Thursday, December 19, 2013

Here I Raise My Ebenezer...

We sold our home in Vivian...y'all knew a blog post was coming!

You all know the story of our move. (If not, you have some blog catching-up to do!)

The Lord dealt with us & spoke with us about our move through everything for a year & a half. I mean EVERYTHING: every quiet time, every Bible Study, every conference, every song, every quote, every SS lesson... You know how it goes when you are facing something big & life-altering.

During that year & a half, as I read through the Old Testament, Joshua 4 stood out to me. Rewind for a little background: God had been leading the Israelites out of slavery, into the wilderness, & was finally ready to take them into the Promised Land. Up until this point, He performed countless miracles & awesome acts: Pharaoh letting them out of slavery, parting the Red Sea, manna, leading them by a cloud & pillar of fire, & so many more! Then in Joshua 4, once again, they need a miracle from God. They need Him to part the Jordan River so that they can get to the Promised Land. (Prior to this, they sent spies out as they prepared to go, & although they knew it would be according to God's plan, they were afraid of what the Promised Land would bring.) Hello! Can we say life-parallel for me?!

We were at a place in life where God told us that He was going to send us somewhere else (or: the land He had promised!). Before this point, He performed many miracles & mighty acts: D becoming Pastor, Salvations, repentance, revival. He has been SO good. At that time, I felt we were on the edge of the Jordan...waiting for God. (We too were scared, we had no idea where God wanted to send us, what to expect, we knew we would most likely be away from family.) But the one thing we were sure of: we knew God would fulfill what He had told us, & we knew that He would equip us for wherever He sent us.

In Joshua 3-4 God parts the Sea, instructs them how to cross, & once they're across, He gives them special instructions. He tells them to gather 12 stones & place them in the Jordan on the dry ground, so that whenever their children & the future generations ask them what the stones are for, they can explain how God allowed them to cross there on dry ground & they can explain all the amazing acts that the Lord performed in their lives.

This story was not new to me, but it stuck out in my mind. As I continued to read through the Old Testament, I came to 1 Samuel 7 with a similar thing happening. Samuel grabs a big stone & sets it between Mizpah & Shen, where the people had repented, turned from worshipping idols, & the Lord restored His fellowship with them (verse 12). He set out the stone & named it Ebenezer to remind them that God was the reason they arrived at that place. I had heard this before. "Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I'm come..." That crazy old hymn verse actually meant something! In these two instances, the stones are set out to commemorate the occasion. They reminded the people of historical occasions & they celebrate past victories (think: historical landmark sign). I've already shared on the blog how God has impressed upon me the importance of taking the time to think back & remember the mighty things He has done. These stones help do exactly that. Then, my favorite thing that the stones reminded everyone of is that it was a declaration that everything that happened there was God's doing & not man's. It's the reminder that GOD is the one who must receive glory for all the great things.

Since reading Joshua 4, it was already in the front of my mind, but as I read it again in 1 Samuel 7, it was confirmed. I sat up in bed one night & told D, "When we move, we need to put a big rock at our house or the church or somewhere." 

I'm so thankful that my man is a man of God & a man of the Word! He didn't flinch, he didn't blink, he didn't even make a face. He knew exactly what I meant, & he simply said, "Ok."

So here's what I meant: 

[I've actually had many moments in life in which I need to place a rock. I think it would be fun to journey back to those places in my life & do that. (I smell some future blog posts!) But this instance was the first time that I was burdened & knew-we've got to do this.]

Just like they did in the Old Testament times, we set out a stone at our house in Vivian. 

So one day, when we drive our children by to show them/remind them about our first home-we can show them that rock (Josh. 4:6) & tell them the story of how two ministry kids took their first full-time ministry position in this town, & how God blessed that, & that it eventually turned into D becoming Pastor. We can tell them about the many, many lives that were changed through repentance & salvation. We can tell how we got to see God take our church from dry bones & breathe new life into them. We can tell them this is where we first met Aunt___ & Poppa___ (Vivian folk...your name goes here). We can tell them of the amazing, awesome things that we saw happen here. And most importantly, we can tell them that all of those great things were because of God. He is the very reason that stone is in our yard. 

"That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it ismighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever." (Josh. 4:24)


Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.