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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Remember


In high school and college, I discovered the trick for learning lists of things was using a mnemonic device. Basically, you line up the beginning of letters of each word to form a word or, failing the ability to do that, making up a silly sentence in the same way. One that we probably all learned in elementary school is for the names of the Great Lakes, HOMES: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. It associates hard to remember items with easy to remember ones, creating a series of links.

Over the summer I've been rereading C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. In the Silver Chair, Eustace and Jill are called into Narnia by Aslan. Eustace has been before, but the two get separated. So, Jill meets Aslan on her own. He gives her a task: to find a lost prince and bring him home or die trying or have been called back to her own world.

Then Aslan carefully gives her instructions -- signs to remember to aid her and Eustace in their search. As He prepares to blow her into Narnia on his breath he says:

Stand still. In a moment I will blow. But first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear, as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.

One year when I was reading through the Bible, I started marking all the times God said, "remember."It never failed that when His people forgot all that He had done for them or His commands that they royally messed up. This passage tickled that command to remember in my mind.

One of my favorite Biblical characters is King Josiah. (You can find his story in 2 Kings 22-23)

Josiah is eight-years-old when he becomes king. When he was in is early twenties, he gave the priests money to restore the temple. In the midst of the restoration, they find a book. Josiah has it read to him. In response to the Book of the Law, he tears his robes and recognizes that God is angry that they have not followed what is written. He has it read to the people, tears down the idols and shrines, and finally tells the people to celebrate the Passover.

"Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed. but in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem." (NIV 2 Kings 23:22-23)

The first Passover was key to God delivering the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians. He had told them to remember but they forgot. In the frantic pace of life they neglected remembering and even lost His word. They built shrines to and worshiped other gods. They were running headlong to disaster as a nation because they forgot.

My church celebrates communion every Sunday. It is a time set out to remember what God has done. We do it in "remembrance" of Jesus death. But, I confess, that even with the time set aside, sometimes my thoughts pull me other directions. I need to grab groceries after church. There is laundry to do. Then there was that favor I needed to do for a friend.

What happens to me when I fail to remember what God has done in my life or neglect His word?

I get swallowed up by depression and anxiety. I let my time be eaten by the TV or the computer. I build shrines to other gods like work or relationships. I lose my bearings. Like Jill in the story, I find that air is thick and it is hard to remember. The harder it is to remember, the less likely I am to walk out the path God wants for me.

What does remembering do for me? It shows me all that God has done for me. It points me in the direction I should go (when I choose to be obedient). It lets me know God's love on a daily basis. It gives me hope.

Here are some things to help you remember:
  • A couple times month jot down stories of how you have seen God work in your life. They don't have to be detailed. Bullet points will work if you think it will jog your memory enough.
  • Look back on those stories.
  • Thank God for how He has met you.
  • Read scripture every day.
  • Get into a Bible study and dig in deeper.
  • Memorize. It's not just for "sword drills" at AWANA.
I've found that the verses or passages that I've studied come to me at the times I need them most. One set of verses for me is, Philippians 2:3-5.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
It reminds me how I should relate to others. And it is a reminder that I'm not imitating an Emmy winning actress. I am called to model myself after the King of the Universe.

I know I threw out several things. Don't feel the need to try to do them all at once. But will you pick one (jotting down stories, reading scripture daily, joining a Bible Study, or memorizing scripture) to commit to today?

Remember. It will make all the difference in the world in your life.


God's Work In Progress,


This year I'm focusing on hope. I'd love for you to visit my personal blog:


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9 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

Such an awesome post.

August 5, 2008 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Homesteader in Training said...

That sure did hit home. Great things to apply and ponder. Wonderful post.
Blessings,
Kim

August 5, 2008 at 6:27 AM  
Blogger Tiffanie said...

Thanks for the reminder to remember.

August 5, 2008 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

Oh my goodness! I feel like I just read a letter from God to me. I'm living where 'the air is thick' right now . . . and I forget sometimes that He is still sovereign and His promises haven't changed.

Remember.

Thank you!

August 5, 2008 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Patti VZ said...

Good job, Amy!!! Some great thoughts in there for us to think about!

August 5, 2008 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Just what I need to remember when I am trying to beat anxiety and depression. I appreciate your help! Cindi

August 5, 2008 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Name: Michelle said...

This was really meaningful to me! Thank you and God bless all the women out there!

August 7, 2008 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

Very good. I think you have hit the nail on the head. How easy it is to fill our lives and minds up with superficial and often negative things.

August 11, 2008 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Angie said...

Amy---that is such a good post! I have not read the Chronicles of Narnia...only watched both movies...but the parallels are amazing to our lives. I especially enjoyed your analogy of OUR LIVES. That is exactly what I do!
This was so good---I am just late getting around to reading some!

August 13, 2008 at 6:45 PM  

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