Today is Memorial Day, a day we remember those who have served and are serving in our armed forces and protecting our freedom.
Instead of answering a question, I’m going to blog about how we can learn to be more attentive. God’s Word reminds us and repeatedly warns us not to forget Him.
A long time ago I heard a speaker tell a very old story in Jewish mythology about something called the Guf. He said it is a Hebrew word meaning the well of souls, where, in this legend, the Lord has stored all of the souls of the not-yet-born. In this place, the “guf” all souls are educated into knowledge of the Lord. Before we are born we are told everything about God and Heaven.
And then, just before the Lord implants that soul into the physical body that has been created for it at the moment of conception, an angel comes and touches us on the top of our lip (leaving the impression that we have there), and with that touch we forget everything that we’ve learned. And so we’re born into earthly existence with a dim yearning and a longing for something ─someone that we once knew. Somewhere deep within our heart we are searching for our true love and real home─and we spend our lives─not looking for something that we don’t know but rather─hoping to retrieve something that we do know.
He continued by saying, there’s modern day story that seems to confirm this legend.
He didn’t know where it came from originally, but supposedly it’s true. It’s about a little girl who was 3 years old. Her parents were pregnant and her mother delivered a little baby girl. The 3 year old was very eager to spend time with her new baby sister. The parents suspected that the motivation of their older daughter may not be entirely innocent so they were a little nervous and kept putting her off. But she was insistent that she wanted to spend time with her baby sister and she wanted it to be alone.
Finally the parents decided to give in to her request by letting her go in and visit with her baby sister but they would keep one of those monitors on in the room and stand near the door. If anything dangerous began to happen they could rush in and rescue the newcomer. So they let her go in and listened in on the monitor and heard her approach the crib carefully. They could just barely hear her whisper to her little baby sister,
“Quick, tell me again about God and heaven, I’m beginning to forget”
God’s Word frequently reminds us not to forget him. For example, the Lord warned the Israelites that in prosperity, they would tend to forget him (Deuteronomy 6:10-12). The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah lament throughout their writings that Israel often forgot God (Isaiah 51:3 Proverbs 3:1).
We not only forget God, we often forget what He tells us, even when we’re working hard to listen to Him. I don’t’ know about you but I can be truly blessed by my morning Bible reading and later that day, be hard pressed to remember exactly what I read. How many of you have been fed on your Pastor’s sermon only to go home and not remember what it was about?
God warns his people, “Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
Over the years I have come to realize that some of the obstacles to keeping God in the forefront of our minds have to do with how we live throughout our day. Paul says that we are to “fix our eyes on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). We need to cultivate our spiritual senses to experience God reality so we don’t forget who we are, what God has done for us, why we are here, and what really matters. Satan's plan is to give us spiritual amnesia.
Sadly, I don’t always keep my mind centered in God-centered reality. Sometimes I live my life unconsciously, automatically, going through my daily routine with little reflection on the big picture. In those moments I lack not only God-awareness, but self-awareness. I’m not paying enough attention either to my own heart or God’s.
On the other side of the coin, I can become very absorbed in myself so that I can’t see anything else. I’m so full of pride, or self-pity, or self-hatred, or self-consciousness that I can’t see anything beyond myself and my own temporal troubles.
So how do we not forget God or what’s true, what’s good, and what’s right? What can we do to help ourselves and one another remember?
In everyday life we all do things to help us remember what’s important to us. We put up post it notes, or make lists. We have palm pilots, alarms that ding or even pneumatic tricks to help us remember things to pick up at the grocery store.
But what can we do to remember God so we won’t forget Him or what he’s teaching us or showing us?
God instituted some physical reminders to help the Israelites remember. For example: In the Old Testament there was the smell of the sacrifices burning as a constant reminder of God’s forgiveness and sin.
He also told them to wear things on their clothing that would remind them.
“The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will REMEMBER all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will REMEMBER to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God” (Numbers 15:37).
The writer of Proverbs emphasized doing things to aid in remembering God and his ways. He said,
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”
The tool I have used to help me remember God and to pay attention to the big picture is The TRUTH Principle, which is from my book, How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong.
The TRUTH Principle uses a simple acronym from the word truth that helps me remember to keep God and my awareness of His Word and his plan for me central to my life in each moment. Below is a summary.
T. What is your TROUBLE? Can you begin to look at your trouble from God’s perspective so you remember he’s at work in it? (James 1:2-4)
R. What is your RESPONSE to your trouble? How are you thinking, feeling, and responding in the midst of your difficulty? (Luke 6:43)
U. What are your UNDERLYING IDOLS? What are you loving more than God right now? (Matthew 22:37)
T. What is the TRUTH? Whose truth are you listening to most right now? (Psalm 107:20)
H. What is your HEART’S response? Will you surrender to God in this moment? (James 1:22)
So my question to you this week is, What do you use to help you remember God and spiritual reality?
If you contact me in the next 5 days on my Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/leslievernickfanpage, I will randomly select 3 people to receive a free copy of my book, How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong where The TRUTH Priciple is explained in more detail. The winner will be announced next Friday, June 4th.
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