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Growing Older Gracefully.JPG



There is a portion of scripture (just 3 little verses) that has always just grabbed me.  I’ve read them hundreds of times in my life and I’ve sat and thought about them and have been inspired by these 3 little verses.  It’s Luke 2:36-38.  It’s a story about the day when Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus, who was just 8 days old, to the temple to be dedicated to God.  While they were there in the temple, a prophet named Simeon came and held the baby Jesus and prophesied over Him.  Then, we read this (NKJV):


“Now there was one, Anna, the prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;


“and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.


“And  coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”


NOW – think about this! She was only married for 7 years when he died.  Now the versions of the Bible all have different ways of saying this about her age.  Some say that she was 84 years old.  Others say that she had been a widow for 84 years.  Whichever way is correct, the really important thing is this.  She had gotten married and lost her husband after 7 years.  From that time on, whether she was 84 or closer to 100, for all those years, she had served the Lord.  She was called a prophetess and, therefore, she had developed a relationship with the Lord and He had revealed things to her.  For her to be referred to as a prophetess, it is obvious that she had received revelation from the Lord which she had shared with others.  I believe she knew what He wanted her to do.  She was so devoted to the Lord that she spent all the rest of her life as a pray-er.


Now- consider this!  She is one of the only ones who got to see the baby Jesus on the day of His dedication and she spent the rest of her days telling everybody about Him.   As I have pondered on these verses, the Lord has shown me that this old lady received a magnificent reward for doing what He told her to do – even if it looked weird and strange – even if it was very, very hard – even if no one else really understood what was going on.


These verses tell us that SHE DID NOT LEAVE THE TEMPLE AREA BUT WAS PRAYING NIGHT AND DAY WITH FASTINGS AND PRAYERS.  As I have pondered this, I believe that there was a tiny little space, completely away from where all the people came and went, there at the Temple, probably in a corner, and that was where she stayed.  She probably had a little covering for her little space and had a little place to sleep.  I also believe that there were people, who knew her and her devotion to prayer to the LORD, who brought her food.  There are many places in the Old Testament ( Deut. 14:28-29 is just one) that told the Jews to feed the widows.  The Word doesn’t tell us whether she had children or not – she probably did not.


This lady prayed!  I believe she prayed for Israel – for the coming of the Messiah – for all the people she knew – her distant family members, if there were any, perhaps for the Roman officials and on and on and on.  I believe that she pondered on all that she had heard all her life from the Scriptures.  I can picture her there, remembering and trying to quote some of the Psalms of David, and being enlightened by their meanings – and then praying them back to God.  I believe that the prophecies throughout the Old Testament regarding the coming of the Messiah were alive to her and she was believing them and praying them back to the Lord.




Now – let’s relate that to us!  Everybody is getting older – but some of us are REALLY getting older.  As we get older, our lives become very different to the way they used to be.  Now, of course, it’s different for each one of us – but the norm for the time we live in- and the country we live in – is that, as we get older, we don’t have a job that we have to be at every day.  We don’t have young children to attend to.  In other words, if we’re really honest, we have a lot more time than we used to have – to CHOOSE what we do every single day.  I REALLY BELIEVE THAT THE LORD WANTS TO USE US, AS WE GET OLDER AND OLDER, TO BRING HIS WILL INTO THE EARTH.  We, actually, if we’ll just be honest with ourselves, have more time than we used to have to do something that the younger people don’t really have the time to do.


I want to share with you what I have learned about what prayer really is all about – in the most plain and simple way – so that it is more understandable.  Real prayer is NOT just begging and begging God to do something for you.  It is NOT trying to convince God to do something nice for you, for your children, for your grandchildren, for your friends and relatives and your country.  


When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them dominion  (or authority) in the earth.  When man sinned, that authority was hindered because of the evil one, who was called, “the god of this world.”  I’ve heard people say, “Well, why doesn’t God just whoosh down and straighten out everything. He’s God!”  Well – this is why!!!!!!!  BECAUSE GOD GAVE AUTHORITY TO MAN HERE ON THIS EARTH – AND HE WILL NOT GO AGAINST THAT!!!  HE WILL NOT VIOLATE AGAINST MAN’S FREE WILL – MAN MUST CHOOSE FOR HIMSELF – HE HAS FREE WILL – BECAUSE GOD GAVE IT TO HIM.  Therefore, through all the years that followed, the way that God’s way became known to man was through individual human beings who would believe in Him, put their trust in Him, and yield to Him – and, thus, God would speak to them and they would speak to the people they were around and write down what He said.  Therefore, through all those years, God spoke His will to people like Abraham, Moses, and others, including the prophets.  In many places throughout the Old Testament, God’s will for mankind is revealed concerning many, many things in life on earth.  Most especially, He revealed the coming of the Messiah who would come and rescue fallen mankind.  All those people who revealed to people what God had shown them – prophesying about the Savior – were speaking God’s will into the earth.   God had given authority to man on the earth.  Therefore, man had to believe God and SPEAK His will into the earth.  He revealed His promises about mankind to special people who would believe Him and listen to Him – they would share it with humanity……. THUS………all those years later, the GOD MAN came – all GOD and all MAN (without sin).  Did you get that?  HE WAS ALL MAN – THEREFOE HE HAD AUTHORITY ON THE EARTH- AND HE COULD TAKE ON THE SIN OF SINFUL MAN AND DIE FOR HIM AND PAY FOR THE SINS OF SINFUL MAN HIMSELF.


Now – when we put our trust in the Messiah – Savior – Jesus – and are BORN AGAIN, we enter into a kind of partnership with God.  We have had our sins washed away and we have the availability of all those promises of God.  We can read what His will is and we can go before Him, forgiven of our sin, and speak to Him regarding His promises, and, in a sense, (like I said, in as plain a way as possible), we can use the authority given to us through Jesus and yield the right-of-way to the Lord to do what He has always wanted to do here on the earth.


Fellow Believers – that’s what prayer really is!  It’s believing His Word – Believing that He really meant what the Old Testament prophets talked about – Believing that He really does want to see people come to Him and be saved – that He really does love all the people of this world who really don’t know truly anything about Him and wants them to be with Him forever – thus they need to be born again.  Our job in prayer is not to try to convince God to do something good – Our job is to be convinced ourselves by believing His Word – that He really does want to help people and save people and change their lives.  We have to come to Him IN FAITH believing the promises in the Word and LOVINGLY trust Him enough to STAND IN THE GAP between those who don’t know Him and Him.  We take the position between those who have not experienced His LOVE and THE GREAT I AM and, therefore, speak His will into the earth – opening the door for Him to bring His will into lives.


That’s just almost as simple a way to understand it as there is.  Now, those younger people here in the earth, who are Christians, are also extremely busy with making money for their families to be able to survive here on the earth.  The really young ones are going to school, and college, etc. to be able to have a way to survive.  The 24 hours in every day are filled for many, many of them and often they have to squeeze in some time to get into the Word long enough to find those promises and build up their own faith enough to believe them and then pray them to the Lord.  It’s difficult!!!!!


BUT – as you begin to get a little older, and then a little older…….you begin to have more time available to you on a daily basis than you ever had before.  Yes, there are some challenges that face us as we get older. [By the way, we’re going to be dealing with many of them, here in this group – and how to deal with them.]  However, we still have to be honest and admit that we have more time than we used to have.  We have experiences in our lives that have taught us about God and about life.  The Lord wants to use that.  We don’t all have to be preachers to be used by the Lord.  I believe that He wants to use a large number of us like He used that little old lady named Anna!!!!!


We’ll never know until we get to heaven how much Anna’s prayers had an effect on all the things that occurred in that period of time, with the Savior being born but I personally believe those prayers helped bring the will of God into the earth and I believe the Lord showed His gratitude to her for all she did by allowing her to be one of the only ones who saw the Baby Messiah - knowing that it was Him.


Brothers and Sisters, He wants to use you and me, no matter what age we all are - in the very same way.  He wants us to be partnering with Him to bring His will into the earth in the lives of our children, our grandchildren, great grandchildren - and many more family members.  He wants to use us to bring His will into the lives of people we know and even to some we don’t know.


However, let’s talk about our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  I’m going to read three different portions of Scripture to you and I suggest you get out a pen and write down where they are so that you can look them up in your own Bibles.  In fact, I suggest you read them in every translation you have available to you.

It’s Isaiah 44:3, 54:13, and 59:21.  I’ll read those numbers again so that you can make sure you have them.  (Amplified)


44:3 - For I will pour out water on him who is thirsty,

And streams on the dry ground;

I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring

And My blessing on your descendants;


54:13 - And all your spiritual sons will be disciples of the Lord

And great will be the well-being of your sons.


59:21 - As for Me, this is My covenant with them says the Lord:  My spirit which is upon you (writing the law of God on the heart) and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your true spiritual children, nor from the mouth of your children’s children, says the Lord, from now and forever.


My - My - My!!!!  I personally have read these scriptures from every translation and I have read them outloud to myself.  In fact, I’m going to read the first one (44:3) the way I read it to myself.


“The Lord has said to me that He will pour out water on me, who is thirsty, and streams on the dry ground; He has said that He will pour out His Spirit on My offspring and His blessing on MY descendants.”


Brothers and Sisters, when you begin to say those verses outloud, after awhile, when you close your eyes, while you’re saying it, you begin to see that grandson who has gone astray - standing with his arms raised to the Lord.  You begin to see that granddaughter, who has made all kinds of mistakes in her life, down on her knees praying.  That’s a positive imagination.  That’s seeing it as though it already exists.  That’s the way God does things.  He calls those things that be not as though they are.  (Rom. 4:17)


Let me just throw this in there.  Imagination and Hope are very closely related.  Hebrews 11:1 says that, “Faith gives substance to things hoped for.”  If you aren’t “hoping” (or imagining) it, faith doesn’t have anything to give substance to.


Now - He wants to use every single one of us, no matter how old you are, how many issues you have been dealing with, etc. - just no matter what!!!!  In fact, I have discovered that that kind of praying for others, talking to the Lord as my best friend (which He is), believing His promises, learning to trust Him more - and many other things - has also had an effect on my own life - physically, mentally, etc.  I’ve discovered that as I spend time with the Lord, more and more on the behalf of others, that He shows me things I need to see in my own life.  I’m reminded of that verse in Eph. 1:18 - and “the eyes of my understanding are enlightened so that I might know the hope of His calling.”  In other words, it’s almost like the more I see myself as becoming a “helper” (if I can use that word) with God, to bring His will into the earth, He helps me back by showing me stuff I need to see and understand.


So - my title - “Older Christians Used By God” - really can become a reality for all of us.  In fact if you read through the New Testament, over and over again, you read that we are to really be praying for all of God’s people.  We are to love one another, pray for one another, help one another, and on and on and on.  This verse - Eph. 6:18 - in the Amplified really brings us down to the real nitty gritty.


“With all prayer and petition pray (with specific requests) at all times (on every occasion and in every season) in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition (interceding in prayer) for all God’s people.”


You can’t get any more explanation than that!!!!


Now, that verse mentioned, “praying in the Spirit,” and we’re going to talk about that next week, as we continue on.   


But, for now, we just want to concentrate on US - SEEING OURSELVES as instruments in the hands of God.  We really have to ‘See Ourselves,” that way.  I’ve ministered to a lot of people through the years - and I have heard lots and lots of older people who seem to be convinced that because they are up in age now, they just don’t have much to give.  They spend a HUGE amount of time watching TV.  Now, don’t get me wrong - I watch TV too.  Almost everybody I know watches TV.  However, I’m pretty careful about what I watch.  Also, it can become such a habit pattern in your life (now that you don’t have to go to work anymore) that you don’t have time to spend just visiting with the Lord.  I think I just heard someone say, “What?  How do you VISIT with the Lord?”  Well, He is my BEST FRIEND (THE ONE WHO STICKS CLOSER THAN A BROTHER), MY HELPER, MY SAVIOR, MY PROVIDER, MY ‘GO-TO PERSON’, MY HEALER, MY WISDOM, THE ONE WHOM I CAN ALWAYS COUNT ON, THE ONE WHO WILL NEVER LEAVE ME OR FORSAKE ME, MY TEACHER - AND MOST OF ALL, THE ONE WHO LOVED ME SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE THE BEST HE HAD FOR ME - AND TOOK ALL MY BAD AND GAVE ME ALL HIS GOOD!!!!!!  How can I not consider spending lots and lots of time with Him.   There’s nothing I can’t share with Him and there’s nothing that He won’t help me with.


AND - As if that weren’t enough - He wants to use me to help bring His will into the lives of lots and lots of people.  I can sit in my comfy chair in my bedroom, or in another chair in another room or porch or patio or yard - wherever - and talk to Him.  


I have learned that reading His WORD is not to just get information - it’s about knowing more deeply what He is really like, the way He works through people in this earth, and on and on.  I call it, “Soaking in the Word.”  Sometimes, I read a verse over and over and over - and just sit there and ponder on it.  Then, sometimes, I talk to Him there while I am reading His Word.  He is, “My All in All.”  He loves me and I love Him.  So - I visit with Him.


So-o-o-o-o-o as we get older and older, I believe the Lord wants us to really get ahold of the fact that, even though we’re older, we are still precious to the Lord.  We have to SEE OURSELVES AS INSTRUMENTS - OR TOOLS - IN HIS HANDS.  If we’re still here and breathing, He still wants to use us - and, one of the most common ways He uses older Christians is to pray His will into the earth.  BUT - WE HAVE TO SEE THAT OURSELVES - instead of sitting around in the mully grubs and watching a bunch of trash on TV.  Am I saying that it’s sin to watch TV.  No - No - No I’m not.  I watch some News shows and I also watch some TV preaching.  I also have Pure-Flix (for only $12.99 a month) where I can watch clean and a lot of Christian movies.  There are a few shows I still watch that pretty much still are free from cursing, and the other things that I do not want to see.  It’s okay to enjoy something pleasing to watch and to stay aware of the news in the world.  But - there are many hours in every day.  I believe that the Lord is greatly pleased when we put Him first - and yield the right of way to Him.  Think of being in the car and you come to a little round-a-bout.  You have to stop and yield to the car and driver who are already coming around on your left.  You have to yield!  Think of it that way!  As you sit in your comfy chair with your bedroom door closed (if there are others in your house), close your eyes and see Jesus coming on your left - Just lift up your arms to Him and yield to Him.  He knows who you are - and He’ll be so happy that you are ready to be His instrument.


Now, as I said earlier, next week, I’m going to share with you what I have learned about ‘praying in the Spirit’ - I am so extremely grateful to the Lord for giving us, His born again children, this wonderful gift to make our prayer life more powerful than we could have ever imagined.  Just think - that old lady, Anna, and all of the other people under the Old Covenant, before Jesus gave His life for us.  People were not born again under the Old Covenant.  


So - as we think toward next week, I’m going to say this.  I’ll probably say it again and again.  You are a spirit - You have a soul - And you live in a body.  All of our spirits were dead because of Adam’s sin.  Our souls are where our mind, will, and emotions are.  And - you know about your body, don’t you?!!!!!!!  The moment that we believe in our hearts and say with our mouths that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins - and we give our lives to Him - and invite Him in - that very moment - WE ARE BORN AGAIN- That means that we have a NEW SPIRIT!  THAT’S WHY IT SAYS THAT WE HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN.  You didn’t get a new soul, or a new body.  BUT - NOW WE BEGAN TO RENEW OUR MINDS - SO THAT WE THINK LIKE GOD THINKS - AND THAT HELPS US HAVE ALL KINDS OF CHANGES IN OUR BODIES!


The gift of “the baptism in the Holy Spirit” with the the ability to pray in the spirit - or in tongues - was not available to Anna or any other of those believers before Jesus died on the cross.  Therefore, we have been given a way to pray that did not exist before the resurrection of the Son of God. - WE’LL DIP INTO THAT KIND OF PRAYER NEXT WEEK.  GOD WANTS TO USE US AS HIS TOOLS.


So - Is there anything that anyone would like to say regarding this business of being an instrument in the Lord’s hands?


Does anyone have a testimony of a time when you knew you were an instrument in God’s hands?

Scriptures used in this lesson 

Luke 2:36-38

Deuteronomy 14:28-29

Isaiah 44:3

Isaiah 54:13

Isaiah 59:21

Romans 4:17

Hebrews 11:1

Ephesians 1:18

Ephesians 6:18

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