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Archive for March, 2011

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.  Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. – Romans 4:16-5:5 (NIV)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13 (NIV)

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:27 (NIV)

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (NIV)

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope. – Hosea 2:15 (NIV)

 

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The Word of God is clear.  Your relationships with others matter to God.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” –Mark 11:25 (NIV)

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”  –Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” –Romans 12:18 (NIV)

 

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So you took that first step!  You put your feet in the water and experienced the power of God’s grace as He opened a way for you through an impossible situation.  You are in the promised land.  You are living the dream!

So, what is that fortified city doing in front of you?  Why is there a Jericho sitting right in the middle of your path?

Joshua chapter 6 tells us that even after crossing into their promised land the children of Israel still had enemies to fight.  But, the feet that got them across the flooding river would be the same feet that marched around the enemy and brought their city tumbling down.

From the battle of Jericho we learn an essential spiritual truth — the step we took at the river to cross the line for God was not our final step of faith, but the first step of a lifetime of steps taken in the marvelous adventure God has planned for our lives.

Every step is a step of faith, and in every step we find God faithful.

…the step we took at the river to cross the line for God was not our final step of faith, but the first step…

 

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Sometimes black ink on white paper doesn’t do justice to the incredible faith demonstrated by those whose stories are told in the Bible.  It is easy to forget these were real people, in a real place, who had to overcome real fears to walk in obedience to God and fulfill their purpose in their lifetime.

In the book of Joshua chapter three we encounter one of those stories that makes fairy tales seem small and fiction feel tame.  After wandering for forty years in the wilderness, the nation of Israel is now poised to enter their promised land.  One last obstacle separates one million sojourners from setting feet upon their destiny — the Jordan river, in flood stage.

The story that unfolds in Joshua chapter three is one of amazing faith and a demonstration of the power of one step to open a pathway for multitudes to follow.  I believe many of you reading this article may be one faith-filled step from fulfilling God’s purpose for you, your family, your church, and your city.  Here are four keys to taking your first step:

  • PREPARE YOUR HEART

“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’”  Joshua 3:5 (NIV)

  • PUT YOUR FEET IN THE WATER

“And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”  Joshua 3:13 (NIV)

  • PROVIDE A PATH FOR OTHERS

“The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.”  Joshua 3:17 (NIV)

  • PARTICIPATE IN SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED

“…the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.”  Joshua 3:16 (NIV)

 

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JOSHUA 3:1-17

Scripture reference post for “THAT FIRST STEP INTO A FLOODING RIVER.”

Joshua 3:1-17 (NIV)
Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.

7 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’ ”

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

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