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CROSSING JORDAN

 

CROSSING JORDAN, a hymn devotion for 16 May 2017 Anno Domini

 

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.  And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.” Mark 1:3-5 (KJV)

 

            The entire nation of Israel was baptized at once in the Red Sea – the only recorded account of an entire nation being baptized. But they were baptized as a people separated from all of the other nations of the world as is the Church, or should be, today. They were baptized into a physical salvation. John the Baptist came preaching and baptizing with water, but that baptism was only figurative of that which was to come in Christ. “16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Luke 3:15-16 (KJV) He (John) baptized in the Jordan, but that was a half-way point. Sooner or later, if we will arrive in the Promised Land, we must cross Jordan Waters.

We have talked much of crossing Jordan Waters over the past few years, and I suppose we need a constant reminder that we must, indeed, cross that barrier at some future time appointed by God; and we shall do so either in a Lifeboat to buoy us onward, or with an anchor to fathom the depths. I was unable to find biographical or chronological information on this hymn in my library or on the net. But I do know that it was composed, both lyrics and tune, by Thomas Ramsey. The song has a Blue Grass flavor to it and was sung in the mountains of Tennessee and Georgia while I was growing up. Though I do not usually prefer Gospel songs to hymns, this one carries a message that seems timely and important.

 

I WON’T HAVE TO CROSS JORDAN ALONE

When I come to the river at the ending of day
When the last winds of sorrow have blown
There’ll be somebody waiting to show me the way
I won’t have to cross Jordan alone

 

I won’t have to cross Jordan alone
Jesus died all my sins to atone
In the darkness I see he’ll be waiting for me
I won’t have to cross Jordan alone

 

Often times I’m weary and troubled and sad
When it seems that my friends have all flown
There is one thought that cheers me and makes my heart glad
I won’t have to cross Jordan alone

 

I won’t have to cross Jordan alone
Jesus died all my sins to atone
In the darkness I see he’ll be waiting for me
I won’t have to cross Jordan alone

 

Though the billows of trouble and sorrow may sweep
Christ the Saviour will care for his own
Till the end of my journey my soul he will
keep and I won’t have to cross Jordan alone

 

I won’t have to cross Jordan alone
Jesus died all my sins to atone
In the darkness I see he’ll be waiting for me
I won’t have to cross Jordan alone

 

            “When I come to the river at the ending of day When the last winds of sorrow have blown
There’ll be somebody waiting to show me the way I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.”
We all come into this life naked and alone, and many of us leave this life likewise – naked and alone. It matters not our place of birth, we all follow a continuous trail that leads inevitably to the symbolic waters of Jordan Banks. From the primal Fall of Adam in the Garden eastward in Eden, we have had a great dread of being found naked. It suggests that we are weak and without means of protection, and a great shame as well. The feeling of shame perhaps exceeds all other resulting emotions. But we do not ALL cross Jordan alone and naked. If we have received the White Robe of Righteousness of Christ, we shall not go across naked, nor shall we go it alone. We will have our Lord to walk with us across Jordan just as He walked over the Sea of Galilee. The final winds of sorrow, and the gentle breezes of grace, combine to waft our sails up and over the murky waters and into the Paradise of God.

 

REFRAIN:  I won’t have to cross Jordan alone Jesus died all my sins to atone In the darkness I see he’ll be waiting for me I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.” If we are covered by the Crimson Blood of our Lord’s sacrifice, our sins are washed away in the tidal basin of grace and mercy. We shall certainly see the Light of Christ contrasted by the darkness surrounding. Light is made even more vivid as the darkness gathers more gloomily. We shall see Him in the Light, and we shall follow Him home.

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            “Often times I’m weary and troubled and sad When it seems that my friends have all flown There is one thought that cheers me and makes my heart glad I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.” There is no more faithful Friend than Christ. All the friends of Jesus deserted Him during the terrible night of His betrayal – not even ONE good man remained by His side. May we expect more loyal treatment than our Master received? But to the Elect, there is one friend that remains constant. He is “a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Prov 18:24 (KJV)

            Though the billows of trouble and sorrow may sweep Christ the Saviour will care for his own Till the end of my journey my soul he will keep and I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.” Remember Peter’s lapse of faith when embarking on the sea at the invitation of Jesus? He actually walked on the sea until he took his eyes off the Lord and focused on the swirling waters of the Galilean Sea. The Godly walk requires us to stay focused on God and not the troubles and cheap goods of this world.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3-4 (KJV) True peace is a product of the heart and not of the external circumstances. Yes, Christ will care for His own, but He will also execute judgment against all who are damned by their rejection and rebellion against their Maker. There is no better safe haven for the keeping of our souls than the Lord Jesus Christ. He will not lose a single soul that has been given Him by the Father. Just as He was with Hagar, unbeknownst, in the Wilderness, and the men on the Road to Emmaus, so is He with you and me if we trust in Him with faith and commitment. “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt 28:20 (KJV)

            If you have placed your full trust in Him, and have heard His call upon your life, He is with you now no matter the venue, or time. If you have neither heard, nor answered, that call; perhaps it is time to pray for light and understanding. There is no place in the City of God for ‘marginal believers.’ The topside of the coin reads, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 (KJV) Our fervent study and adherence to God’s Word proves our Election. The obverse side of the coin reads, “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker.” 2 Tim 2:16-17 (KJV) No need to toss the coin, just observe the topside and you cannot be guilty of that which appears on the obverse.

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