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January 26, 2017, 12:00 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...February 2017


A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…

  Russell recently preached a sermon on the “Sanctity of Life” at one of our churches. When he mentioned the great care given to young babies outside the womb, at the same age(s) as babies in the womb are being aborted, I had a flashback to the birth of one of our granddaughters. She lived in NICU for her first week—a full-term baby among many tiny preemies. Once I watched not one, but three, very careful, compassionate adults come in and gently attach many tubes/wires to someone else's tiny baby. Many babies the (developmental) age of that tiny one were likely being aborted across the country that very hour—while she was receiving absolutely beautiful care, as a valued and wanted baby. Yes, a baby is a baby, no matter where it lives, or how old it is developmentally!

  The Sunday night after Russell preached his message, he opened up a testimony time in the evening service. It was apparent that the message had struck a chord in the hearts of the people. One older man shared how his girlfriend back in 1974 had aborted their baby without his knowledge and how that had broken his heart, filling him with sorrowful guilt for many years. I once heard another gentleman in a different church give a similar testimony. All babies, no matter how they are conceived, have both mamas and daddies. We tend to forget that caring daddies suffer a loss, too, when the baby's mama does not allow him/her to live. It is not simply a “woman's right to choose.”

  “Lord, please fill our hearts and minds with love for all babies because we love You. And give all of these children homes, whether natural or adoptive, where they will be loved and learn to love You, too.

Marsha Cook, Director

 




December 14, 2016, 8:49 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...January 2017


A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...

  What a year we have all come through! Individually, we have all had moments of joy, seasons of personal trials, and maybe even life-changing events where nothing will ever be the same again. We may have experienced great gain or loss. As a nation, we have felt much unrest, uncertainty, tension and even fear. We have done a lot of heart-searching and made challenging decisions in this land we call home!

  Here we sit…upon the precipice of the unknown, the year 2017. But, is that really different than when we wake up every morning, facing an unknown day? Each day we must trust the Lord…and He trusts US with each day! Each day is a gift, yet we never know what it will hold before bedtime. As I am writing this (for printing purposes) in not quite mid-December of 2016, we have just returned home from the funeral of a former Pastor’s wife (65), who went home to Jesus in her sleep. Later, I noticed as I was scrolling through the morning’s social media posts that three friends or family members of friends had died this morning. We just don’t know, do we?

  Yet, we often find ourselves worrying about what we are going to do next Tuesday or next Saturday or next month or next year! Why do we have trouble with trusting God for those supposedly tangible days, weeks, months or years, when we have already trusted Him completely for the unending eons of eternity??? If we can trust Him for our eternal lives, why do we sometimes struggle with trusting Him with our daily lives, hour by hour? Does that really do us any good? Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34, “…do not worry about your life…for the pagans run after all of these things…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

  Perhaps that would be the best “New Year’s Resolution” for us all…to trust Him fully, without worry, AND to be obedient, trustworthy servants to Him!!! Only His resounding question(s) to us will matter above all else in eternity: “What did you do with My gift of My Son to you? Did you accept Him or did you reject Him? Did you serve Him?”

Marsha Cook, Director

 




November 21, 2016, 12:09 PM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...December 2016


Isaiah 9

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

 

  I have been trying to think more intimately about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit lately. Sometimes I think we teachers and preachers get so caught up in teaching doctrine or the principles of Scripture that we forget to carefully teach the personhood of the Triune God of Scripture!

  If we do not teach the awesome holiness of YAHWEH, the one, true, holy God, we will not commit to living holy lives in response to His mandate: “Be ye holy because I am holy.” We will not experience the everlasting comfort, peace, and welcoming arms of His strength if we do not come to know Him as our Heavenly Father.

  If we do not teach the personhood of the true Gift of Christmas, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who left Heaven for Earth, humbling Himself as a servant, obedient unto death—only because of us, to literally save us—we will not live humble, sacrificial lives as grateful recipients of such a salvation and as selfless servants for our lifetime. We must try to better grasp Him as the God-Man, Christ Jesus, in order to serve Him and serve like Him. 

  If we do not open ourselves up to learning about the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit, we will not know how to live honoring God and treating our fellow man with the agape’ (selfless) love that is only available for our use through Him nor know our gifted purpose on Earth. We will not understand that His power is ours, as He permanently indwells us from the point of our belief in Christ onward.

Merry Christmas … As you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!May you truly have the gifts of the “peace of God” and the “God of peace!”

Marsha Cook, Director

 




October 27, 2016, 12:00 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...November 2016


   What a day and age in which we live! We live surrounded by confusion and endless talk and swirling differences of opinion. We hear in the news of how human beings are capable of treating one another in the most horrific ways. Natural disasters are happening almost faster than can be reported. Some people have no qualms about habitually lying or maybe flaunting their sins or desperately trying to cover them up. Our national focus seems to imply these issues can be solved by electing the right official(s).

   As media pundits continually analyze and discuss the latest political news, there still seems to be a remnant of moral awareness—even among those who don't appear or profess to be Christians—as they struggle to hold public figures to a slippery slope of public accountability. "Where does that moral awareness of right and wrong come from?" It literally comes from the remaining shadows of the Judeo-Christian truths, based upon knowing the one, true, holy God. That should immediately “pivot” us right back to HIM, to HIS holiness, to HIS absolutes, to HIS laws, which are pure and timeless.

   A strange dichotomy exists in our world today: the attempt to remove the Ten Commandments, for instance, from public display, and yet, many seem disappointed or even astounded when people break those very laws in their everyday living. Why? Because in a civilized nation, who can say they really want to live in a land where people murder, covet, steal, bear false witness (lie), break up marriages with unfaithfulness, and dishonor their parents? If all of those basic tenets of the faith truly disappeared, we would quickly and horribly self-destruct. Yet, that only has to do with the “laws” regarding our relationship with our fellow human beings. The first few of the Ten “laws” speak to our relationship with holy God, giving Him full allegiance and honor. As Christians, our ultimate responsibility is to honor HIM with all that we are and all that we do. Let us not lose our focus and settle for looking to mankind for all of our answers, instead of serving HIM in such a way that we will most assuredly be able to stand in HIS presence one day and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”   

   Marsha Cook, Director

 




September 22, 2016, 11:05 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...October 2016


A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…

  With the upcoming election, including the election of a new President of the United States, most Christians are asking many questions regarding the condition of our nation and our responsibility as citizens who are believers in Christ. With all of the talk about change, what does that really mean in the life of a nation? As Christians, we should know better than anyone else what it means to be changed or transformed. It should also be clear that a “nation” is not really an entity unto itself, but it is made up of individuals who live within its borders. So, it would stand to reason that a transformed nation will come about only if the individuals who make up that nation personally experience transformed lives. That brings it right down to where you and I live every day.

   In Romans 12:1-2, Paul wrote:

1Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (HCSB) 

   Christianity is a lifestyle, 24/7, NOT a man-made religion. It is not a matter of trying to “do better” Mondays-Saturdays, and showing up for a couple of hours at a church building on Sundays. As Christians, we have a personal relationship with the One and only Holy God, through the gift of salvation purchased for us by His Son, Jesus Christ! He permanently indwells us, with His full and holy character, through the residence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

   How does that transform my life? I stop living life the way I would design it. I stop making choices that don’t match up with the holiness of God. I present my life as a “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” That is how I worship Him 24/7, not just on Sundays. In my own strength? Can’t be done! Using His power and character, residing in me around the clock? That’s the only way. It takes a lifetime of choosing/learning, but there is no better day than today to start!  

         Marsha Cook, Director

 


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