Let’s Put That In Perspective!

How long is your life? If you’re a man living in the United States on average your life is 689,412 hours. But how long is that really? 

Here’s some perspective—if you drew a timeline 50 feet long that represented all of Earth’s recorded history, your life would cover about the breadth of your hand. But that’s only recorded history—what about the eternity that existed before history started and the eternity that will continue after history ends? 

Twice in Psalm 39, David described our brief life like this: each man’s life is but a breath. 

So what do we do with our breath-long life? Fortunately for us, David gives us godly perspective in five areas. 

  1. Perspective on the weight of my words and my silence (vv. 1-3) 

David had a good start: I will keep my tongue from sin, but what happens when sinful words slip out? I would suggest we count those as a gift. Really?! Yes, because those “slips” make us aware of what’s really in our heart (see Matthew 15:19) so that we can confess them. 

David also suggests putting a muzzle on our mouths when we’re around certain people. In other words, don’t get into petty fights with people who aren’t going to receive the wisdom we may have to share with them. 

  1. Perspective on the use of my time (vv. 4-5)

Why do we procrastinate doing good things? Some of our simple cliches reflect this, like TGIF. Why wait until Friday to get happy? Why not say TGIT—thank God it’s today! Do something memorable today… do something life-altering today… do something for God today.

  1. Perspective on my possessions (v. 6) 

David reminds us that we work so hard to accumulate stuff “not knowing who will get it.” Jesus had another word for someone who only wanted to get stuff to make his life easier: fool (see Luke 12:16-21). Use stuff to serve others. 

  1. Perspective on forgiveness (vv. 7-11)

Why oh why, would we spend one minute longer than we have to with unconfessed, unforgiven sin? I blogged last week about the freedom that immediately comes when we receive forgiveness from our confessed sin. Let’s do this quickly! 

  1. Perspective on the purpose of my life (vv. 12-13)

If I only have a breath-long life, I want to make every moment count. I love what C.T. Studd wrote: “Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. … Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in Hell when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”

Here’s my prayer for all of us—Lord, help me to know how few days I have so I can live every one for Your glory. 

10 Quotes From “On This Day”

on-this-dayI love studying church history! Robert Morgan has given us a delightful resource in his book On This Day, in which he shares snippets from history which are still impacting us today. Please check out my review of On This Day by clicking here. Then enjoy some quotes and tidbits from this amazing work.

“If we don’t know our own history, we will simply have to endure all the same mistakes, sacrifices, and absurdities all over again.” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn

“How shall we labor with any effect to build up the church, if we have no thorough knowledge of her history? History is, and must ever continue to be, next to God’s Word, the richest foundation of wisdom, and the surest guide to all successful practical activity.” —Philip Schaff

“Here am I, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort on earth; send me even to death itself, if it be but in Thy service and to promote Thy kingdom.” —David Brainerd

“During his lifetime Charles Spurgeon preached to approximately 10,000,000 people. … Today there is more material written by Spurgeon than by any other Christian author of any generation. The collection of his Sunday sermons stands as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of the church.” —Robert Morgan

“What more glorious and blessed lot can fall to man by the grace of God, than to confess God the Lord amidst tortures and in the face of death itself; to confess Christ the Son of God with lacerated body and with a spirit departing, yet free; and to become fellow-sufferers with Christ. Though we have not yet shed our blood, we are ready to do so.” —Christians in Rome wrote from prison to Bishop Cyprian of Carthage

“After the war William Sangster headed Britain’s Methodist home missions department until he was diagnosed with progressive muscular atrophy. For three years he slowly died, becoming progressively more paralyzed, finally able to move only two fingers. But his attitude didn’t falter, for when first learning of his illness, Sangster made four rules for himself. Many people have rules for living. Sangster composed four rules for dying: ‘I will never complain. I will keep the home bright. I will count my blessings. I will try to turn it to gain.’ He did all those things. And thus the work of God was displayed in his life, and God’s strength was made perfect in his weakness.” —Robert Morgan

“If the veil of the world’s machinery were lifted off, how much we could find is done in answer to the prayers of God’s children.” —Robert Murray McCheyne

“I went to Africa as prejudiced against religion as the worst infidel in London. But I saw this solitary old man there, and I asked myself, ‘What is it that inspires him?’ For months I found myself listening to him, wondering at the old man carrying out the words, ‘leave all and follow Me.’ Little by little, seeing his piety, gentleness, zeal, and how he went quietly about his business, I was converted by him.” —Henry Stanley writing about Dr. David Livingston

“I am greatly a debtor to God, Who has bestowed His grace so largely upon me, that multitudes were born again to God through me. The Irish, who had never had the knowledge of God and worshipped only idols and unclean things, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called sons of God.” —St. Patrick, in his Confessions

“I cannot tell you what joy it gave me to bring the first soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have tasted almost all the pleasures this world can give. Those pleasures were as nothing compared to the joy that the saving of that one soul gave me.” —C.T. Studd

These quotes are just a few of the powerful stories throughout this book. Stay tuned for more!

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