Notice, Remember, and Tell

I’m very pleased to introduce a guest blogger for the Sunday devotional this week, Jack Popjes. I know you will be blessed by his insight. Marcia Laycock

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I am rarely stuck for words, but this great-grandmother’s reply left me gaping like a dying codfish.

I had just finished leading a writers’ workshop based on Psalm 78:3-4 for several dozen retired people who wanted to leave a legacy of written “Family God-stories”. One elderly lady briefly told a fascinating story of how God had answered the prayers of her family during the beginning of the Great Depression.

She was just a small child but prayed earnestly for her Daddy to get a job. And he did, as a construction worker on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. When, after four and a half years, the bridge was opened on May 27, 1937, she and the rest of the family rode in the first motorcade to cross the bridge.

After the workshop I asked if she had already written that story. “No, I haven’t,” she replied, “this is the first time I have ever told this story to anyone.” Huh? Never?! The first time!? Codfish time for Jack.

I discovered she had not even told her late husband, or any of her kids, grandkids or great-grandkids. For 75 years, two generations of her family born after her had been driving across that huge orange bridge regularly, never realizing it symbolized God’s provision for their grandfather’s family during those dark, desperate depression years of the 1930s.

As I drove home that day I wondered how many thousands of other Christians are failing to tell God-stories such as these, and thus robbing Him of thousands of opportunities to receive glory and praise.

Throughout the Bible God commands people to remember—147 times in the Old Testament and 70 times in the New Testament. “. . . things we learned from our ancestors, and we will tell them to the next generation. We will not keep secret the glorious deeds of the Lord.” Psalm 78:3-4. When the Israelites stopped telling the God-stories, their descendants fell into sin, over and over again.

We live in chaotic times. It is hard to notice and then remember. We are overloaded with information and have no time to think. That is Satan’s work. Our work is to stop, think, pray, and note the answers to our prayers. Keeping a diary is a great tool to help us think, reflect and remember. The weakest ink lasts longer than the most powerful memory.

Then, we need to tell and retell the God-stories in our lives: the answers to prayer; the protection from harm; the amazing provision—all the things that God has obviously done for us. Our kids, grandkids and great-grandkids need to know these things.

If we don’t notice them, we will forget. If we don’t remember we can’t tell the next generation. Through our negligence we keep secret what God has done and rob Him of the glory and praise due to Him.

Who wants to do that?

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After serving for forty years as a pastor, a linguist, educator, Bible translator, Wycliffe executive director and sought after speaker, Jack now focuses on his writing ministry. He writes weekly for two blogs, and has published three books. He is president of Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship.

http://popjesthemandate.blogspot.com/

http://insightsandoutbursts.blogspot.com/

Love’s Covering By Anita Mellott

Love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
I ran my fingers over the crisp pages of my Mother’s Day gift—a new Bible to replace my tattered twenty-year-old one. I’m going to take better care of this Bible, I determined. Maybe it’ll last longer than the other one.
A few weeks later, I placed it on my nightstand after my devotions. As I stood up, my hand brushed against a glass of water. I watched in horror as the pages turned into a soggy mess. I grabbed a towel from the bathroom, wrapped the dripping Bible in it, and ran downstairs.

You’re so careless. You’ve ruined a new Bible. So much for it lasting a long time. My thoughts accused me as I opened the door to the sunroom. I lay the Bible on a wicker chair and dragged it to the spot that got the most sun.
Throughout the day I checked on my Bible, my heart sinking every time I saw its drooping, wet pages.
That night I stood in the sunroom looking at the warped water-wrinkled pages of my Bible. Go buy a new Bible. This one’s no good. It’s a reminder of your carelessness. Perfectionism battled with relief that my Bible was still usable. It’s fine. It’s not that damaged. I can still use it. I picked it up and turned it over, feeling the bumpiness of the pages. “Child, I love you just the way you are,” a whisper floated into my heart.
Over the years, I’ve come to treasure that Bible. It has become a cherished reminder that God’s love covers the multitude of my imperfections.

Digging deeper: What does God’s perfect love mean to you? Reflect on Psalm 136.
Excerpted from School Is Where the Home Is: 180 Devotions for Parents by Anita Mellott, copyright © 2011 by Anita Mellott. Used by permission of Judson Press, www.judsonpress.com.
Author, and homeschooling mom, Anita Mellott has post-graduate degrees in Communications and Journalism. She worked as an editor with Habitat for Humanity International, and headed the Department of Journalism at her alma mater in India. She blogs at From the Mango Tree.

Tension by Marcia Lee Laycock

I love books with a lot of tension on the page – books that make you grip them a little harder than others, books that make you hold your breath.

I love the Bible for that very reason. There are so many stories in it that do all of the above. The story of Joseph, for instance, especially the scene where his brothers come before him in Egypt to beg for food, not knowing this man is the brother they betrayed. The tension on that page is palpable. What will Joseph do? Has he forgiven them or will he punish them and get his revenge at last? And the tension is drawn out as he plays games with them, throws them in jail, tells them to leave and come back again, tells them not to return without their youngest brother. (A lot of lessons for a writer to learn here). Through it all we wonder what God is doing, how this drama will play out and how God will be glorified. Even when we know the end of the story, it makes us hold our breath.

My husband preached on this passage today, and talked a bit about the tension – this is a short excerpt – (you can hear the whole message here)

“The disguise of grace promises that one day there will be a great reveal. It’s what makes the tension grow in this story, the anticipation of what it will be like when the brothers finally know who he is, when the father is finally reunited with the son that was lost. All these are prompts to us of an even greater day of revealing. Every act of disguised grace here below has the purpose in it of knowing the author of this grace for who He really is, of being brought close to the Father. The Great Reveal is coming soon.”

There has been a great deal of tension in the world lately, a great deal of drama. Many who are watching are grasping onto material things a little harder, hoping they won’t slip away. Many are holding their breath as they wonder what’s going to happen.

But, like the story of Joseph and many others in the Bible, we know what’s in the last chapter. We know God’s grace and mercy will be revealed. We know He will be glorified, whatever happens. Because, as my husband said – “He who lived His life mostly in a disguise of grace, was revealed through the resurrection as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

Psalm 33 says it so well –

“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. For he spoke and it came to be; he commanded and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in hi holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:8-22).

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has four devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. The sequel to One Smooth Stone will be released in 2011. A collection of devotionals for writers has just been released here. Visit Marcia’s website