Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance…

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My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons from Philippians 4:8 for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. Blessings!

From Glenn:

As the virus separates our West Huntsville family from the assemblies for worship, prayer and study, we need to stay near our Lord.  That involves thinking on the right things day and night (Psalm 1:2).

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:8-9).

This week, every day, I will post thoughts in the order that the apostle Paul listed them in this important “finally” verse of Philippians.

Monday — Whatever is true…

I love truth in all aspects of my life, even in things that hurt, because the alternative to truth is a lie.  Lies destroy lives. In John 8, Jesus told Jewish leaders that their spiritual father was the devil, because they imitated his lying.  The trials of Jesus were filled with lies (Mt. 26) and, when He was resurrected from the dead,  wicked men paid money to the tomb guards to entice them to lie.  

Loving something implies hating.  If I really love something or someone, I hate things which will do them harm; disease, violence, crime.  Similarly,  a man who doesn’t hate lying doesn’t really love truth.  Ask yourself, “Do I really hate lying?”

According to Proverbs, friends who lie to you actually hate you.  “A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin” (Prov. 26:28).

Marriage cannot survive without truth. Every lie that is told does damage to the foundation of love and, thus, before long, the home will irreparably collapse because it has no foundation on which to stand.  Never lie to your spouse.  Never lie to your parents or children.

What distinguishes the church from men’s religions is adherence to the word of God. The true church is one which is described by Paul as the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).  I love the church of Christ for this reason.  I need to know God’s will in order to please Him.

Want God’s peace? Want to live a life that’s praiseworthy?  Think on truth; Value it. Love truth in all areas of your life.  Today meditate on the importance of truth in your life.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,

Yea, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them Your servant is warned,

And in keeping them there is great reward.

(Psalm 19:7-11)

Additionally, I’d like to challenge those of you who have children to use this time to build family closeness in the Lord.  For that reason, I’m also suggesting that all our  WH families be on the same nightly “story time” character: Joseph. He, like us, faced times that must have felt surreal.  

Monday — Tell your children the account of Joseph being sold by his brothers from Genesis 37. Be sure and emphasize these details:  

1.  Reuben, the oldest brother, tried to be a good leader and understood that doing the right thing meant speaking up when the crowd was going the wrong way (vs. 21-22).  Through our lives we must do the same. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

2.  When Judah had the idea to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, and explained the awful plan to his brothers, the Bible says they “listened.”  What are some things you should teach your children that they must never listen to? Talk about these with your kids.

3.  Lying often accompanies sin: adultery,  stealing, disrespecting parents’ authority, etc.. . How did the sin of selling Joseph involve lying to Jacob (Jn. 8:44)?

4.  Joseph couldn’t see it right then, but God was watching over and protecting him even in this hard, frightening time.  He will be with us too (Heb. 13:5-6).

Close with this little song, if you have very young children (to the tune of the chorus of “Blessed be the Name”):

I must tell the truth.

I must tell the truth.

I must never, ever tell a lie.

I must tell the truth.

I must tell the truth.

I must never, ever tell a lie. 

Then pray together. Include a prayer that He will help you to always be truthful with each other and to walk in the truth of His Word. 

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