A few days ago, I attended the graduation ceremony of my twin nephews who have both been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Syndrome Disorder). Their school meets in a church and is very small (5 in the graduating class) and Christian. It has come to be a place where students who cannot easily “fit in” to the public school system, not only survive, but thrive.
One of the speakers mentioned that people might try to put them down by insinuating that this kind of school could not have given them a quality education–too small; not enough options; unable to afford the best and latest technology. However, how wrong this worldly wisdom is. My nephews, Chris and Nick, had received the best possible education because they had learned the most important things: they learned that God loves them, and they learned to love others, even those who are somehow “different.” All the academic stuff (and they got plenty of that, too) is secondary.
“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. And he (Jesus) said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.'” Luke 10:25-28
Let’s all try to remember to live as if we’re really keeping the main thing (love for God and others) as the main thing in our lives.
Sometimes we remember the wrong things. The same destructive thoughts go round and round in our heads, driving out God’s peace and presence. This is not God’s will for us.
When we can’t forget our own sins, and think we have done what can never be forgiven, we are forgetting God’s promise to remove those transgressions from us. We need to remember His grace.
When we can’t forget the wrongs we have suffered in the past, we are forgetting God’s command to forgive others as He has forgiven us. We need to remember His mercy.
When we can’t forget that thing we wanted so badly and never got, we are forgetting God’s provision. We need to remember to give thanks to God for all that we have.
When we can’t forget our failures, we are forgetting God’s omnipotence and His plan. We need to remember we can trust Him.
When we can’t forget our worries and fears, we are forgetting God’s love. We need to remember to pour out all our concerns in prayer.
What do you need to stop remembering?
I’ve made a conscious decision to not have a Facebook page. Why? I know there are good things about it. It’s a way to connect with relatives and friends you don’t see in person very often. You can let people know what you’re interested and doing — I could publicize our blog, for example. There’s nothing wrong with things like that.
However, my daughter and I have talked about how Facebook often seems to get people into trouble because they forget that whatever they post is public. They say bad things about their boss or workplace, forgetting that whoops! that person is watching. Maybe they lose their job, or at least get reprimanded. They post hurtful comments about a cousin and then– uh-oh–that person’s sibling can see it, too. Suddenly an entire branch of their family hates them. They make a joke about a friend –all in good fun, they think, and that friendship is abruptly over.
As Christians, we also need to remember that our lives are our witness, and others are watching how we behave and respond. My husband used to tell our kids when they were younger, remember who you are and whose you are. The Bible tells us that we are Christ’s representatives; we are His body, His hands and feet and heart in the world.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” 1 Corinthians 5:20
Our lives are to reflect Christ’s love; too often they only reflect our own self interest. So think before you speak and act. Will the impression you give lead others to Christ? Or will it turn them away? What kind of witness do you want to be?
“And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that mans lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Deuteronomy 8:2-3
Believe it or not, I wrote this post before the last ones from Beth Ann and Sarah. God must be at work, be at work, because we’re all thinking along the same lines. Here goes:
If you’re my age, and you look back over your life, you are bound to remember some wilderness days. Times when nothing seemed to go right, times when you felt lost and alone; times when that decision you made with such high hopes has led you to a place of despair; times when your spouse, your children, your friends disappoint you.
In wilderness times, there’s always a temptation to turn away from God. Like the Israelites, we groan and complain and long for “the good old days” even if in our hearts we know those days weren’t perfect, either. Still, the security of what we knew seems better than going forward into unknown places.
These verses tell us there is a purpose in those trying days. God is humbling us in order to teach us to depend upon Him; He cares for us when we are helpless and cannot fend for ourselves, and when we look back and remember, we see that He did sustain us. His Word and His promises kept us going, when we clung to them.
I think it’s interesting to know that the literal meaning of manna is “what is this?” Sometimes during those difficult times, we’re “fed” with nourishment we didn’t expect and don’t understand. We may not get what we want, but God makes sure we get just what we need.
How has God fed you in the wilderness? Ladies and readers, I want to hear your stories.
“Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any god except Me, For there is no savior besides Me. I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought. As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, And being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me.”
I read, ‘ . . . And being satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore they forgot Me.” And I think that Christians need to remember those words. Not because we need to tell others about the words of warning God spoke, but because Christians need to warn each other. God makes a promise and we all know he’ll keep it. We certainly balk if we feel he hasn’t or won’t; yet how easily we forget that long ago we agreed to uphold our part of a binding contract.
We are a government, people, society, even world of contracts. Paper work to verify other paper work to ensure promise of words written and said in processes of purchases, acquisitions, and agreements of all kinds. And we have laws that force any who would dare usurp such paperwork as this.
How hypocritical we all are. Christians descended of Jews who are descended of Abraham, Father of nations made a promise. To follow God, worship only Him, and to do so by obeying His will. Which, I might add, only looks to provide us the best and safest option. In other words, His will would never wish His people harm or leave us wanting. Yet we’ve strayed, and forgotten over and over that our God loves us and that we also made a promise. We have grown comfortable by the blessings He gives and in our comfort and satisfaction we forget who gives it. We think it must have been our own doing. That the ‘stars aligned’ and all our efforts came to bear fruit of prosperity and peace. But from where did we get the money? A job, the employer, the company, a city, the state, country; have all those things including the political web of red tape and regulations, with the world chess pieces of military power all been a product of our own hand?
God might ask us as He did Job if we laid the foundations of the earth and hung the stars and moon. No, we simply reap the benefits if we only obey putting one foot in front of the other. We must be cautious, and not forget when we sit on our soft couch in our warm homes just who made it all possible. Good for us we have a really big note a.k.a. the Bible, so that we can read it and remember not just God’s promises which are faithful, but our own.
We all have times when you feel like God has abandoned you, and you pray and pray and you wonder if He’s even listening. I’ve had plenty of these times in my life.
Usually, I can look back and wonder how I got through such bad times. At one point in my life I’d lost my job; we lost our home and had to move to a small apartment that my brother-in-law owned. I had lost my mom several years before and as this was going on, my father died. A very dark time in my life. I felt like I’d been abandoned.
But I wasn’t trusting the Lord then. I started to trust, slowly. Looking back, this was a good thing because life for me got tougher. I learned to trust Jesus more. As time went on my faith just got stronger. My situation never got easier; I was just able to lean on the arms of the Lord and that was a comfort.
We want to make the hurting times go away. We pray for God to just come in and change everything. I’ve found out that it doesn’t happen that way. If you have faith, the one that changes is you.
Of course, I have a song; Even If by MercyMe. This song speaks volumes about trusting the Lord.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
I was recently looking some old file folders with information I kept about Via de Cristo. It reminded me of many of the people with whom I served on retreat teams, met in small groups, planned activities and served the Lord. Many of these folks were part of my church family. It was a busy and productive season of my life. Now I go to another church, where my husband is the Pastor. I’m still in touch with some of those friends, but others have moved or just moved on. Life changes.
However, thinking about them reminds me of how influential our friends are in encouraging us in our Christian walk. Being in an accountability group (Via de Cristo calls them reunion groups) makes it harder to procrastinate or slack off in our spiritual disciplines. Having a close group of friends to help you when you have an idea you’d like to try (like this blog) is encouraging, too. There are so many things I’ve done that I would never have dared try without my friends. There are so many insights I would have missed without them there to notice and tell me. My friends gave me confidence; they prayed for me; they loved me and supported me even when I messed up. They were God’s gift to me.
So today I am remembering and give thanks for all my friends, old and new: for the things they have to teach me and the many ways they help me in my Christian journey. Don’t be a lone ranger Christian. Take friends with you wherever you walk.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Off topic, but how True!
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 50: 15-16
Sunday was Mother’s Day and you may have read Kate’s post about a mother’s love. She talked about how unlikely it was that a mother would ever stop loving her child, even when the child was ungrateful or disappointing. Even when a child chooses to walk away from the family, or behave in hurtful ways, most parents still yearn for that relationship to be restored.
The verses above tell us that God is that kind of parent. We can’t survive without Him, any more than a newborn infant can survive without mother’s milk. He won’t forget us. Love for us is part of His unchanging nature. The welfare of each of us is His continual concern. That’s why He sent Jesus.
So on Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, when we give thanks for our earthly parents, let’s also give thanks for our Father in Heaven who will never forget us or leave us or forsake us.