In a time of war, the Lord is still the stronghold of our lives.
Once again, our newspapers are filled with ‘wars and rumours of wars’, and if you are anything like me, you too might be feeling the strain of a new crisis, right on the heels of the last crisis! As believers, how should we respond when all around us is bad news, when our newspapers declare ‘the end is nigh’, or when, once again, we are surrounded by fear and anxiety. Well, I always go back to the ‘divine instruction manual’ – God’s Word – for that is where we’ll find comfort and strength. God’s Word is the only anchor in desperate times, and it is the one thing that we can ALWAYS rely on. God’s Word never changes, and it contains all we need for hope, comfort, healing, wisdom, and guidance.
Jesus told us in Matthew 24:6 that we will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but we should not be alarmed, for the end is not yet.
But also in Psalm 27, we are reminded that when darkness is all around us, ‘the Lord is MY light and MY salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will NOT fear, though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.’
And as we stand on the truth of God’s Word, how can we pray?
First let’s unite our prayers for the…
Safety and protection for those seeking shelter in Ukraine.
Provision for those fleeing.
Guidance, direction, and divine opportunities for church leaders and Christians in Ukraine.
Wisdom for the Ukrainian government and global leaders.
Peace and resolution quickly.
But also, let’s pray for Russia, for…
All those who are feeling anxious and afraid.
The many churches across Russia.
Russia’s leaders, for hearts to be turned back to God.
And here in the UK, let’s pray for unity not division, for peace not fear, and for heavenly wisdom.
Today, if you are fearful, grieving, or broken, let the truth of God’s Word sink into your heart, and be reminded that He is our source of light, He is our healer, He is our restorer, and He is the one who brings peace even in the middle of fear, panic, and uncertainty.
However you are feeling today, remember that God is STILL God. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and our hearts and prayers today are with everyone who is broken, lost, and feels as though their lives have been shattered. The cry of our hearts must be ‘Lord God, heal our world!’
As we have now crossed from 2021 to 2022, we’ve hit another wave in our raging storm with Covid: data running wild, people under further restrictions, the economy yet again impacted, and the list goes on. In Mark 4, Jesus said to His disciples ‘let’s go over to the other side’ (NASB), and what happened is that in their crossing over, they hit a storm. Let’s learn what this story can teach us as we face storms in our own lives:
It was unforeseen and unprecedented. Who could have foreseen this storm? But remember that in unprecedented times, there is an unprecedented God who is able to deal with any unprecedented situations that we may be facing.
They were right in God’s will. They were obeying what Jesus asked them to do, going over to the other side. Being in God’s will doesn’t immunise us from the storms of life – if anything, it can even activate them as the enemy’s strategy is only to steal, kill, and destroy.
It was not just a physical storm but an emotional storm. They were afraid. This pandemic is more than physical; it’s also a pandemic of fear that is paralysing many today. Let’s remember the declaration of God’s word: ‘Love casts out all fear’ (see 1 John 4:18). And if God lives within us, who can be against us? However, it does not mean that we can do what we want. Let’s make sure that we all continue to adhere to the ongoing updates to keep us safe.
As they panicked in their raging storm, facing tragic circumstances of possible drowning, Jesus Himself was asleep – why? Well, what is within you determines the outcome of any situation that you face. Not only did Jesus have peace within Him, but He is the Prince of Peace, able to release manifested peace in any chaotic situation. Therefore, let’s release the Prince of Peace through us to manifest Himself in our storms today.
They had forgotten the word that Jesus had given them: ‘Let’s go over to the other side.’ He never said ‘Let’s go UNDER!’ Let us make sure that when Jesus commands us to do something, we get hold of His Word to the letter and stand upon it, for unexpected storms could hit us at any time.
Jesus spoke to natural elements. Don’t you think that Jesus can do it again? Of course He can. Right now you can call upon Him in whatever situation you are facing.
Jesus said ‘Peace, be still’ (Mark 4:39 KJV). This suggests, in other words, that peace was on the move. Peace will always seek turbulence, for it is in turbulent times that peace has the most effect. As we face this raging pandemic storm, or whatever storms we may find ourselves in, let’s be reminded that the Prince of Peace can do ‘exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us’ (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV).
The disciples were then terrified by the very one who brought peace in their chaos. Sometimes our fears are directed at the wrong things. Let’s put healthy fear in the right thing, in fact in the right person – our Lord Jesus Christ!!
The disciples made it through to the other side, just as Jesus said. So will we, and let’s use this challenging time to strengthen ourselves in the Lord, ready for what He has in store for us in 2022.
In conclusion, the disciples were totally surprised to meet this unprecedented storm as they were crossing over to the other side. Let’s remind ourselves that Jesus wasn’t surprised at all by the storm that they were facing. He was totally aware and in control of the situation. Therefore, let’s put our trust in Him in this chaotic world that we are facing. As we have now crossed into 2022, let us expect the Prince of Peace to manifest Himself in whatever raging storms we may be facing right now or in months to come, and let’s believe that 2022 will be a victorious year in every way. Have a blessed 2022!
THE THREE CROSSES OF CALVARY BUT ONLY ONE WAY TO SALVATION!
Over 2000 years ago, there were three crosses standing on a hill called Calvary. These three crosses had a loud and clear message then, and they still speak to us today:
1. REBELLION – the state of mankind
2. REPENTANCE – the need of men
3. REDEMPTION – the solution for all
As we approach Easter, let’s look at each of them.
1)The first cross represents the Cross of REBELLION
Luke 23:39 tells us that ‘Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ [Messiah], save Yourself and us.”‘ The sad truth is that from the very beginning of time, men and women everywhere have rejected God, preferring to follow their own desires and to run things their own way – that is a way without God. This rebellious, self-sufficient attitude is what the Bible calls ‘sin’, and guess what? We ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). But it is also important to remind ourselves that God has created us with a free will, and whatever choices we make today will certainly affect our tomorrow. This man hanging on the cross next to Jesus bluntly demonstrated his rebellion against God, and rather than choosing forgiveness and eternal life, he deliberately chose to blaspheme and turn his back on the Son of God – and consequently he rejected eternal life. The Bible makes it clear that we are all rebellious by nature: ‘none of us is righteous, no not one!’ But praise God that He revealed to each and every one of us the message of life, leading us to experience a free salvation so great that we in turn, through our personal life, can proclaim God’s goodness not just at Easter time but every single day.
2) The second cross represents the Cross of REPENTANCE
But as the first one hurled insults at Jesus, the other one rebuked him and said ‘Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ It is important to remind ourselves that Jesus was suffering in a way that we cannot begin to grasp or even partially understand, but so was this criminal. And in the middle of this agonising torture of the cross, a dialogue took place, and what Jesus did next was a wonderful example of understanding, acceptance, love, and compassion all wrapped up in one conclusive act. It is the very essence of the life of Jesus’ strength through adversity, for without hesitation, Jesus responded to his cry for mercy. Here is what Luke 23:43 tells us: ‘Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”‘ Here is the lesson that we can learn from the second cross, the CROSS OF REPENTANCE: it is never too late to repent and ask the Lord to accept us. Jesus freed this man from his sins, received him graciously, justified him unconditionally, and led him to experience the gift of eternal life. What a beautiful message of hope that must be proclaimed: ‘IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO REPENT’.
3)The third cross represents the Cross of REDEMPTION
The cross in the middle of Calvary was the one that holds the hope and future for ALL willing to embrace it. Yes, the third cross is THE CROSS OF REDEMPTION. Lifted up right in the middle of two criminals, Jesus hung from a cross – the very Son of God, demonstrating the very words of the Heavenly Father found in this well-know scripture of John 3:16 (TPT): ‘For here is the way God loved the world – he gave his only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.’ Yes, right in the middle of Calvary for all to see was the Cross of REDEMPTION that holds HOPE and the FUTURE of humanity. Let’s never forget that when Jesus died on the cross of Redemption and then rose again from the grips of death, His grace of salvation could be released! He paid a price that none of us could pay. Thank God for that! Even as the Son of God hung on that middle cross, mercy flowed. And it was demonstrated in the criminals hanging on either side of Jesus, because they both had the same choice: while one took his bitterness and rage to the grave, the other pleaded with this cry: ‘Remember me!’ How good to know that Jesus doesn’t hold our past against us, for He took our shame, our guilt, our hurts, and our iniquities so that we could experience freedom from their grip! That does not mean that we will never experience trials. No, we will face difficulties as we live in this fallen world, but with God’s Spirit living within us, we can experience the fullness of life that God has promised for all who have and will accept Him as their saviour.
Therefore, let’s never forget that there’s no more beautiful Message to pass on than the Message of the Cross of Repentance, whereby anyone who is willing to repent will experience the Cross of Redemption! Let’s make sure that this Easter, we tell the world that Jesus is truly alive, FOR HE IS RISEN!!!! Yes for sure there was THREE CROSSES ON CALVARY, BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO SALVATION. AND THAT WAY IS OUR RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST!