To Die For

There are some absolutely beautiful songs on the market, many filled with timeless truths about God. I’m grateful to have easy access to music that can set my feet dancing, hands clapping, heart fluttering, lips singing, mind inspired or tears streaming. That’s a blessing. There is a song that does all of these and much more for me. It’s Anthony Brown’s single, Worth. This song is a sermon all by itself. It’s my anthem, especially for this period, as we contemplate the coming of Christ and the reason for His crucifixion, death and resurrection. It’s also my anthem as I walk deeper into God’s healing work and I gratefully walk through my house, arms raised, tears streaming down, the love of God washing internal wounds I cannot see and laughing like a loon from the joy that accompanies the truth.

There are so many walking wounded among us, people who desperately want to shrug off the grave clothes tossed carelessly over them by people who should have done better.

You ain’t ever going to be anything. Yo’ Daddy was a liar and you’re a liar, too. You think you are so much better than everybody else but your &@#* smells just like mine. You’re so ugly with that nappy hair and dark skin. You’re too skinny, too fat, too short, too tall. You are so stupid. Can’t you ever do anything right? I wouldn’t mess around with other people if you did what you were supposed to do. You know you wanted it so shut up. You need to be institutionalized. Don’t nobody want your crazy butt.

The list goes on and on. You probably have your own list. I’ve been the recipient of many of these poisonous verbal darts and, from my own pains, have shot some of my own and caused others to hurt. That’s truth. This song reminds me that no matter what I’ve done or where I’ve been, no matter what anybody else says about me, no matter what I have said about myself, before I was born, God said something very different. God, through His Son Jesus, thought I was ‘to die for’ and proved it in action.

Jesus thought I was worth SAVING so He came and changed my life!

He thought I was worth KEEPING so He cleaned me up inside.

There are many people who act like they want you. They may even say some of the right things. But, in action, they wrap you in grave clothes. Not so with Jesus. He saw you, broken and beaten down, and instead of dismissing you as worthless, He thought you were valuable enough to save! He thought you were worth keeping so He cleaned you up. Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t have to clean ourselves! Religion tells you that you need to look a certain way or act a certain way before God will value you. The honest truth is you were CREATED WITH VALUE. You have intrinsic value – no matter what you’ve done, who you are, how you were raised, or even what you think. I’m grateful that I do not have to be a religious person, trapped by religious thinking and the emptiness that religion brings. I lay claim to the promises associated with a love so great that it could only be manifest in sacrificial giving.

You thought I was to die for so You sacrificed Your Life

                     so I could be FREE

                                             so I could be WHOLE

                                                                so I could TELL EVERYONE I KNOW                                                                            you thought I was to die for!!

Singing in my best cheerleader voice: He did it. He did it.                                             Oh yes, He did it!

I’ve been listening to these words over and over and something really profound happened when I let the words move beyond my lips and seep into my spirit!

Jesus thought I was to die for! That’s huge. Jesus, the co-creator of the universe, the second in the Trinity, the Savior, thought Donna was to DIE FOR! Jesus was willing to sacrifice His life so I could be free and whole. It’s difficult to fully wrap your mind around it. That’s why I stopped trying to understand why Jesus would think I’m all that and simply accept it.

Jesus died to set the captives free. That’s me, and probably you. Jesus’ sacrifice was a free gift, the ultimate act of love. There are things we may never understand on this side of heaven. But there is a different between understanding and knowing. I have no clue how most of the appliances in my house work, but I know they do when I turn them on. Likewise, I can truly know that God loves me and wants me to be free and whole. So, I’m chasing it down, freeing my mind from old patterns, and walking out of the prisons where I’ve been in bondage. I’m casting down every imagination that rises against the knowledge of who God says I am. I’m doing the hard work of recognizing where I’m broken and what my part is in the healing process – and you will always have a part.

God loves you, my friend. He believes you are worth saving and keeping. Jesus believed- a long time ago – that you were to die for so He sacrificed His life so you could be free and whole. That’s why we have Easter. The egg hunts and candy are fun and yummy. Having a nice dinner with family is really cool. But the most significant thing about Easter is remembering and knowing!

Hallelujah! Glory to the God who changed and continues to change my life! I will praise you. I will worship you. I will give you glory because I am free. I am whole. I’ll tell everyone I know, You thought I was to die for!

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Getting Healthy Instead of Skinny (Lord, can I have both?)

Now that I’m in my mid-50s I realize more fully that gaining weight is EASY, losing it is just the opposite. I’ve been a yo-yo dieter most of my adult life. You know everyone knows it when a former student asks  ‘What diet are you doing now, Dr. Cox?’  That’s too much.  Something has to give – once and for all.

I also realize that getting healthy is much more than fitting into skinny jeans (there is NO bikini in my future). Getting healthy means taking a holistic approach to life and determinately seeking health in the ways that matter: God, family, friends and self.  Jesus is the model. We are told in Luke that Jesus grew in wisdom (training the mind and learning to apply the knowledge garnered),  stature (attending to the physical body) and in favor with God (developing a knowledge and relationship with God that informs decisions and actions) and with (wo)man (developing and sustaining right relationships). Jesus also understood the value of knowing who He was, whose He was and following His purpose with passion. Jesus didn’t get His value from external sources.

The gift of life is a wonderful thing, a precious gift that we often take too lightly, especially when faced with a double chocolate fudge brownie with ice cream, a platter of fried chicken or lounging on the sofa surrounded by greasy snacks watching a good movie. Nurturing the gift is not going to happen by accident. Being healthy requires intentionality, making good decisions in the here-and-now. I’m a planner so it is very easy for me to create a detailed, lofty plan for eating, studying, working out, connecting with family and friends, praying… the list goes on. Actually FOLLOWING the great plan is another thing altogether, one I’m not so good or consistent at. However, I’m determined to learn to take things one step at a time.  As Pastor Doug said, I’ll ‘do the next right thing.’ That’s it. No magic formula. No huge plan. No falling into the pit of despair over not following the lofty plan.  When I begin to do the next right thing purposefully and consistently I believe I will be healthier and maybe, just maybe, a bit skinnier.

 

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Handout for ACDA 2013

Thank you for taking time to attend my session at OMEA. I look forward to other opportunities to interact with you.

As promised, here is the handout from the session – in larger print so it can be read :). ACDA gospel slideshow

If you are interested in ordering the resource, Gospel Songs Your Choir Will Love To Sing, you may also order that on this website by clicking on the bookstore tab.

 

 

Loretta M. Cox Funeral Plans

Loretta M. Cox

January 31, 1938 – September 3, 2012

Mom’s Pennsylvania Memorial Program

Saturday, November 3, 2012 Memorial Celebration, 10:00 am

St. Luke’s Christian Community Church
325 Tilghman Street
Chester, Pennsylvania

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Doxology Ministries International, Inc, a 501c3 charitable corporation. Your donations are tax exempt. Checks may be sent, payable to Doxology Ministries, to PO Box 340926 • Dayton, OH 45434

Mom’s California Memorial Program

Friday, September 7, 2012 Memorial Celebration, 6:30 pm

Shield of Faith Fellowship of Churches

1750 West Holt Avenue

Pomona, CA 91768

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Doxology Ministries International, Inc, a 501c3 charitable corporation. Your donations are tax exempt. Checks may be sent, payable to Doxology Ministries, to PO Box 340926 • Dayton, OH 45434

————-
Private Family Service Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tillman Riverside Mortuary (2874 Tenth Street, Riverside, CA 92507).

Interment: Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Boulevard Riverside, CA 92518

A Dad

I wrote this poem last year for my husband of nearly 30 years, Gerald A. Cox, Jr. I repost it to honor him and all of the wonderful Dads in my life (a truncated list):  Danny McNeal, Sam McNeal, Sandy McNeal, Walter Brinkley, Deione Cox, Derrick Cox, Derrick Cox, Jr., Dameon Broadus, Phillip Cox, Keith Mary, Keith Bullock, Kevin McNeil, Flint Fowler, Keith Cosby, Tom Howell, Kevin Jenkins, David Abney, Daryl Ward, & Walter Green. I love you guys!!

 

A Dad

Donna Cox for her husband of nearly 30  years

Being a father is a relatively easy task

All it takes is the passing of appropriate body fluids at the opportune time

Being a father doesn’t necessarily mean responsibility

Nor does it automatically bestow certain privileges

But being a Dad – ah, that’s an entirely different matter

Being a Dad isn’t easy

It requires everything a man has to give – and then some

A Dad sacrifices personal desires and plans so he can be available to his child

A Dad wipes runny noses, dirty behinds, and dries salty tears

A Dad plays silly games and sings goofy songs

And makes up outlandish stories – for the price of a smile

A Dad will dress in a boa and frilly hat for a tea party with his girl

A Dad will shoot bad guys, scale mountains and leap tall buildings with his boy

A Dad will take three hours doing a one-hour job so his child can ‘help’

A Dad will kneel by his child’s bed and pray while she sleeps

or gives birth to her own child

A Dad will slip $20 into his adult son’s hand before he heads out the door

A Dad doesn’t have to give birth to a child to love him or her

So his grandson can put big shoes on small feet and call him ‘Dad’

A niece can sidle up to her uncle and, in her heart, call him ‘Dad’

A Dad seeks intimate relationships with his children

He knows he can’t expect them to give what he isn’t willing to provide

So he shares his mistakes and struggles in the hope his child will share hers

A Dad can be a father with ease

BUT a father has a long road to walk before he can be a dad.

Happy Father’s Day to a Real Dad!

To My Precious West Family

Farewell to cousin, Kenneth Lee West, better known as Kim!

To my family,

It is with sorrow and hope that I write on behalf of your Dayton family. The funeral places a period at the end of Kim’s life – our Kim – cousin, brother, uncle, father, friend. Yet, that period doesn’t have to signify the end of Kim’s impact in our lives. We each have a store of memories from which to draw. Though I’ve spent the majority of my life living far from Sanford, and I didn’t really get to know the adult Kim, I thank God for the precious memories of the little boy with the ready laugh that I grew up with, the boy I played with, shared meals with, fought with – no wait, that was Mitchell (smile).  Our memories of Kim reduce the finality of the period. Yet, as precious as our memories of Kim are, his death gives us something much more important. His passing gives us an opportunity to reflect upon and re-evaluate our own lives. None of us knows how much time we have left. As it was for Kim, death doesn’t often give advance warning of its arrival. We don’t get a chance to yell ‘do over’ when we look at our yesterdays. And tomorrow is a gift we only hope to unwrap. Today, right now, is the only time we have. In this moment, as our lives are intimately touched by the passing of our precious Kim, we face our own immortality. When the period is placed at the end of our lives, when we’ve closed our eyes for the last time in this world, where will we open them? Where will we spend eternity? This is a critical question. It is my deep desire that we have a serious family reunion beyond Heaven’s gates. I want to know that every member of our family will live forever with Christ. Yet, as important as this question is, we cannot afford to neglect the here and now. Don’t be content to simply slide into heaven. Walk boldly, knowing you’ve lived a victorious life, doing the best with what you have. The God who created Kim, who formed him before (Aunt) Mae and Daddy (Uncle Robert) even met, is the same God who promises each of us an abundant life, the God who offers the blessed hope that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! This is Kim’s gift to us.

I love you all.
Donna McNeill Cox
Gerald, Jonathan, Jamie, Hezekiah

Exciting Announcement

I am delighted to announce the arrival of my newest project, a children’s book HEZEKIAH LOVES MUSIC: LEARNING RHYTHMS THE FOOD WAY.

This is an adorable, full color illustrated children’s book that teaches readers to read and play simple rhythmic patterns. From child to seasoned citizen, experience the joy of learning to ‘read’ music in a simple, fun way.

You may order the book directly from me at this website – https://revdonc.wordpress.com/bookstore/.  It will be in the on-line bookstores within a few weeks but no need to wait; get your copy directly from me. And if you haven’t gotten your copies of my other books, those are available as well.

Be blessed.
Rev. Donna

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