By Paul Bawden
As I write this article, there is the likely possibility that 50 hostages – living Israeli citizens – children, mothers and other women – in groups of 12-13 people – will be released over the four day pause in the fighting, starting on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, in America.
In addition to the four-day ceasefire, for the first time since the outbreak of the war, Israel has agreed to release 150 teenage and female Palestinian security prisoners.
The possible release of the hostages is great news! However, as you know, there are still some 190 individuals held hostage. They need to be released as well! Prayers for their release must be continued with persistence.
Still the release of these hostages is cause for thanksgiving, the answer to many prayers. Those involved to make this happen are definitely to be thanked. But there is more going on here than just human involvement. That’s why thanks must ultimately be given to the biblical God for moving in this situation for the battle here is not just physical/material, it is also spiritual.
This means that there is a battle going on in our world, yes, in the USA, between the forces of good and the forces of evil – taking place between the unseen forces of reality – which is displayed visibly in our time existence right before our eyes. Sure, one can deny such an existence, but to do so really denies the reality that good versus evil is taking place in our world.
That’s why the apostle Paul penned that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:11).
And when it looks like evil is winning over good, it’s time to hear what the Apostle penned again in Romans 1:21, ”For although they knew God, they did not honor (worship) Him as God or give Him thanks, but became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
What the Scripture is saying is that when the biblical God isn’t recognized as God and given thanks for who He is and what He does, people start thinking they are god which results in reasoning and thinking which leads to all kinds of evil present in America and the world.
Giving thanks to the biblical God acknowledges that He is the Sovereign. He is the Source. He is the Supplier. He is the Sustainer, He is the Savior, and through faith in Jesus Christ, He becomes your personal Savior. Giving thanks to Him acknowledges that there is a spiritual battle going on in our world today and in our personal lives. But in so doing, we acknowledge that He is the Victor over evil. He gives believers victory over evil and sin in their lives, and in His time, He will answer our prayers, and eventually He will win over all evil and the evil one. Read Revelation 19-22.
So, this thanksgiving, in the midst of the war and turmoil in our world, and the unrest in the USA, take time as an individual, and with family, to thank the Lord that He is in control of His world, and count the blessings He has given you, naming them one by one. In addition, keep praying for His victory over evil in the Middle East and the release of all the hostages. Happy Thanksgiving!!”
Paul Bawden is married and served in the full-time pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011, after which he and his wife served in four interims, three in Wisconsin and one in Iowa. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He is also a volunteer writer for GotQuestions.org. Paul likes to write, read, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.
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