May 4, 2022 Love For His People ministry in Charlotte, NC USA
“Joshua directed them, "Cross to the middle of the Jordan and take your place in front of the Chest of God, your God. Each of you heft a stone to your shoulder, a stone for each of the tribes of the People of Israel, so you'll have something later to mark the occasion. When your children ask you, 'What are these stones to you?' you'll say, 'The flow of the Jordan was stopped in front of the Chest of the Covenant of God as it crossed the Jordan — stopped in its tracks. These stones are a permanent memorial for the People of Israel.'" Joshua 4:5-7, THE MESSAGE
Remembering what the Lord has done in your life is very important. He gives us good memories so that we can further understand that His faithfulness is always directed towards us. For when things get tough, and we each have those times, the tough get going. Not because they have it within themselves to press on, but because the Lord Himself has created them in His image, with His grace and mercy helping them press on.
Recalling His divine direction, eternal goodness, and everlasting mercy from the past will cause us to acknowledge with heartfelt thanksgiving His work in all areas of our lives. It also enables us to move forward in persevering faith.
Some of you can recall specific memories, using memorials from days gone by, or what some have called “markers” along your life’s path. The Lord will use those markers, stones, that He strategically placed in time to not only help the Hebrews remember His deliverance for them, but He also uses them to encourage us as we press on.
After crossing the Jordan River, being led by Joshua, the servant of Moses who had up until that time directed their steps through the desert, having supernaturally guided them out of 400 years of bondage in Egypt under the Pharoah, God then had Joshua give the Hebrews these instructions.
“Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: "Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever."
And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan, as the Lord had spoken to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.
So the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the Lord had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua; and the people hurried and crossed over. Then it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over, that the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people. And the men of Reuben, the men of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses had spoken to them. About forty thousand prepared for war crossed over before the Lord for battle, to the plains of Jericho. On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they had feared Moses, all the days of his life.” Joshua 4:4-14, NKJV
This month of May 2022 marks the 50th anniversary when my high school baseball team, the Columbus High School Sailors in Waterloo, Iowa (a Roman Catholic school), under the coaching of Duke Dutkowski (PE teacher also!) took us to the spring state finals in Mason City, Iowa. In my life, it was a marker, a stone on my life’s journey, that I look back on and see the hand of the Lord in it.
That team, of which I was a junior then starting in center field, experienced the thrill of victory for 15 straight games, putting us in the State Championship finals. I was proud to have #1 on my jersey. What a team the Sailors were! Riding the high waves!
But…in the semi-final game, if we had won it we would have gone onto the final championship one, we lost 1-0 when our third baseman lost the ball in the night lights, allowing the other team to score the only run of the game. That team then went on to win the state final.
How devasting was the agony of defeat for our guys.
As indeed the Lord uses all things for those who love Him and are called for His purposes, He even used that season in my life to cause me to turn to Him.
“Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose;” Romans 8:28, Complete Jewish Bible
The following year in 1973, during my senior baseball season, after having lost several star players to graduation, it was a tougher year. Though I did set the school record that year for walks and triples (which still stood for many years when I checked on the gym baseball records on the west end wall), our team’s success wasn’t as thrilling. And yet, it was again through that time that the Lord was building good quality character traits within me.
To this day I recall those “stones” laid along my life’s path and give thanks to my Lord for His grace and joy that He had given us during those two baseball seasons.
It is good to remember the stones He has put down in your life. We each have been given many of them, in all shapes and sizes. And as you recall those events, special occasions, and joys in life from the past, use them to keep your heart complete with thanksgiving today.
For tomorrow you will yet again need to know how great and faithful our God is, as He directs you into more challenges, faith adventures, and opportunities to serve others until that final reward in heaven awaits those who too remain faithful and obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ahava and shalom,
Steve Martin, Love For His People founder
P.S. Happy birthday to our youngest daughter Christen Blade!!! Waxhaw, NC is blessed to have you residing there. We are blessed for the 35 years the Lord has given us with you!!! Love, Dad and Mom
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Message #73 – in the year of our Lord 05.04.2022 – “Stones” – Wednesday, 5:30 am in Charlotte, NC USA
Trust Me Still. Your Faith in God by Steve Martin (Published 2021)
During the years 1960-1974 my family, with parents Louis and Lila Martin, and my siblings, Sue, Mary, Tom, Colleen, Janet, Lynn and Rob, lived at 1116 Main Street in Cedar Falls, Iowa. That home is pictured on the front cover of this book, and of this date still stands.
It was in that home that we grew in knowledge and truth to trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. With the input given to all of us through our parents, be it during the good and the bad times, a good foundation was laid for our spiritual, social, and natural lives.
I decided to feature that house on the cover because I want to acknowledge that the Lord decides where we live, and move, and exist.
“… and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;” Acts 17: 26-27, NASB
Since those years have come and gone, my faith in Him has grown, been tested, and still stands strong, continuing to trust in Him day in and day out.
I hope these following chapters encourage you in your walk of faith. And at the end of your days, you will be known as one who has stood strong, still trusting in the Living God. He alone is the One Who can take you to the end, and who constantly watches over Israel and all believers in Him. He is the One too Who is coming back soon again.
To purchase on Amazon: Trust Me Still. Your faith in God. - Paperback $7.95 E-book $0.99