Monday, May 31, 2010


When I'm on Facebook, I notice so many negative, unhappy statuses! Now, I know that life throws some unpleasant things our way, and we don't feel happy-go-lucky all the time. I'm not advocating being fake.

But Proverbs says, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he."

I think we really need to be careful of how our attitudes affect our lives and the ways they are also affecting someone else, especially our husbands, our children, and others around us!

Many women end up chasing their husbands away without realizing it is happening... just by their sour attitude. Really... who would want to live with a negative person? (I am NOT defending the men who cheat or leave their marriages!) But I do believe that there are times when wives help drive their man away, just by bringing a bitter atmosphere into their home.

This affects our children as well. Which type of lady would you rather be around? One who's cheerful, makes life an adventure? Or a sourpuss who's always complaining about something (valid or not) and considers life a drudgery?

So many moms/wives get caught up in this trap. How does this teach our children joy in Christ? They learn by example. To be truly free in Christ is to know and experience that I am complete in Christ. Are we modeling that for our children or are we modeling bondage to the enemy? Do our husbands want to come home because our home is happy? Do we create a haven that they can't wait to come home to?

Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl has really helped me with this perspective. Though I do not agree with every part of the book, in this and many other areas she is right on. This is a biblical principle we so often ignore, excusing ourselves.

We need to stop being sourpusses, put on a fresh apron, a little make-up, play some good Gospel music, put some flowers on the supper table, and greet our husbands and children with smiles when they come in the door!

Christ made us free to do that. He made all HIS power available to us! Imagine that! It's for real!

How would you live differently today if you truly believed that?

I'm Free!

I'm free from the fear of tomorrow,

I'm free from the guilt of my past;

For I've traded my shackles for a glorious song!

I'm free--praise the Lord!--free at last!

~ William J. and Gloria Gaither

To be truly free in Christ is to know and experience that I am complete in Christ.

Isaiah 43:10-11 is a precious Scripture that makes it plain:
"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour."

Do I really know? Am I experiencing God in my daily life? Do I truly understand that Christ lives in me? Do I believe it? Do I believe Him?

To remind myself, I posted this on my refrigerator this week:

"Believe Me."
~ God
(Isaiah 43:10)

Colossians 2:10 says that I am "complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." Colossians 1:27 says that Christ is in me, "the hope of glory." So why do I get defensive and hold onto hurt? I am free from all that!

In Christ I have everything I need. I do not need to defend myself. I don't need to remain hurt and angry and allow it to fester into bitterness and resentment. Christ came to free me from all of that bondage! When hurt and anger put a hook in me, and I embrace them, forgetting that I am complete in Christ, I am holding out my hands to the devil and allowing him to handcuff me. Bitterness binds. Resentment restricts. Why would I do this to myself? Jesus is standing there with arms open to comfort my hurt, to give peace and grace in the area that is making me angry. He is all I need!

I no longer need to feel inferior to others. Christ made (and continues to make me) everything I need to be. I don't need others' approval. Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). I am free to be who He made me to be. I do not need to fit into a mold someone else makes for me.

Is there an area that you have yielded to the enemy, allowing him to take you into bondage? Jesus has already paid for your freedom! Why are you sitting in that rotten jail? The doors are open! Come on out into freedom!

We're free! Praise the Lord! Free at last!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We Need a Big, Mighty God

We need a big, mighty God in a mighty big way,

A God with the power that the waters obey;

You know that we are mighty small,

And we sure need You to save the day;

We need a big, mighty God in a mighty big way!
~ sung by Mike Lefevre Quartet
(Words and music: Sue Smith, Lee Black, and Kenna West)

Ever felt like this? There are situations in each of our lives that need a big, mighty God. Times when nothing will change without a big, mighty God's intervention.

The Apostle Paul felt the call to minister in Rome. For the sake of the Gospel, it was crucial to influence this mighty metropolis with the Gospel message. Imagine the widespread influence of the Roman soldiers who were stationed as far away as Britain, Africa, and the Persian Gulf! Maybe Paul imagined himself preaching in a hippodrome or a synagogue. Next thing he knew, he was in chains! In fact, he was chained to a different Roman soldier every four hours. As it turned out, he was able to speak to hundreds of soldiers, one-on-one, in a two-year period of confinement! It wasn't the way he'd imagined, but God still answered his prayer, and he was content (Philippians 4:11), because he believed God (Isaiah 43:10-19).

Maybe your life has not turned out the way you planned. Perhaps you're discouraged and discontented. Though you know in your head that God is good, in your heart you're questioning His goodness to YOU. Will you choose to believe His Promises? Will you trust that God is still working? Will you believe your big, mighty God today? He's the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He has not changed, and He never will!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Loss of a Patriarch of the Faith

Dr. Stuart Cook (husband of my dad's cousin) was called Home due to a car accident on May 5. He has been a missionary in South Africa since 1966.

I have always admired Stu and Marilyn's faithfulness and consistency in ministry. They went to South Africa to stay. Their names are synonymous with the word "committed." Stu and Marilyn left for the mission field before I was born, and I only had occasion to see them a few times during their furloughs. An ocean separated us here on earth, but I look forward to knowing Cousin Stu better one day Up There!

Here is a summary of the accident by Jerusha Kobriger, a friend who was present at the scene of the accident:

Yesterday [May 5] Dr. Stu Cook left this earth to be with our Lord. He passed in the arms of his wife. His best friend of 55 years. The love of his life. The Cooks were with us at our house and we all left to go to Bible Study. We were following behind them in our truck on a country road, just past sunset. An oncoming truck didn’t have headlights on and was in our lane. Stu and Marilyn crashed head on with the truck. The truck contained 3 black African men. Two died, and one is in critical condition with severe head and body injuries. Marilyn was eventually taken to two hospitals, in which Paul, Micky, Simon, Aaron and I accompanied until her family arrived from Johannesburg. Marilyn was then transferred to a third hospital to get proper care. She is in stable condition but is in much pain with 11 broken ribs, a pierced lung, and many bruises and lacerations.

Stu and Marilyn’s children asked Aaron and I to stay at their farm for a few days to oversee the property and workers. I struggle to write this letter to you on our computer at Stu’s desk, in which I’m honored.

The very first time Aaron and I met Stu Cook, we loved and admired him. That day we laughed and told him, “Whether you like it or not, you’re going to be our mentor.”
And he became so much more. Aaron and I had some unexpected turns and rough times since our time here in South Africa. Stu and Marilyn immediately scooped us up and took us under their wing. They provided an abundance of prayer, fellowship, teaching, ministering, hospitality, and laughs. The blessing they have been to us is indescribable.

Several weeks ago, Stu went to Aaron and told him, “May 2, you’re preaching.” And that was that. Though Stu didn’t know this, but it is one of Aaron’s life goals to be a good preacher. And this past Sunday, he preached his very first sermon. It was on wisdom. Something we hope to attain even a fraction of what Stu had. It was the last sermon Stu heard in church, which is fitting because it was out of admiration of Stu’s wisdom, that Aaron decided to preach on that topic. Aaron is forever grateful.

Stu was follower of Christ. He was a husband and a father. A preacher. A missionary. A friend. A scholar. A teacher. A cowboy. In just about any conversation or time spent with Stu, you knew with certainty he was all of these. He loved the Lord and all of the stories and mysteries the Bible teaches. With Stu, everything came back to God. Everything.

I have a list I keep in my Bible, that I continually would add to, of Biblical subjects I wanted Stu to teach us about. He taught us with such knowledge and wisdom in great humility. Stu gave us a yearning to know everything we could about the Bible. The history. The people. The culture. The scriptures. He naturally educated people and made people think. He truly was someone that you became smarter and wiser simply by being in his company. Whether he spoke about why the resurrection is a real event, or his early ministry in Johannesburg, or his adoring wife, or growing up in Wyoming, there was always something to learn from Stu. And it all circled back to God.

Please pray for Stu’s wife Marilyn. She is a wonderfully strong woman who LOVES the Lord. Please pray for their family as well as the community. Stu’s impact on people’s lives is immeasurable, and the grieving is far reaching. Also pray for the families of the others that passed and for the recovery of the man in critical condition.

We had once said to Stu and Marilyn that we are a long way from our parents, and told them that they’re our “African Parents.” God left us in good hands in Africa.

We continue to weep.
Stu, we love you very, very much. We wish our parents could have finally met you. You are our mentor, our friend, our African father. ~ Jerusha Kobriger

There are many more such tributes to the life of Dr. Stuart Cook and his ministry">here.

For Stuart's ministry website and links to updates on his wife Marilyn (my dad's cousin), click">here.

(Email address where you can send tributes for the website:

For Stuart's education and accomplishments click">here.

My dad's comments:
Stu was one of the first preachers I ever actually listened to. When I was perhaps three or four, I remember my dad chiding me for not listening in church, and I protested, "I did listen to the stories." Stu was a great story-teller, an effervescent personality, an irresistible leader, and a man's man. He probably instilled in me an abiding respect for men of God. Marilyn, like her mother and mine (sisters) is a perennial servant, and one of those unusual persons who makes everyone they meet feel as if they are the most important individuals alive. ~ C.T. Spear

No doubt there are people all over the world who will miss Dr. Stuart Cook and the shining light he was for the Lord.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Life's Little Pleasures

Our grandbaby Kyla (now 18 months old) loves kitties! She's a gal after my own heart: she loves her Papa (my husband) and kitties! :) One minute she squeals, "Papa! Papa!" The next, she squeaks, "Mew! Mew!" (her name for the kitties).

Life is an adventure-gift from God. Kyla always reminds me to enjoy the little pleasures God gives us richly to enjoy (I Timothy 6:17).

When the old preacher Gypsy Smith was asked the secret of the success of his ministry, he replied, "I've never lost the wonder."

Tell us (comment below) about a little pleasure from God that you enjoyed today.

Second-hand Blessing

Those who know me are quite familiar with the fact that I love to shop at second-hand clothing stores. For over a year I had been looking for an aqua-blue sweater to go with a skirt someone had purchased for me. I had just been wearing the skirt with a black top and aqua jewellery, but having aqua in the plaid, it really needed more of an aqua accent than the jewellery could provide. I just didn't want to pay $40-60 for a sweater!

Well, I made several trips to Valu-Village and one day the Lord had a perfect aqua sweater for me... perfect, except that all but two buttons were missing! I asked for a discount and got the sweater for around $3. Next stop: Fabricland! I selected the buttons I wanted (silver vintage, to coordinate with the buttons on the skirt), sewed them on at home while watching the news, and voila! I had a new outfit for under $10!

I'm so thankful God cares about the little things, aren't you?!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Home Is My Haven

As a Christian homemaker, I truly believe that my home should be a haven for my family--including me!

I absolutely love my backyard! Of course, there is always weeding... and more flowers to be planted.

And I'm working on redecorating our 1960s home. Sometimes I get discouraged and leave a project for weeks.

I confess there are days when I don't keep up with homemaking: dishes, laundry, and cleaning, as I should. I admit that I have a mountain of mending that I never seem to get to!

Currently my focus is on reestablishing my weekly homemaking routine. And my biggest helper is FlyLady.

Here's a gal who inspires me as a homemaker. (I really like her advice on her morning routine and planning her day.)

And another.

I still believe that the most important thing is to seek the Lord daily in my quest to be a better homemaker and make my home a haven. I just tell Jesus when I feel overwhelmed, and then claim a Scripture verse to help me to the next level! I print it or write it out on a brightly coloured sheet of paper and tape it above my kitchen sink, or another place I will see it often. (Another favourite spot is on the fridge next to the stove, so I can read it over as I'm stirring our dinner!) Whenever I see it, I read it, aloud or silently. Before long, I have it memorized.

If you're a homemaker, I would encourage you to do this with Scripture. It's also great to bookmark or subscribe to a few of these homemaker blogs, as well as FlyLady, to help you stay encouraged, focused, and disciplined as a mom and homemaker.

Oh, by the way, the Scripture above my sink right now is I Peter 2:22-23.
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Sometimes as homemakers and moms we feel that we give and give and give... and sometimes we're exhausted or just plain tired of "giving out." Though retribution should not be our focus, at times, we can't help thinking about it, especially on those trying days when it seems everything is going wrong! But God does give us encouragement along the way, and we need to choose to watch for those little things, and focus on them, not on the things we dislike. Attitude is key!

Lord, please live Your life through me; I commit myself to You, my Righteous Judge. I choose to trust Your judgment in my life. I will discipline myself now to plan my day and then just do the next thing. I can do anything for fifteen minutes!
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