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Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

IRAN SET TO EXECUTE CHRISTIAN PASTOR FOR NOT CONVERTING TO ISLAM: Also, Jews celebrate New Year

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm

URGENT: Please pray that the Lord spares the life of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. He’s “the head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran” and “could be executed as soon as midnight Wednesday in Tehran for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert to Islam,” according to media reports. Please pray the Lord uses him to encourage Iranian believers and Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in the Islamic world to stand strong for Jesus Christ. Pray, too, that the gospel message would spread throughout Iran and the epicenter as a result of the international pressure for Pastor Nadarkhani’s release and that many would be saved.

IRANIAN THREAT GROWS: New headline: “Iranian naval vessels to be deployed near U.S. sea borders.”

AMERICAN-BORN AL QAEDA TERRORIST KILLED — “Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric and one of the most influential al-Qaeda leaders wanted by the United States, was killed Friday in a U.S. drone strike in northern Yemen, Yemeni and American authorities said, eliminating a prominent terrorist recruiter who inspired attacks on U.S. soil,” reports the Washington Post. “The strike also killed a second U.S. citizen — Samir Khan, the co-editor of an al-Qaeda magazine — and two other unidentified al-Qaeda operatives, the Yemeni government said. In Washington, senior Obama administration officials confirmed that Aulaqi, 40, a dual national of the United States and Yemen, was killed in a drone strike on his convoy.”

JEWISH NEW YEAR: Shana Tova! Jews around the world just celebrated Rosh Hashana — New Year’s — this week. It’s going to be a very challenging year ahead for Jews in Israel and elsewhere as a storm is gathering in the epicenter. Please pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Please pray for the Lord to bless the Jewish people in Israel and all over the world in every possible way — and especially that He would draw more and more Jewish people to His heart and reveal Yeshua the Messiah to them. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

PUTIN SET TO RE-EMERGE AS THE CZAR OF RUSSIA: Will run for President March 4, 2012

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm

On August 17th — in a column entitled, “Putin Rising: But Is He Gog?” — I wrote that “after keeping a relatively low profile for the last several years, Vladimir Putin is rising.  In recent weeks, the Russian leader — currently serving as his country’s prime minister — once again has been making headlines, stoking controversy, and seeming to position himself to run for president of Russia again in March 2012.”

Now it’s official. Putin is officially running in the March 4th electionsThe announcement came over the weekend and, barring unforeseen circumstances, should win in a landslide. His anti-American, anti-Western “tough guy” image of crushing the Chechens, and the Georgians, and building a vibrant economy through Russia’s oil and natural gas industries, and building strategic alliances with radical Islamic allies such as Iran has played well and made him very popular throughout Russia’s eleven time zones. Putin is counting on such support to allow him to emerge as the next Czar of Russia for many years to come. Reuters notes that “the next president will be elected for six years and the constitution still allows the head of state a maximum of two straight terms — meaning Putin could be in power for another 12 years.”

The re-emergence of Putin as Russia’s central tyrant will re-stoke speculation that we are heading towards the “War of Gog and Magog”as prophesied in the Bible in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. Many evangelical Christians believe we are, in part because the prophecies of Ezekiel 36 and 37 have already come true regarding the dramatic rebirth of the State of Israel and Jews coming back to the Holy Land in the last days after centuries of exile. And Putin strikes many as far closer to the image of the evil dictator “Gog” described in the prophecy than the current President Dmitry Medvedev. A growing number of Jews also believe Ezekiel 38 and 39 could come true in our lifetime, and possibly in the next few years. In June of 2010, for example, a group of Rabbis in Israel said current events seemed to be leading to the “War of Gog and Magog.” 

While it is still too early to say such prophecies will be fulfilled soon, the rise of Putin — combined with Russia’s increasingly close ties to Iran, Libya, Turkey, Central Asia and other countries described by Ezekiel — certainly doesn’t bode well for the State of Israel or the Jewish people.

NETANYAHU COMES TO U.N. TO SPEAK THE TRUTH: ISRAEL WANTS PEACE, BUT THE U.N. IS THE “THEATER OF THE ABSURD”

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Israeli PM Netanyahu addresses the U.N. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who decades ago served as his nation’s ambassador to the United Nations — spoke to the General Assembly on Friday and gave one of his most important speeches of his life and in the history of the modern State of Israel. He said he came not to win applause, but to speak the truth. And he did.

He spoke the same day that Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas formally asked the U.N. to unilaterally create a Palestianian state. He spoke one day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered an apocalyptic address to the U.N. calling for the arrival of the Twelfth Imam and viciously denouncing Israel and the United States.

Let us pray that many in that hall and around the world have ears to ear, hearts to understand, and the courage to do justice and love mercy according to the Scriptures in these last days. 

  • Netanyahu quoted from the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah saying, “‘The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.’ Let that light be the light of peace.” [The verse comes from Isaiah 9, a famous chapter describing the coming of the Messiah]. 
  • Explained that Israel is the “ancient biblical homeland” of the Jewish people
  • Explained how to achieve peace with the Palestinians
  • Urged the world to stop Iran’s bid for nuclear weapons before it’s too late
  • Noted that there are many fine diplomats at the U.N. who work honorably for peace and security, but noted with regret that all too often the U.N. is a “house of lies” and the “theater of the absurd”

Key excerpts:

  • “Today I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country. So as Israel’s prime minister, I didn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth. The truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace. The truth is that in the Middle East at all times, but especially during these turbulent days, peace must be anchored in security. The truth is that we cannot achieve peace through UN resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that so far the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace. And the truth is you shouldn’t let that happen.
  • “It was here [at the U.N.] in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland — it was then that this was branded shamefully, as racism. And it was here in 1980, right here, that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised; it was denounced!  And it’s here, year after year that Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined. Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel – the one true democracy in the Middle East.
  • “It’s the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles: Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraq headed the UN Committee on Disarmament. You might say: That’s the past. Well, here’s what’s happening now — right now, today, Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world’s security.You couldn’t make this thing up.”
  • A malignancy is now growing between East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not to liberate, but to enslave, not to build, but to destroy.That malignancy is militant Islam. It cloaks itself in the mantle of a great faith, yet it murders Jews, Christians and Muslims alike with unforgiving impartiality. On September 11th it killed thousands of Americans, and it left the twin towers in smoldering ruins. Last night I laid a wreath on the 9/11 memorial. It was deeply moving. But as I was going there, one thing echoed in my mind: the outrageous words of the president of Iran on this podium yesterday. He implied that 9/11 was an American conspiracy. Some of you left this hall. All of you should have.”
  • “The international community must stop Iran before it’s too late. If Iran is not stopped, we will all face the specter of nuclear terrorism, and the Arab Spring could soon become an Iranian winter….The world around Israel is definitely becoming more dangerous. Militant Islam has already taken over Lebanon and Gaza. It’s determined to tear apart the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan. It’s poisoned many Arab minds against Jews and Israel, against America and the West. It opposes not the policies of Israel but the existence of Israel.
  • In 2000 Israel made a sweeping peace offer that met virtually all of the Palestinian demands. Arafat rejected it. The Palestinians then launched a terror attack that claimed a thousand Israeli lives. Prime Minister Olmert afterwards made an even more sweeping offer, in 2008. President Abbas  didn’t  even respond to it. But Israel did more than just make sweeping offers. We actually left territory. We withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn’t calm the Islamic storm, the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the storm closer and made it stronger.
  • “The Jewish state of Israel will always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than 1million Arab citizens of Israel. I wish I could say the same thing about a future Palestinian state, for as Palestinian officials made clear the other day – in fact, I think they made it right here in New York — they said the Palestinian state won’t allow any Jews in it. They’ll be Jew-free — Judenrein. That’s ethnic cleansing. There are laws today in Ramallah that make the selling of land to Jews punishable by death. That’s racism. And you know which laws this evokes.
  • “There’s an old Arab saying that you cannot applaud with one hand. Well, the same is true of peace. I can not make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you. President Abbas, I extend my hand — the hand of Israel – in peace. I hope that you will grasp that hand. We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Your people call him Ibrahim. We share the same patriarch. We dwell in the same land. Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah — [Isaiah 9:1 in Hebrew] — “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.” Let that light be the light of peace.”

To watch Netanyahu’s speech — or read the full text — please click here.

To help The Joshua Fund educate and mobilize Christians around the world about God’s love and plan for Israel — and to bless poor and needy Israelis and Palestinians in real and practical ways — please click here.

To pre-order The Tehran Initiative, please click here.

NATIONAL REVIEW POSTS EXTENDED COLUMN ON AHMADINEJAD’S APOCALYPTIC ADDRESS

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm

National Review Online has just posted a longer and more detailed version of my column, “Ahmadinejad’s Apocalyptic Address.” It includes direct quotes from the Iranian leader’s speech, and quotes from an Israeli general warning that the likelihood of an “all out war” in the Middle East is growing. I hope you find it helpful.

For past columns of mine on National Review Online, please click here.

AHMADINEJAD’S APOCALYPTIC ADDRESS

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2011 at 4:30 am

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not a world leader worthy of the world stage. He is the evil leader of a Shia Islamic death cult. He is building nuclear weapons. He is calling for the end of the world and the arrival of the Twelfth Imam. He aspires to be a mass murderer beyond the scale of Adolf Hitler. He deserves to be in prison, or an insane asylum, and his speech Thursday before the United Nations General Assembly was further proof, if any more were needed.

Did you see Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic address, or read the full text? You should. It’s instructive.

This is exactly why I write books like The Tehran Initiative and The Twelfth ImamThis is why I’m hosting “The Gathering Storm” simulcast on October 22nd – because I’m trying to wake up the American people, trying to get people all over the world to understand just how dangerous this lunatic and his murderous Iranian regime really are and to start praying and fasting and seeking the Lord to bring this Iranian regime down, protect Israel, and give us world leaders who understand the times and know what their countries should do. Yet by and large the world — and even much of the Church — is fast asleep to the gathering storm on the horizon.

Read Ahmadinejad’s speech. You won’t find it re-printed in the major newspapers. It was pitifully covered by the media, not carefully or properly analyzed. Like Hitler’s speeches in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, Ahmadinejad isn’t hiding what he believes. He’s pretty clear. He denied the Holocaust. He blasted the U.S. for bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice. He blamed the terrorist attacks 9/11 on the U.S. government. He insisted that his so-called messiah known as “Imam al-Mahdi” or the Twelfth Imam is coming soon. He insisted Jesus Christ will come with the Mahdi to take over the world. He called for a one-world government when he called for “the shared and collective management of the world.”

Consider these excerpts: “This movement is certainly on its rightful path of creation, ensuring a promising future for humanity. A future that will be built when humanity initiates to trend the path of the divine prophets and the righteous under the leadership of Imam al-Mahdi, the Ultimate Savior of mankind and the inheritor to all divine messengers and leaders and to the pure generation of our great Prophet. The creation of a supreme and ideal society with the arrival of a perfect human being who is a true and sincere lover of all human beings, is the guaranteed promise of Allah. He will come alongside with Jesus Christ to lead the freedom and justice lovers to eradicate tyranny and discrimination, and promote knowledge, peace, justice freedom and love across the world. He will present to every single individual all the beauties of the world and all good things which bring happiness for humankind.”

So what’s the world doing to stop him? Precious little. Yes, some world diplomats walked out of Ahmadinejad’s speech. Big deal. They walked softly, but where is the big stick? Why aren’t they taking decisive action to stop Iran from building, buying or stealing nuclear weapons and the ballistic missile systems to deliver them? Time is running out. Once Iran has the Islamic Bomb, does anyone really believe they won’t use it against the U.S. and Israel, either directly or through terrorist surrogates?

Rather than stopping Iran from getting the Bomb, however, the leaders of the world — including our own President — are hyper-focused on pressuring Israel to divide Jerusalem and divide the Land of Israel and create a corrupt and dangerous Palestinian state co-led by the missile-firing Hamas terrorist group. Don’t get me wrong: the Israeli-Palestinian issue is an important one, and it should be treated seriously and carefully. But it’s not the most important issue in the Middle East today. The murderous, apocalyptic Iranian regime and its race for nuclear weapons is Issue #1, 2 and 3. We would be fools not to take decisive action while we still can.

My new political thriller, The Tehran Initiative, is about what could happen if the world doesn’t take decisive action soon. What if Iran gets the Bomb? What if Iran’s leaders are about to use nuclear weapons? What if Israel launches a pre-emptive military strike against Iran? What would the world look like, and what would America do? I think such questions make for chilling fiction.

Unfortunately, the scenario is all too real. Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic address just made that abundantly clear. It was his most blistering attack on the U.S., Israel, Europe and the West he’s ever delivered at the United Nations. Every year Ahmadinejad feels more and more emboldened because he says the most evil and sickening things one year but the world takes no action to stop this Farsi-speaking Hitler. Shame on such world leaders. They are leading us down a very dangerous path.

SHOWDOWN AT THE U.N.: NEW POLL SHOWS AMERICANS BELIEVE STOPPING IRAN’S NUCLEAR THREAT SHOULD BE U.S. PRIORITY, NOT UNILATERALLY CREATING A PALESTINIAN STATE

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2011 at 10:17 pm

>> UPDATE (9:30am, Thurs):

————————

Most of the world’s leaders are asleep, even as a new storm is gathering in the Middle East. Inexplicably, the world is hyper-focused on forcing Israel to accept a Palestinian state without negotiations — to divide the land of Israel and divide Jerusalem — even as the Iranians race to build nuclear weapons and prepare for the coming of their so-called messiah, the Twelfth Imam.

A new U.N. report shows growing evidence that Iran is working on nuclear weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to call for the annihilation of Israel and continues to talk publicly about his incredibly dangerous End of the World theology. Yet most of the world and the media is focused on the showdown between Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Don’t get me wrong. This is an important showdown, too. Abbas is calling for the U.N. to vote in favor of recognizing a unilaterally declared Palestinian State, thereby agreeing with the Palestinian decision to reject all direct negotiations with Israel and abandon all of the Palestinians previously pledges to only create a state after complying with U.N. resolutions calling for direct negotiations with the Jewish State. Netanyahu, who wasn’t originally planning to come to the opening session, changed his plans and is now on the way to explain why unilateral moves could lead to more violence, not to peace. [Update: Netanyahu en route to U.S., doesn't expect "warm welcome"] President Obama, meanwhile, has maneuvered the U.S. into an awkward position. By failing to persuade the Palestinians not to move unilaterally, the President now finds himself having to veto a Palestinian state (thus breaking with the Islamic world and much of the rest of the world); or voting in favor of a Palestinian state (thus breaking a public promise to Israel); or voting to abstain, which would look weak. [Update: Saudi leader warns U.S. not to veto the Palestinian state or risk losing the Saudis as an ally]

But as important as the Palestinian issue is, it shouldn’t be our top priority — certainly not right now. Stopping Iran should be our top priority. I realize I’ve been saying that for quite some time, but I’m encouraged by a just-released new poll conducted by Democrat Pat Caddell and Republican John McLaughlin which finds that Americans don’t believe that creating a Palestinian state at this time should be the top U.S. objective in the Middle East. Rather, most Americans believe the U.S. should be taking decisive measures to stop Iran from building, deploying and using nuclear weapons. Key findings:

  • “The bipartisan poll found that after combining 1st and 2nd responses, 63 percent of those surveyed identified Iran as the top U.S. threat, with China next at 50 percent, followed by North Korea at 47 percent.”
  • 63.5 percent of Americans surveyed approve military action against Iran if sanctions do not stop their nuclear program.
  • 77.6 percent of Americans think the Obama administration’s current polices towards stopping Iran’s nuclear program “will fail.”
  • “Though both the Bush and Obama administrations have been reticent to consider military options to address the threat posed by Iranian nukes, the American people are prepared to support such action should sanctions fail,” said Secure America Now member Devon Cross, a former Defense Policy Board member and mother of two.
  • Secure America Now is the non-profit organization that commissioned the poll.
  • To read the full poll with many more details and nuances, please click here

Bible prophecy indicates that “all the nations” of the world will be judged for dividing the Land of Israel (see  the Book of Joel chapter 3).

NETANYAHU COMING TO NEW YORK TO ADDRESS U.N. NEXT WEEK: Will confront Palestinian statehood bid and Ahmadinejad

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Israeli PM Netanyahu will address the U.N. next Wednesday (AP photo from Sept 2009)

Senior aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin originally told me the PM was not going to come to the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly this year. But things have changed. Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, Iran and Turkey are intensifying and Israel is becoming increasingly isolated. Haaretz and Ynet News are now reporting that Netanyahu is coming to New York and will deliver a major address before the U.N. General Assembly next week. [Update: Some reports say the speech will be Wednesday; others say Friday; I'll keep you posted.] The decision reflects the PM’s desire to personally, directly and very publicly confront the Palestinian effort to unilaterally declare a state and receive a U.N. blessing, rather than engage in direct negotiations with the Jewish State. Netanyahu will also strongly condemn Iran’s bid for nuclear weapons and challenge the world to rein in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is also coming to the U.N. next week.

During a press conference in Jerusalem yesterday with the visiting Czech Prime Minister, Netanyahu told reporters: “I have decided to personally convey the message of direct negotiation and striving for peace at the General Assembly — I know Israel doesn’t get a fair hearing at the General Assembly. It has an automatic majority which is quick to denounce Israel. I have decided to go… to tell the truth.”

The Palestinian Authority this week announced that on Friday, September 23rd it will formally submit its bid for full membership in the United Nations. A General Assembly vote would likely go overwhelmingly in favor of the Palestinians. The U.S., however, has vowed to veto a Palestinian statehood bid if it comes before the U.N. Security Council.

Please pray for wisdom for Israeli leaders, and especially the Prime Minister, as he comes to the U.S. Please pray for the protection of all Israeli diplomats around the world, and especially those in Jordan and Egypt who are under direct threat. Please pray for Christians, too, to show unconditional love and unwavering support for Israel and the Jewish people as Israel is increasingly isolated internationally. Please also pray for tensions between Israel and Turkey to be defused — in the last few weeks, Turkey has broken off diplomatic relations with Israel, kicked out Israel’s ambassador, cut off trade ties with Israel, and now is threatening to send war ships to accompany another flotilla to Gaza.

FOUR REASONS WHY GOD IS SHAKING AMERICA & THE WORLD: Text of “Wake Up Call” sermon

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm

The following is the text of the sermon I delivered Sunday night, September 11th during the “Wake Up Call.” To watch the on-line video of the whole two-hour event, including this message, please click here.

“FOUR REASONS WHY GOD IS SHAKING AMERICA AND THE WORLD”

The Wake Up Call Event

Joel C. Rosenberg

September 11, 2011

Thank you. It is an honor to be here tonight — especially at this critical moment in American history, and in the history of the world.

Thousands of years ago, through the Hebrew Prophet Haggai, God told us what He was going to do — that He was going to shake us.  “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations…. I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations.’” (Haggai 2:6-7, 21-22)

That’s what Bible prophecy is – an intercept from the mind of the all-knowing, all-seeing God of the universe….a weather report from the future….a storm warning from the future — not so that we will be afraid, but so that we will be awake and ready and faithful and walking close to Jesus when the storms come.

  • Do you remember where you were on September 11th, 2001?
  • Do you remember how you felt when you saw the Pentagon burning, the smoldering wreckage in Pennsylvania, the two towers imploding?
  • Not since Pearl Harbor had so many Americans been killed in a single attack – more than 3,000 that day.

 None of us will ever forget that day — nor should we.

 God didn’t cause 9/11 to happen….fanatics devoted to the false teachings of Radical Islam caused 9/11 to happen….but the True and Living God — the God of the Bible — let it happen to shake America….to get our attention….to wake us up.

I want to ask you some questions tonight as we reflect on 9/11, as we reflect on the state of our union, and the state of the Church, both here and around the world: On this anniversary of 9/11, are you morally and spiritually better off ten years ago? Is your family? Is your church?

Now is an appropriate time to take a spiritual audit — to assess how you’re doing morally and spiritually, how your family is doing, how your congregation is doing. Ten years ago, God shook us – the question is: Were we listening?

In the Book of Hebrews we read: “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” Hebrews 12:25-26)

Our Lord Jesus Christ — sitting with His disciples on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem — also warned in Matthew 24 that we would be shaken in the last days, those days leading up to Jesus’ return. “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the power of the heavens will be shaken,” Jesus said. And then, when men least expect it, Jesus said, “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29-30)

America was shaken on 9/11. Today, God is shaking us again.

  • Nine of the ten costliest – most expensive – hurricanes in American history have happened since 9/11. The worst was Hurricane Katrina which nearly wiped out an American city and ended up costing $108 billion.[i]
  • Hurricane Irene will likely rank in the top five and has made 2011 the worst year in American history for natural disasters, with ten separate catastrophes costing $1 billion or more.[ii]
  • This year, we’ve seen the worst outbreak of tornadoes in nearly half a century.[iii]
  • The worst fires in the history of Texas – amidst the worst drought in the history of the state.[iv]
  • The biggest earthquake on the East Coast since 1875.[v]
  • The biggest earthquake in Colorado since 1882.

At the same time, our economy is being shaken to its core.

  • 42,000 American factories have shut down since 9/11.[vi]
  • Fourteen million Americans have lost their jobs just in the past few years.
  • Millions of families have lost their homes.
  • Washington is running up the national credit card to jump start our economy, but it’s not working.
  • Our federal debt is now more than $14 trillion – that’s trillion with a “t.” It’s hard to imagine so much money. But put it this way: if we were to pay one dollar per second every hour of every day of every month to pay down our national debt, it would take us more than 32,000 years just to pay off $1 trillion – but we have more than $14 trillion of debt.[vii]
  • No wonder nearly eight-in-ten say America is on the “wrong track.”[viii]
  • No wonder nearly half of all Americans fear we’re heading for another Great Depression.[ix]

People are beginning to wonder if we can turn this thing around, or whether we’re heading towards an economic collapse, an economic implosion. Sometimes, it feels like we’re out on the middle of a frozen lake and suddenly we begin to hear the ice cracking under our feet. We haven’t plunged down into the icy waters yet, but we’re not sure where to step, or whether we can get back to the safety of the shore. 

That’s the economy.  But what of the state of our culture?

  • Since 1973, more than 53 million abortions. More than 53 million children murdered, and there is no end in sight.[x]
  • Pornography revenues today exceed the revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC – combined.[xi]
  • Today the pornography industry is larger than the revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink – combined.[xii]

Where are the Christians? What difference are we making? The answer is painful too hear. Too many people who say they are Christians are asleep, or distracted, or intoxicated by the world. Like the old country and western song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places,” too many people who say they are Christians have been looking love and meaning and purpose outside of Christ and His love.

George Barna, the Christian pollster and researcher, has just released a fascinating but sobering book entitled, Futurecast, Which I commend to your attention. In it, he devotes consider time to analyzing the state of Christianity in America today, and it is revealing:

  • 85 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians.[xiii]
  • “84 percent consider it a holy or sacred book” and “the typical American household owns four Bibles” [xiv]
  • Yet only 56 percent believe that “the Bible is accurate and without error.”[xv]

Clearly, there’s a disconnect between who we say we are, and what we say we believe, and how we’re living. Barna offers many examples. Let me share just two.

  • First, there is no statistical difference between the percentage of non-Christians who get divorced (33 percent) and the percentage of “born-again Christians” who get divorced (32 percent).[xvi]
  • Second, only half of all born again Christians say they even try to share the Gospel with even one unsaved person one time – one time – a year.[xvii]

How is this possible? How can we be salt and light to the lost world around us if we are no different than that lost world? How can possibly hope for a spiritual revival or a Third Great Awakening in this land if we are barely all sharing our faith in Jesus Christ with one person a year? Jesus said in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” This is an important question for us tonight.

Yet God isn’t merely shaking America — the Lord said through the prophet Haggai, “I will shake all the nations.”

  • Japan is suffering what her Prime Minister calls the worst disaster since World War II – a devastating earthquake, the resulting tsunami, and multiple nuclear meltdowns all at once.[xviii]
  • Australians have faced devastating flooding this year – one headline read: “Australia Faces Biblical Floods”[xix]
  • God is shaking the Arab world through revolutions and uprisings. The prophet Haggai said, “I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations.” And sure enough we have see rulers and regimes overthrown and destroyed in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya – and more may be coming.
  • Russia is suffering the worst drought in 100 years.[xx]
  • China is currently suffering its worst drought in 200 years.[xxi]
  • The earthquake in Christchurch last year was the worst in the history of New Zealand and left 1/3 of the city’s buildings facing demolition.[xxii]
  • Last year, God shook Haiti – the deadliest earthquake in nearly 500 years, and the second deadliest in all of human history.[xxiii]

The question is: Why is God shaking us?

The Bible teaches us that at this stage in history, God is shaking us not to punish us — though judgment will come.

There are, however, four reasons, I believe.

First, God is shaking us because He loves us and He wants us to repent – What is repentance? Some people think of it as a very heavy religious word. But my wife, Lynn, and I have tried to teach our four sons what repentance means in a very simple way. Our youngest is Noah, and so I’ll bring Noah over to my side and say, “Noah, start running away from me, out of the family room, through the kitchen and to the dinning room. Ready? Go!” So Noah starts running. Then suddenly I say, “Stop, Noah!” And he stops. And I say, “Repent, Noah.” And he turns around. And I say, “Come back to daddy!” And he comes running to me and jumps up in my arms and I hug him and kiss him. That’s repentance. God is telling to stop, because we’re running in the opposite direction, away from Him. He tells us to repent – to turn around – and to come running back to Him so that He can forgive us and dust us off and restore us. And that’s why He shakes us. He is trying to get us to let go of anything and everything we are holding – every form of ideology, or philosophy, or religious beliefs, or political beliefs, or material possessions – whatever we’re holding onto that we think will give us hope and peace and security other than Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son.

Second, God is shaking us because He wants us to realize there is no One else who can satisfy us or give us true peace and security except Jesus Christ – no other water that will quench our spiritual and emotional thirst except His living water, and He wants us to discover Him and draw near to Him and drink the water only Jesus Christ gives us.

Third, God is shaking us because He has a mission for His Church, a mission for each follower of His– good works that He prepared before the world began that we should walk in them – and He doesn’t want us to miss the blessing of serving Him and seeing Him bear fruit through our lives of obedience.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel into Iraq four times in recent years. Last year, we were invited to bring a team of pastors and staff from The Joshua Fund to do a pastors conference in northern Iraq, near the province of Ninevah. We have a son named Jonah, and he really wanted to go with me so he could see Ninevah. Lynn and I weren’t so sure about that, but we prayed, and felt God’s peace, so Jonah came with me. But as we were flying in, a big storm came up and prevented our flight from landing in northern Iraq. We were diverted back to Amman, Jordan. There, I texted Lynn and told her what happened and said Jonah and I were disappointed and weren’t sure what was going to happen next. She texted back to say, “Don’t worry. This would be the first time in history that a Jonah wanted to go to Ninevah and God prevented him from going. But I think God is going to actually let you and Jonah get to Ninevah after all.” And she was right.

Now, in the Bible, the Lord gave the Hebrew prophet Jonah a mission — to take a warning of judgment and the urgency of repentance to the people of Ninevah in modern day northern Iraq, but Jonah refused to listen to the word of the Lord, and tried to run away from the Lord by boarding a ship that was heading for Tarshish, which is modern day southern Spain.

What happened? God began to shake Jonah’s world. We pick up the story in Jonah 1:4-6. “The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So the captain approached him and said, ‘How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.’”

Jonah — a man of God, a prophet of God, a teacher of God’s Word — was on the run from God, and asleep to His voice.

How convicting is this: that a pagan ship captain had to shake a teacher of God’s word, and wake him up, and beg him to pray for his salvation?

What about you? What mission has God given you? Are you obeying, or are you on the run from the Lord and asleep to His voice?

There is a fourth reason, too — the Lord is shaking us because Jesus Christ is coming back soon, and the time to get right with the Lord is running out.

How do we know Christ is coming back? Because He said so.

Revelation 22:12 – Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”

John 14:1-6 – Jesus said, ‘Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”

When is Jesus coming back? We don’t know exactly, because He didn’t tell us. “But of that day and hour no one knows,” Christ said, “not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36)

But our Lord Jesus did give us signs to watch for that would tell us when His return was near.

In Matthew 24, and Luke 21, and Mark 13, and throughout the Scriptures we find lists of signs:

  • wars and rumors of wars
  • uprisings and revolutions
  • earthquakes
  • natural disasters
  • lawlessness
  • false prophets
  • false teachers
  • false messiahs
  • the rise of evil in our cultures previously unimaginable
  • persecution of the believers
  • betrayal
  • apostasy
  • …..to name just a few.

Jesus said we will experience “birth pangs.” Are we not experiencing all these today?

But you say, Joel, when in history have we not had wars and revolutions and earthquakes and apostasy? What makes this period of time different from all others?

The answer is Israel. Bible prophecy makes it crystal clear that in the last days before the Second Coming, the world would witness the miraculous, prophetic rebirth of the State of Israel, Jews coming back to the Holy Land after centuries of exile, Jews rebuilding the ancient ruins, Israel becoming the epicenter of international attention, and growing international hostility and isolation — and we have seen all this happen in our lifetime.

The prophetic rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948 — together with the reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish control in June 1967 — is what Bible scholars call the “super sign,” the definitive sign that we are truly in what the Bible calls the “last day” before the return of Christ. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel is symbolized as a “fig tree.” Jesus told us the “parable from the fig tree” in Matthew 24. Jesus said, “Now learn the parable from the fig tree; when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” (Matthew 24:32-33)

  • We are seeing the signs that will precede Christ’s return.
  • We are experiencing the birth pangs that will come before Christ’s return.
  • We are being shaken, as prophecy warned, because Jesus wants to wake us up.

We don’t know the day or the hour, but Jesus said we would know the season, and we should be living as though His hand is on the door, ready to come back.

Matthew 24:42 — “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”

Matthew 24:43 – Be “on the alert.”

Matthew 24:44 – “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

Are you ready to see Jesus face to face? Have you given your life to Jesus Christ? Are you absolutely sure that if you were to die tonight that you would go to heaven? Tonight, you can be certain.

Maybe you are already believer — maybe you have given your life to the Lord….but in your heart you know you’re not walking faithfully with Him….you’re drifting….or far away….tonight, God is calling you back to Him….He’s calling you to repent, turn around, come running back into His arms, asking for His forgiveness – for a fresh start, for a righteous and willing spirit. And the Scriptures tell us, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

But to start, we need to wake up.

The Hebrew Prophet Joel wrote: “Wake up and weep, you drunkards!” Why? “For the Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” (Joel 1:5, 2:1)

The Lord Jesus said in the Book of Revelation to the Church in Sardis: “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (Revelation 3:1-3)

Is that you tonight? Is that your family? Is that your church?  Perhaps you have a reputation that you’re spiritually alive — but maybe that’s not how Jesus sees you. Maybe He sees you as dead inside. Maybe you’re not obeying Him. Maybe you’re not worshipping Him — not really — not with your heart. Maybe you’re not sharing the gospel with family or friends. Maybe you’re not making any disciples. Maybe you’ve never made a single disciple. Maybe you don’t know what it means to make a disciple, even though Jesus commanded, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Where are you tonight? Are you awake, or asleep? Are you running with Jesus, or are you running from Him, and from the mission He has for your life — like Jonah?

Ten years ago, Americans got a wake up call. The 9/11 attacks stunned us, and they drove us back to church by the millions. But did it last? George Barna’s research shows that “after the 9/11 attacks, religious activity surged, but within two months, virtually every spiritual indicator available suggested that things were back to pre-attack levels.”[xxiv] In other words, the wake up call came and people jumped out of bed — but before long, they went back to sleep, back to business as usual.

But look at the list of signs that the Bible says we will see in the last days. Then look at what is happening in our world. Wouldn’t you say the list is being checked off, one by one? I would. Which is why I would this: if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ and you’re planning any major sins in your life right now, can I urge you to postpone those plans, or better yet, cancel them outright. This is not a good time to be goofing around. This is not a good time to be doing something, watching something, listening to something, reading something, spending time with someone or something for which you would be ashamed when Jesus comes back.

The Apostle John put it this way: “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” (1 John 2:28)

Let’s be clear: the Bible tells us that these shakings are going to continue, and get worse, like birth pangs, increasing in frequency and intensity — contraction and release, contraction and release. Our Father is trying to wake us up before it is too late. Our Lord Jesus Christ is giving us time…..

  • to rekindle our first love with Him
  • to embrace Him
  • to eat of the Bread of Life
  • to drink of the living water
  • to follow Him no matter what the journey
  • to serve Him no matter how high the cost
  • to discover His mercies afresh every morning
  • to discover that when the world is being shaken, you don’t have to be – not in your heart, not in your soul – because your hope and trust is fully in Him.

Hebrews 12:28 — When we give our lives to Christ, the Scriptures say we will “receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken”

The Psalmist wrote: “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

And, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22).

Where are you tonight? Are you ready to meet Jesus face to face?

– End –


[i] Eric Blake, et al, “The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones From 1851 to 2010,” NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS NHC-6, National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center, August 2011, p. 9, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf

[ii] “2011 Record Year For Weather Disasters,” UPI, August 19, 2011, http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/08/19/2011-record-year-for-weather-disasters/UPI-57581313783153/

[iii] Marty Roney and Carolyn Pesce, “Dozens of Tornadoes Kill At Least 297 People In South,” USA Today, April 29, 2011, http://www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/tornadoes/2011-04-28-deadly-tornado-south_n.htm?loc=interstitialskip.

[iv] See “Worst Fires On Record Ravage Texas,” Voice of America, http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Worst-Fires-on-Record-Ravage-Texas-129366213.html; see also, “Worst Drought In Texas History Ravages Crops, Livestock,” PBS NewsHour, August 31, 2011, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/weather/july-dec11/texasdrought_08-31.html,

[v] Katharine Q. Seeyle, “Above All, Eastern Quake Rattles Nerves,” New York Times, August 23, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/us/24quake.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all.

[vi] Richard McCormack, “The Plight of American Manufacturing,” American Prospect, December 29, 2009, http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_plight_of_american_manufacturing.

[vii] 1 trillion seconds is 31,688 years; see http://www.defeatthedebt.com/understanding-the-national-debt/millions-billions-trillions/

[viii] A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken in August 2011 found 73 percent of Americans believing the country was on the “wrong track.” See Steve Holland, “Most Americans say U.S. on wrong track: poll,” Reuters, August 10, 2011.

[ix] Specifically, some 48 percent of Americans believe a Great Depression is coming, CNN poll released June 8, 2011.

[x] National Right To Life fact sheet, January 27, 2011, http://www.nrlc.org/Factsheets/FS03_AbortionInTheUS.pdf.

[xi] Jerry Ropelato, “Internet Pornography Statistics,” Internet Filter Software Reviews, http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/internet-pornography-statistics-pg2.html.

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] George Barna, Futurecast (Carol Stream, IL: Barna/Tyndale House Publishers, 2011), p. 124.

[xiv] Barna, p. 132-134.

[xv] Barna, p. 132-134.

[xvi] Barna, p. 35.

[xvii] Barna, p. 172.

[xviii] “Japan Quake Worst Crisis Since WWII, Says PM,” BBC, March 13, 2011.

[xix] Nick Meo, “Australia Faces Biblical Floods,” U.K. Telegraph, January 1, 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/8235159/Australia-faces-biblical-floods.html.

[xx] “Russia Struck By Worst Drought In 100 Years,” Voice of Russia, July 18, 2010, http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/07/18/12667465.html.

[xxi] “East China wheat basket braces for worst drought in 200 years,” Xinhua news service, February 8, 2011.

[xxii] “Christchurch earthquake leaves third of city buildings facing demolition: New Zealand’s PM says quake is country’s worst-ever disaster as death toll climbs to 145 and much of business district in ruins,” The (U.K.) Guardian, February 26, 2011.

[xxiii] The deadliest quake in all of human history occurred in 1556 A.D. in China. See “Earthquakes With 50,000 Or More Deaths,” U.S. Geological Survey, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/most_destructive.php, accessed September 2, 2011.

REMEMBERING 9/11: HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED OVER PAST TEN YEARS? Please join us for the “Wake Up Call” webcast on Sunday

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2011 at 11:50 am
Ten years have passed since the horrific terrorist attacks on America by Radical Islamic terrorists. That was a wake up call for our country. But were we listening?
 
Are you morally and spiritually better off ten years after 9/11? Is your family? Is your church? God didn’t cause 9/11 to happen. Fanatics devoted to the false teachings of Radical Islam caused 9/11 to happen. But the True and Living God — the God of the Bible — let it happen to shake America. To get our attention. To wake us up. Were we listening? And where do we go from here?
 
On Sunday night, 9/11, Anne Graham Lotz and I will host a special event to remember that event and to call the Church to fasting, prayer and repentance, to a deeper walk with Christ, more hunger for His Word, and more faithfulness in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Hebrew Prophet Joel wrote: “Wake up and weep, you drunkards!” Why? “For the Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” (Joel 1:5, 2:1)
 
I hope you will join Anne and me for this “Wake Up Call” special event which begins Sunday night, September 11th at 7pm eastern — you can watch it for free on-line by clicking here and walking through the simple steps. On this site, you can also find out where you could watch the event at one more more than 300 churches Sunday night, or listen on one of more than 500 Christian radios that will be simulcasting the event. Or you can watch on satellite TV in anyone of 200 countries, including Israel. Please also be praying for us and for the event and for those who will be watching and listening. Please pray, too, that the Lord would use this event to wake up more of His people to love Him and serve Him ever more faithfully. And please invite family and friends to participate in this event as well. May it be a blessing to them, and to you as well. Thanks so much, and may God bless you.
 

SENIOR IDF GENERAL SAYS LIKELIHOOD OF “AN ALL-OUT, TOTAL WAR” GROWING: “Arab Spring” could turn into “Radical Islamic Winter”; Tensions with Turkey mounting

In Uncategorized on September 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

>> REMINDER: “Wake Up Call” webcast event on September 11th

>> UPDATE: Terror attacks spike in August: Total of 178 attacks against Israel recorded last month, compared to 53 in July

>> UPDATE: New Washington Post editorial warns Iran nuclear threat growing, not dimming

More than ever, Israel needs leaders like the “sons of Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (I Chronicles 12:32, NIV) Israel also needs faithful friends who will show unconditional love and unwavering support for the Jewish people, while also showing love and compassion towards the Palestinians. These are increasingly difficult times for Israel, and Christians around the world need to be even more faithful in prayer for peace and more determined to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, as The Joshua Fund seeks to do faithfully every day, with your help.

Evidence of a gathering storm continues to mount in the epicenter. Consider the latest:

Please continue to pray for the Lord to protect Israel and give her leaders wisdom at this time. Please also consider making a financial contribution to the work of The Joshua Fund as we educate and mobilize Christians around the world to bless Israel and her neighbors, as well as provide humanitarian relief to the poor and needy in the epicenter.

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>> With Iran threat rising, The Tehran Initiative launches on October 18th

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