For today's Sunday School Old Testament Lesson 18: ''Be Strong and of a Good Courage''Joshua 1-6; 23-24,I used half of class time focusing on the twelve (12) stones that the Lord asked the Israelites to leave at their lodging place based on LDS writer Ted L. Gibbons suggestion.
"I believe the book of Joshua gives us a wonderful pattern for the kinds of things we ought to record xxx.We all ought to leave such a memorial - a record of some kind that will encourage our children to ask us about the great things the Lord has done for us in our lives. Sometimes those memorials might be something like the pile of stones. But the clearest way to leave such encouragement is to leave a record. We ought to have a history in our journals of what God has done for us, one that our children can review and cherish, one that will bring them to us in their longing to hear the stories and feel the power of our testimonies".
Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives. Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 19821, p. 349).
"We hope you will begin as of this date. If you have not already commenced this important duty in your lives, get a good notebook, a good book that will last through time and into eternity for the angels to look upon. Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives" (Spencer W. Kimball, "President Kimball Speaks Out on Personal Journals," Ensign, Dec. 1980
Ted Gibbons suggested 12 things (one for each stone) that might be worthy of an entry in the inventory of blessings that we ought to leave for our posterity.
ROCK #1: Be strong and courageous.
What a blessing you will be to your children as you tell them of the times when you went forward with nothing but your faith in God to sustain you.
ROCK #2: God will qualify you
"On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life" (Josh. 4:14).
ROCK #3: Walk to the edge of the light: God had promised to divide the Jordan, but when did he do it? (Read Joshua 3:13, 15-17, when Jordan is divided as the priests barely set foot in it.)
Sometimes we must move forward when the end is invisible and all that we can see is the next step.
'You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you'" ("The Edge of the Light," BYU Today, March 1991, pp. 22,23).
Your journal should contain stories of the times you moved forward in faith, waiting for the waters to part before you.
ROCK #4: Blessings come as needed
ROCK #5: One man matters
Just how much difference can one man make when that one man righteous? if wicked?
ROCK #6: We can learn lessons from our enemies
Seek the counsel of the Lord before you make important promises. But when you make them, keep them!
ROCK #7: I will fight your battles
ROCK #8: Nothing is too hard for the Lord
We need to have greater faith in this reality.
ROCK #9: Characteristics of a faithful servant
• (Josh 22:2) "Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you"
• (22:3) "Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day"
• (22:3) "[Ye] have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God."
• (22:5) "But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law"
• (22:5) "love the LORD your God"
• (22:5) "walk in all his ways"
• (22:5) "keep his commandments"
• (22:5) "cleave unto him"
• (22:5) "serve him"
ROCK #10: Build an altar
"But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the LORD" (22:27) In fact, the altar was much like the pile of stones mentioned in Joshua 4.
"Behold the pattern of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made . . . it is a witness between us and you" (22:28). Are your home life and your work ethic and your interpersonal relationships witnesses of your love for the Lord?
ROCK #11: Remember
Poor memories are a major problem in the standard works, where the word Remember appears 12,899 times! One of the blessings of a journal is that it helps us and our children to remember what the Lord has done for us.
ROCK #12: Choose you this day. It was time to make a choice.