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Personal Reflections & Inspirational Prose

I wrote my first poem in 1993 to go along with a special song that our Gospel group had added to their performance repertoire. The poem is "A Father's Prayer!" (It can be found below this message.) From that point on, the words began to flow through my fingers onto the keyboard and into the computer with a consistent fury. Poems, books, messages, curriculum, dramas, skits, ministry projects and even a dissertation freely flowed through my high-tech pen of the 20th century. As you peruse this site, you might notice that nearly everything I share is based on my faith in Jesus Christ. There’s a reason for that. You see the voice I share exists exclusively because I was inspired, mentored, forgiven by grace and called to share the impact of God's mercy through His gift of the greatest author the world has ever known, Jesus Christ!

 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”                                                                Hebrews 12:2 KJV

"All The World's His Stage" was written in memory of my friend Jack Oden. For many years I was involved in a drama ministry referred to as Faith on Stage at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colorado.

During that time I became friends with some amazing people. Amazing in regards to their relationship with Christ, as well as, their gifts and talents in the field of creative arts. One of those individuals was a man named Jack. He was the most gifted actor I had ever been around. In fact his acting and creative abilities could best be described as "brilliant!" His ability to define the characters in each of the roles he would perform were magnificent. For many years he would play one of the disciples in the annual Easter production. Often his role would be Judas Iscariot, probably one of the most difficult characters a Christian could be called upon to perform.

 

The role that left the biggest impression on me was the year he played the blind beggar who had an encounter with Jesus. Jack's ability to get into character for a role and stay in character from the moment a rehearsal began until it ended never ceased to amaze me. But the most endearing characteristic of Jack is best described as he was truly "a man after God's own heart." His faith in Jesus Christ was truly inspirational. With his recent passing the Lord placed this poem on my heart. I know where Jack is at this very moment. He has left the confines of this world, but he is rejoicing like never before as he has entered into eternity to forever dwell in the house of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

I felt compelled to share this poem in memory of my dear friend, Jack. I pray it provides you with a bit of encouragement and hope for the drama you encounter in your own personal world. May God bless you, forever and always!

Hiding in the Shadows - Peter's Song was written back in 2005 as a means to try to understand what Peter must have experienced after denying even knowing Jesus just hours before the crucifixion. The guilt and shame of denying his Teacher must have been nearly unbearable. The grief of Jesus' death, compounded by the reality of his denial of associating with this mighty Prophet of God would have been haunting to Peter. Fear, guilt, remorse, anguish and unbridled shame would have all been part of Peter's emotional roller coaster associated with the execution of his closest friend. How could he ever live with himself knowing what he had done to Jesus? Not only did Peter deny Jesus three times, but he abandoned His Lord through the darkest of days. His denial was a form of betrayal making him as guilty as Judas for rejecting the One he followed for three years. For several days Peter would wallow in complete and total emotional agony has he cried out to God, begging for forgiveness - groveling for mercy. But then on the third day, the miracle of all miracles happened as Jesus' followers heard the news that the grave stone had been rolled away and Jesus was alive! The Son of God claimed victory over death and sin on the third day just as He had predicted! Peter's agony instantly turned to joy and celebration. Jesus is alive! He lives forevermore! To God be the glory!  Happy Easter! 

Bread of Life

This past year has been as challenging as any year in my life. It started off with the decline of my dad’s health, culminating with his passing from this life on February 9th at the age of 84. Ironically, the day before his death he asked me the date. It was almost as if he knew he’d be leaving this world the next day. Early the next morning his soul transcended the bonds of this earthly realm and entered into his eternal rest with his Lord Jesus! The 9th of February was the same day his father-in-law (who was more of a father to him than his own dad) passed away 48 years earlier. In fact, my father and grandfather passed away at nearly the same hour of the day. Well, a few weeks later my wife filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences as the reason. Several weeks after that my church placed me on a four month paid sabbatical. At the end of the sabbatical my position at the church was terminated. In less than a year, I had lost my father, my wife, my job at the church, my church family and my ministry as a pastor.

In retrospect, as I reflect on the nearly overwhelming loss that I experienced throughout the course of ten months, I realize this was a season of sifting for my life. It was as if I had been whipped to pieces on the thrashing floor, then tossed in the air, allowing the wind to blow away the chaff. The chaff included many of the things in this world I held close to my heart. Chaff that needed to be stripped away for some unknown reason. I’ve considered whether some of those things could have been a distraction of some sorts; causing me to lose focus on the truth of what is really important in this life. Maybe a few of those distractions had become a sort of an idol, causing me to turn my eyes and attention away from the "One" I needed most in life.

With my world turned completely upside down, as Christmas approached, I realized something - The “One” I chose to follow decades earlier; He is the only One who understood exactly what I had endured and the excruciating pain I had suffered. In fact, He too had been beaten and broken on the world’s thrashing floor for the salvation of humanity. Jesus is the Bread of Life. He was born in a small town called Bethlehem. In the ancient Hebrew the literal meaning of Bethlehem is “house of bread.”   Jesus is the “Bread of Life” and it was on the first day of “Unleavened Bread” when the “Passover Lamb” had to be sacrificed over 2,000 years ago. On the thrashing floor of this earth Jesus was prepared for a higher purpose, a divine calling. The punishment that brought “peace to earth” was placed upon Him as spoken about in Isaiah 53.

Finally, I began to see the significance of Jesus being called the “Bread of Life.” I started to realize what He suffered for the peace of humanity, was analogous to the process of wheat being prepared to feed the hungry. Like grain being pulverized by a millstone, He was crushed for my iniquity. By His wounds, by the shedding of His blood, I am healed. Literally, He was pierced for my transgressions and as the “Bread of God” that came down out of heaven, He has given “Life” to the world, and to me! The Bread of Life spoke to me this past year. He reminded me that I could not live by bread alone, but by every “Word” that proceeds out of His mouth.

After pondering all these things in my heart, I sat down at the computer in early December and in a very short time, this Christmas poem sprang forth. So, as you read this year’s poem, I pray that you would reflect on the reality of what was required for Jesus to become the “Bread of Life!” Feel free to share this poem with any of your friends. God bless you and thanks for visiting my Author’s Page.

                                                                   In His Service, Lanny

I would like to share a short tribute to my father, Gordon, as the one year anniversary of his death has just recently past.

 

Gordon S. Cook

                                         August 1933 - February 2018

I can never put into words the love, admiration and gratitude I possess for this remarkable man of God! As a friend recently shared, "he was a quiet witness" to his faith in Jesus Christ. I owe so much to both of my parents who not only lived a life of faith but also instilled in me a profound realization that all  hope and trust can only be found in a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful to both of them. In honor of my father, I would like to share this excerpt from the acknowledgement page of my book, "The Mystery of Zion."

"As a teenager, I had a deep interest and profound curiosity for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Much of this can be contributed to the Bible studies my parents regularly attended. They would continue their discussions at home, discussing a multitude of prophetic topics in everyday conversation with our family. Their Bible studies weren’t the typical, run-of-the-mill expository lessons. Instead, they were in-depth prophetic studies of the end times, intricately woven into a format of dispensational examinations.

My parent’s conversations involving these topics created an extreme curiosity that has stayed with me for more than fifty years. They have stirred within my heart for decades, as many of those divine prophecies discussed at the dinner table of my youth have unfolded in miraculous ways throughout my life into profound reality. Therefore, I want to express a special thanks and eternal gratitude to my parents, Gordon and Clarice, for instilling in me a hunger and thirst to continually pursue greater understanding for the times in which we live and for God’s future plan for all humanity."

Thank you Dad, for all your love, devotion, sacrifice and commitment that you willingly shared with all of your family. You will be greatly missed. I rest in the assurance that comes through faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that provides eternal life for all who believe in Him. I have no doubt that we will be reunited one day soon in that great heavenly expanse which you are now experiencing with the Savior of your soul and our loved ones who have gone before us! I look forward to that great and glorious day when the last trump shall sound!

 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.         2 Timothy 4:7 NIV

Nothing to Prove is a song that could have been written about my dad. He was a father of unassuming love and grace. I miss him dearly. Here's Mark Lowry's version of this song by Phillips, Craig and Dean. It's from Mark's album Unplugged and Unplanned. I pray it brings back sweet memories of your own dad!

Way back in the day, circa 1990's. The Cook family! Randy, Danny, Lanny, Gordon & Clarice.

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© Lanny Cook