Easter Post 1

Easter Day One

I am happy to present this guest blog from my son, Josiah Cooper.  In three consecutive posts, he covers the death, burial, and resurrection from a very different perspective.  I hope you will enjoy.

Happy Good Friday, my friends!

Today we remember the dismal account of Jesus’ road to the cross. I feel though that we often overlook the greater spiritual conflict that took place.

Jesus, being fully human and fully divine acknowledged “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38. He was quick to remind his disciples as he was being arrested “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53.

legions of angels

legions of angels

My historical expertise fails me as to what a legion numbers, but suffice it to say, that’s a lot of angels! (Further research has shown that a Roman Legion was 6,000, making twelve legions of 72,000 angels!!) And they are no cherubs playing harps. These guys are William Wallace-meets-The Rock with wings, and they are poised for action with their hands on the hilts of their broadswords!

But Jesus would not be kept from His divine destiny, and holds His peace that He might ransom you and me!

Pilate’s wife was even troubled in her dreams concerning Jesus, and sent word to her governor husband to have nothing to do with Jesus in judgment.  In a final blow to the

Wooden cross

Wooden cross

forces of darkness, as Jesus breathed His last, the earth itself revolted! The sky turns black, the ground shakes so violently that the dead are awakened and enter Jerusalem and “appear to many” – Matthew 27:52-53.

The entire universe felt the effects of Jesus’ death, but none so significantly as the powers of hell themselves…

…stay tuned.

Writing Tips: You explain too much!

Too many modifiers spoils the broth

I have always considered myself a good writer (who hasn’t?),  so when I launched into my first novel, From Woodstock To Eternity, I had to stretch myself to write colorful, moving, and dramatic scenes.  I painted beautiful and enticing settings as the story progressed.  The action moved along quickly and decisively.  Finally, I created a masterpiece of rich, colorful settings that stirred the senses, brought you into the story, and made you wish Front Coveryou were there.

If you find nothing wrong with the first paragraph, you are like many readers who are unaware of the nuances of descriptive writing.  While my followers loved the story and said they could not put it down, I soon began receiving some reviews from professional editors who found fault with some of my techniques. I share with you the following:

Do not use multiple adjectives or adverbs

  • If you have three adjectives, cut out at least one.  In the paragraph above, with “colorful, moving and dramatic scenes,” cut out “moving” for “colorful and dramatic scenes.”  This actually gets to the point quicker and has more impact.
  • If you have two adjectives, consider cutting out one.  With “beautiful and enticing settings,” cut out “enticing” for “beautiful settings.”  This has the same effect.
  • For adverbs, “quickly and decisively,” just write “decisively.”
  • Agents and editors do not like the “ly” word.

The same rule applies to phrases

  • Instead of “Finally, I created a masterpiece of rich, colorful settings that stirred the senses, brought you into the story, and made you wish you were there.” just write “Finally, I created a masterpiece that made you wish you were there.”

 You get two benefits from these corrections.

  • Your story begins to snap.  Shorter sentences yield more movement and action.
  • Cutting is hard, but you have to do it.  Agents want manuscripts within a certain word count.  These techniques used throughout the book cut the word count considerably

Now read the edited version

  • I have always considered myself a good writer (who hasn’t?),  so when I launched into my first novel, From Woodstock To Eternity, I had to stretch myself to write colorful and dramatic scenes.  I painted beautiful settings as the story progressed, and the action moved along decisively.  Finally, I created a masterpiece that made you wish you were there.

I think that sounds better, but I never would have known it if I had not taken the knife to my story.

Missions Are For Missionaries

How missions benefit missionaries

The general view of missionary work is that the missionary goes to a land to teach people the Gospel of Christ while helping them with essential needs.  So, people who have never been on a mission trip think it is a great and noble sacrifice for the sake of others.

Medical Missions.DAY 04 (44)

Samaritan’s PurseDAY 04 (53)

Missionary distribution of food and clothing.


Provision International

Missionary building projects for churches and private homes.

Amor Mission Trips to Mexico

However, it is a well known fact in the missions community that the “others” are not the only DAY 04 (98)ones helped.  When church groups come back DAY 04 (66)from a foreign culture, the look of joy and wonderment on their faces does not come from the blessings they bestowed on the natives.  It comes from the blessings the natives bestowed upon them.

They stole my heart!

I still remember a young lady giving a report to the church about a mission trip to Mexico.  She held the microphone for quite a few seconds, and after she regained her composure, she simply said, “Those children stole my heart.”

In the book, From Woodstock To Eternity, Dustin Morgan and his wife Lisa go on a mission trip to the island of Granada.  Having come out of a hectic lifestyle in which he thought Christianity would be boring, he was amazed to witness the Gospel in action.

Grenada is a purging, cleansing experience.  Dustin and Lisa feel like the mission trip is doing more for them than they are doing for the people.  Every evening, members of their team gather on one of the street corners, play their guitars, and sing praises to the Lord.  Morgan’s heart warms him from the inside as he basks in the confidence that he is right where he needs to be. 

While they are singing, many locals gather around to listen or join in, clapping along in their rhythmical, island beat.  Suddenly, Pastor Terry steps out in the open air and starts to proclaim a message about the saving power of Jesus.  They are having a revival right here in the middle of the street!  A couple of local islanders raise their hand to get saved and walk up to the Pastor.  He lays his hands on their heads and they bow in prayer.  Dustin whispers in Lisa’s ear,

“I tell you what, I never would have seen anything like this in my old days.  I feel like we are experiencing something that has been going on for centuries.  I bet people felt the same Spirit when George Whitefield was preaching in the colonies, or even when Paul was on Mars Hill in Athens.  I had no idea being a Christian would be anything like this.

You can see how this would impact Dustin and Lisa’s faith.  They saw Jesus in action.  They witnessed the Holy Spirit move and change people’s lives.  They shared the joy with people from a different culture, making them all brothers and sisters in the Lord.

This experience greatly influenced Dustin and Lisa, but years later, when they had children, they did the same thing together as a family.  And guess what?  The little children stole their hearts away.

See Missions Are For Families

Mission Trips For The Family

Mission Trips: The best tool for building Faith

The most common statistic I hear in churches is the percentage of children, raised by Christian parents, who fall away from the Lord when they leave the house.  This is devastating for the next generation.  The leftist doctrines of immorality and rebellion against authority are spreading like wildfire, and the only force to stand against the tide areDAY 01 (37) good, solid Christians.  Therefore, it is paramount to raise good solid Christian children who will become the future fighters against this wave of evil.  Mission trips can be a very effective tool for this.

When a child goes astray, the phrase you hear over and over is, “We did all we could!”  That may be true but let me add one vital element to building the faith of a young adult, or a new believer of any age.

SHOW THEM A PERSONAL JESUS!!  Don’t talk about Him, talk to Him.  Pray together DAY 03 (56)as a family for Jesus to help with problems, and then celebrate with them when He does.

They need to see Jesus in action.  This is where mission trips come in.

FAMILY MISSION TRIPS are the most effective.  If the father can make arrangements to serve in a foreign country on the family vacation, it accomplishes many things.

  1. It causes the children to see their father as a leader and a spiritual authority.
  2. It shows the father leading by example to sacrifice time and worldly enjoyment for the Gospel of Jesus.DAY 03 (54)
  3. Family mission trips build unity that is directed to a good cause – helping people in need.
  4. They expose children to deep spiritual enjoyment that builds a bond as a family, and with Christ.

CHURCH MISSION TRIPS are also effective for the same goals, and have the advantage of more funding and better connections.  However, there are some cautions for parents.

  1. Peer influence can be good or bad, depending on the youth.
  2. Young romances and impressionable bonds can spring up that may not be a good thing.

Good things that come from Church Missions are:

  1. DAY 05 (56)Youth can get out of their bubble and see how other cultures live.  This usually builds a great sense of gratitude for what they have at home.
  2. They can experience work and sacrifice for no return, and feel good about it.DAY 03 (143)
  3. They can see faces of people light up as they hear the message of Jesus.  This may be the first time they really experience Jesus in action.  And this builds great faith.

So, for all of these blessings that are experienced by the missionaries, you can see how the people usually affected the most by missions are the missionaries.


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