Browsing Tag


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley


I have no words. Of all the things Cheez-It could have chosen to picture in celebration of an anniversary, this celebrated drag queen is what my Cheez-it loving and innocent grandchildren will have to see if they see the “celebration” boxes. The celebration is all about the thirtieth year of reality TV–an entertainment venue that, for Christians is not celebration-worthy, in the first place.

The word “celebration” is often associated with the most base aspects of our national thinking. The celebration aspect of sin more often envelopes the people of God than the actual participation aspect. We are not drag queens, but we look the other way when members of our congregations become involved in homosexuality and/or transgenderism. We fail to really help the teens who come to us acknowledging temptation and/or asking questions about bi-sexuality or homosexuality. We attend gay weddings or excuse the support of family members who continue to post their support of sexual sin (whether in general fornication or marriages that are adulterous)  on social media. It’s not that our congregations are filled with malicious people or deceivers. It’s more often that the one who is malicious or deceptive is not approached with meekness in search of restoration. It’s that we never progress to the point of purifying the body from sin.  In short, it’s not always verses 20-31 that we violate. We usually violate verse 32 first: 

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

I’m just saying we should know His judgment and restrain from nodding acceptance to those who are the actual participants in malignity, homosexuality, backbiting, deceiving, etc….In the Lord’s church, if we fail in our practice of seeking restoration and guiding through discipline that culminates in withdrawal of fellowship when all avenues to urge and facilitate repentance have been taken, we are nodding the acceptance. We become, by default, a part of the celebration. It’s easy to become very relaxed about sin when society around us is pushing and celebrating the very things from which we have been washed (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). 

In 1 Corinthians 5, in  the very context of a discussion (command) about withdrawal of fellowship, we see a metaphor about the old covenant’s Passover feast…the celebration. The text is rich in its comparison. If we want to celebrate, as God’s people the passing over of our sins—our gift of life and salvation through His blood—we must cast out the leaven of sin. It’s not just about personal avoidance of sin. It’s about keeping the body free from the  world’s celebration of it. That’s a huge challenge in 2023. It’s an especially huge burden for shepherds.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

Let’s celebrate this way!

(And also, though those extra toasty ones are in the amazing category of snackables,  I can’t bring myself to buy Cheez-Its right now. I just can’t.)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Grown Men Crying

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good.

Yesterday I witnessed these clear passages at work. I witnessed Christians, who had prayed and wept and reached and prayed some more—I witnessed them rejoicing as a strapping brother walked down the aisle. He started his walk before the song we were singing to encourage him even began. He beat the elders to the front; the ones who were on their way down front to take the hand of any one who came forward. I watched one of those elders weeping. I heard the statement of the erring brother; clear and humble and penitent, and I watched his family in the Lord embrace him and rejoice. It was a long time coming and it was eternal in its result. 

It had been one week since the announcement had been made of his pending withdrawal of the fellowship of a congregation that loves him deeply. One week of praying and pleading with him. One week of inner turmoil and decisions to make on his part. 

Why would anyone believe that we can ignore passages to withdraw our fellowship from those who become impenitent and hardened in sin? Notice some key words in the verses above that are taken from First Corinthians five and Second Thessalonians three:

we command you

in the name of our Lord, Jesus

In the name of our Lord Jesus. 

when you are gathered with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ

for the destruction of the flesh

that the spirit may be saved

Your glorying is not good.  

How could we ever even presume to say that we are following, as congregations, His will and incurring His full blessings when generations have gone by seeing Christians walk away into sins of all kinds—living and then dying in them—while we ignore passages that begin with a command to do something in the name of the Lord Jesus?

If you are a part of a congregation that lovingly obeys this immediately hard and eternally powerful command, you are blessed in a rare and comforting way. It’s purposes, in the context of these passages, is two-fold: purity of the church and penitence-provoking in behalf of the lost one. If you are a part of such a congregation, give deep and introspective thought before leaving such a church. (I know your reasons could be many and that this is not the only important New Testament command for churches.) One day the soul in jeopardy may be your own and you want to be part of a community of Christians under faithful shepherds who are weeping and coming for you when you are walking away from holiness. You want late-night, prayerful, living-room elders who are bound to Inspiration’s path of bringing lost brethren (and sisters) back. 

True, sometimes the impenitence persists and the withdrawal is complete and the lost soul never returns. The Lord will not force a soul go to heaven. (This whole blog and my whole life would be an exercise in futility if this earth were not the testing ground for faithfulness.) But, even in cases where the purpose of a soul’s salvation is not achieved, the purpose of the purity of the church is not thwarted. 

Don’t take the blessing lightly if you have shepherds who bravely lead in discipline in a who-are-you-to judge-me world.

And if you do not have the blessing, and you are proud of the “loving environment that would never presume to call out sin”, Your glorying is not good.