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In Mexico Mothers day is always on May 10th, and in America it’s always the second Sunday in May.  Moms_Day__Arvin61r58This year they are both the same day.  Remembering our mothers is a big deal in both countries.  We remember the love they showed us, the hugs and prayers, the special meals they made for us, the bedtime stories and a hundred other things that each of us have tucked away in our hearts when we think of MOM.  We honor our mothers in special ways on  her special day.  I always send flowers to my mother and call her on this special day, because, after all, she is the most wonderful mother in the world.

We not only have a special day to remember Mom, but we have certain days throughout the year when we remember important people and events in our history.  We have days to honor soldiers who have given their lives for their country.  We have Memorial Day in which we remember loved ones that have passed on.  Remembering special people and events seems to be much more important in Mexico than in the United States.  In the U.S. we have some holidays to remember people and events, but a lot of times they are excuses for three day weekends and not a lot of remembering actually takes place.

My six year old daughter, Sally, is part of the flag team at her kindergarten.  Every Monday she marches with her team at the start of the school day.  Every child sings the Mexican national anthem and recites their pledge of allegiance.  Throughout the school year her flag team joins all the other flag teams of Tlacolula, Mexico, in different places around town to honor and remember important people and events in Mexico’s history.  Naturally, Anita and I take Sally to these events.  Here is a list of all the ceremonies zapatawe attended this last school year:
Death of the boy heroes, Shout for Independence, Independence day, Consummation of independence, United Nations day, Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, Anniversary of Mariano Matamoros, Constitution day, Anniversary of Vicente Guerrero, Birth of Benito Juarez, Death of Emiliano Zapata and finally, the Battle of Puebla.

That is a lot of remembering.  I like it.  At each ceremony the leaders of the town are in attendance, and someone gives a speech about the significance of the person or event that is being celebrated.  All of these ceremonies take place every year, to insure that the people, especially the children, know their history.  When people know their history, they have a better sense of who they are and where they came from.

Remembering is important to God and the Bible.  In the Old Testament, God is forever telling his chosen people to remember.  Their greatest failures occurred when they forgot.  They forgot Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They forgot the Passover, they forgot crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  They forgot how God delivered their enemies into their hands.  They forgot the Law of God.  Most importantly they forgot God himself.

Remembering is important in the New Testament as well.  When Jesus had his Last Supper with the last supperdisciples, he held up the cup of wine and the bread, and said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”  When we partake of Holy Communion, we remember Christ’s broken body and blood shed on the cross for the remission of sins.  We remember that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we live joyous lives in right relationship with our heavenly Father.  We remember that He loves us and wants us to be happy.  We remember who we are and how we got here.  Let’s never forget.

This post is dedicated to my wonderful mother, Carolyn Schwab.  I love you Mom!
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Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.                              Jennie E. Hussey

For me, to sum up what the Bible is about, from Genesis to Revelation, I would have to say creation, destruction and restoration.

In Genesis  chapter one, God  creates the universe in six days.  At the end of each day he pronounces creationthat what he had created that day as good, beautiful, perfect.  On the sixth day he created male and female in his image and declares that act of  creation as Very Good.  In chapter two we read that he created a garden with beautiful trees laden with fruit.  Thus we have an incredibly beautiful creation of God, intended for mankind to enjoy.

Unfortunately it ends all too soon. In chapter three of Genesis, destruction happens.  Adam and Eve disobey the only command God gives them.  They eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  That knowledge destroys their intimate relationship with the Almighty Creator.  It destroys their relationship with each other.  The eating, the disobedience, destroys their relationship with the earth and all that is within it.  They receive the Curse of God, and are denied the perfect creation of God.  They are expelled from the garden.

Much of the Old Testament gives us an account of more destruction.  Cain destroys his brother Able.destruction2  God destroys the earth with the great flood.  Armies destroy armies.  Nations destroy nations.  Kingdoms are wiped out.  It’s all bad.  Almost.

God did not leave humanity without hope.  Even as he pronounced curses on Adam and Eve, he slips in a promise of restoration.  Something to look forward to.  He promises that one day the Seed of Woman would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).

God began the slow, but sure promise of restoration by choosing one man, Abraham, to be the father of a great nation.  He chose an enslaved nation to escape their slave masters and become a powerful, godly nation.  He revealed himself, his will and his laws to them.  He chose David, the shepherd boy, a man after His own heart, to be king over this nation.  These acts were bits and pieces of restoration that pointed to a time when a full restoration would take place.

They pointed to the advents of Jesus.  His first and second comings that the prophets wrote about.  His birth in a manger, death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb; the first advent when God emptied himself, humbled himself and the Word became flesh.  Before ascending to his place of power in heaven, he promised he would return one day to fulfill the scriptures promise of a full restoration.

Right now we live in the Already, But Not Yet.  When Jesus came the first time he lived a perfect life, yet died on the cross bearing the sins of humanity that had been living destroyed, sin-filled lives and He suffered the wrath of God for those sins.  Thus he cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!”

When he rose from the dead, Ephesians chapter two tells us that those who believe in him and the work he accomplished on our behalf on the cross, were also raised to Life, meaning we now live spiritual lives in right relationship with God the Father.  Paul writes that all who place their trust in Jesus are justified, which means our sins are forgiven; God adopts us as his children, and sees us “just as if we had never sinned.” Not only that, but the same chapter of Ephesians tells us as Christ rose to take his place of power in the heavenly realms, we also are seated with Him in the heavenly realms.  An incredible act of restoration took place.

When we look at our lives we can clearly see that we are not in heaven and that we continue to sin restorationeveryday.  So what gives?  What kind of restoration is that?  That is where the “Already, But Not Yet” comes in to play.  While our lives are incredibly better in Christ, they are not perfect.  While we experience more joy and peace than ever before, we continue to struggle with times of conflict and sadness.  That is the “Already” life.  The “Not Yet” restoration fullness will take place at the end of the age when Jesus returns to set up his restored kingdom, which, according to the last couple chapters of the Bible, look a lot like the first couple chapters of the Bible.  It’s a perfect creation where there is no more sin and suffering; where there is a River of Life and fruit trees.  It’s a place where destruction is a thing of the past and everyone lives in love and unity with each other and God.

So there it is.  The story of the greatest book ever written, the Bible, summed up in three words – Creation, Destruction and Restoration.

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