your theme), time for singing, time for two 45 minute lessons from your speaker, time for a question and answer session with the speaker, and time for a fun meal. 
  5. Gather supplies: folders or notebooks with pockets, pens, cute favors, t-shirts with the theme on them for your planning team. Parents are always happy to buy these. 
  6. Enlist the helpers. Make sure teen girls get to read scripture and lead singing, introduce your speaker, run a registration table and run any tech for Powerpoint presentations, and decorate, etc…
  7. Choose songs and scriptures that go with your theme. 
  8. Let the girls plan and prepare the menu. If they want to buy sandwich bags from Chik-Fila or pizza, collect money from donors within the church and let them go with it. Let THEM do the work. They grow more when they are invested. If you are cooking, let THEM do that, too.
  9. Have them buy and/make gifts for the visitors or for those who win the games, etc…
  10. Let them design flyers, bulletin boards and emails to get the word out to area congregations and to girls in the community. 
  11. On the week of the event, gather at the building for any cleaning, for pizza and for decorating/cooking. Try to make this fun! 
  12. Make sure you talk to the planners ahead of time about what to wear. The t-shirts you designed are great, but stress your requirements for modesty prior to the day. Stress the need to be friendly and sit with people who are visitors. 
  13. For Q and A, have everyone write something on an index card and place it in the question box. They can choose between a favorite verse or words of encouragement or a question. This way, those with questions will feel more at ease putting a card in the box. Don’t skip this most important part. Anonymous questions target the real needs. 
  14. At lunch, have fun  theme-related music playing in the background, if possible. 
  15. Take lots of pictures. Maybe even include a photo booth. Make memories!
  16. Follow-up after the day with letters to all visitors. Let the girls write the letters (Get those addresses at the registration table) Thank them for coming and include a good tract for teen girls in this correspondence. 
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Porneia in Matthew 19:9

The purpose of Matthew 19:9 was the protection of the marriage institution. Sandwiched between a discussion of the permanence of marriage using the “one flesh” words from Genesis 2:24 and a discussion about eunuchs, the passage is rather obviously about physical acts of fornication on the part of a spouse, that give the only reason accepted by God for exiting a marriage and entering another.  When we say that the viewing of pornography is porneia–that it constitutes adultery– thus allowing for the spouse of the viewer to be free from the marriage bond and remarry another, we cheapen the institution God was protecting in the passage. Further, if the temporal consequence of lust-in-the-heart is freedom to dissolve my marriage, then the temporal consequence of hatred in my heart is the same consequence that’s due to a literal murderer (same context as “whoso looks on a woman to lust” in Matthew 5 and then in 1 John 3:15). In other words, if the pairing of Matthew 5:28 and Matthew 19:9 give license for a spouse who is guilty of lust to be divorced for adultery, then the pairing of Matthew 5:21,22 and 1 John 3:15, surely would subject the man with a heart of hatred to the same consequence as if he were a literal murderer. 

The big problem in both of these scenarios is the ambiguity of the thought processes described. When does one cross the line into hatred? Can any woman reading say she is absolutely sure she has not ever hated anyone? Would I then say I might be a murderer, but I’m not sure. It’s easy for us to see that a literal murderer is not the same in every respect as one who has committed the sin of actually killing someone. in a similar way, the lust of the heart is a sin having various degrees. Which man could say he is certain that he has never had a lustful thought about anyone?

If “sexual immorality” in Matthew 19:9 indeed does include any act of immorality that is of a sexual nature (not just physical sexual activity), I would, as a woman, need to be very careful to be able to assert that I had never stepped outside the boundaries of purity in my dress, my language, my overtures, etc…for, if I have erred in any of these ways, my husband could certainly put me away, for those “acts of immorality” that are most definitely in the arena of sexuality.

God put Matthew 19:9 in our Bibles to protect our marriages. If Matthew 19:9 is an effective door of exit for anyone whose husband has ever committed the sin of lust, then may the most conscientious of our godly men, be at risk of losing their marriages because of some lingering glance or lust of the heart? Could the homes of our congregations be destroyed in wholesale fashion, without displeasing God in the “putting away” of husbands who have, at one point or another, been guilty of  impure thoughts or momentary lust of the heart? 

This argument that Matthew 19:9 and Matthew 5:28 make for an acceptable (to God) reason for divorce and remarriage is fallacious and extremely destructive to our families and the kingdom. “Sexual immorality” is an unfortunate translation of “porneia”. 

I recommend this article for your consideration. It is deeply rooted in Scripture and in wisdom from above that is pure and peaceable (James 3:17). 

 https://christiancourier.com/articles/is-lust-fornication?fbclid=IwAR3OJ6Xa8pIC4uFtnU19zqMaXWwhr4uj2nfkKJqsLJTN_ApkOdNDHOAHR4s

Pornography is an awful sin and it is doing just about as much damage as any tool the devil has at hand to destroy our next elders, our marriages, our innocent sons and our congregations. It must not be ignored because it is a spiritual malignancy that quickly grows to stage 4. But it is not the porneia of Matthew 19:9.

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

Comfort in Prayer from Jonah (GOACM08E04)


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 the prayer of Jonah.

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

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

    • Jonah 1-4

LINKS:

RESOURCES:

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Praying the Psalms in Missouri and in the Bahamas

This last month in Digging Deep has been an exercise in deep prayer rooted in scripture. I hope you have benefitted from it. It did my heart a lot of good this past weekend to travel to a relatively remote area of Missouri and meet some representatives of a little pod of diggers who are meeting together weekly for three hours each Tuesday and spending that time in the Words of the Holy Spirit.  You cannot look at the message ion the Holy Spirit for three hours with other believers without becoming more like the Spirit…more holy.

Sometimes we have a tendency to underestimate our connectedness with diggers all over the country (and some in other parts of the world, as well.) I think I would have never heard about these eight women who have grown together and are now introducing neighbors and friends to their study and to the Lord’s church. I am praying for them today. I want to be more like some of those women who came to talk to me last Saturday. I love them and will treasure their encouragement to me for a long time to come. I want to be around the throne with them.

As we begin the study for the month of May, I want to share this photo from one sister who lives in the Bahamas. Shameika Hanna is studying along this year, as she has for several years. A busy mom of five, she amazes me with regular evangelistic studies with women who need the Lord on the island of Grand Bahama, in-depth memorization and conceptualization of Scripture in her home with her children, and preparation and delivery of lessons to women of God. (You can hear her at this year’s Polishing the Pulpit in August; https://polishingthepulpit.com/.

Here’s her Psalm one prayer. It’s the prayer of a thirty-something mom on Grand Bahama. I’ve prayed this psalm recently as a sixty-something grandmother in Alabama. One of the things I love about praying the psalms is that, no matter your age or station, these psalms are incredibly relevant and practical.

Finish strong in your comfort prayers and let’s move forward to some comfort in the “grace space” described in the book of Romans. This part of the study has been extremely beneficial to me already!