Posted by: mikenicholsblog | July 28, 2010

a pile of one hundred stones

Today is a milestone. When I wrote onWord’s first post last August (and promptly deleted it), 100 posts was a distant dream.  But today finds our journey onWord at that place, and we are thrilled to be used of God to encourage others. Genel and I feel it is appropriate and honoring to God to stop for just a brief moment and mark this occasion as place to give thanks and then begin the next 100. Our thoughts turned to a post in our archive, that spoke of the story of the nation of Israel, and God’s instructions to its strong leader Joshua to pile up stones and make a memorial.  I believe in some small way, our 100th post brings us to the same kind of place where the children of Israel had arrived. Use the words of this post to remind you of God’s goodness in your life, and as a gentle nudge from the Spirit to not forget to pile your own stones when and where appropriate, and then to look forward in the direction of your next journey steps.

Thank you for “listening” for as long as you have been.  We acknowledge you as a key ingredient in what God is doing as we journey onWord together …

***************

We approach, arrive at, and then pass significant markers in our life.  They can be a number, like turning 13, 21, 30 … and beyond.  They can be stages of life, like the first day of school, teenager, graduate, wedding, parent, empty nest.  And what about our spiritual lives?  There’s salvation, baptism and … second coming?!  Do we ever take the time to stop at significant moments on our spiritual journey, stay for a bit, and memorialize?  Have you ever piled up stones?

“Piled up stones?!”, you might ask.  There are multiple examples in the Old Testament of occasions where characters or groups stopped and built an altar, or monument, to mark the location of an event or an occasion of significance in their lives with God.  Let’s take a brief look at one significant moment where an entire nation piled up stones.

At the beginning of chapter 4 in the book of Joshua, we find the nation of Israel in the afterglow of a miraculous intervention from God.  They had just completed crossing the river Jordan on dry ground.  And before moving on, God has some very specific instructions for them …

Joshua 4:1-3 (MSG)
When the whole nation was finally across,
God spoke to Joshua: “Select twelve men
from the people, a man from each tribe,
and tell them, ‘From right here, the middle
of the Jordan where the feet of the priests are
standing firm, take twelve stones. Carry
them across with you and set them down
in the place where you camp tonight.'”

God is requesting that the nation of Israel pile up stones.  His primary purpose in making this request was to teach forward the great message of His care and love for His people, and His direct intervention and deliverance in their lives .  And although God specifically mentions teaching future generations in His instructions to Joshua, he also ends verse 7 with …

“… These stones are a permanent memorial for the People of Israel.”

I believe this broadened and personalized it’s significance, not just for the future generations who would be reminded in seeing the stones, but also for those who were a part of the miracle.

I love the idea of piling up stones, but I also love that people rarely stayed where they piled their stones.  It was a marker, not a destination.  A place of communing, memorial and rest, but not a final resting place.  I love the thought that they paused, built, honored, and then moved on.

I would encourage you to expose your senses to the marker moments in your own spiritual journey.  Listen and watch, and then take action in finding, and piling up stones.  Praise God for who He is, and what He did, or taught.  And then, after an appropriate time of reflection and rest, make sure to leave your marker and move on.  What would your earthly life have amounted to, if you had stopped and stayed at 13, or at parent?  And what will your kingdom life count for if you stop at salvation?  Sometimes your journey will be more wander than walk, more wilderness than paved path.  What a blessing it would be, if in the midst of a wander in a wilderness circle, you pass by one of your piles of stones.  Because as much as markers point in the direction that you are going, they can be a reminder of where, and to whom you need to return.


Responses

  1. It is hard to believe where the years have gone,
    but I want to take this moment in time to Praise God for Mike & Genel. It was over 15 years ago that God brought them into my families life. Mike you, with God’s help, saved my marriage, led me back to the Lord and helped me by encouraging me to start studding God’s word. It has made a huge impact on my family. My oldest daughter Amanda has been in Haiti as a missionary for 28 days now, please keep her in your prayers, April is attending a Christian university (Asbury University) and Amy is starting her freshman year in H.S. I am blessed that Mike and Genel took the time to disciple, encourage & help guide us back on God’s path!

    Love,
    Tim, Penny, Amanda, April & Amy

    • Tim,

      Thanks for your kind words. You are one of the success stories of our ministry. We will pray for Amanda…..Keep walking and loving the Father as you are. Give me more lead time the next visit…I want to see you.

      Mike

  2. Congratulations and THANK YOU for the first 100 posts on your new web-site. With the Lord’s help, they have been a source of comfort and encouragement to me. They have also given me challenges to face in an encouraging manner.
    Please continue!
    Herman

  3. Congratulations Mike and Genel. Thank you both on all you are doing to help us learn a deeper understanding of our faith thru the Word. Here’s to the next 100 !!
    Congrats
    Brad Wise


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