Are We Ever Too Old to have Purpose in Life?

 

“Do not cast me off in the time of old age;  Do not forsake me when my strength fails.  “ Psalm 71:9

I saw a motto on a college sign recently that said   “Come find your purpose”.  Hopefully that is the idea when college age kids go to college, they do find what they like and/or learn some skills to guide them in finding their purpose in life.   Isn’t that something that we do throughout life though?  Maybe there are a few who always knew what they wanted to do; but many do not.  While your’re young as a child, you basically go to school, play, do chores, etc.  When you go to college, you have to figure out what you want to do for a living, what is your purpose?  A job or career becomes your purpose.  Marriage and children give you purpose also.  Are we ever too old to have a purpose or to serve God?

Is Age a Barrier for Serving?

I started searching around on the web and ran across some good encouragement and insight which I will be sharing here.  First of all,  I read at this site:  “Age is no barrier, no offense before the throne of God.  A willing heart is all He seeks….”        

The Bible never says anyone is too old for God, (nor does He say you are too young either) but there is no age limit on serving God that I can read or see anywhere.

“Everyone who is called by my name, And whom I created for My glory, Whom I have formed,  even whom I have made. ”  Isaiah 43:7    All you need to do is be called by God and be willing.    Whether we are old or young, we all still are here for a purpose.  As long as you are willing and available, God can use you no matter what the age.

Secondly, God used many in the Bible  who were older.  Moses was 80 before he began his most active service for God.  (Exodus 7:7)  Joshua died at 110 years old after helping the Israelites conquer their land. (Joshua 24:29) Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 before they had Isaac. (Gen.17:17)    Zachariah and Elizabeth were very old before they had John the Baptist also.  (Luke 1:18)  Simeon and Anna both lived to old age serving in the temple, awaiting the birth of the Messiah. (Luke 2:25-38)

We know that Paul the Apostle called himself ‘the aged’ before he died and Apostle John wrote his works at the end of the first century. (Philemon 9, John, 1 John, Revelation).  Daniel the prophet served through quite a few kings in Babylonia and we know he was not young when he died.  Job lived to over 140 yrs. (Job 42:16)  Reading this assures me that age doesn’t stop you from having purpose or serving God.

What about present day?  Are people still out being active?  You can find them if you look.   Specifically looking at women,  I think of Mother Teresa, Corrie ten Boom, Catherine Booth, Hannah Moore who lived  to be 88, and even Anne Graham Lotz who is about 69  and serving as head of the National Day of Prayer Organization and has written books.  Those are just a very few examples.    We may retire from secular jobs but we do not retire from service or having a purpose in the later years of life.

Is Culture a Barrier?

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Sometimes our problem in finding purpose maybe related to our youth-oriented culture. Wisdom and experience of the elderly are not appreciated and society is too quick to put those who are older ‘out to pasture.’  Other cultures reflect the scriptural norm where elderly are revered; wisdom and experience are appreciated.  They continue in roles of influence until death.  http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/10-10-16-how-different-cultures-take-care-of-seniors/

Lastly consider, perhaps you think at retirement that you’ve already done your part in serving…..What’s left?  What lands are left to conquer?  (Josh. 13:1-7)  ‘Helping  hands’ needs are always present in the church, or sharing God’s love, sending cards or making phone calls or visiting the homebound,  Don’t forget children who’s love to hear your stories, younger women who need to be mentored, volunteering for a charity that you never had time to do before.   Blogging is another option that quite a few older people have started doing.  I will be sharing some of those other blogs soon for you to look at if you don’t already.

I know of one older lady who couldn’t walk and felt pretty useless the later years of her life.  She told me that the one thing she discovered she could do was smile at others when she was take out and about. She could only brighten someone’s day with a smile or encourage them, but it was the one thing she could do.  People enjoyed that smile!   If we are willing and available, God will bring opportunities our way, even if its just a smile or a kind word.

Other scriptures to consider:  2 Cor.3:5, Psalm 71:18,19; Isaiah 46:4, Psalm 92: 12-15, and Psalm 37:25 which says:

 “I have been young and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Or his descendants begging bread.”

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Using Christian Caring Tools part 2

 

“And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly  I say to you he shall  not  lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:42

Are words the only caring tools we can use?

I knocked on the door and waited. I wondered if I was really doing any good using the tools I was using?  Seems like I had to wait longer certain times than others, but eventually the door was answered and I sat down in a comfy chair. Leaving more than an hour later, I pondered…What had I done for that time? Basically I listened and asked questions, at times sharing Scripture and at times praying. It didn’t seem like much , but the elderly lady I visited enjoyed it greatly.  It didn’t seem like much, but it meant a great deal to her as she wasn’t able to get around to socialize very much.

In addition to the first two already discussed;  the third tool  is  ‘Affirmation or Blessing.”  This tool reminds us who is in charge and working, assuring people that God is still with them; and gives comfort to people, encouragement, and helps to train our thoughts.   In addition to being positive, affirmations need to be based on truth to be effective.  Formal written prayers or affirming words, or just using verses written out are effective; read or memorized.  (Numbers 6:24-26,2 Corinthians 13:14, Philippians 4:7-examples)   It depends on the situation.  Even something like “God bless you and be with you.  May He shower you  with His hope, joy and peace.”   Consider the person’s needs and your preferences as well.  If you speak with assurance and conviction, it will come across in your words.  This is a very encouraging Christian  resource. Click this link for some more examples.


Furthermore,  besides our words, talking and sharing with someone, or praying with them,  gluing them altogether are the actual actions.    Even though it  is easy to say we care about someone,  deeds usually demonstrate the truthfulness of our words.  It just means doing simple things like taking a meal to someone,  giving them a ride, giving them a drink, taking them shopping, going out for coffee, etc.   All these type of ‘acts’ are an important tool for giving support or care; however, not only are they for seniors,  but any others going through difficulty as well.   Supporting with our words is helpful but  being  willingness to  give of our time, speaks louder than words.

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” James 1:22

Finally to review, the four Christian caring tools we have discussed:   1) Prayer with the person,  2)Sharing scripture,  3)Affirmations of truth,  and 4)Acts of service.   We not only can give good care as a Christian, we can share the source of encouragement, healing, comfort, strength with the  person we care about;  using  these tools.  I hope they prove useful to you the next you visit someone in need and enrich your caring experience.

May our Lord bless and keep you in His service.

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“You are to pay special attention to those who by accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.”  Saint Augustine

 

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Age is Just a Number

TO VALUE  PEOPLE  

“You shall rise up before the gray headed, and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.”  Leviticus 19:32

HELLO  C. O.S. readers!

When I was very young, I didn’t have a good perspective of what the value of an older person was.   Age wasn’t just a number then.  I  did not know much about value as a human being. There was an older woman that babysit the four of us from time to time. It was always a scary experience for us. She lived alone apparently and never smiled that I could remember. Very often  she would be reprimanding us;  telling us “Shut up!” She astounded us by speaking to us in that way. Our mom didn’t speak to us that way, so why was she so mean?  We didn’t think we were misbehaving very badly and could never understand that. Our grandparents, so prim and proper, brought us gifts, but they never talked to us that way either.

Our neighbor, when I was a teen, was an older man who bred pointers and sold them.  His wife died and I remember he seemed quite lonely as well as having health issues.  Eventually he ended up married again being  probably in his 60’s or 70’s.   He was quite neighborly at least and was friends with the manager of our house.

First  impressions of older people were not good for me.  I could never imagine being that age, and seemingly it would be forever before it happened.   I was rather apprehensive about it considering all I had observed growing up.  Remember too, the sayings like:  “The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be…”   Another one I recollect is “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks…”   If any  of these sayings were based on any iota of truth, it made older years something to dread.

 Do people think seniors are ‘washed out’? That kind of thinking bothers me.  Very frequently I hear about an elderly person being attacked and I think, doesn’t anyone respect their elders?  Why do attacks take place on those who are older and weaker? 7NEWShttp://whdh.com

A nurse says:”Much value is placed on the lives of infants, children, and younger adults.  However, older people are often devalued in American society.  We can see the bias toward youthful populations come to life when we tell the public where we work.”—  “The Elderly Are Devalued”.

Now, however, I do believe older people definitely have more to look forward to than when I was younger.  I started thinking…..if we devalue the elderly,  how can we change that perspective? One article reads: “Unless we change the way we view old age, the generation younger than the boomers will treat them the same way as soon as they show a few more wrinkles, or seem a bit shaky on their feet.”     http://oregonstate.edu—- Study: Elderly go from being perceived as capable consumer to ‘old person.’

How can we show value and respect to older people or encourage/support them?

First of all, we cannot put a price on the value on a human life; all life is sacred.  God created man in His image and old or young, ‘they’ all have value and worth.

Declaration of Independence even declares this:

” We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Matt. 10:29-31- “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Therefore do not fear, you are of more value than many sparrows.”   Young or old, we all have the same value.

Secondly, they have value for the right reasons.  As it is said,  they ‘silver in the hair’, or ‘gold in the teeth’, but some how I don’t think they want to be valued for those reasons.  Their value is much more in that they bring years or decades of experience into a conversation or situation.  They have experienced difficulties, joys, and griefs, and hopefully, successes also.    “Wisdom is found with the elderly, and understanding come with long life.”  Job 12:12   The ability to share with the up and coming generations the way in which you can navigate certain circumstances is invaluable.  A lot of times they also have a good sense of humor . Though many seniors don’t live close to their families, they still desire to share their lives with them and others. ( http://abcfastdirectory.com– church articles)

Third, a lot of seniors are living longer and longer these days.  They are also accomplishing more things and contributing to society. I read about a “great-grandmother, Mary Bochanis, who has been volunteering for 73 yrs. at the RED CROSS.” Dorothy Davenhill Hirsch at 89 yrs visited the north pole.  Minoru Saito at 77 sailed around the world.  At 95 Nola Ochs graduated from Fort Hays State University in Kansas.  It is very inspiring to read about the accomplishments seniors are making now a days.

To conclude, yes, there is still much value in old age. All people have worth, and seniors have much more knowledge and experience to share as well as opportunities to accomplish other objectives and feats.   There is much to look forward to and I’ve only just begun to touch on that.  More to come in the future on this subject.  Until the next sunset!

“Grow old along with me!  The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made.” Robert Browning

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Six Ways to Shorten Those Blues

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

Good day readers!

As I took down Christmas decorations from the tree, I was hit with a with a sense of the ‘blues.’ It used to be so much fun to go picking out a tree, which is the biggest, greenest, fullest? Then putting on the ornaments that they had made  or passed along…all to the sound of laughter, talking, sharing, singing. I also remember the shopping, cooking, opening presents, sharing news, going to services together as well as the photos and memories that are made each year. Presently it is just myself, and hubby, and maybe one of the kids if they are around. The holidays are always a special time though and I am grateful for when the kids were all home as well as now, even though they are different. However, I was thinking about dealing with those blues that may hit us now and then, especially around the holidays.

Older people don’t get to see their family often and after the holidays, many feel the “blues”, or feel down.
One article I read said that it was normal to have blues after the holidays. Sometimes they remind us things we’d rather not remember, like relatives always tending to start ‘fights’.

Sometimes those blues become more serious and last longer than just seasonal period.  Whereas it may be normal for anyone to get the ‘blues’ now and then, when it starts to last longer than it should then it is time to take a few steps to alleviate or relieve them. Perhaps some support or encouragement or other activity to help one move on. I looked at a few different sources, one of which is listed.  Let’s talk about some of the steps one can take to help get through those ‘post holiday blues.’ (http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holiday-blues#Overview1)


  1. Realize that this is normal. No Christmas will ever be the same as it was when all the kids were home and we can’t expect the kids to be little forever. We need to adjust our expectations and not keep striving for that ‘perfect’ Christmas holiday every single year, or strive to make it even better than the one last year.  Not those desires are wrong at all, it is always nice to make them special and memorable.  However, much as we want to; we can’t keep hanging on to idealistically making them all just like they used to be. Life changes, kids grow and change, and thus holiday events or seasons change too and we cannot stop that from happening. Instead make each celebration unique and original, they can be similar but they can also be special and different.  It is likewise typical for families to have members with conflicting viewpoints about different issues that are bound to clash during this time of family togetherness. We can try to minimize them, but if they do happen; it is good to realize than it is normal for many families.
  2. Give yourself time to rest and unwind from the holidays.  They are stressful for everyone, schedules are hectic, time is short and seemingly rushed.  Make sure you get some good nights of sleep, even go to bed a little earlier if needed for a few days.  Relax and go easy on yourself to de-stress and recuperate.
  3. Try to eat healthy and more normally.  Healthier foods like fruits, nuts, and ‘high in vitamin B’ type foods help your body feel better and affect the mood (good for nervous system) as well as depression. Attempt to avoid excessive alcohol  as it is an depressant.
  4. Start a new hobby or plan a fun activity for January.  Something new like growing flowers indoors, learning to journal, taking a class to learn a new craft,or learning a new language will stimulate your mind and give you a new focus . Starting a new activity gives you a new purpose and helps one overcome the ‘holiday blues.’
  5. Reach out to help someone else in need.  Those of us who are more mobile can make a visit to an older friend or neighbor who is alone.  Give them a call or have coffee together.  Volunteer to help at church or some other community activity.  Focusing on someone else not only helps you, it helps the person you spend time with.
  6. Lastly, but not least because it is not easy; accept and let go. Continually thinking of unpleasant situations only tends to build up anxiety unnecessarily.  When dark thoughts start, do something to stop them…Take a walk, talk to a friend, listen to upbeat music, read affirming and encouraging verses of scriptures, collect affirming quotes or cards.  Even take it a step further and give some to someone else who needs encouragement or affirmation.  If you can’t shake it, by all means go to a doctor for a check up, or talk to a trusted friend.  Perhaps have the friend call a counselor or pastor if you cannot.  The important thing is to take care of it.  Prayer is also a very great tool for refocusing, peace, comfort, strength etc. It works wonders.

Here’s for a more peaceful, encouraging,  and blessed 2017!

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller

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