At My Age?!

I am almost 50 years old.  It seems like only yesterday that I was half the age I am now.

woman leaning on glass window

Sometimes I feel like I’m now too old to take on new roles, new adventures, follow new paths. I often think, “If only I had started this in my 20s or 30s….” and then I feel depressed for a little while, thinking of all the time I have lost and all the things I failed to try through the various decades I’ve been alive.

There is no one God can’t use for His kingdom-work

Thankfully, God can use anybody – it doesn’t matter if we are men or women, how young or old we are, what careers we have, if we are stay-at-home moms or dads, if we have kids or not. None of that matters to Him.

Take a look in the Bible. There were men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Jesus ran with fishermen and tax collectors and associated with women of ill repute. He didn’t care where they came from, what their careers were, or even how old they were. None of that mattered. God can, and does, use anyone – even today!

What really matters?

man and woman talking

The main thing, though, is that we are actively seeking the Lord, that we are taking part in the great commission to go and make disciples, that we are getting involved in various ministries to help further His kingdom. Anyone can do this, and that’s definitely a good thing!

Age is just a number. I need to remember that. Paul said to Timothy, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness…” (1 Timothy 4:12), and I believe it also works with those who are not so youthful as well. No one should look down on anyone who is older, nor should we do that to ourselves either.  No one should hinder another from doing the Lord’s work.

I often use my age as a reason that I shouldn’t do something. I feel that I could accomplish more if I were younger. Truthfully, I need to let go of that.  I need to summon up the courage, take the plunge, and just do “it”. I don’t want to look back 20 years from now and wonder why I didn’t do it, or wonder what I could have accomplished, if only…

What Can We do?

The only way to do this is by relying on the Lord. He’s the only one who can give me the strength, determination, and wisdom to do what it is I want to accomplish in my ministry now (or at any point, really). But, I need to take the necessary steps. If I don’t do anything, then how can I expect God to help or bless it?

I think of Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

I want God to be at the center of my ministry. I want Him to be at the center of whatever I do. I need to allow Him to use me for His work, to lead me, to guide me, to accomplish what it is He has for me to do. I need to stop using my age as an excuse to not do something, and just do it.

Do you ever feel you are too old or too young to accomplish something? What has your experience been with your age and ministry?

couple elderly man old

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The Armour of God – Part 3

brown book page

14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (NASB)

As previously mentioned in this series, we don’t rush into battle; we stand firm. We’re reminded of that again in verse 14. Because standing firm is mentioned more than once, it must be important; so it’s wise to follow through with it. When we are standing firm, remember that we are standing strong – strong in the Lord and in His might.

Let’s look at the first two pieces of our armour:

Belt of Truth

The version I have quoted from above (New American Standard Bible) says “girding our loins.” But what does that mean? It’s good to check out other versions of the Bible as well, because things can be worded a little differently. Some use more modern language that is easier for us to understand. Some of these versions talk about buckling the belt of truth around our waists. So, girding our loins and putting on the belt of truth is the same thing.

Belts are important – they help keep our pants up! In Bible times, the belt would have been used to tuck in the hem of the outer garments to aid in moving quickly. What I learned, was that a man would grab the back hem of his garment and draw it up between his legs, tucking it into the front of his belt. It would have looked similar to Hammer Pants from the 80s…well, somewhat. By tucking his garment into the belt, he could run or move quickly without fear of tripping or having his feet get caught in the hem of his garment.

For the Christian, the belt of truth is important. We need to speak the truth, but we must do it in love. Truth is important, but we needn’t be harsh or sarcastic with it. Speaking in truth, I believe, takes the other person’s feelings into account. Be gentle, be kind. Don’t try to hurt someone else; but at the same time, we do need to be honest and truthful. And, don’t forget that love is listed first in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Breastplate of Righteousness

The next piece of armour to put on is the breastplate of righteousness. This article wasn’t just covering a soldier’s chest; it went all around his upper body, where the heart and lungs are located, to protect him.

Our organs are vital for living – for breathing and pumping blood to the rest of our body, to keep us alive, so obviously we would want to make sure that part of our body protected!

Praying on the Armour

When I learned about praying on the armour of God, I was taught that when Roman soldiers would have put on their armour, someone else would do it for him, helping him get dressed for battle.girl-praying-hands-eyelashes-41942.jpeg

Likewise, we should pray on the armour of God for our brothers and sisters in Christ in order to help them be protected. I don’t think it means that we shouldn’t pray it on for ourselves, though. We still need to be dressed, and someone else might not know (or remember) to pray it on us.

When I Pray

When praying on these two items, I tend to say something like: “Father, I put on the belt of truth to help me speak the truth in love to others. I put on the breastplate of righteousness to help protect my heart and my feelings.” You don’t have to pray it exactly that way; I say it this way to help me remember what the pieces represent.

My friends, I pray that if you are going through troubling times that you will remember that God is on your side. Turn to Him and trust Him to help get you through to the other side.

Please visit the following links to the first two parts of this series if you haven’t read them yet:

The Armour of God – Part 1
The Armour of God – Part 2

Being Vulnerable

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

I want to be vulnerable in this post. I want to bare my soul. I want to help other people to see and know that it’s OK to be transparent with others. We all struggle, we all go through hardships, we all make poor decisions. We all hurt, we all cry.

I’m human, and I do all of these things. And I know you do too. I want you to know it’s OK to feel the feelings. It’s OK to cry the tears.

Caught

I’m really struggling this morning. I’m caught between two focused thoughts.

I know that there are always going to people who don’t like us, people who say mean things to us or about us, people who are hurt and lash out at us, etc.

It’s a part of life. It’s inevitable that it will happen.

I’m struggling because I know that I shouldn’t let words or people upset me. I shouldn’t give the power to them. I know it’s like drinking the poison myself and expecting the other person to die.

I know I should be focusing on those who love me, those who encourage me, those who build me up, who care about me. I should be focusing on the positive things.

Change My Focus

I know all that. I do. So why can’t I stop focusing on that one “bad apple” that is spoiling the rest? Why am I letting that garbage affect me, taint my thoughts, cause me to doubt, lose hope, or questions my future?

man planting plant

I am working at changing my outlook, my focus. I’m working at not letting the seeds of doubt be planted and grow roots. It’s not an easy task. But with God on my side, and by trusting Him, listening to the Holy Spirit, praying, and rebuking the enemy, I can overcome this. And you can too.

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Be Vulnerable. It’s OK

Friends, I want to encourage you to be vulnerable, raw, and transparent with your feelings. Feel the feelings, but don’t dwell on them forever. Don’t give the enemy a foothold. Change the stinkin’ thinkin’, and move on to bigger and better things. Things that God has planned for you.

You can do it. And, so can I.

Where You Can Find Hope

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

I attended university as a mature student – I was in my 30s. In fact, I graduated from my BA (in Biblical Studies) twenty years after I graduated high school! A couple of years after that I went back for another year to complete my Bachelor of Education degree (I already had several courses I could apply toward it so it didn’t take me the full two years). I’m also thinking of taking some more courses, but that’s another story for another time.

My Verse

During my university years, primarily in the four years of working on my Bachelor of Arts, I clung to a particular verse in the Bible: Jeremiah 29:11. After a couple of years, I added verses 12 and 13 as well.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (NASB)

Prospering Does Not Equal Lots of Money

money pink coins pig

I had memorized verse 11 from a different translation, one that said “…plans to prosper you and not to harm you” (instead of welfare and calamity). I learned that the part about prospering had nothing to do with me receiving tons and tons of money. That’s not what it means. And I’m OK with that.

Years later, I found out that this verse was actually spoken to the Israelites when they were exiles in Babylon. It was a promise that God would take care of them in Babylon, and they would be fine. And while, yes, it can still be a promise to us today (God will still take care of us), it was given for a specific people at a specific time.

What Does It Give Me?

I still cling to these verses. They give me hope. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

I am now especially drawn to the hope and comfort found in verse 13: You will seek me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

The promise is that if we are looking for God, if we do this with all of our heart, being serious about it and not flippant, we will find Him. He is there, waiting for us.

I believe that searching for God with our whole heart involves prayer, meditation (thinking and focusing on what the Word is saying), Bible reading and studying, learning from others, and attending church.

Who’s It For?

It’s in the searching where we’ll find Him. That’s the hope I have. And that’s the hope you can have as well.

My friends, the hope offered in Jesus Christ is for everyone. I pray that if you haven’t found Him yet, you will.