Cluster Bombs on Karabakh – Pray for Armenia!

cluster bombs

“The use of cluster bombs in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law, so their use to attack civilian areas is particularly dangerous and will only lead to further deaths and injuries,” Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty‘s acting head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said in the statement.

“Cluster bombs are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their deployment in residential areas is absolutely appalling and unacceptable,” he said.

https://www.24newshd.tv/06-Oct-2020/amnesty-warns-of-cluster-bomb-use-in-karabakh

On Sunday, 9/27/2020 at 7am most Armenians were preparing for church and family gatherings when struck by surprise military attack from Azerbaijan. Not a random act of aggression, this act of war was strategically calculated from Armenia’s darkest foe, Turkey. President Erdogan’s mission to resurrect the Ottoman Empire takes a big step forward, exerting Turkey’s military strength in the region. Although criticized, they remain virtually unchallenged.

“Turkey bets that the West and Russia will sit idle as Nagorno-Karabakh burns.” Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal 10/6/2020

With world powers preoccupied with pandemics, social uprisings, and chaotic elections, the Azeri – Turkish alliance is forging ahead to claim the cherished Armenian territory of Nagorno-Karabakh – Artsakh.

Bombings destroy Stepanakert….

Turkey’s recent invasion into Syria, aggressively pushing out the Kurdish stronghold against ISIS, provided a devilish resource. Turkish ‘security corporations’ now employ these freed ISIS fighters – mercenaries – to join the attack upon Karabakh. A perfect Islamic coalition of wealth, military strength, and jihadist blood thirst vows to fight on until all Armenians are removed.

Of course, Armenians globally are deeply grieved by these unprovoked acts of war and the real threat of another genocide (From 1915-1922 the Ottoman Turks annihilated 1.5 million Armenians, the first genocide of the 20th century).

While many are mobilizing resources, volunteer soldiers, and humanitarian aid, it is my cry that believers also will join in a spiritual battle through prayer.

As the world once again turns away, may the Lord burden the hearts of believers to press in for the suffering Body of Christ. Armenia claims to be a ‘Christian nation’, although many are nominal and religious. May true believers rise up in faith, may nominal Christians cry out to God with true faith.

Please remember Armenians daily and especially on Friday night, 10/9/2020 starting 8pm as we cry out to the Lord on points such as these:

1. Pray for the Body of Christ in Armenia and especially those in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

* Pray for church leadership – Pastors, elders, deacons – that God will strongly encourage them, and speak clearly to them that they may deliver God’s heart to the people.

* Pray that God strengthen believers, quicken their faith, and ignite a living faith in nominal Christians

2. Pray for soldiers on the frontlines, many of whom are farmers and villagers defending their families, their community, and country.

* May the Holy Spirit bring a spiritual awakening on the battlefield, that God will ignite their hearts to pray, finding their marching orders through Christ.

* Lord, stir up a revival on the battlefield. While bombarded by vast numbers and sophisticated weaponry, draw them to depend upon You and Your leadership, strength, and wisdom.

* Let great testimonies arise from the battle, may the Lord be glorified and honored

3. We pray for the enemy Lord, confound and push them back. Bring their Islamic onslaught to naught. Shake the hearts of these Azeri, Turkish, and ISIS fighters. Raise up a contention in their hearts and thwart their zeal, deflate the spirit of murder, and lead them to godly sorrow.

* Lord, thwart Azeri stock piles of bombs, drones, and missiles.

4. Pray for peace negotiations and conflict resolution.

Lord, even surrounded by enemies, stir up Armenian churches, let them be a light and let Armenians live to glorify You!

“Let God arise and His enemies be scattered.”

Armed for a Higher Battle

Heated battles in Washington spark flames in the hearts of many believers, including me. It takes daily discipline in God’s word and in prayer to rein in the fervor. I first worked on a political campaign as a teen – and that senator is still in office! Most tantalizing for believers though, are the esteemed ‘Biblical’ values touted in this arena. It is a snare however, drawing us in ecumenically with others to fight a worldly battle that holds no eternal victory.

“Surely the nations are a drop in the bucket…Before Him all the nations are as nothing…” Isaiah 40:15

“Be careful”, I warn myself, “not to invest your heart into something that is nothing.”

It is of utmost importance for us as believers to know where we’re placed in in the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:18), His gifts and callings. We’re not honing our skills and sharpening weapons for worldly battles but spiritual battles – those that hammer the forces of darkness while honoring and glorifying our sovereign God.

“Preserving our way of life” is no threat to Satan or any demon. Jesus didn’t come to live a good life and He never said we were either. We are called, as the Body of Christ, to display the “manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms”. Ephesians 3:10 may specifically relate to the profound working of God, making Jew and Gentile ‘one man’ in Christ as Paul proclaims through the chapter. However, the ‘manifold wisdom’ – complex, intricate, multifaceted wisdom – speaks of our mandate as ‘church’, to confound and triumph over “rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

National politics fall far beneath such conquests. According to God, they “…are regarded as dust on the scales”.

Worldly battles ignite our flesh but spiritual battles mandate death to the flesh, gaining ‘strength through separation’, in the prayer closet and shut away into God’s word. Those who ‘pick up their cross’ will become increasingly broken yet stronger and geared up for battle.

What is God’s call? Perhaps we can see that His call is not for us to be dependent upon church buildings, organizations, denominations, or activities. As A.W. Tozer once said, many churches gather together for fellowship unlike the ‘local lodges’ after their ‘coffee hour’. The Lord, however, seems to invest His call to those most dependent upon Him. His commission doesn’t come with accolades but the burdening of our heart from His heart, that inevitably leads us to minister and serve.

The world doesn’t care about spiritual battles or victories. Who cares or even knows when a drug addict finds deliverance through the Holy Spirit? Or when the loneliest souls reconcile to their Father in heaven and join in His family? When elderly meet God through His Body, when the proud are convicted of sin, when the sinner cries out, “how could I have lived like that? Rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world in the heavenly realm take notice when they suffer loss and defeat through the lives of ordinary mortals who serve at the behest and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Like most people, I have definite social and political inclination. Still living in NYC part of the time, I have strong feelings which can be impassioned through the media and the willful direction of my heart. But I don’t want to champion candidates or legislation – I don’t want to fight for that drop in the bucket….

I want to be useful to God’s Kingdom, commissioned by Him that He might work through me. No matter how small the assignment may seem, there is no greater honor in all this world.

Press on brothers and sisters!

What’s REALLY Killing Our Churches

God is, in no way, deterred by a virus, a riot, or ‘oppressive legislation’.  In fact, scripture boldly testifies that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness.  His precious and powerful Spirit moves triumphantly through our desperate cries and prayers.  Dependency is a major pillar of faith, so essential that the Lord will cause and/or allow confounding situations and calamities to draw us into His word and prayer.

It is not possible for COVID or any government restrictions to curtail the move of God nor diminish His purposes but He may well be using these to expose the foundation of our faith.  Just what is it built upon?

American churches and spiritual revivals seem to be at a tail end, working hard to pump life into the fading godly reputations.   The ‘smoke has left the temple’ but where is our grief and contrite heart?

All-night prayer meetings and three day fasts humbled and united brethren in godly churches, charging them with great expectations from God.  The Holy Spirit brought direction, the Lord’s purposes became clear.  There was revelation to God’s word.  What happened, seemingly so fast?

We can learn from young King Uzziah….

“As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success….His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.”   (II Chronicles 26 excerpts)

Gone are those prayer meetings.  Undoable are those fasts.  ICHAOD is juxtaposed upon the billboards yet goes unnoticed.  The Glory of God is replaced with marketing strategists, digital strategists, community interest groups and food giveaways.   No virus is curtailing God’s move and certainly no government – in the most restrictive and oppressive countries the Holy Spirit is mightily gathering souls for God’s Kingdom!

We squandered our ‘spiritual wealth’ – our dependency upon, our intimacy with, our abandon to God – to wade in a spirit of Laodicea.  Neither ‘hot nor cold’, we were ‘wealthy’ and self sufficient until a virus interrupted our church business.

we-can-do-it

With enough lawyers, donors and publicity, ‘We Can Do It’, but we’ll be ‘doing it’ without God’s Holy presence.  “The flesh counts for nothing”, Jesus said.  

Can church shut downs or worldly oppression of any kind diminish the longing of the Bride for the Bridegroom?  Won’t it all only quicken our hearts to seek Him and deepen our yearning for His coming?

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.   Rev 19:7

Lord, am I getting ready or am I still clamoring for the temporal things, reaching back for gone seasons and past movements?  I pray that You call us and draw us as Your flock, open Your word to us.  Let the world ‘take away’ as long as You pour in with greater measure!

 

Signs of The Times and The Suburbs

The implosion of major US cities is no secret.  Even as steadfast New Yorkers, we prayed about leaving, considering a condo in the country for a real change.  However, while visiting my parents, my elderly dad offered, “Why not move in with us?”  As my 90 year old mother slowly passed by with her walker, the country real estate postings in my mind went ‘poof’.  Grateful to enjoy and honor my parents in their senior days, we are for the most part, in suburbia.

For me, ‘suburbia’ tries hard through landscape to look ‘country’ and tries hard through programs to be ‘cultural’ but it misses the urban and rural essence somewhat.  Nonetheless, aside from occasional days back in NYC, I am here to serve the Lord however He assigns.

Part of my personal routine here is an early morning worship walk around the neighborhood where I free myself to sing to the Lord, add some dance steps to my walk, and pray.  Seeing occasional rabbits hop by or chipmunks scurry adds to my joy.

What takes away my joy is the boisterous signs that seem to declare a self-righteousness that, at times, pointedly disavows God.

20200804_065602One popular sign asserts the gamut of humanistic values on evolution, gender equality, immigration, and, in rainbow colors, sexual affirmations.

WE BELIEVE…..and believe so strongly that we want to post all this on our front lawns!

There are ‘minority’ families in the neighborhood, black and Indian.  Notably, none of them have any such signs, an ongoing reminder of what our black friends in Harlem reported months ago, “Yeah, Black Lives Matter marched through Harlem…but they were ALL WHITE PEOPLE!”

20200804_071213    20200804_070050

According to The Acton Institute, BLM champions: Reparations through racial socialism, Defunding the Police, Dismantling the family, Global overthrow of Capitalism, Reparations for drug dealers and the legalization of drugs and prostitution….

Hello neighbors, is that what you really believe?  If any ONE of these things happened on your pristine street you would dial 911 and fast….

In a culture nearly scrubbed of God, people are hungry for ‘righteousness’ and some kind of zeal to stir their hearts.  So needy for meaningful passion they will follow and ride a Trojan horse even to their own detriment…

What can a believer do during daily walk-worship?  Pray for my neighbors and believe that Jesus Christ, our Head, moves His Body around with eternal purpose.  If I had my own home, I would put my own sign….

20200804_170220

I’m no graphic artist but it’s a start…

May the Lord inspire and encourage you as you press on for His glory!

  

The Bad Thing About a Good Life

American believers have, for the most part, enjoyed a ‘good life’ where the fruits of freedom to worship, work, plan and save grounded us in ‘One Nation Under God’.  The ‘good life’, often entangled in this world, gave birth to ungodly prosperity ministries and carnal churches.  However, the bad thing about a good life in an ungodly world is the inevitable upheaval of misplanted roots.  Since, “…Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin...” and “…the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”  this is not the place to invest our heart and trust.

Americans and believers alike are alarmed by the powerful forays that are, through destruction, forcing change.  A country that was built and cultivated over hundreds of years is seemingly toppling before our eyes.  But it was toppling all along….

removing 10 commandments

The Ten Commandments,  ordered removed by Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2015, under cover of night to avoid controversy

We lost all fear of ‘controversy with God.’  What was sanctioned in secret has come to utter fruition in the daylight – toppled statues, ruined icons, wanton cultural destruction.

‘Successful’ Christians are now scrambling to secure their lives here, especially with the growing threat of socialism… “Should I cash in my 401K?…Put my money in a safe?…But will there be a ‘cashless society’?…Should we buy property?”

Self-preservation is the most natural instinct within us – who doesn’t want to live and preserve a good life?  The only problem facing the believer though is the prevailing word of God that exhorts us to “pick up our cross” and follow Christ, “to live is Christ and to die is gain”, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” This call of separation unto God is an ongoing call from Genesis to Revelation, as is the rebuke against ‘friendship with the world’ and its entanglements.

I challenge myself in this:  maybe God is calling us to set our hearts upon and actually live according to His word,

“…godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that….take hold of the life that is truly life.  (I Timothy 6 excerpts)

These social, political, and moral upheavals pose great challenges for believers but also great opportunities to live out our faith as God intends – to believe and stand on His word, to express the glory and faithfulness of God, to be content…strengthening our hearts with the reality of Christ’s promised and soon return.

Believers are called out in every time and place of world history and with that call comes the power of God to live out our faith and fulfill His purposes for our short time here.

Lord, help us walk in and live through Your word in greater measure, proclaiming Your truth and faithfulness as this dark world readies for Judgment Day. 

Believers in the Day of Corona

Is the Corona Virus a passing calamity or worldwide catastrophe?  Only the Lord knows and His plan in these end days will prevail.  Here in NYC I just finished a morning grocery shop – bustling aisles with many empty shelves.  Yes, take precautions, yes stock up a bit but always keep a focus – what is the Shepherd’s plan for His sheep?   

I appreciate my husband’s protective qualities, “If things get bad, we’ll leave, we’ll go to New Hampshire or Massachusetts…”  These are options where family would welcome us.  Sometimes it’s God’s will to flee, sometimes maybe most times, it’s God’s will to serve.

One of my studies inspired me greatly this week.  Re-reading I Samuel, I noted in my heart how devoted David was to the sheep assigned to him.  According to his jealous brothers, they were but a “few sheep” (17:28).  But even as he ran with zeal to conquer a giant, David found a shepherd to oversee those sheep.  He fought for them and defended them.

This may seem weird but I’m sharing this anyway.  Yesterday I was searching for ‘stuffed acorn squash recipe’ on my phone and when I pressed search (or some button) this came up:  http://www.spurgeon.org, “Spurgeon and the Cholera Outbreak of 1854”.  (Site title is The Spurgeon Center).   Posted by Geoff Chang, Spurgeon’s response to this health crisis seems much like the heart of David:

“During that epidemic of cholera, though I had many engagements in the country, I gave them up that I might remain in London to visit the sick and the dying. I felt that it was my duty to be on the spot in such a time of disease and death and sorrow.”

Pastor Chang’s article more fully describes Spurgeon’s devotion to the suffering, even ministering to unbelievers who had previously mocked him.  Those who study and love Spurgeon know that he struggled with depression through his ministry however, during this dark time, he poured himself out as Christ to those stepping into eternity.

Popular and beloved, no doubt this spiritual giant could have ‘fled’ to places of tranquility but would have missed the call of Christ to those sheep, insignificant to the world but precious to the Good Shepherd.

Perhaps our Corona crisis will fade away or possibly turn into something we never expected.  Surely God is preparing His Body for worse days to come, surely He has left us here for His purposes and His call.  

While much of the city is shut down here and folks stock up to hunker down, I consider the sheep in my midst…my elderly neighbors and single parent ‘Joanna’ whose 3 year old I babysit every morning.  The thought of ‘fleeing’ fades from my mind.

Apostle Paul warned, “There will be terrible times in the last days”.  Jesus declared of these days, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Help us to stand firm Lord, wherever You post us.  Help us to be that light, a beacon for You and Your kingdom and fulfill every purpose intended for us.  Amen.