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Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

HEZBOLLAH STRONGER THAN EVER: Pray for Lebanon, and for Israel

In Uncategorized on June 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm

 

Radical Sheikh Nasrallah photo displayed at Hezbollah's election headquarters in Lebanon. Pray for peace between Israel and Lebanon.

Radical Sheikh Nasrallah photo displayed at Hezbollah's election headquarters in Lebanon. Pray for peace between Israel and Lebanon.

>> Joel will be on Janet Parshall’s nationally syndicated radio show today from 4:15pm to 5pm eastern to discuss the latest events in the epicenter. Hope you can join us.

FLASH: 4 suicide bombers killed trying to enter Israel from Gaza

UPDATED:Lebanon’s pro-Western bloc will retain its control of the country’s government despite a strong challenge from a Hezbollah-dominated alliance, according to official election results released Monday,” reports CNN.

The interior minister announced the final results for the 128 parliamentary seats from all 26 districts at a news conference,” reported the Jerusalem Post. “The tally showed the winning [pro-Western] coalition with 68 seats versus 57 for the [pro-Iranian] Hizbullah-led alliance. Three seats went to independents.”

Analysis: While it is somewhat encouraging that the Iranian-backed Shia Radicals didn’t gain full political and economic control of Lebanon, let’s not kid ourselves. Hezbollah hasn’t needed control of the parliament to effectively control Lebanon or to launch wars against Israel from Lebanese territory. The truth is: Iran is gaining ground in trying to surround Israel and prepare for the coming of the Mahdi. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, is a devout disciple of the Ayatollah Khamenei, a close friend of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and fully committed to wiping Israel off the map and creating the conditions of chaos, carnage and genocide believed to be needed to usher in the Islamic messiah. Keep in mind, Nasrallah controls more than 30,000 rockets and missiles all aimed at Israel. He’s just waiting for the word from Tehran to launch them. Clearly, tensions between Israel and Lebanon are only going to grow after these elections. We need to keep praying for the embattled people of Lebanon — for safety, for security, for peace and for courage as Hezbollah gains strength. We need to pray especially for the true followers of Jesus Christ in Lebanon and do everything we can to support them, strengthen them, and help them get the gospel to every man, woman and child in Lebanon, make disciples and plant new churches. Jesus Christ is the only hope for Lebanon. Especially now. [Click here to read the story of Jesus traveling through southern Lebanon in Matthew 15:20-28, showing mercy to a woman desperate for His lovingkindness.]

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ANALYSIS OF THE CAIRO SPEECH: Plus, Lebanon votes today

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2009 at 12:41 pm

President Obama visiting the pyramids in Cairo last week. He failed to build an Arab-Israeli alliance to stop Iran's nuclear program. History may not forgive him.

President Obama visiting the pyramids in Cairo last week. He failed to build an Arab-Israeli alliance to stop Iran's nuclear program. History may not forgive him.

UPDATE: Netanyahu to deliver response to President’s Cairo speech

To be honest, it’s taken me several days to process President Obama’s speech in Cairo. But let me offer a bit of analysis now that I’ve had a little more time to think about it carefully.

First, the good news:

  • It was important for the President of the United States to reach out to moderate Muslims — to the Reformers, as I describe them in Inside The Revolution — and explain America’s desire to understand them, encourage them, and help them succeed. The vast, vast majority of the world’s 1.3 billion-plus Muslims are not Radicals. They may not necessarily love the U.S., or Israel or the West, but they are not jihadists. They don’t want their children to be suicide bombers. They don’t believe in genocide. They want to live in peace and freedom. They want the opportunity to carve out a better life for themselves and their children. This is empirically true. And it should be acknowledged by President Obama as it was repeatedly by President Bush.
  • It was important for the President of the United States to speak out on religious freedom and the fundamental human right for all people everywhere to be free to choose their religion for themselves. He did so, and it was good.
  • It was also important for the President of the United States — especially one now openly acknowledging his Muslim roots and his upbringing in the Muslim world — to stand before a Muslim audience in an Arab capital and defend Israel’s right to exist and explain the horrors of the Holocaust. He did so. And then, of course, he went on to the Nazi death camp at Buchenwald with Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to denounce such evil against Jews and against humanity, and vow never to let it happen again. “We’ve seen genocide,” President Obama said at Buchenwald, a speech that was written as a corollary to Cairo. “We’ve seen mass graves and the ashes of villages burned to the ground; children used as soldiers and rape used as a weapon of war. This places teaches us that we must be ever vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time, that we must reject the false comfort that others’ suffering is not our problem and commit ourselves to resisting those who would subjugate others to serve their own interests.” This was good.

Now, the bad news:

  • President Obama failed to use the words “terrorist” or “terrorism.”
  • The President failed to discuss the 30th anniversary of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty negotiated at Camp David with the help of American President Jimmy Carter. This was the only shining moment in the Carter years, and a great blessing to all the people of the Middle East. Why avoid even mention of it, much less detailed explanation of it, when peace is what you say you’re pursuing?
  • The President sounded apologetic for America’s role in the Muslim world in recent years. He didn’t explain that Americans have fought to defend the lives of oppressed Muslims in the former Yugoslavia, or in Iraq, or in Afghanistan. He didn’t note that Americans have helped liberate more than 50 million Muslims from totalitarian tyrants just since 2001. This was not simply a missed opportunity. It appeared to be a conscious choice, part of the President’s “apologize for America” tour that he has been making around the world since his inaugural. This was not good; it was offensive.
  • President Obama did defend Israel’s right to exist, but then proceeded to create a moral equivalence between the Israelis and the Palestinians with regards to the peace process. Let’s be clear: the Palestinians are souls made in God’s image. They deserve dignity and respect and the freedom to govern their daily lives free from Israeli interference. But if they had wanted a sovereign state they could have accepted the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947, like the Jews did. They didn’t, and they lost. They could have accepted any one of the numerous deals Israel has offered over the past six decades, including then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer at Camp David in 2000 for the Palestinians to have a sovereign state, half the city of Jerusalem, all of Gaza and about 93% of the West Bank. But they didn’t. Instead, the Palestinians continue to miss every opportunity to miss every opportunity. Rather than accept Israeli offers and build a state, they have sent waves of terrorists, suicide bombers and tens of thousands of rockets and missiles at the Israelis. In so doing, they have forfeited any shred of trust the Israelis once had in them. The President should have explained this. He should have noted that Israel gave the Palestinians Gaza as an act of goodwill, and Hamas squandered all of that goodwill by firing more than 10,000 missiles, mortars and rockets at southern Israel and turning Gaza into a terror base camp. But he didn’t. President Obama made it sound like Israel is the obstacle to peace, when this is simply not true.
  • Most concerning, the President did not truly lay down the law with Iran. He did not go to Cairo to forge an Arab-Israeli alliance against the apocalyptic, genocidal death cult leaders currently running Iran. He did not explain who the current regime in Iran is. It’s not even clear President Obama has been adequately briefed about the Iranian leadership’s End Times beliefs or how such eschatology is driving Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. The President continues to view Iran as though our 30 year-old tensions with them are: a) our fault; and b) just one big misunderstanding. The truth is: we didn’t seize their embassy in 1979; they seized ours. We didn’t hold their diplomats hostage and torture and humiliate them; they held, tortured and humiliated ours. We didn’t create Hezbollah as a violent terrorist group dedicated to killing Christians and Jews en masse; Iran did. We are not calling for Israel to be wiped off the map; they are. We are not denying the Holocaust, while preparing to create another Holocaust; they are. We are not calling for Iran to be annihilated; they are calling for the U.S. to be annihilated. We don’t believe we need to kill anyone to bring about the Messiah; the Iranian leaders believe they need to kill tens of millions of people to bring about their messiah. Yet Tehran could breathe a sigh of relief after the Cairo speech, because it was crystal clear that President Obama walks softly and carries no stick at all.

Evidence that the Cairo speech has already utterly failed to move Tehran to begin serious negotiations: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had this response: “The nations in the region hate the United States from the bottom of their hearts because they have seen violence, military intervention and discrimination…one cannot remove this deep hatred by words, speeches and slogans.”

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HEADLINES TO TRACK:

    PRESIDENT OBAMA IN CAIRO: CALLS FOR A “NEW BEGINNING” WITH THE MUSLIM WORLD

    In Uncategorized on June 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm
    President Obama spoke at Cairo University this morning.

    President Obama spoke at Cairo University this morning.

    President Obama meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

    President Obama meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

    >> Osama bin Laden issues new tape: calls for “long war” against the infidels

    NOTEWORTHY EXCERPTS FROM THE SPEECH:

    • THE PRESIDENT’S GOAL: I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world….
    • THE PRESIDENT’S MUSLIM HERITAGE: I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan [the Muslim call to prayer] at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk….
    • MUSLIMS IN AMERICA: Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected president. But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores – that includes nearly 7 million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average….There is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the US government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it. So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America….
    • U.S. RELATIONSHIP WITH ISLAM: America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as president to protect the American people….
    • ISRAEL AND THE JEWS: America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and antisemitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve….
    • PALESTINIANS: On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own….
    • IRAN: Since the Islamic revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against US troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build. It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path….
    • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN THE REGION: Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it first-hand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshipped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul….

    HEADLINES TO TRACK:

    PRESIDENT OBAMA ARRIVES IN THE EPICENTER OF ISLAM: And a new, must-read book about Muslims coming to Christ in vast numbers

    In Uncategorized on June 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm
    The President's itinerary.

    The President's itinerary.

    Breakthrough: "A must read new book on how powerfully the God of the Bible is moving in the Muslim world today."

    Breakthrough: "A must read new book on how powerfully the God of the Bible is moving in the Muslim world today."

    President Obama meets today with Saudi King Abdullah
    President Obama meets today with Saudi King Abdullah
    Air Force One in the birthplace of Islam.

    Air Force One in the birthplace of Islam.

    Air Force One landed in Saudi Arabia this morning, the birthplace and epicenter of Islam. President Obama is meeting with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss three top White House priorities:

    1. Building better U.S. relations with a 1.3 billion Muslims.
    2. Strategizing on how the Saudi-crafted “peace plan” can be presented to Israel in a way that will persuade the Netanyahu government to make painful concessions to the Palestinian leadership.
    3. Calming Saudis fears that the U.S. is going to allow the Iranian to build nuclear weapons by doing nothing decisive and effective to stop Tehran.

    The Saudis — home of the Sunni brand of Islam — are absolutely terrified at the prospect of Iranian Shia Muslims (whom they consider heretics) going nuclear. They don’t believe the U.S. has the will to stop Tehran in time, or perhaps even the true desire. They fear the White House may have made the calculation that a nuclear Iran is inevitable (like North Korea) and maybe not so bad after all. They are not alone. Egyptian leaders and numerous Gulf state leaders feel the same way. They are nearly panic-stricken that the U.S. will cut them loose and allow a nuclear-armed Persia, their historic enemy, to dominate the epicenter. Interestingly, there is an historic and unprecedented convergence of self-interest forming between Israel, Egypt, the Saudis and the Gulf state Arabs against Iran. They want Washington on their side against the apocalyptic, genocidal death cult that is currently running Iran. But thus far, President Obama appears to be convinced that he can sit down with the Iranian leadership, have a few carmel lattes with them, and convince them to give up their atomic ambitions. That’s what worries these Arab leaders, as it should. Should be an interesting week.

    That said, as the kings of this world try to find a political formula to make peace, the Prince of Peace is steadily building His kingdom on earth and drawing more Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ than at any other time in human history. More than 100,000 Muslims in Saudi Arabia alone have come to faith in Jesus Christ in recent years. More than 1 million Muslims in Iran have come to Christ, as well. There are now more than 2.5 million followers of Jesus in Pakistan. How is this happening? Why is it happening? And how can we be praying for Christ to draw even more Muslims into His kingdom?

    The answers can be found in BREAKTHROUGH: THE RETURN OF HOPE TO THE MIDDLE EAST, a powerful, must-read new book by my friend, Tom Doyle. Tom has been a senior pastor of evangelical Christian congregations in Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico over the past two decades. He loves Israel deeply and is a licensed tour guide there. But he believes that one of the ways to bless Israel is to lead Muslims to Christ. Thus, in the summer of 2001 — several months before 9/11 — Tom stepped down from the church he was leading in Colorado Springs and became the Middle East director for e3 Partners, a global church planting ministry. Today, he trains pastors and lay leaders throughout the Muslim world how to share their faith, how to make disciples, how to plant churches, and how to help those churches grow spiritually and numerically. Last October, Tom and his wonderful wife, JoAnn, traveled with my colleague, Jeremy Grafman, and me to Afghanistan. There we encouraged church leaders there, and prayed for the thousands of Muslims that are leaving Islam in that troubled country and are accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. We also did research together for my recent book, INSIDE THE REVOLUTION. If you found REVOLUTION helpful, then I know you’ll love BREAKTHROUGH and find it helpful in understand how powerfully God is moving in the epicenter at this moment. I certainly did.

    >> Will you help us build a global alliance of 1 million true friends of Israel? Click here to sign up for Flash Traffic email alerts to get the latest news and analysis on Israel and the epicenter.

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