Psalm 90:12

TO ME, BIRTHDAYS ARE JUST another routine realization that I’m not getting any younger. I know that because the cake won’t hold all the candles. Even if it could, the frosting would melt before I’d be able to blow all of them out. One year, my kind and thoughtful assistant reminded me of another approach I could take. She gave me a birthday card showing an old guy standing beside a cake covered with candles. On the front it read: “Don’t feel you’re getting old if you can’t blow out all the candles . . .”

And inside: “Just beat ’em out with your cane.”

Children are about as encouraging. In all seriousness, my youngest once asked me if they had catsup when I was a boy. I tried not to look offended—he could have asked if they had the wheel. But I was pleased to inform him that we not only had catsup . . . but also electricity, talking movies, the radio, cars, and indoor plumbing. He seemed shocked as he gave me that you-gotta-be-kidding look. I suddenly felt the need to lie down and take a nap.

But birthdays are milestones, specific yet mute reminders that more sand has passed through the hourglass.

We mark our calendars with deadlines—dates that set limits for the completion of objectives and projects. To ignore those deadlines brings consequences. To live without deadlines is to live an inefficient, unorganized life, drifting with the breeze of impulse on the fickle wave of moods.

God, however, brings about birthdays . . . not as deadlines but lifelines. He builds them into our calendar once every year to enable us to make an annual appraisal, not only of our length of life but our depth.

The psalmist offers the perfect prayer to pray every year when our lifelines roll around.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

PSALM 90:12

Wisdom comes privately from God as a by-product of right decisions, godly reactions, and a daily devotion to searching the wonderful riches of the Scriptures. Wisdom is the fruit of a disciplined life.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.