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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“Shleeping” in a Palace


Here we are at Polishing the Pulpit-Branson 2024! All the children, but especially Eliza Jane are so excited to be “shleeping “ in a palace. “I never shleeped in a palace afore!” I never did either and, believe me, after 12 hours in that car with those three, their mom and I were ready for some “sleep” in a palace or standing up in a barn. Literally, the question “How many more hours?” must have been asked 50 times from those back seats. Not exaggerating. It started when we were twenty minutes from the house. 

But now is the good part: blending voices, hearts, and purpose with hundreds of like-minded Christians on this hilltop, overlooking a beautiful lake. It seems, in my finite nature, to be inching toward heaven itself! 

Yesterday, on the way here, we got stuck behind a couple of auto accidents. One was an old tractor in the median that had obviously been careened hard by a larger and more modern vehicle. The helicopter was already there for the life flight. Ezra said he would lead the prayer: 

“Dear God, please help that man to be okay. Please help him to live. If he dies, please help him to be a Christian.” 

That’s the nine-year-old view of life and fatalities. That’s pretty much my view, still, except, of course, the “help” for eternal salvation, must be accessed through the blood prior to the time of the death. 

We all agreed that nothing is ultimately “bad” for the Christian. Even a horrific end to this life is not horrific for the follower of Jesus. It is better than ever. 

And that’s the hilltop on which we find ourselves, today; looking out over the promised land and knowing the sojourn is short. We find ourselves preparing, with hundreds of Christians, to bring the Father glory and honor the Son and, to find, in the Words of the Holy Spirit, strength for our journey toward the real palace of our King. 

I cannot wait, Eliza!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Sneak Peek 2025…Getting Excited!

The Colley House is getting excited about the new study to be announced in late August. Target start date for this study is September 1st. Mark it on your calendar. Invite a friend to study along. Make it a group or a class. Remember there will be a printed study guide or defer to the free downloadable one. But make plans now. So often, a sister contacts me in November and says, “I wish I’d known about this last summer.” It’s okay to jump in anywhere at any time. But it’s more fun to jump in on September 1st with your new book, pen and highlighters in hand and get ready for the first dig-a-bits and podcast. It’s fun to do it in sync. Here’s the blurb from DD 2024-25:

In the conversation at the wedding feast, once again, Mary was in the moment. It was, to her, important to do something about the embarrassing shortage of wine. Somehow Mary had something to do with the host and the party and she was concerned about a hostesses nightmare. Jesus, in His “Woman, what do I have to do with you?” answer was, again, pointing to a bigger mission for which the time was approaching, but had not yet come. The miracle, itself, was a kind gesture, and it began a process that would take Him to the cross, but Jesus seemed to be gently saying, “Mother, there are bigger fish to fry. I have some problems to overcome, but wine at a wedding is not part of the big picture, here.” Yet he went on and made his mother happy, in her moment. 

I think it had to be this way. How could Mary have had any semblance of normalcy or happiness if her life had always been about the cross. How could the relationship between mother and son have been the full experience of humanity and trials as we know them, if Christ had not shielded his mother from some of the burden that no human could fully understand, anyway? And doesn’t that make the whole life of Jesus, from the standpoint of His humanity, so much—so much of a sacrifice— when relationships that were precious were also lost and in need of the darkest moment in human history that was his piercing?

And I do think it is a little like that in our “talks” with heaven. If I am praying for the bone not to break before I can get the baby to the ER, or if I am praying for the decision we are making about a home purchase, or if I am praying about the choice of curriculum for my child, must it seem to Jesus, my advocate in heaven, that I am in the moment? Must He smile and say, “Cindy Colley is doing the best she can, but she cannot think fully in “redemption mode“ yet? I will hear her pleas and heaven will answer her, because she is in me. I have paid her price. One day she will see me face to face and the trials and challenges of the road will seem nothing.” It seems that this must be something like reality when I think about my finite self in prayer.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

She Thanks You for Praying…

 

Recently, those in the Digging Deep for Encouragement group have been praying for our sister, Tammie. She’s been through a very dark and difficult time in several key areas of her life. There was a loss of her home to a fire, a prolonged illness, a very traumatic situation in her extended family and one in her husband’s family, as well. She recently had five days alone in her house and I encouraged her to spend that time in prayer and the Word. I told her that I knew God could use those days for her healing, if she would use them for His glory. She writes this today, and wanted me to share with you. She is so very thankful for your prayers and covets them in the future days of restoration to what she wants to be for Him.She shares this. I know you will praise with me.

Oh sister Cindy,  

While I was by myself for 5 days God’s word has done some purging . I can say I had hit bottom. God showed me through his Word, that I had begun wandering away from the Fold.  These 3 years of working in the fall, with a friend, cleaning hunter’s houses, I thought I had been sharing my faith with her… and I thought she was going  to change her ways. Now the friendship bond of her worldly ways is cut. God, this week showed me, through the word and through our    DD studies, that I was being led astray; following her, with one foot in the door of the church and one foot out in the world. I was already searching for something when I found lots of programs on youtube and your ladies’ days speaking, too. I didn’t even turn TV on to watch unless at night when I watched gospel meetings. I mostly all day was in the word. A sweet sister called and checked on me a lot and, each time, she could tell I had been crying. Cindy, I can say I was at my begging place. I have written scriptures down and when Satan comes to my thoughts, I will quote them in prayer. Yesterday was so hard.  I finally went to worship being so weak and had no idea what Jim was preaching on. I had written a letter to the congregation asking for my forgiveness, for I had not been there for my brothers and sisters. I was a sheep that had gone astray and the crying was deep. A sister came to me and hugged me and whispered in my ear that I was bold to admit this and she said I inspired her about what true repentance is. Jim had no idea that I was putting on a fake Christian . He got choked up reading my note, so that another man stepped in.  So Jim just came to comfort me. Jim said he saw many tears yesterday. Then I went back last night and, Cindy, the singing in this congregation, to me, was so uplifting. Jim preached on the  words of the song “I am a Poor, Wayfaring Stranger.”  One of the men got up and said, “Can I speak? He did speak, and he said,  “Jim the message tonight of the song was so powerful.” Oh, this right here got me. My Jim was starting to feel that he wasn’t doing a good job there. Now let’s see how God can use me. I have never felt this peace, Cindy.

The sheep is now in the arms of the Shepherd. It’s terrible that it took me down to the bottom to open up my eyes. The truth has set me free. I love you, Cindy.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Life’s Sweetest People

The five sweetest people in our family are completely and utterly “un-messed-up” by sin. It’s a wonderful thing to watch young grandchildren live their lives so voraciously–just hungering for life’s next adventure while having zero enemies and zero concerns about the state of the Union, much less the world. It’s the most refreshing thing to try and back out of the reality in which Satan has placed us all, and look at today through their eyes. This day is just the next opportunity to live and laugh and love God. 

Here’s the prayer our oldest, Ezra, led yesterday at lunch. I want to remember its sweetness. 

Dear God, 

Thank you that we got to go and worship you today. Thank you for this food that Mammy made for us. Thank you all the things you give us every day. (Then Eliza started chiming in her prayer requests, so Ezra added those—“Thank you for Eliza’s teacher in her class. Help Eliza to obey.”) Help us to all be good. Thank you for our nice, soft beds we get to sleep in. In Jesus” name, Amen. 

Amen. He is just so, so good. If you have young children or grandchildren, take the time to savor the world through innocent eyes now and then, 

Just before bedtime, a giant spider began weaving her web in extreme intricacy,  just above the trash can that Ezra’s mom was just about to pull to the road. Ezra wanted us all to see God’s amazing design in that spider and web. His mom showed us that even on his underside, God had made this spider have an ugly “face”  to scare away her predators. Ezra ran to get a flashlight, so we could see the amazing intricate web she effortlessly spun. We even watched the spider’s huge shadow on the brick behind her, as the light shone on her, casting a sci-fi-worthy image on the side of the house. Ezra commented about our amazing God. (I’m so glad that He has given us the things we need to resist THE predator of our lives, when we really want to resist Him.)

Oh, and that little spider, just like that little boy, can weave her way into places that I could never even go. “The spider taketh hold with her hands,
and is in kings’ palaces” (Proverb 30:28).

God is amazing. May I remember today that the child’s perspective is the real one. He loves us and He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). 

“Suffer the little children to come to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”…words of Jesus, who conquered life’s  horrific “messer-upper” for me. 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Praying the Psalms in Missouri and in the Bahamas

This last month in Digging Deep has been an exercise in deep prayer rooted in scripture. I hope you have benefitted from it. It did my heart a lot of good this past weekend to travel to a relatively remote area of Missouri and meet some representatives of a little pod of diggers who are meeting together weekly for three hours each Tuesday and spending that time in the Words of the Holy Spirit.  You cannot look at the message ion the Holy Spirit for three hours with other believers without becoming more like the Spirit…more holy.

Sometimes we have a tendency to underestimate our connectedness with diggers all over the country (and some in other parts of the world, as well.) I think I would have never heard about these eight women who have grown together and are now introducing neighbors and friends to their study and to the Lord’s church. I am praying for them today. I want to be more like some of those women who came to talk to me last Saturday. I love them and will treasure their encouragement to me for a long time to come. I want to be around the throne with them.

As we begin the study for the month of May, I want to share this photo from one sister who lives in the Bahamas. Shameika Hanna is studying along this year, as she has for several years. A busy mom of five, she amazes me with regular evangelistic studies with women who need the Lord on the island of Grand Bahama, in-depth memorization and conceptualization of Scripture in her home with her children, and preparation and delivery of lessons to women of God. (You can hear her at this year’s Polishing the Pulpit in August; https://polishingthepulpit.com/.

Here’s her Psalm one prayer. It’s the prayer of a thirty-something mom on Grand Bahama. I’ve prayed this psalm recently as a sixty-something grandmother in Alabama. One of the things I love about praying the psalms is that, no matter your age or station, these psalms are incredibly relevant and practical.

Finish strong in your comfort prayers and let’s move forward to some comfort in the “grace space” described in the book of Romans. This part of the study has been extremely beneficial to me already!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Keep Begging Him.

Well, I really try not to talk, write, focus ALL the time on the fact that this is the most difficult and perplexing time of my sojourn on the planet. I try to sharpen my heart with the sword of His Holy Spirit, to dwell on the things that are abundant and obvious blessings directly from His hand and to keep trusting that the the One who sees the sparrow is watching, knowing and rescuing His children. I know He is. 

But after a particularly exhausting week, I made a three hour trip back to Huntsville just in time to walk in the building and hear my brother, Melvin Otey, present a masterpiece lesson about the widow who just would not stop from Luke 18:1-8. I had been forced to pull over and sleep on my way, because I had run into the wrong lane. I had powered through a mild stomach bug the night before. I had tried my best to advise someone who was going through an awful spot via phone while on this trip. While I know that, in whatever state, I am content (Phil. 4:11-13), I was pretty done by the time I arrived at that wonderful place where my family in Him comes together. Weary and worn and bringing mints to stay awake, I had a pretty good idea it would be a struggle. But it was not. God is good like that and the Word always hits its target. 

Below is my very loose (but in-keeping-with-the-meaning-of-the-text) transliteration of the passage that spoke to me last night from heaven. I love the Word!

Jesus spoke a parable to the Pharisees, to show them that people should always pray and not grow weary, give up, or lose hope.

Jesus said that there was, in a certain city, a judge who had no respect for God and no compassion for his fellowman. He was not a good person.

And there was a widow in that same city, who had an oppressive enemy or adversary. She brought the matter to the judge and asked him for relief: “Avenge me of my enemy.”

For a while, the judge ignored her. But after a while, the judge thought “I am not afraid of God. I will not do this to please Him. I don’t pity this woman or have any compassion, really, on her. That is not why I will act. But because she is wearying me with her coming…because she is wearing me down…because I am tired of her begging me, I am going to grant her request and take care of her enemy.”

Jesus called on the Pharisees to think about this reasoning of the judge, who was a long way from a righteous man. “If this unrighteous judge answers because of the continual begging of a widow, how much more will the God of heaven avenge his own elect—his people—who are begging him for something day and night? He will do this even though he has to be patient with them as they are begging? If a wicked judge, who has no respect for God or man, gives relief because of the begging, how much more will your Father, hear you and give you the relief for which you’re begging day and night?”

And then Jesus answered His own question: “I’m telling you that God will suddenly give you the relief for which you are pleading.” It may come from a place and at a time and in a way that I least expect.

Then my Lord asks of us the simple question, “When Jesus comes, will he find in us this kind of pleading-over-and-again faith? He said these things because He was speaking to folks who trusted in themselves; people who thought they were the righteous ones and looked on others with disdain.

Is there something for which you have been begging; particularly something that will aid in some soul’s salvation? Is there a relief for which you have asked again and again, night and day. The answer for me, is, “yes”.  I know many of you well enough to know that it is “yes” for you, too. I know that He is hearing the repetition and I know that He will suddenly give the answer. I will be persistent in the asking, but patient in the waiting. He is truly so good to me. 

And for the diggers, this is a great example of practical comfort from the Holy Spirit, through the Word and then through the mouth of God’s servant.