So Joshua summoned the 12 men he had 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.”
Joshua 4:4-7 (HCSB)
I’m a little bit of a pack rat when it comes to notes I’ve collected in my Bible over the years. I’ve always found it hard to part with them and have actually started collecting them in a drawer that my Bible now sits on. It’s a varied assortment of things. Notes of encouragement my mom has sent over the years as I grown up. A piece of paper someone handed me after church one Sunday, with timely wisdom for what I was facing. Prophetic words spoken over me and transcribed while I was in college…words which helped set my life in motion for ministry nearly 20 years ago.
Reminders. Remembrances. Things that call to mind God’s faithfulness and goodness. Things I need to hear and reread when I’m tempted to doubt that He is faithful.
I think God places a high value on remembering. It seems the longer we live, the more we need to look back and consider how God has walked with us on this path. Why? Because we as sinful creatures have a tendency to forget and neglect our first love. One of my favorite hymns states it so well:
“Prone to wander Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” (Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing)
So how do we remember? The Bible gives us a clue in the Book of Joshua. God called upon the Israelites to set up memorial stones from the Jordan River after he led the people across it into the Promised Land. While He held the waters back, 12 men representing Israel’s 12 tribes each grabbed a stone. They took the stones and made an altar; a place that generations later could look to and recount the miracle the Lord had done.
To make it practical, we can start collecting “stones” whenever we have experienced the Lord’s faithfulness. And we don’t have to look very far each day to see His hand. Here’s a few ideas to consider incorporating into your daily prayer and devotional life. Depending upon your personality, perhaps one of these will resonate in your life:
I know most guys don’t get into this as much as girls do, but journaling can be a great way to connect God’s faithfulness directly to whatever you are facing that day. Are you struggling to find God in the midst of a trial? Journal about it. Are you experiencing God’s faithfulness and praising Him for an answer you needed? Journal about it. I can’t tell you how cool it is to go back and reread things I’ve written a month, 6 months, or even several years ago and see firsthand how God was in the middle of what I was facing. It’s a very real testimony that you can hold on to. It’s your own memorial altar.
2. Write in your Bible
This one scares some people. I get it. We look at God’s Word as holy and sacred and rightfully so. But bear with me. His Word is living and active. As you read it, it is speaking to you today. When something speaks to your heart, why not circle it or underline it to make note of it? To my knowledge, there’s no place in the Bible where it says you cannot write in Scripture. I’ve just spent the last 3 years journaling and writing while I went through the Bible. It was a joy to take notes all along the way. I cannot tell you how much God’s Word has been revealed to me. And I know I’ve only begun to scratch the surface! Try taking notes in your Bible and see what God starts to show you.
3. Take pictures
Are you more of a visual person? In this digital age, we ALL have access to a camera at our fingertips (or most of us do anyway). Why not fill your phone with images that tell the story of God’s fingerprint upon your life? Perhaps you were driving and pulled over to the side of the road because God was ministering to you. Take a picture of that place as a reminder. Maybe you went to the mountaintop and God met you there. Capture it. What if you opened God’s word and a verse quite literally jumped off the page? Why not footnote it with a picture? Over time, think of all the visual reminders you could revisit and be encouraged by while scrolling your phone. And maybe that’s the kind of scrolling we all need to do!
What other ideas have you developed as you set aside stones to remember God’s provision over your life? And what lessons have you learned that you are hoping to pass along to the next generation? We have an opportunity to leave a legacy of faith and I believe setting up memorial stones is one way we can do just that.
I would love to hear from you! If this blesses you, please share it and pass along to others. Also, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or would just like to connect. Do you need prayer? Please feel free to hit me up. God bless.