MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN. Nr.1

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Introduction: I am in my seventies and my granddaughters say I’m old! I don’t think so, but I guess in their eyes I am. So we’ll leave it like that. I know that I am still young of heart and that’s most important. I will always put “Older” in quotation marks. They laughed when they saw that I was on Facebook and said, “That’s cool.” In fact, one of them said, we have a “hip” grandpa. Great! When I tell people I am on Facebook, some smile, others laugh and some frown! Great! Now I’m also going to post them on this website. My wife and I were just married 50 years (in 2012) and we have been serving the Lord together for all those years. We would like to share some of our experiences and answers to prayer with the purpose of showing that God is really real! Every time I will have two posts, one in English and one in Dutch. I will number them; this is number 1, so you can follow. There will probably be 1 or 2 each week, we’ll see. If you enjoy these posts, and we hope you will, please pass them on and/or share them with others. (Go to Musings)

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN. Nr.2

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Coming July, 2013 I will have been a Christian, or rather a follower of Jesus, as the word Christian doesn’t mean much today, for 53 years. Just to give you a brief background, I was born in the Netherlands with wooden shoes on and tulips coming out of my ears. 🙂 I experienced the Second World War as a scared little boy. When I was 18 I graduated from Agricultural College and immigrated to Canada. Why did I do that? For one, I wanted to farm and that wasn’t possible in Holland, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, that’s why I got to be so tall, one cannot grow sideways, only upwards! 🙂 Secondly, I was looking for adventure, and thirdly I wanted to be free, away from my parents, just to be able to do what I wanted. For two years I lived a bit of a wild life with a lot of drinking and what goes with it. First I worked on two farms in Harriston, Ont. and then in house construction in Walkerton, Ont. But I got pretty fed up there and felt my life was empty and useless. I made good money, received it on Friday night and by Monday morning most of it was gone. Some of my fiends were married, had children, got divorced and lived unhappy lives. I wondered whether this was all that life had to offer and I began to think about suicide. Looking back now, I realize that God was already at work in my heart then, driving me to the edge, so that I would seek and find Him. I know now also from more than 50 years experience that God is at work much more than we realize, working behind the scenes. (Go to Musings)

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN. Nr.3

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No.2 ended with: “Looking back now, I realize that God was already at work in my heart then, driving me to the edge, so that I would seek and find Him. I know now also from more than 50 years experience that God is much more active than we realize, working behind the scenes.” Maybe God is working behind the scenes in your life too. Maybe He is trying to get your attention? Maybe He is driving you to the edge of despair, so that you will seek and find Him. Are there strange unexplainable things happening in your life? Could it be Him? One night I walked into a restaurant and the jukebox was playing, “What am I living for if not for you?” That gripped my heart and haunted me day and night. “What am I living for?” “What am I living for?” I went back to work on one of the farms in Harriston where I had worked before. I met a young man, a brother of what had been my best friend, but we didn’t have much contact anymore because his parents figured I had a bad influence on him. This young man told me to read the Bible. I laughed, reading the Bible is for old grandmothers and little children. I had lived with my grandparents for a while when attending Agricultural College in Holland, and my grandfather had the habit of reading a chapter out of the Bible everyday after dinner, as was custom in many Dutch homes, it was the most boring moment of the day! However, those words also kept resounding in my head, “Read the Bible.” Finally I looked for the little New Testament my mother had given me along when I left Holland. Half the page was in Dutch, the other half in English. I started reading and sure didn’t understand much, but it was funny, the more I read, the more I wanted to read. There is some mysterious power in that book! Not only did it seem to draw me to read it more and more, it started doing something in my heart. A real struggle started! (Go to Musings)

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN. Nr.4

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Nr.3 ended with: “There is some mysterious power in that book! (The Bible). Not only did it seem to draw me to read more and more, it started doing something in my heart. A real struggle started!” Yes, and as I read more and more, I began to sense that God was after me. I wasn’t even sure there was a God. I had never been in an evangelical church and did not know anything about the real gospel, or the terms being saved, born again and things like that. However, this inner sense of God wanting me increased and strangely enough, I can’t explain it, but deep inside somewhere I felt that I was to surrender to God, but also, that if I did He would call me to be a preacher and that really scared me to death. The only preachers I had ever seen were a couple ministers in liberal churches with dead serious faces who did not laugh and certainly didn’t tell jokes, both of which I really enjoy! 🙂 That was the picture I had of a preacher, and that, never! Yet I kept on reading and couldn’t stop, due to what I believe now as the work of God’s Spirit in answer to my mother’s daily prayers for me. Much later I discovered that she had had a real conversion experience at 16 years of age, but never talked about it as she had no assurance of faith, and as those things were never talked about in her church. Neither did I know that a few students at a Bible College in Saskatchewan were praying for me, one of whom was the young man who told me to read the Bible, the brother of what had been my best friend, Martin. They were praying for Martin and his wild friend. I didn’t know then either that one of those students, a young lady would later become my wife, and she didn’t know that the wild friend she was praying for and whose name she didn’t even know, would later become her husband! (Go to Musings)

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN. Nr.5

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Nr.4 ended: “I didn’t know then either that one of those students, a young lady would later become my wife, and she didn’t know that the wild friend she was praying for and whose name she didn’t even know, would someday become her husband.” Back on the farm I was really struggling, or should I say there was a battle going on inside of me. That still, small voice in me said, surrender. I realized that God wanted everything or nothing, but none of this half and half business. He is the Creator and has a claim on my life. But my response was, No. And so it went day in, day out, Yes, No, Yes, No. When I went to bed at night, it was there, Yes, No. When I got up in the morning, Yes, No. Milking the cows, Yes, No. Out on the field, Yes, No. Why did I say No? Because I feared what would happen if I said Yes. Later I discovered that many people are afraid of surrendering to God because they think God will ask something terrible of them. Yet the Bible says that God has our good and well-being in mind. To be honest, I felt pretty miserable, and so to make the story short, one day out in the field I finally surrendered, and said, Yes God, if You are really there, You can have me and do with me whatever You want. And then, right there the miracle happened! The Bible calls it the new birth, which means new life, and I sure sensed that! Jesus said that without the new birth you can’t see, and I found that to be true, all at once I could “see”, not with my literal eyes, but with the inward eyes. God was there! How could I have been so blind? And God says in His Word, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will take the heart of stone…..and give you a heart of flesh.” Oh how true that was! I had not shed a tear for several years, my heart had become so hard, but now I cried like a little baby. What a transformation! Could this really last? (Go to Musings)

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN. Nr.6

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Nr.5 ended with: “What a transformation! Could this really last?” Yes, what a change, incredible! I had indeed received a new “heart”, a new inside, new life, amazing, and how real it was! All at once I could in a way “see” God, “feel” God, “hear” God, “taste” God and understand Him. It was like getting a 6th sense. Much like being in a room, which is filled with radio waves, but you cannot hear the music and the voices. However, when you turn on your little radio, there is the music and there are the voices. With our 5 senses we cannot receive those radio waves, we need something outside ourselves to receive them and change them over so we can hear them. So it is with God, we cannot sense Him with our 5 physical senses; we need something outside ourselves to reveal Him to us. We need His Spirit to come into us and then we begin to sense Him. People have told me, I don’t see God, feel, hear, smell, taste or understand God. I tell them, well you are proving what the Bible says about being dead, spiritually dead. A dead person cannot see, hear, feel, smell, taste or understand. I became alive and what a change that wrought! And it was SO real! And that new life was hungry, so I began to devour the Bible. But I also wanted to talk about my new life. Some nights after work I would drive up and down the highway looking for a hitchhiker so I could talk to him about God and my new found life. People around me began to notice the tremendous change in my life style and wondered what had happened to this wild flying Dutchman. They saw the change on the outside, but I was much more aware of the change on the inside. And yet, I did not really know what had happened to me. Oh yes, I had met God and surrendered to Him and He had come to live within me, but for the rest I was still quite ignorant. It was only when I went to a Youth for Christ meeting that I found out about what had really taken place……..! (Go to Musings)

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN. Nr.7

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Nr.6 ended with: “It was only when I went to a Youth for Christ meeting that I found out about what had really taken place……..!” That was the first evangelical meeting I attended in my life and I was thrilled. The singing and the atmosphere were just wonderful, it all really touched me. But then the leader stood up and asked for testimonies. I had never heard that word before, it isn’t used in the barnyard and house construction, J, so I bumped the fellow sitting beside me and asked him what a ‘testimony’ was. He told me that people go up to the front and tell what God means to them and has done in their lives. “Can I go too” I asked him. “Sure” he said. So I walked up front, a bit shaky, stood in front of the microphone and told people that about two weeks ago I had given my life to God out in the field and that He had come in my heart and that this was just wonderful! That’s all I could say, so I sat down. After the meeting an elderly lady, and I mean elderly, skinny as can be, looking like she was already half way in the grave, came to me, pushed me onto a chair, put her skinny, bony finger on my chest and said, “Now Richard, you are saved.” I looked at her in astonishment and asked, “Saved, from what?” So she began to explain the gospel to me, telling me that I had sinned, just as if I didn’t know that already, and saying that because of my sin I was lost. But that God had sent His Son Jesus, Who died for me on the cross and paid for my sin. “And”, she said, “Jesus also rose from the dead and has now come to live within you.” Wow, talk about good news! Of course, she told me a lot more and I drove home that night almost in a daze, I was overwhelmed and at the same time overjoyed. What a new and different life I had discovered! And yet there was something strange, something I didn’t understand……..! (Go to Musings)