The Joy of Getting There

by Jim Ramsey

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Ah, the subway! Allow me once again to reflect on a vacation experience (sorry no photos) that, believe it or not, I really enjoyed. I am a “people person,” and riding the subway in Boston was a time to rub elbows (literally!) with a great host of them as we spent a couple of days getting from place to place. What a blessing it was not to have to drive in the sometimes terrible traffic, and especially to avoid parking on the busy streets.

Finishing Well

by Jim Ramsey

Finishing Well

Would you like the world to be a better place for your having been here?” This is the question posed by Ken Blanchard in his forward to Bob Bickel’s book Finishing Well. The premise of the book and its entire focus is on individuals who had a plan that they followed in an effort to make their later life one of significance, not just one of success. Bickel speaks of “Life I” when we have to “prove ourselves,” and “Life II” when we should “give back and make a difference.”

The Best Is Yet To Come!

By Jim Ramsey

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An old song written by Dottie Rambo just came to mind that says:

“The holy hills of Heaven call me to mansions bright across the sea
 Where loved ones wait and crowns are given when the hills of home keep calling me

 This house of flesh is but a prison! Bars of bone hold my soul
 But the doors of clay are gonna burst wide open when the angel sets my spirit free!
 I’ll take my flight like a mighty eagle when the hills of home start calling me.”

We should praise the Lord for the wonderful life He has given us here on earth, in this “dressing room for eternity,” if you will. The greatest thing, however, is that the best is yet to come! Here’s an encouraging promise from God: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9

The Way Life Should be

By Jim Ramsey

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Here in beautiful, cool New England we have had a wonderful time out of the everyday routine of life on the home front. We were privileged to spend most of our time off in Maine where Linda was born and spent the first eighteen years of her life. Maine is called “America’s vacationland, the Pine Tree state,” and the scenery is amazing!

Had a “Divine Appointment” Lately?

By Jim Ramsey

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It’s amazing how God takes care of every little detail of life! The sad thing is that oftentimes I never even realize or acknowledge when He does it! There have been numerous times when I have been “out and about” and “accidentally” ran into someone I never expected to meet. Sometimes it’s someone from the distant past, sometimes someone from a recent connection, but always someone with whom the conversation seemed to benefit us both. God help me to see such “divine appointments” as opportunities that I must not squander.

I hate to BRAG, but…

By Jim Ramsey

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A Kentucky woman boasted to a Texan that there was so much gold in Fort Knox that you could build a wall of solid gold 10 feet high all around Texas. The Texan answered, “Well you go ahead and build it, little lady, and if Ah like it, Ah’ll buy it!” I’m a Texan, but I’ve never been that much of a braggart!

Nobody likes people who constantly brag, but the Bible actually encourages the right kind of “boasting!” The critical part of scriptural “boasting” is that it is directed toward Him Who alone is worthy of it! Bragging on myself is actually “misplaced affection,” and steals glory from the One to Whom I owe everything!   I want to made a determined effort to practice Psalm 34:2 “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.”

Slow Down, and Live!

By Jim Ramsey

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What a busy world I enjoy! (or maybe, endure!) I often jokingly tell our seniors: “Life sure gets a lot more simple at our ‘life stage doesn’t it!’” NOT! Truth is, at the age of 65+ it seems like my Daily Planner is more crowded than ever.

I was thinking of an activity that was obviously not a part of Jesus’ life as seen in the New Testament: HE never RAN anywhere! Yet HE was always where HE needed to be when HE needed to be. Could it be that if HE is my Guide in life that I might need to slow down in order to live the abundant life HE wants for me? “Abundant” can be full without being fast!

Exercising Regularly?

By Jim Ramsey

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For me, as well as for all seniors, an increased demand for attention to personal physical health and well-being is a big part of the “package” that comes with aging. As one who has been blessed with 10 years and 3 months of life beyond quintuple bypass surgery [April, 2006] I have certainly made an effort, with much spousal encouragement, to operate according to post-surgery dietary and exercise regimens, and though not always perfect, at least I am working at it.

Within our Means, or Beyond our Means?

By Jim Ramsey

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According to financial guru Dave Ramsey (who, for sure, claims no kinship to me) I am the “nerd” of our family! I don’t know how successful I am at the ongoing process of budgeting, but I sure do spend a goodly amount of time crunching (or crushing!) numbers. Honestly, Linda and I have always operated on a “zero budget,” because through the years many times there seems to be “too much month at the end of the money.” We have made an effort to be good stewards of the manifold blessings God has given us-not just finances, but family, time, talents, and opportunities as well. I’m sure we have not been without error in our efforts, but we sure have been blessed by trying to keep things in perspective.

In a financial sense, living within our means is an absolute necessity if we are to effectively manage and enjoy the material things God sends our way. However, I believe that in a spiritual sense, God wants us to live beyond our means. When Jesus said “without me, ye can do nothing” He knocked all the props of self righteous effort out from under us, and of course, we find, by experience the truth of His statement. On the other hand, with Him there is no limit to what we can do, or should I say, no limit to what He can do in and through us! In Christ we have been blessed with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places, and this being true, we should live beyond our means, claiming all He has already given to us!

 We are rich in Jesus, and we need to appropriate, to set aside for our practical use, what already belongs to us as His children! We need what we already possess to be worked out in our character as a means of bringing glory to our Heavenly Father. Think about it! We have a blessed POSITION – We are His “born ones.” We have blessed POSSESSIONS- eternal life, redemption, inheritance, etc., and we have blessed PRIVILEGES- prayer, fellowship, service, and giving.

Many times we settle for so much less than what God intends for us because we live within our means as His child. What only He can do in us, and for us, and through us is what is realized when we live beyond our means.

Remember?

By Jim Ramsey

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I recently was sent the following funny, entitled “AGING: ONE PLUS ONE”

“Three elderly men went to the doctor for a memory test. The doctor asked the first, “What is one plus one?”

“Two hundred seventy-four” he answered.

He asked the same question of the second man- “What is one plus one?” “Tuesday,” he said.

The third man was asked as well, “What is one plus one?” “Two” said the third man.

“That’s great!” said the doctor. “How did you get that?”

“Simple,” said the third man. “I subtracted 274 from Tuesday!”

Funny, but I have certainly learned that the process of aging carries with it the hard reality that things just don’t work like they did in my younger years! It’s certainly difficult to be a spectator instead of a participant in so many activities that were once fairly easy to do somewhat well! (I recently was reminded of that at snow camp this year when I paid $40 to fall 40 times!)

Failing memory is many times an issue for the young (admit it!) as well as the “old.” I’m sure that you, like me, have endured the frustration of misplacing something or of being unable to remember someone’s name or an important date, or of forgetting an appointment, etc. It seems that sometimes the information I need just escapes me – It’s there somewhere, but I just can’t find it!

Too often in my spiritual life failing memory plagues me as well. How easy it is for me to forget the many wonderful things God has done in my life, to take for granted all the precious people He has used to help me along the way, and to be unmindful of all the grace and provision He has made for me to bring me to this place on my timeline.

Moses warned the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 4:9) “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” MY eyes have been privileged to see God do some great things, and I am asking Him daily to help me keep them in my heart and mind that I might praise Him for what only He can do, and that I might be sure that my children and grandchildren recognize His greatness as well.