Practice Gratitude Series
Contributed by Christian Cheong on Feb 14, 2015 (message contributor)
Summary: Gratitude brings God's blessings into life's struggles. Gratitude magnifies God's goodness in the midst of life's pain.
Why do you really want to remember something? Why make the effort to recall?
• If you are studying, your answer may be: I want to pass the exam. I need to remember what the teacher says and what the right answer is.
• After that, it doesn’t matter that much. Most of us forget what the teachers say.
And it depends on what you are you remembering. Some things are important and helpful, like someone’s telephone number, or ATM passwords.
I have this weakness. I don’t remember things well, especially dates.
• Like birthdays, when did I passed by driving test, started work at KT, etc.
• I can have a nice shirt and if you ask me after some time, where did buy it, what’s the brand, or even who gave it to you, I would have a problem.
• I just know it is a nice shirt. I am not proud of this. I am still learning.
Some things need to be remembered. When we hold a memorial service, that’s what we want to do - to remember the life of someone who has blessed us.
• It is not about the REMEMBERING. It is the PURPOSE behind the remembering. It is what this remembering DO TO US that is important.
• We are thankful. We are grateful. We are blessed. We want to continue their legacy. That’s why we want to remember.
After crossing the River Jordan, God instructed Joshua to choose 12 men from among the people, one from each tribe.
• They are to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan where the priests stood with the Ark of the Covenant.
• Why the stones? So that they can set up a memorial. The stones will become a sign that triggers their memory.
• FOR the people who crossed the Jordan, as well as (and more importantly) FOR THE GENERATIONS that come after them.
When Joshua set up the stones at Gilgal, this is what he said:
• Josh 4:21-24 He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, `What do these stones mean?' 22tell them, `Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' 23For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."
The knowledge of God can only come from our TELLING of what he said and what He did. And these recollections comes through memorials.
• Either physical memorials like these stones, or monuments, or events like the various Jewish festivals, such as the Passover, or Feast of the Tabernacles.
At the Last Supper with His disciples, while celebrating the Feast of the Passover, Jesus instituted something perpetual.
• Paul says it this way (1 Cor 11:23) “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you…”
• Jesus took the bread and cup and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And “this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor 11:24-25)
But memorials are more than just signs to jog our memory (although that’s what they do). They do more than that.
• Paul says do not eat and drink in an unworthy manner. We are call to examine ourselves before we eat and drink.
• What exactly are we called to EXAMINE? Our hearts, or our attitudes. And that you can only do yourself, nobody can help you.
• If we have sinned, we are to repent. If we have lose faith, we are to acknowledge our need of His help.
Memorials address a greater need – a spiritual need. We are called to RECONNECT with God.
• They are not meant to address an amnesia problem (memory loss). That’s physical.
• Memorials ask questions: Did you know that God did all these for you? He saved you, He provided for you, He gave you all that you have today? Do you know that?
When the Israelites see these stones, these are the questions they have to answer.
• We are called to be GRATEFUL. We are called to recognise Him as our benefactor and stay FAITHFUL to Him.
• Remembering Him this way changes us. Are you GRATEFUL?
Over the past months I’ve heard many gossips (probably one of the occupational hazards for a pastor) and unhappiness over people who are seemingly unfairly blessed. They don’t deserve it but they are getting all the benefits. People are angry, jealous, envious, and bitter and they complained.