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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #44: Truth and Mercy have Met

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:  Proverbs 16:6  

“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”

Observe these soul-saving ingredients: fear, mercy, and truth. 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).  Why is fear important?  One powerful tool of the Devil, who loves to work in religion, is to subtract the fear of hell from both atheists and professing Christians.  Yet it is that fear that makes us crave and appreciate mercy and truth.  Consider that these two—mercy and truth—are often paired together in the Old Testament:

“And he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren” (Gen. 24:27).

“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10).

“He shall abide before God forever. oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!”(Psalm 61:7).

“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalm 85:10).

“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

This is a combination of characteristics seen in their perfection in our God. But we are commanded to use this combination in Christianity and the church as we hold one another accountable.  For example, elders who lead their flock in the process of withdrawal of the church from an impenitent member (according to the truth of the Word in 2 Thessalonians 3:6), will perhaps remember that Jesus gave Jezebel a space to repent (Rev. 2:20-21) and will apply that mercy to the member in the process of discipline. Mercy and truth have met together.

Jesus gave instruction about a Christian against whom a fellow-Christian has sinned.  Consider how His teaching involves both mercy and truth: 

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17). 

We clearly see the combination of the establishment of truth and the will to forgive and gain the brother. Everlasting mercy and enduring truth (Psalm 100:5).

Today consider that in the application of truth there is space for mercy.  Considering God’s application of this pair motivates me to want to be sure I get this combination right in my relationships.

FamilyBible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

It’s quiz night again! Just see how much fun you can have remembering what Jesus said in Matthew 25 (and Luke 12). Act out the following in a game of “Guess Who I Am.” Pretend to be each of the following and see if your kids can guess who you are. After each successful guess, have your children tell you what Jesus said about whomever you were pretending to be. The response will be repetitive, but that’s a good thing.

  • a sheep
  • a goat
  • a hungry person
  • a thirsty person
  • someone who needs a place to stay
  • someone who needs clothing
  • someone who is sick
  • someone who is in prison
  • the rich man tearing down his barns

Sing the song from Matthew 25 (Hannah’s Hundred) if you’ve been learning that. If not, sing Each Day I’ll Do a Golden Deed. Here are the lyrics:

A Beautiful Life
Each day I’ll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need
My life on earth is but a span
And so I’ll do the best I can
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
The only life that will endure
Is one that’s kind and good and pure
And so for God I’ll take my stand
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
While going down life’s weary road
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load
I’ll try to turn the night to day
Make flowers bloom along the way
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
No setting sun
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Rea Garvey / Sacha Skarbek
A Beautiful Life lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Red Brick Music Publishing

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #33: Proverbs 14:9–The Seriousness of Sin

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: Recognizing the Seriousness of Sin (Prov. 14:9)

Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.

Today’s proverb asserts a cold reality:  People who mock at sin are fools. 

Three verses after this one we get a glimpse of one reason this is true: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”  For a man to follow his own way when God calls that way sin, is death.

Sin is no laughing matter.  All Christians feels a morality shift that has grown in our country for the last few decades and is now phenomenal in scope.  While there is much good in society and we’re thankful for our country, we just can’t believe that God-blessed-America has come to where she is home to rampant and blatant disrespect for God and His word. Jesus knew sin was serious:

“Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!”

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire” (Matt. 18:7-9).

To mock sin is to mock God who decides and declares what is sinful.  Sin is against God.

No one successfully mocks God, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).  We may live our lives mocking various ones and their laws—the laws of our parents, of school teachers, of employers, of the police;  but God’s law won’t be mocked.

Are you a Christian? Let the words of today’s proverb resonate in your heart and then consider three more verses on the subject of sin:  

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:8).

“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 Jn. 2:2).

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

Would you like to study what the Bible has to say about having your sins washed away?  Write me and we’ll talk.

Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

Tonight, let’s wrap up our lessons about David and Bathsheba with a quiz game. We suggest a treasure map with questions and a real buried treasure if you have young children, a yard and a good place to bury. (This week, I buried [barely] a little doll and a couple of tiny stuffed animals, sealed in a zippy bag for my grandchildren out in our yard and you would have thought they had uncovered the Hope diamond with that little shovel!) In this game, as they successfully answer questions, they get new locations toward the treasure, until they reach the spot marked by the X. (Example, first if they get a correct answer, take the first taped arrow off the map. Underneath that arrow the map might say “Go outside the front door.”) Keep asking questions, alternating children for answers, and removing arrows off the map for instructions…”Go to the end of the sidewalk,” etc….Make sure you have at least ten arrows before you get to the X, where you have buried the treasure. Alternately, of course, you can play all sorts of other games with the questions. (A general rule for almost any game is that you have to answer before getting your turn or a point or a bullet for your Nerf war. =))

  1. Where was David when he first saw Bathsheba?
  2. What was Bathsheba doing when David first saw her?
  3. What was Bathsheba’s husband’s name?
  4. What did David take that did not belong to him?
  5. Who was David’s army captain?
  6. Who did not go home to his wife?
  7. Who was killed in the battle?
  8. Who was the prophet who came to David?
  9. What happened to the baby in the story?
  10. What was stolen in the story that Nathan told David?

Questions for the teeny people:

Who was the king?

Did the king always obey God?

Who blesses us when we do right?

What is true success?

What does it mean to steal something?

Is God pleased with stealing?

In what book do we read about David?

Who gave us the Bible?

Are people who disobey God really happy people?

What is God’s ideal for marriage?

 

Pray with your children.

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #17: Proverbs 6:19–One who Sows Discord among Brethren. (This FBT has a fun quiz game!)

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:  “One who Sows Discord among Brethren 

Proverbs 6:16-19

These six things the Lord hates, 

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

I frankly struggle a little writing about this today because coronavirus has had the unexpected consequence of many Christians actually getting closer to one another—if that’s even possible!  I had a phone conversation with a brother today whose wife has broken her shoulder, and heard his voice break as he described the food and cards and calls and prayers from the family of God. There are three of our women in the church who are nurses and are taking regular turn-about dropping by to check the incision and bandages.  Christians are a tight bunch.

This proverbial wording is easy to understand.  We all know about Biblical analogies using farming, sowing and reaping.  Seeds are comparatively small, but once planted and watered, grow into something much bigger.  That’s good with watermelons, but it’s bad with sin. This Proverb is about sowing discord.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psa. 133:1)!  What’s behind sowing discord among Christians in a congregation is usually less about the church and more about the person who sows the discord. For selfish reasons, one who sows discord is, probably without thinking, willing to forfeit unity that is good and pleasant in order to have his own way. Ironically, he is apt to jump into this sin without making an overt decision. It’s just that he sees something off-putting—something he takes personally—and shares his aggravation with other members.  Perhaps it’s a disagreement with a difficult decision the elders have made about an expenditure or about a sad withdrawal of fellowship.  Perhaps it’s about something bothersome that an elder’s wife said.  Perhaps it’s simply a display of bitterness in his heart (see Ruth 1:20).

It is a great deal easier to fix this problem before words about the offense are spoken than after. So, the solution, while difficult, is simple today:  Think before you speak (Ja. 1:19).  My aggravation may actually need to be discussed, but have I chosen the right person for that discussion? Have I thought about my tone and the grace (or lack thereof) of my words?  If I pondered this personal upset for a few days, would it seem to matter as much?  Have I prayed about this matter?

A number of times in my life I’ve talked with elders and preachers after a church has fallen into sad disunion. Often, as with a burned, smoldering house in which the fire marshal finds the exact source of the flames, it is easy for the leaders of the body to pinpoint the origin of the division.  In view of Proverbs 6:19 which says God hates “…one who sows discord among brethren,” I wouldn’t want my name attached to this sin.  Protect the unity of brethren.  It is so very precious and can be lost in such a short time.

Family Bible Time from Glenn and Cindy–Joseph Finale

Quiz your kids in a game with the following questions. You can make a fun game in one of a variety of ways.

1)Use your Candyland board game and draw a question from the green bowl if you land on green, from the blue bowl if you land on blue, etc….If someone can’t answer the question, he forfeits his turn.

OR

2.) Give each person a clipart picture of the coat of many colors (printable free from this site: http://clipart-library.com/josephs-coat-of-many-colors-coloring-page.html). Go around the room asking questions and each time a correct answer is given, the player gets to color in a stripe on the coat. The first one to have a fully colored coat is the winner.

OR

3. Make a simple scavenger hunt. In each hiding place in your house, have a question and directions about where to look next. Example: 1. Look in the refrigerator. 2. (in the fridge)…What was Joseph’s father’s name? Now look on Mom’s bed. 3. (on Mom’s bed)…What did Jacob give to Joseph? Now look in your bathtub. Continue on with a dozen or so questions/places. If one person is stumped, let another person answer and continue on until he/she is stumped.  In the last hiding place, have a little “treasure-prize” for everyone who answered three or more correctly (or whatever number you think is appropriate.) A great treasure prize for this game is a bag of glow-in-the-dark stars for a bedroom ceiling (Joseph’s dream) or a little bag of twenty nickels or dimes (20 pieces of silver for the Midianites) or a basket with three cookies in it (the baker’s loaves).
If you are particularly creative you might find colorful fabric pieces, like the coat, to tag the questions in their hiding places.

OR

4. You can play Nerf Wars and if you get “shot,” you have to answer a question correctly to keep “living.” If you miss the answer, you’re “dead” (out of the game). Whatever you play, a little prize is a great idea. In Family Bible time homes, parents learn to hoard little prizes. I think our grandson’s favorite prize of last week was an old wasp’s nest Glenn found under the eave of the house somewhere.  (He could not wait to go home and scare his dad.) The prize can also be a privilege, like staying up fifteen minutes later than siblings or choosing the flavor of ice cream (if we ever get to go shopping again after COVID-19)

You can be more creative than we are and think of your own game. It doesn’t have to be complicated, of course.  Our grandson played this with a jar of marshmallows this week. When a person answered a question right, he got a marshmallow. whoever had the biggest pile at the end, got to trade in his marshmallows for a little prize (or he could keep and eat the marshmallows.)

Here are the questions in three categories. You may not need them all, but we hope your kids can answer them all. You might want to look them over and make sure you’ve covered them all before beginning the game.

Tiny People Questions:

  1. Who had the coat of many colors?
  2. What did Joseph’s father give him?
  3. Who took care of Joseph?
  4. Who was in the pit?
  5. Who did Joseph obey?
  6. What colors were on Joseph’s coat?
  7. Did Joseph share with his brothers?
  8. What is true success?

Middle People Questions:

  1. Who was Joseph’s father?
  2. Why did Joseph’s brothers not like him?
  3. Which brother did Jacob love the most?
  4. What did Joseph dream about the sheaves?
  5. What did Joseph dream about the stars?
  6. Where did the brothers put Joseph?
  7. What kind of animal did the brothers kill?
  8. What did the brothers do with Joseph’s coat?
  9. What did Jacob think happened to Joseph?
  10. Who bought Joseph to be a slave?
  11. In whose house did Joseph end up as a slave?
  12. What did Potiphar’s wife hold in her hand when Joseph ran out of the house?
  13. Where did Potiphar put Joseph after Mrs. Potiphar lied?
  14. What two people had dreams in Joseph’s prison?
  15. What was the baker’s dream?
  16. What was the butler’s dream?
  17. Who forgot about Joseph when he got back to Pharaoh’s house?
  18. What was one of Pharaoh’s dreams?
  19. What did the dreams of Pharaoh mean?
  20. Who, did Joseph say, could tell what the dreams of Pharaoh meant?
  21. Who did Pharaoh put in charge of storing up food in Egypt?
  22. Who got hungry and had to go to Egypt to get food?
  23. Joseph pretended that he thought the brothers were ______ when he was testing them.
  24. Who did Joseph tell the brothers to bring to Egypt if they came a second time?
  25. What did Joseph put in the sack of Benjamin?
  26. Why did Joseph send the servants to catchup with the brothers when they were going home the second time?
  27. What did Joseph invite the brothers to do at the end of the story?

Big People Questions:

  1. Which brother did not want to kill Joseph?
  2. Who help Jacob to mourn over Joseph?
  3. Why did Jacob not come to rescue Joseph after the brothers sold him?
  4. What reason did Joseph give when he refused to lie with Potiphar’s wife?
  5. Why did Joseph always end up having so much responsibility everywhere he went?
  6. What did the two prisoners’ dreams mean?
  7. What request did Joseph make of the butler?
  8. When did the butler remember Joseph?
  9. Tell what happened in each of Pharaoh’s dreams?
  10. What did Joseph have to do to get ready to go before Pharaoh?
  11. What rank was given to Joseph when he correctly interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh?
  12. How many times in all did the brothers go to Egypt?
  13. Which brother gave his own life as as surety for the safety of Benjamin?
  14. Why did Joseph cry when he hugged Benjamin?
  15. How many souls went down to live in Goshen?
  16. What were the two tribes that came from Joseph?
  17. Which of Joseph’s son’s was oldest?
  18. Which of Joseph’s sons received the biggest blessing?
  19. How long did Jacob live in Goshen?

Pray with your children.

Repeat the definition of true success: Living your life and going to heaven.