It is hard to know what to say when the world enters a new crisis, even though a new crisis erupts fairly often. Some seem more significant than others. Russian President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine seems significant. For one thing, in our global village, many people have traveled to Ukraine and personally know brothers and sisters there. Missionaries have made their way to this land to bring the Gospel of Peace, and have been well received. Anyone with a sense of justice is concerned about the expansion of a philosophy such as communism that does its best to destroy Christian teaching and Christian teachers. I have no fear that Christianity will be destroyed, but many will likely suffer at the hands of those whom the Enemy is using to create fear and bring death. I think it is significant because Russian aggression represents the movement of a ‘super power’ against those who are unlikely able to defend themselves, which draws the United States and others into the conflict. There are several significant concerns – all matters for prayer.
-The Duty of Every Christian-
We sometimes forget that the New Testament was written under the rule of an occupying force, the Roman Empire. I do not see most of the slogans and sayings modern Americans employ against political and state enemies being brought against the ancient Emperors, most of whom were depraved idol worshipers. Whether we like that or not, it is instructive. I have no impetus to direct our Military, nor counsel the President on the right next course of action. I doubt they are listening to me, nor should they. As a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, my concern is to employ the strategy given to us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The familiar passage that most often comes to mind contains Paul’s instruction to young Timothy:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.1 Timothy 2:1-4
Through prayer we have the ability to pray to One who is directly present throughout the earth. I do not claim to understand all of His ways, they are above and beyond me. I do believe that He hears every prayer – and I hope He is hearing Christians around the world praying for intervention in this crisis moment.
I am writing this to direct our attention to our duty in these matters – the duty to pray for all world leaders and to pray for peace. I also encourage prayer for those serving in the military, who place their lives on the line – each one a beloved son or daughter or friend.
-The End of Time?-
I’ve seen speculation that this is the ‘book of Revelation unfolding before our eyes’ and that this may lead to the end of times. If God wants to use these actions to bring about the end, that is in His hands. So often, however, the very first sentence of Revelation is ignored:
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.Revelation 1:1
So, I am not looking for apocalyptic fulfillment in contemporary world events. John was told that there was a much nearer fulfillment. We can argue about the meaning of the book of Revelation until Jesus comes, but that’s a pretty plain statement.
Even so, it is the end of some people’s time on this earth. That sobering truth is already being talked about on the news as reports of the death toll have already begun. It is the innocent that pay the greatest price in war, and that is, again, a matter for our prayers. The truth is that all of life is brief.
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.James 4:14b
The tragedy and tears of the events unfolding before a global audience is the loss of innocent life. It reminds us to be right with the Lord today, in our own lives. This also reminds us to be grateful for the freedoms and blessings of each day. Next time we are tempted to complain about the mundane inconveniences of life, let us remember those who take cover in under ground bunkers or who leave all belongings to flee toward borders of neighboring countries. And their children.
I wanted to share a prayer by my friend Bobby Valentine, posted to his Facebook account on February 26, 2022. I appreciate the beauty and sincerity of his words. I usually do.
-A Prayer By Bobby Valentine-
Dear Yahweh, God of all nations. Hear our prayer. We lift President Putin to you. God free his mind from its commitment to this dangerous course of action. Set him free from commitment to war. God we wish no harm to the Russian people whom you created and love, may they also be set free from this man’s quest for domination. May the tanks cease to roll and the helicopters cease to fly. Be with the Ukrainian people whom you also created and dearly love. Blow your Spirit of Peace on that land. Save us from our own folly dear Yahweh.Bobby Valentine blogs at https://stonedcampbelldisciple.com/
Thanks for reading my thoughts in this crucial hour.
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