Your Cross, And Mine, Too . . .

Tall, dark,

Cross & Clouds

But not at all handsome;

Sturdy, wooden,

But not at all attractive;

It was heavy and rough;

No one had smoothed it with love.

There was no love at all

In that object on the hill.

It was painful to die there,

And humiliation was there in abundance.

At least,

That’s how the world saw it . . .

Crucifix

But You knew differently,

So You went there.

The specter of its pain

Hung over Your joyous cradle.

No one else saw it follow You,

But You did, all Your life.

A secret burden, a private pain;

No one understood when You shared it.

Why should they?

Things were going so well.

It was there when You rode into Jerusalem,

But You went anyway.

You really didn’t want to go;

You sweat blood in agony of soul.

But You knew it had to be done,

So You went anyway.

You went and died,

To give me new life.

Tall, dark,

see filename

But not at all handsome;

Sturdy, wooden,

But not at all attractive;

It was heavy and rough;

No one had smoothed it with love.

There was no love at all

In that object on the hill.

No love at all in the Cross,

Until You came.

A Cross of Sacrifice (also known as a War Cros...

Now, I have to get on mine,

Just like You did.

Crucifying daily my desires and will,

So that Your plans may be accomplished.

Just like You,

I have the option of saying, “No!

I could,

But we both know where that will get me.

I’m afraid of it,

Because I know it will cost me;

It will cost me in pain inside,

And maybe outside, too.

It hurts to die;

But You know that, You did it.

I don’t want to die; not to myself, not to anyone;

I hate pain, inner and outer.

But if You did, I can,

With You helping me.

Because if I don’t, I’ll never fully know Your love,

And that would kill me.

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To Number My Days – Poetry

Though we think it long,

Clocks!

Life is really brief,

Whether it be bitter or sweet.

Then after our lives,

An eternity we’ll live

And our blessed Creator we’ll meet.

The Passage of Time

Teach me, O God,

To number my days

As I walk before Your sight.

That from their brief span

I may learn to be wise;

Teach me to count them up right.

Time

I only have a short time

To live on this world

And tell others of You and Your ways.

Teach me, O God,

Not to put Your will off,

But to obey You as long as it’s “today.”

Slow Time in Wrist Watch on Dry Leaf

Help me, O God,

As I walk along,

To live in your grace and truth,

That I may become

Wise in Your ways,

And let You renew my strength to a youth’s.

Pocket watch, savonette-type. Italiano: Orolog...

I pray, O my God,

That should I fall,

You’d prompt me to quickly repent.

And I pray that You’ll help me

Turn others to You,

So it’s not straight to Hell that they’re sent.

Alternative version of image:Wooden hourglass ...

Life is too short

And time goes too fast

To waste any of my brief time.

Teach me, O Lord,

To number my days,

That I may more wisely spend mine.

English: Bible card, "Honor thy father an...

I repent, O Lord,

For the wasting of time

That I’ve been guilty in the past.

Teach me, I pray, been guilty in the past.

To better do Your will,

That before You my deeds will last.

English: A calendar like a clock

My life will soon end

And my work will be done,

And I’ll spend eternity with You.

Teach me, I ask,

To well count my days,

So I’ll never regret what I didn’t do.

Teach Me, O Lord

When the time is short

Before the end of my life

And my work is almost through,

Because I know You’ll have taught me

To count all my days,

I rejoice at an eternity to spend with You.

Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

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

“Our greatest fear shouldn’t be that we won’t succeed, but rather, that we’ll succeed at something that doesn’t matter!” (attributed to D. L. Moody)

To Number My Days – Essay

I recently saw a graphic a friend shared on Facebook. Here it is:

When I look at it, I think about Judy and I remember how she was when I first knew her.

We got to know each other in school. By “in school,” I mean middle school (we called it “Junior High”) and High School. We were young, knew it all and positive we were invincible. We were egotisticaly convinced, as most of us are in those years, we would live forever and never, ever become “old fogies” like our parents and grandparents! (Looking back on my younger self with my current wisdom, I think, “What a jerk I was sometimes!“)

Well, it’s been over 30 years since. In the intervening years, my classmates and I went our separate ways into college, marriage, children, careers and businesses. But in the last few years, through social networking sites like  Facebook, we’ve found one another, and we’re back in touch.

A strange thing happened in the meantime. I don’t remember it happening. I remember getting married, having and raising kids, being employed, owning businesses, seeing our daughter get married and start raising her own family, and all the other joys and challenges of my life up to now. But I never stopped to consider, except on birthdays, I was getting old. And my friends, too, as that graphic Judy shared so obviously pointed out to me. When in the heck did that happen?!?!?!?

We became what we as youthful Baby Boomers dreaded, the older generation. Not only are we over 30 (as in “Never trust anyone over 30.”), my classmates and I are heading for 60 faster than any of us care to think about or discuss. We, who used to so disdain our elders, are the old ones being disdained by the youth now. When in the heck did that happen?!?!?!? (One of my coworkers, who is our daughter’s age, when told of this revelation declared emphatically, “You’re not old!” Thanks, Rachael!)

In considering this revelation, only one conclusion came to my mind. I knew it, but in the rush and bustle of day to day living, I forgot. It’s an ancient truth, first penned by King David of Israel, when he said in,

Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

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

Our days are numbered. Our time is limited. As young people, we deny it in the invincibility that too often is youth. We continue to do so until life forces its truth upon us, often in painful and harsh ways. That happened for me when the first of my school friends died when we were in college, a victim of a tragic accident on icy roads.

We are finite. We don’t have forever to work with, to see our dreams come true. Despite the motivational saying and the song from the hit musical Annie, there isn’t always a tomorrow. We eventually run out of them. We cannot count on them always being there.

So, what are we going to do with the today we’re given? Old or young, rich or poor, we all have to face that question. Best selling author of  7 books, TEAM LIFE founder and award-winning blogger Chris Brady visits this thought with his favorite quote,

“Our greatest fear shouldn’t be that we won’t succeed, but rather, that we’ll succeed at something that doesn’t matter!” (attributed to D. L. Moody)

These things that matter are of lasting value. Yes, we build fortunes and businesses to will to our heirs. But this is still temporal, since they could squander it, if we do not also teach them financial wisdom. We also teach our children and grandchildren the values and morals we hold most dear. And we work to see a faith life grow into them, to keep them in hard times and give them an eternal perspective.

Let’s do as King David asked God to teach us, and number our days rightly. And then, let’s use them for things in our life that matter. If we look at life that way, and work with forever in mind, then getting older gets to be not so bad, after all.

Paradigm Shifting

You take the long view.

As for me, I only think I do.

You see the entire big picture.

I can’t even see one small corner of its frame,

though sometimes I think I do.

You know every consequence of every action

and every chain of events that will follow after.

I can’t even think beyond one or two of them

most of the time.

You planned humanity’s future

before even our First Parents had ever sinned.

Some days, I have trouble planning

what I’m serving my family for dinner.

You planned Israel’s deliverance from Egypt

many generations before any of them ever lived there.

I have to make lists in advance to organize what to pack

when I go away for a weekend.

You want me to see eternity.

I’m sitting in physical time and space.

You want me to understand and contemplate forever.

I live in the here and now.

You want me to live in Your Rhema, Kairos words and world.

I live in a Logos, Chronos time and place.

Like Nicodemus, to understand You, I must be born anew.

My paradigms must shift.

My vision must change.

Only then will I fully understand

how it is to live

as a fully spiritual being

in a wholly physical existence.

(Written after a sermon on John 2:23 – 3:15.)