kathie Lee nicole ring of fire tgws bts web 24

Kathie Lee Gifford: Grounded in God’s Word of Hope

“Trust Him. Let Him love you like He wants to love you.” 

      
Hoda Kotb, Gifford’s former co-host on the Today show is seen here with Gifford and Rabbi Jason Sobel at the release of their New York Times best selling book, the Rock, the Road and the Rabbi. The Rock (Jesus Christ), The Road (Israel) and the Rabbi (God’s Word).
Hoda Kotb, Gifford’s former co-host on the Today show is seen here with Gifford and Rabbi Jason Sobel at the release of their New York Times best selling book, the Rock, the Road and the Rabbi. The Rock (Jesus Christ), The Road (Israel) and the Rabbi (God’s Word).

Those were the parting words of hope that Kathie Lee Gifford left millions of viewers with earlier this year on her last day as a part of the Today Show. Her final words were backed up with God’s Word as she quoted on the air Jeremiah 29:11, a verse God called her to share. “I was praying that morning. I just said, ‘Lord, this is another opportunity… Not because of me but just because of You, your faithfulness. Let me leave people with hope. Literally let me leave them with hope.”

“I’m in Mayberry USA. It’s perfect. I love it. They love God, they love good music and they love good wine. What’s not to love?” That’s how Kathie Lee Gifford describes her new home in Franklin, Tenn.
“I’m in Mayberry USA. It’s perfect. I love it. They love God, they love good music and they love good wine. What’s not to love?” That’s how Kathie Lee Gifford describes her new home in Franklin, Tenn.

Gifford recounts her nearly eleven years on the Today show as a mission of hope often played out during a time of personal deserts. “It was not about my career. It was about what I represented to people. What people had come to expect and know from me. I realized what they were tuning in for everyday in their own ways, all over the country, all over the world. They were tuning in for hope. Somebody to say the Word of God. Somebody to say the Word of Jesus with no shame. Somebody to be bold about the Word. It was a great privilege to serve there.”

Since leaving the Today Show, 65-year-old Gifford’s life has not slowed down and her mission is still the same. Most recently she is at work creating, directing and promoting a series of short films/modern oratorios. The first, The God Who Sees, is Gifford’s first film to ever direct and is based on a song written by Gifford and Grammy nominated, Nicole C. Mullen. With lyrics straight from Scripture, set in the very landscape of Scripture, Mullen journeys through Israel recounting stories from the Bible that Gifford explains are “like ripped from the headlines of today.” Since releasing in April, the film has struck a chord with nearly a million people who have viewed it online at www.godwhosees.com. “Apparently it is unheard of in the Christian world now to have this kind of reaction. We are just in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness.”

The song, God Who Sees, was recorded in Studio A at Ocean Way in Nashville, Tenn., not far from Gifford’s new home in Franklin, Tenn. The studio is built in the sanctuary of a 100-year-old church, with a massive main room and 30′ ceilings.
The song, God Who Sees, was recorded in Studio A at Ocean Way in Nashville, Tenn., not far from Gifford’s new home in Franklin, Tenn. The studio is built in the sanctuary of a 100-year-old church, with a massive main room and 30′ ceilings.

The birth of the film, and four more yet to be released, began as a prompting Gifford received during time spent in God’s Word. “I’ve learned not to think it’s weird anymore when God puts something on my heart. It means He is preparing something for me and He put Hagar on my heart, like crazy.” Gifford took this prompting into a ninety-minute writing session with Mullins whom she had never met. “I said I have Hagar on my heart and this Scripture [Zachariah 2:5], and I said I think there’s something there. We just prayed and she got out her guitar,” remembers Gifford. The two wrote the first verse and the chorus and agreed to get back together.

“I went home and started working on it and all of the sudden it also became about Ruth, and then it naturally moved to David. All the desert experiences that Hagar had, that Ruth had, that David had, they were so different and centuries apart but yet the same God met them there in their desert experience… And now because of Ruth and David, it naturally led to Jesus, who meets us all in our desert experiences.” Gifford believes this is where people connect with the film, but more importantly with the very Word of God. “We all have desserts. We all have those times when we are in the lonely, broken places where the God who never changes, meets us there.”

Kathe Lee Gifford with her children Cassidy (25) and Cody (29). Both have traveled to Israel with their mother where they were baptized in the Jordan River.
Kathe Lee Gifford with her children Cassidy (25) and Cody (29). Both have traveled to Israel with their mother where they were baptized in the Jordan River.

“All of the sudden we got back together again in Nashville and we didn’t know what we had,” explains Gifford with an excitement in her voice that is contagious. “Who writes an eleven-and-a-half-minute song and think that’s God’s will? But He did.” Gifford asked Mullins to do something she had never done before- provide narration. “You know the Bible. Just lead us into each piece and I’ll write it later. No big deal. It’s a demo,” says Gifford adding that Mullins tentatively agreed and at the end of the 11 1/2 minutes, “under the Power of the Holy Spirit, 90 percent, maybe more of what’s on the film Nicole said in the Holy Spirit that day. I was stunned… Sal, who is our engineer and producer friend, he was crying, tears streaming down his face, hands trembling on the keyboard. I said, ‘not your typical, demo type of day, right Sal?’ And he said, ‘No Kat.’ We all just knew God was doing something.”

Gifford felt compelled to turn the 11 ½ minutes into a short film. “I said I’ve got to do this in Israel. I have got to do a film of this.” Gifford saw this as an opportunity to help others to experience learning God’s Word from the Holy Land and plant a desire to go. “I have been trying to get people to come to Israel forever and learn the way the Scriptures were originally written in the Hebrew and in the Greek. The reason we don’t have power in the church today, is because we are not reading the Scriptures the way they were meant to be read and we are not quoting the Scripture, the actual Scripture.  We are settling for a fast food lunch as opposed to the feast God wants us to eat on every day.”

Like the “ring of fire” illustrated in her short film, Gifford says God provides for her. “I have a ring of fire around me, about 12 women who are my prayer warriors and my sisters and I could not get through a day without them. They are God’s provision for me and I hope I am for them as well.”
Like the “ring of fire” illustrated in her short film, Gifford says God provides for her. “I have a ring of fire around me, about 12 women who are my prayer warriors and my sisters and I could not get through a day without them. They are God’s provision for me and I hope I am for them as well.”

Gifford funded the film through her 501c3 foundation, The Rock, The Road and The Rabbi Foundation, established “as an evangelistic tool seeking to share the Word of God…using the arts to produce films and music that will bring the glorious experience of learning Scripture from the Holy Land to a needy world.” All the royalties from Gifford’s 2018 book, The Rock, The Road and the Rabbi (W Publishing), written with messianic Rabbi Dr. Jason Sobel, went into the Foundation. “Everything I do for the Kingdom goes back to Kingdom,” explains Gifford adding, “I’ve been going to Israel since I was 17 years old and I know it so well and love it so much and I couldn’t wait to share it with the world.”

God Who Sees is the first of five oratorios Gifford has in the works all to be filmed in Israel. Funds for each will come from donations to The Rock, the Road and The Rabbi Foundation. Gifford just finished recording The God of His Word with contemporary Christian singer, Danny Gokey and hopes to film in Israel in September. “I feel like the Lord allowed me and Nicole, just in our willingness to be vessels, He allowed us into this brand-new paradigm that is obviously anointed of Him or it never would have been blessed so much.”

Gifford says literally everyday people come up and share with her the hope The God Who Sees has given them. “I was in a little shop this morning in Franklin [Tenn.] and someone said, “You have no idea Kathie. I was at the end and I saw that, and God saw me.” She is seen here directing the film in Israel, where she travels several times a year to study the Bible with messianic rabbis. Gifford recommends reading the Tree of Life Translation of the Bible, a Messianic Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
Gifford says literally everyday people come up and share with her the hope The God Who Sees has given them. “I was in a little shop this morning in Franklin [Tenn.] and someone said, “You have no idea Kathie. I was at the end and I saw that, and God saw me.” She is seen here directing the film in Israel, where she travels several times a year to study the Bible with messianic rabbis. Gifford recommends reading the Tree of Life Translation of the Bible, a Messianic Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
In addition to the oratorios, Gifford recently finished a feature film and has writing opportunities virtually every day, but a day does not begin without time in God’s Word. “I can’t get up early enough now! Two o’clock, three o’clock. I ‘ve got to go meet God. He is going to tell me stuff. He is going to reveal. Like Jeremiah says, ‘come to me and I’ll show you great and wonderous things you know not of.’ We have to meet God there, to show us.” Gifford explains she has been a believer in Christ since the age of twelve, but her commitment to time every morning in God’s Word began eleven years ago and changed her life. “That’s when my growth was exponential. Like beyond. I can measure it back to then- that’s when it exploded.”

Personal deserts led Gifford to God’s Word and God’s Word carried her through those deserts. “I feel like 90 percent of my last 15 years have been desert. People see me on television smiling. I’m doing commercials. I’m with Hoda. I’m laughing. I was in a desert most of that time. God just gave me the grace to do my job.” Behind the scenes Gifford was caring for a lot of people. “Things I went through with my husband, things I went through with losing my father, my mother, just other things that will remain private, heart break- heart ache after heart ache after heart ache. And you just kind of go. ‘I’m in the desert Lord. I’m here.’ and He says, ‘Good. I’ll meet you there.’ “

Gifford says the death of both husband Frank Gifford and dear friend Rev. Billy Graham, gave her a powerful opportunity to share with the world her hope in Christ.
Gifford says the death of both husband Frank Gifford and dear friend Rev. Billy Graham, gave her a powerful opportunity to share with the world her hope in Christ.

Gifford explains that it was in those deserts God gave her a message of hope in Christ to share, particularly on the Today show. “When Frank died, and then when Billy Graham died, these were just opportunities that I had to take advantage of and just share my hope. You just have to share your hope. I knew millions of people would be watching.”

And she’s quick to point out that being able to do so was not of her own strength it was the time she spent in the Word. “You cannot get through it unless you study the Word,” says Gifford. “For 40 days and 40 nights He [Jesus] was there. How did he get through it? Quoting Scripture back at Satan. He didn’t have to look it up. He didn’t have to google it. He knew it. He was the Word and so He knew the word. So that’s the only way we can get through it. Quote it back, throw it in his [Satan’s] face, that’s the only way you can do it.”

  • Laurie Stroud
  • Film shoot photos Aaron Greene, all others courtesy Kathie Lee Gifford

Fill your Facebook feed with more good news from Birmingham Christian Family!
Click the like button below.