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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 294 - Famous Last Words - Jesus, The Cross, And You {FMF}

We're back again with Kate Motaung's Five Minute Friday, the timed and keyword-themed writing challenge. Please drop bu for some really great faith-filled essays!

Once again I have to write ahead of time, but I'm trying to stay in the spirit by estimating what would have taken me five minutes before. I can only manage a couple of sentences at a time these days. But I will try to work in the word when it's revealed. (It's ENOUGH, and it fits the coda perfectly.)

The past days have been really bad, both physically and in other ways. The blows to morale have been, if anything, worse than the pain, and I thought about giving up. Morphine or a bullet, and the latter seemed a reasonable course.

However...before making the fatal choice I decided to revisit Jesus' last words on the Cross, and to try to make sense of them, for me, and, I hope, for you.

So, here goes:

Luke 23:34: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. - We all face betrayal in our lives. We've been betrayed, and we've betrayed those who trusted us. We have to find it in our hearts to forgive, if we expect to be forgiven.


We have to move on past betrayal, and center or hope in the One who will never let us down.

Luke 23:43: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. He needed the hope for a future, and if you're facing death, the hope that you have is that there's something beyond this life, somewhere...a place where all the hurts are healed. Without it we're Darwinian automatons, looking to our temporal advantage while we're here. But with it, there is a purpose to our lives, and our trials.


And our trials have meaning, purpose, and value in God's Eternity. What we suffer here will be glorified there.

John 19:26–27: Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother. This is all abut legacy, and an affirmation that the only legacy that's worth leaving is love. We will all die; but as Celine Dion sang, "My Heart Will Go On." Our achievements will be eclipsed and forgotten; they will fade to nothing. Our wealth will be dissipated, as we try to pass it on. But our love, and only our love, will carry forward as an inspiration and a hope, and as the only possible reminder we can leave that, Yes, I was here. I lived, and I loved.


Love with all your heart, without reservation; live as though love is the only thing you have to offer, because it is.


Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34 My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? This is tough; this cuts to the heart. We want to live in perfect faith, but the fact is that we can't. Jesus couldn't, and His despairing cry rings down through these two millenia to sear our souls. And to comfort us, because He, in His human form, shared our weakness. We are not unworthy if our faith fails us; we are not disloyal if we question God's love. This is part of being human. And it's OK. Jesus walked this road first; we are in very good company.


Don't despair because you despair; despair is the shadow that provides the contrast for the Glorious Light.

John 19:28: I thirst. Jesus was thirsty, yes; severe pain creates an almost desperate thirst, and I can well attest to this. But there is a deeper meaning, and it's found in Psalm 63.


O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is...
"I thirst" is nothing less than an affirmation of faith, a statement that even though God may have turned His Face away, we are still calling out to Him, knowing that He' there, and hoping that He's listening. It's the admission that we can't do it without Him, and that He is the only answer to our despair.


The world provides much, but the test is pass/fail, and only God's love passes the test.

John 19:30: It is finished. Though this is sometimes translated as "It is accomplished" or "It is completed", I rather like "It is finished", because it more clearly connects to our experiences in this life. So often, we are just 'finished'; out of time or resources, and it's all we can do. Few of our lives have neat bows tied on our accomplishments; certainly my death will eve a host of uncompleted projects. Thins I wish I could have completed...but my death will have merely finished my work on them.

And we have to be OK with that. We live on a continuum of experience, and that includes the 'messy undone'.

So in the end we down tools in the twilight, and whatever we leave undone, we leave undone. We're finished here.


Do your best; but what you think of as unfinished may completely fulfill God's plan for your life.


Luke 23:46: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. At the end of all of our ability and hope, the only thing left is to take that leap into God's Hands. It's the Hail mary pass, the acrobat letting go the trapeze in the faith that the catcher will do his stuff, the paratrooper stepping out the door and trusting that the chute will open.

And it's knowing that all we have and are comes down to one word - TRUST.


You've got to 'let go and let God' sometime; why not now?

What do you think? How do you apply Jesus' words on the Cross to your life?
Are they ENOUGH for you?

In the face of all the pain, all the fear, all the dread prognostications, I'm deciding, day by day, to choose fun as a metaphor for my life, so it seems appropriate to let Dire Straits' Walk Of Life be the musical theme...enjoy!




A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.












48 comments:

  1. Oh Andrew, what a rich post!! So much Scripture and depth in this one. Thank you for a timely post one week before Easter! You really put so much thought into each portion. I will have to read this at least three times before I can really process all of it.
    And when you do your best, that's enough. :)
    -Tammy
    (Hoping to have a post this time)

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    1. I just read your comment, Tammy, and I grinned. I found Andrew's post rich too, and I hadn't read any of your words yet. ;)

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    2. Jeanne, see? We're twins! I am SO excited to be meeting in July and getting real time with you!

      Andrew, I managed to type a post tonight. Meager scraps in comparison to what God gave you to share, but I'm there at #5. :)

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    3. My post is delayed as we try to get out the door for spring break. Andrew, I am so glad I popped over to check for your words this week. How very much I needed them. As we head out the door in the chaos of everything, I very much needed the reminder to stop - be thankful - for Jesus is enough. And let all the rest just fall by the wayside. Thank you for these words. and thank you, Lord, for allowing Andrew to share them with us, and for making sure they found their way to my heart. As Easter approaches, even more timely. Blessings to you, my writer friend.

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    4. Wow...Tammy, thank you so much! Your words honour me greatly, and are so appreciated! (And your post was great!)

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    5. Jen, I'm so glad you're here, and that you found something to take to heart in my words. That really means the world to me.

      I hope you and yours have a wonderful Easter Break!

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  2. Andrew, this post is RICH with truth and hope. Your words resonated with me. The reminder that Jesus shared in our humanity, that He shared our weakness. I love your words that God doesn't despise us when we question Him. He still loves us.

    And this:
    "But our love, and only our love, will carry forward as an inspiration and a hope, and as the only possible reminder we can leave that, Yes, I was here. I lived, and I loved."

    He says love is the greatest of these, and you share this truth spot on. Oh my goodness, I could probably comment on each paragraph, but just know that your words have power. They point your readers straight toward Jesus. Thank you, friend.

    I'm continuing to pray for all of you.

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    1. Jeanne, thank you o much. Your comment really means a lot to me, and I'm so grateful...and so glad that you found resonance here.

      We so appreciate the prayers! (And please pardon the shorter-than-usual reply, hard evening.)

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  3. How I try to overcomplicate matters but you are right - love is enough. As simple as it seems, it is so hard to remember and even harder to live as if that is our only reality. Thank you for bringing it back to the fundamental truth, through intense physical pain and suffering.

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    1. Emma, I so get this...I'm a past master at over-complicating what should be really straightforward. Juts call me Mister baroque!

      But yeah, under the circumstances that truth, that love really is enough, hit me with a Road-To-Damascus blinding clarity. I hope I can keep the perspective.

      Thanks so much for being here.

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  4. Andrew, not sure what *this* means but you are writing some of your best words in recent posts. I remember when my mom entered the gates - my sister and I looked at one another and said, "She has accomplished that which God wanted - she is finished here." It was almost uncanny that our words were (practically) echoed. This is a post I am printing and using in quotes - I am a fan, Andrew, and you are one of my heroes. xoxo

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    1. Susan, thank you so much for this comment, and for sharing about your mother. This really means a lot to me, and please feel free to use and pass on anything you may find useful!

      XOXOWaggyWaggyWaggyWOOF!

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  5. I love the songs you link up, Andrew -- "Walk of Life" is so awesome. One of my favourite Mark Knopfler songs (maybe it's my Celtic roots) is "Piper Till the End."

    We watched the fires together, shared our quarters for awhile
    Walked the dusty road together, came so many miles....
    If friends in time may sever, someday we will meet again
    I'll return to leave you never - be a piper to the end.

    I have not been walking the dusty road very long with you, Andrew, but I feel privileged to have done so for a while. Thanks for your encouraging words here about letting go of what we think we should have accomplished, and just trusting.

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    1. Jeannie, I love "Piper Till The End". Great song, and thank you so much for mentioning it here.

      I'm honoured by your presence here, and I truly appreciate your company on this road.

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  6. Great thoughts on the final words of Christ as we turn this final corner of Lent into the home stretch of Holy Week. Thinking about all that will be left undone when we eventually are finished, made me think about how very short the ministry of Jesus truly was, and yet it was "enough". (#10 at the five minute Friday linkup)

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    1. Rebecca, thank you so much for stopping by. I was thinking about that, too...how very short was Jesus'ministry, and how very complete.

      Perhaps the unfinished sentence is the guidepost left to us, for hope?

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  7. I never thought of "I thirst" being an affirmation of faith like that! Thank you for sharing that truth! I like how God uses different people to shed light on things we might not see otherwise! Keep fighting, Andrew! I'm praying for you!

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    1. Amy, thanks so much. I will keep fighting, and we really appreciate the prayers.

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  8. This is wonderful as we walk towards Holy Week and the cross. I have been thinking about so many of Jesus last words. There is so much depth in his words; reminders that God's love is enough. It's hard to let go and let God but God is indeed always there. I'm over in the 39 spot this week.

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    1. Tara, absolutely right; Jesus' last words really do contain the entire Gospel, and our complete hope.

      Thanks so much for being here.

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  9. So full and poignant. Thank you my friend for sharing truth, love, faith and your gift of writing!

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    1. Thank you, Leigh! I'm always grateful for your comments.

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  10. love your post, thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you for being here, LadyLee. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by, and I'm delighted that you liked the post.

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  11. You bless us with your words and Jesus' words. I'm glad you didn't check out. You are needed, my friend. Wish it was easier.

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    1. Norma, thank you so much...and I'm glad I'm still here, too.

      The pain passes, but that which is - I hope - beautiful remains.

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  12. Wow, Andrew. Once again you have surprised us with the depths of your faith and fortitude. I loved this! New eyes to see the familiar story. Thank you for living your journey out in the open for us; we are changed.
    Much love and prayers for you and Barb. 🙏🏼

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    1. Shauna, thank you so much! Your ind and gracious words are really important to me on this rather tough night.

      And we appreciate the prayers so much!

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  13. Such a powerful post filled with gems. Thanks for sharing these empowering and encouraging thoughts. Living in love is eternal. Blessings to you, Andrew!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mari Anna! I truly appreciate your taking the time to stop by, and your words mean more to me than you may know.

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  14. "Love with all your heart, without reservation; live as though love is the only thing you have to offer, because it is." If we could only live like that all the time.... This is such a heart warming post, Andrew. It brings out how much we can depend on Jesus. He knows our suffering because he became human and He understands. And these words: "Do your best; but what you think of as unfinished may completely fulfill God's plan for your life." I think this is true.

    Thanks for once again sharing your heart and wisdom. Blessings to you and Barb even through the hard days... He cares!

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    1. Gayl, you're so right...Jesus completely understand us because He became one o us, and He really, truly understand.

      Thanks so much for being here...blessing from us to you, as well.

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  15. "Don't despair because you despair; despair is the shadow that provides the contrast for the Glorious Light." Everything has antithesis. I love this. In my despair, seek hope. Christ's finished work takes away the guilt and condemnation of my unfinished projects. I absolutely love everything you wrote. It rushes into my soul bringing a new sense of freedom. Thank you. I'm #74 this week.

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    1. Mary, I am so very honoured by your comment; words really fail me except for a heartfelt Thank you.

      I am so grateful for this.

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  16. And our trials have meaning, purpose, and value in God's Eternity. What we suffer here will be glorified there.<---Your words here resonated with me. I am stunned you still blog through the doubt and pain. I gave up blogging when I have felt badly. We each do "enough" of what we can here and hopefully there will be new horizons of peace and doing there in Heaven. Thanks for visiting my blog as well. Jenn Cook, FMF fellow writer

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    1. Jenn, thank you so much for this. I wanted to skip the post I was scheduled to write for Monday, because today (Sunday April 9) was really, really dreadful. It was a short post, but it's there...because, well, maybe it will give a patient, caregiver, or, really, anyone, a 'new horizon of peace'.

      How I love that phrase you coined!

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  17. i enjoyed your post andrew. i think it is interesting to hear from the perspective of someone who is facing death himself...in the near future.

    the areas of uncommonality you have with Jesus are that He lived a perfect live for his 33 years on earth so He could live a perfect life (unlike us) in a fallen world in a human body. He faced all the sin we do, but as it says in Scripture, "without sin." the reason that was important was so He could present a perfect record of a life here on earth to GOD the Father as judge and have completed His job on earth. His job on earth was complete as He died on the cross as the perfect lamb of GOD (as required for sacrifices in the old testament). he did not sin once in thought, word or deed. it is pretty amazing when you stop to think about it!

    But as the GOD/man, He was also GOD (in flesh). a perfect human could die for another human to pay the price for their sin. as the GOD/man, Jesus was able to pay the infinite price for an infinite number of peoples' sins. when He talked about being separated fromHis Father, He was...for the first time in all eternity! GOD the Father could not look on His son b/c He was carrying the sin of all mankind, past, present and future on Himself. often, it is said that this separation from HIs Father was worse than any physical pain Jesus went through. in legal terms, Jesus exchanged His personal record on not sinning in thought, word and deed with the records of each human who trusts HIm for salvation. that is how we can stand "in Christ", forgiven and righteous. Because we are there based not on our record, but His!

    His resurrection on Easter proved that He had been victorious over sin and death. If He had stayed in the grave, we would never have known if that exchange had happened. the cross would have been the last word. but the resurrection showed that He was victorious over sin and death. is it any wonder that some want to discount the resurrection? or prove that the Bible is false? it is the core of the truth of salvation and our hope of heaven. Blessings andrew during this wonderful easter season:)

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    1. Martha, I love the way you developed this...and yes, I completely agree that the pain of separation from the Father was far worse than any physical pain could be.

      There are moments of loneliness in illness; they give rise to that terrible thirst mentioned in the post, and are far, far worse than the pain or humiliation.

      Thanks so much for contributing this, and for being here.

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  18. Andrew, It's hard to adequately express the blessing I feel to be in your presence during this season of your life. You are speaking God's word in a most vulnerable place.And our trials have meaning, purpose, and value in God's Eternity. "What we suffer here will be glorified there." Your words come out of authentic hope. Hope in the redemption found in the next season of life. "Do your best; but what you think of as unfinished may completely fulfill God's plan for your life." Liberating words reminding us that God sees our part as one area of a bigger picture. We lack that foresight. Than you for bringing enough.

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    1. Stephanie, your words do me greater honour than I can express. I am so very, very grateful for your taking the time to read this post, and to comment.

      Today (Sunday, April 9) was a new nadir in pain and humiliation, and your words have given my heart wings. Thank you so very much.

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  19. As always, Andrew, this post caused me to smile, shed a few tears, ponder things, and jot down snippets in my "quotes" book. I'm embarrassed to share that I teach writing, because I simply cannot put into words what your posts mean to me and how they affect me.

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    1. Patti, don't feel bad...I can't tell you the depth and breadth to which this comment has moved and heartened me, on a truly terrible day.

      You've made a difference in my life, today and previously, in your writing; whatever good I may write, you're a part of it.

      Thank you so much!

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  20. Thanks for taking the words of Christ on the cross and expounding on those words rather than the "reasonable course." Forgiveness, purpose, legacy, forsaken, thirst, finished, trust.

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    1. Cheryl, it's an honour to to this...and I am likewise honoured by your presence here. Thank you!

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  21. These are great reflections, Andrew. They show such a depth of faith and insight. This is one of my favourite posts that you've written. So glad I got to read it even if I was a few days late.

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    1. Lesley, thank you so much for being here! I always truly appreciate your comments, and your presence...and today you have honoured me.

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  22. "...we are not disloyal if we question God's love. This is part of being human." <3~

    This line, as well as those on *thirst... these have drizzled hope & healing over my life tonight. Thank you so much~ Happy to find your blog-- your words--- via the FMF group. :)

    Blessings to you~~ ~
    Tiffany
    --from Essaysaftermidnight.com

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    1. Tiffany, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I'm so glad my words could find some resonance in your heart - truly, you've made my evening!

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