Who are you remembering, considering and imitating today? Are your eyes on people who live (or lived life) victoriously or do you tend to watch the people around you who are barely getting by, depressed, discouraged, defeated? As we look at the exploits of men and women of God who have dared to trust God in the most trying of situations, we encourage our own hearts and allow our faith to be strengthened.
Great moves of God in generations past have awed us all. But we tend to think that these leaders had something we don't have. The greatness of our God working through their lives tends to take away the reality that they were common men and women, just like you and I. They were simple, ordinary people who did great exploits for God. Not because they were anyone more special but because they had a passion to see the Glory of God come to their city, their country and the people they rubbed shoulders with in the workplace. I'm so blessed to read in Hebrews 11:34 in reference to the hall of fame of faithful men and women "… extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devouring of the sword, OUT OF FRAILTY AND WEAKNESS won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts." I thank God He doesn't require us to be perfect to be used by Him!
Many of our most influential leaders were not ordained clergy but rather lay people. Hunger for God is the most common denominator. People who are desperate for God to move press in to know Him more and in that learning of Who He is, their faith soars. The hunger is satisfied as they see the lost saved, the sick healed and the oppressed freed. These people found joy in the Lord alone. They felt the burden for humanity that only a manifestation of the heart of God could revive.
These people represent the Lords will on earth. "They are a name of renown to the Lord. They are an everlasting sign of jubilant exaltation and memorial to His praise." Isaiah 55:13b Amplified Translation
In the ministry of John G. Lake, he wrote that the success of a meeting in South Africa where over 700,000 people were converted in one meeting was due entirely to the fact that the hunger for God's best at any price led to people testifying of God's greatness, amplifying the love of God without jealousy or pride. Another famous evangelist wrote that rather than preach he was impressed by God to give his testimony. After he finished, the auditorium was filled with an impromptu alter call where the Glory of God brought hundreds of testimonies, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation that created a service that was not in the plan of man and no man planning it. "God came" he wrote. "The hearts of the people were pure and that brought a great manifestation of God's presence that lasted for months!" Through his testimony he presented a living memorial that changed the lives of the people who heard him.
For nearly twenty years God has been speaking to me about memorials. A memorial is a remembrance of something or someone from the past. A memorial before God in the eyes of the people that see it, is a sign post along the path of life that says "someone has gone this way before you in this path that your life has taken. And this shall be a sign unto you, to encourage you, to give you hope in the expected end of your journey. For though your way seems bleak and desolate now, KNOW that if you will gain strength in this place and preserve in your faith, moving forward, continually following God, your outcome will be as ours – victorious and overcoming! This alter was built as a remembrance of the miracles that God did in our lives as we walked this same path. God did what was impossible for us to do. God turned things around. God resurrected dead things. Signs and wonders are marked here by this memorial. These too shall follow after your steps of faith. Keep going. Walk on in courage. God is not a respecter of persons. What He did for us, He is and will complete in doing for you." Jesus said that our lives are to be living epistles. We are to give testimony by the memorials of our lives that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Through modern times memorials that show the working of God to bring strength and encouragement to others around us.
In reference to the righteous the Word says "They are living memorials to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises." Psalm 92:15
Hero's of faith in the Bible and hero's alive on the earth today hare stories that testify of God's coming to their rescue in many diverse situations. Their stories are memorials erected in history calling to remembrance the God they trusted in, Who work miracles on behalf of ordinary people. The testimonies are given to encourage us. They are faith builders that display our mighty God's love, care and intervention for those that serve Him.
God has given each of us many "exceedingly great and precious promises". May of us have had visions that are yet to unfold. As time passes, the temptation to grow weary in well-doing is very real. We can avoid the temptation to give up and be discouraged by keeping our eyes on God and focusing on the memorial erected by someone who has gone through our situation or circumstance victoriously. God heals today! God delivers from affliction today! God feeds hungry people today! God raised the dead today! God brings financial miracles today! God brings people together today! God brings families together today! God delivers people held captive today!
Whatever it is that you need from God – justice, affection, friends and on and on, you can find memorials built by real people with real needs just like yours to look to and follow their example. Be encouraged by their testimonies. Imitate their faith and consider the outcome of their lives. In doing so you too will be erecting a memorial before the eyes of all the peoples, saying "God met me right here and acted strong on my behalf!"
May you take these words to heart and meditate on them, searching the scriptures to judge the truths herein, allowing the Holy Spirit to work truth in you, to the renewing of your mind. Find rest for your soul. Have a light and easy week as you accomplish great things for His Kingdom!