“Smoke and mirrors” – Confronting evil

According to a report in The Times, dated 28th February, more than 400 Russian mercenaries are currently operating within Kyiv, with orders from the Kremlin to assassinate President Zelensky and leading members of his government (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/volodymyr-zelensky-russian-mercenaries-ordered-to-kill-ukraine-president-cvcksh79d).   Perhaps, given Putin’s track record, we should not be surprised, but even so, further details in the report will surely give even the most diehard Kremlin apologists pause for thought.  
The report references The Wagner Group, which it identifies as a private mercenary militia group run by one of Putin’s closest allies.  Apparently, five weeks ago, mercenaries from Africa who are a part of the group were flown into Ukraine with instructions to ‘decapitate Zelensky’s government’.  Even more shocking, the article reports that this was on top of 2,000 to 4,000 mercenaries already sent by the group into different parts of the country.  It would further appear that the mercenaries were briefed to anticipate a brief pause in hostilities while Russia entered into ‘discussions’ for peace, but with the assurance that no deal would be reached.  They were told the ploy would be simply that – an exercise in ‘smoke and mirrors’ to feed the Russian propaganda machine, prior to the imposition by Russian forces of total control.  So the mercenaries are now reportedly only awaiting their signal from the Kremlin – and in return have been promised huge financial reward!
From which we may infer that, without some kind of divine intervention, President Zelensky’s time on this earth is likely to be short.
Even if you harbour feelings of support for Russia’s attempts to protect its borders in face of what they have labelled Nato expansionism – as a few Christians seemingly do – how can such cold-blooded and inhumane calculation possibly be justified?   How can it ever appear right simply to kill those who disagree?  
As it is, it seems abundantly clear that Putin’s intention to invade Ukraine was settled a long time ago, only awaiting his carefully orchestrated manipulation of facts and events so as to support the narrative of intrusive Western control over lands that properly belong to Russia and that therefore stand in dire and urgent need of “liberation”.  By his own admission, Putin seeks to restore the boundaries of the former Soviet Union – but, on current form, it is hard to believe his aspirations will end there.  
By any estimation this is of concern and, over the last days, on the occasions Western media has been treated to coverage from inside the Kremlin, Putin has appeared increasingly disconnected from reality, approaching life through what feels to be an isolationist and self-deluded bubble that allows no opposition.  Many now are speculating that the Russian President is in fact gravely ill (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/01/vladimir-putin-sick-covid-russia-ukraine-invasion-illness/), and that this is the reason for the extraordinary urgency with which the attack on Ukraine has been pursued.  Putin, it is said, is running out of time – and the fact that Ukrainians clearly don’t want liberation is irrelevant.   His mission is nothing less than the total restoration of the Soviet empire … to be achieved, for him, before it all becomes too late.
It need hardly be said that Putin’s modus operandi is not, and never can be, God’s way, and perhaps the spirited and brave resistance of the Ukrainian people over the last days, with their unexpected success, is testimony to help from a greater power.  Which, if we are to have any hope of lasting resolution and peace, we should note.  From a worldly perspective, the writing for Ukraine seems very clearly on the wall, with the prospect of war spreading to the rest of Europe appearing increasingly likely.  But it would be entirely wrong to leave God out of the equation.
That being so, what can and should we do?  
First off, we need to recognise that the conflict is part of a far wider picture, and that there is a spiritual dimension to all of this that we must acknowledge, if we are to have any hope of lasting resolution and deliverance.  Thus, while world leaders grapple with measures to contain Russian expansionism in a way that will avoid world war, the rest of us should perhaps urgently address the deterioration of Western society and culture, that has so fatally undermined our security and stability, and is now endangering peace.
Without doubt, Putin has factored into his equations the increasing decadence and moral corruption of the West – indisputably fed in recent years by Russian backed campaigns of mis- and dis-information – which has fatally weakened our ability to counter threat.   To recover our strength, therefore, it is imperative that we regain our values.  Values such as truth, honesty, responsibility, duty, commitment, fortitude in face of adversity, and perseverance without endless complaint.  To live once again, if fact, according to the values set down in the Bible and given to mankind by God, for our protection, safety, and strength.  Only by recovering these values and living to a ‘higher’ good, that puts others before self, can we prosper. 
In these troubled times, the Western world has prioritied self-satisfaction and indulgence over God.  As result, God has withdrawn His protection and is allowing us now to inherit the wind.  Yet almost unbelievably, He still says to us today, ‘Choose who you will follow’.  If we choose wrongly, there will be continuing chaos and destruction.  But if we choose rightly and follow Him, obeying His commands as set down in the Bible, all of this madness can end.
Let us stand with the people of Ukraine now in the brave defence of their home land and do all we can to help.  But to come under the banner of God’s protection, which is our only hope of deliverance, let us repent our rebellion against God and the evils we have allowed.  Let us embrace purity, justice and righteousness – the values of the kingdom, in fact – that we might stand before a holy God and ask His help.

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