Browsing Tag


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

It’s Already Done.

(If it’s been a while since you were in the book of Judges, reading chapters 4 and 5 of that great book will be helpful today.)

I’ve been blessed this week to be at a PTP Spark conference in Valdosta, Georgia. One thing you can’t miss when you study the book of Judges, as we’ve done this week, is that, when God declares forthcoming victory for His people, nothing but nothing will get in the way of that victory. Sometimes God declares this future victory in the past tense, as in “I have given you…” or “The Lord has delivered…” Only God can make a promise in the past tense. But if God says it, It is as good as done. Nine hundred chariots of iron in Judges 4 would have seemed, in any mortal eyes, the sure-fire winner in the valley near the river Kishon. I know the army of Sisera rode proudly in these iron chariots to what they were sure would be the handy defeat of Israel. 

But Sisera’s army was doomed before it was assembled. No amount of strategizing, no force of weaponry, or degree of morale could influence the divinely predetermined outcome. God had already spoken:

For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you (Judges 4:14)?

Sometimes today, for Cindy Colley, it’s hard to trust the predetermined outcome. Most of the world’s money is in Satan’s coffers. He is the one who is controlling the lives of the movers and shakers. He is all up in the lifestyles of the rich and famous. His people are, mostly, the ones who are in People magazine or on Forbes List. In a more personal way, it is his people who are the seemingly unrestrained enemies of the people of God. In fact, sometimes, it seems as if the life lived away from God holds a lot more glamour, financial security and applause than does living for Jesus. 

But nine hundred chariots, when mired in a muddy, bloody plain are suddenly changed from an advantage in war, to a liability. You recall that all of Sisera’s men were killed and he, alone, ran on foot to the tent of Jail, in which, he would have a quick glass milk and a tent peg through his head. When God promises an outcome, that result is guaranteed. 

Do we live like we believe the promises of God? Do I prioritize like I believe Matthew 6:33? Do I love God like I believe Romans 8:28? Do I petition the Father like I believe James 1:5? Do I solicit prayers from others like I believe James 5:16?

See, on that Sunday morning, two thousand years ago, when the tomb was found empty, the head of Satan was crushed. The body of the snake is still moving and affecting our society in some tragic ways, but the head of the snake is forever crushed. This glamorous people who are in the metaphorical 900 iron chariots of the devil today are just as surely on their way to hell as were the armies of Sisera on their way to defeat at muddy Kishon.  No amazing strategy, wealth, artillery or company morale can alter the predetermined outcome of the devil’s army. 

Of course, the only moving piece now, is you or me. If you are in the iron chariot headed for destruction, there is still time to switch sides. Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite, switched sides. She took advantage of Sisera’s deep sleep in her tent and then she put the nail through his temple. The prophetess Deborah, then sang these words about Jael: 

Most blessed of women be Jael,

the wife of Heber the Kenite,

of tent-dwelling women most blessed.

He asked for water and she gave him milk;

she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.

She sent her hand to the tent peg

and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;

she struck Sisera;

she crushed his head;

she shattered and pierced his temple.

Between her feet

he sank, he fell, he lay still;

between her feet

he sank, he fell;

where he sank,

there he fell—dead.

(from Deborah’s song in Judges 5)

If you’re in the chariot headed for Kishon, now’s the time. Believe the amazing verifiably authentic Word of God and examine its directives for your life. Get on the team that has already  been given the victory. He has already gone out before you.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Bible Week–It’s about Eternity.

Family Bible Week at West Huntsville is this week! The Gospel Railroad. It’s at 6:30 through Wednesday night. Dr. Bible is there and there’s a candy bandit. (Right now, the candy jar has been stolen and we have NO idea where that bandit has stashed it!) The kids made FBW photos last night and frames for the fridge. They watched lively re-enactments of conversion examples. They sang their hearts out and they learned songs about what it takes to be saved. They entered contests and they rode a real train through the halls of the building. I heard the conductor asking them questions about the Bible as they rode along and waved at spectators in the hall. They watched a puppet show about forgiveness. This is what spiritually focused memories are made of.

On Sundays, for FBW month, the pulpit has been focused on these four examples of conversion that are the focus of this week. The children fill out sheets during the lessons in our worship that help them listen, too. The examples of obedience to the gospel that are the focus this month are the Ethiopian, the Philippian jailer, Cornelius and Saul. Did you know they all did exactly the same thing to get into Christ? There was a recognizable moment in each of these accounts from Acts when sins were washed away. The moment is described for Saul in Acts 22:16. The jailer went out, at the risk of his life in Acts 16, in the middle of the night, to accomplish this washing. The Ethiopian saw water and said “Why are we waiting? Here is water.” And Cornelius was a good man—a really good man—but still had to have the washing before he could be saved. (Notice verses 1-3 of Acts 10 and then look at verse 14 of chapter 11). While the whole world says baptism has nothing to do with salvation, we have to keep telling the whole world what Jesus said “Go into all the world and teach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” 

This week is about believing–building faith in little souls. The goal is for their hearts to know what to do about sin when it one day rears its ugly head in their lives. We all encounter and fall to sin at some point (for me, it’s lots of points), and all of us need the grace given in the waters of obedient faith. 

I hope you can take the time to listen to one of the following lessons from the book of Acts. I know most readers are secure in the knowledge of salvation and are busy telling others the gospel.  If you are not positive you’ve done what the Bible requires of you to have eternal salvation, this listen could be the most important 30 minutes of your life. Here are the lessons. If I can help you become a Christian-secure in salvation and headed for heaven—I’d love to do that. Let’s talk:

Saul’s Conversion

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“I’m sorry I’m not sorry.”


One of my grandchildren had committed an infraction and was not sorry for disobeying. Her mom sent her to bed and said “Tonight you can just go on to bed and I will not be in there to tuck you in, since you are not sorry.” She responded “I’m sorry I’m not sorry.” 

Later, upon seeing that she still was not sorry and even disobeyed once more, her mother said, “One more time and I will MAKE you sorry.” This precocious little girl looked very seriously up at her mother and asked “You can MAKE me sorry?” 

I can tell you that this little girl is really too smart for her own good. I can also tell you that her normal pattern is obedience and compliance. The reason for her compliance is that she receives consistent and loving discipline. But on this particular night, for reasons unknown, she displayed a little child-sized Illustration of what the scriptures call  “presumptuous sin.” It’s doing what I want to do even though I know I am disobeying. It’s doing it without remorse. It’s being sorry I have to experience negative consequences or punishment, but void of any repentance for the commission of the transgression, itself.  

Scripture first mentions presumptuous sin in Numbers 15:30ff:

But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.

Here are some things we can learn from this little “not-sorry” saga. 

1. Immediate and true repentance upon recognizing there’s been disobedience in my life will save a lot of pain in my world. I should exhibit the kind of repentance that Simon exhibited in Acts 8. 

2. Deceit about repentance (Putting “I’m sorry” in between a bunch of disobedience and stubbornness) is adding sin upon sin and makes for worse eventual consequences. Hebrews 3:13 teaches us that we can be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 

3. Sin separates us from the One Who cares for us. The one who keeps us in his bundle of the living (1 Samuel 25:29 ) gives us security even in the darkness when we choose obedience and humility. He “tucks us in.”

4. There is coming a day in which God will, in a sense, “make me sorry” if I choose to persist in sin. The Bible teaches that one day the presumption will be finished. Every knee will bow and every tongues will confess that Jesus is Lord. (Phil. 2:10,11).  On that great day when opportunity has escaped all men, there will be no one who can presume upon God. Complete compliance with His will is what is certain on the day of judgment. There is no sense in which any man will not be sorry for persisting in sin. When I come face to face with the authority of God in commandment form, may I remember that one day He will make those who rebel, sorry. But it will be too late, then. I want to go ahead and bow my knee right now.   

5. The home is the primary academy for respect training.I’m pretty sure that my little granddaughter “bowed the knee” in the end. I’ve been around for several little contests of the wills in their house and I have never seen her win one of these. She’s learning respect for her parents, which translates into respect for school, civil, and church authorities, which ultimately and foremost prepares her for ultimate submission to divine authority. This little girl is blessed to be learning respect right now! 

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins.”- Psa 19:13

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

One Thing in Common…

Matthew 7. You could move your arms up and down, pat the air and clap your hands to the song about these two men before you could string together a sentence. Two very different builders–one wise, the other foolish. Two different allegorical verbs with the same direct object: “does them” and “does them not.”  Two distinct houses on very different foundations–one of sand and one of stone.  Two opposite results. One verse ended with hands resolutely clasped together–a firm standing; the other with a giant clap as you illustrated the crash of the foolish man’s house. So much is so different about these men and their life stories.

But one thing is the same. One difficult thing is the same in every story, in every life. It’s the same in the lives of the wise and foolish. It’s the same in my life and yours: “The rains fell and the floods came and the wind blew and beat upon that house…”  That’s the consistent factor in two very different series of events.

Last weekend I asked everyone over forty in the audience to which I was speaking to stand up. Then I asked everyone who’d ever faced a day when she had no idea how she was going to handle the crisis in her world…anyone who’d ever had an “I-cannot-believe-this-is-happening-to-me” day, to sit down.  All standing women sat down, except one. The winds and rain had come in every life of appreciable age in the room, except one. Do you know what that one standing woman took from that illustration? She understood that she’d better get prepared, because the storms come to every life. EVERY life.

Sometimes they are a direct result of personal sin. David had his Bathsheba chapter. Moses was prohibited from Canaan. Judas purchased a rope and found a tree. Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Sometimes they result from events that are no fault of my own. Jacob examined a bloody coat and mourned. Daniel was in the midst of lions and the three Hebrew children were joined in the fire by the minister of God, Himself.

But they are coming to your life. The difference in devastation by them and growth through them is foundational…literally. The sand is disobedience to the “sayings” of the Lord. The rock is doing the “sayings” of Jesus. Both men in Matthew 7 heard the sayings. But the response to the sayings was the difference between refuge and rubble.

I pick refuge. I want my house to be standing when the facades of the world have crumbled. I want Jesus. I want His sayings and I want his blessings. I find his sayings as I read his life and teachings from the precious pages of my favorite book. I have copies of that book everywhere in my house and car. I open them often and I mark them up. That’s how I hear the sayings. But hearing is not enough. The foolish man heard the sayings. I have to do them. There’s the rub. People offer me acceptance to ignore the sayings. People mock me and sometimes call me hypocritical–judging motives–when I really am trying to do the sayings. I get discouraged and wonder “Am I really doing the sayings? ” when prayer seems strained and waiting on the Lord seems a long process. And, in these times when I am hearing the rain and the wind blowing into my world, I have to just find resolve. I go back and examine the culturally challenging commands of the Lord from this sermon…the things he said right before he gave the wise man/foolish man challenge…and I work to DO them. It’s powerful that Jesus said,  just before he told us that the wise man built his house upon the rock “Not everyone that says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father in heaven.” The prep work for storms–my foundation and flood gate–is just that. It’s work. It is doing. “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

God is my refuge and strength. He is a very present help in my time of trouble (Psalm 46:1)!  But He rescues and rewards on a select foundation.



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

Sister to Sister: Mark 10 and Maggie

It’s relevant to notice that Jesus said some words about receiving the kingdom of heaven as a little child right in between two very difficult teachings—teachings that were too hard for those to whom they were spoken. Here are the words of Jesus from Mark 10:

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

Just before that, Jesus had taught the still-disputed doctrine about how that second marriages, in cases where former partners are still living, are adulterous. That’s a hard teaching, both in the first century world and today. In fact, the strong wonder at the prohibition of remarriage was expressed, even by his own disciples, in the parallel passage, Matthew 19: 3-12. (That’s the passage in which Jesus does give the one exception for acceptable divorce and remarriage)

Then, following the statement about children and the kingdom comes the teaching to the rich young ruler about denying his possessions and following Christ—the teaching about surrendering all for the Lord. It was a teaching that made the ruler leave with a sad heart and in an undone condition before the Lord. It was just too hard. 

Have you ever thought about why this little episode of the children coming to the Lord was included by the Holy Spirit right in between the difficult and demanding teachings—the life altering responsibilities commanded by the Lord? 

Having spent the last few days with my grand-daughter Maggie, who is fifteen months old, I’ve been amazed by her sweet little spirit of compliance. Her eyes look at her parents like “What do you want me to do?” Her spirit is broken when they spank her (pretty gently) for inattention to their instructions or for momentary disobedience. They push her every single time to respond by saying “yes ma’am”or “yes sir.” They use those words each time already, although she is currently just nodding her assent, until she learns to form those words. But every single time she nods her submission and then is expected to proceed with obedience. It occurs to me that this is how, in a sense, she’s already receiving the kingdom. This is how we are to receive the kingdom; with unquestioning compliance and humility. And this is the opposite of the disposition   of the Pharisees, who came in an attempt to entrap the Lord. This is the antithesis of the heart of the rich young ruler who walked away. 

Here are five things about Maggie right now that are, in my judgment, characteristic of the hearts we are to have when receiving the kingdom: 

  1. She’s always looking at her parents to see if they are near and if they are approving. Are you looking to your Father and desiring His approval?
  2. It’s often through tears that she nods her assent to the instruction that she, at first, failed to obey. Are you learning from the sorrowful consequences of sin?
  3. She often says the actual word “obey” when she’s thinking about the will of her parents. Do you meditate on submission as you strive to be holy?
  4. The Bible is the one book of which she already knows the title. Is the Bible the most important source of information in your life? 
  5. When she hears the garage door open, she looks at her mother and says with excitement,   “Dada?” She’s always looking for His coming. Are you watching for the coming?

And while we are at it, give some grace to this Mammy while she tells you a few more things that are pretty special about Maggie Joy Colley. Seriously, you don’t have to read. These are here so I can remember these precious Maggie/Mammy days. 

  1. 5:50 a.m. is my favorite time with Maggie. No one else is up and so I can steal in and take her from the crib when she awakens and she comes to lay in my bed with me and we just talk about eggs and “bendas” (bananas) and apples (her first perfect two-syllable word, except “Mama” and “Mimi” and “Mammy”.) Do you notice a theme here in her morning conversation? Eating is her passion.
  2.  She wants to wear my jewelry and my keys around her neck. She wants to be “big”  like Mammy. Everything she wants is indicated by sign language. She signs the word “more”. That means so much more…than more. It means “I have a request. Can you try and figure out what it is?”
  3. She found a tiny little man drawn on the sticker inside her kiddie pool. He’s about a quarter of an inch tall and he is on that sticker to warn parents about the dangers of drowning in that little six-inch pool. She’s obsessed with that little man on that sticker and every morning she remembers to ask to go out and see “man”. If you don’t understand what “man” means, she leads you to the back door and points at that pool. (Can you see that tiny little sticker?)
  4. Everything including the counter, the bed, the scooter, the suitcase—everything you can get up on—is a “vroom-vroom”.
  5. She wants to choose which color diaper she wears. (Those cloth diapers do offer a much bigger variety these days.)
  6. She loves to look at my Plunder necklace that has my mother and me in a locket; only she points to my mother and says “Papa” over and over. Is there a resemblance between her late great-grandmother and Glenn? Hmmm.
  7. Her favorite book, and the only one of which she knows the title, is the Bible. 
  8. Her favorite time of the day is Bible time, with the possible exception of every snack time. She loves any food that’s in a package. 
  9. We take long walks together and when I point to the moon and say “Who made the moon?” she’s learned to answer “Dod did.”
  10. Her mother has emphasized that what the Bible says is that “Jesus loves Maggie,” so when we ask her what the Bible is about, she says “Me!”
  11. Her favorite animal is a dog. Her favorite thing to watch on TV (well, really her only thing) is classic Winnie the Pooh (just the 2.5 minute theme song, but she can boogie to that). Her favorite food group is fruit and she REALLY loves those fruit puree pouches. We may or may not have made a couple of impulse purchases while we were out shopping. 
  12. She can stay quietly in a shopping cart for an extraordinarily long time, just looking at all the amazing things on shelves and racks, while pointing out all dogs and bendas and apples and vroom-vrooms.
  13. She has some “dog” house slippers. They are way too big for her feet, so I put them on over her real shoes. She waves at the dogs, in turn, once she gets them on her feet. Then she sticks  her legs up under her high chair tray and feeds the dogs part of her breakfast. (Darcy, the real dog, loves that game!)
  14. Transferring items from one container to the other is her favorite activity. 
  15. She’s perfect.