Was Methuselah a Happy Grandpa? Five Ways to Feel Young

Earlier this month, I celebrated a milestone birthday. Oddly, I don’t feel any older. I certainly don’t feel like my chronological age. Not on the inside anyway.

How is that supposed to feel? On the inside I feel bergetty-berg* years old. I wonder how Methuselah may have felt beginning his one hundredth decade. My brain sort of goes out of order just thinking about the generations of offspring he could have had Kodak moments with. Nine hundred sixty-nine years is…well…that’s a lot of birthday candles.

I didn’t celebrate in a big way, although I did get a cake with candles: two of them representing my age. Friends remembered me on social media and in person. So it was nice.

While talking with people about how the years pass and we mark time with birthdays, most of my contemporaries agree with me that feeling one’s chronological age is relative. Perhaps it’s because most of us, regardless of what our bodies may be saying, keep a young attitude. “Elderly” seems to be those other people, not us.

How does a person do that? What would you do if you wanted to reflect a youthful attitude? I think these practices help.

Keep LaughingDickens quote on laughter
It’s okay to take life seriously. Serious stuff happens. But to take ourselves too seriously can be a drag. To ourselves and to others. When we laugh with friends we’re more like children than we may care to admit. But even scripture supports the idea that laughter is the best medicine. Recently I told a corny kid’s joke to a couple of friends over a slice of pizza at lunch. Lightened the mood immediately. So learn to tell a joke well. Or, at the very least, don’t be afraid to laugh out loud at someone else’s humor. Make sure your inner child doesn’t turn into an inner grump. Allow God to help you drop some of your emotional baggage if that’s getting in the way. Smile. If you’re happy and you know it, tell your face.

Keep Pursuing a Dream
I know people who are retired from one career and in a second or third. I know people who serve others by volunteering when they’re no longer employed. In some way, they keep giving back or pursuing a passion. We engage in hobbies that got put on back burners. We complete a college degree or sign up for cooking classes. We get up in the morning and determine that the world isn’t going to pass us by. Johnny Carson, on his late night talk show, asked Jimmy Durante if he was ever going to retire. Durante answered, “Retire to what?” That response should ring true in our hearts.

Keep a Childlike Faith
When we trust God with every aspect of our lives, we can truly “Lighten up.” Our heavenly Father loves to bless our lives when we come to him in childlike faith. He’ll also use us to bless others. Simple trust like that of a child brings contentment. At your age, any age, don’t you want that? Sure, you do.

Keep Looking for Ways to Build God’s Kingdom
This pithy statement isn’t original with me: “The only thing you can take with you to heaven is other people.” A person doesn’t need to be in the twilight years to assist others in living a life devoted to Christ. But sometimes after a lifetime of serving, we’d rather just let the next generation take over. Don’t give in to that temptation. God offers opportunities to take part in his work every day of our lives. Be alert to those moments. When we give up before God wants us to stop, we cheat him, ourselves and most of all, those who don’t know him.

Remain Open to the Joy Others Offer
The birthday cards I received this year indicated the personalities of the people who gave them to me. They also reflected my personality. My older sister gave me the “cake on fire” card. My younger sister sent a sweet, sentimental card. With each one I felt loved. I felt youthful.

One thing I didn’t feel was as old as Methuselah.

*Not revealing my age this time.

Read Big Chunks of Scripture? Easy.

For many, even people who’ve been following Christ for a long time, reading lengthy parts of scripture seems daunting. Let alone making an attempt to read the Bible through in a year. This time of year, people who enjoy adding this disciple to their daily routine are planning their strategy.

Perhaps they’ll select a new translation. Or a new study Bible to get some different perspectives. They may choose to read the Bible story chronologically or use a pre-printed plan taking them through Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs readings each day. The ways people read the Bible systematically are as numerous as the people who do it.

For those others who are either new to the Bible and need the milk or need a little guidance to get started, here is a sample 40-day reading plan someone passed on to me. Even this offering can be revised to a person’s schedule. It could end up being a reading a week plan, reading each one until finished. By that time, you’ve read some excellent Bible stories, some solid theology, and know the basics of the Gospel message.

I’m convinced there is no substitute for daily reading of the Bible for spiritual growth. Reading God’s word is how we get to know him and know the things he expects of us as his children. We can also supplement our growth with the writings of trusted authors. (And that topic would make a good blog post in itself).

I hope if you’ve decided this year to dig in and do more reading and studying of God’s word, this list will help you. I also hope that if this list helped you get a good start, that you now have a hunger for more meat.

God bless you and may the Spirit guide your efforts.

Forty-Day Bible reading plan

Day 1: Genesis chapters 1-2 (The Creation Account)
Day 2: Genesis chapter 3 (the Beginning of Sin)
Day 3: Genesis chapters 15, 17:15-27 (God’s covenant with Abraham)
Day 4: Genesis chapter 21:1-7; chapter 22 (God’s faithfulness and Abrahams faith)
Day 5: Exodus chapters 3-4 (God Calls Moses to deliver His people)
Day 6: Exodus 6 (the Ten Commandments)
Day 7: Joshua 1 (conquering the Promised Land)
Day 8: 1 Samuel 16-17 (David and Goliath)
Day 9: 1 Kings chapters 3; 8:1-9; 9 (King Solomon’s wisdom and the Temple)
Day 10: 1 Kings 18 (The prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal)
Day 11: 2 Kings 25the Siege of Jerusalem and the Exile of Judah)
Day 12: Daniel 2-3 (Daniel in Babylon: The fiery furnace)
Day 13: Ezra 3 (Rebuilding the temple)
Day 14: Isaiah chapters 9, 53, 61 (Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming Messiah)
Day 15: Luke chapters 1-2 (The birth of Jesus)
Day 16: John 1:1-18 (who Jesus Is)
Day 17: Luke 4:14-44 (Jesus begins his ministry)
Day 18: Matthew 5-6 (the core of Jesus’ teaching)
day 19: John 3 (God’s Love for the world)
Day 20: John 5 (Jesus’ Miracles and Authority)
Day 21: John 11 (Jesus’ Power Over Death)
Day 22: John 15 (the Christian Life Defined)
Day 23: John 17 (Jesus’ High Priestly prayer)
Day 24: Matthew 26-27 (the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus)
Day 25: John 20 (The resurrection of Jesus)
Day 26: Luke 24 (the ascension of Jesus )
Day 27: Acts 2 (the coming of The Holy Spirit)
Day 28: Acts 9 (the conversion of Saul)
Day 29: Acts 16 (The Gospel spreads to Europe)
Day 30: Acts 26 Paul’s defense of the Christian Faith)
Day 31: Romans 3 (Justification by faith alone)
Day 32: Romans 7-8 (the battle with sin; Life in the Spirit)
Day 33: 1 Corinthians 13 (The way of Love)
Day 34: 1 Corinthians 15 (the power of the resurrection)
Day 35: Galatians 5 (Freedom in Christ)
Day 36: Ephesians 6 (The whole armor of God)
Day 37: Philippians 1:18-2:18 (Christ’s example for us)
Day 38: Colossians 3:1-17 (Putting on the new self)
Day 39: James 1 (Pure religion)
Day 40: Revelation 21-22 (The New Heaven and the New Earth)

Pep Talk

This past summer on June 7, Eugenio Suarez, a rookie with the Detroit Tigers, got his first major league hit playing at home against the Boston Red Sox.

A first major league hit has to be exciting. What made Suarez’ hit all the more exciting was that it was also a home run.

He. Knocked. It. Outta there.

I am a loyal baseball fan. Even though my team (Go Tigers!) didn’t make it to the World Series, I still enjoyed those seven games between the Giants and the Royals.

Ball players step up to the plate and settle into their stance. They concentrate on their form, digging their feet into the ground beneath them. There’s no guarantee they’ll get a hit. But they keep stepping up to the plate.

It’s true for any endeavor in life. Whether we’re trying a new recipe, attempting to ski for the first time, or putting limits on our children and doling out consequences. We may not even hit the ball into fair territory. We might strike out. Yet, we continue to step up to the plate.

We keep cooking meals. Skiing may actually become our favorite sport. Eventually, we’ll get it right with the kids more often than not.

If we compare life to a baseball game, are you believing that taking risks and trusting God will pay off in home runs?

Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9, 10)

He also used a parable of a widow to show us we should always be persistent in prayer. (Luke 18: 1-8)

Home runs won’t happen every time we step up to the plate, but even Eugenio Suarez knew the history he’d made. His first hit being a home run was the first time that had happened in major league play since 1974.

Forty years is a long time, but I think we can be reassured it won’t take that long for our hits to go out of the ballpark. We’ll round those bases, stepping on home plate to resounding cheers.

The idea is to keep getting up there. Keep believing you’ll make a hit. Because in reality, with God as your “coach,” you will.