Wars and Rumors of Wars . . .

I was adopted when just a few months old. My birth mother’s parents had migrated to Canada from the Ukraine. I’ve known this for many years now, but as of late, due to what is currently transpiring in the Ukraine, for some unknown reason, what is happening, has hit me hard. It’s difficult to explain. It seems almost like a layer upon another layer has been laid before me.

Covid 19 and all the implications that has arisen from that reality, especially within the Christian Church, has also weighed on me heavily. Uncertainty on how to react, has been a hallmark, at least with me. And the layers are there too, over lapping, intertwined, creating a quagmire of decension and much discord.

I can recall, from my days in the Royal Canadian Navy, being in a storm at sea and walking down a gangway within the warship, being tossed from one gangway bulkhead to another, as I proceeded from point A to point B. That’s what it feels like, being tossed to and fro, at the mercy of forces greater than I.

Ephesians 6:10-13 NASB reads as follows:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

It’s one thing to be mindful of the realities of the spiritual forces of wickedness at play, and the weapons that we have to fight them, but entirely another to be increasingly subjected to the realties of those world forces of darkness, among us. And to be candid with you, there are times when I have a difficult time, sorting it all out.

I can’t help but admire the determination and willingness of the Ukrainian people, their oneness of heart, to sacrifice themselves and fight against superior numbers of personnel and armament, to retain the liberties that they chose to pursue. The process against them has been methodical and likewise determined, yet in spite of unfavourable odds, they fight to remain free.

And the thought crosses my mind, why hasn’t the Christian Church of Jesus Christ done the same thing? What spiritual liberties have we relinquished in order to achieve our own perception of victory? What methods have we employed to replace the Great Commission of Christ? And where is our solidarity with and between one another against the formidable foe?

Matthew 24:3-14 NASB reads as follows:
“And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.

“Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Many will be mislead. Wars and rumors of wars. Nation against nation. Kingdom against kingdom. Famines and earthquakes. Tribulation and hatred. Many will fall away. False prophets and increased lawlessness (sin). Love will grow cold.

And when does all of this worldly orientated turmoil come to an end?

When this gospel of the kingdom is preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations. You’d think that this would be the prime objective of the Church of Jesus Christ, to get this gospel out there wouldn’t you? Is there a tie in here, with the Great Commission that Jesus gave us, to further His Kingdom? I’d say there is.

But we know better, don’t we? We have found our own ways and worked it all out with our own thoughts. Ideology and manipulated politics can achieve what the Church failed at, military power and might will prevail over all. And how is that working out for us? And correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that the same game plan of our opposition? Kind of puts a whole new spin on “being in the world, but not of the world”, doesn’t it?

I envy the oneness of heart and the willingness to sacrifice of themselves, that the Ukrainian people display. They stand shoulder to shoulder, united in cause. I wish we had that same oneness of heart and willingness in our Church, in spite of the visually overwhelming numbers and formidable forces we face and that our hallmark was “behold, how they love one another”, in truth and in spirit.

But Jesus knew where we would be heading, didn’t He? Hence the “wars and rumors of wars” and the “evil day” that we are now in. Contrasted with Paul’s admonition to “be strong in the Lord and the power of His might”.

So I may be still bouncing off the bulkheads at times, but I’m still heading from where I was (point A), trusting in me, to where Jesus asks me to be (point B), trusting in Him, simplistic as it may sound, while this storm unfolds before me. Jesus is the only rock we have.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

26 comments

  1. To be able to “see” what is going on in the spirit world would be the greatest movie of al time. But that is where faith comes in because we aren’t informed of all that is on that screen. Out God has a reason for keeping us in the dark until he shines brighter than the noon day sun for all to “see”.

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    • I hear what you are saying Beverly and you’re right about what we only can partially “see”. I just wish that what we can “see” , especially within the Bride of Christ, was more in line with His perception of us being united with one another, than our own perception of our “oneness” and the means whereby we focus on, to achieve our goals. Blessings!

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  2. He knows we are sheep in need of the Good Shepherd. I console myself with that fact often. I don’t understand a lot of things, but He does! And if I wander off by mistake, He rescues me. Thanks for sharing your heart. God bless you today, Bruce.

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    • I actually got to meet my birth mother back in 2009. I drove from Halifax here in Nova Scotia to Winnipeg in Manitoba to see her (2,173 miles each way) and spent two days with her and met some of my relatives. My Mom died in 2014. My birth father (an American pilot training in Winnipeg during the 2nd WW) died in 1999 and I never did meet him. Even though I knew my background was Ukrainian, it never really registered with me, until now, because of what is happening in Ukraine. Hard to explain. Who knows how these human minds work! Thanks for the kind words, appreciated. Blessings to you and yours Linda Lee!

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  3. Good thoughts, Bruce. We become very passionate about the insane evil arrayed against the Ukrainian people, but we aren’t nearly as passionate about the Gospel and the spiritual warfare that surrounds us (and includes us).

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  4. Great reflections and thanks for sharing from your heart as always and being so open to using your own experiences to teach others. Your articles are truly relatable and helps people to find some common ground in what you say. We do need greater unity in the body of Christ and a reminder that we have one mission and one common enemy. Stay blessed. 🙏🏾

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  5. Thank you for sharing this and I agree with you about us as a global church not focusing as a united front against our common foe. Just a couple of weeks ago at Bible study we were discussing Jesus prayer for all believers in John 17:20-26, a large part of that prayer talks about unity and it says in Verse 23, “ I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved then even as you have loved me.”

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    • My pleasure. Yes, unity in truth and in spirit, like Jesus is with the Father, definitely hasn’t been our strong suit. Of course, Satan fights against that and he has been quite successful. Blessings!

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    • It’s strange Jim. I’ve experienced the oneness of brother and sisterhood of fellow believers at times, same thing with serving with fellow soldiers, but never with regard to a specific nationality, until now. And I think what sparked it was their unity of purpose and their resolve and there was a longing within me to see that happen within the Church of Christ, because I think all of which I have experienced, points to that. We taste of these things but it all has to point to the ultimate reality of our oneness in Christ. I’m not even trying to figure it out anymore, but whatever it is and where ever it stems from, I feel it and I pray for them. Thanks so much for giving me your thoughts and prayers. Blessings brother.

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      • Bruce I’m praying lots these days for Ukraine and for the Gospel. I’ve been praying for Russians too. It is so much mix emotions as I don’t like the idea of people dying and yet I also don’t want Russian advances to be successful. I think being a Christian forces us to see complexisities and that’s a good thing, I know if I wasn’t a Christian I think I would even be more easier blown by the wind and not see as many factors, not that I’m perfect now or have done a good job always with what I believe, but I can’t imagine if there’s no Holy Spirit conviction and also even expecting that this world isn’t perfect goes a long way in helping with interpreting the world. Hope that makes sense.

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      • It makes sense Jim and I understand what you’re saying. Discernment and awareness of our own limitations and the limitations of others, only makes us more aware of our own need and dependency on God. And getting a clearer perspective of what is so wrong with humanity, on so many different levels, is sobering to say the least. I’m not so much surprised as I am saddened, because of the totality that I see. The only thing that gives me peace is trying to stay as close to Jesus as I can (which is not always easy because of my own shortfalls) and knowing that He said these things must be, before He returned and that He had overcome the world. And being grateful for whatever small part He empowers us, to further His Kingdom. I know God’s Holy Spirit can do it all, I’ve seen it and experienced it, and this is a broken vessel He used. By His leading and by His grace pretty much says it all, and that day by day. The rest is all up to Him. The fact that you see what you see, and say what you say, gives me encouragement, because I know your heart, and there are many more like you that we know not of. Remember how a good leader leads by example? I trust you because I know you trust Him. You can’t get much better than that, not in these bodies. May God truly bless you and His work in you Jim. And I sincerely thank you for taking the time to converse with me. You are a blessing.

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  6. Having a common enemy does tend to unite us. Possibly the problem with the American Church is that we have it too easy. But persecution unites us, and as you say, makes us aware of our dependence on the Lord.

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    • Hi Annie, I’m thinking there’s definitely possibilities there. Identifying things we shouldn’t be doing is relatively easy. It’s the ever evolving array of our shortfalls that rises to the surface, as our factors change, that is problematic. Kind of brings God’s provision of grace through His Son to the forefront, when all is said and done. God’s blessings on you and yours Annie.

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  7. I can only imagine how you are feeling. But in all, I will refer to the Scripture you referred to

    “…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

    That’s an advice we all can use, especially when we don’t understand the things going on around us.

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