On the Occasion of My Thirty-First Birthday

03102012peachblossom02-002As I opened my journal this morning for Bible study and prayer, I quietly mused, “This past year seems like such a blur.” Though so many days stretched out into a week’s worth of activity, when the days are all piled up on top of one another in my little purse calendar, the year seems as though it passed by in a month.

I remember listening to grown ups bemoan how quickly the years pass when I was a child. “Life goes faster the older you get,” they always said.

They were right.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because speeding time means that my life is moving ever forward toward Home.

Yes, I ponder my inevitable death and entrance into Glory on my 31st birthday. No one should be surprised!

Two days ago, I sat down, again with my journal for Bible study and prayer, and after studying Ezekiel 27, I penned my prayer, asking Abba about my Birthday Resolutions. For well over a decade now, I have sat down in the days leading up to my birthday and pondered and prayed over what intentions I needed to focus on during the upcoming year. True to form, I listed out to Abba this last Saturday all of the things I wanted to fix or improve or continue living out more consistently. I could feel deep down in my soul that the Spirit was quietly shaking His head at me, so I stopped myself and asked, “But what do You want?”

I have two favorite passages of Scripture: one from each Testament. The first, Psalm 27:4, sums up my heart’s deepest desire:

I have asked one thing from the Lord;
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord
and seeking Him in His temple.

The second passage comes from Colossians, and I have long shoved aside the idea of committing the somewhat lengthy passage to memory primarily because I so often like to slip back on my old lazy bones flesh instead of woman-ing up and walking as the new creation I am in Christ. Well, the time for my old lazy bones to rot in the grave for a good long while is here, primarily because Abba quite firmly told me Saturday morning, “Forget the birthday resolutions, Beloved. I don’t care about those this year. What I want is for You to memorize that passage from Colossians. One sentence at a time. And walk in it. If you will store up My Word in your heart and walk in My Word each day, all of those resolutions of yours will fall into place. Focus on Me, not yourself.”

Isn’t He smart?

So, there are no birthday resolutions for my 31st birthday, but there is a firmly rooted Word waiting to grow ever stronger and wider and taller over the next year:

3 So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient,and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. 11 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.

12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. 16 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

18 Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they won’t become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord.
23 Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong he has done, and there is no favoritism.
4 Masters, supply your slaves with what is right and fair, since you know that you too have a Master in heaven.

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it as I am required to speak. Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

 

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7 thoughts on “On the Occasion of My Thirty-First Birthday

  1. I think that’s a resolution in and of itself! I’ve been thinking a lot about memorizing Scripture, too. I’m not very disciplined about it (understatement), and I probably should be.

    • I memorized 3 psalms in 2011 (that I no longer remember in their entirety), and that was such a fruitful experience. I encourage you to do it! I found psalms to be relatively easy. I hope this lengthy passage from Colossians isn’t too daunting. Memorization is something I have always struggled with, even back in high school with the Julius Caesar speech.

      • I have a history of undertaking a memorization program and then quitting gradually without realizing it until it’s been weeks since I practiced. I did do well memorizing as a child, and I’m great with song lyrics, so there’s really no excuse. I’m just lazy, I guess! :\

          • Hmmm. Probably some sort of devastating catastrophe that sets us all back a couple hundred years, eliminating technological entertainment and forcing us to work for survival and leaving us with only our minds for diversion when it’s too dark to work outside. Or camping.

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