Refresh My Memory...Please! :: Gary Miller
“Do this in remembrance of me!” --Jesus
Along with my receding hairline, one of the side effects of the aging process has been my fading memory. I’ll be in mid-sentence and suddenly become stumped by the loss of an essential piece of information stopping me dead in my tracks. Someone once described this to me as having a senior moment, but I can’t remember his or her name. Fortunately, this has not impacted my ability to preach. After all, preaching has been defined as that rare form of communication that takes place while the preacher keeps talking until he thinks of something to say. Can I get a witness?
Ever wonder why the Bible is filled with words like remember, remind, and recall. It tends to make one think that people are prone to forgetfulness. Jesus certainly thought so when He reminded His church not to forget to celebrate regularly a supper he wanted to be held in His honor. His church has responded with a creative concoction called Christmas. Skipping a solid meal of remembrance about his death, burial and resurrection, they super-size themselves on empty calories and exchange gifts among themselves to celebrate Christ’s birthday. The guest of honor, the REASON FOR THE SEASON, is all but forgotten in a coma of commercialism. Go figure.
I was recently reminded that one of the Hebrew words for man, “zakar,” literally means, “to remember.” My wife, Dana, was a little skeptical when I shared this gem of exegetical insight. She responded with her personal conviction, “If God wanted man to remember, then he must have meant the word for woman to mean, ‘one who reminds.’” She is convinced that without gentle reminders, her man tends to forget what he needs to remember most. I told her I would check it out and get back to her. I have to confess. I’m afraid she may be right, and I don’t want to supply the proof text. If she asks me about it, I’ll just say I forgot. She’ll believe that.
The Westminster Confession states that the sole purpose of man is to worship God, and enjoy Him forever. The very essence of worship is the act of remembering God. It is not so much a meeting of the minds, as it is an exchanging of the hearts. The one who worships God, comes before Him with his heart, and leaves with His heart.
This heart transplant was God’s idea, and reminders to worship Him fill His Word. This kind of worship experience is built on the altar of the finished work of Jesus Christ, and it is enhanced by the intercession of the Holy Spirit. The result is a free-flowing expression of praise that both reminds and refreshes the believer with expressions of remembrances about the character and the conquests of God.
When I was a small boy, I loved to visit my Aunt Isabelle in Pennsylvania. Beneath her home she had a well that produced the coldest water I had ever put in my mouth. The source was a spring deep down in the ground, and it was channeled through a hunter green metal hand pump located next to her kitchen sink. My aunt always kept a pitcher of water on the counter to “prime the pump.” Whenever she needed fresh water, she would do something that appeared wasteful, but it was essential for the pump to be connected with the source of refreshing. She would tell me to pour the contents of the container down into the pump. Being a boy from Texas, I was more experienced with drought than underground springs, and I had been taught not to waste water. After pouring the water in, I was told to start pumping the handle up and down. Within seconds ice-cold water would come rushing and gushing out of the pump spout. My aunt would catch it in a glass, and hand it to me to drink as much as I could stand. In a flash I would experience what my daughters still refer to as a “brain freeze.” My head and teeth ached from the sudden shock of being refreshed by a source deeper than anything I had ever experienced.
Recently, I have been reflecting on what the meaning of man, and that old metal pump have in common. Consider that each of them had a…
PURPOSE: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” Jesus, John 7:37
The purpose of the pump was to be available for water to flow into and out of it for the benefit of those who are thirsty. The purpose of man is to remember God; to let His Spirit be the source of rivers of living water that will refresh him and reveal to others the Person of Jesus Christ…The Living Water.
POSITION: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Jesus, John 4:24
The pump had to be connected to a source of fresh water. The pump was not the source of refreshing, but a channel for it. Availability, not ability puts the believer in a position to be connected with The Source. It is possible for the pump to be near the source of fresh water, and not have it flowing through it. In the same way, the one who enters a building to worship God may never experience The Source of refreshing. For true worship to take place there must be more than being in the right place. There must be a…
PRIMER: “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jesus, John 4:14
No matter how effective and efficient that pump had been in the past, it required additional infilling before there was abundant outpouring. The pitcher of water may have been fresh at one time, but when it reached room temperature it was a stale reminder of what was once vital and invigorating. Without pouring in what was left over, there was no hope of anything fresh flowing out. Holding on to the last drop leads to a drought-like status quo in the life of the believer.
When the believer becomes dry, the reminder of past outpourings are no satisfaction for the thirst to be connected once again with The Source of refreshing. Dry spells often result from pouring out more water than is flowing through one’s life. It should not be a surprise when long and effective service leads to this condition. The solution is not found in improving one’s ability to do the work of The Lord, but offering one’s availability to the Lord of the work.
The Person of the Holy Spirit primes the life of the believer by bringing to remembrance the Word of God. The pitcher of prayer lifts this primer up. Prayer pours into one’s life the truth of God’s Word. When prayer agrees with the Word of God, and seeks an audience with God by coming to Him in the name of His Son, Jesus there is hope of refreshing. Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father making intercession for the children of faith. The Intercessor knows the true condition of the heart, and those who wish to have a fresh outpouring of His Presence must agree with Him in prayer and admit their dryness. They must not accept any substitutes. Only fresh encounters with the Manifest Presence of Jesus will refresh the heart of the believer with Living Water.
When the pump is dry there must be priming before there is an outpouring. When the saint is dry, The Holy Spirit reminds them to prime their heart with prayer. This priming leads to…
POURING: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” Jesus, John 7:38
Prayerlessness reveals the enemy’s success at deceiving the worshipper into believing that The Source of refreshing is dry. The truth is, only the saint is dry. Worship begins when the saint takes the Truth of the Word of God, and pours it into his life with the pitcher of prayer. Jesus, The Intercessor, stands ready to take the slightest drop of belief and transform it into cascading rivers of living water. The driest saint is only a prayer away from being refreshed by The Source.
© 2006, Gary Miller