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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Laughter. Do You Need a Dose?

Sometimes things happen to you that you just can’t write about in a blog post. You want to, though. They are events that make you laugh harder than you’ve laughed in a long time. They are the kind of bizarre things that you just can’t make up. But then, you really can’t write about them. They’d embarrass someone. They might even impede the gospel’s progression. They might close a door that otherwise could be at least a little ajar for the good news in some life. One of those things happened to me recently and I can promise you that the sister I was with (if she’s reading) is reminded of a search for a lost phone on a very warm Sunday afternoon and she is laughing at the memory. 

As I think about that day—the one I can’t write about—I’m glad I’ve had a lifetime of laughter with Christian sisters. I’m glad for scores of ladies day lunches, Christian camp late night silliness, road trips   and campaigns.  Being with evangelistic sisters with whom I can talk freely and laugh heartily is amazing therapy. 2020 is a time in my life when I need laughter and the camaraderie of women who are looking to eternity and trying to win souls. So much separation and sadness and so many obstacles have been (I believe) strategically placed in our paths by the devil this year. He’d love it if Christians could be depressed. He’d like us to bring the unrest of the world around us into the body. He’d love to make us wonder whether people in our congregations really care about the things that are challenging for us. He’d think it was a good thing if he could make us less involved in each other’s lives. He’d like each of us, personally, to become discouraged with ourselves, with our spiritual progress, and maybe even with our congregations that are struggling to be together and to be the strong support that they’ve been in more normal seasons. We are challenged to try to remain strong and soul-conscious when we’re without our usual vacation Bible schools, classes, seminars, gospel meetings, conferences and ladies days —events that normally serve as the mortar that binds us. One thing is for sure: Cindy Colley is learning the intrinsic value of physically coming together to edify each other. Although there have been times in my life when I thought I was overdoing the “togetherness” with Christians, I’ve learned in 2020 that being “too” busy with such events is far better than this fellowship famine. Certainly one ingredient that I’m short on during this difficult season, is laughter with my family in Him. 

I hope you’ll join me in praying daily for our leaders—the elders in our churches—as they make tough decisions about resuming our assemblies and activities together. When they do resume activities, I hope we’ll all be back with a passion. Let’s be sure we’re not back at Walmart, back at the salon, and  back at the restaurants while failing to be back at work together for Him at every opportunity. I hope you will pray with me daily for our unity, for our support of those elders, and for the defeat of the devil’s ploys to discourage us. Pray that we will view the amazing price that Christ paid for the church as reason enough to do all we individually can do to  protect her from division, even in times when the world is an increasingly hostile place. I’m praying that I’ll always view “my people,” not as any race or even physical family, but as the people of God.  

And pray for laughter together again…the kind we can hear and see…up close and in person. 

“A merry heart does good like a medicine.” I think I need a good dose!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #17: Proverbs 6:19–One who Sows Discord among Brethren. (This FBT has a fun quiz game!)

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:  “One who Sows Discord among Brethren 

Proverbs 6:16-19

These six things the Lord hates, 

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

I frankly struggle a little writing about this today because coronavirus has had the unexpected consequence of many Christians actually getting closer to one another—if that’s even possible!  I had a phone conversation with a brother today whose wife has broken her shoulder, and heard his voice break as he described the food and cards and calls and prayers from the family of God. There are three of our women in the church who are nurses and are taking regular turn-about dropping by to check the incision and bandages.  Christians are a tight bunch.

This proverbial wording is easy to understand.  We all know about Biblical analogies using farming, sowing and reaping.  Seeds are comparatively small, but once planted and watered, grow into something much bigger.  That’s good with watermelons, but it’s bad with sin. This Proverb is about sowing discord.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psa. 133:1)!  What’s behind sowing discord among Christians in a congregation is usually less about the church and more about the person who sows the discord. For selfish reasons, one who sows discord is, probably without thinking, willing to forfeit unity that is good and pleasant in order to have his own way. Ironically, he is apt to jump into this sin without making an overt decision. It’s just that he sees something off-putting—something he takes personally—and shares his aggravation with other members.  Perhaps it’s a disagreement with a difficult decision the elders have made about an expenditure or about a sad withdrawal of fellowship.  Perhaps it’s about something bothersome that an elder’s wife said.  Perhaps it’s simply a display of bitterness in his heart (see Ruth 1:20).

It is a great deal easier to fix this problem before words about the offense are spoken than after. So, the solution, while difficult, is simple today:  Think before you speak (Ja. 1:19).  My aggravation may actually need to be discussed, but have I chosen the right person for that discussion? Have I thought about my tone and the grace (or lack thereof) of my words?  If I pondered this personal upset for a few days, would it seem to matter as much?  Have I prayed about this matter?

A number of times in my life I’ve talked with elders and preachers after a church has fallen into sad disunion. Often, as with a burned, smoldering house in which the fire marshal finds the exact source of the flames, it is easy for the leaders of the body to pinpoint the origin of the division.  In view of Proverbs 6:19 which says God hates “…one who sows discord among brethren,” I wouldn’t want my name attached to this sin.  Protect the unity of brethren.  It is so very precious and can be lost in such a short time.

Family Bible Time from Glenn and Cindy–Joseph Finale

Quiz your kids in a game with the following questions. You can make a fun game in one of a variety of ways.

1)Use your Candyland board game and draw a question from the green bowl if you land on green, from the blue bowl if you land on blue, etc….If someone can’t answer the question, he forfeits his turn.


2.) Give each person a clipart picture of the coat of many colors (printable free from this site: Go around the room asking questions and each time a correct answer is given, the player gets to color in a stripe on the coat. The first one to have a fully colored coat is the winner.


3. Make a simple scavenger hunt. In each hiding place in your house, have a question and directions about where to look next. Example: 1. Look in the refrigerator. 2. (in the fridge)…What was Joseph’s father’s name? Now look on Mom’s bed. 3. (on Mom’s bed)…What did Jacob give to Joseph? Now look in your bathtub. Continue on with a dozen or so questions/places. If one person is stumped, let another person answer and continue on until he/she is stumped.  In the last hiding place, have a little “treasure-prize” for everyone who answered three or more correctly (or whatever number you think is appropriate.) A great treasure prize for this game is a bag of glow-in-the-dark stars for a bedroom ceiling (Joseph’s dream) or a little bag of twenty nickels or dimes (20 pieces of silver for the Midianites) or a basket with three cookies in it (the baker’s loaves).
If you are particularly creative you might find colorful fabric pieces, like the coat, to tag the questions in their hiding places.


4. You can play Nerf Wars and if you get “shot,” you have to answer a question correctly to keep “living.” If you miss the answer, you’re “dead” (out of the game). Whatever you play, a little prize is a great idea. In Family Bible time homes, parents learn to hoard little prizes. I think our grandson’s favorite prize of last week was an old wasp’s nest Glenn found under the eave of the house somewhere.  (He could not wait to go home and scare his dad.) The prize can also be a privilege, like staying up fifteen minutes later than siblings or choosing the flavor of ice cream (if we ever get to go shopping again after COVID-19)

You can be more creative than we are and think of your own game. It doesn’t have to be complicated, of course.  Our grandson played this with a jar of marshmallows this week. When a person answered a question right, he got a marshmallow. whoever had the biggest pile at the end, got to trade in his marshmallows for a little prize (or he could keep and eat the marshmallows.)

Here are the questions in three categories. You may not need them all, but we hope your kids can answer them all. You might want to look them over and make sure you’ve covered them all before beginning the game.

Tiny People Questions:

  1. Who had the coat of many colors?
  2. What did Joseph’s father give him?
  3. Who took care of Joseph?
  4. Who was in the pit?
  5. Who did Joseph obey?
  6. What colors were on Joseph’s coat?
  7. Did Joseph share with his brothers?
  8. What is true success?

Middle People Questions:

  1. Who was Joseph’s father?
  2. Why did Joseph’s brothers not like him?
  3. Which brother did Jacob love the most?
  4. What did Joseph dream about the sheaves?
  5. What did Joseph dream about the stars?
  6. Where did the brothers put Joseph?
  7. What kind of animal did the brothers kill?
  8. What did the brothers do with Joseph’s coat?
  9. What did Jacob think happened to Joseph?
  10. Who bought Joseph to be a slave?
  11. In whose house did Joseph end up as a slave?
  12. What did Potiphar’s wife hold in her hand when Joseph ran out of the house?
  13. Where did Potiphar put Joseph after Mrs. Potiphar lied?
  14. What two people had dreams in Joseph’s prison?
  15. What was the baker’s dream?
  16. What was the butler’s dream?
  17. Who forgot about Joseph when he got back to Pharaoh’s house?
  18. What was one of Pharaoh’s dreams?
  19. What did the dreams of Pharaoh mean?
  20. Who, did Joseph say, could tell what the dreams of Pharaoh meant?
  21. Who did Pharaoh put in charge of storing up food in Egypt?
  22. Who got hungry and had to go to Egypt to get food?
  23. Joseph pretended that he thought the brothers were ______ when he was testing them.
  24. Who did Joseph tell the brothers to bring to Egypt if they came a second time?
  25. What did Joseph put in the sack of Benjamin?
  26. Why did Joseph send the servants to catchup with the brothers when they were going home the second time?
  27. What did Joseph invite the brothers to do at the end of the story?

Big People Questions:

  1. Which brother did not want to kill Joseph?
  2. Who help Jacob to mourn over Joseph?
  3. Why did Jacob not come to rescue Joseph after the brothers sold him?
  4. What reason did Joseph give when he refused to lie with Potiphar’s wife?
  5. Why did Joseph always end up having so much responsibility everywhere he went?
  6. What did the two prisoners’ dreams mean?
  7. What request did Joseph make of the butler?
  8. When did the butler remember Joseph?
  9. Tell what happened in each of Pharaoh’s dreams?
  10. What did Joseph have to do to get ready to go before Pharaoh?
  11. What rank was given to Joseph when he correctly interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh?
  12. How many times in all did the brothers go to Egypt?
  13. Which brother gave his own life as as surety for the safety of Benjamin?
  14. Why did Joseph cry when he hugged Benjamin?
  15. How many souls went down to live in Goshen?
  16. What were the two tribes that came from Joseph?
  17. Which of Joseph’s son’s was oldest?
  18. Which of Joseph’s sons received the biggest blessing?
  19. How long did Jacob live in Goshen?

Pray with your children.

Repeat the definition of true success: Living your life and going to heaven.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Remember to Forget and Forget to Remember!

When you read this, it will be Christmas Eve. As I write this, I’m traveling back home from a family gathering; a gathering that included both extreme happiness as children squealed over tea sets and over dinosaurs that, when immersed, grow to 600 times their original size. (I can’t wait for that!) and tears that flowed unbidden. 

There were four families within the larger family that were able to come: eight adults and four small children. Four  men (all of the men present) are gospel preachers. During our short 16 hours together, there were five prayers led. Some of them were fervent prayers for the one family that was unable to be represented there because of an intense battle with cancer. We sang songs about heaven and hope and our precious Jesus. 

I did some cooking and a lot of dishes and filled a lot of Tupperware tubs with leftovers ( and, yes, we are in the South, so I filled some cottage cheese containers and ice cream buckets with leftovers. too.) I made a palate in the closet floor for Ezra. I lined a sofa with garbage bags topped with quilts for another little one (just in case of an accident in the night). I was invited to several tea parties and I was arrested and jailed (in a closet) by a short red-headed “po-weese-man” several times (but I always found a co-conspirator to help me escape), and I was the conductor on a train.

And traveling home, I am extremely tired. But I am back here in the “way-back-in-the-back” little seat of our Pilot (the one you from which you cannot be released till somebody opens the hatch and then you do gymnastics to get out.). We are pulling a big trailer and we’ve had two of our singing “Days of Christmas” in this Pilot already. When we get home, our kids are going on a birthday date/retreat overnight and we are keeping the grandkids. (Rough job, but somebody…). I’m thinking about how blessed we are to have families (on both sides) where we can go and feel love in Him and sweet unity. 

So, as we’re traveling home, we’re talking about family. While we certainly are not experts on doing family right, we’ve been talking about the things that are challenging in some extended families— things that get in the way of fun and unity—and things that help us to be close and supportive of each other. 

My husband just said something profound.  (He does that a lot.) He said this:

“The key to having peace and happiness in extended families is a paradox: Unity lies in being able to remember and it lies in being able to forget.”

He went on to explain that he who wants to provide a place of comfort and security within the family must remember what it’s like to be in the shoes of the other person. Old folks need to remember what it was like to have small children and, thus, make allowances for misplaced items, for occasional breakage and for the occasions that require discipline. Young parents need to remember that they are in the presence of people who are more fragile and less agile. Extreme respect and deference should always be given to the aged. All people should remember that we are each on the precipice of eternity and, in a very short while, it will not matter which  material possessions were protected. It will not matter whether or not every single tradition was honored. It will not matter if the children were dressed in vintage or in trendy clothing or if everyone was dressed in ecru and jeans for the family picture. It will not matter if we all rooted for the same team. It will not matter if we lived in relative cleanliness or relative clutter. It will not matter whether our kids faced forward at two or at four. It will not matter whether we stopped to eat at Cracker Barrel or Los Portales. One thing will matter. If our families can get that one thing right…just that one thing… 

Then he explained that it’s important for us to forget. If we could just forget that time that Aunt Bertha had a come-apart over the sugar in the casserole. If we could forget that awful episode when everyone was tired after the funeral and said things they really did not mean. If we could forget that Sally sometimes doesn’t bring a dish or that Fred eats and then leaves or that Tom is always talking through the game commentary. If we could forget all the things for which people have apologized. If we had better forgetters, we could make families safer emotional havens. 

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…(Ephesians 4:1,2)

Longsuffering is the key. It means your ability to “put up with” things that rub you the wrong way. And, in this context, it means your ability to do it while you keep loving people. Longsuffering requires both remembering and forgetting. And the Word tells us, in the very next verse, that this is the way we endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  That unity is an invaluable blessing whenever found in families. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Can We Interpret the Bible Alike?

After hearing the simple truth of the scripture, some will say, “That is just one way to interpret the Bible. I interpret it differently.” In other words, they are saying, “It is impossible to agree about what the Bible says.” Such a statement is grossly in error. In an attempt to justify society’s religious diversity, many end up portraying God’s Word as a relatively confused and ambiguous book. Do we serve a God who is unable to give mankind clear instructions on matters of salvation, worship, obedience, and spiritual living?

By saying it is impossible to agree on what the Bible says, several implications must be accepted:

  1. The wisdom of God is insulted. To say that God, who is infinitely knowledgeable (Job 36:5, Isa. 40:28) and abundantly wise (Isa. 55:8-9, Rom 16:25-27, 1 Cor. 1:25), failed to give man a revelation that can be logically understood is nothing short of blasphemy. If fallible man can produce a written work that can be reasonably understood and followed, such as a textbook or a cookbook, why can’t the Infallible Creator give the human race a written work that also makes sense? The Word renders the man of God “complete” and by it he finds himself “thoroughly equiped” (2 Tim. 3:17).
  2. Unity among Christians is rendered impossible. Unity means oneness, sameness, likeness, harmony, concord, agreement, unanimity, etc. How can Christians be united and divided by interpretation at the same time? If the Bible is explained merely by man’s relative interpretation, then there can only be unity in confusion! In contrast, our Lord prayed heartily for unity among Christians (John 17:20-23). The apostle Paul begged Christians to “speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions” among them (1 Cor. 1:10). How can this instruction be taken seriously if people are incapable of understanding the Bible alike? How can unity be possible without being able to agree upon the fundamental teachings of the Bible, such as how to be saved, how to worship God, and how to distinguish between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?
  3. Espousing ‘relative interpretation’ puts one in opposition to Biblical teaching. Jesus told His disciples they can “know the truth” (John 8:32). Can anyone “know” anything from the Bible if one interpretation is as good as another? Paul commanded Christians to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). Is it possible to understand the will of the Lord if the specific details of what we are to understand are relative to the individual? Jewish leaders once asked Jesus an ignorant question about the afterlife, to which Jesus replied, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). Could the problem of relative interpretation actually be a problem of Biblical ignorance?

The simple truth of the matter is that we can understand the Bible alike. Whenever a specific passage is studied, several things should be understood before a conclusion is drawn:

  1. The context of the passage (Who is the author? Who is he writing to? Why was it written?)
  2. The covenant under which it was written (Patriarchal, Mosaical, Christian)
  3. The difference between custom & principle
  4. The difference between figurative & non-figurative language
  5. The elimination of any prejudices and personal biases

As we hope to better understand God’s Word, we must recognize that some scriptures in the Bible are difficult to understand. Peter plainly taught that there are some things that are “hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16). Difficult topics, therefore, require more in-depth study. The responsibility to understand the truths of the Bible is placed upon the individual. Paul instructed Christians to “work out their own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:13), which should make understanding the Bible a high priority for each of us. The Christians in Berea were commended for studying the Scriptures “daily” to better understand the Divine truths (Acts 17:11). There are other things that are beyond our capacity to understand (Deut. 29:29, Isa. 55:8-9). We must acknowledge that God is without beginning or end and is infinitely wise and understanding. We, on the other hand, are fallible creatures who are bound by time and matter. There are some truths (not essential to salvation) that we simply can’t comprehend.

The statement that one interpretation is as good as another is made because of one of two reasons. The first reason is due to ignorance. Obviously, we can understand the Bible alike. The second reason is due to an attempt to justify error, and in so doing, they are “twisting” the scriptures to their own destruction (2 Pet. 3:16). Personally, I prefer to place my salvation in the truth of God’s Word. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psa. 118:8).