Why are Spiritual Markers so Important?

by guest blogger Terri Jones

“And Joshua said them, ‘Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever” (Joshua 4:5-7)

Joshua followed the Lord’s instructions to have twelve stones taken from the Jordan and set up as a memorial of the Lord’s faithfulness to be passed down to the next generation when they asked, “What do these stones mean to you?”

Imagine what these stones would bring to the minds of the Israelites as they journeyed from Pharaoh’s grip to God’s freedom. As Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan there were the instructions for Joshua to take twelve men and have them take a stone from the Jordan. The twelve men would represent one man from each of the twelve tribes. These twelve stones would ultimately serve as a memorial of the faithfulness of God and as a reflection of their journey.

“What do these stones mean to you?’ is a unique question to each of us because of our individuality. The spiritual markers in our lives represent God’s faithfulness and His character, but our journeys will not look the same. Our spiritual markers should never take the place of God’s word in our lives because God’s word is alive and active, but spiritual markers serve a unique purpose.

Why are spiritual markers so important to our lives? First, they are a weapon against spiritual warfare. The enemy loves to try to get us to second-guess the faithfulness of God especially in difficult times. Doubt and unbelief is dangerous territory for the believer. Second, our spiritual markers can help us when we feel discouraged. Looking back and being reminded of God’s faithfulness in our past can help us when we are going through difficult times and struggles. Another important reason for spiritual markers is to pass down our faith to future generations. God’s unique and faithful activity in our lives helps us to share Him with the next generation – particularly our family heritage. Last, our spiritual markers can help us make confident decisions based on God’s past activity in our lives. God never changes but our circumstances do. Regardless of where we have been, where we are or where we are going, God will never change.

How can you know your spiritual markers? Set aside some specific time when you know you will not be interrupted. Pray and ask God to help clear your mind and ask Him to help you as you do this exercise. Go back as far as you can to the first remembrance of God in your life. And from that point on, make note of dates (years – unless you remember specific dates) and the events that took place where you know God moved in your life and in your circumstances.

Just as a personal testimony concerning spiritual markers……

A couple of years ago, I was really struggling with a ministry decision. I sought the Lord in prayer and in His word. And in many ways He put it upon my heart to go back to the spiritual markers in my life. My spiritual markers, along with His word, really helped me make the right decision. And at the same time, I really began to see why I had some of the ministry passions I had. For example, one of my spiritual markers was from 1979 when I was 14 years old and attended church as a youth.

Every Sunday a few youth along with one of our youth leaders went to the Juvenile Detention Center where we sang and shared with the incarcerated youth. That had such an incredible impact on my life, and I did not even realize it at the time. I would end up spending my career in the criminal justice field, but more importantly I have always had a passion for jail/prison ministry. The exposure to ministry at a young age has had a huge impact on my life – long before I surrendered my life to the Lord. I am thankful for the Lord for putting the passion of ministry on my heart – especially lately when it seems that so much has been stripped from us. One of the most humbling promises in all of scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

There are also the spiritual markers of God’s faithfulness during the darkest times of my life where He has brought deliverance, provision and protection. Those times when He parted the Red Sea in front me and made a way when there seemed to be no way. We serve a faithful God who never changes and in a world that seems to change daily, how grateful we are for His unending and unwavering faithfulness to us – even when we falter.

If you really wanted to have a visual reminder, here’s a project that you can do and it would be fun to do with your kids and grandchildren (if they are old enough). Buy some craft stones. You can find them at most craft stores. I wouldn’t get real big ones but not pebbles either. They need to be big enough to write on. Write one spiritual marker on each stone until you have written all that come to mind. Make sure to include the year that the marker represents (or the whole date if you remember). Store them in a jar – some place where you can see them. You can add to them as the years go by. Pass them on to your children and/or your grandchildren. So they will know what those stones mean to you. You can also use this at a time when you are questioning whether or not God can still use you, going through the dark times or want to share them with someone – they are there for you as a tangible.


Terri Jones lives in Ft. Meade, Florida. Terri has one son, Jason, and one granddaughter. She has worked in the criminal justice field for 38 years where she currently works as a Staff Assistant and Case Management System Administrator for the Office of the Public Defender. She is an active member of

First Baptist Church in Ft. Meade. Terri has served in jail ministry for both juvenile and adult women throughout the years. She has served as past Women’s Ministry Director for her Church. Currently, Terri teaches an adult women’s Sunday School Class as well as a Discipleship Group in her Church. Terri

has been writing for many years in various forms such as blog posts, Bible studies and devotionals. Currently Terri is focusing on writing for her website, Bible Studies and her first non-fiction project.

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