I actually have an excellent memory. I have mental snapshots from the family vacation we took when I was two. And I remember the “Winkie Bear” who told stories in my four-year-old class. I remember the name of every Sunday school teacher I had from kindergarten on. I even remember random dates—like the date I made my first pie crust (an utter failure!).
But I don’t remember these things every day. In fact, most of them I only remember when I’m trying to.
This is why Memorial Day is special. It helps us pause to trigger our memories—to purposefully stop and be thankful for the sacrifices made for our freedom. In my own family, I have a grandpa, two uncles, and a cousin who have served or are serving in the military. I’m so thankful for the freedom they have preserved for me. I’d like to say that I gratefully remember their sacrifices every day, but I can honestly say that I have thought of their sacrifices many times today. That’s the blessing of Memorial Day.
If Memorial Day is so helpful for patriotic memories, perhaps we would be wise to establish trigger points for other important memories as well. What reminds you to thank the Lord for your salvation? To count your blessings? What reminds you of the answers to prayer God has given in the past? Of His miraculous dealings in your life?
If I was asked to describe any one of those areas, I could recall the stories easily. You probably could too. Perhaps we need more memorial days—or at least more memorial points. Let’s pause to remember!
I’m not a shopper. Ask my sisters. (I’m afraid I’ve made some of their shopping expeditions rather unpleasant.) Neither am I a spender. (The way I see it, saving 50% on a sale item is no savings at all if you weren’t already planning to purchase the item. In that case, you’re agreeing to spend 50%.)
Perhaps this perspective is what arrested my attention when I read David’s statement in 1 Chronicles 21:24: “I will not…offer burnt offerings without cost.” What? David had an opportunity to have something without cost—for free, and he refused it! Why? Because he wanted to give something of value to the Lord.
Every time there is a cost involved in serving God, every time there is a price to my commitment to offer myself as a living sacrifice, it is an opportunity to ascribe worth to the Lord—to prove how valuable He is to me.
I will not offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing. He is worthy!
When springtime showers start to fall,
The wise one’s heart rejoices;
For he knows the rain’s drear call
Will be answered by flower voices.
He doesn’t mind the shadows,
Although he would like the sun.
He knows patience brings bright tomorrows
And glad joys for everyone.
Have earth’s dark storm clouds come to you?
Count it joy, my friends.
Trust God; His purpose is true—
God, by rain, His flowers sends.
For sorrow is joy in the making;
Faith sees the beauty ahead.
Dark night, but morn’ will be breaking,
And for weeping you’ll have joy instead.
In the context of a larger conversation, a friend happened to mention last summer that she had completed a moderate workout the evening before—running for forty-five minutes on a treadmill at 5.7 mph. Without much thought, I noted the comment and reminded myself that I really needed to be exercising.
Less than a week later, I determined to begin, and I set a goal for myself of forty-five minutes per day. I decided that I should start my new plan with moderation, and remembering my friend’s earlier statement, I decided forty-five minutes on the treadmill at 5.7 mph would be good for the first day. (She said it was moderate!) It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was a strenuous workout! I chalked it up, however, to being very out of shape and determined to persevere.
Four miles and forty-five minutes later, I staggered off the treadmill and collapsed on the floor. The next day, I could hardly walk. (If you’ve not been much of a runner, let me encourage you that this is not a good start!)
During those grueling forty-five minutes, I grasped for something to occupy my mind—anything to distract myself from my exhaustion. I thought of Hebrews 12:1, “And let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Continue reading
“There is a reward for whoever finds Dad’s keys first.” These words, occasionally spoken by my mom when I was growing up, were like music to my ears! You might think that I would have looked just as diligently for the keys before the reward was offered—when I first heard they were missing. And, truthfully, I did look. But there was something about the promise of a reward that added zeal to my search.
In Hebrews 11:6, God promises a reward for those who diligently seek Him: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6) Faith is believing that God is who He has declared Himself to be and that He rewards those who will seek to know Him personally.
But it goes a step further—faith is actually reaching for the reward. In other words, if we truly believe that God rewards those who seek Him, and if we count that reward worthy of the effort, it will affect our actions. We will make seeking Him a priority. Continue reading
Some of the most significant conversations we have had, have probably been those we had with ourselves—even when we didn’t realize we were talking.
We say things to ourselves more often than we realize. Sometimes it’s a direct conversation, and other times, it’s the simple process of thinking.
Words are powerful. As Proverbs 18:20 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” This is true, not only of what we say to others, but of what we say to ourselves as well. Continue reading