Finishing Well

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Quite early in His ministry Jesus told His young disciples that His food was not only to do the will of Him who had sent Him, but to finish (to complete or accomplish) the work He had been sent to do (John 4:34).

A little earlier He had told them that He had food to eat that they as yet knew nothing of – though they would do soon. As often, His comments bemused the disciples, who were trying to apply His words too literally. He was speaking of spiritual food, which is not so easy to quantify or analyse, but which they would soon come to experience for themselves. Continue reading

Why has God allowed this seismic shock to surprise the States?

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siesmic-globeYou will all have been doing your best to see beyond all the hype and propaganda associated with the thoroughly unpleasant American election campaign, and to see what the Lord may be doing through this surprise result.

I have been more than happy hitherto not to have said anything about the larger than life figure of Donald Trump, although I did begin, many months ago, to collect a file of his more unsavoury quotes. I also confidently presumed at the time that many of his outbursts would be sure this time to sink his campaign once and for all – whether to become the republican nominee or, later, the presidential candidate. Ahem!

On American election night, a few hours before the exit polls gave their misleading forecast, I was in the bath when the Lord suddenly drew near. Quietly but clearly He said, ‘You will be surprised tonight; it will not go as the polls suggest. I want you to know that I am in this.” So, after absorbing this, I went downstairs to watch as the second national electoral surprise within twelve months unfurled.

Time magazine ran a major feature a few months ago on how Trump set out to win over a large section of the Christian vote in America. It must have been a successful strategy because many clearly decided that he represented the better choice, notwithstanding his glaring deficiencies. It is usually a great mistake to endorse someone whose character is highly suspect, but I think a lot of American Christians may have been influenced by a word that Mark Taylor gave some time ago which has been read (or heard) by well over a million people on various media platforms, declaring that God was raising this man up as a ‘Cyrus’ figure.

There have been so many ‘words’ that place America at the centre of world events, promising ‘that it will prosper more than ever’ that one is instinctively wary of anything along those lines. The mistake of confusing the Kingdom of God and true spiritual freedom with party political causes or specific individuals is all too frequently made. It is crucial to maintain the balance that it is the Lord Almighty who is the real ruler of the nations: sovereign, eternal and magnificent. Nevertheless God does have unique ways of bringing about His will for the nations.[1] Will this prove to be one of them?

Although Donald Trump’s own grasp of theology has always struck me as being flimsy in the extreme, we can be grateful at least that his running mate, Mike Pence, describes himself as a “Christian, conservative and Republican – in that order.”

Jennifer le Clerc, the editor of Charisma magazine, had been struggling with all the weird and far from wonderful predictions that have been swirling around the whole matter of the election. She woke up on election day itself, however, with a clear word that ‘a kingdom was going to be toppled that day.’ Looking up the word ‘kingdom’ in the Merriam-Webster‘s dictionary she was struck by one of the definitions being “a politically organized community.’

An unusually high percentage of people in this election voted as a protest against the other candidate. Many plumped for Trump on the basis that anything was better than a globalist New Ager. In this they may have been influenced by Eric Barger’s articles, ‘Unravelling Hillary’s religion’, which chart her involvement with occult sources, including the regular ‘conversations’ that she has with the long deceased Eleanor Roosevelt.[2]

In the event, nearly 47% of eligible American voters did not consider either candidate worth voting for and stayed at home. What is for sure is that one kingdom really has been toppled, and we are duty bound to pray for the next administration!

How will this play out in the rest of the world?

I would suggest that it is not enough just to sit back and say ‘time will tell’; it is time to pray for how this new and unexpected scenario develops. And since America has never fared well when it seeks to be protectionist and isolationist,how does this play out as regards the rest of the world?

The Kremlin and the Russian parliament, the Duma, are predictably delighted – not least because of Trump’s oft stated reluctance to commit to the core tenet of NATO policy which is that an attack on one country is an attack on all. Newt Gingrich recently – and horrifyingly – described Estonia as being ‘a suburb of St Petersburg’. Ouch!

Read this extremely challenging article by the astute columnist Anne Applebaum and you will see why not only the Baltic states but the whole world will be concerned.

On this Remembrance Day, do revisit Anne Applebaum’s excellent thinking of the whole subject of remembering at a national level in the book she wrote on the Russian Gulag. Anne has also written a more recent book on President Putin’s rise to power.A great deal, in fact, will obviously depend on how Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin develops. He has often expressed a remarkable degree of admiration and support for him.

Pray for America’s relationships with both Russia and China. This latter alone will be a major challenge for him. Was he really serious in threatening a trade war with a country that owns much of the 68 cents in every dollar of the $10 trillion that makes up the American national debt? This will be as much a test for the Chinese leadership as for Trump.

Which brings us to the next important point: to pray for the appointments that Donald Trump makes, now that he enjoys complete Republican dominance in both houses, which will give him an unusually strong base from which to operate (for the first two years at any rate). Will he ‘take revenge’ on leading Republicans who refused to endorse his campaign – or will he appoint at least some of them in order to benefit from their experience? Will his many opponents in the Republican party act as a counterbalance to check his more extreme intentions?

Many around the whole world are feeling deeply concerned. The best hope is that Trump will prove a quick learner. Between now and taking office he will be sharing the same confidential briefings as are given to Obama – who is bending over backwards to facilitate a smooth and peaceful transition – at the very time when many Democrats (primarily those who are in their teens and twenties) are responding much as millions of thwarted Remainers did in Britain, moving beyond initial shock to demonstrating in the streets.

During the course of his campaign Trump showed a considerable willingness to flip flop and backtrack on a variety of policies. Will this man who is clearly an astute businessman but a political novice change his stance once he becomes better acquainted with the reality behind world events?

Like Obama, Trump has struck a welcome gracious and conciliatory note in these very early days. Will such an attitude survive once the pressures in office come thick and fast? Or will he resort to his narcissistic type? If he does not mean many of the more extreme things he has spoken of (a welcome thought) then he is likely to face an ugly backlash from his own supporters for having falsely raised their hopes. If he actually does mean them, of course, the outlook is really serious for a great many people.

The stakes are high and there is a lot to pray for – for our own Brexit-bound administration as well as for the Trump administration to come.

[1] Donald Trump is a central figure in this prophecy

See also: On election day a kingdom will be toppled and Donald Trump Key to Isaiah 45 prophecy?

[2] Unravelling Hillary’s religion – part one – by Eric Barger

Part Two.

See also this link to find out more about Eric Barger.

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Keeping our eyes on Russia

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Russia is continuing to ratchet up the tension –
Why we are being called to resume our posts on our prayer the watchtowers concerning russian intentions

At a time when the attention of the West is inevitably being distracted by the sight of political heavyweights slugging it out for the prize of the White House, the major push to retake Mosul, and the unspeakable horrors inflicted on Aleppo, it is no surprise to find Russia asserting itself in ways not seen since the fall of the Iron Curtain. The question is to what lengths newly revived Russia is prepared to go – and to encourage us to play our part in prayer. Continue reading

The Mercy Seat of God

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In his great song at the start of the gospel of Luke, Zechariah sang of a rising sun which would come  from Heaven to shine on those who were living in the shadow of death, in order to guide our feet into the path of peace’ (Luke 1:78-79). This, he declares, would happen because of the tender mercy of our God.  Right there in the caught-up-ness of this vision, Zechariah grasped something of the deeper purposes of God regarding human history. Continue reading

Overview: A Revived Imperialism is on the rise in Russia

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Overview: A Revived Imperialism is on the rise in Russia

It is such a joy to know that the Lord listens and responds to the smallest moves we make toward Him in prayer, whether for purely personal matters or international ones. This far ranging article is definitely the latter! In it, we consider Russia’s resurgence and some of the fast developing trends, threats and implications this poses on both a geo-political and a spiritual level. If some of the material here is new to you, we hope it will prove eye-opening and lead us all into prayer. Continue reading

Praying for Russia

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We have set this prayer for Russia firstly to Rachmaninov’s Great Ektenia – a word which means supplication or fervent prayer of the heart – and then moving on to his ‘Bogoroditse devo’ that we have released before. We are calling upon the Lord to release His mercy on those who live in Russia and the surrounding nations, and for all that is going on in those lands.

Praying to be a mouthpiece for the Lord

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In the last edition we looked at what I called the ‘power outages’ that are caused when people share with others things that are basically true, but in such a way as to damage someone else’s reputation – the wonderfully evocative Hebrew concept of Lashon hara. We are continuing this theme here by considering our need to “weigh” our words prayerfully before releasing them into the world. Continue reading

Praying with Yeshua ben Sirach for help to control our tongues

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As a powerful antidote to the ways of the talebearer and the power of slander, we are sharing in this article some of Yeshua ben Sirach’s wisdom concerning the importance of guarding our heart and tongue. Sirach compiled the book of Ecclesiasticus, which can be found in both Catholic and Orthodox Bibles. The book, also known as Sirach, may not have ‘made’ it to canonical status in Protestant versions, but the Anglican Church regards it as suitable for spiritual education, and the relative unfamiliarity of these verses can cause these pertinent truths to strike home with fresh vigour. The whole idea here is to take time to pray with Sirach that we should not give room in our hearts and mouths to scorn and disdain. Continue reading

Lashon Hara- Power Outages caused by negative words

Lashon Hara – the malicious disseminating of damaging truths

The words of the mouth are deep waters (Prov. 18:4)! As surely as gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Prov. 16:24) the words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts (Prov. 18:8).

Lashon Hara is the Hebrew term to describe the malicious disseminating not so much of outright lies but of damaging truths. Whilst we are all familiar with the damage caused by the Accuser of the Brethren spreading outright lies and accusations, he often finds ways to inspire believers more subtly to fulfil his evil work. The Hebrew phrase lashon hara (Hebrew לשון הרע; “evil tongue”) is well known to those steeped in Judaism, and occurs when people tell basically true things about people but in order to make them appear in a bad light. Continue reading

World Watch: Pray for Teresa May and Angela Merkel

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Pray for Teresa May and her team as they grapple on a daily basis with a huge range of pressing issues in the months ahead, not least with matters pertaining to Brexit, and developing her relationships with numerous world leaders. There are going to be plenty of challenges in the days ahead for western leaders!

Pray too for the “three Brexiteers” Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox, that they will humble themselves to collaborate well together.

Remember, too, Angela Merkel. Just as Teresa May received a shock during the G20 conference when Japan warned that it might relocate its major enterprises away from the UK, Angela must have been shaken by the results of the election in her own region, in which she came in third, below the anti-migrant Alternative Party. It sounds rather like the Conservatives losing control of Surrey!

This article is one of several that highlight Angela Merkel’s evangelical faith, and how she has sought to harness Germany’s great strength to save, rather than to destroy.