June 5

Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 9
     Psalms 92-93
     Isaiah 37
     Revelation 7

''They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing." (Psalms 92: 14)

            If you are young, don't plan to wait until you are old to serve the Lord. Do it now in the energy of youth, and the wisdom of your midyears. But when God blesses you with the twilight years, don't even think about joining God's Hall of Fame yet. That is Heaven! As long as God leaves you here, He expects you to be fresh and flourishing in the work of the Lord, and to bear fruit in old age.
            Remember Anna who had been waiting for the consolation of the Lord. We get to know her in Luke 2. She was a prophetess of great age, and God allowed her to live long enough to see Jesus. We are not really sure how old Anna was when she saw the Lord. She could have been 84 years old, or perhaps she had been widowed for 84 years. It is possible she was almost 100 years old. The point is, she was an aging child of God, and is a wonderful example for all of us of how to face the years of aging.
            When I think of aging and death, I think of tea. I love hot tea, and I enjoy experimenting with the many different varieties of teas. On one occasion, I thought I had prepared my tea well, and began to drink it, but it was extremely bitter. I discovered I had put the sweetener in but had forgotten to stir it up. Many older saints need to stir up the promises to sweeten their lives.
            No doubt, Anna had a sweetness of spirit, for she had discovered that life is measured, not only by length, but also by breadth. She lived her life in the House of God. Dear sister Anna was always there when the church doors were opened. In contrast, many older people today have become ''used to be-ers''. Just listen to them and you will know why. ''I used to teach, I used to sing in the choir, I used to go visiting," etc. These people think they have joined God's Hall of Fame. They have forgotten that the happiest years of one's life are those years serving Jesus.
            Anna also had spiritual depth in her life. God had promised Anna that she could see the redemption of Israel and finally she saw her Savior. What she had seen with the eyes of faith, now she was able to see with the eyes of sight.
As we approach the door of eternity, it should be that special time for us of serving Him faithfully more than ever before. Our late years are years to bear fruit and to be fresh and flourishing. It is impossible to find retirement in the Bible.   We may finish our vocational career, but it only gives us more time to serve Jesus!
            Never forget this: ''Old age may be the last chapter of the book of life but, for the Child of God whose best friend is
Jesus, the best is yet to come.

On one occasion, in Mobile, Alabama, I had the privilege of meeting a man by the name of Peter Knezha. He was a refugee from the Republic of Latvia, one of three Baltic states that were freed when the Iron Curtain came down. Peter Knezha, however, was a victim of the time when the Iron Curtain went up, and he and his family had suffered greatly because of Communism in that country. Even today, Latviais only slowly recovering from the mismanagement of the Soviet Regime. Christian beginnings in the country go back to the 13th Century. Latvianswere early supporters of Luther, and much of the population converted to Lutheranism. The churches were harshly persecuted under both the Nazis and the Communists. Religious freedom since 1988 has caused many to return to the church, but it has also opened the door to cults. The great need for prayer focusing today is that a great spiritual awakening will take place in Latvia. The spiritual urgency of the early 1990's has largely lapsed into general spiritual apathy. While religious freedom exists, only about 2% of the population regularly attends church. As with so many other churches in this situation, we must pray that God will raise up dynamic and well-trained leadership to lead this Baltic state into revival and renewal.

''To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old."         O.W Holmes