Recently I heard several college-age young people being interviewed. They were asked to share what they knew about 9/11 (2001). Their comments were shocking to me! In summarizing those comments, it boiled down to this, “No, I do not know much about 9/11, but why remember the past? We need to move on!”
My grandfather loved history and had a phenomenal memory. He was a walking history book, remembering dates and events. Hearing him talk made history come alive for me. In fact, my senior year of High School was filled with history electives. It did not stop there, however; my soon-to-be-husband was a history major in college. I learned early on that “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)
History for me is a learning tool. Just as a carpenter, plumber, gardener, chef, writer, painter, mechanic, or soldier cannot work or repair, fight, or create without the proper tools. We cannot grow, mature, and be used by God without the right tools in our spiritual lives. All the right tools for living life can be found in God’s Word.
The last two years have found many of us looking back on the past and contemplating the future. This led me to ask myself some important questions:
1. Is remembering the past important?
2. What role should the past play in my life?
Without remembering the past, we would not know the future (our spiritual future). My spiritual past does define my eternal future. That past is all about God’s written Word and the Holy Spirit in my life. Without it, I would not know how to live or who I was. It has been a constant in my life from the day of my salvation. It sustains, encourages, and instructs my life each day.
When I was in a Christian girls’ club as a young girl, I learned Psalm 119:105: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
I can say without reservation that God has proven this verse true in my life over and over again for 64 years.
My husband and I have noticed over the last few years that fewer and fewer people are bringing their Bibles to church, let alone opening them! In fact, while visiting at someone’s home recently, we were discussing something spiritual, and Ed asked for a Bible, but one could not be found! I still have the first Bible I ever received. My grandmother gave it to me. Her love of God, and her prayer life is a part of my history and life story.
Our Bibles not only contain the words of God; it is the Word of God.
“We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21)
God’s Word literally shows God to me in technicolor. All we know about God is found within its pages. It reveals to me who I am, what I should be doing, and what I can become.
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (James 1:21) (“Sozo,” which in the Greek means to rescue our lives, to deliver, make whole, preserve from loss, danger or destruction.)
“Do not merely listen to the Word, and deceive yourselves. Do what it says, anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it, he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
It has been said, “This Book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book.”
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word. I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:9-11)
How can a carpenter, gardener, soldier, chef, plumber, writer, mechanic go to work or battle and expect to fix or win or create without having the proper tools or weapons? God’s tools and weapons for life are found in His Word, our Bibles.
It is amazing to me that we will go to every counselor, self-help book, or author for help before we go to God and His Word. Think about it a moment. We eat three times a day and snack in between, yet we can’t pick up God’s Word even once in a day! There is a war going on in our world, and we’re going into battle without our tools and weapons, and we’re wondering why we feel defeated, discouraged, lost and depressed.
Have we left our first love? Are we substituting God’s Word for the world, the flesh and the devil? Are we no longer remembering the gift of our salvation and the price Christ paid for our redemption?
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:1-7)
We can “Believe God’s Word fully; trust it implicitly and use it confidently.”
The war is not going away! Maybe, just maybe, we need to get our tools out of our toolbox and start using them! Maybe, just maybe, we need to remember the magnitude of our salvation.
“Never forget all that I have done for you.” (Deut. 6:12)
“In the night I remember your Name, O Lord.” (Psalm 119:55)
“But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
I can only imagine what might happen if God’s people started picking up God’s Word! What might happen if we started to saturate our minds and lives with the “God-breathed Word of God?” I can only imagine what God could do in our church, in our families, and in our world.
To remember is to bring to one’s mind what one has seen, known or has experienced in the past. Always remember the gift of our salvation and the provision of all that God has done for us.
Psalm 77:11-14 – “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. Your ways, God, are holy. What god is great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display Your power among the peoples.”
Psalm 143:5, 6 – “I remember to think about the many things You did in years gone by. Then I lift my hands in prayer, because my soul is a desert, thirsty for water from You.”
Psalm 9:1 – “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of Your wonderful deeds.”
These verses challenge us to remember the deeds and miracles of God which will result in worship and prayer as well as thanking God for all He has done in our lives.
Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.