Friday, September 18, 2009

Numbering our days...

I'm a little late posting a memory verse for the second half of September...pondering the subject of "time" lately, so I chose one I sort of already know - also because I feel a need to spend a couple of weeks reviewing and cementing a few earlier passages! So, here's the memory verse for the rest of the month:

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

I decided to break out a couple of words for closer inspection -
Number - as a verb - count, assess or estimate the quantity of something...
Aright - correctly, properly...
Gain - secure something desired, favorable, profitable; reach a desired destination...

I think we can all agree that "a heart of wisdom" is something desirable...something to be secured...a destination worth reaching. And attaining that has something to do with how we "number our days;" how we view, live in and respond to time itself.

I just finished up "When the Heart Waits" by Sue Monk Kidd and she concluded with a discussion of some "gifts of the soul" that come to those who've trusted in God as they wait. These gifts include delight, enjoying the gift of creation, God's nurturing heart, authenticity and compassion. Also numbered among the gifts was "attunement" - learning to be genuinely present in life, in the here and now, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. She writes:

"Time isn't a straight line along which we travel.
It's a deep dot in which we dwell."

In "numbering my days aright" I want to dwell deeply in the present - the gift of this day God has given - and make the most of every moment - every opportunity to drink in beauty and delight in God; to share love and compassion; to live authentically.

Teach me, Lord.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disturb Us, Lord...

I read this poem on the LPM blog a few minutes ago and wanted to pass it along.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
---Sir Francis Drake

Friday, September 4, 2009

Caught off guard by grace...

I'm reading a really good book, but it's taking me a long time to get through it. It's called "When the Heart Waits - Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions" by Sue Monk Kidd and it's one of those books where I have to read a little then think a lot. The book itself (as the title suggests) is about the lost spiritual art of waiting, so maybe my pace is appropriate.

I feel like the book is a tea bag and I'm a cup of hot water, and sometimes it just takes a while for the flavor to gain full strength and permeate my feeble mind and heart. (Sorry, I'm not that great at metaphors.)

Anyway, there were a few passages recently that have rolled around in my head and I thought I'd share them. One passage talks about being "caught off guard" by so many things about God...

"The immense, unreasonable love for us, the outrageous insistence that in the weak and broken there is divine Presence, the indomitable faith in us as children of hope, to mention a few. But most of all, I'm caught off guard by God's grace-fulness, by a grace-ful universe, by the grace of the ordinary. We've underestimated the presence of grace among us. We've built up a callus over it with our cynicism and the religious certainties that render us incapable of being surprised. If we are to wait, we must relearn the extravagance of grace."
She also quotes Eugene Peterson (author, Presbyterian minister and translator of The Message) in talking about the motivation behind "waiting prayer":

"The assumption of spirituality is that always God is doing something before I know it. So the task is not to get God to do something I think needs to be done, but to become aware of what God is doing so that I can respond to it and participate and take delight in it."
And in contemplating the posture of Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, she writes:

"What has happened to the experience of sacred adoration, of sitting and delighting in God's presence in the fiery place of the heart? God created us in order to share the delight of being alive with us, in order to love us and taste our love, to delight in us and enjoy our delight. God wants our hearts..."


Wednesday, September 2, 2009


It's September...and it actually feels like fall (my favorite season!). As I was thinking about a memory verse for the first two weeks of September, I kept coming back to Psalm 37:3-4. God kept bringing it before me, in a variety of ways, and last night it was the passage chosen for the sermon at the back-to-school rally I chaperoned. (Okay, I get it! You don't have to hit me over the head - well, sometimes He does.)
So here it is:

Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:3-4

I'm doing my memory work in the New International Version, but I loved a couple of other translations of these verses. For example, the English Standard Version says, "dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness." Befriend faithfulness. Hmmm.

And the New King James Version says "dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness." Consume it, take it in, savor it.

And here's the passage in the Amplified Bible:

"Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart."

I plan to focus on delighting in the Lord in the coming days. I want to take my greatest pleasure in Him - His creation, His Word, His children -- all that He is, not just what He does for me.

Delight yourself in the Lord...