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Family Bible Time

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Joseph’s Brothers…Over and Over

A few nights back while the grandkids were visiting, we did a fun family Bible time that involved watching, in intervals throughout the day, an old Shirley Temple movie called “The Little Colonel”. Set in the immediate post-antebellum South, and produced in the 1930s, I’m sure it wasn’t politically correct. But it gave us a good chance to discuss several topics that are very politically and morally infused, right now in our country. 

At night, we discussed several scenes from the movie, and then I would ask the question “Who can you think of, in the Bible, who did this, like the grandfather in the movie?”…or…”Can you remember a time, in the Word, where somebody lied because he was selfish, like the bad guys in the movie?“ If you came up with a good answer, you got to throw the velcro ball at the target for points and a prize for the winner. 

SO, first there was a person in the movie who did not treat the brown people in the movie with respect. “Who, in the Bible, can you think of who treated some person badly because he thought that person was just not as good or important as he was? Maybe you can even think of someone who was treated badly as a slave…” 

Ezra’s response was “Joseph’s brothers…they sold him as a slave. They didn’t care at all about what was going to happen to him. They were selfish.” He got to throw the ball. I think Colleyanna said that the Prodigal Son was like that. She got a throw, too.

We moved on. There was someone in the movie who had a very bad temper. “Can you think of someone in the Bible who showed a very bad temper?”

Again, Ezra said, “Joseph’s brothers got very mad at him because they were so jealous and they threw him in the pit!” He was right. Genesis 37:4 says they could not even speak peaceably with him. 

Colleyanna’s answers are harder for me to remember because they were not quite so repetitive, but I think here she commented about how angry Peter was when he shouted “I do not even know the man!”

Next, in our movie, there were some swindlers who blasted gold into a piece of rock, showed it to an unsuspecting “customer” and took him to the cleaners. He paid a lot of money for land that had no gold at all.  “Do you remember anyone in the Bible who tricked someone into thinking something was true?” https://thecolleyhouse.org/?p=14964&preview=true

“Oh yes.” By now Ezra had a big grin on his face. “Joseph’s brothers showed Jacob the coat with the blood to make him think something that wasn’t true.” More points on the board once again. Colleyanna remembered about how Potiphar’s wife showed Potiphar a coat and lied to him about the good servant Joseph. Sometimes we had to get her started and then she’d tell us the story.

Next, I reminded the kids about the lady in the movie who, even though she was begged, refused to come to the aid of a desperate fellow human being, simply because of the race of the one who needed help. In this case, it was a brown person who refused to rescue a white neighbor. I asked them if they knew of anyone in the Bible who refused to help someone. “Joseph’s brothers could have helped Joseph and they could have helped their daddy, but,…no. They just let them suffer.” I think Colleyanna thought about the man who built the bigger barns from Luke 12 or the priest and the Levite, who passed by on the other side, in the parable of the good Samaritan from Luke 10. Ezra was pretty proud of his lazy little self. They threw the ball  at the bullseye again.

Finally, the grandfather in our story softened his heart. He changed his mind. “Who can you think of who softened his heart in the end and repented?” Well, first Ezra had to clarify that the grandfather just MOSTLY softened his heart. “There was still one spot of ‘badness’ in there,” (which was true, the be exactly precise)….”But,” with great pomp he answered “Joseph’s brothers, of course. When they went to Egypt, they repented, except for one or two little bad spots.” He was right again and, by this time, we were all laughing because he had perceived pretty much the whole movie as being a biblical allegory of the last half of Genesis. (Colleyanna said “Jonah”, at this point, I think. He did repent near the end of the story.)

Parents, please don’t let your kids grow up without a great familiarity with the details of Joseph’s Genesis story. There are just so many wonderful life lessons there. There’s sin and redemption, there’s theft and restitution, there’s integrity and reward…there’s just so much that you can apply throughout their active days and in their childish attitudes (and in mine). There’s just so much. If you need help for Joseph and Family Bible time, there’s a guide that starts here: https://thecolleyhouse.org/family-ties-in-the-social-distance. (Then just follow the blog.)

And have a lot of fun if you have opposite-personality grandkids. Colleyanna’s so random. Ezra is so “one-track.” Once on a track, he can’t let it go. Hope he’s that way on the big, big track that matters. And I hope he keeps laughing a lot on the way. 

And, by the way, they were both more on-target with answers than with that little velcro ball, but they LOVED throwing it in the house! I liked it, too. In fact, I’d  like to freeze these precious days somehow. But I know there’s an even better day ahead…a very long one where time WILL be frozen.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Ellis Can Be a Frog…

“Let’s re-enact Pharaoh and the plagues,” said two-year-old Maggie at Family Bible Time. “Ellis can be one of the plagues,” she excitedly added. “He can be a frog.” (Ellis is her baby brother.)

I’m thinking she was probably going to be Moses or Pharaoh (…besides being the re-enactment director.)

Sometimes I can adapt that mentality in the family of God. Let me do whatever is big and showy and accolade-worthy and you can do whatever it is that’s a little more menial or messy. Maybe you could even do what might get you swatted or stepped on.

To be truthful, Maggie has the purest and most tender heart of anyone I know. (Once I pretended I wanted to go first in a game I was playing with her and she said “Sure. You can go first.” Her mama winked and said “We’ve really been working on how we always want to put others before ourselves.” Mammy was a great and helpful example there!)

Maggie’s got it. (After all, there really aren’t too many speaking parts in the Pharaoh saga that Ellis could do.) But sometimes I don’t get this right. Sometimes I probably would do well to go back and read the book of James and highlight statements like these:

Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation…

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

For where there is…self-seeking, there is confusion and every evil thing.

But the wisdom that is from above is…gentle, willing to yield.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

I’m going to pray today, as I start this week, that I’ll be constantly conscious of ways I can hide behind the cross and glorify the risen Savior through meekness toward His family.

And maybe they can back up one night soon and “re-enact” the basket in the Nile part of the story. Now there’s a starring role for Ellis!

 

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Ideas for Growing Faith: Products for Children

Happy Holidays! To those who entered the holiday contest, let me say a big thanks. This successful contest yielded several ideas that I know will be helpful to parents, especially those who have younger children.  First, I’d like to share four product ideas that rose to the top, in my estimation, of the gifts that will keep on giving for little souls. While I’ve not been able to look at everything from these sites, I’ve spent some time perusing and I believe parents will be blessed by taking advantage of these sites and the resources they offer for your kids. 

First is www.creationtorevelation.com. This is a growing site produced by a Christian family for the purpose of building faith in families. I hope you’ll visit and take the time to see if some of these innovative resources can beef up your family or homeschool  Bible time.

Next, is our old and faithful friend www.apologeticspress.org. I can vouch for these folks in their excellent presentation of apologetics for Christian families. The Colleys are personally indebted to Apologetics Press for many occasions upon which they provided the answers and resources we needed to address the most important questions our kids asked while developing faith. This submission specifically recommends the creation cards for daily teaching about creation. They’re here: http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1297&article=2912  I might add that they are excellent tools to carry in your diaper bag for quiet and productive time while mom’s in a worship assembly. But you really need to be very familiar with the entire website. 

Next is https://ministryleague.com/ml-resources/walking-together-with-christ-family-devotional-part-1, a tool for enriching family devotionals. If you haven’t checked this one out, you’ll be blessed. 

Finally, the ABC scripture cards from https://pipandjpapery.com/products/abc-scripture-memorization-cards-abc-flash-cards-abc-bible-verses. Any time you can put the pure scriptures in the hearts of kids, it’s time well spent. These are sweet little tools for doing that. I think you’ll like them.

Thanks to Rachel Valentin for these ideas. She’s a mom on a spiritual quest and I have an idea we’ll be hearing good things from her little girls in ladies’ circles in the Lord’s church in about 20 years!

More ideas from the contest next time!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“She did not wash away her sins…”

Tonight,Maggie, my grand-daughter who just turned two, prayed that “Mammy will be baptized so her sins can be washed away.”

Her mother told her immediately that “Mammy has already been baptized.” Apparently she thinks my sins are still there because she replied “ But she did not wash away her sins.” 

When you are two, it’s a big and daunting theological world. When you are 61, it is even more complicated and daunting. When you are two, you cannot understand exactly what’s washed away in that water. When you are 61, you can’t understand how. When you are two, you’re afraid of the water. When you are 61, you are afraid of challenges of the path you walk after the water (Romans 6:4). Maggie is two and she can’t wait to be baptized “to wash away your sins” that do not yet exist. I’m 61, and I just praise Him ceaselessly for the constant washing of sins that I wish did not exist (1 John 1:7). 

I’m so thankful Maggie’s parents are putting the Word in her diligently and directionally. This week she’s told me about the father of the twelve tribes, the faith of Rahab, the man in the big fish and the one in the lion’s den, the small man in the Sycamore tree and the apostle to the Jews and the one to the Gentiles. I’ve heard her say the books of the New Testament from Matthew to Colossians and I’ve heard her talk about Moses the lawgiver and Jesus, the triumphant Savior, as he rode over palm branches and heard the words “Hosanna in the highest.”  The biggest blessing of spending a week with their little family has been watching their sweet family Bible time. Tonight was a scavenger hunt outside finding and praising God for the items on the Creation cards from Apologetics Press (https://store.apologeticspress.org/products/apcmst001). There have been various games and challenges, lots of laughter and reverent prayers at least five times each day. 

When I look into those big brown eyes and think about the world in which Maggie will grow up, I am profoundly grateful for her mother and daddy; for the church of which they are a part in their community —an eldership and a body that supports their family in the greatest ministry on earth. Most of all, I’m so thankful for the great gift of the Holy Spirit: the Word, that we open each day to find the keys to victorious living in a spiritually war-torn world.  As Maggie, said her “Bible words” for this week, I reflected on how very central they are to the work her family is striving to do in the Lord’s church. She really summarized the plea that encompasses their work:

“He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7).

May Maggie always hear with child-like faith what the precious Holy Spirit says to the churches!

I love you, Mags, and I am already missing you! Let’s talk on the phone.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #44: Truth and Mercy have Met

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons 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. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My favorite Proverbs:  Proverbs 16:6  

“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”

Observe these soul-saving ingredients: fear, mercy, and truth. 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).  Why is fear important?  One powerful tool of the Devil, who loves to work in religion, is to subtract the fear of hell from both atheists and professing Christians.  Yet it is that fear that makes us crave and appreciate mercy and truth.  Consider that these two—mercy and truth—are often paired together in the Old Testament:

“And he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren” (Gen. 24:27).

“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10).

“He shall abide before God forever. oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!”(Psalm 61:7).

“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalm 85:10).

“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

This is a combination of characteristics seen in their perfection in our God. But we are commanded to use this combination in Christianity and the church as we hold one another accountable.  For example, elders who lead their flock in the process of withdrawal of the church from an impenitent member (according to the truth of the Word in 2 Thessalonians 3:6), will perhaps remember that Jesus gave Jezebel a space to repent (Rev. 2:20-21) and will apply that mercy to the member in the process of discipline. Mercy and truth have met together.

Jesus gave instruction about a Christian against whom a fellow-Christian has sinned.  Consider how His teaching involves both mercy and truth: 

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17). 

We clearly see the combination of the establishment of truth and the will to forgive and gain the brother. Everlasting mercy and enduring truth (Psalm 100:5).

Today consider that in the application of truth there is space for mercy.  Considering God’s application of this pair motivates me to want to be sure I get this combination right in my relationships.

FamilyBible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

It’s quiz night again! Just see how much fun you can have remembering what Jesus said in Matthew 25 (and Luke 12). Act out the following in a game of “Guess Who I Am.” Pretend to be each of the following and see if your kids can guess who you are. After each successful guess, have your children tell you what Jesus said about whomever you were pretending to be. The response will be repetitive, but that’s a good thing.

  • a sheep
  • a goat
  • a hungry person
  • a thirsty person
  • someone who needs a place to stay
  • someone who needs clothing
  • someone who is sick
  • someone who is in prison
  • the rich man tearing down his barns

Sing the song from Matthew 25 (Hannah’s Hundred) if you’ve been learning that. If not, sing Each Day I’ll Do a Golden Deed. Here are the lyrics:

A Beautiful Life
Each day I’ll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need
My life on earth is but a span
And so I’ll do the best I can
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
The only life that will endure
Is one that’s kind and good and pure
And so for God I’ll take my stand
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
While going down life’s weary road
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load
I’ll try to turn the night to day
Make flowers bloom along the way
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
No setting sun
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Rea Garvey / Sacha Skarbek
A Beautiful Life lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Red Brick Music Publishing

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #43: Proverbs 16:2–The Universal Standard

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons 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. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs: Proverb 16:2 

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.”

This proverb implies God has an objective, absolute standard for man’s behavior.  Here is the account of two-gun Crowley which I learned when I was younger.  I assume it to be true. It reads like a newspaper report and appeared in one of Dale Carnegie’s books:

On May 7, 1931, New York City witnessed the most sensational man-hunt the old town had ever known. After weeks of searching, “Two Gun” Crowley—the killer–the gunman who didn’t smoke or drink—was  trapped in his sweetheart’s apartment on West End Avenue.  One-hundred-fifty policemen and detectives laid siege to his top-floor hideaway.  Chopping holes in the roof, they tried to smoke out Crowley, the “cop killer,” with tear gas.  Then they mounted their machine guns on surrounding buildings, and for more than an hour, one of New York’s fine residential sections reverberated with the crack of pistol fire and the rat-tat-tat of machine guns. Crowley, crouching behind an overstuffed chair, fired incessantly at the police.  Ten thousand excited people watched the battle. Nothing like it had ever been seen on the sidewalks of New York.  

When Crowley was captured, Police Commissioner Mulrooney declared that the two-gun desperado was one of the most dangerous criminals ever encountered in the history of New York.  “He will kill,” said the commissioner, “at the drop of a feather.”  

But how did “Two Gun” Crowley regard himself?  We know, because while the police were firing into his apartment, he wrote a letter addressed “To whom it may concern.” And, as he wrote, the blood flowing from his wounds left a crimson trail on the paper.  In this letter Crowley said: “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one—one that would do nobody any harm.”

Only a short time before this writing, Crowley had been with a woman on a country road out on Long Island.  Suddenly a policeman walked up to the parked car and said:  “Let me see your license.”

Without saying a word, Crowley drew his gun, and cut the policemen down with a shower of lead.  As the dying officer fell,  Crowley leaped out of the car, grabbed the officer’s revolver, and fired another bullet into the prostrate body.  That was the killer who said, “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one—one that would do nobody any harm.”

Crowley was sentenced to the electric chair.  When he arrived at the death house at Sing Sing, did he say, “This is what I get for killing people?”  No, he said, “This is what I get for defending myself.”  The point of the story is this:  “Two Gun” Crowley never blamed himself for any of his heinous crimes.

This brief account of the life and death of a killer, combined with our proverb for today emphasize the fact that all people must be guided by a higher standard than their own momentary preferences.  Standards are vitally important, especially in view of man’s propensity to justify his actions, no matter how sinful they are. Every wrong done can be excused by rationalization. But, the Bible is universal, absolute truth, and God’s ways will always be higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9).

Spend a few minutes today meditating on today’s proverb and the advice King David gave to his son Solomon. Make application to your life and the lives of your children:

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Before we complete our time of studying serving Jesus by serving others, let’s detour tonight to another passage that teaches us the concept of selflessness and sharing our bounty with others. We call this account the parable of The Rich Fool. Read or tell it to your children from Luke 12:15-21.

  1. A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses. Challenge your kids to think of the richest (in material wealth) person they know. Then ask them to think about it and see if this person is the happiest one they know. Draw from this exercise that happiness in life is not in wealth.
  2. Now read the paragraph from Scripture again in which the rich man thinks about what he will do with his goods. Have them count how many times he uses the pronoun I. Is this man a self-centered man? Do we know anyone, or can we think of anyone in a story, who focuses on themselves?  (Maybe they might think of  someone like Gaston in Beauty and the Beast or the Wicked Queen in Snow White.) Is this the kind of person we’d love to be around? Is this person really happy?
  3. Make sure your children know what happens to all our material possessions when we die. Have older  children find the question Jesus asked about these material things upon a man’s death (from the passage in Luke 12).
  4. Have a conversation with any small children about what Jesus taught about sharing from this passage. Is he pleased when we want to keep everything for ourselves while others around us need or want things we could give them?
  5. See if your children can remember people in the Bible who were great at sharing. They might think of many among which may be these: Abraham shared with Lot (Genesis 13), Joseph shared with his brothers (Genesis 42:25), Boaz shared with Ruth (Ruth 2), the widow of Zarephath shared with Elijah (1 Kings 17), the Shunemite woman shared with Elisha (2 Kings 4), the little boy shared the five loaves and two fishes (John 6). If you have more than one child thinking, make it a little contest to see who can list the most “sharing” stories in the Bible. (Little prizes are great at any age)
  6. Finally, read to your children the Aesop fable “A Dog and His Bone.” You can find this in many places online. Here’s one: http://read.gov/aesop/026.html. How was the dog like the rich fool? Elicit from your kids that, in both cases, the prized possession was gone at the end, because of selfishness. Make sure you note that Aesop was just illustrating a truth taught by Jesus and the Word of God…that all truth about right and wrong comes from God.
  7. Pray with your kids.