Renewed by Remembering

     There’s a fairly new picture on my desk.  It’s my modern day “stone of remembrance.”  I never realized a photograph could be so spiritually empowering.  Just one glance reminds me of what only God could have done.  It instantly renews my faith.  Too bad cameras weren’t available when God parted the Red Sea…and the Jordan River.  It would have been easier than carrying stones to build a memorial.  I’d much rather indulge in scrapbooking.

     I never thought much about the importance of memory stones until I realized the power within that frame.  It was memory.  Our memory is an incredible gift from God.  Most of the time the ability to reminisce is delightful.  Other times it can be painful, requiring intentional discipline to steer our thoughts in another direction.  What God does want us to remember is His goodness, but new trials often cloud that ability.  That’s the time for deliberate recall.  When we call to mind what the Lord has done for us in the past, we are empowered to stand strong in the present.  Remembering builds our faith and helps us counteract wrong reactions to a trial.  It’s for our own good to commit our victories to memory, sealing them forever in our minds, but we need helpful memory joggers.  God called them “stones of remembrance.”   

     A warning to all of us is God’s charge against Israel in Psalm 78:11, “They forgot what He had done.” God commanded Israel to take up stones after they crossed the Jordan River to serve as a reminder of God’s goodness.  Joshua 4:22 says, “When your children ask what these stones mean, you can tell them the Lord dried up the river right before your eyes and kept it dry until you were all across just as he did at the Red Sea.  He did this so all might know the power of the Lord and that you might fear Him forever.  What kind of memory joggers might you set up so you and your kids won’t forget God’s goodness?

     Mine was this new picture on my desk.  It’s of my youngest son and his new wife.  Childhood friends, they had not seen each other in twelve years.  I had been praying for him to find a wife of God’s choice since he was a baby.  (By the way, it’s never too soon to start praying over the little boy or girl that will become your child’s spouse some day.)  One month before it all happened, I had felt impressed to pray specific verses from Genesis 24 over my son.  Certain phrases lept off the page and I inserted his name within the scriptures.  “Get a wife for my son…let her be the one you have chosen…this is from the Lord.”  One month after praying these verses, she walked into his life.  God used four major events to bring them together: an Evening with Joel Osteen, a Reuben Morgan concert in Indianapolis, a three-hour layover on the way to a missions trip in El Salvador, and a Hillsong United concert in Houston.  God went to great lengths “orchestrating” huge galas as a means of furthering their relationship.  I could have never done that no matter how hard I tried.  And God “defined” their relationship (as together forever) within a matter of months after that first meeting.  No one could have played the match-maker…but God.  No one could have caused their relationship to flourish with the distance between them…but God.  I have much more to share about this story, but I pray you’ll be encouraged that God has a plan for every life, and He will go to great lengths to accomplish it. 

     I just can’t forget what He has done…especially when I face a new trial. And that’s where I’ve been lately.  I’ve found myself staring at their picture quite often recently.  A quick glance hasn’t been enough.  I’ve had to literally drink in their image to deliberately recall God’s goodness.  In doing so, I’ve been able to apply the Lord’s “orchestrating” and “defining” powers over them to another concern of life.  Remembering their story renews my faith and helps me go on.  I’m beginning to understand the importance of stones of remembrance.

     So try to remember a past victory, an answer to prayer, an absolute God-thing that will build your own faith and encourage your family in the years ahead.  Write it down.  Take a picture.  Find a pretty stone to display.  Ask the Lord how you can set up your own stones of remembrance to glorify His Name and help you face each new day with renewed faith.  I promise it will increase your faith as you recognize how God ruled over your cicumstances in the past and will continue to do so in the future.  Then you, too, will be renewed by remembering

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