Transformed Lives: Standing Stones of God’s Grace

Joshua 4:20-24: And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For 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.”

One of my favorite historical accounts in the Word of God occurs when the children of Israel cross the Jordan River at flood stage. Only the power of God could enable them to accomplish that task. To commemorate the miracle, the Lord commanded that they take twelve stones from the Jordan and stand them up at Gilgal for all to see the might of the Lord to fear Him forever – for unbelievers to know the Lord and for believers to be reminded of the Lord’s goodness and power.

At Vision of Hope, our standing stones each year are the transformed lives of the residents who graduate our program. Typically, an average graduate participates in the program for 16 months. Approximately 31% of our residents graduate from the program because it is so challenging and our staff holds these young ladies to a high standard of change. We are not looking for improvement but for a young lady who is faithfully walking with Christ evidenced by a fruitful life.

In 2014, we had three graduates. All of these ladies are walking with Christ and serving in ministries of their churches now! Only God can turn a rebel into a worshipper who serves Him and His children in the local church. God has accomplished much in these three young women’s lives by His grace and we are also thankful for the following praises:

-Our program’s census reached an all-time high in 2014. We averaged over 20 residents each week.

-One of our unsaved residents repented and received Christ, giving her baby to a family for adoption.

-Our interns and residents went Christmas caroling at a nursing home and it brought great joy to the seniors there giving all of us joy as well.

-Planting trees at Bethany Farms as a team in preparation for a possible Men’s Ministry like Vision of Hope in the next five years.

-Serving in the Living Nativity with the residents sharing the gospel with over ten thousand people from the community.

-Seeing so much joy and laughter despite the really hard issues the residents address in counseling.

As we thank the Lord for a productive 2014, we look forward to 2015 with great anticipation about what God might do. Vision of Hope’s standing stones are the precious lives of young women who not only overcome their issues of abuse, addiction, sexual sin, and ruling heart motives but then serve the Lord to help others in their church families and communities. We praise God for His transformational power and work in our ministry!

ENTER THE CONVERSATION

  1. What memories in your own life could you look to as a standing stone of God’s power and faithfulness?
  2. Write out your testimony of His faithfulness and share it with others to edify and encourage them in their walk with Christ.
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Mark ShawMark Shaw
Mark Shaw has 22 years of counseling experience working in a variety of settings including faith-based residential programs, dealing with issues surrounding “addictions” of all types, and supervising staff positions. His experience in the biblical counseling field began in 2001. He has written 14 published works including The Heart of Addiction; Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies; Divine Intervention: Hope and Help for Families of Addicts; Addiction-Proof Parenting; and Hope and Help for Self-Injurers/Cutters. He also co-authored a chapter in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling (2013).