Sunday, April 12, 2020

Stones of Remembrance

Today is the day we remember that Jesus conquered death! As I read through the events of that day this morning in Luke 24, the Holy Spirit caught my attention with something.

I want to share my story of God’s faithfulness to keep His promise to us.  Back in 2010 we moved from Irvine to Mission Viejo.  It was during the time when the housing market was a wreck.  Every house was a short sale and making an offer really meant putting your name in a lottery and if you had cash, your offer had a chance to be accepted.  Unfortunately, we were first time buyers so that meant we work looking at a different kind of loan.

We had no idea the challenges we were going to face. I remember one night, in the middle of the night, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “You’re going to have to go through this, but don’t worry, I will be with you.”  I had no idea what that meant until about a week later when Jeff told me the house we were in was going on the market and we had to move. I never dreamed in a million years the struggle it was going to be for the next 16 months. 

Long story short, we rented a house off Craig’s list. It was too good to be true. Looked at it and signed the lease that day. Rent was in our range and it was going to be month to month which was fine because we had made an offer on a house in the same neighborhood. 

The day we moved into the house, our life, as we knew it was over. The owner had leans on the house and had people stalking the house, threatening lawsuits and trying to remove us from the home. At first, we were okay because we were waiting on the offer to be accepted on the other house. That’s when we found out the short sale process. We were always denied. In 12 months we made 28 offers all to be rejected. The house ended up foreclosing and went back to the bank. Jeff decided we were going to buy this house. We met with the agent representing this house and he said it couldn’t happen. But we proceeded. For the next four months we were receiving eviction notices while we were trying to get our offer accepted.  Again, long story short, we almost lost it all, but just like God does, He came through at the last hour. We had been in the most stressful time of our life.  When it was all said and done, we were able to change from a first-time buyer situation to a conventional loan AND we closed exactly one year to the day we had moved in.

I wanted to share this with you to encourage you that God is faithful.  God is faithful to His promises.  I was reminded of Deuteronomy 27:2-3, “When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the Lord your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.” When it was time to cross over into the Promised Land, God told Joshua each tribe was to get a stone from the middle of the Jordan river and carry it over to the other side and make an alter to remind them of God’s faithfulness.  He told them to do this so that when their children asked what those stones meant, they could tell them of God’s promise.

After we closed on this house, one of our first projects was a water feature. I had always wanted a waterfall of some kind.  Jeff took giant rocks from our property and built a waterfall out of them.  But this waterfall was not just a pretty feature in our yard, it was our memorial of stones reminding us of God’s faithfulness to provide.

As we are stuck in this unending quarantine, that corner of my yard is my haven. It’s my daily reminder of God’s goodness, even when I fail. Especially now as I sit here and write this, the times are challenging financially, BUT if God could do the impossible with our house and dealing with the banks, He is big enough to take care of His people in this uncertain time.

As we celebrate the resurrection of the promise of His son, Jesus conquering death, I was reminded of another memorial stone. The stone that covered the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed was a source of controversy. The Pharisees requested that it be guarded so the disciples couldn’t carry His body away. (Matthew 27:62-66) Then there were the women who were taking the burial spices and they were concerned who would remove the stone so they could get in. (Mark 16:1-3) Then the chief priests and elders paid off the soldiers, who were guarding the tomb. The soldiers were so afraid, they had passed out when the angels showed up to roll the stone away. (Matthew 28:4) The chief priests and elders told the soldiers to tell people that the disciples stole the body. (Matthew 28:11-15) And in the mean time, the disciples were in hiding. (John 20:19)

This stone of remembrance is definitely one to remember.  God was always telling His people to remember where they had come from and to celebrate their victories.  On this Resurrection Sunday, specifically April 12, 2020, when we were unable to gather as the Body of Christ, the Truth is still the same.  Jesus bridged the gap between us our Heavenly Father and even more important he conquered death once and for all.  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55  This is truly The Stone of Remembrance!

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