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Integrity

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #12: Proverbs 6:17–A Lying Tongue

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 Lying Tongue (Prov. 6:16-19)

When you were a child and consciously tried lying for the first time, you had no idea you had taken a small, childish part of something of this magnitude in this world.  Satan invented it (Jn. 8:44) and has enjoyed practicing lying since he smiled assuringly and said to Eve, “You shall not surely die.” She believed him and introduced sin into the world.

Lying is bad because truth is good.  Christ is the epitome of truth; so much so that Scripture says He is the truth (Jn. 14:6).  Use your imagination and you’ll be shocked with how frightening things would become if God wasn’t opposed to lying. The Bible would not be dependable. You couldn’t be sure if Jesus died on the cross to offer redemption to mankind or not.  You wouldn’t be confident that the church was the sphere of the saved (Col. 1:13).  Did God really create this world in six days (Gen. 1-2)?  These are ridiculous things to question, of course, but they illustrate just how critical it is that our God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2).  I love Him for His love of truth because it gives me security.  I want to emulate Him in this love.  

 The same is true in my marriage.  I love my wife because she always tells the truth.  As our children grew, we were persistent in stopping lying quickly before it could become a devastating habit.  We talked of the truth and valued truth. The same value is absolutely necessary in my work, my medical treatments, my friendships, and my banking.  Any of these things can be corrupted by lying.  The Psalmist wrote, “You shall destroy those who speak falsehood.”  This is obviously a serious subject.

I’m thankful the Gospel is described in Scripture as “the truth”.  Meditate on that today as you reaffirm your love for truth in all aspects of your life:

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever”  (1 Pet. 1:22-23).  

 

 

                                                                     

 

Story Time from Glenn and Cindy:  Genesis 46

1. Just before Jacob went to Egypt to live in Goshen God reassured him about this major decision:  “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there” (Gen. 46:3).

God didn’t give Jacob details about how he would protect him and why he shouldn’t fear.  He simply said, “I am God….”  Sometimes your Mom or Dad will tell you to do something and you respond, “Why?”.  The answer is, “Because I’m your father,” or, “I’m your mother.”   What does it mean when they say that?  What did it mean when God said this to Jacob?

“Be still, and know that I am God”  (Psa. 46:10). Sing this verse now if your children know the tune (or make up your own tune. “Twinkle, twinkle little star works pretty well.)

2.  Speak to your children about the genealogy presented here (vs. 8-27).  Explain that this will help us with historical facts as the nation grows great in number,  but also teach them that such genealogies give us a perspective about ourselves—that while we are important to God, we are one small part of a big picture.  For all these people, who lived their lives and are now gone,  one thing ultimately mattered:  whether or not they were faithful to the God of Jacob.  Make a brief genealogy of your family beginning with your children’s great-grandparents and coming down to them. Show them pictures, if you have them, and put those photos in a line.    Teach them that they belong to this family and that they are important. Teach them that all that matters is whether or not they obey God and teach their children to obey him.

3.  Joseph taught his brothers how to speak in Egypt about to their occupation.  It was better to Egyptians to hear them say, “We work with livestock” than to say “We are shepherds.”   Use this lesson to teach your children about being polite and the kinds of things that endear them to other people instead of being offensive.  Give them examples. You may even want to let them tell you which sounds better:

It is better to say “No, thank-you,” than to say “I really don’t like squash.”

It is better to say “Excuse me,” than to say “You are in my way.”

It is better to say, “Please be quiet for a moment.” than to say “Shut up.”

It is better to say, ” Great dinner. May I be excused,” than to say “I’m done. I don’t want any more.”

It is better to say, “May I see that?” than to say ” Give me that.”

It is better to say, “That was fun. Now let’s do…” than to say “I’m tired of doing this.”

4. Talk with your children about the moment when Joseph hugged his father for the first time in many years. Talk about how hard it is for parents and children to be separated. If there has been a time when your children have been away from you, talk about how happy it was to come back together. Talk to them about how our Father, God, does not want to be separated from us and that only when we choose sin do we ever have to be separated from God. Talk about how happy it is for God when people who have left Him repent and come back to Him. Do your children know anyone who has recently done that?

5.  Pray with your children. Ask God to help us remember that He is God.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #9: (Proverbs 6:1-5)

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. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs:  Vouching for Another (6:1-5)

My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler (Prov. 6:1-5).

To “become a surety for your friend” means you co-sign on a loan for him. It is not uncommon for dads to do this for their almost-adult children who don’t yet have enough credit history built up to borrow for a car or something else which requires financing.  In this case, Solomon speaks of a man who “co-signs” for a friend or even a stranger on a loan.  In so doing, he has given his word that if the borrower defaults on the loan, he will pay it himself. In this case, it was a foolish mistake to co-sign, or as the proverb puts it, “You are taken by the words of your mouth.”  The original word for “taken” means trapped.  He built his own trap and then walked into it. But the critical point of the passage isn’t really about money and loans.  It’s a principle about valuing our names. The risk of co-signing for a friend or stranger is that you’re risking your own good name on the basis of his integrity.  You put your name into his hand.  He has  control over something more valuable than your money. You’ve given him power over your good name.  “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov. 22:1).  

This reminds me of 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”  If I am unequally yoked I give another person authority to command my actions—even when the command is sinful in the eyes of God.  I entrust control of my integrity to the hands of one who isn’t even a believer.  As Esau foolishly reasoned about his birthright, when he traded it with Jacob for a bowl of stew, a man can lightly make frivolous choices that end up tarnishing his good name.  

Be careful with your name.  If you are a Christian, you represent Christ and His church.  “Have regard for good things in the sight of all men” (Rom. 12:17).  We all make mistakes, but may we all let the value of our names be a deterrent to sin. Guard your name. Value highly your influence.

Tonight’s Story Time

by Glenn and Cindy

Read Genesis 45:1-15 to prepare for tonight’s special story time with the kids.

After some months of laborious testing have passed (allowing for travel time, etc…) Joseph is convinced that his brothers have changed.  He’s ready to reveal himself and it’s a dramatic and wonderful scene (45:1-15).  If you choose to read it to the children, be sure to pause and explain every detail you think they may miss. 

 

1. While Joseph had “forgotten” the wrongs his brothers had inflicted on him (Gen. 41:51), he doesn’t appear to fully forgive them until this day. Remind your children about the meaning of repentance, once more. Discuss with your children the role repentance plays in forgiveness: first in sins men commit against men, and next in reference to sins men commit against God.  Emphasize to them what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount about our forgiveness being tied to our being forgiving:  “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15). Make sure they understand and the older ones can say “To be forgiven, we must forgive.”

2. Which brother was the only brother that played no part in hurting Joseph through the years? How did Joseph react to this brother when he finally revealed his identity? 

3.  How do you think the brothers felt when they realized this powerful Egyptian was the brother they had hurt many years before?  Some sins have consequences that last a long time.  Can you think of other wrong things that people do today that end up hurting them for years? (Elicit the children’s comments on the price people pay for wrong-doing when they are in jail, for instance. Have them think about the hurt that people go through when they do not learn early on to obey parents. These are people who grow up and do not obey the law. They are paying for wrong choices for a long time.)

4.  A spirit of forgiveness is better than hate in a man.  Joseph is so excited to help and protect these brothers who sold him into slavery.  What if he had let hatred grow in his heart?  How would he have treated them now that he had been given great power?  Hatred will always hurt the person who hates. Do you think being kind to his brothers brought happiness to Joseph? 

5. Read Romans 12:17-20, explaining as you go.  Explain to your children that “…this means, when someone treats us badly, we turn around and do something very good for that person. That’s not how regular people act. What do we want to do when someone shoves us, snatches a toy, or yells at us? That’s right. We want to do the same thing right back. But we are not regular people. We are God’s people. So we think of something nice to do for those who are mean to us.” 

Practice this with your younger children. Have one of them to be an actress and snatch a toy from another. Then have the one whose toy was taken think of something nice to do for the one who snatched—like offer to let her keep the toy or offer to do a chore for her or give her a cookie.   (Explain that, in real life, the one who snatched a toy would be punished, along with the response from his/her sibling. Don’t forget that part. =)) Then remember, in coming days, when one tattles on the other or tells of an offense at school, to challenge your children to think of something nice to do for those who’ve treated them badly. Help them accomplish this. Be sure to model this behavior in front of them. 

If your children are older, have them think of instances in which people have mistreated them, said demeaning things about them or excluded them. Have them think of how Christians should respond in specific situations. 

6. If your kids are old enough, sing a verse of “Angry Words” together:

Angry Words, O let them never

From the tongue, unbridled slip

May the heart’s best impulse ever

Check them e’re they soil the lip.

Love one another

Thus saith the Savior

Children obey the blest command

(repeat)

(By: Horatius Palmer) 

7. Pray together. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“But don’t you even want to know who I kissed?”

Last Wednesday my husband hurried off to the post office with a truck-load of Digging Deep t-shirts to mail. We had a gajillion of you to order those shirts on that last go-around and only a few were local deliveries—shirts that we were going to hand off to a neighbor or take to our West Huntsville family to deliver. One of those few hand-deliverable envelopes looked like this:

So Flori was supposed to get her shirt at Bible class on Wednesday night. But her package was accidentally placed (by Glenn) in the big bins of shirts going to the post office. 

Next, you should know that our postmistress is amazing. Mrs. M, we will call her, is efficient and so kind to let us leave our bulk bins of packages with her in the morning, along with whatever cash she estimates the mailing will cost, so she can work on them throughout the day. But even Mrs. M cannot figure out what to do with a package that looks like Flori’s.

So she sent Glenn this text message, along with the above photo:  “ …don’t know what to do with this one.” 

Obviously Mrs. M needed an address. Glenn, however saw the message, failed to look at the number, and assumed it was from me. Oblivious to the fact that he was talking to the USPS, he texted back: “I had a note that Flori requested one.”  Then he added his signature “X” —a kiss that I receive in almost every text. Yes. He sent the postmistress a kiss. 

Mrs. M, thinking Glenn had “gone round the bend,” replied: “…but there was no address on package.” She added three of those little emojis of bewildered women shrugging their shoulders.

Glenn, still thinking he was talking to me, responded pertinaciously “She’s a member at West Huntsville. Couldn’t we just hand it to her?!” He still thought he was texting his wife and he thought  I was the one who’d “gone round the bend.”

At which time, the poor postmistress texted. “Yes.  I was just letting you know it was in the box of stuff you brought for me to mail.” This time she added three of the “laugh-till-you-cry” emojis.

At that moment Glenn realized he was talking to Mrs. M instead of Cindy. It also occurred to him that he’d sent the wrong woman that kiss. 

“OHHHH! I thought I was talking to Cindy. I’ll pick up the package later today.” 

  1. I’m glad my husband is a man of integrity. The postmistress completely trusts him to pay any overage at the end of the day for those packages he’s dropped off. 
  2. I’m glad my husband is a man of integrity. He confessed to me later that night that he’d kissed another woman. I was in a hurry to get to class when he made that confession. I said, “Well, you’ll have to explain that later,” without one fretful thought in my head. Glenn said “Don’t you even want to know?!” He is a faithful husband in every way.
  3. I’m glad my husband is a man of integrity. His “in sickness and in health” vow extends to “in shallow times and in digging deep times.” I think he’s mailed a thousand packages in the last few days for me. 
  4. I’m glad my husband is a man of integrity. Whenever I do “go “round the bend” (if I beat him to the bend), he is still going to be kind to me and text me kisses.

But he should still probably check the number accompanying the text to which he’s responding. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Dissenters Briskly Removed!

It is one of the hallmark traits of liberal thinking when a view is stated and, in the stating of it, there is an automatic preclusion of any disagreement or dissenting idea by others . Examples are everywhere you look, particularly in the writings and conversation of millennials:

On Facebook: “Feel free to comment, but negative remarks will be briskly deleted.”

On Twitter: “No time for haters.”  (Of course, often a “hater” is a person who expresses disagreement with a premise or application of such.)

In a letter: “Those who are characterized by fragility will feel compelled to be defensive about this…” 

On the phone: “You just haven’t come to understand this issue yet and so we cannot have a dialog.” 

All of these, as you can see, are different ways to say “You cannot have input in this conversation because you do not agree with me.” Interestingly enough, the very view being expressed, with which folks are not allowed to disagree, is most often an espousal made in the name of “tolerance.”

Very often today, the people for whom there is not time or space for comment are those who are  in a different age group, particularly those who are older—who have lived a bit longer than millennials.

Don’t get me wrong. I think those in their twenties and thirties who are attempting to contribute to conversations about political, ethical, social, and spiritual issues are often bright and well-informed. I think ideas emerging are often fresh and innovative. I can learn a lot from them IF the perspective is one of honesty, humility and objectivity. It’s the preclusion—the foregone conclusion that one has arrived at truth and dissenters will be “removed and blocked”…therein lies the problem. 

I’ve thought about Titus 2 a lot lately when reading millennial writers. If older men are to teach younger men in the Lord’s body…if older women are to teach younger women ( and that’s the acceptable scenario to prevent blasphemy of the Word)….I say, if these commanded conversations about relationships and daily Christian living are going to occur, the younger heart has to be malleable, kind, gentle and inquiring. The “all dissenters will be deleted” prohibition is not in Titus 2. In fact it’s not in the description of what is good:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8).

I pray that Titus 2 scenarios can be plentiful and blessed in the kingdom today. I certainly do not have all the answers now, but I surely am thankful for some older women who helped me figure out some very important things when I was younger. In fact, I’m thankful for some sixty, seventy, and eighty-somethings who are still helping this fifty-something figure things out.  

That’s my view for today. All dissenters welcome!