Browsing Tag

Marriage

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Thinking Today about the Birthday Boy…

There are times in life when you feel overwhelmed by the kindness of God shown through servant hearts all around you. This month, as we struggled to get the podcast up and running, I thought about the people who’ve committed lots of hours in recent days just volunteering to try to work out some bugs in our system that seem to be ever-evolving and indeterminate. Matt Beard, Josh Sells, Mike Deasy, and Jennifer and Louis Benavides have all given volunteer time to try and make sure Digging Deep makes it to your screen. I’m thankful from a deep (digging deep) perspective. 

But there is one person whom I rarely thank who really is always on the team. Glenn Colley is the husband who is always gathering up my lost devices, keys, purse and Bible. He’s clearing the pew after worship and asking if he can deliver this gift or hold this item on his desk till next time when the right recipient might be there. He’s remembering to pick up my bread and juice for the communion and going back to the car to retrieve the mask I left behind. He commits endless cumulative hours to keeping my chin above the water. I’m truly always in his debt, but he does not keep score. 

This beholden girl just took a breath and thought about this blessing for a minute during the holidays. It’s always New Year’s Day when we have our big Holder clan over for a late Christmas celebration. This year surrounding this time, Glenn and I were talking through big problems with several couples and individuals. I know this was taking a big toll on the psyche of the man of God who faithfully talks to his Father about these heart-rending situations in lives around us. Glenn was also juggling his role in the “sandwich generation”—trying to take care of aged parents and traveling the four hours often to their home, while praying about specific challenges faced by kids and grandkids. He was pretty busy getting the logistics of probably the most tightly-packed speaking schedule in his lifetime. (All of the 2020 speaking appointments that were canceled were vying for the limited remaining dates of 2021.) Plane tickets, vouchers, rental cars, info for fliers, headshots, lesson outlines, deadlines were in his thoughts and correspondence at almost all moments of each day. Somewhere in this time frame, a minister in another state had called and asked for our cabin to lodge a widow who had a real need for a couple of weeks. She would be arriving just after the New Year’s gathering at our house, so Glenn was busy preparing firewood and making sure she could be warm and secure. He delivered Christmas baskets to local widows and he smoked ham for several in the church. He went caroling to shut-ins and made several visits and deliveries to people with cancer or Covid. 

So I do know that, since it was a quarantining year and we could not have all the church family over like we love to do during the holidays, I could have settled for a small tree and a little less holiday fanfare. But my husband never flinched about the hugeness of the holiday at our house. He, in fact, is the one who called the tree farm to be sure they had a tree that was at least 12 feet tall. (I didn’t even ask him.) He is the one who asked if we could drive the hour-and-a-half to tag it in advance so that we’d be sure to get it. He never once complained about the piles and piles of gifts under that big tree. In fact, he commented almost every day about how proud he is that I’m a year-round bargain shopper and that I saved him from the wrapping chore. He delivered gifts to Florida for the kids who could not come and he assembled playhouses and made repairs on antique furniture gifts for the ones who could come. He purchased fruit for stockings for our huge New Year’s clan. And, maybe the most amazing thing to me was that my always financially prudent husband went out and spent a surprising amount of money on a wonderful display of fireworks that would be gone —just exploded into the sky—with nothing to show-for— in a matter of ten minutes.

When I tried to say my meager thanks for this pretty large entertainment purchase, he said “Oh, I do not do this for entertainment. I do this in your dad’s memory. I do this because it’s a tradition he loved. He loved Christmas and I don’t want to see the fireworks go by the wayside. I know everybody remembers a good life when we shoot the fireworks.”

I could go on, but I’m really thinking I could not describe the selflessness of the man who makes me the luckiest grandmother on the planet, with any more clarity than just telling you his fireworks rationale. 

It ended up that, just as everyone arrived for the New Year’s Day party, we got an emergency call from the hospital and this good man who offered to cook the meal, was off and just  hoping to make it in time to pray with a close friend and brother’s family as this brother was passing from this life. This little trip was so sad for him. He stayed a long while and he did miss the meal. When he came back home, he did not pass go or collect two-hundred dollars. He went straight to the shower, so he could be with the family without any extra fears of bringing them Covid from the hospital. Then he came back in and set up the shaved ice stand that he and Ezra had planned to run during half-time of the Bama game. (Ezra wants to go in the shaved ice business when he grows up and he wants Papa to be his partner…so he got a shaved ice machine from Santa Claus.) Glenn offered to take the photos during the chaotic gift-opening time. He went out and set up the fireworks in the bed of the truck. He led our family devotional at the end of the day. Then he helped put food away and clean up, at least a bit, a Christmas avalanche of paper and food and toys and stocking stuffers that was North Pole-worthy.

All of this was on Friday. And my husband went out early on Saturday morning to sit down and study the Bible with a man who needs to become a Christian. We had company in the house till late Saturday afternoon and this preacher still delivered a dynamic lesson about the conversion of Saul of Tarsus on Sunday morning; a lesson which, by the way, I believe contributed to the success of a Bible study I was to have later in the week with a friend who was outside of Christ. And yes, my husband baptized my friend a few days later after we studied some more about the conversions in the book of Acts. 

Happy Birthday, Glenn Colley. Somehow, I thought the “new” would wear off after a couple of scores of years with you. But your provision, your kindnesses to an undeserving girl, your magnification of the Savior to my weak eyes just find new resolve in your huge heart for Him—every single day. I do not know why or how I was chosen to have His favor in this tangible, yet eternally consequential, blessing. But to get to do this rapid trip through this testing-ground with my hand in yours is the honor of this lifetime. I fully expect to get to place my hand in His when the angels come because of your leadership to that eternal home.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #22: Proverbs 11:17–The Merciful Man

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:  The Merciful Man (Proverb 11:17)

“The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”

When it is difficult to be merciful:

  1. When the offense is frequent.  

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22).

2.  When I forget my own sin.

“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (Jn. 8:1-11).

3.  When I forget the enormity of the sin-debt for which I have been forgiven.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

  How my soul benefits from being merciful:

  1. I can be forgiven.

“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).

2.  I may reconcile with my brother. 

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18:15).

3.  It creates a better atmosphere from which to examine my own temptations.

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

David and Bathsheba (cont.)

  1. Read and/or paraphrase 2 Samuel 11: 6-11 to your children. There are some great things to talk about with your children from this brief account.
  2. First, review with them how wrong it is for us to ask other people to become involved in our sin. Who did David commission here to go get Uriah? David  was actually wanting Uriah to come home to Jerusalem so  could start a process of deceiving him. He did not want Uriah to find out that he had taken Bathsheba to his palace. So he got someone else innocently involved. David was making a habit of this. Do you think when someone becomes powerful and rich, like David was, that it is easy to start thinking that he can boss everyone around and everyone has to do whatever he says, even if it is wrong? Do you think David thought this, at least for a time?
  3. Read to your children Deuteronomy 8:17-18 and ask the question “Who is it that gives people power to get riches? ” (Ask the question first and tell them to listen for the answer as you read.) Ask your children if they know someone who has riches. Maybe they may think of a football player or a movie star. If they do name a person, ask them if they think that person is remembering to honor the one who gave him/her the riches. Discuss this.
  4. David acted like he had called Uriah to find out all about the battle, but, really, he was trying to get Uriah to go home to Bathsheba, so they could act like everything was okay and David had never even taken Uriah’s wife. (Your older children will here tell you the detailed reason for David wanting Uriah to go home–so everyone would think the baby Bathsheba was expecting belonged to her husband.)  Was David “pretending” with Uriah? Was he trying to “pretend” that he had not taken Uriah’s wife, so that no one would know? Do you think “pretending” here is kind of like lying?
  5. But Uriah did not go home to Bathsheba, after all. What reason did he give for sleeping outside David’s door with all the servants? Discuss some ways that this shows Uriah’s loyalty to the nation of Israel and his great leadership qualities. Uriah did not want to act like he was better than all the other soldiers so he did not go home and have a relaxing time with his wife. He wanted to wait till the battle was over to relax. David’s plan to get Uriah and Bathsheba back together did not work.
  6. Tonight have “Who am I?” night with this account. Go around the
    room asking these riddles and see who can get the most right. (A prize is a great interest incentive, at young ages…at any age really.)

I walked on the roof. Who am I?

I took a bath. Who am I?

I am the king of Israel. Who am I?

We went to fetch Bathsheba for the King? Who are we?

I told Uriah to go home to Jerusalem. Who am I?

I am Bathsheba’s husband. Who am I?

I took Bathsheba into my palace. Who am I?

I was disobeyed by David. Who am I?

I would not go home and sleep with my wife. Who am I?

I asked how Joab was doing. Who am I?

I have a door where Uriah slept. Who am I?

I pretended to want to know about the battle. Who am I?

I was afraid people would find out about my sin with Bathsheba. Who am I?

We committed adultery. Who are we?

I am the One who gives people the power to get riches. Who am I?

 

Have your kids repeat God’s Ideal for Marriage:  “One man and one woman for life.”

Have them say the Life Rule or the Kidsing Rule: “Do the right thing.”

Pray together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance: #21–7 Things about Wise People

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 We Know about Wise People

A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother (10:1).

1. They are taught by the testimony of the Lord.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple (Psa. 19:7).

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel (Prov. 1:5).

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil (Prov. 3:7).

…and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15).

2.  They love the souls of men and women.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise (Prov. 11:30).

3.  They keep good company.

He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed (Prov. 13:20).

4.  They put a high priority on healthy marriage.

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands (Prov. 14:1).

5.  They hear the sayings of Jesus and do them.

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock (Matt. 7:24-25).

6.  They often look like fools in the eyes of worldly people.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise (1 Cor. 3:18).

7.  They live carefully and prudently.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15).

Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

1. Read to your children 2 Samuel 11:2-5 and explain to them, in age-appropriate terms, what David did in these verses. For young children, it will be that he saw another man’s wife and he wanted her for his own, because she was beautiful. For older children, you will explain that he lusted for her and he sinned by having a sexual relationship with her. For all children, explain that stealing is stealing, whether it is a man’s money or his wife. “It’s called adultery when it’s a wife instead of money that is taken.”

2. For teens, here, fill in the details about the pregnancy and the selfishness of David, in not thinking about the involvement of innocent people (like a baby) in his grievous sin.

3. Also here, talk to your kids about the messengers in this passage. Was it fair for David to ask his messengers to help him sin? What should the messengers have done when asked to go and get the beautiful woman for David? Do you think they knew they were helping him “steal” another man’s wife?  Has anyone ever asked you to help them do wrong? (Give examples like asking to copy your homework or asking you to tell a lie to help keep a secret or asking you to hide something that got broken. It’s fun to make up these scenarios and ask your kids “What should you say if someone asked you to do this?”)

4. For younger children, for now, just tell them that Bathsheba went back home, but she was afraid that her good husband would find out that she and David had been acting like they were married. She was afraid Uriah would find out that she had gone to the palace to be with another man who was not her husband.

5. All ages should learn that David violated the seventh of the ten commandments and they should be able to quote that command from Exodus 20:14. For those who have the Hannah’s Hundred 2 CD, all of the ten commandments are included in song there and this would be a great time to learn to sing them.

6. I hope you can emphasize to your children that David decided to sin by taking Bathsheba. Up until he actually committed this sin (had her come to the palace and took her in), he could have repented of his wish to have Bathsheba and prayed to God for help in staying far from her. But, instead, he made a choice that is going to have some very bad consequences. Teach your children that when we think about doing something that’s wrong, we should quickly change our minds before we actually do the wrong thing. (Explain this to young children by talking to them about a beautiful chocolate cake that you have told them not to touch. Explain to them that they should not go to the drawer to get a fork or to the cabinet to get a plate. They should not take the lid off the cake stand. But explain to them that it’s all pretty easy to fix until they actually touch the cake. But once it’s cut and  eaten, there are some consequences that are not fun.)

Make a list of things we might say in our homes, to try and think before we disobey or act disrespectfully. In our house, they included these. You will have your own:

–“Think about this before you choose, now.”

–“Make a good choice.”

— “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”

–“This is not going to end up good. Think about it.”

–“Wait and minute and think. Do you know what is going to happen if you disobey?”

The goal here is to get your children to ask these warnings on their own, even if you are not with them when the temptation comes.

7. Have teens think about people they know who have already made choices that have had bad endings.  Have a conversation about these “real-life” choices that should have been stopped before certain actions were committed. If they cannot think of any in their circles of peers, remind them of the decision to sell Joseph (how much pain came in the lives of the brothers once they decided to do that and how they had to start deceiving to cover their tracks.) Remind them of Potiphar’s wife’s decision to lie about Joseph and how an innocent man suffered much because of a selfish choice on her part.

Pray with your children.

Be sure they can repeat God’s ideal for marriage: One man and one woman for life.

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Choices in the Distance

As you may have noticed, Glenn’s been keeping me pretty busy proofing with him, and writing for the children, on a Daily Boost that we’ve been sharing for the West Huntsville family for the quarantine period (https://westhuntsville.org/daily-boost/). I’ve barely had a moment to write anything except that. Now, I know you do not need me to write anything. Quarantine lessons and blogs and podcasts are coming out our ears right now and that’s a major source of encouragement for me! But, for my own sanity, in a world void of face-to-face interaction (other than with Baxter, the cat, and the Daily Boost Partner), I need to peck something out now and then. It’s not a face, but it’s a more personal interaction, anyway.  So, it’s really for me; not you!

As with every sweeping event that occurs in our world, the Corona virus overlies a spiritual battle. The devil would love for us to grow tired of being at home with our husbands. He’d like to see divorce rates soar as we come out of this crisis. On the other hand, we have a great opportunity, without the distractions of crowded schedules, to draw closer together as families and to solidify our bonds together with our heavenly Father. Further, we have before us right now, some almost tangible forks in the road. 

We have extra time. We can waste it in a depression that drives us to spend lots of time on social media commiserating with the rest of the world or we can establish goals for ourselves (Bible reading, homemaking projects, daily relationship-building activities with children, daily time in prayer with our spouses, etc…) That’s a choice all of us will make right now. 

We have some very discouraging news to process at this point in life. We have a choice about that, too. We can react with frustration and anger at government and the society around us, or we can search, in this darkness, for opportunities to be light. We can always shine brightest for Christ in the darkest times. Right now, service opportunities abound. There are elderly people to check on, cards can be sent to Christians in areas of the country in which there are voids of encouragement, we can share our toilet paper (maybe we can?) with those in need, or we can handle our bread from the oven with gloves and then carry some to neighbors who are struggling and perhaps are not members of the Lord’s church. We can take our kids (just us and them)  to create chalk sidewalk messages for shut-ins in our neighborhoods, from afar, or make drive-by greeting posters for those who may be sick or struggling. We can make those posters and drawings in our homes and on our own fences and then photograph them for those who would be uplifted by them.  We can waste the canvas that always comes with darkness or we can creatively paint it for His glory, This is a fork in the road. It’s a choice.

Those of us who are married will grow closer to our husbands or we will become easily frustrated and resentful. We should prepare for that choice. Sure, there will be changes that we have to process if our husbands are suddenly at home all day. There will be more cooking and cleaning and even less time for quiet meditation, especially if your kids have normally been gone all day. But we should prepare our minds for the choice. We can allow the current situation to damage our marriages or we can search for ways to capitalize on time to grow closer. We can take “haven” in internet devices or we can make moments to watch old movies and reconnect with those who are most precious to us. It’s a conscious choice. We can play the blame game with our spouses or we can play Monopoly. Don’t lose the battle by default.

We can also become so busy playing that we lose sight of the importance of the Word. Right now there’s a three hour gospel meeting online every night (https://www.facebook.com/digitalbiblestudy1/?tn-str=k*F.) There are two-hour upcoming virtual ladies days each Saturday from Polishing the Pulpit (more about that soon). PTP365 is an almost infinite treasure chest of the Word’s meat  and, right now, it’s FREE! https://free365.polishingthepulpit.com. There are Word-packed Bible classes for adults and children. They are all there. But it’s a choice. You may not be able to study and watch every day, but we can do it some days. We may not be able to do three hours every night, but we can do something. It’s a no-excuses-choice. 

And speaking of doing something, let me say THANKS to all who responded (and you did in a big way) to our support notes for the struggling little Vermont congregation. That was a choice you made and here are some of the responses so far: I love sisters. (One of you even hand-painted bookmarks for the entire congregation! Whaaa?!) I love the glorification you are about in your everyday quarantined lives! You make this isolated old woman beam even when I am all by myself. 

From Vermont:

Thank you so very much…It thrills me that so many more people will be aware of Christians’ struggles up here. The cards are pouring in…3 big envelopes plus a few from you already. We are going to be delivering them soon.

Thank you again.pastedGraphic.png

And the blessings just keep rolling in…thank you so much for the check and the books. There are not enough words.pastedGraphic.pngpastedGraphic.pngpastedGraphic_1.pngpastedGraphic_1.png

This is what greeted me when I checked the mailbox at the building this evening, plus a note that said I needed to go to the post office to get more. Thank you so much for doing this. pastedGraphic_2.png I also got the incredibly kind and generous letter from you two and the other men. Sending love and gratitude to all 5 of them! 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #18: Proverbs 6:20-35–About Adultery

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs: Proverbs 6:20-35—Adultery’s Deceit

Read these verses slowly and thoughtfully:

My son, keep your father’s command,

And do not forsake the law of your mother.

Bind them continually upon your heart;

Tie them around your neck.

When you roam, they will lead you;

When you sleep, they will keep you;

And when you awake, they will speak with you.

For the commandment is a lamp,

And the law a light;

Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,

To keep you from the evil woman,

From the flattering tongue of a seductress.

Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,

Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.

For by means of a harlot

A man is reduced to a crust of bread;

And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.

Can a man take fire to his bosom,

And his clothes not be burned?

Can one walk on hot coals,

And his feet not be seared?

So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;

Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.

People do not despise a thief

If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.

Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;

He may have to give up all the substance of his house.

Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;

He who does so destroys his own soul.

Wounds and dishonor he will get,

And his reproach will not be wiped away.

For jealousy is a husband’s fury;

Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

He will accept no recompense,

Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts. 

Satan makes promises every day that he cannot and will not deliver.  Today’s proverb involves a promise. It’s a promise of happiness that Satan gives a man in order to entice him to be with a woman in a way that breaks his marriage vow.  I’ve been around men who have forfeited their purity, faithfulness, and marriage to this enticement, and I have learned this: people don’t commit adultery for the wound and dishonor of it. They do it for the pleasure, and always, at the moment, they believe they’ll get away with it.  As they begin the process of adultery, they attach shame to themselves. It’s a shame that’s difficult to ever leave behind.

Consider three consequences in this Proverb that come to one who violates his or her marriage to be with another. Let’s hide these results in our hearts, so we can remember them if Satan pays us a visit with this temptation.

1. Verse 26:  “For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread.”

This can mean one of two things. Either he, like a piece of bread, can be seen, held, consumed and destroyed; or, the consequence of sinning with a prostitute is often that a man will lose everything and find himself begging for bread.

2.  Verse 29: “Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.”  

Why does this need to be said?  Because this is the result of a major lie of the devil which so many have believed.  At the moment, a man believes he can embrace this indulgence, but his secret usually doesn’t stay hidden for long.  One such man said to me, “I didn’t mean to…it just happened.”  Another said, “She meant nothing to me, but now my wife is divorcing me.  I’ve begged her not to leave me. If only I could turn the clock back, I would.”

It is often true that a person who breaks a marriage vow and is discovered will repent with tears, beg forgiveness, and then fully expect that things can immediately go back to normal in his or her marriage.  That’s a childish viewpoint.  Trust, which is the lifeblood of healthy marriage, is crushed in a moment and rebuilt only after much time has shown the guilty to be trustworthy again.

3.  Verse 33:  “And his reproach will not be wiped away.”

This doesn’t mean that God won’t forgive a penitent Christian who has repented. He will (1 Cor. 6:9-11).  It means that some sins are harder to forget. Perhaps this is what the Spirit meant when He inspired Paul to write, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).

Lust has contempt for loyalty, but good marriage cannot survive without loyalty.  Hold on to your integrity in all parts of your life, and remember that no man or woman who ever committed adultery did so while evading the all-seeing eyes of God.  Intimacy inside of God-approved marriage is a celebration and, in fact, a command (1 Cor. 7:1-2).  But the same act outside of marriage draws the anger of that same God.

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). 

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

Let’s take a few nights in 2 Samuel now in the David and Bathsheba saga during the life of Israel’s second king. Parents should read 2 Samuel 11 in preparation for story time for the next couple of nights. For tonight, let’s just take the first verse-and-a half of the chapter. Explain to your children that David was the king of Israel and it was war-time. The fighting men of Israel were on the battlefield in a big conflict with the Ammonites. Be sure they know that God was not happy with the people of Ammon because they worshipped idols. He wanted his people to defeat the Ammonites and they were doing just that. Next make sure that your children know that the King (David, in this case) should have been intensely interested in two things: 1) what was going on in the battle, and 2) the law of the Lord and the Lord’s guidance in the battle. 

  1. Read Deuteronomy 17:14-20 and explain to your children the “rules” for the king of Israel as prescribed by God:
  • The king had to be an Israelite.
  • He could not be one who wanted to go back to Egypt.
  • He could not be one who had a whole lot of horses.
  • He could not have a bunch of wives.
  • He could not be chasing after lots of money.
  • He had to write his own copy of the Law of God.
  • He had to read it all the days of His life.
  • He could not be “braggy” or think he was better than everyone else. 
  • He had to obey all the commands of God.

2. Ask your children if they think God expected the king to be a great example of obedience to all of the people around him. Tell them that, in the next few nights, we are going to see the time in King David’s life when he really messed up and did  not obey.

Ask your young children if they know what the word “obey” means. Talk about examples in your house of children obeying parents. 

3. Talk now about how David is just about to disobey God in a very big way. Tell them that, while it is not wrong to walk on the roof, David would not have sinned in this way if he had been somewhere else at the time the temptation came. Sometimes we don’t know when and how the devil is going to tempt us. But sometimes we know when there’s going to be temptation and we should just avoid the place of temptation, altogether. On this night, David did not know the devil was just about to try to get him to do a very wrong thing, and so it was not wrong for him to be up there on the roof.  Still, it would have been so much better if David had been somewhere else that night…maybe reading his copy of the law or praying about his soldiers. When we do know temptation is coming, we should make sure we are someplace else. 

4. Ask your children if they have ever been tempted to do something wrong because they were in the wrong place?  Talk to them about the following scenarios and how it’s hard to do the right thing when you are in the wrong place:

  1. What if you were a teenager and you were in a place where people were drinking beer? Is it harder to make good choices when “cool” people are trying to get you to drink?
  2. What about when people around you are saying “Oh my gosh!” or “Oh my God.” What if they are laughing about something when they say it? Does this make you want to laugh, too, and pretend like it is not big deal to use God’s name that way?
  3. What if your friends are all watching something on tv that has bad words or stuff that’s not what would make the Lord happy? Is it harder to choose not to watch that if you are in a place where all the rest of the people are watching it? 

So, does the place where we are spending time sometimes make doing the right thing harder?  This is why, in our house, we do not watch movies or shows that have bad words or people laughing at things that do not please God.

David is just about to find out that staying IN the word of God and OUT of the way of temptation can save a LOT of trouble and grief. For now though, let’s leave David up there on the roof of the palace and let’s think about how important it is that we choose the best places to be…places where it is easy to obey God!

4. Sing together if you have small ones: 

Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.”

O be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little eyes what you see.

O be careful little ears what you hear

O be careful little ears what you hear

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little ears what you hear.

O be careful little tongue what you say

O be careful little tongue what you say

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little tongue what you say.

O be careful little hands what you do

O be careful little hands what you do

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little hands what you do.

O be careful little feet where you go

O be careful little feet where you go

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little feet where you go.

O be careful little heart whom you trust

O be careful little heart whom you trust

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little heart whom you trust.

O be careful little mind what you think

O be careful little mind what you think

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little mind what you think.

5. Have your older children write Proverbs 4:14,15 on an index card to place on their dresser mirrors or bathroom mirrors. Talk with them about how this passage is warning us to just stay away from temptation. Sometimes being absent from places where sin may look attractive is just the best plan. See if they can think of additional examples where this might be the case.

6. Pray with your children.  

 

  

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #4

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons from Philippians 4:8 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:

 

Thursday — Whatever Is Pure

When Paul wrote that we are to think on things that are pure, he used a word defined by Strong’s as, innocent, modest, perfect: — chaste, clean, pure. This is in sync with other passages that place our sexuality in an elevated category when it comes to protection and purity.  Paul showed us the uniqueness of sexual sin when he wrote “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).  He went on to say “…because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).  Jesus put sexual sin in a unique category when He taught, “…whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Mt. 19:9).  Of the plethora of instructions older women could give younger women about marriage and the home, Paul makes a short list and includes this: “…Admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste…”(Tit. 2:4-5).  

Think of all the harmful behaviors that potentially destroy marriages and consider that Jesus elevates this one sin—fornication to be the exclusive basis on which divorce and remarriage can occur with God’s approval.  I doubt we will ever fully understand the depth of spiritual significance involved in this act. Fornication is a sin with profound consequences, and God always references it with great sobriety. 

Mankind shakes a fist at heaven over God’s sexual laws.  Hell has persuaded people to embrace homosexuality and to proudly espouse the joy of the fluidity of  gender. A man can choose to be a woman if he likes and people are bound to use pronouns that suit that unfortunate pretense. God has given such people up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (Rom. 1:24).  Some of the strongest condemnations of Scripture are aimed at sexual sin and perversion.  We understand why. Sexual immorality is dark and destroys lives and homes. 

Even members of the body of Christ sometimes make the sad mistake of flirting with sexual sin by wearing revealing clothing, by dancing inappropriately, and by participating in other lustful and reckless behaviors.  They sin against their own bodies and invite haunting ghosts of regret into their future lives.

In contrast, consider the bright light of purity—not the absence of sexuality but the safety and joy of sex within God’s prescribed boundaries.  In Biblical marriage, sex knows no broken violation of God’s holy word, no guilt, no bitter and lingering heartache, no young girls with shattered lives facing unwanted pregnancies, no teen boys with STD’s. This sexuality is pure. It is God-designed, God-approved, and, in fact, it is God-commanded for those who are married (I Cor. 7:1-2).  It is joyful. It is bonding in an incomparable way.  It is the ultimate embrace. Its purity is traditionally depicted by a white dress, and a honeymoon that is physically fulfilling and holy at the same time.  Sexuality is a deep celebration in marriage because the act of marriage binds husband and wife to one another for their entire lives.

Not all sex is equal.  We must force ourselves to contrast and separate the world’s corrupted sex and the purity of sex in a happy, God-approved marriage.  Then we are doing what Paul teaches us here:  We are thinking on the things that are pure and lovely.

Tonight’s Story Time Earlier in the day, prepare yourself for family story time by reading carefully Genesis 41 so you’ll have all the details in mind. 

Tell the children that Joseph spent two additional years in prison, after God interpreted the dreams of the baker and butler.  But God had not forgotten Joseph.  He had big plans for  Joseph to lead his family into the protection of Egyptian abundance. (Say this in terms your kids will understand, of course.)  After telling the account (Gen. 41:1-32) leading up to revealing Joseph’s revelation to Pharaoh, move on to these discussion questions:

1.  When God gave Joseph the interpretation of the baker’s and butler’s dreams, what future purpose did He have in mind?  God is not limited as a man and He makes plans into the future.  You do not know everything about God’s purpose for your future, but you do know some things for sure. What are those things?  (Have a discussion here about being faithful through all of life, finding a follower of Christ to marry, working hard in a career that God approves or raising children to be faithful to God.)

2.  Why do you think God had Pharaoh dream about cows and ears of grain instead of just having him dream about years of plenty and of famine in Egypt?  How did God make a picture in Pharaoh’s mind so that this dream would be “stuck” in his head? Tell your children the cows were sacred, like gods or idols, to the Egyptians. Imagine how shocked Pharaoh would have been to dream about sacred cows being eaten up! God is brilliant! 

3.  In 41:16, after Pharaoh had invited Joseph to interpret the dreams about the cows and grain, Joseph again gave full credit to God, not himself. You should practice doing that now so that it will be a natural thing to speak of God’s will and blessings in your life for all your lifetime.  What important blessings in your life right now can you point to and say, “I didn’t do that. God did.”? When we are staying well, having enough food to last us through this time of sickness, being able to enjoy being with our families at home, who is it that gives us this place to be safe and well? When we are ill, to whom do we pray for strength and healing? Practice asking your children if they are well and healthy. Have them respond “Yes. God has been so good to us…” or “Yes, and we are thanking God..” or “Yes. Praise God.” 

Tonight, have your children make a card for someone they know who is sick in your congregation or neighborhood. Have each child draw a picture and write “We are praying for you…” followed by the words from Genesis 41:16 “God shall give an answer of peace.”  Help those children who can’t yet write. You might write the text out and then have the very young child put his handprint on the card with paint or ink or just draw around his hand.  Be sure to remember to mail these tomorrow.

Remind your children that Joseph was doing something in this chapter that was going to save many lives. 

Pray with your children. Have your children help you make a list of people they know who are sick. Pray for each by name. Remember to pray for all of those people who are sick with COVID. Pray that your family will be healthy both “in our bodies and in our pure hearts.” 

Repeat the Golden Rule with your children.