Looking Back On 2021
“Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me” – Isaiah 46:9 NLT
There is a fine balance between remembering (Exodus 12:14) and forgetting (Philippians 3:13). Both are important doctrines in the Word of God but today I would like to briefly focus on remembering what God has done in 2021. Amidst all the challenges we have faced here and abroad it is spiritually therapeutic (Psalm 63:6-7) to be able to recount some of God’s handiwork.
Here are three reasons why remembering is so important:
Remembering endows history with meaning and significance.
Take, for example, the Sabbath.
“For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” – Exodus 20:11 NLT
By observing the Sabbath, we worship the Creator of nature, and not nature itself. In this way we are affirming the existence of a God who is above nature and who created all things. Remembering this is a weekly public announcement that God created the world! There is no other ritual or ethical law in the Bible which has as its purpose affirming God as the Creator of the world. Pretty significant, wouldn’t you say?
List one or two events or experiences from the past year which have heightened your awareness of what is most important in life.
Remembering enables us to learn from history
“These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” – 1 Corinthians 10:11 NLT
• What life lessons did you really take to heart this past year?
• What would you like to change or alter from this past year’s experiences?
• What can you celebrate and choose to continue doing?
Remembering promotes gratitude, wisdom, and faith
Ten Healed of Leprosy
15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” – Luke 17:15-19 NLT
Gratitude comes when people remember the good others have done for them.
From the last year, list four people who you are grateful for and share why. Please write them down. What would it look like to write, text, or email them a word of gratitude and encouragement?
“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom” – James 3:13 NLT
Wisdom: Wisdom is the skill to know how to apply what one learns from an experience, a decision, or action. No generation can attain wisdom without studying and remembering the past. Without wisdom, all good intentions in the world amount to nothing. Intending to do good without having wisdom is like intending to fly an airplane with no knowledge of airplanes or the laws of aerodynamics.
In what way did you apply God’s wisdom in two significant experiences you had this last year?
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” … 10 In the same way, when you obey me, you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’” – Luke 17:5, 10 NLT
When we remember that biblical faith is not usually the found in the extraordinary but in the ordinary, our faith increases. In the above verses, Christ gives a most unusual explanation of how we can increase our faith — DO YOUR DUTY just as an indentured servant obeys their master, and as the mustard tree obeys its seed. Mostly our faith grows by being consistently obedient in the ups and downs of life, and in being faithful in what is expected of us. For a most powerful explanation of Luke 17:5-10 look to the Founders’ Bible and the article titled: The Doorway to Greater Faith, pages 1593-1597.
“Duty is Ours; Results are God’s”
— John Quincy Adams
How have you seen your faith increase in 2021? Take some time to journal about this and be as specific as possible.
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands” — Psalm 143:5 KJV
Please be looking for my next teaching article titled: Thoughts for 2022.