Browsing Tag

Matthew 25

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #44: Truth and Mercy have Met

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 16:6  

“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”

Observe these soul-saving ingredients: fear, mercy, and truth. 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).  Why is fear important?  One powerful tool of the Devil, who loves to work in religion, is to subtract the fear of hell from both atheists and professing Christians.  Yet it is that fear that makes us crave and appreciate mercy and truth.  Consider that these two—mercy and truth—are often paired together in the Old Testament:

“And he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren” (Gen. 24:27).

“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10).

“He shall abide before God forever. oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!”(Psalm 61:7).

“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalm 85:10).

“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

This is a combination of characteristics seen in their perfection in our God. But we are commanded to use this combination in Christianity and the church as we hold one another accountable.  For example, elders who lead their flock in the process of withdrawal of the church from an impenitent member (according to the truth of the Word in 2 Thessalonians 3:6), will perhaps remember that Jesus gave Jezebel a space to repent (Rev. 2:20-21) and will apply that mercy to the member in the process of discipline. Mercy and truth have met together.

Jesus gave instruction about a Christian against whom a fellow-Christian has sinned.  Consider how His teaching involves both mercy and truth: 

“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. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17). 

We clearly see the combination of the establishment of truth and the will to forgive and gain the brother. Everlasting mercy and enduring truth (Psalm 100:5).

Today consider that in the application of truth there is space for mercy.  Considering God’s application of this pair motivates me to want to be sure I get this combination right in my relationships.

FamilyBible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

It’s quiz night again! Just see how much fun you can have remembering what Jesus said in Matthew 25 (and Luke 12). Act out the following in a game of “Guess Who I Am.” Pretend to be each of the following and see if your kids can guess who you are. After each successful guess, have your children tell you what Jesus said about whomever you were pretending to be. The response will be repetitive, but that’s a good thing.

  • a sheep
  • a goat
  • a hungry person
  • a thirsty person
  • someone who needs a place to stay
  • someone who needs clothing
  • someone who is sick
  • someone who is in prison
  • the rich man tearing down his barns

Sing the song from Matthew 25 (Hannah’s Hundred) if you’ve been learning that. If not, sing Each Day I’ll Do a Golden Deed. Here are the lyrics:

A Beautiful Life
Each day I’ll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need
My life on earth is but a span
And so I’ll do the best I can
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
The only life that will endure
Is one that’s kind and good and pure
And so for God I’ll take my stand
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
While going down life’s weary road
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load
I’ll try to turn the night to day
Make flowers bloom along the way
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
No setting sun
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Rea Garvey / Sacha Skarbek
A Beautiful Life lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Red Brick Music Publishing

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #42: Proverbs 15:16-17–Treasure with Trouble

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:

Favorite Proverbs: Proverb 15:16-17…

“Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.”

This has to be one of our top ten.  If you are recently married, you’d better get this truth into your home before the kids come along and you find yourselves in a dark place.  It has to be instilled consistently and early:  A godly, Christ-centered home where we love one another will always be vastly better than a house with wealth accompanied by trouble, hatred and disobedience to God.  

Think right now about your career. What are you trying to accomplish with that employment? What is the greater meaning of this work? Is work the most important thing in your life?  Does that job support your family or does your family support the job?

Does harmony and contentment thrive in your home because Jesus lives there and is the center of all you do?  Finish this statement: When harmony breaks down in my home it is usually caused by ________________. In many cases you will find that, behind whatever you wrote in the blank, is an emphasis on something material rather than a priority on pleasing God.  

I try to pour this principle into the hearts of people in pre-marriage counseling.  The value and size of a house doesn’t reveal the amount of happiness dwelling inside.  Happiness can thrive in a shack as well as a mansion.  Never assume that where there is wealth there is joy, because they often don’t live in the same place.

Our Lord said “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Contentment is in prioritizing His kingdom and your place in it. 

In your meditation times today, add this important proverb.  Sometime during the day, read it to your family, explain it, and let your children know this is the driving thesis of your home.

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Matthew 5:31ff (continued)

Jesus said “I was in prison and you came unto me.”

  1. Read Matthew 26:47-56 to your children and find out what the disciples did when Jesus was actually arrested–when he became an innocent prisoner. They became so afraid that they reacted in a way that we don’t ever want to imitate. How does Jesus tell us, as His disciples, in our Matthew 25 text that we can be with Jesus when He is in prison?
  2. Of course, most of us today in the United States cannot visit a prison during a pandemic, since there are restrictions against such. In fact, it is difficult to gain permission to enter at any time. But we can certainly, right now, support the prison ministers we know who have given/give lots of hours and  experience physical and emotional stress as they visit and teach the gospel in prisons. Tonight, have your children write letters of thanks and encouragement to a prison minister that you know. If you do not know one, let me recommend a faithful one for your children to write. Have your younger children draw pictures. This will encourage our brother who has devoted years to a prison work here in Huntsville.

Mr. George Coffell

c/o West Huntsville church of Christ

1519 Old Monrovia Road NW

Huntsville, AL 35806

If you have the Hannah’s Hundred CD, sing the Matthew 25 song once more along with the Matthew 5:16 song. Pray with your children. Remember to pray for the prisoners in our land; that the gospel may be taught to those who are in need of salvation and who may listen to the Word.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #41: Proverbs 15:14–The Pursuit of Knowledge

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: Proverb 15:14 — The pursuit of knowledge.

“The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”

An aphorism, or proverb, just means a short, pithy statement or maxim. In the book of Proverbs, such a statement is often presented in the form of a contrast.  That’s true in our proverb today.

With what do you feed your mind most days?  Eight of our 24 hours is used for sleep, some for eating, some for work, some for exercise and family matters. What are you doing to expand your mind?  Are you committing enough time to learning God’s word? Jesus encountered a man one day who was too busy.  Here’s the exchange between them:

And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead”(Matthew 8:18-22).

 The only way we know how to follow the Master is by study and application of His word.  At some point we’re going to have to decide to spend some time each day—to let the world go by for a few minutes—while we sit down and meditate on God’s word.  There isn’t anything wrong per se with enjoying entertainment (which doesn’t involve sin in anyway), but how much time do you spend on that while letting large gaps of time elapse between sit-down, focused Bible study?

If our young women fail to develop a personal Bible study habit, how will they rear the next generation of children to know the Word?  If our young men feed more on the Bible than on the “foolishness”  of this proverb, where will we get our preachers and elders in the next thirty or forty years?  Where will we get godly teachers and mentors?  We could find ourselves in the frightening position of lowering our standards and accepting preachers and elders who know much about social media, sports, and video games, but little about Scripture.  

For today, consider your own study habits and how you can improve. Make your study systematic. Find a deliberate system of study, such as 20 minutes each day before going to work or before the kids wake up.  Choose a book of the Bible and get a good commentary to help you along. Some may even take a leap of faith and join the Digging Deep studies (https://www.calebcolley.com/diggingdeep/ or https://thecolleyhouse.org/digging-deep). Once you begin some regimen of study, you’ll be amazed how many times the during the day you find yourself thinking about what you’ve been studying.

Help others by giving gifts of good commentaries, concordances, and Bibles, especially to young people.  Wise Solomon wrote, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecc. 12:1).  

Seek knowledge; not foolishness.

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

Matthew 25: 31ff (continued)

Jesus said “I was sick and you visited me.”

Emphasize to your children the premise of this passage: The way we minister to Jesus, who needs nothing now, is to minister to other people–all people, but especially those in the kingdom (Galatians 6:10)

Read to your children Matthew 14:14 and emphasize to them that one of the reasons Jesus healed sick people while on earth was that he had compassion on them. Talk about the meaning of compassion (feeling sympathy or pity). Try to give them an illustration, from their lives, of that feeling. (A pet that was suffering, a time when one rescued a sibling from being bullied, a time when a grandparent was in trouble, etc…) Tell them that anytime we see people suffering we should be “moved with compassion.”

When we see people who are sick, we should see Jesus. Right now, we cannot go and be with most of the people we know who are sick. We cannot even visit the hospitals. But we can make and send cards. Get out your church directory and find people who are sick…at least one per child.

  1. Use the time tonight to make cards for these sick ones. Be sure your children walk them to the mailbox tomorrow. (I’m not even sick and I was over the moon about cheer cards received during the pandemic from children of our congregation…you Canter kids and Mitchell kids!)
  2. Tomorrow, have each child (toddlers and up) make at least one phone call to someone in the church who is sick. Train them to be cheerful and full of compassion. Make sure they ask if there is anything the person needs that you could bring by and drop on the porch.
  3. If you have teeny people, let them practice by pretending you have cut your arm and let them bring band-aids to help you get better. Be sure to tell them that when they help people who are hurting, the Bible says they are helping Jesus.
  4. If you have the Hannah’s Hundred 2 CD (www.thecolleyhouse.org), play song #72 for your children. Play this each night for several nights until you know these verses from Matthew 25.

Pray with your kids. Be sure to let your children make a “sick list” prior to your prayer and pray for these people specifically.

If you do have the CD, also listen to Matthew 5:16 and practice singing that as you close.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #39: Proverbs 14:26–A Nation Exalted

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:  What Exalts a Nation

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:26).

Be impressed with the hard, cold fact of this statement. So long as this world stands, this will be true. Be reminded that Christianity is a world religion, not merely an American religion.  Our real success as a nation is in proportion to the degree to which we live according to the precepts of God’s Will. So many of the blacks and whites of right and wrong have turned to a sickening grey in the minds of citizens.  One doesn’t have far to look to find a politician who trades in debauchery, deceit, and compromised morality. People may turn a blind eye and elect him or her to whatever office he or she aspires.  We will do better as a nation–be exalted, lifted to a higher place– if we can strengthen voices against sin, as defined in the Bible, and if we can elect leaders who insist on a Biblically-framed virtue in all parts of our government.  

So far as I’m aware, only one U.S. President, James A. Garfield, was a member of the Lord’s church.  As we approach the next election, nothing would please me more for our government than if the executive, legislative and judicial branches were all filled with New Testament Christians; but that’s, of course, unrealistic.  What we must do this November, as in all our elections, is to choose leaders who will do the most to accommodate the cause of Christ in our land.  I’m surprised to have come to the point at which saying the following is realistic rather than a knee-jerk reaction, but it is not hard for me to imagine an America in which Christians are persecuted in ways similar to the ways our early Christian family was persecuted in the first century.  In the interest of my children and grandchildren and, obviously my family in the Lord, I’d like to delay that time as long as possible.  God has blessed us to live in a democracy, a republic, in which we have the vote and voice to choose our leaders.  We must take advantage of that gift and vote with the benefit of Christianity in mind.  May this be our chief motivation; not earthly issues that have no real bearing on the souls of citizens.  

Today, make time to step away from the political wrangling and hatred to lay the interests of our nation again at the feet of God.  Doesn’t He still work in the governments of men?  Don’t allow your heart to be driven by those things which won’t matter in eternity, but rather beg for His will to be done in our government. Then, use your influence, however small, for good.

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim. 2:1-4).

 

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Tonight’s phrase from Matthew 25 is “I was a stranger and you took me in.”

This one’s a little more difficult to practically apply, especially during a pandemic. But you should try and make your children understand that, although we cannot house all of the people who might be traveling through our area, when we know of Christians who have a need for housing, we should be happy to offer our homes as places for them to stay and our tables as places for them to eat. Even if we know of non-Christians, who need a place, and they come to us recommended by fellow-Christians, we should be happy to use our homes in this service. There are lots of people in our West Huntsville family who routinely offer rooms at home, hotel rooms, meals in their homes and restaurant meals, cabins and couches, for people they’ve not ever even met before. The guests are gospel preachers who visit, people who are moving to our area, those who have temporary work in our area, and those who may be temporarily homeless. There are just many examples all around your children during times of normalcy (non-pandemic times). See if they can think of some and talk to them about how you want to make “our house” available for people, because that’s making it available for the Lord. It’s a serious setting in which the Lord instructed this.

Have big people pretend-call the teeny people on the phone and tell the teenies that they are needing a place to stay and sleep because they are on a journey. Have the teenies respond with “Sure, we have a place,” and let them arrange the blankets on the sofa and put a pillow there and bring a bag with a bar of soap and some toothpaste and a spare toothbrush and put it on the pillow along with a towel (and whatever else you have on hand that a guest could use). Have one of the visiting big people lie there for the rest of the story time, profusely thanking the little person.

Tell the story of 2 Kings 4: 8-17. Be sure your children can name the simple things that the woman of Shunem put in the room for the prophet. Make sure they can also tell you that when she did this she was serving the prophet, but she was, most importantly, serving God. She was helping the prophet  to be able to preach the Word of God. She was helping God to work on this earth. When we offer to house God’s people, we help God’s cause on this earth!

Have your children look around your home and give ideas about how rooms and provisions and appliances can be used to help God’s cause.

Pray with your children. Pray that you will be able to use your home for His glory. Pray specifically for each room, that you will find ways to use your kitchen to feed God’s people, that you will find ways to use the bedrooms to help His people rest, that you will use your living room as a place to share His Word, etc….

We will be a closer family if we are serious about hospitality.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #38: Proverbs 14:26–Living with Confidence

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:  Living with confidence

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge”  (Prov. 14:26).

In today’s proverb, Solomon distills into a few words something all serious-minded Christians feel.  Here are some of my favorite passages which express that peaceful confidence—not in our own strength, but in His faithfulness.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”  (Heb 4:16).

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

The last few weeks have taught us much, but perhaps no lesson more than this one:

You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (Ja. 4:14-15).

Even in our awareness of our vulnerability in this life, though, dedicated Christians develop a sweet and broad view of our own existence. We don’t think merely in terms of earthly life, but we think and  speak openly and casually of a seamless transition into the other world to which we all will go.  Quoting this proverb, the “fear of the Lord” gives us that confidence.  It’s a little ironic that fearing God elbows out all other fears in this life. And, back to the proverb, that place of eradicated fear is called refuge.

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:17-19).

Today, my prayer for you is that, in these uncertain times, you will not fear what shall be on the morrow.  He will never forsake you (Heb. 13:5).  Remember what our Lord said to give us confidence and reassurance:  “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:31). 

Enjoy your day in Christ.  

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

More of Matthew 25: 31ff…

Jesus said “I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” 

Tonight, try to prompt your kids to think of ways we can give Jesus a drink. 

For the teeny people: Let them go to the sink and help them get a glass of ice water. Have Dad come in the room and feign a thirst of massive proportions. Have the child give him the glass of water. Let him really dramatize his relief. Then Dad should make sure the child knows that he/she just did something for Jesus. This is practice, for young children, for the real situations down the road. 

For bigger kids: Brainstorm ways we could give Jesus a drink today: Choose one of the following to plan and execute OR come up with your own idea. But give someone a drink this week. 

  1. Buy a case of bottled water to keep in your car along with several packages of Bumble Bee (or other brand) chicken salad and crackers, or Vienna sausages, or peanut butter crackers. Keep these in your car along with a stash of tracts about salvation to pass out to the people you see begging at the intersections in your town. Be sure the tracts have info for your congregation. 
  2. Take a case of bottled water to a base location of first responders in your area, along with information about the church. 
  3. Mix up a batch of chai mix and divide it up into several containers to take to families or individuals who may be having an especially hard time during the pandemic. (sickness at home, loss of job, relatives in hospital with “no visitors” restriction, etc..) Attach a note to the jars of drink mix letting them know you’re praying for them. Deliver to doorsteps or organize a drive-by parade to cheer these folks. It’s cheer-chai! (Recipe below.)
  4. Donate a quantity of juice pouches to the systems that are providing lunches to school children during the pandemic. Be sure to give your congregation credit for the donation. 
  5. Take water bottles and juice pouches to the hospital in a basket for the workers to leave in the ICU waiting room for families who may be there and unable to see loved ones. Many hospitals will have those areas off-limits for several weeks to come, but you can still collect these items for the earliest possible donation time. Be sure to identify the church on the basket of donations. 
  6. Do the above (#5) for your local funeral homes. 
  7. Have a drive-by parade for some of your shut-ins and wave to them on their porches or through the window. Leave hot chocolate pouches where they can retrieve. 

After you have chosen your activity, take your children to John 4 and tell them briefly about the Samaritan woman, who got to (literally) give Jesus water, and explain to them how Jesus has the water of life. Make sure the older children know why this is the water that makes people never thirst, spiritually, again! 

Praise God in prayer with your children. 

Best Chai Ever!

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer

1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer

2 1/2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions

In a large bowl, combine milk powder, non-dairy creamer, vanilla flavored creamer, sugar and instant tea. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time, until mixture is the consistency of fine powder.

To serve: Stir 2 heaping tablespoons chai tea mixture into a mug of hot water.

(But I do not do the blender thing. I just mix it up really good. That blender thing sent dust all over my house and made me cough! =)

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #37: Proverbs 14:22–Devising Evil and Good

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: Devising Evil and Good  (Proverbs 14:22)

Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.

In the original language, the word “devise” in this proverb means, “to plow.”  Picture a farmer cutting and plowing his rows as he anticipates a good harvest in the not-too-distant future.  That preparation, according to today’s proverb, is done spiritually every day by people for evil or for good.  Imagine with me some examples….

Devising Evil:

  1. Plan a party and purchase alcohol to be served.
  2. Wear a revealing dress while knowing it may impress men the wrong way.     
  3. Scheme over how to earn or win money through business deals which are not completely honest.
  4. Think through how you can escape God’s commands in your religion and still have His approval:  “I attend most of the assemblies; I doubt He’ll care if I miss to attend this ballgame just this once.”
  5. Imagine ways to hurt those against whom you hold a grudge, or simply use your influence to prevent good things from happening to them.
  6. Deceive your parents.  Lie about where you’re going and with whom you are going.

Devising Good:

  1. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8).     
  2. Plan your schedule every week to attend the worship assemblies.
  3. Spend time every day thinking of ways to serve your fellow man.
  4. Think of ways to encourage young people to make good decisions.
  5. Imagine ways you can be a more positive influence in this church.
  6. Concentrate on individuals you’d like to convert to Christ, and devise ways to help them toward that end.  

As you ponder this proverb today, remember that another one says: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).       

Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

For tonight let’s start analyzing the details of the judgment criteria in Matthew 25: 31ff. Jesus said…

“I was hungry and you gave me food.”

Tonight, if you have teeny people, practice the exercise in the video below in your home, and upon your first opportunity, take along your teeny people to actually knock on just such a door. Even if there are no door-knocking opportunities ever in your congregation, still make them for your family. (I learned, very early in my life, the value of children knocking on doors; both the value to those children and to people in our neighborhood who had tender hearts. Just do this. You will be glad you did. Take invitations to gospel meetings. Take pies. Take tracts. Take CDs of sermons. But take your children!)

If you have bigger people, bake bread or cookies tonight to leave on the doorstep of someone who really may be having a tough time getting to the store these days or for someone who has lost (temporarily or permanently) the income they had before the virus. (Think hairdressers, waiters, restauranteurs without drive-throughs, many of those in retail, and most in hospitality industries.) Make sure your children, sign a card, pray for the individual and go with you tomorrow to deliver. Pray together for this family/person tonight.

Review with your children how that Joseph was happy to give food to his brothers even when they had treated him very poorly. Emphasize that, even though the people to whom we give the food may not always be the most faithful to God (they may not even be Christians), the One to Whom we give the food is the spotless lamb of God who died for us, even when we were still sinners, too (Romans 5:8).