Browsing Tag

Sin

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Opposite Directions

 

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

Today I’m traveling south and east to get my arms around some pretty sweet grandchildren, one of which is just under two weeks old. Since tomorrow night’s the podcast and I’ll be doing it live and remotely from a distant location I feel like I’m almost moving mountains to make this trip. 

We are the sandwich generation, so my husband is traveling west and north to do some much needed tasks for elderly parents. He’s moving mountains, too (or at least trying to) after a very long time of their inaccessibility to groceries (and almost everything else) because of extreme cold and ice coverage in their area. 

So last night after worship, we parted, Glenn and I, and began making miles in the exact opposite directions from one another to give hugs to people we love who are at the exact opposites of the spectrum of life. For a good bit of this week, we will be about 12 hours apart from one another. 

When God says he removes my sins and casts them from me as far as the east is from the west, that’s profound. I move, in human increments, as best I can, TOWARD God and my sins are moved in divinely amazing proportions BY God to a far away and irretrievable place in the opposite direction of the one in which I am moving. 

Earlier in the day yesterday, I had a chance to study with a young woman I’m growing to love very much. She asked me about her sins. “When God forgives me, is it impossible for me to ever be lost again? Am I permanently saved?” We went through passages that teach us what to do about sin after the original east-west casting done by God. We talked about Bible characters who did sin impenitently and rebelliously after baptism and what was required for their restoration and subsequent salvation. But we also talked about the continual comfort of 1 John 1:7 for those baptized believers who are walking in the light (doing diligence to be followers of Christ: 

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

I explained to her how that the word for “cleansing” here is a verb of continuation. It means “keeps on cleansing.” She got that and she loved it. 

I asked her if she had other questions about the gospel she’s learned in recent days. She said 

“Yes, I have one more….Like, how can I be baptized…because I know I need to.” 

I asked her to explain to me her reasons for wanting to be baptized. She had a little list in her heart. 

“To be born again, to be dead to sin, to be washed from sin, to be saved.” 

I spent the night (or part of it anyway) in a hotel room near Atlanta, Georgia. And I slept soundly with a very grateful heart for the waters of baptism that washed away my friend’s sins yesterday…that removed them from her, as far as the east is from the west. I spoke with three sisters at West Huntsville who are going to check on her while I’m in Florida this week. One of them already invited her to our local Digging Deep study which happens tonight. On this, her first full day of being a Christian, I am praying very hard for her. Yesterday was the best day of her life. But the devil loves to give big challenges to those who are babies in the Lord. 

I’m so glad we serve a God who can put sin wherever he wants it to be; and, barring my choice to be close to sin again, He can keep its guilt far, far away from me…as far as the east is from the west. 

I’m going to spend a few miles today praising Him for this game-changing reality!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #39: Proverbs 14:26–A Nation Exalted

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:  What Exalts a Nation

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:26).

Be impressed with the hard, cold fact of this statement. So long as this world stands, this will be true. Be reminded that Christianity is a world religion, not merely an American religion.  Our real success as a nation is in proportion to the degree to which we live according to the precepts of God’s Will. So many of the blacks and whites of right and wrong have turned to a sickening grey in the minds of citizens.  One doesn’t have far to look to find a politician who trades in debauchery, deceit, and compromised morality. People may turn a blind eye and elect him or her to whatever office he or she aspires.  We will do better as a nation–be exalted, lifted to a higher place– if we can strengthen voices against sin, as defined in the Bible, and if we can elect leaders who insist on a Biblically-framed virtue in all parts of our government.  

So far as I’m aware, only one U.S. President, James A. Garfield, was a member of the Lord’s church.  As we approach the next election, nothing would please me more for our government than if the executive, legislative and judicial branches were all filled with New Testament Christians; but that’s, of course, unrealistic.  What we must do this November, as in all our elections, is to choose leaders who will do the most to accommodate the cause of Christ in our land.  I’m surprised to have come to the point at which saying the following is realistic rather than a knee-jerk reaction, but it is not hard for me to imagine an America in which Christians are persecuted in ways similar to the ways our early Christian family was persecuted in the first century.  In the interest of my children and grandchildren and, obviously my family in the Lord, I’d like to delay that time as long as possible.  God has blessed us to live in a democracy, a republic, in which we have the vote and voice to choose our leaders.  We must take advantage of that gift and vote with the benefit of Christianity in mind.  May this be our chief motivation; not earthly issues that have no real bearing on the souls of citizens.  

Today, make time to step away from the political wrangling and hatred to lay the interests of our nation again at the feet of God.  Doesn’t He still work in the governments of men?  Don’t allow your heart to be driven by those things which won’t matter in eternity, but rather beg for His will to be done in our government. Then, use your influence, however small, for good.

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim. 2:1-4).

 

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Tonight’s phrase from Matthew 25 is “I was a stranger and you took me in.”

This one’s a little more difficult to practically apply, especially during a pandemic. But you should try and make your children understand that, although we cannot house all of the people who might be traveling through our area, when we know of Christians who have a need for housing, we should be happy to offer our homes as places for them to stay and our tables as places for them to eat. Even if we know of non-Christians, who need a place, and they come to us recommended by fellow-Christians, we should be happy to use our homes in this service. There are lots of people in our West Huntsville family who routinely offer rooms at home, hotel rooms, meals in their homes and restaurant meals, cabins and couches, for people they’ve not ever even met before. The guests are gospel preachers who visit, people who are moving to our area, those who have temporary work in our area, and those who may be temporarily homeless. There are just many examples all around your children during times of normalcy (non-pandemic times). See if they can think of some and talk to them about how you want to make “our house” available for people, because that’s making it available for the Lord. It’s a serious setting in which the Lord instructed this.

Have big people pretend-call the teeny people on the phone and tell the teenies that they are needing a place to stay and sleep because they are on a journey. Have the teenies respond with “Sure, we have a place,” and let them arrange the blankets on the sofa and put a pillow there and bring a bag with a bar of soap and some toothpaste and a spare toothbrush and put it on the pillow along with a towel (and whatever else you have on hand that a guest could use). Have one of the visiting big people lie there for the rest of the story time, profusely thanking the little person.

Tell the story of 2 Kings 4: 8-17. Be sure your children can name the simple things that the woman of Shunem put in the room for the prophet. Make sure they can also tell you that when she did this she was serving the prophet, but she was, most importantly, serving God. She was helping the prophet  to be able to preach the Word of God. She was helping God to work on this earth. When we offer to house God’s people, we help God’s cause on this earth!

Have your children look around your home and give ideas about how rooms and provisions and appliances can be used to help God’s cause.

Pray with your children. Pray that you will be able to use your home for His glory. Pray specifically for each room, that you will find ways to use your kitchen to feed God’s people, that you will find ways to use the bedrooms to help His people rest, that you will use your living room as a place to share His Word, etc….

We will be a closer family if we are serious about hospitality.

 

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 #29: Proverbs 13:7–True Success

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: Seeking True Success (Prov. 13:7).

“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

Don’t put much thought into it, but jot down your definition of “rich.”

There’s a well-known and powerful politician in the news being interviewed as she opens her refrigerator in her mansion’s kitchen to show a large supply of her favorite ice creams. Later it was noted that the two refrigerators behind her were commercial models and cost $2,400 each. Because of who she is, her refrigerators were noteworthy and made the news. Is she rich?

Most Decembers the Colleys will watch Ebenezer Scrooge complain to his nephew about requests to help the poor. In the story he had vastly more money than anyone around him. Was he rich?  To quote the poet,  he was “knee deep in a river of blessing, dying of thirst.”

In our congregation in Huntsville, Alabama we have many young families with children.  Blessed with jobs and homes and food to eat, they sit in the evenings before bed and teach their children the things of God from Scripture.  Are these people rich?

We also have widows who spend a portion of each day thinking of days long gone—days used in the living of youth with their husbands and children, making a life and loving one another and loving God.  Those children call and come see them today and often bring their own children to see their widowed grandmothers. Are they rich?

We have individual Christians who have no (or almost no) family to call their own except for their church family, the family of God.  Are these people rich?

Jesus has blessed us abundantly in many ways, and here’s a great example:  He taught us, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15).  Read it over and over, ingest it and believe it.  Defining rich in terms of money is a fools game.  It isn’t a sin to have wealth but riches cannot be seen as synonymous with happiness as we make our way through life.  That philosophy will eventually crush us, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10).  True riches are found in friends and family and especially in the security of our salvation.  Happiness is belonging and being anchored in the church for which Jesus died.  Being in that group of believers means you’re loved and have a place to extend love.

Now, are you rich?  If you’re in Christ, no matter what else is true, you truly are rich, and before you is an eternity in the greatest place you’ve never seen (2 Cor. 4:17-18ff).  Today, Christian, be happy.  Give yourself permission to acknowledge your true riches and thank God for them.  And if you’d like to learn more about becoming a Christian, I’ll be happy to show you how.

My Favorite Proverbs, Thursday: Seeking true success (Prov. 13:7).

“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;

And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

Don’t put much thought into it, but jot down your definition of “rich.”

There’s a well-known and powerful politician in the news being interviewed as she opens her refrigerator in her mansion’s kitchen to show a large supply of her favorite ice creams. Later it was noted that the two refrigerators behind her were commercial models and cost $2,400 each. Because of who she is, her refrigerators were noteworthy and made the news. Is she rich?

Most Decembers the Colleys will watch Ebenezer Scrooge complain to his nephew about requests to help the poor. In the story he had vastly more money than anyone around him. Was he rich?  To quote the poet,  he was “knee deep in a river of blessing, dying of thirst.”

In our congregation in Huntsville, Alabama we have many young families with children.  Blessed with jobs and homes and food to eat, they sit in the evenings before bed and teach their children the things of God from Scripture.  Are these people rich?

We also have widows who spend a portion of each day thinking of days long gone—days used in the living of youth with their husbands and children, making a life and loving one another and loving God.  Those children call and come see them today and often bring their own children to see their widowed grandmothers. Are they rich?

We have individual Christians who have no (or almost no) family to call their own except for their church family, the family of God.  Are these people rich?

Jesus has blessed us abundantly in many ways, and here’s a great example:  He taught us, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15).  Read it over and over, ingest it and believe it.  Defining rich in terms of money is a fools game.  It isn’t a sin to have wealth but riches cannot be seen as synonymous with happiness as we make our way through life.  That philosophy will eventually crush us, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10).  True riches are found in friends and family and especially in the security of our salvation.  Happiness is belonging and being anchored in the church for which Jesus died.  Being in that group of believers means you’re loved and have a place to extend love.

Now, are you rich?  If you’re in Christ, no matter what else is true, you truly are rich, and before you is an eternity in the greatest place you’ve never seen (2 Cor. 4:17-18ff).  Today, Christian, be happy.  Give yourself permission to acknowledge your true riches and thank God for them.  And if you’d like to learn more about becoming a Christian, I’ll be happy to show you how.

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

  1. Review the three characteristics of God (the super-powers that we introduced during Bible Time a couple of nights ago–omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence). Then quickly review the events of 2 Samuel 11.
  2. Then, by way of review, have two children (or one child and one parent) act out the scene when Nathan visited David. Have the very conversation that the two men had. Coach your David to become irate upon hearing about the man who took the lamb. Have Nathan say “Thou art the man,” and David respond with “I have sinned before God.”   Have Nathan  pronounce that God is going to let David live, but that the baby will die. Have your David be very sad and cry at that news as the “curtain falls”.
  3. Take a little bit of time tonight thinking about the phrase “I have sinned.” Remind your kids that it’s really hard sometimes to say those three words, even as adults. Remind them how easy it is to make excuses and pretend that we are not doing wrong, when we really are. Remind them that even Adam, in the garden of Eden ate the fruit and then made excuses when God came to Him. “The woman that you gave me…she gave it to me”(Genesis 3:12). Remind them that Aaron did not say “I have sinned.” When the golden calf was discovered by Moses, Aaron said, “I just threw the jewelry in the fire and out came this calf” (Exodus 32:24). Tell your children when people do wrong it is very important to just say “I have sinned,  and I am sorry and I am going to obey God.”
  4. Tell your children that Nathan left David’s house and David went in and found that the child was very ill. David slept on the ground all night and pleaded with God that the child would not die.  Tell your kids…”You know, that’s what I would do if you were very sick. I would pray and pray and pray that God would make you better. I would plead with God.” Ask your children “Does God hear his children when we plead?”  Then add “But does God always give us everything we want?” Do your best to make sure your children know that, while we may not get what we want, we DO, as His children, always get what is best.  Our Father knows what is best.  David’s baby is going to die, just as God has said. We’ll talk about that tomorrow night.
  5. Pray with your children.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #28: Proverbs 12:22–Telling the Truth

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:

“Telling the truth” (Prov. 12:22).

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.”

We hate lying because we love the Lord, and He hates lying.  Spend a moment imagining how life would be if Jesus wasn’t trustworthy and you’ll quickly love His honesty. When you and I go to judgment we won’t hear Him say, “I know what the New Testament says about the church (1 Tim. 3;15), about worship (Jn. 4:24), about marriage (Matt. 19:9), about treatment of others (Matt. 5:44-45), but I’ve changed my mind about those things and you’ll be judged by new and different principles.” What if Jesus wasn’t trustworthy?  That’s a terrifying “what-if”.

Lies take many different forms, from cheating on taxes to an outright spoken falsehood, to a habit of exaggerating stories we tell in order to make them more interesting.  What all lies have in common is this: willful deception.  

Jesus insists that we tell the truth. He appeals to us, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32).  With His own lips He rebuked people who lied, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44).  Rebellion against God to live a wicked life is the product of choosing to believe the devil’s lie:“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Rom. 1:25). These are strong words of condemnation for those who are lured by the father of lies.

When we believe and follow the father of deceit, we become deceivers.  Notice the company of sin kept by those who lie from Revelation 21:8: But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Almost all, if not all, of the sins that are listed here actually require deceit in their very commission. Lying is foundational in the devil’s work. Honesty is foundational to the character of our God.

Have you lied?  Seek His loving forgiveness and resolve to never lie again. 

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:8-10).

 Today, think seriously about the value of truth in your Christianity; how you rely on God’s honesty (which we take for granted), and how we must link ourselves with Him by being honest in all our dealings and words.

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

  1. Tonight’s Bible time comes from 2 Samuel 12:1-13. This is a great story, especially for younger children because they will become engrossed in the story that Nathan told David.
  2. Explain that God sent Nathan to David and that God told him what to say. Then tell the story about the pet lamb. Be sure to emphasize the part about how the man loved his lamb just like a child. Have younger children explain how they would feel if someone very rich came and took a pet rabbit or chicken or lamb and served that pet to a guest for lunch!
  3. Make sure your children understand David’s reaction when he heard the story. Before he knew it was a story about his own sin, he was very angry at how the rich man treated the man who had the pet lamb. Do we sometimes think sin is pretty bad when other people do it, but not so bad when we do it ourselves? David did not even think about how he, himself, in taking Bathsheba, was like the rich man who took the lamb. He said the man who took the lamb should die and that four of the rich man’s sheep should be given to the man from who the lamb was taken. He was angry at that rich man!
  4. Talk about the statement “You are the man.” David had just said that whoever took that lamb should die. Talk to your kids about how David really said “I am worthy of death.” But he said it BEFORE he knew that he was talking about himself.
  5. Now, in explaining the punishment, it is sufficient for younger children to know that God said the baby that was born to David and Bathsheba would die. How very sad this whole sinful chapter in David’s life was turning out! For older children have them look at the specific punishments listed. a. The sword will never depart from your house. Have your teens read about the violent deaths of Amnon (13:28-29), Absalom (18:14-15), and Adonijah (1 Kings 2:24-25). All these are sons of David.b. I will raise up evil in your own household. There was a lot of this evil “raised up.” Think about the rape of Tamar by Amnon in chapter 13. Think about the murder of Amnon by Absalom in chapter 15. Have them read about the rebellion of Absalom in chapter 15:1-12. Truly, David never had any serenity in his family after this Bathsheba point in his life.       c. Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. Have your teens read from 1 Samuel 16:21,22 about how Absalom, David’s own son, lay with the concubines on the roof of David’s palace.
  6. This one is for teens, too. When God pronounces a punishment, it is both just and it is certain. From 1 Samuel 16, what is the name of the man who advised Absalom to lie with David’s concubines? Whose father is this man per 2 Samuel 23:34?  And whose daddy is this man from 2 Samuel 11:3? Is the man who advised Absalom to shame David actually Bathsheba’s grandfather? If so, do you think he had a personal interest in shaming David? (Teens will love tracing this out.) Notice also that Nathan said that this shaming would happen in front of all of Israel. See if your teens can find where that was fulfilled in chapter 16.
  7. Now, for all your children, go back to last night’s three characteristics of God. See if they can name them. Then see if they can tell you, from tonight’s story events, an example of at least two of these characteristics. (Even pre-schoolers  should be able to tell you that God knew about David’s secret sins…that God knows everything!
  8. If you have small children, sing “My God Is so Big.”
    My God is so big, so strong and so mighty,
    There’s nothing my God can not do (Clap, Clap)
    My God is so big, so strong and so mighty,
    There’s nothing my God can not do (Clap, Clap)
    The mountains are his, the valleys are his,
    The stars are his, handy work too.
    My God is so big, so strong and so mighty,
    There’s nothing my God can not do, For you!

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  9. Pray with your children. Tell them that, tomorrow night, we will talk more about how David felt when Nathan finished talking to him.
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #26: Proverbs 12:16–Kindness to Animals

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: The importance of kindness to animals. 

“A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Prov. 12:16).

The World Animal Protection organization is in London and is a strong advocate for the humane treatment of animals, but the better known organization in the US is PETA, People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  A quick glance at their website will raise most Christians’ eyebrows. The lead headline is “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”  The site asserts that animals and people are no different, and that the word “others” in the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12) applies to animals and humans alike. Bible believers know that these folks have failed to consult the Word.  The Creator of animals, it seems to me, ought to get a say in these matters:  

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26).

“So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs” (Gen. 9:1-3).

“Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey” (Matt. 3:4). 

Scripture often seems to answer questions it anticipates being asked in the future.  The Proverbs writer warns against cruelty to animals in our text today,  but on the same page, Proverbs 12:27, says, “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession.”  Solomon obviously didn’t consider hunting, killing, and eating animals to be cruelty.

But that doesn’t mean this Proverb teaches nothing important.  Using animals for clothing, food, transportation, and companionship is not cruel, but abusing them without regard for their pain is cruelty. Furthermore, I doubt you’ll find a man who thus abuses animals and also treats humans as he should.  There is a connection in there somewhere.  One of the ways we teach our children to be gentle with other children is to teach them to be gentle with puppies.  

It may very well be that God’s prohibition against abusing animals is less about the animals and more about what such abuse says about us.

 

Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Review the events about David and Bathsheba with your kids.

Tonight’s lesson is from 2 Samuel 11:25:

Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab: ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.’ So encourage him.”

I. Read and explain the verse to your kids. Notice with the kids how that David also wanted to encourage Joab to not worry about the horrible sin they’d committed. Have them see that people often think it will make them feel better about their own sin if they can try to make other people feel better about doing wrong. Sin makes sort of a “club” for “Let’s make each other feel better about this bad thing we are doing.” Talk with your kids about a list of things we might say to help each other “feel better” about sin. 

 

  1. “People do this all the time.” (That’s what Joab was saying when he mentioned Abimelech.)
  2. “This is not as bad as what some people do.” (People who are social drinkers talk about how they are not drunkards. People who dress immodestly often point out that what they wear is a lot better than what ___________ wears. For small children, it might be that “I sometimes get a checkmark by my name at school for misbehavior, but I never get five checkmarks like ________does.”
  3. No one will ever know.” (For your teens, perhaps talk about pornography addictions. For younger children, maybe something like when they hide a mess and pretend they cleaned it up. I’m sure you can think of applicable things in your specific case.)
  4. “God will forgive us later, when it’s a good time to do the right thing.” (If you’re talking with teens, talk about premarital sex. Almost always, premarital sex, committed with intentions to marry later, never does even end in marriage; it ends in regret. Even if it does end in marriage, it still ends in regret, for God’s people, because it is sin.)
  5. “We can always make different choices later, if this turns out wrong.”  Let’s just live our best life now. ( A good example is Abraham lying about Sarah. He thought it was so temporary. [Gen.12 and Gen. 20]. Another example is when couples move in together or marry and say “Let’s try this and see how it works out.”)
  6. People still look up to us. We are doing a lot of things right.” (Solomon must have thought this when he was the richest man in all the world and yet was idolatrous.)
  7. We can’t confess this. It would hurt our influence.” (Joseph’s brothers lived the consequence of their treatment of Joseph and the deceit that followed for many years. After all, their family was prominent  in their community.)
  8. It’s okay. We are just going through a hard time right now.” (People who may cheat on their income taxes or take things that do not belong to them are examples of this rationalizing.)
  9. “I know it was wrong, but we did it to help someone else.” (Example: When people lie in order to make someone happy.)
  10. I know this is against what the Bible says, but I just think God wants me to be happy.” (Example: When people marry people to whom they have no right.

Talk about each one of these things and see if your children can think of examples of people today, or people in Scripture, who may be thinking/ have thought this way. Obviously, you will have to adjust this conversation to fit the maturity levels of your children. You may want to omit some of the points for very young children. I included some examples for possible discussion above. 

The point of tonight’s lesson is that people can think of a good “reason” to do any bad thing that they want to do. They can also make it seem like it’s not so bad after they do it and they can comfort each other into thinking it’s not so bad. Try to remind your children of this throughout the day tomorrow when they may make excuses for disobedience or argue about what you tell them to do. There’s never a good reason to do the wrong thing or to disobey. 

II. Also, notice with your children that it’s easier to do the wrong thing when someone is helping you. People who disobey God love to get other people to do it with them. Joab and David encouraged each other to do the wrong thing. They were a “sin team” led by David. Ask your children if they have ever had someone who tried to get them to be on their sin team. “Has anyone ever tried to get you to do the wrong thing with them?”

Quote the KidSing rule.

Pray with your children.