Browsing Tag


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Q and A: Is it okay to respond to ridicule/criticism? (A current digging nugget.)

Is it okay to answer back when I’m being criticized, mocked, derided for my faith, particularly  by those who are professing the same faith?   

The answer is a resounding YES! It is usually not okay NOT to answer back. Galatians 6:1 says when we see our brethren particularly, in sin, we must attempt restoration. We must go to the person(s), in the spirit of meekness and, remembering that we are not above being tempted ourselves, try to bring the sister(s) or brother(s) who is entangled back to faithfulness. The key is the spirit—a spirit of meekness. That means I always recognize my own vulnerability to the tempter and my utter dependency on the Lord for the hope I sustain. 

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you, too, be tempted.

So what are some adverbs from scripture that I should consider prior to having “restoration discussions”? I think Romans 12 is a great place to go when examining my talking points. The main things I need to remember are that (1) any talk about sin in the life of another should be aimed at restoration, not self exoneration, and (2) both parties are in the exact same condition without the blood of Jesus, and (3) though my sin may be very different from the sin I am addressing, the problem of my own sin required the same blood as the sin of the one to whom I go. 

Here are some adverbs that should characterize my discussing any sin with anyone: 

  1. I should go seriously, soberly (vs. 3).
  2. I should go kindly (vs. 10).
  3. I should go lovingly (vs. 10).
  4. I should go prayerfully (vs. 12).
  5. I should go honestly (vs. 17). 
  6. I should go peaceably (vs. 18).
  7. I should go with goodness (vs. 21).

Switching back to Galatians 6, the next phrase is that we should bear one another’s burdens, so fulfilling the law of Christ. So, in the going, there must be in my heart the willingness to expend effort, time, talents and finances, if necessary, to help the person I’m addressing with real-life needs. That kind of “bearing” is the test of my sincerity in seeking restoration.  

But attempts at restoration, when needed, are integral requirements in burden-bearing. We don’t simply have permission to address; we have responsibility. It’s part of being a family. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Ellis Can Be a Frog…

“Let’s re-enact Pharaoh and the plagues,” said two-year-old Maggie at Family Bible Time. “Ellis can be one of the plagues,” she excitedly added. “He can be a frog.” (Ellis is her baby brother.)

I’m thinking she was probably going to be Moses or Pharaoh (…besides being the re-enactment director.)

Sometimes I can adapt that mentality in the family of God. Let me do whatever is big and showy and accolade-worthy and you can do whatever it is that’s a little more menial or messy. Maybe you could even do what might get you swatted or stepped on.

To be truthful, Maggie has the purest and most tender heart of anyone I know. (Once I pretended I wanted to go first in a game I was playing with her and she said “Sure. You can go first.” Her mama winked and said “We’ve really been working on how we always want to put others before ourselves.” Mammy was a great and helpful example there!)

Maggie’s got it. (After all, there really aren’t too many speaking parts in the Pharaoh saga that Ellis could do.) But sometimes I don’t get this right. Sometimes I probably would do well to go back and read the book of James and highlight statements like these:

Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation…

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

For where there is…self-seeking, there is confusion and every evil thing.

But the wisdom that is from above is…gentle, willing to yield.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

I’m going to pray today, as I start this week, that I’ll be constantly conscious of ways I can hide behind the cross and glorify the risen Savior through meekness toward His family.

And maybe they can back up one night soon and “re-enact” the basket in the Nile part of the story. Now there’s a starring role for Ellis!





Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Girls Who Have the Spirit (The Meek and Quiet Spirit!)

Pic1This week, it’s been a real source of gladness for me to work with girls at POINT, one of the best camps I’ve ever attended. It’s small. It’s fun. And it’s jam-packed with the spiritual! I’m looking at a round table of girls right now who are planning a class for young children about the prominent woman of Shunem in II Kings 4. They have baked bread, put together costumes, and, just now, they all sneezed loudly in unison. (You’ll have to read the chapter!) They’re auditioning for the best sneezer!

These are girls who have the right spirit. They’re working in his service. They are meek. They will tell you that their cause is bigger than themselves. They may not sound so quiet in this video, but they do remind me of this poem. They are working to be virtuous women!


The Virtuous Woman


















Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Godly Women: Do You Have Your Act Together?

The second indicator of what’s on the inside is what I’m doing on the outside. The passage says Christian women are not to be distinguished by flashy or immodest clothing and/or jewelry. But Paul doesn’t just leave us hanging. He gives us the flip side of the coin; the positive side: do be distinguished by the good works you do.  He says if you’re making the assertion that you are a Christian, do what women who profess godliness do: get busy doing good things! 

I am amazed at the potential of the young women I meet as I go about and speak for ladies days and teen girls’ days. Often I find you, teen girls, more responsive to the teachings of Scripture than your older sisters in Christ. You have tender hearts. Almost always you are more creative in the use of resources. You blow me away with your talents and willingness to use them. You are tech savvy and artistic. You have much to offer the church and you are unwilling to bury your talents. Most of these areas of service are great opportunities for both men and women. Take the time to examine each of them and see if there are ideas that can be used by both guys and girls.

  1. Teen girls are putting together some of the most amazing Saturday programs for girls in their communities. These days typically include singing praises, a speaker on themes of purity, evangelism and/or service, games, a question and answer session and a meal.  I’ve seen themes like “It’s a Jungle Out There” (I Peter 5:8), and “Whatever!”(Phil.4:8). Talented decorators, cooks, and song-leaders, all under 21, put these programs together and bring their non-Christian friends. They are making a difference.
  2. Many of you are in group studies using a book called GIFTS, available from the Lads to Leaders office. I’ve known girls in several areas who’ve carried this book to school with them. Someone on the bus or in study hall is interested in the book. So a Christian girl invites a non-Christian girl over to study GIFTS on Thursday nights. Girls are learning the gospel through these private studies and some are becoming Christians.  The GUARD study for you guys can be used in the same way.
  3. Some of you are using your computers to spread the gospel. I heard of one Lads to Leaders debate group that used Instant Messenger to prepare as they studied their defense of the gospel. I know of one girl who had a lengthy study with a non-Christian friend on the subject of baptism via Instant Messenger. I know many of you use your Facebook pages to let each other know you are praying during the difficult times and to send each other encouraging passages of scripture. You use your word processors to make banners for hospital rooms and cards for sick people.  You correspond with missionaries and prospective converts you’ve met while on mission trips. You avoid the destructive chat rooms and readily available internet temptations and, instead, use your computer for good works.
  4. I have a friend who is a freshman on a state university campus. He started a weekly devotional in his dorm room on Wednesday nights after worship. To date, he has taught and baptized ten friends. This kind of devotional evangelism can happen with girls, too.
  5. Some of the most creative kids’ bible classes I’ve seen are taught by teens. Some of the most eye-catching bulletin boards are constructed by teens. This week I’m preparing an adventure center for our local Family Bible Week. Everyone on my team, except me, is college age and below. We are making a Treasure Island where children learn that real treasures are the ones we lay up in heaven and the treasure map is the Word of God. The lesson was written by a college student.
  6. Some of the most effective teachers on the mission fields are teens. I’m thinking right now of one teen girl who insisted on climbing a mountain in Jamaica to get to one lone house on the top of the steep incline. Other team members were older and lacked the energy to make the tough climb in the heat. Greeted by a sixteen year old native, this young teen girl set up a Bible study. At the end of the week, the girl was baptized.  She, in turn, brought a close friend to the Lord and that friend has now brought five people to the Lord. It wasn’t the seasoned preachers who made that little Jamaican church grow. It was the sixteen year old novice. 
  7. I see local groups of young people tirelessly conducting worship services at nursing homes, raking leaves and painting houses for the elderly, doing laundry for new mothers, washing baptismal robes, cleaning up after fellowship meals, providing transportation to services and a myriad of other tasks that might seem menial to their peers. Some people may ask, “What’s so special about these teens? Why are they okay with doing the dirty work?”  Something tells me it’s that they understand what Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” They understand good works.
  8. I see young people who are just naturally hospitable. I would be hard pressed to even estimate how many families have moved into our area and chosen to become a part of our congregation because our teens just enveloped their children, making them feel welcome and very much a part of the family that meets together here. Oh there may have been other factors, but parents very often tell me the deciding factor was the friendliness of our teens. Can you find someone who is new; someone who may be sitting alone and invite them to come and sit with you and the other teens.
  9. I receive lots of cards of encouragement from women of various ages. Sometimes I receive a card that is such a blessing to me that I want to keep it forever. Many of the cards that have encouraged me immeasurably are those I have received from teen girls who tell me that I have made some difference in their lives. These cards make me want to be better, try harder and seek the kingdom first. Is there someone who is making a difference in your life? Take a few minutes to pen a note of thanks. Some of you are masters of expression. Use those writing talents to build up the body. Some of you are good in the kitchen. Make those muffins to carry to Sister Smith who is convalescing or to Jenny, who broke her arm in yesterday’s soccer game. Some of you are talented sketchers. Make your own cards and gifts for widows or college students or deployed soldiers. Some of you are great readers. Share thirty minutes each week with an older woman whose sight is failing her, reading the Scriptures or something she wants to hear. Some of you are great actors. Plan a widows’ luncheon, serve your guests and then treat them to a skit produced and directed by teens. They will never forget this. It will be more fun than they’ve had all year! Our teens make up songs about our elderly people. They love to travel from house to house and carol; especially during the holidays, but any time of year. You don’t have to wait for programs and youth leaders to take the initiative. You can initiate good works.
  10. Most importantly, just get excited about spiritual things. The devil loves to make us believe that the real fun is in the temporal activities of this world. While it’s okay to enjoy fellowship in pure forms of entertainment, sports and fun activities, most teens are missing out on the lasting joy that comes from service. Be enthusiastic about Bible class. Get excited about building the kingdom. Try your hand at evangelism (maybe starting out by going with your youth minister or an older Christian to a study). Make it your habit to always say “yes” whenever asked to do anything for the Lord’s church. My children both testify that this “yes” rule was a big key to the development of their talents for the Master.
One more thing about good works for girls: No discussion of this subject would be complete without at least a brief look at Titus 2:4, 5. This passage is compelling as it relates to the place of women in the body. It encapsulates the most important role you as God’s woman will ever have on this earth. It actually says that women who fail to comply with this passage will cause the Word of God to be blasphemed. Guys, whatever you hope to find in the woman you will one day marry, find someone who is working on the list below. Girls, whatever else you do in this life, may I encourage you to be sure you are developing your talents and skills to be:
  1. A lover of your husband. Decide now to find a faithful Christian with whom you can share the goal of eternal life with God and plan to be his helper toward heaven.
  2. A lover of your children. If and when God blesses you with children, realize that he has placed in your charge little souls that will exist forever. They will look to you for guidance. You will influence their destinies.
  3. Discreet. The word here means self-controlled. It means deciding that you will put your will under His Will in all of life.
  4. Chaste. This word means modest and innocent. Make early choices to guard your thoughts and life from the sins of the devil.  Live every day so that you can bow before God’s throne and pray, knowing your relationship with Him is secure.
  5. A homemaker. Whatever vocation you may choose, remember God’s plan for your life, at least while your children are at home (these verses are addressed to the younger women), is for you to be a homemaker.
  6. Good.
  7. Obedient to your husband. While politically incorrect in our world, be sure you never lose your resolve to do marriage God’s way.
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Spirit of Modesty

I recently sat at the dinner table with a group of college students. It seems that one of the female students had, in the midst of a bad day, unleashed her tongue on some well-meaning business man. She told us of the anger in her voice and the “let him have it” spirit in her words. Then several of the students at the table applauded her saying things like “You go girl!” and “Way to stick up for yourself!”

We live in a world of feminism; a culture which gives its respect to the loudest and most crass women; a society that gives its nod to the modern Madonnas and Brittanys who trample the time honored values of modesty, decorum and femininity.

So how do Christian women respond to this world of feminism? Does living in the “I am woman! Hear me roar!” era give us a pass to ignore scriptures such as the following?

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well being (I Cor.10:24)

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. Therefore “IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM; IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom.12:18-21)

When thinking about the latter part of Romans twelve, it serves us well to think about the first two verses of that same chapter. They tell us in no uncertain terms that Christians are to live sacrificial and holy lives. They call us to moral and spiritual non-conformity. They give us a clarion call to be distinctive from the society in which we live. While sometimes when we think of worldliness we think of drinking, illicit sex or reckless affluence, we must remember that worldliness is simply caving in to societal norms. For us, as women in the dawn of the twenty-first century in America, there is no greater temptation to be like the world than that of adapting its feminist “it’s all about me” mentality. The devil must surely be gloating over this attitudinal saturation even within the Lord’s church. We must guard our hearts, words and decisions from this invasion of culture. We must, like Caleb of old, reject the spirit of our contemporaries and be filled with “another spirit” (Numbers 14:24).

What is that spirit?

It’s the spirit of modesty. It’s found in I Peter three, verses three and four:

Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Have you ever considered the change in society that would be affected if women en masse committed themselves to this selfless spirit? Let’s prayerfully consider the meaning of a meek and quiet spirit and the amazing implications that adherence to God’s will for our spirits can have for our relationships.

What is a gentle spirit?

The word Peter uses here means just what you would think: gentle and meek. We know what it means to be a gentle person. It’s the way good mothers handle their newborn babies…gently. It’s the way we speak to a godly grandfather who has just lost his companion of sixty years. It’s the way we instruct our toddlers to hold the kitten. It’s the mildness in our voices as we thank the Father for our safety through a tornado or hurricane. We know what gentleness is.

But meekness also carries with it an idea of submission. Meekness is having a cause bigger than oneself. It’s the ability to be about my father’s business (Luke 2:49) rather than my own; to fall down before Him and say “not my will but thine be done” (Matthew 26:39); to forever melt my will into His. It is having the heart of Jesus when he said “I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). He knew full well that giving me the peace and rest of Calvary meant its torment and agony for Him. Gentleness is my ability to put myself—my desires, my comfort, my agenda –aside and find fulfillment in the success of the cause for which I am living. It is being a non-conformist in a self promoting culture.

What is a quiet spirit?

The Greek word for quiet means just that: quiet and tranquil. Would this spirit transform our lives or what? Many of our homes are panic-stricken. They often serve as little pit stops between emergencies. When we make those stops it seems we are bombarded with messages, phone calls, emails, and general chaos.

My husband, Glenn, recently decided that he wanted to name our house. What he really wanted to do was to use some new woodworking tools and craft a sign for our yard, sort of like the colonial houses often displayed. He even had the name picked out in his mind: Serenity. He got busy and made a lovely colonial sign that heralded our visitors that they had arrived at Serenity.He was very proud of his work until one Sunday evening when we got home from worship, some anonymous friend, who likely knew us all too well, had crafted her own wooden sign and had hung it deliberately over the word Serenity. It read in large print: Chaos. While this was just a neighbor’s prank, it got me thinking. If the state of my home were printed at all times on a sign in my yard, what would that characterization most often be?

(to be continued…)