The Story of Marriage

by David Cook

Marriage is a divine idea. God instituted marriage when there was just one man and one women on earth. Their marriage was a match made in heaven.

Then the Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone;
I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 NASB

 

john-lisa-photo

For John, it was love at first site when he saw Lisa in her “customized short, shorts” and beautiful legs at Purdue University.  After 32 years of marriage they have learned a few lessons along the road.  You’ll be enriched by this enlightening and fascinating interview of John and Lisa Bevere as they share their courtship, romance and life as a newly married couple and the difficult adjustments they faced.

God wants a husband and wife to be intimate allies not enemies. In this talk Lisa Bevere gives us some “real talk”, true stories about their early marriage. At the onset of their marriage Lisa and John tried to change each other into the perfect spouse each had envisioned for themselves. As opposed to accepting one another and loving one another and allowing God to work His transformation in each person in His time and in His way. Lisa and John learned that they could be giving each other the grace and space they needed to be all that God has called them to be at that time.

Jesus said you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free, and you will be free indeed.  My heart and prayer is as you listen to John and Lisa share about their story of marriage you can learn from their life lessons and be set free to have a marriage where you can love courageously and enjoy the life God has given you with your spouse.

“If you continue in My word,
then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will make you free.”
–Jesus the Messiah, John  8:31-32 NASB

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One Thing

Love God

By David Cook

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4 ESV

This psalm was written by a man after God’s own heart, a psalm of David.  The shepherd boy who by faith slew Goliath.  David became a valiant warrior and latter after many battles became king of Israel.

Solana Beach, CA

Future of Forestry an alternative rock band gives a beautiful performance of a modern psalm, “All I Want”; in Solana Beach, Southern California; in the USA.

You can hear more songs by Future Of Forestry
and other steller artists at VertiZontal Media Network.

Lost

By David Cook

Yeshua_talit

“The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”
—Yeshua the Messiah
Luke 19:10 NASB

While living in sunny Southern California one day we realized our daughter, who was almost three years old; was nowhere to be found.  “She was just here a few minutes ago, where could she be?”; I thought to myself.  We walked around the house and looked in her room, in the closet, under her bed.  “Is she hiding?”  We went into the family room where her brothers were watching Inspector Gadget on Saturday morning cartoons; “Where’s your sister?”, I asked.  They shrugged their shoulders and said, “Don’t know Dad.”  I walked into the living room and the front door was wide open.  I walked outside and quickly looked around the front yard and then scanned up and down the street.  Panic!  “Where’s my daughter!?!”  “Is she lost?”  “Lord, please help us find our daughter!”

Thankfully, about five minutes later (which seemed like five hours) my observant and compassionate neighbor found our daughter and brought her home.  I was exuberant and relieved to see my little lost lamb come home!  My adventurous daughter didn’t know she was lost; she was on an adventure, out exploring the world.

Thanks be to God, His Son Yeshua is our good Shepherd; ever watching over us!

The Prodigal Son

Yeshua told this story; “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.

prodigal son

14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”         Luke 15 NASB

Party on! Wine, women and song! This was the mantra of the young prodigal son.  But after he squandered all of his inheritance and lost all of his “friends” and “lovers” he finally wised up and came home.  Are you on an adventure looking for what life is all about?  Perhaps you’re lost but don’t even know it?  Your Father in heaven wants you to come home.

Yeshua said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”  Mathew 22:37-40 NASB

Loving God is a vertical relationship.  Loving people is about relating on the horizontal level.  We can live each day in the vertizontal, loving God will all your heart, soul and mind and loving people as you love yourself.  The whole Torah (613 Laws given by God to Moses) and the writings of the Hebrew Prophets rests on these two commandments.

Knowing the true and living God, who is love; is the prize!                                                       http://www.knowhimpersonally.com

The Son of the Most High, who is much wiser than all; taught that life is all about loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.  And about loving your neighbor as yourself.  Today is a good day, now is a good time; if you hear the voice of your Father in heaven calling you home then turn to Him in faith and humbly ask for His forgiveness.

5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.  1 John 1:5-10 NASB

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

Hillsong United, Lara Landon and other steller music artists and musicians are on VMN,

www.VertiZontalMedia.com

Lara Landon Overalls & Hat Med-Shot
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www.hillsong.com/united

Show Me the Love!

Authentic Red Roses

by David Cook

Sometimes a romance ignites and you think you’re bout to have a heart attack…yet in time for various reasons you realize, it wasn’t meant to be.  Sometimes a romance transitions from high feelings to love, then marriage and a lifelong commitment.  Sometimes in a romance you reach for a rose and grab a thorn, resulting in pain and sorrow. Sometimes you learn how to forgive and grow closer to one another. Sometimes because of hardness of heart you grow apart and one day you’re left alone with a wounded ego, a broken heart, and the termination of a lifelong dream; and so it goes.

Red Roses Wet on Black

So many people talk a good game about many things.  But there is One who wasn’t just blowing smoke when He spoke of His love…God Himself.  We hear about God’s love for the people He created, but it wasn’t just cheap talk.  You see, God took action and implemented a plan that He had from long ago.  God demonstrated His love for us in way that is hard to comprehend.

We read in the gospel of John;

“For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 ESV

Paul wrote to the believers in Rome;

 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:6-8 ESV

Perhaps when you reached for a rose in romance you were hurt by a thorn.  Instead of the beauty of love you were hoping for, you found pain and sorrow and are left alone.  Because of His great love for you, God sent His only Son to suffer on our behalf, to wear a crown of thrones and give His life on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our many sins.

Crown of Thorns

So God gave, He gave His only Son.  God demonstrated His love in a very real way, He gave His Son Yeshua the Messiah to die on the cross in our place for all our sins.  The One without sin, the sinless Messiah; gave His life for sinners.  Let His love sink in, into your mind, into your heart and into your life.  I pray His love breaks through to you today!

Reminds me of the song by Phil Keaggy – “Your Love Broke Through”