New Hope Notes

How To Honor Those Who Have Gone Before Us
Defining Moments

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
May 25, 2008 - W0821

Today I want to talk about remembering things that are worth remembering. This is the month of graduations where we remember our academic accomplishments. We all remember our parents constantly telling us to remember our lunch, our homework and I especially remember my mom telling me to come straight home after school. We have reunions and family gatherings where we reminisce about times long past. We have traditions and customs to remember our ancestors like the Buddhist Lantern Festival or the Chinese Ching Ming ceremonies. I used to like to see what food the Chinese left behind at the graves during those times but was many time prevented by the cemetery guard whom I called the “Pake Obake.” We have the Vietnam Wall, the 911 Memorial, moments of silence and flags at half staff to remind us of important people, sacrifices and events of the past.


God instituted feast days so that we would remember our past with Him. We have communion today so that we remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us. In ancient Israel, it was customary to arrange large stones in an area where a significant event took place so that children would ask what those stones meant and thus create an opportunity to remember. God tells us that there are certain things worth remembering that affect our lives today. The ancient Israelites were poor at remembering their past with God so they were constantly ungrateful and had to be forgiven many times.


“Remembering well” means remembering God’s presence in the events of your life; remembering well means that certain events from your past become the present. It means visualizing the past so well that it seems like you are there. Remembering well allows past events to affect how you live today for the better. Christ said to remember Him when we take communion. If you forget your past, it will have a significant effect on your life.


There was a young girl with a disfiguring cleft palate.  It embarrassed her greatly and she often thought that no one would ever love her. Her teacher always gave a routine hearing exam in which the teacher would whisper a sentence and the student was supposed to repeat it. When it was the sad little girl’s turn to be tested, she was shocked to hear the teacher whisper, “I wish you were my little girl.” She could not believe it, but the teacher whispered it again. The little girl wept. Those seven words and her remembrances of those words changed her life.


When I first went to Bible school, I was very embarrassed by my ignorance of the Bible and felt very out of place. There was a Sister Flint that one day asked us to write down what we thought God was calling us to be. When I received the assignment back from her, I was surprised at what she had written…that she had a wonderful time reading what I had written and that the Kingdom of Heaven awaited me. I will always remember Sister Flint and that memory has served me well.


God tells us to remember well. This does not mean to remember everything but to remember what we should and to forget things that do not serve us and God. The one thing that God does forget is our sin after He forgives us.


So remember, “Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us, and run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up(Heb. 12:1 GW). We should imagine all the heroes of the Bible as people to cheer us on. and be encouraged and take hope. To honor those heroes who have gone before us …





Did you ever get so worn down that you are ready to give up or worse…ready to give in? The Devil wants to wear you down. The Bible says to lay aside distractions. God says to remember well but that remembering well is not the same as remembering everything. As the Bible says, “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One” (Dan. 7:25). In ancient times, the image of the king was stamped on coins and when the image began to fade, others knew that the coin also had begun to wear away and so was worth less. Likewise, when we remember poorly, we also wear down and feel worth-less. When we remember poorly, our self image and the image of God in our lives also wears down – so remember well!




It is written, “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did” (2 Tim. 1:3). If we remember correctly, we will start to have clear hearts.


I knew a Holocaust survivor couple that remembered well and had pure hearts. The husband had lost all his hair because the Nazis kept him constantly stressed by telling him every two weeks that they were going to execute him. Eventually, he escaped and, most incredibly, was not bitter throughout his life.  The couple even adopted a child and then went even further and adopted a Down Syndrome child. They remembered well, not poorly. When the wife was dying, I struggled with trying to come up with a scripture to comfort her. I could only think of Romans 8:28 which states that God works all things for good but I thought that it might not be taken well in that situation so I was stumped and frustrated. However, when she saw me she told me not to worry because God works all things for good!  That couple remembered well and had pure hearts.




It looks like GOD IS NOWHERE, right?




If you remember poorly, you will think that God is nowhere in many situations. If you remember well, you will see that God is now here in all situations. That Holocaust survivor couple remembered well and saw God in all situations. Another thing to do to honor those heroes that came before us is…





Accordingly, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). I do not mean this as a response but I do mean it as an attitude and a spirit. Giving thanks is the will of God and prevents us from being vulnerable to the Devil. As the Bible says, “Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it” (Gen. 50:20GW). So if you remember well - by remembering God being present in past events - even if the current situation is bad, be thankful.


I make it a habit to have what I call “no matter what days.” On these days, I am thankful no matter what happens no matter how bad. If I am stuck in traffic with my wife, I remind her of what good company she has while we crawl along! Or I say that I am on vacation until we arrive at the office! You should try it sometime!


Remember well all the inspirational people in your life and in the Bible.  Imagine all of them cheering you on. And remember, to honor them it is very important to …





By actually standing and walking all over the American flag, the protesters that were here last Sunday were desecrating the very people that had fought for their freedom and rights. The best way to honor those that fought for freedom is to steward well that freedom. As the Bible says, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify” (1Cor. 10:23).


One of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, once said, “Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” He was right. In these United States, there is no law forcing us to be moral. There is no law banning us from grumbling. There is no law preventing us from breaking our marriage vow. But we would be stewarding our freedom well and honoring those heroes that came before us well if we behaved morally, were positive and kept our marriage vows. As it is written, “Do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). Remember, contrary to popular belief, it is not exercising a right that always defines you…




Jesus laid down His right to life for us. The litmus test of love is laying down a right in order to help someone else. Forgiveness means giving up our right for vengeance. Unity means forgoing independence. Unconditional love means laying down our right to hate. Purity means giving up lust. Commitment means laying down our right to bail out. To have God’s eternal influence in our lives, we have to give up temporary gains.


Recently, there was a small baseball game in Washington State. One of the senior players that had never hit a homerun before finally hit one, but in running for the bases she tore her ACL and could not continue on to home base. The rules forbade any of her team mates from helping her. She was devastated. It was her last chance for a homerun in her last year and she was so close, yet so far. But a miracle happened. Players from the opposing team decided to carry her around the bases, pausing at each base for her to touch it with the tip of her toes!  With that, the player completed her homerun and won the game! Those opposing team players decided to give up the temporary gain of winning that baseball game for the unique lasting memory of helping someone else in need.


Remembering well is like having mile markers or having beacons to guide us from the past for our futures. Remembering well is not about our past but about our futures.


Honoring those heroes that have gone before us means laying aside anything that will distract you (like sin) from God’s best. It honors those who have gone before us if our hearts are pure. Learn to be thankful for the good and for the bad. Honoring those that have fought for our freedom means stewarding well our freedom and rights. Laying down a right may define us more than anything.





1.      What have you laid aside that was distracting you from God’s best?

2.      What should you lay aside that you have not?

3.      How can you keep your heart pure or make it more pure?

4.      Why should you be thankful for both the good and the bad?

5.      How can you be more thankful?

6.      How can you steward your freedom and rights better?

7.      What right have you laid down for someone else?