I Will Remember (1)

  • This is a teaching I was inspired to write in 2015. It is a longer teaching. I was going to break it up into four parts, but there was no good break point for that to happen. So, please forgive the length of both parts 1 and 2. Enjoy this teaching. Here's part 1.

    For the last several weeks before writing this teaching, I was noticing many people struggling, including myself. The struggles were with health, frustration, depression, provision, and mistakes made. Now that’s a conglomeration of everyone’s situations. They don’t all apply to me.

    What I noticed is that the focus of everyone in any of these situations or others I haven’t mentioned was to dwell on their dilemma. Dwell on their lack. Categorize themselves as failures, especially those who thought they had let God down.

    It is time for people to get past the mistaken notion that Christianity is about ethics. In other words, trying to live up to some set of standards. What happens with that mind set is we get so caught up in a system of reward and punishment that we miss the simple relationship He wants with us.

    False teaching about what the true gospel is will lead us to believe we are to embrace a lifestyle of discipline rather than of passion and significance. This gospel of His marvelous grace was never meant to be reduced to discipline. It was always meant to be lived out of passion. A person who lives out of discipline will be admired, but a person who lives out of passion will cause transformation in other’s lives.

    This had been on my mind for several weeks as I was asking God about it and actually pleading my own case, looking for answers. Wanting to hear his voice and what He had to say to me, I heard one thing from him. He said “You are looking in the wrong place. Quit waiting for Me to speak again the very answers to your questions and dilemmas that are within you. Not only did I give you an imagination to think big, I gave you a memory to remember big”.

    I pondered about what He truly meant and then as I was sitting at my desk high up in the hilltop of El Cajon, looking out across the valley to the mountains in the distance, I noticed a large hawk simply floating on the updraft of winds.

    I thought to myself “what is it that makes it look so effortless for this bird. What keeps him afloat in the air without the least bit of striving”. Then I remembered something I had heard years before. It’s resistance that makes it possible for this hawk to soar effortlessly, because the bird remembers every past flight that was successful. He seeks out the right wind patterns and conforms his body to adjust for the resistance.

    A diamond is nothing more than a lump of coal put under extreme pressure. A pearl is nothing more than an oyster’s interior that has been constantly irritated by grading sand particles. We couldn’t walk, run, swim, or even fly in an airplane without resistance. Without gravity, we would simply fall off the planet. See the point?

    Then the Lord lead me to Psalms 77. This Psalm was written by Asaph. He was a musician and a prophet. Heck, I guess everyone who wrote any of the Psalms were prophets. Some say the book of Psalms is the most prophetic book there is.

    I started studying Psalms 77 and it was like many other Psalms. The first half is the doom and gloom section and the second half is the blessing and favor section. As I started studying, I got stopped by verses 10-12. Here they are in the NAS version first.

    10 Then I said, “It is my grief, That the right hand of the Most High has changed.” 11 I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 12 I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.

    And here in the NLT.

    10 And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.”

    Do you see the failure in this statement by Asaph. He has defaulted to a false religious statement. “I’ve screwed up so bad, it’s impossible for God to love me”. Many times people take up this position because they’ve been falsely taught that if you don’t live up to a set of standards, God’s gonna get ya.

    What was it that led Asaph to this conclusion? How did he get to this point? He got there by dwelling on what He did not have and what He could not see happening. Just look at the beginning of the Psalm (NLT).

    I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me!

    Now he’s doing the right thing, but his conclusion is wrong. Crying out to God is exactly what we should do. The problem is we get too impatient when we don’t get an answer right away. Like me with this message. I wanted God to tell me something when all along He wanted me to remember everything.

    When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted.

    Have you ever been here? Something is troubling you so deeply that you can’t sleep. You pray and wring your hands off and still no comfort comes your way. “Where are you God? Don’t you see me here in trouble?”

    I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help.

    Come on God. I need you right now.

    You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now.

    As you review versus 5 and 6, this is a frequent situation. We so often try to live in a past move of God rather than seek for what He is doing right now. We have a great Holy Ghost service where people are healed and falling out under the Spirit. There may even be gold dust on people or feathers from the ceiling falling to the carpet. What we try to do is live that great move of God over and over saying things like “Do it again God”.

    The problem is that religious spirits congregate around past moves of God, because they cannot perform any of their own. Anytime a religious spirit is around a past move of God, it will become distorted. So as we try to relive the past and what God did, we feel like we are being ignored in the present. Look at the next verse.

    Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?

    Wow. Have you been there? Asaph has fallen into the trap of sitting on his pity pot. Oh poor me. God has rejected me. Why doesn’t he answer me? Now here comes what God was showing me when he said the answer is in my memory.

    11 But then I recall all you have done, O lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. 12 They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

    I like what it says there in that verse 12. “They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.” Verse 11 says “But then I recall ALL you have done”. So it’s not living a past move of God, but it is remembering a past move of God. It’s remembering all He has done. Remembering all His great deeds of long ago and not so long ago. It’s remembering that He never leaves us but is always there to go through whatever we are experiencing with us.

    He never said He would take you around the fire, He promised He would take you through the fire and He said it would not burn you. This song by the Crabb Family so clearly explains this. Please take the time to listen to this and read the lyrics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XPKD14LYXY.

    Again verse 12 says they are constantly in my thoughts. Paul the Apostle put it this way in Philippians 4:8,9.

    8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

    This is exactly what Asaph does. Just look at these next verses. He is doing what Hezekiah and Isaiah (see teaching “Telling God He’s God) did when trouble came to their doorstep. They started telling God He’s God. They sunbathed in who He is.

    13 O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? 14 You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. 15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. 16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. 17 The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. 18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. 19 Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there! 20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

    What is Asaph doing? He is recalling all that the Lord has done. He is remembering God’s wonderful deeds of long ago. He is meditating on them. They are constantly in his thoughts. He cannot stop thinking about God’s mighty works.

    This is a good breaking point. I will continue this teaching in Part 2 with powerful scripture from Ephesians Chapter 2, 1 Corinthians 11, and 2 Peter 1. Don’t miss Part 2. Grace and Peace.