Dear Hope family,

Thought for the Week

“Our struggle”

Ephesians 6v12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the … powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV)

We don’t like what we see. Yet what our physical eyes don’t see is even more dramatic – as John pictures in Revelation.

Who is the very author of evil and pride, bloodshed and war? Is it not the Devil himself? John, in his vision, hears “a loud voice in heaven say, ‘ … woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.’” Rev12v12

Here is a vital point: the devil knows that the end is coming and that his time is limited and so he is determined to cause trouble. Also, God may not have eliminated evil yet, but he has limited it and made Jesus Lord over all.

At a Christ Central global prayer day yesterday, I was privileged to join in a Zoom with one of the church leaders in Ukraine (similar to the one in the evening which a number of you joined). I was moved by his emotions, not over his safety as he sought to care for others, but over the likely restrictions to the freedom to proclaim the gospel in the coming days. This held a higher priority for him than anything else. This priority has been obvious amongst his team over recent years as we have seen them surmount amazing obstacles and go the extra miles for the kingdom of God. We are in a spiritual battle and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ is central in that battle.

It is reported (Christianity Today, Feb 2022) that Ukraine has seen significant church growth since the introduction of freedoms in 1991 and is the main sender of missionaries in Eastern European. I quote, “As far as Europe is concerned, the Ukrainian church is perhaps the strongest and is doing the most for education, training, and sending out workers.” (though I have not found any corroboration of this).

Jesus said three times, “I am coming soon” Rev22v7, 12, and 20. The Devil knows there is limited time, and we know there is limited time. I am mindful of Josh Howard’s (speaker at Devoted) determination to reach the current generation as quickly as possible as we are passing away at a rate of 100 million a year.

Knowing we are in a spiritual battle drives us to our knees, to the place of prayer. You may like to listen to this 21st century version of a 20th century hymn “Facing a task unfinished …” .  Coming in prayer to God reminds us that while the devil is limited in both time and power, God is not limited. Our task is not yet finished, but, “He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world”.

Let’s continue to pray with compassion for our brothers and sisters, for the land of Ukraine and even for Russia. Let’s pray for the kingdom of God to come.

With love and blessing,