Savior, Messiah, and Lord are just a few of the titles of Jesus. Comforter, Great Physician, Judge, Teacher…. According to some sources, there are over 200 names for Jesus in the Bible. Each name carries a special meaning and encourages us to look at Jesus with greater understanding, appreciation, and hopefully, awe and love. Deliverer, Great Shepherd, High Priest, I Am, Lamb of God, and the list continues.
At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, delivered in lowly circumstances of a stable during the journey that his mother and father were taking to be counted in the census. Of course, we remember the three kings or wise men who traveled from the East, guided by the star, by giving gifts to those we love. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh, each has their own special meanings related to the recounting of the birth of Jesus. Today, gifts of Minecraft, kitchen gadgets, and the latest cell phone have their own meanings. I will leave it to you to decide the relative meaningfulness or the message delivered. I have heard the tradition of limiting gift-giving to four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Whatever we buy for each other, we are attempting to show our love through the giving of a gift. Hopefully, we pick just the right symbol of our care for and understanding of the one we have chosen the gift for.
Today we have the honor of introducing a new series of articles based on the work of Dr. Michael Parker, a tenured University of Alabama Professor, UA Birmingham Associate Professor, and a US Army Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.). Dr.Parker developed The AgeReady Program to assist career military personnel to prepare care plans ahead of deployments for their aging parents. Career military members are of the age where their parents are aging and present an additional concern for a deploying military member. Military members always prepare a plan for their spouses and children prior to deployment but are not required to have plans concerning their aging parents.
The Age Ready Task Assessment will soon be available for all families to address concerns related to the common issues that develop as we age. Are we prepared for what is ahead or are we just going to “wing it”? The AgeReady Program addresses 50 tasks that can be completed jointly between Older Adults and their adult children, or by either. The best-case scenario, whenever possible, is that the parents and children do this together.
Medical, Financial/Legal, Family & Spiritual
The tasks, or perhaps we should call them opportunities, are divided into 4 main categories:
Financial, Legal, & Insurance
These four areas address vital aspects of aging and doing it well. By preparing in advance we can help to avoid acting in a crisis, which is never the ideal position to act from.
The prospect may seem daunting when you hear something like “50 Tasks.” We will break them down and address them over time. Winter Grace Senior Ministries, Inc. is preparing workshops to help you evaluate where you are right now, what you might want to tackle next, how to go about it, and inform you on where to seek help. We will work with you every step of the way.
Be Sure to Add the Fun Too!
We highly recommend adding some fun things to the list too. This time, hopefully, spent together with your loved ones, is an opportunity to get to know each other better, spend some special time, and deepen relationships. Why not add those activities and perhaps some adventures that you have thought about doing to the list?
Where will we begin?
The first task we will address is “Work with your parent to schedule a comprehensive geriatric assessment with a certified geriatric physician.” We will cover what an assessment entails, why you should have one, and how to find a geriatric practitioner.
Stayed tuned and check back often to see what the next task is and how to tackle it!
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Psalms….. There are Psalms that are appropriate for just about every emotion we might be feeling. I am beginning prep for a sermon and one of the lectionary readings is Psalm 47. It is one a praise and thanksgiving! Last time I preached was about doubting Thomas. I preached about not doubting our identity in Christ. Yea, I looked for the positive. It is kind of what I do sometimes, okay, usually.
This sermon is going to be on Ascension Sunday. Warning…. it is going to be an optimistic upbeat sermon, at least it will end that way. Psalm 47 is one of my texts to draw from for that message. It is one of praise. The texts from Luke and Acts assure us of the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers.
I love books! Just ask my husband. I love books of all kinds: cookbooks, craft books, gardening books, theology books, novels, you name it. I also love books with more than one volume or series. When a book is really good, I never want it to end. Among the most popular serial books are The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Outlander, and Hank the Cow Dog. They are among the most popular series of books ever written. Okay, Hank the Cow Dog may not be a classic, but we loved it and the others are. Oh, and a Voice in the Wind, so good.
Today we spend time reading from a two-part work in the New Testament: the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles, sometime referred to as Luke-Acts. Luke, thought to be a physician, was a science-minded, detailed fella that wrote his works for someone named Theophilus. Some scholars think that Theophilus was an individual, perhaps a patron of Luke, or a government official, or perhaps we need to look more closely at his name. Theophilus literally means ‘Loved of God,” theo = God, Philus, (loved of). Perhaps this was the very brilliant Luke’s way of reaching more people.
“Winter Grace Senior Ministries, Inc. invites you to our FREE Virtual 50+ Resource Fair from April 1st-April 15th. From the comfort of your own home, please visit with Authors, Wellness Experts, participate in Workshops, view “Ask the Expert” Panels, and meet 25+ Community Resources. Also receive a daily dose of inspiration from pastors from across the region and the country. www.ResourceFair.WinterGrace.org. Please contact Rev. Debbie Burgio at 443-832-3805 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Register for Live events at https://bit.ly/3uzyNHP Most events are available 24/7. Only LIVE events require registration.”
Do you ever feel parched? Not just parched from a thirst that a cool glass of water can relieve, but parched in your soul. You feel weary, worn out, out of what we call “oomph” around my house. You are tired, unenthused about anything, perhaps discouraged? When I read the words “scorched earth” in this verse from Isaiah, these are the feelings that are brought to mind.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
What might your needs be in a sun-scorched land? Water to wet your mouth and shelter from the sun come immediately to mind. Can’t you just feel the sun beating down on you? It’s hot and you are weary from your travels. No air-conditioning, no shade, hot, hot, hot.
Our daughter was born in Connecticut in October of 1995. By then it was lovely and cool outside, but that summer was one of the hottest Connecticut had on record. Navy base housing did not have air conditioning. I will admit to being spoiled by AC. My parents installed AC in the house the year I was born. That was another scorcher, or so I hear. At any rate, it was hot and I was pregnant, and I was hot. Did I mention it was hot? There were a couple of nights I sat in a cool tub just to have a little relief. One night I even told my husband I was taking our son, just a baby himself, to a hotel and we were going to cool off. I didn’t really go, but I was desperate.
The heat concerns of that summer cannot really compare to what Isaiah is talking about here. It wasn’t really a scorched earth summer. He was talking about a scorched earth season of the soul. Have you felt that way? Chances are you have and may not have put this description to it, but the feelings most likely were there. Drained, exhausted, empty, devoid of any (wait for the technical word), as I said earlier, oomph!
What do we do when we feel as though our lives are in a season in the desert? We turn our hearts and our attention to the One who loved us first, loves us now, and always will. We turn our heart to God!
What if you are so frustrated and empty and feel that God does not even notice you anymore? Turn your eyes upon Jesus! You may say that is easier said than done. I can understand why you might feel that way. It is at this time we need, more than ever, to turn our eyes and heart to Our Creator. God chose to create us in His image. We were chosen, put here by God because He desired us to be. He simply desires us to be. Not be here, do this job, do this task, do anything. He chose us to be. A human being, not a human doing. Rest in that thought for a moment. We are here simply because God chose us to be.
He doesn’t need us to do a job for Him. The Creator of everything doesn’t need us. But He chose to create us. We are chosen by God for a unique and magnificent purpose. That purpose is to be in relationship with God. We bring God glory by being.
Now once we realize the gift of life that God has given us in Christ Jesus, a gift given freely by grace, we are transformed. We are a new creation. Not only did God give us life on earth, He sent Jesus that we might have life eternal with Him in heaven forever. We are transformed into someone who desires to do. We each are given gifts and talents to pursue the plans God has for us. We seek to live in God’s will, fulfilling His plan for us. That transformation leads us to share God with others in countless ways that reflect the gifts given to us.
This verse of Isaiah tells us that this life may at times feel like we live in a sun-scorched land, but we will be strengthened, like a well-watered garden, a spring whose waters never fail. How incredibly refreshing. Not just to cool us, but a refreshment that only comes from the living water of Jesus Christ. We are refreshed from within with the generous gift of the Holy Spirit filling us as a spring.
Try to imagine the most lush garden you can. See in your mind’s eye the life all around you. Healthy, robust, and at the same time tranquil and soothing. Feel the freshness, the palpable rejuvenation from being completely refreshed. The temperature is perfect. The humidity is perfect. The sounds of water running are relaxing. This never ending spring flows within us in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is the gift of God, a well of love and refreshment that never runs dry. We will go through valleys. We will suffer loss and experience difficult times, but God, the God who created us to be in relationship with Him, will never leave nor fore sake us.
We are given gifts and talents for fulfilling our God-given purpose. But sometimes, we merely need to spend time being in God’s presence, being that well-watered garden, and rejuvenating from that spring whose waters never run dry.