Purposeful Remembering


Great Commission

As Christians, it’s important that we “Don’t Forget to Remember.” Understanding this thread found throughout the Bible helps us understand the place remembering should take in our lives. In other words, a Scriptural understanding helps remembering become take on a living purpose as it goes from mere belief to activity.

What does this activity look like practical way in the life of a Christian?

1.) Remember God’s faithfulness in spite of our lack of faithfulness.

The point of remembering as a thread throughout Scripture involves a focus on what God has done and continues to do in spite of what man has done and continues to do. The Old Testament chronicles how God’s character interacts with man’s character. Studying this interaction helps us remember God’s forgiveness promises & deliverance in spite of our continuous pattern of rebellion.

2.) Remember Jesus words and actions, and let them shape us.

After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples remembered what He had said and done (John 2:22 & John 12:16). This motivated them to do what He had called them to do — fulfill the Great Commission. Reading Scripture can do the same for us still today.

3.) Remember and use the resources we are given.

Those resources include the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) who helps us remember Jesus’ teachings, God’s truths and God’s will. The Holy Spirit also helps us see God working in our lives. The Holy Spirit dwells in us beginning at salvation and remains active in the life of the believer whose job is to let Him lead. (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Another resources, the Bible (2 Peter 3:1-2), brings us God’s instructions for living obediently to Him. Regularly remembering and studying what the Bible says gives us valuable insight & instruction.

A third tool, communion (Luke 22:19) reminds us of atonement and redemption. It reminds us of Jesus’ love to the point of death on the cross for us. This remembering helps keep us humble.

4.) Let God direct our remembering.

We must deliberately choose to let our remembering be directed by God’s truth. To do that, we must let God direct our remembering (Proverbs 16). If we don’t, we too easily get overwhelmed & tend to forget to remember Him and what He’s done in our lives.

5.) Forget self. Remember God.

The book of Deuteronomy encourages God’s people to remember their slavery and their rebellion. God wanted them to remember where they were before He intervened. This idea extends into the New Testament as well:

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)

Much of the OT Scripture about remembering focuses on recalling man’s rebelliousness for the purpose of remembering God’s faithfulness, promises and leading. Paul amplifies the point by telling us not to dwell on our past as we do this recalling. Instead, we are to focus on God’s activity in our lives in spite of our mistakes and rebelliousness.

This purposeful remembering helps move beyond remembering as just an activity of recollection. As we deliberately remember, we grow closer to God. In this, we learn to depend more on Him. We also realize again and again that he will never fail us even when we fail Him.

Defeating Discouragement

Promise of Deliverance

After about 400 years of being in Egypt, God sends Moses to deliver the Israelites. The Egyptians respond to Moses’ announcement by increasing the work the Israelite slaves had to do each day.

After this, God tells Moses to remind the Israelites that He promised to deliver them. He tells Moses to remind them about His covenant with them (Exodus 6:2-4). Unfortunately, the Israelites do not respond positively to this reminder.

“So Moses told the people what the Lord had said, but they wouldn’t listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the increasing burden of their slavery.” (Exodus 6:9)

Their present circumstances so discouraged them, they could no longer hear God.

Defeated by Discouragement

We too can become so discouraged (beaten down in spirit) because of what we see as impossible burdens that we cannot hear from God anymore.

An unsaved loved one. A rebellious child. Bad luck. Lack of progress. Physical illness. Mental illness.

The circumstances of life can wear us down and often lead to us no longer hearing God. As the discouragement increases, we sometimes become convinced it will never end.

Or, we might still hear God speaking, but we let those who are discouraged impact our response to His voice.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go back to Pharaoh, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave Egypt.’

‘But Lord!’ Moses objected. ‘My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect  Pharaoh to listen? I’m no orator!’ (Exodus 6:10-12)

To many, staying enslaved seems easier than going through the process leading to freedom. Getting out from under discouragement is hard work, and the unknown often feels more uncomfortable than the known even if the known is not good.

Defeating Discouragement

When we get too easily taken up by our troubles that we no longer believe God’s promises, discouragement has the upper hand. But Scripture offers several steps for getting out from under the blinding burden of discouragement.

  1. Admit dependence. Realize you can do nothing without God. (John 15:5 & Psalm 62:5)
  2. Focus on facts over feelings. Feelings are often blind guides. Refuse to indulge them and always remember that focus determines reality. (2 Corinthians 1:20 & 4:17-18)
  3. Receive comfort. Don’t deprive yourself of the comfort God makes available through His Word and His divine care and direction. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 & John 14:26)

The fact is that discouragement often grows before it dissipates. That’s life. It’s also why we cannot depend on ourselves or our feelings to relieve our discouragement.

“In the process of deliverance, things often get worse before they get better. ‘Anguish of spirit and cruel bondage’ (Exodus 5:9) often restricts us from hearing and receiving what would help us live.” (Dick Brogden, Live Dead Joy, January 19th)

Refuse to let circumstances steal your focus. Refuse to let feelings dictate activity. Choose to live based on the secure and enduring promises of God.

Pure Delight!

Delight: A high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.

RocksMy oldest son (age 14) recently played keyboards on our church worship team for the first time.

My youngest (age 12) gave up about 20 hours in the last few weeks of summer vacation to haul rocks for our church landscaping.

My heart truly feels full when my kids use their time, talents and treasure to bless others. My pure delight in my kids fills me to overflowing with joy when they move beyond their personal comfort to serve God. In fact, when they bless others, I am eager to bless them.

God feels the same way about His kids. He also wants to bless us when we honor him in any area of our lives.

“. . . he delights in those with integrity” (Proverbs 11:20).

“. . . he delights in the prayers of the upright” (Proverbs 15:8).

“My strong enemy was too strong for me but the Lord was my strength and support. He brought me into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:17-19).

When we live with integrity, He delights in us. When His kids pray, He’s delighted. He delights so much in the upright that He infuses them with strength and support, and He enlarges and delivers them.

Delightful Blessings9-8-13 Jon on keys

When I bless my kids, they never wonder what what’s happening. They know I am pleased with them and that I’m showing that pleasure in a tangible way.

God’s delight in us comes through in obvious ways too, but His blessings far exceed any I give my kids. God’s blessings include…

  • Strength – Courage, power & energy.
  • Support – Supply, brace & preserve.
  • Enlargement – Amplification, increase & growth.
  • Deliverance – Freedom, relief & salvation.

The following verses capture these specific blessings well…

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountain.” (Zephaniah 3:19) 

“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” (2 Samuel 22:19-20, ESV)

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” (1 Chronicles 4:10)

“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah” (Psalm 32:7)

Being a parent helps me understand how God feels about me, how He delights in my obedience and wants to bless me when I turn to Him. Just like I want to bless my kids when I am delighted with them, God even more so delights in and wants to bless me. And just as my kids don’t have to guess when I am blessing them out of my delight with them, God’s blessings of delight come through loud and clear in my own life as well.

DISCUSSION: In what other ways does God show His delight?