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I. Abraham and Sarah.  All passages are from Genesis.

          1. 12:4                              Abraham - 75 when he left Haran.

          2. 12:11                            Sarah was too pretty.

          3. 12:14                            Egyptians, princes, Pharaoh noticed

          4. 16:16                            86 - when Ishmael was born

          5. 17:1                              99 - Isaac promised

          6. 17:17                            100 - years old (round number)

                                                  Sarah is 90 years old

          7. 17:24                            99 - circumcision done

                                                  Ishmael - 13 years old

          8. 20:5                              Abimelech - Still too pretty

          9. 21:5                              Isaac born - Abraham 100


          SUMMARY: Sarah is about 10 years younger than Abraham. She was too pretty when she was 65. Still attractive when she was 90 years old. So pretty that Abraham feared someone would kill him to have her.

          How pretty will you be at 65? At 90? Was it Oil of Olay? Revlon? Mary Kay? OR: Was it spiritual? Character? Faith in God? Meek and quiet spirit? (1 Peter 3:3-6)

II. Reasons we do not see beauty in older people.

          1. Limited concept of beauty. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7) With age, we ought to become more beautiful, not less.

          2. Moral and Spiritual Astigmatism. Our true sense of values become distorted. The eyes do not always see. (Matthew 13:16) Our eyes see what our heart guides them to see. Beauty is more in the heart than in the eye of the beholder.

III. Two views concerning old age.

          1. We will gradually disengage from the mainstream of life's activities.

          2. We will remain relatively active as far and as long as possible.

IV. Aging Successfully.

          1. The foundation for a happy old age must be laid in youth.  Ecc. 12:1

          2. A positive and realistic attitude toward aging must be formed. Old age has gains and losses. We must be able to see both.

          3. We need to understand that all older people are not alike. Calendar age or chronological age is a poor basis for grouping people. We are not automatically mature with more birthdays.

          4. The value, dignity and meaning of life must be kept uppermost in our minds. Matthew 16:26.

V. Comments about Memory.

          1. Memory can be used to bring joy and vitality to daily living.

                    A. A happy moment from your childhood.

                    B. A smell, sound or sight from long ago.

                    C. Food. Chores. Railroad. Weather. Pet.

                    D. Remember your "first" love.

          2. Memory can become harsh, critical, embittered, and our eyes are closed to the beauty around us.

                    A. Pain, hurts, losses.

                    B. Unresolved conflicts.

                    C. Broken promises, relationships, dreams.

          3. Spiritual memories are useful in keeping faith, hope and love alive in our hearts.

                    A. Sermons. Songs. Preachers. Elders.

                    B. Favorite verse. Favorite Bible story character.

                    C. Your baptism. Marriage.

                    D. Answered prayers. Providence of God.

                    E. Gratitude for those who have had an impression on your life.

VI. The Vantage Point for Vision.

          1. Older people have a vantage point from which they can see the present in the light of the past and at the same time fix their eyes on the future.

          2. A great vision increases hope that is essential to purposeful living and happiness.

          3. A great vision enables the beholder to share it with others, thus becoming a blessing to many people.

VII. How Old Are You?

          Why are we afraid to tell our age? Many are age-guarded and age-conscious. Children will tell you their age. The elderly will tell you their age. Somewhere between "I am five" and "I am ninety" we become silent about our age.

          1. Our youth-oriented society has decreed that youth is good and old age is bad. Our mind-picture of the typical "old person" is very discouraging.

          2. Many people are afraid of being unnecessarily and unfairly penalized for having lived a certain number of years. Preachers over 55 have three strikes against them finding a place to preach.

VIII. Changing Cultural Values.

          How can we change our cultural values? Can the status for older people be changed? Cultural values do change. The status of older people can change. Here is how:

          1. Begin with ourselves.

                    A. "Old" is a loaded word.

                    B. How do we measure age?

                              [1] Chronological=years lived

                              [2] Biological=functional ability

                              [3] Psychological=mental, emotional growth

                              [4] Sociological=social development

          2. View aging positively.

                    A. Don't ask, "Am I too old?"

                    B. Ask, "Am I old enough?"

                    C. Spiritually, are you as old as you should be?

          3. Face aging realistically.

                    A. Distinguish between fact and fiction.

                    B. Age should not be praised too much.

                    C. Old age ought not be valued too little.

          4. Accept aging as a normal, developmental process.

                    Stephen Vincent Benet

A stone's a stone

And a tree's a tree

But what the sense of aging me?

It's no improvement

That I can see.

          5. Make a conscious effort to grow old gracefully.

                    A. Reject the idea that old age is dismal, lonely.

                    B. Avoid the pitfalls of old age.

                    C. Pray that you will remain reasonably sweet.


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