A few weeks ago I woke up and discovered that I had turned 72 years old overnight. Not that it was a surprise, but yet it was still sobering. I didn’t really feel 72, but then I didn’t feel 71 the day before either. I sometimes look in the mirror and wonder how I got trapped in an old person’s body. Sometimes I joke with my sister about how old she is, since she is one year older than me. Am I going to have to stop kidding her now? What a dilemma!
I wondered: What does God say about older people? What should older people be doing? Should they be involved in ministry, or just retire and get out of the way? Some random thoughts:
I do recall that David prayed to the Lord and asked: “teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:12) So I did a little research and found that a 72 year-old male can expect to live about 13 more years on average. Doing the math that is about 4,745 days, but there is no guarantee of that…only God knows.
So what should I do? Well, I usually pray for my family each morning, so even if I did nothing else that would be at least 4,745 prayers for them…seems worth it. If I would also pray for my church and nation at the same time, now we’re talking 14,235 prayers over 13 years. So, I guess a 72 year old can accomplish quite a lot in the remaining time after all.
We know that Jesus said “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:20) But God also spoke directly to older people through Isaiah when He said: “Listen to me… (you) Who have been carried from the womb: Even to your old age, I am He and even to gray hairs I will carry you!” So He carried us when we were young and He will still carry us in old age. It sounds like a plan to me.
Titus 2:2 goes on to say that: “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” Then Titus 2:3 adds: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.” Psalm 92:14 says: “They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green.” Then Job 12:12 adds: “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” So it sounds like God truly does have a plan for us and will provide the tools to complete it.
I would like for my prayer to be the same as David’s when he said in Psalm 71:18: “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”
So it sounds to me that there is a lot of ministry to do and some real job security for all of us young people in old bodies. Amen?
In His name,
“But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20–24 ESV
You cannot stop sinning by trying to stop sinning (Colossians 2:23), and you cannot do the work of God in the power of man (Galatians 3:3). Truly living out our lives in Jesus Christ doesn't come from fighting something bad and trying as hard as we can to do good. It comes from embracing the truth of God.
The truth is, when we are born of the Spirit, holiness and purity is our new reality. Even if we sin, we are no longer sinners. God says we are perfect. We may feel like sinners...We may feel dirty, but we are pure. This reality must flow out of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and into our heart and mind, transforming our feelings.
Paul prayed for believers, that Christ would be formed in their hearts (Galatians 4:19). Our new identity is...Christ in us. The old sinner is dead, and we are a new creation in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:17). When we put on our true identity in Christ, it removes all place for the devil (Ephesians 4:27), and this is the way that we make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14). As one teacher put it, "It is the first step to learning how to walk in the Spirit." (Romans 8:1-17; Galatians 5:16) And when we are walking in the Spirit, nothing is impossible (Matthew 17:20).
No, I am NOT a sinner saved by grace. I WAS a sinner, and now I AM A SAINT by God's grace.
I often reflect on my quiet time and devotion and ask myself what have I accomplished. Have I prayed with the right heart or the right purpose? I know any prayer to our loving creator is good, however could I have been more Christ like in thought? The answer is a resounding yes! I can always do better. Read this passage and see what it says to you. Paul writes to Timothy and prayers that he has a faith as his forefathers and that his thoughts are mindful of love, joy and tears. Paul exhorts him to not be fearful of God but powerful, loving and of sound mind!
Cheers in Christ!!!
Dr. Bill Prevatt
Calvary North Elder
"And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace." - John 1:16
Ever been the recipient of incredible favor? Where you are simply given something not because you earned it? I have in so many ways and so many times... over and over like waves of the ocean crashing on a shoreline!
God has blessed me in more ways than I could ever share and I am truly humbled. From provisions, to protection, to promises, I see the hand of my God all the time. From being saved from death as a baby, to being sent overseas on mission trips numerous times, to standing up on Sundays to share Jesus with people! "Who am I for such things?", I often say to myself.
Listen, I'm not boasting in my ability, but in God's! ("Let Him who boast, boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth..." Jer. 9:24). I am blessed beyond belief! Sure there are hardships, trials, & storms to face (no one is exempt from these). They hurt and at times bring tears. But overall I see God's GRACE in my PLACE! Do you?
People can say, "Wait a second! That's not fair! You don't deserve that thing, that honor, that blessing, that promise, that salvation, etc." And I can simply smile and say, "I know! You're right! I don't deserve those blessings. It's NOT fair!... but isn't God amazing? Isn't His grace so good!" That's what grace does, it brings us to rejoice in God's goodness to my undeserving life!
Question to consider: When God shows favor to another (things, health, finances, family relationships, etc.) how do I respond? Am I jealous, or full of joy for them? Can I say, "Thank you Lord for blessing them. Do it again! Give more grace! Blow them away with who You are!" Or am I complaining and grumbling, "That's not fair, God!" My response often shows my maturity in the LORD in understanding how grace works.
I thank God that He doesn't give me what I deserve! That His grace covers my sin (past, present, & future). That I can walk each day reveling in God's grace, standing in His grace, growing in His grace. And I know that one day, this grace will lead me home!
Not fair? Of course! That's what's so amazing about God's grace!
Words of encouragement from the leadership at Calvary North.