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Purity

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Ten “Must-Have”s on a Christian Girl’s List for a Prospective Husband

                                                                 

–contributed by Ally Smith.

  1. 1. First and most important “must-have” is finding a man who puts God as his “number one”; even before you and his family or job.
  2. 2. Is he committed to building the kingdom of God and spreading His Word? Wait for the man who is always involved in church events and always conducting in some way during worship; not someone who only shows up when he has to or when he’s expected to. He should always want to be involved in his congregation.
  3. 3. Does he love God…or does he love the world? Wait for the man who falls deeply in love with God instead of worldly temptations and possessions. 
  4. Is he a man of constant prayer? Does he pray before you pull off on a date for your safe travels? Does he pray before your meal on a date? Find a man who is constantly praying and talking to God.
  5. Is he pure in heart? The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance (watchfulness), for from it flow the springs of life.” Wait for the man who is constantly aware of his actions and making sure they are pure and in keeping with God’s Word.
  6. Is he slow to anger? Proverbs 22:24-25 says “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Wait for the man who is temperate and is willing to talk through misunderstandings and conflicts.
  7. Is he wise with his money? Proverbs 21:20 says “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Does he save and put his money towards good things or is he always finding ways to spend it and sometimes finding himself in trouble? Don’t get involved with a man who loves his money more than the Lord for that leads down a sinful path of destruction and torment. 
  8. Is he considerate? Philippians 2:4 says “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” A considerate, selfless man will have your best interests in mind. 
  9. Is he a man of forgiveness? Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” don’t get involved with a man who holds grudges and dwells in the past. Wait for the man who is forgiving and understanding of others. 
  10. Does he set a Christian example? Titus 2:7 says “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity and dignity.” Look for a man who is being a good example to his younger siblings and peers. 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Ally Smith

Several years ago, while speaking at a teen girls’ purity day in Tennessee, I passed out a sample “Letter to my Future Husband,” (Casey Herringshaw at https://enjoyingthewritingcraft.blogspot.com). Encouraging the girls to think long and hard about the qualities in a husband that would make for happiness in this lifetime and help them live in eternity with God, I encouraged them all to write their own letters and take them out and read them every now and then. Most of all, I wanted them to have clear and godly goals for their marriages and never to veer from them in pursuit of something plastic and temporal.

At that time, Ally was probably about 13 or 14 years old. Recently, Ally and I have been meeting up to visit. She’s 20 now and she shared with me the other day that, using that letter from long ago as a template, she’d written a letter to that man who is still anonymously working to be the one who will one day walk into Ally’s heart and then through life by her side. With some recent edits, she’s given me permission to share her letter, still much like that letter from the purity day so long ago. I hope her letter will help someone young who reads to think about some characteristics that will make for a marriage that God will bless with joy; to write down some goals–maybe even write her own letter– but, most of all, to determine to have uncompromising convictions for the Lord and to never settle for someone who cannot share those convictions and the soul’s best last hope, its only hope…the hope of heaven! Here’s her letter:

To my future husband,

I have been waiting to meet you my entire life; sometimes patiently and sometimes not very patiently all. I know it won’t be long until I will not only be in your heart, but in your arms. That will be the best feeling ever. I know that God has hand-crafted you just for me. But while we’re apart, I’m sure that I am following God’s path to you. I do not know your name nor could I even begin to guess what you’re like or how we’ll meet or if we’ve already met. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking, dreaming and praying for you every day. I know that it sometimes seems like the day that we will meet will never come. But please stay strong and have faith that soon enough God will lead us to each other when the time is right.

There are just a few things I need you to promise to me….Always hold my hand and give me hugs. Hold me in your arms when you get home from work, kiss me on the forehead and tell me all about your day and whether it was good or bad. Remind me often of how much you love and care for me; even if it’s simply leaving a note on my mirror on your way to work or surprising me with cheap flowers. Ask me how my day was before we go to bed, and comfort me if I’m having a bad week. Be my biggest fan but don’t be afraid to let me know when I’m wrong. Tell me jokes–even the stupid ones that make no sense. I love laughing with you.

Draw me closer to God. Remind me how much he means to me by constantly showing faith in him. Pray with me everyday and share with me your struggles and your accomplishments. Please never place bars across your heart. Always be honest with me even if you’re scared of the reaction. I will never judge you or put you down. I want to spend the rest of our lives lifting each other up and towards heavens pearly gates. Learn about my interests and things I enjoy doing, support me in my dreams. But don’t be afraid to tell me if I’m stumbling down the wrong path.

Dance with me in the kitchen with our children laughing at us. (because you know I can’t dance to save my life). Come behind me and kiss my neck when I’m making dinner and tell me you love me. Hold me tight when I’m upset. Hug me tight when the pain is too much for words. Always kiss me goodnight, even if we aren’t on good terms. Let’s never go to bed angry at each other. Surround us and our home in God’s love, joy and constant laughter.

Always take me to church whenever the doors are open. Love children, especially ours, and let them know everyday just how much. When the devil threatens our home and shakes the foundation of our marriage, promise never to leave and to never let the word “divorce” enter out vocabulary, even if it’s out of spite. Always be the spiritual leader of our home and believe what the Bible has to say from beginning to end. Be someone that, when anyone looks at you, they see Jesus Christ. Always speak with love and kindness and teach our children the wonders and consequences given in God’s word.

Find what you’re passionate about and chase it. Be my best friend, the one person I can always go to…my soulmate… and the man I’ve been waiting to meet my entire life.

With all the love I could ever give,

Ally

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

This Just Happens Every Four Years, so Come!…and Share this Important Link.

I was recently visiting a church in another city when a woman I’ve never met walked up to me and began to talk about how her daughter was impacted deeply at a purity day four years ago at West Huntsville.  She told me about good things that are still happening in this high-schooler’s life because of that fall Saturday in 2014.  A purity day can open doors that will continue to influence for crucial years and monumental decisions down the road. The impact can be made through notes taken, through materials purchased, through resolutions made, through a deeper bond with a mentor, or through new friendships forged. This mom was extremely excited to hear that on August 11th, she will get the chance to repeat the experience.

I spoke at another church in Mississippi this spring in which a couple of young and faithful moms (one is in the photo) reminded me that they, along with a big group of friends, had rolled into Serenity at about 11 p.m. four years ago (or was it eight?), to check into  our cabin and house for purity day the next morning.  These women have now completed college, have Christian husbands and sweet babies, and were the planners of and participants in this ladies day. They, too, said “Oh you’re about to have another one? Let us know when. We can probably bring some girls!”

This is the day that happens only once every fourth year at West Huntsville. Kind of like February 29th of Leap Year. Only this day does more than keep the calendar synchronized. This day helps keep the lives  of our daughters in sync with His holy plans and purposes. We think it’s important for every girl to experience the planning and participating in this important event at least twice during her years in the West Huntsville youth group. We hope that lots of girls from many congregations will come and bring friends and mentors.  Some traveled last time from at least as far away as Kentucky.  Some from Mississippi have already begun making plans to come this year. It’s worth a half-day out of school on Friday (if you’re far away)  and a road trip. It’s worth so much more if hearts are convicted for pure, godly living. Future marriages for God are built on the stuff of this seminar.

What about you? Can you make a road trip? Housing in our homes will be provided for those who come from other towns and states. All the info is available on the link below. If I can help you make this happen for your daughter or youth group, let me know!

You can register here: http://purity.westhuntsville.org.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Motherhood for His Glory

(Sometimes there’s a fun re-run that we like to read again. This time the re-run, for Mother’s Day, is one of the most controversial archival editions. It’s not for fun, but it’s for the children that I want to keep saying (even though I know my voice is a small one) the things that  are hard to think about in our world of heightened sensitivities. Children still need all the same things they needed a generation ago or even a hundred generations ago,  so we should keep repeating truths that are timeless, but nevertheless, may offend the culture.  I never want to  purposefully offend. I pray today’s post does not offend, at all, but rather is helpful to someone–maybe someone young, who still has some monumental decisions in front of her. May she make them for His glory! So here:

 

As I travel around and speak for various ladies seminars, I am extremely blessed to meet moms of all ages who share with me nuggets of wisdom gleaned from years of experience combined with time in the Word. My home and children have been richer as a result of this fellowship and sharing. There have been a few memorable occasions, though, when women have opened their mouths and something really senseless has issued forth. I think these ridiculous observations from mothers have helped me as much or more than the statements of wisdom. When people fail to study His word and make practical applications in their families, spiritual stupidity ensues. In the presence of women who seem to be clueless about spiritual priorities and biblical motherhood, the wisdom of my God and the peace that is mine when I apply his truth in my family is glaring. I am immediately humbled in this situation and thankful that I do not have to rely on my own resourcefulness or wisdom in motherhood. This parent is grateful to have a Parent who is infinitely resourceful and wise and who has revealed His plan for my home. And it’s all in a book I can carry in my purse. What a blessing! I’ve chosen a few real “gems” from my list of The Most Misguided Mom Statements I’ve Ever Heard” to share below. Read them and weep!

“Well, there is that one thing…”
I was speaking at a ladies seminar one afternoon on the topic of “Keeping our Families from Worldliness.” After my presentation, a sixty-something lady came up to the front of the room, expressed her appreciation for the lecture, and then went on to say how very blessed she and her husband had been in their family. Her children had all reached adulthood and they had never caused a single minute’s problem for her and her husband. They were now raising beautiful children of their own, maintaining a close relationship with the grandparents and actively leading in their careers and communities. I told her how proud I was for her and just sort of incidentally asked where those young families live and worship. She told me the communities in which they live and then I pursued the second question, since I had some knowledge of one of those communities. “Which congregation do they attend?” I asked.

“Well, there is that one thing,” she responded. “None of my children are faithful to the Lord.”

So many responses would have been appropriate at this juncture, but I was speechless. I was so amazed at the casual way she interjected that tragic statement about the spiritual depravity of her family that I was at a loss for words. The dropping of my jaw and an “I’m so sorry,” was about all I could manage. I wanted to say, “Lady, that is the only one thing that matters,” or “Ma’am, did you realize that all of your children are living their lives in utter and complete failure?!” Paul talked about one thing that was important. He said “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me and reaching forward to those things that are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13,14).”

Jesus told Martha that one thing was needful and that Mary had chosen that one thing (Luke 10:42). Perhaps He said it best, though, when He said, “What doth it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

I wish I didn’t have to work…
I drove up to a fabulous house in a high-end neighborhood where I would be staying while speaking in the area. I walked through beautifully decorated rooms, past an entertainment center and shelves of videos. I said hello to two well-dressed young children and went upstairs to the beautiful guest room where I would be sleeping. The next morning when I awoke, I peered out the window at a fenced, park-like backyard complete with a full-scale playground. I went downstairs for some orange juice and began to converse at the kitchen bar with my hostess. Somehow in the conversation we got on the subject of stressed and busy lifestyles. In this context came the unbelievable statement I hear so often: “I wish I didn’t have to work, so I could stay home and raise my children.”

Now I’ve heard many variations of this statement. Kids have said it to me like this: “My mom would like to stay home with me, but she says if she stays home, we can’t have our pool…or new house…or whatever goes in the blank.”

There is a way to get past this amazingly materialistic mentality. Go on a mission trip to Zambia or Argentina. Listen to children talk about digging in fields for rats to eat or spend a couple of weeks where there are no adequate sewage systems, no hot water and goat head is listed on the entrée list at eating establishments. I could go on, but the point is all too obvious. We are so rich in America that we’ve come to include the “posh” in our lists of basic necessities. Our children are often bringing us shame, because they have grown up in worlds of instant gratification; worlds void of guidance and nurture. “A child left to himself brings his mother shame (Prov.29:15).” We, like that rich young ruler, will continue to reap sorrow when we allow our possessions to own us rather than the other way around.

“He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matt. 19:22)

“We like to save our ‘no’s.”
I was sitting in a close friend’s kitchen when I decided to ask her if she was concerned about some of the entertainment choices her thirteen year old was making. The media choices of this kid were definitely uncharacteristic of the godly values of his parents. The answer: “We don’t like these choices, but we like to save our ‘no’s for the big things. We feel if we say no all the time, then our prohibitions will be less effective when it comes to some big issue like sex or drugs.”

Practicing the ‘no’s with seemingly small matters is the way kids catch on to the fact that “no” means “no”. It’s the way they assimilate the information that Mom and Dad care enough about them to monitor, direct and guard them, even when it requires time and attention to detail. In short, keeping a watch over the small things and demanding compliance in them is the only way to insure respect when it matters most. Saving our ‘no’s as parents will yield a big bunch of saved-up ‘no’s when our kids need them most, but saved-up ‘no’s, like old kitchen spices, have lost their potency. Kids need practice with restrictions. They have to listen when you say “Stay on the sidewalk,” so later they will listen when you say, “Stay away from drugs.” This constant listening practice is essential for ultimate spiritual success. “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27).

The list goes on. I’d love to have space to comment on the absurdity of statements like “ I wish my thirteen year old would ______________, but I have asked her and she just says ‘no’.” (Is she sleeping under your roof and eating at your table?! ) Another unbelievable one is “Okay, so she is having sex. Let’s get some birth control,” or the frequent “We let our kids go to the dances,” or “see all the movies with their friends,” or “wear the current fashions” (or whatever compromising activity it may be). “After all, we don’t want them to grow up thinking Christianity is a burden.” (Never mind the fact that Jesus called discipleship a yoke and a burden [Matt.11:29,30]).

Parenting is not for the weak. Giving birth, changing diapers, feeding and clothing are all the easy parts. The real challenge is to consistently place the ammunition of respect for the Will of God into the hearts of little people who will soon face the Goliaths of worldliness and corruption that plague our society. We cannot raise our children on permissive fences in which we give the nod to Christianity while we let them enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb.11:25). They will inevitably fall on the wrong side of that fence and the short season of pleasure will turn to years of the wretched heartache of sin. God empowers us through His Providence and His Word. But we must be diligent parents (Deut.6:6,7), attending to the details of the day to day obstacles the devil places in our paths. Successful parenting is never an accident.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Purity Day: 350 Saturdays

If you live an average lifetime, you will have about 3500 Saturdays–the days we usually consider off-days. If you are raising a child, about 900 of those Saturdays will fall during the years that your child is growing up in your home. About 350 of those Saturdays will fall during what we call the “teen years.” Three hundred-fifty  may seem like a lot of off-days, but when you think about science fairs, sick Saturdays, athletic or arts commitments, and homework, the bank of days that you might be using for something that pertains to the soul–the immortal person you are raising– may diminish significantly and without much consideration of the loss. While you might argue that all these activities are good and  pertain to character development, and thus to the soul (and you would be largely correct), there are some Saturday activities that are so practically connected to the choices that determine destiny that their significance just takes my breath away.

Here’s one. May I encourage you to consider this opportunity for your daughters? The topics covered will be of great value. I know you cannot attend every single purity day with your daughter, but I challenge you to choose at least one this year. Here’s a great one. There will be another one later in the year at West Huntsville. Choosing both (different speakers/different approaches to the same important topic) is even better! I’m grateful for those who have taken the large amounts of time (several Saturday’s worth) and effort to coordinate something so powerful in scope for our girls.

https://www.facebook.com/Purity-Day-for-Girls-at-Fairview-church-of-Christ-855279184537314/

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #48: “Pure On Purpose”–Reader’s Special Today

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 48 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

 

“The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering without hypocrisy.”  (James 3:17).

This verse, that my children sang throughout their childhood, draws a clear line from purity of heart and life to a heart that shows mercy to others; mercy resulting in good works. In fact, it places purity as the first step in cultivating God’s wisdom in our lives. This purity of heart ends in the bearing of good fruits with sincerity. That development of heart was something for which  I prayed often as my children were growing.

When Hannah was in college, She and I made several trips over to Chattanooga to a television studio to produce a study DVD series about purity of heart and life for teen girls. It was a fun mother/daughter project for us. We tried to include activities and discussions about the mind of purity and also the practicality of purity in our relationships, ending with maintaining sexual purity. The workbook is jam-packed with age-appropriate projects. This study has been used in lots of classes, but I wanted to include it in this Mama’s K.I.S.S. series, as well, since I’ve been thinking about this verse that connects purity and service.

Glenn says I can offer this set (a DVD and workbook) –a set which retails for $35.00– to blog readers today for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping. Here’s how: Just email the phrase “POP Special” within the next week to  colley@westhuntsville.org . Your package will be on it’s way . Then please just send a check for $25.00 to:

Glenn Colley

234 Powell Street

Gurley, AL. 35748

or you can deposit it in PayPal at the above email address.

Hope this is helpful to some Mama who’s praying for this heart!