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Digging Deep Authority

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

May 16th: Digging Deep Podcast from the Sea of Galilee!

The live podcast from Israel will occur on Thursday, May 16th, from the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. I hope you can plan to join us, as Kate Hudgens and I discuss Authority from this beautiful seashore where eminent authority was so often demonstrated during the ministry of our Lord. He calmed this sea (Mark 4). He directed a huge draught of fish into the nets of doubting disciples in this place (Luke 5).  He placed a coin in the mouth of a fish, so he could pay his tribute (Matthew 17). He put unclean spirits in a herd of pigs and that herd of swine ran violently into this sea (Matthew 8). This paragraph could be a book! I’m extremely excited about discussing His authority from this place and about our blessing of technology that allows our sisterhood to do this from several corners of the earth—together! 

So, Lord willing, the podcast will be May 16th, at 10:30 am CST. (Our time in Israel will be 6:30 pm). I know that some of you will be working and unable to watch at that time, so it will be quickly uploaded and available on the Digging Deep in God’s Word page for viewing at any time. The live podcast will be here: https://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women.

I’m thankful to Jennifer Benavides, Louis Benavides, Glenn Colley, John Moore, and Kate Hudgens for making this possible. The family of God is wonderful. 

And about that family, please keep the prayer vigil fervently before the throne for the Don Blackwells. A good and faithful family has been hurt. We have all benefitted immensely from the materials, broadcasts and lectures that Don has delivered around this country. He is very dear to my husband and I consider Sheri to be a close friend to me. She has encouraged me countless times. This sister has lost her parents in recent days, now her mobility for a time, and her  husband now faces long and arduous challenges. She’s a faithful digger and encourager. Let’s lift them up! You may send cards ℅ Southaven church of Christ, 1483 Brookhaven Dr, Southaven, MS 38671. 

And, finally, please pray for calm along the Gaza strip as our Digging Deep group travels to Israel. Our guides tell us that we are not at any safety risk. However, it would be comforting to know that the unrest along that border is at a low point rather than an escalated one as we enter the country. 

May he bless all of his pilgrims through this land of uncertainty till we cross over Jordan and assemble at the throne. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

DIggers’ DIscount Starts Today!

Time for the Diggers’ discount on the book “Awake at Night”. This book, is one of two choices for reading in month nine (question number ten) of this year’s Authority study. One of the options includes reading that is found online and is free of charge. (I always want to include options that are available without cost.) The other is the book “Awake at Night.” This book consists of 100 actual case scenarios from real congregations in which elders have faced challenges in leading God’s people. These problem scenarios include moral issues, doctrinal errors, and challenges to delegated authority. They were composed by Glenn Colley and scriptural ideas for solving problems in churches are offered in this volume. All case studies are anonymous.

Either option for reading will suffice. What we are hoping to cultivate though this assignment is a deeper appreciation for the system of authority that God has instituted for the body of the saved on earth today, as well as a determination to search the Word for the answers to each church problem. From the reading, I am hoping we, as women of the church, will sanctify our hearts in submission to the elders of our local churches as they direct us in His Will, even if/when we may think the decisions of those leaders are scriptural, but not the ones we might have personally made.  I believe either reading will help us to do this.

I’m also hoping that those of us who are mothers and grandmothers will renew our passion for bringing up godly leaders for our churches. I believe we are experiencing a famine, in most places, of strong and godly leaders. I believe the number of men who are the right age to be starting to serve as great elders today, was diminished about thirty years ago by a movement of change and a rejection of authority in many of our congregations. Sadly, many men, who were then in their twenties and thirties, left faithful adherence to the doctrine of the New Testament and now, congregations are lacking in strong men who are in their fifties and sixties. It’s imperative that we be raising our boys to be the elders who will restore churches to the model of great leadership that God intended. 

If you do order the book and, after reading, are able to pass along to someone who is serving as an elder or some younger man who is a potential future elder, I hope you’ll do that. The goal, for this book, of course, is to help promote strong and Biblical leadership in as many churches as it can reach. 

The book will be discounted (for Diggers only) from $12.95 to $9.00 during the months of April and May at https://www.thecolleyhouse.org/store.  You can see a video about the book there as well. Discount begins at 8 am CST on April 2nd! Keep digging! You’re an encouragement in lots of ways to lots of people as you do!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

For the Diggers: Have You Had this Surgery?

We should really be careful not to talk about any particular avenue of salvation as ” _________only” salvation; like “I’m saved by faith only” or “I’m saved by baptism alone”.  Biblically there are a number of saving elements–things without which salvation just cannot occur. There are senses in which we are saved by the blood, grace, faith, baptism, the Savior, the cross,  the truth, the Word, repentance, belief, God, Christ, His eternal purpose, His church, mercy, and our own free will or choices. And that list is not exhaustive.

Some have requested the lists of verses given on the last podcast about how we are saved by the truth or the Word of God. (That was question #7.) Here they are:

John 17:17

Romans 10:13-17

2 Timothy 3:15-17

Ephesians 1:3

2 Thessalonians 2: 14-17

Romans 1:16

I Thessalonians 2:13

Corinthians 1:17-18

James 1:21-22

1 Peter 2:2-3

John 8:31-32

Ephesians 1:12-13

Colossians 1:5

Also requested were the passages from number ten. Although we should be careful not to say we are saved by any of the above elements alone or only, we can surely appropriately say that we cannot be saved without faith, or without grace or without baptism, etc…

But there is just one thing, on this list of things that saves us, that is the exact point of the washing from sins…the point at which I bury the man of sin and rise to walk with Christ. Here’s the list of  verses we gave about the point at which the washing of sins occurs:

1 Peter 3:21

Acts 22:16

Romans 6:3,4

Galatians 3:27

Acts 2:38

Mark 16:16

Ephesians 6:26

Hebrews 10:22

John 3:5

Acts 2:41

Matthew 28:28

1 Corinthians 6:11

Ephesians 1:7; 2:13

1 John 1:7

Colossians 1:14; 2:12

Romans 3:24,25

Titus 3:15; 2:14

Colossians 2:12 pictures God as the surgeon and  baptism as the operation. If I can look at myself as the patient in the operating room, I can more readily understand that there is a point (baptism) at which God performs the surgery. At this point, all trespasses are removed (verse 14). When I submit to His surgery, I am not “saving myself” or “working” to earn salvation.  The surgery is His free gift and His work. I am simply laying down on his table in gratitude to Him for performing the operation without which I cannot be saved.

I hope this is helpful and, more, I hope if there is one reading with whom I could study and/or for whom I could pray about salvation, that you would be sure to contact me. That is the thing for which there must/will always be time in my life. I know there’s a legion of women who are digging deep who live for chances to share the Word!

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The-Alabama-Sun’s-Finally-Out Pre-Spring T-Shirt Clearance! 

When the basement at the Colley house flooded last Saturday, along with lots of other things that flooded in our area over the weekend,  I quickly grabbed those t-shirts stored in the book room and brought them upstairs to a safer dryer climate.They are undamaged and still new.  If you want one, just in time for T-shirt weather, I’ll send you one of the remaining few for five dollars plus whatever the actual shipping on your package is when it arrives in your mailbox! Since quantities are limited, you need to order by emailing me your desired size(s) and your mailing address to byhcontest@gmail.com. Then send a check or PayPal me (Message me for PP address)  when your shirt arrives. We have limited quantities of S, L, XL, 2XL and 3XL left.They’re cornflower blue and the lettering is a creamy off-white.  I’ve worn and washed mine lots and it’s still in good shape. They are Comfort Colors brand, so, as you know, I’m losing money on these clearance ones! I’ll try and post on the DD group page when they are gone. Thanks!

And, among the silver linings are…we only lost a relatively small number of books to water damage… I was keeping five little boys that day (some of them not so little), who were able to help move some major stuff… Glenn’s preaching appointment put him back in town on Saturday afternoon to help mop up and dehumidify…and the trees that normally bloom around mid-March are stepping up their game! 

But my new rain boots got a year’s worth of puddle-jumping in a week! 

Don’t forget the podcast is Tuesday night at 7 CST!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

For the Diggers: A Plain Passage, the Spirit, and the Mystery

Responding to some questions, I’ve received about the Digging Deep January 2019 study, I want to spend a moment today in the last few verses of I Corinthians 2. I hope it is helpful as you finish up month five and move into the February study.

First of all, let me emphasize that I surely don’t think I know all the answers about the Holy Spirit, though there is much that we can know, for sure, on this side of eternity because we have a completed revelation.

It is very important for us to always put to use the very first rule of Bible interpretation or hermeneutics. That is, that we should never violate any of the plain passages–the very clear ones–as we try to figure out the ones that are more difficult to understand. As we look at 2 Timothy 3:16, we see some words that are plain and powerful. Scripture is literally “breathed of God”. It is, in language that is never used about ideas we may have in our minds or leadings of the heart. The scriptures are actually breathed of God. Then it says they are profitable for doctrine (it’s the teaching we need), reproof (it is the evidence or convicting power), correction (it is shows us when we need to change) and  instruction in righteousness (the guide to being right in His eyes, to being holy). As if that was not enough and repetitive enough, the plain passage goes on to say that it gives us everything we need for every single good work. This is a big assurance that scripture is ALL we need for everything we need to be in God’s economy and in His eyes. If the Holy Spirit gives us something extra, He is going beyond what is already the thorough furnishing of the Scriptures that were originally given by the Spirit in the first place. That is just a carte blanc statement of the full provision of knowledge by the Word given by the Spirit in Scripture and it is in very understandable terms. SO if there are other passages, and there are, that are harder to understand, we have to let this passage and other plain ones shed light on those more difficult ones rather than the other way around.

Next, about the mystery. From the passages in Ephesians and Colossians, we can clearly conclude that the mystery was completely revealed in the day of Paul the apostle. It was revealed to Paul and the apostles and prophets and they spoke it, preached it and wrote it to the New Testament Christians and we have those writings preserved for us today. So when Paul wrote, he was clearly teaching them that the mystery was no longer a mystery. He was revealing it to them at that time. We learned that the owners (or those who were keeping the mystery until the revelation Paul’s day) were God and Christ. We learned that the subject of the mystery was Christ and His grace. Then we learned that the essence, body, material of the mystery that was revealed in scripture was the gospel–the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We gave a list on slides from of every verse that mentions a mystery in these two epistles on the podcast. I’ll put those lists here. I think you’ll clearly see that the mystery that Paul was talking about was the gospel and that it’s revelation happened in the first century.

Here are those notes, just so they will be on this page, too: 

The Mystery

1. Time revealed: Paul’s day (Col 1:25,26; Ephesians 3:2-4)

2. Its subject: Christ (Col. 1:25, 26); Grace (Eph. 3:2,3)

3. Its value: richness, glory (Col. 1:27)

4. Its purposes: comfort (Col.2:2); gathering all people together in Christ (Eph. 1:10); people could understand the mystery (Eph. 3:4)

5. Its owners: God and Christ (Col. 2:2)

6. Mode of transfer: speaking (Col. 4:3): preaching (Col. 1:26-28); writing (Eph. 3:3,4)of apostles and prophets (Eph. 3:4,5)

7. Other names for it: The Will of Christ (Eph.1:9); The gospel (Eph. 6:19)

Add to this list another plain passage which actually defines the “mystery”, having the word “mystery” and then a colon, and then the exegesis of what the “mystery” is–straight from the Holy Spirit. This is it: “mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” Here again, the mystery is defined by the passage itself, as being the gospel of Christ. (I Tim. 3:16…I really love that I can remember these passages because I Tim 3:16 tells us plainly what the “mystery” is and 2 Tim. 3:16 tells us where we have the revelation and that it is ALL we need to know to be equipped to do ALL we need to do. I love that the 3:16s are there and that they are such a good commentary on how God does John 3:16–(How he gives us the gospel so we can believe and be saved.)…So 3 great 3:16s that explain each other.

So then, I Corinthians 2:9 tells us that we are not relying on eye witness…that is we do not see with our eyes the gospel…the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. So much about eye witness information is questionable. Sometimes we think we see things that are not actually reality or we mistake identities or even imagine things that we really don’t see.

Then it says we are not relying on hearsay or verbal passing down of the gospel (hearing with our ears). That would be incredibly unreliable because “word of mouth” stories and accounts change and evolve as they are retold. That’s not how I want to learn the “mystery”, so I am very glad “ear has not heard.”

Then it says “neither has entered into the heart of man” I’m very glad about this one, too. The mystery or the things God has prepared for us to know doesn’t just come through a message to my heart. If it did 1) there would be no need for the written revelation because I would know the mystery from this “heart” revelation, and 2) I think I would have a hard time discerning between what God was putting in my heart and what was being put there by the devil and his forces. I’m very glad I do not have to rely on something being laid on my heart or an internal nudging or a feeling of being led. Here it is clear that I do not have to depend on these things to enjoy what God has prepared for me.

Then it goes on to make it really clear that “words” are the vehicle by which I can know the mind of God. It says that just like no one can know what a man is thinking (or the spirit of a man) unless he tells us, that likewise we can’t know what God thinks unless His Spirit communicates that. Then it says we get this information, not in words that man speaks, but rather we have it in the words of the Holy Spirit. So, to this point, we have that it’s not something we had to see with our own eyes, or a gospel we had to hear verbally, or a mystery that just “entered our hearts”. Rather it was a mystery given in WORDS by the Spirit of God. It says “we” (Paul and the other inspired men) speak (and by implication, write)…what has been given by the Spirit of God (vs. 11 and 12).

So…who is it that can’t discern or rejects–does not understand—the revealed Will of God? The “natural man” (the Greek word) only appears one other time in the New Testament. That’s Jude, verse 19, where it is translated as “sensual”. Sensual, worldly people are not going to receive and appreciate the words of the Spirit as delivered by Paul…but rather those who choose to be governed by God and His Spirit. The rational souls (Greek meaning of “spiritual” here)… the ones who are choosing NOT to be worldly and sensual…THOSE people– are the ones who are going to more readily receive the Words of the spirit and thus have the mind of Christ. Paul said he and others have the mind of Christ. He had it in words. It was delivered in words and so we, too, can have the mind of Christ.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: 2019! It’s a Perfect Time to Join the Study!

Happy New Year! 

At our house, today is the “Christmas” gathering for the children and grandchildren of my mother and father. This is the first time we’ve not been able to gather at my dad’s house. It will be different, for sure; but I know, just like in the church, it’s the people who make up the “house.” So, we still have the house and, one day soon, the entire house will assemble again in a locale that will be permanent and never unavailable for any reason. I love the hope that’s in the Word!

The new year is a perfect time to get into the Word. I want to personally invite you to jump into  our Digging Deep study on “Authority.” We begin a brand new month today called “But Isn’t My Heart the Most Important Thing?”.  It begins like this: 

But Isn’t my Heart the Most Important Thing? 

As I write this study, I am taking time out, every few minutes, to try to work with a young friend who has lost her way. She has gotten into some trouble because of her sin. She is facing some consequences that she didn’t really think through at the time of the commission of her sin. We all do this, at times. Statements like these keep coming in texts from her:

“But I never stopped loving God and this just doesn’t feel fair.”

“But I feel so broken and alone.” 

“But does God really want me to be so miserable?”

“I can’t do this. I just don’t feel this is what God wants for my life.”

“I know this worship may not be what is right, but I just felt so alone when I worshipped over there.”

We live in a world that’s all about feeling. Back in the days of early television, there were the cops and then there were the robbers. There were the Snow Whites/Cinderellas and then there were the wicked queens/stepmothers. There were the brave sailors and then there were the greedy pirates. Now the lines are a little more blurry. The good guys are not really always so good and the bad guys are often just victims of a bad society. Additionally, there are lots of shades of grey in between the blackness of sin and the purity of righteousness. It’s really not even so much about the goodness or evil of the actions, themselves. It’s more about the heart of the perpetrator of evil. What was he feeling and how much of that feeling can be blamed on how many other people? 

The big cultural shift to emotionalism is all around us. Philosophers call it ethical subjectivism. That’s the belief that we base our decisions on what we feel is right, rather than having a standard that instructs those decisions.  This philosophy emanates from many places today, but it has gained a mighty momentum in Hollywood. Oprah’s advice to young girls recently on Good Morning America is an apt sampling of this new dose of the same old “better-felt-than-told” subjective philosophy. 

“Every one of us has an internal guidance, a GPS…if you follow that you will be led to the highest good for you, always. That’s why all the voices of the world mean nothing if your voice is in alignment with all the voices of the world.”

I am not sure what that even means. There’s a glitch in the wording that makes it nonsensical. But, in any case, the inner voice is what is felt, not what is instructed.  

Marilyn Monroe said “A woman knows by feelings, by intuition, what is best for herself.

Then there’s this one that might be on your refrigerator already. It’s simply attributed to “the Universe”: “Choose feelings over logic, adventure over perfection, here over there, now over then, and always LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.” 

Now this all sounds sweet, but it is so very opposed to the teachings of the Creator of said universe, that we as Christian women must activate our debunking radars each morning before we leave the house or turn on the computer. The world is full of sweet sounding meaningless bunkum and balderdash that is in direct conflict with the instructions of the One who has already navigated our path safely through this life to the other side. 

There is a way that seems right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 16:25.

Let’s examine, this month, the  impact that the homage to “feelings” is having on the church and on our individual  responses to the authority of the Word of God, particularly as it relates to our worship of Him. 

If you are one of those women, like I am, who benefits from a plan and a sisterhood of sweet accountability, don’t wait. You can download the study free at https://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Digging-Deep/c/20688312/offset=0&sort=normal or purchase the notebook, if that works best. Happy New Year: 365 days, if He wills, to give Him glory!