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Summary: Like the Israelites of old, many of us find ourselves staring at an obstacle of some kind that stands between us and the spiritual goals we have set for ourselves for the new year.

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NAVIGATING THE NEW YEAR

Overcoming the Obstacles

Bette Nesmith had a good secretarial job in a Dallas bank when she ran across a problem that interested her. Her thought was, there must be a better way to correct typewriter errors? Having had some art experience, she knew that artists who worked in oils just painted over their errors. So she began to think that maybe that would work for her too. So she concocted a fluid to paint over her typing errors.

Before long, all the secretaries in her building were using what she then called "MistakeOut." She attempted to sell the product idea to marketing agencies and various companies (including IBM), but they all turned her down.

However, secretaries continued to like her product, so Bette Nesmith’s kitchen became her first manufacturing facility and she started selling it on her own.

When she eventually sold the enterprise, the tiny white bottles were earning $3.5 million annually on sales of $38 million. The buyer was the Gillette Company and the sale price was $47.5 million.

Success stories like this one are as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sands in the sea, and it seems that every one involves overcoming obstacles in order to reach the goal. In Bette Nesmith’s story, the obstacle she had to overcome was the fact that no one believed in her product ... no one that is, but her and a few office secretaries in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Yet Bette Nesmith did not let that stop her from accomplishing what she had set out to do.

Last week we began a new message series titled "Navigating the New Year." In last week’s message I mentioned some things that you and I needed to do if we were going to get our voyage off to the right start. Many of you responded to the invitation, and after having prayed, you no doubt got up from your knees with a new resolve to do something great for God.

If I were to venture a guess, I would guess that some of you made it through the last six days with relative ease. For the most part it was smooth sailing and no real storms to speak of. But for the greater part of you, you had no sooner gotten up from praying when you realized that between you and godly greatness, there was an obstacle, of some kind, that you were going to have to overcome ... a barrier, if you will, that you were going to have to break through. Such was the case with Joshua and the group of Israelites that God had given him to lead.

Last week we read how God miraculously led His children across the swelling Jordan and into the Promised Land on the 10th day of the 1st month. Finally, after 40 years of wondering in the wilderness, there they were, camped in the land that God had promised them, a land flowing with milk and honey.

However, it didn’t take these new inhabitants of Canaan long to discover that standing between them and all that God had promised, was an obstacle in the form of a city. That city was called Jericho.

Read Joshua 6:1-16, 20

Jericho was a city of:

Antiquity

It is believed by many, that Jericho is perhaps the oldest city in the world.

Iniquity

The Canaanites, who inhabited Jericho, were a very sinful people. From the occult, to idolatry, to the sacrifice of their own babies in the fire, the Canaanites were a vile people. Every act of unimaginable depravity and horror existed within the walls of Jericho.

Enormity

Jericho was not a large city in terms of land dimensions. It only covered about 8 acres. But it was a city surrounded by two enormous walls, 15 feet apart. Each wall was lined with soldiers and watchmen stood at every gate.

Because of its heavy fortification, Jericho presented itself to the children of Israel as a city of:

Impossibility

There was no way, humanly speaking, that Joshua and his followers were going to break through the walls of Jericho and overcome its inhabitants. This great city was the first formidable foe that stood between the people of God and the promises of God.

Like the Israelites of old, many of us find ourselves staring at an obstacle of some kind that stands between us and the spiritual goals we have set for ourselves for the new year. Like ancient Jericho, that obstacle threatens to thwart any and all efforts to obtain God’s best in the year 2001, and it must be met head on and overcome before any significant progress can be made.

If you’re like me, you don’t mind obstacles unless they get in the way. Standing in your way may be some Unresolved family problem, or maybe some Unpaid debt, or an Unhappy marriage, or an Unhealthy relationship, or an Unholy life. Whatever the case may be, we must overcome these obstacles just as the children of Israel overcame Jericho. AND HOW WAS THAT you ask?

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