Stepping Into Your Future by Faith Alone
· Walt Disney - was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Walt also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.
· Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, did not make his high school basketball team his sophomore year.
· Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade. He did not become Prime Minister until he was 62. His greatest contributions came when he was a senior citizen.
· Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.
· Samuel L. Jackson was addicted to crack but is currently up to 65 major motion pictures
· Oprah Winfrey was going to be fired from her 1st job as a broadcast journalist but was about to be fired because she sympathized w/ too much w/ the people she was interviewing
· Jennifer Hudson, one of the stars of the new Dreamgirls movie was cut from American Idol and told by Simon that she didn’t have the gift to be a serious singer.
As we close out 2006 and move into 2007, I want to talk about reaching forward to grab hold of the dreams and goals that God has buried deep within your hearts.
It must have been an exciting time for the Israelites to finally enter their land of promise.
They had been in the dessert and in the wilderness for forty years.
Moses and nearly every man and woman that came up out of Egypt was dead and Joshua was declared by God to be the one in charge of seeing this people into the land that He had promised to them.
It was time to move out of the desert across the Jordan River and into Canaan.
There had been discouragement and disappointments along the way but it was now time!
How many of us have had set backs and disappointments along your journey this past year and just like the Israelites, you got so down that you felt like throwing in the towel? BUT THE TIME HAS COME FOR YOU IN 2007 TO STEP INTO YOUR FUTURE!
THE TIME HAS COME FOR YOU IN 2007 TO ENTER INTO YOUR LAND OF PROMISE!
TO REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS
Point #1. Keep Your Eyes On God vv. 1-3
Josh 3:1 Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over.
Josh 3:2 So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp;
Josh 3:3 and they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.
Notice that they had to wait for three days. They had been waiting for 40 years three days wouldn’t make a difference.
Keep in mind that Joshua is about 80 years old at this time.
This was an exciting day. This was the beginning of a covenant that had been made to Abraham about 500 years before.
Moses got to the edge of the river and never crossed over. How many of us get to the edge and never cross over?
How many of us can see the promises but never obtain them?
We must keep our eyes on God. When God moved, they were to move-----When God stopped they were to do the same.
Israel was about to follow the Ark through a river that was over 1 mile wide. There were obstacles ahead.
OBSTACLES ARE OFTEN GOD’S WAY OF PRYING US OUT OF OUR RUT.
The Jordan River forced Joshua out of the rut of being second in command to Moses.
The river compelled them to get out of the manna mentality.
If you ever expect to get past your obstacles and enter your Canaan, you must learn to follow God.
Under Joshua’s leadership the people now prepare to cross the Jordan. They could see the prize.
The Jordan River is not a wide river. Normally it was about 40 feet wide at the widest point.
In the springtime the normally narrow river flooded its banks. In places it could be around 150 feet deep and as much as a mile wide.
The people now walk to the edge of the Jordan and stayed there three days waiting for the direction of the Lord. [This is not a sermon on Patience but if it were, this would be the point where I’d say that if the Israelites failed to wait on God, every last man, woman and child would have walked into that water and died. If you move too soon, your out of His will and you will have to face the consequences of your actions.]
Point #2 - Look for the Guidance of God at all times
Josh 3:4 "Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure (nearly 3,000 feet). Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go --- for you have not passed this way before."
v.4 that you may know the way to go
If this great number of people thronged around the ark the direction would have been obscured.
“for you have not passed this way before”
We are all on a journey to live and walk in God’s promises for us. In this coming year, many of us are going places that we have never gone before and if we don’t have God to guide and direct us, we will fail!
Some of us are going to enter into new relationships, new jobs, new homes, new ministries --- OH GOD --THAT YOU WOULD GUIDE US EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!!
2- The 2nd purpose for the two commands in these verses is so That they would have a reverence for God
Exo 25:21 "You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you.
Exo 25:22 "And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.
It is here that God said that He would meet with them.
They were to have a reverence for the ark of God for the holiness of God.
Do you have a reverence for God’s presence? For God’s house?
Point #3 - Prepare Your Heart (vv. 5-6)
Josh 3:5 And Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."
Josh 3:6 Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, "Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people." So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.
God made them a path through the water that allowed a couple of million people to pass through quickly and safely.
This was a miracle of God. Remember this was during the flood stage not in the low season of drought.
Got any rivers you think are uncrossable? Got any mountains you can;t tunnel through? God specializes in things thought impossible -- He does the things others cannot do.
· What kind of river do you face today?
· Perhaps it Is a river of bitterness and anger standing between you and God’s peace?
· Is it a raging flood of addiction, keeping you away from intimacy with God?
· Is your river a river of discouragement or depression?
· Is it unconfessed sin?
Whatever obstacle you may be facing, do you believe God can see you through it? How do you know He’ll see you through it? Because if your sitting here today, its only because God brought you through something else and its by His grace that you’re here. So if He brought you through yesterday, He’ll bring you through today and tomorrow.
Point #4 – We Must Leave Our Baggage Behind (v. 10)
(Josh 3:10) By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Cannanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites.
All the “ites” were the hidden ghosts Israel failed to defeat 40 years ago. Our hidden ghosts often comes back to trouble us. Thoughts of yesterday’s failures flood our mind and paralyze us from walking forward w/ God.
· We remember math tests we failed in school so we couldn’t possibly take that accounting job.
· We remember how Momma and Daddy used to fight constantly and ended up being divorced so we sabotage our own relationships because we just know the same thing will happen to us.
· We remember back to those days when we lived in a 1 room apartment on Section 8, walking down to the grocery store w/ the family’s food stamps in our hand, wearing hand-me-down clothes and that we’ve come up a little bit, we just can’t seem to stop spending money at every store we pass (and that one is for both men and women!)
Brothers and Sisters, We need to release to God “mountains” and understand that He will remove the mountains in our lives.
Josh 4:19 Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.
It is significant that this happened on the tenth day of the first month, this is exactly forty years to the day, since Israel marched out of Egypt.
Leaving the edge of the river, the Israelites went to a place called Gilgal to make their camp. Gilgal was “on the eastern border of Jericho (v. 19).
Gilgal means “the reproach has been rolled away. The punishment of turning from God had been rolled away.”
At Gilgal, God rolled away:
a) Forty years of spiritual defeat,
b) Forty years of failure, death, cancers.
b) 40 years of wandering.
c) 40 years without a vision.
Saints of God, we too can experience our own Gilgal moment.
If you want to step into that future that God has ordained for you,
If you want to see everything come to pass that you’ve dreamed of for so long
If you want to cross over your Jordan River, then Make this the day that you give it all over to God.
If you’ve turned your back on Him, then harden not your heart and turn from your wicked ways.
Cleanse your hearts ye sinners, purify your hands ye double minded. Today is the day to
walk across your Jordan, today is the day to walk into your future by faith in He who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. By He who was able to set the captive free.