Browsing Tag

Blessings

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

His Comfort in Israel/Rome

We are leaving for Israel/Rome in three days and I have never felt so unprepared for any trip. I do not yet know what I am going to say in any of our Digging Deep sessions. I have not packed one thing. I’m having company in both my house and cabin as I leave and I am very glad they are all chill —about everything!…Because just about everything is in disarray. I brought home some hampers of laundry from Hannah’s house last night and I have decided “hamper” is a great word to represent what mountains of laundry does to your life. 

But it is well with my soul. I realize that only three weeks ago, I was pretty sure I would be doing this trip without my husband. I was pretty sure and I was, selfishly, pretty bummed. But God provides and, this time, through some very hard things, He provided my favorite travel partner for this trip. Together, we are going to trust the God of all Comfort and know that He is able to provide what we need in every way. I know it will be a most informative and life-changing time with God’s people as we are immersed with evidences that He is our God of all Comfort; that from Zion he still delivers His people from hopelessness. All of the little things that are good at making themselves loom large, really pale into trivia when God’s people take time to ponder the great redemption! I am determined to empty my soul of the trivial distractions and stand in awe as I grasp the arresting reality of what He did in visiting mankind two thousand years ago. It doesn’t matter where we praise Him, of course, but I am longing to praise him from what He called His “holy hill” again (Psalm 2:6).

I don’t know if I will be able to do this, but I am hoping to make, and post, some short video clips, on a child’s level, from various sites in Israel/Rome so that you can show them to your kids at Family Bible time. These are for my grandchildren, but your kids can be my grandkids, too! If you are interested in getting this, I will try and post over on the Digging Deep in God’s Word facebook page. My kids are excited, so I hope it works! Watch that page. 

For those who are going on the trip, please post your pictures and any comments on the Digging Deep in Israel facebook page. This is a public page, so invite your friends to join and watch your travels. This will be fun! (It’s okay if it gets very crowded on that page. We will be enjoying it for years to come!)

The Digging Deep in Israel and Rome facebook group is different. It’s just for the travelers

and contains pertinent information and questions and schedule changes, etc…for those going on the trip. That’s where we will be able to get/give  quick info that we need as we travel. We’re so grateful to the Moores and Bible Land Passages for being so extremely helpful and answering questions quickly and, in general, just being the godly people that they are! (There’s already some great information over there about things to bring to clean and hydrate and even about how much cash you will want to have on your person!) Be sure that you have the guidebook for the trip, either printed or downloaded for easy access. We found that to be extremely useful! 

Thanks to Jennifer Benavides, for helping us get the podcast transmitted and posted from the Sea of Galilee (and for keeping Oreo, Colleyanna’s kitty while we are gone). I hope some of you can watch the podcast live on Monday, the 7th of November at 8:15 am CST. I’m so happy that Julie Orr will be co-hosting! 

I know His comfort will be ours as we strive to glorify Him on this trip. All of the glory is His. That becomes very evident when you are standing in Gethsemane and hearing His words “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done,” or when you are sitting on the old temple mound singing “Be still my soul. The Lord is at thy side.” This trip, for which I’m woefully unprepared is just what my soul needs. 

I just hope I’m a little better prepared to cross the “Jordan” when it’s the final crossing from this life to the next! May God bless our passage now and then!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

PTP…It’s a Wrap! (Really!…a blanket of His Providence…)

Some of the finishers!

Kaitlyn!

Presentation by Eric Owens

Polishing the Pulpit is finished for 2022. Every year when we are packing our vehicles to return to Huntsville it seems a blur, as if we stepped out of our vehicles and then seven or so days were fast forwarded—compacted into a few hours—and, just like that, it’s over. This is the year we needed it more than ever before. We went there very tired (sick parents, the stress of the struggles that characterize living in this world, the heartaches of the devil’s work about us, workloads that were formidable.) God’s amazing providence in placing us in a family has never been more clear to us. (Some events of His providence are not necessarily evidenced in the moment. Our placement in a large family of His children, rather than going Christianity alone, IS manifest Providence!) The church is, foremost, an unspeakable vehicle for our salvation. It is, secondly and importantly, His blanket of comfort as we travel though the wilderness on the way to the eternal promised land. We were wrapped in that comfort as we experienced PTP 2022. His blanket, for us, was palpable. We are so very thankful to the Father that we get to be a tiny part of this program that is an immunity boost for those who are determined to avoid the infection of sin in our world. Lessons by Hiram Kemp, Eric Owens and Rebekah Colley were among the most strengthening for me this year. I’m so thankful for the thumb drive containing the lessons I did not get to hear! 

Speaking of comfort, I hope you are getting ready to study the topic we need so much in 2022! It’s here and it officially kicks off on September 1st. I hope you can invite others. I am absolutely positive—I can promise— that, if you study along, you will find blessings in whatever it is that’s causing pain, sorrow, confusion and/or dissonance in your world today. You can find your materials here: www.thecolleyhouse.org/store. Remember, there’s a free download of the study at that spot. One highlight of PTP, for me, is the recognition of finishers (the ones who are present) of the previous study. This year we had about 35 women present who had completed every reading assignment, every question, every practical assignment, and every podcast. (Did anyone get an exact count? I need to re-watch.) This is an estimated minimum of 120 hours of digging!  Ladies don’t do this kind of study for recognition. They do it for reconciliation to the God of all Comfort; for the redemption that instructs them to make their calling sure! I’m so thankful for these diggers!

If you want to study along, there’s an introductory video pinned to the top of the facebook page called Digging Deep in God’s Word. You need to join the group and watch that. It is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/diggingdeepingodsword/permalink/5194568583891134.  You can also find it here, if you are not on facebook: https://thecolleyhouse.org/digging-deep-introduction-video?fbclid=IwAR1YnhHospghdKRzNCXe7iHkE2y4pE5-FVxrVaRF7AotZCHQMrx0c6BZifc. 

There are lots of women who can help you, if you get stumped along the way, especially if you are in the facebook group. It’s full of helps and questions and tips and tutorials through the year. If you’re an old pro digger and you’ve taken a digging hiatus during the chaotic Covid time, now is the time to jump back in. September 1st is always a great new beginning for spiritual goals and glory!

I’m ready!

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The River Clapped its Hands.

I was just so tired of looking at masks instead of smiles. My kids who live close enough for me  to ever see them anyway, were all in quarantine. I didn’t even want to drag out the Halloween jack-o-lanterns and garlands and goblins because nobody is ever going to be coming over. Every time I opened my laptop, I’d feel just a little worse after looking at the news. The counseling Glenn and I were doing—talking, really —was about heavy things that were hard to get out of my mind once the conversations were finished. Some people seemed bound to make decisions they are bound to regret once the pandemic and national tension are over. Sometimes, I was pretty sure attitudes in the grocery store had also been affected by the negativity in the world at large; there seemed to always be tension there, but never any Clorox wipes. People I knew were in the hospital and I could not visit them. Sisters I knew had been diagnosed with Covid and, worse still, others had been diagnosed with cancer. (These last observations should have been enough to stop me cold in my “pity party” tracks, but I persisted.)…I had geared up to speak a whole bunch of times this year and every single speaking engagement of 2020 had either been canceled or I was speaking it into a camera in an empty studio room. There were never any encouraging, in-person faces; and if there were, I could not see past the masks. We’d mailed out hundreds of packages and about one out of every five was lost in transit. Glenn, in cleaning up after a family birthday party, had jerked on a birthday balloon I’d taped to the candelabra (back before all the kids were quarantined) and he jerked the whole fixture down, so I had a dangling broken light fixture above my dining room table. Stuff was broken in the little Digging Deep studio, too. Mornings would find me determined to accomplish a check-list. Evenings would find me moving most of today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s page. At night before falling asleep, I’d read about some city (or forest) where fires were ragIng, because of natural forces or because of forces of racial and vitriolic unrest. I really was wallowing in the national pandemic of discouragement. 

My husband suggested that we go away for a few days. “We NEED to do this, Cindy,” he’d say almost every day. “Our bodies and minds need to rest.” I was less than thrilled, arguing that this is not a good time to travel. “I just got home from a necessary trip”… “Things will be closed. We are in a pandemic.”  But I tried to be compliant.  I checked out flights  to New England to look at the leaves, but apparently they don’t want people from Alabama to look at their leaves this year. That little trip would have required a couple of weeks of quarantine and temperature checks upon arrival, etc. So we just pointed the car in a southwesterly direction and ended up in Natchez, Mississippi with very little purpose or plan to do or see anything. But I saw a lot of things. 

In the state of Mississippi, the mask mandate had been lifted. That, friends, may not have been medically smart. I do not know. I do know, though, that seeing strangers smile at strangers is a balm to weary spirits.

Immediately upon reaching our hotel in Natchez, we started looking for a church. The place where we ended up was in Vidalia, Louisiana. (After that search online and in the car, for a couple of hours, I was most appreciative of our church family, city-wide, in Huntsville, AL) This little church had to be the friendliest one in the state of Louisiana. All of their services were in-person. Their singing was robust and obviously from their hearts. They prayed for their “visitors” from Alabama in every single prayer and they graciously asked Glenn to preach on Sunday. But the thing that renewed my appreciation for the family of God was the comment in class by the kind gentleman who also led their singing. In the context of brotherly love from 1 John, he said “Most of you know that I live by myself. I try to talk to neighbors about the Lord, but most of them are not too interested. You know that this right here is my family. Y’all are my people. Y’all are the ones I need to see and I look forward to the times we get to be together. This is my place.” Now I don’t know about you, but my soul soared to hear this black brother talk about this very racially integrated body of believers as “his people.” I thought “This is what the Lord wants in all of our hearts. While the world is tumultuously acting like the world and trying to make everybody walk on eggshells around everybody else, he has called us out of darkness and translated us into this great family—the kingdom of his dear Son.” I determined to go home and just love my family like never before! Sometimes a woman needs a brother to just put her self-focused little mind in place again. He, like a spiritual chiropractor, just popped me back into alignment. 

The next time we met with these sweet Christians, I took along our current Digging Deep study book and found women, who had never even heard of DD, eager to begin. Glenn talked to these sweet folks about Lads to Leaders (They had not heard about that either, but there was obvious young potential there.) There were folks there who had already found us and our West Huntsville family online and already begun to listen to archived lessons online. This zeal for the Lord’s family was refreshing.

Glenn was diligently looking, on this trip, for replacement light fixtures and doors for some oddly sized closet entrances in one of our bedrooms. We found someone who was selling both there in Natchez and set up a time to meet her. While almost every old house or historic place we attempted to go and see had been closed due to a hurricane (…yes, we had unwittingly traveled TO the hurricane area and electricity was off in much of the area and trees were across several area roads) this sweet lady took us to a large living space—a loft on the top of business space on Commerce Street in historic downtown Natchez, to look at light fixtures and doors!  Not only did we get the antique doors and the fixture—both just what we wanted—but she, having grown up in Natchez, was able to give us perspectives about history that no tour guide had yet given. Finding that she had been to Israel, we began talking about Judaism and the Old Testament. By that time, of course, I’m back at the SUV, digging out our Digging Deep study of the Ten Commandments and I honestly think no one has ever been more excited to get a copy of a Digging Deep book than this sweet lady was to receive The Ten. I have a sister who is going to love to study this with me!”

…And in my reluctant heart, I was thinking “God is showing Cindy Colley a few things about a few things, among which are mercies that are new every morning (particularly in new faces and places). He might be showing me that I should just follow the counsel of the godly man He gave me, without arguing. He could be providentially asking me to get busy counting blessings and evangelizing wherever I am; focusing on finding opportunities to speak of Him, knowing that the world of vitriol changes one heart at a time as people are influenced by the gospel.”

And then, before coming home, we just stood and looked out over the mighty Mississippi. Covering two city blocks that had once been a bustling part of old Natchez, those mighty waters just keep on raging with undercurrents that prevent swimming or fishing, jet-skis or sailing. From the Natchez shoreline, just about the only boats one sees today are huge barges. headed for more peaceful ports and trade farther inland on the tributaries of this powerful body. Draining 41 percent of the United States, the water flows at incredible speeds and with deadly force. But God is in the business of irrigating and draining and He has channeled the power of millions of gallons of water within our vision—for warmth and light and industry and transportation. It’s hard to look at that river and its productivity without marveling at the creative and controlling power of the God we serve.

He gets it right, every time. In a world that’s screaming about justice and equity, I’m going to follow the One who gets it right. Even when I, his daughter, may question and writhe in His Providence—even when I might grumble in the shadow of His mercies, He gets it right. He is supreme and I’ve returned home with a greater respect for His majesty and provision for me. I saw the mightiest river in our part of the world “clap its hands” in full glorification of the Lord. Who am I to hang my head and think life’s unfair when the river is praising the equity of God?! 

 

 

Let the rivers clap their hands;

let the hills sing for joy together

before the Lord, for he comes

to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with righteousness,

and the peoples with equity (Psalm 97:8,9).

 

He gets it right. I’m thankful for renewal.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Baby G3 Gender Guessing Contest! Go!

Mother’s Day is Sunday and our 40th wedding anniversary is on the 16th, so I’m getting, Lord willing, a very special gift next week! Baby G3 (the fourth grand-baby for these two blessed people) is due to arrive on Thursday of next week and we could NOT be more excited!  We have many blessings, but it’s easy in a pandemic to magnify the negatives and allow them to block our view of amazing provisions and platitudes. A blessing of this magnitude is one more reason to keep our focus on the One who already knows every outcome of this chaotic state of Covid-19. I will not get to be at the hospital, but I will be sharing the news of baby brother or sister with his/her two older siblings and with YOU! Post your best guess about Baby G3. Post gender, weight and length. All correct gender-guessers will then compete in weight guessing. Length will be used for exact tie-breaking. Winner will receive 4 (in honor of the 4th grandchild) free items of your choosing, from the Colley House site (www.thecolleyhouse.org). All guesses must be in comments below this post on my personal FB page. SO go there to guess. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: 30 Reasons why 60’s better than 30…

  1. There’s nothing I can do about it, so I might as well be good with it. 
  2. The obvious and best one: I’m getting closer to heaven all the time. 
  3. Ezra
  4. Colleyanna
  5. Maggie (Each grandchild should get a separate number in this list.)
  6. People excuse  extreme forgetfulness (like when you see her every Sunday and every Wednesday night and you can’t remember her name). 
  7. Tuesday is senior day at the thrift store. 
  8. No more dreading the decade of the “sixties.” Too late for dread now. 
  9. My best friend turned 60 before I did. Glenn Colley will always be older. 
  10. All the personal hormonal drama is a thing of the past (and the purse paraphernalia that accompanies the drama is, too.)
  11. I get to wear the greatest name: Mammy.
  12. I rarely ever have to say “no” to any children. 
  13. Nobody expects me to know what’s going on in the fashion world. 
  14. People expect me to wear stuff that feels good…like elastic waistbands, Dr. Scholl’s and oversized tee shirts.
  15. I’ve by no means arrived in the wisdom department, but experience brings it on and years breed experience. 
  16. Teenagers have grown more polite to me each year. Doors are opened and they call me ma’am (Leviticus 19:32)
  17. As Ezra put it, “You are old, but, since you don’t have any kids, you have fun.”
  18. Neither minimalism nor hoarding bothers me at all. Life’s too short to even contemplate.
  19. Peer-dependence is mostly a thing of the past. Seeing peers go to glory more often some how does that.
  20. More and  more people I love live in the place where I’m headed.
  21. I worry less that my teeth are yellow-ish and am more thankful that most of them are there-ish.
  22. People stop wanting you to take computer tutorials and, instead, just upgrade, repair and replace for you. 
  23. There was no Lip Sense when I was 30. 
  24. There was no sense in which I had thousands of “friends” at 30. But now…
  25. I have a crown of glory (Proverbs 16:31).
  26. My shoes are in my own closet, my straightener is in my own bathroom, I  generally have a parking space in my own driveway and laundry baskets take a lot longer to fill up.
  27. My phone is not fat and bulky anymore. (We won’t think about what IS fat and bulky these days.)
  28. My kids think I’ve gotten so smart. My grandkids think I’m way smarter than their parents. 
  29. Maybe I AM smarter now that, as a home-schooling parent, I’ve gone through primary and secondary school three times.
  30. The value of memory has at least tripled in my old eyes. 

 

But, for all those reasons, it still makes me a little bit sad that the march of time is happening to music that’s on fast play-back. Whatever it is that’s worth doing in this lifetime should be begun this very moment. The rapid rate of the passage of time, as a sixty-year old woman in 2019 reflects, is breathtaking. Hit-and-run years have, right before my eyes, taken their plunder and left the realization that the bulk of the important influence that builds any legacy, for good or evil, has already been exerted.

Ezra explained that water goes up into the sky and gets into the “cwouds” and then it “wains” back down into the muddy puddles and all of dat is called “ ‘vaporation”.As James put it, the vapor of my life is vanishing (James 4:14). But I guess there’s no evaporation in heaven. After all, we sing, “No clouds ever darken the sky.” I know there’s no aging process. Since this then, is my only chance at aging, I pray I can count its blessings and minimize its painful little ironies like “Just about the time you have enough money to do some fun stuff, you don’t feel like doing it, or “You finally learn you should listen to your body—just about the time your body just starts pointing and laughing.” 

And, speaking of listening to your body, mine’s reminding me often of the greatest thing about getting old. The victory flags are coming into view!

When the perishable (body) puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(I Corinthians 15:54-55)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Praising His Power (Read to the end and be blessed!)

There are so many things about which I wanted to write at 4:00 am this morning. Jet lag is real and exacerbated when you have a spouse who’s also experiencing it. You’re wide awake at 3:30 a.m. You’re pretty sure he is, too. His movements are restless and his breathing includes an almost audible sound of frustration every now and then. You’re almost sure he’s awake, but you still don’t say anything in the darkness, just in case he has stolen a few moments of sleep in the wee small hours of the morning. 

I thought a lot about the trip to the Bible Lands (https://www.biblelandpassagetours.com) this morning. It was a tight travel with 46 other people, only a few of whom I’d ever even met. Glenn and I spoke, in studies and devotionals, a total of 21 times and this schedule counted as an annual vacation?! We walked (much of it strenuous hiking) a total of about 60 miles. We packed and unpacked a large bus several times a day. We ate some pretty unfamiliar foods and I’m told that I did eat camel tongue, but I’m in denial about that. I permanently lost my cell phone in Jericho. I did some difficult counseling (or problem-talking is really a better description)  along the way. The plane rides were long; the nights were short. The temperatures were topping out at around 100 degrees several of the days and most restaurants don’t serve a glass of ice with anything you order to drink. I didn’t see a single store that compares to Publix or WalMart, though I’m sure they must be there. I left a bunch of my clothes in Jerusalem because my niece was on her way to do a similar tour and her luggage never made it to Tel-Aviv. There were bumps and adjustments and rigor and sweat. 

And it was the best trip of my lifetime! I will treasure the memories and savor the rich teaching for the rest of my days on this earth and maybe even carry a larger bucket into eternity! I will remember the bodies of water: the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. I will be thankful for the water of life. I will remember the ruins of Bet- Shaen and of first century Jerusalem and of Dan and be thankful there’s no ruin in heaven. I will think about the passionate wailing at the Western Wall and be thankful there is no wall of separation between me and the One who ministers in the Most Holy Place for me. I will think about the Jews who still cling to the observances of a system that has no blood of redemption and ever praise Him that the law of Moses was nailed to the cross and that I do have blood.  I will remember the intensity of the Arab/Israeli struggle around the state of Israel and be prayerful for the simple gospel and its attendant blessings to permeate and, one day, powerfully affect the spiritual climate there. I’ll think about the world-changing gospel, likely first preached on the steps of the temple where Glenn was privileged to proclaim them again a few days ago, and just praise Him that the forceful words of Acts 2 have found their way into my heart two thousand years later. I will work to help them find their way into the hearts around me. 

I will keep working and praising (and stumbling and failing), but I will do it with an added dimension of thanksgiving. A woman who is enjoying the blessings that are inherent in Christ—a woman who has entered the Holy Place and ministers in the service of the High Priest —is blessed beyond comprehension. May those of us who are those women make daily choices that reflect hearts of utter dependence and extreme gratitude! 

So some simple lessons will be forthcoming in some subsequent posts. 

But for today, I want to tell you about something I heard last night over the dinner table at Zaxby’s as we sat there with some of our younger couples and singles from the West Huntsville church. One of our couples, Stephen and Brenna Anderson, had just returned from a trip to Washington, DC. Searching out the church there for a Wednesday night assembly, they found that the prospects of Bible study with Christians inside the city were more difficult than they’d thought. They finally found a single congregation inside the city and made their way via the metro to a spot within walking distance. They arrived early and, when they knocked, were admitted by a young man who told them that the ministers were out of town, but welcomed them in. The Bible study was to begin at 7:00 p.m., but 7:15 came and it was still just the three of them. Finally one more brother arrived and, as they began to sing together, just the four of them, two men wandered in from the street. One of the men was obviously very inebriated; the other listened intently to the prayers and praise and, at the end, asked for prayers as he made his way to a destination in Virginia. He indicated that he really didn’t know exactly what he needed, but he knew he needed prayers. The prayer was offered and the service ended. While the local people tried to help the drunken man to safety as he left, Stephen approached the man who’d asked for prayers with a simple life-changing question: “Would you like to have a Bible study?” 

The man answered “Actually, I would.” 

It took a while for the local man to “handle” the situation with the disorderly man, so Stephen spent that time in study with this visitor. The man, whose background was Muslim, had already come to believe in the Lord Jesus and was already searching the scriptures  for salvation’s path. He knew a lot about the Bible.  After a while in the Word, the man’s next question came: “Could I be baptized now?” 

Stephen said, “Well, let me see about that…I’m a visitor here, too, but let’s ask if we can make that happen.” 

And it did. The baptistry was filled. The man’s sins were washed away and he went on his way rejoicing. 

Stephen and Brenna left him, the infant Christian, in the care of the man who baptized him. They went on their way (hurriedly, because the metro was closing) rejoicing, too. 

God’s people searching out God’s people. Two or three (or, in this case, four) of them gathering in His name and knowing He is there. God’s Providence working mightily. A powerful combination producing the very best thing that could possibly happen on a vacation! 

How can you not be encouraged to begin your work-week with His name on your lips? Let’s do this week for Him!