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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Little Souls and Heaven Talk

Today, I had the three G kids for a while so their Mama could work on her lesson for PTP. It was a Murphy’s law kind of day in all small ways. I mean I couldn’t even believe all the random little calamities. SO in the middle of that, we sat in the car in the rain in a parking lot with a near-dead phone waiting for a rescue from Papa. This little conversation occurred, that put Mr. Murphy out of business!

Colleyanna: Can we listen to music?

Me: I’d like everyone to just be quiet for a little bit, so I can look for my credit card and Papa’s wallet.

Ezra: Yeah, Colleyanna. We just need to be quiet. Mammy is having a hard time. But, this IS a good day, I mean a few little things have gone wrong.

Me (in my head) Yes, a few little things… Wet toddler panties in the wrong place… blackened, in the wrong way, pork chops that we were taking to the shut-ins… dropped muffins that we were taking to the shut-ins… a little hand in the candy jar at the candy store…the discovery that I had no charge card in my wallet and no (zero) cash AFTER the kids had measured out their little bags of candy at the candy store and AFTER the proprietor had weighed it and totaled it up…the discovery that my husband who was nearby had also forgotten his wallet at home because he had baptized someone the night before and gotten his clothes all wet and laid his wallet somewhere to dry…then being rescued by Paul Owen who sometimes has that emergency money on him, and loaned it to my husband…then the drink machine at the restaurant took three minutes between each screen change. [They finally just gave me a big bottle after I had tried to get the kids a drink for about fifteen minutes.]… Then we came out of the restaurant and it was pouring rain and Colleyanna said, “Remember we were going to play in the splash pad.” I said “We ARE playing in the splash pad! It’s just coming from the sky instead of the ground, and we didn’t change into our water shoes!”)

Me (aloud): Yes it is a great day! Papa is coming to help us and everything will be great.

Ezra: But what if Papa has a wreck on the way over here?

Me: Well, he will be fine, but even if he does, that will be okay, too. Because we are going to all be okay all the way to heaven because we just pray when we have a problem and call on God’s people and God takes care of us, always. And he does that all the way to heaven.

Colleyanna: In heaven what will we do if we want something?

Ezra: You won’t even want the same things in heaven.

Me: God will make sure you have everything you want. You will be completely happy.

Colleyanna: So everything will just cost about a dollar or something?

Me: There will not be any money in heaven because we will not need to buy anything. God will make sure we have everything we need.

Colleyanna: Oh…And there’s not going to be anything bad? I mean I know there’s not going to be any crying.

Me: Right. There will be nothing sad, nothing that hurts, you will never wish any thing was different than it is, when we get there.

Colleyanna: But if he wipes away all tears, then could there be tears that you cry because you are happy?

Ezra: yeah, I think there could be happy tears.

Me: I guess so.

Ezra: Can the devil ever get into heaven?

Me: No. He will be forever in a very bad place with all the people who are liars and who don’t want to follow Jesus. It will be very bad for those people. That’s why it is hard to see why any people don’t want to follow Jesus for this short time on earth. It’s just really a test to see if we decide we want to follow Him and go to heaven. Why would people not choose that?

Ezra: But the devil will always be happy, right?

Me: You know, I don’t think anyone is truly happy if he decides to live away from God. Maybe people act like they are very happy and glad, but, really, I don’t think the devil will be happy at all in eternity. It will be a very bad way to exist and he will know that he has been forever defeated. He has lost.

Then Papa drove up with a borrowed 100 dollar bill and after he left …

Colleyanna: Wow! A hundred dollars! That is a LOT of money!

Me: (in my head): A half-a-dollar would be a lot of money right now, in comparison, when I’m sitting here in the rain without one red cent and without my credit card. 

Colleyanna: Can I see that one hundred dollar bill?

Me: Sure,  just hang on to it. It’s all we have today.

Ezra: Oh Mammy, maybe you shouldn’t give her that.

Me: It’s okay.

Colleyanna: Look this bill says “God”.

Me: Right. All of our money says “In God we trust.” That’s becasue our founding fathers wanted people to remember to trust in God instead of money. Wouldn’t it be great if all people did trust in God instead of money?

Ezra: Colleyanna, give that back now before you tear it.

I kind of agree with Ezra. I mean, a few little things have gone wrong, but it was a pretty good day. =)…And thanks, Mr. Paul.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Tombstone Tipping and other Heavy Stuff…

This has been one of those weeks. Among other minor catastrophes, I went walking in an ancient forgotten cemetery with the grandkids and they gathered colorful weeds and little branches from a beautiful Bartlett pear tree to put on the various old tombstones. In the process, I leaned on a very large tombstone (and, yes, it was very much already leaning, for those of you who already have your mouths open) and I tipped that thing to the ground. I was leaning forward on it with my hands on the top of it, and that thing fell toward me. I have a very large thigh-length bruise on my leg, BUT I do realize the leg could have been crushed if I had not backed away lightning fast. 

So my husband said “Well, at least it was in a forgotten cemetery and not at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or something.” The eternal optimist.

The next day, my husband was saying something personal and flirtatious to me (something I would never say to the world) and he was telling me to “go ahead and type that to your friends.” So, since I was sitting next to him and he could see my screen I typed that right into that facebook group. Of course, I was playing with my husband  and OF COURSE, I was going to click delete. So yes. I accidentally clicked “return” and there was my comment for the whole fb group. And all of their blue and green emojis were already lined up. That screen lit up like a firecracker. Gifs, Emojis, exclamation points and, from my daughter, vomiting faces were all over that laptop screen. My husband said “Cindy!!!! Well at least it was you and they know you would never say anything like that to the whole world and, at least it wasn’t the whole world—it was just a little group.” The eternal optimist. 

But let me tell you that facebook group was way too big at that moment. So was that tombstone. (Three big people tried to hoist it back up and we did not budge it. It’s going to take a tractor with a hook or something.) Ezra was petrified when I told him we were going in the little shop next door and confess. “They might take you to jail, Mammy.”  He was already envisioning visiting his grandmother who was convicted for tombstone tipping. 

I’m glad I have a husband who looks at the bright side. I need that right now. I’m thankful I have a Father who dwells in the eternally bright side. We constantly say, “If worse comes to worst, we will…” But the real worst never has to happen in a Christian’s world. The worst thing, of course, is eternal damnation and that never happens. “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1). I cannot love that passage more. Every parent should do the very hardest things to make sure their children, even adult children, are constantly walking after the Spirit. Sometimes those things are excruciating. Every wife should maintain the most difficult spirit  of 1 Peter 3:1-5, doing hard things to enable her husband to come to be “in Christ.” Husbands who love their wives should make the temporal sacrifices, no matter how deep they are, to give their wives and kids whatever it is that best promotes their spiritual development each day.  Sometimes very hard things for a short time result in easier things (even blissful things) for a very long time. 

Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are keeping the faith in the most difficult of times right now. I know there are temptations to lie, to take things that do not belong to them, to seek personal safety before thinking of the needs of others, to give up on faithful prayer and assembling together. I know this is the case. They are experiencing worse times than I will likely know. But even they are not experiencing the worst of times. The worst of times is reserved for the devil and his angels and it is described as a lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Rev .20), where the worm cannot die and the fire cannot be quenched (Mark 9). That’s the worst and it is not reserved for those Ukrainians who are in Christ. May God provide a respite soon for them. But if not, may they cling to the truth that worse will never come to worst.

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

Sister to Sister: Stephen Hawking Dead at 76

Many, up until his death last week, thought he was the world’s greatest living scientist. Merging Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to himself postulate that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end with black holes, he authored numerous books, including what was termed his  landmark work, “A Brief History in Time”. This one volume, among many he authored, sold over ten million copies. (He is pictured here with former President and Mrs. Clinton.)

In 1961, he was diagnosed with ALS  and given only a few years to live, but he was able to publish and speak through voice synthesizers for many more years than physicians had expected. He was an avowed atheist saying that “science can explain the universe without the need for a creator.” He also stated “When I speak of God I use ‘it’ as a metaphor for the laws that control the universe.”

It’s tragic that for the past five days (as we measure time), Hawking has come to understand, in the most horrific way, that God is not a metaphor. He has come face to face with the reality that, not only does God exist, but, rather than being a metaphor for all of the laws of science, He (God) authored those laws. He now knows, indeed, since God is not bound by any of the limitations of time and space that He (God) imposed on our universe, that God is unfettered in His power and authority. He is supreme and omnipotent. Hawking, who spent a lifetime denying the existence of God, would give anything today to be able to “spend” His new existence– to “use up” time in his new and tortured environment. He would love to be able to “spend” a million years in hell and be free from its everlasting horrors. He wishes now that the laws of time and space, the laws for which “god is a metaphor”,  would rescue his soul and, once again, control His world. If he had one more moment in time, he would confess God’s existence and bow before Him. But the reality that is outside our boundaries of time and space cannot be measured,  “spent” or “used up.” It is eternity. It is never-ending. When Hawking has endured a million years, he has not reduced his term in hell by one second. That is, of course, for anyone who experiences it, the ultimate tragedy.

A metaphor is a figure of speech that directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. Hawking thought of God as a figure of speech. He used the word “god” to mean the laws of science. Now he knows “what ” God is. He knows now, for sure.

Faith is the substance of the things we hope for as Christians (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is  that to which we cling in the here and now that gives substance to the hereafter.  If that’s the case, then surely disbelief is the substance of things dreaded in the life of an atheist.  ALS is a dreaded disease. Surely Hawking dreaded death, too. He knew pain during his life on earth.  But now he has tasted the full unending picture of eternal death. Skepticism and denial of the Divine is surely a sad way to live here on earth; but it is just the beginning precursor of eternal damnation.

Every time I consider the death of one who has lived a life of atheism, I feel sadness and great pity. But, as I think about the end of the ultimate rejection of God as Creator and Savior, I am also motivated–to study the Bible more regularly and deeply, to be ever mindful of the brevity of my own life and to cling to the substance of that for which I have the fondest hope. I know how fallible I am. I know my weaknesses and my propensity to fall if I “think I stand” (I Corinthians 10:24). I am so very thankful that the One Who has promised a way of escape with every temptation (I Cor. 10:13) is not a metaphor.