Number Them

 

          “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” –ESV

 
“Teach us how short our lives  really are so that we may be wise.” –NLT

 “Oh! Teach us to live well!
      Teach us to live wisely and well!”– MSG 

Psalm 90:12, three different translations

Growing up we must learn different things.

We’re taught the alphabet, how to brush our teeth and use deodorant.  We need to be educated, or tutored into many different skills.  Our teachers direct and guide us, they provide for us an understanding of the skills we need to acquire.  As we advance through their instruction, we grow in proficiency.

The Psalmist comes to the realization that he needs to develop a particular skill.  He desperately wants to craft his life to be honorable and obedient.  He turns to God and seeks His aid.  The psalmist seeks a ‘teacher’ who will instruct him.

Our own lives are often chaotic and foolish. 

We live in a great deal of ignorance, strained relationships and bad decisions.  Most definitely we are ‘saved by faith,’ but the course of our lives can still be difficult. There is much to be learned in the spiritual world. We’ll make many mistakes.

The author of Psalm 90 doesn’t want to continue doing stupid things.  He has a need, and he is pretty adamant that God will help him.  Part of what he understands is that he needs to get ahold of the reality of the ‘shortness’ of his life. That’s a good start.

He must understand that he has a limited lifespan–an expiration date. 

He refuses the deception that life will just always continue unfolding.  He doesn’t buy it.  He counts on God to pace him, and to keep him from recklessly wasting his life.  He is asking for restraints. He must learn to say “no” and say “yes” to many things.

I encourage you to consciously make this step.  Be deliberate in this.  If we lack wisdom, we need to ask Him for it.  Apart from His presence, our lives grow increasingly irrational.  Living without restraints will lead us into more foolishness and despair. We must learn to say “no.”

“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

Ephesians 5:16, ESV

 

Mary Magdalene and Jesus

“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

16 “Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

John 20:15-16, NLT

 A word, a name– and when He speaks it, it crackles.  “Mary!”  His recognition and affection saturates His greeting.  And instantly Mary ignites.  Her love for Jesus breaches the chasm.  Her heart bounds to Him, and she can see no one else.  Simply, “Mary”, and her routine universe is changed forever.

The Lord does not see masses, or crowds.  He sees people, individuals that have names.  He simply doesn’t accept the idea of mass communications to make disciples.  His heart is for individuals.   He does not make styrofoam cups, He makes individual people. And that is exactly how He responds.

Her immediate response is just as forthcoming.  “Rabboni”.  The simple Hebrew word for “teacher”.  Obviously her relationship with Jesus has infused this word with much more then meets the eye.  As we trace her history with Jesus we develop a deep understanding into her psyche.And much more, her walk.

You might say that Mary was well acquainted with spiritual things– for her it was almost exclusively evil. Mark 16 tells us of seven demons that tormented her. Jesus had cast these dark powers out of her. She understood.

Just one word,’Teacher’.  The word has deep and strong connotations.  Primarily, it has the concept of someone superior and yet exercising that gift in a quality way.  Mary has been given a quite exceptional gift.  An opportunity to be a student who sits at Jesus’ feet.  She now knows God to be enfolded into flesh and blood.  She is perfectly aware of Jesus as human.  She makes her faith ‘jump” to deity level.  She believes He is much more then what is visible.

Her ‘turning’ to Jesus is remarkable, in that she is still not quite there yet.  However she turns to look at Him who now has risen out of death.  She already has evaluated all of this and she decides to ‘turn into the wind.’  She is now ‘ready to launch’.  Mary has arrived at the very place Jesus has intended.  She now launches, against the wind, and really because of the wind.

Jesus fully intends to make us disciples.  A significant step is simply to glorify Him who means so much.  Embracing Him as God is a serious and brave step.  Actually, it is a ‘reality shifting’ concept that will change us.  That does not mean we can stop struggling, or wrestling (or whatever we want).  But what it does mean is that certain things are now established.  We can now flow with Him who will take us to the true hope that waits for us in eternity. Will you trust Him that far?

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Grace That Teaches

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”

– Titus 2:11-12, NIV

The grace of God can be very obvious.  It is seen by all.  It is not sophisticated, and you don’t have to jump through any ‘hoops’.  Everyone can see it.  However, there are a couple of things that will block it.  The sins of ungodliness, and the passions of this world system.  These will short-circuit His grace– sort of like dumping a glass of water on your computer’s keyboard.

It is ‘grace that teaches’.  We learn and take our lessons from handling God’s grace in our own lives.  We receive our education from that grace, it tutors us and we grow in understanding as we understand His love for us. Grace comes, and we receive our lessons, and take notes.  We begin to understand others, and get a handle on life and all its imponderables.

Grace educates, but legalism never does.  The Law has absolutely no ability to educate our hearts and minds.  But God’s untiring mercy explodes on us, and we begin to download all that He offers.  Learning grace expands us, and we develop abilities that we never dreamed of.  We start to do things that amaze us.

One of the most amazing things is that we learn to say, ‘No!’  This is perhaps the ultimate ability–to just say no.  Saying ‘no’ means we will not step in that particular direction.  We won’t travel down that road.  ‘No!’ is in a sense is saying, ‘Yes!’ to what God wants.  Learning to do that is what we are doing here.

Grace is so gentle, and she is a perfect teacher.  She teaches me to be merciful and forgiving.  All that she has, she imparts to me.  When I receive from grace myself, I become gentle and joyful and kind.  When I receive from grace, I become a much more fulfilled Christian.

There are things that work contrary to this.  Ungodliness and the lusts made by this world’s system.  The dynamic of grace somehow gets “turned-off” when we get diverted into these sins.  And this happens all the time, it seems.  But developing a self-controlled, upright and a godly life will give us a deep and eternal perspective.

We are not created for living in a garbage dump.  We are royalty–we are meant to rule and reign, as Kings and Queens.  We have been made ready by Grace for this place.

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