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Thursday, January 11, 2007

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Pond in northwest corner of South Carolina
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"Of Foremost Importance"

"Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God" (Deuteronomy 8:11a).

Many of us deal with a little problem this time of year; the tendency to unthinkingly write down the last year on checks, letters, etc. I tend to do it when I date these messages. Years ago I had a little cartoon book that described this phenomenon as "checkuary".  After about 11 and 1/2 months of habitually writing down 2006 it's real easy to continue to do so in the new year of 2007 when we write out the date. 

This is only one of many areas in our lives that we can be forgetful.  Many things, like "checkuary," are merely nuisances while others are important.  But there's one that is of foremost importance. "Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God."

Deuteronomy is a record of Moses' final sermon before he died and the people of Israel went on into the Promised Land under Joshua's leadership.  He stresses throughout the message the importance of remembering the Lord and warns of the dire consequences of failing to do so.

The words "remember" and "forget" are used 26 times in Deuteronomy.  We may wonder how they could ever forget after seeing the hand of the Lord revealed in such mighty ways under Moses' leadership.  Then they witnessed the mighty victories with Joshua.  But early in the book of Judges we read, "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God" (3:7a).

In the movie, "The Nativity" there's a poignant scene that appears twice where Jewish parents are repeating the story of the Lord appearing to Elijah in I Kings 19.  The parents set the scene by telling the children about the powerful wind appearing to Elijah and the children respond, "but the Lord was not in the wind."  After the wind there was an earthquake and the children respond, "but the Lord was not in the earthquake" and the progression continues until they altogether declare that "the Lord came in a gentle whisper."

Forgetting is so common that Moses reinforced the importance of remembering the commandments of the Lord in a family household in Deut. 6:6-9.  It would be considered by the world to be radical, but Moses instructed parents to strongly impress the Lord's commandments on their children.  Talk about them when sitting down and when walking along the road (which would have been their way of getting around every day, rather than an occasional leisurely walk).  They were to talk about them at bedtime and when they arose.  They were to be visually reminded of these commandments by wearing them on their hands and their foreheads.  They were to be written on the doorframes of their houses and their gates.  This commitment to follow God is not for the faint-hearted or casual observer.

Today and every day we as the people of God need to heed the warning of Moses and take the necessary measures to remind ourselves never to forget the Lord our God or fail to observe His commands.  This is of foremost importance!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, the commandments that You give are to be impressed upon our hearts.  When our acts of obedience come from the heart love motivates us to obey You and align our desires with Your own.  As we love You with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength we will never forget our miraculous deliverance.  For You delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of Your beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  May we ever be mindful and walk in humility as we realize Your great work in our lives!  Amen.

Selected portions of verses implemented into our daily prayer: Deuteronomy 6:6, Colossians 1:13,14

Brooksyne's Note: The last thing I said this morning to our daughter Ester after she left the breakfast table was, "Don't forget to put on your retainers and take your notes to the teacher."  I put them on the table together so she'd remember them.  I took one last glance at the table before I headed downstairs to drive her to school.  There both items still sat.  I took them downstairs where Ester would have to see them before she could open the door.  With the usual "Mother Grilling" of how she would have forgotten them had I not put them out for her to see, she picked up the items and we headed to the car. 

This parent/child lesson reminds me of the importance of putting things in my path that I cannot avoid.  A Bible tucked away in some dark corner is surely going to be forgotten about.  I want to keep my devotional materials close at hand so that I am visibly prompted to keep up the good habit of spending quiet time with the Lord.  I have my devotional materials and Bible right next to the coal stove in the winter months.  (You might say I like to pray and read in comfortable, cozy surroundings.)  Whatever we need to do to keep from forgetting to be faithful in our time with the Lord let's take the proper measures that will remind us of this very important discipline.

"Draw me Close" (streaming audio) is a beautiful song that we feel reinforces today's message by reminding us of our constant need to draw near to Jesus.  This is an online version sung by Barbara Santos.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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