revjoaquinwillisweb.gifHave you noticed that “faith” is the common refrain of sermons today? Times of struggle and hardship test our faith.  We are in the midst of “Spiritual Warfare,” and will see signs and wonders.  If we are to emerge victorious in this battle, we must be on guard against the schemes of Satan designed to keep us from our Land of Promise.

Over the past few weeks, we have examined author Beth Moore’s concept of “Promised Land Theology,’’ as detailed in her book, Believing God. This is particularly true as it relates to
African-American concepts of liberation theology. In Joshua 3:5, a liberated Israel is described as preparing to cross the Jordan, standing at the river bank, “Getting Ready for War and Wonders.”

Joshua instructs all to make ready for departing the wilderness.  They are to follow the Ark of the Covenant, keeping a distance of a thousand yards, and are told to “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow. God will do amazing things among you,”  Joshua 3:5-7. 

God commands Joshua to advise the priest carrying the Ark that, “When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go stand in the river. I will cut off the water flowing downstream.” 

While the unbelieving generation stood by, littering the desert, the obedient followed the faith-filled Joshua, ready to take their places in history.

Before crossing the Jordan, Joshua gathered the people to hear God’s word.  They had wanted to rush across, to finally leave the desert. 

We, too, live in a fast-paced world where we would eagerly flee the places and issues that confine us.  Everyone rushes just to keep up, and it’s all too easy to forego the opportunity to hear God’s word.

Beth Moore writes that “active-participle” believers “are not those having believed, but rather those who are presently, actively, and continually believing God.”  Coming to believe in Christ mandates that we continue believing in all He came to do and to say.

In Believing God, Moore provides three exercises designed to increase individual faith.  First, one must raise one’s armor, a shield of faith that is  part of the Gospel armor.  

Second, each must increase his or her personal level of sanctification by wearing a reminder, such as a blue sanctification bracelet, to ensure action that will bring one closer to God, and that will strengthen the commitment to  keep faith in His word.

Third, one must practice watching for signs of God’s presence, heeding “Godstops.”  “STOP” is an acronym for “savoring the observable presence.”  Keep a journal of Godstops moments, ways in which God makes His presence observable in your life.

It is interesting to reflect upon the journey of the people of Israel.  As it begins, in Exodus 14, we see God’s miracle of parting the Red Sea to get His people out of Egypt.  As it ends, in
Joshua 3, God parts the Jordan River. God chose these interactions with nature to demonstrate His power. These Wars & Wonders of God’s supernatural force served to build Israelite hope, and imparted to God a reputation which frightened the enemies who greatly outnumbered Israel. 

Joshua 3:15 reads, “As soon as the priest carrying the Ark touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.”

Often, God provides no solution to our problems until we take a step of faith and trust Him to move us ahead. Scripture tells us that the river was at flood level, and that it was harvest time.  When the priest stepped into the water, it stopped flowing. This was a harvest in which God’s blessings were upon the people, as He had promised.  With their trials behind them, and God’s blessing of their future, God had done His part. 

God has a harvest for you, and He needs you to believe, and to do your part. Take that step of faith into the water.

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at pastoropendoorc@