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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Month Nine Winners!

Here are the winners for the Digging Deep, Month 9 summary paragraph contest. There were lots of exceptional entries and, as a group, diggers are talented writers. I was deeply moved by some of your thoughts and encouraged for the future of the church by all of them. I heard from women who are doing all they can to raise their sons to be godly leaders for the future battles of the body. (The devil will make sure there are always adversaries of truth!) I also read about husbands who are struggling as current elders and their wives’ renewal of commitment to be their supporters and provide the peace and balance they need at home. While I made the assignment for the growth of those studying, I am sure I was most blessed by the reading. Your entries made me keenly aware of some ways I can be a better helper to the godly husband who leads our home and works diligently for the kingdom.

The three winners are:

Lilly Howard

Jeri Oppermann

Kara Spillmann

Here are their thoughts:

#1

In Hebrews 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, and 1 Peter 5:4, Jesus is referred to as the Shepherd of His people. He is also called Bishop, or overseer, of our souls. In Acts 20:28, the elders are referred to by these same terms. This leads to an interesting question: how are the elders specifically like Christ? Obviously, they are conformed to his image, as all Christians should be (Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10). But other Christians are not deemed shepherds or overseers. One parallel I would like to point out is this. According to Strong’s, the word “over” in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 means “to stand before.” The preacher at our congregation, Heath Rhodes, explains the word this way: in ranks of soldiers, the ones on the front lines take the hits for the others. They stand out front and take the hits so that the soldiers behind do not have to. Truly, the most amazing thing is that the elders take this position willingly. Now consider. “The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23. “All have sinned,” Romans 3:23. Thus, all of accountable age deserve death. Yet, because God loves us, Christ died on the cross, so that we wouldn’t have to. Passages such as Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 3:18 make this clear. Verses such as Hebrews 7:27, Ephesians 5:2, and others make known to us that this sacrifice was willing. As Christ willingly took the punishment for our sins, so the elders willingly stand before us. Christ and our godly elders take the hits so that we don’t have to. And it all is done willingly. One way our elders are like Christ is in their loving, willing, selfless sacrifices for the good of our souls. May we always be thankful both to them and to God for people like that, and even more so, for the perfect example and salvation Christ’s sacrifice has given to us.  (Lilly)

#2

12:52 a.m. glares at me as I am awoken by my husband’s tossing and turning. This has been a recurring episode, since he took the role as elder at our congregation. The book “Awake at Night” is not only a book for elders, but also the wife and all Christians in the Lord’s church. It really opens my eyes and heart to all those beautiful men and the issues they must handle. Through my husband’s stress-filled, loving eyes and his sleepless nights, I can see just how much sacrifice and hard work that goes along with the role of an elder.  An elder has a huge responsibility overseeing the Lord’s people (1Peter 5:2). Sometimes I used to think that elders aren’t doing much but meeting once a week to discuss the happenings in the building and an occasional problem with members. However, there is so so much more to their role. Meetings and conversations occur so often and with great discretion. Through their Biblical knowledge, conversations must be had, and decisions must be made using sound judgment. These can wear on our elders. This is more than a job; it is a serious commitment that these men have chosen. They will have to give account for every soul. (Hebrews 13:17) As the wife, I must admit there has been some tough and selfish times. There are times he is not physically there while he is out making visits or having meetings. Other times he is not mentally or emotionally there, thinking through and hurting for these individuals. Being supportive can be difficult at times as my heart aches for him because of the many emotional moments and all I can do is be there to pray, especially with circumstances he is unable to share. However, I am so very proud of my husband and honored to be his wife. This role takes much love and diligence as well as a great knowledge and wisdom of the Word.  I respect and appreciate our eldership and the love they have for the Lord’s church and for souls. I pray for my husband and all elders as they serve the Lord in shepherding his flock. (Jeri)

#3

About 25 years ago, when I was in a youth group that was
comprised of nearly all girls, I made a vow to God.  Frustrated that
there were no Christian boys to date, I promised that if one day He
would give me boys, I would raise them to be faithful Christians. Fast
forward to present day: I am “Mama” to two wonderful young boys.
Even though at the time my promise to God was made for selfish
reasons, I have never forgotten it. My focus, thankfully, has shifted:
from that of a youthful desire to a serious responsibility. I’m doing all
I can to keep my promise, but after reading Awake at Night, I realize
that I must take things a step further. I need to be training them to be
faithful Christian leaders – to one day desire the office of an elder
and to boldly, yet humbly shepherd the flock with wisdom from above. (Kara)

So, congrats to these three sisters. Please send me an email at byhcontest@gmail.com and let me know what three free items you’d like from https://thecolleyhouse.org/store and they will be coming your way! (Be sure to include your address.)

Coming soon:

Thoughts about 1 Corinthians 11 and the head-covering of women.

More from Digging Deep Israel

Dig-A-Bits for Digging Deep Month Ten

So much to write, so little time. Let’s be praying about (and registering for) Polishing the Pulpit 2019 (https://polishingthepulpit.com). Only a few weeks till lots of us will be meeting there! Even if you can only come for a part of this rich experience, it will be worth your time/money investment. I hope to see you there.

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Colley House International Writing Contest for Kids!

You might know that the Colleys are pretty fired up about writing: blogs, books, articles, sermons, and Bible studies. In the interest of raising the next generation of writers, The Colley House is sponsoring an international writing contest for kids ages ten to thirteen.  So, if you or your kids are in that age range, get your creative neurons firing and follow these rules. Winner will receive the Colley House International Writer’s trophy and a $30.00 gift card to Chik-Fila. If the winner is outside of the continental United States, the award will be simply a commensurate cash award. 

  1. The article or story should contain between 500 and 1000 words and should begin with one of the following (your choice):

**It was the pinnacle of the trip for me…

**We were about five minutes early for worship when we walked into the building to see…

**I always knew I was born into the wrong century…

**I didn’t think it would happen in a million years…

2. Send your submission by midnight on October 15th to byhcontest@gmail.com.

3.  Be sure to include your name, telephone number, USPS address, and age with your submission.

4. Winner will be chosen based on creativity, grammatical correctness, and adherence to the stated rules.

5. Winner will be chosen by an objective and unbiased outside expert.

6. Winner will be announced on this blog within a week of the submissions deadline.

7. Entry in the contest implies contestant’s permission to publish any submitted material, but does not guarantee the publishing of any material by The Colley House. 

8. Prizes will be awarded via USPS. 

9. Judge’s decisions are final.

10. Parents/Teachers may offer advice and serve as writing coaches in this process, including proofing and grammar help, but the works must be original to the student. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guess Maggie’s Weight and Win!

      Win $50.00 in merchandise from The Colley House!

July is almost certainly the birth month for our sweet Magdalene Joy Colley! Proud parents are Caleb and Rebekah and she will be living in Jacksonville, Florida. As we are counting down to delivery date, let’s have some Colley House fun and a prize package for the best weight predictor. Here’s how to enter the contest:

  1. Post your guess directly in the comments beneath this post on www.thecolleyhouse.org.
  2. Guess the weight and length of our Maggie.
  3. Winner will be chosen based on the closest weight guess.
  4. Length guesses will only be used in case of a tie.
  5. Guesses must all be made prior to Maggie’s birth.
  6. Winner will be announced on this blog shortly after the big day (whenever that is).
  7. Lucky winner will receive his/her choice of merchandise from The Colley House totaling a retail value of $50.00.
  8. This guessing game has no excluded parties. All Colley family members and all of Maggie’s relatives are welcome to play. People who are not excited about her arrival cannot play.
  9. Only one guess per person, but children, who do not have a facebook account,  may guess under the guess of a parent. Just note “This guess is for (your child’s name).”

So that’s a lot of rules for our little Maggie guessing game. Go ahead and guess. You know you really want  another one of those Hannah’s Hundreds to drive you nuts in the car or a new episode of Digger Doug to  do the job when you are home. Seriously, though, I’m pretty sure Bekah and Ben both have new books coming out soon and I know there’s some new Digging Deep stuff in the works, too. And, if you do not have Awake at Night…well, I’m biased because I love that author, but your nightstand needs that book. So guess.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Contest Winner #3–Tracy Parsons

The very best encouragement on earth for a spouse comes from his/her Christian spouse. For many years, I’ve encouraged wives to make a list of the things they respect about their husbands and gift it to those men. This list, delivered in written form or verbally, has helped heal, bolstered self-esteem, added wealth and offered security in many marriages since time began. It’s important that we not just think  about, but communicate to our spouses the reasons for our happiness in the marriage.

So Tracy Parsons shared this kind of encouragement from her husband; just a simple hand-written note that Tracy loved reading just as she was preparing to deliver their fourth child…which is now safely home… and blessed, might I add, to be growing up in a home filled with love and His fulness. Welcome, Lillian Faith!

Happy Christmas, Tracy! She chose a Hannah’s Hundred cd for those four kids. She says she’d like to be putting the word in them during the drives to and from services. I say, “God bless that purpose!”

Here’s the letter. I wanted you to get the full effect of a husband’s own handwriting and the “realness” of this simple gesture. I think you can enlarge it and make it out.  I love the list of adjectives at the end! (And I love that it begins with “Babe.” Every marriage needs sweet pet names!)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Contest Winner #2: Alisha Middleton

Sometimes the most encouraging commodity is a memory. Oh, we don’t enjoy the passing of those who are sources of strength to us, but memories and the tangible reminders left behind are still invaluable to us. We lean on examples of faith that have already led  to heaven. Heaven, in fact, becomes dearer as its throng swells to include many who’ve been dear in this life to us. The second contest winner, Alisha Middleton, has an encourager who lives in the place for which we’re all striving. Here’s her letter…

Three months ago our congregation lost someone very dear to us. One of our shepherds, Dale Ledbetter passed away after suffering with a very painful form of cancer. We miss him everyday, especially the love and compassion he showed for members of our congregation. The attached picture shows a onesie that he picked out for our son before he was even born. Also in the pictures are some of the notes he wrote to us during my pregnancy with Liam. Our son never got to meet Brother Dale, but someday I will show him these notes and tell him about the type of man he was. I hope my son will be like him someday.

-Alisha Middleton

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Contest Winners!… Elizabeth, Tracy and Alisha

Contest winners are Elizabeth Moon, Tracy Parsons and Alisha Middleton. Congratulations to these three sisters who shared encouraging comments, notes and/or gifts given by others in the body of Christ. Congratulations to all those who sent in examples of the various ways and words used to encourage…because those in the family who receive encouragement from their brothers and sisters have a lot to celebrate. 

Elizabeth, Tracy and Alisha, choose your free product from The Colley House and email your postal address along with your selection to byhcontest@gmail.com

Here’s Elizabeth Moon’s winning entry. (I’ll share the others soon.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Go encourage someone this holiday season!

This year, my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. We are living 15 hours away from home while he is in school, and having earthly family around to guide us during this happy time hasn’t really been possible. We have TRULY come to yearn for Titus 2 relationships and bonding with older wiser Christians to teach us and help us with advice in preparing to raise our children. One piece of advice we have received is to attain “quiet” toys during the worship time in those early years so as to not be a distraction to others around us as they are also trying to worship. The only problem has been that we have literally been looking for something that fits that bill for almost the entire pregnancy. Yet, almost every toy made today is made to stimulate and entertain our little ones or are either too hard or big to ever be capable of being “quiet” in the hands of a very little one. Then today a little piece of encouragement made our entire wait/pursual worth it. My husband has recently started filling in for a small congregation about an hour away from us a few times a month. It was there, without any previous knowledge of our “toy pursuit”, that a sweethearted older woman thought enough of us to remember our child on their Christmas list. What was the gift? Only the most beautiful handmade “pillow” doll I had ever laid my now teary flooded eyes on. With a simple note that spoke such generosity, care, and guidance all in only one short note. It said, “Merry Christmas. This is a “church” doll, if dropped during service there is no noise made.” To someone else this may seem so little. But to me, it was so much more. We have searched and searched and searched for something that would heed the advice of the wisdom of our older brothers and sisters. To virtually no avail. Then, only 4 short weeks, before our baby is to be born, God through Mrs. Ruth Ann sends us the “toy” we had been searching for. But with much more love than we would have found at a store. No, this one was made specifically for our child. For the very purpose we had been searching for. And by one of those wise, helpful, Titus 2 woman that we have so desperately wanted to learn from. How encouraging. How magnificent. Something so small, yet something we will be sure to pass down to each of our children. Along with all the lessons this doll represents to us. This doll, and that small sweet note, we’re definitely an encouragement to us. I will attach the picture of the doll and the note Mrs. Ruth Ann gave us.