Browsing Tag

Trust

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

When People Disappoint

Sometimes people disappoint us. Sometimes we believe in, invest in, and become vulnerable to people who ultimately disappoint. That’s just a part of living because the devil is so busy in this old world. Sometimes he cannot get us by direct temptation. Sometimes he fails to get us to veer from truth, procrastinate righteousness or become apathetic to the cause of Christ, so he contaminates some strong part of our support system and, through the loss of some person or group of people we esteemed, he discourages us, erodes our faith in the Holy One, and sometimes tempts us to throw in the towel.

Maybe you have someone (or a group) in your life right now who is trying to beat down your zeal for righteousness. Let’s take some quick thoughts from scripture that are faith-sustaining. For today, let’s not wonder why God is not hearing our pleas but, instead, let’s remember these things:

  1. God’s timetable doesn’t always fit my immediate preference, but it is what benefits me in the long run. This is so important. That’s why we have so many passages about waiting on Him. His resolution is always worth the wait for His faithful people. It strikes my heart to think that even the persecuted prophet Jeremiah had to wait ten days for a word from the Lord (Jeremiah 42:7)  At least seven times in the Psalms only, we hear the words “Wait on the Lord.” Notice these words from Psalm 37. They are full of the promise that God gives the victory to those who faithfully wait. 

Wait on the Lord,

And keep His way,

And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;

When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

I have seen the wicked in great power,

And spreading himself like a native green tree.

Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;

Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.

Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;

For the future of that man is peace.

2. God’s methodology on the way to victory for righteous people doesn’t always fit my plan of victory. I’ve learned this so many times over in my six decades of life. I think it should happen a certain way. Then God slowly, but with precision, steps in and provides a plan that I could never have dreamed up in my most creative moments of plotting a course. His ways are higher than mine! (Is. 55:9—I love this passage!)

3. People, no matter how charismatic or apparently righteous they may be, are vulnerable to the devil, but God’s way is still perfect.  I am vulnerable. You are vulnerable. When people fail to walk in His ways (Yes, when I may fail to walk there), we should learn that consequences of sin are always worse than the sinner expects them to be. ALWAYS. That’s because we leave the perfect, stable, never-changing light of God and choose the dark path that has sin’s trap-doors and dragnets and faux rewards at every turn. We think we can navigate a path that promises an instant heaven while we remain unscathed. We think we can go on with life, normally, after experimentation with the devil’s temptation, but the path that promises an instant heaven delivers an eternal hell, with lots of casualties along the way.  Sometimes the consequences of sin reach out to those innocent people around the sinner. When I find myself affected, it’s important to remember that the hurt comes from sin; not from God. 

4. Prayer is not an instant release from pain. We know this in our minds, but our hearts want the immediate soothing of His peace. Daniel went into the lion’s den after praying. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found themselves in a very hot spot just after standing firmly with Jehovah. Jeremiah was in a pit and James was murdered. John the Baptist lost his head shortly after sending His message to the Advocate. Sometimes, the Advocacy renders, not immediate peace, but immediate problems that eventually lead to eternal peace. Sometimes the Advocacy renders, not immediate calming of circumstances, but chaos that gives muscle to spiritual goals. Sometimes the Advocacy—let’s face it—renders what seems like torture, tribulation and testing. But all of that pain brings something that can sustain us for an eternal reward (James 1).  I know there are readers who can attest to this even while walking now through the valleys that seem to have no “other side.” But there IS the other side of tribulation born of disappointment. 

While speaking to a friend, a mother of four, this morning whose world is being torn apart by the sin of someone in whom she trusted, I realized that there are many of us, who to some extent or another, are suffering collateral-damage-pain at the hands of the enemy.  We know, in our minds, that God is perfect. He has placed us in this testing ground to give us a large chance to glorify Him for a very short, sin-influenced lifetime—to even suffer pain at the hands of the devil, through other people—so that we can share in the glory that Jesus has obtained at the throne. We suffer so that we may know Him more perfectly!

That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:10,11).

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“I didn’t really plan on saying that…”

Maggie is three. But she’s an old soul and a very young fresh-from-God soul at the same time. This was her prayer one night last week: 

“Thank you that Adam and Eve repented and got to go up to heaven.” Then, when she finished praying, she said “Yeah, I just didn’t really plan on saying that. I just thought of it.” 

She’s learning every day and it doesn’t get past me that some of us old people need to be engaging in a lot more unplanned prayer. Sometimes we forget that prayer is not merely a habit we form of communication with the Father, but it is also a living expression of our evolving thoughts, petitions and praise to the One who has the infinite power to listen to all of His children, all over the world, at all times; to hear us as if there were only one of us (I wish I could have had that power when mine were small!) and to answer us in keeping with the very best eternal interests of each one of us.  This is not like the rote recitation of the pledge to the flag. It’s not reminiscent of the early twentieth century morning quotation of the “Lord’s Prayer” in schoolhouses all over America, although that’s an idea that was not a bad one. It’s more like Hannah at the temple crying out for a son (1 Samuel 1). It’s like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—firm in their resolution that God was able to deliver and yet firm in their own resolution to be true to Him even if he didn’t (Daniel 3). It’s more like Jesus on the cross commending His spirit into the hands of God (Luke 23:46). It’s you and me, asking for whatever it is that means the most to our hearts, expressing the trust that He is Sovereign no matter what assails us, and giving our all into His hands. That’s the kind of communication that flows freely, unencumbered by memorization or strict ritualistic form.  It’s the praise of a grandmother when a child puts on the Lord in baptism. It’s the prayer of a mother over the specific ills that have befallen a sick child. It’s the cry of a parent who is watching an adult child walk through a dark valley of betrayal and/or abuse. It’s the silent heavenward whisperings of a care-taking child watching a faithful parent deteriorate and die a thousand deaths on the way to glory.  It’s the wailing cry he hears from His child when the dearest on earth has left for the arms of the One who is interceding. It’s the petition for help from the Infinite One when navigating a path that seems busier and more overwhelming than a single person can even record on a calendar or spreadsheet. And all of this, of course, is far more raw than rote. 

It’s “Yeah, I didn’t plan on saying that, but I just thought of it.” This is being still and knowing (Psalm 46). 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

If you just get to one ladies day this fall, make it this one!

This will be the best expenditure of your September, by far. If you’ve never been encouraged by Carol Dodd, this is YOUR morning! She’s showing us all how to take the darkest of times and turn them into his glory. A stage 4 cancer patient, at present, she is using every day–through pain and mishap and treatment and sometimes what’s extreme difficulty– to continue to maximize the offering of glory she can give to our great God during the sunset days of her life. I continue to stand amazed at how very encouraging she is to the ladies–the body, even– at West Huntsville and beyond. She recently spoke on our PTP Spark program, and I think I can say, without hesitancy, she was the favorite speaker of the week. Her passion is Bible study. Her goal is heaven. Her Lord is Christ. her sovereign is Jehovah. Her purpose is His glory. Her husband is Don (he’s a great blessing, too.) Her people are the Christians at West Huntsville. Her little distraction and game-changer, for the moment, is cancer. And that’s really the order of things in her world. I’m saying…you just don’t want to miss it. Child care, lodging, fellowship and spiritual strength–all available here:

(Digger Bonus: If you make it to this ladies day, you get one free pass  in the Digging Deep study this year. One incomplete chapter in the 2021-22 study and you can still be a finisher next August! Just for fun!)
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Nothing Outside His Control

As Glenn was leaving this morning, he said to me “Some days I can feel my heart pounding harder inside my chest.” 

I think we all have days like that. There are times, for all of us, in which we feel like our days’ activities and responsibilities have sped beyond our ability to calmly overtake them. It’s a feeling of control lost. Sometimes it turns into helplessness, throwing hands up, and sometimes even thinking “Why should I even try?” 

Of course, I’m not thinking I have more deadlines or responsibilities or opportunities than the average Jane. I’m just saying that, for all of us, there will be seasons of busy-ness that are larger than calendar space, times of stolen serenity or even heart hurts that make us contemplate reaching for the proverbial towel to throw in. 

For me right now it’s a basement that makes me cringe each time I go down there to the freezer or the treadmill or the book supply. Why did that other generation (the parents on both sides) have to leave us or move to much smaller quarters and how DID they accumulate this much stuff for which there seems to be no place? And why can’t I find any time to go through any of these stacks of boxes and books and drawers of furniture that are so intimidating to me in this part of life? And will the time not be very short until my kids are wondering the same thing? And shouldn’t I do something about that in a hurry, too? And while we’re needing to do all that, we’re also needing to go and take care of the parents— things they need today in their smaller quarters. And all the tasks that go on all the time—laundry, cooking, church activities ( they’re out the wazoo in a good way right now)—just keep happening. 

Then there’s the heart hurts of people around me —-things over which I have not one iota of control—things that I’ve taken into my own heart. I can release them temporarily in prayer, but my weakness is that I let them creep back in; I cannot master Matthew 6:25-33. Isn’t it interesting that 1 Peter 5:7, that tells us to cast our care on God, immediately precedes that statement about the devil prowling about seeking whom He may devour? Can it be that when I fail to release my burdens to Him, that the devil sees my hurting shoulders—realizes my hands are full and that I might not be prepared to wield the sword of the Spirit against his wiles—and so he attacks at my most vulnerable time?! I think so! May I learn to put down the stuff that I cannot use and pick up the sword!

The Word champions it all if we let it. Listen to the control in this passage I came across this morning in Hebrews 2: 

…or it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,

putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

I love that the ESV says there that nothing was left outside His control. My Savior who is now crowned with glory and honor has been given sovereignty over all things. Though He will not make me or any human do His will for now, there’s coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. There’s coming a day when there will be no basement, no plunder, no furniture, no heart hurts and no devil prowling. That day is, by any standard and for any living person, relatively soon.

I want to be sure that, while I’m waiting for that day, that I never forget its relevance to the little pressure cooker in which I can put myself. May I never let my pride, my possessions, my schedule, my family, or any self-deception keep me from surrendering to the sovereign One every single precious day of this short life. Ironically, when I turn down the pressure cooker and turn up the prayer and study, the tasks start morphing into opportunities, the hurts into growth; the basement starts to become pretty irrelevant. (The kids can clean that up one day, if I never get to it. That’s what we just did for two packed houses and garages, and a barn and a couple of workshops. They might get a turn, too! =))

This life is short. I want to savor every day.  As my Maggie, who’s two,  says “I’m going to fight that ole’ Satan, so he will start running away!”

Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Resist means to set one’s self against. May I put all my weight into that push today!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #5

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons from Philippians 4:8 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. Blessings.

From Glenn:

Friday —Whatever is Lovely

When Paul said to meditate (think, KJV) on these six things he used a word that means to focus on, to closely scrutinize something as one would do if he were carefully counting his money to record the exact amount. 

 

Today we meditate on things in this world which are lovely. It is remarkable that every translation consulted for this article translates this word the same: lovely. Furthermore, this is the only time the original word is used in the New Testament. Merriam-Webster says lovely means delightful for beauty, harmony, or grace. Dictionary.com says, pleasing, highly satisfying, or the like. 

 

To grasp the word, we need to spend time in the Old Testament where the English word is used about a dozen times describing various things: an army, skilled soldiers who are friends, a beautiful young woman, and what a man sees when he views his wife:

“How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel!” (Num. 24:5).

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; They were swifter than eagles; They were stronger than lions” (1 Sam. 1:23).

“He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter” (Esther 2:7).

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” (Psa. 84:1).

There are at least six uses which reference the attraction a man has for his beautiful wife: (Prov. 5:19; Song of Solomon 1:5, 1:10, 2:14, 4:3, 6:4).

Consider the word lovely as it applies to a man looking on a woman as perhaps it is most often used today. In Philippians 4:8, of the six things we should make the focus of our meditation, “lovely” is standing between two soldiers to guard it. The word before lovely and the word after it serve to guard it; to show us the way Paul uses it: The words that sandwich lovely are pure, and of good report. Lovely, in this context of what we are to think about, is something that complements purity and a good report or reputation. The lovely Vashti illustrates this well:  “…to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. But Queen Vashti refused…” (Esther 1:11-12). She apparently considered it inappropriate for men to enjoy her loveliness in the way her husband enjoyed viewing her.  Her loveliness was guarded by purity and a good reputation.

Why is it so important to think on things that are lovely?  Because… “For as (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).  

Plato said, “The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.” We can feed on the darkness in this world so much that it slowly influences our thought processes.  It comes inside us. Choose to minimize your exposure to the world’s darkness. Be a student of God’s Word. Be with Christians whenever you can and make them your best friends.  Pray without ceasing (1 Th. 5:17). Make sure your home is a place where the Lord is referenced easily, openly, and often. Be sure to avoid dark and sinful forms of entertainment and gaming. The darkness is out there and we know what it looks like. It isn’t that we are pretending that it doesn’t exist; it is that we want to live in the light and, to do that. we must meditate on that which is lovely.  

Tonight, when you pray, thank our Father that there is so much in this world that is truly lovely.

Tonight’s Story Time…

Joseph Made Ruler in Egypt

Tonight we return to Joseph, Genesis 41:33-57.  Tell the account to your children in age-appropriate language.  Tell it with energy and make them see these events.  It is one of the most encouraging passages to Christians about God’s plan for our lives.  Joseph went to bed in prison poverty.  The next night he went to bed with respect, power, and riches.

  1. Think of Joseph as an employee working for Pharaoh.  One day you may work for a man who does not love or serve Christ. That is not wrong if you are determined to always do the right thing.   What challenges can you imagine a Christian having as he works for an unbeliever? What would you do if your boss asked you to lie in order to keep the business going? What would you do if your boss wanted you to go to a bar and have a beer with him? What if your boss made fun of you for not using bad language? What if your boss wanted you to work on Sundays instead of worshipping God? What would you do?

2.  Despite the fact that God was blessing Joseph, Joseph worked very hard each day.  If God was blessing him so much, maybe Joseph could have become lazy in the palace and just let God work out the needs for the famine in Egypt.  Does God require us to work while He blesses us with our needs? How is that like the sickness that’s around us right now? Does God take care of us? Does He want us to do certain things to help ourselves to stay well, too? 

3.  Verse 51 says that when Joseph had his first son he called him “Manasseh” because God had caused him to forget all his toil and all his father’s house.  Talk about this. Did Joseph really forget all that his brothers did to him when they sold him into slavery?  How can God make us forget about the bad things that happen in our lives?  Have you ever had any bad thing happen to you, but then God made you feel better by blessing you and blessing you more and more? 

4.  God is the one who declared that there would be seven years of plenty of food and then seven years of famine, and that’s what happened.  How did God know that?  Did someone tell Him? Does God already know when the sickness that’s in our world right now will be over? How can we show others that we still trust in God, even when there are problems or sickness around us? Can we talk to them about God? 

Write the letters below down the left side of a piece of printer or construction paper. Have your child/children draw something that God is faithful to provide for us for each letter. (The first one, in this shortage time, can be toilet paper! =)  This is a phonics lesson, too! Put your child’s phonics/art lesson on the fridge. Say a prayer and thank God for each thing drawn. Remember to review this lesson tomorrow using the list on the fridge. Remind your kids that Joseph knew Who was taking care of him.

T

R

U

S

T

Last of all, have small children try and fall backwards into your arms. Tell them that “trust” is knowing you will do what you have said you will do. (“I will catch you!”) Tell them that trusting God is knowing that He will do all that He has promised. Read Matthew 6:33 to them and explain what that promise means.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Why Is Adultery that Game-changing Sin?

If you are a Mrs. and you are a Christian, you are twice married and, assuming your husband is still living, there’s a sense in which you have two husbands. I hope, for Mrs. Colley, the sentiments below are always true of both my relationship to my husband and that to my Lord. When those who are in a covenant relationship with God become unfaithful to the vow made at baptism, they are referred to as spiritual adulterers in both testaments:

She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. Jeremiah 3:8.

You adulterous people![c] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Many have posited that God is so hurt by spiritual adultery that He empathetically gives us the right to remarry in case of a spouse’s adultery (Matthew 19:9). He wants us to be able to recover and find comfort after the infidelity of a spouse. He knows how that feels.

But it could be true that one of the reasons marital unfaithfulness is the only acceptable scenario for remarriage is that God wanted to magnify this sin in our minds. Perhaps he wanted mankind to know how much we hurt Him when we place the things of this world–sin–in the position we once gave to God.

Or maybe it’s both. I do know this: As I occasionally speak with innocent parties, in marriages in the body of Christ, in which adultery has taken the trust, I’m left with the indisputable knowledge that the hurt is deeper than any I see in other scenarios of sin.

And yet there is forgiveness. If I’ve learned any thing from observation about the sin of marital infidelity, it’s that it’s possible to repent, gain forgiveness and put a marriage back on a fast track to happiness. Sometimes, righted early on, it’s possible to do this without damaging children, without hurting the influence of the local church, and without the eternal loss of souls. And God’s teaching us there, too. There’s time now, to right relationships with God in heaven. If you’ve walked away from the One who loves you supremely, you’ll never find that perfect love in anything the world has to offer. But, as time passes, it’s harder to undo the damage. Influence for heaven is lost. Lives are hurt. Sin complicates relationships and, most of all, it weakens your own spiritual resolve to be faithful. Don’t wait. Come back to the One who loved you first and best.

Espoused to  One Husband
II Corinthians 11:2
If I love You, I’ll believe You
Though what You’ve pledged is far away.
What You say about tomorrow
Is what’s real for me today.If I love You, then I long
To hear Your strong, assuring voice.
I will trust You with my secrets;
Honor You in every choice.If I love You, I’ll defend You
When others ridicule Your name.
If all the world denies You, still
I’ll  count but loss the shame.If I love You, I will be there
Whenever You’re expecting me.
I will love whatever You love.
Where You are, I’ll long to be.If I love You, I will trust You.
All my hopes on You rely.
But should faith and hope be passing,
Love abides to never die!