Friday, June 20, 2008

You Could Even Make a Biblical "Bucket List"--Or, How Many Bucket Lists Does a Person Need?

Okay, I think I have exasperated Katie. She's heard enough from me about bucket lists, I think--sort of like the frustration of hearing an old person talk continually about their impending death. So when I told her that you could base a "bucket list" entirely on Bible verses, she tried to accommodate but a slight roll of the eyes gave her away. (Just in case you wonder, I haven't been told I'm about to die, or anything like that...but I do know it is quite probable eventually, aside from the hope of being raptured instead! Maybe it's from my Brownie days back in the 3rd Grade...I'm just trying to "be prepared.")
It wasn't that I was looking for it. I was just doing my Bible reading, in the Psalms these days (which I tell you is quite easier reading than Jeremiah or Daniel, just try them and see the contrast!). The first verse that I noted that had a bucket list ring to it was Psalm 71:18, and when you read it I think you might understand why it hit me so: "And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come." Then there was 78:5-8: "For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God."
Maybe it's also that I'm a homeschooling mom, in seeing that one of the great benefits of homeschooling is the time and increased inclination to study the Bible together regularly, and to not rely on someone else to do it--or to forsake it entirely. As long as I'm a parent, and once I'm a grandparent, part of my role and privilege is to direct my children, especially while they are young or in my house or otherwise under my influence, to learn God's word.
Still, I looked further. It's not a study you can necessarily do effectively by word search on a website--you kind of have to read through some Bible to find them, but I found a bunch--more than I would type here or it would overwhelm my readers. I'll list some choice verses, though, and I hope to add to them as time goes on, because there are many, I'm sure, that at this point I'm not encountering since I can't read hundreds of chapters in a day (alas!). Here goes:
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (I will live my life aware of its brevity and make good and wise use of it. This is probably a good starting verse to such a list!)
Psalm 104:33-34 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD. (I will keep the joyful habit of knowing God and thinking on Him and singing to Him.)
Psalm 108:3 I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples... (I will let others know of my reasons to be thankful for the goodness of God in my life.)
Psalm 109:30 With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD. (I will continually be vocally thankful to God.)
(Well, okay. I think I could put hundreds of verses about giving thanks to God. You know they're there!)
Psalm 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. (I will work to memorize and meditate on His word for its proper application in my life.)
Psalm 119:112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end. (I will live through the study of His word in obedience to Him.)
Psalm 119:93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me. (I will keep His word because I know it not only pleases Him but benefits me.)
Proverbs 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered. (I will help those in need, knowing that I too will need help someday.)
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls. (It is the good and natural thing for the Christian to bear spiritual fruit, and to try to help others to come to know Christ.)

Proverbs 16:20 He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD. (I will read the Bible for my own benefit, and trust in God because that is inherently good.)
Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death. (I will live obediently, knowing God holds my life in His hand, and not wanting to turn away from Him.)
Proverbs 15:31 He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise. (I will listen to those who will give me true correction, because there is wisdom in it and foolishness in ignoring it.)
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility. (May I never assume that I don't need to learn any more, that I have the knowledge or wisdom that I need. May I never be so prideful!)

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (I will learn to ever-improvingly control my tongue so that my words are beneficial to those around me--what I say and the manner in which I say it.)
I hope to add to this. Glimmers of other verses come to mind, but I'll have to draw them out gradually as I read.
Of course this type of "Bucket List" is one that should make a person aware of his inability to do one good thing without God's help and guidance. In that I must say that any list I make, any intent I have to do good, is subject to my own insufficiency and God's sufficiency, my reliance on Him, and my own inability to independently control whether I can even draw my next breath. So I write it with intention, but with reliance not on self but on His help.

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