Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stones at Gilgal and Ebenezer

Joshua 4:20-24 (ESV)

20And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21And he said to the people of Israel, "When your children ask their fathers in times to come, 'What do these stones mean?' 22then you shall let your children know,  'Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.' 23For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever."

1 Samuel 7:12 (ESV)

 12Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "Till now the LORD has helped us."

As we look back over the last year and especially the last few months, we clearly feel the mighty hand of the LORD in the process.  Metaphorically speaking, we are collecting mile stones along the way and setting up a monument so that when our children ask, when people wonder and even when we may have times of doubt, we will be reminded of his presence and provision.

Most of the 'stones' are unique people and specific relationships that God has been placing before us.  At times it is circumstances that unfold in supernatural ways. There are several marks or tokens that God has deposited into our lives, some that we have been carrying over our lifetimes that only now we can look back and see how he has been preparing the way.  The people of Israel carried the 12 stones from the river Jordan to about another ten miles to Gilgal so that they would have them close to where they would end their journey.  They did not want to forget God's faithfulness.  Samuel's Ebenezer stone was a symbol for Israel of God's protection and how he subdued their enemies.

We carry these 'stones' in our hearts as monuments of his faithfulness.

John 20:21 (ESV)

21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."

The world will hear God speak and see God act.  It is for us to be - it is for Him to do.

*We have a growing list of 'stones' on the left column of this blog page.

Friday, August 13, 2010

VIA ...I am the Way

I am on my 12th year working for Starbucks Coffee. As I finish up my last few months at Starbucks and prepare to enter this new season, I have been doing a lot of reflection about the path that the LORD has had me on. I know that God will bless my Starbucks experience and apply it to the road ahead.
Speaking of roads, I have recently had a fun realization about a Starbucks product that launched last year: VIA - "Starbucks VIA Ready Brew." Perhaps you have had some. (I promise this is not a promotional add for Starbucks. Please humor me for a moment.) VIA is only available in two origin coffees, two flavors, if you will: Colombia and Italian Roast. Colombia, where a lot of coffee is grown, is Camie's birthplace and Italy, where coffee is perfected, is my birthplace. How random is that!
Anyhow, to continue on this stream of thought, "via" translated from Italian, means "street" or "way". If you were to walk down any road in Italy and look for a street name, you would be looking for an engraved cement street sign up on a wall or building. For example, it would say "VIA ITALIA" or you may have heard of the song "VIA DOLOROSA" (the way of suffering).
So, although I love my Starbucks Coffee and now feel even more connected to the brand and hope you do as well, Starbucks VIA is a daily reminder of my favorite connection. Referenced from the Bible in John 14:6 - "Jesus said to him, I am the way [the via], and the truth, and the life." (Italian) "Gesú gli disse: Io sono la via, la verità e la vita."
To sum up this long thought, the next time you see or have a Starbucks VIA, would you consider "the Way?" When you see Starbucks Coffee would you also please remember our family in prayer?
We are encouraged and excited about the journey or "via" ahead.
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p.s. If you ever come to visit us in Kenya, feel free to bring Starbucks Coffee.