Announcing “The Beirut Protocol” virtual book tour. My new thriller about Hezbollah — Iran’s most dangerous terror proxy force — and a Third Lebanon War launches next week. Pre-order now!

With the pandemic still raging and Israel’s airports still closed for the time being, I’m not able to travel back to the States for The Beirut Protocol book tour. Crazy!

So, I’ll be doing all of my media interviews and speaking events from my home or from studios here in Jerusalem. To register to participate in any of the events online, please click here.

To track the interviews I’m doing, please follow me on Twitter. I’ll post links to the interviews whenever possible on my Epicenter Team page on Facebook, and on this blog. And please be sure to pre-order a hardcover, e-book or audio copy of The Beirut Protocol for yourself — and for your parents and best friends — ASAP! Thanks so much!

What is “The Beirut Protocol” all about & who is CIA agent Marcus Ryker? My 1st interview about my new thriller, which releases on March 9th. (pre-order now)

Just one week to go before my new thriller releases. Please be sure to pre-order your copy today. In the meantime, it was so fun talking to a reporter for THE BIG THRILL, the website and magazine of the International Thriller Writers Organization. Here’s their story.

NAVIGATING DANGEROUS SITUATIONS

By Austin S. Camacho

If you’re a fan of espionage fiction, you’re looking for that one book: the one where the CIA’s most valuable operative finds himself in the most dangerous situation he’s ever faced. Joel C. Rosenberg serves up that exact novel in THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL.

As the novel opens, the Secretary of State is on his way to the Middle East to help finalize a vital new peace treaty between Israel and the Saudis. Ahead of him, Special Agent Marcus Ryker is leading a team to the Israel-Lebanon border. But Hezbollah forces ambush them. At first the terrorists don’t know who they’ve got. Ryker is, in fact, a quiet killer with many enemies.

“The Iranians want to kill him,” Rosenberg says. “So do the Russians and the North Koreans. But despite the fact that he’s 6’2″ and about 175 pounds, you might not even notice him at a cocktail party. He makes it a point not to stick out in the crowd. That’s not just his personality. It’s his training.”

Ryker is a clandestine CIA officer. His cover is as a Special Agent for the Diplomatic Security Service, the branch of the State Department that protects American and foreign diplomats and dignitaries. This is after his time in the Secret Service on the Presidential Protective Detail and multiple combat tours as a Marine in Afghanistan and Iraq. With that background, it’s interesting that he doesn’t see himself as a hero.

The 4th in the new series.

“He’s highly uncomfortable getting any attention—much less kudos—at all,” Rosenberg says. “He doesn’t want praise. He doesn’t want attention. He prefers to work in the shadows, protecting his nation’s leaders, secrets, and freedoms.”

The President can ill afford a new war in the Middle East that could kill the treaty. Israeli and American forces mobilize to find the hostages, but Ryker knows time is running out. Like all of Rosenberg’s novels, the tension feels authentic, even though his stories don’t reflect real political changes because, since his first novel, he’s been creating an alternate universe.

“It feels real,” Rosenberg says. “It feels ripped out of today’s headlines, or maybe tomorrow’s. But there are significant differences between real life and the political and geopolitical environment I’m creating.”

So the story in THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL is completely fictional, but Rosenberg admits that the opening scenes in which Ryker and his team are ambushed by Hezbollah terrorists and dragged behind enemy lines were inspired by real ambushes that have taken place on the Israel-Lebanon border, one of which triggered a war in 2006.

To Rosenberg, character is king in any political thriller, as is the “what if?” scenario—but the settings are absolutely critical to his stories.

“I’m trying to take my readers into very dark places—Russia, North Korea, the inner sanctum of the Iranian regime, and so forth. I want to show people where evil festers and then metastasizes like a cancer,” he says. “So like they say in real estate, ‘location, location, location.’ I want to take my readers where they would never dare go on their own. As I was thinking about where to take Marcus next, I wanted to pick a country and a scenario that I hadn’t really explored in the past. Lebanon came to mind.”

On the Israeli-Lebanon border, where the novel begins.

In his first three novels—The Kremlin Conspiracy, The Persian Gamble, and The Jerusalem Assassin—Rosenberg established Ryker’s backstory and showed how he got pulled into working for the CIA against his will. In those books you see Ryker’s character, his values, and his incredible professional skill sets. But as he started the fourth book, Rosenberg began to wonder what it would look like if Ryker was taken hostage.

In the author’s words, “Now that we know why Ryker is considered one of the most deadly and effective clandestine operators in the CIA, wouldn’t it be interesting, I thought, to take away all of his strengths, or at least neutralize them for a while? How would Ryker react to being taken captive? To his team being captured? To suddenly finding himself in a seemingly inescapable situation?”

Ryker knows that when Hezbollah realizes who they’ve captured, no amount of ransom will save them. They’ll be sent to Beirut and then to Tehran to be executed on live television. Making Ryker a hostage not only challenges his training, it tests his character. By nature, Ryker is a protector. He is not looking to kill people. His passion is to protect people.

“He’ll kill without hesitation,” Rosenberg says, “but only if he has to. In THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL, he’s put in a situation along the Israeli-Lebanese border in which he has responsibility for the protection of his team. 

What if he was suddenly overwhelmed by superior firepower? What if he found himself in a position where those on the very team he was sworn to protect were wounded? What if they were being beaten and tortured? All this would scramble his thinking and work against his instincts. Even if he manages to find a way to escape, how will he do it with severely wounded and immobile colleagues? Should he try to escape on his own and go get help? Or is he morally obligated to stay with his team? After all, if he does escape, won’t his teammates bear the brunt of the inevitable retaliation?”

The answers aren’t obvious because Ryker doesn’t fit the classic thriller-hero mold. He’s not a James Bond-type super spy, but nor is he a George Smiley-style tradecraft master.

“Yes, he works for the CIA,” Rosenberg says, “but he’s not a classically trained spy. He’s not an assassin, or a vigilante. He’s a widower. He was a father, but his son was murdered. He left government service and never planned to go back, but now he’s been pulled back in. That’s what makes Marcus Ryker a complicated character and perhaps an outlier in the genre.”

Bottom line, Marcus Ryker is a character you want to get to know, and THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL is a great place to meet him.

My newest thriller, THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL, releases March 9. Here’s a sneak preview. (you can pre-order now!)

(Jerusalem, Israel) — Exactly three weeks from today, on Tuesday, March 9th, my new political thriller, THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL, releases in hardcover, e-book and audio editions. You can pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any of your favorite bookstores — and I hope you will!

I’ll post details soon on the media interviews and book tour events I’ll be doing — but for now, here’s a sneak preview….

A game-changing peace treaty between Israel and the Saudis is nearly done.

The secretary of state is headed to the region to seal the deal.

And Special Agent Marcus Ryker is leading an advance trip along the Israeli-Lebanon border, ahead of the secretary’s arrival.

But when Ryker and his team are ambushed by Hezbollah forces, a nightmare scenario begins to unfold. The last thing the White House can afford is a new war in the Mideast that could derail the treaty and set the region ablaze. U.S. and Israeli forces are mobilizing to find the hostages and get them home, but Ryker knows the clock is ticking.

When Hezbollah realizes who they’ve captured, no amount of ransom will save them—they’ll be transferred to Beirut and then to Tehran to be executed on live television.

In the fourth installment of Rosenberg’s gripping new series, Marcus Ryker finds himself in the most dangerous situation he has ever faced—captured, brutalized, and dragged deep behind enemy lines.

Should he wait to be rescued? Or try to escape? How? And what if his colleagues are too wounded to run?

This is the CIA’s most valuable operative as you have never seen him before.

Amazing e-book deal today on “The Jerusalem Assassin” — don’t miss it!

Very soon, I’m going to be sending you details about my latest political thriller, which releases in March.

But I’m excited to let you know that you can buy the e-book of The Jerusalem Assassin today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) for the amazing low price of just $1.99 — don’t miss it — and let your family and friends know, too!

Here’s the link to this exclusive offer!

“A taut, brilliant thriller ripped right from today’s headlines. Joel Rosenberg is masterful! The Jerusalem Assassin is an absolute home run.” —Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author

With so many in Israel hurting, would you make a generous year-end gift to The Joshua Fund? Come help us feed, encourage and bless Jews & Arabs — and strengthen the Church in the Mideast — in the name of Jesus! Thanks so much.

(Jerusalem, Israel) — My wife, Lynn, and I founded The Joshua Fund in the summer of 2006 to mobilize Evangelical Christians to do more to care for the poor and vulnerable in the Middle East and to strengthen the Church in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and in five neighboring Arab countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt).

Nearly 15 years later, this ministry remains one of the deepest joys of our lives, because the needs are so real and urgent — especially in such dark times like the COVID-19 pandemic we are going through now.

  • The pandemic has been devastating here in Israel. We have just entered our 3rd national lockdown. Nearly 1-in-5 Israelis are unemployed. More than 75,000 small businesses have had to shut their doors. The entire tourism industry is shut down. And the end of the tunnel is not yet in sight.
  • Lebanon, meanwhile, is suffering not only from COVID but from the horrifying explosion at the Beirut port in August that left 300,000 people homeless.
  • Economic, psychological and spiritual pain and depression is plaguing everyone in the region.

Now, more than ever, it’s vital that follower of Jesus demonstrate love and compassion to those who are hurting.

And that’s why The Joshua Fund exists.

We think of The Joshua Fund like a venture capital fund. We identify small but growing and promising congregations and ministries in Israel and neighboring countries and invest in them. We come alongside them with encouragement, prayer and financial resources so that they can be the hands and feet of Jesus — blessing, comforting, encouraging, feeding, and caring for those around them.

As you invest in us, we invest in them, allowing these wonderful believers to teach the Word of God, love their neighbors, plant more seeds and bear more fruit.

The Lord God has blessed The Joshua Fund with an amazing board of directors and staff — but it’s your faithful prayers and generous financial support that truly allows us to invest in God’s Kingdom work to make an eternal impact. Thank you so much for all your help. 

Whether you’re a regular donor, or someone just learning about The Joshua Fund, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this. Would you be able and willing to make a special contribution here in the final hours of 2020 since the needs are so enormous?

Your prayers and gifts make a tremendous differences in the lives of believers in the epicenter who feel alone and need encouragement — and in the lives of those who don’t know Jesus personally but are so grateful when His followers show unconditional love to them in a time of great need.

On behalf of Lynn and our entire team, may the Lord richly bless you and your family as you bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to the Abrahamic Covenant found in Genesis 12:1-3! We praise God for your hearts of kindness, compassion and generosity.

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To make a safe, secure, tax deductible, online contribution to The Joshua Fund, please click here.

On #GivingTuesday, would you help The Joshua Fund bless Israel & her neighbors? In this dark year, people in the Epicenter need our financial help & our prayers.

JERUSALEMThis has been a very dark year. As millions around the globe struggle with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, all of the countries we at The Joshua Fund care so deeply about are struggling.

I’m regularly asked by pastors, ministry leaders, radio and TV hosts, and journalists what the Bible teaches on the subject of pestilence and plagues and whether they factor at all into the future prophecy.

I’ve been studying these issues carefully, consulting theologians and seminary professors whose expertise I trust. After all, The Joshua Fund seeks to educate the Church, and those interested, in God’s plan and purpose for Israel and her neighbors.

There is no doubt in my mind that the pandemic is one of the “birth pangs” of which the Lord Jesus spoke in Luke 21. It is yet another sign that we are living in what the Bible calls the “last days.” That’s why we need to have a sense of urgency to fulfill the Great Commission and specifically to obey our calling to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.

Now is the time for the Church to be demonstrating the love of God to Jews, Arabs, and all other ethnic and religious groups in the region, and to do so in real and practical ways. One of our projects is providing food and humanitarian relief monthly to thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. These are needy widows, single mothers, Holocaust survivors, refugees, and other families struggling to make ends meet. This work is especially needed now; so many in our region have gone through a partial or full lockdown.

It is an honor to serve them – and I hope you are encouraged by the many stories of life change from the last year, all of which serve as a testimony of God’s faithfulness through your faithful investment and prayers.

The current need is urgent, and if we, as the Church, don’t stand in the gap who will? 

On this Giving Tuesday, please join us by donating today as we bless Israel & her neighbors in the name of Jesus.

And please also check out our newly re-designed website — www.joshuafund.com.

Thank you so much – may the Lord bless you!

Shalom,

Joel C. Rosenberg

Founder and Chairman of The Joshua Fund

Let’s talk novels, not politics! Join me Tuesday for the “Night of a Thousand Authors.” I’ll be on this special webcast at 4:10pm from Jerusalem. Here are the details.

I’m so jazzed to be part of “The Night Of A Thousand Authors” — a program unlike any other, in which one New York Times best-selling novelist after another does a 10 minute interview talking about thrillers, not partisan politics!

After you vote, please tune in tomorrow, Tuesday — event starts at 3pm eastern and my interview is at 4:10pm eastern (live from Jerusalem). Hope you’ll watch it all.

Co-hosting will be author K.J. Howe (ITW Executive Director) and The Real Book Spy’s Ryan Steck, with special help from The Crew Reviews‘ Michael Houtz, Sean Cameron, and Christopher Albanese.

The “star-studded event“—which will live stream across a number of platforms—will serve as the show launch for THRILLER TALK, a brand new podcast from Howe and Steck, who’ve teamed up to bring fans of the genre a fresh, innovative new show that’ll cover the thriller genre in a way that’s unlike anything else available on the web.

NIGHT OF A THOUSAND AUTHORS is a marathon of 10 minutes interviews—the “special sauce” is that each author will share the first two minutes of their interview on the screen with the previous guest and the last two minutes of their interview with the next guest.

“How often do you get to see this many big name authors in one place over a short period of time?” Howe asked, “The magnitude of star power makes this program unique.”

“This is going to be wild!” Steck said, “Wall to wall and back to back, rapid fire interviews complete with potential odd pairings overlapping and doing it live? It can only go right!”

Get all the details here.

For Evangelicals struggling whether to vote at all, or how they could vote for Trump with all his flaws, here are two columns worth reading.

The vast majority of American Evangelicals are voting for the President’s re-election. But not all. Some are so turned off by his Tweets, first debate performance and other behavior that they plan to stay home and not vote or to vote for Biden and Harris.

These are self-inflicted wounds on Trump’s part.

His policies, his promises kept, his team and his party’s platform should be convincing to all Evangelicals, compared to the pro-abortion-on-demand position of Biden and the Democrats. But Trump’s behavior has made it very difficult.

Let’s be clear: if Trump and Pence lose just 1% of the Evangelical vote, especially in critical battleground states, the pro-life position of the current federal government will not only be lost but dramatically, aggressively reversed.

One of my friends is a pastor and registered Independent in New Mexico.

In Christianity Today, he makes a compelling case to Evangelicals who are “on the fence,” struggling whether to vote at all or how they could vote for President Trump to be re-elected with all of his flaws.

Excerpt: “Never in memory has there been a more vocal pro-life president. Other presidents have tipped their hat to it, some more cautiously than others, but Trump has made this issue front and center. He even became the very first U.S. President to both attend and speak in person at the annual March for Life, marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in Washington DC. Beyond that he has shut down various streams of taxpayer funding for this egregious practice.”

Excerpt: “In a perfect world I would want a candidate who is warm, winsome, polite, reverential, deferential as well as one who gets things done. That world doesn’t exist, so I will be firmly settling for one who gets things done. Because Donald J. Trump has worked this hard on these core issues [pro-life, pro-Israel, pro-growth, etc] while at the same time calling out the dishonest media and taking on the political establishment, he has my vote.“

Also, here is my column from Friday, sharing my own journey: I used to be a “Never Trumper.” Not anymore. 20 reasons I strongly support the President’s re-election.

I hope you find them helpful.

Please share with family and friends on Facebook and other social media if you think either or both columns can be helpful to people still struggling to make their decision in the final hours before this high-stakes election.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 24: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the 47th March For Life rally on the National Mall, January 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life Campaign held its annual March For Life rally and march to the U.S. Supreme Court protesting the high court’s 1973 Roe V. Wade decision making abortion legal. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

If every other argument fails, please vote for Mike Pence — a solid Evangelical, wise and thoughtful public servant, not corrupt, a gentleman, a loving and faithful husband and father, with a son serving in the US military. As VP, Pence has been a great help to the President. And he is remarkably well qualified to be next President of the United States, if and when that time comes.

In the meantime, let’s realize that a massive spiritual battle is underway for the future of the United States of America — let’s be fasting, praying, pleading for the Lord’s mercy as we head into Election Day.

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

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Note: These columns by Skip Heitzig and me reflect our own personal views, expressed as private American citizens. They are not connected in any way to the non-profit, non-partisan, non-political organizations we run or with which we are affiliated.

I used to be a “Never Trumper.” Not anymore. 20 reasons I strongly support the President’s re-election.

On March 7, 2019, I entered the Oval Office for the first time in my life.

Vice President Mike Pence, a friend since 2012, and I had just had lunch in the White House Mess. We had discussed the administration’s Middle East peace plan, which was then still in development, and my recent private meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. 

“Have you ever met the President?” Pence had asked as we finished our meals.

I had not. 

“Follow me,” he said.

The next thing I knew, I was shaking hands with President Donald J. Trump, who smiled broadly as Pence introduced me as a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, an author of novels and non-fiction books about the threat of radical Islamism, and an Evangelical.

“Great to meet you, Joel, welcome to the White House.”

Trump asked me to sit down, then took his seat behind the Resolute desk. To my right was the Vice President. To my left was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also a friend, and then-National Security Advisor John Bolton, whom I’d also known for years.  

To my surprise, rather than tell me what he was thinking about, the President kept asking me one question after another. Where are you from? Why did you move to Jerusalem? How can you be an Evangelical with a Jewish name like Rosenberg? What’s your latest novel about? I had brought him a copy of The Persian Gamble, and I explained it was about an Iranian regime taking the $150 billion that President Obama had given them for the nuclear deal and secretly going to North Korea to buy a half-dozen fully operational nuclear warheads off the shelf and get them back to Iran.

“Wow – that’s pretty scary,” Trump said, turning to look out the window.

After a moment, he turned back to me and said, “How do you know they’re not trying to do that in real life?”

“Well, Mr. President,” I said, looking at Pence, Pompeo and Bolton and then back at Trump, “I’m counting on you and the men in this room to make sure The Persian Gamble never comes true.”

We shared a laugh, and then Trump asked me another question.

“So, tell me something else about yourself.”

I paused for a moment, then decided I ought to say it.

“Well, sir, I should probably tell you that I…well….I was a Never Trumper until four days before the election.” 

The room went silent. 

I cannot tell you how often the term “Never Trumper” is used in the presence of the President himself. By the look in his eye, I would say not that often. He did not, however, throw me out of the room. Rather, he picked up on the last phrase.

“What happened on the Thursday before the election?”

“My wife came to me with an absentee ballot and Fed-Ex envelope,” I said. “Hers was already filled out, but she insisted that I fill out mine right then because she had to send it that day from Israel in order for it to get back to the State in time. And she said to me, ‘You’ve got to make a decision.’ But I told her I was still agonizing. ‘You’re not going to vote for Hillary, are you?’ she asked. ‘Of course not,’ I said. ‘Then you have to vote for Trump.’ I told her wasn’t sure if I could. I’d spoken out strongly against you during the primaries. But my wife wouldn’t let the issue go. ‘Look,’ she said, ‘do you believe that Hillary is going to keep her liberal campaign promises?’ Of course, I replied, that’s why I can’t vote for her. ‘Exactly, but the problem is that you don’t trust Mr. Trump to keep his conservative promises, right?’”

I looked directly at the President. He said nothing. So, I continued.

“Right, I said. ‘So, here’s what you need to do,’ my wife told me. ‘The only way to stop Hillary from being elected is to vote for Mr. Trump and hope that he wins and hope that he keeps at least some of his promises. That’s it. That’s your only option.’”

You could hear a pin drop.

“So, Mr. President, I voted for you that day,” I continued. “And I just want to take the opportunity to thank you in person for keeping so many of your promises.”

I listed a dozen specific examples, including that the President had:

  1. Moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem
  2. Dramatically strengthened the U.S.-Israel alliance in myriad other ways
  3. Was dramatically strengthening America’s alliance with the Arab world
  4. Withdrew the U.S. from the insane Iran nuclear deal
  5. Crushed the ISIS caliphate, ending genocide against Christians and Yazidis 
  6. Massively increased defense spending to rebuild the American military
  7. Pushed NATO to spend more of its own money on its own defense
  8. Gotten tough against the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, contrary to the allegations that were being made that he was “colluding” with Putin and weakening U.S. national security
  9. Signed the biggest tax cut and tax reform bill in U.S. history, creating millions of new jobs and powerful and sustained economic growth
  10. Made America energy independent 
  11. Appointed hundreds of conservative, pro-life, originalist federal judges
  12. Appointed two originalist, Scalia-esque Justices to the Supreme Court

“Sir, if you accomplish nothing else for the rest of your term, you will go down in history as the most pro-life and pro-Israel president in the history of the country. And I just want to say, on behalf of my wife and me, thank you.” 

The President seemed moved. Then I noted the Bible commands believers to “pray for kings and all those in authority.”

“I want you to know, sir, that I have prayed for you and your family every day since you took the Oath of Office.”

“Thank you, Joel,” Trump replied. “That means a lot to me.”

Since then, the reasons I support the President and Vice President have grown significantly. Together, Trump and Pence have:

  1. Presented a creative and compassionate plan to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians 
  2. Brokered an historic peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates
  3. Brokered an historic peace treaty between Israel and Bahrain
  4. Brokered an historic peace treaty between Israel and Sudan
  5. Gotten tough on China
  6. Built a security wall to protect America’s southern border with Mexico
  7. Mobilized the biggest government and private sector mobilization since World War II to protect the American people from COVID-19, the worst pandemic in 100 years, and re-opened the U.S. economy to allow for the creation already of  10.5 million new jobs
  8. Appointed Amy Coney Barrett, a third originalist, Scalia-esque Justice to the Supreme Court

Are there some policies Trump pursues that I disagree? Yes. Am I happy with his first debate performance? No. Do some of his Tweets and public comments baffle, frustrate and deeply disappointment. Absolutely.

Still, I am deeply grateful that Trump and his team stand strongly against socialism, against abortion-on-demand, against riots and lawlessness, against shutting down oil and natural gas exploration, against radical left-wing plans to expand the number of Justices on the Supreme Court, against re-starting a policy of appeasement towards Iran, against going soft on the corrupt communists of China, against shutting down the American economy and ignoring the rights of the American people to live their lives in freedom, even in days of risk.

I used to be a Never Trumper. Not anymore.

Last month, I flew from Israel to the United States to stand in line for three hours to vote in-person for the re-election for President Trump and Vice President Pence.

I hope wherever you live, if you’re an American citizen, you will vote for them, too.

Can Trump and Pence win re-election? Lots of people are asking me. Here are the 10 most important factors you need to watch with just 2 weeks to go before Election Day.

JERUSALEM — During my three-week speaking tour through the U.S., and certainly in the two weeks since I’ve been back here in Israel, the number one question I’m being asked by those who want the Trump-Pence ticket to be re-elected is: Do they have any shot at all?

My short answer is: Yes.

But:

1) Biden and Harris definitely have the upper hand

2) It’s going to be a battle for every single vote

3) It’s also going to take an enormous amount of prayer and hard work — and a miracle.

It happened in 2016. Could it happen again?

“Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

But let’s be honest — Trump is his own worst enemy.

Trump’s debate performance, many of his Tweets, and many of his off-the-cuff and unscripted remarks have been offensive and off-putting to a great many undecided voters — especially those in the key states that the Trump team absolutely must win.

By contrast, Pence’s debate performance, watched by more than 50 million Americans, was pitch perfect — substantive, calm, respectful, and sharply able to define the critical differences between the two tickets.

Side-note: If Israelis were decided the race, it would be Trump/Pence in a landslide. A poll published last week found that 63% of Israelis support Trump. Only 19% of Israelis support Biden.

Upwards of 200,000 dual US-Israeli citizens are being aggressively courted here by the Trump and Biden camps — because every vote really does count.

That said, the election will actually be decided in “battleground states” like Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, to name a few.

Here are 10 factors you should take into account when assessing the Trump-Pence ticket’s chances of success:

1. More Americans (49%) agree with Trump “on the issues” than agree with Biden (46%), according to a September Gallup poll.

2. 76% of Americans say they would not vote for a candidate that supports socialist policies, a Hill/Harris poll found in July.

3. A majority (54%) rate Trump positively for his job performance on the economy, according to a new October Gallup poll. This is important because according to Gallup, “nearly nine in 10 registered voters consider the presidential candidates’ positions on the economy ‘extremely’ (44%) or ‘very’ (45%) important to their vote.”

4. Trump’s strong rating in this area is, in part, because he’s a businessman, not a professional politician, whose tax cut and other pro-growth policies led to a roaring American economy and the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years before the pandemic. The U.S. has also gained a record 11.5 million new jobs since Trump began reopening the economy in the summer. Americans areincreasingly nervous that Biden keeps vowing to raise taxes — “The first thing I’d do is repeal the Trump tax cut,” he says over and over. Biden vows to “double the capital gains tax” on investments in new factories and new jobs to 40%. Experts says Biden’s approach would mean a $4 trillion tax increase and include a $2,000 tax hike on a median income family of four.

5. A majority (55%) consider themselves and their family to be better off than they were four years ago (Gallup). This is an astonishing number, given that it comes in the midst of the pandemic.

6. 78% of Evangelicals currently support Trump and Pence because they deeply appreciate their bold pro-life, pro-religious, pro-law-and-order, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Israel policies and all the promises that Trump and Pence have kept, according to an October 13th Pew poll. The problem is that this is down from 83% in August. Why? Because many Evangelicals were deeply disappointed by Trump’s debate performance. If Trump and Pence can get back to 83%, they have a real chance at winning, but it’s not going to be easy because 22 million Americans have already voted, including many Evangelicals.

7. After the Trump-Biden debate, the Rasmussen poll (arguably the most accurate presidential poll in 2016) had Biden winning by 12 points — but the newest Rasmussen survey finds that Trump is rapidly gaining ground and is only behind nationally by 5 points. Still, keep in mind that the Real Clear Politics average of national polls has Biden winning by a whopping 8.9%.

8. While most national polls show Biden in the lead decisively, the Real Clear Politics average of polling in the top battleground states has Biden only winning by 4.3% — significant, but not insurmountable. Consider just a few examples:

* In Florida, the RCP average of polls has Trump behind by 1.4 points. The latest poll has the race there tied. One poll has Trump up 2 points.

* In Ohio, the RCP average suddenly puts Trump ahead by 0.5 points — this is a significant reversal since Biden has been ahead of Trump there for most of the race.

* In Pennsylvania, the RCP average had Trump down 4.4 points on Oct. 18 — but on Oct. 11, just one-week earlier, Biden had been ahead by 7.1 points.

* In Iowa, the latest poll has Trump and Biden tied, but two weeks ago Biden was ahead by 5 points.

9. “Trump is winning the voter registration battle against Biden in key states,” read an NBC News headline on Oct. 1. “Of the six states Trump won by less than 5 points in 2016, four — Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — permit voters to register by party,” the article noted. “In all four states, voter registration trends are more robust for the GOP than four years ago.”

Examples:

* FLORIDA — “In Florida, Republicans added a net 195,652 registered voters between this March’s presidential primary and the end of August, while Democrats added 98,362….”

* PENNSYLVANIA — “In Pennsylvania, Republicans added a net 135,619 voters between this June’s primary and the final week of September, while Democrats added 57,985…”

* NORTH CAROLINA — “In North Carolina, Republicans added a net 83,785 voters between this March’s presidential primary and the final week of September, while Democrats added 38,137…”

10. A massive movement of Evangelical prayer throughout the U.S. is pleading with God not only for revival and a Great Awakening but for mercy to maintain the pro-life, pro-freedom, pro-growth, pro-Israel policies that Trump and Pence are pursuing. Tens of millions of Evangelicals are also praying that the Lord will not to let Biden and Harris win and appoint pro-abortion federal judges and Supreme Court Justices, massively fund Planned Parenthood pro-abortion services, start taxpayer funding of abortion, restrict religious freedom, massively raise taxes, and completely undo and reverse all the pro-life, pro-growth and other progress that has been made in the past four years. In September, for example, Franklin Graham organized a prayer march in Washington that drew an estimated 50,000 Christians and was broadcast and webcast to millions. That same month, I spoke at three nationally webcast and broadcast events in the U.S. to call Evangelicals to pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 for America — one event was in Iowa, another was in South Dakota and a third was in Colorado. Other pastors and ministry leaders have likewise been rallying Christians to pray without ceasing for a nation facing implosion. Amen. This is a spiritual battle, above all, and prayer is vital.

One more thing — the “X” factor, if you will: Keep a close eye on the brewing allegations of a Joe Biden/Hunter Biden scandal related to Ukraine, China and Russia.

The fact that Twitter is trying to block the story — and other major media are refusing to give it any attention when it at least bears close scrutiny — is a sign that this could be more serious than most people realize.

BOTTOM LINE: Look, I can make no predictions about what will happen on November 3. To be honest, I, too, was disappointed by President Trump’s debate performance and by the prospect that his behavior — not his policies — will cost us the election. And not just the presidency at risk, but control of the Senate, as well.

Still, despite having once been a Never Trumper, I am grateful for all the many promises the President has kept. I continue to pray daily for him and his family, for salvation, for changed character, for protection and wisdom. I traveled all the way to the U.S. to vote for Trump and Pence in person.

To be clear: I would rather vote for a deeply imperfect candidate who is working hard to save unborn babies, among other important goals, than for a deeply imperfect candidate who supports abortion on demand and taxpayer funding for this terrible evil.

So, even as I pray that the Lord will graciously change Mr. Trump’s character and soften his very rough edges, I am also praying that he and Pence will win and that they and all the Evangelicals around them will have four more years to keep trying to turn the ship of state back in the right direction.

I’m not going to slam and berate and mock those who take a different view. It’s a free country (so far). But that’s where I come down.

How about you — have you voted yet?

Are you mobilizing your family, friends and neighbors to get out to vote — immediately — not waiting for Election Day?

Are you praying without ceasing? I sure hope so.

Don’t. Give. Up.

(I wrote this column in my capacity as a private American citizen. These personal views have nothing to do with any of the non-profit, non-partisan organizations that I have founded or with which I am affiliated.)