Memory Dynamics for the Believer

 Memory Dynamics PowerPoint Presentation

ü    Surely my soul remembers and is humbled within me.  This doctrine I recall to mind; therefore I have hope.  The Lord’s grace support never ceases; His grace expressions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul; `therefore I have confidence in Him.’  Lamentations 3:20-25 RBT

 ü    Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth, which is present with you.  I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.  And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.  2 Peter 1:12-16 NASB

 1. Definition

Memory is a verbal function of your human soul, related to your life, happiness as well as to your ability to learn and apply Bible doctrine. It is your mental capacity to retain conscious and unconscious traces of conscious impressions and of recalling these traces to consciousness. Memory is our ability to store, retain, and subsequently recall information. In terms of science, traditional studies of memory began in the realms of philosophy.  The late nineteenth and early twentieth century put memory within the paradigms of cognitive psychology. In recent decades, it has become one of the principal pillars of a new branch of science that represents a marriage between cognitive psychology and neuroscience, called cognitive neuroscience. (Wikipedia)

There are several ways of classifying memories, based on duration, nature and retrieval of information. From an information processing perspective there are three main stages in the formation and retrieval of memory: Encoding (processing and combining of received information) Storage (creation of a permanent record of the encoded information) Retrieval/Recall (calling back the stored information in response to some cue for use in some process or activity).  (Wikipedia)  Each one of these categories is important when we think in terms of Bible doctrine.  As believers in Jesus Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, the whole system of encoding, storage and recall becomes a supernatural process with both temporal and eternal implications.

Because memory includes the power of retention as well as the ability to recall, it is an integral part of capacity for life.  Memory is also a function of the mentality of the soul in identification and perception; that is, being able to identify and recall what has been previously learned.  Memory also includes the concept of people “living” in your soul.  This way you can recall them, and enjoy your memories of them.

You can visualizeyour conscious mind as a living room.  Leading off this room is a flight of stairs to a second floor mezzanine.  On this mezzanine are doors to rooms, which are all around this living room.  The doors are analogous to the memory center.  In your mind are subconscious traces.  When something triggers a memory, that person or occasion that lives behind that door is called upon.  The memory comes out of the room and it goes down the stairs into the conscious mind, where it is enjoyed once again.

This concept is especially important when we think about the communion table.  The Communion Table is the most important function of your memory.  Behind one of those doors is stored all of the doctrines of Jesus Christ that you have learned.  During the Communion Service, you need to recall these doctrines.  Through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit, you need to recall all of the doctrines of the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross and His plan for our lives.  The Bible commands each one of us, as believers to “keep on doing these things in memory of Me.”  God designed the Communion Table as a test to our memory.  We are to remember Christ until He returns.  Paul described the first communion service:

 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”1 Corinthians 11:23-25

 Memory and thanksgiving go hand in hand because no one can be grateful for things not remembered.  In order for us to fulfill this mandate of remembering Him, we need to have behind one door all the doctrines of Christ, those that relate to His work on the cross ready for recall.  In order to fulfill God’s plan for your life, you must have maximum doctrine resident in your soul, therefore your memory center must have number one priority.  Do not destroy your memory center!

Your stability comes from the doctrine resident in your soul, that is, the doctrine that you can remember. This is why Peter said to his congregation, “I keep reminding you of these doctrines…”

 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.  I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.  And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.  2 Peter 1:12-16

Peter touched on two important principles.  First, do not assume that because you have heard a doctrine taught once that you thoroughly know it.  Do not mentally turn your pastor off because you have heard him previously teach the subject!  Secondly, remember, if you keep learning something, you will not be able to forget it.  If you cannot forget points of doctrine, you will be able to recall them when pressures and stresses of life require their application.  You can only apply understood, learned and believed doctrine under pressure, never doctrines you superficially acknowledge. 

Many passages delineate principles of memory.  The following passages elucidate some important memory principles:

Memories of thought patterns brought on by reversionism bring you misery, while memories of maturity blessings produce happiness. 

  He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust. My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “My strength has perished, And so has my hope from the Lord.” Lamentations 3:16-18

 Memories from maturity blessings bring happiness.

 This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:21-23

 God has designed His Word to remind every believer that everything he has comes from the Lord.

 Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not His benefits.  Psalm 103:2

 Every believer should store good memories all of their lives.  These memories should consist of doctrine.

Remember, therefore, the One creating you.  Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NASB)

 You can recover from reversionism by recalling days of positive volition.

 They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness, and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in loving-kindness.  The Lord is good to all…” Psalm 145:7-9a NASB

 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.  They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways.  Psalm 119:2-3 (NASB)

 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me. Psalm 119: 93 (NASB)

 Acquire wisdom!  Acquire understanding!  Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.  Proverbs 4:5 (NASB)

 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings…  Hebrews 10:32

 Let us take this verse word by word so we can fully understand it!  It begins with DE, a particle, used in the Greek to indicate continuity of thought.  In this verse, it sets up a contrast between the previous six verses that deal with the unbeliever.  When you look at your own life, do you ever become tempted to compare your life with theirs?  Do some or even many unbelievers’ lives appear more successful or more prosperous?  Remember that their lives have absolutely no meaning, little purpose or definition beyond this life of flesh and blood.  They are all bound to the Lakeof Fire.  Yes, this should arouse some compassion in your soul to share the Gospel of our Lord as often as you can.  Your life, believer, by contrast, has incredible meaning, purpose and definition, so share it!  Memory plays an incredible role in your purpose of achieving spiritual maturity.  What meaning, purpose and definition you may ask?  How about your role in resolving the angelic conflict?  How about your purpose of glorifying God, how about your role in preserving your nation?  But I digress, let me move on!  The next word, actually, the first in the Greek word order, is ἀναμιμνῄσκω ANAMIMNESKO. It is a verb in the present tense, passive voice and imperative mood, 2nd person plural.  It means, “to call to remembrance.”  It does not refer to just any memory, but specifically to moments of enjoyment and happiness!  This is an iterative present, which means that you do not spend every moment recalling your memories, but you do so at certain times of your life, throughout of your life.

The imperative mood means God the Holy Spirit makes a demand upon your volition!  You do this! God mandates it!  Remember, recall certain things, certain things Paul will elucidate, to recover spiritually.  The translation: “But keep on remembering, over and over again…” captures the meaning with the iterative present and imperative mood. 

The passive voice adds another facet to this command.  You must remind yourself to do this yourself.  You must keep reminding yourself that nothing is as important to you as the Word of God, Bible doctrine!  While you live on this earth, you have one objective, which must override anything else in your life: taking the high ground of spiritual maturity!  That is your purpose of being alive on this earth.  Your life priority should never parallel that of the unbeliever!  You have a much higher calling in life!  As you mature, circumstances in life and temptations will constantly challenge your spiritual growth.  Even when you do finally “make it” you cannot slack off, but you must hold your position by continually learning and applying doctrine to your life. 

The next word is τὰς TAS, formerly known as a definite article, now a determiner.  This category of words points out something definite or distinguishes one thing from another.  It is translated, “the.”  As a comparative adjective, the next word, πρότερον PROTERON defines what TAS distinguished.  Translated “former,” it refers to a specific time-period.  The next word, ἡμέραςHEMERAS, a noun in the accusative feminine plural, is translated as “days.” This phrase should be translated as, “But keep on reminding yourself of the former days…” 

Now, you should ask yourself the questions, “What former days?” and “What made them so special to these believer’s spiritual lives?” and “How were those former days different from their current attitude?” Let us continue our exegesis to find the answers to these questions! 

The word, “when” is translated from EN AIS, a dative preposition and relative pronoun.  You can translate these literally as, “in which” or “when” as the NASBtranslators have.  This is correct due to the morphology of the next word, φωτισθέντες PHOTISTHENTES, the aorist passive participle from the verb φωτίζω PHOTIZO, which means, “to give” or “to shine.” You probably recognize the English word, photo, referring to light.  This is a verbal participle, meaning that it acts as a verb.  As an aorist, the action it refers to is actually a status at a particular point in time.  You can think of this as an action captured just as you would a snap photograph. We do not know how long they maintained that status, but we only know that they did. Because this is an aorist participle, we also know that this occurred in the past, relative to the writing of the epistle.  The passive voice means that the subjects of the action received the action of the verb.  A good translation sounds like this: “when, having received enlightenment…”

Their enlightenment refers to the fact that early in their spiritual lives these believers had responded whole-heartedly to Bible doctrine.  Their lives, as indicated by the next couple of verses, demonstrated the incredible dynamics that spiritual maturing brings.  Let us look at those dynamics briefly, looking at the NASB translation: 

…you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. Hebrews 10:32-34

 Presumably, Paul, though it may have been another writer, wrote this to the believers in Jerusalem as a warning against their current reversionism. In AD 67, the believers inJerusalemhad drifted back toTemple worship, where the priests had replaced the veil and had resumed the old ritual worship of the previous dispensation.  In their reversionism, they preferred to stand before a veil that proclaimed, “Keep Out!” rather than to enjoy the privileges of living in the real Holy of Holies beyond the veil.  God Himself had ripped that veil apart from top to bottom; but many of the Jewish believers did not recognize the significance of that torn veil.  Why not?  They had retreated and fallen away from Bible doctrine.  This passage then, is designed to warn you, as it did those Jews in Jerusalem. (Thieme, RB; Follow the Colors, p. 18)

What happened in their lives that had resulted in their falling away from doctrine? They had passed the crisis and disaster testing as evidenced by these verses! What had gotten to them?  Where had they failed?  Though they had risen to the crisis of system testing, they had failed to pass the prosperity test.  They had become complacent spiritually after the crisis past and enjoyed their newfound prosperity in the wrong way.  They focused on their new friends, their new businesses and social life then had fallen back into the old ways!  The solution Paul presented to them involved remembering the spiritual dynamics they previously demonstrated then to recover those dynamics.  People often think that crisis testing the most difficult to pass.  This is not so because the crisis always causes you to focus upon the Lord for deliverance!  After delivery from the crisis, complacency sets in, even denial that the crisis ever occurred!  Your eyes go from the Lord who provided for you during the crisis and on to those blessings, for which you had capacity.  Your eyes should always remain upon the Giver!

The most important thing we do as believers is to learn doctrine.  Without the ability to learn and to recall it, we cannot grow up spiritually.  This spiritual growth is the sole reason God leaves us on this earth.  It is how each one of us plays a part in the resolving of the angelic conflict.  It is how we fulfill God’s plan for our lives.  It is how we glorify God while in our earthly bodies.  Protect your memory.  Do not abuse you capability by destroying your physical attribute, your brain.  Stay away from any substance that will destroy your ability to think.  Stay away from any pattern of thinking which stands in conflict with doctrines you have learned.  That thinking, called evil, will lead to you sin, grieving the Holy Spirit and keep you from attaining that wonderful happiness and satisfaction that God has prepared for you.

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