Category: Xtra Astronomy Stuff

“Right Now Counts Forever”

I stole that title from RC Sproul. Those words are more timely than ever. We all just learned we might be in this state of social isolation for another month. We’re now facing not just 2 weeks but possibly 6 weeks of lost wages, lost investments, lost fellowship opportunities, lost milestones like graduations and weddings and funerals, lost advances in education, in health, in orthodontic progress :). But what if we lived the next 4 weeks in the reality of Romans 8:28? “That for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”

If you haven’t read the rest of Romans 8 in a while, right now is the perfect time. In that one chapter you will find no condemnation, freedom from sin and death, fulfillment of the law, life and peace, the indwelling Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ in you, the Spirit of life, Jesus Christ risen from the dead, life to our mortal bodies, life through the Spirit, the Spirit of adoption, fellow heirs with Christ through our suffering with Him, future glory revealed in us, redemption of our bodies, hope in salvation, help in our weakness, intercession of the Spirit, calling, purpose, foreknowledge, predestination, conformity to the image of His Son, justification, glorification, God for us, ALL THINGS, Christ Jesus at the right hand of God interceding for us, victory over tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, the sword, and the inseparable love of Christ Jesus our Lord…

What if we took just one hour of each day in April to set our minds on the things of the Spirit rather than the things of the flesh (Rom. 8:5-8). You could choose any hour during which you would normally be filling other obligations outside the home.  Are there lessons or practices you are now missing on Monday? Make that hour count forever.  Tuesday’s playdates canceled? Make that hour count forever.  Ladies Bible Study on Wednesday no longer meeting? Make that hour count forever. Thursday’s client consultation postponed indefinitely? Make that hour count forever. Friday’s date night on hold? Make that hour count forever.

Start now. Instead of spending another hour scrolling through social media and blog posts click on this link to a short 25-minute devotional called “Right Now Counts Forever” given by RC Sproul during his last year on earth. Then read Romans 8.  Spend time in prayer thanking God for the bounteous gifts laid out in that one chapter. Don’t know how to pray? Whatever groanings this Corona Virus has produced inside of you, know that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26).” Maybe use part of that hour to memorize a verse a day from that chapter.  By the end of this quarantine you could have the whole thing hidden in your heart!

Below is a list of other ways your family could make an hour a day count forever during the month of April. What a triumph it would be if holy habits cultivated during the Covid quarantine resulted in life long practices among God’s people!

  1. Did you know that there are 30 books in the Bible that contain fewer than 10 chapters? That means they can be read aloud in there entirety by your family in 30 minutes or less. You can alternate daily through the month of April between Old and New Testament books.
  2. Do you have young people in the house? There’s no better time to start reading aloud the wisdom book of Proverbs than on April 1.  There’s one chapter for each day of the month and the last one, Proverbs 31 can be saved for Mother’s Day on May 10.
  3. What’s the best weapon against Covid-19? God’s Word!  Psalms 1, 9, 19, 91, and 119 are great reminders of how God makes Himself known through His Word and that it will stand forever as surely as He is eternally seated on His throne. If you’re not in the habit of singing Psalms try learning Psalm 19. We use the version from the “Book of Psalms for Singing” but you can click here for a link to a more familiar version that even your youngest family members will enjoy.

Since I’m a spreadsheet kind of gal, I’ve put all these options (including memorizing Romans 8) on a calendar to help make April count forever. You can choose just one of the options to redeem that extra hour or all of them and still have time for prayer!  In this time of uncertainty, the promises of God are the only investment that promises guaranteed returns. Isaiah 55:10,11 says,

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Now more than ever, it’s time to keep the feast. Click the link below for a printable copy.

April 2020 Printable

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* I just listened to Allie Beth Stuckey’s podcast “10 Tips to Make Quarantine Count” and she recommends memorizing Romans 8, too! Furthermore she says John Piper just said the same thing! So if you won’t take my word for it, take theirs! And make sure you click this link to Allie’s podcast!

Tolle Lege: Feasting Amid Fears

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Yesterday was a big day for us.  Titus had been feeding his homemade sourdough starter (appropriately named Patrick) for 2 weeks and yesterday he turned it into fragrant, golden loaves to supplement our St. Patricks Day feast of corned beef, bangers, mash and all the fixings. Don’t know the story of Patrick, who after being kidnapped by Irish pirates and forced into servitude, escaped, and then went back to Ireland to bring his captors the good news of Jesus Christ? Click here for a great biographical article from Ligonier Ministries.  Since our kids are half German/half ScotchIrish we use holidays like Reformation Day and St. Patricks to celebrate and learn more about the Christian heritage of those cultures. And yes, we consume copious amounts of pork sausage for both. This year I made bookmarks with Saint Patrick’s “Lorica” printed on them so we could recite it together around the table. Timely words in a world riddled by fear of disease and economic upheaval.

Stuck at home with extra time on your hands?  Why not study up on other saints (and I mean that in the broadest, most Biblical sense of the word) in church history?  How have others believers braved times far more perilous than that which we now face? My boys have thoroughly enjoyed “Sketches From Church History” put out by Banner of Truth Publishing where you can read all about defenestration (Joel’s favorite new word, and don’t let anyone tell you German doesn’t have at least some Latin roots) and other such violent acts.  For my more genteel readers I want to suggest the two-volume set, “Memorable Women of Puritan Times” by James Anderson (Soli Deo Gloria Publishing). Tom bought me these when we were newly weds and I have returned to them again and again. In tumultuous times there is nothing to gird one up like considering others who have “endured opposition from sinful men.”

And finally. Once upon a time, Christian families had the time, or rather I should say, MADE the time to read God’s Word together and talk about what it said. The result of this was more often-than-not believing children who grew up knowing what they believed and why they believed it.  If you’re one of those families who have never tasted of the sweetness of reading scripture TOGETHER (and judging by the rampant Biblical illiteracy even in our churches, there’s probably more of you than you’d care to admit), why not use this time to invest in a habit that according to Isaiah 55:11 is guaranteed eternal returns? Our family is using the chronological Bible reading plan this year but we’ve used all kinds of others. You don’t need a reading plan. You just need to read. Aloud. Together.

And talk about it. If you want to combine church history with your Bible readings, Crossway has put out a couple really excellent Bibles to keep on hand for that purpose. I already did a review of their ESV Prayer Bible. You can read it by clicking here.  Recently they sent me a copy of their “ESV Bible With Creeds And Confessions.” It’s really beautiful and has large enough print that if you’re passing the Bible around during family read aloud time your younger and elderly readers will have no trouble participating.  It really is the perfect “family Bible” and has enough of that “heirloom quality” to be cherished for generations. Best of all it is a great tool for all believers who want a better understanding of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Because it contains all the creeds and confessions of Orthodox Christianity you will see not only the doctrines considered by all to be essential, but also the variances deemed (relatively 🙂 )unessential such as the different views of baptism contained in the London Baptist Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism.

Please understand that I’m not throwing this all out there to make anyone feel like we’re using this as an opportunity to prove our own holiness over others’.  But people I love are starving.  I see friends and family picking at crumbs fallen from the table and drinking great gulps of poisonous teachings that have spread like the yeast in Ty’s bread through our churches. All the while, we more than any generation have a splendidly nourishing and sumptuous feast spread before us 24/7.  Oh dear ones, please, take and eat. You too, can choose feasting over fear.

Some of you really liked the link to one of Titus’s youtube videos that ended up in the comments last week so here’s another one for your listening pleasure.

On Dying Well

I returned home this weekend after a week by my Dad’s hospital bed and then another week taking care of him in his home alongside my siblings with the help of Hospice. In the early morning hours of February 28, he shook off earthly fetters and entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My mom had preceded him to glory by 3 years.

So thankful for the sacred time around his deathbed as family from near and far gathered round to see him off. This included my own 5 sons who saw their ‘Opa’ as nothing less than a hero who had survived plane crashes, encounters with grizzlies and gators, and earned a reputation as one of the worlds best mountaineers.  The body that 3 years prior, at the age of 85, had beaten them to their campsite on Gideon’s first backpack trip, now lay wasted and worn.

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My boys are no strangers to seeing grandparents off to glory.  A year after we moved back from Hawaii my Mom passed suddenly and a year later Tom’s Mom “won” her battle against cancer and entered into eternal, painless rest.  Our boys were blessed to spend the week prior by her hospital bed laughing and sharing and singing just as I had with my own “Oma” when I was 12 or 13.

This time my fingers knew right where to turn in the Bible and the Psalter and the hymnal.  I wondered often how people face death without these things on hand. I thought about our modern, feel-good worship music and how little it prepares us for deathbed vigils.  I cataloged hymns in my heart aimed at helping saints die well.  Here’s one for each day I spent by my Dad’s side and the lines forever highlighted in my memory.

My Jesus, I Love Thee  “I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, and praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; and say when the death dew lies cold on my brow; “If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, tis now.”

Jesus Lives and So Shall I  “Jesus lives, and so shall I. Death! thy sting is gone forever. He who deigned for me to die, lives, the bands of death to sever. He shall raise me from the dust: Jesus is my Hope and Trust.”

How Firm A Foundation  “When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;  For I will be with thee, they troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee they deepest distress.”

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus  “Through death into life everlasting He passed and we follow Him there;  Over us sin no more hath dominion for more than conquerors we are! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling  “Time is now fleeting the moments are passing, passing from you and from me; Shadows are gathering, death’s night is coming, coming for you and for me. Come home, come home, ye who are weary, come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!”

Nearer, My God, to Thee  “There let the way appear steps unto heaven; All that thou sendest me, in mercy given; Angels to beckon me nearer, my God , to Thee, Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee.”

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go “O Cross that lifted up my head, I dare not ask to fly from Thee; I lay in dust life’s glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be.”

He Leadeth Me “And when my task on earth is done, when by Thy grace the victory’s won, Even death’s cold wave I will not flee, since God through Jordan leaders me.”

Be Still My Soul “Be still, my soul! the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord, when disappointment, grief and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored. Be still, my soul! when change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.”

All the Way My Savior Leads Me “All the way my Savior leads me; O the fullness of his love! Perfect rest to me is promised in my Father’s house above; when my spirit, clothed immortal, wings its flight to realms of day, This my song thru endless ages, “Jesus led me all the way.”

Day By Day “Help me then in every tribulation so to trust Thy promises, O Lord, that I lose not faith’s sweet consolation offered me within Thy holy Word. Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, E’er to take, as from a father’s hand, one by one, the days, the moments fleeting, till I reach the promised land.”

Rock of Ages “While I draw this fleeting breath, when my eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgement throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hid myself in Thee.”

Saved By Grace “Some day the silver cord will break, and I no more as now shall sing; but oh, the joy when I shall wake within the palace of the King!  And I shall see Him face to face, and tell the story –Saved by grace; and I shall see Him face to face, and tell the story –Saved by grace.”

Abide With Me “Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes, shine through the gloom and point me to the skies; Heavn’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee, in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.”

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There are dozens more that could be added to this list and if you’d like to share any that come to mind, please do so in the comments below!