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February 26, 2019, 9:00 AM

A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...March 2019


 

A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...

  Three days before Christmas a split-second decision to throw out some outdated popcorn kernels to the birds changed my life as my shoe caught and I fell across the patio. I badly injured my right hand. There were a few other scrapes but x-rays showed no broken bones! Between amazing unexpected help from a church friend and Russell, Christmas happened. I am now in physical therapy to slowly regain full use of a hand that has been wounded, swollen, bruised, stiff, and painful.
  Remember the Apostle Paul relating the parts of the body to the parts of the Body of Christ, the Church? Previous injuries or surgeries of mine have made that more real, but never has my RIGHT hand been so affected! Many life skills became klutzy or impossible. I now know the functions of the right hand are endlessly complicated (or, the opposite, if you are left-handed).
  When one part of the Body of Christ is hurt or incapacitated for physical or emotional reasons, the rest of the Body can choose to complain, criticize, assist, encourage, find ways to compromise expectations, or fill in the gap. Churches, look for the real needs when your “right hand” people are hurting or non-functioning. They need you to understand and help them, and the rest of the Body is trying to accommodate for their dysfunction.
  Watching my Physical Therapist, who specializes in hand therapy, and seeing how such a “small” thing as a fall can affect so much, even “just” a hand, I saw Paul’s life more clearly. Paul suffered multiple shipwrecks, floggings, stonings, imprisonment, tough travel routes, temporary blindness, and even the strains of being a tent maker! Yes, he had Dr. Luke nearby some, but what traumas his body endured without modern medicine and physical therapy! What a broken man he must have been physically! What life adjustments! And, yet...he kept on keeping on and shared his life lessons that are still helping the rest of us 2000 years later!
  “Thank You, Lord, for helping Paul. May we all joyfully and obediently learn our life lessons, too. Help us to love one another through them and to never stop loving You just because we hurt!”

Marsha Cook, Director

 




January 24, 2019, 10:00 AM

A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...February 2019


A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...

I just read a post yesterday from a friend whose husband was formerly a Pastor in our Association. He had the joy of baptizing their young son, the last of their children to be saved. This young mother was rejoicing that she now has the assurance all of their children will spend eternity in heaven with them! That just really struck me with a renewed force in my heart. Isn’t that something that all Christian parents and grandparents would want to be able to say?

Yet, frankly, it does not always appear to be the #1 priority in our lives. Social media, by its very nature, highlights what is important to families. We see lots of reporting and photos of the long list of what families spend their time, money, and energy upon. Children are accustomed to having their pictures taken and posted for multiple reasons.

One thing I notice with greater regularity is how many events whole families take their children to participate in on Sundays, both at home and away. Competitions or exhibitions of all kinds are taking the place of church attendance, which is bound to affect priorities of these children as they grow up. Also observed are costumes, uniforms or formal wear required/desired for various activities. Young and older children (mostly girls) wear choices that are often not very modest. Some immodest styles are also seen in some family vacation photos, especially swimwear choices.

Do all of our families’ choices of activities really contribute to children growing up to become committed Christians??? Do early clothing choices help young girls and ladies understand why modesty is important??? I trust readers will understand I am speaking from caring so much about children, not from being critical.

Can families be involved in certain activities and still be committed Christians? Yes—but within reason and within guidelines consistent with God’s Word. I used to have more than one young piano student who let me know they were on overload from their moms running them from one kind of a lesson or activity every day to another—and they just wanted time at home with their families more! To all God-centered families...

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

     Marsha Cook, Director

 




December 20, 2018, 9:00 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey…January 2019


A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...

Ahhhhh...another new year! Whatever will it hold? We all ask that annually, don’t we? We think we have a big start-over button and promise ourselves, friends, family, and God that the next 12 months will be different. We will do better, be better, accomplish more, and won’t break any more promises. We will put on a smile and start again.

I am personally facing this new year like none other. I reckon in the past 70 years I have always had almost tangible goals—to learn to talk and walk, finish first grade, elementary school, junior high, high school, two college degrees, and jobs that I knew were likely a bit temporary. More? To learn countless scores of music on the piano, keyboard or organ and play at recitals, weddings, funerals, worship services, and church musicals. To get married, have children and grandchildren, move with my husband from ministry to ministry, care for my elderly parents. To write and teach, learn to cook and serve countless meals and treats. To travel for fun and for ministry.

Then along comes my husband’s “retirement” and the curious questions and interesting comments! “What will you do? Travel?” “How exciting!” I admit those have almost caught me off guard.

What will you do? Travel?

Answers so far: Continue to preach, teach, lead conferences, write. Visit kids and grandkids more. Enjoy time together and sharing our home with others often. Explore Oklahoma and see what we have missed. Explore more of our nation. Help churches and ministries that need help, although international travel is not likely on our radar.

How exciting!

That honestly has surprised me and I have had to think that through. Can you be excited about not doing what you love to do? But, I am beginning to understand that more. No, we won’t stop doing what we love to do. We will just do it in different ways and places. That is exciting. I am learning to see it as a “blank page” turning in life and only God knows what He has written on it! That is exciting. We will continue to trust and obey, trust and adjust. As long as we follow Him, we can’t go wrong. That is exciting! As long as we are on Earth, He has a plan and a purpose for us...and that is exciting!

A BLESSED NEW YEAR TO US ALL!

     Marsha Cook, Director

 




November 19, 2018, 9:00 AM

A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...December 2018


A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...

  Well, here we are...at the end of the year, the end of an era in our personal ministry, another anniversary of marriage and ministry together, and, for me, the beginning of a new decade of life! As we look forward to a new year and a new era for us with wonder and anticipation, I cannot help but think of the most significant thing of all that each of us should be thinking about this month!
  As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we can certainly still focus on the wonder of it all, just as Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, the friends, family, strangers, and even the angels in heaven did over 2000 years ago! What a wonder it is that the Son of God would leave His home in Heaven to come live among us, experiencing life in the flesh—even in the womb—not just for “experience,” but for the simple, irrefutable fact that He loved us all that much! He came knowing He would be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He came, stayed, and conquered sin and death. For us. For you. For me. For all who would believe and receive!
  And the anticipation? For 400 years the nation of Israel had anticipated the coming of the Messiah. They were waiting for a king in all of His might and glory. As a nation, they did not recognize Him when He humbly came as a baby in a manger. They missed Him then, they missed Him on the cross, and many still miss Him today! Let us not miss HIM in our flurry to celebrate HIS birthday! He still wants to have a close, intimate heart relationship with us today!
  Lastly, in the confusing and painful news we hear on every hand today, let us not forget to anticipate His second coming, when we will be out of the presence of sin and totally in His presence and our Heavenly Father. As we anticipate daily the final experience of our salvation, which will never end, let us approach this season with overwhelming joy!
  Yes, Jesus IS the reason for the season...and well beyond! Go out and share that Good News everywhere you can, friends!


Marsha Cook, Director

 




October 25, 2018, 2:00 PM

A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...November 2018


A NUGGET FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY...

  Don’t you just “hate” to drop things or knock them off a table or counter? I do! I guess because a) either I feel klutzy or b) I have to bend over and pick it up! But, do you know what? I recently realized as I picked up yet another dropped item that I should actually be thankful when that happens! Why? Because of gravity! How often do we thank God for that? Not very often.

  Yet, without gravity, things would be flying all over the place! I even think about that as I am walking or driving down the street or highway. After all, gravity is the “glue” that keeps us stuck to this globe called the Earth! When we fall, we fall TO the Earth, where we always land, with or without injury. No one ever falls clear OFF the Earth into outer space, do they?

  Another thing I sometimes think about is a bit like pre-Columbus thinking. Remember when people thought if they sailed the oceans blue, they would eventually fall off the horizon—and it took an adventuresome Columbus to refute that perception? But, from our daily perspective, we probably mentally visualize ourselves differently than God does, because we look to the horizon! I often imagine He observes us (and our vehicles) as pins on a big pincushion, sticking out all over the place! And, yet, we never fall off!

  Why? Because God continually, consistently sustains the force of gravity that HE created! If HE quit sustaining that for even a nano-second, we—and the whole Earth—would fly apart. If HE quit sustaining whatever it is that HE created to hold all of our atoms, neutrons, protons, etc., together, we would instantly disintegrate! Not one single item or living being would survive! Even non-believers are totally dependent upon HIM for survival, whether they like it or not.

  Sooooo, this month of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for God as Creator AND Sustainer, Whom I love to read about in JOB 38-41. Join me in revisiting those chapters, rejoicing in our Lord, Who cares for us all and Who revealed Himself so powerfully to a man sitting on a literal dump heap in great misery and sorrow. Oh, yes, and be grateful for gravity each time we drop something. Instead of complaining, let’s rejoice and be thankful.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, y’all!

  Marsha Cook, Director

 


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