Stepping Into The River

Is God calling you step out in your faith?  Do you need a little reassurance that God will carry you to the the other side?  Then watch this message for a boost in your faith.  (Recorded September 27, 1998)

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Joshua 3:13

“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.”


1. He Guides, We Step

2. Whose Will?

– George Meuller – 90% of hearing from God

3. Stepping In


Tonight’s our second live broadcast from The Ranch.  And for me, this is what I call “Stepping into the River.”  Tonight we’re going to look at what it takes to release the power of God in our lives.  If you’ve been wanting to see God work in your life, if you’ve been wondering if he’s around, I’m going to give you some practical steps you can take to find out.  Because God is alive, God is around, and he is eager to demonstrate his power to you, so that you can walk in his will.  Join me as we take a look tonight at Joshua and “Stepping into the River.”

Joshua’s Step

Open with me if you will to Joshua Chapter 3.  If you don’t have your Bible in front of you, I will read a little bit of it, but you will want to take a look at this later if you get a chance.  Take a look at Joshua Chapter 3 and you will enjoy reading how God came through for Joshua.

What God wanted to do was to display his power to the people of Joshua.  Here’s what he says in Joshua Chapter 3, verse 7:  “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.  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.”

This is the word of the Lord to Joshua.  Joshua’s hearing this and God tells him, “I want you to cross over this river, I want you to possess this land.  But before you do, you need to take a step of faith, you need to take a step of obedience to me.  And when you do, I will display my power so mightily, that you’ll know once you get into the land that I am giving that to you as well, so that when you come up against the Cananites and the Hitites and the Jebusites, and all the other “-ites,” I will be there with you to fight for you and to be your defender, and I will help you possess the land.  I want you to know that I am with you.”

So this is what he tells Joshua to do:  take your priests and all the people and go stand in the river. He didn’t wait till the river parted like he did with Moses, he said, “I want you to go and stand in the river.  When you do, the river will back up, all the people will be able to cross on dry ground, you’ll get across, and when you’re done crossing, the river will flow again.  This will be a demonstration of my power to you.

God Guides, We Step

Tonight I want to talk about God’s guidance and our steps.

God will guide our steps.  It says in Proverbs 20:24:   “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord.”  So it’s God who is guiding our steps.  God, if we will listen to him, will guide our steps.  He’ll tell us whether to go to the right or the left.  He’ll speak to us and direct us.   But’s it’s we who have to take the steps.

We have to step out in faith.  So I’m speaking to you tonight if God is telling you to take a step of faith, but you don’t see any manifestation around – you don’t see anything around you that would indicate that anything is going to happen once you do – and yet you sense in your heart that God is telling you to take that step, then I want you to trust God and I want you to go ahead and take that step of faith.

It may be a small step.  It may be stepping in the river.   But what God wants you to do is just take the step.  And then he will demonstrate his power, and somehow that releases faith.  Here’s an example:   this piano I received from the Lord was as a result of a few steps of faith.

Piano Example

As God directed me, I asked God for a piano.  And I asked him for a particular one and he said he would give me that piano or a better one.

And I said, “Well, God I don’t know if I can believe you.   How can you do that?”  And God said, “Believe me.  I will do it.”

I thought, ‘God that’s great.  I’ll just wait for it.’   And God said, “Well Eric, what about you?  Is there any step of faith that you can take that will indicate to me that you believe that I’m going to do this?”

So I decided that my step of faith would be to move my old piano out and give it away to someone else, even though it was the only piano I had in the house.  I was going to give it away to someone else and make room for the new piano that I believed God was going to send.

This was a difficult thing to do.  I love playing the piano.   And to not have a piano would be very difficult for me.  But to make room for the new piano, God called me to take a step of faith.  And as I did, I promised the piano to someone.  I gave it away that week, and by the weekend, someone else had shown up to give a piano to me, unknowing that I had made any of these prayers, or any of these requests to God, and also that I had moved the piano out of my house.

But God answered.  God provided.  And ultimately he provided this particular piano a couple of years later as a result of that and other steps of faith.

So God will honor those steps of faith.  But it requires some action on our part.  Then he demonstrates his power to us, and that will give us the encouragement to go to the next step.

So I want to encourage you to go to the next step, just like Joshua did.

Take a look at me what happened.  Joshua 3, verse 9, says that Joshua told the Israelite this.  He said, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.  This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out the Cananites, Hittites, Perezites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.”

He says, “Choose 12 men… 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.”

“Now the Jordan is at flood stage during all of harvest.”  So this is a huge river and it’s also flooded.  “Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan, and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.”

“The priests who carried the ark of the covenant,” (verse 17) “stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel passed by, until the whole nation had completed and crossed on dry ground.”

When they were finished, in Chapter 4 verse 18 it says, “The Jordan returned to flood stage as before.”

And the key verse at the end of Chapter 4 says, “God did this so that all the people’s of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Whose Will?

You may be asking God for things and wanting him to work in your life just for your own sake.  And that’s fine, God wants to answer those requests too.  But God ultimately wants to demonstrate to you his power and his faithfulness.

He wants to show you that he is real, that he is alive and he is active.  As you take that step of faith, as you see the waters back up, know in your mind that it is God who is answering those prayers.  It is God who is answering that and giving you the faith to step in that and to walk in that.  And God will continue to direct your steps once you get across the Jordan.  So that you might know that God’s hand is powerful and that you would have the fear of the Lord.

Let me just stop and ask you right now:  Do you really believe that God exists?   You may have been a believer for a long time.  You may believe in Christ.   You may believe in God.  You may have given your life to the Lord.  If so, that’s great.

But is your life acting like you believe that there’s a God in heaven, a God who sees your every action?  A God who is with you?  A God who wants to reward those who diligently seek him as the Bible promises?

Because if you are convinced, ultimately convinced deep down here in your heart that God exists, and God is for you, and God loves you, and God’s going to carry you through, then I believe it’s going to have a profound impact on the way you live your life.

It’s going to have a profound impact on how you minister to people.  It’s going to have a profound impact on how you treat your kids.  It’s going to have a profound impact on what you choose to do tomorrow and next week and next year.

Because when you believe that God exists and he’s there for you, everything in your life will change.  So I want to pray that at the end of the night for you that you would have that confident assurance.  And if you don’t know Jesus Christ already, let me say this:  He died for your sins so that you could go to heaven and be with God forever.  So you don’t have to pay the penalty for your sins.

God doesn’t like sin.  The penalty is death.  But God has provided an escape clause, if you want it, to stick your hand up right now, right where you are and say, ‘Jesus, forgive me of my sins.  I’m sorry.  I’m going to turn around and go the other way.  I commit to you God that I will not do this any longer, and I will follow you.’

That’s what it takes, and when you believe that in your heart, God will forgive you and release a power in your life like you’ve not known before.  He’ll give you some joy that you’ve never known before.  He’ll give you some understanding, and the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Back to you who are wanting to take a step of faith.

Whose Will? (2)

So, back to you who are wanting to take a step of faith. One of the questions that frequently comes up is “Is this God that is telling me to do this or is this my own desire?”

I want to take point 2 just to address that. Point one was simply that God does have a desire for your life. He has a purpose, He does exist and He wants you to step out on faith. But point 2 is How do you know if it is God’s will or not? And I want to clarify some people are timid in stepping out in faith and they couch it behind the word “Well I’m not sure if this is what God wants me to do or not, I’m still waiting for Him to clarify if this is God’s will or not”. When really what they are saying is “I don’t know if I believe that God exists, I don’t know if I believe that God is going to catch me if I take this step of faith.”

There’s a very slight distinction there, but I want to make sure that you don’t have the second one. That you don’t miss out that God really is there, God will be there, He will catch you when you take the step. But one of the ways to know for sure that it is God’s will is first and foremost to know that it is not your will.

This is what George Mueller said a man who prayed in many things over a hundred years ago. And this is a quote from Henry Blackaby’s book “Experiencing God.” George Mueller says here is where nine-tenths of the error comes in knowing God’s will.

“Number 1) I seek at the beginning to get my heart in such a state that it has no will of it’s own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally exists here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the knowledge of what His will is. So God says right there, as far as Mueller found to be the case, when he could get to the point where he said “God, not my will but yours be done.”

I am dead to this issue, whether is succeeds , whether it fails. It doesn’t matter to me . What matters to me is that I get in your will.

And so I’ll pray with you later in the night that you will be able to pray a prayer like that too and say “God, . I have this desire in my heart to go and do something, to take a step of faith, but I’m not sure if it’s you. And so we’ll just pray tonight that God will make sure that it is His will and not your will, because that is where we can get into mistakes . The heart is deceptive and yet God does want us to take some risks and take some steps of faith. So that’s my cautionary statement, just make sure that it’s God’s will by making sure that it’s not your own will.

The third point tonight is to step into the river.

Step into the River

Here’s where it gets very difficult and also where it just requires sheer faith on your part. For you to say “I am going to do it. I’m going to step out, I’m going to step into the Jordan even though it is at flood stage. And I’m just going to stand up, I’m going to see the water and I’m going to take a step and walk into the river and see what happens.”

You may sink, but you may, like Peter find that you can walk on the water at least long enough to know that it is the power of God holding you up. I want to encourage you to stand firm in your faith. It is a fight, we have to “fight the good fight of faith,” Paul said to Timothy. And it is a fight to keep your faith. It’s a fight. And I know the struggle, and I know that you know the struggle.

Tonight’s broadcast is one of those steps of faith for me. I’m not ready with my web site, I’m not ready with all the technicalities, and yet God has said, “I want you to preach on the Internet. Preach with all your heart. Worship with all your heart. Pray with all your heart. Those are the three things He has called me to do.

So I’m doing that tonight out of obedience to Him even though I’m not comfortable with it, I’m not ready. I said “God, I need to step into the river just like you called me to do. And even though it’s not all there, it’s not the way I’d like it, I’m going to step in and see what kind of power You release. Because you’ve called me to do this and I’m going to do this in obedience to you.”

And if your watching, if you would pray for me that God would demonstrate His power, that He would show us that this is exactly how He is going to work. He’s promised us that and convinced us of that , but we need to walk in that. And over the next year we are going to be walking in this and this our full time occupation.

This is what we are going to do, this isn’t just some carry-over ministry, or something else we do, but we are here to preach to you on the Internet. To give you faith and just to have a one-on-one conversation with you. So afterwards you can come converse with us in our chat room at The Ranch and we can pray for each other. You can build up your faith because that’s what it is going to take over the next few years to get through the end times and to see the return of the Lord Jesus.

The final point of three is to step into the river. Just go ahead and step in. Once you know it’s God’s will , even though you don’t see anything around you that would tell you that the water is going to back up, you need to step in. Step in, step in, step into the river of life.

Let me pray with you and we’ll sing another worship song and we’ll come back to this at a closing time.

Lord, I just thank you for the time tonight. I thank you Lord for giving me the strength to step into the river tonight. I pray God that you would give others the strength too. God I pray that each person listening to this tonight, Lord, and later as it is stored on the computer, I pray God that you would give them the power, right now in Jesus name, to step out in faith, to know your will, to do your will.

You say you’ll guide us and you’ll direct our steps. God I pray You would speak to your people. I pray that you would give them confidence. I pray that they would walk in faith. And God, I pray that You would give them the strength to take the step. In Jesus name, Amen.

Following the Lord is a great thing to do and I just pray that god would give you the strength and courage to step out in faith.

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