Ten Signs You Could Live to a Hundred (part 3)

The last two weeks, we talked about the first seven signs you could live to 100, citing an article that actually appeared in the July/August issue of the Reader’s Digest written by Alyssa Jung. They are the following:

1. You don’t feel your age.
2. You eat lots of fruits and veggies.
3. You are adaptable and flexible and relatively have no stress and anxiety.
4. You eat lots of fish.
5. You eat Greek-ish (Mediterranean-style diet).
6. You take regular afternoon naps.
7. You remain active: walk, run, bike, jog or do other sports activities.

The final three are the following:

8. You have a sense of purpose in life. A new study in Psychological Science found that people who feel they have a sense of purpose in life are less likely to die over a 14-year period. “My great uncle, who is in his mid-90’s, still works in his woodshop almost everyday,” adds Dr. Watson.

9. You’ve got a shorter waistline. You’ve heard it before, “The longer the waistline, the shorter the lifeline.” Women with a waist of 37 inches or more had a life expectancy that was five years lower after age 40 than did women with a waist of 27 inches or less, according to one study. For men, a waist of 43 inches or more was linked to a three-year decrease in life expectancy compared with those with a waist of 35 inches or less. Trimming a few inches from your pants size may have a powerful health impact. “I tell my patients that whenever possible, walk, don’t drive,” says Dr. Leipzig.

10. You’re connected well to family and friends. Feeling connected to family and friends keeps people engaged and facilitates healthy aging, says Dr. Watson. “Being isolated works in other direction and can lead to chronic illness.” In Sardinia, Italy, a tiny Mediterranean island with a large centenarian population, friendship is key, according to Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow who has traveled the witld to study its longest-living people. “Life is very social. People meet on the street daily and savor eath other’s company. They count on each other. If a neighbor gets sick, a neighbor is right there,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

There we have them all. Let us strive to live like these people who are among the longest-living people on the face of the earth. Jesus has not only promised us eternal life which is the best gift we can ever have. He also wants to give us abundant life in the here and now (John 10:10). To accept His gift of health and long life in the here and now is to really appreciate his best plans and love for all of us.

Ten Signs You Could Live to a Hundred (part 1)

Early in the year, we lost a centenarian at our church. A few more however will reach the century mark in a few years. In the United States, there are more than 72,000 of them, which is a 44 percent increase since 2000. In the July/August Reader’s Digest issue last year, Alyssa Jung shares some signs you could be a good candidate for this elite group. They are the following:

1. You don’t feel your age. You may be 60 but you’re feeling like you’re 50 or 55. Studies show that those who felt three or four years younger than their age were less likely to die over an eight-year period than those who felt their age or older. On the other hand feeling older was linked to a 41 percent risk of dying.

2. You love eating fruits and veggies. A University of Michigan study of 700 women in their 70’s showed that those who consumed the most veggies and fruits had a 46 percent lower chance of dying over a five-year period compared with those who ate them infrequently. Okinawa, Japan has the most centenarians in the world (ratio-wise) and older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives and almost all grow or once grew a garden.

3. You are joyful and optimistic, relatively free from worries and anxiety. In a 2012 study of 243 volunteers published in a journal Aging, near centenarians share common characteristic and personality traits. Rosanne Leipzig, MD, PhD, professor of geriatics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City says “being adaptable and flexible helps people avoid stress and anxiety which can increase longevity.”

4. You eat a lot of fish. A Harvard study found that older adults with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids lived two more years on average than did those with lower blood levels. They didn’t take fish oil supplements. They simply ate a lot of fish, which is packed with omega-3s.

Rocks, Rocks and More Rocks

Last Sunday, a group of 25 members drove 150 miles to the Joshua Tree National Park Twentynine Palms, California for a day out in nature. It was a day set for picnicking, sightseeing and hiking out in the desert.

The group got there shortly before noontime which was just the right time to spread out the delicacies and goodies on the picnic tables and fill up hungry stomachs. Then came the hike to Hidden Valley past rocks that took interesting shapes: a whale, a lion, Snoopy dog and a few that could pass for the non-descript beast in Daniel’s prophetic book.

The weather was just perfect for a day out in the rugged wilderness. In fact, the event almost got cancelled due to a forecast of rain. But it turned out to be perfect after all. The sun shone from a clear blue sky with white clouds above but it was kind of chilly which was just the right combination for a leisurely hike.

It was a memorable day and a day to experience renewal and strengthening of fellowship ties. The awesome rock formations and spectacular natural wonders also gave witness to the majesty and artistic mind of God who carved these rock specimens with His wind, rain and sun.

I was reading Psalm 61 and the psalmist says in verse 2: “From the ends of the earth I will call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

As we drove around this huge natural preserve and during the hike, we saw a number of rock climbers; some busy scaling the imposing walls while a few others were seen successfully on top of the rock, their goal achieved. The Psalmist however asks to be led to the Rock that is higher than him. This Rock is Jesus. And getting in this Rock not only spells achievement and success and thus euphoria and exhilaration. It also means being safe in His arms, away from and unreached by the evil and trouble that sweep the earth.

Let us with David pray that we may be led to the Rock that is higher than us. Then will we have peace, and joy and safety from the troubles of this old and sinful world.

Making the Devil Flee

At our Midweek Prayer Meeting which is Day 4 of our Ten Days of Prayer Series, we talked about the Table of Showbread, a furniture in the Holy Place of the Earthly Sanctuary. The bread points to Jesus who Himself said “I am the Bread of Life. He that comes to Me shall never hunger and he that believes on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

As the bread was kept ever before the presence of the Lord, so we must eat every day of this bread for our nourishment and strength. The disciples didn’t understand when Jesus said they needed to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Of course He was referring to His words as He explains in verse 63: “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”

We need to ask God to give us an appetite for the Word of God. For when we regularly partake of this spiritual bread, our character develops and gets formed according to His likeness. And what is more, it helps us in our fight against the devil. The material below shows what happens to the enemy when we get serious with our Bible study.

When you carry a Bible…the devil gets a headache.
When you open it…he collapses.
When he sees you reading it…he faints.
When he sees you living it…he flees.

Let us spend time with the Word. Let us carry one all the time, open and read it everyday and live out its principles in our lives; and let the enemy of our souls get a headache, callapse, faint and finally flee from us.

When It’s Time to Change Your Life

We work to earn a living and support a family. For some people, they may not have to if they have inherited wealth that could take care of their needs for life. Others stop working after the children are grown and are out on their own. And when sufficient funds have been accumulated to assure a comfortable life through the golden years, what is there to be working for? Of course, when one is in good health and considers work as service to God and fellowman, it is altogether different. One can stay put on the job for as long as he is still productive and useful.

Somewhere down the road though things stop getting exciting. Everyday is a grind and work becomes a drudgery. There is no looking forward with eagerness and anticipation to the workday. Someone did a research and came up with some signs that give the message it’s time for a change. When conditions such as mentioned below exist, you know there’s no more future in the job and every day you stay longer in it is a waste of time. The time has come to change your life. Are you familiar with the following?

  1. You dread going to work more days than you don’t.
  2. You are living in the past or dreaming about the future
  3. People are constantly telling you to relax.
  4. You are jealous of other people’s successes.
  5. You wake up tired.
  6. You are antsy.
  7. You gossip.
  8. Everyone seems to annoy you.
  9. You have a constant sense of foreboding.
  10. You keep thinking.

Having the courage to stop and change direction at this point in your life will pay you dividends in terms of your health and happiness. It will be a struggle. You may have to start all over again. It will be an uphill climb. But you will make it with determination and perseverance. In the end, you will find yourself in a better, healthier and more meaningful world.

Whatever you do, do it as though you are doing it for the Lord. And you’ll never go wrong. St. Paul admonishes that we ought to be concerned not with men’s approval but with God’s. “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which tries our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

Steve Harvey and the 2017 Miss Universe Pageant

Last Sunday was a day full of memorable and spectacular events. The day started with an epic battle for supremacy in the tennis world between Swiss “Maestro” Roger Federer and Spanish “Iron Man” Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open Tennis Championships at Melbourne, Australia. The 5-set match was such a riveting show to watch and when the smoke cleared, Federer was left standing alone, hoisting the championship trophy for his improbable run and unprecedented 18th Grand Slam Title- in effect solidifying his place as the greatest tennis player of all time.

Later in the evening, it was the grand pageant of smart and talented beauties from eighty-six countries in the world competing for the much coveted title of Miss Universe in Manila, Philippines. This event attracted much attention because of what happened at the competition last year when the host, Steve Harvey, proclaimed Miss Colombia who was actually the first runner-up as Miss Universe 2016 instead of Miss Philippines who was the choice of the panel of judges.

When Steve Harvey who was hosting the event once again gave his opening remarks, he referred to the major blunder that he committed the previous year. And he reminded the audience that mistakes that we commit are a thing of the past and we need to just move on after we learn valuable lessons from them. Why Manila was chosen to be the venue for the next pageant may have been a political move to mollify the feelings of the wronged Pia Wurtzbach, the Filipino reigning Miss Universe and the millions of her countrymen that she represented who may have been slighted by the faux pax. In fact in the selection process, it seemed that the organizers tried to make up for the elephantine mistake by having Miss Philippines and Miss Colombia get to the final six and three respectively.

I like the positivity with which the host and the contestants that were offended took it. Pia worked hard to bring the pageant to her country and hoped that the same guy would host again to have the chance to redeem himself. She even came to bring a pair of eyeglasses to Steve prior to reading the results of the judges’ vote “so that he doesn’t make the same mistake” as he did the previous year. Which Steve dutifully put on this symbolizing a desire and determination to be accurate and precise in the proclamation of the results.

The undeclared theme seemed to be that when we make mistakes we should learn from them, leave them behind and move on. In fact this was the basis of the final question that was asked of the final three contestants. Miss France was direct to the point and she told the world what she did as a result of her mistake and made her life all the better for it. I honestly believe this won her the title.

In our spiritual lives, we fail and make mistakes as humans normally do. This is expected. What is important is that we learn from our mistakes and the lessons we learn should make us better persons as we move on to the achievement of our cherished dreams and goals.

St. Paul said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:13, 14).

Things Closest to Us

Rains had kept us indoors for much of the two weeks and when the sun comes up, we see it as a chance for some tennis or golf. This time though, I decided to go to my backyard late in the afternoon and tend the fruit trees that I have planted two years ago. It was also a time to repair the dirt steps that I built for easier access to our hillside garden.

I must have enjoyed flexing my muscles without pausing from the work I was doing so that after about two hours, I looked to the west and my eyes were greeted by a spectacular sight. Aa glorious sunset presented itself right before my very eyes. I was so delighted by this beautiful scene which I had not witnessed before from that section of our property. I stopped for a moment to thank God for such beauty and for eyes that are able to see and appreciate these things.

As I continued to dwell on this wondrous sight another thought crossed my mind. It struck me that there are many tings around us that are so grand and so majestic and yet we have not noticed them simply because we haven’t taken the time to slow down and open our eyes to them. We travel to distant lands and spend tons of money in search of beautiful things to gaze at and wonder upon. But many of these beautiful things are just right around us, if we know where to look and if we slow down and take the time to appreciate them.

So, let us slow down, open our eyes and look and see and appreciate such things God has placed before our very eyes. He is trying to reach us at every moment and let us be sensitive to His messages.

A New Year with the Lord

As we begin the New Year, I encourage you to start with the promises of God and a resolve to continue only under His divine direction. The following poem by M.S. Lowndes is inspiring.

A New Year with The Lord

A new year is about to unfold
With new opportunities to explore
Doors will open for new experiences
New adventures with the Lord

Remember not the former things
The things of this past year
The Lord will do new things in us
Much more than we are aware

For He will make a way for us
As we put our trust in Him
And He will guide our every step
By His presence we have within

What God has placed within our hearts
We find we’ll be able to do
If we look for the opportunities
We’ll see the door to go through

We mustn’t let anything hold us back
But rise up and take our place
And be all that God wants us to be
With a fresh touch of His grace!

In Isaiah 43: 18-19, the prophet encourages God’s people by assuring them that the Lord will do great things for them- new things, wonderful things for as long as they forget the “things of old” and trust only in the guidance and direction of the Lord.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.”

These promises for Israel of old are promises for us too especially as we turn the pages of the old and bring in the new.

Happy New Year to all!

The Bet Ever Christmas Present

Long time ago there ruled in Persia a good and wise king. He loved his people. He wanted to see their struggles and hardships. Often he would dress in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and go to the homes of the poor. No one among those he visited ever thought that he was their king.

One time he stayed with a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke kind and cheerful words to him. Then he left.

Later he visited the poor man again and revealed his identity by saying, “I am your king!” The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t. Instead he said, “You left your palace to visit me in this dark and dreary place. You ate the coarse food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!”

This Christmas season, as the Christian world celebrates the birth of their king, it would be well for us to remember that the King of glory, Jesus Christ, gave Himself to us. The Bible calls this “the unspeakable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15.

And of all the gifts that we enjoy because of Jesus coming down from heaven to earth [family, friends, health, jobs, homes, including the blessing of love, joy, peace, etc.], none is more precious and valuable than the gift of Himself. When God gave, He gave the best there was in heaven- His only Son. And we can have the greatest blessing if we accept this gift and allow Him to be born into our hearts again, not as a helpless baby but as Savior and Lord of our lives.

Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!

Christmas- The Day Jesus Died

A television interviewer was walking the streets of Tokyo at Christmas time. Much as in America, Christmas shopping is a big commercial success in Japan. The interviewer stopped one young woman on the sidewalk, and asked:

“What is the meaning of Christmas?”

Laughing, she responded, “I don’t know. Is that the day that Jesus died?”

Presumably, the young woman may not be Christian. And we can understand and even excuse her ignorance as to what this greatest of Christian holidays is all about. But there is some truth in her answer. For the way Christmas is commercialized and celebrated even in professed Christian lands, the occasion signifies the “death” of Jesus Christ more than His birth.

Materialism and greed drive the celebration of this most important of Christian holidays. And the success of the entrepreneurial spirit has allowed Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and other fictional characters dominate the Christmas theme and has contributed to the “death of Jesus” on what is supposed to be the day of His birth.

It’s time to make Christmas what it really is- a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Let us make every celebratory act a reflection of the infinite love of God who gave the most precious gift that heaven could ever bestow upon man- the gift of His sone Jesus. Let us sing the praises of Jesus who willingly came to be born as a little baby and become a man so that He could give His life for us that we may have forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life.

Celebrating Christmas like we should will make it the day when Jesus was born, not the day that He died.

Merry Christmas to everyone!