War is shocking. The images and stories that emerge from it leave us stunned and speechless. Emotions impossible to accurately describe assail us when images of the devastation pour out of our TVs and digital devices. Our hearts break and our tears flow as we try to grasp the implications of what we’re seeing and hearing. Questions with no reasonable answers assail us. How can so many otherwise ordinary human beings be so weak and empty of principle that one depraved maniac can force them to engage in cold-hearted, premeditated mass murder? How do we deal with the reality that innocent men, women, and children who are guilty of no offense, who have committed no crime, and who have harmed no one are having their lives, their livelihoods, their families, and their very bodies torn apart? For millions, their hopes and dreams and every treasured memento they owned have been reduced to ashes and charred rubble. We are witnessing an exhibition of mindless cruelty and a callous disregard for life beyond anything most of us have ever imagined.
Shocking but not Surprising ~
War is, indeed, shocking, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Even a superficial glance at world history makes it abundantly clear that every generation since the beginning has left a legacy of death and destruction, and the future doesn’t promise any improvement. Jesus affirmed that wars and rumors of wars would continue to be commonplace even at the time of His second coming (Matthew 24:1-11). But the history and prophetic future of war isn’t what most of us are concerned about right now. Most of us struggle with more pragmatic questions like, how is this going to affect us and our families? What could we as individuals do to counteract the evil confronting us? We may not be able to go help the Ukrainians fight the Russians, but there are lessons to be learned that are closer to home and things we can do that don’t require diplomatic or military intervention. God has given us information and instructions about war and our role in it. He begins by providing an explanation of where all wars begin:
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:1–3 NKJV)
Then the Apostle Paul elaborated on the nature of the conflict and the kind of arsenal God has given us:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:2–6 NKJV)
Toxic Roots, Poison Fruit ~
It’s hard to watch the carnage being displayed every day, but we need to see it. We need the shocking reminder that it’s the end result of an atheistic ideology. It’s established on the belief that personal faith in God is a detriment to individuals and an enemy of governmental authority. Socialism, Communism, and Fascism are absolutely dependent on a population that either rejects the existence of God or that submits to those who do. Either way, it renders God pragmatically irrelevant and functionally impotent. The only gods tyrants serve are power and greed, and their willingness to slaughter their own people in pursuit of their objectives is a hallmark they all share. But the question that confronts us is not so much what evil things they’re capable of, but how did they get that way? This is a relevant discussion for us because the devil’s busy looking for the next tyrant right now and he’s conducting his search in our town and our neighborhood–maybe even in our church.
The sobering truth is that for generations, our academic system from elementary school to graduate level universities has been methodically morphing into a virtual training ground for godless authoritarians. Most of our early colleges and universities were created primarily to provide theological preparation for ministers. Others were established as places to pursue a broader scope of knowledge in various categories and to equip men and women for specialized professions, like law and medicine. The free exchange of ideas was a primary objective then.
Now, in many of them, any student who dares express a point of view that challenges the accepted and approved anti-God, pro-leftist government position is rejected, maligned, and silenced. The entire academic system has devolved into something that approximates a training and recruiting center for the next Karl Marx, Fidel Castro, or Vladimir Putin. They defend and promote the same amoral behaviors, and the same disregard for truth, personal rights, and freedoms that were prevalent in the world’s worst dictators.
Action Is Required ~
While we have weapons that are, indeed, mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, there are some things we need to understand about those weapons. They are all useless unless they’re equipped with all the components that make them effective, and only if they’re deployed and activated. It would do no good, for instance, to send rifles to the Ukrainians if all they had were blank cartridges. God has given us an incredible spiritual arsenal. It has the power to dismantle the enemy’s seductive lies, to break the hold of compulsive behaviors, to impart love and demonstrate joy and peace that the world cannot understand or replicate. Our weapons can illuminate sin-darkened minds and melt hearts hardened by disappointment and abuse. They can penetrate sin’s deepest and most fortified bunkers, but only if they are deployed and activated.
Many seem to conclude that the weapon is prayer. Prayer is a vital element in the spiritual warfare, but there’s more involved:
- If we pray about loving God and/or other people but don’t include things like actually obeying Him and reaching out to engage a brother or sister in need, like the scenario mentioned above, we might only be firing blanks.
- Praying against Satan’s deceptive lies is a good thing, but if we don’t make His truth the principles we actually live by, the enemy isn’t threatened at all.
- Praying about the moral degradation permeating the entertainment world is a good thing, but if we privately support their productions, we’re just making noise while the enemy laughs.
Make no mistake, God can handle evil without us. He’s perfectly capable of resolving every moral issue that confronts us, but He chose to send us instead. He’s the real source of power, but we are His delivery system, and it’s an inherently personal mission, both for Him and for us. No politician, entertainer, iconic religious leader, or social media influencer, can do it for us – but neither can we do it without Him.
So, as war rages in Ukraine that we can do nothing about, it’s time we engage the war going on here on our own soil. It’s time we deploy our non-carnal weapons. It’s time we stop firing blanks and do all we can to keep the enemy from recruiting our neighbors and friends – and especially our children.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .
- “While we have weapons that are, indeed, mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, they are useless unless they’re equipped with all the components that make them effective, and only if they’re deployed and activated.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God has given us an incredible spiritual arsenal with power to dismantle the enemy’s seductive lies, to break the hold of compulsive behaviors, to impart love, and demonstrate joy and peace that the world cannot understand or replicate.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Our spiritual weapons can illuminate sin-darkened minds and melt hearts hardened by disappointment and abuse. They can penetrate sin’s deepest and most fortified bunkers, but only if they are deployed and activated.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Praying against Satan’s deceptive lies is a good thing, but if we don’t make God’s truth the principles we actually live by, the enemy isn’t threatened at all.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God is perfectly capable of resolving every moral issue that confronts us, but He chose to send us instead. He’s the real source of power, but we are His delivery system, and it’s an inherently personal mission, both for Him and for us.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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Well written Ron! James 1:22…
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Sorry to be late getting back to you, Jason–we had company and my schedule was wrecked even more than usual. I always appreciate hearing from you and we pray that you and the family are doing well in these incredibly disturbing days. We’re comforted and encouraged in knowing that you guys are always on the front lines in proclaiming the truth of God’s Word and living out the principles Jesus taught. The need for us to lock our arms , our hearts, and our faith together has never been stronger. Thanks for reminding us that you’re out there carrying out the mission that we were sent to fulfill. Please pass our love and gratitude around and again, forgive me for being tardy getting back to you.
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This war is absolutely horrid, Ron, and the images coming from the Ukraine reduce me to tears every time. I’m praying that God will preserve this nation even though the odds seem stacked against it. Putin is evil personified. He cares for nothing but power. We know that evil will not prevail in the end, but when it rears its ugly head, all kinds of chaos and misery arise, too.
And you are absolutely correct about the Godlessness of our learning institutions. They have become indoctrination centers, not places where free thought is practiced and revered. And once they’ve claimed that God is irrelevant to society, these professors are doing nothing less than the devil’s bidding. They may not slaughter innocents like Putin, but in my estimation, they, too, have blood on their hands.
Let us keep praying!
I’m so sorry for being this late getting back to you, Martha. We had company coming in and my usual schedule (such as it is) was in total disarray. I just want to add a heartfelt AMEN!!! to your response. Like you, I struggle every time I watch the reports coming from Ukraine. I go back and forth between shock and deep sadness and profound outrage when I witness the unprovoked cruelty and brutality inflicted on innocent people–families being torn apart, physically and emotionally tortured, and/or killed. The global impact of one megalomaniac’s endless quest for power is almost incomprehensible. I. thank God for your compassion, and your sense of spiritual indignation at this blatant exposition of satanic activity. If we fail to stand together and fight it at its roots here, then we will soon be fighting in what’s left of the streets in our cities like the citizens of Ukraine. May God grant us wisdom, faith, and endurance as the wars–physically and spiritually, unfold.
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I sometimes recall the atrocities of war, of battle, and of the carnage it leaves behind in so many lives. Some can never escape it. I wish I could explain how so many blindly follow a mad man, but I think too of the allegiance I swore to follow the orders of the Commander-in-Chief. The first I served under, was not much of a commander, but a good man and I respected his office and authority, even though I was very far away from any decision-making. The second, President Ronald Reagan exemplified a strong, courageous leader (at least in my eyes). I went to war, and proudly served this nation under his leadership the most. The largest difference I see in American forces (then, when I served) and OPFOR (Opposing Forces) was that we were able to think for ourselves and we acted according to our beliefs and principals. In Socialist and formerly Communist countries, the people are not accustomed to problem-solving, applying critical thinking, or thinking for themselves. They often follow blindly; trusting those who control them. I worry, many of our own forces today will follow down that path as a result of many of the very things you point out that we see happening around the world and here in America for the past several decades. The only hope we have is found in God, and His grace and mercy. It’s time to strap-on the Armor of God and get serious about this battle. “The fields are white …” God’s blessings sir.
Thanks, J.D. I honor you and am so grateful for the sacrifices you made and the risks you took to defend the freedom i have enjoyed. When I see the things that war does to human beings on both sides of the conflict it grieves my heart and astonishes me. The level of cruelty being displayed and the total lack of any compassion leaves me numb. I have no way to relate to it, and don’t want to. My focus, obviously, is to, as you have said, “get serious about this battle.” The powerless, superficial, hypocritical fruitless church games that are so easy to play have gotten us where we are now. God bless you, Brother, for bringing your gifts and skills into an arena where we are in dire need of battle hardened warriors. We’re praying with you that God will keep you healthy and multiply the fruit of your efforts on every front. Thanks again, too, for stepping in to help out while we’re in Israel–just wish we could take you guys along with us.
Joining you and your Ms. Diane in prayers always sir.