Learning to receive the warmth of a sun I had not formed on a shoulder I had not shaped was practice for receiving the kingdom. Stopping to receive the juice of a cherry I had not made with taste buds I had not invented was practice for receiving the kingdom. Letting a word from a psalm sink into my soul, allowing my heart to say “amen” to an ancient prayer, all this was practice to keep my eyes and ears and heart open for things beyond me that were always at hand. (Smith, Mandy. “Unfettered” pg 61)
Day 15 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Today we continue to pray for Mariupol and the protection of innocent civilians. We pray for the countries of the world to stop watching from the sidelines, stop bickering back and forth how to help Ukraine and just take action. Pray for the entire world to step forward and help those in need.
Yesterday I listened to Pastor Steven Furtick, as I always do, and he gave part two of his powerful sermon from the week prior. It was another riveting message, but Pastor Furtick glossed over the crisis in Ukraine, stating the only thing he can do to help those people is to pray for them and to give. True, for many of us, that is all we can give, but that is enough and it is enough to promote on your platform. I don’t want to start every post with a reminder of what is happening on the other side of the world. I do not want to keep linking news stories that show mass graves filled with bodies, or women covered in blood after Russian artillery struck a maternity ward. I don’t want to do any of that, but none of that is my doing, so as a representative of the Kingdom and a servant of Christ, how can I not always be thinking of my fellow brothers and sisters whose whole life has been flipped upside down in the worst way possible. And then for their president to be begging for help and the world just watching their people get slaughtered is disturbing of humanity, to say the least.
So if your heart is broken like my family’s is, there are dozens of organizations already in Poland or in the Ukraine trying to bring humanitarian relief to these poor people. Click here to see Charity Navigator’s vetted organizations providing relief to the Ukrainian crisis.
The excerpt above from Ms. Mandy Smith’s book, “Unfettered,” is probably my favorite talking point from her book thus far. It is similar to the points I made in Common Sense Reborn when writing about appreciating nature and the world around us. We did not make any of this. This is all from God. Everything we make as humans comes from something God created. Yet we do not appreciate any of it. We trash this world. We use and abuse her resources. We treat the greatest creation-human life-with brutality, and with no fear of the judgment that will be waiting for all of us at the end of this life.
So next time you are out in the world of nature, and you feel the warmth of the sun as a cool breeze tickles the tall pines and you hear the soft whisper of those sharp needles; I hope you stop in that moment and thank God for this beautiful world He has gifted us with. And I hope, in that moment, you realize how much work we have to do to protect this planet and protect the innocent, the faithful, the meek and mild. It may seem like an impossible task to take on, like endless work to bring the world to understand the truth of Jesus and the beauty of the Creator, but it is worth every drop of sweat, every minute of lost sleep. Sure, it is tireless work. But welcome it, get after saving souls, work more to give more; read, study, know so you can accurately teach. When I was a slave to retail and grinded for ridiculous hours of each day, I foolishly used to respond to the question “when do you sleep?” with the arrogant and unhealthy response: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Well, for Jesus and God and our mission as Apostles, that response is appropriate. You can rest in eternity. You just have to get there first.
As one of my favorites, Mr. Matt Maher, puts a new twist on an old classic, I am “Leaning” on Jesus through all of this: for guidance, for truth, for strength, for the Peace that I can only gain in His presence. Lean in. And let’s get to work.