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Raoul’s Two Cents: February 25, 2022

The War in Ukraine

I’m not in a happy mood and I’ve got some spiritual concepts to share so skip my thoughts if you’re not into this and enjoy the jokes.

I just watched the news about the Russian attack of Ukraine. Someone scoffed when I predicted this would happen months ago. I’m sorry it’s finally here. I was planning to write about some exciting business opportunities and some fun activities but how can I switch off this concern for the brave citizens of Ukraine? I have never met any Ukrainian, never been there, only vaguely know where it is situated in the global map yet my heart goes out to them like they are my next of kin.

I hear the Ukrainian government distributed 10 thousand firearms to its citizens to defend themselves when their professional armed forces are defeated. And so far, the brave locals are determined to fight to their death. A bloody war seems inevitable because the Russian Goliaths (led by their heartless, crafty, follicle-challenged bully) have no one to fear and everything to gain. World leaders can shout their indignation all they want but Russia knows they will not lift a finger. Cowards!

Destructive history during the time of the prophet Habakuk repeats itself:

“Their horses are swifter than leopards
And keener than wolves in the evening.
Their horsemen come galloping,
Their horsemen come from afar;
They fly like an eagle swooping down to devour.”

— Habakuk 1:8

When a leader is weak, bad things happen. That’s when Yugoslavia fell, when ISIS forced millions of refugees into Europe, when Afghanistan fell, when China stole the Spratly Islands from the Philippines, when the Iranians held the American Embassy hostage, when Hitler started World War II, when the Vietnam War broke out, and when the Twin Towers came crumbling down. Mix weakness with godlessness and destruction is guaranteed.

God allows the bad to happen to force the deniers to their knees. In Amos chapter 3, God lists several calamities and repeats these words after each one: “Yet you have not returned to me.” It’s as if He were saying: “You want to run things YOUR way? Go ahead! Learn the hard way.” The more we resist, the more He will slap us to the truth.

We can easily drag ourselves to depression unless we remember that these events are necessary for God’s promise to come true. Afraid? The safest place is to be near God. Indeed, there is a happy ending for those who believe.

But this is just me. Thanks for your patience. TGIF people!

Raoul

Joke of the Week

Thanks to Peter Paul of S. Pasadena, CA. Not really a joke but hopefully something better.

Art by Raoul Pascual

Awww!

Videos of the week

FUNNY: Thanks to Peter Paul of S. Pasadena for this CRAZY Japanese prank.
RAPTOR in the OFFICE

Run!!!

SCAM: Ever wonder why some paintings (especially modern paintings or sculptures by living artists that look so simple) sometimes fetch millions of dollars? This video explains the process. Hint: It isn’t talent it’s connection.

Parting Shots

Thanks to Tom of Pasadena, CA

Thanks to Mike of New York for this visual challenge. Click on the image to get an enlargement.

More from Mike:

Thanks to Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA

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17 Comments

  1. Heather

    March 1, 2022 at 11:24 am

    Living through the pandemic and having this sort of situation happening to the good people of the Ukraine is so sad. They are up against one of the worst megalomaniacs ever born. As dictators age I think that they feel like their power is slipping so they want to show people in the most devious ways how their very core is convoluted. I pray that the Ukrainian people by some miracle, will be the David of David verses Goliath. Fingers crossed.

    Reply

  2. Tom

    March 1, 2022 at 11:25 am

    Happy to see you are OK. I THINK Putin is trying to make History think of him as big a Jerk as Hitler. Even his People in Russia are protesting his decision to invade Ukraine. Time will tell and I am Praying He comes to realize the insanity of what he is doing.
    Thanks for your input and timely opinion. Tom of Pasadena.

    Reply

  3. Hilda

    March 1, 2022 at 11:25 am

    I love your essay on Ukrain. Yes, world leaders are barking at the wind! Those embargo warnings are futile.

    Hilda

    Reply

  4. Anne

    March 1, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Hello Raoul.

    Thanks for your TGIF. I always enjoy your thoughts, and the jokes.

    I wanted to let you know that I once visited a home of a woman and it looked like the teapot picture. Ouch. The lady I knew had many plants and they were all dusty.

    Blessings!

    Reply

  5. Chuck

    March 1, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Hi Brother Raoul,

    Thank you for this.

    Wow Feb is all but gone! LB and I did get to enjoy a Cesar Salad at Ceasar’s in Tijuana many years ago. Here is one more for you. We went to San Felipe a few years back with our friends Ernie and Benito. The hotel that we stayed at also had a restaurant run my Mr. Alfredo, an Italian Immigrant. He was still alive at the time and has since passed. He moved to San Felipe after having a successful restaurant in Mexico City for a number of years. This Alfredo was responsible for making Shrimp Alfredo famous. The pasta dish was already in use in Italy, but his addition of the famous Guaymas, Baja shrimp is what but it on the map. I might add that lots of good Italian things have come out of Mexico. Me for instance. My grandparents on my Dad’s side were Italiano’s. Great Grandpa was Cota and Grama was Franchesca Galo. The America’s are truly a melting pot for sure. The best part is God made us all.

    Blessings,

    Chuck

    Reply

  6. Karl

    March 1, 2022 at 11:29 am

    Raoul,

    Thank you for your newsletter. I wanted to add a bit to the Ukranian situation. It’s not that simple. First, Ukraine is Russia’s neighbor, NOT the US’s neighbor. That is a key distinction. Second, for years, the US has been infiltrating Ukraine, using them as a pawn against Russia, and even funding military action against their neighbor, Russia. Third, Ukraine is being pressured into joining NATO. This is a direct threat to Russia and frankly, likely the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Think of it like this: What if Russia secretly infiltrated Mexico for years and funded military action in Mexico against the US. How do you think the US would react to that? That is the situation Russia is in.

    Of course, Russia isn’t innocent. I have seen from several sources within Ukraine that if you were to ask Ukranians how they feel, you are MOST likely to hear them say they are mad with Russia AND the US. They are being used as pawns in a struggle between the US and Russia.

    It is also important to know that the current Ukrainian government, supported by the US, is FAR from democracy. The current President shut down three TV stations for being openly critical of him and he imprisoned the opposition candidate who came in second in the latest “election” as well as imprisoned most of the opposition party leadership.

    It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s not as simple as Putin bad, US good.

    To your health and wealth,

    Reply

    • Raoul

      March 1, 2022 at 11:40 am

      Very interesting. Never considered that angle. Thanks for bringing that up. I like your comparison with Mexico.

      Granted the reason for the underlying tension is legit, the stealing of a country’s freedom is still reprehensible. From what I heard the current president is pretty popular because he was going against the grain of corruption of the previous regime. He may have his faults (as you pointed out) but maybe the good he has done outweighs the bad. If he were really unpopular, why are so many willing to die for their country? Why is he leading the force rather than escaping for safety? Why are so many Russians protesting against their own government?

      My knowledge of Ukraine is very limited. My greatest concern is that innocent people are dying. For that reason alone this aggression towards Putin is reasonable.

      Always great to hear your views.

      Reply

      • Karl

        March 1, 2022 at 11:41 am

        Just keep in mind that now every country engages in propaganda. There are many people in Ukraine who speak Russian and have an association with Russia. The only victims are the people of Ukraine who are being used as expendable puppets by both Russia AND the US.

        Reply

        • Karl

          March 1, 2022 at 11:42 am

          I was thinking about your questions:

          If he were really unpopular, why are so many willing to die for their country?

          A: People always feel patriotism to their country. That shouldn’t be confused with how they feel about their government. Most people don’t really care much for their government, and they probably shouldn’t, given most every government is there for the wealthy class, and generally at the expense of the working class.

          Why is he leading the force rather than escaping for safety?

          I wouldn’t expect him to jump ship right away. Let’s be clear, Russia is not on the “good” side, nor is the US. Both the US and Russia have been the aggressors against the Ukrainian people.

          Why are so many Russians protesting against their own government?

          The reports actually said the protests were very small numbers of people. People always have complex reasons for doing things. There should have been even more protests given both Russia and the US are on the wrong side of history.

          Reply

          • Raoul

            March 1, 2022 at 11:43 am

            I guess time will tell whose data is accurate. Again, I don’t have an ax to grind in any of this. Ukraine is out of my radar. I am just saddened about the imposed bloodshed.

            I sense a tinge of anger towards America and a defense for Russia. It’s almost like gaslighting. Is that an accurate observation? Why is that?

            It’s still good to speculate all angles so there will be less surprises.

  7. Karl

    March 1, 2022 at 11:46 am

    Are you saying that I have a tinge of anger towards America? If so, no, the opposite. I love America. That is why I express my concerns about things that need to be fixed. Let’s put it this way, let’s say you have someone in the neighborhood who is causing trouble, big trouble. If you call out that person, does that mean you hate your neighborhood?

    Reply

    • Raoul

      March 1, 2022 at 11:47 am

      Good point.

      So maybe not hatred for America but for American corruption that goes deep. So deep it’s hard to weed out ulterior motives. So it’s not easy to point out the good guys

      I just heard from Military guy that America is better off not getting overtly involved w the war. Ukraine should have asked for guerilla training long before this happened.

      Also heard that the deep state hides their $ in Ukraine. That’s why they r worried.

      So many rumors.

      Reply

  8. Karl

    March 1, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Yes. There seems to be corruption all over the world, and in spite of that, I think this is the greatest country to live in. However, if working Americans don’t stand up to rising corruption, things will go in the wrong direction. The reality is that the leadership of most every country serves elites power interests, not that of the people. So, the poor Ukranian people are stuck in the middle of a deadly power struggle between the US and Russia, and that power struggle is not meant to improve your life, nor the life of any working American, working Russian, or working class Ukranian.

    Reply

  9. Oscar

    March 1, 2022 at 11:51 am

    You’re right!!! The safest place is to be near to God.

    Reply

  10. Joyce

    March 1, 2022 at 11:52 am

    A letter from an Anglican priest of Jewish descent who is planting a Messianic Anglican congregation.

    As I step back and look at the spiritual landscape in which Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is taking place, I am struck by three sets of facts regarding the Jewish people that may influence your prayers:

    Ukraine has a large Jewish community, including thousands of Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus).
    Messianic Jewish communities in Poland were decimated in World War II.
    This invasion is taking place when the Jewish calendar remembers Purim.

    All of these point to Russia’s invasion as being a physical manifestation of a spiritual attack on the Jewish people, including Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.

    Ukraine has a large Jewish community. Ukraine has one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. According to a 2020 demographic study, 43,000 people living in Ukraine identified as Jews, however, estimates of the number of people of Jewish ancestry and thus eligible for Israeli citizenship is between 200,000 and 400,000.

    The largest Messianic synagogue in the world is in Kiev. Kiev Jewish Messianic Congregation has over 2,000 congregants, comprised of both Jews and Gentiles. Another Messianic synagogue in Odessa, Ukraine that has over 400 attendees.

    Messianic Jewish communities in Poland were decimated in World War II. As far back as the 1560’s, the largest Jewish community in Europe was in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,[4] and by 1818, Warsaw was “the center of Jewish life in Eastern Europe.” What many don’t realize, however, is that there were thriving Messianic Jewish congregations in Poland at the beginning of World War II, and that Hitler targeted Christians of Jewish descent as well as those who identified as Jewish.

    In August 1939, there were at least 120 adult congregants in the Hebrew Christian congregation called Emmanuel Church, Warsaw. Nearly all were killed by the Nazis. In the Bethel Mission in Lodz, Poland, 300 Jewish believers in Jesus were murdered during the Holocaust.

    The same happened to Christians of Jewish descent. Historian Kelvin Crombie reports that “there were about 5,200 Jewish Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto, most of whom were Jewish Catholics and the vast majority perished either in the Ghetto or in Treblinka.”

    This Russian invasion of Ukraine is taking place when the Jewish calendar observes Purim, the annual Jewish remembrance of when Haman tried to destroy the Jewish people during the reign of King Ahasuerus ca. 474 B.C.E. The Old Testament book of Esther records Haman’s plot and how God used Queen Esther to intervene and foil Haman’s attack.

    Purim always takes place during the Jewish month of Adar. However, this year there are two months of Adar. This is because there is a leap year in the Jewish calendar about every three years, to align the lunar months with the solar year. As I write this, it is the 25th day of Adar I in the Jewish year of 5782. Adar II begins next Friday, March 4, 2022. There was a “Little Purim” during this first month of Adar, on February 15. The big Purim celebration will take place during Adar II on March 17 and 18.

    Tying It All Together: What Does This Mean?

    God commissioned the Hebrew people to be missionaries at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:6) and that commission has never been rescinded (Rom. 11:28-29). There will come a time when they will fulfill their commission to be witnesses to the rest of the nations in the world (cf., Is. 60:1-3, Zech. 8:20-23, Rom. 11:15).

    Jesus’ second coming is tied to the widespread repentance of the Jewish people and their acceptance of Him as the Messiah.[10] [11] Paul quoted from Isaiah 59:20-21 and 27:9 when he asserted that the Jewish people would repent (Rom. 11:26-27, cf., Rom. 11:13-15, 30-31). The Prophets also spoke of a time when the Jewish people would accept Yeshua as Messiah (Ez. 37:12-17, Zech. 12:10, 13:1). Yeshua spoke of a time when the Jewish people would welcome Him as Messiah (Matt. 23:37-39). And Jeremiah prophesied that the Jewish people would be saved when the Messiah reigns (Jer. 23:5-6).

    For millennia, Satan’s plot has been to foil God’s plan of salvation by destroying the Jewish people. It is no accident that the attack on Ukraine, with its large Jewish population, is taking place during a year when the Jewish people remember–twice–Haman’s attempt to annihilate them. The murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust was another manifestation of Satan’s intentional attempt to destroy the Jewish people.

    And, because the repentance of the Jewish people is key to the evangelism of the nations and the Messiah’s return, the evil one has a special hatred for Jewish believers in Jesus. So, while there may be a number of geopolitical reasons for Russia to attack Ukraine, from a spiritual perspective, it is also no accident that the country—and city—where the largest Messianic synagogue in the world exists is in Satan’s target. We have seen this before, when, during World War II, thriving Messianic congregations in Poland were decimated.

    How Can This Inform Our Prayers?

    My hope is that this quick survey of what I see taking place in the spiritual realm will inform your prayers. Here are some suggestions of how you might pray.

    Pray that God would give all believers in Jesus in Ukraine, both Jewish and Gentile, wisdom and protection. Pray that God would give them courage and joy while under attack. Pray that they would be bold witnesses for God’s kingdom. Pray that God would provide for them abundantly. (Ukraine is also one of the most Christian nations in Europe.)

    Pray for Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine. He is Jewish and a former comedian. Thank God that Zelensky has been a courageous leader of his country during this time. Pray for his protection. Pray that God would give him wisdom. Pray that Yeshua would reveal Himself to Zelensky and that he would accept Yeshua as Messiah and Lord.

    Pray that God would protect the Jewish people in Ukraine, and that through this traumatic experience they would come to recognize Yeshua as Messiah. Pray that, just as the scales fell from the eyes of Paul after Yeshua appeared to him on the Road to Damascus, so the scales will fall from the eyes of Jews around the world so that they recognize Yeshua as Messiah and receive Him as Lord.

    Pray that God would foil the plans of Satan. Pray that God would decimate Putin’s plans. Pray that God would bless Putin by leading him to a true understanding of who Jesus is and giving him the grace to repent and believe. Pray that the Russian army would be defeated.

    Blessings and Shalom,
    Joyce

    Reply

  11. Betty

    March 1, 2022 at 11:53 am

    Thanks. Pasky. Ingat lagi 😊

    Reply

  12. John

    March 4, 2022 at 9:38 am

    I like it Raoul😃👍

    Reply

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