The Truth About Following Rules

Romans 13:1 ESV ~~ Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.


by Carley CooperClick to download this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whether or not we like it, our society has rules that we must follow.  There are the laws of our city, county, country, and the world.  We have to follow certain rules at work.  God’s Word has laws on how we are to live our life.  Even our own household generally has rules.  There’s no getting away from it.  If we don’t follow those rules there are consequences that will result. 

Results of Breaking the Rules

If we shop lift, we will get charged, and maybe even go to jail.  If we betray someone we will damage a relationship.  If we don’t follow policies at work, we could lose our job.  If we don’t keep our home clean, we will put the health of ourselves and our family in jeopardy; not to mention it will be uncomfortable for everyone. 

Rules, laws, guidelines, and policies are put in place for our own good.  They keep us within safe and appropriate boundaries, which keeps us healthy, happy, close to God, and hopefully, civilized.  If we break God’s laws we are risking our salvation, if we don’t ask Jesus for forgiveness and repent. 

Laws Cannot Be Avoided

So with all that being said, I’ve wondered lately why so many think they can avoid following God’s laws, and then blame God for the consequences, or accuse Him of not being there when He was needed.  The other day I read a Facebook post by someone who was talking about something terrible that happened in their life. 

One of the comments that was left was by a person who wasn’t a believer in God.  The reply said “So where’s God now?” 

I have to say that when I read this, it really ruffled my feathers.  This person was accusing God of not being there because someone else went through a terrible trauma.  I’m not sure where the logic is in that kind of thinking.  Why do people think they can avoid living by God’s rules and not suffer the consequences?  Whether we like it or not, we are living on this Earth under God’s laws.  We live a sinful life, which means we haven’t followed God’s laws.  Therefore trials and trauma’s will happen in our life.  It’s of our own doing.  It’s not because God wasn’t there.  Break a rule, suffer the consequences.  That in itself is a law of God and nature. 

Romans 13:1-7 ESV says "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience."

Obedience has a Real & Beneficial Purpose

Life will go so much smoother, and we will be so much happier if we would just be obedient; not to mention the salvation we gain.  If you’re not a believer, why don’t you give it a try and see what happens.  I promise, if you follow God’s laws, you will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. 

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ You are so wonderful and awesome.  You are perfect, yet because of our sin, the world You created is not prefect.  But, You know how to fix it by making laws for us to follow.  We are blessed because of this.  So often we forget this, and try to live or lives by making our own rules, as if they could possibly be better than Yours.  Thank You that You are so forgiving.  Thank You for giving Your Son, Jesus, to save us from our own sins.  Please help me to always follow the laws of Your Word and the authorities You have set in place in everything I do.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on FacebookCarley Cooper on Twitter

Problem Solving 101

Matthew 6:33 ESV ~~ But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


by Carley CooperClick to download this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How many times have you had a problem and tried to solve it only to be disappointed?  What kinds of things did you try as a solution?  Did you turn to friends for advice?  Or, maybe you went to a family member, a doctor, or other authority. 

Giving Advice

A friend came to me for advice on a problem.  He told me all about it, and when he was done I didn’t have a solution for him.  I wasn’t sure what advice to give. 

So I said "The only thing I know to do is pray about it".

Afterward it hit me; why is it that praying was a last resort?   So often the first thing we do, now-a-days, is to turn to the internet.  We research it until we’re blue in the face, or post it on Facebook looking for opinions, and even then we don’t come up with an acceptable solution. 

Put God First

God’s Word says that we should put Him before everything.  He should be the very first one that we turn to for anything.  Every situation we face, good or bad, should be run by God first for His input. 

I saw a quote a little while ago that said “Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place” (Author unknown).

Every problem we have, God can use it for our own good, and His glory.  There is nothing that He can’t turn around.  The enemy isn’t strong enough to get a hold on us if we don’t let him.  But we have to use God’s help.  To get that help we need to look to Jesus, talk to Him, and most of all, listen to Him.  It should be our first instinct in every thing we do. 

God Will Take Care of You

We should be so comfortable turning to Him, and knowing that He will take care of our every need that we don’t worry about anything.  Matthew 6:31-33 ESV says “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”.

Why don’t you try praying first next time, instead of last.  I will certainly be trying to do that with each and every problem I have.  It will also be the first advice that I give a friend in need, instead of the last.  God loves us, each and every one.  He won’t let us go in want of anything that is a need. 

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Loving, graceful, merciful, and ever-faithful Lord; thank You so much for taking care of my every need.  Forgive me for not turning to You first instead of last with so many problems.  Please help me to turn to You first, and to hear Your voice clearly so that Your will is done always.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on FacebookCarley Cooper on Twitter

Listen to the Doctor!

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) says “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


by Carley CooperClick to download this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About two years ago I had my worst Bipolar episode.  It lasted for six months, and I honestly didn’t think I was going to survive it.  My life was totally out of control.  It’s a typical trait that Bipolar Disorder patients have a hard time making and maintaining relationships.  I said things during this time to, and about, people that have damaged relationships beyond repair. 

Many other behaviour problems are also typical; like quitting medications and refusing to listen to the doctor.  During this bad stretch, I did this many times.  I changed meds so many times that I lost count.  Most of those times was because I quit taking what the doctor had prescribed for me before giving it a real chance to know if it was going to work or not.  At the time, I really thought I knew best.  I judged according to how I felt at the time to know if I wanted to quit the current medication.  I thought I was being pro-active and taking control of my own health issues. 

I Thought I Knew Best

However, things got so bad for me that I could no longer make my own decisions.  I was in the doctors office one day when I told him that I couldn’t do this on my own anymore.  I finally figured out that I could no longer trust my own opinions when it came to medications and other treatments. 

The doctor asked me “Do you want me to take control?  Will you finally listen to me?”

“Yes” I said.

I came to this point because I felt backed into a corner and I had no choice but to hand over control.  I didn't really do it willingly.  Since then, I’ve followed my treatment plans exactly as prescribed.  I don’t miss appointments.  I don’t quit or skip taking my medications.  I’m following the advice of the one who is trained and has the experience it takes to know what’s best.  As a result, my life and my health has been stable.  I’m able to function well, and I’m even beginning to be productive again.  So much that I’m going to be starting my own small business soon.  I wasn’t able to do that before.  People around me have mentioned how much I have changed.  My whole world and my mind has slowed down to a “normal” pace.  Life is good.  My heart and mind can even hear God’s voice so much better now.

Controlling Your Own is a Facade

I realized the other day, that our relationship with God often starts out the same way as my relationship with my doctor.  I lived a sinful life that didn’t include Jesus.  I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and I believed I was happy.  I thought I was living well, and in control.  I didn’t see anything wrong with how I lived, and the things I did. 

However, my life eventually spiralled out of control.  It got to the point that I remember one day being at home in my apartment, and screaming, through my tears, at the top of my lungs at God.

“What do you want from me?” I yelled.  “Please take this from me.  I can’t do it any more.”

From that moment my life started to change.  I started to change.  Granted, just like with the doctor, I didn’t give up control easily.  I felt that I was backed into a corner and I didn’t have a choice.  I still didn’t see what was wrong with me.  To truly repent of your sins means you have to give up your own selfish needs and desires.  I didn’t truly understand what this meant.  I couldn’t see why I had to change.  There was nothing wrong with me that couldn’t be fixed by changing other people, circumstances, or the world. 

The Doctor Knows Best

Slowly, as God led me, I changed.  My life changed.  I developed a relationship with Him.  Now, I’m not sure what it was I wanted to hold on to so badly.  When I let the doctor take control of my health, things improved.  When I let God take control of my life, things got better.  Why did my stubborn mind and heart have to try to hold on to control and my own way of doing things for so long?  Truthfully, I’m not sure.  But I’m so glad that I let the Greatest Physician, the God who created the universe, take control of my life.  Who’s in control of your life?

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Your love is so great and merciful that we cannot truly understand it.  Thank You for such amazing and never ending love.  Please take control of my life and lead me.  I want to follow no one but You.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on FacebookCarley Cooper on Twitter

A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor’s Story

image

BOOK TITLE

A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor’s Story

AUTHOR

Patricia E. Day

MY REVIEW

by Carley Cooper

A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor’s Story is about a woman struggling throughout her life to get past a childhood of living in an abusive home with an alcoholic father.  I fell in love with Eleanor almost instantly because right from the beginning I could relate to so much of what she felt and struggled with. 

The story takes us through how damaging childhood abuse can be even well into adulthood.  Eleanor found it difficult to make friends or have healthy relationships.  Her psyche was so badly hurt that she didn’t really know right from wrong, or have a true concept of boundaries between people.  Her ability to trust was destroyed and she wanted to run to protect herself when people got to close.  She believed that she wasn’t good enough.  She always felt like an outsider, and very inadequate in most of her relationships; and would lash out if she felt she wasn’t being treated fairly.  She had an intense need to stay hidden from the world in darkness where no one could see her.  Other people saw her as being anti-social, when inside she was longing to step out and be a part of events and relationships around her.  She was reserved and ‘on-guard’ all the time. 

Later in her life, she re-committed herself to God.  As she got close to Him, she started to heal, and began to give her pain to Him.  She started to like the new woman she was becoming instead of wondering who she was.  Even the people around her began to notice the growth and maturity within her as she let go of all the pain that she carried for so long. 

She realized the bible is the manual for a good and happy life.  It helped her emotional problems come to the surface where they could be dealt with and healed.  She was also very much aware that she still had more healing left to do.  She learned to walk in a new direction with the help of new people that God brought into her life.  She found an inner peace that she knew came from God and being obedient to Him.

"Until that point of welcoming Jesus into her life, her self-respect and confidence levels were practically non-existent.  God heard her cries and He sent angels, in the form of friends, to help her move from being bewildered, to being amazed  It was in that state that she began to grow spiritually and emotionally." ~pg. 184

She learned to turn to Him when she needed support, ask for His help, and trust His judgement.  If only she knew years sooner. As she looked back, she could see that He had been with her, her entire life. 

Even though my own abuse story is much different than Eleanor’s, so much of her story is my story.  Therefore I know that so much of her story is that of other abuse survivors as well.  A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor’s Story is a book that will let survivors know they are not alone, and those who want to understand what it is like living in that world will indeed get a good look inside.  This in turn will help heal hearts, mend relationships, and dismantle some stigma around the issue of abuse. 

Starts Strip 5-stars

My Over-all Rating

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patricia E. Day

Patricia loves spending time with family and friends.  Past-times include gardening, reading, photography, walking and listening to good music.

She is married to an awesome Christian man, who has shown her that true love is enduring, kind, forgiving and supportive. She is a mother to two wonderful sons, of whom she is extremely proud, as well, step-Mom to a pretty neat son and daughter.  They have all blessed her with the incredible title of Nana or Nana Pat, ten times.

Her devotionals and other ramblings can be seen at: http://patriciaeday.wordpress.com

She also contributes to Under the Cover of Prayer devotionals
Guest blog on http://www.febc.org. and http://www.presbycan.org

Ebook version of of A Stolen Childhood - Eleanor's Story is available at: 
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/308936
http://www.amazon.com/STOLEN-CHILDHOOD-Eleanors-Story-ebook/dp/B00CHQI39U
Print Edition available.  $20.  Shipping extra.

Patricia always appreciates your comments.  So feel free to give her your opinions or any prayer requests.  Of course, it goes without saying that your review would be appreciated, after you read my book. 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

WM:  What inspired you to write A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor's Story?

PED:  Friends told me ‘I could do it’.  They enjoyed my devotionals and said I needed to share more.

WM:  Is there any part of A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor's Story that is based on our own life (that you're comfortable sharing)?

PED:  The children and grandchildren are based on my own.  My children have always believed in my ability to be more, to do more.  Their inclusion is my tribute to each of them, so they know how very important they are to me.

WM:  What was your favourite part of A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor's Story?

PED:  The end.  Oh, not because it was finished – although it was a huge relief; but because the end evolved into a lead-in to the story of character, Priscilla – for another book.  It happened quite unexpectedly, and so I know it is for a purpose. 

WM:  What was the hardest part to write in A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor's Story?

PED:  The beginning.  What to write.  How to begin.  It was easy to be encouraged to write, and I appreciated everyone who told me to get started……..but word for word – day by day, year after year, I thought I would never accomplish it.  A contest gave me the kick start needed.  NANOWRIMO 2011 catapulted me into writing with the challenge to write 50,000 words in one month.  I committed to it, not truly believing I would reach that goal, but I did.  In fact I wrote over 52,000 words and got a certificate of achievement.  I have to thank my friend and mentor, author – Brenda Wood (http://heartfeltdevotionals.com) for daring me to do it.  

WM:  Is there anything you wish was different about A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor's Story?

PED:  Not really.  It is proof that I could do more than I had believed I could do. 

WM:  Do you have any favourite authors or favourite books?  What is it that really strikes you about their work?

PED:  I read a lot.  Books by many authors and of various genres.  My greatest respect is for the writers who have not yet receive world-acclaim.  They have bravely gone where others have not dared to go.  Writing from their hearts, reaching out with their talents, despite the critics and their own self-doubt.

WM:  Tell us your latest news?

PED:  I continue to write.  I have a children’s book in the development stage, I submit devotionals, as well as update my blog, and am working on my second full-length book.  I am learning the art of being bold.  This is hard for a private person, but marketing a book calls for audacious behavior.  I still have a long way to go.

WM:  What book(s) are you reading now?

PED:  1.  My guide:How to write a novel by Rebecca Richmond and Claire Pickering.

         2.  25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband by Jennifer Flanders.

         I feel there is always more to learn about anything, no matter what your age or status.  It keeps life work living and current. 

WM:  Did you learn anything from writing A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor's Story and what was it?

PED:  Reaching out for help is easier said than done.  While I write about it, I understand it is difficult to take that first step.  It brings into the light of day that you have a need you cannot handle alone.  It is often something you would prefer to keep under wraps, but if your health is suffering and you do not feel safe, you absolutely need to seek help.

Once done, I have heard time and again, ‘If only I had done it sooner.  I could have saved myself, and loved ones, so much anguish.’

WM:  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

PED:  If you have someone in your life, who is holding you back; hurting you or destroying your hopes and dreams – get professional help.  Numerous agencies are established to give support.  No cost.  No judgement.  What you will find is a caring ear and another human being who understands your fear, and access to resources the general public is not aware of.

WM:  Where can people buy A Stolen Childhood: Eleanor's Story?

PED:  The author.  Me.  Cost $20 plus shipping, but if ordered through referral from www.BreakingTheWindow.com you pay $15 plus shipping.

Contact me: pattersday@gmail.com

Are You Searching for God too?

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) says “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


by Carley CooperClick to download this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was chatting, the other day, with a lady at church.  She was telling me a story about how she went to visit the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada).  She went to see the exhibition called The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China's Emperors.  She said it’s a fascinating display.  Maybe her reaction to it came from the fact that she is a Christian, but she came away from it being amazed at how obvious it is that mankind has always been searching for God.

Oh Lord, Where are You?

Later, I have to say the more I thought about her comments, the more I realized how right she is.  Mankind was separated from God with the first sin by Adam, and we’ve been lost and searching for Him ever since.  We were never meant to live away from God.  We were made to exist with Him to love and be loved.  Life just isn’t going to function properly without that relationship. 

You Can Find Him

Thankfully, because of the sacrifice Christ did for us on the cross, that separation is temporary.  We are able to have that missing relationship with Him after all.  The problem lies with the fact that even though God assures us that He’s with us all the time, we haven’t stopped searching because we are not with Him physically anymore like Adam and Eve were in the garden. 

We need to ask God to help us realize that He is indeed with us.  He will never leave us and He will never change.  The fact is that it’s not God who is doing the withdrawing.  It is us.  We are trying to run our own lives under the mistaken idea that God is not there anymore.  We wander through the long winding roads and paths of life that are leading us on an unnecessary journey through valleys and over mountains.  We are trusting our own feelings and emotions when we should be looking to God for guidance. 

Lay It At the Foot of the Cross

So what do we do to get closer to God?  We have to spend more time communicating with Him through prayer and time studying His Word.  A true relationship with Jesus is vital.  We have to lay our burdens at the foot of the cross.  As we grow closer to Jesus, our relationship with Him will grow stronger, our faith will grow, and we will rejoice in His awesome grace and mercy.  The closer you get to Him, the more He will indeed reveal Himself to you. 

Why don’t you talk to Him today.  Get out your Bible and read just one chapter every day.  It will help you a great deal, I assure you.  Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) says “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Here’s a Psalm that I often read when I’m feeling far from God.  I’m sure it will help you too.

Psalm 139 (NIV)

1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Wonderful, loving Father, even though it’s hard for us to see sometimes You are always there with us.  You know us better than we know ourselves.  You know what’s best for us.  Thank You for never leaving me or giving up on me.  Please help me see myself the way you see me.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on Facebook Carley Cooper on Twitter

Who am I?

by Carley CooperClick to download this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Since I started going to the church I attend 4.5 yeas ago, I have learned, for the first time, exactly who I am.  Since then I have come to understand that I am royalty.  I am a daughter of the King; a child of the living God who created the universe.  See, according to God's Word, I am:

    What about you?  Do you know for sure who you are?

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Wonderful, loving Father, even though it’s hard for us to see sometimes You created us to be Your royal children.  Please help me see myself the way you see me.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on Facebook Carley Cooper on Twitter

What My Dog’s Surgery Taught Me About God!

1 Corinthians 7:17 (MSG) ~~ And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.


by Carley Cooper1073060_10153021533870262_950206167_o

My dog had surgery this week, and it helped me re-learn an important message about faith. 

I have a shih-tzu dog named Maggie.  She will have her first birthday on April 6th.  I already have a special gift bought for the occasion.  She is my baby. 

Maggie went to the Ontario SPCA here in Barrie this week to be spayed and to have a microchip inserted in the scruff of her neck.  (Side note: I went there because they have a low-cost spay/neuter program, that costs much less than going to my regular vet to have the surgery done – check it out with your local SPCA). 

Panic Set In

I was being a responsible pet-parent I thought.  Later it occurred to me just what I had done.  I left her with complete strangers… to allow them to do major surgery on her no less!  Not only that but I paid them to do it!  I trusted they would take care of her, that they would not hurt her, and that they knew what they were doing. 

“Am I crazy or something?”, was my initial thought.  What if she didn’t come out OK?  What if they did something to hurt her (accidentally or on purpose).  What if she didn’t survive the surgery?  

God Defines Your Life

Well, Maggie survived the surgery.  And, amazingly enough, so did I!  She’s stuck wearing this cone shaped collar around her head for the next seven to ten days, which I’m not sure is harder on her or me.  But we will both survive it, I’m sure. 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have no reason not to trust these wonderful people at the SPCA.  I know, realistically, that they would never intentionally hurt my Maggie any more than I would.  It hit me later that so often I don’t trust God as much as I trust some people.  Sometimes, I don't have enough faith in God to take care of me and my needs.  Why is that?

I look to other people every day for so many things.  I take medications daily for Bipolar Disorder.  I never question if they’re truly OK for me or not.  I trust my parents to drive me places I need to go.  I trust my church family to support me through hard times, and help me on my spiritual walk toward God.  I trust our pastors to preach biblically-sound messages.  I trust other people to grow, prepare, and package the food I eat every day.  The list can go on and on with the things that I have to depend on other people to do for me to make my life better.  Yet, there are things that I want to trust God for, but so often I wonder if it’s really in His plan for me.  What if I never get married again?  Should I leave it in His hands or not?  Maybe I should just go out and find a man on my own.  Why do I have to go through this when others don’t?

I think about this a lot.  Then, the other day, I saw this bible verse.  1 Corinthians 7:17 (MSG) ~~ And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches

God is in Control

The truth is, God tries all the time to make sure I know this.  At least a few times per week, I see this message somewhere; “Don’t worry.  I’m saving you for someone special.”  Just the same way that I take care of Maggie because I love her, God will take care of me because He loves me.  If Maggie could talk, would she have chosen to go ahead with the surgery?  Probably not.  I chose for her, because it’s what’s best for her.  She will have a healthier life because of it.  Plus, if she gets lost, the microchip will help me find her again.  I am where I am at this moment in time because God wants me to be here.  Whatever my future holds depends on it.  Everything that happens in my life is under God’s control.  He has only my best interests at heart.

Joel Osteen said “You may not be where you want to be, but you can look back and thank God you’re not where you used to be.”

Can I trust God with my future, and what’s best for me?  Absolutely! 

I saw this photo on Facebook the other day.  I think it’s something we would all do well to keep in mind.  

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Wonderful, loving, ever-faithful Father so often I want to go off on my own and take control of my own life.  Please forgive me for the lack of faith.  Thank You for never giving up on me and the lesson’s You need me to learn.  Help me to always remember that You are in control always, and that You only have my best interests at heart.  I know whatever my future holds, will contain blessings beyond anything my imagination can come up with.  Thank You for those blessings.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on Facebook Carley Cooper on Twitter

International Day of Happiness?

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (ESV) ~~ I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.


by Carley CooperClick to download this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, March 20th, is International Day of Happiness.  It’s also the first day of spring.  Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a connection there? 

The whole idea of a holiday about happiness really started me thinking ‘why do we need this day?’

What is International Day of Happiness

Wikipedia says about this day that It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012.  It goes on to say “The General Assembly,[…] Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal,[…] Recognizing also the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples, Decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness, Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities[…]

It seems that we are in need of a day to remind us that we should be happy.  Is this really necessary; to have a holiday for this purpose?  But then, the same could be asked for any day of celebration.  Do we need Thanksgiving Day to remind us to be thankful; like it’s the only day of the year we need to do so?  Do we need Christmas to remind us to celebrate Jesus, and to be kind and loving to our fellow human beings? 

The more I read on Wikipedia about International Day of Happiness, the more my mind started to wonder where have we wandered in today’s society?  There are actually organizations and institutions who’s purpose is to help people in their pursuit of happiness.  One gives free seminars to help people increase their happiness.  Another provides an online portal for people to share their ideas and plans on how to celebrate this new holiday about happiness.  There’s even one organization that provides access to a science-based happiness planner.  Planner?  Really?  We need to pre-plan to be happy?  Finally, another institution provides a free workbook to individuals to help them in their pursuit of happiness.  

There’s Only One Way to True & Lasting Happiness

The one thing I noticed in all this research was that not one of them mentioned God.  In all our search for that never-ending blissful feeling, no one remembered God.  We look to science, other people, institutions, holidays, material things, money, and even our pets to make us happy.  When the truth is that following God’s instruction for our lives is the only path to true and lasting happiness. 

Paul’s secret to happiness is this “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” ~~Colossians 3:12-17 (NKJV)

If we expect to be happy we have to treat others with love and forgiveness as God treats us.  And, we have to do this with a true heart; in all we do, say, and think.  We are entering into a new season and the earth will be transformed once again into something beautiful and fresh.  Why don’t we enter into a new and fresh attitude of keeping God at the center focus of our lives.  That’s when true and lasting happiness will happen. 

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Wonderful, loving Father; so often we turn to worldly things and people in search of happiness and peace.  Thank You that Your love is perfect and true.  Help me to remember this always, and to look only to You for that happiness.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on Facebook Carley Cooper on Twitter

God’s Promises: About Serving Him

Colossians 3:23 (NIV) says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”


by Carley Cooper  Click to download this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This winter has been long and very cold here in Canada.  Even though we are the land known as “The Great White North”, many will agree that we’ve had way more than our fair share of the white stuff this year.  Every time we think we have had the last storm, another one happens.  When will it come to an end?  Where’s summer?! 

Oh Those Winter Blues!

Winter is a very depressing time of year for so many people.  It’s really hard to be cheerful about much of anything when the days are so dull all the time.  However, God’s word says that we are to be cheerful in all that we do.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (ESV) says “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit.”  Not only that, but Colossians 3:23 (NIV) says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

I know what you’re thinking “God doesn’t get it!  It’s impossible to stay happy all the time.  And in everything we do, serve God?  That sounds like I’m supposed to be in church worshiping every day.  I don’t have time for that.  I have a busy life to lead.”  So with all this in mind, how do we deal with long depressing times like winter?  How do we circle our life and activities around God?

God’s Promises are Good

We do it by focusing on His promises to us, and keeping an eye on serving Him.  Working for the Lord with all that you do doesn’t mean just doing “religious stuff.”  I have many things that I do that are intended to be for God in my heart.  I volunteer in the church office one day per week.  I enjoy it, I love my church, and I really want to do this work for Jesus to help create an atmosphere filled with the Holy Spirit for us to worship and fellowship in. 

Granted that is a church thing, but it doesn’t have to be.  For example, once per year, during tax season, I go help my friend who is a tax consultant.  That’s where I am right now.  He is a disabled man with a home-based business.  During the months of February to April each year he is swamped with work.  So I go out of town to Scarborough and I stay with his family for a week or two to help dig him out of the pile of paperwork he’s buried under.  I do this because he’s my friend, I know the work and I can help him without being trained, he needs an assistant, and I need the extra income.  However, despite all this, I do it for God.  I keep a cheerful heart under the workload, and I do it because it is also a ministry to God. It is a form of worship when I do it for no other reason than I love God and He wants me to do it. 

Spring is indeed coming!

The Bible tells us that we cannot serve two masters.  We cannot serve both God and the world (Matthew 6:24 NIV).  We are to serve God only (Matthew 4:10 NIV).  God gave Moses the Ten Commandments as the rules we are to follow if we want to serve Him fully and effectively; and He expects us to do it whole heartedly (Joshua 22:5 NIV). 

Doing things with a whole heart can be hard though.  It can seem like those long, cold, dreary winter months.  Those difficult periods will no doubt show up in our life, but that’s the enemy telling us lies.  I could go with that and let myself believe those things.  However, I could just as easily believe God.  I can help my friend out with his tax clients for the money; or even for the fantastic Portuguese food that I get while I’m there.  But that wouldn’t be right.  My focus wouldn’t be on God then.  The money and the cuisine are bonuses.  I like to think of them as blessings for doing the work. 

Our whole lives; body, mind, and soul are to be given to God as a living sacrifice to Him.  When we live our lives as such, our minds are renewed and we will find what is good, acceptable, and the perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2 NIV).  Whether we are volunteering in our church office, helping out a friend, or simply going about our regular daily lives, focusing on God will bring happiness.  So when times look down and dull,just remember long, cold winters have come and gone many times throughout history.  This one, will come to an end soon as well. 

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Wonderful, loving Father.  Even though it’s hard for us to see sometimes You created everything in this world to be a blessing to us in some way… even winter!  Thank You for that.  Please help me do everything with a whole heart, focusing You and Jesus.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on Facebook Carley Cooper on Twitter

 

International Women’s Day – We are One!

by Carley Cooper 

Galatians 3:26-28 (NKJV) ~~ "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.


International Women's Day 2014

Today is International Women’s Day.  Did you even know that?  Many people don’t even think about it.  Some don’t know about it.  Other’s just don’t care.  This is an important day because it helps bring awareness that women, when united; are strong, valuable, accomplished, and important.

What is IWD?

International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8th every year, actually has a rather long history according to the International Women’s Day website, and dates back to the early 1900s.  The focus of IWD according to Wikipediaranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political, and social achievements.

Why is IWD Important?

Here  in the twenty-first century women have come a long way from the days when we were not even classified as human beings.  In most cultures around the world, especially here in North America, we are getting closer and closer to being equal to men. 

However, we are not there yet, and certainly not in the minds of everyone.  In some other cultures around the world women are still not even permitted to walk side by side with a man.  They’re not allowed to speak with a male who is not a family member, in public. 

Then, there’s the sex-slave industry.  Yes, it is an industry; it really is that big, even here in North America.  I have to say that when I first realized this, it was a huge shock to me.  I guess I was rather naive but I really thought those kinds of things were in days long gone, and only in third-world countries.  I believed that today’s ‘civilized culture’ was ‘better than that’; that we had surely grown and matured since then.  But, apparently not, because it is still a big problem today, and I guarantee it’s in your city!  

I think this is a significant day for women around the world.  It is important that we are seen and heard; to have our rights and needs be met, and to have our accomplishments noted and rewarded.  And, I believe this is the case for women in all cultures.  

Who are Women, Really?

But, what does scripture say about women? 

Proverbs 31:25 (NKJV) says “Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.” 

This means that women are capable of being strong under pressure.  Women with this quality will rejoice over her accomplishments and relationships if she stays honorable.  

Proverbs 3:15-18 (NKJV) says "She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.  Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor.  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her."

To both God and man women are very valuable.  She is worth more than all that man can want.  Godly women are pleasant and peaceful.  They are strong and deeply rooted like a tree of life.  She supports those around her when they need her and doesn’t fall apart under too much stress. 

Genesis 1:27 (NKJV) says “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Women are created in God’s own image; just like the male half of the species!  We were created in love by God, and for loving Him, just like men were.  The qualities and characteristics of women come equally as much from God as those of our male counterparts. 

Galatians 3:26-28 (NKJV) ~~ "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Women, just like men, are children of God through faith.  We are all equal in God’s eyes through Christ.  We are His children, and part of the church of Christ.  We are capable, strong, accomplished, honorable, valuable, peaceful, supportive, and created in God’s image; just like men.  Most of all we are loved by Him, just like men.  We are not only strong and one, as a whole; but one with Him, just like men!

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Wonderful, caring, loving Father.  You made each and every one of us in Your image.  You did that out of love for us, so that You can love us and we can love you in return.  Why is it that so many people don’t consider women equal to the rest of the world?  Are we, deep down, competing for Your love?  Thank You, for the faith that we have, that makes us all one in Christ.  One day we will all be with You, where everyone is equal and loved.  Please help us to remember that always.  Help us to treat each other with respect and love as Jesus loves us. I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on Facebook Carley Cooper on Twitter

God’s Promises: About Grief

by Carley Cooper

Revelation 21:4 (NKJV) ~~ And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.


Link to this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the most difficult times of a person’s life is during times of grief. 

There are different kinds of grief:

  • One kind is when someone you love passes away, which is probably what most people think about when they hear the word ‘grief’.
  • But there’s also grief when you lose a relationship of some sort.
  • There’s grief when you move to a new city / country / culture, and you have to adjust to a new life.
  • Or, grief when you lose a pet.
  • And, grief for the loss of certain kinds of material things, like if your house burned down.
  • There’s grief over the ending of a job that you loved.

And, the list can go on and on.  Dictionary.com defines grief as “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.” 

There are several stages to grief.  PsychCentral.com says that the cycle of grief is made up of:

  • Denial and Isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

A Time of Grief

My family has been going through the grieving process lately.  In a short amount of time, I’ve lost two uncles, an aunt, and a cousin.  One of my uncles died of cardiac issues, and the rest all passed away from cancer.  As a family, we’ve lost quite a few people over the years.  This is not even the first time we’ve lose several within weeks of each other.  Many of these died of cancer as well. 

The stage that I’m in right now is anger.  Oh, I’m not angry at our loved ones for leaving us.  I’m not even angry at God for taking them.  What I’m mad at right now is cancer.  Last summer, I lost two friends within a month from cancer; both young men.  I feel like every time I turn around someone else is being taken through cancer.  It’s a horrible disease that has affected way to many people in this world for way too long.  I feel helpless, and as hard as it is to grieve, watching my loved ones grieve, I think, is harder.  I love them, and seeing them in pain is painful for me.  There’s nothing I can do for them, except be there to hold them or cry with them. 

We Will Get Comfort

But wait!  I’m not the only one there to comfort them, and they’re not the only ones who are comforting me.  Granted we have a wonderful, supportive family, friends, and church family; but there’s also another.  You see God is also comforting us.  As a matter of fact He is the source of our greatest comfort; truly.  The Lord will comfort us in our time of sorrowIsaiah 41:10 (NKJV) says “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

It’s because God comforts us that we will have the strength to comfort others in their time of need and mourning.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV) says “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

There is Hope

The promise to be comforted and to be able to comfort is not the only promise that we are given.  You see, it’s because of Jesus and what He did for us on the cross that we will actually get to see our loved ones again!  Non-believers don’t have this hope.  For Christians, death has been conquered.  Our separation from our loved ones is only temporary.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NKJV) says “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” 

Finally, one day there will be no more death, sorrow, pain, or grief.  And that means, no more cancer!  The day will come when all these things have passed away.  So not only will we get to see our loved ones again, but we will get to live with them and with Jesus forever.

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ You are the comforter of my soul during our difficult times.  Sometimes I forget to turn to You right away.  Sometimes it takes a while before come to you.  Thank You for the never ending comfort and the promises that You have given.  Please help me to always turn to you during my times of grief, and help me to be such a good comfort to others that they will see only Jesus as the source.  I pray in Jesus name, AMEN

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer? Please share in the comments section.

(If you’re on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

Check out these other great options and join in the conversations...

Worship Melodies on Facebook Carley Cooper on Twitter