A Call to Remembrance
(May 25, 2020)
Why do we need to set aside a whole day… a whole weekend… to remember? In our fast-paced society, filled with schedules, events, responsibilities and obligations, continually focused on getting more, doing what’s next, looking to the future, planning, goal-setting, striving, achieving, etc, etc, etc, doesn’t it seem counter, to stop and look back?
In the Scriptures, the word “memorial” is found 32 times, the word “remember”, 144 times, “remembrance”, 52 times. I don’t know about you, but to me, that seems to be an awful lot of references to looking in the rear view mirror.
What we find is that God even “commanded” His people to set aside days and even whole weeks as “Times of Memorial”. Times to remember how He delivered them from Egypt. Times to remember how he delivered the law on Mt Sinai. Times to stop and give thanks for His Provision. If that was not enough, He even commanded them to pile up stones in strategic locations so that when future generations asked, “What is the meaning of this pile of stones?” They could recite the story of how God led them into the Promised Land. They had physical, tangible reminders of what God had done for them.
In the New Testament, Mary, a woman of ill repute, went into the house of Simon, a Pharisee, while he was entertaining Jesus, washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, dried them with her hair and anointed with an expensive perfume. Jesus’ response to this act (which is recorded in Matt 26, Mark 14 and John 12) was, “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. (Mark 14:9).
There are many other places where a call to remembrance is commanded, even to the point that the command, “Thou shalt remember…” is found seven times in scripture. Almost sounds like it could be an “eleventh commandment?” J
While I may joke about an eleventh commandment, I don’t believe God is kidding when He calls us to a time of remembrance. It is clear that He wants us to set aside time to remember. Take some time today.
(May 18, 2020)
Are you feeling broken? Ever feel like you just don’t measure up? Frustrated by your own human weaknesses and frailties?
If I am honest, there are many times I feel broken. Especially on Mondays, after a great experience on Sunday. A lot of times, it is because my physical body and my mental capacities are exhausted.
Brokenness is not a bad thing, however. When we look at the scriptures, we find that on several occasions, God used brokenness. Moses felt that he could not lead because his speech was broken. But, God made him one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament. Gideon’s confidence in himself and what he was hearing from God, was broken… and then God used broken pitchers, along with trumpets and torches to bring a mighty victory over the Midianites, with just 300 men! Mary used a broken alabaster box to anoint the feet of Jesus, filling the entire house with the beautiful fragrance, after she had washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. The Apostle Paul expressed his frustration with his brokenness this way, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom 7:23-24). Throughout the scriptures, we see God doing mighty things, and using broken people to do it.
Psalm 51:17 says it best, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” To be completely honest, if God is truly going to be glorified in us, we must offer Him our brokenness, and let Him mend us, mold us and shape us. Once more, the words of the Apostle Paul, as he shared his experience with his brokenness with us, after he prayed that it be removed, (2 Cor 12:9-10) “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Let the Power of Christ “rest” (pitch a tent, abide) in our broken vessels, and let His strength shine through!
(May 11, 2020)
As I was preparing for and delivering the message for our Mother’s Day service here at Landmark Gospel, I was especially moved to minister to our single moms. When I pondered the scriptures, I recalled that throughout the Old Testament, God makes it very clear how much he cares for the “fatherless and widows”.
Here is are just a few examples:
(Exodus 22:22-24) Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. (v23) If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; (v24) And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.
(Deut 10:18) He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
(Deut 24:19) When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
As you can see, by the above examples, God feels very strongly about the care of these women who struggle to meet the needs of their families, and the children that are affected in these situations. Even in the New Testament, in Acts 6, the early church chose seven men of, “honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom…” to care for the widows in the church. We as a church need to be praying for and reaching out to the “widows” in our midst, to make sure they have what they need for their children. In doing so, we will be meeting the standard of “pure religion” as defined by James, the apostle, in his letter to the church: (James 1:27) “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Today’s modern world culture has proliferated the “fatherless and widow population” with many fathers either abandoning their families, or having very little involvement in the lives of their children. I believe the church has a divine mandate to stand in the gap for these souls.
Let’s be practitioners of “Pure Religion”.
Replace Fear with Faith
(May 6, 2020)
We are living in “unprecedented” times. That word is probably being overused these days, but it is true. We are living in an era where we have never experienced anything like it. Our natural response is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the future. Fear for our loved ones. Fear of infection. Fear of contact. Fear of ________ (you fill in the blank). You can see the fear in eyes peering over the masks. It is a frightening time, and many are frightened.
The Bible tells us in II Timothy 1:7, “…God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Paul was talking to Timothy, his “son in the faith” and challenged him in the previous verse to “stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” and in the verse before that, he spoke of Timothy’s heritage of “unfeigned faith”.
If we have the Gift of the Holy Ghost living and active in us, we do not need to fear. We can reach back to that heritage of unfeigned faith. (that word, “unfeigned” means, “sincere”). The writer of Hebrews tells us to “run with patience, the race set before us” because we are “compassed about” with a “cloud of witnesses”, and we need to be “looking unto Jesus” (Heb 12:1-2).
Replace fear with faith, by keeping your focus on Him, allowing the gift of His Spirit to fill us with faith, power and love. And our minds will be sound.
Every week has a Monday
(May 1, 2020)
How was your Monday? Mine was well… a Monday. It was one of those days when my mind was scattered, my body was tattered, my spirit was battered… well, you get the picture. Fact is, we all have days like that. Maybe some of us more than others.
When your mind is scattered, remember, Proverbs 16:3 “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” If we truly are fully committed to God, this becomes easier to do. Or, how about this one… 2Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (v4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (v5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Life can be a battle. Especially on Mondays. Or Tuesdays. Or Wednesdays… Remember this. Every battle starts in the mind. Let’s win the battle in our mind, by committing our works unto the Lord.
Have a great week!