A Steady RecollectionSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
A STEADY RECOLLECTION
Sermon By Terry Siverd / October 01, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
When we began this protracted sermon series on The Fruit Of The Spirit, I did not have my sub-topics all mapped out in advance. From the outset, I decided to allow this series to come to me. I don't mean that in any mystical kind of way, I simply mean that I wanted to be open to thinking outside the box as we progressed - - i.e., to not be restricted by only addressing thoughts that have been presented in the past. We've dealt with a number of topics that are tangential - - often omitted from catalogues of Christian disciplines, but nonetheless interrelated with and advantageous to the cultivation of godly fruit.
This morning I want to speak about A STEADY RECOLLECTION.
I had an appointment with my primary care physician this past week. Before Dr. C entered the exam room his nurse came in to update my file and take my vitals. And then she gave me two simple tests. First she asked me to remember three words: chair, banana and sunset. And then she asked me to sketch the face of a clock displaying the time, 11:10.
These assignments were apparently given to help assess my cognitive skills.
Most of us struggle with memory in varying degrees. We're living in an age when memory skills seem to be in decline.
Some people still have telephone landlines, but they mostly use them to call their cell phone because they have
forgotten where they left it. And they need their cell phone because it has an app that helps them find their car keys.
Our current era finds people frequently forgetful - - generally speaking, we are busy, distracted and inattentive.
Traditionally, the ability to recollect and remember has seldom been advanced as a Christian discipline.
Neither do we find recognition and memory delineated as a fruit of the Spirit.
I want to go on record this morning in saying that MINDFULNESS is both a discipline and a virtue.
The mindfulness of which I speak is not just speaking courteously and thoughtfully to those around us. The mindfulness I want to emphasize this morning is best described as having a conscientious awareness of God's presence in our lives.
When I was a young boy I remember the prayers of the men of the church. There was a phrase that was used often in asking for God's blessings on the preacher: give him a ready recollection. Asking for the preacher to have a ready recollection of his sermon is good, but better yet is to ask God to grant us ALL a steady recollection.
It's a good thing to have a preacher who is able to recall his sermon notes from a past week of study.
Greater still it would be for all of God's children to maintain A KEEN RECOGNITION OF GOD'S CONSTANT PRESENCE.
Perhaps this lack of mindfulness is evidence of the weakness of our human condition.
We might blame our failure to be mindful on the technological blur of our the world in which we now live.
But the fact is that an absence of mindfulness has been plaguing mankind since time immemorial.
Moses warns Israel (Deut.8) - - vs.8/remember ...vs.11/beware lest you forget cf. Deut.4:9 and 8:14 & 18
Vs.19/If you ever forget the Lord you God....you shall surely perish.
The psalms give repeated warnings: Ps.78:5-7/teach their children...and not forget the works of God.
Ps.103:2/forget none of His benefits ... Ps.106:21/They forgot their Savior …
Ps.63:6-8/When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches, For Thou hast been My help,
And in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me.
cf. Ps.77:6 & 12; 143:5;
Isaiah admonishes Damascus (Isa.17:10) - -
You have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remember the rock of your refuge.
Jeremiah writes in Jer.2:32 - - Can a maiden forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number. cf. Jer.3:21 & 13:25
In our day and age we must continually find ways to fight the distractions in order to find a stillness in God.
Ps.46:10 exhorts, Cease striving (be still) and know that I am God.
We all have days when we feel very much like the prophet Elijah - - downcast and despondent.
In 1Kgs.19:11f God directs Elijah to go forth, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.
Elijah looked for Jehovah in the Earth(quake), wind and fire, but he did not find Him.
Finally he heard the voice of God a gentle blowing - - a soft voice asking, “Why are you here?”.
One of the most difficult challenges that we face in living for God is learning to filter out the excessive noise.
The cultivation of mindfulness is found in grounding ourselves in the sweet memories of Jehovah God.
In Yoga, meditation is used to promote mindfulness as a power that can help one reach nirvana
(enlightenment, peace & happiness). I'm not advocating Yoga (Zen Buddhism) but I am all for taking time
to meditate by seeking occasions to be still and re-energized by a steady recollection of God's goodness.
Reading the Scriptures can provide us with times of recollection (sacred remembrances).
Reading Scripture and dwelling on helpful pictures of God is a profitable way to remember.
Our ROCK – Ps.62:1-2 & 5-6
Our SHEPHERD – Ps.23
Our HELPER – Heb.13:5b-6
He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,' so that we
confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?'
Our LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER – Jn.3:16 cf. Lk.15
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
Someone has written this brief but beautiful prayer of confession:
I worry because I forget Your wisdom,
I resent because I forget Your mercy,
I covet because I forget your beauty,
I sin because I forget your holiness,
I fear because I forget your sovereignty.
You always remember Me. Help me to remember You.