Famous Last Words

Words can be golden.  Movies can be identified by a memorable quote and songs by a few lyrics.  For the most part words are remembered whether for good or for bad.

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What would you say to someone if you knew it was the very last time the two of you would speak?  What would your last words be?  Facebook and social media are filled with nonsensical posts of quizzes designed to tell you which type of flower or animal you are.  They are also overflowing with venomous attacks on people we personally do not know.  That’s correct, politicians.  The colorful adjectives used are appalling.

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Petty arguments and grudges can slither their way into relationships and do irrevocable damage.  The hurtful last words spoken are forever engraved upon hearts.  Those hearts are left broken and yearning for healing.   Forgiveness withheld robs us of years of happy times and memories.  Perhaps “I’m sorry” are words that are long overdue to someone.  It would be devastating to miss that opportunity.

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What legacy do you want your words to leave?  If you knew you were having the last conversation with a friend or family would it change your words and tone?  Life changes everyday, and tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Scripture tells us not to let the sun set on our anger but to make amends.

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Me?  What would I say?  I would not waste my breath on small talk, but rather go straight to the things that I wanted my family or friend to understand.  Wouldn’t you?  Treasured memories would be shared as we relived them once again.  Yes, I would apologize for any wrong that I had done or they felt I had.  Perception is real to the beholder.  Most importantly, I would give forgiveness and love.

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When I speak to my parents, children, and best friend the last thing I say to them is I love you.  Three little words that mean so much.  Those words should chase away any doubt they might have if they were loved.  Absolutely, whole heartedly, and forever they are loved.  I would make sure they knew that God loved them, too.

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My words for you are that you, too, know you are eternally, unequivocally loved by your Creator.  The Bible overflows with verses verifying this.  Never doubt it, even in times of turmoil.   Call to Him  and let His love fill you and give you peace.

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It would be wonderful if we had the foresight to know when we were speaking to someone for the last time.   Since we don’t, the next best thing is to temper our words with love and speak as if those were our last words.  Let’s make all of our words be worthy of being famous last words.

Unsolicited Advice

Since my husband has retired we spend almost all of our time together.  Good thing we still love each other very much!  Honestly, it is what I have been anticipating for many years, our time.

He never was one to do anything in the kitchen except lick the spoons or steal some cookie door off of the sheet right before I popped it into the oven.  It made me ponder how my friends had gotten so lucky to have husbands that cooked.  Not mine.  He is a self proclaimed “eater”.  Without eaters the world would not need cooks is his logic. (lol)

Last week I was preparing dinner.  A simple beef roast with vegetables in my Rockcrok, a slow cooker.  All of a sudden I had a supervisor.  “Those potatoes need to be cut in quarters instead of halves.” my husband gingerly stated.  Having gotten away with that a minute later he stopped me and said “Whoa, you have enough carrots in there.”  Now I was getting a bit irritated.  The final straw was when he asked “Do you always use that many herbs and keep the celery leaves on?  Maybe that’s too much.”

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I don’t tell him how to run things in the yard or take care of the vehicles, because I have no experience.  He knows so much more than I do in those areas.  Just like I know so much more about cooking than he does.

As soon as that comparison came to my mind, so did something else.  How many times have I done the same thing with God?  Ouch!  Have I really tried to give advice or tell the Creator of the Universe what to do?  Well, yes, I guess I have.

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There have been times I have taken things to Him in prayer, and instead of asking that His will be done or for His help, I have listed what needed to be done.  Have you ever done that?  I would pray asking Him to do specific things so that the end result would be what I thought I needed.  How ridiculous is that?  The child giving instructions to the all knowing Father? Unsolicited advice being given to the One that directs us?

Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:6-7:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Abba doesn’t need a work order from me.  His way is perfect.  He already knows what needs done and what will happen.  All I need to do is lift my request to Him.  God knows exactly what needs to be done.  He is not waiting for my suggestions on how to solve a crisis.

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My prayers now take a different tone.   I know God knows and does what is best.  When I pray I take my concerns to Him, thank Him for being bigger than any issue I have, and leave it with Him.  Believe me, it isn’t always easy.  Sure I would love to include my suggestions but that would be silly.  Jehovah is our powerful God.  He isn’t our God that needs help.

Think about this the next time you pray for something.  Don’t make the same mistake I did.  Ask Him for help not if He needs any.

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Who I Am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

     Yes, I am a bookworm.  I love to read.  Books take me to times and places I have never been if the author is skilled.  They introduce me to a wide variety of new friends within their many pages.  Today, let me share one that I just read with you.  It was exceptionally moving.  I loved it and know you will, too.
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     Who I Am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher is spectacular.  I picked it up to read a few chapters and found myself staying up all night long until I finished it.  Yes, it is that good!  The characters are endearing, well rounded, and believable.  I easily became invested in their stories.  My imagination kicked in and I felt like I was there in Idaho with them.  I laughed at their humor, got teary at times, had emotional highs and lows right along with them, and wanted to play with the dog in the story.
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    This is a contemporary Christian romance that has a bit of mystery throughout and a parallel story from the 1930’s.  Opening the story the author teases us with just enough information to become interested, very interest, and want to know a lot more details on her characters.  For me this quickly became a “don’t put me down until the last page book.”
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     It has humor, life lessons, a sweet romance, history, and a well planned story.  The writing is exquisite.  It flows without a hitch.  The author is a talented wordsmith.  Conversation between characters sounds natural and not forced.  Details are just right without being too much or boring.
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     When reading a Christian novel, it is important to have an inspirational message in it.  I dislike the weak, watered down ones.  This one did not disappoint at all.  I love books that teach me things, especially historical things I did not realize.  Again, I gleaned some things from this, too.  Another thing I love is discussion or questions for thought at the end of a book.  Again, this book has that.    It will make a great book club read.  There is a lot to chatter about after finishing this jewel.
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     I highly recommend this book.  Highly!  An advanced reader copy was provided by the author but I was under no obligation to write a review.  These are my own, honest thoughts.  The rating for this is an easy 5 out of 5 stars.

Kindness…..Let’s Start a Campaign!

Thanks for joining me today.  There is something I’d like to ask you.  Would you join me in something else?  I am wanting to start a kindness campaign.  What do you think?  There is absolutely no money involved unless you are moved in that direction for some reason.  Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful project?  Thanks!  I think so, too.

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First, we sorely need this now because electronic devices have taken personal interaction and emotion out of our conversations and day to day dealings with each other.  Isn’t it quicker to send a text than call?  However, many times words written are more harsh than those spoken.  In fact, the same holds true with telephone calls versus face to face conversations.  Right?  It is a bit harder to be mean and cold when looking someone in the eyes and being able to see the hurt you inflict.
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What would this kindness campaign be?  I suppose we need to get to read the definition of kindness first.  The dictionary says kindness is the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous.  Kind is an adjective meaning having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.  Well, that sounds familiar.  Synonyms for kind are good-natured, caring, selfless, compassionate, understanding, friendly, thoughtful, loving, good, attentive, and hospitable.  Antonyms are mean, selfish, and inconsiderate.  Sounds reasonable to me.  What do you think?  Which would you rather be?
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Does the Bible say much about kindness and being kind?  Yes, it does.  Our instruction book for life is filled with verses about it.  Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Who wants to wear kindness?  I bet that looks beautiful on everyone.  Another one in Ephesians 4:31-32 “All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”  Now that is very clear.  A simple be kind to one another.
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It is my true desire for us to show kindness to others.  Yes, some do mean to harm us, but there is an internal war going on here.  Friends and family are saying many hateful, absurd things that are fueled by mobs of people they have never met.  We need to step back, regroup, and be kind.  None of us are perfect.  We all mess up and sin.  Everyone needs grace, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.
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Join me in being kind.  This movement needs to start some place, why not with us?  At least try it for the remainder of July.  Refrain from the negative political and newsy posts.  Stop demeaning and attacking people that have not personally interacted in a hurtful way with you.  Be part of the solution and stop fueling the fire.  Spread kindness, joy, and smiles.  Take a break from stress, meanness and finger pointing.  Recruit others to our Kindness Campaign.  Spread kind words and deeds.  Who knows, by August we all might feel so wonderful that we continue.  Most of all, please pray.  Pray for kindness in others and yourself.  Then just like the old song says….”and the world will be a better place for you and for me, just wait and see!”
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I Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant”
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Proverbs 16:23-24 From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Forgive and Forget

Get comfortable and let’s chat a little bit this morning.  Shall we?  I need to ask you something.  How easy or hard is it for you to forgive?  Wait!  Let’s back up a second.  I’m sorry.  0826DD35-5ADD-43A2-BEAB-E89FBA5BB7DEFirst, what does forgiving someone mean to you?  Do they have to ask for it?  Is it earned like respect?  Do you still feel the same way about that person or can you go back like nothing ever happened?  Are forgive and forget a married couple?  Well, I wish we were chatting over coffee and tea instead of tablets and phones.  I want to know your thoughts.

Recently I struggled with this from both sides.  An issue with a family member had completely torn me apart.  As a Christian I know I am called to forgive, but when it came down to a serious, nitty gritty situation, I was floundering.  After a lot of prayer, I fell exhaustedly face done crying for help. “I don’t really know how to forgive.”  It was at that moment in the stillness that I heard God speak to me.  “Yes, you do.  I have shown you.”
Talk about food for thought.  My mind went racing through all of the stories and scriptures I knew about forgiveness. 55C5BD65-5BB9-45A2-8D9D-61CD49CF656E In my heart and soul, I knew the answer.  My example, my teacher was Jesus.  Right?  Even in the Lord’s Prayer we pray to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”  So was I forgiving like that?  Like God forgives.
When He forgives it it total.  He washes away my sins and makes me clean.  He forgives and forgets.  There is nothing else waiting to drop.  It is total forgiveness and then gone.  Poof!  If I receive this great mercy then how can I give any less.  Right?!
My forgiveness is total amnesia, the best this human mind can handle.  So yes, I would say Forgive and Forget are a couple, like salt and pepper,or peanut butter and jelly.  It is resetting the love and care button and disabling the caution or warning one.  For me to be happy and make my Savior delighted in me, I need to follow His example.  It is not being unforgiving or carrying a grudge and saying “I will forgive you but never forget what you did.”
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Same goes if I need to be forgiven.  Even if I don’t know what I’ve done, sometimes making the first step in reconciliation is the most important step you’ll take.  Offer your sincere forgiveness and desire to be reunited.  Do not stir the pot once more.  That concoction has made you both sick for a long time.  Time to try something fresh and new.  Even if you start with “I don’t know why you are mad…” you have started.  Don’t give up on forgiveness given or gotten no matter how many times.
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Thanks for the ear this morning.  Give it over to God, my friend.  Look to Him for your perfect example and ask for His help.  I hope if any of you are struggling with forgiving someone or being forgiven this has helped.