One of the consequences of Parkinson’s can be senility. I really don’t care how long I live but I would like to think clear and sharp as long as I do live. One of the disciplines that I have ramped up on in my life significantly to keep my mind exercised and strong is memorizing scripture. My goal is to have 500 verses memorized well by the end of the year, and I have 448 mastered right now so 52 more to go. I spend around 30 minutes every day reviewing my existing verses and working on new ones. I really have noticed being able to remember things easier and also being able to think clearer, but the huge blessing has been the way the verses that I have memorized pop into my thinking all through the day prompted by an event, circumstance or issue that comes up. It is almost like the Word in my head is alive and chooses to pop into my mind at just the right time, sometimes like a scolding for something I have done, said, or thought. Because of that I have been purposely choosing passages in the Bible that fit a character need in my life. It has been a great way to accelerate my own character growth towards that of Christ. For those interested in memorizing the Word of God a great App that I use is called “Scripture Typer”, it has made my memory work so much fun and successful than in years past.
Giving God an hour each day in devoted prayer was a discipline of many of the old saints, 200 plus years ago. That length of time came from Acts 3:1 where it says Peter and John went up to the Temple at 3 pm, “the hour of prayer”, and Jesus words to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “couldn’t you pray with Me for even an hour”. I have made that my personal goal a number of years ago for my private, all by myself, praying. I also try to pray with Patty 3 times each week and to pray at a church prayer time 4 times each week. Now that I have been doing it for a number of years it seems “normal” and I am pretty sure I would do the same as a non pastor as well. The reason is not because of great -self control or godliness, but because of a strong belief that it makes a huge difference in the lives of those I pray for, a difference that will be eternal. I want to influence people and prayer is the most powerful way to make a difference in people’s lives that there is. Prayer is extremely hard to do with any degree of regularity and sacrifice because the devil hates prayer because it destroys his control over people so he works overtime in our minds to keep us from praying, it is the ultimate in spiritual warfare. The key to becoming a devoted prayer warrior is to make a commitment to an amount of time you will pray, faithfully keep a record of exactly how much you do pray, and gradually increase the time. Try it if you are serious about making a difference.
Got up at 4:30 am this morning to drive to Portland Airport and took a flight to Anchorage, Alaska with Patty and we are now at this very beautiful conference center outside of Palmer surrounded by snow covered mountains. I will speaking here to Missionaries on the topic of prayer. Our daughter Shelly who lives in Fairbanks got up this morning and drove 6 hours with her 5 children ages 1 to 8 and met us here. We spent the afternoon with them here. It was such a special time and I was so thankful and blessed by her taking the time and effort to do that to see us. Our 8 kids have all turned out so well. They all love us, love the Lord, have good marriages, are raising well behaved, happy kids, and are doing and accomplishing significant things with their lives. Thinking back over the years I think the single most important key was the hours and hours of prayer that we invested into every area and stage of their life, asking God to protect them from the evil one and temptation, to draw them to Himself, to guide them into his perfect will for their lives and to build in the character of Christ.
i have been struggling yesterday and today with being depressed, not serious depression, just a blue funk. I am not sure why. I think it might just be the change in my normal schedule of taking Mondays off and recouping from the weekend. I am leaving in the morning at 5 am for the airport and flying to Anchorage, Alaska where I will be speaking at a Missions conference to missionaries who serve in remote areas in Alska and Canada. Because I was going to be gone Wednesday through Saturday at noon I needed to work all day in my office Monday and today. When I got home this evening at 9 pm I went out to my shop and worked for a couple hours on my 1949 Ford Pickup. I bought a Mustang II Independent Front Suspension kit for my pickup and I took off all the old stuff getting ready to put the new on. My old pickup is going to ride like a Cadillac when I get done with it. It was past11 pm when I came on the house but I felt so much better. I have figured out over the years how to renew and refuel myself and how to deal with blue funks. 1949 Ford pickups with V8 Flathead engines are a great cure for what ails me.
We were all born lazy, what the book of Proverbs calls a sluggard. When we think about what it means to be lazy we are not talking about some dastardly sin, just the desire to take it easy and relax and sleep in a little, no big deal. Jesus said life is like two door ways, one is small and narrow and hard, the other is big and broad and easy. The big easy one leads to failure and the little hard one leads to life and success. Jesus said very few choose the small hard one , but most choose the big easy one. A person can train themselves like an athlete to like the hard way instead of the easy way. People who train themselves to choose the hard way become strong and wise and because they are traveling the road few take they will become very successful in life. Strong people have good marriages, and raise tough kids, and generally just enjoy life more. Every day when I get up I declare to myself and God, “today I will choose hard not easy”. Help me Lord!!
One of my favorite things to do is sit and think and plan the next week on Sunday night. Then I make a big todo list of every thing I want to get done for the week. The list includes ministry responsibilities and appointments, as well as home projects and hobbies. Everything that has a date and time attached to it I put in a calendar for the week and the rest I put in a list next to the calendar. I put things on the list in order of importance so if I don’t get everything checked off the less important things can move to the next week. This week Patty and I are flying to Anchorage, Alaska where I will be speaking at a conference for Missionaries in Canada and Alaska, the ones that are back in the bush. We leave early Wednesday and get back on Saturday afternoon just in time for our Saturday service. So my todo list is just for Monday and Tuesday, and it is a long list. A lot of people when they think about what they need to do in their head feel overwhelmed and super busy. Putting things on paper or in my iPad in my case really helps make everything seem doable. Trying to figure,out what you are going to do next, all week long, tends to be a huge time waster and an emotional and mental energy drain. I shift my brain into planning/deciding mode Sunday evening while sitting in my recliner and spend 30 minutes planning the week and I don’t have to revisit it again except in a few instances when circumstances require some flexibility. 30 minutes of planning on Sunday night is a huge factor in getting a lot done and bearing much fruit for God. It isn’t hard, or complicated, but very few will do it for some reason.
Not right away, maybe. I have no clue what the day is for me or how, but it is getting closer every day I live. I have been thinking about the day I will die a lot lately. Wondering when, how, what it will feel like, what will be my first impression. It is a great unknown in that we don’t know what it will feel like or any of the particulars. The Bible teaches that we ought to be free from any fear of death and dying, but most are not. I think the key is thinking about and anticipating it like an amazing trip to Disney Land or Hawaii. We get a new body that will be amazing, we will see God, it is incomprehensible all that God has prepared for us. I am anticipating all that I will be able to do before I go, but when that day comes it will be wonderful to cease from all my working.