Browsing Tag

Calvary

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Smaller Fish to Fry

Last week I had two of my grandchildren and I took them to the lake for a late afternoon fishing expedition. Ezra was elated that we found a little bream bed and he and Colleyanna caught a total of five minnows. (Well, they may have been a little bigger than a typical minnow, but not much.) He thought the one that was six inches long was a whopper! He’s learning early that it’s a temptation to exaggerate fish sizes when you’re the one catching.

On our way home, I wanted to get Family Bible Time done so we could get fish cleaned. (Yes, we were cleaning and frying the minnows. They are the grandkids, so whatever they want…),  I wanted to get the kids bathed and in the bed ASAP. It was already dark when we left the fishing  bank. 

I decided I’d tell them about the time Jesus—post-resurrection—apparently cooked fish over a little fire of coals for his disciples on the shores of the sea of Galilee—from John 21. As I began to tell the story, the conversation went like this:

Me: I want to tell you about the time, after Jesus had died on the cross and after He had come out of his grave, when he cooked some fish on the shore of a big lake and fed his disciples. 

Ezra: Wait! Could you, please, oh please, just start at the very beginning. I just love this story. 

Me: What do you mean “ start at the beginning”?

Ezra: You know, Mammy, could you tell the whole story? This is my favorite one. 

Me: Do you mean from when Jesus was born?…Or from when He made the world?…You know there’s really no beginning of the story of Jesus, because He has always been.

Ezra, Let’s see, could you please start in that room where Jesus was washing their feet? That’s really the beginning of the whole story about when He died. 

So I did. We talked about how Jesus was the King, who had always lived in a place where no feet ever got dirty. 

Me: In fact, it’s a place where nothing ever gets dirty. And this King, who made these people was now on the floor, washing their dirty, smelly feet.

Ezra: Wait, let’s talk about heaven. There’s really a lot of things I don’t ‘unnastand’ about heaven. I know Jesus and God are there, but how can we just go to a place and just love, love being there forever and never go anyplace else?

Me: Well, we just have to trust God and know that we are going to love it there. In fact, there will not be one thing that we don’t absolutely love about heaven.

Ezra: I just cannot unnastand that. 

Me: Well, when we don’t understand, that’s when we just believe God, because He always gives us what is the very best for us. 

Then we went on to talk about Peter and what it means to “deny” and how we should never even want to pretend that we don’t know the Lord. Then we went on to focus on Judas.

Ezra: You mean Judas, this bad guy, was one of the disciples. Really? I don’t think I knew that. 

Me: Yes. He was not always bad. There had been a time when He was good. 

Ezra: So he was a good guy who turned into a bad guy?

Me: That’s right. We learn from Judas that we all have to be very careful all the time that we do not do things that we know are wrong. Judas was the one who took care of the bag that had the money in it and one day he started stealing money from that bag. At first, it probably made him feel bad, but he just kept doing it until he could really do it and not even think very much about it. 

Then I told him all about how Judas took the thirty pieces of silver back and threw them down, but it was too late. The Jews would not heed his pleas to “undo” his sin. We talked about the meaning of “betray.” Then we talked about how it is that, sometimes, people do wrong things that they cannot ever fix again. “God will forgive us, but we cannot always put things back like they were before we sinned.” 

Then we talked about the garden where Jesus prayed so hard that he would not have to die, if there was any other way. But there was no other way for us to get to go to heaven. 

Ezra: We can’t skip the part about the nails. You won’t skip that part, will you?

Me: No, we cannot skip that part, because that’s the part where we can be saved. It’s all because he died for us…We (people) are the ones who sin, so we should have to be the ones who are punished, but Jesus, who never sinned even once, did that for us, so we could go live in heaven. We cannot skip that part. But before that, while Jesus was praying he asked Peter and James and John to watch and pray while he went into the garden to pray to God. But they kept falling asleep. He went to pray three times and each time Jesus came back, they were asleep. Do you think you could stay awake and watch if Jesus asked you to?  

Ezra: They must have been very tired. 

We chronicled, in three-year-old and five-year-old terms, the arrest and particularly, the Malchus incident in the garden. Ezra told me that Jesus “just picked up that ear and put it right back on that man.” 

About that time, Glenn came out to our car to get the fish to clean them. We prayed together and vowed we’d finish the story tomorrow night. 

Laying in the bed later that night, I asked Glenn how the cleaning went. “Good,” he said. “Ezra chose the order of cleaning. He wanted me to wait till last to clean the tiniest fish.” 

“Why?” I asked. 

“He said ‘That youngest one hasn’t got to see too many things yet.’ He said he was going to let him see a few more things before he died.”

I’m glad Ezra loves the story of the cross. What a privilege it is to “tell him the story of Jesus and to write on His heart every word.”

I’m glad he wants to talk about heaven. I’m glad he wants to “unnastand” more about that place we’ll never leave.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Resolution at the Foot of the Cross

As I write, there are about 15 hours remaining in the year 2018. The rapidity of its elapsing is shocking. At this time last year I was mourning the death of my father, rejoicing in the anticipation of my new grand-daughter, embarking on a formidable speaking schedule, and turning over in my head the ideas for the 2018-2019 Digging Deep study. Now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, His mercies have led me to rejoice in cradling sweet Magdalene Joy Colley in my arms. Every car trip and flight has safely departed and returned and every speech has been delivered.  We are beginning  month five of our study of Authority. Thanks to supportive sisters, four podcasts and 24 mini-podcasts are already completed for that study. The memory of my father has sweetly lingered on, but, although the human heart in me is still sad, my spirit in the image of God is comforted by hope. 

And these are the words we sang yesterday just before communing with the Lord around His table for the last time during 2018.         

There are things as we travel this earth’s shifting sands 

That transcend all the reason of man;

But the things that matter the most in this world,

They can never be held in our hand.

I believe in a hill called Mount Calvary

I’ll believe whatever the cost;

And when time has surrendered and earth is no more, I’ll still cling to that old rugged cross.

 

I believe that the Christ who was slain on the cross Has the power to change lives today;

For He changed me completely, a new life is mine, That is why by the cross I will stay.

I believe in a hill called Mount Calvary

I’ll believe whatever the cost;

And when time has surrendered and earth is no more, I’ll still cling to that old rugged cross.

 

I believe that this life with its great mysteries Surely someday will come to an end;

But faith will conquer the darkness and death And will lead me at last to my Friend.

I believe in a hill called Mount Calvary

I’ll believe whatever the cost;

And when time has surrendered and earth is no more, I’ll still cling to that old rugged cross.

 

And I’ll cherish the old rugged cross

Till my trophies at last I lay down.

I will cling to the old rugged cross

And exchange it some day for a crown.

Somewhere during the first of those verses, I noticed that my husband had stopped singing. I looked over and saw the tears streaming down his face. He, the man who has given comfort and aid to me on countless occasions when unbidden tears stained my cheeks, was weeping. I have seen him weep only about a half-dozen times in our 38 years together. I knew he was reflecting on the shifting sands of this earth. His sister is gravely ill and he is preparing to take his aged parents on a trip to see her in the next few days. I hear him bring her name before the throne multiple times each day. I witnessed Him do extremely hard things for conscience sake throughout 2018, even as some others sharply criticized those selfless actions on His part. I was lying beside him on sleepless nights, when he had internalized some marriage problem that someone had brought to him for counsel. Often, when sleep evaded him, he would get up in the middle of the night and spend time in study. I prayed with him about scores, perhaps even hundreds, of speeches delivered and about many situations in which he was doing his best to offer advice that someone needed. 

I knew at this moment during his worship that he was reflecting on the old rugged cross that is the centerpiece of His motivation; the reason for His work. I knew that he was both praising and praying for strength, past and future; for the hope that comes from Calvary. 

And so, somewhere deep in the wee hours of last night, I heard him get up and I heard the bedroom door creak open. He was walking into the kitchen and I said “Where are you going?” 

“I’m going to get a glass of milk. My sermon is keeping me awake.”

“But you already preached your sermon,” I responded. 

“No,” he said. “I mean the one I’m going to preach next Sunday.”

And so 2019 begins, somewhat uneventfully. One lesson finished…another looming.  I know 2019 will be a very blessed year for Cindy Colley. Sometimes during 2018 I have failed to be thankful. May I just stop with ingratitude. Sometimes during 2018, frustration over a distracted husband has tempted me to criticize. May 2019 find every hint of frustration changed to contentment as I bask in the protection and leadership of a husband who loves God even more than He loves me. Sometimes in 2018, my faith has been weak as we struggled together through some small crisis of this life. May I remember, in 2019, that the troubles of this world are just that: they are of THIS world and our citizenship is not of this world. My resolve is to praise Him every day of 2019 for this man who weeps at the foot of the cross and for giving him to me all those years ago. 

Everyone should make a New Year’s Resolution. I hope yours is grounded in the reality of the brevity of this life and the eternal blessings of the next.  

I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary, Words by Dale Oldham, Gloria Gaither and William J. Gaither; Music by William J. Gaither, Arranged by Camp Kirkland

The Old Rugged Cross, by George Bernard, Public Domain

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: The Snare is Broken!

This beautiful song has been suggested for praise during our Digging Deep PTP session. Based on on Psalm 124:7, it’s about escaping and the powerful Father Who always provides that route (I Cor. 10:13). I hope you will be there to sing it with us. Please take a listen now and then before you come so we really can raise the roof one last time as a large group in our study of Great Escapes. That session will also be the kick-off for our 2018-2019 study, too. I’m hopeful that it can be our most influential yet. God is so good to let us do this together!

Don’t forget the Israel trip registration is now open exclusively for the Diggers and their immediate families. We will see the hill where the snare was broken.  We have a good group signed up already. You can click here for details about that:https://thecolleyhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2019-Bible-Land-Passages-Colley-Israel-Studies-Program-and-Tour-General-Information-and-Registration-Documents-Revised-4.13.18.pdf

Finally, we’ve just begun month ten of our current study. It’s a long hard look at Calvary. I mean a hard look. We painstakingly study all the different ways our Lord could have avoided the agony. But he did not avoid it. He did not escape. He did not call the angels or choose to miraculously exonerate himself. He chose me. He chose my escape from death rather than his own. He chose my avoidance of eternal pain at the expense of his agony. He chose my life with the angels one day over his escape with the twelve legions he could have called that day at Calvary (Matthew 26:53). He chose me. It will do you good to spend some time on that reality this month. To say I’m thankful we can study this together is understating  the emotion. But the thankful heart affected by Calvary is often at a loss for words.