Walk This Way

1 John 2:6Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Those who claim to know Jesus as Savior, but who continue to live a rebellious life are likely not saved at all.

My Advice – Continue to follow in His steps, giving evidence that your life is in Him.

When I’m Sixty-Four

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Joshua 14:10-12“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (NIV 1984)

“When I’m Sixty Four”

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, 1966

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty four?

You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine forevermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty four?

My Musings – Feeling thankful today on my birthday (guess which one?) for all the blessings God has given me over the years.  Eileen, my wonderful wife of nearly 44 years, our two precious boys Josh and Joel, devoted parents, and two thoughtful brothers.  There have been speed bumps along the way, of course (Eileen’s health issues and blindness, Josh’s handicaps and early death at nine and Dad has passed), but by and large we are grateful to God for His goodness (even the blessings that have resulted from these difficulties) to me and my family.

I remember listening to this Beatles’ song in my youth (“many years from now [ago]”), thinking how remote and unimaginable 64 would be. And I can’t begin to imagine anyone claiming to be just as strong and vigorous at 85 as they were at 40 (as Caleb claimed), much less 64.  Just this past week my mom (85 years old, just like Caleb) remarked that she must be getting old.  “No mom,” I said, “I’m getting old, you’re already there.”  We had a good laugh, with perhaps a bit of melancholy mixed in.

My mom is a fairly “vigorous and strong” person for being 85 years young (she still lives in her own house, mows her yard and snow blows her driveway).  I am still in relatively good health despite my “advancing” years and the occasional kidney stone, Eileen continues to persevere and rise above the multiple health-related issues that persist, and Joel is the blessing the doctors said he would never be after the all the handicaps that his brother Josh had. Yet, God has been good to us in all these things.  Even now that I’m 64. And with the Lord’s help, maybe I’ll be just as vigorous and strong at 85?

My Advice – Not exactly mine.

Ecclesiastes 12, 1-3 – Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop. (NIV 1984)

Romans 8:35-39Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword [or blindness or handicaps or poor health or premature death]? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation [even advancing age], will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV 1984)

Postscript – Learn more about the things that have convinced my family and me that nothing “in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” archived under “Our Family Album” section of this blog site.

 

 

Prepared for Gentle Respect

1 Peter 3:15But in your hearts set apart Christ Jesus as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – In a world with little hope, Christians should stand out because of their hope. This is likely to raise questions. Questions we should be able to answer (although many are unprepared). We should not be arrogant or condescending in our replies. The lost deserve our pity and compassion, not a “holier-than-thou” response.

My Advice – Be gentle in your responses. Respect their right to choose for themselves. Do not lose your gentleness if they do not choose Christ. There may be another time and how you respond to them now may make some difference later.

Setting an Example, One Way or Another

1 Timothy 4:12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Spiritual maturity has very little to do with chronological age. “Older” Christians can learn from those who are younger.

My Advice – You do not live your life for yourself alone. One way or another you are an example to other believers, non-believers and someday to a family. Be diligent in continuing to be a good example in the ways listed and in others ways that people might look up to you.

Shine Like Stars

Philippians 2:14Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is a dark world. We should stand out because we are children of the light. We do not want to blend in or be indistinguishable from the darkness.

My Advice – There are many ways to get ahead in your career. Do it in a way that you can be proud of. Stand out by standing for what is right and by doing things the right way.

Establish Every Matter

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2 Corinthians 13:1Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – One person can deceive, so we should not take action. Two or more can still conspire to deceive, so the matter still must be established. But the deceit among conspirators is more likely to unravel due to inconsistencies in their stories.

My Advice – Take no action and form no firm opinions based upon what only one person has told you. Wait for corroboration of at least one more witness or other evidence. You will be less likely to take actions that you will live to regret.

What’s On Your T-Shirt?

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Matthew 28:18-20Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV 1984)

My Musings – My dad did not originate the saying, but he liked to quote it “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I wonder what makes some think the mission statement in Matthew 28 is broken and needs our “fixin’?”

A disciple is someone who follows another person or another way of life and who submits himself to the discipline (teaching) of that leader or way.(1)  This begs the question: what would make someone want to follow and submit to Jesus?  And then, how do we make disciples?  How do we fulfil our co “mission” statement given to us by Jesus?

People need to hear from us the teaching of Jesus (what we say) and see in us the life of Jesus (what we do).  It takes more than a program, t-shirt, bumper sticker or coffee mug to communicate the Gospel.  It takes a life that is transformed.  If people do not hear and see the Master in what we consistently say and do, how can they possibly become a disciple of someone that we claim to be a disciple of?  If we are not faithful in our  representation of Kingdom living, how can we possibly expect others to want to be subject to its King?

My Advice – We cannot make disciples if we are not disciples ourselves.  What we say and what we do must be in agreement and must be a reflection of Christ.

  • John 10:27My sheep listen to my voice [what we say]; I know them, and they follow me [what we do]. (NIV 1984)
  • 1 John 3:18Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. (NLT 2013)

(1)Helm, P. (1988). Disciple. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 629). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.