29 July 2007

"What do these stones mean?"
(EVERYTHING these days!)
Joshua 4:4-7/19-24

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever." ...19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, 'What do these stones mean?' 22 tell them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' 23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea [b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."

~ I am admittantly one of the worst pack-rats EVER. I've gotten better about this, but still tend to hold onto things I don't need for much longer than necessary - usually for one of two reasons... 1. sentimental reasons (or) 2. you just never know when you might need ________. Sure as you throw it away, you'll just end up needing it!
Last spring, however, we studied the book of Joshua and I realized that it's not always necessarily a bad thing to hold onto some things in life. For example, reminders of God's protection and provision along the way, for when you come to times of doubt and confusion later down the road.
Hearing this message on Joshua encouraged me to start journaling any instances that I've felt God 'speaking' to me. There are SO many times He uses 'themes' to get through to me - you know, seeing the same scripture pop up here and there all in the same week, or even day. Hearing the same topic come up over and over. Or sometimes, I might come across something that just seems to 'stick' in my mind and my mind doesn't want to let it go easily. So, I jot it down.
But, the most encouraging ways He gets through to me and when I feel the most 'connected' are those times when I just really have a need in my life and He turns around and speaks right to that need. I LOVE that!
When I started my journal last April, I had no idea how much content would appear on those pages. Just figured I'd take it as it came. But, I ended up jotting so much down, here and there, that at times, I would feel like I'd gone MONTHS without having anything to document and it'd only been a few days! The pages just seemed to be filling up with no end in sight.
Until this May. And I was quietly reminded that it wasn't all just me being oh-so-insightful or observant (or to the skeptics - 'inventive' or 'imaginitive'), but rather it was all a gift from my Father. A gift I've appreciated having to look back on and regain encouragement from in a time where I've found myself drifted away. A time that's otherwise been filled with doubt and unbelief, though somehow eased by the many undisputable reminders on those pages.
Thankfully, I feel as though my 'walk in the desert' is coming to an end - for now - and hopefully more words will come spilling back onto the pages of my now treasured journal. And I'll have even more 'stones to pile' as a reminder, not only for me but for 'future generations' (should they need it)!

ps~ The 'theme' that's reassured me that I'm getting back on track with Him? JOY and HAPPINESS - He wants me to be happy. And just knowing that is enough to put a smile on my face. :)