Heavenly Power is Released when we Praise God for Who He Is!
Catastrophe in Ukraine. But we can make a difference. It’s not complicated…
I’m going to talk about politics today. But not in the way of politicians or pundits. I am going to bring spirituality to bear in a situation that we would classify as high-level global politics. One which we are all concerned about.
We’re all imagining being in Ukraine. You probably know of someone from there. Even if you don’t, you feel for them, as for anyone who is mercilessly bullied.
We are far from thankful for what we see unfolding on our TV screens. After all the high-level interventions, ‘regret’ is too bland a word.
But, strangely, we can choose instead of regret (or anger) to express being thankful. Hear me out here…
Thankfulness is a healthy attitude. It makes us feel better. Things just seem to go better. It makes our mood, and the mood of others more optimistic.
On the other hand, once we start complaining, there’s a whole lot of possible complaints line up with the first one. When we single out one thing that is wrong for our attention, it soon seems that everything is wrong. Negativity breeds negativity.
There’s not to say that we should not make good, discerning judgements about what is going on around us. To put up with what is faulty and call it good is hypocritical. To be thankful for what is clearly an assault on our peace and order is insincere.
However, to focus on what is good, beneficial, and God-given is honouring to the Giver. To give attention to the character of the Giver is not denial of reality, but making a higher and strategic choice.
It brings us, here in a physical way on earth, into alignment with heaven. God smiles on our thankful hearts. But this is not as unreal as it sounds.
Our determination to trust in God’s innate goodness changes things in the spiritual atmosphere. God’s blessings, always present, are released to flow, by the praise of hearts that look beyond difficult circumstances to recognise His ultimate authority and desire for justice.
This extract from Psalm 95 sums it up:
Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.
Psalm 95:2–3 NLT
The world, in its confusion and unbelief, really isn’t sure whether God is good — if there is a God at all. God’s goodness, they point out, is not seen in humanitarian disasters, in parts of the world experiencing famine while others have abundance.
Nor is it seen in wars, and the threats and cruelty that go with wars.
So, is God good? Absolutely! Should we praise Him? Most certainly, we should give Him praise for who He is, For His goodness, His guidance, His good purposes — and His merciful forgiveness.
Does he have answers to such complex problems? He is the Creator and He is greater. Faith asserts that most certainly He does.
The problem lies in whether we are able to hear and receive those answers. But being sure in our hearts that He is good, and that His intentions for us come out His goodness, puts us in the right place to hear. Our praise of Him, rising above the mess and confusion of man’s politics, provides a much-needed channel for His grace to flow.
This is how we, as believing Christians, can respond to day by day situations — and play our part in changing them. That’s a big claim! But we are the ones who know even bigger, greater, mightier God. Jesus has paid a terrible price for us to have the privilege of a restored relationship. Because of Him, and because we have a spiritual identity that is bound up in Him, we can approach what the Bible calls the throne of grace.
And choosing to affirm our praise of God for who He is, is the way we do it.
For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.
As Christians we believe that God speaks — first, through His eternal word, which we have in the pages of the Bible, like the verse which is speaking to us now. And we believe, secondly, that He speaks to encourages us personally, day by day, because He is relational, a loving Father, caring for us with boundless love and involved in our lives.
We might hear Him clearly, or we might hear a bit wrong and, as is often the case, swayed by our selfish desires. But we can check it out. What He says to us may not be chapter and verse in the Bible, but it will certainly align with what He has always said and recorded for us. If it doesn’t align, if it doesn’t check out, then we know it’s not Him that said it.
By contrast, we have another party who is involved, an enemy. This is the devil, the bad actor who sows confusion, distracts with deception and generally works to try to make our hearing and direction difficult and uncertain.
But here’s the thing that shuts him up. The sound the devil hates the most is our praise of God for His goodness. What he cannot cope with is our continuing to affirm who God is, and His flawless character, over and above all the real difficulties that we are grappling with.
The second thing that he hates most is our prayer. Christians who pray are a powerful threat.
Christians who agree together who Jesus is, and what Jesus wants, are an unstoppable force in the spiritual world.
How does this help brave but frightened people in Ukraine? How does it help those who might be shot or put in a labour camp, far from justice?
We are not in a position to negotiate. We don’t understand the issues or speak the language. In ourselves, we have zero influence.
But we know God, and we can pray in harmony, not only for good outcomes but for the right people to be given the right wisdom from above. We can call down wisdom they are unaware of, to find a path of peace. We can call down God’s presence and comfort on those feeling the affliction.
We can effectively oppose the spirit of aggression and unrighteous control, by our peace and our God-given ability to love enemies. We, almost uniquely, are able to bless Putin! That allows God to do whatever good thing He wants, to change our Vladimir from within — with better outcomes for every Ukrainian who is bearing the brunt, and every Russian whose taxes and inflation are paying for the soldiers and their arsenal.
We can leave the news media to be fixated about the truth or falsehood of the various participants, good and bad — that’s their job. But we can choose to hold a different focus — the truth about the God of love that we know, who gave His Son and whose kingdom is incomparably greater than any posturing dictator.
I’ll leave you with this closing thought. Coming before Him and expressing the thanksgiving in our hearts is another way of asserting: “Your kingdom come!”