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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Snippet from Digging Deep Writing Week…Out My Window

Death and its power never ceases to amaze me. I don’t want to be unfeeling or irreverent, but it has come to every single person (except Enoch and Elijah) since the sin in the garden. Yet we all act shocked when it comes to our house. It is the most predictable event and yet we are never prepared for our loved ones to go. We act as if we never imagined this could happen and yet we knew, beyond doubt, that it would happen. 

During my writing weeks in some of the past Digging years, I’ve opened my window to find a giant flag waving or a beautiful field sprawling for acres (or a crowded parking lot). This year I opened my window to see peaceful rows of flower-strewn graves and one lone, aging man sitting on a bench under a big oak tree with his head bowed. I have looked out there a lot this week. As I have been writing, two of my dear friends in this life have lost loved ones—one a daughter at the age of 35, and one a younger brother at the age of 60. I knew and loved these people who now know so much more than I do about the subject at hand. 

And that is, perhaps, the reason that death has a hold of terror on most of us. We cannot know it. We cannot speak with anyone who has experienced it, except of course in prayer and study. It’s a thing as natural as birth or walking or talking and, yet, when it comes our way, we are bowed low beneath its burden.

And God made it that way. Since the garden, Satan has had his malignant hand in our earthly affairs, subjecting us to pain, sorrow, death and its grief. He is not done with you and me. 

But, additionally, when I think about death, the sadness it brings is also a result of the great gift of fellowship. God made us with longings for relationships. I know this because he made us in His image and no one has given more for relationship and communion with you and me than the Father and Son. No one has given more for family. We are in His image, so we treasure relationships, too. We long, deep within our souls, for the benefits that come when we care for others and they reciprocate. We are meant to be social and when we are disconnected, we become less than what we could be—in our eternal hopes, in our earthly influences and in our personal peace.

But the Son showed us powerfully that the ultimate victory over death is His. The Spirit then revealed all that we need to know about what happens at, and after, death.

I hope you’re planning to study with us (or in some systematic way) next year. It’s not all about dying. It’s a whole lot about living. And it’s all we really know about either–the Word of God!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

It’s Already Done.

(If it’s been a while since you were in the book of Judges, reading chapters 4 and 5 of that great book will be helpful today.)

I’ve been blessed this week to be at a PTP Spark conference in Valdosta, Georgia. One thing you can’t miss when you study the book of Judges, as we’ve done this week, is that, when God declares forthcoming victory for His people, nothing but nothing will get in the way of that victory. Sometimes God declares this future victory in the past tense, as in “I have given you…” or “The Lord has delivered…” Only God can make a promise in the past tense. But if God says it, It is as good as done. Nine hundred chariots of iron in Judges 4 would have seemed, in any mortal eyes, the sure-fire winner in the valley near the river Kishon. I know the army of Sisera rode proudly in these iron chariots to what they were sure would be the handy defeat of Israel. 

But Sisera’s army was doomed before it was assembled. No amount of strategizing, no force of weaponry, or degree of morale could influence the divinely predetermined outcome. God had already spoken:

For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you (Judges 4:14)?

Sometimes today, for Cindy Colley, it’s hard to trust the predetermined outcome. Most of the world’s money is in Satan’s coffers. He is the one who is controlling the lives of the movers and shakers. He is all up in the lifestyles of the rich and famous. His people are, mostly, the ones who are in People magazine or on Forbes List. In a more personal way, it is his people who are the seemingly unrestrained enemies of the people of God. In fact, sometimes, it seems as if the life lived away from God holds a lot more glamour, financial security and applause than does living for Jesus. 

But nine hundred chariots, when mired in a muddy, bloody plain are suddenly changed from an advantage in war, to a liability. You recall that all of Sisera’s men were killed and he, alone, ran on foot to the tent of Jail, in which, he would have a quick glass milk and a tent peg through his head. When God promises an outcome, that result is guaranteed. 

Do we live like we believe the promises of God? Do I prioritize like I believe Matthew 6:33? Do I love God like I believe Romans 8:28? Do I petition the Father like I believe James 1:5? Do I solicit prayers from others like I believe James 5:16?

See, on that Sunday morning, two thousand years ago, when the tomb was found empty, the head of Satan was crushed. The body of the snake is still moving and affecting our society in some tragic ways, but the head of the snake is forever crushed. This glamorous people who are in the metaphorical 900 iron chariots of the devil today are just as surely on their way to hell as were the armies of Sisera on their way to defeat at muddy Kishon.  No amazing strategy, wealth, artillery or company morale can alter the predetermined outcome of the devil’s army. 

Of course, the only moving piece now, is you or me. If you are in the iron chariot headed for destruction, there is still time to switch sides. Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite, switched sides. She took advantage of Sisera’s deep sleep in her tent and then she put the nail through his temple. The prophetess Deborah, then sang these words about Jael: 

Most blessed of women be Jael,

the wife of Heber the Kenite,

of tent-dwelling women most blessed.

He asked for water and she gave him milk;

she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.

She sent her hand to the tent peg

and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;

she struck Sisera;

she crushed his head;

she shattered and pierced his temple.

Between her feet

he sank, he fell, he lay still;

between her feet

he sank, he fell;

where he sank,

there he fell—dead.

(from Deborah’s song in Judges 5)

If you’re in the chariot headed for Kishon, now’s the time. Believe the amazing verifiably authentic Word of God and examine its directives for your life. Get on the team that has already  been given the victory. He has already gone out before you.