Sunday, March 20, 2016

Short-term Memory

Short-term Memory
March 21, 2016
Philippians 4:6  "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."

The Lord instructed the Israelites to put up stones of remembrance.  Apparently this is because humans have short-term memories.  The stones of remembrance were similar to modern day monuments, not meant to be worshiped but used as points of historical significance for reflection.  Several examples of this can be seen throughout the Bible.  One specific instance, after the Israelites had left Egypt and the Lord had provided a miracle in crossing the Jordan, the Lord required them to take a large stone for each tribe and set these twelve stones up for all of history to see.  The stones were to be used as a reminder of what the Lord had done for them.  Seeing it in stone was to make a lasting impression on their minds and for future generations to see and understand the work of the Lord, to bolster their faith.

Another example of this was when the prophet Samuel put up an Ebenezer, literally translated as stone of help.  This was a large stone set up in monument fashion to mark the place of significance when the Lord provided significant help.  Again, it was meant to inspire faith in those who saw it and recounted the story of the Lord's help in times of trouble.  Today, we often forget all that the Lord has done, for us and throughout history.  For some reason our memory seems to be short-term.  We think that because He hasn't done anything for us lately that He must be retired, that He just isn't in that line of work any more.  Nothing can be further from truth; you've simply forgotten to mark the times of prominence when the Lord showed up in your life.  Look back through your life and try to identify those monuments of remembrance you've put in place.  Chances are you've neglected to accomplish this in the physical sense.  When was the last time you erected anything to commemorate what the Lord has done in your life?

While I also have few literal stones of remembrance myself, my wife and I have given our children names with significant meanings.  After suffering a miscarriage my wife feared her body could not carry a pregnancy to term.  Very shortly after the miscarriage, my wife pregnant again, started to miscarry.  Thankful she did not this second time, but gave birth to a beautiful girl.  After the horrendous pain of losing a baby we did have a new life  and gave her a name of remembrance.  Her name, a very Biblical theme, means blessing and beauty from ashes.  While it may not be apparent to everyone who walks by, this stone of remembrance is significant to my wife's and my faith.  So, I will ask you again.  What can you put in place to remember what the Lord has done for you?  It is an instruction from the Lord.

You are required to remember everything the Lord has done for you, but how can you do this if you have not taken the time to commemorate the points of significance?  The Lord instructs us to document this in the good times, that way we can hold fast to His faithfulness in the bad times.  In Philippians we are instructed, when we have anxiety about a huge mountain in our lives, to remember what the Lord has done for us, remembering ALL the Lord has done.  But again, how can you remember ALL that the Lord has done if you've not done anything to commit the memory to stone?  The reason for your anxiety is possibly because of your short-term memory.  If you have a prayer request, a prayer of desperation, then pray and remember.  Except don't just remember a few things the Lord has done, you are supposed to remember ALL that the Lord has done for you.  Here is some homework.  Take out a piece of paper and start from your childhood, documenting everything the Lord has accomplished for you.  I have a feeling when you've finished the list, that your anxiety will dissipate, your faith will be bolstered, and you might even realize the answer to the prayer request.  Remembering is not a recommendation, it is a requirement during your prayers.  Maybe you've not seen the answer to the prayer because you've failed to remember and acknowledge what the Lord did for you in the past.  Try marking it is stone; it will certainly be worth it going forward.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Josh 4, 1 Sam 7, Ps 118, Eph 5:20, 1 Thess 5:16-18

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