Daily Devotions

The Power of Faith Memories

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But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)

Our memories are powerful. They influence our decisions because they are the lens through which we evaluate the world around us. If we have lived a hard life, with nothing but merciless people, we are not capable of knowing what mercy is. Love is even more alien. This is an example of why we need to be patient with people. Often, the ones who are the most hurtful, are those who have experienced little else in their own lives.

The way to mercy and love is to model it so others have a new memory. Why has the New Testament remained so relevant for over two thousand years? Jesus and his followers presented a powerful set of memories of mercy and love that offers a new way of perceiving the world. Imagine a first-century slave, whose entire life was nothing but pain and shame. Now, there is an invitation of inclusion, acceptance, and equality. This memory can be more influential than all the suffering that led up to that moment of hope.

Yet, two-thousand-year-old stories cannot make for a successful life transformation. It is too easy to ignore these stories. People do it all the time, when they find every reason to avoid church.  It is our task to make those two-thousand-year-old stories come alive in our actions. Only then will people stop long enough to watch and listen. People are hungry to have those Scriptural stories come alive. When we contemporary disciples live our faith in mercy and love, it is much harder to ignore. The personal memories of mercy and love become too powerful. Now, cruelty and hard-heartedness are no longer the primary memory. Now, there is room for the Holy Spirit to move and renew the soul.

Today, pray for each person’s memories and the way they are interpreted. For those of you whose memories are overwhelmingly loving, you are truly blessed. For the vast majority of us, we need to rely on the loving example of others to guide our way to the footsteps of Christ. Then, when our own faith grows, we become the example. The more we are able to offer Christ-like examples, the more other’s faith grows as well as our own. When our faith memories and those of others are intertwined, God is honored, and the Spirit blesses us with deeper mercy and love.

Will Gordie Learn to Not Fall Down the Steps Face First?

 

Keep steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,

yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children

and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:7)

 

We are learning life lessons throughout our lives, if we have any integrity whatsoever. Some lessons we learn early in life. On Sunday, my grandson Gordie learned that he is still too small to walk down the steps facing forward. He took a fall, landing on his chest, on the chapel’s hard slate floor. I heard Bill Ekhardt gasp from the chancel. Gordie bounced up without a tear and tried again. He is a wonderful kid, tough as nails, but he is stubborn and will learn some lessons the hard way!

 

Our life becomes more meaningful and exciting if we can learn the important lessons of life sooner rather than later. One of my favorite writers, Ayodeji Awosika, in his article, “The Most Powerful Lessons People Learn Much Too Late in Life,” confirms that too many of us waste vast amounts of our life on things that are meaningless. By learning the following, we can expand the meaning of our life. Awosika asks, “How safe and practical you were” is not the question that brings meaning to your life. Gordie needs to be safe and practical going down the steps at 23 months old, but he shouldn’t be overly safe at everything. With wisdom, Gordie will learn what is worth the risk and when it is just better to be safe.

 

Instead, Awosika calls us to do three important things, that are worthy of risk.

1. “Do things I enjoy and be creative.” Wasting time is its own risk, but it is important for us, at every age, to take significant time to find out what in life makes you excited to get up every day. One of the saddest things I’ve experienced is talking to men or women in nursing homes who share their despair that they wasted their life working at something that they were not proud of or found meaningful. Life is too short to spend 80% of our waking hours doing something we hate. No amount of money can be worth wasting your life.

 2. “Make an Impact and Leave a Legacy.” Every day of our life is one more brick on our life’s foundation. The life we leave, good or bad, leaves a legacy. Like the Bible says, our actions will affect our families to the “third and fourth generation.” The sooner we learn that our lives are not just our own, but our actions affects those we love, the better our world will be.

Which leads us to 3. “Be a good person.” If we are unloving, our legacy will be horrific, no matter how “successful” we become. You can be President of the United States, but if your legacy is unloving, your legacy will ultimately be one of failure. Today, simply ponder the life lessons you still want to master, so your legacy will be one that makes a positive difference and honors God.

 

Posted by Scott Paczkowski with

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