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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

It Takes a SPARK!

SPARK, Hot Springs, is in the books now and I am going to keep touting the spiritual advantages of attending one of the SPARK lectureships when one of these programs, jointly hosted by Polishing the Pulpit and a local church, visits your area. There are some things you can count on in a SPARK program. One is sound teaching and lots of it. Another is a feeling that your hosts really want you to be there and are appreciative of the distances driven and the effort expended by those attending. Yet one more is the sweet fellowship that grows into lifelong Christian friendships within the community of fellow believers with whom you are spending the week. 

I often hear of the good old days when gospel meetings lasted for a couple of weeks and multiple baptisms occurred. I think those two-week meetings really had nothing on this intensive lectureship that included more lessons than a two-week gospel meeting and likely fewer distractions from the world in between the messages from the pulpit. And this lectureship included three baptisms as of the time I left. One young lady, Callie, confessed the Lord and put him on in baptism prior to the beginning of the service on Tuesday night. Then later, as the invitation song was being sung, another young lady, walked down the aisle and asked to be immersed for the remission of sins. Then as we bowed for the closing prayer, a dad shouted from the back, “Wait, we’re not done yet,” and one more was baptized before we went home. (Their pictures are here.) I could have stayed and done that all night! SPARK could be the catalyst–the spark–for the kind of zeal and Bible knowledge that characterized those good old days in the mid twentieth century when the church was spreading like wild fire. Sparks make wild fires!

My favorite session was the Digging Deep class we had on Monday. We had fourteen congregations of diggers represented from seven states. If you don’t think that kind of meeting is exhilarating, your shovel is dull. It was an amazingly encouraging fellowship representing a larger and purposeful study fellowship. God is just good all the time, but you see glory clearly in a room full of diggers who are chiming in with enthusiasm about nuggets they’ve found on the glory dig. 

But it’s also hard to top the “response” we had in the women’s class on Tuesday. That was the day we discussed the command to love our husbands from Titus 2. We discussed how that love, in that passage is phileo in the Greek—friendship love.  I urged women to find something they could enjoy doing with their husbands; to even learn to love some hobby that’s important to a spouse. So one brave soul went home that night to a husband who asked her for the thousandth time to try and “get a deer” with him. “I’ve got one in my sights, already,” he said and you don’t know how much I would love for you to kill this deer. All sorts of things that she’d rather do came quickly to mind (You know, dishes, washing her hair, having a root canal…) And then phileo, from our class, came to mind and she  said “Okay, let me try.” 

This pretty little wife and mother of three shot that eight point buck with a crossbow, hitting  him right in the heart (the spot you’re going for) and the 9:30 p.m. moonlight found her in the woods tracking and then field dressing her deer, alongside her husband. She said “I was way more excited than I thought I would be. It was fun! My heart was pounding. But my husband!…Oh!… I could not believe the look on his face when he realized I was going to do this! That look was worth it all. And I will be hunting again soon!” 

Ezra, my grandson who just turned five, really wanted me to “hurry up and finish teaching those ladies.” He gets impatient when he can’t reach me for our regular FaceTime sessions. He told me to just tell them that “God does everyfing fuh us. And Mammy, if dey obey God, den give dem a pwize. But if dey don’t do what God says, den don’t give ‘em one.” 

Well that’s pretty much just a big over-simplification of what the week was about. We are going to get a big prize if we obey. Let’s all be around that throne for the sweetest fellowship of all!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Boasting the Revelry (Not in My Comfort Zone)

As I write, I’m preparing a speech to give in the morning about the rebellious spirit versus the spirit of meekness. It’s the spirit of Saul versus the spirit of David. It’s the spirit of the older brother versus that of the prodigal son once he had come to himself. It’s the distinction between the two thieves on either side of the cross. 

As I traveled to this area via Delta Airlines last week, I was bumped to the comfort-plus zone of the plane—because the flight was completely full and someone had to sit there. I was happy to comply. As I sat down, the man beside me asked if I was headed home or headed out and I explained that my daughter and I were headed to speak at a purity seminar for teen girls. He asked me where and I told him the name of the church where we were speaking. 

“No kidding,” he said. “I am a ‘church of Christ’, too.”  

Well I knew that no person is a “church of Christ” since a church of Christ is, by definition, a group of people belonging to Jesus. But, without commenting, I continued the conversation.  He told me where he worships and named several ministers, present and past, that have worked with his congregation. 

I noticed that the lady in the row in front of us, who was in first class had moved the curtain that separated her from us and was intently listening to our conversation. She politely waited for a pause in our conversation in which she could interject and she excitedly put in…

“I overheard you say ‘_____________ church of Christ’. That’s where I was baptized!”

I said “Wow! We might have a whole assembly here in a minute.” I was thinking how great God is to put us there together. I’d really been wishing to be sitting with my daughter, who was, coincidentally, on the same flight. But she was back on row seventeen. Instead of sitting with my daughter, here I was with two spiritual blood relatives. God was letting the three of us fly together, once, before the great flight when the trumpet blows. The fellow in the seat beside me was taking a photo of the woman in first class to text to his neighbor at home, who was her uncle. They’d talked about the congregation, the day she was baptized and made all kinds of connections about mutual friends. It’s a small world. 

The next few moments replaced my excitement with, first, anger and then pity. The flight crew member came to my new friend in first class even before the cabin door was closed. He asked her what she’d like to drink. It was the answer to the ensuing conversation that made me sad for her.

“Hmmm…I think I’ll just have a Coke Zero. We’re on our way home from New Orleans and we’ve had far too much to drink.” 

The handsome flight attendant responded “Oh…you’ve been down in the quarter.”

“(Euphemism) …Yeah! It was New Orleans, after all.” 

“I gotcha….Gotcha! Let me get you that Coke Zero” 

Sometimes we say it all in short conversations. We have golden chances every day to encourage and inspire. We even are handed multiple moments each day in which we may distinguish ourselves as His people in meek ways. But unless and until we become convicted about morality—unless our story of Christianity includes more than our baptisms and church attendance, we will turn opportunities for edification into reproach for the body. 

When I was a child, it was unheard of for professing members of the Lord’s body to be openly boasting of partying hard and “drinking far too much.” While I’m sure there were some who were slaves to the sin of drunkenness, it was something of which self-respecting (God-respecting) Christians were ashamed. But for this woman to loudly say this to a non-Christian in front of a Christian woman (me) whom she’d just heard describe a purity day at which she’d done all she could to encourage young ladies to abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages?! All traces of spiritual sobriety had, at least for the moment, been replaced with conformity to a world that weakens the cause of our Lord on this earth. (https://westhuntsville.org/topics/alcohol/…I hope you can listen.). 

At this point, someone from row seventeen walked up and said “ Your daughter said you might want to sit on row seventeen and I could trade with you.” So, with the rare opportunity to take a short flight in the seat beside Hannah, I left the “comfort-plus” zone, which had become increasingly UN-comfortable, anyway. No amount of legroom was a comfort when the vigorous conversation about the Lord’s church was transformed into an enthusiastic announcement about the fun of revelry in the New Orleans French Quarter. 

I understand that there may be readers who find the observations here old-fashioned. The word “judgmental” may also be used, by some, to describe this post. May I suggest, though,  that it is not the Word of God that’s changed in the past few decades. Abstaining from the appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22) would surely preclude boasting about reveling and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21). 

It’s with great sadness that I contemplate the possibility that some may crucify afresh the Son of God while putting him to an open shame (Heb. 6:6). I’m sure He was not glorified by the conversation that occurred through the first-class curtain on that flight last Friday. To think that someone could speak of that moment when she put on the Lord in baptism in the same breath as advertising the excessive amount of alcohol she’d consumed while partying, was just not in my comfort-plus zone. May God help us to understand the sanctification required of His people. May we live in the shadow of the cross. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Psalm I Need Today. (Lots of Kabad Here!)

Some days are just so crazy….You can’t accomplish much.

You ought to call a lonely sister, just to keep in touch. 

There’s someone with dementia who’s living life alone

And there’s a college student, being faithful on her own.

You need to visit the widow who sits just down the pew.

And help the mom who brings five kids. She does look up to you.

There’s Charlie, who’s a visitor and Sam, who’s homeless now.

You’ve planned to stop at the nursing home, but, oh…you don’t know how!

You juggle items on your list. So much is left undone. 

You try to be six places, but you barely cover one.

 

And every woman reading this, while rushing…running late…

To fill needs and plates and babies’ mouths….Each woman can relate. 

But if she’s made it to the Word and bowed her soul in prayer

She’s done the most important thing. The rest will still be there. 

So when the clock is chasing and the needs outrun resources, 

Remember that He’s ever-present and the best recourse is

To recognize the refuge…From the rush that is your foe.

In every anxious time of stress, to just be still and know. 

                                                                               c. colley

 

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed,

and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled,

though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God,

the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved:

God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved:

he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord,

what desolations he hath made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;

he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder;

he burneth the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God:

I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

(Psalm 46)

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

Simple Observation about Glory Denial (Glory M02E03)


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 denial of Glory.

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

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

  • Matthew 25

LINKS:

RESOURCES:

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Last Trip to the Little Farm

Fruit keeps on growing…

Today marks the last visit to my dad’s little farm. After next Tuesday, the farm will no longer be “ours”. My good husband, who has gone there so many times in my behalf, is doing it one last time today. It simply had to be done on this day and, since I get to fly to Texas today to speak to sweet sisters, my constant rescuer is on the road to Jacksonville.  I’ve made Glenn a list of things to not leave behind. I’ve specified certain things and their locations….things that just have my father’s fingerprints all over them…things that are worth very little to anyone else, but serve as memory handles of happy days spent in a sweet family circle that can never be quite as complete again.

I’ve told him how to transplant a little cane of my dad’s massive muscadine arbor. You bend the fruit-bearing cane over and bury it. Then you go back one last time and unearth it once the tiny new roots have begun to take hold in the soil. You cut it, take it home with you, and plant it in a protective tube, water it frequently, give it lots of light and wait.

Fruit can grow long after the original planter–in this case, my dad–is gone. It can be transplanted to distant places and it can reproduce itself exponentially. It takes some digging. It takes some burying. It takes some unearthing. It takes some travel. It takes some water and light. It takes protection and vigilance. But it produces something that will always taste like the first fruits.

It occurs to me that this is exactly how it is with the fruit of the Spirit. With all of these ingredients at play, His Will in me can just keep on living in others in which I may plant the seed. The vine (John 15:5), long after I am gone, will just keep right on bearing fruit that bears strong testimony to the holiness and saving power of the Original Planter (John 15:26), who is also a dear Father: THE Father.

So dig in the Word (John 17:17). Experience the burial… in the saving act of baptism (Romans 6:1-4). Unearth the growth–the root system– that prepares you to bear fruit in new places and situations (Matthew 13:18-23). Go with the gospel (Mark 16:15,16). Plant it over and over in hearts. Be generous with the water of life (John 4:14) and the light of the world (John 8:12). Be protective of young and tender plants (I Corinthians 8:13). Be vigilant about the harvest that’s plentiful, remembering that laborers are few (Luke 10:2). And enjoy the big arbor…the power that continues from the Original Planter and His first fruit (I Corinthians 10:23)!

 

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Teen Vogue: Not just about Hairstyles and Makeup, anymore.


I hope there are no parents reading BYH who think  magazines like Teen Vogue should be accessible lifestyle information for our teen girls. I think not. But what I’m not so certain about is our diligence—even our ability –in the prevention of that access. (After all, I’m posting quotes today that are just a click away…)  Even more important (and more difficult) is the prevention of influence that almost always comes through access; even through second-hand access to incredibly wicked stories put out by authority figures, who apparently have no conscience.  In other words, while your daughter may not read Teen Vogue, someone she knows, and who may have some influence in her circle of friends, probably does.

The material that’s the subject of today’s post IS, at least in the case of the sodomy tutorial, adults peddling sexual information to minors. Some of the information readily available in Teen Vogue magazine would be classified as criminal if privately texted to a minor by an adult. Unbelievably wicked. 

Examples are plentiful, but let me give you just three recent ones:

An article touting the decriminalization of prostitution and even encouraging the sex trade as legitimate work for income. Here’s a snippet: 

“I am a doctor, an expert in sexual health, but when you think about it, aren’t I a sex worker? And in some ways, aren’t we all?”  (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/why-sex-work-is-real-work)

 

A tutorial on how to engage in sodomy (although it has been recognized, even by the CDC, as the riskiest type of sexual behavior.)  This article is perverse and obscene (and, frankly, unbelievable) on many levels, giving graphics of anatomy and telling teens about nerve endings in the anus that  “feel awesome when stimulated.” Here are a couple of blurbs, but these are not the the most explicit statements made, obviously: 

This is anal 101, for teens, beginners and all inquisitive folk,” author Gigi Engle wrote in “A Guide to Anal Sex.”

“There is no wrong way to experience sexuality…” (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anal-sex-what-you-need-to-know)

Talk about “…Claiming to be wise, they have become fools.” This has to be the epitome of that phenomenon.

A  guide to obtaining an abortion without parental knowledge of the pregnancy or consent to the procedure ( i.e. the murder of their grandchildren).

“But if teenage me had a hard time broaching the subject of a hypothetical pregnancy with my pro-choice parents, I can only imagine how overwhelming it might feel to announce an actual pregnancy, much less a desire to get an abortion — in any circumstance, really, but especially to parents who are against it, and especially during a time in American history when the bodily autonomy of people with uteruses is under serious threat,” … “it’s only logical that if teens are mature enough to become parents, they are mature enough to decide whether or not they want to give birth.”  (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-get-an-abortion-if-youre-a-teen) 

Moms in 2019 have to be vigilant. Perhaps it would be a good idea to pick up a stack of Teen Vogue magazines at your grocery store or Supercenter, take it to the service desk, ask to see a manager, and ask him if he’s good with his daughter or grand-daughter reading about any of the above (or whatever the perversion of the month happens to be). Sobriety and vigilance are Biblically recommended tools against the one who is prowling to devour our children (I Peter 5:8). He’s on the prowl, for sure, in 2019.