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Precious Memories, How They Linger

Posted on April 3, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2

When you go through difficult times your mind is consumed by the ordeal. To give yourself relief you may think back to simpler times when life was less problematic and when your future seemed brighter. You give your mind rest by thinking upon precious memories.

You have probably never heard of John Braselton Fillmore Wright but more than likely you have heard a song he wrote in 1923 called Precious Memories. It has been recorded by numerous gospel and country music artists including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Alabama, Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Bob Dylan, and Aretha Franklin. (It may be easier to list the artists who have not recorded the song.) Precious Memories was one of many sentimental songs written by Wright who was a farmer by trade.

Wright’s life had been filled with setbacks due to the loss of dear family members and it was through song he relieved the pain of a broken heart. A year and a half before writing Precious Memories his youngest son died of diphtheria at the age of five. It is no wonder that so many people have identified with the sentiments expressed in the lyrics. Here is the familiar chorus:

Precious memories, how they linger

How they ever flood my soul

In the stillness of the midnight

Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

Today’s focus scripture is written in the context of difficult times and suffering. In the preceding verse we are told, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1) Then in verse 3 we read, “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Verses 1 and 3 help us to understand the instruction in verse 2:

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

There is certainly nothing wrong with taking your mind to a place and time from the past to relieve the agony of the moment but here the emphasis is on the relief that can be found by focusing on “the joy” that lies ahead. Before you lies something far greater than anything than you have ever experienced. It will be a time of total victory in a place where there will be no more pain or sorrow. Just as Jesus “endured the cross” by looking to “the joy set before him” we gain the courage, boldness, and faith we need for standing in the midst of hardship by following His example. We look to Christ not only as the “author of our faith” but also as the “perfecter of our faith.”

Jesus faced the cross not only by enduring but also by “scorning its shame.” He refused to allow the cross to defeat Him. When we stand up to our hardships in faith and confidence in God, we are “scorning” its hold on our lives. We know that we can be hurt but not destroyed. We will reign victorious in Christ.

Just as Jesus looked to the time he would sit down “at the right hand of the throne of God” we can be emboldened by thinking on that time when we will be with our Lord in His heaven.

The Easter message gives us Precious Memories for the future and relief is found, not from what was, but what is and shall be as we “fix our eyes on Jesus.”

Now, let’s revisit the chorus to Precious Memories but rather than looking back let’s look forward to our blessed hope. Pay particular attention to the precious sacred scenes in your future.

Precious memories, how they linger

How they ever flood my soul

In the stillness of the midnight

Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

Ironically, as “Precious Memories of the future flood my soul” during this Easter season, I am reminded of the Christmas story in Luke 2:19, where we read, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Mary looked back on what God had done in her life. She treasured and pondered her precious memories.

Wherever we encounter Jesus, in the past, present, or future, there will be plentiful Precious Memories for strengthening our faith. When we “fix our eyes on Jesus” there is always hope.

For more on this topic, check out this article: When You Encounter Fire and Rain

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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Precious Memories to Flood Your Soul

Posted on December 24, 2017 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

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But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:19

When I was a pastor, there was an old gospel song that the old folks loved to sing called Precious Memories. I remember the song because our Minister of Music wouldn’t allow it to be sung in a worship service. He reasoned the song was unfit because it made no reference to Christ. That decision didn’t go over well with the senior members of our congregation.

What I remember about that segment of our congregation was they demonstrated a genuine love for God. I often wondered why that song meant so much to them. They maintained, although the song didn’t mention God, it was all about God.

Precious Memories was written in 1925 by J.B.F. Wright and has been recorded by many country music stars including Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Ronnie Milsap, and Emmylou Harris. Here are the lyrics:

Precious memories, unseen angels,

Sent from somewhere to my soul;

How they linger, ever near me,

And the sacred past unfold.

(Chorus)

Precious memories, how they linger,

How they ever flood my soul;

In the stillness of the midnight,

Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

Precious father, loving mother,

Fly across the lonely years;

And old home scenes of my childhood,

In fond memory appears.

In the stillness of the midnight,

Echoes from the past I hear;

Old time singing, gladness bringing,

From that lovely land somewhere.

As I travel on life’s pathway,

Know not what the years may hold;

As I ponder, hope grows fonder,

Precious memories flood my soul.

You may wonder what this song has to do with the Christmas story. Notice how Mary dealt with the events and message of that first Christmas: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She “treasured” and she “pondered.”

Now that I have reached the age of those dear saints in my church, I can understand the song and why it meant so much to them. They had spent a lifetime of walking with God. Their thinking was filtered through the presence of God in their hearts. All of their precious memories involved God. To them, God was in every word of the song, as He had been involved in every event of their lives.

If not already there, someday you will reach the point of looking back over your life. It’s like standing on a mountaintop and looking out over your precious memories… and as you consider each one you realize God was involved in every step of your journey.

He was there in the celebrations, the victories, and even the disappointments. Despite your many failures, He never gave up on you. The Lord was always there to pick you up and give you another chance — and another. All those times when you didn’t think you could make it, you did. Because God was there.

Mary “pondered” and “treasured” what God had done. These were her precious memories.

As you grow old with God, I pray that your heart will be flooded with the reality of God and the knowledge of His presence and work in your life. May precious memories flood your soul.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Precious Memories

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

Lessons Learned from Christ's Nativity

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