"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Monday, March 28, 2011

God Is…Approachable

 

maddlogo I have the awesome honor of guest posting over at Making a Difference To One hosted by my Sister-nation member Ginny. I hope you’ll head on over and leave a few insightful comments! Bless ya! Jay



Approachable - easy to meet or converse or do business with; "a friendly approachable person"

That definition did not fit my father.

I grew up in an abusive home; my father’s cruelty was part of everyday life. His words and name-calling crushed my spirit, for years the verbal abuse continued, it stunted my emotional growth and I grew callous and hard. When I turned twelve, another darker form of abuse started, my dad began sexually assaulting me. It was all I could handle, I felt ashamed, hurt and betrayed. Somehow, I began to think it all had to be my fault. I turned to drinking and drugs, trying to dull the pain and the guilt I held inside. (Read the rest here)

 

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Something Squirrelly This Way Comes

 

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It’s time for Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays over at Duane Scott’s blog and I’m doing my part to add to the…ummm…culture that Duane has started. I included a film by my son Josh…which I believe fits right in.



Squirrels and a Nut - Final Mockumentary

 

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Passion


"One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested."
— E. M. Forster

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14

Two reflections today…One, I’m feeling overwhelmed with the goodness of God and with a growing awareness of my passions. So, let my words be few and maybe you’ll share this reflection with me today. Here is a poem I wrote a few years back…

Passion

Where does passion go?
It leaves in the drip
of the mundane
The ooze of whispering
mediocrity
The allowable choices of
letting the dust settle
too often
Cooling the fire
in my blood
Echoes of such burning
fades
into a kind of blue
And dreams flicker
Like candlelight

Jay Cookingham 2005

Father,
May our zeal for you never fade and the burning desire to follow hard after you never grow cold. Stoke the passion for your presence, blow upon the flames of our heart so that we are consumed by your love. Let this be the motivation of our hearts, that we are a people called by your name, ready to obey and move in your purposes for your glory. – Amen

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Push Me, Pull Me – Faith and Hope

 

“To the best of my understanding, faith is trusting God enough to obey what He has said, and hope is having the confidence that God will do everything He has promised. One pushes you; the other pulls you.” Erwin McManus

Joshua my oldest (22) has been home from Indiana on Spring Break and it has been great having the tallest giant back in my house for a while. The weeks leading up to coming home were tough for Josh, he was struggling to make some major decisions and it was testing his faith. His relationship with Father God wasn’t where he wanted it to be and Josh was questioning his own character and his heart. He wrestled, he prayed and he repented…I believe it was his first “dark night of the soul”.

Oswald Chambers talks about this in his book, "Abandoned to God". "The mystics used to speak of 'the dark night of the soul' (or 'night season') as a time of spiritual darkness and dryness, not the direct result of sins committed, but rather a deep conviction of sin itself within the heart and mind.  It's a time the person 'is being brought to an end of himself,' and made aware of the utter worthlessness of his own nature when stripped of all religious pretensions.  Moreover, there was the willingness to abandon all for Christ's sake, to deny - not only his evil self but also his good self."

On the way home from the airport after picking him up, Josh said this to me…

“I realized just how important it was to be right before God.”

That attitude and desire drove him to make difficult, hard, but ultimately, faith strengthening decisions. His hope was that God would meet him in that dark place and bring some much needed light. The end result…he felt free. For a Dad that’s an awesome thing to witness, one of my children cementing their faith in a way that makes them free. It made me think…

That faith and hope enables us to do what is right and positions us
for God’s promise of freedom.

“And you shall do the right and good in the sight of Jehovah, so that it may be well with you, and so that you may go in and possess the good land which Jehovah swore to your fathers.” Duet. 6:18

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11: 1

How is your faith pushing you? How is hope pulling you?

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Warrior Poet Time - Lonely Lesson


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This poem is part of The Warrior Poet Circle hosted by blogger, fellow warrior poet and friend Jason at Endless Impact. Read more great poems over there!
The topic is LONELY and I based my on the following Scripture.

fatherless"God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched lad."
Psalm 68:6

Lonely Lesson

A bitter cry of solitude
A lonely lesson
Unwanted and unneeded
Yet, accepted and learned

It traveled with him
bringing an uneasy comfort
Like chasing daylight
with no hope of capture
Almost like being there

It cheated of course
and urged a shadow existence
A lonely lesson of dark corners
and mask wearing
A solitary confinement of
his own choosing

Over the call of desolation
a new song delivers family words
The pleading of loneliness
fades backwards into its
own emptiness
Daylight is here and so
is my new home

3-14-11 Jay Cookingham ©

 

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

7 Promises Podcast – Promise 1

 

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Around 20 years ago I wrote Seven Promises from Your Husband to honor my wife during our anniversary. I thought it would make a great series for a podcast, so I recorded number one yesterday. Please, (be your best friend) check it out and let me know what you think. Oh, my wife listened and gave her approval…just in case you were wondering.

Promise one: I am committed to love you as Christ loved the church and give up my life for you daily.

BTW, you can listen to this on itunes or my media page here.

 

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Bad Sheep Time – Lenten Humor 2

 

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This particular Bad Boy episode has been inspired by a close friend of mine, Dale Blue. Dale is a member of my Band of Brothers and a important part of my life. Our children and our wives share friendships, we have shared Skyline Chili, and countless other wonderful meals together. He called me up today just to tell me of a crazy pun he thought of…that I considerer a honor. Thanks Dale, I’m glad we’re friends!

bad sheep no 35

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Five Questions

 

5 "You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions." ~ Naguib Mahfouz

Just a simple five questions…nothing too tough. Would you do me the honor and answer these? I’m just a bit curious how some of you will tackle them.

Also, can I ask you to pray for me tomorrow? I’m recording another podcast Friday afternoon and the theme will be on the best gift we can give our children (besides a Godly example)…the gift? Loving their Mom the way she deserves/needs to be loved. The framework for that discussion is a piece I wrote called Seven Promises from You Husband (see here). I believe that God wants to speak to men’s heart on this one, so I covet your prayers…thank you!

Now on to the questions…

  1. If you had a motto, what would it be?
  1. What was the best compliment ever given you?
  1. How did your relationship with your dad influence the kind of parent you have been?
  1. What is the craziest thing you ever done?
  1. Who is the person you admire the most? (Not counting Jesus)

Here are my answers...

1. No matter where you go...there you are!
(Can you guess what movie this came from?)

2. You remind me of Jesus...(seriously)

3. I grew up in an abusive home...it drove me to be a better man and father.

4. Drove through a carwash...with the window down.

5. My wife...she's the greatest!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pilgrim’s Passage – Poetry for Lent

 

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"Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God." ~Thomas a Kempis


Pilgrim’s Passage

I go without
To go within
The passage, a pace of mysteries
First a sacred bow
Leads to a sacred now
A pilgrim focused on discovery
On Knowing

I find an undiscovered place
A dwelling that fits the pilgrim in me
Here, with Him, My God
Is the beginning of many such journeys
Set free, not to settle, no
For how would that suit a pilgrim?
Set free to remain in His love

Jay Cookingham 3/9/11 ©
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bad Sheep Time – Lenten Humor

 

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It’s time for the Bad Boys of Wool and their particular sense of humor…Bless ya all! – Jay

 

bad sheep no. 34

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Birthday Musings


josh 2010 copy[4] “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.” Psalm127:3

It was a cold, windy but sunny day 22 years ago, when 8 lbs 6oz changed my life forever. Joshua’s birth made me a dad for the first time (6 more wonderful people would follow) and started me on a journey to become a better man. His birth marked a change of direction for me and I believe he was chosen for that task. God used Josh to teach me many things, like patience, faithfulness and trust. The most important thing he used our relationship for was teaching me more about love, how to give and how to receive…love.

His birthday is also significant for another reason. After his birth, I left the hospital to prepare for another event…my mom’s wake. She had been in the hospital for weeks leading up to the birth; she tried to hang on to see my first born, but passed away 3 days prior. It was a strange day, going to hospital to funeral home and back to the hospital later that night. I was happy-sad if you know what I mean. The good news is that my mom accepted Christ in her hospital room just a few days before she passed away. So, in a way, I was celebrating two birth-days.

Josh’s connection to this is one of hope, yes I know he didn’t choose that connection but God did. Josh, like his siblings, is the great reward of my life. They are the trophy for a job well done and a testament to what God is doing inside of me.

Josh is a man now, one I’m very proud of. We are friends and brothers as well as father and son. We share a special relationship that causes me to rejoice and thank God for. The song that I have included speaks of that relationship and the hope for more.

Happy Birthday Josh…I love you! Dad

"You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. If you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes." - Walter Schirra Sr.


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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Grace, A Sunday Reflection

 

Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace. – Jerry Bridges

Stayed home from church this morning, complements of a bad sinus headache, but it did allow me a moment of pause from what has been a very busy week. I decide to crack open a new journal (a gift from a Christmas or two ago) my Bible and jumpstart a discipline that I have gotten away from.

The discipline is this…I like to ask Father God for a word (or phrase) for the day and then pray and see where He leads. It’s a terrific way to spend time with Him and helps me focus on what is on His heart instead of mine. I also wanting to get back to writing in a journal, something I have stopped doing. This blog has taken the place of that and that has been good, both in sharing and receiving. However, there are thoughts and feelings that require a private place to reside, a place where it is only between Father and I. (Does that make sense?) There will be times the Father will give permission to share from those pages…today is one of those moments. I pray that these simple reflections will bless you today.

Grace…

Grace is fluid, a dance of mercy, a song of favor…a gift of redemption.

“and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

The Greek word for redemption describes the price paid for a prisoner of war…the price is paid and they are set free. We are all former POWs.

Grace is liberating, grace ransoms us.

Grace is how God greets us and meets us…it release worship in us. It is God’s breath of Grace in us.

“through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

“By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”
- The Message Bible

Father,
I thank you for grace, I know it’s a gift, something I did not or could not earn. I love the way it frees me to be more yours. I love how it changes me and invites me into your presence. Help me to walk in your grace and give it freely towards others. Amen

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Slow Rain of Promise

 

The Slow Rain of Promise

I roam a wasteland of desires
Seeking to plant heaven seeds
The dry and dust everywhere

A fresh breeze of Spirit choosing
disturbs my parch with hope

Bitter crust surrenders its hold
Fertile soil reveals its depth as
The slow rain of promise falls

Jay Cookingham © 3-5-11

“You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. (10) Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor. Psalm 68: 9-10

You may be in a very dry place today, your dream may seem like a waste of time and not worth pursuing. The place where God is leading, feels foreign and desolate and leaving you to think that there is no hope.

That is not the truth. Can I remind you that you are spoken for?

“You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be YOUR GOD” Ezekiel 36:28

You are hand picked, selected, preferred and claimed…the purpose inside of you has been designed and packaged by God. Trust in what the Father has spoken into you.

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you”
John 15:16

 


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Friday, March 4, 2011

The Over/Under



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An over-under or over/under bet is where people wager that the actual number in the game will be either higher or lower than a score posted by some “legal” gambling institution. However, that is not what I’m talking about. I’m thinking today about the over/under of the Father’s authority…and here is what I mean.

I believe coming under God’s authority is a gamble worth taking, and we are a guaranteed winner when we do. God’s desire for us is to “get over” our shortcomings, our struggles, our “selves”, and all the things that hold us down. We also need to get over to where we need to be…closer to Him.

God does not want to be our boss…He wants a close
relationship based on love

Authority is not meant to drive us away from him. “Under” is a safe place, a protective place that keeps us. Yet, it’s more than being out of harm’s way, it’s being IN the place that we can operate in all His purposes for us. You begin to care less about personal gain and more about how your journey with God affects the world around you. A person under authority travels with a lot less “what about me?” moments.

Obedience…driven by deep relationship is true submission.

“Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” 1 John 3:2

How’s your over/under today?

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy


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My friend Duane Scott is having a poetry contest…not just ANY poetry contest.

It seems his favorite snack is the orange dusted Styrofoam know as Cheetos!
So here’s my entry…and the rest you can read here or by clicking on the bag of  Cheetos!


 cheetosbckgrd

It Ain't East Being Cheesy

No, It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy
When you've eaten Cheetos
until you're queasy
When your fingers tarnish
with a orange hue
Stick to your Coke can
like ninja glue
So remember this my cheesy friend
named Duane
Choosing between crunchy and puff
can be a real pain.

Jay Cookingham 3-3-11

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Death Grip

 


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"Not everyone is meant to make a difference. But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option." Peter Parker-Spiderman

"For God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:20

If I was a superhero, my name would be “Death Grip”…yes; I’m bad (but in a good way). For such a small guy, I have this unique power and it has to do with my hands.

They’re not large but I do have a death grip…I can grab hold of something and my grip is nearly impossible to pry off. This is extremely useful when I’m wrestling with my sons (most of which are now larger than I). I can get them in a bear hug and immobilize them before they can really hurt me…Muwhahaha! It’s quite a display of strength if you ask me…you were going to ask me weren’t you?

Unfortunately this power manifests itself in non-physical manner as well (Don’t all supes have a weakness?). That same amazing gripping power holds on to something I wish it didn’t…my “self”! The bulldog like grip wraps itself tightly around my selfish desires, motives and plans…it is ALMOST impossible to remove.

The power needed to break that hold is from the Messiah, the power of Agape Love. Jesus has the ability to convict, convert and correct…that’s the Kryptonite to my superpower. Believe me, I’m glad to be stripped of that power, it frees me to use a much more potent superpower…the Love of Christ. His power transforms this mild-mannered 55 year-old into someone He can use. My hands don’t glow and spark (I wish they did) but I am able to love the way He does…I’ll take that new grip on my life any day!

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

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Because you Need to Know


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“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” C.S. Lewis

“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” John 15:16

I like the word chosen, don’t you? It means handpicked, selected, preferred and claimed by someone. For us, that someone is God and chosen by God is a good thing. A chosen one can clearly see the relational status they have with God. It’s a humble position because we also see that we did not, could not make it happen on our own. We didn’t choose…He did! Fruit grows and remains (or endures) because of love we gain from understanding our Father’s heart. Walking closely with the Father will do that for a chosen person.

You need to know…you’re chosen and you are loved.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” 1 John 4:16


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