How to Remember Our Stories

stories

The stories behind this story.

Forty years. That’s how long it had been since the Children of Israel had crossed the Red Sea on dry land. People were still talking about it. People who were enemies of the Israelites, that is. These enemies heard about their conquests of other kings as well. That’s why Rahab hid those spies Joshua sent into Jericho.  She knew it was just a matter of time until her city would fall into the hands of the Israelites. Rahab had heard about their God, and she wanted to be spared when they came to take over her city. This woman remembered everything she had heard that had happened years before!

Because of her faith, Rahab and her family were spared when the conquest of Jericho happened. You can read about that here.  You will especially want to read chapters two and six, verses 22-27.

Following the conquest of Jericho, the Israelites finally found rest in the land that had been promised to them 450 years before. Sometimes they thought it would never happen, but it did. Hadn’t God said it would?!

They digressed in their faith and repented, over and over again. God continued to be with them and to bless them even though they failed Him over and over.

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Forgotten Stories

Eventually, Joshua, their leader died. Scripture says that after Joshua and his generation died, the people did not remember or know about the mighty works God had done.

How did this happen?  How could they not have known?!

Was it so familiar to them that they failed to realize the significance and power of their God? Was it so familiar to them that they no longer stood in awe?

Was it just a part of their history and not a part of their personal experience?

Who didn’t tell them? Who failed to recount the stories of the miracles God had performed?

  • Forty years of wearing clothing and shoes that never wore out.
  • Forty years of daily food in the form of manna.
  • Forty years of water provided abundantly, whether through streams in the desert or water gushing from a rock.
  • Forty years of wandering in the wilderness because of the sin of unbelief.
  • Forty years of following a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
  • Forty years of wilderness travel with a tabernacle set up for worship each time the cloud stopped.

It’s easy to think, “Shame, shame!” on those people who had raised their children in that wilderness. It’s easy to think they should have remembered.

Have we been guilty of the same? Have we failed to pass on the stories of our faith journeys?

There’s only one way to pass on a story to those younger than us and those not yet born.

There is only one way to remember: tell the stories again and again and again.

Somebody failed to tell those stories. Somebody failed to pass it on. Somebody failed to set up memorials so that when his children asked, “What does this mean?” he could say, “Let me tell you what God did for us.”

Silence stills the stories.

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We need to tell the stories

  • to help us remember and continue to praise God.
  • to remind us of His power and His presence in our past.
  • to help us face the Giants and Red Seas of our todays.
  • to give us the courage to face conquests of tomorrow

Telling the stories:

  • is like marching around Jericho.
  • gives us hope for our tomorrows.
  • is a way to pass on the stories to our children, our grandchildren, and those not yet born.
  • keeps us from forgetting
  • guarantees that generations will grow up knowing the stories and believing in their truth.

Ways to tell your stories

What stories do you have that you have not shared?

What stories are you passing on to your children and grandchildren?

What stories have you not yet told?

How do you tell your stories?  How do you remember – or do you forget to remember?

What symbols do you use to help you remember what God has done? 

Use the gifts God has given you. Use your gifts so that your descendants can one day ask you, “What does this mean?” and you can tell them the stories behind the story of God’s faithfulness.

When God parts the waters of your Red Sea, when He shuts the mouths of lions, when He fire-proofs your furnace, when He uses one stone to slay a giant, when He causes the walls of a city to fall flat, we need to remember. When He heals and restores, when He provides a way in our wilderness, we need to remember. We need to remember so that our future generations won’t forget what God has done.

Joshua used twelve stones from the Jordan River for a memorial.

Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”  [Joshua 4:4-7]

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What You Could Use

  • If you are a seamstress or a quilter, use old fabric to help you remember a person or an event. Make a wall-hanging or a quilt. Each piece of fabric can tell its own story.
  • If you love to do clay, pottery, or decoupage, create a design with a specific symbol that will help you remember.
  • If you are an artist or a photographer, create a photo or collage that will have your kids asking what it means. Use that opportunity to retell the story of God’s faithfulness.
  • If you enjoy words, use poetry or a written story, perhaps using online sources such as Snapfish or Shutterfly.
  • If you delight in music, write a song and use it as a wall hanging so that others will see it and ask you about the song. Sing the song to your kids and grandkids “so that you do not forget.”

Tell your children and your children’s children. Don’t let your stories be silenced and forgotten.

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Here are some other options for telling your stories. Check them out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airline Oxygen: Taking One for Yourself

Most of us don’t pay attention to the stewardess giving instructions prior to take-off on an airplane flight – if we’ve traveled a lot.  We’ve heard it all so often that we think we’ve nothing else to learn.

A few weeks ago, Dave and I did a lot of flying to visit two of our sons in the western states.  During that time, we flew thousands of miles – taking off and landing five different times in four different states.

Each time, instructions were given on what to do in the event of an emergency.  Each time, the instructions were coupled with demonstrations of how to follow the instructions.  I rarely listen closely because it makes me nervous, and I figure Dave will tell me what to do if anything happens.

In the event of loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will be released from a compartment above. In that event, we are told, you take care of yourself first and then help children or elderly people around you.  Selfish as it may seem, it makes sense.  It’s not selfish.

We need oxygen to breathe and to live.  Lack of oxygen causes confusion, memory loss, and shortness of breath.  I can’t help someone else if I’m deficient myself.  I can’t help someone find the way if I’m confused myself. I certainly can’t pick someone up and carry him if I’m gasping for air.

That’s why I need to take care of myself first – so that I can help others.  It seems backward, but it isn’t.

Jesus spent time alone – so that He could give to others.  After healing people and preaching and teaching, He had to get away – so He could find restoration and refreshment.  He even told His disciples after one long day,  “Come yourselves apart – and rest awhile.”  Scripture says that they were so busy they hardly had time to eat.

When you think you don’t have time to take care of yourself, remember that.  If you’re a mom of little ones or a caregiver of elders, remember that.  If you teach kids or adults in church or assist your spouse in ministry, remember that. You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first. That’s not just taking care of yourself physically, but also spiritually.

It’s a lesson we all need to learn – and re-learn over and over again.

When that oxygen mask drops down in front of you, put it on your face first and then turn around and help someone else.  It’s the only way to do ministry – whether it’s in your home, your community, your family, or your church.  [It’s too bad we don’t have a visual signal like a mask dropping in front of our faces to remind us that we are depleted spiritually, isn’t it?]

Our time with God is the most important time of our day – and it’s so easy to let it slip away.  Oh, how well I know.  I’ve also experienced the sustenance that comes from taking that time, each day with Jesus.  Reading His Word, then listening to Him speak to me from those words – that’s where I find my strength.  You can your strength there, too.

When the cabin pressure decreases, you can endure if you’ve spent time taking care of yourself first. When you hit unexpected turbulence, you will be prepared if you’re continually taking care of yourself by taking time with Jesus.  When you encounter unexpected turbulence in your day and your plane has to take a sudden descent, you can be confident because you’re equipped and prepared.

Remember the lessons from the airlines: take care of yourself first, and you’ll be able to take care of others.  Remember the lesson from Jesus, Who modeled that Himself.  He calls us all to “come apart – and rest awhile.”

When was the last time you took the time to come apart and rest . . . awhile?