The Big Picture- April 2022

Daniel was a Man of Prayer…..

 Long ago, in the 1970s, when I was helping with the children’s Friday Club in Warrington, we used to tell the story of Daniel, using Flannelgraph – a sheet of flannel on a board on which we stuck felt pictures.  In Daniel’s story, we always kept the felt picture of “Daniel praying” close to hand, because it keeps coming up in the story!  Daniel prays a lot, and the LORD hears his prayers and answers them!

Daniel lived through an era where Judea was invaded and conquered by Babylon, then Persia, then Macedonia, then Syria.  One time when Daniel prayed, this is what happened.

Our Prayers and Ukraine

So Daniel realised that even when king after king invaded Judea, it was the unseen hand of God that was controlling each stage of history. The LORD answered his prayers, took away the tyrant and brought a ruler who was wise and benevolent.

“Then Daniel prayed and blessed the God of heaven and said:  “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others.  He gives wisdom to the wise…”

 (Daniel 2.19-21)

We are living in historic times.  In many ways, the invasion of Ukraine is very similar to the beginning of World War 2. We can easily feel powerless to help those we see in the disturbing pictures and news reports on TV.

Our role is to pray passionately to the prayer answering God for the people and events in Ukraine, to offer as much material support as we can,  and to trust the LORD in what He is doing.

Lessons in Human Nature

What does the crisis teach us about human nature?  On the one hand we see heart-warming compassion.  Refugees welcomed, cared for, fed, and housed.  Ukrainians loved and protected by surrounding nations.

At the other extreme we see a government prepared to use the most intense violence and force; inflicting suffering, injury, and death on thousands – Why? – to build a bigger and more powerful Russia……..Be encouraged, Daniel’s God, The God of Heaven,  “…changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others.  He gives wisdom to the wise…”

Just two days after Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany in February 1933, a young pastor, Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer questioned Hitler’s leadership on national radio—prompting the radio station to switch off his microphone mysteriously before he could broadcast his closing statement, which included the line:

“Leaders who set themselves up as gods, mock God.”

The tyrant was taken away in April 1945.

 Easter and Human Nature

 The Apostle Paul gives us a wonderful explanation of what Good Friday and Easter are really about.   We have an amazing God, who, through His Son, Jesus, is able to transform human nature ….

“When you were dead in your sins and estranged from God, He made you alive in Christ.

He forgave us all our sins, blotting out the record of our failures, which overwhelmed us and condemned us;  He took it away, nailing it to the cross 

And He destroyed the control of powers and authorities…..”

(Colossians 2.13-15)

In these days we thank the Lord for all he is doing through the Lowton and Golborne Team Mission;  and for our many, many friends who read this magazine, and support us with your encouragement and your gifts!

May the Lord bless you, and those who are precious to you, in this season of Easter.  Amen, amen, amen!