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These Bible Studies are presented free of charge to the public. If these Bible Studies prove to be a blessing to you, Rivkah Ministries would be happy to receive your tax-deductible donation. You can make a contribution by clicking here à CONTRIBUTION.
Book of Remembrance
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old?” ( Isa 43:18)
“Put me in remembrance” (Isa 43:26)
Written by M. Larry Perrino
ã 2005 by Rivkah Ministries
Malachi wrote, “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name” (Mal 3:16). God is pleased by those that fear Him and speak often one to another about His name!
Notice the identity of the special book that was recognized in that last passage; it is called a “book of remembrance.” Even thought God is timeless (He is not held by space and time) He has an affinity for remembering things that are important to Him! The Scripture says “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham” (Gen 19:29). God did not say to Himself, “Oh yea, Abraham; I forgot about Him!” God never forgets! Nevertheless, He opts to set His mind on people and events that are important to Him.
In fact, God instructed that the children of Israel were to remember certain events, “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial” (Ex 12:14). “And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Ex 13:3). Notice how God placed a special emphasis upon recording things for memory, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it (repeat it over and over) in the ears of Joshua” (Ex 17:14). When God intends something to be remembered; He has it written down and rehearsed.
Nevertheless, while Israel was in the wilderness, instead of remembering the mighty miracles that God performed to free them from the Egyptians, notice what they drew out from their memory, “the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6 But our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eye” (Num 11:4-6). God was daily providing a miraculous supply of food for them in the wilderness; and, instead of focusing upon His awesome power, they chose to remember the “good old days” back in Egypt!
God wants His people to remember Him, “thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers” (Deut 8:18); “And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt” (Deut 15:15); “thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt” (Deut 16:12). God wants us to call to remembrance those special instances in our lives where He has shown Himself! He even wants us to remember those seemingly small events, “Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way” (Deut 24:9). Miriam was merely one person out of millions of people; yet, God wanted her single example to be remembered.
But, did Israel remember? “And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side” (Judg 8:34); “They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy. 43 How he had wrought his signs in Egypt” (Ps 78:42-43); “Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea” (Ps 106:7)
Throughout all of the trials that the nation of Israel experienced, did they ever remember God’s handiwork in their lives? Yes, they remembered; but only when it was far too late, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land? 5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Ps 137:1-6). When they were once again in bondage, they began to remember the things of God!
The great questions that arise out of the pages of the Biblical history of Israel are, “Will God hear his people even when they forget? Will God forgive the forgetfulness of his people?” Notice what happened to Samson who had forgotten from whence his strength came, “And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” (Judg 16:28). Notice also what happened to King Hezekiah, “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, 3 I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years” (2 Kings 20:1-6). In times of trial those afflicted always call upon God to remember!
God has a prepared for Himself, a book of remembrance! He always remembers, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt” (1 Sam 15:2). The Psalmist asked in Ps 77:9, “Hath God forgotten?” The answer always resounds, “He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Ps 98:3); “He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations” (Ps 105:8)
Humanity’s relationship with God is one of asking Him to remember us during our time of trial, while we ask Him to forget our sins of the past and our own forgetfulness, “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD” (Ps 25:6-7).
Who are those that remember the Lord? The psalmist wrote, “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, (Who are these saints that remember?) and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Ps 30:4). A psalmist wrote, “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search” (Ps 77:6). We write songs because we are passionate or filled with great emotion!
The just come to God! He finds them, “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee” (Jonah 2: 7). Christians are supposed to remember their conversion experience. Indeed, they were admonished to, “call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions” (Heb 10:32).
God is serious about the act of remembering, “Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith” (Eccl 10:9). Ancient stones were established for landmarks; just like succeeding generations were supposed to honor those ancient landmarks, so too are we supposed to remember the various milestones in our own personal lives! We are supposed to remember (Bring these events back to mind!): “Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isa 46:8-9)
But, why is it important that we remember the past? We are strengthened when we remember those special instances from the past where God has acted on our behalf, “David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. (David remembered his special past!) 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, (David could face a greater foe standing before him because he had remembered how God helped him overcome his foes of the past!) seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, (David here explains the reason that he was victorious over the lion and the bear!) The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine” (1 Sam 17:34-37). We need to go through the process of remembering because as we do we begin to recognize the hand of God working in our lives in the past even though we didn’t know it!
All of us by now have recognized the walking stick on the right-hand side of the page. However, we have been focusing upon memory and remembering. Therefore, you should be wondering, “So what does our memory or remembering victories of the past have to do with a rod or a staff?” Is there any kind of a Biblical relationship? The Bible makes an important connection in this context, notice an interesting comment made by the prophet Hosea, “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them” (Hos 4:12). How on earth can a staff (a simple walking stick) declare something to an individual?
The Biblical record is clear that ancient rods (staffs) could be written upon, “write thou every man's name upon his rod” (Num 17:2). What most people do not realize is that special moments in the lives of people were often recorded upon the family staff! The concept of a written record on a staff, is much the same idea as a notch on one’s belt. When Abraham gave his staff to Isaac, it is very likely that Abraham had recorded upon his rod: when God told him to leave Haran (Gen 12:4); when Abraham faced five kings and met Melchesidek (Gen 14:18); when the three angels spoke to him in Mamre (Gen 18:1); when God stayed the hand of Abimelech with Sarah (Gen 20:2); when Isaac was born (Gen 21:3); etc. This means that when Isaac took the family staff from his father Abraham, he essentially had a written record of all of the family history especially where God was involved! Notice that on occasion, the Israelites even named their staves (Old English plural for staff). “And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock” (Zech 11:7).
When Jacob was returning to the land of Israel he said, “for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands” (Gen 32:10). What was the significance? Why did Jacob even mention his staff in connection with this particular occasion? This noteworthy event was obviously a milestone in Jacob’s life! He was returning back to the land of Canaan after twenty-two years of exile! Jacob understood that he would naturally record this special event upon his own family staff. This new information should help us get some added insight regarding the significance of Scriptures that mention the “staff,” “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff” (Heb 11:21). This suggests that Jacob rehearsed to his sons and then recorded yet another significant event of his life! The notion that he was leaning on the top of his staff suggests that all of the events recorded thereon gave him strength! In essence, Jacob was leaning on his personal past experiences with God! It was during this episode when Jacob adopted Joseph’s two sons and conferred his own blessing from Abraham (even though that blessing was obtained illegially) upon those two young men! Notice how Jacob had somehow become aware of the future, “for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.” During the literal event when he passed over the Jordan, he realized that that occurrence was merely a prophetic picture that foretold the fact that his children would sometime in the future become two separate bands! Indeed, after King Solomon, the nation of Israel became two separate nations: one known as the Kingdom of Judah and the other was known as the Kingdom of Israel. Many years later, the Prophet Ezekiel was ordered by God to prophesy to the two sticks, “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand” (Ezek 37:19).
We readily observe a prominent staff in the hand of Moses when he encountered God at the burning bush, “And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.” (Ex 4:2-3). We later learn that that rod (staff) was somehow connected with every miracle in the land of Egypt including the last, “the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: 16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Ex 14:15-16). It was that exact staff that Moses used to get water from the rock for the children of Israel while they were in the desert!
Earlier we mentioned the incident involving David and Goliath; notice an interesting and often missed aspect involving a staff, which is recorded as part of the Biblical record when David prepared to meet Goliath, “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine” (1 Sam 17:40). Like Jacob crossing the Jordan, here is yet another major life-event where the staff is explicitly connected with the incident! Are you getting the point? David grew in confidence before his engagement with the Philistine (the Giant Goliath)! Why? What did his staff have to do with this surge of confidence? He looked at his staff upon which he had recorded the victorious event when killed the Lion, he also noted the victorious event involving the bear! In essence, the staff was David’s memory stick!
So we have observed that in ancient times, the staff was used to record major events in the lives of the children of Israel! Notice, “These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes (Hebrew word “matteh” which means staff) of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel.” (Numb 1:16). Here is an interesting even perplexing concept; the Hebrew word “matteh” which means “staff” is also the same Hebrew word meaning, “tribe!” If this concept piques your curiosity and you are interested in learning more of the Biblical secrets concerning the connection between the Hebrew word “staff” and the Hebrew word, “tribe,” we recommend the Bible Study entitled, “Evil, Where did it come from?;” the Bible Study can be obtained from the Internet address: http://www.rivkah.org.
There is power in remembering our past! Our imagination is very important; it helps us reconstruct the memory of those critical events from our past. This is especially helpful when we are facing yet another significant trial! In the interests of convincing you to reflect upon your past, let me share with you some of the major events from my own personal past. Please take note how the meaning of the names of people and places fit into the story. I also tried to attach a Biblical meaning to each event:
· My name is Michael (meaning – who is like God?) Larry (meaning – “The victorious one who wears the laurel crown.”) Perrino (meaning – “A little son of Peter”). I like to think that my name asks and answers a question as follows, “Who is like God?” The answer is, “The little son of Peter who is victorious and wears the laurel crown.” On April 26, 1951, I was born in Alamosa, Colorado. (Alamosa means “a cottonwood grove.” I like to think of a cottonwood as, “a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps 1:3). I was born just as my father was finishing his education at Adams State College. He completed his education with help from the GI Bill. My father grew up on a ranch in Turkey Creek, Colorado; and my mother grew up on a ranch three miles upstream from my father’s home. My mother’s childhood was spent as a shepherdess; she spent many long nights between her ninth and fourteenth birthdays tending to the sheep.
· In 1952, when I was only 18 months old, my mother, who was named Pearl (a pearl of great price in my eyes) was stricken with Tuberculosis (which at that time often led to death). Not long after my father Mike (meaning – “who is like God?”) graduated from college, my mother went into an experimental program in a hospital in Rocky Ford, (meaning “a shallow place to cross the river”) Colorado, which was a hundred miles away from her family. During that time, my grandmother Elvira (which means “impartial judgment”) took care of my sister Imy (which comes from Imogene meaning “image or likeness”) and me on her farm, which was located in Turkey Creek, Colorado. My mother miraculously overcame her disease in my third year; by that time I had forgotten who she was; I called her, “people.” As I look back, I recognize that God Almighty had spared the very lives of my parents! Ten years before I was even born, on June 6th of 1941, my father somehow miraculously survived the “longest day.” As part of the D-Day invasion my father piloted an LCVP landing craft that transported soldiers several times that fateful day to and from the bloody beaches of Omaha. Note the report of an individual who recorded the events of those landing craft, “Survivors from some craft report hearing the fire beat on the ramps before they were lowered, and then seeing the hail of bullets whip the surf just in front of the lowered ramps.” (Quote taken from the Website, http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Omaha.html). Perhaps the most insightful Biblical passage concerning how God obviously spared the lives of both of my parents comes from Josh 2:12-13, “ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: 13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”
· In 1954, when I was three–nearly–four years old we lived near the river bottom on the St. Charles mesa just outside of Pueblo, Colorado. It so happened that there was a major flood that year. A few days after the flood, I disobeyed my parents and went unsupervised to a nearby aunt’s house, which was also located near the river about a half-mile away. The adults had warned all the children about the danger of the mud; the adults had laid wide boards (as a sort of sidewalk) over the muddy sand so we could walk upon the boards between the two houses. That day when I was alone, I decided that I was able to run over the mud; I reckoned that since I could run so fast, the mud could not stick to my fast feet. The mud turned out to be quick sand and I sank down to my chest before uncle Chemo (which comes from “Anselmo” meaning “noble and ready; God’s helmet”) found me and saved my life by pulling me out of the dangerous sand. The devil tried to kill my parents; this is my first consciousness of him trying to take my life. I have located yet another few scriptures relating to this occurrence in my life, “Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength” (Ps 31:4); and sadly, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov 22:15). My parents learned that the first part of that verse was applicable to me, on the other hand, I discovered the Biblical concept that a rod can also be used for other purposes!
· In 1956, when I was merely five years old a great uncle came to live with us in his dying days and I remember that he always talked with me about the Bible. One day he put his hands on my head and prayed over me and blessed me; from that day forward he always called me “Lazarus” (the friend of Jesus who was resurrected to life from death). I found a scripture relating to this incident; the passage says in Ps 147:13 “he hath blessed thy children within thee.”
· 1967 – when I was 16 years old, I could easily have been killed as a result of a major auto accident in Pueblo, Colorado! I was riding in an automobile with several foolish teenagers. We were heading west on highway 50 bypass near “dog patch;” we were traveling probably 60 mph toward Belmont. At the last moment, someone decided that we needed to go to the east side of town. At that time there was no stop light at the intersection of Troy and HWY 50 bypass. At the last instant our driver suddenly changed lanes in order to turn left on Troy. However, there was an automobile passing at a high rate of speed in the passing lane; somehow, (I believe by angelic assistance) the automobiles narrowly averted a horrible accident as both uncontrollably skidded across the highway. Unhappily, the only scripture that I could find relating to this incident is “The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me” (Ps 116:6).
· In 1971, when I was 20 years old, my daughter Kris (which means “salvation”) was born while I was serving in the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps in, Ft. Knox, Kentucky. My platoon of fifty men graciously took up a special collection in order to send me home for a three-day, 4th of July weekend. This made it possible for me to travel to Colorado so I could meet the new baby whom they had labeled, “Baby Bravo.” All of these events took place at the end of my first year of college. As a result of Kris’ birth and my uncertainty concerning infant baptism, I began to search for the deeper meaning of life and our existence upon this earth. Since I was raised as a Catholic, my experience with religion had only been ceremonial in nature. Kris’ birth started me on a lifelong search into the Bible and I discovered a relationship with God along the way! Now that I look back, I see that salvation (the meaning of Kris) began to work in my life and just “happened” to coincide at the time of my daughter’s birth.
· In 1974, when I was 23 years old, my son Jason (which means “Healer”) was born; in the same way that I was born during the ending weeks of my father’s college education, this new addition to my family (Jason) took place just as I was about to finish college. From the time of Kris’ birth I had been seeking the face of God; as a result, I experienced many “strange” incidents. In order to place Jason’s birth in proper perspective, I must describe the events prior to his birth beginning in mid 1972. I had been so busy trying to keep-up with a full-load in college, the Army Reserves, and working full time at the Steel Mill, that something simply had to give. Not only was I busy with the details of life, I had been asking God to show Himself to me. I made an excuse to Him that I was too busy to study His Word. Naturally, I had missed a great deal of work and as a result my job with the Steel Mill was threatened. I decided to ask the Colonel of the Reserves for some assistance; I privately hoped that he would somehow write a scornful letter to the Steel Mill asking for some, “special dispensation” in my unique case; instead, the Colonel presented me with an “Honorable Discharge” from the U.S. Army on the grounds of personal hardship. Beginning with the occasion when I complained to God in prayer that I had no time to study His Word, things really began to change in my life. As a result of the discharge, I felt as if I had lots of time. However my release of time did not stop there; I grew a plantar wart on my heel and my doctor performed a simple office procedure to burn-off the wart. Nonetheless, that simple wart kept me on medical leave from the Steel Mill for about six months. Not only was I discharged from the Army, I was also released from work; further, since college was winding down, I suddenly had plenty of time to study God’s Word! As a result of all of that study, I decided that I needed to get baptized. The baptism took place on June 9, 1974; this was the first Saturday after I graduated from college. By the way, the plantar wart simply disappeared the week after I got baptized; it has never returned. Since I was able to stay home during that period, I obviously grew close to both of my children. Now that I remember, (reflect on my life); I can recognize that “coincidently” healing (Jason) and salvation (Kris) came into my life during this amazing three-year period of my young adult life.
· In 1981, I was about 30 and my daughter was approximately 10 years old. I am going to share an instance where God clearly helped me raise my children. There are countless stories that I could choose; but, perhaps this one most evidently illustrates His involvement. Kris had recently lost her purse and she rehearsed over and over again with all of us what might have happened to the purse. However, she simply could not remember when she had last seen nor where she had left her purse! One night several weeks later, she was particularly melancholy about her lost purse and she came to me rather dejectedly about the whole episode. In times like these we parents find that we are woefully inadequate in meeting the needs of our children. Since I had absolutely no idea what to do, I simply told her to pray about it and expect God to help her find it. That night about 3:00 a.m. she shrieked, “Daddy, Daddy!” By the time I stumbled into the hallway, she cried out, “Daddy, I know where my purse is! We went to Furrs Cafeteria after church the day that I last had my purse. I know it’s at Furrs!” Sure enough, we went to Furrs the next day and her purse was waiting there behind the payment counter. She learned that God answers prayer while I learned that God helps parents raise children! I realized at that moment, perhaps like none other, that God blesses our children too, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
· In 1986, I was 35 years old and events were particularly adverse in my life. I had just gone through a divorce even though my wife and I had enjoyed fifteen years of what I considered a pretty good marriage. Therefore, I was confused and needed help just to know that God was still with me; therefore, on my way to a professional conference in Kansas City, I picked up a book by Billy Graham entitled, “Angels, Angels, Angels.” Obviously, this was a particularly stressful period of my life. I read how God often sends angels in various ways to visit and help humanity during their time of need. I read about angels providing spectacular visitations as well as a simple reassuring hand on the shoulder. I asked God in prayer to send me some reassurance; I told Him, “It doesn’t need to be something spectacular; a gentle hand on my shoulder would be sufficient.” Charles Plumb just “happened” to be the keynote speaker at the beginning of the conference; he had been a POW during the Vietnam War where he was detained in what came to be known as the “Hanoi Hilton.” His message included the concept that we should be a helping others who are in need. He described how during his period of imprisonment he often thought about one particularly negative incident from his past. He explained how the last second basketball shot was given to him and he had the opportunity to win the state championship for his high school; however, he missed the shot and lost the game. He described how he sat there brooding in the empty locker room. Finally, the coach came in and gently put his hand on his shoulder and gave him a word of encouragement; he described how significant that simple act of kindness had been to him. Since I had just prayed my prayer the evening before, my ears perked-up as he described the coaches gentle hand on his shoulder. Charles Plumb continued with his interesting story. Toward the conclusion of Charles Plumb’s fascinating session he said, “I know that I was sent here today specifically to help somebody in need; I don’t know who you are. I am not anything spectacular, I hope I have just been a gentle hand on your shoulder.” Through help from God’s angels, He had put the very words of my prayer into the mouth of Charles Plumb! Without doubt the Biblical passages that best related to this personal experience are, “he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Ps 91:11); “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb 1:14).
· In 2000, when I was 49 years old and getting close to the point of retirement from my job as a school administrator, there was another particularly aggressive administrator who disagreed with my philosophy in practically every area of management. Naturally, this person caused me a great deal of difficulty on the job and I had actually become quite offended to the point where I avoided all contact. One night the Lord awakened me with a knowing in my heart that I needed to apologize to that person! I was actually quite taken aback. After all, the Lord surely knew that this aggressive individual was the source of all of my difficulty and that I had done nothing to aggravate the situation! Nevertheless, He wanted me to be the one to present the olive leaf. Reluctantly I did approach the individual. Not long thereafter, the Lord released me from that job; indeed, I had an unusual opportunity to take advantage of an early retirement from the school district. That retirement has directly led to my opportunity to spend time writing and teaching God’s word!
· In 2001, just as I was turning 50 years of age, I asked God for something else. My brother-in-law explained to me how he had prayed as a young man and asked God to show him who he was supposed to marry. Beginning with my divorce, I had not been experiencing great success in the area of interpersonal relationships! It just never occurred to me that I needed to ask God to help me find the right person! You might say, “Duuhh!” Nevertheless, the whole idea of asking God for help in this area was completely foreign to me. After I recounted my personal shortcomings, I asked God to help find the right mate; nonetheless, I was prepared to live alone for the remainder of my life. I thought that my problem had been that I was somehow drawn to women with whom there was no agreement of the realm of the spirit. Of course, I always became aware of the deep spiritual divide later; however, that revelation would always show up long after the relationships had bloomed. I viewed this problem as a sort of personal bondage. Since the Biblical concept of fifty years relates to the Jubilee, “ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you” (Lev 25:10), I made some inquiries of God concerning my jubilee. Obviously, the jubilee for Israel was a time of great rejoicing in the new found freedom! Likewise, when I turned fifty, and through the few years that followed, I experienced a new type of freedom of which I had never known! I retired from work; in and around that same general time, I married a woman named Librada (whose name means “liberty”). God had been showing me openly that I was set completely free! When we moved to a new home Librada (who is a teacher) obtained job offers from two different schools; the first was named “Liberty” and the second was named, “Freed!”
· There have been many subsequent notable events in my life where God has obviously been involved; however, we don’t have time to cover them all. Note just the basic description of these other events:
o Rivkah Ministries is born;
o Finished first draft of my book, “Rush To Judgment;”
o I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit;
o I Learned that God heals (esophagus – acid reflux, a disease for 25 years);
o God emphasized again that God heals (Graves Disease – hyperactive thyroid);
o I gave by faith my first LARGE gift;
o I decides with help from the Holy Spirit to go to Bible School.
It is critically important that you understand the following: this study is not about me! It is important for each of you to meditate on your own private past. We must become sensitive to various times in our past in order to recognize where God has intervened. Just like the husband forgetting those special things that made him fall in love with his wife leads to negative issues in marriage; in the same fashion, God does not want us to forget His very special involvement in our lives either!
The whole concept is that all of us need to reflect upon (remember) how God has worked in our own lives! When we make an honest attempt to remember our past, the Holy Spirit begins to help us remember how He has been directly involved in our lives, “the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance” (John 14:26). When I first began to study this concept, the Holy Spirit quickened to me a memory that I had completely dismissed and forgotten! My great uncle Mike (who was part of my grandfather’s generation) put his hands on my head and blessed me and gave me the name Lazarus–the name of a man who was resurrected to life! Years later, I was compelled to write a book entitled, “Rush to Judgment” which is a book about the Resurrection. Probably, this means absolutely nothing to you, but it means the world to me! These events form a rhema word in my life! Therefore, I need to engrave it and all these other events upon my personal staff!
Peter warned those who have forgotten! “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:9). Likewise, all of us need to remember what God has done in our lives! Peter goes on to emphasize our memory, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” (2 Peter 1:12-15)
I heartily recommend that each of you spend some quality prayerful time recalling those major events in your lifetime where God has obviously been involved and shown Himself to you. We all need to remember these events especially at the time when we face our own private giants! The same God who has preserved, protected and defended us in the past will be there to show Himself strong in our future battles too!
Our duty is to remember! What will you record on your book of remembrance of the details where God has been involved in your life? Our duty is to remember! God asked through the Prophet Isaiah, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old?” (Isa 43:18) Again I say to you, our duty is to remember!
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Written by M. Larry Perrino ã 2005 by Rivkah Ministries