Browsing Tag

Prayer

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Thank-you for your Prayers…

If you are among those who prayed for Brother Kovalenko, please read this letter I received from his wife, Brooke. Prayer is not always answered in the way we think best and, for this, we praise Him. He gives us what is truly best. Either way, it is so very comforting to know that our Calvary-blood relatives are praying us through. Here’s Brooke’s letter. I have a feeling, she will never be the same and that what she is becoming through trials is better than what she has ever been!

Dear Cindy, 

My name is Brooke Kovalenko. I am digging deep along with you as we examine the power of the final conversations of Christ. You were contacted several weeks ago by my sister, Amanda Griffin, coveting prayers on my husband’s behalf as he was in a very serious battle with Covid. When Amanda told me that she had reached out to you to request prayers for us throughout all of the platforms that you employ, I was so thankful and encouraged to know that you and fellow like-minded Christians were lifting our names up to our Father. He is the Creator and the Great Physician. Although we are so thankful for each medical doctor, nurse, and technician who attended my husband during his stay at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, we know that their success was in the hands of the One who understood the needs of my husband the most, and he guided their decisions throughout his treatment. Never before has the power of prayer been so abundantly realized in our lives and during this latest crisis in our family. Incredibly specific prayers were being answered within hours. Fellow Christians, who we will never meet until we are gathered at the pearly gates, truly helped me and my family bear this burden. My husband is now well along the road to recovery. We have come through this as stronger Christians and with a greater appreciation for the power of God’s army when they are joined in a march to the throne of God with a common request. What a blessing the church is! It is a true family that can uphold and benefit each other in the darkest of hours. I want to thank you for your personal prayers on our behalf. I would also appreciate if you would post on every platform that you previously used on our behalf to let everyone know that we can never thank each person enough for their prayers. Let them know that we have prayed for them as well, that their lives will be blessed, just as ours has been. Please let it be acknowledged that prayer is a blessing of being in Christ’s Body and that we should not ever take it for granted or underestimate the power and potential blessings it can shower upon us as obedient children .We are living in a confusing and evil world, being buffeted on every side from the powers of darkness throughout our society and across the globe. Thankfully, we have a source of hope that can bring peace that surpasses understanding, even as we walk through the dark valleys of this life. People need encouragement. We want our positive outcome to provide encouragement to others as a piece of good news during these trying times. We serve an awesome God who has the power to provide for our needs and direct the best outcome for our lives. We need to always remember to lean on Him. His Hand is extended toward His children, and we need to take advantage of His loving kindness and hold His Hand allowing Him to direct the pathways of our lives. We should rely on His will, obediently trusting in Him with reverence and fear, knowing that He is the keeper of our souls. We have been so humbled, not only by God’s mercy in healing my husband, but also by the knowledge that we were being supported and lifted up in prayer by so many. We have truly been blessed, and you, and every person who heard about us through you, have been a huge part of the blessings we have received. We thank you, and every platform follower you informed, beyond words. We give all thanks and praise to God who listened to every petition made on our behalf and who, in His mercy and wisdom, provided us with such a powerful support system while we are on earth. Thank you again so much. We will continue to keep you and your efforts in our prayers. 

In Christian Love, 

Brooke Kovalenko

Lake Forest Church of Christ

Jacksonville, Florida 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“I didn’t really plan on saying that…”

Maggie is three. But she’s an old soul and a very young fresh-from-God soul at the same time. This was her prayer one night last week: 

“Thank you that Adam and Eve repented and got to go up to heaven.” Then, when she finished praying, she said “Yeah, I just didn’t really plan on saying that. I just thought of it.” 

She’s learning every day and it doesn’t get past me that some of us old people need to be engaging in a lot more unplanned prayer. Sometimes we forget that prayer is not merely a habit we form of communication with the Father, but it is also a living expression of our evolving thoughts, petitions and praise to the One who has the infinite power to listen to all of His children, all over the world, at all times; to hear us as if there were only one of us (I wish I could have had that power when mine were small!) and to answer us in keeping with the very best eternal interests of each one of us.  This is not like the rote recitation of the pledge to the flag. It’s not reminiscent of the early twentieth century morning quotation of the “Lord’s Prayer” in schoolhouses all over America, although that’s an idea that was not a bad one. It’s more like Hannah at the temple crying out for a son (1 Samuel 1). It’s like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—firm in their resolution that God was able to deliver and yet firm in their own resolution to be true to Him even if he didn’t (Daniel 3). It’s more like Jesus on the cross commending His spirit into the hands of God (Luke 23:46). It’s you and me, asking for whatever it is that means the most to our hearts, expressing the trust that He is Sovereign no matter what assails us, and giving our all into His hands. That’s the kind of communication that flows freely, unencumbered by memorization or strict ritualistic form.  It’s the praise of a grandmother when a child puts on the Lord in baptism. It’s the prayer of a mother over the specific ills that have befallen a sick child. It’s the cry of a parent who is watching an adult child walk through a dark valley of betrayal and/or abuse. It’s the silent heavenward whisperings of a care-taking child watching a faithful parent deteriorate and die a thousand deaths on the way to glory.  It’s the wailing cry he hears from His child when the dearest on earth has left for the arms of the One who is interceding. It’s the petition for help from the Infinite One when navigating a path that seems busier and more overwhelming than a single person can even record on a calendar or spreadsheet. And all of this, of course, is far more raw than rote. 

It’s “Yeah, I didn’t plan on saying that, but I just thought of it.” This is being still and knowing (Psalm 46). 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“There’ll be days like this…”

“There’ll be days like this,” my mama said. There have been a few times in my life when things that are pretty routine have become infrequent. Things like putting on make-up or cleaning the trash out of my car or making a path through my living room or actually calculating whether there are too many carbs in this meal I’ve prepared. Some of the days of care-taking for my parents were like that. Some of the days when I was finishing a degree and some of the days when my children were very young. These kinds of days and weeks don’t always text ahead and ask if I’m ready for their visitation. Often it’s just a series of unexpected events that together make life suddenly and abruptly frantic and chaotic. 

Such are the days of this autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year, in any normal year. But this year, there are family members with Covid, large projects for which I am responsible, and lots of extra people in my house due to circumstances that I did not plan or execute. I still love the colors outside, the chill in the air, the football games I’m not watching, the fall trip to see the leaves that we’re not taking this year,  the pumpkin spice, and the autumn decorations in the bins downstairs that I’ve not had time to open. In fact, I praise Him everyday for the beauty and provision all around me. But I just prioritize and pray He will help me get the things done that really matter—eternal things—and not worry about the rest. 

Last night Glenn prayed that God would not interpret the despair that sometimes overtakes us, in seasons of distress or busy-ness, as ingratitude, because “…you have blessed us immeasurably and we don’t want to ever appear as if we don’t know that.” I’ve been thinking about how we make sure that we are not viewed, by God or man, as ungrateful. I think there are two or three obvious ways. 

  1. We keep sharing the good news. We cannot ever get so busy or burdened that we are not evangelistic. We have to keep passing out those cards inviting people to study. We have to keep taking time to meet up with the new converts and trying to nurture infant faiths. We have to take children with whom we have influence, in our laps and look straight into their eyes and talk about how great God is every day. We can’t forget, even when we are needing to hurry and get home, to find the visitors at our services and welcome them and make ourselves available to answer their questions. I think, in these ways, we show our Father that we understand that our greatest blessing has remained untouched by any adversity this life may throw our way. 
  1. We verbalize to God. Sometimes it helps me, in the busiest times of life, to pray on my knees, or to pray out loud while driving. In the times when there’s little sleep and lots of bustle, prayer sitting in a recliner or lying in bed, can quickly digress into unintelligible sentences. Speaking our gratitude to Him every day with clarity, is one way we magnify Him (Psalm 69: 30).
  1. We look around for encouragement. Now, I know that, when you’re feeding a crowd for every meal around your own table, you may not be taking as many meals to the grieving or the sick of your congregation. When you are struggling financially, your service has to be on the skinny. When you’re sick, spreading love may also be spreading germs. But Ola Mae is a nonagenarian with Covid and she continues to make and send cards of encouragement to many people in many places. Carol is in the fourth stage of cancer and she is the number one encourager, to the Colleys and many others, through the written word. Mark is suffering from Crohn’s disease and his heartfelt teaching and admonishing through song in every worship service brings tears to my eyes when I sit near him. Glenn was pretty sick earlier this fall, but I have watched him just keep on faithfully administering that role of being the meat in the sandwich generation while getting back on his feet and back in his pulpit. Lin has had some serious health complications this fall…some major medical tests being done—but she keeps right on heading up more than one ministry in her congregation and homeschooling her children and she even spoke at a recent ladies event. Teresa has seriously struggled with multiple health issues, but spoke from home via zoom at a great ladies day last weekend. Betty and Bill both had Covid this fall, but they are right back in their pew now and serving as the leaders of our group of active seniors. Paul is dealing daily with parents who are not long for this earth and he, too, is balancing parents and kids in stressful times, but he calls every day to encourage my husband. I’m just saying, look around. You will find many examples of extreme gratitude and you will find many reasons to get on your knees and thank the good Lord. 
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Writing Week

This is Digging Deep writing week. So here’s the little annual  excerpt from the big topic that’s rolling around in my head during every conscious moment. I remind myself often that Digging Deep is not “my thing.” It’s such a blessing from God that we get to do this together. Most of all, the study is a blessing from God, the Holy Spirit. Holy men of God spoke as they were borne along of Him (2 Peter 1:21). Every word of the book I’m reading this week was breathed of God (2 Timothy 3:16). And the book gives us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Please talk to the Father about next year’s study. If you could pray for quiet moments to prepare, for efficient proofing and printing  and for hearts tender to this study. As the time approaches, please invite. This is a great study for those who’ve never become New Testament Christians–who have never put on Jesus (Galatians 3:27) And, for now, stay focused on “The Ten.”  You’ll be glad if you finish. The best is yet to come! The best is always yet to come when we are in the Lord, the finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Here’s a snippet:

Sometimes we think in big terms of commitment, when we might do better to think incrementally. Examples:

“I can kick this habit right now, for all of my life,” vs. “I can make it through this one day without succumbing to this desire.”

“I am going to read the whole Bible once every year for the rest of my life,” vs. “I am going to spend twenty minutes on Digging Deep each day this week.” 

“I will never disrespect you again,” vs. “I am going to make it through this day speaking only in respectful terms to my husband.” 

“I am never going to shout at my children again,” vs. “Today I am going to make it my goal to speak gently while disciplining consistently.”

“I will never gossip again,” vs. “I am going to tell my friend prior to this lunch that I am repenting of this sin and I am not going to speak negatively about any sisters while we are together today.” 

Thanks for praying. I am praying for you today, too!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley Digging Deep Bible Study

March On!

Wow! Time’s getting by. I hope you’re “March-ing on!” There’s one more D.A.B. still to be posted for February. It’s about capital punishment, once more, (which really has something to do with both Feb. and March…so good.) It’s time to get four more up on the seventh command about avoiding the destructive sin of adultery.
The March video podcast will be early (the sixteenth) and Holly Smith, who is a deep Bible student, joins us that night. I’m excited about some new equipment and expertise which is allowing us to use more cameras, a better mic, and better dual transmission on both Facebook and Livestream. That podcast is just eleven days away!
Please pray as the study for 2021-22 is being written in the last half of this month. Be thinking of whom to invite to join us this next year. All systems are go, so far, for Polishing the Pulpit in August in Sevierville, TN, where the topic for next year will be revealed. I’m always excited about that because it’s a personal source of strength for me as I get to see so many women genuinely excited about the Word in their hearts and actions.
Also remaining in the month of March, Glenn and I will be traveling to Jacksonville, FL for a gospel meeting and Hannah and I will be speaking at the Brushy church in Centerville, Tennessee on the 20th. The preliminary plans and the flyer for the November, 2022 Italy/Israel trip are being prepared. I hope to have those to you by mid March. Additionally, many of our churches will be making final preparations for the Lads to Leaders convention. As my husband is consumed with making sure his bases at the Nashville convention are covered, I am reminded to pray for all of those who are trying to make our conventions happen in the most challenging of times for gatherings and fellowship. This is just a hard task and prayers for wisdom for those who are working so hard to make this happen are the one thing we are all privileged to offer. I have seen firsthand and frequently the value of this program in young lives and congregations. It’s a providential tool that has impacted thousands and continues to ultimately lead to souls in heaven. So pray about this.
I’m not forgetting to pray for the legion of women who are hurting. Shirley has lost her husband, and so has Joan. Carol is fighting cancer. Nina is praying hard for a sick grandchild. Another Carol is having tests done. Patsy is awaiting medical test results, too. Maggie is suffering in several ways. Terri is having an amazingly hectic month. Dene’ is praying hard for several members of her family. Jen is praying for the children in her world. Tammy is struggling, physically. Mariah is a brand new Christian and working to be victorious. Amy is determined to keep her family in the Word while in, but not of, the world. Sarah is helping another family who is trying to do that, also. Lisa is going the second, third and fourth mile in taking care of people who need her. And my list could just go on from there. I know your’s does, too. If I know anything from this list that grows each time I open my phone or laptop, it’s this: We all need Digging Deep. The Word sustains, clarifies, strengthens and gives us joy. We need those things in this time when (perhaps it’s just my perspective), but it seems there’s an almost measurable and tangible increase in suffering and sorrow around us. You can be in the Word without Digging Deep, but I know that I’d be less equipped to be diligent in study without a concrete plan in my calendar.
Finally, pray for our country. Oh yes, pray for America. But I really mean pray for the country of our truest citizenship. Pray for the Kingdom that has its governmental headquarters in heaven. Pray that we can shine in this era of chaos and rebellion against the authority that emanates from heaven itself. Pray that we can find our way with the light of His Word to that throne of ultimate authority. May we do so with boldness in a world that largely mocks our devotion to King Jesus! Each of us is just one person, but our God is the God of loaves and fishes!
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Always Pray for the Bad Ones, Too…

Recently, during Bible time, our son, Caleb asked Maggie, who’s two “Who should we pray for tonight?” Maggie named some people whom she thought needed prayer. Caleb, listing all those she had suggested, said “Great. Let’s pray for them. Those are some good ones.” 

Bekah, Maggie’s mom, said, under her breath to Caleb, “Well, don’t pray for the bad ones.” Well, obviously, Bekah was poking fun at Caleb’s choice of words about praying for the “good ones.”

They had their prayer and moved on with the bedtime ritual. A bit later, Maggie looked at her dad, while he was brushing her teeth, and asked “Why did Mama say not to pray for the bad people?”

Rebekah got busy explaining how she was just joking and how we really should always pray for bad people to obey Jesus.

So then they prayed again and Maggie said “Please help the bad people to get repenting.” 

I hope she can internalize, remember and practically translate from thought to action all these little, but very BIG, truths she’s learning at the hands of Deuteronomy 6 parents. If she can, she’ll be ready for a great go at the Christian life…the abundant life (John 10:10). She will be effective in prayer, compassionate, and a winner of souls. 

Don’t forget:

  1. The podcast is next Tuesday night. It’s going to be a pretty special edition, so try to join us!
  2. The 2022 trip to Israel is being logistically planned as I write this. Details and registration available by mid-March. Stay tuned for that. Registration will be open to diggers (current or past) and their spouses only through the end of 2021. In January of 2022, if there is space left, we will open it up to others in the body. 
  3. Please keep praying for so many diggers, over on the Digging Deep for Encouragement page, who are going through some of the hardest things in life.
  4. …And, perhaps as never before in our country, pray for good to be victorious over evil, and for “all the bad people to get repenting.”