He saved my life!

(I’m posting this on Christmas Eve, 2016. I’m not sure why….May it guide you to reach out to someone who may need some extra love this holiday. We are so blessed to be with family this year.)

I was a rising Senior in college. I had so much going for me, yet I felt a black hole in my heart or being. I can’t really describe it any better, but that is what I felt. I was living on my own, working part time while attending college full time. Continue reading

Philadelphia: The Faithful Church

FBC London

Picture I took as we walked up to First Baptist Church, London, Kentucky

We attended First Baptist Church of London, Kentucky on July 10, 2016. If you recall, that was just two days after the massacre of five police officers and wounding of nine others in Dallas, Texas. I could sense the need for not only an inspirational worship service and sermon after that horrific event, but our country needs the hope of Jesus. I’m only going to share the highlights from the sermon as it spoke to me.

The service was exceptional, full of prayers and heart rendering* praise and worship music to a presentation from a Gideon about how God uses a simple Bible to capture the heart of a lost soul. He gave two compelling examples. Do you know about the horrific homicides by “Son of Sam” in New York City? Granted it was long time ago. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1977 after killing six and wounding seven the previous summer. About 10 years later, he became “Son of Hope” after learning Jesus loved him and would forgive him of his sins. It’s a beautiful testimony and can be found here. His background was horrific, as is typical with many serial killers. Another inmate began to tell him about how Jesus had set him free and gave him a Gideon Bible, allowed in Prison. David writes:  Continue reading

Triumphant Entry!

JesusDonkey

From Pinterest

I love it when a sermon really grabs my heart and inspires me to share it. And that happened today, Palm Sunday, which celebrates Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.  This account is written in all four gospels so it must be a very important event in the lives of believers: Matthew 21-22, Mark 11-12, Luke 19-20, John 12. But today, he shared from the Gospel of Luke, 19:28-48.

As I turned to these verses, I noted they were not marked. “Interesting, can’t wait to hear this sermon” I whispered to myself.  You see, I have a “Sunday”Bible which I carry to church each Sunday.  I’ve marked it up a lot, and especially mark the scriptures used in the sermons, date it and now that we are traveling, note where I was.

The pastor continues, there is one particular verse not noted in the other three gospels. Luke 19:41:

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it… 

Wow, as many times as I have read this Gospel and these verses, it never stuck out to me that He WEPT!  I do know the one other time Jesus wept, at the death of his friend, Lazarus, in John 11:35. Nearly everyone knows this verse because it is the shortest verse in the Bible. But it is so important. It shows Jesus’ humanity and his compassion.

I searched for many pictures and videos to find one where it might show Him depicted with tears. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but found this tidbit as I searched: “Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem is found very early in Christian art, on 4th century sarcophagi in the gloomy Roman catacombs – perhaps because the early Christians wanted to emphasise this glorious moment rather than the tragedy of the Crucifixion.” (From here.)

But we Christians celebrate this event and it is noted in our Bibles as being a “Triumphant Entry” into Jerusalem. After the sermon today, I liked how one commentator mentioned this really could be called the “Tearful Entry.” And we don’t view the Crucifixion as a tragedy. It shows the ultimate love gift to each one of us and to whoever will accept it, the willingness to die so others can live.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

So why was Jesus taken to this tearful moment we want to think it a Triumphant Entry? Because He knew how many would reject Him and reject the gift of not only eternal life, but of peace on this earth. And not the warrior type of peace we imagine, just as those who lived in the times of Jesus, but peace in our hearts knowing and understanding why He was sacrificed for us….

Rather than repeat the sermon, I found this short two minute video that really effectively shares the message. But if you can’t watch the video, you can read another Pastor’s notes here. After you watch or read about it, do you understand His tears?

I don’t know about you, but I am viewing today as a bit more of a somber day, a day to really search my heart. Am I living how Jesus deserves me to live after His sacrificial death? I do know I want everyone I know and love to accept Him and His death so they will spend eternity with me….and all my loved ones who are up there waiting for us….

Death and taxes

BirdOfParadise

Bird of Paradise symbolizes joyfulness. It also symbolizes magnificence. It can also be used to indicate exciting and wonderful anticipation.

I remember at a young age one of my uncles declaring, “there are only two things certain in life, death, and taxes.” This was just a reality I learned young, but I never really understood or appreciated until recently. As I think back, I guess this uncle was a rather pessimistic person or only saw the cup as half empty. I am definitely an optimist and see the glass as half full. But I am also a very practical person….

Having just lost another family member, and at my age, the stark reality is there. But for me and my faith, I know this world is only a temporary one and my real life will be spent in eternity, worshiping and praising the God of the heavens and the earth! And if that is not reality or true, then will know I lived a happy life preparing for something better than what this world has to offer – and that helps my optimism! I would not have any regrets.

So my point is going to be, how should we live and how should we prepare for death? There is a song I really like that says in part, “I want to live like there is no tomorrow!” As much as I try to live like this and to live fully live each day, those pesky taxes seem to steal some of the spontaneity of life. All I can do is learn from others. I am an observer of life. I am an investigator. And that helps me decide how I want to live …. and to die. And having just stared at death in the face on January 7, 2016, I know I have peace in my heart!

So what else is going on right now? Why am I up in the middle of the night, writing this post?

My sisters and I are helping our mom rebuild her life, again, after the death of our step-dad, her husband of 12 years. Mom was married to our dad for 54 years before he succumbed to cancer. It was unexpected as dad was living independently and they had a pretty decent life together. As we know, no one is perfect. Let’s just say as they aged, they settled down into a comfortable life with each other. Neither really had any health issues. But then, dad began to rapidly lose weight. And eight months later, he passed away. He was in a coma his last three months. At one point, dad knew he was dying. While I lived and worked two hours away, we began to spend most weekends there to help figure out what was going on. One day, Dad brought me out all his insurance papers and filled me in…I was in denial. But that was a gesture I later learned to really appreciate as I became the executor of his estate by default. In the midst of dad’s crisis, my one sister’s husband suddenly died, after suffering from his second heart attack. He was only 52. There was no preparing for his death….

My husband’s dad was diagnosed with cancer of the lungs at age 77. He had just hit his five-year mark from overcoming cancer of the colon. As a family, we had two years to prepare for his passing (in 1996). He was able to get his financial affairs in order, made and paid for all his funeral arrangements. In the end, it was the greatest gift he could have given his family in his passing. Once he did pass, as a family, we could come together and just grieve and then celebrate his life which was well-lived. He left no skeletons in his closet and we had the peace that passes understanding, knowing he was with his Lord and Savior.

Thankfully, my brother-in-law and my dad also gave us this assurance. We knew they knew who God was and they had accepted Jesus as their Savior. So while we had to scramble to make their funeral arrangements, we, at least, had that peace. Our grieving and mourning did not turn to celebrating like we were able to for my father-in-law. Those pesky “tax” issues took our joy….

And then, this past March, my step-dad was given a shocking diagnosis. He had two months to live. Maybe as long as six if he sought treatment. He was also living independently and was my mom’s caregiver. She’s legally blind, but otherwise, very independent – well, as independent as one could be who needs others to “see” for her!

My step-dad was also a believer in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But he and my mom had not prepared for him to go first….you see, mom was a bit of a cougar in that she was 10 years older than he was! And nowadays, 81 is still pretty young. So he really struggled with accepting his death sentence. He was told he could fight it. He did and he managed to live for eight more months. While he did get his financial affairs in order, he did not clean out his closet. He left a few skeleton’s in it. There was discord in his family that no one seemed to know how to overcome. And this is really the moral of this post. He was blessed to know his time was limited (and isn’t all of our time is limited?) so he had opportunities to resolve hurt feelings. But he couldn’t see the forest for the trees. He was the one who felt hurt.

So now, we are trying to help mom rebuild her life. It is not easy having done it once before. But then, again, she, at least, knows she did it once before and perhaps she can do it again.

They say you need something to live for … and right now mom is living to see her two great-grandsons. My daughter is her only grand daughter. Mom and dad moved near us once she was born to help care for her when I went back to work so they have a strong bond with our daughter. Grandparents as such a GREAT gift to babies.

And what is the moral of this story? Make sure you clean out your closet before it’s too late.

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” Romans 3:23

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our since and purify us from all unrighteous.” 1 John 1:9

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:22

And this is why this blog’s URL address is “Lifetime of Forgiveness.

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What are your experiences in the loss of loved ones?

Are you prepared? If not, click here.

My new year…..

Eat This Book

This year marks the 12th year since I began reading the Bible on a daily basis, going from Genesis to Revelation. I completely wore out one Bible and was working on my second one when I discovered reading the Bible on-line. I now love the flexibility of the reading plans and Bible versions, so I am hooked. But I still like to carry my regular Bible (book) with me to church on Sundays.

And why read the Bible, let alone daily? For me, it is all about a personal relationship with Jesus, a way to commune with God, to know my Creator, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, my Savior! How can we fellowship with the Lord if we don’t get to know Him? And that I why I read the Bible daily. And my ultimate aim, my hope is to become more like Jesus: forgiving, compassionate, kind, considerate, gentle, hopeful, full of grace – love – JOY – and mercy! As I age, I am seeing it is getting a little easier, but I have such a long way to go!

This past year, when I started reading the New Testament, I felt like I was finally eating dessert! I do love the Old Testament, especially the Psalms and Proverbs, but mainly for the stories of Creation, Noah, Abraham, Joshua, the history of Israel, Deborah, King David, King Solomon, and the book of Ecclesiastes.  Ok, maybe a few more stories (Jonah, Job, Lott, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha, Ruth, oops, guess I could go on and on)! But staying with it daily started to feel like I was eating at a buffet that is a bit warmed over and the food needs to be refreshed. Well, that has been how  started to feel this last year, so I decided it was time to change reading plans. Or maybe I felt this way because of some of life’s circumstances….That’ll be another post!

I have really enjoyed reading the Bible in Chronological order, but I have now done it three years in a row. I wondered if I would ever get tired of it. And I guess in a way, I finally have. So I looked over the different plans in my YouVersion Bible App. And one just jumped out at me, called, Eat This Book. Well, the title was not so inviting (if you know me, you know I am not a foodie), but I liked the description:

Following aspects of the traditional Jewish order in the Old Testament, this Eat This Book reading plan offers a sustainable reading pace, allowing you to experience first the Old Testament and then the New Testament in one year. Each day, you’ll explore an average of four chapters, and you’ll close your time in prayer by reading a Psalm.

I am now on day 4 and am loving it! And guess what, Genesis feels like an appetizer, preparing me for a fabulous feast! And now I understand how they named this reading plan, Eat This Book!

Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ John  6:35

Please let me know about your Bible reading habits!

I’ve been nominated ….

I’ve been nominated ….

liebsteraward-e1439238598144What a challenge. I have been nominated for an award! I’ve seen opportunities like this, but never really wanted to participate, until this time! Thank you Dark Writer for nominating me. This blogger has captivated me with very creative writing….and we both love pineapples! Please check out his site.

Another nominee found the definition of Liebster: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome!

Let’s add the purpose of this is to help new bloggers, or old bloggers like me with a newer blog that needs some love, be discovered. My sole purpose in wanting to be discovered is my prayer to be able to touch another person and perhaps encourage them, give them hope or make them smile. Or as my tagline is supposed to mean – share LIFE: Love, Inspiration, Freedom, and Encouragement.

With the below 11 questions posed to you, I would like to nominate the following bloggers:

  1. Since the rules say I can, I will re-nominate Carlos, author of “Thoughts of a Train Wrecked Pineapple.” I met him in July’s Blogging 101. I guess it was the pineapple…We are probably very different, but we sure seem to have a lot in common and I enjoy his unique writing style. And now I have more questions for him!
  2. This award is about finding new blogs. And thanks to this award, I’ve discovered Catherine Mullaney’s blog, Disarmed by Love. Oh, how I relate to her and look forward to following her posts!
  3. One of my favorite new and young bloggers is Jessica, whose blog is “Where the Lord Leads.” While I love to find people who are really “different” from me, this precious young lady is also my sister – In Christ.
  4. I don’t know how many followers Miryam Leah of “The Well Balanced Soul” has, if more than 200, disregard. If less, I hope you participate. I’d love to know more about you. I really like your writings and where you are coming from!
  5. I also nominate Audrey Cunningham, a relatively new blogger that also is very much like me…and we both love Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches and Jesus!
  6. There are a few more bloggers I want to nominate, but I either have misplaced them or am not sure how many followers they have….If I missed someone, I’d love to include you here!

Rules:

Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
Lastly, COPY these rules in the post.

Questions posed for me:

If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
My husband and I travel full time! So we go where ever we want. But my favorite place right now is near my daughter who has blessed us with an adorable grandson…and we are currently waiting for our second grand child to be born….any day now!

What is the simplest thing that makes you smile?
When I pick my grandson up from day care. He drops whatever he is doing and comes running to me….it doesn’t get any better than this!

What do you like about your hometown?
I have several hometowns….my dad was in the military, so we moved frequently. Then my husband and I have moved frequently and now we travel full time! Technically, my home of record right now is Sebring, Florida. I do like so much about this wonderful, rural town. For one, we moved there for the weather….and family lived there. It was really the one hometown where I was able to become a volunteer and really participate in making life a little sweeter….

What is the best meal you can prepare?
This is really a joke in our family. Once upon a time, I was a decent cook. Then my husband took over and now I am learning to follow directions as to what to cook and how to do it. But I don’t think anything I could list would be considered the “best meal.”

What’s your favorite chore to do at home?
I keep up with all of our financial matters, pay bills, run our household office.

What’s your favorite book?
I read my Bible daily, so that means it must be my favorite! It keeps me encouraged that the Lord is real, He loves me, He keeps me from harm and He quenches my thirst for life!

What’s the very first thing you would do if you won the lottery?
Pay off the mortgages of our daughter, nieces, and nephews!

What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable?
I’ll agree with my friend, Dark Writer, I love pineapple and I do eat it every day! Well, when we can get good ones…..but with our lifestyle, the way we travel, we usually find good ones year around!

How many times have you fallen in love?
When I was six, sixteen and finally found the love of my life at age 21!

What was your favorite game or toy as a child?
Hide and seek!

What’s your favorite beverage?
I’m boring….I drink water with all my meals and throughout the day! I also enjoy coffee, chased by water!

Nominees – here are my questions for you, answer all or pick and choose which ones you want to answer:

1. Who or what inspired you to write books/blogs?

2. If there is one event in world history you could change, what would it be?

3. Staying with world history, what is the time period you would most like to live in?

4. If you could invite one of the world’s most famous person to dine with you, who would it be?

5. What is one talent you would like to excel at above all others?

6. If you could interview one of your favorite and famous authors, who would it be?

7. What is your all-time favorite film?

8.  What is your signature dish or favorite meal?

9. What is your favorite song?

10. What makes you a happy person?

11. Where in the world would you most like to travel to?