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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Lessons about our Stuff

In the study of the eighth commandment last month, we noticed several proverbs from that great Bible book of wisdom and made a list of lessons taught about material possessions from them. This week I am reflecting on those. For the past couple of weeks, we have been hard at work moving Glenn’s elderly parents to Huntsville. My nights have been very short and very interrupted. My days are quite full and even chaotically overflowing. Sometimes I think about how difficult it would be to go through challenging days like these if the important things were awry. But the important things are dependable. His providence for my ultimate good is a sure thing (Romans 8:28).  His salvation that is my light at the end of every tunnel is a guarantee (1 John 1:7). His way of deliverance from every trial is already mapped out (1 Corinthians 10:13). His ability to care for me while caring for you, too (and all of His children) is never in jeopardy (1 Peter 5:7). Material things are not enduring and they are not endearing. He is faithful. As I enter His throne room with my cares, I know He is listening to Jesus interceding for me. May I thus use every material blessing (and they are so many and so individualized to me) for spiritual good.

Here are twenty of those Proverbs lessons. Thanks to Kim Chalmers. This list is mine and Kim’s combined. 

  1. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses  (12:9; 13:7).
  2. The Lord loves those who are generous with the poor (28:11).
  3. Hard work and good decision-making usually lead to increased material prosperity (10:4).
  4. Money is inferior to righteousness (16:8; 28:6).
  5. Your good name is what people will remember; not your wealth (22:1).
  6. Be above board and ethical in business (15:27).
  7. Don’t have a false sense of security in your wealth (18:11).
  8. Work arms us against both poverty and covetousness in God’s economy (6:10-11; 10:4-5; 13:11; 14:3).
  9. Durable riches are better than gold (8:18,19; 13:7; 28:6; Luke 12:21).
  10. Material riches stop bearing any profit at the time of death (11:4).
  11. Covetousness and violence often accompany each other (11:16).
  12. Sometimes people act rich when they are really just covetous (12:9).
  13. It is not wrong to save for your children (13:22).
  14. Greed (selfishness) makes for trouble in the home (15:27).
  15. There is no peace in ill-gotten gain (16:8).
  16. Get-rich-quick schemes don’t work (28:22; 21:5).
  17. Debt steals freedom ( 22:7).
  18. God can provide for needs of people even through wickedness of men (28:8).
  19. Riches and pride are often partners (28:11).
  20. Women can add honor to their husbands by being prudent with finances (31:11).

Hope you’re ready to dig into the ninth commandment during May. These last commands are a great place to find contentment in our souls and peace with the people in our circles of influence. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #32: Proverbs 13:25–Being Satisfied

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: Being Satisfied (Prov.13:25). 

“The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, but the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.”

Look at today’s proverb from two perspectives:

First, ultimately God will bless the righteous, but not the wicked.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6).  The judgment day scene will involve both kinds of people:

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world… ““Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:34, 41).

Second, the righteous learn the secret of contentment.  Paul wrote

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13). 

This is contentment with what we have.  This passage wouldn’t prohibit my wanting to do better, or my striving for excellence, but rather it insists that I can be content NOW.  Sadly, those years I spend wishing things were different, may turn out to the be the best years of my life.  

We all know the twenty-third Psalm which includes, “…my cup runs over…” (Psa. 23:5).  How much of that wonderful emotion has to do with a healthy view of God’s great blessings in my life and resisting comparisons of myself with others who have more material goods?

I’ve often appreciated the spirit of Esau (who obviously had his faults) when he finally came face to face with his younger twin, Jacob. Jacob offered him a great gift of livestock as an appeasement for bygone wrongs.  Esau declined the gift and said, “I have enough” (Gen. 33:9).  

Today, pray a well considered prayer in which you ask for nothing; a prayer simply to count your blessings in gratitude to the One who gave them.

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Tonight, take the time to watch this video, created for a Lads to Leaders entry by some of the young folks at the West Corinth church in Corinth, Mississippi. I think your kids (of all ages) will enjoy it. Then discuss the long-suffering nature of the father in the parable and compare Him to the heavenly Father. Discuss how very much David needed/wanted the grace of this Father.

Mention also that it’s a great thing when we can teach the Bible though role-playing. We’re grateful to many children and teens who are frequently doing this.

Pray with your children.


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“When all the People Are in Church…”

Tonight’s the Digging Deep podcast ( Be sure to join in and comment. The results are better when you participate, of course. I’m looking forward to this, the first podcast of a brand new decade—a discussion of glory from 1 Samuel. There’s been a lively discussion about Hannah’s vow on the group page, so we’ll comment a bit about that. 

While shopping on Saturday in a very crowded home goods/clothing store, I was navigating my cart around another customer. We had this short conversation. She began with a frustrated tone: 

Her: “I thought surely today would not have been so crowded.” 

Me: “Whoosh!…Seems like everyone’s in here today.”

Her: “Sunday’s the day I should’ve come. When all the people are in church and it’s nice and quiet.” 

Me: “Well, that’s where I’ll be tomorrow.”

Her: “Yep….That’s when I should come back.” 

How sad that there are those living in a country so permeated with the gospel; a country where there’s a Bible in almost every hotel room and multiple Christ-confessing churches meeting in almost every little town—how sad that there are those in our community who view the Lord’s Day as merely a great time to go to the store while “everyone’s at church.” It says something good about our community…that at least there are lots of folks who are attempting to honor God in some way, in truth or in misguided good will, on Sunday mornings. It says something very sad about my fellow-shopper. The benefit she is deriving (or at least the one she is recognizing) from the cross is a stress-free shopping morning every seven days. It’s kind of  like my tossing a heavy platter of pure gold in the dumpster and feeling relieved that I’ve decluttered—only the “clutter” that my friend saw in Christianity is infinitely more valuable. 

I hope your resolve this year includes using the most valuable possession you have. I hope you will be digging in the Word. Your search for treasures that will outlive you doesn’t have to be in our Digging Deep group. But its accountability and fellowship is very helpful. Visit here to get started on the January study today: Or open up the Book on your own and bask in the blessings for yourself and your family. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Motherhood for His Glory

(Sometimes there’s a fun re-run that we like to read again. This time the re-run, for Mother’s Day, is one of the most controversial archival editions. It’s not for fun, but it’s for the children that I want to keep saying (even though I know my voice is a small one) the things that  are hard to think about in our world of heightened sensitivities. Children still need all the same things they needed a generation ago or even a hundred generations ago,  so we should keep repeating truths that are timeless, but nevertheless, may offend the culture.  I never want to  purposefully offend. I pray today’s post does not offend, at all, but rather is helpful to someone–maybe someone young, who still has some monumental decisions in front of her. May she make them for His glory! So here:


As I travel around and speak for various ladies seminars, I am extremely blessed to meet moms of all ages who share with me nuggets of wisdom gleaned from years of experience combined with time in the Word. My home and children have been richer as a result of this fellowship and sharing. There have been a few memorable occasions, though, when women have opened their mouths and something really senseless has issued forth. I think these ridiculous observations from mothers have helped me as much or more than the statements of wisdom. When people fail to study His word and make practical applications in their families, spiritual stupidity ensues. In the presence of women who seem to be clueless about spiritual priorities and biblical motherhood, the wisdom of my God and the peace that is mine when I apply his truth in my family is glaring. I am immediately humbled in this situation and thankful that I do not have to rely on my own resourcefulness or wisdom in motherhood. This parent is grateful to have a Parent who is infinitely resourceful and wise and who has revealed His plan for my home. And it’s all in a book I can carry in my purse. What a blessing! I’ve chosen a few real “gems” from my list of The Most Misguided Mom Statements I’ve Ever Heard” to share below. Read them and weep!

“Well, there is that one thing…”
I was speaking at a ladies seminar one afternoon on the topic of “Keeping our Families from Worldliness.” After my presentation, a sixty-something lady came up to the front of the room, expressed her appreciation for the lecture, and then went on to say how very blessed she and her husband had been in their family. Her children had all reached adulthood and they had never caused a single minute’s problem for her and her husband. They were now raising beautiful children of their own, maintaining a close relationship with the grandparents and actively leading in their careers and communities. I told her how proud I was for her and just sort of incidentally asked where those young families live and worship. She told me the communities in which they live and then I pursued the second question, since I had some knowledge of one of those communities. “Which congregation do they attend?” I asked.

“Well, there is that one thing,” she responded. “None of my children are faithful to the Lord.”

So many responses would have been appropriate at this juncture, but I was speechless. I was so amazed at the casual way she interjected that tragic statement about the spiritual depravity of her family that I was at a loss for words. The dropping of my jaw and an “I’m so sorry,” was about all I could manage. I wanted to say, “Lady, that is the only one thing that matters,” or “Ma’am, did you realize that all of your children are living their lives in utter and complete failure?!” Paul talked about one thing that was important. He said “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me and reaching forward to those things that are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13,14).”

Jesus told Martha that one thing was needful and that Mary had chosen that one thing (Luke 10:42). Perhaps He said it best, though, when He said, “What doth it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

I wish I didn’t have to work…
I drove up to a fabulous house in a high-end neighborhood where I would be staying while speaking in the area. I walked through beautifully decorated rooms, past an entertainment center and shelves of videos. I said hello to two well-dressed young children and went upstairs to the beautiful guest room where I would be sleeping. The next morning when I awoke, I peered out the window at a fenced, park-like backyard complete with a full-scale playground. I went downstairs for some orange juice and began to converse at the kitchen bar with my hostess. Somehow in the conversation we got on the subject of stressed and busy lifestyles. In this context came the unbelievable statement I hear so often: “I wish I didn’t have to work, so I could stay home and raise my children.”

Now I’ve heard many variations of this statement. Kids have said it to me like this: “My mom would like to stay home with me, but she says if she stays home, we can’t have our pool…or new house…or whatever goes in the blank.”

There is a way to get past this amazingly materialistic mentality. Go on a mission trip to Zambia or Argentina. Listen to children talk about digging in fields for rats to eat or spend a couple of weeks where there are no adequate sewage systems, no hot water and goat head is listed on the entrée list at eating establishments. I could go on, but the point is all too obvious. We are so rich in America that we’ve come to include the “posh” in our lists of basic necessities. Our children are often bringing us shame, because they have grown up in worlds of instant gratification; worlds void of guidance and nurture. “A child left to himself brings his mother shame (Prov.29:15).” We, like that rich young ruler, will continue to reap sorrow when we allow our possessions to own us rather than the other way around.

“He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matt. 19:22)

“We like to save our ‘no’s.”
I was sitting in a close friend’s kitchen when I decided to ask her if she was concerned about some of the entertainment choices her thirteen year old was making. The media choices of this kid were definitely uncharacteristic of the godly values of his parents. The answer: “We don’t like these choices, but we like to save our ‘no’s for the big things. We feel if we say no all the time, then our prohibitions will be less effective when it comes to some big issue like sex or drugs.”

Practicing the ‘no’s with seemingly small matters is the way kids catch on to the fact that “no” means “no”. It’s the way they assimilate the information that Mom and Dad care enough about them to monitor, direct and guard them, even when it requires time and attention to detail. In short, keeping a watch over the small things and demanding compliance in them is the only way to insure respect when it matters most. Saving our ‘no’s as parents will yield a big bunch of saved-up ‘no’s when our kids need them most, but saved-up ‘no’s, like old kitchen spices, have lost their potency. Kids need practice with restrictions. They have to listen when you say “Stay on the sidewalk,” so later they will listen when you say, “Stay away from drugs.” This constant listening practice is essential for ultimate spiritual success. “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27).

The list goes on. I’d love to have space to comment on the absurdity of statements like “ I wish my thirteen year old would ______________, but I have asked her and she just says ‘no’.” (Is she sleeping under your roof and eating at your table?! ) Another unbelievable one is “Okay, so she is having sex. Let’s get some birth control,” or the frequent “We let our kids go to the dances,” or “see all the movies with their friends,” or “wear the current fashions” (or whatever compromising activity it may be). “After all, we don’t want them to grow up thinking Christianity is a burden.” (Never mind the fact that Jesus called discipleship a yoke and a burden [Matt.11:29,30]).

Parenting is not for the weak. Giving birth, changing diapers, feeding and clothing are all the easy parts. The real challenge is to consistently place the ammunition of respect for the Will of God into the hearts of little people who will soon face the Goliaths of worldliness and corruption that plague our society. We cannot raise our children on permissive fences in which we give the nod to Christianity while we let them enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb.11:25). They will inevitably fall on the wrong side of that fence and the short season of pleasure will turn to years of the wretched heartache of sin. God empowers us through His Providence and His Word. But we must be diligent parents (Deut.6:6,7), attending to the details of the day to day obstacles the devil places in our paths. Successful parenting is never an accident.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Oikouros. Do You Do This? (Conclusion)

As this series concludes, please remember that I understand there are those moms who’d like to do this oikouoros thing, but can’t. We should help such women in any way that we can to get to the goal. Some readers may say that I cannot understand, because I lived in a world in which my husband prioritized my staying at home or because I was able to have many luxuries and still  be at home with my children during those formative years. I know that I have been very blessed and there is some truth to those objections. I have to work every day to honor Him with blessings and to be sure I am not taking them for granted as if He owes me something. At the same time, I hope we‘ve picked up on the fact that the injunction to be oikouros is an inspired teaching conveyed in a word in Titus 2 and multiple times in concept form throughout Scripture. We will always suffer spiritually when we look to the world’s decision-making standards rather than the expressed will of our Creator.

One afternoon, I was driven up to a fabulous house in a high-end neighborhood where I would be staying while speaking in the area. I walked through beautifully decorated rooms, past a well-stocked entertainment center. I said hello to two very well-dressed young children and their dad, who was taking off his tie from a busy workday. I went upstairs to the beautiful guest bed and bath where I would be sleeping. The next morning, when I awoke, I peered out the window at a fenced, park-like backyard complete with a full playground with all the bells and whistles. I went downstairs for some orange juice and began to converse across the granite kitchen bar with my hostess. 

Somehow in that conversation, we moved to the topic of stress and the busy world in which we live. In this context, came the words that still make me sad when I remember that morning. I’ve heard the words many times since then. Sometimes the words are truth and that is sad. But sometimes they are words spoken, not of conviction of conscience, but more for a hurting conscience’s comfort. Her words were “I wish I did not have to work, so I could just stay home and raise my children.”

One day a child said the words to me this way: “ My mom would like to stay home with me, but she says that if she stays home, we can’t have our pool.” A variety of amenities have completed the sentence in different situations: “our new house” or “my private education” or “our trips to Disney”. 

There is a way to get past this amazing perspective. Go on a mission trip to Zambia or Argentina or Columbia or Tanzania or Haiti or any of the hundreds of poverty-stricken places in our world. Listen to children tell you about digging for rats to eat. Take cold showers and realize the hard way that there are no adequate sewage systems. Notice that goat head or turkey tail is a coveted entree, depending on your location.

I could go on, but the point is all too obvious. We are so rich in these United States that we have come to include luxuries in our lists of necessities. Our children are sometimes bringing shame on our families because they have grown up in worlds of instant gratification; worlds void of guidance, nurture, family Bible times, and deep family prayer. “A child left to himself brings his mother shame” (Proverbs 29:15). We, like the rich young ruler, have a lot going on materially, but we will continue to reap sorrow when we allow our possessions to own us rather than the other way around. 

“He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mt. 19:22).


You are the Salt…

It was at an estate sale in small-town, Alabama where I was recently shown the brevity of life and the foolishness of laying up treasures in this place where “moths and rust corrupt” (Matthew 6:19). There must have been a gajillion salt and pepper shakers in this home, lining shelf after shelf: Indian monkeys, flamingoes from Florida, from the basic tin kind you love to have by your stove all the way to Fitz and Floyd Christmas shakers. You would have been hard pressed to think of a common noun for which you could find no related shaker in this house. Of course, each shaker represented a memory to this old couple. Shakers meant places and faces and fun experiences in their aged minds. Most all of them had a story of visiting relatives, Christmas mornings, surfing or bowling or visiting some exotic place. They were just lots and lots of memory handles sitting on shelves with little of practical significance left for the couple, who were now, because of degenerating health, downsizing and moving to the place of their retirement.
And these memory handles now had price stickers on them. Strangers were milling about, picking one up for a moment and then placing it back on the shelf. The prices varied from about two dollars each to about twenty dollars. I purchased some antique milk bottles and Glenn bought a chair. But I kept thinking about all of those salt and pepper-shakers, each one representing a day in the lives of that couple. I thought about what my salt and pepper shaker collection would be like if each set represented a memory for me. It would be large, like theirs, and full of interesting colors and figures. I am blessed.
Knowing that our ladies day this year was themed “Ye Are the Salt of the Earth,” I decided, after making a call back to West Huntsville, to make an offer on 120 pairs of shakers. She was happy to sell that large quantity to me at only 50 cents a pair. I was happy to get them at such a bargain.
Most of all, I was happy to be reminded of some timely lessons about salt-shakers, life’s brevity, salt itself and what’s really important:
  1. Every “treasure” that you purchase in this life will one day belong to another (Ecc. 2:18).
  2. There will come a day when all of our “treasures” will melt with fervent heat (II Pet. 3:10).
  3. The only “collection” you can take with you will be the souls you’ve collected for Him (I Cor. 15:52).
  4. The price of material collections will be reduced as the end of time approaches, whereas the value of those souls remains greater than that of the world’s treasures combined (Mark 8:36).
  5. Your body is merely the salt-shaker. Your soul is the “salt of the earth,” (Matt. 5:13).
  6. Therefore give great attention to the salt, because the shaker, will be on a “shelf” one day in a mausoleum, in an urn, or in some other tomb, having served its purpose and awaiting the resurrection (I Cor. 15:42-44).