Four-time Emmy Award-winning entertainer Kathie Lee Gifford released her new memoir, It’s Never Too Late, this month and says while most people are retiring at her age, she's just getting started.
"I'm a student of the Bible, I have been my whole life. Not the terrible translations that exist in the world today, but the authentic Word of God as in the original Greek and Hebrew in the Old Testament and New Testament. When I read the Scripture, nobody ever retired, they just died. They died and went on to an even greater journey with their Creator,” Gifford told The Christian Post.
Gifford stepped down as co-host of "Today" in 2019 and has since produced a few movies and wrote a new book in which she declares: “I’m not retiring; I’m refiring!”
The book, which encompasses different aspects of her life, begins with Gifford talking about her childhood growing up in the Chesapeake Bay where she first heard God’s calling, then her rise to fame with Regis Philbin up until now, followed by her decision to walk away from hosting a daytime TV show and her move to Nashville, Tennessee.
Gifford is hoping her book will inspire people to pursue what really matters in their life while showing them that it’s never too late to make a difference in the world.
"I'm just going to keep doing what God has me here to do until He takes me home to do something even more, something even better, something even more glorious that I have no idea ...,” she said.
Gifford has been studying Jewish texts for several years and says she’s learned not to question God.
“You never ask the rabbi where you're going, where he's leading you. And you never ask him what he's going to teach you when you get there, that shows disrespect to your rabbi,” she said.
"Jesus was a rabbi for three years before He gave His life for us. Three-and-a-half years He walked the Earth as a rabbi (which means teacher in Hebrew). He talked to people all about the Kingdom of Heaven/Kingdom of God. He said, ‘The Kingdom of God is here. The Kingdom of God is among you right now,’ and it just transformed all their teaching.”
The multi-gifted author, filmmaker, actress, playwright and singer said she wants to spend the remainder of her life impacting others. Her positive outlook and focus on God is also why she believes she’s been so successful in life.
"I've always laughed, I said, 'God has me do these amazing things that I have no idea how to do them.' I promise you, I've written 20 books, and I don't know how to write a book. I never took a class on how to write a book,” she declared.
When asked about how her carefree spirit and deep faith go hand in hand, Gifford said it’s because she doesn't subscribe to the constraints of religion.
"I don't follow the rules because part of me innately understands that they're man-made and they're usually garbage, lots of times, they're garbage. I try to follow God's rules because those are meant for my own blessing. But man's rules are often not to protect or bless us, but to control us,” Gifford stressed.
"So I break rules," she said. "Why? Because I just answer the call of God in my life.”
The 67-year-old has won four Emmys, was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway show “Scandalous,” is a bestselling author and now writes films. "Why?” she asked and then answered: “Because I just answered the call of God in my life.”
"The Bible says Jesus said, 'I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. They know my voice. So when I hear His voice as clear as I hear yours today, I just have learned to say, 'Yes Lord. I have learned to stop saying I don't want to go to Nineveh,'” Gifford added.
The mother of three confessed that she didn't want to write It’s Never Too Late because it meant she had to share aspects of her own life. She would much rather write about God, but it was her relationship with God that inspired the message of pursuing one’s dreams, freedom, and forgiveness.
"We've been taught from our earliest age the wrong thing about the Bible. The Bible was written by Middle Easterners, for Middle Easterners, and then we try, as Westerners, to apply our own culture, our own sensitivities, our own traditions, all of that, and we try to apply it to something that was very precise,” she maintained.
"The word of the Lord is flawless and it is in its original form, in its original source. But it's not in so many of the translations today,” Gifford asserted. “So as a result, there's been a 'church,' because that's not what the word ekklesia means in the Greek. That means an assembly, yes, but a movement. His spirit among those assembled to worship Him.”
"Once I started studying rabbinically, it doesn't say anywhere in the Bible, 'I want you to come and visit me once a week in a building someplace with other believers. I want you to sit there, I want you to worship Me, to sing some songs, hear a little sermon, put some money in for my work other places, and then go and I'll see you again next week, or I'll see you on Christmas Eve or Easter Sunday morning. It does not say that,” she declared.
Gifford cited Act 17:28, which says, “In Him, we live and move and have our very being.” She believes that scripture is what Christians should model more than Western Church institutions.
“What about the other six days when we're not in that building? What about all those hours? Twenty-four hours in every one of those days? Does God care about those too? The answer is a resounding absolutely,” she declared. “He wants us to be involved with Him and He wants to be involved with us — walk, talk, rejoicing, crying, doing life together, every nanosecond of our life.”
Gifford warned believers that until they get to the point of a true relationship with God, they will not have what Jesus promised in John 10:10. “The thief, meaning Satan, comes to steal and kill and destroy. But I have come (Jesus) that they might have life and life abundantly.”
"Now the word for life and abundantly put together in the Greek means Zoe,” she continued. “It means so huge, so overwhelming. It cannot be contained. It bubbles up like streams of living water Jesus talked about. Then it has to burst. How many Christians listening to me today feel that in their lives? They don't.”
Gifford revealed that she, too, once did not live an abundant life until she began really studying the original translations of the Bible in Greek and Hebrew.
"People say to me, ‘How can you be so bold, aren't you afraid?’ I go, ‘No, I have a relationship with the living God, He doesn't change. He's going to give me the same courage,’” she said.
Gifford explained that she wants to have courage in her life and wants others to as well.
"I don't want religion. I don't want to be around religious people that try to define me, try to minimalize me, and try to put me with a label and stick me on a shelf. That's not what God has for us!” she added.