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Family Bible Time

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.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #42: Proverbs 15:16-17–Treasure with Trouble

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:

Favorite Proverbs: Proverb 15:16-17…

“Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.”

This has to be one of our top ten.  If you are recently married, you’d better get this truth into your home before the kids come along and you find yourselves in a dark place.  It has to be instilled consistently and early:  A godly, Christ-centered home where we love one another will always be vastly better than a house with wealth accompanied by trouble, hatred and disobedience to God.  

Think right now about your career. What are you trying to accomplish with that employment? What is the greater meaning of this work? Is work the most important thing in your life?  Does that job support your family or does your family support the job?

Does harmony and contentment thrive in your home because Jesus lives there and is the center of all you do?  Finish this statement: When harmony breaks down in my home it is usually caused by ________________. In many cases you will find that, behind whatever you wrote in the blank, is an emphasis on something material rather than a priority on pleasing God.  

I try to pour this principle into the hearts of people in pre-marriage counseling.  The value and size of a house doesn’t reveal the amount of happiness dwelling inside.  Happiness can thrive in a shack as well as a mansion.  Never assume that where there is wealth there is joy, because they often don’t live in the same place.

Our Lord said “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Contentment is in prioritizing His kingdom and your place in it. 

In your meditation times today, add this important proverb.  Sometime during the day, read it to your family, explain it, and let your children know this is the driving thesis of your home.

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Matthew 5:31ff (continued)

Jesus said “I was in prison and you came unto me.”

  1. Read Matthew 26:47-56 to your children and find out what the disciples did when Jesus was actually arrested–when he became an innocent prisoner. They became so afraid that they reacted in a way that we don’t ever want to imitate. How does Jesus tell us, as His disciples, in our Matthew 25 text that we can be with Jesus when He is in prison?
  2. Of course, most of us today in the United States cannot visit a prison during a pandemic, since there are restrictions against such. In fact, it is difficult to gain permission to enter at any time. But we can certainly, right now, support the prison ministers we know who have given/give lots of hours and  experience physical and emotional stress as they visit and teach the gospel in prisons. Tonight, have your children write letters of thanks and encouragement to a prison minister that you know. If you do not know one, let me recommend a faithful one for your children to write. Have your younger children draw pictures. This will encourage our brother who has devoted years to a prison work here in Huntsville.

Mr. George Coffell

c/o West Huntsville church of Christ

1519 Old Monrovia Road NW

Huntsville, AL 35806

If you have the Hannah’s Hundred CD, sing the Matthew 25 song once more along with the Matthew 5:16 song. Pray with your children. Remember to pray for the prisoners in our land; that the gospel may be taught to those who are in need of salvation and who may listen to the Word.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #41: Proverbs 15:14–The Pursuit of Knowledge

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 15:14 — The pursuit of knowledge.

“The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”

An aphorism, or proverb, just means a short, pithy statement or maxim. In the book of Proverbs, such a statement is often presented in the form of a contrast.  That’s true in our proverb today.

With what do you feed your mind most days?  Eight of our 24 hours is used for sleep, some for eating, some for work, some for exercise and family matters. What are you doing to expand your mind?  Are you committing enough time to learning God’s word? Jesus encountered a man one day who was too busy.  Here’s the exchange between them:

And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead”(Matthew 8:18-22).

 The only way we know how to follow the Master is by study and application of His word.  At some point we’re going to have to decide to spend some time each day—to let the world go by for a few minutes—while we sit down and meditate on God’s word.  There isn’t anything wrong per se with enjoying entertainment (which doesn’t involve sin in anyway), but how much time do you spend on that while letting large gaps of time elapse between sit-down, focused Bible study?

If our young women fail to develop a personal Bible study habit, how will they rear the next generation of children to know the Word?  If our young men feed more on the Bible than on the “foolishness”  of this proverb, where will we get our preachers and elders in the next thirty or forty years?  Where will we get godly teachers and mentors?  We could find ourselves in the frightening position of lowering our standards and accepting preachers and elders who know much about social media, sports, and video games, but little about Scripture.  

For today, consider your own study habits and how you can improve. Make your study systematic. Find a deliberate system of study, such as 20 minutes each day before going to work or before the kids wake up.  Choose a book of the Bible and get a good commentary to help you along. Some may even take a leap of faith and join the Digging Deep studies (https://www.calebcolley.com/diggingdeep/ or https://thecolleyhouse.org/digging-deep). Once you begin some regimen of study, you’ll be amazed how many times the during the day you find yourself thinking about what you’ve been studying.

Help others by giving gifts of good commentaries, concordances, and Bibles, especially to young people.  Wise Solomon wrote, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecc. 12:1).  

Seek knowledge; not foolishness.

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

Matthew 25: 31ff (continued)

Jesus said “I was sick and you visited me.”

Emphasize to your children the premise of this passage: The way we minister to Jesus, who needs nothing now, is to minister to other people–all people, but especially those in the kingdom (Galatians 6:10)

Read to your children Matthew 14:14 and emphasize to them that one of the reasons Jesus healed sick people while on earth was that he had compassion on them. Talk about the meaning of compassion (feeling sympathy or pity). Try to give them an illustration, from their lives, of that feeling. (A pet that was suffering, a time when one rescued a sibling from being bullied, a time when a grandparent was in trouble, etc…) Tell them that anytime we see people suffering we should be “moved with compassion.”

When we see people who are sick, we should see Jesus. Right now, we cannot go and be with most of the people we know who are sick. We cannot even visit the hospitals. But we can make and send cards. Get out your church directory and find people who are sick…at least one per child.

  1. Use the time tonight to make cards for these sick ones. Be sure your children walk them to the mailbox tomorrow. (I’m not even sick and I was over the moon about cheer cards received during the pandemic from children of our congregation…you Canter kids and Mitchell kids!)
  2. Tomorrow, have each child (toddlers and up) make at least one phone call to someone in the church who is sick. Train them to be cheerful and full of compassion. Make sure they ask if there is anything the person needs that you could bring by and drop on the porch.
  3. If you have teeny people, let them practice by pretending you have cut your arm and let them bring band-aids to help you get better. Be sure to tell them that when they help people who are hurting, the Bible says they are helping Jesus.
  4. If you have the Hannah’s Hundred 2 CD (www.thecolleyhouse.org), play song #72 for your children. Play this each night for several nights until you know these verses from Matthew 25.

Pray with your kids. Be sure to let your children make a “sick list” prior to your prayer and pray for these people specifically.

If you do have the CD, also listen to Matthew 5:16 and practice singing that as you close.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #40:Proverbs 15:3–Our Omniscient God

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:  Our Omniscient God 

 “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3).

Think of the magnitude of this.  Our Father sees the child that sleeps, the sparrow that falls, the young bride and groom as they stutter out their vows before family and friends, the farmer with his plow, the builder with his blueprints, the ravages and cruelty of war, the desperation of a pandemic that has kept people down too long, the sadness of the new grave, the thief who walks out without paying, the alcoholic who unseals the next bottle, the shameful husband who slyly deceives his wife to carry on a sinful relationship with another woman, and the men and women who work everyday to “let the words of their mouths and the meditations of their hearts be acceptable to God, their strength and Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Solomon only one among several who were inspired to describe this quality of God:

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,

But the Lord weighs the spirits” (Prov. 16:2)

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,

But the Lord weighs the hearts.” (Prov. 21:1)

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me” (Psa. 139:7-10).

“So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring’” (Acts 17:27-28).

I remember a small boy who was scolded by his mother for telling a lie. He hid in the garage and when his mother found him she asked why he was hiding.  He tilted his head and said, “I’m hiding from God.”  Whether a small child or a most studied and clever atheist, no-one successfully hides from our God.

A troubled man once said to Gus Nichols, a great preacher of the past, “I don’t believe God hears me when I pray.” 

Brother Nichols said, “Alright, I’ll tell you what: We’ll walk together out into this nearby field tonight and you shake your fist at heaven and curse God.” 

The man couldn’t believe his ears. “Brother Nichols I would NEVER think of doing such a thing!” 

The wise Nichols then asked, “Do you mean to tell me you believe God hears you when your curse but not when you pray?”

Today, spend time in serious meditation on these deep words: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good,” and dedicate yourself to live in such a way that you find them to be a great blessing in your life and never a curse.

 Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Matthew 25: Jesus said “I was naked and you clothed me.”

Let us just go ahead and tell you that all small kids are going to laugh when you tell  them Jesus said this. But you already knew that. Any line about anybody without clothes or going to the restroom is hilarious when you’re four. After you get past the hilarity, though, make sure your conversation about people in our world who need warm clothing is serious.

  1. Go to Acts 9 and tell your children the story of the raising of Dorcas. Note that, in this case, those who needed coats and clothes were widows. Make sure your children understand what a widow is. Make sure you make the “raising ” part of the story as amazing to your kids as it was to the church there in Acts 9.
  2. Now think of ways that your family might be able to provide clothing for those in need. Here are some ideas. Choose ONE of them and make sure it happens:

a. Let your kids go to their closets and choose an article or two of good clothing and think of a family you know who is happy to get hand-me-downs. You may even want to explain to the mom of the family, if you’re good friends, that you are trying to teach your children to share clothing from Matthew 25. Make sure your own children see the importance of choosing good clothing to give…things they would like to wear.

b. Go on Amazon (or a similar site) with your children and choose a new article of clothing and have it sent anonymously to someone who could use it; someone who may be having a hard time shopping right now, because of the expense or the exposure. A widow is a great choice!

c. Choose a good coat from one of your closets to save for fall. Hang it in a place where you’ll remember to give it to a child that’s in a large family when cold weather comes. Go ahead and mark the date for giving on your calendar so you won’t forget.

d. Does your congregation have a clothing closet for benevolent purposes? If so, prepare a basket, with the help of your children for donating to this good cause.

e. Are you a sewing mom? If so, choose a simple project–a pillowcase dress or apron or simple blanket to make with your children to purpose for giving to someone you know who’s having a hard time right now or to send to a missionary family with a card of encouragement.

f. At West Huntsville, we actually have a Dorcas class (seamstresses who meet to study the Word and make bears for children in emergency situations and in the hospitals, and also for sewing other items for needs as they arise). If you’re brave enough to venture into Hobby Lobby, buy a couple of yard s of colorful cotton fabric for this class to use in their projects.

While it’s often complicated today in America, to find those in need of clothing, remember, when we do find them, we are finding Jesus in need. And it is the opportunity of a child’s little lifetime to give Jesus clothes!

Pray tonight that God will help you all to see needs around you and to remember that someone in need is Jesus!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #39: Proverbs 14:26–A Nation Exalted

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:  What Exalts a Nation

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:26).

Be impressed with the hard, cold fact of this statement. So long as this world stands, this will be true. Be reminded that Christianity is a world religion, not merely an American religion.  Our real success as a nation is in proportion to the degree to which we live according to the precepts of God’s Will. So many of the blacks and whites of right and wrong have turned to a sickening grey in the minds of citizens.  One doesn’t have far to look to find a politician who trades in debauchery, deceit, and compromised morality. People may turn a blind eye and elect him or her to whatever office he or she aspires.  We will do better as a nation–be exalted, lifted to a higher place– if we can strengthen voices against sin, as defined in the Bible, and if we can elect leaders who insist on a Biblically-framed virtue in all parts of our government.  

So far as I’m aware, only one U.S. President, James A. Garfield, was a member of the Lord’s church.  As we approach the next election, nothing would please me more for our government than if the executive, legislative and judicial branches were all filled with New Testament Christians; but that’s, of course, unrealistic.  What we must do this November, as in all our elections, is to choose leaders who will do the most to accommodate the cause of Christ in our land.  I’m surprised to have come to the point at which saying the following is realistic rather than a knee-jerk reaction, but it is not hard for me to imagine an America in which Christians are persecuted in ways similar to the ways our early Christian family was persecuted in the first century.  In the interest of my children and grandchildren and, obviously my family in the Lord, I’d like to delay that time as long as possible.  God has blessed us to live in a democracy, a republic, in which we have the vote and voice to choose our leaders.  We must take advantage of that gift and vote with the benefit of Christianity in mind.  May this be our chief motivation; not earthly issues that have no real bearing on the souls of citizens.  

Today, make time to step away from the political wrangling and hatred to lay the interests of our nation again at the feet of God.  Doesn’t He still work in the governments of men?  Don’t allow your heart to be driven by those things which won’t matter in eternity, but rather beg for His will to be done in our government. Then, use your influence, however small, for good.

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim. 2:1-4).

 

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Tonight’s phrase from Matthew 25 is “I was a stranger and you took me in.”

This one’s a little more difficult to practically apply, especially during a pandemic. But you should try and make your children understand that, although we cannot house all of the people who might be traveling through our area, when we know of Christians who have a need for housing, we should be happy to offer our homes as places for them to stay and our tables as places for them to eat. Even if we know of non-Christians, who need a place, and they come to us recommended by fellow-Christians, we should be happy to use our homes in this service. There are lots of people in our West Huntsville family who routinely offer rooms at home, hotel rooms, meals in their homes and restaurant meals, cabins and couches, for people they’ve not ever even met before. The guests are gospel preachers who visit, people who are moving to our area, those who have temporary work in our area, and those who may be temporarily homeless. There are just many examples all around your children during times of normalcy (non-pandemic times). See if they can think of some and talk to them about how you want to make “our house” available for people, because that’s making it available for the Lord. It’s a serious setting in which the Lord instructed this.

Have big people pretend-call the teeny people on the phone and tell the teenies that they are needing a place to stay and sleep because they are on a journey. Have the teenies respond with “Sure, we have a place,” and let them arrange the blankets on the sofa and put a pillow there and bring a bag with a bar of soap and some toothpaste and a spare toothbrush and put it on the pillow along with a towel (and whatever else you have on hand that a guest could use). Have one of the visiting big people lie there for the rest of the story time, profusely thanking the little person.

Tell the story of 2 Kings 4: 8-17. Be sure your children can name the simple things that the woman of Shunem put in the room for the prophet. Make sure they can also tell you that when she did this she was serving the prophet, but she was, most importantly, serving God. She was helping the prophet  to be able to preach the Word of God. She was helping God to work on this earth. When we offer to house God’s people, we help God’s cause on this earth!

Have your children look around your home and give ideas about how rooms and provisions and appliances can be used to help God’s cause.

Pray with your children. Pray that you will be able to use your home for His glory. Pray specifically for each room, that you will find ways to use your kitchen to feed God’s people, that you will find ways to use the bedrooms to help His people rest, that you will use your living room as a place to share His Word, etc….

We will be a closer family if we are serious about hospitality.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #38: Proverbs 14:26–Living with Confidence

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:  Living with confidence

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge”  (Prov. 14:26).

In today’s proverb, Solomon distills into a few words something all serious-minded Christians feel.  Here are some of my favorite passages which express that peaceful confidence—not in our own strength, but in His faithfulness.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”  (Heb 4:16).

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

The last few weeks have taught us much, but perhaps no lesson more than this one:

You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (Ja. 4:14-15).

Even in our awareness of our vulnerability in this life, though, dedicated Christians develop a sweet and broad view of our own existence. We don’t think merely in terms of earthly life, but we think and  speak openly and casually of a seamless transition into the other world to which we all will go.  Quoting this proverb, the “fear of the Lord” gives us that confidence.  It’s a little ironic that fearing God elbows out all other fears in this life. And, back to the proverb, that place of eradicated fear is called refuge.

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:17-19).

Today, my prayer for you is that, in these uncertain times, you will not fear what shall be on the morrow.  He will never forsake you (Heb. 13:5).  Remember what our Lord said to give us confidence and reassurance:  “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:31). 

Enjoy your day in Christ.  

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

More of Matthew 25: 31ff…

Jesus said “I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” 

Tonight, try to prompt your kids to think of ways we can give Jesus a drink. 

For the teeny people: Let them go to the sink and help them get a glass of ice water. Have Dad come in the room and feign a thirst of massive proportions. Have the child give him the glass of water. Let him really dramatize his relief. Then Dad should make sure the child knows that he/she just did something for Jesus. This is practice, for young children, for the real situations down the road. 

For bigger kids: Brainstorm ways we could give Jesus a drink today: Choose one of the following to plan and execute OR come up with your own idea. But give someone a drink this week. 

  1. Buy a case of bottled water to keep in your car along with several packages of Bumble Bee (or other brand) chicken salad and crackers, or Vienna sausages, or peanut butter crackers. Keep these in your car along with a stash of tracts about salvation to pass out to the people you see begging at the intersections in your town. Be sure the tracts have info for your congregation. 
  2. Take a case of bottled water to a base location of first responders in your area, along with information about the church. 
  3. Mix up a batch of chai mix and divide it up into several containers to take to families or individuals who may be having an especially hard time during the pandemic. (sickness at home, loss of job, relatives in hospital with “no visitors” restriction, etc..) Attach a note to the jars of drink mix letting them know you’re praying for them. Deliver to doorsteps or organize a drive-by parade to cheer these folks. It’s cheer-chai! (Recipe below.)
  4. Donate a quantity of juice pouches to the systems that are providing lunches to school children during the pandemic. Be sure to give your congregation credit for the donation. 
  5. Take water bottles and juice pouches to the hospital in a basket for the workers to leave in the ICU waiting room for families who may be there and unable to see loved ones. Many hospitals will have those areas off-limits for several weeks to come, but you can still collect these items for the earliest possible donation time. Be sure to identify the church on the basket of donations. 
  6. Do the above (#5) for your local funeral homes. 
  7. Have a drive-by parade for some of your shut-ins and wave to them on their porches or through the window. Leave hot chocolate pouches where they can retrieve. 

After you have chosen your activity, take your children to John 4 and tell them briefly about the Samaritan woman, who got to (literally) give Jesus water, and explain to them how Jesus has the water of life. Make sure the older children know why this is the water that makes people never thirst, spiritually, again! 

Praise God in prayer with your children. 

Best Chai Ever!

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer

1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer

2 1/2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions

In a large bowl, combine milk powder, non-dairy creamer, vanilla flavored creamer, sugar and instant tea. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time, until mixture is the consistency of fine powder.

To serve: Stir 2 heaping tablespoons chai tea mixture into a mug of hot water.

(But I do not do the blender thing. I just mix it up really good. That blender thing sent dust all over my house and made me cough! =)