Browsing Tag

repentance

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.”
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“Dat’s de Pwoblem!”

Five-year-old Ezra is concerned, lately, about every death. (We all should be a lot more thoughtful about the appointment with death and judgment that 100% of us will keep!) He’s especially concerned about whether or not people who’ve died have gone to be with God. Recently, his parents visited Mount Airy, North Carolina, the home of Andy Griffith and the model town for the fictional town of Mayberry. As they were telling Ezra about going to Floyd’s Barber Shop and the drugstore and the Sheriff’s Office, He asked them “Did you see Andy Griffith?”

When they told him that they couldn’t see him, because he’s dead, Ezra immediately asked “But did he obey God?”

Last week, while Ezra was visiting with us for a few days, he “tromboned” a few bars of “Seventy-Six Trombones.” A little taken aback that he would know that song, his Papa said “Ezra, do you know what that song is about?”

“Actuawy, I do.” Ezra replied.

“Do you know what movie that’s from?” Glenn asked.

“Actually I do. It’s from De Moosic Man.”

“Do you like that movie?

“Yes. I love it!

About this time I interjected that his parents were a little bit worried about the hero of the story—the fact that he was a conniving swindler promoting sin at every turn. Glenn answered, “But didn’t he repent at the end?”

Ezra quickly chimed in “No, he did not wepent. Dat’s de pwoblem.”

I’ve been asked to speak in an upcoming lectureship about how to raise our children to be evangelistic. In thinking about how to frame this lesson, I’m reminded that Ezra is right. Sometimes we think about all of the anti-Biblical messages in the world that draw people from God: atheism, denominationalism, worldliness, etc….We think about the huge propaganda that Satan has successfully spread about the non-essential nature of baptism. All of these (and more) are huge roadblocks to salvation in our modern world. But all of these are surmountable. I’ve seen people overcome each of these obstacles to live full and rich lives and go home to glory when they died. They did it by repenting: changing their minds about a particular course of action and following a different course.

But Ezra is right. When people are unwilling to repent, that unwillingness is the obstacle to salvation that cannot be overcome. That’s the pwoblem.

Repentance is the absolute hardest part of God’s plan of salvation. It’s the part that takes boldness, stamina, perseverance and self-control. It’s the part that makes you keep on confessing Him for life and it’s the part that makes you determined to get to the water and have your sins washed away. It’s the part that, once out of the waters of baptism, keeps you heaven-focused. It’s the part that makes you never, ever give the world a longing look again.

If we can put the concept of repentance in our kids—both its difficulty and its attendant blessings—we will raise naturally evangelistic kids. We do this by using the word “repentance” when we are punishing them. We do it by talking about hearts when we watch movies like The Music Man. We do it by stressing the concept of coming to one’s self when we are talking about the Prodigal Son or David and Bathsheba in family Bible time. We do it when we read the story of Beauty and the Beast or Pinocchio or any number of tales in which people changed their minds and actions in a positive direction. We do it when they hear us pray that our hearts will be tender and change when we find out we are wrong. They do it when they hear us petition Him in behalf of specific people we name, who need to change their hearts. We do it when we explain to them the difference between Peter and Judas when the cross put them to the test. We do it when, at very young ages, we keep spanking that hand over and over until we get a contrition after disobedience. We do it when we show them compassion after the contrite heart rights a wrong.

We saturate our children with the truth that salvation is about hearts. It’s about obedience resultant from penitent hearts.

Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Jesus Christ

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Another Chance (part 4)

11902329_10153223400334069_4584303358887639646_n11934957_10153223401374069_98564377511046029_n(Digging Deep t-shirts! Five more days to order at www.thecolleyhouse.org. (Sale ends at noon on Friday. We will also have a limited quantity on hand for the seminar at West Huntsville.) Also, we still have room for several more at the Living with Purpose seminar on September 25th and 26th. So clear your calendar and do something healthy for your soul! It’ll be worth the time. All registration and meal fees will be refunded if not completely satisfied (since there are no fees!) Register here: seminar.westhuntsville.org/.)

And about Maria…The question that had surfaced several times was the  topic I had reserved for the very last characteristic we’d study about how we identify the first century church in the chaotic 21st century religious world. What does a person need to do to become a member of the New Testament church? Was it indeed what most religious organizations in “Christendom” today believe and teach about what a woman must do to become part of the church?

We went, once again, to the book of Acts. That’s where you go if you want to know about the origins and firsts of the church. We read again what 3000 people did on the day of Pentecost to get into the original church. There were many who did not choose to accept the overwhelming evidence presented by the apostles on that day that Jesus was, indeed, the Son of God. But those who were convicted of His deity, asked  what they “must do to be saved’ (Acts 2:37) and were told in simple terms: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins.”

Repentance was a big part of our discussion that day. Maria was unclear about exactly what repentance entails. We defined it from scripture as being more than a feeling of remorse. Repentance has to involve both changing your mind about sin and resigning from sinful actions.  We talked about how repentance is really a change in direction. A woman is walking in one direction and decides to go in the opposite direction, turns around and walks the other way.  But Maria was seeing the sorrowful results of sin all around her and did not need convincing that her life needed repentance.

As in all studies, though, I parked right there at repentance for a while. I told Maria that this was because I am convicted that repentance is the most challenging and difficult part of God’s salvation plan.  The world argues most about baptism (the most overwhelmingly obvious part of the plan, from scripture). But the part of the plan that takes the most humility, introspection, fortitude, courage, resolve, determination… well, it’s easily repentance. Baptism requires a moment with the right heart. Repentance takes a lifetime of assessing, deciding, re-assessing, choosing, standing firm, submitting and figuring out how to be true to the promise you made when you went under the water.  It means that the will of the One who took your place at the cross is forever more important to you than your own. Repentance is  a change of the affections finding reflection in your future direction.

We looked at Galatians five and how that repentance means that the works of the flesh are replaced in your life by the fruit of the spirit. We spoke of the eternal fulfillment that the difficult challenges of repentance brings. Maria was a penitent spirit. But I still wanted to walk through some key chapters in Acts about conversion with her…

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: I Just Love this Story!

Unknown-4I hope you are enjoying the week as much as we are at the West Huntsville church. It’s Family Bible Week and the excitement is over the top. Kids are learning and adults are, too. My skit this year is a re-enactment of the parable we call “The Prodigal Son” so I’ve been thinking lots about that boy who chose the money over the security and about how we, enamored by the world’s cheap glitter, often do the same. I’ve thought about how you could never have talked him out of going to that far country when the silver was jingling in his pockets and how that you could never have talked him out of returning home when it was gone. The difference, of course, was all in that moment when he “came to himself”—you know, the pig pen moment. The pig pen moment is a moment of the heart (called repentance) and we all have to have it before we can come to (or come back to) the Father. I hope you have had your pig pen moment. I have had several.

I’ve thought about the Father, too—how he released the son to go and waste his substance. I’ve pondered how many people I know who are in the faraway country today because God never makes anyone serve him. He never keeps you against your will. I’ve thought about how you can be a prodigal even on the church pew every Sunday. If your heart is in the pig pen, then sitting on the pew doesn’t make you any less filthy. Teens get to choose between the Father’s house and the pig pen even if parents are forcing them to be in the worship assemblies, because the pig pen is all about the heart. God releases us. He allows us to choose. It’s free moral agency and it’s what sets us apart from any other creatures He made way back on the sixth day of history.

I picture Him as he rested on the porch. I do not believe it was an accident that he saw His son “a great way off.” He was watching and anxiously waiting for him. But His work was done. He had a place—a home—ready and waiting for the homecoming of the one that was astray. He did not go looking for the Son. It was the “seventh day” for this Father. Everything he had done for the son was good. It was all up to the boy now. Of course, I am the boy in the spiritual analogy. There is nothing more God can do to bring me home. The choices and faith’s response of obedience are all up to me.

The best part is that the Father ran. That’s right. When the boy came down the path, haggard, dirty, lean and lost, the Father ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. God runs. When a prodigal turns his heart from subversion to servanthood, God runs to forgive.

He rejoiced, too. My Father makes merry. What a tragedy when all things are ready for a feast, but I keep the long-suffering One waiting on the porch.

He reclaimed. Notice that the son asked to be a servant. That position is much more than he deserved. But the Father restored him to the position he claimed before he ever left the house. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”

He reconciled. You have to love the way the Father approached the elder brother whose body was in the back yard, but whose heart was in the pig pen. The Father wanted the elder brother to be pure, not only in practice but in his heart. He wanted the love of the Father to be in that boy. It’s interesting that John tells us that if we love the world (like the prodigal was doing in the faraway country), the love of the Father is not in us. (I John 2:15). But the same passage tells us that if we fail to love our brethren, we are still stumbling in the darkness (I John 2:9). How many nights did the prodigal spend stumbling around in the world without the love of the Father in his heart? How many nights did the elder brother spend stumbling around in the Father’s house of light because he failed to love his brother?

I just love this story. It is my favorite parable of the Lord. I have been the prodigal. I have been the elder brother. It’s interesting that our Lord left the “jury out” on the heart of the elder brother. Perhaps the “pig pen moment” is harder if you’ve never physically left the Father’s house. But may I always remember that I can stumble in the darkness even in His house. I can be in dire need of “coming to myself” even when I am physically in the presence of the family of God.

I just love this story.