Selective Amnesia

art_img_23620My family makes fun of me for not remembering things from when I was in high school. I played football in high school, maybe I took too many hits to the head. But maybe I just do not want to remember. Maybe, for whatever reason, I have subconsciously decided to forget that part of my life.

I enjoy my life right now. I love my wife and kids and do not get me started on my new grandson. I love my church, the church that I serve. I enjoy going to worship with them and I love leading them. It would be hard to imagine that I would selectively forget anything going on right now.

One of my favorite phrases found in the New Testament is, “But God.” I love this phrase because it then speaks about the way that God loves us and what He has done to save us. Romans 5:8, “BUT GOD demonstrates His love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It speaks often about who we are now. We are saved. We are born again. We are made new.

I like this phrase though it seems to always follow a passage that describes what we were like before Christ. I was reading yesterday and wondered, why would God spend so much time reminding us who we were? Why do we need to remember how far from God we were before he drew us to himself? Maybe, because He knew that we would selectively forget that part of our lives… selective amnesia.

We do not want to remember the sinful parts of our lives. We do not want remember the worst about ourselves. We always want to broadcast the good things about us. That is why social media is not a good way to get to know people. You see the good parts, the parts they want us to see. Maybe that is the problem. We remember the parts of our lives that we want to be remembered for. We hope others will see and remember our good parts and ignore or forget the bad. I guess we are a lot like that with God also. We hope that God will be so in love with our “good things” and somehow miss all the sin we have committed.

But over and over through scripture, we see God reminding us of who we were. Titus 3:3 says; “For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another.” Said simply, we were terrible people. The good things did not even come close to making up for the foolish, hateful things that we have done. “BUT GOD!”

Titus 3:4-5 says; “But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” God saved us! Through noting of our own doing. Not because of how great we are, but because of his mercy and his great love.

See God reminds us where we were so that we appreciate where we are, or better yet who we are. Because we were children of wrath and now are heirs to the king. We are not spoiled rich kids that have it made. We have been made new through the blood of Christ. We understand the transformation that has taken place in us, but how great that transformation has been. Praise be to God.

So as you read about the wonderful things God has done for us, allow God to remind you of where you were. Then praise Him for where you are.

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Calling all Christians to stand up…

There is a huge divide in our country over politics and it is time for the believers in Jesus Christ to stand up be heard. I know that many are speaking out. I read the posts on social media. I hear the talking heads on cable news. In short, all of it breaks my heart.

woman-in-prayer-e1516468524401Romans 12:18 tells us, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Words matter. I know that we were all taught that words will never hurt me, but that was a huge lie. What we say in a time of hurting makes a difference. We must not get caught up in the political debate of the time and instead continue to be consumed with the gospel of Jesus.

The gospel of Jesus is the only thing that is going to heal at a time like this. Our goal as Christians is not to win elections because our mission is not of this world. Our sights should be on eternity. We should be shining the light in the middle of this darkness that we see all around. In order for that to happen, we cannot allow ourselves to be sucked into the rhetoric of the rest of the world.

So how dow we stand up as Christians? I am glad you asked…

  1. Kneel – The first thing we must do is get on our knees and pray. Pray for the gospel to be advanced. Pray for God to use us for healing in the lives of those hurting around us. Not for any other reason than to help the hurting and advance the gospel.
  2. Repent – If we are truly going to be about the gospel, pride must not be ruling us. We must humble ourselves before our Lord, repent of anything that we have said or done that would add to the hostility instead of being a peace maker. It is only at then that God will use us in the lives of those in need.
  3. Reach – We must reach out to the hurting. We cannot beso consumed with being right, with winning an argument, that we have not walked with the hurting. We are telling them all the reasons why what happened to them is terrible. We are telling them our theories on why it would not if we had our way. But we are not there for them, loving them, and living out the gospel in their time of pain.

The gospel is the only answer in the face of evil. Live today for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Live today as a light in the darkness. Live today for Jesus.

James Week 10 – Faith in the Now

 

Memory Verse – 14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. (CSB)

Study Questions

  • Read Psalm 39:4–6. What do these verses teach about life in this world?
  • Read 1 Peter 2:1–3. What does Peter tell us to put away and to desire?
  • List some results you have noticed from Christians engaging in evil speaking.
  • God is everywhere at the same time, omnipresent. Why is this scary and reassuring all at the same time?
  • God is all knowing, omniscient. Why do we have trouble telling God things that He already knows?
  • God is all powerful, omnipotent. Why do we rely on our power instead of His?
  • Read Proverbs 21:5. What does God say about planning?
  • How can you avoid planning without regard to God?