"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 26, 2012

Refresher Course – My Voice

 

 

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The days I got to spend in solitude with my Messiah were so wonderful that they left me with a longing for more. (You can read part 1 here) I’m sorry that I lost all the wonderful comments on the last post but I’m glad it touched many of you.

This was a huge week for me.

I regained lost ground, I took back lost territory and I got fighting mad. I had to take down…no…destroy barriers that were keeping me from moving on…from being free. I confronted many ungodly beliefs and wrote down new Godly ones. One of them dealt with my voice, this is what I wrote to start with.

I believe nobody wants to hear what I have to say

I heard the Father ask me…

Why do you feel this way?

Because…I don’t believe in the voice you have given me

After a few moments of “silence” (my mind sure wasn’t) God said…

This is what I want you to believe now

I started writing….

My voice has weight; it has value because God has given it to me.

My voice has significance because of what God has taught me through my life experiences with Him.

I’m not to worry about how far my voice will carry (the echo factor) but I need to know it carries further than I can imagine.

Even IF nobody wants to hear my voice…God does.

I felt His delight in this and He led me to this verse in Proverbs.

“Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.” Proverbs 23:16

The Father is celebrating your voice today. He has put a powerful voice deep in you, it is the sound of love, it’s the music of heaven and the cry to a lost world to come home…to Him. Stand up to all those who try to quiet your voice, remembering all the while that the Father gave you that voice.

Speak up…Speak what is right…can’t you hear the celebration?

Blessings, Jay

 

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Refresher Course

 

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As many of you know, I took last week off to spend time in prayer and reflection. What many of you don’t know is the “why” of that decision; perhaps my journal entry from a few days before will shed some light on that. In it I wrote…

Where I’m at…

I’m agitated, disturbed.

By the lack of character I sometimes exhibit.

By decisions “half decided”.

By demands.

My wife and I took “reflection turns” during this week (she needed this as well as I did). When my turn came on Tuesday, I went to the Hudson River and on a somewhat secluded bluff I asked God this question.

Father…what’s wrong with me?

Almost instantly He answered…

Nothing…stop thinking there is something wrong with you.

That’s when my heart started to heal and these thoughts followed.

Stop thinking there is something wrong with you; this inward process produces no life. Instead, allow the Holy Spirit to reveal things that need growth and maturing. Look outward and upward on Christ…allow Him to lead the way.

After musing on this thought I felt lead to the book of Job and found this beautiful nugget.

“For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind.” Job 23:14 ESV

I needed some moving on mojo and this encounter with my Father would get that brain in my thick skull thinking right again. In my heart I held an argument against God (much like Job) and revealed my heart was (much like Yoda). Yet, I received comfort from this verse and I laid down all my arguments. God’s purpose for me will be accomplished…many are His thoughts towards me.

In the posts ahead I plan on revealing more of what God taught me during my reflection time. Today I would like to encourage you with this…

There is nothing wrong with you.

He does not make mistakes…He makes sons and daughters.

You belong to Him. He thinks highly of you…He delights in you and  many such things are in his mind.

Blessings, Jay

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'll be back...

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“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”  ― C.S. Lewis

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. Luke 6:12 ESV

Soulfari will be taking a break for a week as I seek God for direction and guidance. My mind has gotten a bit muddled and my spirit a bit stuck. During this week, my wife and I will be spending large chucks of time in solitude and reflection...together and separate from one another. Doing in the midst of still caring for our home life will be challenging for sure but I feel the tug of the Father calling us aside. So, I ask for your prayers that we will hear His voice so clearly and respond like the son and daughter He desires us to be.

Blessings, Jay

 

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life, death and life

 

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I heard the whispers as I rushed into the room.

“He looks just like her”

“Where has he been, we started awhile ago?”

“Her kids were never much good anyways”

These were the comments of relatives I hardly knew, many of which I hadn’t seen in years. It’s strange how voices seem louder in dimly lit rooms. But, they were right…I was late, I did look like her. As for the last comment, there was some truth in that as well.

I didn’t stop to offer an explanation of my tardiness, I went straight to her.

Her fight was over but her empty shell gave hints to the difficult life she lived for seventy years. Each line of her face was etched in sorrow and abuse…even in death; my mom looked like she was in pain. I had to remind myself that this wasn’t my mom lying in a casket…it was like I said…a shell.

My relatives didn’t realize that just hours before my mom’s wake, my first child was born in a hospital just a few miles away. Joshua Michael Cookingham was 8lbs, 6ozs of healing for me that day. It had been months of downhill struggle for my mom (dying of emphysema) but she tried to hang on to see her last child have his first. She did not win that battle, three days before Josh was born, she passed away.

I had left my bride and newborn son, rushed home to change and then to the funeral home, arriving after the wake had started. I mingled around the room, taking and offering condolences, making the small talk that people make when you’re strangers. I found myself wishing for family to surround me and comfort me but there were none…only relatives. After a few hours the wake was over and I headed back to the hospital to see my wife and son…my family was waiting for me.

Life, death and life…what does it mean? During one of my visits to Mom in the hospital she accepted the Lord as her savior (She can read the story here) that’s the main reason there was an empty shell in the casket…she was alive with her Messiah in Heaven. Father God did surround me with a family; He gave me my wife and seven of the most fantastic people on the planet. So today is a not so bittersweet day…I get to celebrate my son’s birthday and the new BIRTHday of my Mom together. I don’t remember her death…I remember her new life.

Happy Birthday Josh!

Happy Birthday Mom!

 

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Freedom Story

 


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If you have been around Soulfari for any length of time, you probably know my story. Yet, I felt moved by the Holy Spirit to share it in a different way today. I know it has a lot to do what happen to me this past Sunday (more on that in a day or two) and the Father’s heart towards forgiveness. Praying this will speak to you all…He is a awesome God and fantastic Father! – Blessings, Jay

I grew up in an abusive home; my father’s cruelty was part of everyday life. His words and name-calling crushed my spirit, 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.

This sick pattern continued until I was 17 and able physically to stand up to my father. The physical and sexual abuse stopped but not the verbal cruelty. Up to this point, my dad dominated my life, and he was an oppressor. His presence occupied my life with cruelty and pain. That oppression left deep wounds that inhibited my growth as a young man. It left me with a spiritual lameness and a desire for death.

I needed someone to overthrow that dictatorship and restore freedom; I needed the loving-kindness of Father God. The Heavenly Father forever changed my life. Through His kindness, He healed me and melted my cold stony heart. Unlike my dad, God was understanding, kind, and approachable. For the first time in my life I found the hope and acceptance I longed for. Father God knew I needed a heart transplant and He describes a potent one in the book of Ezekiel.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” Ezekiel 36:26

And one in the Book of Psalms

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” Psalm 51:10

The path to choose for me was forgiveness; I had to forgive my dad. To stop being a victim I needed to forgive him, it matter not that he deserved forgiveness or didn’t deserve it. What mattered to God was my freedom and healing. Freedom from the prison of wounds and the poison of abuse took one brave step, the choice to forgive. I didn’t feel like forgiving and didn’t want to forgive but Father God convinced me that was the only way to be free of the pain. When I forgave my dad, the healing of my heart began. I was no longer bound to the vile words spoken to me as a child or the wounds they caused.

I am free…but not without scars. Please watch the short video and see what I mean and please answer this question.

Do you know…really know in you core…that the Father loves you?

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Friday, March 2, 2012

The Least I Could Do - Repost

 

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I posted this way back in 2010, but since my friend Paul Grimsland (that's him, above) is in the Philippines again, I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to repost. Paul is a dear friend of mine and I admire him for many reasons...the story in this post is a huge one. Can I encourage you to consider donating to his organization, you can by going to http://www.h4cinternational.org   Thank You!
Blessings, Jay

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40

My friend Paul (see Hope4Change ad on the lower right) has traveled to the Philippines since 1990 ministering to the poorest of the poor and trying to raise awareness to their plight. I have heard many stories over the years, none more powerful than this one. I can’t tell the story the way Paul relates it but I believe you will be different after reading it…it echoes the heart of the Father. It about a little girl named “Girlie”.

On one trip to the Philippines, Paul visited an AIDS ward in one of the hospitals in Manila. When he entered the ward he saw a little girl laying on a bed in the foyer, her name was Girlie. She had aids, had been abandoned at the hospital by her family and was basically waiting to die. The staff kept her bed in the foyer they didn't have a room for her. No one ever came to visit or comfort her…she was alone.

When Paul walked into the ward, Girlie went over, stood next to him and wouldn’t leave his side. Paul asked the staff what she wanted and they told Paul that she probably wanted someone to hug her and she choose him. My friend Paul had a choice…

She was covered with open sores…

She had aids…she was dying…she needed a father’s hug.

What should he do….?

He picked her up in her arms and held her…close…open sores and all. Letting the little girl touch his face and arms and allowing the love of Christ come through his touch.

To me…that’s the whole Gospel in action. Girlie passed away a few weeks later, her story so moved Paul that he wrote a song (he’s also a talented musician)…here are the lyrics.


THE LEAST I COULD DO
Words & Music by Paul Grimsland

On a fold out bed is where you spent your time
Passing the days watching people walk on by
Each day you waited but nobody came
They told me Girlie was your name
No family or friends to show they care

My heart just breaks to see you lying there
When I first saw you I wanted to pass by
But then I looked into your eyes

(chorus)
And the least I could do was hold you for a while
Try to bring you comfort try to make you smile
Taking time and holding you was the least that I could do

I must admit I was taken by surprise
Just holding you would help me realize
To show compassion doesn’t take that much

Just a tender loving touch
I wish that I knew just what to say
To express how you changed me on that day
Then it came your time to go
So by now I guess you know

(chorus)
And the least I could do was hold you for a while
Try to bring you comfort try to make you smile
Taking time and holding you was the least that I could do

"If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself." — St. Augustine of Hippo

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