Each New Year I pray and ask God to give me a “Banner” Bible verse or verses for the year. I have been doing this for about 6 years now and continue to be amazed at how right on, encouraging, and supportive they always are. I really shouldn’t be, since His Word is LIVING and active in me and from the One who knows and loves me best!

So as I was praying at the end of 2013 for God to give me this year’s verse(s), I woke up on January 1, in my daughter’s flat in London, with the verse, Joshua 3:10 clearly in my mind. It wasn’t a verse I was already familiar with so I looked it up.

“And Joshua said, God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites.”  (ESV)

My first thought was, “That’s a lot of “ites” and what in the world does this mean for me? Certainly THIS can’t be my year banner verse?”

The Lord then encouraged me to also read verse 13.

“And when the soles of the feet of the priest bearing the ark of the Lord,  the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”

Okay, now I was really confused. I prayed and asked the Lord to show me what this meant for me, and were these indeed my year “banner” verses?

He spoke into my spirit and told me that He was going to remove any obstacles (the “ites”) from my life this next year that would hinder me from doing what He calls me to do, BUT, and there’s always that “but”, I had to TAKE THE FIRST STEP, as the priests did when crossing the Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant. I knew that this was a very significant Biblical event, but still not understanding what it had to do with me. As I looked further, (read all of Joshua Chapter 3 for details surrounding this event), I was reminded that the Israelites, after wandering the desert for many years, needed to cross the Jordan River to enter the Promised land on the other side. They knew there were a lot of obstacles waiting for them on the other side (i.e. all those “ites”), but even crossing the Jordan was a miracle in itself. Why? Because they were crossing it at its annual flood stage, which for most would mean certain death. This was going to take a “Parting of the Red Sea” type miracle, which was why it took great faith for Joshua, the priests, and the Israelites to trust God would do as He promised. And, as a side note, it was not until the “soles of the feet of the priests” rested in the water that the Lord would stop the rivers from flowing. They had to TAKE THE FIRST STEP!

God showed me that He was doing His part “up-stream” to prepare the perfect timing, connections, circumstances, and miraculous intervention He has for my life, just as He did for the Israelites in stopping the flow of the river so they could cross. But, like the priests, I have to do my part in TAKING THE FIRST STEP. I would imagine as those priests stood at the banks of the raging Jordan River they were terrified at the thought of stepping into the river not knowing if they would be swept away to their deaths or indeed witness another miracle. But they had solid faith in God, that even though they did not know what would happen next, they could trust the One who was leading them.

How many times have I stood at a “Jordan River” in my life, terrified of what I was facing and uncertain of what would happen if I stepped in the river, and what lay on the other side? Many times!

It all came together then. I knew that indeed these were my “banner verses” for this New Year. God assured me that for all the times I will be standing at the banks of my “Jordan Rivers”  this year, I can trust Him to safely carry me through and across, and, into what lies on the other side. That when I have no clue what lies around the bend or what may be the final outcome of a challenging situation, which is most of the time, He is always working “upstream” on my behalf.  He is continuing to go before me and prepare the way in which I will go, but I have to keep TAKING THOSE FIRST STEPS and He will be right there to take my hand and lovingly lead me each step thereafter. I can rest in knowing the ONE who is leading me.

I praise God for His faithfulness and love for me! For His perfect plan for my life and helping me to continue to trust Him as I step into my “Jordan Rivers” to the promises and purposes He has for my life.

Looking forward to another adventurous year crossing the “Jordan’s!”


What is your “Jordan River” right now? Pray and ask the Lord to help you trust Him and take the first step to cross it. Other encouraging verses you may like to read, Exodus 23:30, Psalm 85:13, and Isaiah 57:14.

Pray and ask God to give YOU a “banner verse or verses” for this next year. Sometimes it also helps to find a picture that goes with the verses to remind yourself of God’s promise for you in this New Year! Please send me a note and share with me what He gives you.

4 thoughts on “Take the First Step

  1. WOW this was a really powerfully encouraging post. Especially, “….when I have no clue what lies around the bend or what may be the final outcome of a challenging situation, which is most of the time, He is always working “upstream” on my behalf.” THANK YOU!!!

  2. Excellent blog, Jen! And so appropriate for everyone to meditate on for their own life. I’ll take this with me to re-read during my “retreat” at the missionary gathering next week.

    I have a thought I’d like to present to the board for consideration. Would it be possible to send a blog like this out at regular intervals (once or twice a month, maybe?) and at the bottom of the page where the “Comment” button is, add a “Donate” button? Or, maybe a link to order the book for a donation?

    Kathie White kathie88@comcast.net

  3. Debbie Jones

    Awesome word for everyone Jen! God is so good and He is working all things together for good at all times on our behalf. He is so trustworthy and true to His promises. Thank you for sharing so that we can be reminded of His faithfulness!

  4. Pamela Brown

    Perfect word for me this morning! Thank You!

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