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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Themes of Life - Poetry



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Themes of Life

The tone
The rhythm
The pace
A life story measured
in heartbeats
Proclamations of intent
Visions seen and unseen
For I am a teller of tales
and a collector of songs
Compositions for the
Themes of Life

Focused realities quietly
test the blur of dreams
But themes of life are loud
They dance with words
They shout for attention
and sing with wonder
Embracing a purer will
than their own

In the whisper of moments
you can hear their melodies
Even in the shadows of memories
you can see them
Outlasting failure's gripe
and plead for clemency
Father's verdict of truth
power the themes of life

Jay Cookingham 4-30-12 ©


"You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
2 Corinthians 3:3

wpc-button This poem has been contributed to the Warrior Poet Circle hosted by Jason Stasyszen on Connecting to Impact. Please head over there to read the other warrior poetic submissions!


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Choosing the Path – Guest Blogging



I'm honored to guest blog over at my new friend and fellow blogger Thomas Mason's site, Living the Story. I ask that you head on over to read the rest of my story and get to know Thomas through his musings. I know you'll be blessed! You can go there by clicking NOW!

Choosing the Path of Forgiveness

I know all too well the effects of Arrested Development.  I grew up in an abusive home.  My dad’s cruelty was part of everyday life.  His words spewed unkindness and his voice always carried vile threats towards me.  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.

That’s the arrested development part, and it held me as tight as any prison cell.
Read the rest here...

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Birthday Gift






It's hard work to be a good dad. It's a hard core dedicated, extreme makeover type of a adventure. I'm stretched daily, sometimes hourly and I'm never the same man I was when I woke up that particular morning. The seven talented, unique individuals that God has loaned me have forever changed the man I thought I was going to be.

I remember a line from a song Franky sang...mistakes, I made a few...I cringe when I think of them. Yet, they gave opportunity for me to become humbler, less hard in my approach...as I asked for forgiveness from my children. We spend a lot of time talking in my family and even greater time listening...probably the hardest work of all. My wife and I have invested hours in this great act of love and the dividends are rich.

Yes, my work as a Dad is hard, costly and pushes me to the limit of who I need to be for them. It's also deeply satisfying, wonderfully enjoyable and blesses me continuously. This past Monday my family celebrated my birthday with wonderful words of affirmation. My wife Christine, my kids Josh, Sarah, Matthew, Michael, Daniel, Isaac, and Becky filled cards and notes with sweet reminders of who they see me as...I was overwhelmed.

I shared these hesitantly...believe me I am not bragging about how great of a Dad I am...no, I'm still a work in progress. Remember all the hard work I mentioned, the investing? It's ALL worth it...all the time spent, all the hours listening, talking sharing, imparting...forgiving and being forgiven. I share these snippets of my life to encourage you to stay at it, stay engaged in the lives of your kids, purpose yourself into their hearts...don't ever give up.

What my Kids said...(these were posted on Facebook)

True Men are a rarity, true fathers are even more rare. Happy Birthday Dad,thank you for being both to me! - Josh

56 years ago the man I hope to be like was born. He is my hero, my greatest coach, but most importantly my Dad, I love you Dad, happy birthday!! - Matt

Happy Birthday Dad! Thanks for being the best Dad ever. - Michael

And from my Daughter Sarah...a blog post she wrote to bless me. You can read it here

"Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God." Deuteronomy 12:28

My job is not done...neither is yours... Blessings, Jay

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Monday, April 23, 2012

56, Willie and Me



Shakespeare56 William Shakespeare and I share many things in common. He wrote plays and I write play on words (see Bad Sheep). Our hair style is oddly similar considering we never met. His nickname is the Bard and I live very close to Bard College (you're getting Goosebumps, I can tell). He wrote the play Hamlet (my favorite) and my last name is CookingHAM...it's like we were separated at birth...which we were...by hundreds of years.



Oh, one last thing...we share the same birthday...today. Which leads me to my next point.

The number 56 is interesting...56 is...

  • The number of men who signed the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.
  • The number of curls in Shirley Temple hair as a child. Curls were set by her mother who thus made sure of the exact number.
  • The number of times the word "Yeah" is used by Michael Stipe from the band R.E.M. in the song "Man on the Moon".
  • The atomic number of barium.
  • The number of days for a plucked eyebrow hair to regenerate. ( I know this because of a makeup malfunction when I acted in my son's movie years ago...you'll have to ask my wife...but my eyebrows are gone)

56 is also the numbers of years that God have blessed me with on this planet. I wish all of them were ones that were wholly spent on Him but I have seen His hand in them all.

It's a big number, 56, and yet I still feel small. Not in a bad mind you, but compared to the huge plan for my life, the purpose, the cost of my Savior's blood...yeah, I feel small.

I am grateful for all 56, even the difficult ones, for they tell a powerful story. They sing a song of redemption, they recite poetry from a warrior's heart, they cry out with shouts of victory and they retell sad stories of pain and sorrow. All of which speak of life...abundant life...life the Master promised (and still offers) to give when we follow Him.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

What about you…what does your story say today?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fathers should not Trouble the land


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This is just a snippet from my book RETOOLED (see here for more), and the chapter on the power of gentleness. I felt impressed to share it after reading far too many “bad news” stories online today. The fatherlessness factor is affecting men, women, children and future generations (negatively) and we need to reverse that trend. Let’s unite our hearts in prayer and hear what our Father would want from us and let’s obey with passion and focus.

Fathers should not Trouble the land

I was reading in 1st Samuel one day and came across this scripture.

“And Jonathan said, my father has troubled the land. See, now, that my eyes became bright, for I tasted this little honey.” 1Samuel 14:29

I stopped and said…wow, that’s huge! (Father God said…uh, no kidding!) That led me to look deeper in the Scriptures to understand how fathers can trouble the land given to them, the soil of their children’s hearts. This search reminded me of the times I lost my cool and denied the “honey” that would refresh relationships. In Psalm 106 are some weak areas that can trouble the land of our families.

When a Father:

  • Forgets God
    (7) Our fathers did not understand Your wonders in Egypt; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled at the sea, even at the Red Sea.
  • ·Does not wait for counsel
    (13) They hurried and forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel
  • ·Despises God’s path
    (24) And they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His Word,
  • Serves anything else but God
    (36) And they served their idols, which were a snare to them.

In verse 7 forgetting God led to rebellion and disobedience. This turns (in verse 13) into rushing ahead and not waiting on Him, yearning for something other than God’s plan. In verse 24, God presents a pleasant land to live in and the fathers, because of a lack of faith, despise it. It’s one thing not to choose God’s plans, but despise them? All this leads to serving something else than Father God, trapping them in a deadly snare, leading to horrible choices in verse 37-38. Are you ready for this…its harsh reading!

(37) Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, (38) and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was defiled with blood.

Fathers should never trouble their land; the danger is far too great. Rather, we should cultivate it with gentleness, carefully and purposefully tilling the soil with this tool. The gentleness of God’s love has brought us back into right relationship with Him. In like manner, so should our own fathering help restore family relationships when they go astray. Gentleness fruit reminds our children who they are in Christ and their place in the family. This retooling requires a special touch, one Father God is all too happy to give us.

“We do not believe, or we forget, that the Holy Ghost came down, not in shape of a vulture, but in the form of a dove.” – Emerson

What do you think? How can we as fathers NOT trouble our land (our families)? Love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You Are Loved


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

Today…you are His. Tomorrow will be no different, the sun will rise and you will still be His. The Father’s love is reliable, powerful, penetrating, redemptive, personal and life changing. His love for you is eternal, it’s forever, it’s everlasting and it reaches through you to all the generations to come. This relational journey you’re on…it’s because He loves you. He wants you to know Him, His ways, His heart and His purposes for you. Your journey has been designed with love for you, your path has been planned with love and all your steps guided by His love for you.

Can you see it? Can you feel it? Do you remember the first time you felt it? Do you remember the last time you felt it?

Don’t wait another moment…open you heart, open your spirit and allow the God of the universe pour His love into you. This love reaches into our everydayness, into our routines, our responsibilities and distractions. It’s a reach down, pick you up, stand you upright, dust you off and set you in the right direction, expression of love. It’s a personal, directed and projected power keg of love.

Now…Can you see it? Can you feel it?

You are loved…deeply.

“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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Sunday, April 8, 2012

How Deep

Happy Resurrection Day! He is risen!
My oldest son Joshua, did this song for Easter, it is one of his favorites and one of mine as well.
I hope it blesses you as you listen!

How Deep The Father's Love For Us

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Time


Thou who didst hang upon a barren tree,
My God, for me;
Though I till now be barren, now at length
Lord, give me strength
To bring forth fruit to Thee.
- "Long Barren" by Christina Rossetti

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
- 1 Peter, 2:24

These were part of my reflections during my morning devotion and I don't think I can share anything better to drive the point home than the video below. My daughter Sarah shared this gift of hers during our service for Palm Sunday...I hope it blesses you. Have a blessed Easter Sunday...He is Risen! - Jay


Thief by Third Day

I am a thief, I am a murderer
Walking up this lonely hill
What have I done? I don't remember
No one knows just how I feel
and I know that my time is coming soon.

It's been so long. Oh, such a long time
Since I've lived with peace and rest
Now I am here, my destination
guess things work for the best
and I know that my time is coming soon

Who is this man? This man beside me
They call the King of the Jews
They don't believe that He's the Messiah
But, somehow I know it's true.
And they laugh at Him in mockery,
and beat Him till he bleeds
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
and raise Him, they raise Him up next to me

My time has come, I'm slowly fading
I deserve what I receive
Jesus when You are in Your kingdom
Could You please remember me

He looks at me still holding on
and the tears fall from His eyes
He says I tell the truth
Today, you will live with Me in paradise

and I know that my time is coming soon
and I know that my time is coming soon
And I know paradise, paradise, is coming soon

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Way of the King


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During my quiet time this morning I thought about Jesus and his prophecy fulfilling donkey ride into Jerusalem. I imagined myself in the crowd, straining to catch a glimpse of the King, hoping that he would notice me, praying he would hear my personal cry above the crowd's. If I was Jewish, I would be shouting..."Hoshana, Hoshana" a Hebrew word meaning please save or save now. It's a good word to shout.

In the still of the morning, alone in my living room, no crowds, no donkey, no dusty streets...just me and the King. My spirit is shouting...Hoshana!

He sees me
He hears me

Here is my response to His presence...

The Way of the King

Save now!
Save now!
I lay down before you
You don't walk over me
or around me
You walk over to me
Raising me
Freeing me
Saving me
For this is the way
of the King

© Jay Cookingham 4-3-12

He hears you…He sees you…and His love is a reach-down and pick you up type of love. I pray that you can know that in a deeper way today.




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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Refresher Course - Freedom



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Refresher Course – Freedom

“Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.” Albert Camus

My first two posts on my refresher course down by the Hudson River were just a taste of the time spent in solitude seeking the Father’s heart. The beauty of all that time spent with Him was…freedom

One morning I wrote this down…

To live free is to understand how Jesus lived. In all his dealings with humanity, Jesus never let success or opposition have power over him. The trappings of success and opposition share a common hook, both will try to latch on and define who we are. Jesus lived free because he remained true to he was. Nothing changed his message, his purpose, his character or his identity. He remained true and he remained free.

Putting my pen down, I thought out loud…

Man…I want that.

Father God said….

You already have it…

And He brought to my memory this verse…

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

The Father continued speaking to my heart…

Your first step is to believe IT is possible…that you can be free…because you already have been set free. With me ALL things are possible…stop believing in your doubts or fears…believe in ME.

ME: Wow…really?

Yes…you are free…live that way.

The past few weeks I have discovered more freedom than I could imagine. The absolute coolest thing has been the revelation that I still have more to experience. As I center myself in the identity of being His son I find that freedom already living inside of me.

You know…it’s the same message for you. You are a set free child of God and you don’t have to prove anything to anybody. With Him you are unstoppable, more than a conqueror and absolutely victorious. Believe the Father, he knows the person you are and the person he is making you into…a free one.