THE TOOLS OF REMEMBERING
I like to think I have a pretty good memory. I like to think I’m organised. Generally, I am – I don’t double book appointments, I keep track of what I’m doing and when, I mostly turn up on time. But, on reflection, I’m not so sure this means I have a good memory.
If you ask my husband, Stephen’s opinion, he’d say I have a terrible memory – at least for movies. I’ve lost count of the number of times he’ll suggest a movie. I’ll comment that I haven’t see it. He’ll tell me we have watched it (sometimes several times). I’ll insist I’ve never seen it. We’ll start watching it. Fifteen minutes in, I’ll assure him again I’ve never seen it. Definitely. Absolutely. Thirty minutes into the movie, something about it starts to seem vaguely familiar. Then it starts to come back. Doh! Stephen is right. Again! I can watch a movie and have no or very little recollection of it. The great thing is I get to enjoy it all over again. The funny thing, at least from Stephen’s perspective, is that I still jump or react at all the same moments – I’m a very jumpy movie watcher. “Didn’t you remember that?” he’ll ask. Nope.
So, what’s going on with my memory? Well, in part, it’s because I’m more inclined to remember those things that are important to me. It appears movies don’t fall into that category! But, the real reason I’m organised is not so much because of my memory, but because of the tools I use.
I have plenty of tools to keep me organised. I’m diligent about keeping appointments, commitments and events in my calendar. I have a planner to help me organise each week. My phone is another handy tool – I have a to-do list app on my phone, a birthday app, plus I set alarms and reminders.
Even more than appointments, events or movies, it’s important that we remember God.
Throughout Scripture we see the people of God forgetting what He had done for them, forgetting His faithfulness, forgetting His rescue.
They did not remember His power or the day when He redeemed them from the foe.
Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
It seems we are prone to forgetfulness – “spiritual amnesia” it’s sometimes called. Praise God, that in His grace, He has given us so many ways to remember Him!
Last Sunday we considered 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and the Lord’s Supper. Each Sunday, as we eat and drink together, we remember Jesus and what He did for us. It brings us back to the very focus of our faith and reason for our hope.
And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:24
This is one of the most wonderful ways, instituted by Jesus Himself, that we are given to remember Him.
We have the Bible – God’s Word to us.People have fought and died so that we can hold a copy in our hand. People have smuggled them through closed borders at great personal risk. Yet how easily we get caught up in our day and don’t pick it up. It’s not only a handbook on how to navigate life, but so much more. It reveals God to us, we can get to know Him through His Word. It helps us remember – who God is, what He has done, and His great love for us. It teaches us how to live. The same Holy Spirit who inspired the words of Scripture dwells within us to help us understand it and cause it to speak to us. Many people like to keep a journal, which is a great tool to help you intentionally and prayerfully consider what you’re reading, and journalling also offers the gift of looking back at how God has spoken to you over past weeks or months. Memorising Scripture is another great way of hiding God’s Word in your heart.
We have creation. When we take time to ponder and enjoy the world around us, we can’t help but remember the Creator! There is such beauty that surrounds us, particularly here in our island state, and we can so easily miss it.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Romans 8:20 NLT
Church is another wonderful way to remind us of God, to help us refocus, correct our misconceptions, and realign our priorities. As we gather together each Sunday, not only do we worship together, pray, celebrate communion and hear from God’s Word, but we fellowship and encourage one another before and after the service.
Parents have the wonderful privilege of teaching their children about God – both intentionally, and by the way they live. How wonderful to help our precious ones know and remember the God who created them!
He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children, that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.
Another way we remember God is by reflecting on His goodness and faithfulness in the past. As we intentionally remember times when God has demonstrated His faithfulness and care, our faith is stirred, and we are reminded that He will always care for us.
Gratitude is a simple way of remembering God’s goodness and mercy. The practise of gratitude takes intentionality, but it only takes a few seconds! All it needs is the time to notice and say, “thank you, Jesus.”
If it’s true that goodness and mercy follow me “all the days of my life”, how many days do I miss that goodness in my helter-skelter race to cram it all in before sunset?
John Mark Comer – The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
I’m so thankful that our loving Heavenly Father reveals Himself to us in so many different ways – ways that help us to overcome the “spiritual amnesia’ that we so easily slip into. We have all these wonderful “tools” at our disposal – but will we use them?
Why not take a few moments to consider how you can “remember” God in the midst of your day-to-day life?
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Your Care Team Pastor,
Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.
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