Browsing Tag

Trust

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!

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Can We Go to the Playground?

 

I smiled at  a recent conversation between my two-and-a-half-year-old grandson and his mother:

Ezra: “Can we go to the playground today?”

Ezra’s mom: “No…not today, baby.”

Ezra: “Can we go to the playground?” 

Ezra’s mom: “I said ‘Not today,’ Ezra.”

Ezra: “I’m going to give you oooone more chance, Mama. I said ‘Can we go to the playground?’”

Ezra’s mom: “Ezra, Mama and Daddy are the only ones who can say  ‘one more chance’”.

Ezra: “Oh…Well…Can we go to the playground?”

We do this sometimes with God. We wish for things and sometimes we even ask for things that we know are against His expressed will. He has already told us we cannot go to that playground, but we keep insisting that going there is what we desire, as if we are not listening to him at all. Sometimes we ask for material things, knowing all along that we already are much too obsessed with riches. We ask for promotions to other cities, not minding the fact that there are no faithful churches or Christian encouragers there. We ask for success on the corporate ladder without ever giving a thought to the stairway to heaven. This can also be described as the Balaam syndrome. (Read Numbers 22-24). 

Then we give God “another chance” sometimes. We act as if we are in control. We build our own little towers of Babel (Genesis 11) and begin to actually think we can make our own rules of philosophy and morality. We discount His absolute truth in favor of our relativism. We dismiss His power and talk about how we can save the planet. We even decide we can define things like life’s beginning point and marriage and even gender. We just kind of tell God that we’ll give Him another chance to get it right. 

James said it this way: 

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4).

All of our misguided ambitions and repeated pleas for things outside His will make  us His enemies and, ultimately separate us from Him eternally.

James also gives us the direct route to true success. It’s friendship with God. It’s spelled out in verses six through ten of the same chapter:

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.