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Tag Archives: Jordan River

Crossing Over From the Old into the New

Not everyone understands their calling in life. Others wrestle with clarity, struggling to ascertain where they belong and what they should do. As for Joshua, this decision was clear, take over as Israel’s new leader. Joshua’s first assignment, lead God’s chosen people into a promised land, Canaan. However, a river and a wall stood before Israel. The only way to complete their journey was to cross over from the old into the new.

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 “Go throughout the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to cross this [river] Jordan, to go in to take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess [as an inheritance],’” Joshua 1:10-11.

If you have ever moved, families tend to amass, collect and hoard an excessive amount of possessions. Garage and yard sales are a common way to purge your house from unnecessary items. Yet, there are subtle things such as beliefs, ideals and viewpoints that individuals develop without much thought. Some of these mindsets are contrary to the Bible, opposing the commandments, decrees and precepts of God. Thus, as Israel crossed over the Jordan River, they needed to undergo a procedure, a spiritual purging.

So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts], Colossians 3:5-6.

The Israelites didn’t have access to a physical book or the ability to foresee the addition of a New Testament. Nor could Joshua warn Israel about the sinful nature. In the passage above, the apostle Paul details what must occur if you want to cross over from your previous life into a new relationship with God. The first step involves a new mindset from earth toward heaven. The second involves discipline, purging yourself from ungodly practices that you have picked up from others. This battle never ends as imperfect people will continue to disobey God in one form or another. However, as you strive to keep in step with God, the Holy Spirit serves as a spiritual counselor to enable you to cross over from the old into the new.

by Jay Mankus

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Before Anything Gets Lost It Becomes Loose

Initial signs that there may be something wrong in your life are subtle. Normal wear and tear may result in an occasional squeak or rattle. These vague warning signals may be ignored if time constraints, exhaustion or pressure exists. Unless routine maintenance is performed, cars, possessions, relationships and souls will continue to deteriorate. If no action is taken, things will become loose, fall off and get lost if neglected.

So he went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down [some of] the trees. But it happened that as one was cutting down a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!” – 2 Kings 6:4-5

In the Old Testament, a servant of Elisha began to chomp down some trees along the banks of the Jordan River. The sound of each power HACK, one after another drowned out any hint that this axe was about to break. Borrowed from a neighbor, this servant wasn’t treating this tool in a malicious manner. Rather, the thought of clearing a small section of woods next to the river brought on adrenaline to get this job done as soon as possible.

The man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron [axe head] float. He said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out with his hand and took it, 2 Kings 6:6-7.

Nobody knows the exact time or place when one of your possessions will break. In a span of a few weeks, two cars that I was driving broke down on three different occasions, the last on Interstate 95 this year. How you respond to these unfortunate events will reveal your true character. The only description of this servant in the passage above is a man of God. Instead of complaining, this man immediately turned to prayer and a prophet for help. In an instant, that which was lost is found. May this blog awaken you to the principle before something gets lost it becomes loose.

by Jay Mankus

Awakening the Soul

The word wake refers to 3 different aspects in life.  The first relates to emerging from a state of sleep.  The second is an act, participating in a vigil, pouring out your soul to expedite the process of healing of a dead family member, friend or loved one.  Finally, wake are turbulent waves following the passing of a large vessel on water.  Inside the pages of Genesis 50, lies an event which awakens the soul.

While there may be ancient books that refer to a wake, I believe Genesis 50:10-11 contains a glimpse of the first documented religious ceremony.  Following a mass funeral procession from Egypt to Canaan to bury Jacob with his ancestors, Joseph stops along the banks of the Jordan River.  According to Moses, Joseph observed a 7 day mourning period for his father, lamenting and weeping, crying out to express his bitterness to God over losing his dad.  Observing from a distance, the Canaanites were so moved by Joseph’s display of emotions that they named this site “Abel Mizraim,” meaning a solemn ceremony of mourning.

I find that many men hide their true feelings, trying to be cool or adhere to the world’s belief, real men don’t cry.  Others sweep their emotions under a proverbial rug, deadening their soul.  Though I am by no means an expert in this area, I get the sense the Bible is urging individuals to “let it all hang out.”  After a good cry, I tend to be rejuvenated by practicing this form of releasing the burdens deep inside your heart.  If you have been holding back tears, maybe, just maybe, you need a waterfall of emotions to awaken your soul.  May the promise of Psalm 34:18 be fulfilled this day!

by Jay Mankus

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