Number My Days

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalms 90:12

Jim Elliot was one of six missionaries killed many years ago by the Auca Indians in South America.  He was not even thirty when he died.  Many would say that his was a wasted life, but there is certainly another way of looking at his life story. Elisabeth Elliot, his wife, included this excerpt from his journal in a book she wrote about Jim’s life: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot was a man who numbered his days and used the time he had to serve God. Jim Elliot was no fool.

We tend to rush through our  lives at such a fast pace. And we sometimes forget to ask whether our priorities for life match our priorities for the day. When it comes to the things that matter most, do we tend to say,  like Scarlet O’Hara in the movie Gone With the Wind, ” I’ll worry about it tomorrow.” ” I’ll spend time with my mate and family, start exercising, start eating healthy, become more active in the church later. Right now, I’m too busy just getting through the day.”

Let’s determine today to number our days-to remember that our time is limited and let’s make our minutes, our hours and our days count for the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth. Yes, we willget sidetracked and blown off course sometimes. But if we wake up every morning and dedicate that day to the Lord,  He will help us. We’re not ready to live until we’re ready to die. Are you ready to die?

Prayer: Lord, please help me  to live today as if I were going to die tomorrow.


Family Traditions

…Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation.

Exodus 34:7

In therapy, we call them family traditions.  They are the negative thought processes and behavior patterns that are passed on from generation to generation. Often, we end up passing on to our children the very messages we hate the most in our own lives.

Laureen was in her middle thirties when I first  saw her. Anger overflowed as she told me how her mother had blamed her for everything bad that had happened in her life. Laureen’s mother was pregnant when she married Laureen’s father. Somehow that became Laureen’s fault. Her mother smoked a pack of cigarettes everyday and eventually got emphysema-and she smoked, she said, because Laureen made her nervous. What a burden for a little girl to bear.

Laureen married and moved far away from her mother, but she could never move away from that voice inside of her that kept yelling, “It’s all your fault!” When Laureen’s children were born, she passed that message of blame along to them both verbally and nonverbally.  By the time I started seeing Laureen, a third generationwas already struggling with the psychological fallout of blame passed from mother to daughter to child. Only with God’s help could Laureen ever have a chance of breaking the “family traditions” that had been so woven into her life.

Thought:  What family traditions are you ready to end today?