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Last Words Worth Remembering

14 Mar

Death isn’t funny… but last words can be. I recently read some humorous “last words,” supposedly uttered right before tragedy struck. Just imagine how some of these words might have deadly or hurtful consequences!

  • I’ll bet I can pass this car …
  • Trust me, I know exactly what I’m doing …
  • This tribe looks peaceful …
  • Don’t worry, there’s more of us than them …
  • Nice doggie …
  • Now let’s see; which wire was I supposed to cut? …
A person’s last words can reveal a lot. The last words of some famous people are worth remembering; some, not-so-much. *

“All my possessions,” Queen Elizabeth I said, “for a moment of time.”

Socialist Karl Marx said, “Go on. Get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”Grave_NothingFurtherToSay

When actress Joan Crawford heard her housekeeper praying aloud, she cursed and said, “Don’t you dare ask God to help me.”

Edgar Allan Poe, however, prayed, “Lord, help my poor soul.”

Dramatist and author Victor Hugo said, “I see black light.”

But inventor Thomas Edison said, “It’s very beautiful over there.”

Preachers and motivational speakers often say we should consider our death if we want to live the best life. There’s an element of truth – if we remember the brevity of life and the length of eternity, we’ll likely make better choices.

So I started wondering … if I “finish well,” living for Christ with all my heart, what would I LIKE to say at the end of my life?

I’d love to gather my family around and say:

  • “It’s worth it … living for Jesus.”
  • or, “Life passes so quickly; be sure your priorities are straight.”
  • or maybe, “It’s only a short step into the arms of God.”
  • and to some, I’d say with tears, “Do you know my Jesus?”

What would you say, if you had the time to think about it? And what would you want to be doing and saying if death caught you unaware?

Jesus had some last words on the cross that are filled with meaning. These words are part of the foundation of the Christian faith.

Jesus cried out, “It Is Finished!”(John 19:30). In the Greek, the ItIsFinished_Sepiaphrase is simply tetelestai… a work completed. In John 4:34, Jesus said he lived to do the will of the Father and “to finish His work.” When He considered the cross, He admitted, “for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27).

“It is finished” was a cry of fulfillment … a shout of triumph.

The book of Revelation also has some last words from the Alpha and Omega to His waiting church (Revelation 22:6-21) – words meant to motivate us toward faith, faithfulness and obedience. Jesus finished with a promise: “Surely I am coming soon.”

Now those are last words worth remembering!

* http://www.2spare.com/item_61729.aspx and http://coolquotescollection.com/Last/3

– Dawn

Regarding Unwelcome Gifts

16 Dec

Back in 2010, a shopping website suggested holiday gifts that nobody really wants. Here area few samples:

  • Microphone Tongs – So you can sing while serving your salad?
  • A Pet Petter – for those who love their pets but don’t have time to actually spend time with them
  • A Bed Bug stuffed animal – oh joy…
  • A LifeGem Memorial Diamond (created as the by-product of a recently deceased pet. Horrors!)
  • Inflatable Fruitcake

Now I’m not crazy about regular fruitcake, so I certainly wouldn’t enjoy an inflatable one! (But if one of you have a fruitcake recipe that tastes nothing like fruitcake, let me know!)

They say that when it comes to gifts, “it’s the thought that counts,” but I really wonder what people would be thinking when it comes to some of those gifts. LOL!

Here are some thoughts on Some Normally Unwelcome Gifts:

(1) Don’t give a “final sale” item unless you know it will absolutely please or absolutely fit.

(2) Be careful with re-gifting unless you have memorized re-gifting etiquette: Be sure the person you are gifting would actually like the gift; be sure the gift is not dated or old (unless you can somehow freshen it up or the recipient truly loves antiques); and be sure you pass it along to someone who didn’t give it to you in the first place!

(3) Closely related to this … if you got something “for free” with another purchase, count on someone else knowing. They probably saw the same offer. They might have even made the same purchase! Freebies do not normally impress others as Christmas gifts.

(4) Duplicating. It’s also not a good idea to get everyone the same thing. I have to admit that I’m guilty of this one. I tend to think: (A) If so-and-so sees this, they’ll want it too, or (B) This sure does make shopping easier. One of my friends says this kind of shopping saves time and stress. “Make one year a sweater year,” she says, “and another year the bathrobes year.” Actually, that’s not a bad idea, but it’s not a good idea to get everyone the same sweater or the same bathrobe. We need to give it more thought than that!

(5) It’s not the best idea to give self-help books for Christmas (especially if they have to do with losing weight). Christmas isn’t the best time to drop hints about relationships and life-style changes. The book might be helpful and even “spiritual,” but it’s likely going to offend as a gift rather than bless. Similar to this gift is the “You oughtta…” gift. You know ~ the gift designed to help your family member of friend change a habit or get-with-it in some area. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Do you really want a “You oughtta…” gift?

(6) Another sometimes unwelcome gift is the run-of-the mill offering. You know … you wrap up some from-the-mix sugar cookies or some other generic treat and hope they’ll think it’s homemade. And fruitcake fits here, too… so unoriginal!

(7) Think simple, not hard-to-use. Especially for the techno-challenged, avoid gadgets and high-tech gifts that require an engineering degree to figure out how to use. Good rule of thumb: If you’re puzzled with how it works in the store, what makes you think others will find it easy to use?

ALL THAT SAID …

If YOU receive a non-returnable final sale item, an improperly re-gifted present, a “freebie,” a look-alike gift, a self-help book, a “You oughtta…” gift, a run-of-the-mill gift, or a hard-to-use gift …

  • Please be gracious and kind. Smile and say “Thank you.”
  • Give your expectations (and disappointments) to God. Remember that Christmas is about God the Eternal Giver, not any one person’s temporary gift.
  • If you receive a self-help or “You oughtta…” gift, ask God for the lesson in the gift (even if it is only to forgive your well-meaning friend. LOL!).
  • Remember the millions who would love any kind of gift for Christmas.
  • Look beyond the gift to the giver ~ some people are just lousy gift-givers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you or care about you.
  • Resolve to communicate more. Help the person get to know you better so they will anticipate what you would love to receive next year.

And while we are talking about unwelcome gifts, remember that many around you don’t appreciate or don’t want to receive the gift of eternal  life in Christ. To them, the Father’s indescribable gift of the Son (2 Corinthians 9:15) is an unwelcome gift … until they see their desperate need for it.

They may misunderstand the meaning of the gift or its value ~ what it cost. They may be cherishing other things in their hearts; they have no room for God’s gift. They may be hurting, confused, frustrated, bitter ~ the enemy blinding them to the beauty of the gift of God, the transformation the Father longs to begin.

Pray for these people during this Christmas season. Pray that God will open their eyes and change their hearts. Pray they will welcome and receive His gift ~ ask God for the right opportunity to invite them to receive it. Without this gift there is no life, no lasting peace or joy.

– Dawn

How to Choose the Perfect Gift

2 Dec

Thor Ramsey wrote a LOL article listing some of the myths about Christmas that included this funny observation:

“Myth # 4:  The Younger You Are the More Gifts You Should Get.

Truth: You know what I don’t like about the holidays? It’s this rule of Christmas: the younger you are the more gifts you get. My sister’s pregnant. The fetus has more presents under the tree than I do.

The kid doesn’t even have feet yet, why does he need a stocking?

I tell you what a great gift for a newborn baby is ~ a spice rack.

Hey, that’s what they got the baby Jesus for Christmas ~ frankincense, and myrrh? Come on, that’s a spice rack. They might have been three wise men, but they were bad shoppers.”

LOL! Take time to read all of the myths here: “Christian Myths” (at crosswalk.com, 12-16-2004).

But seriously, how does one choose a perfect gift at Christmas? Here are some tips:

  1. Pray for wisdom as you make your Christmas list (James 1:5a)
  2. Make a list of everyone you have to buy for this year. Get it written all down so you can see the big picture.
  3. Prioritize the list ~ family first, other relatives and/or close friends second, co-workers/hairdressers, etc. last.
  4. Think about the budget. After each name, write down the reasonable amount of money you have for that person (remembering, perhaps, what they bought you last year!). It doesn’t have to be expensive or huge to be “perfect” for them.
  5. Think about each person to narrow down possible gift choices. What do they love to do (hobbies/interests) and what might their personality dictate in choosing a gift?
  6. Anticipate. List one or two ideas about what you want to look for, for each person, before you go shopping.
  7. Go fishing ~ you may need to “fish” for ideas with the recipient or a loved one. It’s OK to “ask around.”
  8. When shopping, check out the clearance section in each store to see if any of the items you’re looking for are there (or check online for the same). Don’t waste money.
  9. Get creative. Perhaps you can make a meaningful gift. Or attach a handmade Christmas note or tag. Consider a personalized gift. A food gift.
  10. Consider a gift card if it is appropriate ~ if the person can get something they really want or will use (but consider attaching the gift card to something fun or useful). Or give great promotional coupons (like housecleaning, errand running, etc.) if the person would use them.
  11. Consider a family gift package – something they can do together.
  12. Regarding children ~ Remember safety and age-appropriateness.
  13. Picture this ~ a framed photograph is great for grandparents, a special loved one, or your best friend. A treasured childhood family picture framed exquisitely is priceless.
  14. Ask yourself questions: “Will the recipient really like this, or is it just something I would like to have? Will this bless the person? Will he/she use this or just have to find a place to store it? Does this gift show I value the person?”
  15. Wrap it up pretty! Presentation counts ~ a feast for the eyes.

The tradition of Christmas giving arose from those three Wise Men who were NOT bad shoppers. The Magi ~ they were not called wise men in the scripture, but were likely royal Persian astronomers or advisers to kings ~ went to Jerusalem seeking Israel’s newborn king. But he wasn’t there. God directed them to Bethlehem with a brilliant star, and they offered baby Jesus gifts that were precious and meaningful. They thought about the perfect gifts for a King of Kings: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Gold was certainly a gift for a king. In tradition, we often see this gold as a jar, but it could just as well have been coins, jewelry, or even chunks of gold.

Gold was a wonderful gift for a royal child.

Frankincense was rare and valued, often used in Temple worship. Frankincense burned on the altar and its smoke symbolized the Israelites’ prayers rising up to God.

Frankincense was a blessed gift for a divine child.

Myrrh was also valuable as a perfume, but it had another more ominous use. Myrrh was used in the cloths that wrapped bodies for burial. It’s strong smell was believed to help cover the smell of decay.

Myrrh was a prophetic gift for a child who was born to die.

The story indicates that the Magi knew Jesus was going to be more than a great teacher or prophet. They understood that He was the Messiah ~ the promised Savior. Gold, frankincense and myrrh certainly seem to be perfect gifts; but there was another gift offered that day when the Wise Men came, and if we are wise, we will offer it to Jesus too.

The Bible says they came seeking “the one who has been born king of the Jews” in order to worship him  (Matthew 2:1-2) and when they saw Jesus, they did just that ~ “they bowed down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:11).

Jesus died to offer the gift of eternal life. (You can read about this gift in John 3:16, 36: 17:3; 1 John 5:11; and Romans 10:9-12.) What is the perfect gift to give to Jesus?

It’s worship. It’s praise. It’s magnifying His name so all the earth will know He is the King who will rule with power in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).

The Perfect Gift?

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker.” ~ Psalm 95:6

– Dawn

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