“The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.”

Joshua 3:13 NLT

 When I was 5 years old, I laid in a hospital bed located at Lamar County Hospital. I remember knowing something was wrong, but at such a young age, it was hard for me to understand fully why my mother was crying and why the doctors were speaking in hushed tones. I was told later that my mother had sat by my bedside three days and nights tending to me with nothing really to eat. We were poor and my dad was off working somewhere. One afternoon, I was doing my very best to sit up and feed myself some red Jell-O. My movements were spastic and it was nearly impossible to not to fling Jell-O everywhere. As I concentrated, I heard a voice deep and low. It was Reverend James Kilgore.

 “Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.”

Joshua 3:5

 We know that the priests shouldered the Ark of the Covenant. We know that when they placed their foot in the water that God stepped in and miraculously, they walked across the River Jordan on dry ground. But something had to happen before God showed up. The children of Israel had to do something before the miracle took place. We want to God to do the great things in our life but often we refuse to step out on faith.

 “Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw night unto you.”

James 4:8

 God is mindful of His creation. The word of God says in Matthew 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” It says in Luke 12:7, “...even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” So why hasn’t God answered your prayer? Why hasn’t God touched your family? What is He waiting for? He’s waiting on you.

 Draw nigh. Take a step toward God and watch all of heaven respond. Give and watch God out give you. Take a chance and forgive someone, then watch God’s mercy work in your life. Replace bad habits with good and watch God make things even better in your life. Take a step His direction and watch God take a step in your life.

 Joshua told Israel to purify themselves. The writer from old, in later portion of James 4:8, says to “Cleanse your hands...purify your hearts.” Joshua and James both call upon us to clean ourselves up. Before I could ever sit down at Grandma Holly’s table as a boy, I had to go to the bathroom and wash up. There was all kinds of goodness spread across Grandma’s table and I could eat all I wanted. There was only one prerequisite. I had to wash up.

 How do we wash up? How do we purify ourselves? How do we purify our hearts and clean our hands? We do so through repentance. Repentance is the simple act of asking for God’s forgiveness and making an about-face, replacing old habits with new. We make a step toward God.

 Reverend James Kilgore prayed a simple prayer for a five-year-old who was suffering from Spinal Meningitis. God heard his prayer and healed me. The next day we walked across Paris, Texas to get home and instead of stumbling along crippled, I was carrying my suitcase. Thank God that there was a preacher willing to take that first step for me.

 This week take that first step. Put the ‘Before Principle’ to work. Whether it’s forgiving someone that has wronged you or asking for someone to forgive you of something that you have done. Maybe, it’s trusting God with your finances and giving more than you are accustom to? Or, maybe it’s getting down on your knees and repenting before Him knowing that when you make that step...when you draw nigh...that He is not going to leave you there all alone. Let Him do wonders in your life.

 You’ve come too late to tell an old preacher that God can’t do the impossible. He healed me of Spinal Meningitis as a boy. I just can’t help but wonder what God is going to do for you this week!

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