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Archive for the ‘What We Should Remember’ Category

All this week the Daily Devotionals have touched on some of the things God would have us to remember.  Today, Good Friday, it is appropriate that we would focus our hearts towards the One person who is above all else, Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice He made for us.

In the last hours of His life, Jesus spoke many important words to His friends, but one of His most memorable phrases had to do with His institution of Communion, or The Lord’s Supper:

“And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'”  Luke 22:19

So why did the Lord think it important to give this reminder?  Shouldn’t that be obvious and not really an issue?  But He knew…He knew how easily we get distracted by the things of this world.  Jesus’ followers would need the gentle reminder of His great sacrifice to turn our hearts toward Him in love and gratitude and away from the chaos of life and communion offers us that place of respite, a place to meditate and remember.

Ask Yourself:

What distracts me from remembering Jesus?

Action:

Commit to taking a few moments out of every day to spend time in prayer and meditation on the person of Jesus.  Allow His Word to reveal more about Him to you personally each day.  And then find at least one way that you will follow His lead, one bit of your life that you will commit to His guidance.

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I remember your ancient laws,

O Lord, and I find comfort in them. Ps 119:52

Have you ever used an acrostic or mnemonic device to help you remember something? I remember learning: “Never Eat Soggy Waffles” when learning North, East, South & West.  As a teacher I used to make up silly songs and devices to assist students in memorizing countless details. I can say from personal experience that they worked…for awhile anyway.

We all have a tendency to forget what we have learned. Our senses are constantly stimulated by our busy world and many of the: sights, sounds and even thoughts seem to come and go without recognition. Students however, are masters at “cramming” for a test the night before. They binge on loads of information until they can barely take another bite, then regurgitate it back out on the test the next day. Sadly, many of these same students who ‘ace’ exams cannot recall the same information a day or two later.

Could the same happen with our intake of God’s commands, truths, and laws? Do you still recall the Sunday school lessons from childhood…from last week?

Scientists tell us that if information is not processed in our long-term memory it will be fleeting. God, the designer of our impressive, yet limited mind, frequently tells us to remember that which we have already learned. He does so because countless times in scripture destruction happened when his people forgot his ways. We can prevent such occurrences by learning and applying the following verses:

  • These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Deut 6:6
  • Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. Job 22:22
  • Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deut 11:18

Basically, we need to have His word in, near, and around us to remember it and live it. I know many women who have verses written on post-it-notes on their bathroom mirrors, tucked into their purse or secured to their refrigerator. These are helpful steps for memorizing, however, let’s be mindful of one more component. Research indicates that the best way to learn something and to retain it is to do it – experience it. When His word goes beyond being seen as information and instead causes a transformation we become more like Christ. This happens when our relationship with Jesus becomes personal. He has given us His Holy Spirit to help us in these matters. I’m sure some of you have experienced this first hand and we’d love to hear about it.

Action

Think back, has He ever spoken to your heart through a specific verse during a very difficult situation? Has His word ever traveled out of your heart and into your mind at just the right moment? Pause right now and thank the Holy Spirit for His prompting. Then, be mindful to refresh your memory with a new dose of His word each day.

Father God, it is with needful hearts and minds that we ask you to teach us your ways and to bring to mind all that you have revealed to us through your word. Help us prioritize our time, so that we can fully digest your word instead of consume it on the fly. Your word is the source of our comfort, hope, and strength. All praise and honor be to you for blessing us with your awesome WORD. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Philippians 1:3 -4 says, “I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you,…”  Romans 1:9-10 says, “… how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times.” 

Remembering to pray for each other is encouraged in Scripture, by Paul’s example and because it pleases God.  1 Timothy 2:1, 3 says,  “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone….  This is good, and pleases God our Savior.” 

It is also effective (see James 5:16). There have been scientific studies done on how praying for patients affects their recovery.  In one study, Dr. Randolph Byrd, a San Francisco cardiologist, had groups of born-again Christians pray for 192 of 393 patients being treated at the coronary care unit of San Francisco General Hospital. In 1988, Dr. Byrd reported in The Southern Medical Journal, a peer-reviewed publication of the Southern Medical Association, that the patients who were prayed for did better on several measures of health, including the need for drugs and breathing assistance.  At the end of the paper, Dr. Byrd wrote, ”I thank God for responding to the many prayers made on behalf of the patients.”

In another study, of 990 heart disease patients, Dr. William S. Harris of St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and his colleagues reported in The Archives of Internal Medicine in 1999 that the patients who were prayed for by religious strangers did significantly better than the others on a measure of coronary health that included more than 30 factors. 1

I have also experienced the power of using God’s Word in praying for others and seen how He answers specifically when we pray specifically.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to His will [which is His Word], He hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  1 John 5:14, 15. 

Ask Yourself:

Who can I pray for today?

Action:

There are numerous verses that you can place the person’s name directly in the verse as you pray for them.  (For example, regarding peace in anxious times, you can pray Phil. 4:6,7 ;use Phil. 4:19 for when someone has a need; use Psalm 34:19 for when someone is suffering.)  And as much as we want to help (fix, control, change) someone, the best thing we can do is pray for them and let God work.  Be encouraged, Christ himself is interceding on our behalf at the right hand of God (Romans 8:35).  So let’s remember to pray for each other on a consistent basis.

The New York Times, October 10, 2004

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“All they [church leaders] asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10

The apostle Paul wrote these words to a church as a reminder to them to not forget a group of people God cares so deeply for.  We are to remember the poor, and in such a way that takes action on their behalf.  Years before that letter penned by Paul, King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote these proverbs for his son to remember:

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” Proverbs 19:17

“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13

“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:10

These reminders are necessary because in our own comfortable environments and with the fullness of our kitchen pantry and lives, we can choose to close our eyes to the needs of others.  Selfishly, we ignore the problems of others and pretend that all is well because we are comfortable.  We are most interested in being with those who are able to do something for us, and least interested in helping out those who cannot repay us.  But the Lord taught a different way.  Jesus Christ said these words while dining in the home of a prominent Pharisee and under their watchful and testing eyes:

“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13,14

Ask Yourself:

Has God opened your eyes to see true need recently?  Are you remembering the poor?

Action:

If not, why aren’t you seeing the true need that is out there, what is keeping you from remembering the poor?

And if the answer is “yes”, how has that remembrance of the poor led you to action on their behalf?  Is God calling you to do something?  Who do you need to team up with in this cause and who can help guide you through this endeavor?

Father, please open our eyes to see what You see and cause our minds to remember who you would have us to remember.  Guide us into ways that we can actively remember the poor, and ease their suffering in Your Name.  We praise You as a God who cares, without regard to our bank accounts, and regardless of where we live and what we have.  You desire each of our hearts to turn to You for salvation.  Help us to not forget!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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“I will remember the deeds of the Lord;  yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”      Psalm 77:11 and 12

In the early years of our marriage I easily perceived my husband’s words or actions as contrary to my well-being.  Not being a direct communicator, I would start to act withdrawn or protective of myself.  To that my husband would wisely inquire about the difference he saw in me and ask, “why the change”?  The flood gates of my perceptions and selfish thoughts would spill out.  My godly and wise husband would remind me of various things in our past history that dispelled my perceptions of him being an enemy of mine.  When he was able to explain himself and what was going on with him at the time, I realized his words and behavior didn’t have anything to do with me.

In a nut shell, it isn’t about me.  It is about God though.  God doesn’t change.  He is good and has our best interests in mind all the time.

In this day and age when there is volcano activity, earth quakes, flooding, illness and death it is crucial for us to remember what God has done in the past.  (He strengthened David to kill Goliath – 1 Samuel 17.  He provided escape for the Israelites through the Red Sea – Exodus 14.  The list goes on and on!)  These remembrances help us to not “fear” or “mistrust” in the presence of things we don’t understand.  As we learn God’s Word we are able to see and understand how God has worked for good in the past and our faith, trust and obedience will increase.

Ask Yourself:

What happens when I don’t remember the things God has done, either in my own personal life or what He has done for others?

Psalm 106:6,7 gives us an answer:  “We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly.  When our fathers were in Egypt they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.”

How does God respond when I don’t remember and I fall into troubles and painful distance from Him through sin?

Psalm 106:8 continues with this answer:  “Yet He saved them for His Name’s sake, to make His mighty power known.”

Action:

Take some time right now to think about the things He has done for you and in general.  Write them down, list them in your mind, or say them out loud…but let your remembrance bring you to praise for Him!


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