Allegheny Valley Church Of God
On Turning 60
"Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now..."
That's a refrain from a much younger Bob Dylan.
It's Nov. 22, 2013. Today I guess I officially become a senior citizen. I'm getting to my back pages. That's right, 60 years ago I entered into this world. 10 years later, as I was celebrating my 10th birthday with my 5th grade classmates eating cupcakes provided by my aunt who worked in a bakery, my party was interrupted by a weeping Mrs. Rupert who came into the classroom to inform us that the President had been shot in Dallas. So it goes. Today we remember that event with still unanswered questions about what really happened, questions that may never be answered. Looking back on my years there's a few times I wondered what happened, but I know someday I'll get an answer.
Nevertheless, I am now an elder, I guess. They say I don't look it, (maybe they're fibbing) but I feel it. Weakening knees, parts of my body turning numb at various times and for various reasons. I guess I should get a checkup, haven't had one in a few years. Probably a heart test just to see if the ole' ticker is still hitting on all cylinders. I don't like hospitals and needles, but that's the way it goes. I am grateful for all the well wishes from my family and friends on Facebook and the cards and greetings from my friends in church and family.
In my 60 years I'd like to say I've learned a few things. Sad to say, very few. But enough to get me around the block a few more times. I realize that I have less years in front of me than behind me, (unless I live to be 120, which at this stage is doubtful.) There are many mistakes I could dwell on, but with my time left I'd rather learn and look forward. There are many words I'd like to have back, but you can never take them back. There are some things I wish I would have said but didn't. Too late now. I've hurt some folks and have been hurt. I've blessed a few, but have been more blessed by others. Like all of us I've had to ask forgiveness and grant it. While there are some folks I like to hang with and others I might keep at arms length, I can say with all honesty I have no grudges or standing offenses. I'm sure there's some folks who feel that way about me. That's ok. I don't hate anyone. I have been blessed. I have a wife who loves me and a God who has been gracious to me. Through several bouts with lymphoma cancer my Rose is still here and smiling and doing well. Most of all I have a God who loves me way more than anyone else does.
The older I get the more the reality of death is there. I guess that sounds morbid, but it really isn't. In fact, because of what happened around the half-way point in my life it really is something that I can look forward to. You see, when I was around 30 or so, don't remember the exact date, I met up with someone who had been hounding me for years. He was kind and gentle and never tried to force the issue. He was merciful in that he kept me alive until he could finally get it through my thick skull that there was a God who loved me enough to die for me, and that He wanted to bless me but couldn't as long as I kept ignoring Him. It got to the point I couldn't ignore Him anymore. My life was changed, not through my will power or the influence of any preacher or individual, but it was changed when Jesus found me. There were those who brought me the message, and thank God for them, but only Christ could do the work.
I still remember those years. I met Christ on my living room floor. For months friends and others were witnessing to me, but I was not too interested. Until I felt as though life wasn't worth living. I asked God if He was real and He showed me He was. I was "slain in the Spirit" all alone at home. Didn't know what hit me, never heard of it. But when I asked God if He was real, He left me no doubt. You might think it was something I made up. I don't care what anyone thinks, I remember the day. Then it was a few months later after I started attending a Pentecostal church that I was laying in bed praying and I began to feel something stir in my stomach that came out as another language. I had experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. All alone, no one laying hands on me, just God and me. After awhile my Dad asked me, "What's got into you?" He didn't fully understand then, but I think he did eventually.
Because of all that, I can face my seventh decade with confidence. God knows how much time I have left, and my desire is to use it to His glory. I'm not afraid of dying, I'm afraid of wasting what is left before me.
Do you want to have hope of eternal life? If you do call on the name of the Lord Jesus. It's not about church or baptism or religion, it's about faith in him and what he did on the cross. Surrender to him. Take up your cross and follow him. Your life will never be the same and you will have a hope that the world can't give.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Blessings to you.