Putting God in remembrance evokes gratitude, intimacy and hope, taught Pastor Jeremy Choy last weekend.
“As believers, it is important for us to continue developing our spirituality by giving attention to the life of the Spirit within us,” said Jeremy Choy, associate pastor of City Harvest Church as he began his sermon on the weekend of Jul 10 and 11. “One of the best ways [to do this] is by putting God in remembrance.”
He went on to illustrate how the heroes of faith did this. Abraham remembered God’s promises each time he saw the sand in the desert and the stars in the night sky. The Israelites tied God’s word on their hands, wore it on their foreheads and wrote it on the doorposts and gates. Joshua erected 12 stones as a memorial of the miraculous river crossing to the Promised Land. David put God in remembrance by hanging Goliath’s armour in his personal tent to remind him of the victory God gave him over the giant.
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray in Matthew 6, He taught them to open their prayers with a cry to God, “Our Father in Heaven”. Pastor Jeremy notes, “The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t open with ‘Give us this day our daily bread’.” He encouraged the congregation to remember God first in their prayers, instead of rushing into telling God their needs.
The word “remember” in Hebrew is zakar which means “to remember, to recall, to call to mind, to be mindful, or to bring to remembrance”.
“When it comes to remembering God’s faithfulness and goodness, we can be forgetful,” Pastor Jeremy continued. “I realise I often suffer from ‘spiritual amnesia’. My immediate worries have overwhelmed me such that I have forgotten about committing my situation to God.” Instead, he would often rely on his own strength or his own resources to solve his problems.
Reminding the church that they cannot build a relationship with God by coming to Him only when they need something from Him, the pastor encouraged them to draw near to God. He assured them that their prayer and worship quality will improve greatly if they learned to put God in remembrance.
With that, Pastor Jeremy listed three things to remember God for.
- REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU
Deuteronomy 5:15 reads, “And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm…”
Sharing his own testimony of how God never left him even when he experienced a financial failure, Pastor Jeremy explained that he would intentionally remember that God is faithful. In 2008, he quit his job to join the church as a full-time pastoral staffer. He had been trading stocks at the time, thinking it would be a good side income as he came to work for church, but he lost 90 per cent his savings during the Asian Financial Crisis, and he found himself a little angry with God. Looking back, Pastor Jeremy saw how transactional his relationship was with God at that point.
But God assured Pastor Jeremy that He would look after him. The word God had given to him when he took the step to enter into full-time ministry was that He would be his Jehovah Jireh. While there was no instant miracle for Pastor Jeremy, God eventually restored everything to him, and more.
“I’m so proud to say that my God has been good and faithful to me, and all of my household!” he declared.
He encouraged the church to remember God by keeping a journal of every victory that they have experienced. “If you have nothing to remember God for, then remember how He saved you, how you first came to Jesus,” the pastor encouraged. Jesus has delivered Christians from the power of darkness and that is one important thing they must consciously remember Him for.
2. REMEMBER WHAT GOD IS DOING IN YOU
When Christians go through a season of hardships and challenges, they tend to question God. Their primary focus is for God to relieve their pain and take away their misery. They want Him to solve all of their problems instantly.
Yet God made his purpose clear in Deuteronomy 8:2, “…to humble and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”
Reading Romans 8:28-30, Pastor Jeremy reminded the church that God is working in them for their eternal good, to make them more like Jesus.
“When we are going through a hard time. We feel so miserable, and it’s hard for us to draw near to God because our minds are simply preoccupied with our problems,” he said. That is when they need to remember that God is working behind the scenes for their eternal good.
He encouraged the church to ask God about the work He is doing in their lives. When they can see the bigger picture of what God is doing, they will have greater clarity of God’s purpose for their lives. The more they focus on Him, the more they will become like Him.
3. REMEMBER WHAT GOD WILL BE DOING FOR YOU
1 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Pastor Jeremy reminded the church that God is always with them and is working behind the scenes for them.
He shared the testimony of how his father-in-law came to Christ last year. His wife Annie and her sister, Angel were saved when they were 19 and 18. Their father was against their becoming Christians and their relationship soon became so strained that the sisters left the house. Soon after, their mother left too and for the next 26 years, none of them had contact with their father. When Annie left her family home, she felt God assure her that she and her entire household shall be saved.
Last year, Annie and Angel received news from an aunt that their father was now a changed man and receptive to Christianity. They were shocked and doubtful, but after watching a video of their father saying the Sinner’s Prayer with a pastor, they decided to meet their father. Last December, Pastor Jeremy’s father-in-law was water-baptised. It took decades, but it was clear that God was working behind the scenes all these years.
“For all of us who are in Christ, we can have all confidence that God holds our future, and it will be glorious,” Pastor Jeremy declared. Reading Romans 8:30, he explained that a Christian’s life is preparation for heaven. God’s plan for each individual is both for this lifetime and for eternity.
“’The best is yet to be’ is not a cliché but a reality for you and me,” he assured the church. “Remember, through all the struggles and pains in this life, God is working for our glorification.”
The pastor ended his sermons by reading Psalm 77:11-12, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
“I’m very sure that as you put God in remembrance, your prayer and worship will never be the same again,” he said.