We are not to forget

It’s the weekend! It’s the middle of February and we had the windows open today, played with sidewalk chalk, and went to the store without coats! We all seem to be healthy today… Woohoo! Praising the Lord for the hope of health and spring. In the meantime, here’s my five minute free write on the prompt “forget.” See a bunch more at the Five Minute Friday link-up.


 

“Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten… After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:8, 10

This passage came up in our family devotional reading the other day, and it was another reminder to me of one of my favorite passages in the Bible. No, it’s not a happy one. It’s a sad one. But it serves as I reminder so that I do not forget…

My mom sent me an encouraging note a few weeks ago, at a moment she knew I needed it. It says “Motherhood is not for wimps… You are making a difference every day.” She added her emphasis afterwards, “You are! You are!” She did not want me to forget.

Our pastor is challenging us with fasting from various things in our life that keep our attention away from focusing on God. When we have desire to go do that thing, we are to remember Jesus, and what he did for us. We are not to forget.

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” Luke 22:19

We are not to forget. Not to forget our God, and the ways he taught us.

We are not to forget. Not to forget the huge cost to save us, because of the Father’s even greater love for us.

We are not to forget. Not to forget to teach our children about the Lord and what he has done for us. Teaching them by being an example, by demonstrating his love, by disciplining as he does for us, and by extending grace and unconditional affection, so that the next generation may not forget.

We are not to forget. We are not to forget that our life and our meaning are significant. Not because of what we’ve done or our great strength, but because he has called us to BE A PART OF HIS STORY… and if we are not, then the world might forget.

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Judy and the next generation

I can’t imagine not knowing the Lord. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Jesus as my Savior. I would be a mess. (Not that I’m not a mess now, in certain respects. But it would be much worse!) I would be a groveling mess, aching to be loved, chasing after whatever would make me feel like I belonged and had meaning. I would have even LESS patience with my kids. I would expect my husband – or whatever man was in my life – to fulfill me. I would no doubt be seeking to maintain happiness and status with possessions. My heart would have no peace. My life would be filled with worry and fear.

But in his wisdom, God placed people in my life that taught me about him. My parents. Grandparents. Aunts and Uncles. Pastors. Sunday school teachers. VBS and AWANA leaders. Many, many adults who poured into my life. Who talked, sang, demonstrated, and modeled the amazing theology of “Jesus Loves Me.”

Now, it is not by their hard work that I am saved. I am only saved through the grace of Jesus Christ, and the moving of the Holy Spirit in my life to see my need for him and accept his forgiveness. BUT –

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:14

In 1992 at First Baptist Church in Willmar, MN, one spunky lady volunteered to be the AWANA leader for the third grade girls. Her name is Judy Treptau, and today is her (??th!) birthday.

For 11 years, Judy instructed me. She loved me. She spent time with me. She laughed with me. She cried with me. She listened to me. She goofed off with me. She scolded me. She prayed with me and for me. She sacrificed for me. Is Judy perfect? She would be the first to tell you, no. Was her theology 100% accurate all of the time? Probably not. Did she know everything about the Bible? No. But did she love Jesus and live to tell me about Him? You bet. I am not the only one with such a testimony about Judy.

I wonder – where would the church be without people like her?

Apparently there was a generation of Israelites who didn’t have Judy:

“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

How sad and horrible is that?

Passing on our faith is so crucial. Witnessing to anyone in our world who does not know Christ is important. But as a young mother having to realize my purpose anew, my eyes are being opened to the importance of passing on my faith to my children. Our pastor is emphasizing this in his current sermon series. Yesterday’s Scripture was from Psalm 78:

“My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old – things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.” (vs. 1-5)

Parents, instruct your children and other youngsters in your world that need you. If you’re not a parent? The next generation needs you, too. It takes more than just a mother and father to pass on the wonderful life of following our Lord! It takes a community, a family of believers, to walk alongside the next generation and make disciples.

Remember the instructions of the Shema – a central Jewish prayer and the ancient cornerstone of our Christian faith, given by God to Moses for the people of Israel:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

If Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Phil, Gary, Brad, Judy, Nancy, Susie, Dave, Bruce, on and on…. If these men and women had not played their role in the body of Christ… who knows where I’d be?

So thanks Judy. Thank you for being a part of the body, for weaving your life into the tapestry of the family of God. You have left a legacy which is now being passed onto the NEXT generation…. for now I am the mom, the youth leader, the aunt….

“…so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” Psalm 78:5-6

Judy doing Kathy's makeup
Judy doing my makeup for prom, circa 2002
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My family today