I Will Never Leave You

By David Cook

 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of the living God

janis_joplin

JANIS JOPLIN

Have you ever felt useless?  Have you ever wondered why you are here on earth?  Have you ever asked the question; when will I find somebody to love, who will really love me?  When will I ever know someone on a deep level and be deeply known?

Have you ever wondered if the Lord Himself would leave you all alone?

Evidently, Janis Joplin could identify with some of those same questions since she recorded the song “Work Me, Lord” written by Nick Gravenities.  Janis closed out her performance at Woodstock in 1969 with this song.

Are you pushing, trying to move forward in life but you feel like something is moving you in the wrong direction; backwards?  Like something has a hold on you, that you just can’t shake?  Have you thought about what it would be like to be a new and different you, but mistakes from your past haunt you and then just repeat what has been?

larry_norman_only_visiting_this_planet

Larry Norman wrote about this inner struggle in his song;
Walking Backward Down The Stairs“.

Being loved and loving begins by beginning a relationship with God, who is the source of love.  Knowing the true and living God and being fully known by Him is where life begins.  Making peace with God through His Son Yeshua (Jesus) is the place to begin.  Finding forgiveness of all sins and being declared righteous by God is what the free gift of salvation is about!

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26 ESV

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

 Hebrews 13:4-6 ESV

 

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The Great Adventure

Jackson Hole Wy Barn & grand Tetons Mountain Range

by David Cook

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved,

and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

—Yeshua the Messiah

John 10:9-10 NASB

Steven Curtis Chapman has won five Grammy awards and 56 Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association.   Steven has sold more than 10 million albums and has 8 RIAA-certified Gold or Platinum albums!  But not everything in his life has been peaches & cream.  In the great adventure of life, we experience mountaintop highs and valley lows.

Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman

After Steven and his wife Mary Beth had a few children they adopted three girls from China.  Their daughter Maria Sue Chunxi Chapman died from a tragic auto accident in their driveway on May 21, 2008.  The loss of their daughter was a severe test of faith for them and their family.  We read of a man of true faith from long ago who tragically lost all of his children in a single day.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head,

and he fell to the ground and worshiped.  He said,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

And naked I shall return there.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job 1:20-21 NASB

YMCA Rocky Mountain Cabin

During my youth my father and mother would take our family to Estes Park, Colorado for a summer vacations!  It was breath taking when this Missouri boy first ascended the Rocky Mountains from Loveland, Colorado and viewed the distant snowcapped peaks and valleys among the pines and aspens. Rocky Mountain Scene in Estes Park Colorado We would stay at the YMCA of the Rockies just above Estes Park.  During my college days I went on an adventure in Estes Park, Colorado.  It was the summer of 1975, the first “Student Venture” Summer Project.  Student Venture is the High School ministry of ‘Cru’ www.studentventure.com   I’m on the lower left with Pat Hurley, (youth speaker, stand-up comedian and author) and some other bros from around the USA, including my friend Jim Powers, who is holding a Bible.  Student Venture 1975 Summer Project in Estes Park Colorado

Estes Park Downtown Dusk

It was a fun summer, living in Estes Park all summer and working on a construction crew building a Swiss Chalet on the mountain adjacent to the YMCA of the Rockies.  I’d start the brisk morning off with a t-shirt, work shirt and jean jacket.  By the time lunch time rolled around I had my shirt off, sharing my lunch with chipmunks and watching mountain climbers in the distance.

Colorado Chipmunk

David Cook on the Wind River Trail in RMNP above Estes Park

Years later, each of my three children have each had great adventures on the mountain ranges in the USA.  My son Derek led the way in the summer of 2008 he went on the SROM 40 day backpacking and mountain climbing expedition in the majestic mountains of Wyoming.  SROM is a premier Christian outdoor leadership education and wilderness adventure ministry, www.srom.org .

SROM 40 2008

Derek on the 2008 SROM 40

Mountain & Lake Buffalow Yeah Moose

 

Grand Teton National Park is one of the most awe-inspiring places in all of God’s creation.  The National Park is in the Jackson Hole Valley, with massive mountains, pristine lakes, cold mountain rivers, and abundant wildlife; elk, moose, black and grizzly bears, bison, deer, and more!

Derek on SROM 40

Derek, Eric, Nathan, Kevin on the SROM 40.

Gannett Peak

Rainbow over YMCA Chapel in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

At the end of the summer Derek got to climb Gannett Peak with expert climber Austin Haller and Elisa from SROM and one additional climber the “Fantastic Four” ascended the 13,809 feet (4,209 m) peak.  Gannett Peak is the highest peak in the state of Wyoming and straddles the boundary between Fremont and Sublette Counties along the Continental Divide.

My daughter Courtney spent the summer of 2009 in Estes Park working at the lodge at the YMCA of the Rockies!  Later that summer, her brothers and I came out for a visit and mini vacation backpacking and camping along the Wind River Trail in the Rocky Mountain National Park above the YMCA www.ymcarockies.org

CNC on the trail in RMNP

Derek on the trail in Colorado

It was a blessing for Christopher, Derek and I to visit Courtney that summer in Estes Park and go backpacking and camping up above the YMCA of the Rockies and see the bright starry nights!

Starry Night at the YMCA of the Rockies

Derek & Chris having breakfast above the YMCA

DC camping above YMCA of the Rockies summer 2009

 My son Christopher was blessed to go with the 2011, 40/40 “Amazing Team” with www.SROM.org on a backpacking and mountain climbing adventure on the Wind River Range & Vedavoo in Wyoming which reflects the amazing beauty of God’s creation.

SROM Roping Down Mountain

CRC Mountain Climbing

CRC SCROM UofT Sign

CRC laying down SROM

CRC Camping on the Snowy Mountain

SCROM Mountain Sunset

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the rivers.
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
And has not sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive a blessing from the Lord
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Psalms 24:1-5 NASB

Knowing the true and living God and living in relationship with Him in this life and in the one to come is the greatest adventure of all!  www.knowhimpersonally.com

Mountains & Valleys

Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war

Isaiah 2:2-4 NASB

Derek on the 2008 SROM 40

My son Derek’s love for the outdoors was fostered near Estes Park, Colorado in Rocky Mountain National Park during family vacations as a young boy.  In his twenties Derek connected with SROM as a 40/40 Intern in 2008. The experience of going through SROM’s 40-day course as a student and then serving immediately afterward as an assistant field instructor made a lasting impact on his life.  In November of 2014 Derek joined the staff of SROM.  Say a prayer for him for God’s protection and provision as he begins a new adventure with this premier outdoor ministry!  http://srom.org/donate/staff-support/derek-cook/

[1] Give thanks in all things, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, and God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him, Romans 8:28-29.

For by Grace

New Zealand Beach

By David Cook

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
  Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

So many good things in this life come from human effort, hard work and the payoff from that effort and work.  It could be physical effort, intellectual work, creative effort or networking work and various related rewards.  But what about grace, divine grace that comes out of the blue?  When perhaps you don’t get what’s due; instead you are embraced by an avalanche of grace.  Perhaps you’ve never experienced it. Or perhaps you have, over and over again; like waves rolling in from the deep blue sea of God’s love.

523px-Celsius Library-DK

The Celsius library ruins in the ancient city of Ephesus.

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Yeshua the Messiah who lived in the ancient city of Ephesus.  The city of Ephesus is near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.    Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV

Paul wanted believers in Messiah Yeshua to understand their past spiritual condition, dead in our trespasses and sins and the amazing grace of God.  Because of the immeasurable riches of God’s grace, when a person puts his (or her) faith in Yeshua the Messiah; a spiritual new birth transpires and eternal life begins!  After a person has been born again transformation begins to take place in our thoughts and actions!!  We begin to understand our new identity in Messiah!  God has raised us up with Yeshua and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah! So that in the coming ages God might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua.

For By Grace You have been Saved through Faith

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.   Ephesians 1:3-10 NIV

Know Jesus Know Love

Yeshua explained God’s love and the gospel; 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  John 3:16-18 NIV

When you put your faith in Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of the living God you pass from God’s condemnation of your sin into God’s pardon of your sin and eternal life.  You are born again and you receive new life.  You become a child of God!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1 NIV

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