We’re getting very close to Valentine’s Day. A Day that is set aside to show love and affection to that special someone in your life. Many people will call up a florist and have flowers sent to that special girl to brighten her day. Chocolate will be sold by the truckload and Hallmark will make a fortune. There’s another day that is going to be reserved in your Life where people will bring you flowers and share stories of your life and just how you touch them. Yes, you guessed it; your funeral.
All too often we wait for special days to be set aside to celebrate our love and affection. But the saddest one of all, is the one where almost all of your friends and relatives gather, the most beautiful flowers are given, and stories of how your life affected others will be shared. All of this happens at a time where you’re not present to enjoy those kind words and acts of love. If you ever wondered what it would be like to attend your own funeral? Who will be there? What will they say about you? Will the preacher be able to say kind words about you and offer comfort? All of these are things that we don’t like to think about but eventually are going to happen.
How about your friends and family? Are you waiting for that funeral day to show them love and respect? Does it have to be a holiday or a funeral that pulls everyone together? We certainly understand that a little token of kindness goes a long way, but rarely take the time apart from special days to show that love and concern. A man just told me today, “I’d rather have the flowers and the kind words before I die so I can have the opportunity to return the favor.” What kind of world with this be if we lived that way? What if we loved so unconditionally that we didn’t wait for special days to show that love? Are you getting flowers for no reason?
Holding the doors open of the restaurant while patiently letting an elderly person in ahead of you is a beautiful flower. Not arguing and attempting to dominate the conversation for self gain with an attitude of superiority, but rather listening to the opinions and the voice of someone else while seeking to truly understand even if you don’t agree carries a flower fragrance that builds a trust mutual respect. Taking a loved one out to eat or cooking them their favorite meal just to show them how much you care is far more precious than a bouquet of roses.
Give me flowers while I’m still alive that I am able to smell and share the fragrance with all who are around me. When I am dead, I will not be able to show my friends your token of gratitude and speak kindly of you for all you have done. If you give me your flowers of kindness while I am alive to return the favor you will reap the benefits of a friendship and mutual love that endures forever. If you cannot give me flowers while I’m alive you can keep them. For when I am gone, they are only to appease your own grief and shame. Flowers only given after death cannot bring the peace and satisfaction that come with the flowers of a loving heart and the fragrance of a giving lifestyle. Give, and it shall be given unto you pressed down and running over.
Dear Lord Jesus may I always offer the flowers of kindness to friends, family, and the stranger on the street.
“Rethinking my life plan today.”
Oftentimes we have long-term goals in mind but we don’t really realize how our lives will turn out. So many things play a factor that we don’t even think about when we’re younger.
In just a few months I will say goodbye to my 30s and I will be 40 years old. 10 years ago my life never appeared to look like this. I thought I knew exactly where I would be, but when I got to that fork in the road I took a right instead of left. Looking back to when I was 29 I feel that I was so young and foolish. I realized I didn’t have much of a life plan at all.
Today at 39 years old I’m creating a new life plan, one that is much more realistic and focus not only on myself but on God. I never knew God would take me down the road of hospice. At 29 years old I was asked the question where do I see myself in 10 years, I thought I would be a children’s minister forever. So my response was, doing what I’m doing now only bigger and better. Boy was I off!!!
I guess I never thought that Anna would grow up. (Denial is sometimes a great place to be.) I certainly never thought I would have toddler at 40! I didn’t think about my body wearing out, or the end of my life. We all know we’re going to die someday, but that day seemed so far away that it didn’t really matter. It’s a thought most people try to push out of their heads.
Life is short, and the things that you think are important right now, really aren’t that big of a deal. Things that we like to gripe and fuss about, in the grand scheme of things really are nothing.
So today at 39 pushing 40 I’m asking myself, “when I’m 49 pushing 50 is what I am doing getting me toward my goals, and are the goals I have the ones I will still have what I am 50?”
These are not questions you can answer in an hour. These take time, prayer, and consideration. I write this today not because I want to share personal information, but because I have a lot of young friends who are naïve just like I was.
I wish I could do it all over now!
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
I’m empty and numb, my emotions are raw, the stress of it all has stolen my joy.
I bring unto you my fears and worries as a child who has broken his favorite toy.
The battle is hard, my flesh cries out for help, but words escape my soul.
I look to the hills from whence comes my help, to you O God, for my Joy to become full.
Though the storms wage on, I will not falter nor fail.
You are my deliver, you have preserved me from hell.
You are my portion and my strength, in this temporal life that will not last.
I remind my soul in times like these, this too shall pass.
-Rev. Dale Stringer 9/11/15
May what I experienced today, be strength for you tomorrow!
Let it be made clear, the church no more approves of pornography, adultery, or premarital sex than homosexuality, but marriage is a state of matrimony where two hearts become one ordained by God. We stand against the marriage not because we hate the people but because the union is not blessed by God. However, those who are married and cheat on their spouses are in no less danger provided that they repent. So what is the big deal? If you repent of any of these sins you are forgiven. But to repent is a turning away from the sin. Many men and women who have viewed porn or cheated on their spouses have repented and worked to repair the marriage God blessed and ordained. They go on to enjoy true forgiveness in God and their relationship. Those who are in a homosexual relationship can find this same freedom but God cannot and will not bless this union. We do not oppose the equality marriage act because anyone wants to deny a civil right to anyone. People have been living this type lifestyle for a long time. It’s America, what two adults do behind closed doors is none of my business. But when laws or court rulings are made that effect the Nation and how we conduct business it then becomes my business as an American to stand for my values.
Christian bakers, photographers, and Court house Judges and other officials should not have to make these kinds of choices. While I do not approve of “Gay Marriage” because I don’t believe such a thing is possible, (As I believe God ordained Marriage Himself) I could be for a civil union. I know when two people make a life for themselves they should be able to see each other in the hospital and buy property together and so on. While I disagree with the term marriage for LGBT and even it’s idea, we need to find a way to protect the rights of all Americans while letting the LGBT community to know Christians are not their enemy.
The government should relinquish the idea of marriage to the church and faith communities. I know people who feel forced to lie. They say they are separated but are not because they get financial help by not being married. I also know people who are in love and want to get married but would have their checks cut if they did.
Our government uses marriage as a way to give a tax break to help families, but at the same time get people to live in sin so they don’t loose their Social Security. Now they are using it to set the Christians against same sex couples. I have my own thoughts on how to fix that, but it’s a post for another time.
I just want to say, no one has singled you out! Sin is sin!!! We all have to repent and ask Christ to forgive us. It’s not as simple as saying, “opps, my bad God!” It must be a life change. Our preaching against sin makes people feel uncomfortable for a time. I too, sat under preaching that made me feel uncomfortable, but that changed my life for the better as it turned me to God. Our sins separate us from God and I’d rather be miserable for a moment and know that someone cared, then happily live my life and miss Heaven.
Here is what Paul said when those he preached to repented:
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 GW
8 If my letter made you uncomfortable, I’m not sorry. But since my letter did make you uncomfortable for a while, I was sorry.
9 But I’m happy now, not because I made you uncomfortable, but because the distress I caused you has led you to change the way you think and act. You were distressed in a godly way, so we haven’t done you any harm.
10 In fact, to be distressed in a godly way causes people to change the way they think and act and leads them to be saved. No one can regret that. But the distress that the world causes brings only death
James 1:2-3 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Repentance in the Old Testament
Ezekiel 18:21-22 KJV
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him:in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
While repentance and baptism are not practiced in the Old Testament. Living a consecrated life only to God is taught.
Luke 15:7 KJV
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Luke 24:46-47 KJV
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.