4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; 5 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, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Joshua 4:4-6 (NKJV)
For thousands of years, rivers were major obstacles in people's travels. Rivers have long been a huge problem in getting from point A to point B. Even today, many of our state borders in the U.S. are defined by major waterways signifying their geographic importance.
For me, the passage of Scripture from Joshua contains a strong metaphoric element that causes me to look at my own life obstacles (or rivers) that have hampered or delayed my personal path into God's promised Kingdom. There have been several, but probably none more significant to overcome than that period in my life I often write about on Kingdom Bloggers that I refer to as the dark years.
As for the stone I carry that's a physical reminder of God leading me through that darkness, I spoke about it back in September while presenting for a Wednesday night series at church where I attend on the history of the English-translated Bible. The series is called Essentials and has been received very well. I am one of three presenters in this ongoing series that looks at the fundamental elements of our faith...what makes us Christians. We don't get into denominational differences but rather look at the core Biblical principles of our theology.
Believing the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant word of God is absolutely pivotal to the foundation of our faith. I started my three night part of the series by sharing the story of a young man who went off to college and became lost in what I refer to as the pseudo-scholarship instructions of secular education (a term explained during a separate class) where skepticism is very often confused with critical thinking. To conclude that first night, I shared the 'rest of the story' you can see below...
Even though these days I use my smart phone or a reference study Bible my wife bought me a few years back in my readings and study, the Bible I hold up in the video is never far from me at any given time. It travels with me in the car, it stays on my desk or by my bed at home. That Bible that was gifted to me 30 years ago next May is the stone of remembrance I carry. Sure, the fact my personal stone is the actual living word of God helps remind me of the doubt that filled my heart those years ago, but that particular Bible also comforts me because I now know God was always with me as I crossed that river of doubt.
For that...I'm eternally grateful.
(If you're interested, you can check out and share the Essential Series on our church YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/FFWBCCH)