Pastor Hal

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Lest You Forget

Today is 9-11 Remembrance Day. I've been told it's also called Patriots Day. Regardless of the specific name there seems to be a concerted effort to drive people to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Why? Many in the culture believe that with time and distance the American public is slowly forgetting the horrific attack. Others believe that the current political leanings of certain leaders are letting different people groups off to easy and perhaps their presence in our country could lead to another attack. One of my buddies from the Army has a wife who is a leading advocate for helping people remember 9-11. Both my buddy and his wife were born and raised in Staten Island. They lost numerous friends on 9-11.

One of the God-given elements of our human makeup is memory. Like all our human attributes our memories are subject to the fall and often time deteriorate. But more than just deteriorate the scriptures point to the fact that our memories can be "dulled" by both trauma and good things.

One passage that instructs us about our memory is Deut. 6. God gave this portion of scripture to the Israelites before they went in to possess the land. In vs. 12 the LORD says, "then watch yourself, lest you forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." The context for the LORD's warning was all the good things the people would possess when they entered the land: splendid cities they did not build, houses full of good things they did not fill, hew cisterns (wells) they did not dig, vineyards and olive trees they did not plant, eating and being satisfied. One of the reasons God instituted the Old Testament feasts was to spur Israel to remember all he had accomplished on their behalf.

In the New Testament our Lord instituted the Lord's supper so we would "remember" him. The early church gathered on the first day of the week, Sunday, to commemorate and remember the resurrection. God has given us his word in order that we can be daily put in "remembrance" of his truth and live by it.

I'll never forget 9-11...……..I've been to New York with Father Joe and I went again with Karen and Billy. I've seen the memorials, the names, pictures, and faces of the deceased. I've met firefighters who were there and survived. Even with all those memories I have to set my mind to remembering that day. The cost of 9-11 was enormous. Brothers and sisters the cost of our redemption to God was far more enormous, the blood of his son, Jesus Christ. I would challenge you to prioritize a time of remembering Christ through the Bible each day, prioritize corporate worship and remembering our Lord's resurrection each Sunday, and more than anything else, honor our Lord's sacrifice for us by living out his life and truth on a daily basis.

"Then watch yourself, lest you forget...."

It's 11:55....

I have a friend from college who uses props to help him live intentionally.  This year he took an old clock and moved it to 11:55.  The common understanding of "when the clock strikes twelve..." means that life is over and my friend is using the clock to help him understand that life is short.  

Psalm 90:12 is a verse that I always contemplate at the beginning of the year.  When I heard about my friends prop for the year it drove me to this verse.  The scripture says that none of us know the number of our days yet we are instructed to pray or petition God to teach us to number our days.  

There are some important elements of Ps. 90:12 that each of us needs to be focused on.  The first word is "teach."  It is so easy to take life for granted.  The Psalmist instructs us to ask God to teach us to number our days, to help us see life with his timetable.  The book of James tells us that our lives are a vapor............here and then gone.  That isn't a lot of time.  My Grandma died at 103 and my son died at 14.  When you consider both those time spans in light of eternity there isn't a whole lot of difference.  What ever God is calling you to be and do the day to obey is today because it's 11:55.... The second element in the verse is the word "present."  That is the language of offering, of giving someone something.  In this verse it is an issue of priority.  Knowing that life is short we are to wholeheartedly present it to God.  This verse is very similar to the NT scriptures of Rom. 12:1-2 where Paul tells us to present ourselves as an offering to God.  When will we do that?  It's 11:55 and time to do so.  The third element in the verse is "heart of wisdom."  At the risk of being blunt, the scripture is telling us that life is too short to waste it being dumb.  God desires for us to live with HIS wisdom.  In James 1 he promises to give us his wisdom if we ask for it, in faith, believing he will answer our request.  God has given us his word, which is the truth, given us his son, who is wisdom, and given us the privilege of prayer.  When we live a life of dependence upon God through regularly giving ourselves to the word of God, to prayer, and to being Jesus to others we will be living with godly wisdom.  And we need to because it's 11:55.....

A number of years ago there was a top ranked country song by Tim McGraw called "Live Like You Were Dying."  Tim's father, Tug McGraw, was a famous relief pitched who, after retiring, was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer.  The song was a musical rendition of Tug's admonition to Tim to not waste time.  Each of us lives in a world that is suffering from "time cancer."  From a physical standpoint it is eating our lives away.  We can't get any of it back but we can maximize the remaining time by living effective lives of surrender to our Lord and giving ourselves to what he says is important.  I want to do that this year in a way I never have before.  I pray that you will join me in that heart attitude.  Why?  It's 11:55.............

Dr. Hal Irvine, Senior Pastor

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