Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Cure for Aging

Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades.  Over the years, they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures.  Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.  One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me..I know we've been friends for a long time, but I just can't seem to remember your name!  I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it!  Please tell me what your name is."  Her friend glared at her.  For at least 3 minutes, she just stared and glared at her.  Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?"

We joke a lot about getting older and losing our memories.  Joking helps to take the sting out of the real fact that oftentimes, we just don't remember things like we used to. 

My poor Dad spent this morning at the nursing home traveling around in his wheelchair trying to find my mother who died almost 12 years ago!  When he was reminded that she had died, he was upset that he hadn't remembered that!

I am going to be 64 my next birthday.  Some days I still feel like I'm 16; other days, not so much!  Other times I feel every day of those almost 64 years. 
Seems like I wake up with a different pain almost every day.
I try to stay active.  I walk and take Zumba classes, try to eat right and get the necessary rest (okay, this one I'm still working on!), but, funny thing, my body is not impressed - it is still aging at what seems to be a very rapid rate!!
I've been pondering on the following Scripture verse for the last couple of weeks:
"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
2 Corinthians 4:16
I feel like I am living this verse!  My outward man is perishing; there is nothing I can do to stop the aging process, but - my inward man IS being renewed continually as I spend time in prayer, meditation and feasting on His Word.

My Spirit is refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated!
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:2
Our minds are renewed as grow in the knowledge of God.  As we quiet our souls and spend time with Him in prayer, we behold His character and our hearts are renewed.  We begin to think like Him, talk like Him and walk like Him.  We begin to reflect Him to those around us.

In that same chapter of 2 Corinthians 4, verses 17 and 18 read:
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Wow, isn't that exactly the opposite of how most of us live?  We look at what is seen and either esteem it or condemn it!  But the Word tells us the things we can see are temporal.

We need to learn to stop valuing the temporal over the eternal.  To stop trusting in the principals of the visible world more than we trust the principals of the invisible word.
Beauty fades, skin sags and wrinkles, clothes get old and worn out, cars rust, paint peels!!

We need to learn to seek those things that are of eternal value - the inner and progressive conversion of our soul.  This ultimately is God's work, but we need to cooperate.  We need to focus our energy on renewing our spirit man and not on satisfying our temporal fleshly needs.
The work God does in a heart is eternal!  And that's the work He's impressed with because it's the work of His hands!
"..for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks on the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

It's a man's heart that God is concerned about, because that's what we take into eternity with us. 
Proverbs 4:23 tells us to "Guard your heart with all diligence; for out of it flow the issues of life."
When we attend to feeding our Spirit, He works in us to renew our inward man daily and it grows stronger and stronger as our bodies wax weaker and weaker!!
This is such an encouragement to one who is aging!
Augustine expresses it this way in the devotional book Early Will I Seek You  -

"Now I will tell you:  You will make greater progress by secret prayer and meditation than by reading or hearing spiritual teachings.  By these two crucial practices, you build up the inner man, receiving words of spiritual insight that feed your soul and renew it day by day.  Therefore, lift up the spirit of your mind, so that this daily renewing may begin.  Set your thoughts on the character of God himself - think on the One who is full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12).  Think on these things until you find yourself entering that secret chamber of the heart where Christ dwells in you by faith (Ephesians 3:17). 
If you do not let your inner man waste away by neglect, then you will grow strong and vigorous inwardly.  Spiritually, you will never die as you learn, by prayer and meditation, how to become liberated from all exterior pressures.
All our success in this, finally, depends on divine assistance.  For it is God's Word that comforts and instructs: 'Without me, you can do nothing.'  John 15:5"

Quiet your soul now and enter its "sanctuary" with Him...... 

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