Encouragement 11-26-03

Published: Nov 26, 2003

November 26, 2003

Encouragement for Today


Brush Strokes of Memory

Lou Ann Prater


Key Verse: 


I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. 2 Peter 1:13-15




It's Thanksgiving time again; the time for families to come together and celebrate their love and blessings. My family is no different. On Wednesday, November 26th we will make our pilgrimage back to the Midwest to hug, share, laugh and cry with our roots…our family.


We have many cool family traditions. We celebrate our family Christmas at Thanksgiving. It's a marvelous mixture of turkey and blessings, presents and tinsel. A tradition that hasn't been so cool usually happens after we've caught up on all the new news and begin to rehash old wounds. It's not intentional - it's just a habit that can be extremely draining.


Before televisions, before movies, before computers, we had storytellers. Families would gather and the grandparents would tell their stories. We often thought they retold the same old yarns because their minds couldn't come up with anything new.  But I believe God uses the elderly in our families to repeat accounts of triumph after hardships, love overcoming pain and life-changing salvation so we will remember God's infinite love long after these precious storytellers leave this world.


This year I can count on my mother retelling the miraculous experience of a change that occurred in 1956.  She was not raised in a Christian home.  However, her parents were invited to an old fashioned tent revival in the autumn of their lives.  From that day on my grandfather’s daily prayer was, “Lord, I taught my children how to live without you, now help me to lead them to your throne of grace.” In 1956, after years of praying, trusting and believing, my parents gave their hearts to Jesus and did an about-face with their lives.  My father turned his back on alcoholism, my mother walked away from her cigarettes and our family got plugged into the local church.


This is a story that needs to be retold time and again for every generation to hear so they can witness the impact God continues to make on each family.  Our memories are fragile.  They require great care and commitment.


This year, I want to start a new habit. I want to follow Peter and Paul's example and paint a memory in the minds of my children that will be eternal.  Will you join me?  Let's retell only good stories and repeat our testimony of God's saving grace. Bar Satan from the celebration this year. Someday we will all leave this world. What story will you leave behind? Will it be stories of strife, trouble and woe, or celebrations of joy, laughter, love and grace?  This year turn off the television, take the phone off of the hook, unplug the video games and refresh your memory with stories of God’s sweet love.


My Prayer for Today: 


Father, thank You for our memories. Thank You for using memories of my old sinful life to keep me humble. Thank You mostly for memories of how Jesus Christ turned our family around. Help me to repeat the good news to my family, so they will always remember Your love.



Application Steps: 


Write the stories that God lays on your heart in a journal and then share them during the holiday season with family and friends.


Reflection Points:


In what specific ways has God changed my life?


What does He want to say to those I love through my stories?


Who needs to hear what God has done in my life?  Why?


When will I take the time to reflect on how far I’ve come on my walk with Christ?


Am I allowing God to lead me today with the same enthusiasm as I did in days gone by?  Why or why not?


Power Verses:


John 8: 25 (NIV) “Who are you?” they asked.  “Just what I have been claiming all along,” Jesus replied.


2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness


Titus 2:7 (NIV) In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned


1 Thessalonians 3:27 (NIV) He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us


Romans 15:4 (NIV) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.


Additional Resources:


At Home with God by Sharon Jaynes


How to Have Healthy Relationships by Mary Southerland


Unleashing the Power of God in My Life
by Mary Southerland



Originally published Wednesday, 26 November 2003.