CHRISTIAN TRAVELERS GUIDES

INSPIRATIONAL READINGS FOR THE CHRISTIAN TRAVELER

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Seek what is better than you are so that you can be made better by it. If you desire gold, you may not obtain it. But you can always possess God whenever you wish. Desire God so that you may have Him, and finally be really happy.

St. Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 32.16

The knowledge that we are children of God and may be fully assured that we are, is not derived from ourselves, or from the Law, but it is the witness of the Holy Spirit who bears witness to it, against the Law and the feeling of our unworthiness; and in spite of our weaknesses He makes us fully assured of it.

Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans 8

He that seeketh anything else but merely God, and the salvation of his soul, shall find nothing but tribulation and sorrow.

Thomas á Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Believers, if you would have an increase of happiness in Christ's service, labour every year to grow in grace.

J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, on Happiness

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.' "

Numbers 15.37-41

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, "Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight." So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, `What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."

Joshua 4.1-8

God didn't leave the Israelites to their own devices either in the wilderness or after they entered Jordan. Nor did He allow them to trust their own memories. Instead he provide ways to help them remember Covenant and way He entered history to save His people. Apart from the celebration of the Passover itself, Moses institutes numerous other devices to jog the memory of the people. Thus, in Numbers 15 we discover that even clothing was used to remind them that they were consecrated to God because He rescued them from Egyptian bondage.

Later God commanded Joshua to erect monuments for the same purpose. The story found in Joshua 4 speaks about a simple pile of stones. But, a pile of stones with a purpose - to prompt children to ask "what do these stones mean? why are they here?" When parents tried to answer these simple questions they had to remember and retell the great deeds of God.

All over Europe there are numerous piles of stones reminding people of God's great deeds. Great cathedrals, churches, even castles, all testify to the hand of God in history. Yet few people remember why they are there or what they really mean. Instead they devour books like the Atlas of Magical Britain and Esoteric Germany that provide their readers with totally fanciful occult accounts of European history that actually rob Christians of their heritage. The tragedy of this is not that none believers read such books, but that Christians know no better. Few believers read occult versions of European history, but many remain as ignorant of Europe's true history as their non-Christian neighbors. As a result very few Christians are able to draw upon the riches of European culture to deepen and witness to their faith. The truth is most of us have forgotten God's command that we must remember His great deeds. Now it's time to reclaim our heritage by obeying God's command and teaching ourselves and our children what "these stones mean."

Day: 2 - 3 - 4

These readings are based on a) John E. Rotelle O.S.A's., excellent Augustine Day by Day, (New York, Catholic Book Publishing, 1986). Permission to use these passages has been sought, although I believe what I have used falls within a "fair use" policy; b) Various works of Martin Luther (1483-1546); c) Thomas á Kempis (1380-1471); d) Anglican Bishop J. C. Ryle's (1816-1900) Holiness (18??) or Practical Religion (1900); e) Zondervan's New International Version of the Bible.

Copyright Irving Hexham 2001