For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

How Will You Be Remembered?

Recently we have bid farewell to a lot of American legends and everyone is talking about these remarkable people and the life they led. They are getting just as much publicity in death as they did in life. Enough to continue selling tabloids, magazines, music, to crash the Internet and to cause controversy. We remember them for the good and the bad but it won't be that way in Heaven. God isn't going to care about how many movies they made, how many records they sold, etc. God is going to want to know what they did for Him. Everyone will stand before God. Some will stand before the Lord and hear Him say, "Welcome home my good and faithful servant." And others will get a glimpse of the Lord and hear Him say, "Depart from me. I never knew you" and be cast into the lake of fire.

How will you be remembered when it is time for someone to deliver your eulogy or write up your obituary? Will there be enough goodness in your life that people will be able to speak highly of you or will people be at a loss for words? Will you find favor in the sight of the Lord when you stand before Him?

Every morning on the way to work I say a little prayer. I remember all my friends and family that are going thru difficult times, bad health, financial woes, etc. I seek the Lord's forgiveness for sins I may have committed, people I may have offended, and I ask the Lord to bring someone into my life that I might witness to. I ask God to fill my words with love and kindness and to give me more love and compassion to those who need it. I am usually a friend to the outcast or the underdog because everyone needs someone.

I am a very educated person and most introduce me as that smart girl. But I tell people that is not what I want my legacy to be. I want people to know how much I loved the Lord and how I tried to further the kingdom. I want people to know how I have cried a river of tears because I felt helpless to do anything else. I want them to know how much I loved music and how it was a part of me thru singing and dancing. I want them to remember the many cards and letters I sent out with the hopes of encouraging others. Or how I allowed a life filled with adversity to bring glory to the Lord because I knew that in the end it would be worth it all.

How will you be remembered? Are you going to be remembered by the local tavern owner who knew you came in every night and got wasted? Are you going to be remembered by family who knew how badly you beat them, mistreated them, and caused them to suffer? Will you be remembered as a dishonest business person, a person who acquired social status, money or fame at the expense of others? What will people have to say about you when you're gone?

Will you be remembered for your acts of charity? Will you be remembered as the one who took in the poor and broken-hearted? Will you be remembered as the person who made a difference in someone's life when they had no reason to live?

I hope that friends and family remember me for the fun and laughter I brought to most occasions. I hope they remember me for my love of singing.  Music seemed to be in every fiber of my being and  I shared that music with them. I want to be remembered as the girl who had every reason to quit but didn't because she still knew the Lord had a purpose for her.

When I die I would love to have the words of Erma Bombeck written on my epitaph:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single talent left and could say, "I used everything you gave me."
So, if you can't take it with you when you go what will be your legacy when you leave this world? What will you leave behind?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Singing In My Soul

I love music. I love to sing. I love to dance. I love to listen to music for relaxation and entertainment. Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I remember doing the do re mis in grade school. I remember taking piano lessons for a few years but then giving up to pursue my love of gymnastics, dance and skating. I sang in youth choirs at my church, high school choirs, and now I sing in my church choir and I listen to music every where I go.

I grew up with a mix of classic country (Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins, etc.) courtesy of my daddy and I learned to love Elvis and the oldies, courtesy of my mother. During my adolescence I was very involved in skating and was thus introduced to the 80s music but never allowed to listen to it at home. Today I can appreciate country (classic and modern), the 80s (lite rock and pop), contemporary Christian and soundtracks from favorite movies. I have no desire to listen to hard rock, heavy metal, new age, hip-hop/rap, or Christian rock. With an array of music interest I can honestly say that my favorite genre is southern gospel.  I love The Nelons!!  I love Gold City, Karen Peck and New River, and the Gaithers and their Homecoming Friends.

You haven't been blessed until you've spent an evening with Bill and Gloria Gaither and their homecoming friends or take a journey back in time and listen to some old Chuckwagon Gang, Imperials and Cathedrals. I guess southern gospel has its roots in country or bluegrass. I'm not sure where it originated from but praise God, I'm so glad I found it!

Today I have been listening to a new CD produced by the Gaither Gospel Series (GGS), a tribute to Howard and Vestal Goodman. I miss the saints of old. I cried when Rex Nelon, Glen Payne, George Yonce, and the Goodmans died but I know that they are now singing in the heavenly choir and there's a seat reserved for me too!  When Rex Nelon passed away I felt like I lost my grandfather. I can't wait to see all these people when I get to Heaven.  We will be singing with the saints!!

Music can be very therapeutic. I have seen it reach the lost, the desperate, the grieving, and the lonely. Music has no respect of persons. It can transcend race, nationality, religious creed, socioeconomic status, etc. It reaches to the uttermost parts of the world. Music can resound from the lofty courts of Heaven or erupt from the flaming pits of Hell.

What does music do for you? Does your music encourage you to tell others about the Savior? Does your music encourage you to reach out and help your fellow brethren? Does it encourage you to forgive, do right, etc.? Or does your music encourage you to follow the ways of the world and succomb to the things that will destroy you? Ephesians 5:19: "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (KJV)

I hope that when people are around me they can tell I love the Lord. I hope they can witness it in my actions, in my words and even in the lyrics of my music. It is my prayer that I can honor I Corinthians 10:31: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. " (KJV).

A little bit about myself: My favorite holiday is the Fourth of July and my favorite song is the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I am listening to a CD right now that I made in 2007 with a collection of my favorite patriotic songs. My favorite hymns are: Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art and my favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night and I think Martina McBride has the best version I have ever heard.

When I die I want the congregation or vocalists to perform the following at my funeral: Another Soldier's Coming Home (Janet Paschal), Look For Me (Tanya Goodman Sykes), Now That You Know (Karen Peck and New River), Celebrate Me Home (The Perrys) and Christians Never Say Goodbye (The Nelons) and I want the congregation to sing What a Day That Will Be (traditional hymn) and My Saviour First Of All (traditional hymn).  Friends and family, please remember this or I may come back and haunt you!!   I told my preacher's wife that they will need to play a cd with all of my favorite "going home" songs in the church 30 minutes before my funeral because I want people to hear the music that encouraged me while I was living and I want them to know that "there's no place like home when you are sheltered in the arms of your loving Heavenly Father."

When the Lord puts a song in your heart don't leave it there. Share it with others so that they too can receive a blessing. If you can't sing praise the Lord anyway. After all, He just ask that you make a joyful noise, right. I guess noise is the keyword here.

In closing I would like to share a song that I have dedicated to my friends and family through the years. It's called One More Song For You by the Imperials. If you would like to listen to it click here. The lyrics are beautiful (chorus is below) and very fitting as a thank you to a friend, family member or anyone else who has been there for you.

As long as there is time and one breath left in me. There will always be one more song for you. As long as there is room for one more voice in praise and a need for a word of love and truth to help my brother thru. There'll be one more song for you.