Praying for something beautiful to emerge from the mess: A suggestion for when we vote today

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As we cast our vote today let’s rejoice that we have the freedom to do so – and thank God for all who work hard for truth humility and justice.

At this time when there can surely never have been an election in which so many will be voting tactically or against other people or parties (as opposed to genuinely having a favourite choice of their own) let’s continue to pray today for the Lord to raise up a ‘cast’ of MPs who He can use, and who will legislate good things into being.

Since no party in this election has been anything like ‘lily white’, let’s use the actual moment of voting as an opportunity to repent of the sins of the party that we are voting for. Continue reading

Taking offence or giving thanks?

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Back in the day when rail travel was in its infancy people’s luggage was stored in a separate Guard’s Van and taken out and placed on the platform in alphabetical order. Mr Appleby would find his trunk under A, Mr Brown his under B and so on, but when a clergyman travelling up from Wales for the first time he was unfamiliar with the system and asked a porter where he would find his. When the porter asked him his name he replied, “Llewellyn”. He was considerably taken aback when the porter said to him “Go to L, sir!”

There was, of course, a perfectly innocent explanation, but many of us are only too good at taking things the wrong way! Continue reading

Still and still!

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Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! (1 Sam. 12:16)

‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ (Exod. 14:13-14)

Sometimes what the Lord requires is not our action but our stillness and attention, even though we are champing at the bit with what may or may not be holy fire coursing through our veins. Here were Moses and the Israelites obeying God by leaving Egypt but closely pursued by relentless forces intent on their destruction – and here was the Lord telling them just to ‘Be still!’ Really?! Continue reading

Come Holy Spirit

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An Advent Offering
In the midst of what is, for all too many people, an intensely busy season, let’s make it our aim to celebrate the coming of Christ this Advent, and to prepare our hearts for Him to come to us in fresh ways. Advent starts on December 3rd and finishes on Christmas Eve.

May the words that the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary resonate deeply in our hearts: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. (Luke 1:35) Continue reading

The scattered confetti of false promises

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Who is right – Hananiah or Jeremiah?

As we approach a General Election, and pledges and promises are flying around in all directions, before we turn our attention to the present day situation will you bear with me while I draw some comparisons with Judah in the sixth century BC? If not, please skip directly to the section ‘And so to today!’

There appear to have been only a handful of genuine prophets in the Judah of Jeremiah’s day – but a whole welter of false ones. These were the ones who had learnt to tickle people’s ears, (2 Tim. 4:3) mistakenly convincing themselves that what people wanted to hear must indeed be what God was saying. So it was that for years they had been declaring that God would never allow Jerusalem to fall to an enemy power. After all, had He not chosen Zion forever and set His seal on David? (Ps. 132:14, and 89:20).  And rescued the city from the hand of Sennacherib? But these false prophets had none of the anointing of Isaiah and Hezekiah, and God would no longer move to protect the city – as Jeremiah warned.

People can be so gullible. We look to ‘prophets’ (Economists? Political pundits? Influencers?) to present a perspective on our times, but if they have got things wrong, then the ‘signs’ they are pointing people to will be as misleading as incorrect information on a road sign. Self-seeking and self-appointed ‘prophets’ immunise people against God’s warnings – especially when they blithely assure us that God will never allow us to feel the consequences of our decisions. (e.g. Jer. 14:13).

Why did the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day find such a ready audience? Because deep down people were only too willing to be deceived by smooth words (Is. 30:10)! But they were to be proved wrong when Jerusalem was captured, and ten thousand of the leading figures were taken to Babylon in the First of three Deportations. (2 Kings 24:13–15) Another explanation was called for now (Jer. 28:2-4,11). Step up Hananiah, who cdelcared in the name of the Lord Almighty that He would break the Babylonian yoke within two years, and restore all the sacred things that had been taken from the Temple. In other words, to borrow a phrase that was on so many people’s lips in 1914, “The war will be over by Christmas!”

Jeremiah’s response to this was a highly onomatopoeic  ‘Akh na.’ You can get the sense of that even without speaking a word of Hebrew! It literally means ‘yet now’– meaning, ‘Hang on a moment Hananiah: there’s another way of looking at this!’ Jeremiah knew that the Lord had spoken a very different message to him, telling him that the exile would last for seventy years, and that it was the Lord’s will for Judah to accept Babylonian overlordship, until God’s appointed time came to restore the people to the Land (Jer. 25:11–12 and 29:10).

This was not the message anyone in of Judah wanted to hear – especially the leaders. No wonder that Passhur the head of the ‘Temple police’ could not permit Jeremiah to have free rein to continue to bring his high highly pernicious messages to the temple.  No wonder false prophets sought to save their own reputation by speaking out their bland reassurances. And that handful of prophets who remained faithful to Yahweh soon found themselves in big trouble whenever they summoned up the courage to bring words of challenge and rebuke.

From this moment on, Jeremiah’s own suffering increased greatly.  (Jer. 20:1ff) King Jehoiakim’s threats were far from the idle ones made by that very emblem of Blind Fury, the Queen of Hearts, who relentlessly ordered everyone who provoked her in any way to be executed. (See Alice in Wonderland). Unlike Lewis Carrol’s fantasy world, there was no King of Hearts, nor complicit soldiers to ensure that these sentences were usually never carried out. Thus we find Jehoiakim pursuing Uriah, one of Yahweh’s true followers, even as far as Egypt for daring to bring the authentic word of the Lord (Jer. 26:20-23).

But, as surely as God’s indignation is directed against self-appointed leaders, (Hananiah himself would suffer the very things he refused to predict, for false prophecy carries a heavy price tag) He is with those whom He has raised up. As Jeremiah staunchly reminded the Lord,

‘I have not run away from being your shepherd;
you know I have not desired the day of despair.
What passes my lips is open before you. (17:16)

Thank You Lord, for giving him the resilience to remain at his post and to persevere in condemning those things that were an abomination in Your sight.

And so to today….

It was not only Judah that had more than its share of false prophets: they abound on every side to this day. The fact is that virtually every New Testament epistle majors on the need first to discern false teaching and wrong practices – and then to combat them. Just consider all the spin and propaganda that various prominent nations and media outlets promote in such sophisticated ways. Try looking up the words ‘Russia’ and ‘propaganda,’ for instance, on our blog.

Political parties may not quite promise everyone free trips to the Moon, or waiting times of less than five minutes in A&E, but, like Hananiah spinning fairy tales out of straw, there remain no shortages of politicians to scatter dazzling pledges like confetti – so much so that the cartoonist Matt commented in the Telegraph that ‘Some parts of the UK have received a month’s spending pledges in the last month!’ It would take fairy gold to pay for all these grandiose promises! Austerity and Prudence are definitely out and irresponsible borrowing in.

As Jesus warned the Mammon-loving Pharisees, “You justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued amongst men is a detestable abomination in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15)

It is so important to pray against delusions taking hold in people’s hearts, because they raise the same sort of false hopes that seduced so many when Hananiah ‘prophesied’ that those who had been taken away to Babylon would be coming home again soon.

Proverbs reminds us that, ‘Truthful lips endure forever, whereas a lying tongue lasts only a moment,’ (Proverbs 12:19) – but oh, how much damage can be done when people deliberately spread deceit and deception! Are not all lying tongues but an example of the spirit of ‘Death creeping in through our windows and entering our homes?’  (Jer. 9:21 TLB)

Father, let that which is born of deliberate deception and optimistic fantasy be exposed and fall to the ground, just as spent fireworks do. Keep people from becoming cynical and bitter when the promises that are dangled before them turn out to have been nothing but bare faced blandishments. As false promises are scattered like confetti, let the hearts of the people see through them, and become more mature – but not more angry and cynical.

Lord, raise up those who have truth to impart, and accord them a platform from which to share a positive and truly hopeful message. Let those initiatives that are of You triumph and prosper, we pray.

Help us, especially as Your people Lord, to think clearly and to see through all that is alluring but deceptive. Touch and open the hearts of young and old alike in our nation to hear and respond to You, and to experience and encounter You. Shape our outlook on life. Forgive our great waywardness and visit our nation again we pray. In Jesus’ name.

Let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord. (Jer. 9:24)

PS With regard to the forthcoming General Election, it is never too early to pray for the forthcoming series of televised debates. For many people these will be their primary political input, and are likely to influence their vote substantially.

God is working through Mission Africa. . . November 2019

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Prisoners in death row saved – and details of forthcoming Mission to Bwaniha 2-9 December 

Prisoners sentenced to death come to faith and released!

We praise God for the eight hundred and eighteen prisoners (plus many staff) who have come to faith in the first ten months of 2019.

These included three who had been sentenced to death. Pastor John Musana, our preacher told them that God could do more than they could hope or imagine. To everyone’s astonishment, a letter came from the Prison HQ a week later pardoning all three of them and demanding that they be set free. To God be the glory!

Rejoicing with their new Bibles

Follow up visit to Kabaijja

Our dedicated team paid a return visit to Kabaijja, where they had the privilege of baptizing thirty-three of the new believers in the local river and distributing one hundred and fifty bibles.

Rejoicing with their new Bibles!


We were thrilled to hear that the local churches had already made a start in evangelizing together, and had seen a good number come to Christ since our visit in September. Such news always brings great joy! There are a large number of stories of changed lives and healing given – and these are only a few of them!

So happy with that Bible


  • Four former drunkards testifying that they had been set free from alcohol. One of these, Frank Muchunguzi, has already led another drinker to the Lord.
  • John Bashariza had been intending to poison himself but has now come to faith.
  • Maria Topista Nantale had been seriously sick with a swollen body and unable to stand, walk or go to the toilet by herself. Now she is completely healed!

Let’s praise God for all that He did in this village and pray for all the work that is continuing there.

Our Mission next month is to Bwaniha  (2-9 December)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Village Homes in the Vicinity

We would be most grateful for your prayers for our next mission. This will be led by Pastor Richard Sssendi and will be to the tiny village of Bwaniha in the District of Busia, a short way from Lake Victoria, and Uganda’s eastern border with Kenya. It is a remote area with both subsistence farming and some fishing. There is great poverty and unemployment in this region that is often overlooked by government authorities. Children have to walk very long distances to school, which leads many to abandon their education at an early age. As well as a great deal of witchcraft the local people also experience a lot of false teachers and prophets coming across the border from Kenya.

As you can imagine, this mission, the very first in the area, is most eagerly awaited by the pastors there.

Thank you so very, very much indeed for all your prayers, encouragement and the hugely appreciated support. These are – that is you are – the means by which God makes it possible for us to continue this precious work.

With our love, Terry Charlton, Steve Trint and Daniel Kato on behalf of the Evangelistic Team

 

Prayer for the Election

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When the election date was announced, a friend found herself feeling sad that it was going to take place during Advent, which should be all about Jesus rather than politicians! But Jesus was born during a time of political unrest and, the Roman census, which is not entirely dissimilar to a poll, was going on.

So, as we turn our attention to the seething events of an election campaign driven by highly sophisticated advertising and deliberate deceptions. (I’m thinking of the Tories deliberately doctoring a video to show Sir Keir Starmer stalling at an interview question when, in fact, he didn’t). Perhaps we can seek to fold the nation in prayer, using the words of Philip Brook’s carol: ‘O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in, be born to us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us our Lord Emmanuel!’

It was whilst on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the nineteenth century that this American vicar was inspired by the night view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine, to write the words of this much loved carol.

The words are poignant; they set a different tone to those of the vigorous prayer that I have penned for the forthcoming election, but they are a good reminder of who it is we are seeking to honour.

Winston Churchill once said that politicians are asked to stand for parliament because they want to sit in the House of Commons – but they are expected to lie in order to pedal the policies of their particular party. Ouch! And how much more true has that become in our post-truth society?

Lord, in the midst of so much spin, let what is true and of good intent shine out, and policies that are truly worth pursuing.

Let the spirit of discernment come upon the nation to divide between things that are of goodly intent and those which are but siren calls. Let Your ruach breath blow through our land and dispel the noxious fumes that have spread so contaminated the air. As we seek to ‘take to heart all the words that You speak to us,’ may we ‘take words with us and return to You. Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer You the fruit of our lips.’ (Ezek. 3:10; Hos. 14:2)

May we be open to hear words that will heal our inflamed senses and restore damaged trust and relationships.

Bold prayer for the forthcoming Election: Let Your purposes prosper in these post-truth days!

Politicians make their plans and devise many strategies and alliances, but we are asking You to thwart and overthrow that which does not come from You, and to prosper that which does. Determine outcomes so that You may be honoured and exalted in each one of the countries of the United Kingdom.

In Psalm 55, David tells of his grief at seeing ‘violence, strife and destructive forces at work in the city; and many forms of oppression and fraud . . . We too are in a time when we might cry out with him a portion of his prayer that we find in verse 9, offered here in several versions:

‘Destroy their tongues’ / ‘confound their words’ / ‘upset their plans’
or, as TPT puts it, ‘confuse them until they quarrel with themselves.’

Such a prayer is effectively another way of praying, ‘Lord have Your way,’ and ‘In all things overrule!’ When General Galtieri launched his invasion of the Falkland Islands the Lord directed me to pray: ‘Lord, confound Ahithophel’s advice.’ (2 Sam. 15:31) And He did! He made it clear that He was determined to bring down the Argentinian junta on account of all the blood it had shed in the infamous treatment of the many ‘disparados,’ who were tortured and disposed of under its brutal rule. Mercifully we are not at that stage, Lord, but it would certainly make sense to be praying that the Lord confounds the bad advice of certain unrighteous advisers today!

At this time of unparalleled voting volatility, (amongst MPs as well as well as the populace at large!) we recognise Lord that ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, since no city or house divided against itself and splintered by feuding will stand.’ (Matt. 12:25) It is a sure sign of Your judgement, Lord, when You hand us over to strife and division.

There is an inevitable price to pray and division to endure as a result of taking a stand for You, (Matt. 10:32-39) but we are praying, Lord, that Your undivided purposes may prosper. It was You who divided the sea to let Your people escape from Egypt; we intercede now in Jesus’ name that You will part whatever waters need to be parted now so that truth may prosper.

Rise up, o God, we pray and ride forth in the cause of truth, humility and justice! (Ps. 45:4)

Log jams and being prepared to go back to the fork in the road

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Finding the Lord’s way forward during times of transition and uncertainty tests our discernment and our patience. May these simple but far reaching principles and anecdotes help us to persevere at these times and so find ‘log jams’ parting and the flow of the Spirit leading us on beyond.

Log Jams, loaded questions and going back to the fork in the road

You will have heard the saying, ‘You can’t steer a parked car.’ Whilst wisdom often consists in waiting until matters become clear, there are all too many other occasions when people sit around ‘waiting’ for something to come along when they could usefully have been embarking on all manner of projects – and discovering the Lord’s enabling and anointing in the process. So what are we to do when we find ourselves needing to choose whether to wait for further directions or to take one of several available paths?

In Latin questions are introduced either using the word nonne or num, the one presupposing the answer ‘yes,’ and the other ‘no.’ A principle I have often found helpful on those occasions when I am not getting any immediate answer to my question, ‘Lord what should I do about . . .’ is to ask a ‘loaded’ question.

Here’s a simple example. You want to go to a particular place or meeting, and as you don’t appear to have received any specific answer to the question, ‘Should I go Lord?’ you respectfully ‘frontload’ your conversation with the Lord, and say, ‘Ok, Lord, this course of action appears the most sensible to me; unless You show me differently, I’m going!’

Self-centred people might be tempted to distort this principle to justify doing purely what they what they want to do, but if our hearts are truly open to the Lord, it is usually safe to weight questions in this way, trusting that if we are in danger of going off course, the Lord has promised that we will hear a voice behind us saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ (Is. 30:21)

Again and again we will find the logjam parting and the waters starting to flow again. Glory!

Many choices come our way from day to day and even hour to hour, and the way we respond to them plays its part in determining not only our immediate effectiveness, but how much spiritual authority the Lord can entrust us with.

Being prepared to go back to the fork in the road

What about those occasions when we have set off in a particular direction but subsequently come to realise that it may not have been the best choice? Whether or not there was anything actually sinful about the mistake, we still need to ‘repent’ in the sense that the word means ‘to change one’s mind’ and ‘to turn about.’ How good are you at coping with times when you need to set off back to the point where you first took the wrong decision? This is so important if certain things are to be right again.

It requires humility to reverse direction in this way – but how much better is than that ploughing on and just ignoring the matter?  Merely hoping that things will turn out all right in the end is rarely the wisest option!

Sometimes the fork in the road that we come to takes the form of a letter Y. we are on a path and we have the choice to go either left or right. Often, when I have made a wrong decision it has been either because I have failed to consult the Lord, or have relied too heavily on one strand of guidance.

No matter how strongly we may feel something, it is always good, where possible, to allow time for the Lord to ‘tally and triangulate’ His leading: He  loves to confirm important decisions in several different ways.

For instance, a few months ago I was trying very hard to find the right person or place to rehome Dad’s lovely organ. The matter was a pressing one because the letting agents insisted on having the house clear before putting it up for rent. Nothing felt quite right until one day I was at the recycling tip, where I started chatting with a man the Lord had pointed out to me. He happened to be the Director of Education at a College for children with special needs. When I asked him if he would like the organ as a gift he was delighted! By ‘coincidence’, it also happened, for the one and only time ever in my life, that I had a lorry with a tailgate with me, and so was able to transport the organ straight to the college. As it turned out, however, the young people in his school would not have made particularly good use of it – but a few weeks later the lovely Music Director of Malvern Priory, who is also the senior organist, moved into Dad’s old home. We soon discovered it had always been his dearest wish to possess such an instrument!

Time for me to eat a dose of humble pie and to go back to the College Director. He willingly gifted the organ back again, as he graciously put it, ‘to so worthy a cause.’ With the help of a friend with a Transit Van, four of us bent our backs to return it to its original home in Dad’s house, where it now blesses by making fine sounds and being played by a highly trained musician.

All this only happened because I was prepared to make considerable efforts to ‘go back to the fork in the road’ and make the necessary course redirection!

Is there anything the Lord might wish you to reconsider? Do you to need to engage reverse gear about some decision that you made too hastily? Anything is better than to pursue something that is second best or even wrong, for it will be sure to limit you, and to forestall purposes which the Lord could otherwise have brought about.

Sometimes we have to pass through transitional times . . .

So far we have considered a Y junction. Sometimes, however, what we face may be H-shaped junctions, in which case a ‘bridging’ step will be required for us to be able to continue our journey on the proper path. Once again we will not fare well if we continue ploughing our furrow through an existing field if the Lord is actually calling for a change.  We often balk at this, however, for fear of what others will think or say if we do indeed embark on some radical new course – like King Zedekiah who heard the Lord calling him through the prophet Jeremiah to comply with Babylonian demands, but who feared the leaders of his own people too much to do so (Jer. 38:17-21).

I have lost count of the number of times when the Lord has asked Ros and I to make the crossing on the narrow path between the two uprights of the letter H in order to accomplish what the Lord was asking us to do – even though this often flew in the face of what others were hoping and expecting from us.
When our daughter Ruth was at junior school, we had a strong sense that she was not where the Lord wanted her to be. Since there were no places available at the only other school in our Shropshire town, however, there was nothing we could do but pray. The only person we shared this with was my PA. A few weeks later, at Spring Harvest, she happened to overhear a man saying that they had a lovely house, which they would love to open to someone who would benefit from attending the local Christian school ‘but who could not afford the distance on a daily basis.’

What are the odds again such an encounter? Within a few weeks it had all been arranged, and Ruth, who was nearly nine at the time, moved to stay with this dear family in Worcester from Monday to Friday. When she felt a bit tearful at this thought, the Lord reassured her that this was His will, and promised that He would dry her eyes. When she reached up to brush away the tears she found that her eyes were already dry. Ruth benefited greatly from attending a school that was, in many ways, more like a Bible college.

As so often in these sort of situations, the waiting period between recognising that Ruth was not on the best educational path for her and finding the Lord’s way forward felt like being in limbo. But He already knew what He had in mind to do and wonderfully found a way to bring His purposes to pass. May each one of us have the persistence to wait and pray – and then the courage to step out when the Lord is telling us to find ways to bridge the journey from one side of the letter H to the other, and so find the new path beyond.

Why hackers affect us all (and other matters!)

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From time to time I highlight the supreme importance of praying for cyber security in a world that has become so utterly dependent on internet connections functioning unimpeded.

Countries such as Russia, China, Israel, Iran and North Korea employ vast numbers of highly intelligent people in cyber espionage, otherwise known as hacking. Pretty well every aspect of contemporary economic and political life is affected and at risk from cyber damage. For a fresh and highly sophisticated example, see this article.

See too our previous post.

This article summarises the American response to such threats.

Update on President Putin

Putin once showed signs of being eager to get along with European leaders, but following a series of rebuffs as a consequence of his bloody incursions into neighbouring countries (to say nothing of oppressing and repressing political rivals of whatever kind), most western nations had already effectively rebuffed him well before the Salisbury poisonings sullied his reputation still further. I suspect that Putin’s character is such however that he was always going to take personally the insult of being excluded from G8 type gatherings. See this article.

It was always going to be a major test for western leaders to know how to respond someone as complex as Putin, narcissist by nature and nurtured in the closed and arcane world of the KGB. See this article.

Putin seems set now on revenging himself on the West, and is forging strong partnerships with like-minded and equally authoritarian leaders. ‘Birds of a feather flock together,’ as the saying goes, and Putin has met with the North Korean leader, as well as seeking to deepen his friendship and economic and military cooperation with President Xi of China, who describes him as a bosom friend. At the same time, Putin has become increasingly draconian in dealing with his political opponents in Russia.

Playing fast and loose with Parliamentary Norms

Having glanced around the world, let us return to the strange sight of the Palace of Westminster mired in controversy, and the British parliamentary system, so long held up as a model for other nations, being held up to ridicule. It is a sad reflection on the state of our nation that those who are elected to serve the people they represent, appear to be treating democracy with reckless contempt in order to achieve their own ends.

Thus Boris Johnson’s patently political attempts to ‘manoeuvre’ proroguing, Jo Swinson with her original intention to do away with the referendum vote of 2016 altogether, and to only heed the vote of any new one if it votes the ‘right’ way, and Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘constructive ambiguity’ – a policy that is itself undergirded by an iron fist towards his own detractors. And then there is the uniquely interventionist John Bercow, who has significantly shifted the parameters by which parliamentary business unfurls.

Father, in our nation, we have prided ourselves on our freedom, yet we bind ourselves to conformism, and fetter ourselves to rigid strictures and structures. Even without intervention from the increasingly secularised European Union we have done all that we can to put away all thought and talk of You and Your ways, and You are left with no option but to refine and discipline us, even as You did ancient Israel. Yet even as You humble us we pray that You will show us Your mercy and deliver us from chaos, confusion and from the evil of tyranny.

Purify our speech so that we may call upon Your name in Spirit and Truth, and serve You shoulder to shoulder. Lead us in Your better way of grace and truth, discipline and freedom. (cf Zeph. 3:9)  

Tyrannies and Freedom World Watch(i)

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I continue to grieve for the way the Kurds have been abandoned. They have been obliged to call in Syria to protect them, and their relatively rich region in Syria, together with its oil fields has come back under Syrian control, as it were without a shot being fired. From now, Kurdish children will be being taught in Arabic. The concern is that when things have settled, Assad will do what he always does, first arresting and then torturing leading Kurds.

The ‘policy’ of putting America first has effectively been to leave it increasingly isolated, creating a vacuum that other powers have been only too glad to occupy. The real winners of course are Assad and Putin – and, quite possibly ISIL itself.

President Putin has been playing as masterful a game of chess in the region as President Trump has been woeful and haphazard. Technically allied to both Syria and Turkey, Putin is speaking of reducing the amount of ground that Turkey is ‘allowed’ to possess. And whereas Erdogan might think little of defying the White House, he is far less likely to take such liberties with Putin’s red lines.

NBC reports that the Kurdish fighters who fought so bravely against ISIL and with American support are now to be part of the Syrian Army’s Fifth Corps, which itself is under Russian command. See this article.

Turkey, Russia and Iran: A dark alliance. Andrew Brunson’s dream

Do you remember Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was falsely charged with espionage and jailed in Turkey, and whose release President Trump helped secure? While he was in prison, he dreamed that Turkey, Russia and Iran would form a very dark alliance. It seemed highly improbable at the time, but now we see that it is indeed coming to pass. All the signs point toward Turkey becoming not only increasingly anti-American but also more anti-Christian too.

The murky and dangerous ramifications of this alliance are deeply concerning, but Pastor Brunson also believes that the Lord is preparing the way for a move of God in Turkey itself. Pray for Turkey at this time when it finds itself shamed and shunned by virtually every nation in the world for its incursion into northern Syria.

See CBN’s report.

Elsewhere in the Middle East

From here, let’s move on to pray for the whole Middle East scenario, including Syria and Israel, and also The Lebanon, which is struggling on many fronts.

Not only are its economic conditions deteriorating massively as it tries to assimilate huge numbers of Syrian refugees but it is also enduring its worst ever forest fires. (Reports suggest that over 3 million trees have been lost.) Alongside these major issues, it has a very strong pro-Hezbollah wing, which continues to direct its efforts against Israel.

A whiff of civil war in the air

If we look around the world today, region by region and country by country, and chalk up the number of nations currently convulsed in violent protests, the extent to which there is more than a whiff of civil war in the air becomes only too clear. I am not speaking primarily here, mercifully, of overt warfare, as in Syria, but rather in a sharp clash of ideologies that is leaving nations bitterly divided, and political systems all but paralysed, including Ecuador, Chile, Hong Kong, Catalonia and the Lebanon – to say nothing of les gilets jaunes in France, and the political deadlock in Spain Italy, Israel and now the UK too. There have always been ‘seasons’ when such social conflict escalates. 1848 was such a year, as indeed was 1968, which some of us are old enough to remember.

As always when unrest overflows onto the streets, the local police forces find themselves the butt of people’s anger – victims themselves and yet guilty of being victim makers.