Thursday, April 19, 2007

Have You Ever Numbered Your Days?

I'm going through a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss titled A 30-Day Walk With God in the Psalms. I'd like to take a minute to just say that I don't always tend to enjoy workbook-style studies all that well, but this one has been amazing so far! For the last few days, I've been focusing on Psalm 90. One of the key verses is v.12, which reads:

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

One of the application exercises in my study goes like this:

  • Calculate approximately how many days you have already lived.
  • If God gives you a lifespan of 70 years (25,550 days), how many days do you have left on earth?
  • How do you want to live those remaining days?

My answers:

  • I've already lived approximately 10,410 days.
  • I would have approximately 15,140 days remaining if I lived to age 70. Okay, first of all, have you ever numbered your days before? This is pretty crazy! These numbers are not all that far apart from one another. I know I'm 28, but I guess this is much closer to mid-life than I realized. Someone could look at this and say, "Oh, wow! I still have 15,000 days left!" But when you think about how fast the first part of your life has gone by and realize that the last part will probably move even faster, this can be a bit sobering. I'm imagining that, for many, this type of exercise is a major reality check.
  • Wow! How do I want to live my remaining days? Is there any way to answer this question without being totally predictable? (And is it necessarily bad to be predictable if you're a believer and really should have the same answer as everyone else who loves the LORD?) I want to live intentionally for the LORD, daily glorifying Him in thought, word, and deed. What does this mean? It means being a servant... in my home, in my church, in my community. It means being filled with the Word so that my mind is continually focused on eternal things. It means sitting under sound teaching and mentorship that will help me grow. It means caring for the things that the Lord has so graciously given me: a godly husband, two amazing kids, my home, my body. Ultimately, I desire to live my remaining days in such a way as to hear from the LORD, "Well done, my good and faithful servant," and to leave a heritage of godliness behind me so that, Lord willing, my children and many others will hear the same thing one day.

A scripture reference for further meditation is provided at the end of each study in this book, and they are always so good. Today's passage is 2 Peter 3:8-13. I think verses 14 and 18 should also be included in this meditation, so I'm printing the whole thing here in the English Standard Version:

"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day
is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to
fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not
wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the
day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with
a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth
and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people
ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening
the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire
and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to
his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which
righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these things, be diligent
to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace....

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

So, on that note, how many days do you have left (if you live to 70)? And how do you want to live them?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Best 10 Cents I've Ever Spent

So the other day, I went to the grocery store. When I returned, I came in with a load of bags.

Ladan (semi-shouting): "Look, it's a really special present!"

Chet: "It's a bunch of groceries."

Me: "Yep, groceries. But I did get you a present." I pull a banana out of the bag and take it to Ladan. "Look, it's a banana."

Ladan gets down from the couch, throws his hands in the air as he begins to jump up and down, screaming, "LOOK! IT'S A BANANANA! (Yes, there are four syllables in this word.) IT'S A REALLY BIG BANANANA! OPEN IT! OPEN IT! LOOK, DADDY, IT'S A BIG BANANANA! THANK YOU, MOMMY! THANK YOU, MOMMY!"

If you've ever spent $.10 and had a more exciting result, please let me know!

Other fun things:
  • Ladan has started memorizing Psalm 118:24, which reads, "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." We've been singing the song together in echo fashion for a week now, and he does such a great job. We have to get it on video, because he actually sings a bit of harmony each time, and it's really good.
  • Chet only has a few more weeks of class in this semester. He has some crazy amount of stuff to do, but he's really cranking it out. He's getting things done in a jiffy.
  • Ladan is potty training, which is going fairly well. However, I'm really tired. It will be worth it in the end.
  • We had a great time playing with the Murray girls tonight. Ladan could join their family and have the best time ever!!!! And Gabe would have the time of his life too! And, I must admit, that hanging out with four very fun girls provides a great deal of satisfaction for me too! :)
  • I officially have a photo of Gabe hanging in our house! We had his 6-month photos taken, and I was able to get one of Ladan and Gabe together framed, and it's on the wall already! The great thing about it is that I love the photo, frame, matting, and the price I paid at Hobby Lobby to put it all together.
  • I wore sandals again today, and my feet didn't freeze! Could it be that spring is officially here?!
  • I just realized that if I pick all the crumbs up off the floors of our vehicles (which haven't been vacuumed since July 2005), I might be able to fill an entire ziploc bag and re-use them the next time I need bread crumbs for a recipe. Totally kidding! Actually, the exciting part is that I am actually going to get this mess cleaned up in the next few weeks. I can hardly wait! We finally have access to outdoor outlets so we can vacuum our vehicles ourselves, and I'm not pregnant, so I'll be able to physically maneuver in such a way as to effectively extract all the nasty pieces of junk from our vehicles.

And, finally, I've really been enjoying Psalm 73 lately (printed here in the English Standard Version):
Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
10 Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
11 And they say, "How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?"
12 Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15 If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
16 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,

17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself,
you despise them as phantoms.
21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

What is this teaching me? When my focus is on the LORD, nothing else will be more important or more desirable to me. He WILL fulfill ALL His promises! He is gracious and helps me redirect my attention to what really matters--even when I am like a beast to Him. What an amazing God! Worthy of our praise and worthy of all glory! May He also be the strength of YOUR heart and YOUR portion FOREVER!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Think Before You Speak

I have to tell you all about a situation that had us cracking up here in our house last night. Chet's mom (Glenna) and sister (Megan) were here in town (they left this morning), and we were outside in the back yard playing and having a picnic. Glenna was holding Gabe, and I suggested that Chet take a photo of her because it was a cute pose. She said that she didn't think she looked very good at the moment and wanted to wait to take the picture. So here's what I said back...

"Well, if we wait until YOU look good, we'll never get a picture."

What??!!!! Can you believe I said that? What I meant was, "The boys are happy now, and they might not be ready for a photo whenever you feel like you're presentable for a photo. You look great, so let's just go for it now." But it DID NOT come out like that! Thankfully, she was gracious and was able to laugh with me about my blunder! I mean, really, did I THINK that would sound good?! I've been laughing about it ever since I said it.

I haven't written in a while, so I'll give a quick update.
  • We had a fabulous time visiting my brother, Amber, and Titus in Texas a couple of weeks ago. I'll have to get some photos together to send out. Amber took some really great ones, so I'm going to have a hard time choosing.
  • Ladan is not yet potty trained, but he's talking about it more. The problem is that he's a bit stubborn and tends to hold it for about 10-12 hours until he gets a diaper on again before bed. So I removed his guard rail the other day (so it's easier for me to change his sheets in the middle of the night if necessary), and this week, I'm going to start sending him to bed without the diaper. He'll wet himself a couple of times, and hopefully he'll at least realize that he has no other choice except to go in the potty during the day.
  • Gabe now has two teeth, eats cereal and fruit, and rolls and scoots all over the place. He is such a happy kid! He's still got some chub on him, but he's getting long and lean like his brother. He's already down to the 25th percentile for his weight, but his height is hanging in there at about the 60-75th percentile.
  • I got a summer job at Old Navy, and I am super excited! I was trying to think of ways I could develop relationships with people who may or may not know the Lord (ideally, this group will include some college students), and I can't afford to go to Starbucks at the same time every week to hang out with the baristas and customers. It's all too easy to get stuck in a bubble when you're in seminary, and now that Gabe can be independent of me for longer, I thought this was a good way. I decided this was a great way to accomplish the goals of branching out and earning some money at the same time. Plus, we buy more than half of our clothes at Old Navy, so the discount will be very helpful as well.
  • Chet and I saw Amazing Grace on our last date night, and it was SENSATIONAL! Every person should see it.

Chet just let me know that it's time for him to head off to class, so I'll finish more later.