Isaiah 41 Part 2–The Chosen Need Not Fear!

Isaiah is clear, God WILL uphold Israel.  No matter which enemy, no matter which age–Israel is still, and will always be, God’s chosen people.  Additionally, those who are in relationship with God through faith in Christ are also God’s chosen.  Isaiah makes the pronouncement that the chosen of God need not fear–He will uphold and defend them and their name until the end of time.

There have been so many cultures and people groups that have sought to eradicate God and His chosen from the face of the earth.  They have persecuted, martyred, and sought to destroy all evidence of God’s existence and impact on men’s lives.  Yet, as of 2020, they have failed repeatedly.  Oh, make no mistake, every resource has been leveraged.  Every attempt has been made. Armies, legislatures, congresses, parliamentary bodies, judicial bodies, evil empires, and tyrannical regimes have, in succession done their part to wipe the planet clean of God and His people.

The Great news is they have all failed–because, as Isaiah so articulately explains, God has committed to our protection and provision.  God can raise and destroy empires in an instant–Ask the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines…Still, God calls His people to pray without ceasing.  He calls us to walk humbly and live holy lives.  He accepts us for who we are; but, calls us to become like Jesus.  In that process, though, He never abandons His beloved.  We must trust Him at His word. Walk as one that is bought with a price.

The world can continue to spew its hate and attempt to take God out of the picture, but, as has always been the case–the world will fail.  The created will never outsmart the creator. He has always been, is and will always be.  Conversely, those that would defeat the Lord are here for an instant and then disappear into obscurity.  We,God’s chosen, need to cling to His promise and walk in His way to enjoy the peace, protection, and provision He longs for us to enjoy.

God Bless You


But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
    and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
    I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 Behold, all who are incensed against you
    shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
    shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you,
    but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
    shall be as nothing at all.
13 For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.”

14 Fear not, you worm Jacob,
    you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
    your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
    new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
    and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
    in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

Joshua 4 Part 2–The True Changing of the Guard

God never does things half way. When it came time to cross the Jordan and start the new campaign, God did it in a big way. He stacked up the waters so that Israel could cross on dry land.  He exalted Joshua as leader before the people.  Then He prepared them for the first of many battles that were to come. 

Verse 14 stood out.  “That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of Israel; they stood in awe of him all the days of his life–Just as they stood in awe of Moses.” 

Joshua had big sandals to fill–God knew that, and so God made sure there was no doubt that Joshua was the leader–with the full confidence and Spirit of God resting upon him.  Remember, this was a stiff-necked people.  They needed a strong leader that would operate like a gentle shepherd. Joshua was uniquely trained to fill that role.  As time would pass, Joshua would be given the opportunity to show what a lifetime of faith and obedience could produce.  That picture should have inspired Israel for generations.  That picture should inspire us for all the days of our lives.  

These people, led by this man of God, had the single most direct illustration of the preparation, protection and provision that God could offer. Now, as they sought to claim their inheritance, the world would get a glimpse of God’s direction and care for those He loves.  One can never forget, Joshua was not leading a warrior nation–He was leading a nation of priests called to share God’s love with all men.  Joshua, the great General was now also the amazing shepherd to lead God’s people to fulfil their destiny and their role as that nation of priests.

God Bless You


Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched.12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them.13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.

15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”

17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.

19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

The Prayer Factor–James 5 Final

James closes his letter with what is, in his thoughts a very important thing, prayer.  God has spent this entire course reestablishing our ability to be in relationship with him.  The days of needing an intermediary to be our liaison to God ended when Christ arose. Still, as in any relationship, the critical nature of communication remains paramount.  In the wrap-up, James highlights the critical aspects of prayer.

God wants to hear from us when we are in trouble, when we are happy when we have needs or when we are deep in prayer for others.  We need to be ready to pray as a community of believers–and as leadership, we need to go the extra mile of praying for the sick and anointing those who are ill.   There is no prayer too small or unimportant to our Father. He loves to hear from us and honors our requests! That is why James says, “The prayers of the righteous accomplish much!”

Finally, we need to pray for revival.  Revival in our hearts and in the hearts of those in our community.  There is so much pain and chaos–the world is in shambles. If we could pray for and see revival–that would go miles toward restoring life and order to the world.  Such change starts on our knees–no legislation or executive order will ever accomplish what a faithful prayer of God’s people can.  James reminds us that we hold the key to making our lives and the lives of those we know and love exceptional–the key is faithful prayer!

God Bless You

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Prayer is Powerful and Effective–James 5 Final

When is it a good time to pray.  According to James, all the time. God loves to talk to us.  He uses his word, he uses others in our life ad even nature to reveal his truth to us.  But, prayer is our way to communicate back.  According to James, we should pray when we are happy, when we are sad.  We pray when we are sick and pray when we have needs–our father simply wants to hear from us.

God wants an open and honest relationship.  Meet him where you are.  Even when we are rebellious, God would simply have us confess that and make things right.  He never turns a deaf ear–but, like any father, he will not reward rebellion.  But as we follow his plan, he like any dad wants to laugh with us, cry with us, walk with us and meet our needs.  When we pray, we should be patient and believe.  Often our timing is different than God’s. It is as simple as this–The prayer of the righteous avails much.

God Bless You

 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Prayer Is the Greater Work–I Timothy 2

Prayer is an amazing thing.  It allows us to talk to the creator of this amazing universe.  It is an opportunity to recognize our relationship with him, thank him for his provision, make right the sin in our lives and ask whatever we will and have him listen intently.  Not only does God open up the channel of communication, he urges us to use it.  In this passage God calls us to pray for everyone.  We are to pray for our leaders as well as the quiet fellow down the street.

As we pray, if we are honest, we begin to see God doing great things in our lives and in the lives of those around us.  We do not always see the answers we expect, but, we do see the answers in ways we would never have imagined.  What we do notice is that God’s plan unfolds before our very eyes, and, in the end, it has a greater impact than we could ever have imagined.  When we trust him, he cares for us.  He simply asks that we pray without giving up.

Remember, prayer is not the preparation for the greater work, prayer is the greater work

God Bless You

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.