Alphabet Faith Stories: Forgiving Fran

Change in one’s heart leads to forgiveness of others.

F: Forgiving Fran–Ephesians 4:32–“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of forgive(ness):

  • To cease to feel resentment against an offender
  • To give up resentment or claim to requietal
  • To grant forgiveness

Forgiveness phrases/thoughts:

  • Forgiveness makes you stronger
  • Forgiveness takes courage
  • Forgiveness is a gift
  • Forgiveness is freeing
  • Forgiveness changes you
  • Forgiveness helps let go of hate
  • Let it (forgiveness) teach you then “let it go”
  • Forgiveness according to Christianity

F: Forgiving Fran’s Story:

“Fran became a Christian at 15 years of age and accepted Christ into her life while attending a local church in her community. She began attending church regularly and joined the local church youth group and tried to participate in church functions as much as she was allowed. She also brought a number of her siblings to church as well.

Every Sunday one of the families in the church invited people to their home for dinner. They had four children near Fran’s age and asked her to join them for dinner after church. Fran’s parents were reluctant to allow her to go but finally gave in. This began a very long-time friendship with this particular family–but that is a story for another time.

Fran found herself talking more with the mother about her own family’s problems. They were role models and encouraged her to love and pray for her family. She did not have this in her home as her father was an alcoholic and verbally abusive to her brothers and sisters when he was drinking.

As the years went by, Fran fell in love with the oldest son and at the age of 20, they were married in the church where she found the Lord. Her parents attended the wedding, along with all of her siblings, even though there was a lot of tension between herself and her father.

Fran and her husband moved to a mid-western state where he finished his degrees while she worked for a church organization. She kept in contact with her family and many times Fran and her husband helped them with financial difficulties.

When they finally moved back to PA after a number of years, Fran’s family ended up living with them because her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. They had been living in Nebraska, so Fran and her husband went to bring them back to PA where her mother passed away in their home one month later. Her father continued to live with them and it was definitely a tense relationship between the two of them.

One evening, Fran and her father talked about the “past” and all of the things that had caused their broken relationship. She prayed with her father and asked forgiveness for her attitude toward him and he asked her to forgive him for any hurt he had caused her and everyone in the family. Three weeks later her father passed away.

Forgiveness began in Fran’s heart as she listened to her father’s story of when at the age of 19, he had accepted Jesus into his life but had, over many years, wandered away from his faith. She knew that she had to ask forgiveness not only from her father but also from her heavenly Father. That was the beginning of healing as a heavy weight was lifted off her shoulders.”

All of us have experienced at one time or another hurts caused by others and our first reaction is to “not forgive.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14-15 that “if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NIV) I believe that Jesus commands all of us to forgive one another.

Fran’s story was my story. I learned to forgive because my heavenly Father forgave me of my sin and wanted me to live my life fully for Him through His mercy and grace.

May the Lord bless you as you forgive others as well as yourself because God has forgiven you!

Blessings,

Yvonne

Faithful Men of the Bible

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” –Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV)

The Book of Hebrews has been called the “Faith Hall of Fame” (Luci Swindoll quote) and a number of men have been given access to that hall according to their faith.

Hebrews 11:6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

According to the Book of Hebrews, the men of faith included Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Others are mentioned at the end of the Book of Hebrews.

ABRAHAM–He was noted as the “father of faith.” God called him from his home in Mesopotamia to journey to the promised land, where God promised to multiply Abraham’s offspring and make them into a great people and a blessing to the nations. There were a lot of decisions along the way that Abraham made that appear to make him doubt his faith; but in the end he persevered and God did accomplish all that he had for Abraham to do and He blessed him accordingly.

Hebrews 11:8-12 says: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city, with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” (NIV)

MOSES–He was noted for leading the Jews out of slavery, unleashing the ten plagues against Egypt per God’s instructions, guiding the freed slaves for forty years in the wilderness, carrying down the law from Mount Sinai, and preparing the Jews to enter the land of Canaan.

Hebrews 11:23-30 says, “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the King’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith, he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.” (NIV)

ISAAC–By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. Hebrews 11:20 (NIV)

JACOB–By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. Hebrews 11:21 (NIV)

JOSEPH–By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. Hebrews 11:22 (NIV)

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16, NIV)

Hebrews 11:32-38 says “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated–the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” (NIV)

All of these individuals were “commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39, NIV)

Men of faith are men who are faithful, have integrity, are great, godly, strong, and courageous. All of the above proved to have such characteristics as they believed in what God had promised.

Faith then is believing in what has been promised but not necessarily seeing the results of that faith before we die. Seeds of faith are planted every day without our knowing the outcome. Our actions speak louder than words. Planting a seed of hope, love, and grace in another person’s life should be our desire. Let God do the rest.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Nana’s Corner: Poem

Over the weekend as I lay in bed not being able to sleep, I wrote the following poem with my sweet grandkids on my mind and heart entitled, “Nana’s Love”:

My heart is filled with so much love,

That God has given me from above–

Three sweet little faces

Who look lovingly at me…

With wonder and trust

So that I can be

The best Nana

To these little ones

Whom God has entrusted in my care

To watch over and pray for them each day

No matter when or where.

His love is steadfast and true

And He keeps watch over them

Through the love of their mom and dad

As well as a Nana

Who is so glad

To care for and love them with all her heart.

Their Grammy just visited them this past weekend and they adore her when she is able to do so. They always tell me what fun they had with her and whenever they visit her at her house as well. Both Pap Pap and Pappy are their favorite people as well.

I am just so happy to be part of their lives and feel blessed by them in so many ways.

Hug your grandchildren–laugh and play hide and seek–and enjoy them as much as you can. I know I will.

Blessings,

Yvonne

2019 Word for the New Year

Just before the New Year began, I noticed on social media that several individuals had posted their “word” for change beginning in the new year–intentional, decisive, gratitude–to name a few.

In thinking about what word I would select, I had an almost immediate connection with the word “serenity”. The more I thought about this word, the more I decided to choose it because I definitely needed to be more serene-like in my life.

DEFINITION of SERENITY (Merriam-Webster Dictionary): calm, calmness, hush, peacefulness, quietness, restfulness, stillness, tranquility.

As I thought back over 2018, I can truthfully say that there had been times when I needed to be more serene-like in times of chaos. Now, as I reflect on the coming year, serenity is constantly in my thought process and whenever I find myself getting frustrated or anxious I begin to recite SERENE: CALM, PEACEFUL and I immediately begin to breathe deeper and try to remain more focused on my surroundings and circumstances.

Since I am musically inclined, I remind myself that:

“I need music to CALM my soul,

I need music to make me whole.”

Everybody has a story, and everybody has a song

So lift up your voice

And let it be heard.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Following the Rules By Using the Right Tools

Reference and How-To Tools

Recently, while watching an episode of “Mutt and Stuff” with my grandson, the segment talked about “following the rules” while you are on an airplane. Since this is a show about dogs, the dogs were actually passengers and were to sit in their seats. After a while–perhaps out of boredom–they got out of their seats and definitely were not following the rules. I turned to my grandson and said, “Look, the dogs are not following the rules.” He looked at me and said, “I don’t like to follow the rules.” I asked, “why not” and he plainly said, “because I don’t want to.” We talked–rather I talked–about the importance of following the rules in certain situations (i.e. preschool, safety). He just smiled and we left it at that for now.

Over the years, I am sure that I did not always follow the rules but eventually was taught the importance of following rules so that I could sit quietly in school, etc. We have books that teach us “how-to” do almost anything and everything IF we follow the instructions that we are given. There have been times when I have purchased a piece of furniture and thought I could put it together without looking at the instructions. Finally after struggling to put the item together, I realized I had to get out the instructions and read them step by step in order to finish the project that I started. Over the years, when I do buy something, I always check with the instructions first. Believe me, it saved a lot of undue frustration.

Sometimes we just don’t want to follow the rules and almost always–if we do not–there are usually consequences of some sort.

The Word of God teaches us to follow the Lord and His teachings in order to live a life that is good and to know right from wrong. We certainly need to teach our children this philosophy in order for them to survive in this world that is so big and vast and at times in turmoil. Knowing God and learning “more about Him” is learned by reading His Word and practicing what we have learned.

Scriptures clearly show us how to live and how to react even in the midst of trying circumstances. Living a life pleasing to Him should be important enough that others will see that in us. Scriptures that teach us about knowing God are as follows:

Colossians 1:10-12 (NIV): “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

John 17:3 (NIV): “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV): “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

I John 2:3-4 (NIV): “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Even though my grandson is only 3-1/2, he too is still trying to understand and learn about following instructions and the rules everyday. More importantly as parents, grandparents, and teachers of children, it is up to all of us to show them how to live and follow the teachings, love, and grace of our Lord by being an example and role model. In this day and age, they need it more than ever.

Help us all to be teachers and doers of His Word and let His light shine in us every day. May the Lord bless you, and make His face to shine upon you.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Reading: “The Traveler’s Summit” by Andy Andrews (sequel to “The Traveler’s Gift”)

Songspiration: Because He Lives

“Because He Lives”, written by Bill and Gloria Gaither in 1971, is one of my all-time favorite songs to sing on Easter Sunday. According to Wikipedia, a majority of the Gaither songs have been sung and recorded by Christian artists such as the David Crowder Band, Carman, Sandi Patty, The Cathedral Quartet, The Speers and the Heritage Singers; and country singers such as The Statler Brothers; and pop artists such as Elvis Presley. Their songs are known worldwide.

The Gaither Trio has received a number of Grammy Awards and GMA Dove Awards, as well as other honors such as ASCAP “Best Gospel Song of the Year”; Christian “Songwriter of the Century”; and they were named among the top 75 American entrepreneurs in “Entrepreneur Magazine” in 1997.

Since Gaither first began singing with the Bill Gaither Trio in the 1950s, he has constantly been performing. The Bill Gaither Trio originally consisted of Bill, his brother Danny Gaither and his sister Mary Ann Gaither. In about 1964, Bill’s wife, Gloria, took Mary Ann’s place. They founded the Gaither Music Company, which includes a record company, concert booking, television production, copyright management, retail store, recording studio, and telemarketing for the Gaither organization, as well as a retail center called Gaither Family Resources.

Gaither’s Homecoming Tours, which began in 1991, brought together major stars of the southern gospel and CCM industry, such as Gary McSpadden, Steve Green, Lee Young, Jon Mohr, Mark Lowry, Larnelle Harris, as well as others.

This Sunday is Easter Sunday and this holiday will be celebrated around the world. The purpose: to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. A number of churches, various denominations, will sing this renowned hymn and will sing it with fervor. It is a song that speaks of Jesus’ love, death, and resurrection, and it is because of this that “we can face tomorrow and life is worth living because He lives.”

As you celebrate Easter resurrection Sunday with your family and loved ones, let us all remember the words in Hebrews 7:24-25:

“But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood; therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

May the Lord bless you and keep you all.
Blessings,
Yvonne

Coffee Inspiration: Pour A Cup of Kindness

The Oxford Dictionary states that “kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

Psalm 63:3 – “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.”

Hugh Mitchell wrote the song, “Thy Loving Kindness” using Psalm 63:3-4. The words are as follows:

Vs. 1: Thy loving kindness is better than life, Thy loving kindness is better than life.
My lips shall praise Thee, thus will I bless Thee: I will lift up my hands unto Thy name.
Vs. 2: I lift my hands, Lord, unto Thy name, I lift my hands, Lord, unto Thy name.
My lips shall praise Thee, thus will I bless Thee: I will lift up my hands unto Thy name.”

The Scripture is filled with words of wisdom about kindness and how we should act toward one another. Some of these words are as follows:

Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

I Corinthians 13:4 – “Love is patient, love is kind….”

Isaiah 63:7 – “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us–yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.”

When I read these words, I see that kindness then is actually an act of faithfulness. If we truly love, then we will show this kindness towards one another and in doing so show our faithfulness to Him.

In “Thank Heaven for Coffee (and other little pleasures)” an Arabian Proverb is stated as follows:

“A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

This is the type person I want to be: someone who listens with a kind heart. May the Lord help all of us to be like Him and show kindness to those whom we come in contact with each and every day.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Coffee Inspiration: Pour a Cup of Love

Crosscards.com

On Tuesday, February 14, we will be celebrating the “love holiday”–Valentine’s Day. We have heard that “love makes the world go round”, “love and marriage come together like a horse and carriage”, and “all we need is love”; but what does the dictionary have to say about love: The Oxford Dictionary gives the following definitions:

“Love:
1) An intense feeling of deep affection
synonyms: fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy
2) A person or thing that one loves
synonyms: beloved, loved one, love of one’s life, dear, dearest”

Husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, and family and friends try to surprise one another with a special gift on Valentine’s Day in order to try and show/express their deepest feelings of love for that person or persons.

In Corinthians 13:4-8, Christ shows us His definition/teachings of what love truly is:

“Love is patient
Love is kind
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude
It is not self-seeking
It is not easily angered
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”

He sums up the chapter by saying (verse 13):

“And now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”

I don’t know about you, but whenever I read Jesus’ words regarding what love actually is and what it means to me as a Christian, I am immediately examining my heart and life so that I can truly show this kind of love to others each and every day. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I let the “little things” bother me and I am not thankful for all that Jesus has blessed me with. However, I get down on my knees and ask His forgiveness if I have wronged someone or said something rude. We are not perfect. We are on a journey in this world and if we show the kind of love that Christ has shown us, then this world would be a better place. All we need to do is remember to ask for His help.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this coming week, remember to show our family/friends/loved ones that we love and care about them and how we can always “protect, trust, hope, and always persevere” because “love never fails.”

In “Thank Heaven for Coffee (and other little pleasures)” published by Barbour Publishing Inc., we are reminded of the following scripture:

A CUPFUL OF LOVE
“God has poured out His love into our hearts”–Romans 5:5 (NIV)
Since we have been so loved, let us not neglect sharing that love with others even in the simple offering of a cup of joe.”

Blessings to All,
Yvonne

Coffee Inspiration: Pour A Cup of Joy

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”–Nehemiah 8:10

“Clap your hands all peoples! Shout to God with songs of joy.”–Psalm 47:1

How many of you remember the coffee jingle from the ’60’s, “Chock full of nuts is that heavenly coffee” or the expressions “pour me a cup of joe” and “…good til the last drop?” I was recently reminded of these expressions and my heart was full of joy.

During the holidays, I ordered two special mugs and added a personal touch with the individual’s name on each one. They didn’t come in time for Christmas but I sent them a few days later. The individual text’d me and said they loved them, and that she was “pouring a cup of joe” in her new mug. I text’d back saying, “Now you will always think of me.” She replied, “I think of you all the time. I don’t need a mug for that.”

As soon as I saw her message, my heart was full of joy at her words and we agreed to talk on the phone at a time that was convenient for her. When we did talk, I had my cup of coffee in hand. My cup has the words, “Be strong…the strength you need comes from God.” Nehemiah also reminds us of being strong and that the “joy of the Lord is our strength.”

Right now, everything is going along smoothly; but I have no doubt that my faith will be tested by life’s circumstances and that God will continually remind me that the joy we need to have in our hearts comes from Him. Joy plus an attitude of gratitude is my new motto for this coming year. It is a reminder that God is with us–that our lives matter–and that we can make a difference in others’ lives as well.

“Coffee is best served…black
…or with cream
…or with sugar
…or flavored with vanilla, chocolate,
hazelnut, peppermint, spice, etc.
…or with dessert
…or with breakfast
…or with a SMILE.”–From “Thank Heaven for Coffee and other little pleasures” by Barbour Publishing, Inc.”

May God richly bless and keep you in His loving care and enjoy your special “cup of joy” each and every day.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Father’s Day, 2013: The Measure of a Man

Tree

Public Domain

How do you measure a man who…

Today as I was walking my dog, Buddy, I began to think about Father’s Day and of course, began thinking about my husband’s life and then these words, how do you measure a man, began to flood my thoughts. Thinking about the special qualities that a man should possess, my thoughts turned to the following:

A man is measured by:
. His character–consistent, loyal at home and at work
. His attitude–towards life and others in general
. His love for God and his community
. His love for others–lending a helping hand to a friend (i.e. family/friends, spouse’s family, his children, and church family) or to a stranger in need
. His love for his spouse: unconditional love; encourager/supporter

As I listened to God speak to my heart about the above-mentioned traits, I thought of an unfamiliar, god-given saying: “A man is like a ship who, when sailing on rocky waters, learns to remain calm and trust in his God to help him sail through it!” (Yvonneism)

The stories I could share here about the love of my life of almost 45 years, my husband Roger, would undoubtedly fill a book, but it would also tell of a man who is not measured by his wealth or fame but by the grace and spirit of God living in his life on a daily basis.

I’m reminded of another famous quote by a man who stated that, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we celebrate Father’s Day in a couple of weeks, let us remember that the true measure of a man is his love for God and how the light of His love comes shining through in everything that he does.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne

June reading: “Life After Art” by Matt Appling; purposeful creating!