Week 1 Tuesday

 Stones from the River

Today’s scripture selection: Joshua 1-5

Key verses: Joshua 4:4-7

     “Be strong and courageous.”  With those words a people who had been wandering for years moved forward in conquest of their future destiny.  What’s your destiny?  Do you tend to think in such lofty terms – or is it reserved in your mind for greater people and nobler pursuits?

     The fact is we all have a destiny.  Every day can take a step forward, backward, or be just standing still waiting for something to happen to us.  It’s a little discouraging to think about how often we can get stuck in neutral – simply reacting – to whatever comes our way.  God has another way for us and it’s summed up in those few words of counsel: “Be strong and courageous.”  But let’s be honest.  With everything that comes our way every day, it’s easy to forget that counsel and even if we remember it, thinking about it and doing it are two very different things.

     Maybe that’s why Joshua went rock collecting one day.  Today’s passage tells of how, after God had miraculously parted the flooded Jordan for the people to cross over it safely, they were to take rocks from the middle of it.  The men were told to take them so that in the future, “when your children ask you ’What do these stones mean?’” the parents could tell their children about God’s miraculous provision.

     We need reminders.  When life is coming at us from all directions,, when we are struggling to find our purpose, when we are tempted to think that God has forgotten us – we need reminders.  What can those reminders be for you?  Think about how God has provided for you in his love.  Think about the people God has brought into your life that have loved you, sustained you, and at times carried you, when no one else would.  Think about the unexpected kindness; the undeserved word of grace or forgiveness; the fresh start.  Think about the times when you were absolutely sure you were not going to be able to make it, but somehow, by God’s grace, you did.

     These are the rocks – the signs – that you can look to when your memory of God’s presence and love fades.  And when you see them, “Be strong and courageous.”  Then go meet your destiny.   

 

Prayer: Almighty, ever present God, thank you for acting in my life with such boldness.  Forgive me for the times I forget that you have promised you will never forsake me.  Help me find the evidence of your love time and again.  Lead me Lord, where you would have me go.  AMEN.

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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