Summary: Joshua, Pt. 6


Three old ladies are sitting in a diner, chatting about various things. One lady says, “You know, I’m getting really forgetful. This morning, I was standing at the top of the stairs, and I couldn’t remember whether I had just come up or was about to go down.”

The second lady says, “You think that’s bad? The other day, I was sitting on the edge of my bed, and I couldn’t remember whether I was going to bed or had just woken up!”

The third lady smiles smugly. “Well, my memory’s just as good as it’s always been, knock on wood.” She raps the table. Then, with a startled look on her face, she asks, “Who’s there?”

The eye-opening Time magazine article “How to Live to be 100,” (8/30/04) offers hope for the aging. Researchers have long asked why 30% of those who reach 100 have satisfactory mental and physical health. Dr. Thomas Perls, a geriatrician at Boston University, supplied the answer. He made this interesting observation on why as high as 90% of centenarians remain functionally independent up to age 92: “The advantage of living to 100 is not so much how you are at 100 but how you got there. I strongly believe that with some changes in health-related behavior, each of us can earn the right to have at least 25 years beyond the age of 60 – years of healthy life at good function. The bad news is that it requires work and willpower.”

Swedish scientists made a breakthrough in 1998 in analyzing why one of the siblings from twin siblings lives longer than the other. They concluded that only about 20-30% of how long people live is genetically determined, but the dominant factor is lifestyle, not genes. Dr. Bradley Wilcox, of the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu, said, “You could have Mercedes-Benz genes, but if you never change the oil, you are not going to last as long as a Ford Escort that you take good care of.”

How are you going to live your life if you are 95? What type of attitude would help you whether you are 85 or 75? One of the most admirable aged men in the Bible was old in age but young at heart. After Israel had completed the conquest and division of the land, an 85-year old Caleb approached Joshua for a share of the land. He asked for it with spunk and backed it up with action. Most of all, Caleb was a man who committed himself without reservation to follow the Lord. The word determination comes to mind when Caleb is mentioned. He was determined to do what was right, determined to enjoy the challenges of life and determined to complete his mission on earth.

Previous Participation Can Inspire Present Pursuits

6 Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. (Josh 14:6-8)

A team at the University of Toronto’s Rotman Research Institute used brain imaging to analyze the relationship between higher education and mental powers in older people. To investigate the relationship between education and brain activity among the elderly, the researchers conducted memory tests using a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, which records the changes in blood flow associated with mental activity. They tested 14 people between 18 and 30 years old who had between 11 and 20 years of formal schooling and 19 people over 65 who had between eight and 21 years of education. The scientists correlated brain activity to each volunteer’s age and education level.

After the investigation, the team announced their findings and concluded that higher education may protect older people from faltering mental powers by building up alternate neural networks absent in less-educated people. Elderly volunteers who had a higher education not only performed better on a series of memory tests than their less-educated peers but also used different parts of their brains, the study showed. The better-schooled volunteers were able to work around the memory problems common among the aged by drawing on mental reserves.

“We found that the older adults who were more educated tend to recruit these frontal areas of the brain,” said lead researcher Mellanie Springer at the Rotman Institute. The elderly who had been less educated did not have such extra neural capability, nor did the younger educated volunteers, Springer said. The young brains had not yet developed the need to draw on such neural reserves (Los Angeles Times, 3/14/05 “College May Buff Up Aging Brains”).

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