Teach Us to Number Our Days

I will admit, I’ve struggled some this 4th of July weekend. Not externally. On the surface, I probably seemed pretty normal, pretty involved, pretty loving. Not “struggled” really so much with being on the cusp of having a new baby or when the kiddos get into an argument. Life has been calm, serene. I just came off an insanely hard week at the office, trying to get month close done before I jet off to take care of my family while my wife is on bed rest after Sophie arrives. I’ve tried winding down, but something in my spirit is just “going, going, going.” I’ve tried resting in God, but my flesh is stubborn, willful.

Do you know what I mean, that in your mind and heart you really want to do something, you want to enjoy the moment, but there is a switch in the “on” position in your flesh and you just can’t do it?

It’s been hard to rest. Hard to take my sabbath. Hard to just have the sigh  in my soul and collapse into my Lover’s arms, letting his embrace fill me with joy. Sometimes I’ve been on edge, sometimes I’ve been a touch grumpy. It’s not me. It’s not who I am or want to be. Deep within my heart I want to be different. And I realized it last night at 10pm and decided, “I’m resting tomorrow. I’m going to be so much more patient. I want to be like my Father.”

And so I did. I got woken up by the shrill cry of my little man, “PANCAKES!!!” Signaling breakfast was ready. I turned over, half asleep and snuggled with my little princess who had sneaked into our bed sometime overnight. I woke up physically and woke up spiritually. I put my arms around my wife and snuggled with bride, the Bringer of the Pancakes, in the kitchen. And as I stared down at my breakfast, I felt God nudge me with this verse,

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

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My sisters and brothers, I know we all struggle with our flesh. We all struggle with our bodies and our minds, people in our lives. But I want to turn to thankfulness. Like my heart just opens and love rushes out when I type these words. Thankfulness. Some of us have so much, some of us have so little. But the fact that I had breakfast today, a comfortable, yummy breakfast made by my loving wife is a dream to some people, to the lonely and broken. And the starving! Let’s be thankful, giving up the rotting of our flesh’s selfishness and just be thankful to Jesus

…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – Ephesians 5:18-20

Thanksgiving, thankfulness. Like that warm snuggly feeling I get when it’s autumn, right before Thanksgiving, and we are “bringing in the harvest,” letting pumpkin pies cool on the kitchen counter and the smell of a mug of black coffee. When it’s cold outside, but it’s oh so warm and loving inside by the fire. I’m evoking imagery here of a cold Thanksgiving Day, but the imagery applies so well to our spiritual lives. It is so cold outside, spriritually. There are many lost out in the snow waiting to succumb to the loneliness and the shame and pain of the past. There are our own sisters and brothers out there who have been deeply hurt wandering around in the fields and the forests, waiting to be taken in to love. Maybe we can’t all be around the breakfast table at our Father’s House right now, but I just want to say through these words: as a child of God you have a loving family, with a Father who lavishes love on you and a Beloved in Jesus who longs to be with you every day.

Or as Ann Voskamp put it in One Thousand Gifts on thankfulness while staring at Rembrandt during a trip to Paris in the Louvre,

I could bless very God. Not take anything. Not ask anything, demand anything, petition anything. I could simply give something to God…God, He has blessed-caressed. I could bless God-caress with thanks. It’s our making love. I embrace God in the moment. I give Him thanks and I bless God and we meet and couldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin.

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If we want to live life to the fullest, we have to let ourselves dissolve in Christ. He is our Life. Let it go. Let yourself go and just sink into Jesus, his warm sea of love, permeating our very bodies that are his temple. He is crazy about you, madly in love with you. Let that fill you up, let that permeate our minds, and give up the grab on the daily life, and just bless him with thanksgiving. He is so good, soooo good. He loves us so much.

We have four kiddos that we sponsor through Compassion, 1 girl in Honduras (where I went on mission and will have to write about on here one day!) and 3 boys in Kenya. So I usually like to keep tabs on the news in Kenya. This morning my wife blurted out as I was walking through the house, “What happened in Kenya?!” I rushed to my phone and googled it (because our western media takes an update over the latest Hollywood star’s trip to the beach over over a terrorist attack that occurred in a small country in Africa any day) and Al Shabaab had opened fire on a bus in Mandera, Kenya (nowhere near our boys) this past week and we hadn’t heard about it until today. Horrible. If we don’t refocus our gaze, off ourselves, we miss the atrocities going on all around, we miss opportunities to pray for the hurt, for the lost, for those in pain and suffering. I pray over Kenya today, for healing, for justice, for the country to be known as a land where God’s name is held above all other names. I pray protection over our boys and everyone else’s children in Kenya. Because some of those people’s days are over, some are not home with God, some never knew Jesus and never will, some did not have eternal life.

So God, teach us to number our days. Teach us to number them with thankfulness. Teach us to let go of ourselves, letting ourselves melt under the passionate fiery gaze of your eyes. Teach us to love others with wild abandon and never let opportunities to share ourselves, our words and our prayers with others go unattended.

God bless you my sisters and brothers of God. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

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16 thoughts on “Teach Us to Number Our Days

      1. Just woke up to a day with a howling wind and a terrible cold front moving in, we have to venture out to see if we cane scrape out a living. People have this romantic idea of living in faith. Someone let us down and we now have to fight to fend off eviction. So many people talk about faith but really very few ever had it. Last night, we made stuff to sell today, went to bed after 1AM and here we are up at 6AM already. Yesterday’s coffee and ship tour was our entire 29th wedding anniversary ‘celebration.’ We are fortunate as their are other missionaries who have it worse, who live, as we did until not too long ago, outside or in very dangerous shelters. Other Christians act like the Pope when he passes by; sprinkling holy water as if it will fill empty stomachs or buy a jersey for the cold. There are a few million very devoted missionaries who give everything but only ever receive scraps. The Bible teaches us that charity begins at home, within the House of God. I do not see that. I am disabled myself and cannot even earn even if I wanted to. I did not mean to write this but the words started flowing and it seems as if I cannot stop. My friends in ministry are aware of our plight but hop from one restaurant to the next, spend more money per meal for one person than my wife and I have food for a week. My Messianic friends blocked and unfriended me because of us not keeping the Sabbath – but we counsel people in need and thay also have no Sabbath. Their emotional and spiritual needs are immediate and I am used to be on call day and night. I have raised fourteen American teens at night when others here were sleeping, on a small Nokia 2670 phone! Using the internet, giving counsel and comfort, giving them hope, discovering their gifts and talents, fostering that. Preventing them from cutting themselves. Led a few to accept Jesus, the others were reborn already. A Christian connived me out of a beautiful paid-for Mercedes-Benz with very low mileage in 2001; we are still walking in all sorts of weather. Not having a car restricts our movements and limits who we can reach and also who we can sell my wife’s beautiful hand-made jewellery to. I have asked so many times that someone in the USA adopt us a missionary project and register a call on gofundme.com but just nobody hears. I sit here crying because I have the best wife in the world and all she has is extreme hardship. Today, she has to walk from door to door and sell her stuff at a tenth of the retail value, just to make a sale. We don’t have gofundme.com in my country. Someone from USA said “I pray that Jesus will provide.” The thing is that He did! But that money sits in someone else’s bank account and never reaches us. It grows in 11k’s and mutual funds, it travels abroad for leisure. The dollar Jesus provided for us is a fornicatious little rascal that goes on walkabout, it is a stray, a prodigal dollar.

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      2. Pete, I am speechless at your words. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know you in person, but your words are the words of a man who is dedicated to God’s Kingdom and a man who fiercely loves his wife. I humble myself at your story, brother. From a brother in God on the other side of the world, I want to say something that can help. I know God is with you and I pray that he is in all things. I don’t know what Jesus’ plan is in letting this happen to you, letting you walk through the pain of watching other brothers and sisters pass you by and not love on you and help you and seeing your wife work so hard and have to sell her product for such a little harvest in cash.

        There was another situation that I encountered. I saw a family pulled over on the side of a country road last week. The mother was holding a sign that said, “Please help, hungry.” The father was holding his 2 year old daughter. I made a u turn right then and there and bought groceries for them and pulled over and the first thing that the father said to me, after I said, “Can I help you?” was, “Yes brother. God be praised! In blessings and when he takes away, God be praised brother!” I’ve never been there Pete, I’ve been on the other side. But I got to pray over that man and his family. I got to help him, right there, right then, there wasn’t anyway that child was going without food or water. His name was Robert. And I know I will see Robert and his family in the richness of the Kingdom one day. Where his treasure is stored up where there is no rust or thief or moth. I just pray, from the other side of the world, through a computer screen, the same for you Pete and your family. The same prayer for Robert and his family.

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      3. Sorry I spilled my guts here so badly but we have been left destitute for too long. It is not for laziness our side or for lack of trying. Just this morning, a pastor wanting me to come and train his missionaries and help organise outreaches, for the second time did not pitch. The end result is that we had a really crappy anniversary, my wife cried herself to sleep even before 7PM and I am here typing my heart out to rid myself of the frustration. I really do appreciate every honest prayer as that turns wheels. But if someone in the USA can take the bait as requested, I have excellent reliable references available. Here is what I just posted. https://petehendriksson.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/inconsistent-pastors-sabotage-missionaries/ Back on prayer: read Nehemiah chapter 1.

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      4. Aw brother, I’m sorry. That’s awful. I’m sure you wanted it to be a special time with your wife…I can just imagine. And you are fine, you can feel free to pour out on my blog anytime. I think we are all in this together, and if we can at least listen and love through listening on here and give encouragement, then I think we have succeeded in being one as the Bride and in his Spirit. So please feel free to data dump on here and I will do my best to listen. I’ll read your post and Pete, it sounds to me you have good reason to feel frustrated.

        Have you talked with God about this? Has he given you guidance on why he’s allowing you and her to walk through this right now?

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      5. All I get from God is promises, also one example after the other from Scripture of how fellow brethren provided. This has been a constant theme for two decades with little to show. One scripture after the other says the same.

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      6. I’m not sure what to say. I know he is faithful and true. I believe that. Other than our conversation on here, I don’t know enough of your story or situation to give an in depth and honest opinion. And I feel like I am stepping on ground I shouldn’t be stepping on when talking with someone who has done so much for the Kingdom. But here’s a couple items which applies to everyone, regardless of how much we have or haven’t done for God and how much we have or haven’t suffered:
        1) Why is Jesus doing or allowing what is going on/has been going on? Every child of God can ask this question. Why? So in the case of promises, why would God allow promises in his Word to be made, but then not fulfill them? Are there maybe some heart issues standing in the way? Is there unrepented sin in the way? Is there trust issues in Christ?
        2) Are there lessons that God wants to teach me through the issues I have been going through? If I have been holding out on something specific in the Word but God has withheld the blessing, are there heart issues that God is trying to get at with the withholding of blessing or the allowance of pain? Have I made idols somewhere in the mess of the hope of promises that need to be addressed before I can be given what the Father wants to bless me with?

        These are a couple general questions any believer can ask of themselves, regardless of spiritual age or service to the Kingdom. Like I said, I don’t know you Pete in real life so I can’t answer any of these questions for you or give you any insight, I’m just trying to provide a couple tools in our spiritual self-diagnostic toolkit to see if maybe the issue not on God’s side by on the human side.

        Just a thought!

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      7. If you look at one of my older posts….I lusted 25 years ago for unequalled wisdom, faith, patience. Some of the answer lies in that.

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      8. Private and typing is hard, mentally drained, then eyesight is bad. Got new glasses from govt health after a ten year struggle but cannot read with them. The other pair come from 1994. Not good any more.

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  1. Beautiful post! Im encouraged to rest in his arms. “Come unto me and I will give you rest.” Giving thanks in all circumstances. I’m so thankful that God never gives up on me. This was my thankful prayer this morning.

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  2. I know that restlessness preventing the serenity of a Sabbath. Usually, mine stems from not getting what I want (like closure, or something I want to do I can’t). It isn’t always selfish, but often enough that I save time checking that first. But you are so right, the answer is thankfulness. When I begin to praise my Master, thanking Him for His provision and grace, then the distractions of what I don’t have or can’t do fade. Then the serenity He intends me to have on His Sabbath soaks into my whole being. Thankfulness, thank you for the entry!

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    1. Lack of closure can be a big one for me. Especially during month end close or a project around the house that is unfinished. Thankfulness is a great way to retrain the focus back on God and away from my work.

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