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June 22, 2016

Experiencing God's Great Wonders!

“Then Joshua told the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you.’”  Joshua 3:5 (NLT)

Have you ever experienced the wonders of God? He delights in putting His glory on display! The Psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 (NIV2011) Before Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River to enter the promised land, he gave them this instruction:

“Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you.”  

I can only imagine that, after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, how eager this new generation of Israelites must have been to possess the land of milk and honey!  But, before they could proceed, before God would perform great wonders among them, there was something they had to do. They needed to purify themselves.  Another translation says, “Consecrate yourselves.”

Could it be that the only thing preventing God from doing great wonders in our lives is because we won’t purify ourselves?  What impurity may be blocking the wonders of God in your life?  This is a question that haunts me, at times, and causes me to kneel before God in contrition and humility.  In his Psalm of confession, David prayed,

“God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (ETRV/KJV)

Jesus said,

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8 (NIV2011)

What a promise!  If we want to see God and experience His great wonders, we must purify ourselves.  How do we get a pure heart?  In 1 John 1:9 the Bible says,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

To confess is simply agreeing with God.  It’s humbling to agree that I’ve gone my own way and missed the purpose God has for my life.  When I turn from my sin to Christ, He forgives me and purifies me from all unrighteousness!  With a pure heart, God is able to do great wonders and put His glory on display!

When Israel consecrated themselves, God parted the Jordan River – just as He did the Red Sea!  This new generation of Israelites saw the great wonder of God and crossed over the Jordan on dry ground!  And, get this – the Bible says the Jordan was overflowing its banks at that time of the year!  Then, the Bible says,

“As soon as the priests carrying the Ark of the LORD’S Covenant came up out of the riverbed and their feet were on the high ground, the water of the Jordan returned and overflowed its banks as before.” Joshua 4:18 (NLT)

Why does God display His great wonders to us?  Joshua said,

“He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the LORD”S hand is powerful and so you might fear the LORD your God forever.”  (Vs. 24)

Crossing the Jordan River was the first of God’s great wonders to come.  All the wonders their fathers had told them about when they crossed the Red Sea were becoming experiential to this new generation!  Soon, they would face their first battle at Jericho, as another great wonder was about to unfold right before their eyes!  God has great wonders to perform in your life and mine if we will purify ourselves, turn from our sin, and give Him control of our lives. When Israel crossed over the Jordan, they were entering new territory. Joshua told them,

“You have never traveled this way before….” Josh. 3:4 (NLT)

This was a new beginning of faith!  2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 

Before all things can become new, what old things need to pass away in your life?  Let them pass away so you can experience the great wonders of God!

This weekend at Woodlands Church, we are celebrating the new journey hundreds have just begun.  As they take their first step of obedience through baptism, I invite you to join them.  When you align your heart with the heart of God, you won’t believe the great wonders of God you’ll experience.  I hope to see you this weekend.  If you haven’t been baptized you can register now!