Posts Tagged ‘Jordan River’

And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ ” 1 Kings 17:13-14

Elijah the prophet was sent by God to a gentile land to be cared for by a gentile woman. Upon his arrival he discovered that the woman who God said would care for him was unable to care for herself; she and her child were in fact starving to death. Elijah, having taken this all in, incredibly asks the woman for some food. Some might say Elijah was being incredulously selfish, but I submit that we should see him as being extraordinarily faithful. Lesson one from the story is that extraordinarily faithful people are typically prone towards bolstering others in their faith.

Emboldened in and by the Lord, Elijah encouraged the woman that the time had arrived for her to take a leap of faith; for he saw (and she knew) she was at the bottom of her barrel. For many Christians (not all), it was in this dark and desperate place they first recognized their Savior. In that place we discovered that Jesus will not forcibly take our hand, but rather we must grasp the hand extended to us. In our story, the starving woman, in a leap-of-faith moment, would take the outstretched arm of the Lord—by faith she would give all that she had to Elijah.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Seeing is Believing

‘Seeing is believing,’ is the mantra of the faithless. The world is filled with would-be bighearted and compassionate people who proclaim their willingness to open their hands to those in need as soon as the Lord abundantly blesses them. These same folks would have likely proposed to Elijah, “Dude, I’ll give you all you want, just have your God first fill up my barrel.” That’s not how God operates.

Unbelievers cry foul not realizing that God is determined to make us men and women of faith. To that end; to be strong in faith, one must exercise the faith they have been given. Our Father works with empty and willing vessels. Anyone can give from their surplus, but only the faithful are able to give sacrificially. Each and every time this occurs, God gets the honor and the glory, and we grow stronger in our faith.

One Small Step For…God

And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” Joshua 3:13

Can you picture the scene? The Ark of the Covenant, the most precious item of the Tabernacle of the Lord, the place where God Himself spoke to the people, was about to cross the Jordan River. God essentially says to the priests carrying the Ark, “Step into the raging waters, then I’ll part them so you can cross over.”

Surely some must have thought the Ark was too valuable to risk taking such a chance. These priests however knew that theirs was not a God of fate, but a God of faithfulness and in order to receive the promise they must move in the faith they had been given. God came through for them and He will come through for us!

Do you find yourself at the bottom of the barrel or are you at some other place where the Lord is calling you to step out in faith? Then go to the Lord and prayer, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these the Lord has promised shall be added to you. God is faithful and true to His word.

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson

Read Full Post »

The second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families. And their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah…Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites came near to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the children of Israel. And they spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “The Lord commanded through Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for our livestock.” Joshua 19:1 ~and~ Joshua 21:1-2

A Wonderful Illustration

Joshua had led the nation of Israel across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. For believers today, the Promised Land is a depiction of the Spirit-filled life in Jesus Christ in addition to the historical event that it was. The battles had been fought and the victory contained, and all that remained were the mopping-up activities; skirmishes that continue to this very day. It was now time to divvy up the inheritance according to the guidelines the Lord established through Jacob back in Genesis.

Simeon and Levi were two of the twelve tribes of Israel and above we read about their portions. Simeon’s share of the inheritance was, as the passage cites, was within that of Judah’s and in time, Simeon was surrounded and swallowed up by the tribe of Judah. While there are most certainly descendants of the tribe of Simeon around today, for the most part they have been absorbed into Judah and we do not hear a lot about them from this point forward—a very sad indictment on that tribe.

The Levites on the other hand made out very well. While it is absolutely true they received no inheritance, they ultimately were given forty-eight cities in which to perpetually reside—unlike Simeon they were blessed on a very large scale. So what was the difference between these two tribes? We first need to go back to Genesis.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob And scatter them in Israel.” Genesis 49:5-7

Simeon and Levi were in effect cursed because of their behavior in the Dinah incident. We would recall that their sister (Dinah) was raped by a guy named Shechem (who lived in Shechem). In retaliation, they duped the Shechemites into being circumcised and when they were recovering they went through that city and killed them all. This enraged Jacob and later on, as he handed out the blessing to his sons, he opts to lay a curse on Simeon and Levi.

The Levites are Redeemed

Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side–come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ ” So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. Exodus 32:25-28

The sons of Levi answered Moses’ call-to-arms; all the tribes were asked and only Levi responded. For this reason Levi was given a much larger and more generous portion of forty-eight cities. They still received no inheritance, but they were rewarded in their repentance—they took the correct stand when the godly call was put forth. Simeon could have responded similarly, but history records they remained silent. As a result Simeon’s portion was absorbed by Judah.

The Application for Us

As far as Simeon and Levi go, we’re in the same boat. Their disobedient act is merely a representation of the types of things we did before coming to Christ. What they did afterwards is where we get an application we can use: Levi got back on the horse and Simeon did not. Simeon lived in a curse and Levi lived in their blessings. From a practical stand point, both were saved, but one wasted away in someone else’s brilliance and the other rose above the hand they dealt themselves. Yes, there were still consequences for Levi, but the Lord in His grace and mercy made away to bless them in a different way.

As a Christian, we have the same choices. If we want, in our saved-state, we can elect to do nothing. Oh, we’re still going to Heaven, but what a waste of a Christian we are on earth. Great is the reward in Heaven for those who willingly and cheerfully serve while stationed on earth.

Read Full Post »

And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:20-24

The crossing of the Jordan River was a historical event for Israel, but more significantly it is a picture of a faithful footstep towards the Spirit-filled life. It is a divine illustration of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and receiving God’s power to do Godly service. Therefore, our Spirit-filled life is for His glory, not ours. If this is true (and it is), how can we tell if we have received this Holy Spirit anointing? Is it just about prophesying and speaking in tongues? I submit to you that those things are merely components of the true sign.

What it the True Sign?

It’s all in the stones. In the biblical account we see that the Lord mandated twelve stones be taken out of the riverbed as a memorial. Not one stone, but many linked together; not finished, but unrefined. And where did they come from—the extreme bottom. Hopefully you can plainly see that those river-rocks point to us; once at the bottom, but now pulled out and set aside for an abundant life in Christ Jesus and for Christ Jesus.

…You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

But Rocks Don’t Talk

These rocks do! Every time a child looked at them, their inquisitive minds would prompt them to ask, “Yo pops, what’s up with all those rocks,” to which dad would reply, “Let me tell you about that rock pile son.”

These stones of remembrance were contact points knit together for the purpose of triggering testimony. Is that not what the Spirit-filled church (aka: Body of Christ) is designed to be? Did God not divide turbulent waters to bring us upon solid ground where we might stand as living memorials to His greatness? He most certainly did!

So How Do You Know?

Sure, you’re saved, but how do you know if you have received this baptism of the Holy Spirit? I suggest that you ponder the fundamental elements of these four Bible passages:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me… Acts 1:8

Do we speak in tongues, prophesy, or heal? That’s wonderful, but to whose glory do we do these things and for what purpose? Does all our steam go towards tooting the whistle or propelling the engine? If these things draw attention to us rather than Jesus, then chances we have a filling of another type.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

Where is the love? We can do tremendous things in His name, but if we swap-out love for any other attitude, emotion, or passion, then our efforts are nothing more then annoyances. Frankly, where there is no love there is no sating of the Spirit.

“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24b

Do we operate in remembrance of Him or ourselves? Is our witness a brag-a-mony of our worldly exploits or a testimony of the One who saved us from our sin? Those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit have the power to turn the spotlight off self and onto Jesus.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Here’s the bottom line on Spiritual baptism: are you a loving witness for Jesus Christ. That’s it in a nutshell. How do you become a loving witness baptized in the Holy Spirit? I would start by asking.

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13

Read Full Post »

And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” So it was…that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. Joshua 3:13 + 16

The Sermon You May Have Heard

Many a sermon has been written on Joshua 3:13, spotlighting the issue of stepping out in faith so that God’s power might be revealed. The doctrine is rightly supported upon the fact that the waters of the (then) mighty Jordan River were divinely split after the priests stepped into the torrent flood waters. It takes faith to act in such a manner and any teaching in that regard is certainly a valid one. Conversely, it stands to reason that to not plunk your sole (or soul) into the water is to be dry in the most spiritual sense of the word. If you are spiritually dry, you might further consider obediently diving into these uncharted waters.

Take notice that those who endorse the seeing-is-believing position typically don’t trust what they observe, but those who ascribe to the believing-is-seeing principle often get to witness that which they believe. Belief is made manifest in Holy Spirit-guided action and revelation is the byproduct of active faith.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

The Sermon You May Not Have Heard

I am intrigued by the understated significance of verse sixteen; the waters of the Jordan River were heaped up at a far away placed called Adam, beside the city called Zaretan. We know from the opening text that the Israelites stood on the shores of the Jordan River at Acacia Grove (aka Shittim). That puts Zaretan about nineteen miles upstream.

Why is that significant?

It’s meaningful because it clearly demonstrates how our Father in Heaven is working historically behind the scenes to make things happen in anticipation of our being obedient at a future time. So while it’s true God heaped up the waters as the priests dipped their tootsies in the water, it’s truer still that God acted beforehand having foreknowledge of their faithfulness. In other words, if that water was moving along at ten miles per hour, God stopped the river’s flow two hours before the first toe hit the water, but to those priests the miracle was seemingly instantaneous. The passage reminds us that while we may be fearful to step out in faith before the Lord provides a sign, that very signal may have already been given– it just hasn’t caught up to us yet. Turn away and it may never be seen.

God’s Timing is Perfect

In order for this miracle to be perfectly revealed, God’s timing and foreknowledge had to be faultless. What if the priests were faithless; what if by disobedience their timing was off? We can only imagine how the scenario would have played out—maybe the nation of Israel would have been turned back around to spend another forty years in the wilderness—we just don’t know. That alone should give every believer pause.

Has the Holy Spirit ever nudged you to do something and you delayed in doing it or chose to ignore Him completely?

“Go pray for that person,” God asks, but you linger.

“Sing that praise song I have laid on your heart,” He says, but you wait for someone else to start.

Speak to Me in that sacred tongue,” but you outright refuse.

Have you ever wondered about the miracle laying upstream; the one that was revealed to another because your timing was off or not at all because you emphatically rejected the urgings of the Holy Spirit? Please know that God still does miracles and consistently reveals them to those who walk by faith. If your walk is dry it’s likely because you have not dipped your feet in the stream.

Follow me on Twitter HERE

Read Full Post »

Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Joshua 1:2-3

It’s a Done-Deal

The Promised Land that God is referring to is approximately three hundred thousand square miles—a region about the size of Texas. God had effectively said this was a done-deal–it’s yours, just enter in and possess it. However, the most Israel has ever taken possession of was thirty-thousand square miles and that was during King Solomon’s reign. That’s about one tenth of what God desired to give them. The other ninety percent is still available.

What Does That Mean to Me?

The focus of today’s blog is not going to revolve around the territory modern-day Israel is due, but rather on how this passage is applicable to every Christian today. In other words, ‘What has God promised me and what, if anything, have I taken possession of?”

First Things First

We need to know that these Old Testament stories are much more then records of ancient history. They are in fact prophetic illustrations of that which would ultimately come in and through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Every single New Testament principle has an Old Testament picture that exemplifies it. So while the Book of Joshua is a precise account of Joshua taking Israel into the Promised Land, it most accurately depicts the born-again believer crossing over and taking possession of the Spirit-filled life. How do we know this to be true? Consider this passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples… 1 Corinthians 10:1-7a

The word example in the text is ‘tupos’ in the Greek which is where we get our word type. Here Paul uses it to mean a person or thing prefiguring a future person or thing.

“Don’t be ignorant of these things,” Paul is saying, “these Old Testament stories are types of things which have come to be in Christ Jesus.

So it is true Israel was held captive in Egypt, but Egypt is a picture of our bondage to sin. Its true God raised-up Moses as a deliverer, but he was a picture (or type) of our Deliverer Jesus. Its true Israel crossed through the Red Sea, but it was an illustration of the outward sign of water baptism. And its true Israel received water from a rock in the desert, but that Rock is a picture of Jesus Christ and the living water only He can provide.

The Second Baptism

The Promised Land spoken of in the Old Testament is not a picture of Heaven, but the spirit-filled life available to every believer here on earth. Therefore, the crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land is a picture of becoming baptized in the Holy Spirit and receiving the Spirit-filled life that God has promised us. By His Spirit and for His pleasure, God has much for us. The question that remains is whether or not we have taken possession of these things for His honor, glory, and praise.

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly John 10:10b

Read Full Post »

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6


So frequently we find ourselves in God’s word, but lament that nothing much of spiritual significance is going on. Maybe we’re mired in fear, far too anxious to be of much good to anyone or anything, complaining about most of what we experience. Faced with tribulation our tendency is too often to crabbily recoil, belligerently spoil, or inefficiently toil, turning out results seldom worthwhile.

In order to overcome the first thing we need to recognize is that fear is pleasing to satan. Why is the devil pleased? He is pleased because in our fear we are not drawing on faith; in other words, we are not relying on Jesus Christ. It’s not necessarily that fear is faith in the devil, but rather a faith in nothingness—that somehow, in our anxiety, in our complaining, in our dread, something positive will be the result. That’s just utter nonsense.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

An Important Principle

The Deuteronomy passage plots a critical, spiritual principle in regard to our faith that you might not have caught. God essentially tells Israel to first be not afraid, for He will be with them on the other side of the Jordan River. In other words, it is a conditional agreement—God tends to reveal His self after we act faithfully. So, if it is our testimony that God seems distant, the cause might very well be that we walk in fear.

And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:26-27

We see the very same thing illustrated in this account from Matthew’s Gospel. There is a horrific storm and the disciples fear for their lives. Suddenly Jesus appears to them walking upon the turbulent sea, but they do not recognize Him. Why? Because they were filled with fear and fear nudges out faith.

Take note of what happens next because it is important. Jesus tells them to first be of good cheer, then He announces, “It is I.” Then and only then do they recognize Jesus for who He truly is. And that is the true essence of our faith. Christians should never be caught saying, “Seeing is believing, ” because that is in direct contrast to what faith is! It is when we believe; when we speak and act faithfully, we see.

Furthermore, We Know…

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God Romans 10:17

Faith is worked-in as we absorb God’s word and faith is worked-out when we speak or act out faithfully. If faith comes in and does not go out, we are quenching His Spirit and the work He desires to do. It’s the very reason the Dead Sea is dead—the Jordan flows in, but nothing whatsoever flows out. However, when we act faithfully (fearlessly), we experience the abundant life in Christ Jesus as He reveals more and more of Himself.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him… Hebrews 11:6a

When we more fully understand this principle, in the face of our tribulations we will choose to be of good cheer and thus an awesome, pleasing witness for Him. Inevitably we discover it works, or more accurately, God works. As God breathes forth His word and we eagerly take it in, our faith matures. As we faithfully speak out and act out the word that we heard, God is pleased, He is honored, He is glorified, and He is revealed.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b-6

follow me on Twitter HERE

Read Full Post »

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Overcoming The Times

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Motherhood Marathon

Finding the humor, beauty, and purpose in the mess of motherhood

Greater Cause

Addressing Daily Issues From a Biblical Worldview

Disciples of hope

Living the hope that comes from Christ


Thrift Store Tripping and Frugal Living at its Best

In the Little Things

Finding Meaning in the Madness and the Mundane

The Perfect Dad

Every man dies. Not every man truly parents.


Mark 16:15 Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Let's Talk Gospel

Christian Encouragement and Entertainment

Kendall Lyons

writing stuff

God charts the road

A road that represents the course of those who desire to follow God

The Master's Meadow

Lush pasture, living springs, and marked paths

Servants' Journal

A blog about Christian life and Biblical teaching.

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

%d bloggers like this: