Monday, February 8, 2016

Signs of Life

Stumble out of bed.
Brew Coffee.
Fix myself a piece of toast with honey.
Sit in "my" chair.

Grab my Bible.
Begin to pray.
Try to tame some wandering thoughts.
Back to praying.

Thank God for another day.
Ask for guidance,
For strength and patience.
Beg my Father for wisdom. 

He is so faithful.

Read awhile.
Hear footsteps.
Time alone interrupted.
Share "my" chair.

Talk a bit.
Answer questions.
Read together now.
Answer more questions.

Hear "I'm hungry".
Not ready to stop reading.
Close my Bible.
Make breakfast.

A reading incomplete.
Not exactly how I'd planned.
Thankful for these signs of life.
Time well spent, alone and otherwise.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Advice From a 5-Year-Old

"Just pretend like you're a slave and you'll die if you don't do it."

This was 5-year-old Evan's advice for his older brother the other day when Jacob was complaining about his chore.  I chuckled as I listened in on the conversation, because it could only lead me to believe that this was the mentality Evan was using as well.  It wasn't totally new to me, since at the dinner table, when I have served something that doesn't exactly appeal to him, he has informed me that he doesn't like it, "but I'm going to pretend I'm in jail and it's all I have to eat."  I usually encourage him to do just that, because even though he isn't in jail, it really is all he has to eat at the moment!

Obviously, I do not my wish for my children to think of their relationship with me as that of slave/master or jailer/inmate.  :) But I do think Evan is on to something; frame of mind is important! 

It's like running.  We are a running family.  While some of my family members train to compete, I run for exercise.  Sometimes, before a run, it's helpful for me to acknowledge "Ok, I will be in pain for the next thirty minutes" (or forty or fifty, or however long the run is).  I have to be mentally prepared for the discomfort of exercise because I believe in the benefit it provides for me.  Even the more serious runners in our family have to be mentally prepared for pain because they are looking towards a greater goal!  Something we say when the run gets hard is,

"We are out here--make it count!"

To think this way reinforces the fact that the pain will not be forever, and it encourages us to focus on the end goal, not the pain of the training itself.  It's the same when they actually run their races.  Being prepared mentally can help with achieving the goals of completion and hopefully a good finish. 

Our time on earth is temporary.  James says that we "are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes".  We aren't going to be here forever.  As I've heard it said recently, one out of every one person dies.  For those who have trusted Christ, we have a better place awaiting us.  We look forward to the life to come, and eagerly await the glorious return of our Savior.  It is natural and right for a person filled with the Holy Spirit to be disgusted by the sin and corruption of this world, as well as our own sin with which we must contend while we are here.  However, it is essential that we consistently remind ourselves that it is not forever.  That doesn't mean we just sit around and wait, and not deal with the issues at hand.  We should work for the coming Kingdom and take the gospel to our neighbors.  Keeping the end in sight, and more importantly, keeping the goal of becoming more like Christ within our minds helps us to press on.

 "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, 
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. 
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,   
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.   

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, 
God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according 
to the example you have in us.  For many, of whom I have often told you 
and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  
 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, 
and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  

But our citizenship is in heaven, 
and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  
 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, 
by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Philippians 3:12-21 

Our frame of mind can make a difference.  A mind that is set on eternity will no longer view the things of this world as the end.  Material things will rightly become lackluster, and the glory of God will be of utmost importance!  We are here for just a little while in the scheme of eternity.  Make it count!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Importance of Knowledge

Knowledge is a good thing.  I like knowing things like random trivia, how things are made, the stories behind songs, and the little known facts of historical events.

When it comes to Biblical knowledge, I like that too.  Now, of course, head knowledge isn't everything.  God designed us with minds to know and hearts to feel and souls that connect with Him through Christ.  Only such a perfect designer as He can create such a perfect balance!  Knowledge is great, though, because there are times when we must depend on it!

Psalm 57 was written while David was hiding out in a cave.  He was hiding because King Saul and crew were out to destroy him. In verse 4,  David may have been likening his enemies to lions, but it is possible that he actually was "in the midst of lions" inside of the cave.  And of course. outside the cave were "the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows".  David was surrounded on all sides.

But in the midst of his fear, he acknowledged the things he knew to be true.  Fear likely did not overtake him because he knew that the God to whom he was crying out "fulfills his purpose for me".  He knew that God would "send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness".  David made known his desire for God's glory to be shown with the sudden proclamation "Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth!"  Because David knew the character of God, he was able to praise Him, even in those dire circumstances.  It is evident that David recognized the importance of God's glory over his own personal problems.

Like David in the cave, Paul and Silas worshiped God in a prison cell in Acts 16.  Despite being bound in chains for the cause of Christ, they sang hymns and prayed to Him.  In the midst of great discomfort and pain from beatings, these men relied on their knowledge of the Truth to sustain them during such a dark night.

Folks, it's no different for you and me.  Circumstances change.  Emotions change.  Relying on circumstances and emotions to guide our steps is like hopping on a bucking bronco.  We will be tossed around and beat up and eventually end up in a place we never thought we'd be.  But Truth is steadfast.  Jehovah-El Emeth, the Lord God of Truth, is steadfast.  Knowing the truth of His Word is a priceless gift.  Study it.  Know it.  Because sometimes, when we are surrounded by our own sorts of lions and bound by our own sorts of prison chains, we are unable to think straight.  We easily believe the lies that are swirling around in our heads.  Depending on our thoughts will lead us astray.  But when we know the truth of God's Word, we are able to defer to that, even when we don't "feel" like it. 

When I study the Word and trust its truths, when I get to know the character of God, I am then able to lean on that knowledge to lead me to my Father during times when my emotions would lead me elsewhere.  And I can tell you this: worry cannot thrive in the midst of praise.  Praising God doesn't make the circumstances go away, but it reminds us of who God is and of His covenant of faithfulness to us in Christ.

When you are worried, stressed or tempted, begin to think on the truth of who God is.  Speak scripture or sing (or speak) a song that declares the truth of God's character.  You may feel strange at first because your emotions may be trying to drag you elsewhere, but disciplining yourself to meditate on truth of God will remind you of His unfailing love, and will open your eyes to know that His glory is above all.  And that is a very good thing.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Worth It All

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:56-58

In thinking this past week about the last week of Christ's life on earth, I have been refreshed and reminded of important truths.  I thought about the hope that He has given us to carry on with our labors, even in what seems like mundane tasks, because we do not merely live for this world!

The suffering, the mocking, the scorn and shame that Christ endured on the cross was certainly not in vain, and because He broke the chains of death and came back to life in victory, neither is the work we do when it is done in His Name.  Nothing we do for Him is wasted!  No meal cooked, no lesson planned, no discipline administered, no hug given, no words of grace spoken, no forgiveness granted, no tiny shirts folded - nothing done in the name of our Lord is done in vain because we look towards eternity!  But sometimes the battle rages within my flesh. 

It seems in vain when I start thinking that I should receive recognition for my efforts.  

It seems in vain when I feel like I have worked so hard and I am not seeing any fruit.  

It seems in vain when I worry that I am not doing enough.  

It seems in vain when I wear myself out trying to achieve what only God can do.  

It seems in vain when I am focused on myself.

Because of the temporal nature of our world, we must look beyond and trust in the sovereign hand of God in all of our labors.  When I remember the resurrection of Christ, how He overcame death and sin...

...I don't grow weary and feel unappreciated, because I am not working to make a name for myself, but rather I am lifting up His name.  

...I don't need to see immediate fruit, because I can rest in the fact that the Holy Spirit is working in ways that I don't always see.  

...I don't have to worry about not doing enough, because Christ's atonement and resurrection is sufficient.  It is finished, and I can trust Him. 

...And I don't have to wear myself out trying to do what only God can do, because God is sovereign, and He alone can change hearts.  

Rather, I can be faithful in showing the grace of the gospel to my children, serving my husband with a genuine attitude of love, and remembering that I am in desperate need of His mercy every day.  At this point in time, I am not being faced with death because of my Christian beliefs.  But if or when that day comes, it changes nothing.  I pray that on that day, I will remember how our Lord defeated death, and that I will know that it is all worth it.  Christ has finished the work and God is completely trustworthy to do what He will for His good pleasure, for His glory and for our ultimate good.  He is worthy, and He is Risen!  He is Risen indeed!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Unexpected

The most unexpected things can happen sometimes.  

This was the case for me today.  Who knew that I would be brought to tears in the meat department of the grocery store today?

There we were...three of my kids and me, working our way through Aisle 7 on a quick trip for dinner ingredients.  I looked up and saw an elderly couple standing by the lunchmeat cooler.  I noticed them because they had noticed us.  They were smiling and looking at the children sweetly.  I smiled back as if to thank them for their non-verbal approval of my grocery store helpers.  As we walked toward the end of the aisle, and hence closer to them, I could tell that he wanted to speak to me.  I walked over to him, and he immediately remarked on what beautiful children I have.  I thanked him, and then he looked me in the eyes and told me that they were the most precious gift I would ever receive.  He pleadingly told me to love them, to take care of them, to be kind to them.  He told me to never take them for granted.  He was so intense, that I wondered if he had lost a child at some point in his life.

Sure enough, after I sincerely expressed appreciation for his words of wisdom, he shared with me that he and his wife only had one child, and that he died of leukemia when he was "28 years and 11 days old".  He told me that it was 32 years ago, and that not a day goes by when he doesn't think of him; that he just misses him so much.  He told me that he hopes my kids will bury me when I'm old, instead of the other way around.

I welled up with tears (though I tried to hold it back while we were talking).  This gentleman had stopped me in the middle of the grocery store and shared with me precious words of advice and wisdom, which clearly stemmed from a broken heart.  I couldn't help but wonder about the thoughts that go through his mind when he sees a person like me, who seems to be living in the prime of family life, having young, healthy, vibrant kids.  

Oh!  How much I take for granted!

I wondered if one day I will look back on these days and wish I had them back.  I know that time ticks on, and things change, and it's possible that the unthinkable could happen.  That is why I relish the chaos which seems to engulf me at times!

That man was a blessing to me today.  Tonight, I found myself speaking to my little ones a little softer.  I tried to discipline with a more loving, less angry hand.  

God is so good.  I thank Him for providentially placing people in my path to remind me of so many things of which I need to be reminded - even in the most unexpected places.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Things I Learned From My First Big Run

Last week I ran a half marathon.  Now, I know that lots of people have run these types of things, but for me it was a big deal, in part because it was an unexpected event!  Being true to myself, I can't do something like that and walk away from it without some reflection on how it applies to real life!  :)  Here are a few reminders that I took away from my experience:

1.  Spontaneity is fun.

The race started at 7:30 am, and I didn't know I would be running 13.1 miles until 7:15.  My wonderfully talented runner of a husband was supposed to run with Ashlyn.  But he is occasionally plagued with a terrible bout of back pain, and it just so happened that Saturday morning was one such occasion.  We knew that if he ran it would only worsen and cause greater problems, so we decided that I would run with Ashlyn as far as I could.  I didn't even have a chance to stress about it!

This came at a time when I had lately been feeling in a bit of a rut with some things.  Sometimes doing something spontaneously can really lift you out of it.  It worked for me!

Not a very flattering picture of me, but I'm not here to win any beauty contests!  Haha!  I took this while running!  :)
2.  Encouragement is nice.

All along the way there were people cheering, encouraging us along.  It was so...well...encouraging!  We never heard anyone telling us that we were going too slow, or that we weren't going to make it, or that we had no business being there.  It was all cheers, and how motivating it was!

As Christians we are instructed by God to encourage and build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11).  But how often do we just throw out judgement or comparison?  I loved hearing "Good job!"  "You're almost there!"  "You've got this!"  And so on.  We need to say these sorts of things to each other as we walk (or run) together in the faith.  

3.  My daughter is a pretty cool kid.

Yes, I already knew that.  But this was such a special time with her!  We weren't running fast, so we were able to chat every now and then, about serious and non-serious things.  She was very patient with me as I had to stop three times and stretch my not-very-well-conditioned legs.  We both hit a milestone (literally I guess!) as we crossed the five mile mark, since neither of us had ever run that far!  :)  

One-on-one time with our kids is important and very precious.  It doesn't have to be a "date" where you go somewhere together.  Even reading a book together, playing a game together, exercising together or just having a conversation before bed is time well spent.  
Ashlyn and her cousin, who also ran the race (with another aunt).

4.  It's usually better to train beforehand.

Understatement of the year!!  I was not in shape to run this race very well, and my body started to feel it around mile eight!  We ran the whole time (except for the stretching) and I finished it, but OWWWWW!  Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain.  

I can feel it when I haven't properly prepared for the school day too.  Or when I am faced with something difficult and I haven't been preparing myself with prayer and God's Word.  The Bible says in Ephesians 6 that we must prepare ourselves for attacks from the Enemy by putting on the armor of God.  I think it would be safe to say that preparation, in many cases, can help relieve pain and make things go more smoothly.  

Jason had to stretch my legs as soon as I finished!  
5.  Perseverance is worth the prize.

My prize that day was the medal I received at the finish line for completing the race, and also that I was able to stop running!  :)  But my real prize was that wonderful sense of accomplishment.  To some this may not seem like a big deal, but I never dreamed I would ever finish a half-marathon!  The last five miles were agonizing on the IT band in both of my legs, but there was no way I was quitting.  First, for Ashlyn, and second, because after eight miles, my goal was to finish and I was GOING to finish!!  
I like to think that my lips are "bluish" because of the Powerade.  As far as I know, my oxygen level was okay.  Haha!
The sense of "I did it!" is a good feeling, and I am still happy about the whole experience (sore legs and all!)  But, alas, it was just a race.  A temporary occasion.  Something that really has no eternal significance.  But that is not so with my walk with Christ, or my position as a wife and mother, or as a homeschooler.  I love Christ.  I love my family.  But there are times when the trials are hard, the days are long and the journey is painful.  But there is a prize!  And it will ultimately come when my "race" on earth is finished and I see my Savior face to face.  Perseverance during our time on this fallen earth is completely worth the prize of seeing our risen Lord in all of His glory.

You know, it's funny, because I've never had a desire to run a half-marathon.  But now that I've done it, I think I'll try it again -- with some preparation next time, of course!  I do thank the Lord for sustaining me and giving me the health to attempt such a thing, and for helping me to be reminded of the spiritual truths that can be found in the everyday occurrences of life.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Poor Little Tree

Ahhh Spring!  Woo hoo!

We pruned a tree the other night.  We pruned a weeping cherry tree.  That sounds nice, doesn't it?  After all, pruning is necessary to direct all the nutrients to the right places.  And it's necessary to keep the tree looking the way it's meant to look; producing what it's meant to produce.  That is nice.

But our tree is nine years old, and this was the first time we had pruned it.  The FIRST TIME!  Because we didn't prune it from the time it was young, it was drastic!  But I was determined to make our tree into the beautiful, pink flowering tree that it was purposed to be.  The straight, green upward-shooting branches were choking out the beautiful flowering branches!  This could not be!

(I just didn't know better when we first got the tree.  I did no research and apparently was not told--or more likely--didn't listen very well.)

So, we got out the chainsaw.  That's right, the chainsaw.  Some of the offending branches were bigger around than my arm.  Then we severed two, then three, four, five (maybe even six) branches.  When we stepped back to survey the operation, there was but a lone branch emerging upwards from the top of the tree trunk.  But at least there were weeping, flowering branches coming off of it!

There is a point to this story.  :)  I think pruning trees is kind of like raising children.  My tree would be a lot healthier (and a heck of a lot prettier) if I had pruned those unwanted branches early on.  So it is with my children.  As parents, isn't it vital that we follow God's instructions for us and raise our little ones in the ways of Truth from the earliest point in their lives possible?  As we pray for them, discipline them and teach them the ways of the Lord, it is all part of "pruning" or shaping them.  Of course, the Holy Spirit is a Master pruner, cutting away things in our lives that are hindrances to growth in Christ.  He will do the same for our children, and He will guide us as we shape them in practical ways such as discipline and instruction.

Because of our negligence, I actually don't know if our tree will recover.  I guess there is a chance that it may even die.  But thankfully, if it dies, it will not be difficult to replace.  Not so with my kids--I have one chance with them.  And I love them too much not to do everything I can to help them understand the ways of the God very early in their lives.  I can't afford to wait like I did with my tree.  They are irreplaceable!

Proverbs 13:24
He who withholds correction hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Days Seem Short - I Gotta Have a Plan!

A couple of months ago, when I started blogging again, I told myself that I would keep it up and contribute regularly.

Insert awkward pause...

I guess I can't multi-task as well as I sometimes think I can!  

These days are busy.  BUSY!  Can I get an "Amen!" from any other moms out there?  I've always thought I was a decent manager of time, but I'll be honest; it is a struggle for me.  

In our home, we aren't to the point of being in the car every day.  Buut even on the days we are home all day (I love those, by the way), I struggle to fit everything in.  There is so much I want to do, and there are so many important things I don't want to miss.

I have to have a plan!  This is something I pray about often, because I, by nature, am not a routine oriented person.  Too much routine actually bores me.  I'm also not a planner.  Maybe these are character flaws - I don't know.  But either way, my inadequacies in these areas do not change the fact that I have four small people and school and meals and housecleaning and laundry and sports practices and ministry opportunities and church and dance rehearsals and music lessons and dates with my hubby...

...and other things I like to do such as Bible study and blogging and sewing and getting my pictures uploaded to Shutterfly (and actually ordering them) and reading a book and exercising and gardening and so on.  

Planning and a bit of routine is a must for me.  I'm sure you can relate! :)

This is such an area of weakness for me.  My natural tendency is to wake up in the morning and say to myself, "What will I do today?"  And I could do that.  But of course that would minimize our productivity and ultimately make me miserable (and it has, on several occasions)!

So as I have prayed about this for years, the Lord has helped me so much.  In the spirit of practicality, I wanted to share a few things that have helped me.

1.  Get up early.

I am not a "morning person".  In fact, I am a night person!  But a few years ago, I was challenged to get up at 5:30 a.m. and have Bible study.  Why 5:30?  Because that was a time that would be well before my children get up.  Now I'm addicted.  I'm addicted to 5:30. Well, actually, because routine rubs me the wrong way, it is sometimes 5:00 and sometimes 5:40.  Sometimes it's even 6:00.  But, no matter the numerals on the clock, it is before the kids are out of bed.  Precious time!  Sometimes there are days when I oversleep by a lot.  I hate oversleeping!  It really does make a difference in my day when I get up early and have that time with my Heavenly Father, alone.

2.  Start being productive early in the day.

When I say this, I'm thinking about things like taking a shower and starting laundry (among other things).  I'm not being legalistic and saying this is a MUST, I'm simply sharing what helps ME.  For some reason, I'm more productive when I'm not in my pajamas (unless we are having designated pajama day).  And I don't have that kind of hair that is tame in the morning.  So when I have made myself presentable early in the day, it just helps me!  I don't know why!  I'm just weird like that!  I'm sorry for shouting so much!

3.  Weekly planning.

This includes lesson plans, meal plans, when I'm going to grocery shop, etc.  Now, I know this isn't revolutionary to many of you.  Probably this is normal behavior for most of you moms.  But as I stated before, this is not natural for me.  I have to be intentional.  So, this is just in case there is a mom reading this who is a non-planner type of person like me!  It really does help our family life to be more calm and relaxed because there is {gasp} a PLAN!

4.  Put the kids to work.

Children are capable of so many things.  My issue here is taking the time to train them.  That takes patience and diligence.  But that's really all it takes.  When kids are trained in daily chores, they can contribute to family life, it relieves the workload from the parents in many things and they are learning skills they will use for the rest of their lives.  

You know, as wives and mothers, we are the managers of our homes.  Our husbands are the leaders, but when we take an approach in our homes to be orderly in the day to day living, things are so much more "friendly".  Even with writing this blog, I must be intentional, and actually schedule a time to do it.  Otherwise, it gets lost in the shuffle.  But there are certain things that we can't afford to lose in the shuffle, such as Bible study, prayer, discipleship of our children and the nurturing of our marriages.  The time passes so quickly, time that we cannot get back.  So in these hectic days, if scheduling everything is what it takes to fit in the important stuff, then so be it.

I have often been guilty of saying or thinking, "I need more than twenty-four hours in a day!"

No, I don't.  If I did, God would have given it to me.  My days must be ordered according to His Word, placing Him first above all.  Ephesians 5:15-17 says,

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

A wise woman recognizes that time is precious, and seeks to use her time (and the time of her family) for the glory of God alone.  He will grant us wisdom, we only need to ask for it.  Now that's a plan!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The God of All Comfort

"I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit; it is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary."

~Charles Spurgeon

I can't say that I've gone through the same things you have been through.  I won't say that my circumstances are better than yours, and I won't say that my circumstances are worse.  No matter what may appear on the outside, the fact is that everybody suffers on some level.  


Because we live in a fallen world.

We all have bad days, we all suffer from trials.  And if you are a fellow believer, you can rejoice with me in the fact that our suffering is not in vain!  He has purposed it for a reason.  We can believe that life consists of more than ourselves; that there is a greater purpose.  It is within that promise that we find Hope.  

If I believed that my life was all about my happiness and my comfort, then any suffering that came my way (and it would come my way) would impart to me complete misery and despondency.  

But because our Savior is more powerful than even death, I can believe that my life on this earth is not where it ends for me.  Abundant life awaits me after death.

But, what about while I'm here?  As a Christian, what do I do with the trials I go through while I'm still living?

I can rejoice in them (James 1:2-3)
...because I can trust that God will use them to make me more like Christ.  As a Christian, I want to please God more than anything, because of what He has done for me by saving me.  I want to become more like His Son, who was the only perfect human who ever lived.  I want to live a life of thanks unto Him for the salvation He has given to me, a wretched sinner.  

I can be thankful in them (1 Thessalonians 5:18) 
...because nothing can happen to me which isn't allowed by God (Matthew 10:28-29).  Since this is true, I can know that He will give me the strength to endure.  Even the death of His own Son, Jesus, would not have happened if He hadn't willed it.  I can honestly give Him praise, because I know that He is sovereign and is in complete control.

I can use them to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
...because of the great comfort He gives me in the midst of the trial.  This may not come for a while, but it may come.  Whatever evil we may face in life, we must never forget that God is good.  Suffering is not wasted.  It will accomplish His purpose and can be used to encourage others who may walk the same road at a later time.  That is one reason why anger and bitterness must never take root in our lives!

I think most would agree that life is interesting.  It is a journey full of joy, milestones, wonder and yes, trials.  And certainly this isn't a comprehensive commentary on the afflictions that we bear in this life.  But rather, these are thoughts to consider - merely the beginning, really.  God has packed the Bible full of instruction and promises dealing with the circumstances of our lives on earth!  The quote by Spurgeon at the beginning challenges me, encourages me and frankly, causes me to reflect on whether it is true of me.  I sure hope it is, because it is this sort of thinking and attitude that truly glorifies the Lord in our trials.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I can be so forgetful.  Sometimes my head is so lost in all that is spinning around me that I think I'm losing my mind!  But I feel I can safely blame that on overload.  I simply have too much on my mind (and schedule) sometimes!

The memory is a fascinating thing.  It's fun to remember things like this...

And like this...

Memory can be such a wonderful thing.  God gave us a memory for the same reason He gave us other abilities:  to bring glory and honor to Him.

A fine example of that can be found in the books of Deuteronomy when Moses is addressing the Israelites with a review of their history and purpose.  The disobedient and rebellious generation had died out, and Moses, just before he died, reminded this new generation of things that had happened when they were only children.

He says things like, "Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at...."(Deut. 4:3)

"Remember the day..."(Deut. 4:10)

"Take care, lest you forget..."(Deut. 4:23)

"Remember well what the Lord your God did..."(Deut. 7:18)

"Remember how the Lord your God led you..."(Deut. 8:2)

"Remember the Lord your God...."(Deut. 8:18)

All of these were in addition to the special feasts of remembrance set up by the Lord!

Why does Moses remind them of all of these things?

Well, REMEMBER how quickly the previous generation of Israelites forgot God's provision for them?

I can be like that too.  So many times, God has provided just what I needed, sometimes materially and sometimes spiritually or otherwise, and yet when I am in need again, I don't remember.  I forget to praise Him for His past provision.  I forget that His resources are endless.  I forget the promises of His Word.  I forget that if I never get anything else in this life it's okay, because through Christ, He has saved me from the eternal punishment which I deserved.

I forget, and I am self-centered.

This is one reason I journal.  Even if you don't consider yourself a writer, keep a record of God's provision in your life, from salvation to the very least blessing (if ever there was such a thing).  Perhaps you have an extraordinary memory; I would still suggest that you write it down somewhere, for it may be a blessing for your children to read after you are gone.  It is our duty as parents to teach these things to our children, just as the Israelites were to teach their children (Deut. 6:4-9).  Encourage them to record God's blessings as well!  This will surely help instill a grateful heart.

One more thought...

Our ability to remember can serve us well or do us harm.  It enables us to rejoice in Christ, but if used for our own gain, it can enable us to hold grudges and serve ourselves.  Like every other gift that God has given us, it is intended to glorify Him.  Walking in the Spirit means that we use the wonderful gift of remembering to know more about His goodness and His provision.  It is how we can, through His Spirit, be "anxious for nothing" and not worry about tomorrow may bring.

Of course, there are some things that I want to forget.  But God, by His grace, can use even those things to renew my mind and help me turn away from sin.

So today, when you face doubt, discouragement, frustration or fear, Remember.  Remember when He has delivered you from such things.  Think specifically.  And if you just can't bring it to mind, remember the cross.  Remember Christ.  Remember that He who was sinless suffered the shame in your place.

For truly, that is all we need.