Graham Snow - Go Over the Jordan - Harare, Zimbabew Convention

Jeremiah 1:9-10, "Then the LORD put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, 'Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.'" Do I dare say the same thing about the British Empire? It rose to become a mighty Empire, the British Empire. It came as far as New Zealand, the furthest land from Britain itself. It became a colony in the British Empire. We have English in the whole world today as the world language, in many aspects of business life; an important language, thanks to the British Empire. But where is Britain today? It seems to be swallowed up by the European community; to lose their identity, to lose the British pound, sterling, and so forth; it is going to happen very shortly; swallowed up by former enemies. There was the rise and the fall of the British Empire. BUT, with the Word of God, with the Kingdom of Heaven, it says, first of all comes the falling, and then the rising again, to NEVER fall again.

The rising for eternal Life, for all eternity; it's eternal, this Kingdom. But it begins with the falling. Are we prepared to fall? What are the words of Jesus? "If ye fall on the stone, ye shall be broken, but on whom the stone falls they will be crushed to powder." It is so simple to understand. The Gospel comes; speaks to us and we realize our pride must be broken, our wills, our whole being must be broken. We must be prepared to fall on Christ, on the Stone, which is Christ Jesus. If we fall on Him, there will be a rising for all eternity, for this great Empire or Kingdom of Heaven. No falling ever again. But first of all the fall, then afterwards comes the rising again. I like to think of this verse also in this light. Sometimes experiences come which aren't easy. It might be bad health, or some tragedy in the family, or death or sickness or illness or disappointment. It might even be out there in the work life where we have become redundant or business goes bankrupt, etc. It could even be problems in the family or marriage; just so much happens in life, and things come to crush us. This stone just wants to fall on us and crush us. But if we can just learn to fall first of all. When these things come, these tragedies, disappointments, negative things, which would, if they could, they would really crush us. We lose all hope for life on earth and for the future. If we could just learn to FALL. Fall on the Rock, fall on Christ, fall on the Will of God, then they won't crush us. But we often resist, and we fight against it, we won't bow and give in to it. We want to change everything instead of just falling, accepting what life may bring, putting God first in all things. "If ye be risen with Christ..." Before we can rise, there must be this falling, falling upon the Rock.

Once there in Switzerland, we were out for a walk, and we climbed to the top of a hill. On this hill, there was an old stone fortress that had been used perhaps a thousand years ago in the Swiss history. Today just a monument, this fortress on the hill. Gazing over the countryside, I saw two other hills not very far away. On the top of each hill there was a fortress, which had been used back in the olden days in the times of war. I understood that day that they built fortresses on the top of the hill; not in the valley, not half way up, but on the top of the hill. It was an advantage when the enemy came, to be above the enemy. Often the enemy was strong, powerful and numerous, and a lot of soldiers came. But if those in the fortress, even if they were outnumbered, were above the enemy, they had a big advantage. They could shoot the arrows down, throw stones down, as they sometimes did. They would boil big cauldrons of fat and oil, and tip out the boiling oil on those climbing up the mountainside. It was a BIG advantage to be on the top, to have the fortress up there on the hill.

Sometimes we get up in the morning, but the old man lies in bed. Our being, our thoughts, our attitude, or what we are, the body rises, but what is within us remains down. It is always an advantage to reach the fortress, to get on top in the beginning of the day, to face the day, and have victory in our lives and the right aspect of life. It is possible through the help of God.

The story of Paul, on the road to Damascus, then this great light shown round about him and he fell to the ground and was blind for three days. I like the way it was written, in another language, when Paul was smitten that day and when he realized it was Jesus whom he had been persecuting, he said, "What shall I do, what shall I do?" Paul realized for the first time in his life, that he had made a terrible mistake. He had done everything wrong. He was zealous, he was trying to do the right thing, he thought he was doing the right thing, he took those Christians, threw them into prison, had them persecuted and beaten. He was even so happy when Stephen was stoned to death. He stood there and witnessed the whole thing. He fought against Christianity, against God, against the Christians in his day, and thought he was doing right. Now for the first time, he had to realize, "I have made the biggest mistake of my life, made a mess of things, what a tragedy. I have spent all my life, all my energy and it has all been wrong." It must have been like a mountain falling on him that day, on the road to Damascus. He was asking the question, "What shall I do? How can I put all that wrong right? How can I reverse the whole matter? These years of doing wrong, of persecution, of beating God's people. What can I do to put all that right?" He knew full well that he just couldn't. He could not change the situation. It had happened. There was not a thing he could do to change the situation. I like the words of Jesus. He told Paul, "Arise, and go to Damascus." Sometimes we feel it has all gone wrong. I meant well, perhaps even in married life, or family life, or the business life, or professional life, or everyday life - I meant well. I tried to do my best, but it has gone wrong somewhere. What shall I do? How can I put all those wrongs right? There's only one thing to do.

Obey the words of the Master, "Arise, arise." There is nothing else to do, but just arise. Get up above ourselves, our failings, our weaknesses. Be risen Christians through the power of the Spirit. Often He says to us, "Arise, arise." You know the story of Joshua, when Moses had died. Moses was a pillar, a wonderful man of God. He was not an orator apparently, but he was a father figure. He was the meekest man on the face of the earth. Now he had gone. There was Joshua and all the people before the Jordan, and "at that time the Jordan was in flood." The waters had risen, overflowing the banks, and there was a strong current there, and those swirling, dangerous waters filling up the whole Jordan. God said to Joshua, "Arise, with all the people and go over THIS Jordan." He could have said, "Let's wait a few weeks, till the waters go down a bit, it's dangerous now, the current is strong. Think about the children, the old people, how can they cross over the Jordan in these swirling deep waters? Let's wait till it is better and easier to cross the Jordan." "But no," God said, "arise and go over this Jordan." They were still in the wilderness, and on the other side, were the promises of God, the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey, with the best fruits in the whole world. A wonderful land, blessed by God, no better land in the whole world. But in between was this Jordan. This Jordan, filled with swirling water, with strong currents filled with danger. God said, "Arise, and go over this Jordan this morning." I should not tell you secrets, but those words spoke to me very, very personally, because I realized that, in front of me, there is a Jordan. That's MY Jordan. It's not your Jordan, it's my Jordan, and the waters are swirling, and the waters are deep, and the current is strong. There is a message to my own heart this morning: "Graham, arise and go over this Jordan. You won't experience the fullness of the promises of God if you don't arise and go over this Jordan."

There was someone in Switzerland years ago now. This young person fell in love with a young man, also professing. They were in love and decided to marry. This young woman felt, "I would love to have an open home for the workers, for the Christians, and for meetings." She married with the best of intentions, thinking they would be useful, as he loved the things of God, too. Well, it wasn't very long before that young husband got sidetracked. He started reading other books: philosophies and science fiction, etc. He lost his simplicity in Christ; he began to doubt, and to question. He stopped praying and reading, and got taken up with other things, and then stopped coming to meetings. It was such a blow for that young wife. One day, he told her, "If you want to save our marriage, you stop going to the meetings." She came one day, to the brothers who were there in the area, with tears. She said, "I have to try and save my marriage; I don't want to lose my husband. Even for the children's sake (a boy and a girl), I have to do my best to save our marriage." So she stopped coming to meetings. It was not very long after that that he told her, "You can go. I have no more time for you." She lost her salvation, she lost her marriage. I knew her well. Well, I am glad I kept in contact with her. I passed by once a year, for a visit, and she always welcomed me to the home with her and her two children. She said, "Graham, I can't make it. I know God's way is right, I know you are servants of God. But I have become bitter; there is just a terrible ache in my being. I meant well, I wanted to honor the name of God. It's all gone wrong, and there is such pain here in my heart." It was the same story every year.

Oh, she had a Jordan to cross; and the Jordan was deep and was wide; and the waters were swirling and dangerous and there she was struggling, "I should return, make an effort; I just can't, I've been hurt so much." Well, one year she said to me, "Graham, the children are asking questions about God. What shall I do? They want to know, Who is God, and who is Jesus, and what is the Bible? What shall I do?" I said, "I'll make you a proposition. You write to me in a week's time, with the answer. Don't give it now, take time about the matter. I want you to be completely free, to answer as you wish." I said to her, "We could come, my companion and myself, once a week and have a little meeting with the children, just around the table, and you can sit in, if you wish. We will come and try and speak simply so that they can understand about the things of God." Of course, my thought was to try and help her, not just help the children. She wrote me a letter a week later, "Graham, come." We went, and she was there and the two children, a boy and a girl, also the grandmother. We had the first meeting, the second meeting. We had many meetings, and finally she got the courage to cross her Jordan. There is no one more true today than that mother, now become a grandmother. The two children professed, married good partners inside the Kingdom of Heaven. Both have children today, and to be in their home is a joy and pleasure. Back in Switzerland, there is the mother, now the grandmother, still filling her place. It took a long time to get the strength, to get the courage, to cross her Jordan. I told you I have my Jordan. I have had many Jordan's to cross down through the years, when I felt I can't, it's too deep, too wide, too dangerous, too strong. Experiences, happenings, disappointments and so forth. I am so grateful God has helped me thus far, to always cross my Jordan. The hymn says, "Each Canaan has its Jordan yet between." On the other side are the most wonderful promises. On the other side milk and honey flowed, on the other side there was so much fruit to be enjoyed. But first of all, they had to arise. "Arise, Joshua, arise, oh people, and go over this Jordan." "If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above."

There is one more small thought. Joseph. In that dream he had one night, his sheaf arose and stood. The sheaves of his brethren bowed down before Joseph. Ever seen sheaves? I suppose you have. We still have them there in Switzerland where they cut the grain by hand sometimes; and they make a sheaf out of a number of stalks of grain. It might be 20 - 30 stalks bound together. Then they take three or four sheaves and lean them against each other; leave them out on the fields for a number of days, that the sun may finish its work to ripen the grain. Then after a few days, taken into the barn to be threshed and so on. I have never yet seen one sheaf standing alone. They just can't. You stand a sheaf up, take your hand away, it falls over. It can't stand alone. There was Joseph, he arose and he stood. In every experience, in every disappointment, in every hard task in his life, there in the pit, being sold as a slave to the Egyptians, there in Potipher's house, he didn't fall. A young virile man, he was tempted; he stood firm. There in the prison; despair, darkness, forgotten, discouragement; what is the point of it all? I could take being treated as a slave, I could take the pit. I could even take Potipher's wife and all her treachery. But being here in prison, is just too much, he could have said. But no, his sheaf stood. It never fell. Stood the whole way through and stood alone without fellowship, without help from others. Why? Because an invisible Hand was holding him from above. You and I will arise, and will stay standing in every experience, if this invisible Hand from above can hold our lives up. But it is up to us to arise. 

It isn't it so easy to be dragged down, and crushed by this life, and crushed by experiences and lose all hope and become depressed, and think it is not worth even trying? But no, if you get to your knees; arise as far as your knees, and God will put you on your feet. Once on your feet, He will hold you. Just keep true, there is no limit to the power of God. "If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." As we said before, the life, the teachings, the preaching, the death, perfection in every aspect, will have all been in vain, if, He had not have risen on the third day. It is the resurrection life, which is so important, and so wonderful to know. We don't just follow the teachings of Jesus. We don't just accept the sacrifice on Calvary's cross. We go further than this. We can have a power to get above everything; just soar to the heights like the eagle can soar to the very highest point. As far as I know there is not a bird which, soars higher than an eagle. It doesn't fly; it is carried on those thermal currents by an invisible power, invisible strength. It just soars higher and higher into the highest point in life for a bird. Carried by another power. "If ye be risen..." But I know the young eagle, standing on the edge of its nest, for the very first flight, is afraid. It sees so far down to the bottom of the mountainside. The fear of falling precedes the thrill of soaring. We can soar to heights in Christ. We can be the risen Christians, not just dying to self; risen, resurrected Christians, and life today is to overcome the fear of falling, in that sense, "If ye be risen." I hope God will help us to have more of this risen life in our own hearts and beings.