Browsing Tag

Truth

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #44: Truth and Mercy have Met

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:  Proverbs 16:6  

“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”

Observe these soul-saving ingredients: fear, mercy, and truth. 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).  Why is fear important?  One powerful tool of the Devil, who loves to work in religion, is to subtract the fear of hell from both atheists and professing Christians.  Yet it is that fear that makes us crave and appreciate mercy and truth.  Consider that these two—mercy and truth—are often paired together in the Old Testament:

“And he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren” (Gen. 24:27).

“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10).

“He shall abide before God forever. oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!”(Psalm 61:7).

“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalm 85:10).

“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

This is a combination of characteristics seen in their perfection in our God. But we are commanded to use this combination in Christianity and the church as we hold one another accountable.  For example, elders who lead their flock in the process of withdrawal of the church from an impenitent member (according to the truth of the Word in 2 Thessalonians 3:6), will perhaps remember that Jesus gave Jezebel a space to repent (Rev. 2:20-21) and will apply that mercy to the member in the process of discipline. Mercy and truth have met together.

Jesus gave instruction about a Christian against whom a fellow-Christian has sinned.  Consider how His teaching involves both mercy and truth: 

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17). 

We clearly see the combination of the establishment of truth and the will to forgive and gain the brother. Everlasting mercy and enduring truth (Psalm 100:5).

Today consider that in the application of truth there is space for mercy.  Considering God’s application of this pair motivates me to want to be sure I get this combination right in my relationships.

FamilyBible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

It’s quiz night again! Just see how much fun you can have remembering what Jesus said in Matthew 25 (and Luke 12). Act out the following in a game of “Guess Who I Am.” Pretend to be each of the following and see if your kids can guess who you are. After each successful guess, have your children tell you what Jesus said about whomever you were pretending to be. The response will be repetitive, but that’s a good thing.

  • a sheep
  • a goat
  • a hungry person
  • a thirsty person
  • someone who needs a place to stay
  • someone who needs clothing
  • someone who is sick
  • someone who is in prison
  • the rich man tearing down his barns

Sing the song from Matthew 25 (Hannah’s Hundred) if you’ve been learning that. If not, sing Each Day I’ll Do a Golden Deed. Here are the lyrics:

A Beautiful Life
Each day I’ll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need
My life on earth is but a span
And so I’ll do the best I can
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
The only life that will endure
Is one that’s kind and good and pure
And so for God I’ll take my stand
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
While going down life’s weary road
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load
I’ll try to turn the night to day
Make flowers bloom along the way
Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun
No setting sun
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Rea Garvey / Sacha Skarbek
A Beautiful Life lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Red Brick Music Publishing

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #43: Proverbs 16:2–The Universal Standard

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: Proverb 16:2 

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.”

This proverb implies God has an objective, absolute standard for man’s behavior.  Here is the account of two-gun Crowley which I learned when I was younger.  I assume it to be true. It reads like a newspaper report and appeared in one of Dale Carnegie’s books:

On May 7, 1931, New York City witnessed the most sensational man-hunt the old town had ever known. After weeks of searching, “Two Gun” Crowley—the killer–the gunman who didn’t smoke or drink—was  trapped in his sweetheart’s apartment on West End Avenue.  One-hundred-fifty policemen and detectives laid siege to his top-floor hideaway.  Chopping holes in the roof, they tried to smoke out Crowley, the “cop killer,” with tear gas.  Then they mounted their machine guns on surrounding buildings, and for more than an hour, one of New York’s fine residential sections reverberated with the crack of pistol fire and the rat-tat-tat of machine guns. Crowley, crouching behind an overstuffed chair, fired incessantly at the police.  Ten thousand excited people watched the battle. Nothing like it had ever been seen on the sidewalks of New York.  

When Crowley was captured, Police Commissioner Mulrooney declared that the two-gun desperado was one of the most dangerous criminals ever encountered in the history of New York.  “He will kill,” said the commissioner, “at the drop of a feather.”  

But how did “Two Gun” Crowley regard himself?  We know, because while the police were firing into his apartment, he wrote a letter addressed “To whom it may concern.” And, as he wrote, the blood flowing from his wounds left a crimson trail on the paper.  In this letter Crowley said: “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one—one that would do nobody any harm.”

Only a short time before this writing, Crowley had been with a woman on a country road out on Long Island.  Suddenly a policeman walked up to the parked car and said:  “Let me see your license.”

Without saying a word, Crowley drew his gun, and cut the policemen down with a shower of lead.  As the dying officer fell,  Crowley leaped out of the car, grabbed the officer’s revolver, and fired another bullet into the prostrate body.  That was the killer who said, “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one—one that would do nobody any harm.”

Crowley was sentenced to the electric chair.  When he arrived at the death house at Sing Sing, did he say, “This is what I get for killing people?”  No, he said, “This is what I get for defending myself.”  The point of the story is this:  “Two Gun” Crowley never blamed himself for any of his heinous crimes.

This brief account of the life and death of a killer, combined with our proverb for today emphasize the fact that all people must be guided by a higher standard than their own momentary preferences.  Standards are vitally important, especially in view of man’s propensity to justify his actions, no matter how sinful they are. Every wrong done can be excused by rationalization. But, the Bible is universal, absolute truth, and God’s ways will always be higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9).

Spend a few minutes today meditating on today’s proverb and the advice King David gave to his son Solomon. Make application to your life and the lives of your children:

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

Before we complete our time of studying serving Jesus by serving others, let’s detour tonight to another passage that teaches us the concept of selflessness and sharing our bounty with others. We call this account the parable of The Rich Fool. Read or tell it to your children from Luke 12:15-21.

  1. A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses. Challenge your kids to think of the richest (in material wealth) person they know. Then ask them to think about it and see if this person is the happiest one they know. Draw from this exercise that happiness in life is not in wealth.
  2. Now read the paragraph from Scripture again in which the rich man thinks about what he will do with his goods. Have them count how many times he uses the pronoun I. Is this man a self-centered man? Do we know anyone, or can we think of anyone in a story, who focuses on themselves?  (Maybe they might think of  someone like Gaston in Beauty and the Beast or the Wicked Queen in Snow White.) Is this the kind of person we’d love to be around? Is this person really happy?
  3. Make sure your children know what happens to all our material possessions when we die. Have older  children find the question Jesus asked about these material things upon a man’s death (from the passage in Luke 12).
  4. Have a conversation with any small children about what Jesus taught about sharing from this passage. Is he pleased when we want to keep everything for ourselves while others around us need or want things we could give them?
  5. See if your children can remember people in the Bible who were great at sharing. They might think of many among which may be these: Abraham shared with Lot (Genesis 13), Joseph shared with his brothers (Genesis 42:25), Boaz shared with Ruth (Ruth 2), the widow of Zarephath shared with Elijah (1 Kings 17), the Shunemite woman shared with Elisha (2 Kings 4), the little boy shared the five loaves and two fishes (John 6). If you have more than one child thinking, make it a little contest to see who can list the most “sharing” stories in the Bible. (Little prizes are great at any age)
  6. Finally, read to your children the Aesop fable “A Dog and His Bone.” You can find this in many places online. Here’s one: http://read.gov/aesop/026.html. How was the dog like the rich fool? Elicit from your kids that, in both cases, the prized possession was gone at the end, because of selfishness. Make sure you note that Aesop was just illustrating a truth taught by Jesus and the Word of God…that all truth about right and wrong comes from God.
  7. Pray with your kids.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance…

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:

As the virus separates our West Huntsville family from the assemblies for worship, prayer and study, we need to stay near our Lord.  That involves thinking on the right things day and night (Psalm 1:2).

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:8-9).

This week, every day, I will post thoughts in the order that the apostle Paul listed them in this important “finally” verse of Philippians.

Monday — Whatever is true…

I love truth in all aspects of my life, even in things that hurt, because the alternative to truth is a lie.  Lies destroy lives. In John 8, Jesus told Jewish leaders that their spiritual father was the devil, because they imitated his lying.  The trials of Jesus were filled with lies (Mt. 26) and, when He was resurrected from the dead,  wicked men paid money to the tomb guards to entice them to lie.  

Loving something implies hating.  If I really love something or someone, I hate things which will do them harm; disease, violence, crime.  Similarly,  a man who doesn’t hate lying doesn’t really love truth.  Ask yourself, “Do I really hate lying?”

According to Proverbs, friends who lie to you actually hate you.  “A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin” (Prov. 26:28).

Marriage cannot survive without truth. Every lie that is told does damage to the foundation of love and, thus, before long, the home will irreparably collapse because it has no foundation on which to stand.  Never lie to your spouse.  Never lie to your parents or children.

What distinguishes the church from men’s religions is adherence to the word of God. The true church is one which is described by Paul as the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).  I love the church of Christ for this reason.  I need to know God’s will in order to please Him.

Want God’s peace? Want to live a life that’s praiseworthy?  Think on truth; Value it. Love truth in all areas of your life.  Today meditate on the importance of truth in your life.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,

Yea, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them Your servant is warned,

And in keeping them there is great reward.

(Psalm 19:7-11)

Additionally, I’d like to challenge those of you who have children to use this time to build family closeness in the Lord.  For that reason, I’m also suggesting that all our  WH families be on the same nightly “story time” character: Joseph. He, like us, faced times that must have felt surreal.  

Monday — Tell your children the account of Joseph being sold by his brothers from Genesis 37. Be sure and emphasize these details:  

1.  Reuben, the oldest brother, tried to be a good leader and understood that doing the right thing meant speaking up when the crowd was going the wrong way (vs. 21-22).  Through our lives we must do the same. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

2.  When Judah had the idea to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, and explained the awful plan to his brothers, the Bible says they “listened.”  What are some things you should teach your children that they must never listen to? Talk about these with your kids.

3.  Lying often accompanies sin: adultery,  stealing, disrespecting parents’ authority, etc.. . How did the sin of selling Joseph involve lying to Jacob (Jn. 8:44)?

4.  Joseph couldn’t see it right then, but God was watching over and protecting him even in this hard, frightening time.  He will be with us too (Heb. 13:5-6).

Close with this little song, if you have very young children (to the tune of the chorus of “Blessed be the Name”):

I must tell the truth.

I must tell the truth.

I must never, ever tell a lie.

I must tell the truth.

I must tell the truth.

I must never, ever tell a lie. 

Then pray together. Include a prayer that He will help you to always be truthful with each other and to walk in the truth of His Word. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep: One More Sneak Peek

 

…One more sneak peek of the 2020-2021 study. Next week I can write something different. For now?…I’m buried in this. God is so good. His word convicts and comforts. I know those brothers and sisters in Tennessee are leaning on it this week for the comfort. I’m praying for all of those suffering there. Storms have hit unbelievably close to home in our spiritual family. Pray and then pray some more for those hurting so deeply.

John 16:7-13 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

I love this passage because it guarantees that we, today, have all of the truth. The apostles did not have all of the truth at this time. They had the Son, in the flesh, bearing witness of the Father. They had the Father, through the Old Testament law and prophets, bearing witness of the Son. But they did not have the Spirit yet. We, the most blessed ones, have the written inerrant complete Witness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are living in the glory days! We can put every false witness to the test! Who is the ruler of this world? What lies ahead for Him because He is a false witness and the True Witness is now complete? 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Post-Election Elation?!

Image of two ecstatic colleagues showing their gladness and looking at camera

 

It is true. We must be loving. We must be kind. In all circumstances. But passion about electing someone who promises to do something that legitimately can save millions of babies’ lives and can very possibly prolong our freedom to speak the gospel in its entirety–excitement about that is not wrong, especially when one looks at the incredible unrighteousness that just spewed forth from the other platform. In fact, for my conscience, it was/is difficult to be passionate and public (as public as my little world lets me be) about the election, but it was/is necessary. Post-election excitement because you think you now may have a chance (even though the president-elect is immoral in many areas) to preserve this freedom is not wrong. Excitement when you believe the gospel will have an easier route being taught and lived is a good thing.

But passion without practicality is useless. If Christians do not now use every opportunity to try and reach the lost, stand for truth and righteousness, and train our children to be sanctified in a dark world, we have won an empty battle. The real victory is in souls saved for heaven, of course. Today, I feel the debt I owe more keenly than ever. Today, I found a soul in my little realm of influence and asked her to study the Word with me. In the past weeks and months, I prayed a lot for the best interests of the gospel in the election. I have a chance now to show the world and the Lord and the devil that my heart really was/is in the furtherance of truth in a culture of relativism. So, go ahead and say we must be kind and loving, but please do not say we should not be passionate about the process or elated about the results. Most importantly, let’s get busy using the freedoms that have been prolonged, for now, to teach and practice Christianity…the love, the kindness and the passion for truth.

I really do believe that there is a good chance that millions of future lives will be saved as a result of this week’s voting. I have reason to be very hopeful that the tenor of the Supreme Court will change. I believe Planned Parenthood believes this to be a very real possibility, too. (http://www.mrctv.org/blog/planned-parenthood-devastated-shattered-over-unthinkable-trump-victory) It’s okay to rejoice over this. It is okay to be happy when Planned Parenthood is devastated.  It’s okay to be happy about this huge victory for innocent life; a victory over one who vowed to keep abortion legal and accessible…who said babies, all the way up to birth, have no rights. IT IS OK to be excited. It is just not okay to be ugly or unkind or unbecoming of the gospel we hope to share with people who are lost. 

In the book of Esther, someone in authority had to be hanged in order for thousands of  innocent lives to be saved. Truth had to come to light and, when it did, there was a change of power. It is important to notice that the Jews had light, gladness, joy and honor when the Persian authority, Haman, was hanged. There was a feast, the people rejoiced and “it was a good day” (Esther 8:16,17). They still had a heathen king in power, but God’s people had been handed a reprieve. We may be just about right there today.

I know that last Tuesday in America did not parallel the Persian account in every way. But, still, if God’s people are prayerful and in mourning because of a holocaust of innocent people and then, through an election surprise, we perceive a  light at the end of that tunnel, it’s okay to rejoice. It’s okay to have gladness and light in our hearts and homes.

One of my friends commented earlier this week that she couldn’t care less about who is the president of the United States. She’s just about spreading the gospel and living for Him. I think, in times where the two major party platforms are so very opposite in their stances on abortion and gay marriage, we need to care. I think, though God is sovereign and though He will ultimately protect his remnant, He cares about sin. He cared enough about sin that He watched His Son die on Calvary. I believe He cares about–is heartbroken about–the national sin of America, today. So I am going to do all I can to promote morality and righteousness in our land. Most of all, I am going to try and do all I can to bring people to the real remedy for sin, one soul at the time.

There’s a lot of talk about healing a divided nation this week. Healing is what I long for. But I must remember: It is not tolerance that ultimately heals. Ignoring or accepting cancer does not heal it. He is the Great Physician and He can truly heal our land. But not unless and until we fill His prescription.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Ferguson–Truth is Unimportant.

images-3That’s the largest lesson of the new school year for children in Ferguson, Missouri. Here’s what they are learning this fall and the lessons will stick lots better than if they were they being taught using workbooks and flashcards. Lessons taught in real time and real life always do. So here’s that real-life indelibly inked curriculum:

 

Whenever you feel life has treated you (or “your” group) unfairly:

1. Truth becomes less important than agenda.
2. The commission of crimes against innocent people is justified.
3. It’s okay to take (and keep) what does not belong to you.
4. You no longer have to answer to any civil authority.
5. Physical force is your authority and, thus, the new law is “Might makes right.”

When the investigation is over and the facts are laid bare, the lessons will keep coming. Suppose Mr. Wilson is declared innocent in the end. What then? The premise will once again apply; that is, a large group of people will feel that life has treated them unfairly and the above “rules” will direct behavior. If Mr. Wilson is guilty of murder, then let the investigation render that truth (and may he be duly punished).  But mark it down: If he is innocent of murder, there is no verdict of his innocence that will be powerful enough to stop the agenda, reinstate proper authority and change the “curriculum”. Class will be over. And it will not be a peaceful recess.