Reminders

Years ago I purchased this sign at a Cracker Barrel store, and subsequently placed it next to the kitchen door leading to the garage as a daily reminder of some of our family values. I think it is not an exaggeration to write that our family has walked past this sign thousands of times over quite a number of years.

Initially, this prompt was quite effective. Our household of four mostly grown up people was a buzz of activity. We all repeatedly traversed the pathway in and out of that door. And during those few remaining parenting years, the sentiments were referenced and heeded regularly.

So, why did I take a picture of this sign today?

Well a funny thing happened as I assumed my new self-appointed role as daily dog feeding monitor. All three bowls of dog food went down and I took my neutral, but watchful position amongst the pack. Once lunch was served each dog moved to their respective bowl and began to eat. As long as I stay present, the dogs will eat without incident.

Thus, once a day I am stationed in this neutral location, and just today I found myself staring at this sign on the wall. Then I realized I was reading the words. Smiling, I remembered why I purchased the sign in the first place.

Suddenly, I was reminded of our goal to live these values out within and outside our family circle. We don’t get it right all the time, but we value these qualities. And we need to be reminded of all we value.

The act of remembering is something very important to God. As the best good Father, He has always given His children values on which to build their lives. Beyond simply stating His commandments through Moses, however, God Himself wrote them on stone tablets. Furthermore, God charged His children with posting these commandments in their homes and regularly teaching them to their children.

It’s tempting to think that these scriptures are out-dated and irrelevant. Yet all these years later people are still marking significant words on wood, t-shirts, and even skin. It’s normal, we realize, to want to remember words and sentiments that have impacted us in deep ways.

I still believe this sign serves a positive purpose in our home and for our family. The words displayed have not grown old or irrelevant. They accurately describe many of our family goals and values.

But just like the people of old, it’s not enough to read or hear the words once. Our time and effort are required to remind ourselves, to teach them and to put these values into action on a daily basis.

And again just like the people of old, sometimes we need a reason to stop, be still, look around and really see the truths we value. I’m grateful for this recent opportunity to be reminded of these wise words. I’m grateful too that I had this opportunity to be still and look around and see what I had been ignoring for quite some time.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining,

~Lisa

Scripture references:

Deuteronomy 4, 5 & 6

Exodus 32:16

Joshua 1:7-9

1 Timothy 4:11-13

Purchase my book by clicking here: 31 Days of Gleaning with Ruth by Lisa Brittain

Remembering

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Proverbs 18:10 NIV

~~~~~~~~

9/11/01

I remember the day, the weather and where I was located when I felt the tingle up my spine. I remember with whom I stood as the realization started to seep into my consciousness.

Something was terribly wrong.

My heart sank with the first indications of terror, and then my brain went into emergency mode. Checklist…

  • Children and husband
  • Loved ones afar
  • Connect and gather
  • Hunker down and pray
  • Wait and wait
  • Try not to watch the images
  • Let the images seat my brain so that I might not ever forget

Remembering all the events in which I’ve had the honor & privilege to participate. The beautiful and the difficult moments are part of my story simply because the Lord has allowed me this time to live.

Remembering is important. And remembering is purposeful for giving thanks and honoring all that’s precious and no longer with us.

Remembering that I am not in control. Nor do I number my own days. I remember today the importance of being prepared to meet God, and reflect on the glory of that time for me.

Yet I remember the importance of inviting others into a faith relationship with His dear Son because we just don’t know how many days we have yet to run.

Remembering with gratitude all who selflessly gave their all on that day that others might live. And all these years later, the next generation of selfless responders reminds me that sacrificial living is contagious and attractive.

~~~~~~~~

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13 NIV

~~~~~~~~

Overarching all my human efforts to never forget and to live a life of generous gratitude, is Jesus. I remember today His perfect sacrifice on the cross. The unblemished Lamb of God who gave His life for me while I was yet rebellious toward His love and His Kingship.

~~~~~~~~

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:36 NIV

~~~~~~~~

Saying thanks does not seem adequate on this day of remembering. However, with joyful gratitude I choose to remember and honor my Savior who secured me. My heavenly Father who chose me. Holy Spirit who wooed me close.

And I choose to remember my neighbors near and far. All of us impacted by the events of the day, 9/11/01.

~~~~~~~~

Love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

~~~~~~~~

And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 4:21 NIV

~~~~~~~~

Day 11: {Remember} when… ?

 So Ruth gathered barley there all day, and when she beat out the grain that evening, it filled an entire basket.  She carried it back into town and showed it to her mother-in-law. Ruth also gave her the roasted grain that was left over from her meal.

“Where did you gather all this grain today?” Naomi asked. “Where did you work? May the Lord bless the one who helped you!”  So Ruth told her mother-in-law about the man in whose field she had worked. She said, “The man I worked with today is named Boaz.”

“May the Lord bless him!” Naomi told her daughter-in-law. “He is showing his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband.  That man is one of our closest relatives, one of our family redeemers.”  Ruth 2:17-20

{Remember}

To recall, be reminded of, look back.  To remember is a purposeful choosing.  It’s an action step on our journey toward our forever home.  And I am mindful today, remembering is a privilege.

pablo (70)

On this day 11 of our 31-day journey through Ruth, it seems fitting to take a rest stop and {remember}.

We began to walk with Naomi during a famine… and now she is experiencing harvest.

Naomi lost her husband and two sons to death in a foreign land… and now she is experiencing ‘family’ with Ruth and her kinspeople back at home in Judah.

Naomi changed her name to bitter – Mara… and now she is blessing Boaz as pleasant – Naomi.

Naomi poured out her heart and held out empty hands in her grief… and now she has her heart filled with the love of a daughter and holds out hands to receive abundant grain provision.

Naomi declared her inability to provide for her daughters in law… now she offers Ruth a home, a people, and most important the One True Almighty God.

Naomi’s life, understandably after such great loss, seemed doomed and hopeless.  She had lost everything… except God had never left her.  In a sense, she and her family may have left God.  They may have believed they could make a plan of escape for themselves and avoid the famine season.

However, I believe God wants us to know there’s a desert walk, a famine season, a wilderness experience on every one of our paths toward HOME.  God intends this part of our life experience to be purposeful.  It’s part of our pioneer training.  He leads us into it for our good – for our strengthening.desert plants

 

I was reminded this past weekend… Jesus, at the beginning of His earthly ministry, was led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God.  If the wilderness experience was a part of Jesus’ training, strengthening and considered purposeful by the Father, why wouldn’t I think the same is true for me?

Lord Jesus, help me {remember} to put my eyes on You today.  Help me to {remember} to follow You wherever You are walking and to stop and rest with You too.  You are my Great Pioneer of faith.  You are my Good Shepherd.  I want to follow You.  Thank You for reminding me to sing of Your goodness, to meditate on Your faithfulness in Your Word, and to recount Your abundant benefits and blessings I’ve received in my own life.

I bless You, Lord, O my soul and all that is within me.  I bless Your Holy Name.  Amen.

 

Ponders:

Below is a portion of Psalm 77:  a prayer of anguish in the dark night where sleep will not be found.  Let’s read through this Psalm either recognizing this scenario as our current circumstances all too familiar or {remember}ing a time in the past – a season of our lives when this could have been our own prayer.

  • How good is it to cry aloud to the Lord?  Have you?  What release did you experience when you poured your heart out before the Lord?  Do you think this is what Jesus meant by casting our cares on Him?
  • The psalmist writes, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.”  Do you have a go-to hymn or praise song for the middle of the dark night?  Have you memorized certain Scripture on which to meditate, repeat, chew on during the long night of anguish?
  • From Psalm 77 and from your own experience, what happens to us as we begin to {remember}?  When we begin to sing that song in the dark?  When we begin to repeat the Scripture we know?  Or maybe the only word we can eek out in despair is the Name above all names, Jesus, what happens to our soul?
  • If you haven’t made use of God’s limitless resources, His amazing benefits – will you begin today?  If you are in this season, just choose to remember God’s goodness in the past.  If you have come out of that season, maybe now is a good time to remember, the dryness, the pain, the wandering, and then the good and loving way your Shepherd led you through safely.
  • This is your testimony.  This is the story of your life God is writing.  Will you write it down?  Will you share something of your own experience with {remember}ing the goodness of the Lord?

I cry aloud to God,
    aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
    in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
    my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
    when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

 

You hold my eyelids open;
    I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
    the years long ago.

I said,“Let me remember my song in the night;
    let me meditate in my heart.”
    Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
    and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
    Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah

Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
    to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
    What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
    you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
    the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
We give thanks to You God for You are good and Your steadfast love endures forever! Amen.

Walk-Talks: Learning to swing

Walk-talks:  a time set aside for a long walk and conversation with Jesus and a friend. Anyone who asks me out for a walk-talk is likely to get a “yes” response from me, but my most faithful walk-talk companion is Ruth.swing girl

Why?  1. The girl can move quickly over a long distance while 2. maintaining challenging ‘iron sharpens iron’ conversation with Jesus and me.  At the end of our walk-talks, driving home sweaty, I feel like I got my cake and the ice cream too.

Lately tho (due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control) I find myself, more often than not, walking alone with Jesus.  It’s a season.  Don’t get me wrong, I love conversation with Jesus, however, I know He’ll talk with me anywhere & anytime.

I’m convinced a primary reason for this season of walk-talks with only Jesus is to highlight for me how easily I am drawn to fellowship with people rather than solitude with my Savior.  I don’t like to admit it, but I have to confess, it’s unfortunately true. Thank You, Jesus, for making me aware of my default patterns.

Recently, with new insight, I refused to let myself off the hook.  The rain had stopped. Temperatures were a bit cooler with less humidity, and I really felt the nudge of Holy Spirit to go for it.  A walk-talk after work – me and Jesus.

Walking the oval track around our local park I could hear a mother teaching her child how to swing – the mechanics of creating momentum.  Instantly, my mind searched old files to recall similar times of enjoyment with my own two sons at this same park – learning to swing.swing at the park

“Pump your legs… pull back with your legs.  Now push forward – legs out.

Again.  Pump your legs.

Pull back.  Push forward.  Pull back.

Push forward.  Pull back.”

Not watching, only hearing the mother instructing her child as I walked, I could picture the scenario in my mind’s eye.  I could see her coaching her child with a sparkle of delight in her eye, and I could see chubby child legs pumping with all her might – pulling back and stretching forward.  The scene, current and in my memory, caused me to smile.

“Come on…pump your legs.  You’re doing it!  Good job.  Pull back.  Push forward.”

Pondering in my walk-talk with Jesus, I began to glean a spiritual metaphor.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles…    Isaiah 40:31 esv

As a child, hopping onto a swing – pumping my little legs for all their worth – I challenged myself to soar ever higher.  I gained momentum.  The wind stretched my face and caused my long hair to wave like a flag.  I was free.  I was flying!

swing flying high

The physical actions of swinging – pulling back and stretching forward – remind me of following Jesus as His disciple.

Yes, I want to feel the fullness of living free.

I want to fly high…soar on the heights…feel the wind of Holy Spirit on my face…delight in His presence…experience the abundant victorious life.

Don’t you?

At least on this side of Heaven, we are not able to sustain a constant soaring up and forward journey with Christ.  Just as gravity pulls us back toward the earth, the daily struggle with our flesh tends to pull us back from the mountain highs of victorious living. When we’re flying free, enjoying the heights of blessing and abundance, we have a propensity to think we’re doing it on our own.  If all we experience is soaring, it will be easy to lose sight of our need for Jesus.

To pull back is to remember.  Remembering is a necessary aspect of our Jesus discipleship journey.  Pulling back from the high places, we remember the times of need and lack and dependence.  Pulling back, we remember the Lord, Good Shepherd, and His care for us.

Pulling back, remembering our inability to soar on our own, we become grounded again.  And in the pulling back further, remembering God’s consistent faithfulness to us, we build momentum.

To push forward is to believe.  Believing afresh is what takes the momentum of remembering and pushes us forward to stretch in faith toward a new height.  Faith and trust are strengthened with each repetition, and we’re spurred on to follow Jesus to heights yet unreached.

It’s exhilarating once again to believe, to know experientially, our Savior is enough to reach for.  Chasing after Jesus with renewed vigor fulfills our deepest longing – the abundant life of being in His presence.swing learning how

We’re joyful with Holy Spirit wind blowing across our faces and through our hair.  Like the swing seat holding a child, truth undergirds us. Like the chains which hold the seat, faith and love hold us secure.

All of a sudden we recognize we are flying, experiencing the full freedom of the abundant victorious life – following Jesus.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,                 …who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.    Psalm 103:2 & 5 esv