I’ve been blessed to have some very godly and wise people in my life that I count as friends. I’ve received countless encouragement, wisdom on raising kids, and counsel on big life decisions. They have been invaluable.
I remember once in casual conversation a friend of ours shared that he and his wife discuss some talking points before they are going to have a meal with another couple or even a group of people. They do this to guide the conversation at the table in a way that is significant. If they are with new friends it could be as simple as “How did you two meet?” or “What was your best vacation or worst vacation?” or even “Tell us your engagement story.” These questions are basic, but they are a wonderful way to get to know another couple, plus people love to share their story. I know we do!
When getting together with people that are more familiar the questions could be a little deeper. An example would be “What are your twelve stones?” I know…an explanation is in order.
Recently I was reading the story about Joshua and how he led the Israelites into the Promised Land in the Old Testament. After Moses’ death, God commanded Joshua to take the Israelites across the Jordan river into the land that God had promised them.
Details of the river crossing and the memorial of the twelve stones set up in the camp just on the other side at Gilgal can hardly be overemphasized. The great significance of this account parallels the miracle of the “Red Sea” crossing in Exodus (Ex.14-15). The Israelites’ faith in the God of their fathers was renewed and strengthened when it was about to be severely challenged. In Joshua chapter 3 the crossing is detailed with Joshua giving orders to the Israelites and how this whole thing is going to go down (my vernacular). The most sacred article the ark of the covenant which signified the Lord’s throne was what was to go first. This meant that the Lord himself, went into the Jordan, ahead of his people and then remained in the middle of the riverbed until everyone crossed safely over. When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord told Joshua to “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 holding the ark of the covenant” Joshua 4:1-3 These stones were to serve as a sign among them, so that in the future when their children asked “What do these stones mean?” They could recall the story of how the Lord led them victoriously across the Jordan into the Promised Land. A stone monument to be used as a memorial to remind future generations of what happened in that place.
These stones were a reminder of God’s protection and provision of a promise in what seemed like an impossible situation. When we take time to remember and talk about those specific times when we saw the hand of God it helps us from getting spiritual amnesia. This also, I believe is a key to joy. Real joy that is not dependent upon circumstances. We can experience joy when we choose to remember God’s faithfulness in leading and guiding us through situations that seem to overwhelming. We can know real peace as we keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him knowing He will continue to be our protector and provider.
“For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above my enemies who surround me; at His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of Joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.” Ps.27:5-6
So maybe think through what your “stones” might be and next time you have some good friends around your table start off the conversation with your story. It will be a meal to remember.
Here is an easy appetizer to the get evening started off. This couldn’t be simpler, but the rave reviews will keep them talking.
Giada de Laurentiis
Olive oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
Store bought cheese ravioli (about 24)
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
1 jar store bought marinara sauce, heated for dipping
Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in a separated shallow bowls. Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli.
When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.
Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.