Raise my Ebenezer

The second verse of the old hymn reads: “Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by Thy help I’m come; and I hope by Thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home” (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing). Ebenezer is not a common name. Perhaps the only one you’ve heard of is from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel erected a stone to commemorate the protection and provision of God when Israel was able to recapture the ark of the covenant from their fierce enemies, the Philistines. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer, for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” (1 Samuel 7:12)

The helping stone became a memorial to the people to help them remember. This weekend stones also serve as memorials in cemeteries in our nation and around the world. Flags will be planted by simple white crosses and Stars of David to honor and remember the ultimate sacrifice of men and women. For many people Memorial day will signify the advent of summer or mean a day away from the routine. For those who grieve over the loss of a loved one, the day carries a far more personal meaning.

Markers should not just recognize death. We should have markers throughout our lives so that we can remember the faithfulness and goodness of our God. We can raise our own Ebenezers, spiritual markers that have helped our journeys of faith. I challenge you to mark those turning points, those moments of commitment, those times when you followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to act in the name of the Savior. Spiritual markers come about because of important events or influential people when your life in Christ took significant steps higher.

I can map my journey of faith by the spiritual markers in my life. Your map might look different than mine, but that is the beauty of the uniqueness of who we are and how God has related to us. We can also anticipate that, as long as we draw breath, more markers will be needed. I am so glad that God is still working on me!


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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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