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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Path across from our home
Path across from our home

"Where Are The Monuments?"

Message Summary:

Where are the monuments we should be leaving
so our children can find the way to get home
We should be laying stones so they can follow
the pathway that leads to God's throne.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?'" (Joshua 4:20,21).

God's people stood on the river of Jordan
Looking back on the water they had passed through
They shouted and raised their voices to heaven
But Joshua said there's one thing we must do

They laid twelve stones on the banks of the river
At Gilgal they offered their tribute that day
Their children would question them, "What are these stones?"
"Child, they mark the spot of this sanctified day."

We hope all of our American readers had a meaningful Memorial Day yesterday and remembered those who have gone on before us, especially those who paid the ultimate price in giving up their lives for our freedom. Of course for many of us it was also an occasion to remember our loved ones who have passed on as well.

Memorial stone pileAs we study God's Word we notice how connected and cognizant the people of God were with their past and how throughout the Scriptures God instituted reminders for them. As we observe contemporary man we are struck by how many know so little about the past and even more stunning is their lack of interest. Monuments or Memorials are visible efforts intended to remind us. In the Old Testament and for Jews to this day the most important reminder was the Passover. For Christians the most important is the Lord's Supper.

Although we have beautiful and highly productive farmland here in Lancaster County, many of the fields have a lot of rocks. An ongoing job for the farmer is removing the rocks from the fields,
especially prior to no-till farming. I recall a farmer telling me it seems like his fields grow rocks! Brooksyne remembers, as a child, the unending chore she and her four siblings had of picking up rocks off the fields of the farm her parents purchased, filling wheelbarrows and wagons to be hauled off. At the corner of the field across from our home is a large rock pile, evidence of a farmer's efforts to remove large rocks from his field. These rock piles have a strictly utilitarian purpose but today let us examine another rock pile in the Bible that had a very different purpose, that of being a monument.

12 stonesHere's the setting of the daily text: Under Joshua's leadership the Israelites had crossed the Jordan and come into the Promised Land in Joshua 3. The crossing itself was another miraculous intervention from God. He parted the waters 40 years earlier at the Red Sea and had done so again at the crossing of the Jordan River which at the time was at flood stage.

Joshua 4 records a special monument that was instituted after the Israelites crossed the Jordan River. God instructed Joshua to set up twelve stones as a monument. He anticipated that future generations would ask about this stone monument: "When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?'"

Joshua 4:21
He instructed the Israelites to answer the question by recounting the story of God's wonderful deliverance that had just taken place, "so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever" (Joshua 4:24).

There are several other monuments in the Book of Joshua and they often involve stones. In fact, immediately prior to his death, Joshua set up a stone
(Joshua 24:27) as a witness in regard to his powerful challenge to the people in making the daily choice to serve God. "And the people said to Joshua, 'The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey'.”

We have two challenges for our readers to consider today concerning monuments in your life:

1) Do you recall certain "stone piles" in your life that remind you of God's faithfulness? These may be either purposefully set up as the 12 stones from the Jordan River in Joshua's time or they may be a divinely ordained event in life. What a blessing to recall these "stone pile" monuments standing as a reminder of God's faithfulness and our commitment to follow in His ways.

2) Do you have "stone piles" set up as monuments for those who come behind you? These may be specific memories of God's help, places, items or people that prompt the question, "What does this mean?" Perhaps it is a spiritual journal, a book of answered prayers, a picture that signifies God's miraculous provision, or perhaps a former "help" needed such as a leg brace before God provided divine healing. May our reply to any query regarding the miraculous manifestation of God's provisional care, "
that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever."

Perhaps we all need to set up some monuments within our quarters!

Mothers and fathers of this generation
there's hope for your family keep this in mind
Don't move the landmarks set up for your children
they will find the way by what we've left behind.

Where are the monuments we should be leaving
so our children can find the way to get home
We should be laying stones so they can follow
the pathway that leads to God's throne.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I marvel at the trace of Your hand in my life. If I were to speak of the "stones" of deliverance and provision the first and most important "stone" would be the moment You delivered me from darkness and transferred me into the kingdom of Your light. You took the uncertainties of my life and gave me an eternal purpose for living. I am so grateful for the solid, reliable "stone" of salvation that is the starting point for the path of stones where I've seen Your hand in my life as I've experienced Your deliverance, provision and faithfulness every step along my pilgrim journey. Step by step, Lord, You walk with me on this straight and narrow path that leads to life eternal upholding me with Your righteous right hand. Amen.

Two Monuments from Brooksyne's past:  I consider two monuments that remain in my memory, one of them is visibly with me today:

Leg Brace - My oldest brother was struck with polio in his elementary years and it affected one of his legs. He spent many months, perhaps years,
being homebound. It is a fuzzy memory since I was 8 years younger than him. Eventually he got better but it left one leg much shorter than the other and his condition forced him to wear a leg brace that enabled him to walk. Several years later Mom and Dad took him to a tent revival in Tulsa where he was healed. After being prayed for his leg struck by polio was completely healed and miraculously lengthened. It was a marvelous working of God's power. The brace was stored in the well house and unused until eventually it was given to another family in need since polio was all too common in the 50's and early 60's. I can barely remember what the brace looked like but I wonder if the family had kept it as a visible reminder would it have served my brother during his rebellious teen years? I can't remember any photos of him wearing the brace. Sadly, he has not chosen to follow in the ways of the Lord in spite of this amazing intervention of God's healing power.

Grandpa's Bible (Brooksyne's grandpa)
Grandpa's Bible - When my grandpa, Elbert Sherrell, died he wanted his and Grandma's Bible to be left to their oldest son, Brooklyn. At that point Mom and Dad, due to an unfortunate fall-out in a church we attended during my high school years, pulled away from any church affiliation and their walk with the Lord. Grandpa prayed fervently every day for six years that they would find their way back to the Christian faith but before his prayer was answered he had a massive heart attack.  After his death his Bible sat on the living room table in my parent's home. For 24 years Mom and Dad remained bitter toward their church experience and disappointment with God, yet I believe Grandpa's Bible kept Daddy's heart open to getting things right with God for two reasons: 1) he was brought up by the principles of Scripture and 2) Grandpa believed what the Bible said and lived by what he read. When we'd visit over the years I'd occasionally see him reclining on the couch thumbing through its pages.

Daddy left the Bible to me when he died in 2000. It is a well-worn Bible with underlined verses, notes, and smudges. Many pages are smudged by Grandpa's deeply imbedded farm soiled fingerprints as he thumbed through the pages. Daddy loved his father very much and highly respected him so I think the Bible served as a monument to his love and respect for his father, but also to his deep rooted faith from childhood.

In 1996 Mom and Dad attended an Easter service with us, at their own initiation, in Sand Springs Oklahoma during one of our visits from our New England home. Following the message that morning they both walked down the long aisle of that church and rededicated their lives to Christ. None of us knew at the time that they would both die of cancer within the next five years. Their lives were not the same after that Easter day in 1996 as they were at peace with God, and the joy that filled their lives would fill ours as well! I look forward to our reunion in heaven one day, and with Grandma and Grandpa as well!

Stephen's monuments: My monuments tend to be memories of specific geographical places where I can recall the Lord's help such as:
  • On highway 322 near Lewistown, PA where we completely lost control on an icy bridge and for an unexplained reason regained control.
  • Several places where I was in despair over a matter but God filled me with peace and assurance.
  • Several occasions when I acted stupidly of in rebellion and the Lord protected me through it.

This last weekend we attended two ceremonies honoring marriage.

Victor and Sara wedding 5/29/16
Sara is a young lady who grew up in our church, just a child when we first started. We attended her wedding to Victor. They both have made a commitment to serve the Lord. Victor is a medical doctor and will begin a residency at Johns Hopkins. Sara is a kindergarten teacher. (Photo taken by Ester)

Mervin and Lois Buckwalter 50th anniversary 5/28/16
Saturday afternoon we visited with Mervin and Lois Buckwalter who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

Nyube family 5/30/16
Yesterday evening the Ncube's came over for a Memorial Day cook-out. Right after our meal  the skies suddenly darkened as a big thunderstorm was on the way which jogged their memory that they left clothes hanging on the line. Notsen and Nathan quickly headed up the street just in time to rescue the clothes from the heavy downpour that followed.

Neville with s'more 5/30/16
We enjoyed our cook-out and planned to have a campfire with s'mores. However the big storm came through so we adapted with microwave s'mores (a new experience for the boys). Neville was impressed at the expansion of a "campfire" marshmallow. The graham cracker is hidden underneath.

Delivery of decking 5/30/16
Our big home project this summer is replacing the surface on our deck. I went with a friend on Saturday to pick up the materials and had initially intended to bring it home on the ladder rack on his pickup but we decided it made sense to have it delivered. That would have been a lot of material to haul on a pickup truck. In fact we calculated about 1 and 3/4 tons!

Abraham Lincoln carving on Marietta Ave. Lancaster, PA
This home along Marietta Avenue in Lancaster has an interesting carving from an old tree trunk. Certainly it serves as a lasting monument of a leader during a most difficult time in our country's history.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Monuments"  Video  Legacy Five  This song (quoted in the message) speaks of the monuments we must leave for our children to find the way home. "Don't move the landmarks set up for your children so they can find the way home."

"Heroes Of The Faith"  Video  Legacy Five

"What You Leave Behind"  Video  The Talleys

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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