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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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