Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Among the many gifts I received for my 90th birthday was a Disney Hallmark coffee mug from a precious friend whose birthday is the same date as mine--but she's 20 years younger. (Thank you, Jennifer!) 

The mug features a smiley-faced, young-looking Mickey Mouse with the lettering: “Who says we have to GROW UP?” I recall that Mickey never did look any older. He and Minnie Mouse remained the same size and age through all my growing years even to this present day. In real time, I think that Mickey is at least as old as I am.

At first glance only the large, boldface words GROW UP caught my eye. I figured that this gift must have some implications for me, perhaps a hint or reminder to “act my age” in my advanced season of life? Like when the Apostle Paul declared that when he became a man, he put away childish things? I'm not supposed to be whiny about my circumstances as I age, or pout and stamp my feet when things don't go my way. Or stick out my lower lip and bemoan the “good old days.” I'm not expected to act foolishly, to pretend I'm young and dress and act out of character for my age. Wisdom, bearing the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, and encouragement of others should characterize my mature season of life.

On the other hand, acting my age should not mean that I'll retire to a rocking chair and be merely a spectator watching the world go by. Or excuse myself from being spiritually fruitful or serving the Lord just because I'm now a slower-paced nonagenarian. I should live up to my matriarchal position in life but keep living it up.

So who says I have to GROW UP? Actually, God does. And not only GROW UP but in Psalm 92 David perceives God declaring that “those in old age should flourish, still yield fruit, and be full of sap and very green.”

Nevertheless, our gracious, generous, loving God understands our longing for the energy and vitality of our youth. So He has made a spectacular provision for maintaining our spiritual youth even while our mortal body diminishes in strength. For the past few decades I've been relying heavily on the principle which David the Psalmist expressed in Psalm 103:5. “[The Lord] satisfies your years with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Other translations of that phrase “satisfies your years” are “satisfies your life” and “satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age].” And the eagle renewal aspect is translated as “strong, overcoming, soaring.” It is cross-referenced to Isaiah 40:31.

I called it flourishing in the title of the third book of my spiritual autobiographical LAND OF MORE Trilogy, *STILL MORE! FLOURISHING ON MY SUMMIT. I unpacked the eagle renewal analogy in Chapter 12, pp 226-231 of that book. (See also my blog archive September 8, 2012 post titled “Like the Eagle.”)

Okay, Mickey coffee mug, I GET IT NOW! In answer to your muggy question, God has a multiple positive answer: I gotta keep growing, I gotta act grown up, and the Lord has provided a way for me to stay young! Cool!

How to stay young? My inner spirit becomes “renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16) as I'm “anointed with fresh Oil” of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 92:10), and “goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23).

I won't need to drink strong, high-test, full-bodied, rich, mountain-grown coffee out of my Mickey mug for a constant caffeine fix. God's Living Water will be more than sufficient! 

And if I do it God's way, “my cup overflows” (Psalm 23).

 *If you don't have Leona's recent book “STILL MORE!” yet, orders are filled promptly, both for yourself and for your maturing relatives and friends no matter what their age.

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