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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

It’s a Colley Boy!

Ellis Glenn Colley! I just can’t absorb the announcement of the upcoming birth of the first Colley boy in 37 years (and only the second Colley boy in 61 years) without telling you what a blessing this is in the life of this Mammy!

Robert Lester Colley was what some called a restoration preacher. He was a gospel preacher, devoted to restoring New Testament Christianity in the first half of the twentieth century. He attended Freed Hardeman University (as did all four of the preachers in this post) before it was even called Freed-Hardeman.  (You can read about him here: https://www.therestorationmovement.com/_states/tennessee/colley.html). Preaching mostly in Texas, he was the father of two preaching sons, Gary Glenn and Robert. Here’s the family around 1940:

And here is the second in our line of preachers. (He’s the little boy on the right in the photo above.) This is Gary Glenn Colley, Sr. He has preached the gospel now for about 70 years.

Of eight grandchildren of Robert Lester, only one was a boy. His name is Gary Glenn Colley, Jr and that preacher is my husband.  As you can imagine, there was a lot of pressure on our Colley generation to produce the fourth generation preacher. I remember that day in Maury County Hospital, when my in-laws stepped off the elevator in the maternity wing to hear the first cries of Caleb Glenn Colley. A few moments prior, Glenn had, from the foot of that birthing bed, told me in excited tones “Cindy, I can see a head!” 

I said “Is it a boy or a girl?!” 

He replied, “I can’t tell from its ears!”

Glenn and I did not know that Caleb would become that preacher. We just prayed every day that he would become a faithful Christian, using whatever talents and resources given Him by our Father for His glory. But those talents and blessings are being used to preach and teach and influence in ways that only God can orchestrate. To Him be the glory!

Caleb is the father of two-year-old Maggie, who is the epitome of perfection. Here’s Maggie on Father’s Day with my husband, Glenn:

And speaking of Father’s day, it was last Father’s Day that Maggie gave her Papa (Glenn) a coupon book.  Little “drawings” on each page are redeemable for hugs or songs or story times, etc…But, to our surprise, the last coupon in the book was for a brand new Colley baby, due in February, 2021! We are counting on redeeming every coupon in that little book that’s in the top drawer of our dresser.

And everyone (at least everyone with whom I spoke) was pretty sure Maggie’s new baby was a girl. Maggie said “She is a gull.” Caleb and his wife, Rebekah were calling him “her” and “she.”  They had settled on a girl’s name, but not yet on a name for a boy. Technicians at clinics predicted a sister. But I found myself asking God last week for a boy—a boy who could grow up and be a leader for the kingdom…one more boy to carry our Colley name; if not now, then maybe later we could have a boy? Then I told the Lord that “maybe I should not ask you for a boy….A girl will be exactly what we want if that’s what our baby is!” Of course she would have been! 

But then I thought about the prayer of Hannah: 

“And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (I Samuel 1:11).

“Maybe Lord, it is okay with you if I pray for a man child. But Lord, if this child can only grow up and live his or her life for You…all of the days of his or her life, fully for You. And Lord, if I can just sit down around Your throne with this child forever and ever, Lord, that is all I want!” 

It was later that day, last Thursday, that we got the text message from the ultrasound room. Driving down Ryland Pike, I had to pull over and hyperventilate…and praise! There was the news about Ellis Glenn Colley and, soon to follow, his beautiful pictures…right there on the screen of my phone!

Moments later, I walked into the post office (to mail some more of your DD materials) and fairly shouted at Mindy, our superwoman-postal-worker, “It’s a boy!” I know the other lady at the window wasn’t really as excited as she sounded, but everyone at the post office stopped what they were doing for just a moment, and, even with masks on, had a little mini-party in honor of Ellis. “You have another Colley to wear the name!” came a voice reverberating from behind the counter in that tiny little post office.

May Ellis Glenn Colley, whether or not he is a fifth generation gospel preacher, be a fifth generation Christian. May he be given to the Lord all the days of his life!

Maggie’s response when they told her that her baby brother was coming soon was “I want to have him.” 

So do we, Maggie!

And thanks to everyone who read to the end.  I’m praying for your children tonight. Thank you for praying for mine! May we all keep that throne-room goal in an extremely central and sharp focus. In an era of uncertainty the Father of our primary family is sitting calmly in that room on that throne planning the day when, prayerfully, all five of those generations and all of your faithful generations, too, will be reunited. There are many rooms being prepared in that mansion (John 14:2). I hope your reservation is secured.

One last thing: I know our blessings of family-shared faith are not to our credit. They are due to His mercies in our lives that are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).  They are due to His revelation at work through our meager vessels. I also know that we cannot , in any sense, save our children or secure their places eternally with Him.  But we can pray that our homes will be sanctuaries from the world where holiness can grow.  Let’s all pray that for each other!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“There’s something I don’t understand about God…”

So said Ezra, age five. As we were tromping through the old cemetery beside our house, he was asking about the people buried there. “Were these people Christians?” 

This little tromp followed closely on the heels of our visit to one of our friends whose wife has just passed away. “Was she a Christian?” 

I had explained to Ezra that she was a Christian and so she got to go to heaven, but that her husband, who is aged and, thankfully, left behind for now, is not. That’s why your Papa has asked him to study the Bible…so he can learn how to go where she has gone and so he can be with her again someday. 

“Did he say he would study the Bible?” 

“Yes, he did. So let’s pray that he listens and wants to obey God, so that he can go to heaven.”

And so came the common line of thinking that you and I have heard countless times. (I’ve just never heard it expressed by a five-year-old.)… “So this is what I don’t understand about God. You know, Mammy, that not all of the people who are not Christians are bad guys. Most of them are just nice people; but they are not going to get to go to heaven. People who don’t get to go to heaven are going to have to burn. So how can God do that to nice people?”

And that just about sums up one of the most pervasive of all theological questions: How can a loving God damn people to eternal torment?  

So I talked about this for a brief few minutes there in the cemetery with Ezra. I told him how this earth we walk on is just really a testing place. “God is giving us a chance to choose whether we will obey him—all of what he commands us—or not. He is seeing if we trust Him enough to just obey Him. If we look around us and see this beautiful world—that grassy field over there, the mountain behind it, these huge oak trees and even our own bodies that can run and chase each other—if we see all of that, we should know that Someone made all of it. If we search for Him, we can find Him in His Word and then we can know what He wants us to do. But we have to care enough to study His Word and find His wishes for our lives. If we care enough to do anything to obey Him, He will help us to know how to do it and He will be our Father and take us to live with Him, forever.”

Ezra responded….”I kind of understand all of that, but I think there are some parts of it that I cannot understand because I’m just a kid. I think I will understand it better when I’m a grown-up.” 

I did not want to burst His bubble and tell him that there are some parts of it that he will never understand. But I did add that the most important thing to God is that we trust Him enough to just do what He says even if we don’t always understand. 

Later in the week we watched that classic old Disney movie together: Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. He listened intently to a line taken from the ten commandments and another phrase repeated throughout the movie: “I make sure I’m right, and if I am right, then I go ahead.” 

Then Ezra said “Mammy, is Davy Crockett dead now?”

“Yes, he is, Ezra.”

“Well, was he a Christian?…because he acts like a Christian.” 

So now, reflecting on the week I just spent with that precious little five-year-old, I’m pretty sure he’s absorbing the truth that the most important thing about living, is dying; and the shape your soul is in when you do. 

As I was driving him back to meet his mama today, we had one final theological discussion. It started when he said something to purposely scare me and I quipped “Ezra, you are going to give Mammy a heart attack!” 

“Mammy, what’s a heart attack?”

After a little discussion about valves and blood flow, Ezra said. “Do you think I will ever have a heart attack? I’m kind of afraid of a heart attack.” 

I tried to reassure him that he is healthy and that, although he will one day die, it will likely be when he’s an old man and that he will probably never have a heart attack, even then.

“But, Ezra, you know every single person has to die one day.”

“Oh, I know that,” he said. 

And then I added, “…unless we are still living here when Jesus comes back in the clouds. If he comes soon and if we are still living, then we will never die.”

As I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw a look of excitement like I rarely see on that little face.  He said. “Do you really mean it?! You mean if we are still alive when He comes back, we will never die?!” 

“That’s right.  We will just fly up and meet him in the clouds and go on to heaven with him.”

“Oh!…Well then, that’s what I hope happens! I want to still be living when He comes back!” 

Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20).

Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom (Matthew 18:3).

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Smaller Fish to Fry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ezra: I just cannot unnastand that. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ezra: They must have been very tired. 

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

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

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

“Why?” I asked. 

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

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

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

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Curbside-Pick-up Lessons

I’m not adept yet at grocery pick-up, but I’m on the curve. Today I did the Kroger pick-up and then ran through a drive-through to get a sandwich. Needing badly to be outside, to see people and to feel that there’s a whole world out there–a world that’s not wholly sick, but still thriving in key ways, I parked under a tree to eat that sandwich. When I finished, I walked around to the back of the SUV and opened the hatch to get a banana for dessert–a banana for which I’d really been wishing for about three days. (In fact, I’d wished for bananas so badly that the girl who was putting my groceries in my trunk said “Wow! Your family must really love bananas!” She was right. I had lots.

As I grabbed that banana (which was mostly green, but I really wanted a banana) I knocked a half gallon of milk out of the back of the forerunner. I really wanted milk, too, but there it ran, down the little incline and over about three more parking spaces. But since I really wanted that milk and I knew how difficult it would be to replace without actually entering a store,  I put what was left of that slit carton in three plastic Kroger bags and put it in the passenger seat beside me. I got the diaper wipes out of the console and cleaned up the mat in the back as best I could (because, do you even know how rank spoiled milk smells?) and came home as, at last, I ate that green banana.

In my driveway, I realized that those three bags had not really fully contained that milk from the bursted jug. The passenger seat was a pretty big mess. And now my driveway was and my sidewalk, too. So I went inside and got the top to a Tupperware cake-taker and went outside and poured the remaining milk from that jug into the Tupperware. I took my big trash can from the kitchen outside to put those heavy wet Kroger bags into the trash. Then I went inside with my bowl of milk, got a jar and a funnel and poured the milk from the Tupperware into my jar. I got just a little over a quart, for all my trouble. It would have been easier to go down to my neighbor’s farm and ask if I could just milk a cow, for that quart. But, like I said, I really wanted some milk.

That’s pretty much how my week’s been going–about a quart of satisfaction per every gallon-worth of trouble…and a big mess in three different places at the same time.  I know some of you can relate.We’re innovative and independent, but we’re also incorrigible in our routineness. We’re inertia-driven, struggling to stop those routines and find our grooves in what seems a surreal stay-in-place pandemonium. We fight anxiety–about the sickness itself, about political extremism, about people from whom we are disconnected, and about the economy. We worry about how we will ever make up all those cancelled appointments and engagements and events once we do start having schedules again. I’ve wondered many times lately how people do quarantines without prayer and the Word. Knowing there’s no place to go now would be extremely hard if there was no ultimate place to go…for eternity.

But there was also this other moment; a moment that also happened while I was driving to that curbside this week….

My friend, a relatively new convert, called to ask me if I was okay and to encourage me to pray. She said, “We all have to pray. God will give us what we need if we just pray and pray.”

I knew she was right (Matthew 6:33), but I wasn’t sure exactly where she was coming from as we started talking. She related to me that some of her unbelieving friends were in a bad situation in a local hospital. She said to them “You need to let me pray for you. God can help you.” And so she did. Her prayers were answered in God’s great timing and this family is now open to Bible study.

She went on to tell me how very hard she has also been praying for her unbelieving husband. “I believe he is coming around to the point of believing in God,” she said. We talked further and agreed on a book that I’m ordering for her study with him. Then we talked about my friend’s job changes lately.

My friend has, for many months, been working in a restaurant. I encouraged her to tell the management that she could not work on Sundays during worship. She did tell them that, but, in spite of their agreement, they kept scheduling her so that she had to miss worship. At last, a few months back, she told them she would have to leave their employment if she could not faithfully worship. So they let her go; essentially, they fired her. She was seeking first the kingdom and, as she did, the Lord, in Matthew 6:33 fashion, provided another job, working with elderly people in a nursing home. My friend loves this work. Its pay and benefits are what she was looking for all along.

Her next statement was rich. ” Here I am, as an essential worker now; working, getting paid to do something I love, and eating right through this pandemic, while the people who fired me, as restaurant managers , are out of work.”  Can you think of a more practical illustration of Matthew 6:33?  I’d be hard-pressed to come up with one.

See, in a few of the little things, we may look at a quart’s worth for all of our trouble and get discouraged. But, in the big eternal things, let’s be sure to notice that, for our quart’s worth of seeking, our needs are repaid in gallons. Your prayer may not always be answered in exactly the same way or with the same immediacy that my friend’s is being answered. But mark it down: When we seek the kingdom first, the result, even when we wait till heaven to get it, will be fourfold (and more) blessings.

I know another family who was in the midst of trying to buy a home in a new city to which they were moving just last month. Their house sold, in the thriving February American economy, before they even placed it on the market. Finding one in their destination city was proving harder, though. It was a seller’s market there, as well. Many homes were simply snatched up before this good family had a chance to travel to see them. In one case, this family even placed an offer on a home sight-unseen, becoming pretty desperate to find a place to live. Every house they tried to buy, though, was not negotiable to their price range or was sold before they could even take a look. This little family kept praying and serving the Lord and, then, the pandemic hit. That’s when the market flipped. Suddenly, people were no longer buying houses and, just like that, this little family’s dollars would go much further in buying a house. They were able to quickly find a house and negotiate the price in a way that would have been impossible only a few days prior. No one in this scenario was happy, of course, that a pandemic had reached America (or even existed, of course.) But, at the same time, this couple could look back and recognize that, in their former disappointments, God was providing something better, as they continued in His will.

It’s often just like that. Providence can be seen so much clearer in hindsight. And, even in situations that were destructive and for which we would have never wished or prayed, for His people looking back, there was Providence…good things coming from difficult things. Blessings in trials.

Am I saying that God’s always going to fix all the problems for us, as His faithful children? Yes. I’m saying He will. I’m just not saying when. For some of the trials, heaven may be the fix. We may struggle with some hardships for all of this lifetime, as His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). But Paul’s thorn in the flesh, whatever it was, is “fixed” now. Let’s live in the shadow of Matthew 6:33 and patiently wait for the fourfold blessings, whether they may come in the blessed here and now or in the sweet by and by.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #11: Proverbs 6:17–A Proud Look

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:  Seven Things God Hates: A proud look (Prov. 6:16-19)

These six things the Lord hates, 

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

What is “a proud look”?  Since I was young I’ve wondered if this had to do with the way I look to others (Do others see me as prideful?)  or the way I look at others.(Do I actually look down my nose at people?) Either way, the lesson is the same: a proud look is a violation of this law: “But he who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (2 Cor. 10:17).  

Self-respect is not wrong.  That’s evident from another familiar proverb:“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov. 22:1).  I should care what people think of me and do my best to reflect Christ. I should strive for excellence; to be the best I can be. Therefore I care about how I look, how I speak, and what attitudes I display at any given moment.  Yet, when a man begins to admire himself independently of his Creator, he is in danger, and one common sign of this heart-sin is a proud look.  It separates a man from the people around him and makes him somewhat unapproachable—at least to some.  He may not realize it, but, in his self-pride, he has implied that he fails to acknowledge his constant need for mercy from His God.  

Perhaps the clearest statement on this danger came from the Apostle Paul:

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3).

For today, let us be especially aware of our “look.”

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:6,10).

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you

but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”  (Mic. 6:8).

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14)

“When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom” (Prov. 11:2).

 

Story Time from Glenn and Cindy: Concluding Genesis 45

1.  There were still five years of famine ahead (45:11).  Joseph said to his astonished brothers, “You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children’s children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have” (45:10).  At that moment, Joseph came back into their lives as a savior, supplying all they needed: forgiveness, food, and a secure place to live.  They had treated him so badly, yet he cared for them.  Review Romans 12:20-21. These lessons are so very important and relevant to children: 

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Have your children repeat “Overcome evil with good.” Have them prepare a card to send to someone who has not always been kind to them. Tell this child your family is missing him/her during the quarantine. Stress that you are overcoming evil (unkindness or selfishness) with good. 

2.  Read Genesis 45:17-23.  Pharaoh gave Joseph’s brothers more riches than they could imagine: the best of all the land of Egypt. They could hardly believe their eyes!

Compare this picture with how we will feel entering heaven one day:

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son (Rev. 21:1-7).

Talk to your children about how you can hardly wait for all of your family to be together in heaven. Talk to them about how lots of people in our world are sick right now. Talk about specific people they love who are sick right now. Talk to them about the reason for the present quarantine. Explain that none of these sicknesses will ever “happen” in heaven.

3.  When Joseph’s aged father, Jacob, saw his sons at the front of their house with all these riches, and heard them explain that Joseph was both alive and powerful, “his heart stood still,” meaning he was speechless with the shock of it all. When he was finally able to accept that it was true, verse 28 says, “Then Israel said, “It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive.  I will go see him before I die.”

Of all the many riches laid before Jacob, the greatest was that Joseph was alive and he could see him and hug him and talk with him.  What are your greatest riches? What means the most of all to you?  

In connection to this, teach your children that the answer to the question, “What is true success?” is, “living your life and going to heaven.” Repeat this till your children know it.

4. Explain to your children what an “enemy” is. You can talk to them about enemies on Star Wars or in stories like The Three Little Pigs or you can identify the Riddler or the Joker from old Batman episodes. You could talk to them about the wicked stepmother in Snow White or Cinderella. Ask them if we ever have enemies. Explain to them that we do not want to have enemies, but, when we do, we will always show them kindness and pray for them as Jesus taught us in Luke 6:28. Read this verse with your children. Pray with your children. Be sure to pray for enemies tonight.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Homer Smith. Really Singing Now!

I know, there will be legion who say similar things. I tried to tell him pretty often when he was on this side (the not-as-wonderful side), but He was a huge blessing to hundreds, literally. As we cared for our own father, He was johnny-on-the-spot with Cil whenever we had any need and even before we could even know what our needs were. Just  a few of lots of examples:
1. He found my father, one day, unconscious, in the auditorium of the church building. He immediately called me and asked “which hospital?”. When I arrived at that hospital a couple of hours later, but as quick as I could, he was still there with my daddy.
2. He went back through the camera recordings to find out how Daddy got there that morning and how long he may have been in that auditorium.
3. He cleaned up the mess in that auditorium after an octagenarian had been lying there for hours.
4. He brought us a walker and a wheel chair.
5. He acted as a buffer when my dad did not understand things or hear things correctly
6. He gave me comfort when others saw problems as being larger than life.
7. One day, he came to the house and helped me practically “carry” my father to the car to take him to the ER. He patiently waited for me to try and give Dad some nourishment before he and Cil, with extreme physical exertion, helped get him in the car. I could not have “done” that day without them.
8. He helped make sure my dad had little jobs to do in the Tuesday class. He helped him be the “doughnut/biscuit bringer.”
9. He called and then called the next day and the next day and the next, when intensive care waiting rooms, hospital bedsides and rehab facilities were void of a sense of even the passing of time. He helped us mark and count the days till brighter times, always giving us hope. “Uncle Lee’s a strong man. Look at him. He’s already up walking!”
10. He could make anybody double over with laughter at any given time and he knew just when to do that. He got that from his daddy. We’ve sung a thousand songs about heaven together. In that Jacksonville building, at our grandmother’s house on Goodlett Street (and we both loved her deeply, but she loved me the best =)), in my mother and dad’s yard, and in my living room. We’ve sung some sad songs in times of loss and some happy songs at family reunions. But we’ve never sung one as pretty as the one he sings now. We will sing together again at the best of family reunions in the Father’s house.