Blog 109 for 4-27-2019
LIVING LIFE GOD’S WAY
As you think about your life today, your decisions, your desires, with what conclusions do you arrive? ARE YOU LIVING LIFE YOUR WAY OR GOD’S WAY? WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES US WANT OUR OWN WAY? Actually, I think it has to do with “SELF.” Here’s my story.
One day God saw a little Mississippi girl, the 3rd of 4 children. There was the FIRST-born girl with brown hair and brown eyes; next, there was daughter #2, curly headed BLONDE with blue eyes and an infectious personality; oops, the third child was another girl (that would be me), with brown hair and brown eyes. Then 5 years later, another child would be born. You guessed it; a baby BOY was born. God looked down on me and said, “That little girl will need help.”
Nestled in, with the first born, the blonde, and the boy, I needed to find my place. Who am I? Where do I fit? Of what value am I? So here I was, a little Mississippi girl who didn’t know her place, her spot, her position, her purpose...what she was to do or what she was to accomplish. I got mired in being just “another” sheep in the family sheepfold, but I didn’t like my position!
Early on, being a church going family with a rich Christian heritage, I joined Jesus’ sheepfold; tried to be an officer, a secretary, the president, a helper, just anything. But the Good Shepherd had appointed the first and second born to be my overseers along with the head of my family, my Dad and Mom.
So, life began. When I didn’t like something, “SELF” stood up, even if it was a private standing. My Mom and Dad would put up with NO foolishness, NO stubborness, NO temper tantrums. My “standing up” had to be in private or else I was soon “sitting down”...if you know what I mean.
As I grew and developed, my outer SELF conformed. People forever thought I was “sweet,” but God knew my heart. His eyes saw me clearly. He could see right through me. He saw a girl who needed to surrender her will, her way, to God and His way.
After my early personal encounter with God, the spirit of rebellion, stubborness, selfishness would rear its head. I did need help. I needed a crucifixion of my SELF in order to have a resurrection of life. I guess what the old-timers use to say, applied to me. I needed to surrender my life to Him. I needed Him to sanctify me. I needed to be filled with His Holy Spirit.
So I cried out to Him; put my SELF on the altar for crucifixion; yielded to Him, His way, and His will; gave up & let God take over. Carnal self died that day and I received resurrected life in Christ.
Now, for me, I share these words from memory, by some author, “Not what I wish to be; nor where I wish to go; for who am I, that I should choose my way. The Lord will choose for me. Tis better far I know. So let Him bid me go or stay.”
What about you? The hymn writer, Elisha Hoffman (1905), asked it this way. “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid? Your heart does the Spirit control? You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest, as you yield Him your body and soul.”
Living Life, God’s Way, Bess
Blog 108 for 4-20-2019
When I think of the Easter Season, I fall in love all over again, as I visualize my Lord, Suffering for me, and all others. 1. Suffering as He prayed in the Garden; 2. Suffering as He was betrayed by Judas; 3. Suffering as He was led away to Caiaphas, the high priest; 4. Suffering as they accused Him of blasphemy; 5. Suffering as they spit in His face and buffeted Him; 6. Suffering as they smote Him with the palms of their hands; 7. Suffering as Peter denied Him thrice; 8. Suffering as they bound Him and led Him away, delivering Him to Pontius Pilate, the governor; 9. Suffering from the accusations of the chief priests and elders; 10. Suffering from the crowd calling for crucifixion; 11. Suffering from the scourging, the stripping, the scarlet robe, the crown of thorns, the reed in His right hand, the mocking, the spit, the hit; 12. Suffering from His crucifixion; 13. Suffering in His death. I am overcome at this amazing love, the price He paid for my and your salvation. This love woes me. I can’t help but love and serve Him. The words of Bill Gaither are appropriate here. “I keep falling in love with Him, over and over again…”
When I think of the Easter Season, I rejoice with exceeding great joy at our Lord’s resurrection. The grave could not hold Him. He rose triumphantly. I, too (and you, too), will rise from our deathbeds on one of God’s days.
When I think of the Easter Season, I see our lives mirroring His; a life born, growing, living for the Lord, suffering, dying, and then, in God’s own time, living again, BECAUSE of His resurrection. The grave won’t hold me either, in God’s great “Gettin’ Up Morning.” “We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion. We’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.” Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus! “I could never, never out love the Lord.”
Blog 107 for 4-13-2019
The days, weeks, and months have flown by since being back in Florida. We returned last November, 2018 and will be leaving for the Smoky Mountains toward the end of April, 2019. So, it’s about time for the journey from the sea to the mountains. In some ways, it’s bittersweet. We love the mountains; we love sunny Florida; and, we’re sad to leave our Florida locals and our Florida snowbirds. But sure as I am writing this blog and you are reading it, the clock is ticking, the rooster is crowing, another day is here. Time to start packing up!
In retirement, we live in two worlds, Florida and Tennessee. Let me tell you about these worlds. Early on, in our married life, Charles let me know that he had always wanted to live in Florida. And God, in His gracious kindness, has let us live in central Florida around 35 years (Winter Haven, Melbourne, and Lakeland). We have truly been blessed; blessed with great churches, great congregations, great family and friends, both local and worldwide through our internet ministries.
Our souls have been fed. Our emotional health has been enriched. When we needed surgeries and healings, God came through with good physical health.
We can’t say one bad thing about our life and times in Florida. Infact, in death, our resting place will be in Lakeland. I think it’s about time to begin to load the car and head out. The mountains are calling !!!
Our Tennessee mountain life began when we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary at a “Honeymoon” cabin in “them, thar mountains.” A seed was planted, which resulted in the purchase of 2 cabins.
For 14 years we have enjoyed spending a few weeks each year until Charles retired from the pastoral ministry (not the preaching ministry...I’m guessing he will preach as long as he has breadth, and a place to preach.). After retirement, we began to spend approximately 6 months in the mountains and 6 months in Florida (But we still call Florida, home.)
Our life there began with getting use to the upkeep of the cabins, looking diligently for a church home, getting acquainted with friends and neighbors, buying groceries, doing some entertaining, and enjoying the journey. It’s all about living life whether in Florida or in Tennessee.
Most of you know that Charles is a native Tennessean. We both went to College at Trevecca Nazarene College ( now University) in Nashville, TN. After marriage, we lived in Nashville for a year, had our baby boy, Chuck there, and in time received a call to pastor our first church in Greenwood, MS (the place of my birth).
Having attended a church college and serving eleven churches through the years, we have many college and ministerial friends. East Tennessee is a popular place for people to come, and some to retire. So we do have ministerial friends living there, such as, Gene & Peggy King, JD & Esther Bailey, and Steve & Cindy Stultz, Florida residents who have a gorgeous cabin in the area.
We have made friends of our neighbors, Steve and Jan, Alan & Sharon, and Rick & Mona. We, of course, have known and appreciated a great Christian couple, George and Edye, who oversee and take care of our cabins.
We’ve searched far and wide for a great church to attend, and finally decided on Morristown First Baptist Church. This is the church where Gerald Wolfe is a member. That’s where we go presently. We love it. It takes 45 minutes to get there; you’ll find us practicing what the preacher preached for years!!! “The Difference is worth the Distance.”
Our cabins are in a small unincorporated community called Cosby, TN. We have a General Dollar Store, an Elementary, Middle & High School, several small churches, and a famous eating place, Carver’s Applehouse Restaurant.
In Newport, TN, 10 miles from our cabins, we have a Lowe’s, Walmart, lots of drive-through eateries. We live life here as we live life in Florida. Pray for us often, and we will pray for you. Before you or I know it, we will be turning our car toward home.
Blog 106 for 4-6-2019
Recently, a Godly man, Mr. George Waters, passed away. The outstanding quality that I remember about his life was the JOY of the LORD, getting happy in the song service, having the spirit of rejoicing.
And a day or so ago, while visiting cherished friends, I found out that another friend, Bobbie, a decidedly Christ follower, had just a few months to live. Still another Christian friend, Peggy, who has been fighting cancer, has to endure another surgery. Oh yes, there is Lisa and her mom, Mary, in their intense struggles. I could go on and on.
But even these do not finish the story because, for all of us, our days are numbered. We are not promised tomorrow. We have this moment today.
How do we make our days count? Not completely sure, but I want to try.
Let’s search our hearts as we answer these questions.
Have I helped someone today?
Have I read God’s Word?
Have I prayed?
Have I obeyed God’s calling,His challenge for me?
Have I told my family how much I love them?
Do I have sufficient oil in my lamp?
Am I ready for Christ’s coming?
Am I taking care of my physical health?
Have I contributed to needy causes?
Have I sent a card, made a phone call, or visited someone who needs it?
What is your heart telling you? What is my heart telling me?
Oh God, show us how to be a good under-shepherd, following your example as our Good Shepherd. Amen,
Blog 105 for 3-30-2019
WE CAN GET TO GOD FROM ANYWHERE!
So, where are you today?
Are you lower than a snake’s belly? Have you drifted too far from the shore? Are you mired in shame? Do you feel hopeless? How deep is your hole? How hard is the struggle? How sad is the day? Will tears ever stop flowing? Where are your friends now? Does anyone care?
The answer is found in Jesus. Yes, Jesus cares. God understands your heartache; and, He can solve every problem. He’s the Way Maker. He’s the Chain Breaker. Nothing’s too hard for Him.
Here are some people from the Old & New Testaments that you may know, that got to God from places of struggle.
Jacob got to God after stealing his brother’s inheritance. Gen. 25
Moses got to God after killing an Egyptian taskmaster. Ex. 2
Aaron got to God after allowing the golden calf to be built and worshipped. Ex. 32
King David got to God after adultery with Bathsheba. II Sam. 11
Solomon got to God after weakness for foreign women & their deities. I Kings 11
Queen Esther got to God from timidity. Esther 3 & 4
Job got to God from diaster. Book of Job
Thomas got to God from doubt. NT
John got to God from pride. NT
Peter got to God from denial. NT
Paul got to God from prison. NT…...just to name a few!
There is hope in Jesus’ Name. You are never outside the reach of God. Nothing is too hard for Him. It just takes coming to Jesus, believing that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, and asking Him for help. He’s as close as the mention of His Name.
Blog 104 for 3-23-2019
MY FAMILY “LIFETIME” FAN AWARDS
I’M BLESSED BY FAMILY & FRIENDS
It’s been fun for me, giving out fan awards to so many friends. And, I’ve not finished yet. Friends are one of my magnificent blessings from God, as are dear family members. I’m blessed beyond measure. Throughout this year, off and on, I plan to pass out fan awards in my blogs. Keep reading, you may be next. Or maybe, you’ve already been awarded; and, you’ll have to look in the archived blogs for your award.
You are the “Super Star.” I am one of your many fans.
To my Dad and Mom, Gus and Mildred, and Charles’ Dad & Mom, Lee Olan & Pauline, the lifetime “Good Example, One & Only, Loving Parents” Award
To each of my Sisters, Gwendolyn & Mildred, & Charles’ sister, Diane, the lifetime “No. 1 Sister Sibling Friendship” Award
To my Brother, Fred, the lifetime “No. 1 Brother” Award
To my Husband, Charles, the lifetime “No. 1 Guy” & “Only One For Me” Award
To my Son, Chuck, the lifetime “No. 1 Son” & “Free Spirit” Award
To my Daughter, Micki, the lifetime “No. 1 Daughter” & "Energizer Bunny” Award
To each of my Grandsons, Kyle, Cody, Michael, Chase, & Tyler, the lifetime “No. 1 Unique Grandson & Sweet Spirit” Award
To each of my In-Laws, Robert, Jo, Diane, Bob, Kaye, the lifetime “Top Notch” Award
To each of my Nieces and Nephews, Angela, Mille’, Rachel, Jamie, David, Nathan, Amy, Tyler, the lifetime “Standing Strong” Award; and to all the Spouses, the lifetime “Great Partner” Award
To each of my Great-Nieces & Great-Nephews, Melissa, Will, Katy, Trey, Rachel, Louden, Caleb, Luke, Seth, Logan, Ashlee, Connor, the lifetime “Make The Days Count” Award; and to the Spouses, the lifetime, “Good Partner” Award
To each of my Great-Great Nieces, and Future Great- Great Nephews, the lifetime “It’s Your Time To Shine” Award
Should there be any family member that I’ve left out of my fan awards by mistake, be it known to all men, their lifetime award is “You Are Special, Too.”
Portions of Genesis 12: verses 1,2,3 “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee…..unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee…..and I will bless them that bless thee…..and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Blessed beyond measure,
Blog 103 for 3-16-2019
Today as I write this blog, I could cry my eyes out, if it would do any good. But I have found, having lived 80 years, and been through a lot of challenges, that crying doesn’t change the disaster, the heartbreak, the struggle. Crying will not change my circumstances. So, what am I gonna’ do…
Sing in the rain.
Praise God anyway.
Meditate on God’s Word.
Pray to the Lord.
Play the piano.
Read the Bible.
Read song lyrics.
Hold my chin up.
Keep on keeping on.
Take a walk. Breathe fresh air.
Count my blessings.
Turn my prison into a palace, as Charles preached Sunday.
Oswald J. Smith & B.D. Ackley wrote a great song, “God Understands.” Some of the lyrics are these:
“God understands your sorrow. He sees the falling tear; God understands your heartache. He knows the bitter pain; He understands and cares.”
Phyllis Michael & John W. Peterson wrote a great song, entitled “God is There.” Some of their lyrics are here:
“When I need a Friend to tell my troubles to, God is there; When I need a Friend to give me strength anew, God is there; When I need a Friend to care when I’m distressed, God is there; When I need a Friend to guide me through the night, God is there; God is there, always there, with a helping hand to lift my load of care. When I really need a friend, God is there.”
What about you? Have the pressures of life overwhelmed you? Do you feel like crying? Well, may I present to you Jesus. He will come through for you. He will lift your load. He will comfort you. He will aid you. You can count on Him. Yes, you can put one foot in front of the other. You can keep on, keeping on. Wow, what a great Friend we have in Jesus.
Thank you, Jesus, for being my best Friend.
Blog 102 for 3-9-2019
THE BESS KIRBY FAN AWARDS
“Giving roses while you live”
If you read last week’s blog, you know that I gave out my lifetime fan awards. When I started doing this, I realized that I am a fan of thousands of Christian women who have impacted my life through my days. They may have been part of our church congregations through the years. They may have been internet viewers, whom I have never met personally, but have been touched by an email, a prayer, a phone call, or a letter. They may have been neighbors, associates, relatives, and friends outside the church body. I know there is no way I can remember them all and give them a personal “fan” award. But, to the “unnamed,” let me sum it up this way. They all receive my “Jewel of Great Price” award, along with my imaginary bouquet of roses.
As we have walked together in a time zone of God’s own choosing, you have nurtured me, cared for me, helped me, blessed me, and I have become one of your biggest fans. With imaginary roses, I hereby present to…
Linda Gorby, the “Sacrificial Love” lifetime award,
Sue Price, the “Dedicated Warrior” lifetime award,
Jane Smithson, the “Workman That Needeth Not To Be Ashamed” lifetime award,
Ruby Felker, the “Dependable Church Organist” lifetime award,
Jan Hill, the “Love The Preacher’s Kids” lifetime award,
Shirley Cassel, the “Hilton Head Entertainer” lifetime award,
Arveta Brown Pitts, the “10 Little Indians Champion” lifetime award,
Frances Putman, the “Sweeter As The Days Go By” lifetime award
I am blessed to have known you all.
Blog 101 for 3-2-2019
The Bess Kirby FAN Awards
Giving Roses while you live!
Do any of you take “The Singing News” magazine? Well, the latest one begins to inform us fans that it’s time to vote for our favorite singing group and favorite soloist in the different singing parts, such as soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, bass, lead, etc. Also, there are awards to be given to the favorite songwriter of the year, pianist, artist, traditional quartet, musician, favorite song, album, band, male quartet, song of the year, trio, young artist, and maybe more. These fan awards last for a year; then we start all over again voting for our favorites for the next year. It’s interesting that some favorites get the award year after year after year. That’s the kind of awards I’d like to give out this year; ones that last for a lifetime. This doesn’t mean that I can’t add others to my lifetime fan awards. I’d like to give some roses while I live.
We have always enjoyed this magazine. It keeps us abreast of the groups that we know and love; as well as, introducing us to new groups. Because of Saturday and Sunday Nights in Lakeland, we know so many of the groups personally.
Both Charles & I come from musical families. Charles’ father played the guitar and sang bass. His mom sang and played the accordion. His sister, Diane, sings and plays beautifully having taken many years of piano lessons. My mom sang and played the piano. In fact, my dad attended a revival as a young man; and, who should he meet there but my mom, playing the piano for the revival. All four of their children sing, and three play the piano. So, because music has been such a part of our lives and love, you could have found us through the years, singing as a trio or in the church choir, going to singing schools and learning to read shaped notes, taking band, piano, and voice lessons, and going to concerts.
The big news in the March issue of the “Singing News” magazine is this: It’s time to vote for your favorite group, etc. All of that to say, it’s time for me to vote for some of my very special lifetime FRIENDS. I’ll call this, the Bess Kirby Fan Awards. In these awards, you don’t have to be a singer or musical at all, you just have to be a precious friend of mine. I’m the fan. You get the lifetime achievement award. To -
Carol Justice, “His Hand extended” Award
Nola Kenwright, “Actions speak louder than words” Award
Peggy Dawson, “Love your neighbor as yourself” Award
Vickie Haas, “No distance is too great” Award
Lois Sampson, “Give and it shall be given unto you” Award
Barbara Shell, “You can count on me” Award
Cindy Stutz, “Bloom where you are planted” Award
Jan Goff, “Singin’ in the Rain” Award
Kitty Sweet, “Gentle spirit; open arms” Award
Doris Walden, “I will not forget thee” Award
Charlotte White, “Encourage one another” Award
Linda Aycock, “Through thick and thin” Award
Lois Masse, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart” Award
Patti Pennington, “I feel a little shout coming on” Award
I’m so thankful for God’s people and special lifetime friends. There are many more.