facebook was created to help you connect and share with the people in your life. We have talked about several ways that it can help you connect, but there can be a problem of connecting with people if you can not get onto your facebook account. That happens when you forget your password. But if you forget your password you just click on the "forgot your password" link and facebook will help you reset your password to be able to get back into your account.
I had not really thought much about it, but we live in a password happy world don’t we? At least if you use technology there are many passwords out there that you need to remember. You may have passwords at work to get onto computers or access certain files. We have passwords or pin numbers for our debit cards. Your social security number is a password. I have passwords for both my cell phone and home phone accounts. If you buy things on-line you have passwords for those accounts. I have one for Amazon, E-bay, Christian Book Distributors, Pay Pal, and a bunch of random on-line stores.
And the fun part is not just remembering the passwords, but the user names as well. Some accounts use my email address, which is nice. But other accounts I am jparks or jameseparks or revjep and probably some others. It can be hard to keep it all straight and online places realize that and this is why most, if not all, have a "forgot your password" button.
It would be nice if you could use one password for everything, but different places require different characters for the password. They tell you how many characters it needs to be and if you need a number or two and if you need different capital or lower case letters. All of that is for good reason, it is for security, but it still can be tough to remember everything.
So, how do you come up with memorable passwords? You need to have a system that works for you. It is suggested not to use real words spelled correctly. Also do not use common words connected to you like names of spouse, children or pets. Also stay away from birthdates.
So staying away from that they say the longer the password the better. I said don’t use real words, but you can use parts of real words like taking out the vowels or the beginning of one word and the ending of another. Or just take a sentence you can remember and use the first letter of each word in the sentence. That can be especially helpful if you have a random password assigned to you. Take the letters and make up a sentence using the letters to find a word. Like if your password was abcde, you can remember all bad cats do eat.
If you really have trouble with online passwords you can find software that will store your user names and passwords and keep it all together protected by one master password that you come up with. That software can be found for free or I saw one for $10 and another for $30.
Or you can take my dad’s security approach. He writes his password on his computer monitor. I mean if a thief is in his house looking at his monitor he has bigger problems then them knowing his password right?
By now you may be wondering what in the world does all of this have to do with our faith as Christians. Well, let me first say there are no passwords in Christianity. Nothing in our faith is meant to be kept secret from others. There are not special words that will work miracles. Although there is power in the name of Jesus.
So I am not going to share a password with you today or ask you to come up with one. What I want us to do is work on remembering. See, if you forgot your password that means you are already signed up. You have been there, you are a member, but you have forgotten something. This is what happened to the church in Ephesus according to the passage from Revelation. Ephesus is a town in modern day Turkey.
The passage started out by saying some positive things about this church. It said that this church was hard working and persevered in the midst of hardships. When there was persecution this church stood its ground and pulled through. It also said this church tested the teachings of people that came along to see if their teaching matched the Scriptures and Jesus. They did not want to be led astray. They held true to the Gospel and were not distracted.
But then it goes on to say, even with the good going on there was one thing missing. It said they had forsaken their first love. I would say they had forgotten their first love.
You see this church was doing good things. They endured hard times and pressed on, but they had forgotten something. They had forgotten their first love. They had forgotten the reason they endured hardships. It seems to me that they were doing many of the right things on the outside, but were missing the internal passion and reason for their actions.
We sometimes get that way as well. As Christians, we sometimes forget why we believe in God or we forget that God has a purpose for us. We take it for granted and just keep doing what we have always done. But this is not what God wants for our lives. God wants more than just the action or outward appearance of faith. God wants that internal passion to be living and our guide. So we need to reconnect. We need a reminder. And that is my message for today. Remember why you first fell in love with God.
We can’t forget. We can’t forget why we first started to follow Christ. We can’t forget those times God has really touched us and changed us. We can’t forget that God has set us free from sin to live our lives. From time to time we need reminders of God’s love and purpose for us. Do you remember when you first realized God’s presence with you?
For me it was 18 years ago on the camp ground of Wesley Woods near Indianola. I had been trying to live a good life because I thought if I was good, good things would happen for me. Although no matter how hard I tried I just was not good enough. I could not live up to the expectations of other people. I also could not live up to my own expectations. And I was getting tired of trying to be good enough.
Then one night at camp I heard a message that said I was already good enough for God. Now I was not good enough because I had done anything, but God just loved me as I was. It took me some time to come to terms with that, but when I did it was amazing. I could stop trying so hard to be someone I wasn’t. God loved me for who I was and I simply needed to be myself. Living life as myself instead of who others wanted me to be took a huge weight off of my shoulders. I was free to be me and being me would please God. It was amazing the joy and peace that brought to my life.
There are still days I get caught trying to please others. I try to be who others want me to be and I need a reminder to just be myself. As imperfect as I am, God wants me to be me.
I hope you all know that as well. God wants you to be you. Or maybe there was another message God spoke to you the first time you encountered God. My guess is that it had something to do with God loving you because that is usually when we fall in love with him when he speaks his love for us.
Remember God’s love today and every day. Remind yourself that the amazing, wonderful, magnificent God who created the universe loves you. You can’t forget that.
And here’s a great piece of this message as well. As we are called to remember, I am reminded that God does forget. A lot of times when we realize we have forgotten God for some time we have feelings of guilt to work through. We feel guilty for forgetting God and in that time we have done some things that are not pleasing to God. Things we wish we had not done and that we want to forget. So we worry about coming back to God and having God point out all of these mistakes of our past. But as you remember and come back to God, remember also that God forgets.
Psalm 103 starting at verse 10 says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” God never forgets his love for us, but God does forget our sins when we turn back to him. When we come back to God and say we love him we can ask about our mistakes, but if we simply ask for forgiveness God forgets our sins. He takes them as far as the east is from the west. This is what Jesus did for us on the cross. Without the cross our sins would be remembered, but through the cross God forgives and forgets.
This is the great news for us today. If you have forgotten, maybe because of all the passwords you are required to remember, God loves you. God wants you to remember his love for you. If you have slowly drifted away or lost some of the passion that was once there, or if you have not felt that passion before at all. You can’t forget that God loves you. And remember God does forget the mistakes of your past. Any time you want to reconnect with God he will be waiting. He wants to connect with us. So anytime you are asked for a password, remember God loves you. If you forgot your password be thankful that you can still remember God’s love for you. So anytime you forget something say to yourself, “I forgot where I left my keys, but I remember God loves me.” People may look at you funny the first few times, but they will get used to it. You can’t forget God’s love for you.