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October 26, 2017, 9:33 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...November 2017

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…

  I enjoy reading history—for-real history, historical fiction and, of course, Biblical history. Sometimes I think how all alive are making history of some kind every day. Our personal contribution on a given day, or even over a lifetime, may not be spectacular, but contribute we do.

  We often see and hear so much about people seemingly desperate to delete history for whatever personal or societal reasons they may have. That is foolish, at best. If we delete history, we cannot learn from it. All history is not “good” or painless or pleasant, but we can all learn good from it. If there were parts of history that should not have happened, we cannot change that by pretending it didn’t happen. We change it by...changing. That happens only when hearts are changed. But, we do not—cannot—change it by trying to erase the record of it or by punishing those today who had nothing to do with it. Instead, we should work together to improve the situation(s) from lessons learned.

  When I read about all that early immigrants and pioneers went through to build this nation at great sacrifice, no matter their ethnic background, I stand amazed at their perseverance through multiple hardships. When I read of the Christian leaders, missionaries and martyrs through the ages who have taken the Gospel around the world at great personal cost I sometimes wonder if what I am personally doing is “enough”—I know some days my contributions are pretty small. When I see an increasing number of random people in our nation and in our world having great disregard for the people of history and the values of history, it breaks my heart. We have not been put on earth to destroy it or its people. Instead, we have been put on this earth to nurture it and its people and to tell them of God’s great love by word and by deed. 

  Broad historical education with a sharp focus on right and wrong is necessary. Knowledge of God’s Word is mandatory. An awareness of the sacrifices and vision of those who have gone before us is motivating. Avoiding foolishness and embracing wisdom are crucial. A commitment to God’s purpose for us each, which includes personal holiness, is key. What does that say to you and to me on this very day of our own personal history???

  Marsha Cook, Director


September 20, 2017, 10:40 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…October 2017

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…

  God has a way of reminding us that He often uses the quiet obedience of His people to do amazing things. As we attended the recent 100th Anniversary celebration at Falls Creek on a Sunday night—with 6000-7000 others—we were all reminded of how that wonderful place began with just two praying men. When J.B. Rounds and W.D. Moorer knelt to pray in the Arbuckle Mountains they could have never pictured what Falls Creek would look like 100 years later and how many thousands—more likely millions—of lives would be changed around the world in one way or another because of the ripple effect of what happens at that place! There are actually more international missionaries and other ministry servants that are serving around the world who were called out while at Falls Creek than any other one place!

  Many Baptists are familiar with “World Crafts,” a worldwide craft ministry featuring handmade items by women whose lives have been changed because of this income-producing opportunity and, hopefully, because their lives are also being touched by the Gospel. Yet, that did not start out as a worldwide ministry. It began with one sweet missionary wife, Betty Butcher (yes, a beloved Oklahoman), who was serving in Thailand with her missionary doctor husband, Dr. Orby Butcher. While there, she quietly and faithfully began working with just 10 women, teaching them crafts and helping them get started. In those days, Betty never, ever realized God was helping her start a worldwide ministry!

  In God’s Word, we see page after page of faithful servants who just obeyed God with what He put in front of them to do. None of them ever knew we would exist now and still be reading about and learning from their life stories thousands of years later. Yet, we read of the “greats”—Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Ruth, Esther, Mary & Joseph, Peter, Stephen, Paul, etc, etc, etc. They weren’t trying to be “great.” They were just listening, trusting, obeying, and walking the walk of being faithful.

  Each of us know persons today who do the same, not trying to impress anyone—just faithfully serving. God sees. God knows. God has a plan to bless and multiply their obedience. Thank the Lord He turns the “ordinary” into “extraordinary” in a way that only He can! 

Marsha Cook, Director


August 24, 2017, 10:17 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…

  It may come as a surprise to some, but those who are called upon by God and by their churches to teach or preach do it best when they not only study God’s Word but learn to personally live it! I have been teaching for many years now and still find myself surprising myself. Not that I think I am perfect. No way. But the surprise comes when I find myself doing something or saying something I shouldn’t when I know that I already know better! It is not only a surprise but a disappointing sin.

  When we learn math, we learn facts like 2+2=4 and 5x20=100 and so forth. Once we learn those, the “constant” that has always existed becomes a “constant” in our personal daily dealings with math. We learn those facts and we use them faithfully all of our lives without question. However, when we deal with life’s circumstances in general, it seems that we often learn truths (facts/commands) from God’s Word and we may even accept and act like they are true for awhile...but...then we turn right around and act like they aren’t true any more because we choose to do our own thing. We would think that is silly if we did that in math. What if each of us made up our own math rules as we go along? How would we ever measure things, buy and sell things, determine speed limits, etc, if there were no consistent math “rules” among us? 

  God has not kept His perfect plan (“constant”) a secret from us. He has given and preserved His Word throughout the ages for us to have so that we don’t have to wonder how He wants us to act in life. But, how often do we set it aside and just do our own thing? Way too often, I’m afraid! I just finished going through a lengthy set of scriptures I plan to use while teaching a conference later this week and, even though I have taught these scriptures many times, they hit my own heart again. They just challenged me to not only remember when they have been evident in my life in the past but to re-evaluate how I am doing with following them now. I challenge YOU to do the same...take each and every direction you hear from God to heart...once again.

Marsha Cook, Director


July 27, 2017, 9:00 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey ...August 2017

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…

  Associational Children’s Camp at Falls Creek...Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix...vacation time visiting our daughter's family, while staying in a mission house in the desert! It's a given that we have had a super-wonderful summer, despite my long bout with bronchitis and laryngitis from desert dust and pollens! 

  But, God had a way of just dropping little vignettes of mission opportunities or life lessons into 3330 miles driven! 

  In Phoenix, we watched a building being constructed under our hotel window, showing us a perfect picture of how the body of Christ should work, each person using their gifts/talents in unified harmony.

  At the convention, we witnessed graciousness and fellowship at work in a tough business meeting or two that should be an example to us all. 

  During our vacation time, we got the chance to minister to a church without a Pastor in the association where we once had a 6-year partnership. Russell preached for them and we went to eat with some new friends!

  At one of our rest/gasoline stops, a lady sitting in her car with the door open admired my cane, mentioning how she had left home without hers. I got my "spare," which had once been my dad's, from my van and gave it to her, asking if she would let Jesus bless her. She was so blessed I wasn't sure she would ever let me go!  

  As we sat down to eat supper in an Albuquerque restaurant, another lady was in the next booth on her phone, dealing with at least one big problem in her life. She sounded lonely and at a loss of what to do. When the waiter asked if he could get her anything, she asked for prayer! What a time to be experiencing about 99.9% laryngitis! While Russell was gone to the restroom, I wrote her a note on a napkin, letting her know I couldn't talk but that she could always know that a lady who loved Jesus would be praying for her. Visibly stunned, she grabbed my hand and thanked me. When I left she was still staring at the napkin. She seemed stunned to know that God saw and heard the cry of her heart.

"Lord, help us all to keep our eyes and ears open to what You want to show us!” 

Marsha Cook, Director


June 22, 2017, 9:25 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…July 2017

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…

  Our 12th floor hotel room in downtown Phoenix while at the Southern Baptist Convention had a full window wall. Upon arrival, we were first disappointed to see our view. Yes, there were mountains way off in the distance, but our most immediate view below was a building next door under construction, complete with a huge crane.

   Saturday night and Sunday? All was quiet and we didn’t know at all what would happen around 7:00 a.m. on Monday. Then we began to hear machinery and the voices now and then of workers. Curious, we opened the curtains and were amazed to see a whole bevy of construction workers in their bright vests and helmets, already at work below us like busy bees in a hive!

  I began to snap photos and  immediately saw a life lesson unfolding beneath me: everyone had an assigned job, knew how to do their job, and they were methodically doing each job well. There was a worker operating the crane from a bucket far above my 12th story window. His job assignment just made me shudder. But, he worked that crane precisely, carefully lowering and raising needed supplies, all without harming anyone. The rest of them just as carefully worked on their personal tasks as they poured and smoothed out a huge concrete floor. Each morning and evening held new surprises of progress for us to view upon awaking or upon returning at night from the convention!

  Even that very first day, God showed me the view HE had in mind for me that week very plainly...THIS is how the church is supposed to work! Everyone has an “assigned” gift in the body of Christ. Each gift is necessary and none is more important than the other. Training, cooperation, and goal-setting to complete the task of the Great Commission together is how the job gets done. What we watched all week out our window was functioning just like a well-oiled machine, with each part being secure in its purpose to accomplish the overall plan. There was not room for pride, not room for resistance. Just smooth teamwork. Teamwork is just that...a team that works … together! 

  Church, we could learn a lot from those workmen, working in the discomfort of 100+ degrees of heat, staying with the task and cooperating with a plan and a get it done!  

  Marsha Cook, Director


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