Just Crossing Some Water?
Almost everyone is familiar with H2O, the chemical formula for water. Water is found in the form of liquid, solid (ice) and vapor (steam or mists). 70.9% of the earth's surface is covered by water. 96.5% of the planet's water is found in oceans. As babies our bodies are 75 to 80% water. As we grow older this percentage decreases until the percentage is reduced to approximately 60 to 65% for men and 50 to 60% for women. Even our brain and bones contain water. The human brain is about 85% water and our bones are between 10 to 15% water. The term "water" is found in 367 verses in our King James Version of the Bible. The first reference to "water" in our Bible had to do with the Garden of Eden. "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden." (Genesis 2:10) The last reference to water in the Bible is in Revelation 22:17 where we read of the "water of life." "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." This lesson has to do with just crossing some water. There are many ways you could cross some water. You could swim across it, find a shallow point and walk across it, build a bridge and go across it, use a rope on any strong overhanging branches and swing across, get a car or motorbike and go fast up a ramp and you might make it across, build a damn and walk across it, walk a foot log across, cross in a boat, fly across in a plane or you might wait until winter so that it freezes over and then cross. Today we do not talk about any of these methods of crossing water; instead I want to talk about four times in the Bible when people crossed the water on dry ground.
Just crossing some water? No crossing this water was deliverance for the nation of Israel.
The crossing of the Red Sea on dry ground by the children of Israel was the final step in the deliverance from Egyptian slavery. (Exodus 14) When the tenth plague came upon Egypt Pharaoh decided to allow Israel to leave Egypt. His change of heart was only temporary and he soon pursued Israel to bring them back to Egypt. It is amazing how quickly we can forget what God has done. Pharaoh and his well equipped army pursued Israel. Psalms 106:9-12 described what happened at the Red Sea. "He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left. Then believed they his words; they sang his praise." Satan will never let us go easily. Just like Pharaoh chasing after Israel, Satan pursues us, attempting to destroy us if he can. In a great statement of faith Moses said to the people, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever." (Exodus 14:13) Let us see that our only help is God. The waters of the Red Sea were parted and God allowed the children of Israel cross over safely on dry ground. He fought against the Egyptian army and they were drowned. Israel sang, "Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea." (Exodus 15:4) Just crossing some water? No crossing the Red Sea was deliverance for the nation of Israel.
Just crossing some water? No crossing this water brought the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua was a strong believer in God. He knew that Israel could never enter the Promised Land without God's help. The flooded Jordan River stood between the Jews and the Promised Land. God helped them cross over this river just as He had helped them cross the Red Sea. God told Joshua to have the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant down to the edge of the river. "And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people." (Joshua 3:10-14) We know that God will always help us to do whatever He asks us to do. "And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan." (Joshua 3:17) Crossing the Jordan gave many opportunities to teach children about the power of God. Joshua was commanded to have one man from each tribe to carry a large stone from the Jordan into the land. The monument made with these stones would cause children to ask, "What mean ye by these stones?" This
provided an opportunity to teach these children about the power of God. Let us never fail to teach our children about our Mighty God.
Just crossing some water? No crossing this water gave us a glimpse of the mighty works of God through Elijah and Elisha. Elijah and Elisha help us to recognize the great power of God. (2 Kings 2) God is exalted above all else. He is the source of all the immense power of the universe. Crossing the Jordan just before Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind involved a testing of Elisha's faith. If he passed the test he would take over Elijah's ministry and fight against idolatry. Elisha was loyal, loving and committed to God's work. The Jordan had been a barrier to the plan of God for the Jews. The prophets knew that Elijah would be taken away and 50 of them watched as Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan. "And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground." (2 Kings 2:8) After Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind Elisha returned across the Jordan the same way. At the Jordan Elisha, "took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. (2 Kings 2:14) The same God who worked for Elijah and Elisha is ever present today and available to our needs, working intimately and personally. God can use you. Are you willing to be His servant? Just crossing some water? No crossing this water gave us a glimpse of the mighty works of God through Elijah and Elisha.
The Jordan River was a place for trusting God. It was the place where Jesus was baptized and where He began His own ministry. We should all cross over to a new beginning. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (John 6:44-45), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) Today do not allow a river or anything else to hold you back from God's service.
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: Health South Rehab, Montgomery: Leroy Waller, Baptist South: Glenn Phillips. In Need Of Prayer: Randall Alexander, Dee Barker, Jerry Barr, Teresa Boutwell, Alma Box, Brenda Burkett, Mellisa Coggins, Bonnie Croley, Sandra Cumbie, Marie Curlee, Ron Fisher, Bryan Harville, Linda Harville (grandmother of Ashley Pierce), Billy Heartsill, Davis Hester, Sarah Jean Hoffman (after surgery), David Jones, Leona Jones, Felice Kendrick, Patrica Kennemore, Digger Kimbro, Alice Little, Larry Lucas, Annie McKee, Taylor Merry, Charlotte Miller, Jeff Miller, Billy Joe Nelson, Barbara Parker, Tina Pouncey, Bert Powell (grandfather of Darrell Powell), Henry Powell (son of Jessie Mae Powell), Jack Queener, Joan Radcliff, John Reynolds, Olivia Reynolds, Lillie K. Rice, Jimmy Riley, Billy Rodger, Katie Sanders, Mary Sasser, Nathan Simmons, Eleanor Stabler, Sarah Stidham, Mary Lou Terrell, Frank Thomas, Kayla Thomas, Leisha Till, Charlotte Todd, Jim Watts, John Watts (brother-in-law of Neomia Collins). Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Betty Findley, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, and Annie Ruth Tetter.
2. An Adoption Celebration: Come and celebrate with Tim and Lindsey Croley in the adoption of their son, Andrew Singleton Croley on Sunday, January 15th at 2:00 pm in the multipurpose room at the Walnut Street Church of Christ.
3. Wednesday Morning Ladies Bible Class:
All ladies are invited to attend the Ladies Bible Class, Wednesday morning at 10:00. The class is studying the book of I Samuel.
4. Assisted Hearing Devices: If you are using an Assisted Hearing Devise see Jason Owens. Some of them are in need of batteries and some other attention. Thanks!
5. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week are: January 17th Vivian Taylor and Jessie Mae Powell, January 18th Adrianna Bagents, and January 21st Helen Autrey and Kelli Smith.
6. Room or Small Apartment Needed: Evan Kelley, a brother in Christ from Birmingham, is now teaching at Greenville High School. He needs a room or small apartment for a few months. If you know of a place please contact Barry Gross or Charles Box.
7. Thank You: (a) Thanks to all of you for your prayers during the past three months of my illness. God has certainly blessed me with a host of Christian friends who have prayed continually as my recovery continues. Thanks again. God bless you all. Barbara Parker (sister of Lisa Garlock), (b) Dear Walnut Street Family, I would like to take this time to thank those that sent cards, gave us presents and those that wish us well through the holiday time. It was so thoughtful of you to think of us. Everything was much appreciated and enjoyed. May God bless and be with all of you through this year. Deborah Stallings
8. Sign-Up Sheets 2012: The sign-up sheets for 2012 are on the bulletin board. Please volunteer to help during 2012. Thanks to so many of you who do things year round! God bless you.
9. Youth Activities: (a) Crowne Health Care -
Every Saturday morning at 10 am, we have a class at the Nursing Home, (b) Out With "Tweens" (4-6 graders) - The 4ththrough 6th grades will go out to lunch, and then on to a fun activity after morning services on Sunday 15th. Please involve your children in this activity, (c) Teen Devotional - After evening service on Sunday, January 22nd, there will be a devotional/fellowship for the teens. If you would be willing to host this, or any other youth event, sign-up sheets are on the bulletin board next to the resource room.
10. Area Events: (a) January 28th - Today's Youth - Grady Church of Christ - Speaker Reed Brown - Theme: Create in Me a Clean Heart -Time: 9:30 am until 1:00 pm, (b) February 3rd -4th - A Marriage Workshop for Couples of All Ages - Eastern Meadows Church of Christ -Time: Friday 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., (c) February 5th - 10th -The 76thAnnual Bible Lectureship - Freed-Hardeman University, and (d) March 5th � 8th -68th Annual Bible Lectureship - Faulkner University
At the Montgomery Area Wide Youth Devotional some time back, a young man did a fine job leading a public prayer. As he spoke, one petition that he made went something like this: "Lord, please be with those who are going through surgeries, whether physical or spiritual." I'm going to assume that is exactly what he meant to say, because there is wisdom in that plea.
People undergo physical surgeries for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes damage has been done to a person's body, and a surgery can repair the damage. Often, surgery is performed to remove something that is causing harm to the rest of the body. This reminds me of Jesus' words about pruning. "Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:2) Surgery usually hurts. A spiritual "surgery" might consist of the removal of habits, lifestyles, or pleasures that hinder one from walking with God.
Still other surgeries are what we call "elective" procedures. This surgery would be one that a patient and doctor plan in advance for a condition that is not life threatening. An elective procedure is chosen usually because a person believes it will improve his or her quality of life. Spiritually, sometimes God helps us in a similar way. We are privileged to let our requests be made known to God in prayer, and He often blesses us with just what we want or need. Other times, however, we may want the Lord to remove some problem from our lives, but He has other plans. Paul desperately wanted to be rid of a particular physical "thorn," but despite his pleading the Lord gave this answer: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (II Corinthians12:9)
God is the answer to the physical and spiritual ailments in our lives. I believe it is indeed fitting that we should pray, "Lord please be with each of us as we go through surgeries, whether physical or spiritual."
- - - Darrell Powell
Don't just own a Bible; read it!
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, Alabama 36037-0551