Our dear friend and faithful Five Minute Friday community member, Joe Siccardi, passed into glory early this morning after suffering a terrible stroke last week Wednesday night. He leaves behind a gaping hole in this community: in the link-up, in the Twitter party, on Facebook, in the comment sections of many of our blogs, and in our hearts.

While we grieve and mourn this significant loss, we also thank the Lord for His mercy, since Joe knew and loved his Savior, Jesus Christ, and is now safe and whole in eternity with Him.

Joe’s sudden, unexpected departure has me thinking this morning about the power of words. As many of you experienced personally, Joe was always ready with encouraging words, and he didn’t hesitate to share them. He always lifted up and never tore down.

I’ve heard from several others in the FMF community who also received an encouraging quote from Joe as recently as Wednesday morning — just hours before he had the stroke. I looked back on my conversation thread on Facebook and saw that Joe had sent me quotes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday that week. None of us knew — not even Joe — that the messages he posted that week would be among his last, or that December 3rd would be his last time attending the weekly #fmfparty Twitter party.

It got me thinking . . . If that post I shared on social media were to be my final one, what would it say about me?

Particularly in 2020, I’ve been shocked by how many hateful attacks I’ve seen posted online by people who disagree with others. I thank God that it hasn’t happened at all here in the FMF community, but elsewhere, it seems rampant. I even got to be the recipient of one such thread of verbal “attacks” several weeks ago, to such a degree that a few different friends texted me to see if I was okay.

And such is the power of words: they can cause great pain and damage, and they can cause great healing and restoration. They can tear down, and they can build up.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” ~ Proverbs 18:21, ESV

Related post: 100 Bible Verses about the Power of Words

Joe left a lot behind — countless memories and keepsakes for his family, I’m sure. But he also left behind the gift of his words. He wrote several books and used just as many (if not more) words lifting others up. He shined his light well.

How will you choose to use your words?

Joe frequently used the phrase, “Keep looking up.” He wrote it again in one of his final tweets at his last #fmfparty Twitter party on December 3rd:

the power of words


Keep looking up, friends. The Lord Jesus is coming soon to fetch His people for glory. 

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:17, ESV

Encourage one another with these words.

If you have a stroke tomorrow, what words will you leave behind?

Joe didn’t know the day or the hour that Christ would come for him. But by God’s grace, he was ready.

If today turns out to be your last day, are you ready? 

Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will be saved.

Till we chat again, Joe.



In honor of Joe, I’d like to offer a free download of my book, Letters to Grief, for anyone who is interested.

Just email your request to me at kate@fiveminutefriday.com and I’ll send you a PDF copy.

If you prefer a paperback version, you can find it on Amazon here

letters to grief

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