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What I Am Going To Do With The
Next Sixty Years of My Life
September 20, 1999. Today I reached the ripe old age of sixty. Wow, where did all those years go. Seems like a short time ago, I was graduating from High School in Vincennes, Indiana, and getting ready to enter the U.S. Air Force in September 1957.
What a ride I have been on in my life. Thirteen and a half years in the Air Force, trips to about thirty countries of the world, and a year in Vietnam in 1967. There have been several landmark days and times of my life, which impact me still today.
Let me give you the Reader’s Digest version.
September 20th, 1945-Received a small white Bible from my church in Washington, Indiana, for six years of perfect attendance at the local church. My Mom and Dad were very faithful, and started me off in the right direction.
October 1, 1950-Baptized at the local church in Indiana, and started my journey with the Lord Jesus Christ.
May 1957-Graduated from Lincoln High School, Vincennes, Indiana. Magna thankee lordy. I was not a very studious student, and did not really apply myself during school.
September 4, 1957-Entered the U.S. Air Force where I would spend the next 13 and a half years of my life. Grew up real fast in basic training.
April 30, 1960-After a wild and woolly two year party in Germany, doing all the wild things young military folks in an overseas situation are prone to do, I was attending a Youth for Christ rally, in Bitburg, Germany, sponsored by the Youth Ministry of the local base chaplain’s office. I had been invited there by my girlfriend, who I had met working in the hospital at Bitburg. She was a high school “Candy Striper” volunteer who assisted patients, and being only a little over a year out of high school myself, we started dating. She was raised by a godly Mom, who encouraged her to attend church and study her Bible. I had visited the local base chapel service several times, and was feeling very guilty, getting away from the roots that my parents taught me.
I had let partying with my military buddies drag me away from my relationship with the Lord. But God, in his infinite plan, had brought this young, godly teenager into my life, to share her faith, and live the Christian life in front of me. We had dated over a year, and she was very patient with me, and continued to expose me to other young folks at the Christian Servicemen’s Center at Bitburg, operated by the ministry of the Navigator organization.
I remember telling her I was very uncomfortable visiting that place, because it seemed that all those young military guys and gals had something that was glaringly missing in my life. Of course, it was my walk with the Lord, and my foray into the world of sin, that was so attractive to a young man away from home for the first time. Well, my feelings for this girl, overshadowed the feeling of insecurity that I had when I was around these “Christians” and I attended the meeting with her that night.
The young people from the military base chapel organized and conducted the meeting and my girl friend sang a song, “The Love of God”. The main message was delivered by her best friend followed by testimonies from several of the teens about how God was impacting their life.
At the end of the meeting, Chaplain Allman, asked if anyone wanted to become a Christian or rededicate their life to the Lord. I was the first one down the aisle of that old German building, many others followed me. We were really influenced by these young teenagers who so boldly declared their faith. I was counseled by some young military fellows, who opened up the Word of God to me, and confirmed my walk with the Lord. I remember saying to my girl friend later on that evening, that it felt as if a tremendous load had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt free for the first time in many years. I know that on that night so many years ago, I gave my heart to the Lord. Whether that was my “born again” experience or just a rededication of my earlier commitment to the Lord, I do not know. I only know that my life was never the same again.
And it so impacted me, that I married that girl in 1963, and we stayed married till 2004, when she filed for divorce. We have had a few rocky years like most folks, but God is indeed faithful and carries us through the hard times. We had a child on drugs for 25 years and it was one of the devastating things that triggered much anger in me and ruined my marriage. I failed in many other ways also, and she does not wish to reconcile.
Note on Mar 21, 2013- God has healed that relationship and we are still friends. God has taken us both through some medical problems, Dee with knee surgery and me with prostate cancer, and has softened both of our hearts. We both wish we had trusted God more when we were going through earlier trials, but I do not want bitterness to overtake our lives as it happens in so many failed marriages. we still have three children that we are tied together with through all eternity, and our goal is to get them all to heaven with us.
On a related note, I still had the small white Bible in my footlocker back at the base, so I dug it out and started reading it. It was one of those old Bibles that had gold leaves on the pages, and they were still stuck together. I remember sitting down and going through it page by page, and unsticking each page, so I would not be embarrassed if I opened it up at a meeting. I found out that God does not work through “osmosis”, and just having a Bible around does not change our lives. It does not soak into our hearts, minds and spirits if it is laying in our “footlocker”. As I began to read it and memorize it, it started changing my life, and guiding me in my walk with the Lord.
It was indeed my “owner’s manual”, and I searched it to find out how I should operate on this globe. I had that Bible since 1945, fifteen years, yet it did not have me. At that time in my life I only knew two verses from that book. One was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed on Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life” and Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord”. Well, that evening, I began a new relationship with some of those young military fellows, and they began to help me grow in the Lord. One of them handed me a small packet of memory verses, called the “Beginning with Christ” packet. It contained several verses; 1 John 5:11, 12; 1 John 1:9, John 16:24, and 1 Corinthians 10:13. These verses dealt with having assurance of your salvation, assurance of forgiveness, assurance of answered prayer, and assurance of victory.
After I memorized these verses, I received another packet with 8 small cards on them, and then after that, I memorized the Topical Memory System. At that time it contained 108 verse cards. That plan is still in existence, and I believe it is a very valuable tool for growing in the Christian life. It is available on line from the Navigator organization, or at your local Christian book store. Well, this was the most important day of my life, and all else that happened to me from that day on is reflected from my decision to make Jesus Lord of my life.
Charles Stanley, who also went through a devastating divorce, great TV Preacher from Atlanta, often talks of the H.A.L.T. principle. He explains that when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, we give an entrance to the devil, and he has his way with our thoughts and our actions. Yet, Charles Stanley has gone through storms in his own marriage. I am sure that Satan uses our families to destroy our effectiveness to minister to other folks.
The divorce rate in the United States is extremely high. I have heard as many as 50% of Americans over the age of fifty have been divorced. And what of the other folks who stay married and are miserable. Many stay together because of guilt or shame or for the sake of the children.
And yet, we are much like the Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan’s great classic. We are indeed headed to the Celestial City, which is all believer’s final destination. Yet, if you read that classic book, you will find out that your trips that take you off the main road are very frightening and perilous. Many make it back on the main road, and many do not. The remainder of this article will deal with my plans to finish the race, and finish it well.
I started radiation treatments in March 2013 and will have 43 treatments to eradicate the cancer. I will also take hormone shots for the next couple of years to shrink the cancer and take a PSA blood test every six months.
How will the race end in my life? Not soon I hope. My parents both lived well into their eighties, so if I take care of myself I should have many years left on this old earth. Barring an accident or a sudden illness, I plan on seeking God's will for my life.
We do reap what we sow in this life, and I have made many mistakes in my life. Can God heal those mistakes and put my life back together? Sure, God can do anything. So why do godly men and women end up failing in many areas of their life?
Because of sin. Sin destroys our relationship with God and does great harm in our relationship with others. In a marriage, it takes two people to make a relationship work. Marriage is a give and take, and needs to be developed by building a friendship with your spouse, that will carry you through the tough times in your life. Choices folks make in the early stages of their marriage will impact them for years to come.
I made many bad choices in the early years of my life. Working long hours and not spending quality time with people that I love, and not cultivating the relationships with friends and relatives. Scars in our lives made by bad decisions take a long time to heal. Even after healing takes place, the scars sometimes remain visible.
Many married couples decide to divorce, and their lives take on new dimensions with new challenges. Communication lines have to be maintained, and the husband needs to realize that the wife and children are not to be abandoned. Thousands of women and children in the world have been abandoned by selfish husbands and fathers, who have selfishly embarked on a new journey and forgotten their old responsibilities.
What a mess we make of our lives sometimes. The pain and hurt of fractured relationships will go with us to our grave. You cannot hide from sin. Billy Graham says on his worldwide telecasts, a familiar verse in almost every crusade. "Be sure your sin will find you out." Truer words were never spoken.
Yet with hundreds of thousands of people all over the world in this messy situation, only trust in the Almighty God can get you through it. My final chapter has not been written yet. If my life ends up as a failure, then I need to make sure that the Enemy does not take me out permanently. Satan's favorite weapon is discouragement and he delights in reminding us of our failures. But as I contemplate this in my life, I know that with the thousands of broken hearts in the world, God can still use me to help people.
There are no perfect people in the world. There are no perfect marriages. We are all on a journey to Eternity, and we cannot travel the road alone. The lone wolf will not make it. So I plan to surround myself with friends who I can honestly open up and share my hurts. Drawing into a shell of dejection and rejection is ridiculous.
As the old song goes, which many of us learned as children, "Get yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again."
Do not forget the promise in Hebrews 10:24,25 of being around other believers. Seek out a support group of friends that you meet with on a regular basis. Share your hurts and open up your heart. The kiss of death is to crawl into your shell of self pity, and drown in your sorrow. Drugs, alcohol and other crutches are only temporary pain killers. Only God can heal a broken heart.
I hope if your heart is broken today, that you will open up your Bible, and commit to read it and study it and memorize it on a regular basis. God is still on the throne, and he wants us to finish the race well. I hope that I can do that and you can too.
Amplifying on the title of this article. I plan over the next sixty years to confront the "Sidetracker", as I refer to our archenemy, the devil, by the only way I know how. I take my battle plans from Jesus himself, and his example. If you study Matthew 4 very carefully, you know that He defeated Satan head-on, by using the Word of God. Failure in our lives is amplified when we neglect the Word.
I believe that memorizing the Word of God is the most vital link to doing this. Of course application of the memorized word must also be emphasized. There are only two things that will last for eternity. The Word of God, and the souls of people. Anything else that we invest our lives in, is total stupidity. If you read 1 Corinthians chapter three, you will see that all of our works will be tried by fire. Only those eternal things we build into our lives will stand the test of the fire of God's final judgment.
I must set realistic and attainable goals for myself to do this. Any effort on my part to attack Satan in my own strength will fail. My responsibility lies in trusting Jesus to sustain me, and allowing Him to fight my battles. The battle against sin will rage in our lives till we die. The more involved we are in the battle, the more temptations we will face. Satan does not want me to be fruitful, but God has ordained in His word, that "we should go and bring forth fruit" Read John 15.
One of my great joys in heaven will be meeting people who have responded to the call of God in their lives, because of my testimony. Not the things I have built in the business world, or how much money I made, or how many fine things I have accumulated. Billy Graham has said many times, "I never saw a U-Haul behind a hearse!
So my resolve is to spend time in the Word of God every day. It is also to use my life and testimony to encourage others to do the same. My long term goal is to write a personal letter to everyone I know in the business community and my personal address book, and tell them about Jesus. I recently attended the funeral of a close friend, and many times as he lay dying, I wished I had talked with him before he got so sick. I was spurred on by the Lord, to contact the living folks that have crossed my path down through the years. This is a tremendous task, since I know several thousand people. I am making a list of those folks, and will begin working on sharing my faith with them, seeking God's direction in this. The discipleship process is long and lasts a lifetime. Bumps in the road, and even major disasters in our lives, can only be traversed as we Trust in God. He promises to walk with us "through the fire", (Isaiah 43:2) and we need to keep our eyes on Him. Jim Young will fail many times in his quest for maturity. God has provided the ultimate victory in Jesus Christ.
When I first wrote this in 1999, the internet was not even a factor in my life. Since then my main web site, (link below) has reached hundreds of thousands of people including close friends and business acquaintenances. Facebook has added to that neat idea on another way to reach the world for Jesus. I have over a thousand folks on my email list, and share my life on a daily and weekly basis with them. I sprinkle interesting things that are sent to me, and intersparse them with some of the things I have written about over the years. Reaching the world is still my goal, and I pray that I will continue to the end.
In closing, I looked in the back of the book (The Bible), and we won!