Browsing Tag

Salvation

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

For the Diggers: Have You Had this Surgery?

We should really be careful not to talk about any particular avenue of salvation as ” _________only” salvation; like “I’m saved by faith only” or “I’m saved by baptism alone”.  Biblically there are a number of saving elements–things without which salvation just cannot occur. There are senses in which we are saved by the blood, grace, faith, baptism, the Savior, the cross,  the truth, the Word, repentance, belief, God, Christ, His eternal purpose, His church, mercy, and our own free will or choices. And that list is not exhaustive.

Some have requested the lists of verses given on the last podcast about how we are saved by the truth or the Word of God. (That was question #7.) Here they are:

John 17:17

Romans 10:13-17

2 Timothy 3:15-17

Ephesians 1:3

2 Thessalonians 2: 14-17

Romans 1:16

I Thessalonians 2:13

Corinthians 1:17-18

James 1:21-22

1 Peter 2:2-3

John 8:31-32

Ephesians 1:12-13

Colossians 1:5

Also requested were the passages from number ten. Although we should be careful not to say we are saved by any of the above elements alone or only, we can surely appropriately say that we cannot be saved without faith, or without grace or without baptism, etc…

But there is just one thing, on this list of things that saves us, that is the exact point of the washing from sins…the point at which I bury the man of sin and rise to walk with Christ. Here’s the list of  verses we gave about the point at which the washing of sins occurs:

1 Peter 3:21

Acts 22:16

Romans 6:3,4

Galatians 3:27

Acts 2:38

Mark 16:16

Ephesians 6:26

Hebrews 10:22

John 3:5

Acts 2:41

Matthew 28:28

1 Corinthians 6:11

Ephesians 1:7; 2:13

1 John 1:7

Colossians 1:14; 2:12

Romans 3:24,25

Titus 3:15; 2:14

Colossians 2:12 pictures God as the surgeon and  baptism as the operation. If I can look at myself as the patient in the operating room, I can more readily understand that there is a point (baptism) at which God performs the surgery. At this point, all trespasses are removed (verse 14). When I submit to His surgery, I am not “saving myself” or “working” to earn salvation.  The surgery is His free gift and His work. I am simply laying down on his table in gratitude to Him for performing the operation without which I cannot be saved.

I hope this is helpful and, more, I hope if there is one reading with whom I could study and/or for whom I could pray about salvation, that you would be sure to contact me. That is the thing for which there must/will always be time in my life. I know there’s a legion of women who are digging deep who live for chances to share the Word!

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

This Blog: Fully Subscribe-able Again!

Thanks to those of you who noticed and reported that you were having trouble subscribing to the Bless Your Heart blog. In all of the tying of loose ends in launching our brand new study, we almost didn’t catch the fact that the blog, often related to the study, did not have a “subscribe here” tab. That’s fixed now. If you go this page: https://thecolleyhouse.org/category/bless-your-heart, you should be able to find the spot on the right side of the page to enter your email address and receive the blog directly in your inbox. I hope this will be helpful. It will not always be authority-related, but I hope it will always be uplifting in some way to someone.

Most of you who are Digging Deep this year have received your books and shirts, if you chose to order, and some have begun the study. I was reading over the first lesson myself tonight and thinking about how God owns us. He owns us, first, because He made us from nothing. That’s ownership in its purest form. No man owns anything in that inherent way.

He owns us again because he bought us back when we became lost and undone without Him because of our sin. It’s profound to think about the huge price of the Son’s blood that has purchased so many more men than God will ever be able to redeem. The price has been paid for far more souls than God will ever gather in heaven, simply because many people, even  some of those who have been called out by the gospel, will trample underfoot the Son of Man, counting the blood of his covenant an unholy thing (Heb.10:29).

The study this year is not easy. It is the nature of submission to authority to be called upon to do things that are not easy to do–things that do not always make sense or make us comfortable. It would not be submission if it was what I wanted to do every time. I am praying fervently that, by the time we get to the parts of the study that call us to do things that challenge our religious practices, call us to make moral changes, or chasten us for our adherence to culture over our submission to Him, that our hearts will be ready–ready to do whatever it takes, no matter the price, to submit ourselves to the Owner. I hope we will see that He is the Father, the one Who loves us enough to give His Son, but that He has always required covenant living–living with rules and boundaries (that are ultimately in our own best interests)– for those who seek a relationship with Him and eternity around His throne. That’s why, in the above passage, the blood of Jesus is called the “blood of His covenant.” Advantages of the blood require covenant-keeping.  I hope we can focus on the brevity of life here and on how foolish it would be to balk at His authority in this brief time of testing when He is offering us eternal life, peace and bliss, IF we can just persevere in faith for this brief span we call a lifetime. His Spirit is one of grace. We honor His Spirit of grace when we keep His covenant. That covenant-keeping is submission to His authority.

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

New Book by Ben Giselbach….Be More Confident in Teaching Your Friends!

You really are a theologian. Everyone’s responsible for thinking right about God and His Will for man. Every man’s destiny depends on that thought process and resultant action. It’s called obedient faith. But lots of us who have accepted the gospel in obedient faith still feel unqualified to share the saving gospel with those around us, especially those who have been taught one brand or another of Calvinism…you know, unconditional election, total depravity, irresistible grace or limited atonement.

It’s hard for me to tell you how proud I am of this work from Plain Simple Faith by Ben Giselbach. The Colley House is honored to promote and highly recommend this new book in the You Are a Theologian series. Each book builds on the previous one, but I believe this is the most important one yet, because it deals with the subject of man’s salvation. When perusing this book for the first time, it kept occurring to me what a great study this would be for a New Testament Christian to introduce to a friend who has been entrenched in the concept of denominationalism or any of its eternally misleading facets.  For that reason alone, I believe it will be one of the few books you will ever purchase to reuse over and over again. I am already praying that I can study through this book with someone who is honest and can think logically about the Word. That person, having studied this book with me, will obey and have salvation.

The subject matter makes this book important. Its readability makes it practical. It’s an easy personal read, but it’s also an excellent class study. Ben says if you do study it as a group, each chapter should probably be covered in about three class periods. I tend to think congregations could spend a year digging into these thirteen chapters and never have a boring or redundant class.

Still, I’m most excited about the prospective use of this tool in evangelism. Ben makes us think about the problem of sin and then guides us through the logical rejection of some dangerous and deceptive doctrines that are widely accepted in our world relative to salvation. He builds in us a greater appreciation for our own ransom paid by the Savior and helps us be competent to reach our friends who are building their lives on false hopes. I believe we can be confident in going to talk to our neighbors about the most important subject they can consider in a lifetime, if we prepare ourselves.  I’m sure this book can help us to do just that.

I could spend a long while telling sisters about the character of the author; about his work ethic and his deep love for the Lord. But you will see it for yourselves in the well-researched and heaven-focused pages of Thinking Right about Salvation. I’m looking forward to presenting this book to people I encounter who are looking for clarity in a culture of religious chaos. I want to say, “Here’s an excellent work I’ve discovered that has helped me understand that God’s plan is forthright and simple. It’s a work that’s very honest with the Word. Would you like to study through it with me?”  I hope you can do that, too. If one soul is positioned for heaven as a result of truths learned from this study, it will be infinitely valuable; but I believe it will, in time, reach a lot more than one soul.

This book is available at www.thecolleyhouse.org or at www.plainsimplefaith.com.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

She Facebooked her Friends and said “Rejoice with Me!…

unnamed-5

…for I have found the piece which was lost!”

Several sisters have asked about the lost dress. Facebook can be a huge umbrella of encouragement even in the mundane.  I know life’s not all about finding Cindy Colley’s heirloom dress, of all things, but I was truly humbled and amazed that so many of you cheered us on as we searched for and found a little dress that I very much wanted to put on BabyG2 next September.  Hundreds of you (literally) and many that I’ve never met have been the sweetest sisters a woman could ever have. I love Facebook for giving your encouragement to me. 

The dress was deep in a closet at Hannah’s (my daughter’s) house. It was in a garment bag hiding behind her wedding dress, which was in the back of that closet in another very huge garment bag. The funny thing was, I had everyone looking for a pink box in which I’d originally wrapped that dress for the gender reveal two years ago…the gender reveal that turned out to be for a boy. Thus, the dress was never opened at the reveal. 

What I had forgotten was that the dress had been removed from the box and used as an illustration at a ladies day in Middle Tennessee a few months after that reveal…the very weekend, in fact, that Ezra was due. (Thus the reason it never got out of my car at my house….It just went straight to Hannah’s house and got hung in a closet there because hospital luggage is not conducive to dress preservation.) That’s just where Facebook became very helpful. You found out I was looking and three of you remembered the dress. You identified where you saw it and the garment bag in which it had left the church building at East Main. In turn, I told my son Caleb (via his Facebook page) to stop looking for a box and start looking for a garment bag. Truth be told, I don’t think he’d done a whole lot of looking for either. (He’s a good egg, though.) But Hannah, being the faithful Facebook follower that she is, immediately saw that post about looking for garment bags. She had moved all the hanging clothes in that closet more than once, laid them on the bed and searched the back of that closet for a box. But this time, she rushed home and actually looked through those clothes she’d been moving  back and forth. She looked for a black garment bag. She found the dress and tried to call me…twice. Unable to reach me, she called her Daddy, who got in the car and drove across town with photos on his phone to spread the cheer.

When he walked in the kitchen door in the middle of last Tuesday, I was surprised to see him. 

“What would you give a man…?” he began. 

“You found my dress??!!”

“I think so. But what would you give a man?…Is this the dress?” He offered his phone and a series of photos.

“You found my dress!!!!” 

“Yes and you should call your daughter on that phone that I don’t even know why I pay for.…She wants to hear from you.”

******************************************************

There are always lessons, of course. Here they are:

  1. If Facebook can find a lost dress, surely we can connect some dots and find some lost souls, too. Facebook is a more personal and encompassing kind of outreach than email or USPS. It’s the kind of networking in which you never know if a click that posts or comments may be the click that does click with some lost soul and opens a door to a relationship, a study, an invitation that could result in a saved soul.
  2. Facebook is a neutral commodity. You get to decide whether your use of it is for the Lord or for the devil. Now, finding a dress is not a work of the Lord. But encouraging each other, as Facebook friends did (and do regularly for me) through this medium, is a great way to get the most good out of something the devil loves to control.
  3. You’re never going to find what you’re looking for if you’re looking where it’s not. That dress was not in all those absurd places (like on top of way-up-there kitchen cabinet and in overflowing trunks where I would have never crushed that batiste and damp basement corners) where I was looking. Sometimes life is like that. We can’t find contentment. We look in all those hard-to-do absurd places instead of the obvious place where the “owner” of truth has put it in the first place. 
  4. You may be own, be picking up, carrying, and moving about the answer to all your dilemmas. But until you recognize that, open it up and really look inside, you won’t find what you’re looking for. Hannah did that with that garment bag. She moved it over and over as she looked other places, to no avail. That’s what we do with our Bibles. We lay them on the table beside our beds. We pick them back up and take them to worship. Sometimes we move them back and forth and back and forth without ever really opening and examining them. We move the book, but we don’t meditate on it, memorize it or mark it. There are many people who own a Bible but do not own truth. It’s very important that we show our kids the difference. The Bible is not a lucky amulet. It’s what’s inside that can bring us joy. But that joy exists for me only when what’s inside the book gets inside of me. Hannah had a garment bag that she was transferring mindlessly back and forth, while what was inside eluded us all. 
  5. Some people are so close to what they really want, but just not quite there. Jesus told a scribe as much in Mark 12:34. “You are not far from the kingdom,” Jesus said. I have many friends who are close to the kingdom. I hurt for them because, of  course, being close to the kingdom of God is not enough. Hannah was near that dress we were hunting each time we talked about it on the phone. It was sometimes right there in the same room with her. Close is not good enough. We have to give people the information they need to identify that for which they search. 
  6. Some news is so good, you want to personally deliver it. I love that about my husband. He loves to bring joy…not just to me, but to everyone in all circumstances. We have the very best news of all. When we understand the wretchedness of that from which the good news— the gospel—rescues people, we can’t be stopped. We are going to those people. We will move heaven and earth to reach them with the good news. In fact Heaven has already moved that they might have this good news. It’s up to us to make the move on earth. We simply must. We are going to tell them that we’ve found that for which they are searching. 
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister Holiday Archives: There Arose Such a Clatter

bad-baby

The past week has held some devastating news and sorrowful days for several different families I know in the family of God. Because we live in a world that has fallen to sin, we will suffer the pain of sickness, disease, disaster and death. But, because we live in a world that has been visited by the Savior, we can also experience redemption, grace, hope and eternal life. While the storms come, we have shelter and protection. We are safe in  the house of our Father. We should remember the great hope that sustains us every day. But it’s in the times of sorrow that I find the heart to praise Him most for the realization that this world is not my home and this life is not all there is. Here’s a reminder from another holiday season.

 

There Arose Such a Clatter

 

It was a shocker, alright. It was in the very early hours of Christmas morning when the huge, noise that shook the house abruptly woke up the neighborhood. Glenn looked at me with terror in his eyes and then ran into the room where Hannah was sleeping. He “sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.” I heard him mutter something about a bomb as he ran out of the room. The last time I had heard a noise like that had been many years ago when a big trash truck had bolted over a curb and into our house (but that’s another story for another post). The kids were both okay and, on investigation, we found that, this time, a huge part of a tree had fallen on the house. There was damage, but safety for all. 

Later in the day, the kids and I were talking about how their dad reacts to unknown perceived threats.  He inhales hugely! (BIG gasp that’s a little funny on reflection). Then he runs (dressed or not) to wherever his kids are. The amazing thing was that his reaction was just the same when they are twenty-something as it was when they were 2 and 6. He instinctively runs to his children. Their safety and protection are his only immediate concern. While we were talking about this, Hannah said she could remember one occasion, as a child, when a bumblebee woke her up buzzing around her head. She said, “I was scared of that noise in the dark, I cried out and immediately heard Dad’s footsteps–loud running footsteps– as he ran into my room and took me in His arms. Then he killed that bee. Anytime I yelled in the night, he was right there, right then.”

I think every child who has a good father remembers what it felt like to be in his arms. I remember pretending I was asleep in the back of our station wagon when I was a child just so my daddy would carry me in the house. Ultimate protection, strength and safety were wrapped all around me.

That’s what God does. The Bible describes our God as “a very present help in time of trouble” (Psa.46:1). He’s right there, right then.  He is the Father who pities His children (Psa.103:13), and hears their cries (Psa 34:17). He is the one who offers His help to His people “right early” (Psa.46:5). Deuteronomy thirty-three, verse twenty-seven says he puts his everlasting arms beneath us.

Let me assure you, even if you’ve never felt the need to cry out to your Father or to feel his arms beneath you, there will come a time when a huge clatter will arise in your life. You will look in horror at the prospects before you and you will desperately want to cry out to Him.  Are you secure in the house of the Father? Will he hasten to your side when you cry? If not, will you contact me and let me help you find that security? I wish this safety for every reader.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Intruder in the Night

th-2Footsteps in the night. It was this last Friday night at 1:30 a.m.  Glenn had locked all the doors tightly before we retired. Something was terribly wrong. The footsteps were a bit muffled, but they were clearly the sound of a human intruder.

My heart skipped a beat as I turned to Glenn and quietly said “What WAS that?” He was already half-way over to the drawer where the pistol is kept. Rushing back over to the bedside to throw on more clothes (after all, you don’t want to be immodest when you appear before the thug who is probably going to kill you), he said, in a voice that signaled his rush of adrenalin, “It  sounds an awful lot like footsteps.  And it did…and it was still happening…and sometimes it sounded as if they were in the kitchen, right beside our bedroom door, which was already slightly ajar.

“Yes it does,” I replied, still in disbelief. I had never been afraid in this house. But this was NOT our normal autumn squirrel in the attic.

Glenn stole over to the bedroom door, and standing behind it, gun in hand, he peeked out into the kitchen. Someone was out there. Now there was no denying it. Moving shadows, shuffling, the kitchen door ajar. I heard the metal-to-metal sound as my husband pulled back the slide and threw a round into the chamber. I could not believe this was happening. The bullet was in the barrel.

In a stunned moment of panic, I said “Don’t shoot Gideon!” I mean, what IF one of those little boys who are temporarily living in our back-yard cabin had been sleep-walking or even pranking someone and had wandered into the house in the middle of the night?

Then it all happened. I was lying there replaying the last moments we had spent together through the day and thinking, “This could be for real. My husband may die. I will have to find some way to make it without him for a time. But I will see him again. ”

Glenn stepped over the threshold into the kitchen, a moment of shuffling as the gun was being raised and the perpetrator looked him in the eye. My husband’s shout was piercing. “Caleb!”…It’s you!”

Moments later, after the “Mommm!!!..Why did you not tell Dad that I was coming home tonight?”  and after we all realized that he, indeed, had told me, albeit weeks ago (and that’s way too long ago for my shorter-all the-time term memory), we crawled back into bed.

Glenn was still trembling, as he put his arms around me. “I almost shot my son. I almost shot Caleb,” he said. “I am so thankful that I paused for one split second to discern who he was. I did not know that I would do that…And those silly lights of yours in the kitchen (He was talking about rope lights that line the top of my pantries; lights that we only have because he’s conceded to the decorator in me.)…if it were not for those lights I probably would have shot before knowing it was him. I’m so glad we have those lights. Someone…no, everyone, in this house could be deeply harmed.”

“I know,”  I said…”Life, as we know it, could have been forever-and-ever irreparably changed. We are so very, very blessed…unspeakably blessed.”

Then he said this: “I just kept repeating in my mind as I stood behind that door…’There is no one who has the right to be in here. No one has my permission. No one has the right to be here.’ But, of course, I was not thinking of my son.”

Then we prayed—a deep emotional prayer of thanksgiving and praise. I cried. And somewhere in the moments just before dawn, we finally fell asleep again. I think, for me, it was around 4 a.m. Even now, 36 hours after that panicked awakening, it still does something to my body to recall it.

There are some take-aways in every painful recollection. Lest you think the lessons are about gun safety—even gun control–please know that we are extremely careful with firearms in our house and we are also pretty convinced that the world, in general, is safer, when citizens have the right to bear arms. The lessons for me are practical and spiritual truths, about which I am keenly reminded as I treasure the relationship I have with the man who will always be my child—my firstborn. I think when he walks down the aisle next month to be married I will drink a little more deeply in the joy of imagining his future and bask a little more thankfully in the realization that he and his bride will have precious time together in this venture we call “life”.

The take-aways for me:

  1. The first is the obvious one. We should all be prepared to lose our loved ones to eternity at any point in time. The part of that last phrase-“in time” is not just rhetoric. If it’s a point “in time”, it’s fleeting. It’s a point that you can identify by a date, hour, minute and second, but, by the time you do, it’s as far away as if you’d never marked it. Gone. But, when we say “a point in time” we really are deferring to eternity. Have you ever thought about the fact that there are no “points” in eternity? A realm so far beyond our grasp of imagination or reason and yet only a heartbeat away for any of us! For the Christian, that’s the adventure of living. It’s getting ready to be forever whisked out of this world and into one beyond the scope of human thought. It’s not just getting ready, but it’s also “being ready”. It’s sometimes, in the panics of life, still being able to know “It is well with my soul.”
  2. I should write things down when they are appointments I am making weeks ahead of time. (I should write things down when they are the next day.) Old people like me are not mentally invincible. Not even close. And, sometimes, that matters. (The silver cord may be snapping or the golden bowl being broken [Ecc. 12:6]) I should write things down.
  3. Pausing for discernment can be a really good thing before big irreversible decisions.
  4. Light is invaluable. It illuminates truth. If we walk in darkness, we stumble and we do not know where we are going (I John 2:10,11). We do not properly assess danger and we do not properly protect  what is good. Psalm 89:15 says “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.”  A little light in the darkness kept Glenn from pulling that trigger. It was a joyful sound when I heard him shout “Caleb!” But the illumination that comes from the light of the world keeps us from eternal hell (John 8:12). That’s real joy.
  5. The son has the right. Glenn just kept saying, “No one has the right to be in my house!” But the son had the right. Caleb has full access to us at any time—complete and absolute access. In the same way, no one has the right to the Father’s house. There is nothing I could ever do that would gain my entry into that house where there is warmth, security, peace and salvation. But the Son? He has the right. And because He is the great Intercessor, he has unlocked the doors for me (Matthew 16:15, 16). Because of the Son, I have gained entry and full access to the throne of the Father. He has the right and I am so very thankful.
  6. Thanksgiving is not the holiday of the week for the Colleys. It is the mantra of the last few days. I pray that our family will live every day in thanksgiving; not just for amazing blessings like the sparing of our son’s life in that surreal moment in the kitchen Friday night, but, most of all, for the Son, who has the right to be in the Father’s house.