Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Truth About What Matters in the End

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV) - The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.


by Carley Cooper

Smiling Buddha

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day when I saw a photo with this quote on it:

In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” ~~Buddha

I really got to thinking about this a lot.  I started to wonder about it.  Really?  These are the things that matter?  How do we know this for certain?

Sounds Very Warm and Fuzzy, Doesn’t It?

The truth is that it’s a very relative statement.  What does real ‘love’ mean in human terms?  It will not mean the same thing to everyone.  How graceful is graceful enough?  Without these things defined there is no real meaning to Buddha’s statement.  And, who are the people who get the privilege of defining these things for the whole human race; for all time?  No matter who that would be (Buddha or otherwise) it’s not fair to everyone else to leave us out of the decision making. 

The truth about "In the end" is that only God can define true love, because God is love.  The rest of us are just striving daily to get there.  Only God has shown true gracefulness.  In the end what matters is that you:

  • love Jesus
  • love others as you love yourself

These first two points are greatest commandments that Jesus gave us.  Jesus told us “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law  and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40 (NKJV)).  We just need to look toward Jesus’ example of love.  He loves us as He loves His Father.  So must we do the same.  But, you also must love yourself like God loves you, and see yourself as His child, because without that you can not love others. 

That’s Not All.  There’s More!

What’s important in the end, though, doesn’t end there.  We must also:   

  • confess and repent of your sins and follow Him -   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  (1 John 1:9 (NKJV)In addition, Luke 13:3 (NKJV) tells us “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  To repent means to turn 180 degrees.  We have to turn away from our sinful ways and follow Jesus.
  • help spread the gospel – ‘And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”’ (Mark 16:15-16 (NKJV))
  • forgive and don't judge othersJudge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37 (NKJV))
  • show Jesus to others from within yourself, by loving others and showing them that you are His disciple - "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.'" (John 13:34-35 (NKJV))

In the End He is All that Matters

Do you have a relationship with Him today?  Do you show Him to others in  your actions, attitude, and daily life?  Do you forgive easily?  Do you judge others quickly?  Do you love your enemies as yourself?  Do you share the Good News with others, and be excited about doing it?  Are you a disciple of Jesus?  These things are so important in the end. 

So when you’re looking for that something that will fill your soul and satisfy, and you’re tempted to go in search of worldly spirituality, think about this: those chubby little Buddha statues that some people have sitting in their gardens or on a table in their home; he can’t even get himself across the room without some help.  How is he going to love you in the way you need, or save your eternal soul? 

The only one to love you truly and perfectly is God.  Our purpose on Earth is to follow God’s laws to bring Him glory.  The bottom line; in the end; after all is said and done… Jesus is what really matters because without Him we won’t get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~  Wonderful, merciful, graceful, perfect-loving Lord, so often I get lost on my journey.  I go looking for things to fill my needs and heart that are made from human-designed concepts.  Thank You for Jesus and all that He has done for me and given me.  Help me to always turn to Him for everything I need and to be my perfect example of love.  Help me to show my thanks by following Your commandments and letting Christ be seen in me by others.  Open the eyes, ears, minds, and hearts of all that I meet and let them be drawn to Jesus; because in the end, that’s all that matters.  In Jesus name, AMEN.


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Patience is a Virtue

James 5:8 (NKJV) – “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.


by Carley Cooper

This is my first blog post in a long
time.  My health has not been good, and I was not able to focus on writing.  Things are starting to look better, thanks to God and my wonderful doctors.  However, all is not great as of yet.  This could be an ongoing Bipolar Disorder problem, or it could be something else. 

Many of you have been waiting for my return to the blogosphere.  I thank you for being patient with me. 

Waiting with Your Head Under the Gate

I’ve been doing some thinking as of late about how much time we put into waiting in our lives.  We wait in long line-ups at the grocery store, for a package to come in the mail, for ‘the’ phone call from a certain someone, for a great promotion at work, and even to collect enough money in our savings to buy that special item or go on that vacation we’ve dreamed of.

Last fall our hearts went out the the Cirillo family of Hamilton, Ontario after Corporal Nathan Cirillo was gunned down buy a senseless madman in the Canadian capitol of Ottawa.  One of the many sad scenes we saw surrounding this incident was the photo of Cirillo's dogs waiting at the gate for him to return home.  My heart went out to those dogs when I saw their little noses under the gate. 

I know how deeply dogs can feel, how much they love their families, and how much emotion they can show; I’ve seen it.  I’m a pet-parent myself to a cute little shih-tzu named Maggie (who will be 2 in April 2015).  However, there are some things that animals just can’t comprehend.  I wish it was possible to help Cirillo’s dogs understand what had happened. 

Jesus IS Coming

When I saw those sad dogs, I couldn’t help but think that they are just like Christians.  As children of God, we wait, and wait for Jesus’ return.  Every generation has hoped that they would see His return in their lifetime.  One cannot help but wonder “How much longer will it be, Lord?”.  We long to be with Him, to see His face.  “What’s taking so long?”, “Where is He?” we ask.  Just like those dogs waiting for their Daddy by the gate, we wait and wait, to no avail it seems sometimes. 

As Christians, though, we know that He will be here one day.  All things come in God’s time, not ours.  However, my blog followers, Cirillo’s dogs, and Christians aren’t the only ones who wait and wait.  God is also waiting.  He’s waiting on those people He loves that have gone astray.  He’s waiting on those that don’t know Him, and who are searching for something to fill their hearts, searching for true happiness somewhere in the world.  God wants them to come home to Him. 

We have a Purpose While We Wait

We can help in the waiting time by telling others about what Jesus did for them on the cross; by spreading the gospel.  So many people in the world haven’t heard about the Messiah who came and saved the world from our sins.  Matthew 24:14 (NKJV) says “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  We must do our parts to teach the world, to get the gospel heard in all corners of the earth.  In Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) Jesus told us “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. 

Keeping busy doing this while we wait is a good thing.  Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) tells us to “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”.  The benefits of waiting patiently on the Lord are astronomical.  “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:25 (NKJV)). “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)).

So blog followers, wait no more.  Thank you again for sticking with me.  Cirillo’s dogs?  I believe that they will be reunited in Heaven one day with their Daddy.  And Jesus return?  Well, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44 (NKJV)).  It’s closer than you think! 

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Graceful, merciful, loving and patient Father: We try so hard sometimes to take your lead and be patient as we wait, but it never seems to be enough.  In the end we come out feeling drained, frustrated, angry, sad, depressed, at our wits end.  Thank You for giving us Jesus as our perfect example of how to wait and how to be patient.  Jesus accepted His fate and lived His life knowing that He was the Lamb.  Please help us to be like Him more and more every day.  Give us the the words to say to plant seeds in others as we do our parts to spread the gospel, open our eyes to to new opportunities to share, and give us the courage to do so when we need it.  In Jesus name, AMEN.


PS:  Please pray that I will be well soon.  Thank you, Carley.


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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT: Carley Cooper, Author!

This is a very exciting announcement or me!  I am now a published author.  My first book was released last month.  It is a work that I co-wrote with author, Daphne Tarango, and 8 other inspirational writers.  I am very excited about this project because it will help inspire so many who are suffering with mental illnesses. 

Let me tell you all about it:  

Title: Groove: Stories to Refresh How We Think and Feel About Our Mental Illnesses

Groove Book CoverAuthors:

Designer: Suzanne D Williams

Published:  December 1, 2014 in Paperback 

UPDATES:

  • January 12, 2015 - Groove is in the top 100 in two Amazon categories (Mood Disorders and Depression), and is on the "Hot New Releases" list
  • December 18, 2014 - Groove is now available in Kindle on Amazon
  • December 14, 2014 - Groove is now available in Kindle, and other formats (Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, Older Sony Readers, Tablets, Kindle, PDF, BeBook, Older Palm Devices, TXT, HTML) on Smashwords

Buy Groove at these fine online retailers:

 About Groove: 

You're one of the millions of people who struggle with mental illness. You struggle in silence, hoping to avoid stares, whispers, and prejudice. But society’s judgment has also become your inner voice. Guilt, shame, and low self-worth have entrenched themselves in your mind and heart like old grooves of sun-hardened soil. These false beliefs need loosening, turning, tilling, and ploughing until the old grooves give way to new grooves of God’s Truth.

In Groove: Stories to Refresh the Way We Think and Feel about Our Mental Illnesses, mental health advocate Daphne Tarango and nine inspirational writers tell how they've overturned the old grooves and false beliefs about their own mental illnesses. Groove offers encouragement and firsthand experiences from men and women who know what it’s like to have mental illness. You'll relate to their inspirational stories about relationships, coping skills, managing symptoms, career and home, life stages and milestones, even stories about their pets, the holidays, and much more.

Groove includes 52 thought-provoking stories, one for each week of the year. Each entry ends with a series of questions so you can reflect and dig deeper grooves on the topic for that week. As you read Groove, you'll learn how to build new grooves using God’s word and how those new grooves can change your life, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you carry yourself. You can even read and work through the questions with a small group.

Whether you're recently diagnosed with a mental illness or have struggled with mental illness for years, Groove can help you refresh the way you think and feel about your mental illness, all by believing and applying the Truth in God's word.