I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. – Psalm 143:5
In the publishing world, memoirs are selling better than ever. People love to read about a slice of another’s life. And that’s what separates a memoir from an autobiography. An autobiography covers a person’s entire life; a memoir focuses on a theme from that life: a struggle, a dream, a quest, an adventure, or other event.
From that point of view, every Christian has the ability to write a memoir of his or her own. Granted, it may never be published, but writing it will help you focus on the most important theme in your life: your relationship with God. And it will leave a legacy of spiritual growth and victory for your family and others. How do you write a memoir of your spiritual life? Take up the practice of journaling—the discipline of creating a written record of your relationship with God. “Remembering” is a consistent theme in Scripture—remembering God’s faithfulness and His works.
Consider a spiritual getaway to begin (or continue) your practice of journaling. Not only will it bless you, it will bless those who inherit your memoir.
A Christian should always remember that his mercies are greater than his miseries.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. Isaiah 55:12
Near the foothills of the Himalayas, a visitor noticed a row of houses without windows. His guide explained that some of the villagers feared that demons might sneak into their homes while they slept, so they built impermeable walls. You could tell when a homeowner began to follow Jesus because he put in windows to let in the light.
A similar dynamic may take place in us, though we might not see it quite that way. We live in scary, polarizing times. Satan and his demons instigate angry divisions that split families and friends. I often feel like hiding behind my walls. But Jesus wants me to cut in a window.
Israel sought refuge in higher walls, but God said their security lay with Him. He reigns from heaven, and His word governs all (Isaiah 55:10–11). If Israel would return to Him, God would “have mercy on them” (v. 7) and restore them as His people to bless the world (Genesis 12:1–3). He would lift them up, ultimately leading them in a triumphal parade. Their celebration “will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever” (Isaiah 55:13).
Sometimes walls are necessary. Walls with windows are best. They show the world that we trust God for the future. Our fears are real. Our God is greater. Windows open us to Jesus—“the light of the world” (John 8:12)—and to others who need Him.
Knowing that the Lord is overseeing and directing every circumstance in our life is a great comfort, but it can also raise questions about His role in the process. For example, how is He involved in situations that, in and of themselves, are not good?
Does God cause people to sin? The answer is no. He never initiates sin, nor does He tempt us to do evil (James 1:13). Christ came to rescue us from the penalty, power, and—eventually—the very presence of sin.
How does the Lord use our sin for good? When we make a mistake, the Holy Spirit convicts us and reveals the ugliness of sin so we can confess and repent. Then if we persist in disobedience, the Lord disciplines us so we can become more like Christ (Heb. 12:10) and share His holiness. In the process, we experience His grace and forgiveness.
Is God involved in the lives of unbelievers? His love and kindness are demonstrated generally by His provisions and blessings for earthly life, but specifically in the giving of His Son as the Savior of mankind (Titus 3:3-5).
Whenever you’re not sure about how God thinks about sin or deals with it, go to His Word. He will guide you into truth.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
There is a popular Christian song whose chorus ends with these words: “You ask me how I know He lives; He lives within my heart.” This may sound spiritual, but this is not how we know He lives! We are saved because of the objective fact that He died for our sins and then rose bodily from the tomb, triumphant over sin, death, the curse, and Satan, alive in His glorified body forevermore. It is this which we must believe in our hearts and confess with our lips. For Him to rise bodily from the grave means that He is nothing less than God, the very Creator Himself. It is only because of who He is that He could do what He did, and this is what we must believe in our hearts.
There are people who believe that Buddha lives in their hearts, or the spirit of “the gods” indwells their hearts, or even that “the Christ” is in their hearts, but “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). We can believe many things and feel many things that are not so. We know Jesus Christ is a living Savior not because we feel His presence in our hearts but because He rose from the grave on the third day and “shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days” (Acts 1:3). The gospel of our salvation does not rest on our feelings, nor on someone’s teachings, but on the objective, proven, certain facts of history. Jesus Christ is alive, whether anyone feels Him living in their hearts or not, and He is at this moment bodily in heaven at the right hand of the Father (e.g., Romans 8:34).
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). HMM
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. —John 14:13-14
In all our praying, however, it is important that we keep in mind that God will not alter His eternal purposes at the word of a man. We do not pray in order to persuade God to change His mind. Prayer is not an assault upon the reluctance of God, nor an effort to secure a suspension of His will for us or for those for whom we pray. Prayer is not intended to overcome God and “move His arm.” God will never be other than Himself, no matter how many people pray, nor how long nor how earnestly.
God’s love desires the best for all of us, and He desires to give us the best at any cost. He will open rivers in desert places, still turbulent waves, quiet the wind…. All these things and a thousand others He has done and will do in answer to prayer, but only because it had been His will to do it from the beginning. No one persuades Him.
What the praying man does is to bring his will into line with the will of God so God can do what He has all along been willing to do. Thus prayer changes the man and enables God to change things in answer to man’s prayer. PON051-052
Somehow You have given me the awesome privilege of communing with You, bringing my requests and waiting upon You to bring my will in line with Yours. Then somehow You work in answer to my prayer! Thank You. Amen.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17
I insist that the new birth was provided in the love and grace and wisdom of God in order to draw a sharp line between those who acquire Christianity by any other method and those who have experienced regenesis….
[S]ome professing Christians are still trying to find natural and reasonable explanations for that which God has said He would do miraculously by His Spirit.
Let me warn you that if you are a Christian believer and you have found a psychologist who can explain to you exactly what happened to you in the matter of your faith, you have been unfrocked!…The honest psychologist can only stand off respectfully and say, “Behold the works of the Lord.”
He never can explain it! ICH035-036
The humblest Christian is called to live a miracle, a life that is a moral and spiritual life with such intensity and such purity that no human being can do it—only Jesus Christ can do it. TTPI, Book 2/060
[T]he…genuine child of God is someone who cannot be explained by human reasoning. TTPI, Book 3/047
No new believer ever progressed to any great extent without paying attention to some basic rules. Years ago a young Christian minister called Timothy was reminded of this. More experienced in the faith than his young friend, the Apostle Paul wrote to him a few basics of the Christian life. He likened it to running as a training athlete in a race: “If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5).
God’s chief way of communicating His will for you is through the Scriptures. A Christian who neglects the Scriptures will soon grow spiritually feeble. The Bible is God’s instrument for speaking truth to you. At the same time, it is a sword in your own hand to use in battle when your soul is besieged by the forces of evil and the world (Ephesians 6:17).
For this reason, carve out time on a regular basis to read it. Read it prayerfully, first asking God to speak to you as you read and to enlighten you by His Holy Spirit. Remember there is a difference between reading the Scriptures for inspiration and studying them for information. Both approaches are valid.
Prayer is exercise for the soul. It keeps you spiritually fit. Neglect it, and you grow flabby and listless. Jesus was a man of prayer. If He needed spiritual exercise through praying, how much more do we! We can approach God at any hour, day or night. The whole tone of a Christian’s life should be a prayerful one.
It is important that you become part of a Christian worshipping community. This gives you a setting for regularly worshipping God, hearing the Scriptures read and explained through the preaching, praying in the company of other believers and drawing strength through good fellowship. It also gives you an opportunity to make a contribution to the life of the church, the body of Christ on earth.
Everyone I have met who has just come into a new knowledge of the Lord has expressed an instinctive desire to do something for Him. Nothing could be more natural. It is a loving and grateful response to the realization of all that Jesus has done for us at Calvary to save us from our sins.