GETTING OLD SUCKS

  
Truthfully, I am not excited about getting old. But the reality remains that unless the Lord takes me soon, I will walk, crawl or roll into old age. In fact, aging is happening as I type!
Some have said old age isn’t for cowards. I agree. The thought that we will likely become limited physically and/or mentally and have to depend on others can be overwhelming. This thought can give us a real negative attitude about life. This blog may seem negative to some of you. I write as a realist with optimistic tendencies. 
A few concerns about aging:

• Physical limitations

We need to be thankful for the health we have today; the ability to walk, talk and perform daily tasks with little or no pain. Pain may come eventually but let’s enjoy what mobility and activity God has given today.

• Mental limitations:

What a privilege we have to be able to think and reason, to read and remember information! Memory becomes harder as we age, as does the ability to focus on a task. Recalling names, locations, details…even wondering why we came into a room…will likely become more challenging.

The mind is a gift. Let’s appreciate it while trying to keep it sharp with books, conversations or any other activity that exercises the brain.
• Hearing limitations: 

The excuse that we didn’t hear what our spouse said may become our reality  We may become that person that turns up the TV and misses parts of conversations. Yikes, what a bleak picture!

• Being Marginalized :

We look in the mirror and begin to see our parents. We have trouble keeping up with technology. People see age and marginalize us. The grandkids seem to be the only ones who don’t think we are obsolete.
In addition to these obvious challenges that come with age, the following are a few areas of personal concern:

Fear:

As we age, many of us seem to embrace more fear of life. “What if” tends to preface many situations that would simply be normal activity to a younger person. There is a checklist of “fear factors” before making decisions. A few fears may be legitimate but others just seem unreasonable. This is scary to me.

I don’t want to be ruled by fear.

Discipline:

The older we get, the easier it seems to let go of some of the disciplines of life. Healthy eating habits, physical exercise and continued learning activities tend to fall off. This may seem normal but it may also seep into areas of spiritual discipline.

Negative attitudes: 

Please Lord, keep me looking for the good in a world full of bad. It seems the world has an agenda opposite to the one Jesus wants us to have. But please, Lord, don’t let me give up on people. You see value in all people! Help me to see them through your eyes. People still need someone to care and believe in them.

Judgmentalism:

Different doesn’t mean wrong. Let’s not look down on others who don’t fit our idea of ‘acceptable.’ Let’s not disregard the younger generation just because their culture is different from ours. Self focus can keep us from seeing others as simply people who need Jesus. Jesus didn’t call us to avoid the people of the world so we wouldn’t get dirty. He called us to reach out to others, no matter what they look like or live like.

Addiction to comfort: 

We have many great comforts in this fine country. I am thankful most of you reading this blog have warm homes in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, something nice to wear and good to eat! But we can begin to place our personal comfort above what Jesus calls us to do. He calls those who claim to follow Him, no matter what age, to care for others, even when it is uncomfortable.
Conclusion:

In light of the above, go hug someone over 70! They have a great deal of courage. Praise God for HIS care for us…everyday!!!

This should get some good conversation going. What are your thoughts?

Thanksliving….

We are a few months out from our formal event of giving thanks and eating turkey. With that in mind, I share a thought by minor league baseball chaplain Arnie Knecht that will help us stay in a thankful attitude year round!

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1)
Lainey 2010

As the last remnants of leftover turkey are consumed and the memories of Thanksgiving become a new page in the family photo album, let’s take pause for a moment of reflection. In the wake of a day dedicated to giving thanks, let us consider how we might commit to a life of living thanks. Thanksgiving is good. Thanksliving is better.

What is thanksliving and what does it look like? Thanksliving is how we respond when we fully appreciate what God has done for us in Christ. He has delivered us from darkness into His glorious light (1 Peter 2:9). He has given us eternal life and made us heirs to a heavenly kingdom (Matthew 25:34). He has saved us from a hopeless end and given us an endless hope.

Thanksliving is presenting our lives to The Lord in full submission to His purposes, because He has proven Himself worthy of our worship (Romans 12:1).

Thanksliving is living in the humility that recognizes that anything good in us is the work of a gracious God, that we have nothing to boast about except in Him (Galatians 6:14).

Thanksliving is forgiving others as we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13).

Thanksliving is doing everything in the name of God, as unto God, and to the glory of God (Colossians 3:17, 3:23; 1Corinthians 10:31).

Thanksliving is pursuing relationship over religion. A greater desire to know and love the One who had no sin, yet became sin for us, absorbing God’s wrath so that we might be saved from it (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:9).

Question: Is your proclamation of thanksgiving supported by a lifestyle of thanksliving?

Challenge: Preach the Gospel to yourself daily, living your Christian life out of the overflow of your gratitude for your Savior.

Prayer: Lord, fill me with thanksgiving, that it would translate to thanksliving, for your glory.

— Arnie Knecht – Grand Prairie Air Hogs

The name of Jesus

The name of Jesus can be controversial. Let’s look at what my friend across the pond, Stuart Weir has to write…

It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed Acts 4:10

In the ancient world, names were very important and powerful. So when the authorities questioned Paul and John after they had healed a man, the question they asked was: By what power or what name did you do this?” (Acts 4:7)
LOGO OF FISHBASEBALL
The apostles replied that it was in the name of Jesus – adding to make sure they knew who Jesus was and why he was important “whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead”. The gospel in a sentence! Jesus was crucified, dying to save us and then being raised to life by God.

Not content to leave it there Peter and John added (Verse12): “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved”.
We live in a world where spiritual truth is often considered less important than spiritual experience. In my country there is complete freedom for me to believe in Jesus – no one cares or stops me. But if I say that Jesus is the only way to God or that certain activities are wrong because of what the Bible says, then I can find myself in conflict with society. It seems to society arrogant to claim that what you believe is true and what others believe is not.

But that is what the Bible says: “Salvation is found in no one else”. Stuart

Have you had your moment of fame?

This week I am in Germany..so another blog by Stuart Weir…😎

LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day. Habakkuk 3:2

FEEL OLD

Habakkuk is generally believed to have been written in the 7th century BC but it still contains timeless truth. We live in a world of celebrities. What Andy Warhol called your “15 minutes of fame”.

Every year I work at the London Marathon and have the opportunity to interview some of the “celebrities” who are running the race – the problem is that I have no idea who any of them are! I don’t watch the right soaps. A friend of mine who played Premier League Football in England and then presented a TV sports programme, told me – to his bewilderment – that he is far more “famous” because he is on TV every week than he was when he was playing at the highest level!

Another “famous” friend of mine was stopped and asked for a selfie. He obliged only to hear the person make a comment to his friend which showed that they thought he was someone completely different.

Habakkuk recognized that God’s fame was different. It had and would last forever. It was based on solid achievements. God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. He is a God of love who shepherds and cares for his people. Writing as a Jew, Habakkuk would think of the Exodus, the establishing of the kingdom, protection against enemies etc God’s fame was solid.

Many of us are high-achievers, leaders in our field “famous” in a limited sense. Let’s keep it in perspective and remember the one who has real fame and stand in awe.

Flee, follow and fight

This week I am in meetings with the staff of UPI as we gather in Arizona. Prayers appreciated!

Here is a post from my friend Stuart across the pond!

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11.

Word

Someone has summed up Paul’s advice to Timothy on how to deal with sin as flee, follow and fight! Then in verse 11 Paul gives Timothy six characteristics to aspire to.

• righteousness
• godliness
• faith
• love
• endurance
• gentleness.

While I can sum each one up in a sentence, it may make us a life-time to learn to put themselves into practice!

Righteousness – the great thing about righteousness is that we don’t have to achieve it. We are righteous because of what Christ has done for us. Godliness (or Christlikeness) – is just seeking to live our lives as God would want us to.
Faith – is believing in Jesus, despite our doubts and when circumstances make it hard for us to believe.
Love – Loving our neighbour as ourselves; letting God’s love flow through us.
Endurance – keeping going when it is tough and easier to give up.
Gentleness – treating offers with love and grace.

Let’s us all try to aspire to these characteristics in our lives. .Stuart Weir

DOES MY LIFE MATTER?

With the start of a new year come the challenges to prepare for the year ahead. Many of us will consider our life’s direction, some will just let life happen. Depending on state of mind, some will ask if their life even matters. A legitimate question to ask!

Come to my house....

I was 63 when I met “Coach Mo.” His full name is Morris M. Michalski and his title was Basketball Specialist with Athletes in Action. What an impressive man!

Our discussions took place on the campus of Grace Seminary. We spent about three hours in meetings with the leadership of that institution and the discussions were very insightful.

During that time “Coach Mo” recalled a phone call he once received prior to his having to make a difficult decision. The person on the other end said, ”Coach, I am not afraid of failing, I am afraid of being successful at something that doesn’t matter.”

I was struck by that thought. It seemed so insightful and powerful.

How might this perspective help as w align priorities and make decisions for this next year?

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

How God Uses Grief to Help Us Grow

This past fall a plane crash took the lives of two of my friends and 4 leaders in our community. Grief is real and during the weeks that followed, I had to deal with loss. Unfortunately, during this time of year many reflect and have to work through some of the grief they have experienced in life. I hope the following article helps you navigate!

“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Grief, loss, and pain are an inevitable part of life. But did you know that God uses our grief to help us grow? He does it in three ways.

First, God uses pain to get our attention. C.S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, but he shouts to us in our pain.” Pain is God’s megaphone. We rarely change when we see the light. We change when we feel the heat.

Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (TEV).

Second, he brings good out of bad. One of the most famous verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (NIV).

When you experience a loss, it’s an opportunity to grow in character. You can’t control the pain you go through, but you can decide whether it’s going to make you bitter or better. You decide whether it’s going to be a stepping stone or a stumbling block. You have to remember that even in your pain, God is working for your good.

Third, God prepares us for eternity. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “These troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen” (CEV).

You’ve probably heard me say before that you’re not taking your car to Heaven. You’re not taking your china or your clothes to Heaven; you’re not taking your career to Heaven. But you are taking your character. You are taking you.

God’s more interested in your character development than in your comfort. Why? Because you can get comfortable in Heaven, but this is the get-ready stage. This is the learning stage. This is the warm-up act. Your troubles here on Earth are getting you ready for an eternal glory. That’s a comfort.

When you’re in pain, you need to ask, “What is God doing?” Is he trying to get your attention? Is he trying to bring good out of bad? Is he preparing your character for Heaven? By R.Warren —