Monday, June 13

Standing Stones

“After the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, "Choose 12 men from the people, one man for each tribe, and command them, 'Take 12 stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan where the priests' feet are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.'" So Joshua summoned the 12 men selected from the Israelites, one man for each tribe, and said to them, "Go across to the ark of the LORD your God in the middle of the Jordan. Each of you lift a stone onto his shoulder, one for each of the Israelite tribes, so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean to you?' you should tell them, 'The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the LORD's covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan's waters were cut off.' Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites." The Israelites did just as Joshua had commanded them. The 12 men took stones from the middle of the Jordan, one for each of the Israelite tribes, just as the LORD had told Joshua. They carried them to the camp and set them down there. Joshua also set up 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. The stones are there to this day.” [Joshua 4:1-9 HCSB]

At my Berean Bible Church brethren’s small group we ‘happened’ to be in the area for this weekend watched a VHS tape about the ‘standing stones of Tel Gezer’ And it was this verse, this ‘faith lesson’ that hit me the most. I could feel God’s nod as He saw my heart open to what He would have me learn not just from this video, but how the whole weekend was a progression towards this ‘faith moment.’

A blessing from a brother in Christ didn’t come in the mail as expected so I went to see this man of God whom I had never met before but have connected (like many others) in the larger ‘electronic’ community. The hour I spent with this brother listening to the understanding of his gifting from God and have him pour into my life with the observations of what he had watched in my walk with Christ over the internet was a blessing above the blessing. I walked away from that meeting feeling truly blessed. Since I was in the area, I felt led to go over to my dear Berean family and visit with them for a while at the E.A.C.H. block party they were having. I was blessed by some friends to go and get my son (my daughter didn’t want to come) from his mom’s and bring him back to the event so he could have some fun. When I arrived back, a dear brother in Christ whom I had a powerful friendship in the church community where I was saved was there. We hadn’t seen each other in eight years. But it was like yesterday.

The day ‘over’, or so I thought, I dropped my son back at his mother’s for the rest of the weekend and headed over to a sister-in-Christ to help her with the PowerPoint presentation for a ministry idea she had to present to her seminary class. It was a blessing to sit down and see this idea fleshed out since her idea was a special needs ministry. Though we didn’t get the presentation done that night, we got a majority of it completed. A brother in Christ from Berean called, apparently my son had forgotten his hat at the event and we stragetized how to get it back on his absent-minded head. It worked out that my brother was having a small group at his home, a few miles from where I pick up the kids from their mom.

Sunday morning had me waking up to see my Mosaic A2 community for worship and instruction along with a Potluck afterwards. Good food and fellowship again were the theme of my day. I returned to my sister-in-Christ’s home to finish up the PowerPoint and head out to gather my children and visit with some dear friends in Christ over some bible study.

It is here that I realized God’s lesson for this weekend. Standing Stones.

Standing stones, translated from the Hebrew word “massebah” means ‘to set up.’ This was something that the Israelites did when God performed supernatural acts on their behalf. They were to be a reminder of the event that took place and to serve as a ‘talking point’ for those who came upon them to ask about what event had transpired there. Several of these ‘standing stones’ were erected in the nation’s history (to name a few), like the ones at Bethel by Jacob to commemorate the reaffirmation of the covenant between he and God (Genesis 28:18-21, 25:14-15), by Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai after receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:2-4), to remind the nation of the renewal of the covenant at Shechem (Joshua 24:27) and the commemoration mentioned in the verses above (Joshua 4:1-9) where the nation crossed the Jordan river into the Promise Land.

We no longer have to erect silent and mysterious stones to highlight the effect of God moving in our lives and it is Peter, the foundation of the Church, that calls us to be something more than stones weathering silently on the landscape of our spiritual walk home. In 1 Peter 2:5, he uses this imagery to call believers ‘living stones’. In today’s world more so than not, we need to boast of our God and His mighty mercies. We need to show as much excitement for the things that mature us and grow us and draw us closer to God as we do the latest techie gadget or car improvement or even the promotion at work.

As we walk in this faith journey towards home, much like the Israelites did into the Promised Land, we need to erect standing stones along the path…..a formation of stones that our friends, family and unsaved pedestrians that walk in our lives have no choice but to give into their curiosity and ask…..”What does this stand for?”

And then, either as simply as giving your “Two-Word Story” or speaking of the mighty blessings that God has given, you can bring the Gospel to life with a testimony of your God’s love and blessing.

This weekend is a standing stone for me. February 14th, 2004 is another, when God’s knock on the door was answered and I saw a man with pierced hands and feet weeping with joy at my answer. Another was October 20th, 2004 when I heard Him say, “This you will do for Me and My glory” at Hybel’s church in Chicago. There was my son’s acceptance of his salvation, Easter 2005 and the events of Feb-Mar 2010 and 2011 in the Bowery Street Mission in New York City.

These are standing stones to moments where God did supernatural things in my life, transforming and maturing me for the purpose He has set aside for me……. They aren't by any measure the only memorials that I have in my life and my testimony that show God's favor, mercy, love and grace. And I doubt as I walk this journey towards home that they will be the last or the greatest momuments of living testimony that I'll have to give.

His blessings and mercies are new every day.

What are yours?

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