Being Old Does Not Mean Being Useless

Being old does not mean being useless. It is a remarkable fact that in the great Renaissance period when art reached its most glorious triumphs, many of the greatest artists produced their masterpieces comparatively late in life. Leonardo Da Vinci was close to fifty when he completed the Last Supper, which is one of the greatest pictures in the realms of art. Giovanni Bellini continued working to a ripe old age without showing decline.
Both Titian and Michael Angelo produced their greatest masterpieces when they were old men.

There is a well-known engraving of the sixteenth century which represents an old man sitting in a child’s wheel chair with the inscription over it “Ancora lmparo” (l still learn). This phrase was constantly on the lips of Michael Angelo as in old age he hewed marble and refused to rest.
John Wesley was still preaching 14 sermons a week when he was eighty five. Sarah was ninety years of age when God opened her womb to give birth to lsaac, the child of promise.
Moses was eighty years of age when God called him to lead His chosen people out of Egypt.
These are of course extraordinary examples, but they certainly prove that being old does not mean being useless.

The glory of young men is their strength and the honour of old men is their grey hair. (Prov. 20:29)

Love Triumphs Over All Obstacles

A young man and woman were engaged to be married and were looking forward to their wedding day. However, the wedding was postponed because the young man was called up for military service. He continued to write letters to his sweetheart from the field of battle. Letters regularly came and went, in which they expressed their love for each other.

Then one day-the young woman received a letter in a handwriting with which she was not familiar. ln it the young woman read these words, “There has been another battle. I have lost both arms. I asked my comrade to write for me, and tell you that I release you from our engagement to be married, for now I will not be able b work and support you.”

That letter was never answered. The young woman left on the next train and travelled to the military hospital where the man to whom she was engaged lay. When she found him she approached his bed and flung herself down by the side of the bed. With passionate words she said, “l will never give you up. These hands of mine will work for you. We will live our life of love together.”

1 Cor. 13:4-10 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge it will be done away.

Out of the Mouths of Infants

A man was going down a street when he saw in a store window a very beautiful picture of Christ’s crucifixion. As he gazed spellbound at the vividly pictured story, he suddenly became conscious that at his side stood a young boy.

The boy, too, was gazing at the picture, and his tense expression indicated to the man that the crucifixion of Jesus had really gripped his eager young soul. Touching the boy on the shoulder, the man said, “Sonny, what does it mean?”

“Doncha know?” he answered, his face full of the marvel of the man’s ignorance. “That there man is Jesus, an’ them others is Roman soldiers, an’ the woman what’s cryin’ is His mother, an” he added, “they killed ‘im!” The man did not want from in front of that impressive piece of artwork but he had other things he had to do, so he turned and walked away. ln a few moments he heard footsteps on the street behind him, and there came rushing up the boy. “Say, mister,” he exclaimed breathlessly, “l forgot to tell you, but He rose again!”

How refreshing is the faith of the young and how it stands in contrast to the cynicism of many a higher critic of the Bible who deny the resurrection of our Lord.

1Cor 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Not Ashamed to Own the Lord or to Defend His Name

Every Christian should be ready to stand up courageously and unashamedly for the Lord. How sinful it is for a person who has been redeemed by the blood of Christ and has experienced Christ’s saving power to be ashamed of Christ before an unbelieving world!
On one occasion, Frederick the Great, King of Prussia in the 18th century, invited some notable people , including his top ranking generals, to his royal table. One of them, by the name of Hans von Zieten, declined the invitation because he wanted to partake of communion at his church.
Some time later at another banquet, Frederick and his guests mocked the general for his religious scruples and made jokes about the Lord’s Supper.
In great peril for hi life, the officer stood to his feet and said respectfully to the monarch, “My lord, there is a greater King than you, a King to whom I have sworn allegiance even unto death. I am a Christian man and I cannot sit quietly as the Lord’s name is dishonoured and His character belittled.”
The guests trembled in silence, knowing that von Zieten might be killed for speaking out against Frederick the Great in this way. But to their surprise, Frederick grasped the hand of this courageous man, asked his forgiveness and requested that he remain. He promised he would never again allow such a travesty to be made of sacred things.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,,,, ( Romans 1:16a)

The Deadly Allurement of the World

Sadhu Sundar Singh tells the following story:

At the foot of the Kaylass Mountains, there is a district which is full of sweet scented flowers. Once I had to walk through an area which contained a garden of these flowers several miles long. The beauty and fragrance of the flowers gave me great pleasure.

 Just then a man came out of the jungle and said in great haste, “You must not stand here; this is a place of great danger; many have died here.” I was taken by surprise and asked him. “Is this place poisonous, or are there poisonous creatures to be found here?”

 The answer he gave me was full of meaning. “I don’t know anything about that”, he said, “but if you take in the scent of these flowers for a little while, sleep will overpower you. And once asleep, there is no waking you. Some have been known to sleep this way for ten to twelve days, and this ends in death. Since I live in the forest nearby, I endeavour to let people know about the danger of these flowers.”

When I heard this, I thought as follows:

 This flower cannot hurt of itself, but when its aroma is inhaled, there is no longer any desire for food or anything else.

 God wishes us to use the world and its blessings around us for our good, but if we allow these things to draw us aside and to allure and stupefy us, we will suffer great spiritual loss. Not only so, we will be robbed of the desire for spiritual sustenance. The lust of money and other things will result in death.

Mark 4:18,19   And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, and the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.

 

The Tavern Keeper Who Believed in Prayer

The story is told of a small town in which there were no liquor stores. Eventually, however, a nightclub was built right on Main St.

 Members of one of the churches in the area were so disturbed that they conducted several all night prayer meetings, and asked the Lord to burn down that den of iniquity. Lightning struck the tavern a short time later, and it was completely destroyed by fire.

The owner, knowing how the church people had prayed for his tavern to be destroyed, sued them for damages. His attorney claimed that their prayers had caused the loss.

 The congregation, on the other hand, hired a lawyer and fought the charges.

 After much deliberation, the judge declared, “ It’s the opinion of the court that wherever the guilt may lie, the tavern keeper is the one who really believes in the power of prayer, while the church members do not.”

 We smile at the story, but it is surely a great tragedy that much of our praying is devoid of genuine faith and trust in God.

Mark 11: 22-24   And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted to him. Therefore I say to you, all things which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted to you.”

Living in Great Peril

Wealth Does Not Bring Happiness

Augustine Birrell was the Secretary of State for Ireland in the closing days of the 19th century. He and his wife happened to be driving through London one day and drove past a mansion. The mansion was so impressive that it took their breath away. Mrs Birrell looked at the mansion enviously and asked her husband who owned it. She said to him, “Whoever owns that mansion must be a very happy man.”

Her husband informed her that it was owned by Barney Barnato, who was at that time one of the world’s richest men. Augustine Birrell said to his wife, “Perhaps for all his wealth, he is not happy.”

He was indeed correct, for it was later revealed to them that at that very hour, Barney Barnato had committed suicide. He had jumped overboard from a ship travelling from South Africa.

Many people foolishly think that material possessions can bring happiness.

True and lasting happiness is not to be found in any material possession, but in seeking first the kingdom of God.

Jesus said, in Matthew 6:33  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

In Mark 8  36-37  Jesus said For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Christian Hope

Atheism leaves mankind without hope and without meaning. If this world was not created by the Lord God and is simply the product of time and chance, then our lives are completely without hope and meaning. The British philosopher, Bertrand Russell expresses the hopelessness of atheism in the following words, which he wrote:

“The life of a man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, toward a goal which few can hope to reach and where none may tarry long. One by one as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent death. Brief and powerless is man’s life. On him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls, pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way. For man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day.”

 How different is the Christian view of life. The writer of Hebrews said that hope is the anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast. (Hebrews 6:19)

Hope is not simply a ‘wish’; rather,it is a certain and sure reality for every believer. Hope is established on the promises of God, who cannot lie. He has promised eternal life to all who put their faith in His only begotten Son ( John 3:16)

Rom 8  18,19  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

How do we Explain the Origin of the Universe?

Many years ago, Sir Isaac Newton had an exact replica of our solar system made in miniature. At its centre was a large golden ball representing the sun and revolving aound it were small spheres attached at the ends of rods of varying lengths. They represented Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and the other planets. These were all geared together by cogs and belts to make them move around the ”sun” in perfect harmony.
One day as Newton was studying the model, an atheistic friend stopped by for a visit. Marvelling at the device and watching as the scientist made the heavenly bodies move on their orbits, the man exclaimed,” That is a really expressive thing! Who made it for you?”
Without looking up, Sir Isaac replied, “Nobody”
“Nobody?,“ his friend asked.
“That’s right! I said nobody! All of these balls and cogs and belts and gears just happened to come together, and wonder of wonders, by chance they began revolving in their set orbits and with perfect timing.”
The unbeliever got the message! It was foolish to suppose that the model merely happened. Is is even more senseless to accept the foolish notion that there was a big bang and everything that exists in our universe simply came into being by mere chance.
How much more logical it is to believe what the Bible says, “ In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen 1:1)

(Psalm 14:1) “ The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.”