Is Egyptian President el-Sisi about to help broker a major breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli peace process? Fascinating signals this week. [My new Jerusalem Post op-ed + analysis of el-Sisi’s UN speech]

Sisi-UNspeech2017

Four decades after the historic Camp David Accords, is Egyptian President el-Sisi signaling he is about to take the lead in helping broker dramatic peace agreements not just between Israelis and Palestinians but perhaps between Israel and the rest of the Arab world, including the Saudis and Gulf States?

Given his warm, even effusive, public meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, there are surprising and growing reasons for optimism, as I discuss in my new op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, “Behind The Smiles: Why Did Sisi Go Public With His Close Relationship With Netanyahu?” [see excerpts below]

What’s more, I strongly encourage you to watch or read the full text of President el-Sisi’s courageous address to the U.N. General Assembly, especially went he went off script to speak of Egypt’s “wonderful and excellent experiment in peace” with Israel and to urge both sides not to miss a “rare” opportunity to make peace that “may not be repeated.”

Mr. President, let me put the text aside and appeal to those who may concern. My first appeal is to the Palestinian people. I tell them that it is extremely important to unite behind your target and overcome differences, not lose the opportunity and be ready to coexist with the Israelis in safety and peace to achieve stability and security for all. I appeal to the Israeli people, telling them that Egypt has a wonderful and excellent experience in peace with you for more than 40 years. We can repeat this experiment and wonderful step. The security and safety of the Israeli citizen should be put side by side with that of the Palestinian citizen. I appeal to you to stand by your political leadership. Don’t hesitate. I assure the Israeli public opinion that we stand with you all to render this opportunity a success.

This opportunity may not come again. I address also all peace loving states and all sisterly Arab countries to support this magnificent step. I appeal to the rest of the world to back this step, which if it succeeds, it will change the history. In addition, I appeal to the US president that we have an opportunity to write a new page in the history of humanity for achieving peace in this area. 

Sisi-Bibi-1

EXCERPTS FROM MY JERUSALEM POST OP-ED

Monday’s tete-a-tete between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, held on the sidelines of the opening session of the UN General Assembly in Manhattan, was their first-ever publicly announced meeting, and it went better than both men had hoped.

But why was President Sisi willing to go public with the relationship now?….

Is something even bigger going on?

Sisi is not a politician by training. He’s a military man, a strategist. He doesn’t make moves – certainly not vis-à-vis Israel – without carefully thinking them through. To go public now, especially with such warm and friendly photographs, strongly suggests something else is brewing.

Is the Egyptian leader about to invite Netanyahu to come to Cairo for an official, formal state visit, the first ever by an Israeli premier? Might Sisi even host a summit and introduce Netanyahu to other Arab heads of state? Will he offer to host serious peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians for a comprehensive and final treaty, having secured Netanyahu’s agreement to such talks ahead of time?

At the same time, is Netanyahu about to invite Sisi to come to Jerusalem for an official state visit? Will he invite the Egyptian leader to address the Knesset and lay out his vision for a broad regional peace, sharing lessons Egypt has learned about making – and maintaining – peace with the Jewish state?

It would be the first time an Egyptian leader set foot on Israeli soil since Anwar Sadat stunned the world and melted the hearts of the Israeli people with his bold visit to Jerusalem in 1977. It would be powerful by itself, but could it also be designed to lay the groundwork for an historic visit by another major Arab leader, or by several?….

Could another breakthrough be in the works?

CarterSadatBegin-2

————————

———————

>> To pre-order a copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy (which releases March 6th), please click here.

Advertisements

Historic hurricanes. Earthquakes. Genocide. Nuclear threats. And yet new signs of peace in the Mideast? What in the world is going on? Join us at the 2017 Epicenter Conference Oct 6-7 to find out. (Register today)

EpicenterConf-logo

Day after day, the headlines are more sobering and surreal than the day before.

Cataclysmic at times, yet oddly hopeful and encouraging at others.

What in the world is going on, and what does it all mean?

Next week, I’ll be speaking in Denver on the grave and growing threats posed by Russia, North Korea, and Iran. But I’ll also be giving an update on the dramatically positive turn of events in the war against the Islamic State, and even in the Arab-Israeli conflict — and I’ll be taking your questions. Please do everything you can to join us.

MA-2017fundraiser

Then I’ll head to southern California to speak at the 2017 Epicenter Conference on October 6 & 7. Joining me will be some of the most encouraging and insightful pastors and ministry leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It’s been four years since the last Epicenter Conference, and this one could not be more timely, or hopeful — the Holy Spirit is so powerfully today. Come hear what the media won’t tell you!

If you have the opportunity to come to either event — in Denver or in Orange County — please find a way to join us. Details for each event are below. You must register for these events, so please do so today — and invite others via social media, as well.

———————

>> To pre-order a copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy (which releases March 6th), please click here.

In first-ever public meeting, Egyptian President el-Sisi warmly embraces Israeli PM Netanyahu. (Two leaders discuss path to broader regional peace on anniversary of Camp David peace talks in September 1978.)

Sisi-Bibi-1

When was the last time you saw a picture of an Egyptian President roaring with laughter in a meeting with an Israeli Prime Minister?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one reveals a great deal about the state of peace between Israel and Egypt.

On the sidelines of the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly in Manhattan today, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu held their first-ever publicly announced meeting. And it went better than both men had hoped.

While the two leaders speak frequently by phone, they have met in person only twice before. The first time was in the Red Sea resort city of Aqaba, Jordan in February 2016, hosted by Jordanian King Abdullah II. The second time was in Cairo in April 2016. But both of those meetings were tightly held secrets at the time. No photos were released.

By contrast, today’s meeting was announced by both sides even before it took place. Afterwards, official photographs were released. What’s more, the photos showed the two men not simply shaking hands but sincerely enjoying each other’s company.

Clearly, they have cultivated a relationship they now believe is healthy and enduring enough to make public. Senior Israeli and Egyptian officials tell me security cooperation between the two countries is unprecedentedly close. This is good.

But I believe there is something bigger going on.

Is el-Sisi going to invite Netanyahu to come on an official, formal, public state visit to Cairo? Is el-Sisi going to introduce Netanyahu to other Arab heads of state? Will he offer to host historic peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians?

Is Netanyahu about to invite el-Sisi to come to Jerusalem for an official state visit? Will he invite el-Sisi to address the Knesset, the first time an Egyptian leader would have done so since 1977 when Anwar el-Sadat stunned the world and melted the hearts of the Israeli people? Could an el-Sisi trip to Jerusalem lay the groundwork for an historic visit by the King of Saudi Arabia, or another major Arab country?CarterSadatBegin-2

Significantly, today’s meeting came on the 39th anniversary of the Camp David peace talks. From September 5 through 17, 1978, Sadat met with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin — under the auspices of U.S. President Jimmy Carter — at the presidential retreat center near Thurmont, Maryland. Together, they hammered out the first-ever peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country.

Could another breakthrough be coming?

One thing is certain: el-Sisi believes his relationship with the Israelis can stand up against the harshest criticism by Radical Islamists, from the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and ISIS, to the ayatollahs of Iran. That is a positive and significant development.

Sisi-Bibi-3

As I wrote about earlier this year when I met President el-Sisi in Washington, “What has intrigued me as I have studied Sisi is how much he admires the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, even though Sadat was assassinated for visiting Jerusalem and agreeing to the 1979 Camp David Accords.”

Indeed, “as the leader of the first Arab nation ever to sign a peace treaty with Israel, President Sisi believes Egypt offers a model that can help lead the region to peace with the Jewish state.”

Will the Saudis follow Egypt’s lead? Will the Gulf States? Will Morocco and the rest of North Africa? And ultimately, will the Palestinians?

At the same time, is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to follow the path of his mentor, Menachem Begin, in forging sweeping peace agreements with the broader Arab community, as well as with the Palestinians?

Only time will tell, but this was a good and encouraging day.

NOTE: Earlier today, U.S. President Donald Trump met for two hours with Netanyahu. The two men publicly affirmed that the U.S.-Israel alliance is stronger than ever. They discussed how to forge a broad regional peace, including a deal with the Palestinians, but also how to counter the real and growing threat posed by Iran. This, too, is positive. The closer the U.S. and Israel are — and the more unified they are in confronting Iran and ISIS — the easier it may be for Israel and the Arab world to find a way to make peace.

————————

 

———————

>> To pre-order a copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy (which releases March 6th), please click here.

“Putin Is More Dangerous Than Radical Islam,” says author/expert. Here’s why. [My new op-ed for Fox News & interview with Breitbart News.]

putin-militaryhat

(Jerusalem, Israel) — This morning, FoxNews.com published a new column of mine on the massive Russian war games underway near the borders of three NATO countries and Ukraine. The column includes findings from an exclusive poll I commissioned about American attitudes towards Russia and Putin earlier this year.

Earlier this week, I was interviewed by a reporter for Breitbart News about the Putin threat and my forthcoming novel, The Kremlin Conspiracy. That article was also published today.

Here are excerpts from that article:

  • As Russian forces conduct a major military exercise this week in northwestern Belarus, one man has ominous words to describe the latest global aggression directed by President Vladimir Putin.
  • “After 16 years of writing about radical Islam I’m personally convinced that Vladimir Putin is more dangerous than radical Islam, “ Joel Rosenberg, bestselling author of numerous books on radical Islam and the Islamic State, told Breitbart News….
  • Rosenberg, who moved to Israel from the United States several years ago — born to a Jewish [father] and now an evangelical Christian — calls Putin a “monster” and ticks off a list of the threats posed by Russia around the globe, from the invasion and annexation of Crimea in the Ukraine to insertion into conflicts in the Middle East, including Syria….
  • Rosenberg said [that]…while a majority of Americans do see Putin and Russia as a threat, the concern has been over-shawdowed by the very real threat of ISIS and even North Korea. Rosenberg wrote about that fact early this year after commissioning a poll to gauge specifically what Americans think of Putin and Russia.
  • Sixty percent of respondents said they believe Putin has global ambitions, picking the answer that states Russia wants to “regain the glory of Mother Russia by expanding the territory and influence of Russia in Europe and the Middle East, including by military force.”
  • Rosenberg has extraordinary credentials for his perspective on America’s enemies, earning him the nickname of a “modern day Nostradamus.”
  • In 2002, Rosenberg opened his debut novel, The Last Jihad, with Muslim extremists using an airplane in a kamikaze attack on the president of the United States. Rosenberg wrote that scene before the 9/11 terror attack….
  • Rosenberg’s upcoming novel is focused on what seems to be his latest prophetic piece of fiction. The Kremlin Conspiracy will be released in March.
  • Rosenberg didn’t want to reveal too much about his new book, but he did cite a real-life [RAND Corporation study] that said if Russian decided to capture the Baltic states it could do so in 60 hours.
  • “So I go back to my premise: Vladimir Putin is more dangerous than radical Islam,” Rosenberg said, adding that Americans better “wake up before it’s too late.”
  • “Putin is the greatest geo-political threat that the West faces,” Rosenberg said…. 

To read the full article, please click here.

———————

>> To pre-order a copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy (which releases March 6th), please click here.

On U.S. speaking tour this Fall, I’ll be addressing trends in Russia, North Korea, Israel and the Muslim world. (Events set for Denver, Orange County, Dallas, Fort Worth & Liberty University)

Joel-CPMconf

(Jerusalem, Israel) — In September and October, I look forward to being in the United States on a speaking tour to discuss geopolitical and spiritual trend lines in some of the world’s most volatile regions and countries.

Details for each event are below. Please join us, if you can, and feel free to invite others via social media.

———————

>> To pre-order a copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy (which releases March 6th), please click here.

What is Putin planning? Massive Russian war game set to launch Thursday on borders of three NATO countries & Ukraine. Here’s the latest.

Putin-phone

(Jerusalem, Israel) — Is Russia preparing to invade another European country, or simply training its forces to do so in the future?

That’s the big question as Vladimir Putin prepares to launch a massive series of war games on Thursday dangerously close to the borders of three NATO member states — the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — as well as Ukraine, which Russia has invaded and occupied portions of twice since 2014.

While it sounds eerily similar to the plot of my forthcoming political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, the exercise — code-named “Zapad-2017” (Zapad in Russian means “West”) is all-too-real. It is set to begin on September 14 and conclude on September 20th, and tensions in the region are high.

Zapad-2017-map

Some says the concerns are overblown and that Moscow has no intention of using military force in Europe. Such skeptics need to be reminded, however, that in just the last decade, Putin has invaded Georgia (and occupies 20% of it), Ukraine (twice, and occupies Crimea and Eastern Ukraine), and has sent forces into Syria to prop up the bloodthirsty Assad regime that has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of its own people and driven nearly half the Syrian population from their homes.

The Economist calls this “Russia’s biggest war game in Europe since the Cold War.” That said, there is a dispute over just how big.

Moscow says only 12,500 troops will take part, most of which will operate in the country of Belarus, just south of the Baltics and just north of Ukraine. But “some Western analysts, and Baltic State governments…have expressed concerns that the exercise will in reality be significantly larger, involving between 60,000 and 100,000 military personnel,” notes Janes Intelligence Review.

“According to the Baltic States, the last Zapad-series exercise in 2013 involved 75,000 military personnel, six times higher than Russia disclosed,” says Janes.

Have the U.S. and other NATO commanders positioned enough forces, tanks, fighter jets and other defenses of their own to protect against a Russian blitz? I pray yes, but I’m not so certain.

According to a recent RAND Corporation analysis: “As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members. Across multiple games using a wide range of expert participants in and out of uniform playing both sides, the longest it has taken Russian forces to reach the outskirts of the Estonian and/or Latvian capitals of Tallinn and Riga, respectively, is 60 hours. Such a rapid defeat would leave NATO with a limited number of options, all bad: a bloody counteroffensive, fraught with escalatory risk, to liberate the Baltics; to escalate itself, as it threatened to do to avert defeat during the Cold War; or to concede at least temporary defeat, with uncertain but predictably disastrous consequences for the Alliance and, not incidentally, the people of the Baltics.”

Estonia’s Defense Minister Margus Tsahkna says NATO has intelligence suggesting Moscow may leave Russian soldiers in Belarus once the exercises are over, Reuters reports. He said Russia will use 4,000 railway carriages to transport its troops and equipment to Belarus, perhaps to establish a new Russia military base.

“For Russian troops going to Belarus, it is a one-way ticket,” Tsahkna told Reuters in an interview in Malta. “This is not my personal opinion; we are analyzing very deeply how Russia is preparing for the Zapad exercises.”

Meanwhile, “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has described Russia’s build-up for the exercise as ‘preparations for an offensive war on a continental scale,'” reports the BBC, and Ukrainian defenses are being bolstered.

According to the BBC, Poroshenko believes Russia is “using the pretext of an exercise to mobilize and position forces to conduct offensive operations” and that “he could not rule out the possibility that the drill ‘may be used as a smokescreen to create new Russian army assault groups to invade Ukrainian territory.'”

I’ll definitely keep you posted as events unfold. In the meantime, please pray for safety and security for the people of the Baltics and Ukraine. Please also pray for wisdom for their leaders and the commanders of NATO.

KremlinConspiracy-coversmall

>> To pre-order a copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy (which releases March 6th), please click here.

——————–

———————

The ghastly attacks of 9/11 were not a failure of intelligence but of imagination. (Some personal reflections on that fateful day.)

Sept11-3

“The most important failure was one of imagination. We do not believe leaders understood the gravity of the threat.” The 9/11 Commission Report, Executive Summary, page 9.

(Jerusalem, Israel) — Few will ever forget what they were doing on September 11th, 2001, when they first heard the news that the United States was under attack by radical Islamic jihadists using jet planes on kamikaze missions. I certainly never will.

On that beautiful, sunny, crystal clear Tuesday morning, I was putting the finishing touches on my first novel, a political thriller called The Last Jihad. It opens with radical Islamic terrorists hijacking a jet plane and flying an attack mission into an American city. What’s more, I was writing the book in a townhouse barely fifteen minutes away from Washington Dulles Airport, where at that very moment American Airlines Flight 77 was being seized and flown right over our home towards the Pentagon.

At the time, I had no idea anything unusual was underway. I had begun writing Jihad in January 2001. A literary agent in Manhattan had read the first three chapters that spring. He was convinced that he could get it published, and urged me to finish it as quickly as possible. I took the advice seriously, working feverishly to get the book done before my savings account ran dry.

As had become my morning ritual, I had breakfast with my wife, Lynn, and our kids, threw on jeans and a t-shirt, and settled down to work on one of the novel’s last chapters. I didn’t have radio or television on. I was simply typing away on my laptop when, about an hour later, Lynn burst into the house and said, “You will not believe what’s going on.” She quickly explained that after dropping off two of our kids at school she had turned on the radio and heard that the World Trade Center had been hit by two planes. We immediately turned the television on and saw the horror begin to unfold for ourselves. We saw the smoke pouring out of the North Tower. We saw the constant replays of United Airlines Flight 175 plowing into the South Tower, and erupting into massive ball of fire. And then, before we could fully process it all, we saw the World Trade Center towers begin to collapse.

Wherever I speak around the world, people ask me what my first reaction was, but I don’t recall thinking that my novel was coming true. I simply remember the feeling of shock. I remember calling friends at the White House and on Capitol Hill, and my agent, Scott Miller, in New York, hoping for word that they were safe but unable to get through, with so many phone lines jammed.

I remember Lynn and I getting our boys back from school and the friends who came over to spend the day with us. We tracked events on television, emailed other family and friends around the country and around the world with updates from Washington, and prayed for those directly affected by the crisis, and for our President to have the wisdom to know what to do next. Were more attacks coming? Would there be a 9/12, a 9/13, a 9/14? Would there be a series of terrorist attacks, one after another, as Israel had experienced for so many years?

It was not until some time in late November or early December when events began to settle down enough for my thoughts to turn back to The Last Jihad. What was I supposed to do with it? No one wanted to read a novel that opened with a kamikaze attack against an American city. It was no longer entertainment. It was too raw, too real. So I stuck it in a drawer and tried to forget about it.

But then something curious happened. Lynn and I were watching the State of the Union address in January of 2002 when President Bush delivered his now-famous “axis of evil” line, warning all Americans that the next war we might have to face could be with Saddam Hussein over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Lynn and I just looked at each other. It was one thing to write a novel that opened with a kamikaze attack against America by radical Islamic terrorists. It was another thing to write a novel in which such an event triggers a global War on Terror and then leads the President of the United States and his senior advisors into a showdown with Saddam Hussein over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. But that’s exactly what happens in the novel.

Scott Miller called me the next day.

“Do you work for the CIA?” he asked.

“No, of course not,” I assured him.

“Sure, sure,” he replied. “That’s what you’d have to say if you did work for the CIA and just couldn’t tell me.”

Scott believed that the dynamic had just changed dramatically and that publishers would now be very interested in The Last Jihad. The country had largely recovered from the initial shock of the 9/11 attacks. We were now on offense against the Taliban in Afghanistan. People were reading everything they could get their hands on regarding the threat of radical Islam. And there were simply no other novels in print or on the horizon that could take readers inside the Oval Office and White House Situation Room as an American President and his war council wrestled over the morality of launching a preemptive war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. As such, he wanted to move quickly.

Jihad needed a few tweaks – acknowledging, for example, that 9/11 had happened and thus setting my fictional story a few years into the future – but other than that it was essentially ready to go. A publisher quickly agreed to take a risk on this unknown author and give the book a chance to find an audience. The Last Jihad was rushed through the publishing process and released on November 23, 2002, just as the international debate over Iraq, terrorism and WMD reached a fevered pitch.

The novel caught fire immediately. Jihad sold out in many stores in less than twenty-four hours and prompted nine re-printings before Christmas. In less than sixty days, I was interviewed on more than one hundred and sixty radio and TV talk shows. The questions were as much about the novel itself as about the story behind the novel. How could I possibly have written a book that seemed to foreshadow coming events so closely? Was it a fluke? Did I get lucky? Or was there something else going on? More importantly, what did I think was coming next?

As you will see if you read the novel, there are a number of significant differences between my fictional scenario and what really happened. But people kept asking me about the striking parallels to real life. During such interviews, I tried to focus people on the bigger picture, summing up the theme of the novel with this line: “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.”

The truth is, America was blindsided on 9/11 by an evil few saw coming. What’s more, those attacks were just the beginning of a long war against the forces of radical Islam, and more recently against the forces of apocalyptic Islam. The most important issue we face in the post-9/11 world is whether we have learned anything as a result of that terrible Tuesday. Do we truly understand that the forces of evil are preparing to strike us again when we least expect it? Can we truly imagine what our enemies are capable of? Are we willing to take any actions necessary to defend Western civilization from extinction? Or are we going to elevate peace over victory, retreat from the world, and simply hope for the best?

It has now been sixteen years since that horrifying Tuesday, and almost fifteen years since The Last Jihad was first published. I have written eleven more novels, most of them about worst case scenarios that could occur in the U.S. and the Middle East if Western leaders are blindsided by evil they don’t truly understand. Together, these books have sold millions of copies and have spent months on the national best-seller lists.

Such broad interest is, I believe, an indication of the anxious times in which we live. While we no longer face Saddam Hussein, now we face an apocalyptic Iranian regime, a genocidal ISIS caliphate, North Korea testing hydrogen bombs and ICBMs, and Vladimir Putin — a nuclear-armed tyrant — invading neighbors, arming our worst enemies, and jailing and “disappearing” journalists and human rights activists. All of this raises troubling new questions: What is coming next? How bad will it be? Where will I be when it happens? And am I ready to meet my Maker if, God forbid, I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time when evil strikes again?

How would you answer such questions? They are as relevant today as they ever were.

——————–

———————

What in the world is going on? Catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, terrorism, nuclear threats. Is God trying to tell us something? Yes.

Hurricane-IrmaUPDATED: What in the world is going on?

Hurricane Harvey drops 33 trillion gallons of rainfall on the U.S. Experts say the floods are a once-in-a-thousand-years event. Now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida. Historic, sustained winds of at least 185 miles-per-hour. Devastation in the Caribbean has been catastrophic. Experts say Florida and other American states could face the same.

Then there’s the horrific, out-of-control wildfires raging across the Pacific Northwest Countless that are “creating apocalypse-like conditions in numerous Western states, blotting out the noonday sun behind thick blankets of smoke and depositing ash like freshly fallen snow,” according to the Washington Post.

At the same time, Mexico experiences the worst earthquake in a century. Record-breaking floods are devastating Asia. Half of Bangladesh is reportedly underwater. 100,000 homes have been destroyed. Forty million people face severe and potentially life-threatening food and water shortages. Russia is preparing to mass upwards of 100,000 troops on the borders of three NATO countries for a massive series of war games that some fear is a prelude to war in Europe. The genocidal slaughter continues in Syria. Terror attacks are occurring around the globe. North Korea threatens to nuke the United States, then tests a hydrogen bomb and long-range ballistic missiles. And tensions over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem spike, then settle, then spike again.

People have all kinds of theories as to what is happening, but the answer is quite straightforward — God is trying to get our attention.

These events are not random. The God of the Bible is sovereignly allowing these events to shake us, to wake us, to get our attention, that we might turn to Him and ask Him to have mercy on us and help us.

The Lord said through the ancient Hebrew Prophet Haggai that He would shake the nations in the last days. “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)

In the New Testament, the Lord reinforced that theme. “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’….Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29)

The prophecies in the Scriptures are clear: the Lord will shake individuals and nations to persuade us to let go of all of the flawed political, philosophical, intellectual and religious notions that we cling to that won’t give us true and lasting peace, that don’t give us true and eternal hope, that can’t bring us any enduring security, that can’t provide real forgiveness from our sins much less eternal life for our souls.

The God of the Bible wants to shake us loose of such things in order that we might turn to Him, and to the life He offers through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord isn’t letting America and other nations be shaken because He hates us. He is shaking us precisely because He loves us and wants us to repent and turn to Him and call out to Him, as individuals, as families, as leaders, and as entire nations.

This is a 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment, for the Church, for America, for Israel, for all nations. “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

Let us humble ourselves and seek the Lord while He still may be found.

HOW DEVASTATING WILL HURRICANE IRMA BE?

HOW DEVASTATING WAS HURRICANE HARVEY?

  • Harvey is a 1,000-year flood event unprecedented in scale (Washington Post) — “A new analysis from the University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and Engineering Center has determined that Harvey is a 1-in-1,000-year flood event….There is nothing in the historical record that rivals this, according to Shane Hubbard, the Wisconsin who made and mapped this calculation. ‘In looking at many of these events [in the United States], I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude or size,’ he said. ‘This is something that hasn’t happened in our modern era of observations.'”
  • Harvey unloaded 33 trillion gallons of water in the U.S. (Washington Post) — “The overwhelming majority of Harvey’s rains are over, and we have a new calculation for the total volume of water it dispensed on U.S. soil: 33 trillion gallons. This number incorporates the rainfall not only in Texas and Louisiana, but also in Tennessee and Kentucky, which also experienced torrents.”
  • Tracking Harvey’s toll: ‘This is the costliest and worst natural disaster in American history’ (Dallas Morning News) — “AccuWeather is out with the highest estimate yet of Harvey’s potential price tag. The weather foreasting service now expects damage to reach $190 billion, or a full 1 percent of U.S. economic output. ‘This is the costliest and worst natural disaster in American history,’ said Joel Myers, AccuWeather’s founder, president and chairman.”

400% SPIKE IN GLOBAL WEATHER CATASTROPHES SINCE 1970


 

 

Four Days In Jordan: We took our kids & some friends to the Hashemite Kingdom last month. What a fascinating time.

Jordan-Trip-Petra-family

If you ever have the opportunity to travel to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, I highly encourage you and your family to do so.

Though far too few Evangelical Christians know or think much about this remarkable country, Jordan is beautiful, friendly, and safe — and immensely rich in Biblical history.

I’ve been there nine times. In 2014, I had the opportunity to meet with Jordan’s Prime Minister and other senior officials (I wrote four columns about that trip, if you’re interested — Why I Came To Amman, Was Jesus Baptized on the East Bank?, Meeting With The Foreign Minister, and Meeting the PM). Last year, Lynn and I were invited as guests of His Majesty King Abdullah II.

That said, our sons had never been there (beyond passing through on the way somewhere else). So last month, Lynn and I decided to take three of them and meet up with dear American friends who wanted to visit both Jordan and Israel for the first time. What an amazing time!

Jordan-Trip-keffiyahs

The eleven of us traveled through the territories of all three ancient nations that comprise the modern kingdom — Ammon, Moab and Edom. We had a wonderful Jordanian tour guide with us who helped us learn the country’s history, culture and geography.

Over the course of four very packed days, we took the kids to:

  • Bethany Beyond the Jordan (we saw the ancient ruins of the town where the Bible says John the Baptist conducted his ministry alongside the Jordan River and where many believe Jesus Himself was baptized)
  • Amman (the modern and ancient capital known in the Bible as Rabbat-Ammon and later as Philadelphia, part of the Roman Decapolis)
  • Jerash (known in the Bible as Gerasa, part of the Roman Decapolis)
  • Madaba (the site of an extraordinary ancient mosaic map of key Christian holy sites in the Holy Land)
  • Mount Nebo (where God showed his servant Moses the Promised Land of Israel, and where Moses also died and was buried)
  • Petra (the ancient Nabatean city made famous in the third sequel of Raiders of the Lost Ark — click here for the last scene)
  • Wadi Rum (the breath-taking Edomite desert made famous in the Oscar-winning — and must-see motion picture, Lawrence of Arabia); and
  • Aqaba (the southern Jordanian port city located on the shores of the Red Sea)

Jordan-Trip-Jerash-Jonah

Along the way, I taught the group about the many Biblical leaders who lived in and served God in Jordan during ancient times and the many important Biblical events that occurred there.

  • Job was from “the land of Uz” which was located in the southern Edomite region of Jordan. (See the Book of Job)
  • Moses lived on the East side of the Jordan River, and eventually died and was buried on Mount Nebo. (See Deuteronomy chapter one and chapter 34.)
  • The entire Israelite nation lived on the East side of the River for a time after escaping from Egypt. (See the book of Deuteronomy.)
  • Joshua lived on the East side, and from there led the Israelites across the Jordan River to the West side. (See the book of Deuteronomy and Joshua chapter one.)
  • The prophet Elijah was born and raised in the land of Gilead, which is on the East side of the River, and eventually went back to heaven there in a chariot of fire. (See I Kings 17:1, 2 Kings 10:33, and 2 Kings 2:1-14)
  • The prophet Elisha received the mantle of prophetic leadership on the East side of the River. (See 2 Kings chapter two.)
  • John the Baptist based his ministry “in Bethany beyond the Jordan,” that is, on the East side of the River. (See John 1:28.)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ may have been baptized on the East Bank, since his cousin John baptized Him and John was ministering on the East side of the River. (See John chapter one.)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ certainly traveled to the East side of the River and ministered to people on and from the East side.

Jordan-Trip-MountNebo-view

We especially focused in the New Testament on the account of the Lord Jesus healing two demon possessed men in “the country of the Gadarenes,” an ancient Roman city on the East side of the Sea of Galilee, in the northwest section of modern Jordan. (Matthew 8:28-34).

“The modern town of Umm Qais is the site of the ancient Greco-Roman town of Gadara, one of the cities of the Decapolis and, according to the Bible, the place where Jesus cast out the devil from two men into a herd of pigs (Matthew 8: 28-34),” notes the official website of Jordan’s late King Hussein.

We also looked at the accounts in Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-39. Both focus on Jesus casting a “legion” of demons out of one specific man in “the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee” and then telling that man to “go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

Jordan-Trip-Amman-theatre

These two accounts are more detailed versions of the Matthew 8:28-34 account. The region where the events happened is the same – northwest Jordan – as described by Matthew. But Mark and Luke use slightly different language. They refer to the “country of the Gerasenes.” This certainly included the ancient city of Gadara, but was also a broad swath of territory linked to the ancient Roman city of Gerasa, which today is known as the Jordanian city of Jerash, located about 40 miles south of Umm Qais. [See King Hussein’s website.]

The kids absolutely loved our time in Jordan, as did we adults. We loved the people, the sights, the food and the opportunity to pray for the people and the leaders of this extraordinary kingdom. I so hope you and your family will look for an opportunity to visit Jordan soon, as well.

NOTE: In addition to the pictures I’ve posted here, I’ll Tweet out more photos over the next few days.

EpicenterConf-CostaMesa2017