Yes, there’s a lot happening in the world and I realize I haven’t been writing much about it these days. Thought I’d update you on why. My new novel — the follow up to The Twelfth Imam — was due to my publisher, Tyndale House, today. It’s almost done, but not quite. Still need a few more days. So I’d be grateful for your prayers and patience. Will get back to blogging as soon as I can. Thanks.
“there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven….There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Luke 21:11,25,26)
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22, KJV)
Today’s apocalyptic earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan reminded us yet again that the earth is groaning and we are, in fact, living in the last days before the return of Christ. The horrific disaster, whose proportions we are only beginning to understand, has already killed more than 1,000 people and left millions without power, food, or fresh water. Please be praying for the people of Japan for the Lord to comfort them and draw them close to His heart. Please pray for the followers of Jesus Christ in Japan and throughout Asia to help their brothers and sisters and help those who need practical assistance as well as Christ’s promise of unconditional love and forgiveness. Pray, too, that people all over the world will realize that the Lord is trying to get our attention to turn back to Him and prayer for the Day of the Lord, which is coming soon. Have you ever heard of the Four Spiritual Laws, a concise explanation of the gospel?
- SATURDAY UPDATE: Nuclear power plant explodes in Japan in events triggered by the earthquake
- NYT: Japan expands evacuation efforts after explosion at Japanese nuclear plant
- >> MUST SEE VIDEO: A helicopter news crew captures the ferocious, devastating power of the tsunami hitting land and laying waste to an entire town
- MUST SEE PHOTOS: Dramatic pictures from the frontlines of the disaster
- UPDATE: 20 aftershocks in Japan, 6.0 or higher
- Many killed in major tsunami after 8.9 earthquake in Japan
- Most powerful quake to hit Japan in 300 years…one of the five biggest quakes in world history…4.1 million without power….tsunami warnings for 53 countries.
- Death toll tops 1,o00 so far.
- EARLIER THIS WEEK: Deadly earthquake hits China’s southwest
- LAST MONTH: Earthquake in New Zealand kills at least 75, hundreds still trapped under debris in Christchurch
- FLASHBACK — February 2010: Multiple catastrophic earthquakes, war rumors echo “last days” prophecies
- FLASHBACK — January 2010: Bible says Israel, world to face major earthquakes in “last days,” but experts say Israel not prepared
- FLASHBACK — October 2009: The earth is groaning (South Pacific tsunami)
UPDATED: Col. Muammar Gaddafi is an evil, brutal tyrant. He is a virulent opponent of Christianity, a hater of Israel and the Jewish people, a supporter of terrorism and he is guilty of slaughtering the people of Libya by the thousands. He calls himself the “King of kings” in direct defiance of Jesus Christ and his cruelty is now on full display. We all must pray that he and his wicked regime are brought down as soon as possible.
Let’s be clear: humanly speaking, this won’t be easy, but it can be done. The U.S. and Western allies should recognize opposition leaders who are pro-democracy and pro-Western, support and encourage them as they fight the Gaddafi loyalists, and even considering arming Libyan rebels so they can defend themselves from what could become a full blown genocide if Gaddafi’s forces continue to bomb, strafe and attack innocent civilians. We can also impose severe economic sanctions, provide medical assistance and humanitarian relief to the opponents of Gaddafi, and encourage other nations to do the same.
I agree with a fresh analysis by The Heritage Foundation, however, that creating a U.S. or NATO-led no-fly zone over Libya — or embarking in other direct military action in Libya — would be a mistake at this point. While helping liberate the Libyan people is an important goal for the free world, as is helping the Libyans defend themselves against genocide, creating and maintaining geopolitical stability in Libya is not a vital national security interest for the United States or NATO. We need to help the opponents of Gaddafi (similar to how President Reagan helped the Afghan rebels when the Soviets invaded in 1979 — the “Reagan Doctrine”), but we can’t let ourselves get sucked in or bogged down in a Libyan civil war. This would consume American military and intelligence assets needed for higher priority matters in the Middle East, namely countering the Iranian nuclear threat, protecting Israel, maintaining stability in Iraq, finishing off the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and keeping free and secure access to oil in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf region.
That said, the Church needs a different “foreign policy,” as it were, from the U.S. or the Europeans. Followers of Jesus Christ need to do everything possible to get the gospel of Jesus Christ into Libya. Christians should use satellite television, radio broadcasting, the Internet, and social networking tools to get the Bible’s message of hope, freedom and salvation through Jesus Christ alone into the country, and do everything possible to strengthen the persecuted believers there. As I wrote on February 28th, the government of Libya will eventually play a distinctly evil role in the End Times, according to several Bible prophecies. We don’t know how much time we have until the Lord returns, so we must use this time of unrest to advance the Kingdom courageously and wisely.
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- Sarkozy shows leadership, says Gaddafi must step down, recognizes Libyan opposition, urges airstrikes
- Text of letter from Sarzozy and Cameron: Gaddafi must go
- Libya plans full offensive against rebels: Gaddafi son
- Obama and U.K.’s Cameron urge quick exit for Gaddafi
- Sec. Clinton says U.S. won’t lead, will wait for international consensus
- White House defends Libya stance, debates options
- Top U.S. intelligence officials says Gaddafi will prevail and stay in power
- Saudi police open fire during protest
- Witnesses at King Hearing Say America ‘Failing’ to Confront Radical Islam
- FRIDAY: Paul Wolfowitz in the WSJ — The Case for Backing Libya’s Rebels: The U.S. has a strategic and moral interest in helping Libyans fight for themselves, and in preventing Gadhafi and his sons from restoring their reign of fear
BLESSING ISRAELI CHILDREN AFFECTED BY THE FIRES: In December, Israel experienced the worst fires in modern Israeli history, burning an estimated 9,900 acres, destroying five million trees, killing 44 people, and forcing the evacuation of thousands from several communities near the blaze. During that time, we learned that Yemin Orde – a village in northern Israel that houses, cares for and educates at-risk Jewish children, many of whom who don’t have any parents – was hit hard by the raging Carmel fires, and needed help. The more we learned, the more their story moved us….To read the rest of this story about how The Joshua Fund is helping rebuild this Israeli children’s village, please click here.
WITH POVERTY RISING IN ISRAEL, THE JOSHUA FUND TO OPEN EIGHTH FOOD DISTRIBUTION CENTER: Israel’s economy is growing faster than any other country in the industrialized world, but not everyone is benefitting. Poverty in Israel is rising, yet with so much of the government’s budget going towards national security, social welfare budgets are shrinking and many families are really struggling.
- Fully 25 percent of Israelis live under the poverty level
(which is less than $900 for a family of four per month), up from 23.7% in 2008.
- In 2009, 123,000 more Israelis fell into poverty, according to the most
recent government statistics.
- Roughly 1-in-3 children live in poverty in Israel, up 66,700 since 2008.
- 70% of those who earn only minimum wage in Israel are women.
- Ultra-Orthodox and Arab families, on average, are also more likely than secular Jewish Israelis to live in poverty,mainly because they tend to have significantly more children.
- Of the 240,000 Holocaust Survivors who live in Israel today, 40 percent live in poverty.
Compounding the problem: food prices in Israel are rising significantly….To read the rest of this story, please click here.
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- Gaddafi’s scorched earth: Libya’s skies turn black as desperate dictator blows up oil pipes and turns his tanks on civilians
- NYT: Christians and Muslims in Fatal Clash Near Cairo
- Washington Post: “Thirteen people died in overnight clashes between Christians and Muslims in the worst outbreak of sectarian violence in Egypt since last month’s ouster of president Hosni Mubarak….”
- Haaretz: U.S. official: Iran moving to brink of nuclear weapons capability
UPDATE: Oil prices top $106 a barrel
“Osama bin Laden’s deputy is urging fellow Egyptians to establish Islamic rule over the country after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, who sought to curb Islamists throughout his nearly 30 years in power,” reports the Associated Press. “Al-Qaida’s Ayman al-Zawahri made the appeal in an Internet audio message released Friday, his second recording since Mubarak was forced out on Feb. 11. It is unlikely his call for an Islamic state will resonate among the overwhelming majority of those who took part in the 18-day popular uprising and seek a democratic system to replace Mubarak’s autocratic rule.” Said al-Zawahiri: “The Egyptian people’s demand to establish Islamic rule is one of the most prominent Egyptian realities, a demand by the vast majority which foreign powers try to deprive them of.”
- Israeli company says natural gas will be flowing to Israel by 2013
- Libya lurches closer to civil war
- Hamas leader wants to reconcile with Fatah for “jihad” against Israel
- Egypt’s new FM accused Israel of genocide
- Meet the Losers: Oilmen cheer. But the Mideast revolution isn’t turning out so well for the U.S. and Israel.
- IAEA chief says can’t rule out option that Iran is developing nuclear weapons — UN nuclear watchdog chief says he cannot give Iran’s nuclear program a clean bill of health because Tehran refuses to cooperate with IAEA probe.
>> On Thursday, an Israeli newsaper reports: Memoir of Hamas leader’s son who spied for Israel goes online [in Arabic]: ‘Son of Hamas,’ by Mosab Hassan Yousef, quickly become a best-seller after its U.S. release last year.
Posted Tuesday: Lynn and I and our boys had the joy of having Mosab Hassan Yousef and two of his friends at our house for dinner last night. Mosab — the eldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of the Hamas terrorist organization — was in Washington yesterday to speak at the International Spy Museum and to release the paperback edition of his must-read book, Son of Hamas. We spent almost three hours catching up on how he’s doing and talking about his passion for exposing the evils of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and his heart for reaching every Palestinian with the gospel of Jesus Christ. My kids were spellbound as he told stories and shared from his heart.
One especially exciting new development: today on his website he is releasing a free downloadable version of his book in Arabic. Now every Palestinian or other Arabic speaker anywhere in the world who wants to can read his story of how he grew up in a leading family of devout Sunni Muslims in Ramallah, was arrested by Israeli forces for buying weapons and plotting attacks against Jews, was sentenced to an Israeli prison, witnessed unspeakable torture by Hamas leaders against Hamas members in that prison, eventually came to renounce Islam, began studying the Bible, became an admirer of Jesus Christ, then became a baptized follower of Jesus Christ, and demonstrated his love for Jesus in part by loving Israel, his neighbor and enemy, thwarting dozens of terrorists attacks and saving the lives of scores of Palestinians and Israelis in the process.
Over the last several years, I have come to love Mosab as my brother in Christ. I’m impressed by his deeply rooted convictions about how Christ has saved him from the lies of his culture. I’m impressed that has no fear about telling people what he believes and why. I love that he speaks against Radical Islam with authority. And I love that he deeply loves his people — the Palestinian people — yet he is not afraid to tell the world that he loves Israel, too. He is proud of what he did in serving as a double agent for the Israeli Shin Bet secret services against Hamas. He is not ashamed of this. Nor should he be. He’s a hero. Some Arab Christian leaders are criticizing him for this part of the story. But he isn’t backing down. If you haven’t read his story yet, please do. And please keep praying for Mosab, that the Lord would continue protecting him and giving him such remarkable courage. Pray, too, that the Lord would take him still deeper in his study of God’s Word and continue to train him and develop him as a bold evangelist and Christian leader among the Palestinian people.
- Inside The Revolution: How The Followers of Jihad, Jefferson and Jesus are Battling To Dominate The Middle East and Transform the World
- Sign up for Joel’s free email updates, “Flash Traffic”
- Join the “Epicenter Team” on Facebook
- To learn more about The Joshua Fund — watch the latest video blog — or make a secure donation online, please click here