Article VI, part 2

Truth or Dare (Article 6)

In our first post we began to discuss how knowledge, like wisdom, must be pursued to be obtained. We also talked about how knowledge without understanding is dangerous, because it lacks wisdom. Ben Stein's Expelled We disclosed how knowledge and understanding have to be coupled together in order for humanity to receive wisdom (Proverbs 2:6, 9:10).

We also talked about how academia, though a good vessel for giving mankind knowledge, has actually prevented mankind from receiving understanding because it has chosen to remove God’s teachings from it’s curriculum. Especially where the sciences are concerned.

With that said, let’s now return our thoughts to the statement made by Linus Pauling, “Science is the search for truth.”

Back in 2008, American actor, commentator of political and economic issues, lawyer, and writer Benjamin Jeremy “Ben” Stein hosted a documentary entitled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. In this film, directed by Nathan Frankowski, Ben explored a troubling trend in American academia; one that was becoming increasingly more common place, yet being kept concealed from the public. This startling trend? The silencing of all who would openly question Darwin’s theory of evolution, especially those who were proponents of “Intelligent Design,” or “I.D.”

Within a few short moments of the film, Ben introduces us to five scientists who have lost tenures, years of academic credibility, and even careers simply because they either mentioned “I.D.” in a scientific article or journal, or because they proposed “I.D.” to be a valid scientific possibility to understanding the origin of life on this planet. Scientists such as:

Robert J. Marks II, an electrical and computer engineering professor from Baylor University — a university that advertises itself as a “private Christian university” — was forced to shut down his web site and return grant money, when a link between his work in engineering and the theory of “I.D.” was established.

Dr. Guillermo Gonzales, astrologist from Iowa State University, was denied tenure and had his career threatened when he published a book that argued in favor of “I.D.” In spite of the fact that the vast majority of astrologist support some type of theistic philosophy, and in spite of his stellar research record, which has lead to the discovery of several planets, Dr. Gonzales was severely chastised.

The other three scientists interviewed by Ben Stein experienced similar ridicule, and the film reveals throughout its run-time that there are others being targeted. It is becoming apparent that Darwinists, at least in America, are attempting to prevent scientists from searching out the truth, by silencing any find that does not support Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. As Mr. Stein stated in the opening of the documentary, “Science has been about the freedom to ask any question, to pursue any line of inquiry without fear of reprisal, but this is not the case anymore.”

Scientists are allowed to research “Intelligent Design,” but any findings that support “I.D.” cannot be published without consequence. The two main reasons for this is:

1) “I.D.” is too closely connected to “Creationism,” “Theocracy,” or “Biblical Theism,” and Darwinists do not want to make a way for Christianity to reenter the classrooms of American schools.

2) Darwinists, such as Michael Bruce, admit that the evidence for macro-evolution is so appalling that Darwinism doesn’t need “I.D.” confusing students further.

Darwin's Tree of Life Darwinists know that there are “holes” in the theory of evolution, such as the lack of evidence in the fossil records, and the inconclusive evidence for the common origin of life (a.k.a.: Darwin’s “Tree of Life”). Thus the reason evolution is still only a scientific theory, and not a fact. Yet atheistic Darwinists, such as Richard Dawkins, still want to see macro-evolution taught as fact. They insist this must be done to prevent the lie of “Theocracy” from being taught in American classrooms. To make this happen, Darwinists lean heavily on the scientific proofs being discovered in support of micro-evolution, but still there is that irritating question looming over the entire theory of how natural selection even began. The question that no one Darwinist can answer the same way. Where did the first cell come from?

Michael Bruce, claimed it first appeared on the back of a crystal. Sounds a bit more like pantheistic Occultism than scientific Darwinism. So what is the chance that such an organism could simply “begin” on its own? Well, a single cell organism needs two-hundred and fifty proteins, as well as other elements such as Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sulphur, etc. — all of these elements and proteins have to be in an exact order just to sustain minimal life functionality. The odds of this happening by chance are one in six-trillion. One in six-trillion! That doesn’t even begin to factor in the fact that the organism also requires the perfect amount of gravity and a perfect cosmological constant. Darwinists will accept any number of theories that allow for these coincidental happenstances, but they will not accept that God created it.

Even those in the American press are pressured to promote macro-evolution as fact, and “I.D.” as religious propaganda. Author and journalist Pamela R. Winnick refused to write a biased article against “I.D.” and Darwinists viciously attacked her character and belief systems. She received “hate mail,” and soon began to see her career as a journalist falter. Why is it that European scientists and journalists don’t appear to take issue with “Intelligent Design” in the same way that American scientists and journalists do? For this reason. If “Theocracy” can be removed from the American culture then America’s governance can be overthrown at it’s foundation.

You see, once Americans are separated from their Judeo-Christian roots, then the Constitution that governs them can be rendered obsolete. None of the European governments were founded with the purpose of propelling the Gospel message. They were all kingdoms established after the fall of Rome. Kingdoms that aligned themselves with the Roman Catholic church — yes — but the Gospel of Christ was not their focus, as it was in America’s governance. Satan, and America’s enemies know that to render God’s statutes as obsolete in America means the end of Christianity in America. Just look at how the Darwinists have weakened Europe’s Christian history with their atheistic teachings.

In Europe, where many of the world’s philosophies have already infiltrated and weakened the various Christian denominations, they are seeing many of their cathedrals closing, due to decreasing congregations and a lack of funding. In England many of these old church buildings are now being sold off and they are being transformed into Islamic Mosques. The old cry of Karl Marx to “dethrone God, and destroy Capitalism” seems to be flourishing in Europe, and it’s the apparent foundation for which American Darwinists, and other left-wing activists, are standing on. The western world’s moral, ethical, and financial decline will continue unless the statutes of Christ are again embraced by western culture.

America’s founders all understood the importance of establishing their governance on Judeo-Christian morals and ethics. George Washington, the first President of the United States once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” John Adams, the second President of the United States, heralded these words, “We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!” But it was Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, who seemed to be the wisest of all the American Presidents. It was President Lincoln who made this observation some one-hundred and fifty years ago:

Abe Lincoln 2 “We [Americans] have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand, which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

Those words are even more true today, as secular humanism continues to thrive among Darwinists, and the liberal left. America’s scientific advances, and military might, have given it a false sense of security. By allowing God’s teachings to be removed from America’s culture, and schools, and governing authorities, Americans have opened the preverbal door for Communism, Socialism, Fascism, and other forms of Atheism to enter in. Satan knows how influential America has been in the thwarting of evil around the world, and not just by fighting against evil with its military, but also by testifying of God’s glorious Gospel message through her citizens. Satan needs Americans to reject God, and this is why the United States has become a battle ground where Atheists seek to destroy Biblical Theism. In fact, most evolutionary apologists no longer defend macro-evolution, but simply attack the Judeo-Christian belief system.

Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, admits that he is personally out to attack and destroy religion. Mr. Dawkins claims that, “Science has the right answer for the origin of life and religion does not.” Richard Dawkins even goes as far as to say that science actually explains away religion, but truthfully it exalts it. Scripture reminds us in several places that all of creation tells mankind of his/her divine Creator. Recall with me the words we quoted earlier from the first chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman church:

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

Many scientists over the years have concurred with Scripture. Robert Boyle, the “Father” of modern chemistry (whom we mentioned in Article 5), once said, “From a knowledge of God’s work we shall know Him.”

Edmund T. Whittaker was an English mathematician who contributed widely to applied mathematics, mathematical physics, and the theory of special functions. He made this statement regarding the origin of life, “It is simpler to postulate creation ‘ex nihilo’ — Divine will constituting Nature from nothingness.”

Allan R. Sandage an American astronomer responsible for determining the first reasonably accurate value for the Hubble constant and the age of the universe, was quoted as saying, “We can’t understand the universe in any clear way without the supernatural.”

Robert Jastrow Robert Jastrow, an American astronomer, physicist, and cosmologist, was a leading NASA scientist, populist author, and futurist. Mr. Jastrow, though an agnostic, once stated, “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.” Robert Jastrow also said, “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man started suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.” The fossil record also supports this.

The fossil record is very damning to anyone wanting to believe in macro-evolution because, as the “Cambrian Explosion” reveals, it does not exhibit any evidence of a mutation between species. Consider Jonathan Wells’ explanation. Mr. Wells graphs out the beginning of life, as if it happened within a twenty-four hour period. On this clock we would not see any life forms appear until around the sixth hour. This is the time we would first see the single cell organisms appear.

24 HR Clock As the clock continues to move forward through time, the single cell organisms would continue to be the only life forms on the earth until well past the first twenty hours of the day. Then suddenly — at about twenty-one hours, and within less than two minutes — all the major complex animal lifeforms appear. Most of them are still in existence today. They did not gradually appear, like Darwin believed, and they did not come from one single cell organism, as Darwin’s “Tree of Life” theory suggests. No! Complex life simply appeared, and the fossil record proves this.

It’s this type of evidence that upsets the Darwinists and pushes them to promote their atheistic/anti-religion worldview. Darwinism seeks to strip humanity of its dignity, by arguing that we are not made in God’s image, and they push to remove mankind’s hope, by teaching that there is no God. We simply exist to eat, sleep, procreate, and die.

And even though the theory of “Intelligent Design” does not out right endorse God to be the “Designer” of the universe, it still explains certain features of the universe and of living things to be from an intelligent cause. Thus, as we said earlier, it is seen as a “doorway” to “Theocracy.” Dr. Peter Atkins, a former chemistry professor at Oxford University, says:

“Religion is just fantasy, basically. It’s particularly empty of any explanatory content — and it’s evil, as well.”

Darwinists believe that science is the weapon that will destroy the “evils” of religion, once and for all. In their minds they believe that as scientific knowledge increases, so too will religious faith decrease. Thus Darwinists hope to one day see a flourishing utopia of atheistic humanism, worldwide. Much in the same way America’s founders saw the United States as a utopia for bringing the world Christ’s Gospel message. Again, Darwinists can’t fulfill their dream without first destroying Christianity and its connection to the “American Dream.”

Let’s recall one more word of truth from the sixteenth president of the Unites States, “America will never be destroyed from outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” (Abraham Lincoln) Lethal Atheism, injected by way of the syringe of Darwinism, appears to be the “poison” for which America’s suicide will be administered.

In part three, we will continue to examine the sinister agenda behind American Darwinists, and we will also continue to reveal the the foolishness of macro-evolution.

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed TM © 2008 Premise Media Corporation. All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.



Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name . . .”

If you find that lyric very familiar it’s probably due to one very popular TV series — Cheers! Every Thursday night on American TV, from 1982 to 1993, NBC’s Cheers would begin with those words melodiously streaming from your television set right to your ears and I’ll bet you probably even sang along, if you watched regularly enough.

For those of you unfamiliar with Cheers, it was a simple sitcom about the human condition. A show that revolved around not only the lives of the folks that worked at the fictionally historic tavern in Boston, MA, known as Cheers but also of those who frequented the bar. (Right about now you are either reminiscing or wondering what this has to do with an article on God, His names, and our worship, but stay with me as it will all make sense shortly.)

This show starred several actors over its award winning 11 seasons (Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Nicholas Colasantos, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenburger, Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer, Kirstie Alley, and Bebe Neuwirth), but the most endearing character was played by George Wendt, and that character’s name was Norman “Norm” Peterson.

Mr. Peterson, was so well known at this bar — so much a fixture there — that no matter how full the tavern was, no matter how long it had been since the patrons had visited, everybody knew when Norman was there. Literally, every time Mr. Peterson’s oversized shape burst through the front door of Cheers the customers and employees alike all shouted in unison, “NORM!”

It seemed that everybody did indeed know his name. It was never, “Hey, you,” or “Hello, Dude,” or “Greetings, fellow humanoid.” No, it was always his name, “Norm.”

Calling on someone by name immediately grabs that person’s attention. It makes them aware of the individual’s intent to engage in a conversation or to offer up a cordial greeting. Our names give us identity, a sense of self-worth, and sometimes our names offer up clues as to our ethnicity, the place we come from, the type of person we are or want to be. Occasionally our names even come with titles that allude to our education or type of job we are enjoying. Names are essential to mankind’s community and communicating with each other within that community. And so it is with our Creator.

Our lives should be places where God is a welcome fixture and so much so that we too shout out His name(s) whenever we feel His presence. Too many of us (myself, included) pray to the Almighty or speak of Him in casual conversation as simply God. It’s become such a generic noun culturally that “God” holds no real meaning or brings about no real conviction to most. It’s safe and unobtrusive, generally, as “God” can refer to many religious figures, thoughts, or theologies. But, speak the name of Jehovah, Yahweh, Jesus, or talk of the Holy Spirit and immediately defense systems arise from within people who are listening. Rooms empty, tables are cleared, and doors become closed and locked; and all that occurred at the local church after Sunday services. O.K., maybe not in the church building, but you do know of the discomfort I’m talking about.

So, why is it that we as Christians are so seemingly ignorant or fearful of speaking of the one true God by name? Why don’t we even bother to address the Almighty by name when we pray? (I’m not talking about ending your prayer with the standard “in Jesus’ name we pray,” either. I’m speaking of truly addressing our conversations with God directly to The Almighty, clearly and intentionally by His name.) I’m certain that most of us who profess to be true “born again” Christians don’t even realize that by calling out to God, by naming Him “God,” we are not calling out to Him by name but by the essence of what He is. It would be like calling out to another person by calling them “Human.”

You may not know this, either, but there are three primary names of God in the Old Testament:

– God (Elohim/Deity)

– Lord (Jehovah, or Yahweh)

– Lord/Master (Adonai)

Beyond these, the one true living God is called by over eighty other compound names or descriptive titles; names that have real meaning and insight as to His very nature. Names that will teach us not only of God Almighty, but of how to serve Him and worship Him.

During this series of articles we will not be studying all eighty plus names of our Creator, but each name that we do study will connect us with an attribute of God; an attribute that will call us to worship Him, whether corporately or individually. More importantly, we will show how to appropriately call upon our Lord by name in our daily circumstances.

When our study is done, we should be able to reflect on how important it is to our spiritual growth, to our physical well-being, to our relationship with God, to call out to Him by name. After all, if God cares so much for us that He knitted us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13b), that He knows how much hair is on our heads (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7a), if He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins (John 3:16), then how much more should we take the time to learn the name of the One who knows us and cares for us so intimately. Then and only then can we properly claim to know Him and be appropriately called a true worshiper of God!

So, I invite you to follow this study with me, and let’s learn together just how to make our lives a place where God can know that we care enough to call upon Him by name, and let’s understand together just how to become more intimate with the One who calls us by name.

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Cheers TM ® & Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 by Paramount Pictures and Copyright © 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 Paramount Network Television. All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article IV, part 1

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. . . . Where!?” This is probably how most of us would respond to the concept of joy — with a question.

Imagine suffering through some great physical ailment, such as cancer, and being counseled with these words from James 1:2, “Count it pure joy, my brothers [or sisters], whenever you face trials of many kinds.” You’d probably fight back the urge to slap someone by firing back with a great big “What!?” “Count this bone breaking, gut wrenching, painful curse as what!?” “Joy?” Or, imagine suffering through an unexpected divorce after twenty-plus years of what you thought was wedded bliss and hearing someone say these words from 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Be joyful always.” You’d probably exchange a cross-eyed glance for a moment, only to ask, “Be joyful when!? Now!?

We all realize that life is hard and that suffering is bound to catch up to each of us at some point. And some of us know that God wants us to experience joy in all aspects of our lives. So, why is it when suffering enters our lives do we not only question the suffering but also the idea of being joyful in the midst of it?

It has to do with our thoughts. We were incorrectly taught that bad things are meant for bad people and that good things happen to good people. And who can be more good than we Christians, right? After all, we are God’s adopted children (Ephesians 1:4-5), are we not? Well, let’s examine this ideal more closely.

What makes us believe or think that bad things happen to bad people? From an early age we were told stories and shown movies that depict the message that “crime doesn’t pay” or “good conquers evil.” In the Bible we read such verses as: “The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the people with justice” (Psalm 9:7-8). We also learn that our own laws here in America — based on the Ten Commandments, our Constitution and the Bill of Rights — will bring justice and will punish those who intend to do us harm. Yes, we learn these things, read such verses, and study such ideals, but who or what defines for us what is good and what is bad? The answer is: our Creator, the great “I Am” — God.

God defines evil and righteousness. To be evil is to take on the attributes and spirit of Satan (Galatians 5:19-21), but to be good is to take on the attributes and Spirit of Jesus Christ, God’s Son (Galatians 5:22-23). Is this not why we think of Christians as good people? Don’t we expect Christians to act as Christ would act? After all, doesn’t popular Christian culture teach us to always ask “WWJD” (what would Jesus do)? Why ask this question if we aren’t expected to act on it?

For American citizens, living within the boundaries of our laws determines if we are good citizens or bad citizens. And though it is true that we are counted as good citizens if we obey the law, and though it is true that we as Christians are expected to act as Christ did, there is another truth we must come to terms with, and that is, “There is no one righteous [good], not even one” (Romans 3:10). None of us are good. Obey the law perfectly; we can’t. Be as righteous as Jesus; a daily struggle all Christians should aspire to accomplish, though not likely to happen.

So, why bother? Why care enough to try? Because even though we can’t be righteous on our own, Christ’s Spirit living in us can.

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known to which the Law of the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3:21-24)

Jesus’ Spirit in us gives us the strength to be good; to do good things (Philippians 4:13).

You have read that no one person is good; yet you see that we can be good with God’s help. You may even grasp the overall concept, but how does this truth answer our question from earlier regarding suffering and joy? In this way: we must stop thinking that “good” people won’t and shouldn’t suffer. None are good and life is hard. Just as Jesus suffered for living a righteous life, so too should we expect to suffer. Listen to the apostle Peter’s words: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13). Did you catch that? Suffering in this life is not strange or abnormal, but very much the norm. And even better, if we rejoice in our participation (as hard as it will be, have the right attitude of worship — your choice, remember) then we can be overjoyed, totally thrilled beyond our wildest imagination, when God’s glory is revealed to us in heaven! Joy within suffering is our choice and a marvelous avenue to experiencing true worship and God’s glory. So, how do we do it? How do we choose to be “joyful in all things”? We must first realize what this principle of worship really is and what joy really means.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “joy” as:

(noun) a feeling of great pleasure and happiness: ‘tears of joy’/‘the joy of being alive.’ Also as (verb) [heart.] poetic/literary — rejoice: ‘I felt shame that I had ever joyed in his discomfiture or pain.’

And, The Life Application Study Bible (NIV) defines “joy” as, “(noun) emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune: gladness or delight.” I find both of these definitions to be inadequate; well short of accurate. Allow me to explain why.

The definitions we just read are lacking, because they ascribe to joy the same attributions of happiness. Though these definitions define joy as both a noun and a verb, which it is, they really are ascribing no more depth to the word than if it were simply the word “happy” (an adjective). But happiness is really nothing more than an emotion. Something we occasionally experience, because it is fleeting. Joy is not a temporal emotion, but an actual attribution of God’s character — a part of His being; a “fruit” of His Spirit, according to Galatians chapter 5 verse 22.

Nothing about God is temporary. “In the beginning God . . .” (Genesis 1:1a); “In the beginning . . . was God” (John 1:1); “I am the Alpha and the Omega . . . who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). God and His characteristics always have been, are now, and always will be. Happiness is not one of the fruits of His Spirit, but joy — real joy — is! Real joy can never be temporal or fleeting because it is a source of power and strength (Nehemiah 8:10b). Joy, can only come from God’s love for us and our obedience to Him (John 15:9-11). And joy, everlasting joy, can only come from God’s forgiveness and our restoration to, and peace with, Him (Luke 15:8-32).

Best-selling author C.S. Lewis once said that “joy is never in our power and pleasure [or happiness] often is.” If it’s in our power, then it’s fallible, temporal, of us and not of God, and definitely not real joy. Only a facsimile befitting the simple definitions ascribed to it from any dictionary on any shelf. We must understand what joy really is. It is eternal, a source of power for us, an attribute direct from God our Creator, Himself. Let’s now look deeper into what joy means to us and how we can apply real joy to our everyday lives and our everyday worship.

In our next post, we will fully disclose what joy means, and will expose how to correctly apply it to our everyday life and worship. Article 4, part two, will take the word “joy” and dissect it; cutting into what we said it is and looking around inside it — finding what lies at its core. To do this we will literally examine the word letter by letter, and when we are done, the acrostic we end up with will be a simple and applicable tool with which you can allow God to bring real joy to you daily.

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Down In My Heart (I’ve Got the Joy)” by George Willis Cooke, pub.: Unknown, Copyright: Public Domain

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article I, part 2

In part one of Article 1, I revealed that Joshua exhibited five key themes, called “megathemes,” throughout his life. These five megathemes, taken from The Life Application Study Bible (NIV), co-published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. and Zondervan Publishing House, are what I chose to use to help us understand why Joshua is an excellent example of a true worshiper, and these same megathemes began laying the foundation for this study on worship as it relates to each one of us, who are children of the living God.

The first megatheme we looked at was Joshua’s success as the leader of his nation and his family. The second was Joshua’s faith in God. By Joshua choosing to trust in God; not once, but on a daily basis, he allowed God to move in his life which provided opportunities for God to save him and the nation of Israel from their enemies and also allowed God to guide Joshua in his leading of this fledgling nation.

The third megatheme we will examine is divine guidance. Joshua received instructions from God for every aspect of his life, and it was up to him to properly convey those instructions to the nation of Israel. And not just in word but also in his deeds; “talk the talk and walk the walk.” God’s law, the Ten Commandments, guided Israel’s daily living, and His specific instructions conveyed directly through Joshua provided them with the guidance they needed to enjoy all their successes.

Guidance from God for our daily living can be found throughout the Scriptures. We can find it in our prayer time, as well. By staying in touch with God and His principles for living, we will have the needed wisdom to meet the challenges and conflicts that life on earth brings (Psalms 25:4-5; 119:105). By allowing God’s guidance to prevail in his life and staying connected with God regarding all matters, Joshua was able to teach his people another important act of worship — obedience (Joshua 1:7-9).

Joshua is also one of the greatest examples of leadership, our fourth megatheme, in Scripture. Joshua’s confidence in God’s word, God’s plan, God’s strength, and God’s faith in him, a mere mortal man, became the very reason he was such a great leader and it’s a marvelous glimpse at Joshua’s character, courage, and spiritual maturity.

To be a strong leader like Joshua takes an uncanny ability to listen well. When God speaks, we have to have the type of relationship that makes God’s voice as familiar to us as our own family members’ voices are to one another (John 10:27).

We also must have the will to obey God and move when told to move by God. God will instruct us according to His plan, and we have to be diligent in carrying out His plan. Bottom line, strong leadership comes from being led by God Himself. Joshua revealed this act of worship to his elders and to his people by following God’s leading (Joshua 1:9-11; 23:1-3).

Last, we see Joshua as a conquerer. Now that can be seen as a negative characteristic in this post-sixties era where “make love, not war” still rings loud and clear in our politically correct American society, but the megatheme of conquest is not at all a negative trait. It is very much a part of our worship of the Almighty because it requires another act of worship, the will to serve. Remember we stated earlier, the will to serve allows God to do His most mighty of miracles through us all.

Understand that it was God who commanded Israel, through Joshua, to conquer the Canaanites and take all their land (Joshua 1:1-6). This was God’s plan. God was using the Israelites to fulfill His promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:18) and to bring judgment on the evil that was there in the land — the land God had promised Moses for Israel to inhabit (Exodus 3:17).

Joshua and the Israelites under him were faithful in accomplishing this mission of total conquest, for the most part. In Joshua chapter 9, we read the story of how the nation of Gibeon deceived the nation of Israel, thus preventing the annihilation of Gibeon. Gibeon became a slave nation under Israel, and thus became the first country to escape God’s judgment at Israel’s hand. This eventually became a trend in Israel’s behavior, and attention to God’s details wavered in the years after Joshua died. The Israelites’ commitment to God eventually faltered altogether.

To be faithful to God’s call and to love God as we should requires of us more than mere enthusiasm. It requires endurance in our commitment to Him (2 Timothy 4:7-8). There can be no room in our lives for complacency (Proverbs 1:32). God’s work in us, His plan for us must be completed (Acts 20:24). God’s instructions must be completely applied to every facet of our lives (Exodus 24:7; Psalm 119:1-8).

Joshua’s act of worship was to complete the task given him by God, and he did so, outside of Gibeon’s ruse. It was Israel’s failure in future generations that kept them from achieving their full spiritual potential as a people of God. The nation of Israel eventually removed their faith from God and placed their faith time and time again in man-made idols. The desecration of God’s chosen people came about when Babylon ransacked Israel in or around 586 BC, and for the next fifty or so years Israel lived in exile as a conquered people in a foreign land.

An odd way to end, commenting on failure rather than achievement. Just remember, Joshua didn’t fail in his faithfulness to God, though the fact is Joshua was fallible. The deception of Gibeon shows us this. It was the nation of Israel in its later years, though, that really failed. You and I must realize we can only become true worshipers of God if we remain faithful to the end (Matthew 24:5-13), serving God and each other with all our mind, body, and soul. The goal is achievable. Joshua was not a true worshiper because he was perfect, but because he wasn’t. Nothing noted above was a result of Joshua’s own ability, but a result of God doing a good and perfect work in and through Joshua’s life because Joshua was willing to serve God and the Israelites.

This is where conquest comes in as an act of worship. We have to allow God full control of our lives so that He will be able to mold us and make us into the perfect instruments of His glory that He desires us to be. It’s the Holy Spirit working in us and through us that conquers our daily evils, either in us or around us (Romans 8:9-13, 37-39). Realizing we are the temple for which God’s Spirit can reside (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) is one of the most marvelous aspects of worship we can hope to experience under the sun. Joshua, Israel’s elders, and the nation of Israel under them were all examples of what God can do through us when we are faithful to serve Him, wholly (Joshua 24:31). In later years, unfortunately, Israel was also an example of what happens when we don’t.

Let us now quickly recap what we just learned from the life of Joshua. First, we can only experience success if we are faithful in following God’s plan for our lives. Second, faith can’t begin in our lives until we truly believe God can be trusted. We must know that God wants what is best for us. Third, we must allow God’s guidance to prevail in our lives and stay connected with God regarding all matters. In short, we must be obedient to God in all things. Our fourth reminder is in the area of leadership. Strong leadership comes from being led by God. Then our fifth and final reminder concerns the idea of conquest, or being a conquerer. We really must allow God full control of our lives so that He will be able to mold us and make us into His likeness. Always be mindful that it’s the Holy Spirit working in us and through us that conquers all our earthly conflicts and dilemmas. As Paul told us in his letter to the Philippians (chapter 4, verse 13), “I can do everything through Him [Christ] who gives me strength” (NIV).

These five megathemes in Joshua’s life set up the principles we all will need to follow if we are to become the true worshipers that our heavenly Father desires for us to be. Our faithfulness to God allows Him to bless us with many successes. A wholehearted trust in God allows our faith in God to grow in all areas of our lives. Also, obedience to God’s Word allows His divine guidance to lead us in all things, thus making us into the leaders and conquerers He planned for us to be.

The foundation has been laid, so now let’s begin with building a temple of worship in our hearts, minds, and spiritual lives in which God desires to reside.

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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