““Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.”(Joshua 1:2, NASB95)
Along with the headlines of a fallen Evangelical leader, Christian social media has also been alerted to the situation in Alberta, Canada, where Pastor James Coates has been arrested for refusing to submit to the unjust laws of the land. These laws require him to limit his church services to 15% capacity and stop serving our God with his responsibility to lead Christ’s Church. Currently Pastor Coates is in custody and will not be given bail unless he agrees not to hold services. The church was ordered to close in January and Pastor Coates was arrested and charged in early February. You can read the story from a Canadian news source here: (Global News), and see the official statement of Pastor Coates’ church here: (GraceLife Church). The aim of this post is not so much about Pastor Coates, but about the growing need for pastors to take up the courageous charge to lead in the face of growing adversity.
The times are changing. For Joshua, a new era began the moment Moses took his last breath (Joshua 1). To Joshua and the Israelites, the days must have looked very dark. But the Lord gave him and Israel courage as they looked to the future. What can we learn from God’s words to Joshua?
- Although we may lose key people and leaders, we will never lose God’s presence. Therefore, we take courage because God is always with us.
- We cling to the promise of our inheritance of a heavenly city, believing that God does not lie. Should we die in service to our God, we will be in the presence of the Lord.
- Just as no enemy could stand before Joshua and Israel, so too Jesus has told us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church.
- We are commanded to be strong and courageous, trusting in our God. The child of God seeks to obey even in the face of fear of the enemy and the unknown.
- As we follow Christ and move forward in faith and courage, the same message of walking by faith is communicated to our people and they too, gain courage in seeing our faithful obedience.
Whether it is governmental restrictions, personal attacks from the enemy, disgruntled members, destructive wolves or some other form of attack, be strong and courageous. Our God is with us.
One day, all of these challenges and threats will be a distant memory as we are gathered together worshipping the Lord God in his presence. Remember this future as you face these light, momentary afflictions. Jesus is coming soon!