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Monday, January 6, 2014
Wreath over doors at church
It's rather mild today but a blast of cold air is coming in!
(Ester carries her camera everywhere she goes much like her dad and she took this photo.)
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"Remember, Then, What You Received And Heard"
"Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His rules and His statutes, which I command you today" (Deuteronomy 8:11). "Remember, then, what you received and heard" (Revelation 3:3).
Yesterday, I wrote out my first check for the new year, an offering to our church. I had to catch myself. Many of us deal with a little problem this time of year; the tendency to absent-mindedly write down the last year on checks, letters, etc. I also tend to do it when I date these messages the first couple of weeks into a new year.
Years ago we had a little cartoon book that described this phenomenon as "checkuary". After 12 months of habitually writing down 2013 it's very easy to continue to do so in the new year of 2014 when we write out the date. Actually though it's not only dates. A couple of weeks ago I started to write on the payee line the name of a church we attended many years ago!
This is only one of many areas in our lives in which we can be forgetful. In fact we find these increase with age! Many memory lapses, like "checkuary," are merely nuisances. I'm sure more than a few checks have the old date scratched out at this time of year and I even wonder if the bank would pay that much attention. Yet many other issues regarding our memory are very important. The one of foremost importance is bluntly expressed in our first daily text, "Take care lest you 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. Moses stresses throughout the message the importance of remembering the Lord and warns of the dire consequences of failing to do so. This is a timeless message!
The words "remember" and "forget" are used 26 times in Deuteronomy. We may wonder how these people 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 this stunning assessment, "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God" (3:7a).
In the movie, "The Nativity Story" 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. This demonstrates the time-tested teaching method of repeatedly reciting truth.
Among our ministry venues is a nursing home where we serve as chaplains as well as conduct Sunday afternoon services. So many of the people have failing memories especially a group that comes over from a special memory care unit. But we have noticed two elements that are often remembered as we share God's truths with them:
1) Hymns they have sung all their lives.
2) Scripture verses that they have often heard and committed to memory like John 3:16.
Forgetting is so common that Moses reinforced the importance of remembering the commandments of the Lord in a family household in Deuteronomy 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 as we begin our first full week of 2014 and every day may we as the people of God 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 heed Your Word 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
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"We Will Remember" Video Prestonwood Choir
"Remember Me" Video Mark Schultz
"Remembrance (Communion Song)" Video Matt Redman
"Communion Song (Take This Bread)" Video Barry McGuire In considering music for today's message theme this old song came to mind from our early days in the Faith. It has a great message on remembering!
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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