Sunday, December 27, 2015

Believing the Whole Story: SCS 65


Sunday, December 27, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 65


PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are broken. We ask for Your will to be done and that we may act saintly towards our fellow sojourners who around the world are hurting so that they might see a little of You.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.


SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today: Luke 2 (KJV)
2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


SERMON for Today:


Very educated folk may tell you that parts of this story are not true, but you need to wonder why they are so concerned with debunking the birth story?  Let me tell you the main reasons are not scholarship or truth.  The main reason people try to debunk parts of the story of the birth of Jesus is so they DO NOT HAVE TO DO WHAT HE SAYS.  They do not have to give up their favorite sins or love people they dislike or hate.


Jesus is real.  He is a historical fact not disputed by most scholars.  The wonderful thing is that if you are willing to follow Him you will find the peace in your soul that cannot be found any other way or in any other place.  It takes placing faith in the unknowable to find the unbelievable riches of the many colored rainbow.


I am not saying that following Jesus is an easy path to walk, but it is a rewarding journey.  Not just in the by and by, but in the now.  
   


May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.


  
© Ed Cooper, December 27, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved


(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s. Ed recognizes he is a flawed sinner needing God’s grace and your prayers.)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

CHRISTMAS IS OVER: a poem by ed



Christmas is over
and I celebrated His birth.
The question I must answer
is what do I do now?
You must answer the same
question too.

He did not come
and walk around
just being nice
and doing miracles.
He left us with a command
which said, “Go Ye.”

Did He mean me?
Oh yes!
He meant you too.

Christmas is over
and it is time
to share Christ
with
those you love dearest
and those you hate the most.

© Ed Cooper, 12/26/ 2015, Stoney Creek, TN
  All rights reserved

Sunday, December 13, 2015

CONSIDER PRAYERFULLY YOUR RESPONSE TO ISAIAH 53: SCS 64


Sunday, December 13, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 64


PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are broken. We ask for Your will to be done and that we may act saintly towards our fellow sojourners who around the world are hurting so that they might see a little of You.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.


SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today: Isaiah 53 King James Version (KJV)
53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

SERMON for Today:


Read this more than once this week and consider prayerfully how you and your family intend to celebrate the birth of the person who came in response to this Hebrew prophecy?
   


May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.


  
© Ed Cooper, December 13, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

  All rights reserved

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

YOU CAN'T COME WHERE I MUST GO



You can’t come
where I must go
or even walk beside me
because the restorative journey
must be made alone
upon the desert waters
of the deep oceans
from which life comes
and to where it may return.


I know you love me
and fear this journey
this plunge into the deep,
but do not fear
for your sisters
the dolphins
will keep me safe
as I look for the self
most needed to live and function
on dry land
where wealth defines
both soul and self.

© Ed Cooper, 12/9/2015, Stoney Creek, Tn

Monday, November 23, 2015

CONSIDER THE LILIES OF THE FIELD: SCS No. 63


Sunday, NOVEMBER 22, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 61


PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are broken. We ask for Your will to be done and that we may act saintly towards our fellow sojourners who around the world are hurting so that they might see a little of You.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.


SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today: Matthew 6:25-34 (KJV)
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

SERMON for Today:


I got a little older on my recent birthday which meant I had to think about the process of aging and what that meant to me and to my wife.  None of my thoughts seemed to be pleasant.  It seems our society loves and collects everything old except old people.  Most things increase in value as they age, but not old people and some makes of cars.


I have had to come to terms with a body that is declining and only wants to recline and a mind which functions at a pace I do not recognize.  The Scripture Lesson tells me to stop this obsession with aging and to stop worrying about what is going to happen.  It tells me that God will take care of me.  You see the problem becomes a problem only to the degree I believe the words of Jesus.


We are being told to fear possible attacks.  We are being told we probably need to buy a gun a carry it at all times.  We are being taught to fear.  Are we learning how to walk in the total trust of the promises of the words of Jesus?


This world would be a very different place if I and the rest of my fellow sojourners fully believed the words Jesus spoke in today’s lesson.  


“seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
   


May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.


  
© Ed Cooper, November 22, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved


(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s.)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

FOR THE PEOPLE OF FRANCE: SCS No. 62


Sunday, NOVEMBER 15, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 62
PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are broken. We ask for Your will to be done and that we may act saintly towards our fellow sojourners so that they might see a little of You in us.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.
SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today: Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
SERMON for Today:
Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.

© Ed Cooper, November 15, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s.)

Friday, November 13, 2015

PERSON-CENTERED APPROACH TO PREVENTING SUICIDE

LINK TO STUDY PAPER AT BOTTOM OF BLOG


Yesterday I got caught up in a discussion/disagreement over whether or not there is an element of selfishness to the act of suicide.  Leaving that discussion behind us, let us try to think about what a person-centered approach to helping someone who is in such darkness that they see no light ahead or way out.  I am going to try and explain what I would want and what I would not want.

First, under no circumstances would I want to be locked away again behind doors that others control.  It has happened to me too many times in my life and I have never seen any value come out of any of those times.

Second, I do not want folks with the fix-it syndrome making false promises to me that they cannot keep or never intend to keep just to keep me going on living so they can say they prevented a suicide.

What do I need?

I need a safe place to be where people treat me as a person.  Meaning they do not lock the doors or take my clothes. They engage me from a perspective of respect as a fellow human being.  I can feel their empathy.  They help me find a reason to live more than simply it is their job to keep me living.  They help me find my own individual reason to fight the darkness and they fight it with me by developing a therapeutic relationship as defined by Carl Rogers years ago.

That means they see me and allow themselves to be seen.  

Why is this subject so important to me?  Because I am becoming of the age when males become the most likely to finish the deal.  More Veterans my age kill themselves than any other age group.  I have a right to want to get it right. I have a right to want the Veterans Administration to bring their services into this century and actually begin to serve so we can survive.

© Ed Cooper, 11/13/2015
    All rights reserved    
For further study on this subject you can go here

University of Manchester Doctoral Paper (231 page PDF)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

DYING BY OUR OWN HANDS:DOES THE VA CARE?

 Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial is located in Saint-James, Normandy, France
[My father's brother ( S SGT Edward C. Cooper, May 21, 1916- August 28, 1944) who is buried here and for whom I am named did not die of his own hand, but many have and many more will.]

This is a very personal story to try to illustrate why just because Veterans Day is over we cannot stop our efforts to advocate for better services for those who served our country when called on to do so.

The statistic that there are 22 veteran suicides each day is quoted often, but was arrived at by a flawed method.  The researchers said, “It is recommended that the estimated number of veterans be interpreted with caution due to the use of data from a sample of states and existing evidence of uncertainty in veteran identifiers on U.S. death certificates.” *

It does not really matter if the VA or the CDC or anyone else can get the number right.  What we know for sure is that the VA does not use proven methods to help those who may be in trouble.  Here is a real conversation between myself and my psychiatrist at my last visit about a week ago.

Her: When do you want to come back?
Me: Four months as usual.
Her: How about two considering the circumstances?
Me: Why should I come back when I am in trouble when you cannot help me when I need you most? The State of Tennessee and the VA have tied your hands.  Your only option is to do what the UN has called a violation of my human and civil rights.  Forced treatment behind locked doors and taking my clothes away only makes me know for sure I will never tell you if I really need your help.  There are no safe houses here run by the VA.  I will see you in four months if I make it.

That was a true and truthful exchange.  Put safe houses into a search engine or peer supports for suicidal persons.  The VA here and in many places is not even using what we know works best.  No wonder so many of us are dying by our own hands.

© Ed Cooper, November 12, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
All rights reserved