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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

 




August 25, 2016, 12:00 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...September 2016


   The RIO OLYMPICS captured our time and attention around the world for two weeks. We saw the best of the best of athletes. We saw great sportsmanship and sometimes, not so great. We watched mostly young people stand, tears in their eyes, medals around their necks, as they listened to their national anthems while proudly facing/saluting their flags. It was refreshing to see young people who truly are patriotic—proud to represent their countries—and who display an ethic of discipline and hard work not normally seen on daily newscasts. They were “unofficial” ambassadors, representing their country’s best!

   Watching the huge variety of athletic disciplines being performed almost to perfection, it occurred to me how we, as ambassadors for Christ, should be even more disciplined, striving faithfully to represent Him well to the world. But, do we??? Undoubtedly all of the Olympic athletes experience not only disappointments in their lives or performances, but sometimes also great setbacks caused by injuries or even politics outside their control. But they seldom quit training or trying, and they always keep their eyes on the goal, no matter how demanding or expensive it gets! Otherwise, they would not be Olympians.

   How often do Christians give up or complain (even to God) or think life is not “fair” when things happen that are painful, sad, seemingly unjust, challenging, disappointing, or imperfect? Yet, we have every reason to react otherwise. Each believer is permanently indwelled by the power of the Holy Spirit, so we are not powerless. But, we often take our eyes off the goal and let life trip us up, much like a runner kicking over a hurdle. We need to get back up and stay in the race, as Paul so aptly described for us in Philippians 3:10-15 (HCSB):

10 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…12 Not that I have already reached the goal…but I make every effort to take hold of it…13 …one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15…all who are mature should think this way…

Marsha Cook

 




July 28, 2016, 12:00 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...August 2016


   This year I helped rock babies in the nursery at Vacation Bible School, allowing their mommies to work in other areas! As a child I anticipated VBS with great excitement. We had no “thematic” curriculum and décor. But, there was great excitement in the air as we all lined up outside daily in age groups, ready to march in when the pianist began to play. Leading the march were the fortunate children who were chosen to carry the American flag, the Christian flag, and a big, black Holy Bible. After filing into our pews, we reverently pledged our allegiances to each flag and the Bible, with our hands over our hearts.  We sang special patriotic songs and songs of commitment. Daily there was other music to learn and a filmstrip story of a “real live missionary” serving somewhere around the world. The Pastor shared the Gospel and children were saved. Heartfelt offerings to missions were given, with no “competition” even considered. Bible stories in our classes, crafts and Kool-Aid™ with homemade cookies rounded out the day. A favorite craft for one age group was elbow macaroni glued onto cigar boxes and spray painted gold to make treasure boxes. I often wondered where our Baptist church got all of those cigar boxes every year. Family Night, always Friday night, was almost a community event!

   At about age 12 or 13, I became the Church Pianist—thereby, the one playing the music in the opening exercise. I continued that as an adult in many churches, but also began to teach classes or direct the VBS. I have taught other teachers in VBS Clinics. I have spent my life ministering in many ways that were partially inspired by my childhood years in VBS—hearing and memorizing God’s Word, learning about missions, and having the principle of Christian patriotism ingrained into my heart and mind. Now rocking babies brings the joy of cuddling them and getting acquainted with other workers of various ages. One day I was struck with the “community of women” there in that nursery room, doing the age-old ministries of gently assisting babies and mentoring one another, woman-to-woman. May it continue on for generations to come! Deuteronomy 6:4-7

      Marsha Cook

 


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