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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Thanksgiving: When you say grace, say this!

It’s Thanksgiving week as you read. I hope it is the beginning of a holiday season that will bless your heart with warm memories for many years. For some, though, the holidays will bring painful memories of abuse or loss of a loved one or long days of mental torture or longer nights of physical pain. Even with the challenges that come to all people in a fallen world, the church of God, the redeemed, have constant cause for joy and thanksgiving. We are gathered around his banquet table every day of every year as we walk in His light.

Psalm 103 is a great place to go on this Thanksgiving week to be reminded of the depth of the Lord’s mercies on His spiritual Israel. Here is David’s list of the blessings, from that chapter, showered by the Father on the Old Testament nation. How many of these are just as real to the church, the people of God, today? I challenge you to go down this list and check off the ones that are applicable to you, personally. How many of these are very real and tangible in your own life in 2023? As I made this list, I realized, at once, the inconceivable worth of His blessings and my own worthlessness. There is some realm or area of my life and of His mercies in which I can check off each one! Here’s the list:

  • Forgiveness of iniquities
  • Healing of diseases
  • Redemption from destruction
  • A crown of lovingkindness and mercy
  • A mouth satisfied with good things
  • Renewed youth
  • Execution of judgement for oppressed
  • Ways made know to Moses
  • Acts made known to Israel
  • Mercy
  • Grace
  • Slowness to anger
  • Dealing NOT according to sins
  • Removal far from transgressions
  • Pity like a Father
  • Remembrance that we are dust
  • Everlasting mercy
  • Righteousness to grandchildren
  • A prepared throne
  • A kingdom that rules
  • Angels that excel in strength

I love to contemplate every one of these. But the one I love the most is that He deals not with people (me) according to their sins. There are no words for the gratitude that swells in me when I understand that he will not treat me as I deserve to be treated. He will look on me and not see sin in its blackness. He will reach to me and not touch the filth of sin. He will listen to me and never hear the wretched voice of sin that anguishes in my pleas. He will savor the sweet smell of my worship and not smell the stench of guilt. Surely if David could extol His mercies and claim his deliverance in the days of animal sacrifices, how much more can I bask in the blessings of forgiveness; living, as His child in the shadow of the cross! “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psalm 103:1)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

She Thanks You for Praying…


Recently, those in the Digging Deep for Encouragement group have been praying for our sister, Tammie. She’s been through a very dark and difficult time in several key areas of her life. There was a loss of her home to a fire, a prolonged illness, a very traumatic situation in her extended family and one in her husband’s family, as well. She recently had five days alone in her house and I encouraged her to spend that time in prayer and the Word. I told her that I knew God could use those days for her healing, if she would use them for His glory. She writes this today, and wanted me to share with you. She is so very thankful for your prayers and covets them in the future days of restoration to what she wants to be for Him.She shares this. I know you will praise with me.

Oh sister Cindy,  

While I was by myself for 5 days God’s word has done some purging . I can say I had hit bottom. God showed me through his Word, that I had begun wandering away from the Fold.  These 3 years of working in the fall, with a friend, cleaning hunter’s houses, I thought I had been sharing my faith with her… and I thought she was going  to change her ways. Now the friendship bond of her worldly ways is cut. God, this week showed me, through the word and through our    DD studies, that I was being led astray; following her, with one foot in the door of the church and one foot out in the world. I was already searching for something when I found lots of programs on youtube and your ladies’ days speaking, too. I didn’t even turn TV on to watch unless at night when I watched gospel meetings. I mostly all day was in the word. A sweet sister called and checked on me a lot and, each time, she could tell I had been crying. Cindy, I can say I was at my begging place. I have written scriptures down and when Satan comes to my thoughts, I will quote them in prayer. Yesterday was so hard.  I finally went to worship being so weak and had no idea what Jim was preaching on. I had written a letter to the congregation asking for my forgiveness, for I had not been there for my brothers and sisters. I was a sheep that had gone astray and the crying was deep. A sister came to me and hugged me and whispered in my ear that I was bold to admit this and she said I inspired her about what true repentance is. Jim had no idea that I was putting on a fake Christian . He got choked up reading my note, so that another man stepped in.  So Jim just came to comfort me. Jim said he saw many tears yesterday. Then I went back last night and, Cindy, the singing in this congregation, to me, was so uplifting. Jim preached on the  words of the song “I am a Poor, Wayfaring Stranger.”  One of the men got up and said, “Can I speak? He did speak, and he said,  “Jim the message tonight of the song was so powerful.” Oh, this right here got me. My Jim was starting to feel that he wasn’t doing a good job there. Now let’s see how God can use me. I have never felt this peace, Cindy.

The sheep is now in the arms of the Shepherd. It’s terrible that it took me down to the bottom to open up my eyes. The truth has set me free. I love you, Cindy.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley


In 1 Samuel 16, there was, at the impressive temple of Dagon, a feast of revelry and thousands of Dagon-worshipping Philistines. These blasphemous Philistines were having their moment of glory, having conquered their most evasive and strongest enemy, Samson. This was their victory chant to Dagon on that day:

“Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy,
The destroyer of our land,
And the one who multiplied our dead.”

Samson was there–once a large and cunning man of extraordinary strength and vitality; now a blind slave, working as the human ox of the enemies that he once broke like like dry sticks in his strong hands. Samson wanted revenge so badly that he could taste it. With the help of a God who used a weak and sinful man to pour our his wrath on blasphemous enemies, Samson was about to get that final revenge. And he would die in the process.

Clearly…when the roof collapsed and the walls fell at the temple of Dagon, there were regrets in Samson’s mind:

Flashbacks of his father begging him not to marry the wrong woman.

Flashbacks of foxes and jawbones.

Flashbacks of a tryst with a prostitute.

Flashbacks of his tresses being fingered in the lap of Delilah.

Flashbacks of shrieking pain when his eyes were pierced.

Flashbacks of doing the work of an animal at the hands of cruel enemies. 

Samson could not see, but somehow I think he might have been seeing more clearly than ever before. There will be a day, if you and I have minute to think, when we will have some flashbacks. We will clearly see. I know some women now, who are on the precipice of decisions that will forever negatively impact their homes, children and personal eternal destinies. I beg you to live now, so that when your temple is coming down on your head, wherever that might be– when you will waken to meet your Maker—I say, live now so that you will die without significant regret, fully prepared to meet the One who has given you strength though Christ to do all things! Let me help you if there’s some way that I can.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“Scents You Left Me, Baby…”

I love to read my friends’ posts about the amazing rare chickens and goats on their homesteads. I can post about interesting animals at Serenity, too, as you’ve seen before…and interesting ‘homesteads.”

It was supposed to be a vacation week for Glenn and me, but needs on both sides of this generation sandwich were pressing. Doctor appointments, and school field days and the nursing home and a family funeral…lots of non-emergent, but still urgent things just kept us from any semblance of leisure. Blessings everywhere. Leisure: not happening. 

Then today, we were finally forced to pay attention to that wretched smell in the dining room and library; actually now the smell was spreading into the kitchen and…well, everywhere in the house. No longer could it be ignored. At first, we thought we had failed to empty the diaper pail. But it smelled more like a skunk. We considered that perhaps a skunk had crawled under our house and sprayed in the crawl space.  We wondered if one of our frequent attic squirrels had died somewhere. Finally, Glenn declared  “I’m going to call Phillips…” (that’s our HVAC repair company)….”Something has died inside our duct work. We cannot go on breathing this stench.”  and so, he did. 

The HVAC guys came out. They saw where the point of entry for the culprit was in that duct work . They gathered the tools and two men to evict whatever carcass was in there. They shined the light in the darkness of that air passage. And then they went out to my husband , who was on the mower. “That’s no dead animal in that air duct” the man said. 

“Well, what is it then?”

“It’s a whole family of skunks.” 

“Dead skunks?…in the ductwork? And in the  plural?”

“No…living ones. A mama skunk and her babies.” 

“There are living skunks in my ductwork?!” 

After a few rounds of  “We’ve never, in all our years of HVAC repair, seen any live animals in the duct work. much less a whole family; and certainly not skunks!” they began to try to decide how to evict the heavily-armed mama from her heated and air-conditioned country ground-level condo. 

It was decided that they’d saw off a length of the duct pipe and quickly squeeze the ends of the aluminum and insulation tubing, keeping the animals inside. Then they would take the varmints into the woods behind our house and set them free. It was a sight to watch those guys carefully carrying six feet of duct work across our yard and then releasing a whole skunk menagerie onto the grass in the edge of that wooded lot.  You can watch that here if you really want to:

That mama skunk wasted no time getting just beyond the brush and behind some trees to peer back and keep a watch on those  baby skunks. Six of them. Six tiny little skunks huddled together on the grass. Each one of those six baby skunks is probably going to cost us about  five or six hundred dollars. All the ductwork beneath our house has got to be replaced. 

The most interesting phenomena was the human responses to the situation. Perspective is what makes the philosophical world go ‘round. Here are a few from that stinkin’ moment when seven skunks were residing in the airways at Serenity: 

Glenn: “We’ve got to get rid of them, without the spray on us all. We can shoot them.” 

Big, brawny HVAC man #1: “ Well, there’s babies. We need to find a way to let them go.”

Big, brawny HVAC boss-man: “I really would like to take one of these babies home with me. You can have them de-scented,” 

Rebekah: “They are SOOOOO cute!”

Colleyanna (in a concerned “I-know-my-Papa” voice: “Mammy, what are you goin’ to DO wif doze baby skunks?”

Me: “I’m going outside and take a few pictures.”

Hannah: “Seriously?!!…Baby skunks in the ductwork. That’s amazing!”

Molly: “Mrs Cindy, DO it! Keep one. They are like a cross between a cat and a dog.”

Ezra: “Let me see the video, Mammy!”

Eliza Jane (in a deep motherly tone_: “AAAAAAwwwwWWWWW,”

Glenn again: “Has everyone forgotten that these are SKUNKS?! They are SKUNKS!” 

Glenn and I are in a different city tonight and we think we can still smell them. They wreaked havoc. They will end up costing several thousand dollars. They will grow up into little beasts from which we will run for our lives. They will be a tribe of big skunks in the back woods next year. They will form a union, claim they are being abused, and declare their rights to return to their native habitat. They are the stuff of which bad jokes, puns and fables are made. But those little skunk babies were ridiculously cute. So are the grandchildren who were begging for their lives. These grandkids don’t get everything they want, of course. But, let’s just say, when a skunk runs across the driveway next spring and Colleyanna is afraid to get out of the car (like this spring) I will remind her of how cute they were lying out there in the grass. 

It’s a vacation I will never forget. It surely had all the e-scent-ial elements: family, adventure, memories, and accommodating airlines. 

(Also, it IS important to look at the stinkin’ things in life and properly identify them as such. Coddling the wicked comes with a big price.)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Can you tell?

It’s busy at the Colley’s this week, but our agendas are not so pressing and our schedules are not bustin’ out like the devil’s. He is the busiest lion-wolf-snake-bee I have ever encountered. While he has always had the same agenda, I believe his forces are larger and more daunting than they have been in my lifetime. He cannot be in all places at one time (because he walks to and fro in the earth, Job 1:7), but he sure does a good job of stationing his minions in large numbers in key places in our lives. And he puts them on steroids in the lives of our kids.

While we often focus on the big picture, the devil is in the details. He starts in small things–little compromises–and worms his way into our hearts. If he can just plant a seed-thought in our heads, get our eyes to glance at  one desirable image or have a yearning for one beautiful body, or keep us from one day of Bible study, or from one night of Family Bible time, or if he can get up in our busy-ness with innocent but distracting pleasures, or if he can just get us to waste a few minutes scrolling though the slime–then he can work his way from there into our very purposes in life. He can make us think about an image over and over, rekindle a feeling of lust or a desire to participate, and he can do it over and over throughout our days until he has us walking toward the sin, clicking on the image or tasting the sweet wine of sin. Just a taste and he can make us feel defeated and he can make us view our attempts to live righteously as failures. Sometimes we then feel like, “What’s the use? I have messed up. I may as well go ahead and fill the empty space with sin and then I’ll do better later.”

Later. That’s the damning concept. Time is not the sinner’s friend. It marches on relentlessly toward the point of no return. It envelopes and enslaves while promising a day when there will be time for repentance and God. The devil can make you loathe imprisonment, but love the first step into the prison’s chamber. He can deafen you to the locking bars behind you. He can make you think the stocks of sin are unbearable, but make you love that first moment when you lie down for the bondage. He can make you hate addiction, but love the first taste of the wine. He can make you despise the distant repetition of sin, but love the right-now, one-time deception of which he is the master. He can make you hate the wolf, but fail to recognize the wool over your eyes is just a lamb’s costume–that the wolf is right inside that well designed “get-up” , ready to pounce.   He makes you think you can walk away from the danger, while he is that lion already chewing off your legs. You will not run.

If you are waiting till later to defeat him, you are planning for eternal failure. He’s not as powerful as your God (1 John 4:4), but if you align yourself with him, He wins–every time.

Later. While you wait for later, he takes your prime–the years of your health and wealth and your heartiest influence.  There may be a day when you can have God’s wonderful mercy at the last minute before you cross the Jordan, but you will not easily reclaim the innocent souls you influenced for hell during the time you leased-out to the devil, You will not reclaim the hours of praise and worship that should have blessed and nurtured. You will not retract the damnation you shared during the years you walked with the deceiver. If you had a thousand hearts to give as you cross over, they could not undo the damage of a heart given-over to Satan during the formative years of your children. He is so busy. He offers shining, but damning, moments in life–times when you make vows, sign on dotted lines, enter into covenants or move to new arenas–he offers these glamorous moments from which it becomes ridiculously hard to ever spiritually recover. He gets you in a marriage, a job, a Sodom or a financial obligation. He gets you. He is busy and he rejoices in this iniquity, especially if he can make your desperation  feel like a celebration.

And did I mention he wants your kids? He wants to get their innocence. He wants their hearts before they are even perceptive enough to see danger. He wants to lock them in to his system before they get their bearings… before their spiritual eyes are focused. He is unrelenting in his quest for the most vulnerable. He wants them to buy into tolerance before they even understand the concept of sexuality. He wants them to form addictions to devices and entertainment and media before they have an inkling about the power of the visual temptations in those little devices. The lion wants children. Children are the ground level for evil’s empire and the devil wants “in on the ground level.”

I hate the devil. He wants me and from the moment I start to think I am not subject to his lure, He starts to get his serpent fangs in me. I am personally vulnerable to the tempter’s power and I cannot let that personal vulnerability be forgotten for one moment, even as I strive to get others to see him for what he is. He loves to get the people who are bad-mouthing him.  I have to strive and recommit and constantly examine my own armor and defense.

He can do big things. He put the stone on the tomb. But that big rock was no match for God in that garden. God never took his eyes off the body of His darling Son. He has his eye on the body of the Son today and that’s where I plan to stay. His outstretched hand is there to rescue me from the great power of the Father of lies. I’m going to hold  that hand till he sends His angels to collect my soul and transport me safely to that other garden.

I really hate the devil. Can you tell?


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley


I have no words. Of all the things Cheez-It could have chosen to picture in celebration of an anniversary, this celebrated drag queen is what my Cheez-it loving and innocent grandchildren will have to see if they see the “celebration” boxes. The celebration is all about the thirtieth year of reality TV–an entertainment venue that, for Christians is not celebration-worthy, in the first place.

The word “celebration” is often associated with the most base aspects of our national thinking. The celebration aspect of sin more often envelopes the people of God than the actual participation aspect. We are not drag queens, but we look the other way when members of our congregations become involved in homosexuality and/or transgenderism. We fail to really help the teens who come to us acknowledging temptation and/or asking questions about bi-sexuality or homosexuality. We attend gay weddings or excuse the support of family members who continue to post their support of sexual sin (whether in general fornication or marriages that are adulterous)  on social media. It’s not that our congregations are filled with malicious people or deceivers. It’s more often that the one who is malicious or deceptive is not approached with meekness in search of restoration. It’s that we never progress to the point of purifying the body from sin.  In short, it’s not always verses 20-31 that we violate. We usually violate verse 32 first: 

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

I’m just saying we should know His judgment and restrain from nodding acceptance to those who are the actual participants in malignity, homosexuality, backbiting, deceiving, etc….In the Lord’s church, if we fail in our practice of seeking restoration and guiding through discipline that culminates in withdrawal of fellowship when all avenues to urge and facilitate repentance have been taken, we are nodding the acceptance. We become, by default, a part of the celebration. It’s easy to become very relaxed about sin when society around us is pushing and celebrating the very things from which we have been washed (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). 

In 1 Corinthians 5, in  the very context of a discussion (command) about withdrawal of fellowship, we see a metaphor about the old covenant’s Passover feast…the celebration. The text is rich in its comparison. If we want to celebrate, as God’s people the passing over of our sins—our gift of life and salvation through His blood—we must cast out the leaven of sin. It’s not just about personal avoidance of sin. It’s about keeping the body free from the  world’s celebration of it. That’s a huge challenge in 2023. It’s an especially huge burden for shepherds.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

Let’s celebrate this way!

(And also, though those extra toasty ones are in the amazing category of snackables,  I can’t bring myself to buy Cheez-Its right now. I just can’t.)